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Knights of Columbus must help change society with ‘new politics,’ says Carl Anderson

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‘In the Philippines today, God calls us most urgently to serve the poor and the needy’

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Bishops stress transparency on controversial agreement
THE controversial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Ancestral Domain between the government and Moro Liberation Front (MILF) the signing of which was deferred by the Supreme Court on Aug. 5, drew remarks from some Catholic bishops. CBCP President and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said he would recommend
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Samar bishop to organize protest action against anti-life bills
BISHOP Isabelo C. Abarquez said the diocese of Calbayog is organizing a big event to register its strong opposition to the Reproductive Health bill pending at the House of Representatives. The prelate said Western Samar’s lawmakers Reynaldo Uy and Sharee Ann Tan are both supportive of the controversial bill which the Catholic Church strongly opposes.
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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace August 4 - 17, 2008 Vol. 12 No. 16 Php 20.00

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Junk JPEPA, appeal bishops
By Roy Lagarde

ROMAN Catholic bishops made a last minute strong pitch to the Senate to junk the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
At least six bishops added their voices to the growing number of civil society groups who want the bilateral trade pact, which many fear that if could be ratified soon, be totally rejected by the Senate. The move comes after twelve senators signed the committee report on a resolution seeking concurrence of the controversial agreement. In a statement, the bishops and other signatories called on the Senate to uphold national interest and defend Filipinos’ rights and welfare.
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Give jobs to people, not dole-outs, says Cardinal
THE government should provide jobs to people to address hunger and poverty in the country than j u s t give “dole-outs” to them. This was the reaction of Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) delivered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently. The prelate said that giving dole-outs or subsidy is not helpful as it makes the poor more dependent on the government. “Create jobs so that people won’t be dependent. If people have work, they have money to spend no matter how small it is,” Rosales said. “The P500 subsidy is nothing. They should give jobs to the poor,” he said. Without jobs, people tend to take part in rallies creating a negative impression to the country and the current administration, Rosales said. Last month, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo also said that dole-outs are “quick-fix” solution that does not solve the problem of poor people. In her SoNA address, President Arroyo defended her stand to maintain E-VAT (Expanded Value Added Tad) as against the demand of Catholic Bishops to scrap E-VAT on oil and review the oil deregulation law. Arroyo said E-VAT is necessary to generate funds to help the poor. This was contested by some Catholic bishops including Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles. Arguelles said that E-VAT does not help the poor because the tax collected does not return in the form of social services. Cruz said the government wants to retain E-VAT as it is an easy source of collecting funds. (Santosh Digal)

‘Hands off the Philippines,’ population controllers told
A US-based pro-life advocate has asked for a halt to foreign intervention in the country with “immoral” purposes, which results in the extermination of Filipino babies. Dr. Brian Clowes, author and researcher for Human Life International, said the proposed reproductive health bill in Congress is “not a Filipino bill.” “The language maybe written by Filipino hands but the language and texts comes from London, England and Washington DC,” he said. “So this is why you have to resist this reproductive heath bill. I’ve seen the same bill in many parts around the world,” he added. Clowes said some powerful countries want to control the population of the Philippines to control its natural resources. If the bill is passed, he said, it will lead to legalization of abortion. He called on the Filipinos to “condemn foreign imperialism” and reject politicians that are pushing for population control. “Tell the population controllers to get and repeat the four short words: Hands off the Philippines,” Clowes said. He said the Spanish and the Japanese ran this country for many years and “then the Americans came in and they think they can run this country too.” “It’s about time that the Filipinos run their own country,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Newly installed Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza greets people in the crowd after his episcopal ordination at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City on August 4, 2008.

‘Acrobats’ to raise funds to build church
AN entertainment performance dubbed as “Acrobatic Entertainment Show” will help in building the parish church of the Holy Family Parish in Baliok, Toril this city. Acrobats will not only bring cheers, laughter and wonder to the crowd as explained by Parish Pastoral Coordinator (PPC) Myla Rocaberte, but this will also be for a cause. The event was held at St. Peter’s College of Toril Gym last July 27. Rocaberte said that they are targeting P300,000.00 for the construction materials and labor for the groundbreaking alone. The parish scheduled the groundbreaking on October 5, 2008. Aside from the acrobatic show, the parish also initiated different fund raising projects like asking every family to donate at least P1, 000.00 per family. Students also took part in the fund rais-

IPs lament exclusion in GRPMILF pact on ancestral domain
SAYING that the government has failed to recognize the basic issues confronting the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, the State of the Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA) conference participants lamented the absence of the lumads (tribal people) in the forging of the government’s claimed GRP-MILF agreement on the issue of ancestral domain. The government has already made the formal act of initializing the final draft agreement on ancestral domain in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last July 27. In a report posted at Luwaran, MILF Peace Negotiating Panel Mohagher Iqbal said that the initializing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) guarantees that no more changes, amendments, alterations or renegotiations be made on its overall contents or substance of the agreement. “What only remains to be done is its formal signing in a would–be historic ceremony to be held early August at Putrajaya, Malaysia,” he added. But, tribal leaders in Mindanao said that
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Bishops saddened by ‘commodification’ of Filipino workforce
ECUMENICAL Bishops Forum (EBF) co-chairpersons Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, D.D., Bishop of Kalookan (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Bishop Solito K. Toquero of the United Methodist Church were saddened by the “commodification” of the Filipino workforce, especially women and children. In a joint pastoral statement released last July 26, in line for the communal action of religious groups done in Cebu City, members of the religious communities coming from different Christian denomination agreed about the injustice brought by penury and grave human rights violations now plaguing the country. “We are very much saddened that while our nation is richly endowed with vast natural resources and hard working and resilient human resources, most of our farmers are landless and hungry, our sisters and
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Illustration by Bladimer Usi

ing activity like putting up of donation boxes in their respective schools to be given later to the parish for its on-going parish church construction. Rocaberte is optimistic that they would succeed in their efforts of raising funds for the construction of the parish. The Parish Pastoral Council is also thankful for the success of acquiring the one-hectare parish lot a year ago through the efforts of the parishioners. (Mark S. Ventura)

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World News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Catholic bishop Benedict XVI hopes for carries Olympic Olympics that ‘respect dignity’ torch in China relay
ROME, August 4, 2008—After delivering his traditional Angelus address to thousands of the faithful on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI told the crowd that he hopes the Beijing Olympics will provide a good example of coexistence, while respecting human dignity. Looking ahead to August 8, the Holy Father noted that “Beijing will open the Games of XXIX Olympiad.” Although he is on vacation until August 11, the Pope said that he will be following “this great sporting encounter with profound interest.” Addressing himself to China, the organizers and participants, and above all the athletes, Pope Benedict sent his cordial greetings, “with the hope that everyone can give their best in a genuine Olympic spirit.” While the preparations for the Olympics have been marred by the Chinese government’s restrictions on the freedom of the press and Tibetan freedom protests, the Pope diplomatically chose to express his hope that the Olympic Games “provides the international community a good example of coexistence between people of many different origins, while respecting common dignity. May once again sport be a pledge of brotherhood and peace among peoples!” (CNA) BEIJING, China, August 3, 2008— A Chinese Catholic bishop carried the Olympic torch on its way to Beijing on Thursday as the Chinese government tries to express its appreciation for the Church’s active participation in social affairs and to show progress in its religion policies. Peter Fang Jianping, Coadjutor Bishop of Tangshan, took part in the July 31torch rally in Tangshan, a city about 110 miles from Beijing. Bishop Fang was the eighth of 208 torch bearers during the last leg of the relay in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing. The 45-year-old bishop told UCA News on Friday that he was named a torchbearer because of the Chinese government’s progress in its religious policies and in expressing concerns over religious issues to religious leaders, but also “because of the Church’s contribution to the society.” Bishop Fang said the Diocese of Tangshan, which has about 45,000 Catholics and 40 priests, donated money and materials worth about $22,000 to earthquake relief in Sichuan. An earthquake measuring 8.0 in magnitude struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, causing at least 69,200 confirmed deaths and leaving more than 18,000 still missing. According to the bishop, many local Catholics who saw the live TV broadcast of the Olympic torch relay told him they were overjoyed and heartened to see their bishop take part in the event. Torchbearers are allowed to keep their torch as a souvenir after their relay run. Bishop Fang told UCA News he will keep his “precious spiritual legacy.” Bishop Fang, a native of Hebei, was ordained a priest in 1989 and ordained a bishop in Beijing in 2000 without papal approval. The Holy See legitimized his episcopal status in 2002. The Beijing Olympics will begin on August 8. (CNA)

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Catholic cardinal denounces ‘social revolution’ against Christianity
During his remarks, Cardinal Cañizares denounced the existence in Spain of a plan presented as a “modernization” movement, but that “in reality seeks to modify the social and cultural reality of Spain, transforming its identity.” “This social and cultural project aims to construct a secular society without any moral or religious reference, attempting to impose nihilist thought and deliberately eliminating everything Catholic from public life,” the cardinal said. While such a plan is present in the West in general, “it is especially intense in Spain,” he added, where it is supported by “powerful and sometimes dark forces, present everywhere from the media to schools.” The promoters of this plan “have made the Catholic Church their target,” as they see her and the family as the main obstacles to their plans. “Thus the Church is presented as the enemy of democracy and modernization, opposed to science and progress, against freedom, the enemy of happiness or the promoter of division, confrontation and violence…in an effort to isolate religion to private life,” the cardinal stated. “The silencing of God is the fundamental event of our times,” he continued. “There is nothing else that compares in terms of its radicalism and serious consequences.” In the designing of this new society, Cardinal Cañizares explained, relativism plays an important role, since “nothing can be said to be definitive, it is at the center of a society that constantly doubts itself. There is no law, only rights that are restricted or broadened according to the will of whoever is in power. In all of this is the concept of man as a being autonomous of the will of God, who counts for nothing.” (CNA)

Loss of clerical state for Paraguay’s President-elect
ASUNCION, Paraguay, July 30, 2008—Benedict XVI has granted a reduction to the lay state for the president-elect of Paraguay, a former Catholic bishop who had been suspended “a divinis.” The apostolic nuncio in Paraguay announced today the Pope’s decision regarding Fernando Lugo. Archbishop Orlando Antonini explained at a press conference that the Holy Father “granted [Lugo] the loss of the clerical state, with all the obligations, as a priest and bishop of the [Society of the] Divine Word.” The nuncio said Lugo’s request was accepted because “the people have elected him” and “his clerical state is not compatible with the presidency of the republic.” “Having examined all the circumstances carefully, His Holiness Benedict XVI has granted him the loss of his clerical state with the consequent loss of its inherent rights,” he added. A January 2007 decree signed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, had announced the suspension “a divinis” of Lugo, for having declared himself a candidate for the Paraguayan presidency. The Code of Canon Law prohibits this. On Dec. 18, 2006, Lugo had requested the loss of the clerical state to become a candidate in the elections. On April 20, 2008, the day after winning the election, Lugo asked the Church, and Benedict XVI in particular, for forgiveness for the sorrow his disobedience to canon law had caused. According to a communiqué read by the nuncio, the Pontiff is now exhorting Lugo “to be faithful to the Catholic faith in which he was baptized and to lead a life that is consistent with the Gospel.” Lugo will take office Aug. 15. (Zenit)

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares

MADRID, Spain, August 1, 2008—During the inauguration of a summer course on modernization in Spain, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Toledo denounced the existence in Spain and the Western world of a social revolution aimed directly at undermining the Christian roots of the West.

Former encyclical protestor signs ‘Humanae Vitae Pledge’
FRONT ROYAL, Va, August 3, 2008—In this weekly email newsletter, President of Human Life International, Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, shared a letter he received that caused him “to shed tears of gratitude.” The author, a former priest who had protested Humanae Vitae in 1968, had written to tell Fr. Euteneuer about his conversion from dissident priest to his acceptance of the controversial and prophetic encyclical. The writer of the letter had decided to sign HLI’s “Humanae Vitae Pledge,” promising loyalty to the teachings of the Catholic Church, obedience to the teachings of Humanae Vitae, and “to embrace God’s precious gift of life.” “There is for me a special significance in signing this Pledge, and [it] will give me a peace of mind and heart that I have not experienced since 1968. In 1968 I was a young Franciscan priest studying in the Graduate School of Religious Education at Catholic University,” the man wrote. The writer knew many who signed the document in protest of Humanae Vitae such as Fr. Charles Curran, Fr. Dan Maguire, and Fr. Robert Faricy, S.J. “Since they, as well as many other professors and graduate students were signing the Protest Document, I went along and did so also.” “In 1975 for personal reasons not related to any doubts or questions about the Faith, or the Church, or the Religious Life...I requested and obtained...a dispensation from Pope Paul VI returning me to the Lay State. Later, I was married in the Church and raised my two children in the Faith....I have had many conversations with my Pastor and with his assistant (who is my spiritual director) about my days as a Franciscan Priest, and have been active in many of our parish’s lay apostolate and ministries.” “But I have always regretted having signed the Protest Document against Pope Paul’s teaching in 1968, and having learned a few years ago that Fr. Faricy had publicly repudiated signing the Protest, I had wished that I, too, could repudiate in some official way, having signed the Protest....And so your ‘Pledge’ document offers me an opportunity to correct my mistake, and find healing % and telling you about all this helps me to feel that my repudiation of the Protest is now known and accepted in a kind of semi-official sort of way by an ‘authority’ in the Church.” “And thank you for reading this, thereby humoring an old man, who despite every-

Food crisis in North Korea, millions hungry
PYONGYANG, North Korea, August 2, 2008—North Korea is going through a severe food crisis, comparable only to the famine that struck the country at the end of the 1990’s. Jean-Pierre de Margerie, director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), says the poor harvests in recent years and the flood in 2007 have left millions of North Koreans without the minimum amount of food necessary for survival. The UN fund affirms that at least 6.4 million people (out of a total of 23 million) are in urgent need of food, three out of four families have drastically reduce their consumption of food—including grains and proteins— and an increasing number of people are turning to grass and wild berries just to survive. For a number of years, North Korea has received aid from the international community, but environmental disasters and poor harvests have intensified the emergency. According to initial estimates, 20 million dollars are needed right away to confront the immediate needs, ahead of the fall harvest. The WFP, finally, hopes for the creation of a longer-term assistance plan, which calls for the investment of 500 million dollars by September of 2009. (AsiaNews)

HLI President Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Vatican official defends life of Anglicans see blunt talk from Catholics Italian woman in vegetative state as sign of friendship
ROME, August 1, 2008—Behind the headlines about tough words from Roman Catholic observers at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference there also was straight talk about the blunt words only real friends could say. At a July 29 dinner for the 75 ecumenical observers attending the conference, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury said the guest speakers have praised the Anglican Communion on some points, but also have shared “truths that may be a little less palatable.” Introducing Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Archbishop Williams said, “One of the things that we have always looked for him to do for us is to ask some very awkward questions in a way that only a friend can ask with effect and pungency.” The next day, at one of 15 small sessions Anglican bishops could choose from, Cardinal Kasper offered a Roman Catholic assessment of the issues the Lambeth Conference was dealing with: the ordination of women priests and bishops; blessing same-sex unions and ordaining people who are openly gay; and trying to find a structure to strengthen and guarantee the unity of the Anglican Communion. (CNS) VATICAN CITY, August 1, 2008—Because Eluana Englaro is alive, caregivers must continue to give her food and water, said the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the academy, hailed a July 31 decision by the procurator general’s office in Milan to ask Italy’s Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision authorizing the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration at the request of the young woman’s father. The procurator general’s office said that when Milan’s civil Court of Appeals ruled July 9

thing else, knows that he is a ‘priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek.’” Fr. Euteneuer explains that this conversion story demonstrates that: “in Christ’s Kingdom it is never too late, even after forty years, to fully embrace the Truth. All of us make mistakes and all of us sin, but He gives us all a chance to be reconciled with Him and turn our sorrow into joy.” The HLI president chose to share the letter to honor the “priest’s desire to let his repudiation be a public testimony to others.” The pledge can be found on CNA’s site for the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae. (CNA)

Archbishop Rowan Williams

that the provision of nutrition and hydration could be stopped it did so without obtaining a clear scientific opinion that the young woman’s condition could never improve. In addition to saying it would take the case to the Supreme Court, the procurator general’s office asked the Court of Appeals to suspend its ruling so that Englaro’s family does not act before the Supreme Court can rule. Now 37 years old, Englaro was injured in a car accident in 1992. She has been in what doctors describe as a persistent vegetative state for 16 years. (CNS)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

News Features

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Knights of Columbus must help change society with ‘new politics,’ says Carl Anderson
QUEBEC CITY, Canada, August 5, 2008— Riding the enthusiasm of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United States, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson delivered a rousing speech today in which he challenged his fellow Knights to transform the world through their actions and political decisions. “Pope Benedict’s visit was an enormous gift to us: millions of Catholics are now more willing to live the Catholic life more actively. But it is up to us to follow through on this opportunity,” said Anderson. “Let us be co-workers in the renewal of the Church that our great Pope is leading,” he encouraged. Turning to the Pope Benedict XVI, Anderson quoted, ‘The Horizon of love, is truly boundless: it is the whole world!’ “It may seem too ambitious to talk about transforming the world, much less doing so by trying to create a civilization that is very different from the one we now live in. But the earliest Christians did precisely that: they did so by their example, by holding out the possibility of a life that is higher, more beautiful, and above all more authentic than the vulgarity, violence and greed of the ancient pagan world.” “Gentlemen, we have the power— given to us by the Holy Spirit—to transform the world in the same way,” the head of the Knights of Columbus exhorted in his annual report. The Knights have been very active in trying to positively impact the culture in 2007, according to Carl Anderson. In the past year, the men’s fraternal organization has raised more than $144.9 million for charity and volunteered 68 million hours to churches, neighborhoods and communities. In addition, the group has been very active in supporting the Church at the financial level and in providing solidarity to fellow members. As one example, Anderson related that he and Bishop William Lori were able to present Pope Benedict with a gift of $1.6 million for his personal charitable organizations. On the solidarity front, Carl Anderson highlighted the fact that since 1961, Knights from Cuba had been unable to attend the annual convention because of the political situation on the island nation. This year, however, marks the first time in 58 years that delegates from Cuba were able to attend the meeting, he announced, as the Knights from Camaguey, Cuba were received with a standing ovation. However, the work of the Knights must go beyond the present efforts, Anderson said as he assessed the current political and social climate. Saying that the opposition to abortion on demand is not going away but getting stronger every year, the Knight’s leader pledged that the group will “never waver in the cause to ensure legal protection for every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death.” Anderson touched on the U.S. presidential election as well, saying that the question, ‘How should Catholics exercise their responsibilities as citizens?’ must be answered by people working to build a culture of life through a “new politics.” “Today we constantly hear about change. We must remember that real change means building a culture of life, and real change means building a civilization of love, and that means truly transforming our politics. In this process of change, dealing with the abortion issue is fundamental,” said Anderson. Noting that the Knights are a nonpartisan organization, Supreme Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson greets Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec Tuesday night at the annual States Dinner. View Knight Carl more comvention coverage at Convention Central. Anderson emphasized that there are “certain moral issues that affect our most for Catholics, Anderson stressed, as he Knight underlined. Thus far, the Knights of Columbus have fundamental values as Catholics and as warned that, “We will never succeed in building a culture of life if we continue sponsored a conference for men on being citizens.” “This is especially important since to vote for politicians who support a good husbands and fathers with the ArchCatholics confront a moral dilemma culture of death. … It’s time we stop ac- diocese of Boston, and will host others in when deciding how to vote: Can we sup- commodating pro-abortion politicians, Chicago and Houston this coming Fall. port a candidate who may be attractive and it’s time we start demanding that The organization’s new “Fathers for Good” initiative, which was launched for many reasons but who supports abor- they accommodate us.” The head of the Knights also said that today, is another way that the Knights tion? Some partisan advocates have sought to excuse support for pro-abor- the fraternal organization “must be in are supporting marriage and the family. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson closed tion candidates through a complex bal- the forefront of efforts to defend the sancancing act. They claim that other issues tuary of human life—the institution of his speech by saying that building the are important enough to set off a marriage.” The work to support mar- civilization of love will not be easy, but riage and the family “does not end with “it is our mission, our vocation, our solcandidate’s support for abortion.” This type of reasoning is unacceptable legislation and referenda,” the Supreme emn duty.” (CNA)

Filipino scientist warns of diminishing groundwater supply Pope Benedict asks faithful to treasure teachings of Pope Paul VI
ROME, August 3, 2008—Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his predecessor Paul VI. Recounting the Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father encouraged his audience to remain faithful to Pope Paul’s teaching and witness of holiness. Speaking in the square in front of the cathedral of Bressanone, Italy, Pope Benedict thanked those present for joining him to pray the Angelus. He thanked Bishop Wilhelm Egger of BolzanoBressanone and the local authorities for assuring him a “peaceful and safe stay in the city.” The Holy Father extended a special blessing to children, the sick and those in difficult situations. Pope Benedict then invited his audience in Bressanone to remember the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, the 30th anniversary of whose death is commemorated in three days. The Holy Father recalled that his predecessor, who died on the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, had “guided the people of God to contemplate the face of Christ.” Christ, he continued, is “at the center of the Bible and Tradition, the heart of the church, the world and the whole universe.” The Holy Father recounted how Pope Paul, elected to the papacy during the Second Vatican Council, “presided over the Council to its closing and governed an eventful post-conciliar phase.” He added, “Thanking God for the gift of this great Pope, let us commit to treasuring his teachings.” Pope Benedict concluded by reminding his audience of Paul VI’s proclamation, at the conclusion of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, of the Virgin Mary as “Mother of the Church”. After the Angelus, the Holy Father directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors united with us here in Bressanone for this Angelus prayer. Wednesday, the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI. As we recall this great Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council and guided the first phase of the post-conciliar renewal, let us give thanks for his wise teaching, his passionate love of the Church, and his desire to draw all people to the contemplation of Christ’s glory. Dear friends, during these summer holidays, may you grow closer to the Lord in prayer, and may he shed the light of his face upon you and your families!” (CNA) MANILA, August 5, 2008—A Filipino scientist warned of diminishing groundwater supply in some parts of the country. Dr. Fernando Siringan of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute said excessive groundwater extraction or diminishing groundwater supply results in land subsidence, which in turn causes floods in coastal areas. In the case of the Italian city of Venice (known as the “Sinking City”), he said it sank rapidly during the mid-20 century as a result of the over-abundance of wells pumping out large amounts of water to supply the needs of the entire region. He was speaking during the Coffeehouse Environmental Forum held at the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) on July 25. “Have you ever wondered why some areas in Bulacan and other parts of the Philippines are like Venice, becoming permanently submerged in water?” he asked. We should pay attention to warning signs in our own country, where we see many towns experiencing floodwaters for weeks even without rain. These are indications of subsidence in places where artesian wells appear to rise up from the ground,” Siringan said. The UP professor also pointed out that demand for groundwater rises as population increases. A large part of uncontrolled groundwater extraction is made by households and industries. He mentioned the Camanava area in Metro Manila, where land

subsidence has deteriorated and floods have worsened. Siringan offered some suggestions to limit land subsidence—1) limit the use of artesian wells. In this connection, people should encourage water companies to expand their pipe-laying projects to service more areas; 2) properly implement the rules under the Philippine Water Code; and 3) study and implement actions that would trap and store rain water for other use. Over a hundred participants attended the Coffeehouse Forum from schools, government agencies, press, non-government organizations, church and development groups, according to a communiqué from CFA. (CBCPNews)

Bishop mulls communion ban on some Filipino Catholics in Kuwait
MANILA, August 1, 2008—Some Filipino Catholics in Kuwait face the risk of being barred from receiving communion, Kuwait Apostolic Vicar Bishop Camilo Ballin, MCCI, said. Bishop Ballin told CBCPNews that it is mainly because many Filipinos in Kuwait fall into having a second family while working abroad. “There are cases, I just cannot say how many, when men are supposed to send money to his family back home in the Philippines but he has to keep some money for his other family in Kuwait,” he said. Bishop Ballin, a Comboni missionary from Italy, said there may be no hard and fast rule “because we have to look at every single case.” Under the Catholic Church’s regulations, those who divorce and remarry are currently barred from receiving Holy Communion. A remarried Catholic may receive Holy Communion only if a marriage has been declared null by the Church. “What I try to stress is that they can enter the Church but they cannot receive Holy Communion,” Bishop Ballin said. “I don’t want them to feel I sent them away from the Church so they are allowed to come to pray, attend Mass but cannot receive communion although they can participate in prayer meetings, social meetings especially on feasts days but definitely no communion.” The Church official said “we inform them of the situation and we help them understand that marriage in the Philippines lasts forever, especially so in marriages solemnized in Catholic churches.” “I understand Filipinos come to Kuwait to provide a better future for their family in the Philippines but please, if possible, for couples, don’t separate because the risk is too much and the risks include the possibility of having another family,” he added. The prelate said he understands the plight of Filipinos in Kuwait because he comes from a poor family in Italy too. “My family’s very, very poor and my parents were looking for opportunities but there are many serious dangers for them (workers) and their families,” the bishop said. He has observed Filipino workers go home at least once a year for their needed vacation but added “the loneliest day in their lives is when they leave home for another contract abroad.” Bishop Ballin was consecrated Bishop on September 2, 2005 in Kuwait. He succeeded Bishop Francis Micallef, OCF as Fourth Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait. Bishop Ballin was in Manila for around a week after attending the 23rd World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. He left the Philippines and returned to Kuwait yesterday. There are around 350,000 Catholics in Kuwait and from this number, some 130,000 are Filipinos with Fr. Ben Barrameda as the lone Filipino priest attending the growing Filipino community there. Bishop Ballin said there are at least ten groups of Catholic faithful in his vicariate. “They can be found in El Shaddai, Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ and a number of charismatic and pastoral groups,” he said. He said he is still looking for a Filipino priest, probably from Switzerland, where there are three and the bishop there is prepared to send one “provided the Filipino priest would accept the assignment.” Bishop Ballin said the Kuwaiti government allows a man to bring his wife and children to Kuwait provided he has a gross salary of one thousand dollars per month. However, he added, not many Filipinos receive a salary of at least a thousand dollars a month. (Melo Acuña)

Poverty, key reason for Mindanao conflict
MANILA, August 1, 2008%Poor socioeconomic conditions are the key reasons for conflicts between majority Catholics and minority Muslims in Mindanao, southern Philippine region, said Ustadz Exmael Ebrahim, executive director of Mindanao Integrated Network Development Center in the Philippines. Ebrahim was one of the delegates from the Philippines speaking at the international conference on the theme “Conflicts and Dialogue: Peace-building in Discordant Areas and the Roles of Religious People,” held in Seoul, South Korea, July 17-19. There were 20 religious delegates from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Korea. They discussed religious conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines. About 4 million Muslims live in the Mindanao region, which is the poorest of the three main Philippine island groups. Many development agencies ascribe the poverty partly to armed conflicts in the region, including the centuries-old Muslim insurgence, including Abu Sayyaf, a group listed on various countries’ lists of terrorist organizations. The Church, government, liberation movements, religious leaders, civil society and the international community should work in a network to accelerate peace in Mindanao, said Ebrahim. Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla bemoaned that various efforts undertaken by many government and non-governmental organizations have achieved a little while providing socioeconomic solutions. Before other measures are taken by anyone the wounds of the indigenous Moro people, many of whom are Muslims, who have suffered suspicion, prejudice, discrimination, and violence, must be healed, Capalla suggested. “Social healing based on the Bible and the Qur’an should come first before other measures for peace in the region. Peace in the region should be based on integrity and holiness, not accords on paper,” the prelate said. The Bishops-Ulama Conference, which is composed of Christian bishops and Muslim scholars in the southern Philippines, has been working for peace and development in the

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region. Meanwhile, Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad reported last weekend that he got a letter threatening him with serious consequence of attack if he does not convert to Islam or pay “Islamic taxes.” Jumoad further said that he was told to convert to Islam or give “jizya,” Islamic tax, to an Islamic group in exchange for protecting him in the “place of Muslims.” Other Christians from Isabela diocese seemed to have received same threats from some Islamic rebel groups of late. The Bishop has sought protection of civilians in the wake of threats. (Santosh Digal)

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EDITORIAL

Opinion
Fighting too many battles

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

EVEN the most elementary records kept and books written about the generalities and particulars of the “Art of War” proclaim in unison that fighting too many battles is not only futile but also fatal not only for the general but also for all the latter’s battalions no matter how loyal and devoted these are to their war leader. The cardinal rule wherefore is not only choosing one’s battle but also decidedly and skillfully avoiding fighting too many battles. This is asking for one big composite trouble, viz., one huge compound and complex loss! There is still the annoying issue of legitimacy of the Malacañang occupant. There is the well remembered State Emergency and much debated Pre-empted Calibrated Response whatever these panicky Government responses really meant. There is the convenient Executive Order 464 to hide the inconvenient truths of “lagay”, “bukol” and “tongpats” on Government deals. There is the big Expanded Value-Added Tax (E-VAT) curse insistently and ridiculously invoked for the benefit of the poor. There is the curiosity well deregulated oil prices vis-à-vis the much regulated salaries and wages. There is further the constant lack of employment in the land and the consequent ever increasing number of OFWs some of whom come back to the Country in coffins. There is the ever-increasing price of basic food and standard commodities—in the event that they are available at all. There is the unsettling question of the diminishing value of the Philippine peso. There is the unavailability of education for children of destitute families plus the moral impossibility of affordable good education for the general public. There is the ever-increasing poverty in the country—notwithstanding the vain predictions of “Super Regions” and empty projection of the Philippines as a “First World Country” soon. There is the odious political transactions and consequent political accommodation of administration allies and cohorts. There is the fearsome rising hunger and criminality in the land— without even mentioning the most troubling forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. There is the endless government graft and corrupt practices plus progressively resentful citizenry towards a national leader perceived as most distrusted and least effective. Add hereto the no less than eight SONA’s that were basically considered as predictable and wherefore tiring big fairy tales—told with either entertainment finality or delivered with a dreamland perspective. There must be more of these lamentable economic reversals and pathetic socio-political actualities confronting the ruling administration. Each and every reality in the Philippines scenery is one concrete and big battle that the present government is squarely faced with and strongly challenged to meet. But weird and unusual as it may seem, it looks like there is only a Don Quixote with no windmills in the offing. The little paradox is that the commander perceives no battle to fight, only victories to celebrate.

Francisco F. Claver, SJ

Afterthoughts
THE term BEC (basic ecclesial community) is not a household term for many Filipino Catholics. To those in the middle class—and especially in urban areas—the term doesn’t mean a thing. But to rural folk in many dioceses, the BEC is their way of being Church— and being Church in deeper ways than are known and practiced in more established parishes. For it stands for people coming together to worship and, in their worshiping, to discern in community on their problems from motivations coming from their Gospel faith; and more, acting on those problems as community, in community. The potential of this mode of being Church for the reform of society is tremendous and may well be the only way open to us in the Philippines to get out off “the slough of despond”--the low level of hopelessness--into which we have been sunk by the extremely self-serving kind of politics we unfortunately are shackled with. The story of the BECs is briefly told. The movement for their development started in Mindanao in the early 1970s. In 1971, the first MSPC (Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference) was held in Davao in a three-day gathering of delegates—bishops, priests, religious, laity—from all the dioceses of Mindanao-Sulu. The conference’s theme was the building up of Christian communities in the southern region of the Philippines, and to achieve that end, they zeroed in on three thematic Vatican II ideas, namely, dialogue, participation and co-responsibility, asking themselves how they could make these three ideas operative in the pastoral works and programs of their dioceses and parishes. Without realizing it, they had hit on a formula for the formation of what was known in other parts of the world, in Latin America especially, as Basic

Those BECs
measures or laws result from the arguing that is going on today. The arguments of lawmakers for the need to control heavy population growth and their proposals for limiting it must be put squarely to the BECs for their discernment; so too the Church’s restrictions on some of those arguments and proposals, these are all grist for their discernment. Or the corruption in high places that our papers so nauseatingly report every day: Many of us despair of ever seeing an end to this shameful bane of our national life as one effort after another to face up to them and correct them ends in dismal failure. If this particular problem were brought down to the people in the BECs, rural folk for the most part whom the rest of the nation thinks are cogs in the political machines that power-holders treat as witless and easily manipulable, and they realize how in the end it is they who suffer most from the corrupt practices of “higher-ups”, what will happen? They may not be able to do much by way of stopping corruption, but one thing I am dead sure of: they will start us on the process of self-conversion simply from the realization that the biggest reason for its endurance is our high tolerance of it as SOP for politicians. Such a wide and concerted reflection on national problems—is this beyond the thinking powers of our people? Church people who have had experience of BECs and their mode of worship and discerning are convinced there is no better way for entire communities to imbibe by their own efforts the values of the Gospel and hence to work our nation’s survival than through the discerning/praying process of self- and communityempowerment that is the Basic Ecclesial Community.

A cause for alarm
WE wish to register our strong and unqualified objection to actions of the government and its instrumentalities which (despite any contrary intentions) work towards the destruction of the Filipino family. The blatant promotion of direct contraception and direct sterilization which separate the two aspects of the conjugal act%the expression of love and openness to the transmission of life%is contrary to the will of God. Already the evils spawned by these practices have been abundantly demonstrated by the experience of many nations where contraception has met with common acceptance. The acceptance of abortion, the breakdown of families, the encouragement of pre-marital sex, the increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases are only some of the evil consequences. We especially object to the promotion of contraception as an abrasive act of insensitivity to the sentiments of the majority Church whose ethical principles prohibit such practices. This manifestation of insensitivity comes at a time when the President of the Republic is asking us to unite and work together for our countrymen’s welfare. This insensitivity is compounded with injustice when the promotion of contraception is accompanied by undue pressure on health care workers to do acts which their conscience tells them are wrong. We ask our people—pastors, religious and lay people alike— to stand up in a united way for the teachings of the Church on contraception, sterilization and abortion, and to refuse to promote contraception and sterilization and abortion should they be ordered to do so by their superiors. There are times when we must bear witness to Christ and dare to say, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). The government itself has said that it will not order health workers to perform acts violative of their consciences and that those who refuse to perform such actions will not in any way be punished. We ask Catholic health workers to report to us, the bishops, violations of this standing government policy. —(Save the Family and Live: A Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Family, 1993)

Christian Communities (BCCs). That formula was later developed further in the AsIPA, the Asian Integral Pastoral Approach, that I spoke of in my last column. Where comes the potential of the BECs for the reform of Philippine society? It is in the possibility of communal conversion to a greater sense and practice of the common good, the correction therefore of our greatest lack as a people and the wellspring of our massive and persistent culture of corruption. For simply from the BECs’ mode of common discernment and action on their life problems as a community, the members of the BECs develop a sense that their faith is not just for personal sanctification and conversion but for social as well. This sense is developed in their manner of community worship on Sundays. It is not the usual thing that is done in parishes where a priest leads the celebration of the Eucharist and preaches a homily on the day’s readings. And the parishioners sit passively and listen to his interpretation of scripture. People in the BECs do not have the Eucharist, but they have the Word of God in the scripture readings of the day. They apply the message of the readings themselves to their life, discerning individually and communally on what the Holy Spirit through scripture is saying to them in regard to their life and its problems in the here and now. Thus, to give an example: today’s controversy about “reproductive health”—is this something that only legislators and bishops should argue about? If this is a problem of national significance for all of us, then the arguing on it must take place too among the rank-and-file of both state and Church, among and by the people whose lives are going to be affected by whatever government

Some myths (and truths as well) on the contraceptives issue
PLEASE excuse my intruding late into the conversation. But I can’t help overhearing the noises even from far-away Eastern Samar, where I am ministering to a portion of the Lord’s flock. And, as is obvious to many conscientious Catholics, not all the noises could pass the truth meter. Let’s try to sift the truth from the myth. Myth One: To go with the times and to serve the poor better by helping alleviate poverty, contraceptives must now be accepted by the Church. It’s no secret that a number of national and local politicians, media outlets and journalists, civil society groups consider the Church’s opposition to the artificial methods of birth control outdated, if not brazenly insensitive to the plight of women and the poor. This mindset is expressed by other variations. For example this one: “Unless the Church changes its position [on contraceptives], it should ask itself if it’s still relevant,” as intoned by a member of a civil society organization campaigning for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress. Is the Church’s relevance to be anchored solely in giving up on its moral stand on contraception? If we were discussing an architectural design of a building, the argument of relevance would itself be relevant. But the truth is that the issue of contraceptives has always been essentially a moral issue. As long as contraceptives, as they do by definition, flout the purposes of the marital act, namely, its openness to the transmission of life (procreative) and the loving union of husband and wife (unitive), or separate one from the other when sexual pleasure is sought for itself, they will always be morally indefensible. And morality is always relevant to human life yesterday, today and tomorrow. Poverty is an economic issue; it’s

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

By the Roadside
scribe contraception itself. I’d rather listen to Pope Paul VI’s words: “Contraception is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [or indeed any genital act], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes [intendat], either as an end or as means, to impede procreation [ut procreatio impediatur]” (Humanae Vitae, no. 14). This third myth, in effect, sugarcoats contraception with the notion of population growth reduction while failing to acknowledge that it actually violates the life-orientation of the marital act. Myth Four: Contraception merely suspends the procreative purpose of the conjugal act while keeping intact its unitive aspect. This myth is a bit sophisticated; it’s adopted by some Catholics who have actually listened to and imbibed the teaching on the twofold purpose of the marriage act: one, the transmission of life or procreative aspect and; two, the fostering of the loving union of husband and wife or unitive aspect. The only problem here is that the marriage act, being a human act, is one and that in it both aspects are inseparable. Take away its life-orientation and you also violate the capacity of the marriage act to express true love. True love as selfgiving becomes crippled by a selfish orientation to sexual pleasure that denies the total acceptance of the other person. The language of self-giving in marriage becomes “overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads…to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality” (Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, no. 32). Myth Five: Contraception is not abortion
Roadside / A6

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CBCP Monitor
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace

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also a moral issue. A moral problem is not resolved by committing an act that violates morality itself. Myth Two: No one’s Catholic identity is compromised by embracing or promoting the use of contraceptives. This you easily sense when you listen to Catholics who till now haven’t graduated from their gradesschool catechism. But what especially staggers the mind is hearing famous, wealthy and powerful personalities from different sectors of society solemnly declaring that they are “Catholic”, on the one hand, and, on the other, insisting that they are “only being realistic” and “democratic” in promoting artificial means of birth control to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, promote safe sex in the face of the threat of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, effect poverty alleviation through population management (they won’t say “population control” but that’s exactly what they want) etc. My humble suggestion is simple: If you were really Catholic, why not do the logical act of consulting your Catholic Catechism or talking to your pastor and be enlightened on the “Catholic” teaching on contraception? If you were being realistic and democratic, what could be more realistic and democratic than looking deep into natural law and what it teaches us human beings, Catholic or not, Christian or not, on marriage and sexuality as well as it ends? Alas, however, even if morality must guide all reality, it’s not determined by democratic choices. Morality, as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has always taught, is based on objective norms. Myth Three: Contraception is only about helping reduce the population growth by preventing unwanted births. This is only partly true. It doesn’t really explain or de-

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Opinion
Jose B. Lugay

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Laiko Lampstand Growing poverty
THE third paragraph of the Vision-Mission of the Catholic Church written in 1991 during the Second Plenary Council states: “Following the way of the Lord we opt to be a Church of the Poor, which demands evangelical poverty of us all and harnesses the transformative power of the poor among us toward the justice and love of God in the world.” Even delegates of PCP II could not immediately grasp the meaning of the statement especially that of evangelical poverty. In fact, due to many questions about PCP II’s Acts and Decrees, Fr. Pedro S. de Achetegui, S.J. published a booklet, “121 Questions and Answers on the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines”. From this source, we quote his answer to the question, WHAT IS THEN THE MEANING OF THE CHURCH OF THE POOR? “The Church of the Poor means a Church that embraces and practices evangelical spirit of poverty; that is, a church:

Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD

DADITAMA
REMASE is the short name of the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao in Davao City. It was founded by the PME Fathers (Priests for the Foreign Mission) from Quebec, Canada; established in 1964, upon the insistence of the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries, for the philosophical and theological formation of future diocesan priests for the entire island of Mindanao. On the occasion of the national celebration of St. John Mary Vianney Sunday on August 3, 2008, celebrating the Patron of Parish Priests, allow me to remember and celebrate REMASE with you. the life and loves of St. John Mary Vianney would be very relevant. His simplicity, passion for the Eucharist, the work of evangelization and catechesis, and his life of prayer, could not but impress priests of their utmost necessity in the ministry. St. John Mary Vianney Sunday on August 3, 2008, is a special day for all Catholics in the Philippines, not only to remember this great saint for parish priests, but also to be extra generous in the mass collection for the purpose of the continuing formation of our priests. We give special thanks to all who contributed in bringing to reality the St. John Mary Vianney Galilee Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay and all those who continue to support it.

REMASE
ing the missionary spirit to the REMASIANS. Being missionaries themselves, they too passed on the torch of mission so that REMASE’s alumni continue to be the “light” and “salt” in Mindanao. Now REMASE is under the administration of the Diocesan Clergy from different parts of Mindanao. What the PME Fathers started 44 years ago, has now come full swing with local diocesan priests holding the helm of REMASE, under the guidance of a completely Filipino Bishops’ Commission. From foreign missionaries to local missionaries. We remember the PME Fathers and SVD Fathers with joy and gratitude in our hearts.

Rediscovering St. John Mary Vianney

The month of August should really be a special time for all parish priests and their assistants because we celebrate our patron saint this month. I remember that entering the St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in 1968, the first story of the saints I read about was that of St. John Mary Vianney who I just learned, then, was the patron saint of parish priests. Having grown up with the Jesuits, I knew very little of parish priests. So it was quite interesting for me to discover his life and ministry. It is no wonder that in recent years, this exemplary priest saint is once again being proposed as role model and intercessor for us priests. Today, when there is a new impetus in the renewal of the clergy, returning to

St. Francis Xavier
The PME Fathers who began REMASE could not help but pass on the missionary sprit to their disciples in REMASE. They were especially devoted to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries. It is no wonder then that REMASE is named after him. Indeed, the REMASE alumni, who were sent forth to the different parts of Mindanao, whether with the lowland Catholics or with the Lumads in the highlands and the Moros in the central and western Mindanao, became indefatigable evangelizers and formators of small Christian communities, Then, the SVD Fathers came and continued, where the PME Fathers left off, inculcat-

Alumni Bishops
You must have guessed by now that I am an alumnus (1976) of REMASE. So are, Bishop Elenito Galido (1979) in Iligan, Romulo dela Cruz(1972) in Kidapawan, Bishop Romulo Valles (1976) in Zamboanga, Bishop Sofronio Bancud, SSS (1977) in Cabanatuan, Bishop Martin Jumoad (1983) in Basilan, Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo (1980) in Cotabato. Thus far, six active Bishops serving the local churches in Mindanao and Luzon have come from REMASE. Surely, the PME Fathers couldn’t be happier to know that what they have started continues to bear good fruit. To all my fellow REMASIANS: Happy Alumni Homecoming August 18-20. (email: daditama_now@yahoo.com.ph)

a) whose members and leaders have a special love for the poor, b) where at the very least the poor are not discriminated against, c) which will be in solidarity with the poor, d) that “cannot remain silent before today’s forms of exploitation of the poor (John Paul II), e) which not only evangelizes the poor but where the poor themselves will become evangelizers, f) where pastors and leaders will learn to be with, work with and learn from the poor, g) whose leaders and better-off sectors will orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy, h) finally, which is willing to follow Jesus Christ through poverty and oppression in order to carry out the work of salvation.
Such a Church will become truly a communion, a sign and instrument for the unity of the people.” We can definitely say that the Church today has been doing activities related to the PCP II’s vision on the Church of the Poor. These are the recent involvement of the Church through the bishops: a) The holding of the Second National Rural Congress and the participation of peasant farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous people in dialogue concerning various socio-economic issues affecting their daily lives; b) The call for the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in their session last July 2008 with Engr. Raymundo B. Bernardo of DAR provincial office, Zamboanga, c) the initiative of the Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta leading the efforts to defend the environment together with his priests and parishioners, d) the holding of the Mindanao Bishops and Priests Congress reiterating their opposition to mining in the Philippines and reaffirming their previous stand on the repeal of Mining Act of 1995, and others. While the Bishops as shown support the Church of the Poor directive of PCP II’s Vision Mission, what has the Laity shown lately to support it? Wholehearted support was expressed during the prayer rally last June 25 at the University of Santo Tomas, on the issue for reproductive health and population control measures, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The lay organizations with family life apostolates and parishioners were present in big numbers. While we confess that population control is necessary, we oppose means that violate Church teachings. The Laity which composes 99.97 percent of the People of God, that is, the Church in the Philippines. We must be more concerned with the Church of the Poor’s Vision-Mission expressed in the sections:

Restore love for life! Welcome every child
THERE are many methods by which evil invents to destroy the apex of God’s creation. Because people are God’s best creative effort, if the devil could destroy humanity, he could laugh at God. It seems from the book of Job that the devil cannot kill people directly. He can only destroy humanity by enticing humans to kill one another. However, God has always had an alternative plan. Frequently, what the evil one sees as triumph over God because humans suffer and die, God uses as an opportunity to promote beauty, truth and growth. God never enjoys watching people suffer. He always wanted humans to gradually become his friends, quietly wandering in a garden. Since he chose evil, God uses that as an opportunity for each one of us to get to know God again. When God is present in suffering and death, what looks to be tragedy is triumph. When God’s only Son was cruelly killed on a cross and covered with sin so deeply that even God had to look away, God never abandoned his Son. It was the beginning of the most wonderful alternative plan, eternal joy life as a gift from God for all who will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
and other natural resources. However, they have a rapidly declining population, mainly because of abortion, and consequently there is no employment for a large percentage of people who would otherwise be teachers, home builders, pediatricians and city planners. As a result of 80-90 percent of women having had abortions, approximately 8-9 per woman, about 30 percent of the child bearing population is sterile. Even if they were forced to have children as they were in Romania, the instinctual heart desire for children has been broken. In Romania, the police made sure women did not abort their children, but they put their children into orphanages. The situation is so different in Ireland. Ireland, with almost no resources at all, but with many bright-eyed, tousled-haired children, has one of the best economies in the European Economic Community. Because eager workers are plentiful, many industries are settling in Ireland. The Filipino people should stop swallowing the population control propaganda of the government that the cause of poverty is too many babies being born, ergo couples should use contraceptives, being ligated or have abortion. Children are our future. Children make grown-ups restore love for life. (Source: “Deeply Damage” by Dr. Philip Ney, Child Psychiatrist)

Restoring love for life through fostering HOPE
Hope is essential for life. Children, prisoners, the sick and the handicapped die when

hope is absent. Humans give up only when hope is absent. But humans do not give up hope easily because to give up hope means not to seek for what they need. Not trying to find what they need for life, they would surely die. Rather than see their parents for what they really are—hopeless models and providers, most children will continually idealize their parents’ images so there is some reason to hope that their parents will somehow someday meet their needs. Children create hope. When adults have children, they are more likely to maintain a committed relationship, plan for the future, conserve their resources, forgo personal pleasure and mature as their children grow. Without children, people become narcissistic, hedonistic and materialistic. After all, “why not eat, drink and be merry because there is no one else than ourselves to be concerned with?” Without children there is declining hope in the world. When there is declining hope, people are less likely to have children. They argue when the world is coming apart, “Who would want to bring a child into a global catastrophe?” Without an increasing population of children and young parents, a free market economy cannot work. A good example of this is the Ukraine, which is a country well blessed with expansive wheat fields, oil, coal

Fr. Melvin P. Castro

Speaking of Mary
THAT is how Pope Pius XII began the Apostolic Constitution of 01 November 1950 defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Munificentissimus Deus. And even purposely chose the date of November 1. For us Filipinos that date maybe a little bit trivial since it is the day we usually dedicate in visiting the cemetery. Instead, in the mind of Pope Pius XII, our Lady’s privilege of being assumed into heaven both body and soul is placed in the context of the Communion of Saints, that Our Lady is in heaven with God and all the saints in the dignity and sanctity of her entire being—her body and soul.

The most bountiful God
issue is much wider and deeper. Let me quote part of the Apostolic Nuncio’s message at the Holy Mass of July 9: 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. Selfgiving 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. Hence, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, may we value, treasure, and

The Sanctity and Dignity of the Human Body
Alas the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a solemn reminder that we are to be saved not just soul, not just body but the entire integrity of our personhood which means body-soul together. Hence, the struggle for sanctity includes the sanctity of the human body. And this seems to be very antithetical to the current contemporary culture that we have. Reproductive Health, by international usage of the term, includes abortion. The local counterpart bills using such terminology is therefore inconsistent to the claim that such bills do not include abortion. Indeed, the bills may not include abortion, for now. Even the proponents of the bills, including the PLCPD (Philippine Legislators Committee for Population Development, an NGO which interestingly enough holds office in the House of Representatives compound) say that they are not for abortion since abortion is a crime in the country. They even say that we should not worry about the international definition of the word Reproductive Health because it does not apply to our country. Well, it may not apply now but it may apply later on. When we

have a more and more liberal Senate and House of Representatives, what is illegal and inapplicable today may end up to be the standard of tomorrow. What they fail to understand is that once we have pervaded a culture of contraception, a culture of thinking that there are UNWANTED PREGNANCIES, we will end up as the other societies have ended up: UNWANTED BABIES WHOSE LIVES SHOULD BE PREMATURELY TERMINATED, and that is what simply refer to as ABORTION. The Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, in his message in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae at the Manila Cathedral last 09 July 2008 rightfully noted that in the final analysis the issue about humanity’s desire to control everything and the ever-failing acknowledgment that everything and everyone is of God, and we are simply stewards. Our Church’s position on the regulation of birth has always been consistent because she has consistently believed and taught the dignity of the human body. We are not less human when we are able to dominate the instincts of the human body and human spirit. We instead become more human and more humane when we realize the dignity of our entire selves—body and soul—and think, act, live, and die according to this dignity. It is in fact less human of us if we fail to consider this dignity. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an invitation for us not to lose sight of this great dignity of our humanity. Her Assumption is not to set Her distant and very far from us. On the contrary, it is to set our humanity to a higher degree, to the degree we are meant to be. In the end, the issue of contraceptives, reproductive health, population management/ control is beyond the debate between natural and artificial means of birth control. The

In the Laity’s world of corporate governance, problem solving starts with the identification of the “true” not just the “perceived” problem. Consequently the root causes will have to be identified first. The problem of growing poverty is not population growth. There are many industrialized countries that need more people to man their industries but there is a constant decline of population. This is the reason they hire labor from other countries like the Philippines. In this regard, statistics show that in 2007, there were 11 million overseas Filipino workers. Their P14.4 billion remittances to their families was the biggest help to the government to contain the growing poverty of 2.9 million households who experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2008 according to SWS Survey. An economist, Cielito Habito, says that the problem is the economy. It is the lack of good governance to achieve three important measures of poverty alleviation: prices, jobs and incomes. An educator says the problem is lack of schools, lack of trained teachers, and lack of operating funds. The problem as seen by industry is that there are more graduates of favorite courses like nursing but less technical graduates who can operate machines. While unemployment is high at 3 million or 8.4 percent of the labor force, an additional 1 million graduates per year can not find jobs. But the greater problem is the children of the poor since there is no money for the child’s enrollment, school supplies and money for transportation and baon. The farmer will say that the prices of seeds, fertilizers are increasing, the cost of transport of goods is escalating due to increased fuel cost, not to mention the lack of farm-to-market roads. The recent world crisis in the prices of oil and food is caused by many factors not attributed to our own economic management. As the price of food and the cost of energy increases, more and more people especially those earning below the minimum wage suffer hunger as shown by a recent survey of SWS. According to the latest SONA of President GMA, there are enough funds collected from the VAT to spend for the immediate alleviation of poverty of the poorest of the poor. In fact, VAT from oil alone is P18.6 Billion. At the end of the year the total VAT collection from the BIR and Bureau of Customs will amount to P120 Billion. To spend this ready money for the immediate alleviation of the poorest of the poor is supported by businessmen affiliated with the Makati Business Club. Of course, the political opposition does not trust that these funds will be disbursed without part going to the pockets of corrupt officials. The growing poverty in the midst of worsening increase in energy and food costs and the added burden of rehabilitation of disaster areas need the Laity’s help in acting on the problem of graft and corruption—the establishment of good governance both in the private sector and in government. The Administration may be right in supporting the continued collection of the VAT but their record of credibility in doing what they say has been the cause of political opposition. Perhaps there will be more credibility if the Church-supported laity will implement the solutions to the causes of problems identified according to the corporate approach to problem solving. We, the Laity should always have the PCP II vision-mission in mind while doing our work for the Church of the Poor. uphold the dignity of the human body. And may we pray that those who think on the contrary and who wish that we also think in the like manner may receive God’s grace and realize that God, our most bountiful God, has given us our bodies not to be used and abused but to be loved and cared for. Ave Maria! Ad Jesum per Mariam.

a) whose members and leaders have a special love for the poor, b) whose leaders and better-off sectors will orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy.

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Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Prelate tells Gov’t to stop killings of farmers in Masbate
IN a press conference, 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 last July 20. He was the fourth victim in land-reform related killings in the province in less than seven months. 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. 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. 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)

Corruption thrives in RP courtesy of gov’t officials
CORRUPTION thrives in Philippine government because many of its officials ignore or even engage in it. This was the consensus of several Church, civil society and government leaders who participated in a conference on corruption at the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), July 26-27. It was a follow-up of a similar conference a month earlier convened by the Cebu-based Dilaab Foundation, according to a CFA statement. CFA is a Catholic media center that is spearheading accountability and transparency in public and private sectors, besides educating people to use media for development. The “Dear Peace” exhibit showcases the creative output and peace aspirations of young Christian and Muslim students who participated in the Peace Camp conducted by the CFA last May 2006 in Taytay, Rizal. It was upon Museo ng Maynila’s invitation that CFA agreed to mount the Dear Peace exhibit for the Tertulia event. Tertulia is originally a Spanish word for social gatherings that serve as informal platforms for literary and artistic interaction or for sharing expertise and knowledge. Even if government officials realize the social degradation resulting from corruption, they are reluctant to confront it. Many of them are being elected due to campaign contributions from jueteng lords, drug lords and other unscrupulous patrons, it was pointed out. Their staying in power is dependent on bribes from the same sources. The former president Joseph Estrada plunder case was cited as proof that even the highest government position can be tainted when malefactors demand payback for their financial support. Ordinary citizens partake of this unholy partnership when they sell their votes during elections. Or when they fail to probe deeply to check whether candidates have questionable connections. Part of the solution to corruption may be the election of candidates whose qualifications include a demonstrated commitment against corruption. The participants were in concurrence that the 2010 election would be the tipping point. They intend to scan the field and scout for alternative candidates who would be better candidates than the usual “presidentiables” and “senatoriables.” They also agreed to bring together efforts at voters’ education, which they said was a natural complement of anticorruption. Especially targeted are young voters, who make up the majority of both the electorate and the national population. (Santosh Digal)

Church partners with DA in promoting sustainable agriculture
THE Archdiocese of Davao through its Social Action Center (ASAC) has partnered with Department of Agriculture (DA) in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to farmers. Part of the sustainable agriculture training is conducting seminar on livestock management and home technology in order to help farmers acquire extra income for their sustenance. In a communiqué sent by ASAC, it was learned, that around 92 farmers and church workers joined the livestock management
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training and home technology seminar with emphasis on meat and vegetable processing held last July 25-26 at Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (SMIARC) in Manambulan Tugbok District, Davao City. ASAC director Fr. Rico Enriquez coordinated with DA director Roger Chio in conducting the seminar for the representatives coming from the parishes of Panacan, Tibungco, Lasang, Malabog, Marahan, Tagakpan, Mintal, Buhangin, Babak and

Kaputi-an. The two-day seminar was done through workshop, lecture, and creative presentations and coaching on sustainable agricultural practices. ASAC is also thankful to SMIARC chief Juanito Lupiba and his staff and to the resource speakers namely Norberto Bantig, Vicente Guinabasan, Luzviminda Delgado, Fe Mercado and activity coordinators Richard Ano and Charleo Modequillo together with the activity facilitator Dolores L. Apellado. (Mark S. Ventura)

“We call on the Senate to stand up for the Filipino people on the issue of JPEPA,” they said, adding that side notes will do little to improve the Philippines’ position. According to the statement, after several hearings in the Senate, the public have yet to see credible studies to back up the fantastic claims of the government that the deal will boost the economy. But rather than economic development, signatories of the statement said, the agreement is poised to further damage the already crisis-ridden Philippine economy. They said the side agreements “tread on dangerous waters as has been shown by precedents in the arena of international treaties.” “The faults and ills of JPEPA cannot be fixed by side notes. The threats on the environment on the lives and on the livelihood of the Filipino people cannot be eliminated by a general stateIPs / A1

ment that our so-called trading partner will respect Philippine laws,” they said. The Arroyo administration is urging the Senate to ratify the $4 billion trade deal with Japan, which it says could create over 300,000 jobs. The pact would bolster exports to Japan, the government claimed, a market being eyed by market rival Thailand. Japan has also pledged to employ thousands of Philippine nurses. Under JPEPA Japanese investors could also own Philippine private land for all ventures other than those in the manufacturing and services sector, thus violating the Constitution, the statement read. Also, they said JPEPA allows Japan to fish in Philippine waters, an activity reserved solely for Filipino citizens. They added that JPEPA allows Japan to exclude and thus protect 651 of its products, while allow-

ing the Philippines to protect only six. But critics have objected with claims the deal would see toxic waste sent to the Philippines. However, this had been denied by the government, which said that diplomatic notes had been exchanged stating that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessions. The deal was originally struck in 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Sen. Mar Roxas said the Senate must concur with the ratification of the JPEPA before November or it will be left behind by the rest of the South East Asian nations. He said that Japan will hold a summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in November or December this year, with economic partnership agreements as the main agenda.

Roxas warned that if the Senate had not concurred with JPEPA by then, the Philippines would lose a major market for its products like copra that are also offered by other ASEAN member nations. Catholic bishops who signed the statement were Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bishops Deogracias Iñiguez (Kalookan), Rolando Tirona (Infanta), Antonio Tobias (Novaliches) and Infanta BishopPrelate Emeritus Julio Labayen. They were also joined by other Church leaders like Bro. Edmundo Fernandez, provincial superior of De La Salle Brothers and Bro. Armando Luistro. Others who signed were former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr., Von Hernandez of Greenpeace, columnist Randolph David, and former Senate president Jovito Salonga.

the exclusion of the lumads in the ancestral domain issue goes against the tri-people character of Mindanao. In a statement sent to CBCPNews earlier, Timuay Fernando Mudai of the Pigsalabukan Bangsa Subanon said the absence of the tribal people in the “ancestral domain” agreement is a violation of the “sapa,” a 13th century peace covenant between moro and indigWorkforce / A1

enous peoples on the recognition and respect of their respective territories. “While we welcome any initiatives for peace in Mindanao, peace cannot be achieved with the disenfranchisement of the lumads in any peace agreement,” he added. Tribal leaders here made an indignation rally today against the government accusing the president of her failure to help the indigenous

peoples in their struggle for survival, cultural integrity, human rights and self determination. “Her dismal accomplishment of distributing 525,000 hectares of ancestral domain in a total of seven years could never hide the true state of the indigenous peoples which continues to be that of discrimination, deprivation, disenfranchisement, displacement and disintegration,” he ended. (Mark S. Ventura)

brothers in workplaces are denied of their right to just wages, our indigenous peoples are denied of their rights to ancestral domain and self-determination, our fisher folks are left without enjoying God-given marine resources, our women and children are subject to commodification and abuse and many of our young workers and professionals are forced to

earn a living abroad away from their homes and families,” says the pastoral statement. It added, as Church Peoples, we long for a kind of peace in our country that is fundamentally based on justice. “We firmly believe that there will be no peace when our people live in hunger and misery, when the tillers remain landless, when

workers do not receive just wages, when urban and rural communities are dislocated to cater to big business interests. There will be no peace as long as the peoples’ fundamental socio-economic rights are grossly subordinated if not utterly neglected in favor of power, profits and privileges for the rich few,” added the statement. (Noel Barcelona)

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to the CBCP Secretariat and its permanent council, composed of eleven bishops and archbishops to study the said agreement before making any statement. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, Jr. pointed out the failure of government to satisfactorily explain to the people the contents of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He said he also want to be clarified on the concept of autonomy because to make Mindanao “another country or nation is too controversial.” Interviewed at Bacolod Port August 4, Bishop Iniguez said “the government should explain every detail of the agreement because it is something that concerns the Filipino people especially with this long-standing problem of relationship with the Muslims.” “We owe it to the Filipino people to explain the (agreement’s) details,” the prelate further said. Butuan Bishop Juan De Dios M. Pueblos said “politicians should be more considerate this time for peace in the whole Philippines and especially in

Mindanao.” He said the government should reveal the contents of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain so “it could be properly discussed and probably a compromise could be made to prevent any trouble in the future.” (Melo Acuna)
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“Aside from the planned protest action, which the Diocese of Calbayog strongly condemns, I have already ordered the 60 priests under my jurisdiction to report and inform the people of the ill-effects of the reproductive health bill to one’s health and well-being,” the 52-year old prelate disclosed in an interview with Catholic-run Radio Veritas. He said they will also launch their “family values seminar” this August with Dr. Ligaya Acosta and Atty. Jo Imbong of the CBCP Legal Office as resource persons. “We will also invite local government officials to attend the seminar, including our lawmakers,” Bishop Abarquez said. (Melo M. Acuña)

and will not lead to abortion. Listen to the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill that provides, among others, easy access to artificial means of birth control, and they strongly harp on what they call “misinformation among bishops” that contraceptives promote abortion. On the contrary, they claim, contraceptives keep women from having to undergo abortion since no human life will be formed in their wombs, in the first place. Reproductive health advocates say that the Church therefore errs and actually promotes abortion by declaring immoral the use of contraceptives. Let’s grant that contraception is not abortion by distinction. But what’s being ignored here? The close connection, nay

the orientation of contraception to abortion. For example, we are informed that the invention and proliferation of chemical products, such as “the pill”, IUDs, vaccines etc. which (a) inhibit ovulation, (b) prevent the union of sperm and ovum (fertilization) and (c) impede the implantation of the zygote in the uterine wall— clearly indicate that while contraceptives, through (a) and (b), prevent the formation of human life, through (c), are abortive. In other words, more updated contraceptives avoid high doses and allow more ovulation, more conception and so depend on chemical abortion back-up that prevent the fertilized egg (baby human being) from being implanted in the wall of the uterus that is necessary for

its development and growth. The fetus is, in effect, expelled from the womb. The truth? It’s simply aborted; hence the term ‘abortifacient’ when describing contraceptives that really perform abortions for all intents and purposes. So say experts like Bogomir M. Kuhar who, as early as 1988, wrote an article entitled, “Pharmaceutical Companies, The New Abortionists” in Human Life International. Of the contraceptives now available and soon to be made more accessible to Filipinos, who would guarantee abortifacientfree sets of choices? The Church’s critics say she errs on the contraceptives issue. Granting that she does (as only non-believers would say), I’d say, “Better err on the side of life”.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Diocesan News

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News Briefs
Archbishop calls on govt to solve 2004 killings
LIPA City—Amid calls for gov’t action on an ambush on RMN anchor Dennis Cuesta, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles lamented the gov’t has yet to resolve the killing of a journalist and an ombudsman in Batangas province in 2004. He said that in the case of Arnel Manalo and Guillermo Gano, “the wheel of justice turns very slow in this part of the world.” “If we cannot expect justice for such high profile crimes, how would ordinary victims and their families get justice,” he said. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)

Lawmaker withdraws support for repro health bill
Bishop says it’s the ‘best gift ever’
MANILA, July 30, 2008— Romblon Roman Catholic Bishop Jose Corazon Talaoc said it was his best Episcopal anniversary gift ever. The bishop, who is celebrating his 5th year as bishop today, told CBCPNews how glad he was when Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona has withdrawn his support for the reproductive health and population control bill in Congress. Talaoc, who is currently in his hometown in Tangalan, Aklan, said the lawmaker phoned him this morning to disclose that “he is backing out” from the proposed measure. “I am celebrating my 5th Episcopal anniversary now so I think this is the best gift for me ever,” he said. The 58-year old prelate said Madrona is also going to release a formal letter signifying his total withdrawal of support for the reproductive health measure. “Rest assured that I will be backing out of the bill and I will always support the stand of the Church,” Talaoc quoted Madrona as saying. Madrona also serves as chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges. The Catholic Church still retains a considerable influence on issues such as family planning in the country. Earlier, Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza of the fourth district of Batangas also has withdrawn his support for the measure. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, whose pastoral territory covers Mendoza’s legislative district, said the lawmaker made his “change of heart” in a letter to the prelate dated June 28. “He apologized for his position,” Arguelles said. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, lauded the move made by the two legislators. “We praise and thank God. Our prayers and hope that many will follow suit,” he said. Castro called on lawmakers who are supporting the bills on population control to rethink their position and withdraw their signatures. “We beg our lawmakers, whom we love and respect, to drop the entire bill altogether,” he said. Castro earlier said that the Church is humble enough to beg for the legislators to “rethink their position and by God’s grace, in time, withdraw your position.” He likened the Catholic Church to a “mother” and a “teacher” who despite their differences in opinion, still love and respect the lawmakers. “We want them to walk the path of the truth. We want them not to be misguided, we do not want them to be influenced by the factors against life....Reproductive Health is not a natural word, it is an alternative word that includes abortion,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)

Make own survey on Arroyo satisfaction rating, Palace told
DAGUPAN City—Instead of questioning pollster Pulse Asia over it s surveys “unfavorable” to President Arroyo, Malacañang should make its own survey, Lingayen-Daguoan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said. Cruz made the suggestion as he chided press secretary and presidential spokesman Jesus Dureza for questioning recent surveys by Pulse Asia. (CBCPNews)

Catholic educators vow to be more militant
DAVAO City— Mindanao Catholic educators said they will be more militant on various issues affecting residents there. DACS-CEAP executive director Jimmie Loe dela Vega said they will give reflection and attention to issues like peace education, intensifying environmental advocacy especially on mining issues, and the need for Catholic schools to be involved in social issues which include the killing of missionaries like Fr. Rey Roda. (Mark Ventura)

Bishop dares govt, MILF negotiators to stay in Basilan
BASILAN—Basilan bishop Martin Jumoad dared government and MILF negotiators to live in Basilan to see for themselves the effects of their agreement on ancestral domain. He said there was no consultation with local residents regarding the agreement. (Melo Acuña)

Bishop: Trust President Arroyo on eVAT
MALOLOS City—Bishop Jose Oliveros said the government was correct in imposing the expanded value-added tax and that Filipinos should trust President Arroyo because “what she is doing is for the good of the nation.” He argued that if properly collected and accounted for, the VAT can do much good. He said the VAT may hurt the pockets of many people but it is still their clear obligation to the government. (CBCPNews)

Million devotees expected to flock Peñafrancia festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24875591@N04

Prelate urges ‘Gov Vi’ to act vs gambling in Batangas
LIPA City—Alarmed by the proliferation of jueteng and small-town lottery, Lipa archbishop Ramon Arguelles has urged Batangas governor Vilma Santos-Recto to personally act against gambling in her turf. Arguelles, a former military bishop, said the governor must oppose all forms of gambling to dispel rumors that her administration tolerates the illegal numbers game. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)

Bishops’ Forum asks gov’t to resume peace talks with Reds
MANILA—Catholic and Protestant bishops on Wednesday urged government to work to resume talks with communist rebels. The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), an alliance of bishops coming from different Christian denominations in the country, said that it was high time that government resume pending peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Cardinal tells Arroyo: Subsidies, dole-outs not enough
MANILA—Jobs and not dole-outs is the answer to hunger and poverty in the country, Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales told President Arroyo. Rosales chided Arroyo for her dole-out program, saying this merely makes the poor dependent on the government. “Create jobs so that people won’t be dependent. If people have work, they have money to spend no matter how little it is,” he said. (Santosh Digal)

Catholic university holds ‘week of prayer’ for priests
MANILA—The University of Santo Tomas (UST) held a week of prayer and gratitude for priests as “men of service and beacons of truth” from July 28 to August 1. The event is for the feast of St. John Mary Vianney on August 4. “This would also create awareness that hearts of priests are molded to be men of service and beacons of truth,” said UST secretary general Fr. Isidro Abano. (CBCPNews)

IPs not convinced with SONA
DAVAO City—Indigenous people in Mindanao are not convinced with the claims made by President Arroyo during her recent SONA. Datu Angkong Limikid, a lumad leader from Maragusan in Compostela Valley, appealed to President Arroyo to fulfill her promises on awarding of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title. “She lumped the CADT issuance along with land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) citing 525,000 hectares of land have been distributed,” he said. (Mark Ventura)

NAGA CITY, August 6, 2008--More than a million devotees are expected to attend the much-awaited Penafrancia Festival in September according to Fr. Luisito Occiano, head of Caceres Commission on Communications. “The Archdiocese of Caceres is now preparing for the 2008 celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia this September with more than a million devotees expected to attend,” Occiano said. Occiano is also Vice Rector of the Basilica Minore, home of Our Lady of Peñafrancia or “Ina” as fondly called by millions of her devotees. A series of seminars will be held in the different parishes in the city in preparation

for the upcoming festivities according to Occiano. The seminar is aimed to brief the men devotees who will carry the image in processions in view of a more proper coordination and orderly activity. The religious festival officially kicks off on September 3, with the start of the novena to the Divino Rostro. It will culminate on September 12, in which the Traslacion procession carrying the image of Ina will be transferred from the Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral for the novena prayers. On September 20, the colorful fluvial procession will take place. Here, the miraculous image will be carried and brought around

the city. The image will then be transferred to a waiting pagoda to take the image back to her basilica minore. This yearly activity dates back to the 17th century and has never failed to attract devotees. The ever growing attendance to the festival has been attributed to the miraculous image, which according to some has cured them of their diseases and other miracles which they claim happened due to the intercession made by Ina to her Son. “It is our wish to see to it that with the big volume of devotees coming to visit Ina, order and solemnity of the religious activities are observed while everyone is given the chance to visit, pray and honor her during the occasion,” said Occiano. (Elmer Abad)

Ozamiz City Council urged to oppose anti-life bills
OZAMIZ CITY, August 5, 2008— Chairperson of Committee on Family and Ozamiz City Councilor Simplicia O. Neri has appealed on the City Council to stand united in their opposition against the anti-life Bills pending in Congress. In her privilege speech during their regular session August 4, Neri said the Health Committee in the lower house has approved and passed post-haste the consolidated bills on reproductive health in so short a time with hardly, if at all, any discussion. Neri added that the Philippine Government through the Department of Interior and Local Government mandating the various members of Sanggunian, has pushed the “Anti-Life” contents of the bills under the deceptive heading, “Improved Women’s Reproductive Health.” “A case of the same dog with [a] different collar,” she stressed. Neri, however, said many of these bills propose harmful programs involving education for two-child families, free access to abortifacients and contraceptives, even for men and adolescent, legalization of abortion and the introduction of inappropriate education on sexuality in schools deemed harmful to wholesome personal and moral development of the students. “Penalties of imprisonment up to 6 months are provided for those who do not participate in the program,” Neri said. Neri encouraged the City Council to do their best to resist such measures that violate the right of spouses to build a family in line with their religious principles which include the safeguarding of the true and responsible parenthood and the rights of the children and the family. She mentioned the government should prioritize the allocation of public funds. The first priority should be given to remove the root cause of poverty. Controlling population growth through specious and deceptive means, to say the least, is an attack on moral life. She explained that these bills are clearly unconstitutional. Citing Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution, Neri said that the state recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government. “Under these premises, may we stand united in our position to strongly oppose these proposed bills,” Neri concluded her privilege speech. (Wendell Talibong)

Bishop wants religious leaders to mediate in GRP-MILF talks
CAGAYAN DE ORO City—The presence of a third party would be help ful for the success of the peace talks between the government and the Moro International Liberation Front (MILF), Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said. “We should ask the intermediation of a third party to make sure both sides are really sincere, and that they are sticking with the agreement,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Ozamiz faithful warned vs fake priest
OZAMIZ City—The Ozamiz presbyterium warned the faithful Friday against a fake cleric sending solicitation letters to prominent Catholics and various establishments asking for donations. The fake priest claimed to be one Fr. Carlos Borja, a Carmelite priest. Reports said Borja would visit prominent families and various offices soliciting cash donations for the poor. (Wendell Talibong)

Priest scores high school survey on family planning
DAET, Camarines Norte—A Bicol-based priest voiced alarm over a survey conducted in a public high school in Camarines Norte where students were asked to “choose” between government or Church family planning. Daet diocese social communications director Fr. Ernesto Corre said the students were asked whether they favor government or the Church’s family planning methods. “Asking school children the question reflects the fact that the right moral values are not being properly conveyed to them in the classrooms,” he said. (Elmer Abad)

Caritas Vigan sustains rice, other social action programs
VIGAN CITY, August 6, 2008 -The Social Action Commission (SAC) or CARITAS of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia (ANS) continued its self-sustaining rice program dubbed Bigasan ng Parokya, which it initiated at the height of the national rice crisis in mid-May this year. From an initial 20 cavans per week, CARITAS-ANS in Vigan has increased its supply to locals of up to 40 cavans per week of NFA rice. Thirteen other Nueva Segovia parishes have since implemented similar Bigasan ng Parokya rice programs for their parishioners. But SAC’s weekly limited supply of cheap rice (P18.25/kilo) runs out after two hours of distribution on Tuesdays, to the dismay of people seeking more viable substitutes to commercial rice which sells dearly from P36P46/kilo in the local market. Sr. Lillian Carranza, OSB of Caritas said the sale of cheaper NFA rice is now limited to DSWD and Bigasan sa Parokya outlets while public market outlets sell NFA rice at a higher price. Helen Grace Olipane of the Religious Affairs Dept. of Malacanang Palace, during her visit to Caritas in Vigan last month, promised to support the SAC program with an additional grant of 17 sack-allotment of NFA rice within the next 60 days. Meantime, SAC’s Lorenzo Gomez Charity Clinic continued to serve an average 20 patients daily. Free check-up and medicine are extended to indigent patients, mostly children. A referral system allows patients needing further medical attention to the Gabriela Silang Provincial Hospital, where the volunteer-doctors of CARITAS are based, the Regional Training Hospital in San Fernando, La Union or to other national health institutions. Carranza said CARITAS is currently organizing a medical-dental-optical mission to be held on August 13 in partnership with local pharmacy owners and volunteer doctors. The outreach serves some 300 patients per mission and usually held in Nueva Segovia’s upland and interior parishes. These missions are part of SAC’s year-round health program for the people. (Fran Quitoriano)

2 altar boys found dead inside church premises
ABUYOG, Leyte—Police here are now looking into the gruesome killing of two alt ar boys whose bodies were found inside their quarters in Abuyog town on July 23. The victims, both minors, sustained at least four stab wounds each in different parts of their bodies. The victims, aged 14 and 17, were both residents of Palo town. (Regine Olimberio)

Bishop seeks prayers for bus bombing victims
DIGOS City—Digos bishop Guillermo Afable called on the Catholic faithful to offer prayers for the victims of the bombing of a Metro Shuttle passenger bus in the city on July 24. Afable said the bombing was the first in Digos this year. “May all the necessary assistance be rendered to them and may God have mercy on the perpetrators of the crime ... May truth, justice and live reign in all our hearts,” he said. (Melo Acuna)

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People, Facts & Places
strong force and light of the Church in the Philippines,” the bishop stressed. According to Bastes, it was a simple prayer that launched the pastoral commission’s mission that send God’s Word into action. Its area of competence and service is the biblical-pastoral ministry in its five-fold concerns, namely: Animating Biblical-Pastoral Formation; Organizing Bible Celebration; Promoting Bible Translations; Assisting Bible Production; Coordinating Bible Distribution. Before that the CBCP had a Bible translation committee functioning under the Commission of Ecumenical Affairs. This committee had become necessary since the CBCP wanted translations of the Bible in the various indigenous languages for the celebration of the Liturgy in the vernaculars. ECBA is supervised and governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of Bishop Commission members, the Executive Secretary, and the Regional Directors. When the Episcopal Commission

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Bible apostolate marks 30th anniversary
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Bible ministry observed its 30th anniversary last July 23 with gratitude to God for a multitude of blessings. Since 1978, the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and its partners have helped provide thousands of Scriptures nationwide. “ECBA remains committed to serving the faithful by providing Bibles and training to people who share the transforming Word of God,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, ECBA chairman. “We aim that the Word of God will be a was formally formed in 1978 there was only one Catholic Bible Center in the country, the one in Manila. Today the ECBA is organized into ten regions, each with its duly organized Regional Biblical Center and a Regional Director. The said biblical centers are responsible for the implementation of on-going biblical formation programs for their region. “The desire to help and lead people to Christ through God’s Word has expanded to ECBA’s present ministry of placing Bibles into waiting hands in various Biblical centers,” Bastes added. (Roy Lagarde)

Lipa archdiocese launches Pauline year

CBCP elects bishop-delegates to FABC assembly
THE recently-held 97th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center last July 5, elected six bishops as delegates to the upcoming IX Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Bangalore, India on January 11-20, 2009. Elected to the Asian plenary assembly are Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, Bishop of Cabanatuan and Most Rev. Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, Bishop of Baguio; Most Rev. Onesimo Gordoncillo, Archbishop of Capiz, and Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Palo; and Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Zamboanga and Most Nereo P. Odchimar, Bishop of Tandag. The six elected bishops represent the regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, an FABC ex-officio member in his capacity as CBCP president, will also participate in the upcoming assembly. Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus who chairs the FABC drafting committee that will prepare

THE Archdiocese of Lipa officially launched the Year of St. Paul with a 7 a.m. Eucharistic Celebration last July 27 at the San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City. The Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa presided over the celebration along with the Most Reverend Salvador Quizon and some diocesan and religious priests in the Archdiocese. Spearheading the celebration were the Pauline congregations in the archdiocese; the Daughters of St. Paul in Lipa, the Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation (IOLA), and

the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in Balayan. Many other religious congregations, organizations, institutions, and lay faithful, coming from as far as Tuy, Batangas, joined the celebration. In his homily, Archbishop Arguelles called on the faithful to rejoice and be grateful for the gift of faith that we now have because of the holy Apostle St. Paul’s zealous proclamation of the Gospel. He also gave a succinct catechesis on the life and mission of St. Paul in a language un-

derstandable to all gathered for the celebration. In his final blessing, Archbishop Arguelles prayed that during this year of the Apostle’s Jubilee, the faithful in the Archdiocese of Lipa may grow in faith and continue to choose the way of St. Paul, who lived his life for God. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had earlier declared June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009 as a Special Jubilee Year in commemoration of the 2000th Birth Anniversary of St. Paul the Apostle. (Cherell Bacus)

the Instrumentum Laboris, has been chosen as one of the speakers during the assembly. Another Filipino bishop participating in the assembly is Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI of Cotabato, currently the secretary general of FABC. The FABC is a voluntary association of Episcopal conferences in Asia which meets in plenary every four years. Membership includes all presidents of member-conferences, associate members and members of the Standing Committee. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Int’l media conference to be held in Ateneo de Davao
THE Ateneo de Davao University will be the venue of the first international media conference organized by the Asian Congress for Media and Communication (ACMC) this coming August 21-23. The theme of the conference is “Media in Asia: A Tool for Human Rights Education and Monitoring” is expected to tackle issues on human rights both in an academic and practical perspective. Organizers said expected participants include mass communication educators from the Philippines and neighboring Asian countries, students, media practitioners, government public information officers, people’s organization, and other interested individuals. Director of Special Projects Alan Davis of the London-based Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) will be the keynote speaker. ACMC is a Philippine-based Asian-wide professional organization of lecturers, practitioners, and students in the field of media, communication, and language education. The initiative of ACMC will expose media and communication educators to the complex interconnections between media, communication, languages and human rights at a time when both have become central tenets of political, cultural and policy debate. (Mark S. Ventura w/PR)

Markings
ORDAINED. Most Rev. Gerardo Alimane Alminaza, as Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo, by Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, August 4, 2008 with Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra as co-ordaining prelates. Alminaza, who was the director for Spiritual and Pastoral Formation Year of Seminarians at St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Iloilo at the time of his appointment, was born in San Jose, Sipalay, Negros Occident al on August 14, 1959. He studied Philosophy at Sacred Heart Seminary in Bacolod and completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Ordained priest on April 29, 1986 at the Diocese of Bacolod, Alminaza took postgraduate studies at Fordham University in New York and obtained his Doctorate in Educational Management at the University of Negros Occidental, Bacolod City. CELEBRATED. Sr. Ma. Elizabeth M. Acebedo, Sr. Ma. Corazon D. Agda, Sr. Ma. Elna C. del Mar, Sr. Ma. Victoria S. Lolo, Sr. Ma. Cynthia C. Mendiola, Sr. Ma. Evangeline C. Nakila, Sr. Ma. Rodita O. Salcedo, Sr. Ma. Mercedes A. Sandoval, Silver Jubilarians; S r. Ma. Benita C. Compra, Sr. Ma. Constancia L. Grana, Sr. Ma. Jesusa T. Pasco, Golden Jubilarians of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. Thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, RVM Generalate, Quezon City August 15, 2008. , CELEBRATED . Sr. Lourdes Eugenia of Jesus (right) and Sr. Paula Victoria “Vicky” (left) of the Crucified Jesus of the Religious of the Assumption Congregation professed their Final Vows at the Assumption Chapel, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City last July 26, 2008. Rev. Fr. Edwin Soliva, SDB presided the celebration with concelebrating priests from different congregations: SDB, Assumption Fathers, SJ and PDSP or Calabrians. The event was attended by families and relatives, religious brothers and sisters, benefactors and friends of the sisters and of the community. Sr. Lourdes, a native of Dangcagan, Bukidnon is presently assigned in Xavier de Kibanggay High School in Lantapan, Bukidnon while Sr. Vicky of Mina, Iloilo City is in Saint Martin School in Baguio City. ORDAINED. Arvin Mosqueda of Bohol, Robert Saballo of Lubang Island (Mindoro) and Percy Singco of Cebu, to the Sacred Order of Deacons, at the Mission Society of the Philippines Seminary, Tagaytay, July 22, 2008 with Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle as ordaining prelate. The MSP is a Society of Filipino Catholic missionary priests, committed to share the gift of faith to the peoples in Asia and the rest of the world. Established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the MSP serves as the official and chief missionary arm of the Catholic Church of the Philippines. Since its inception in 1965, the MSP now has been working in 13 countries % Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, American Samoa, the Netherlands, England, United States of America, and Guyana.

Palawan celebrates 4th Pondo ng Pinoy anniv
barangay chapels and schools of the Vicariate including priests and religious sisters, participated in the festive and upbeat celebration. His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, founder and chairman of the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc. along with Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, a member of the PnP Board of Trustees joined the Local Church in its celebration. In his keynote address, the Cardinal pointed out that Pondo ng Pinoy is a product of a vision or an inspiration for the Filipino Christian community. Through repeated acts of love and goodness towards one’s neighbor, the love of God is experienced thus bringing hope and fullness of life to all, especially the poor. As the slogan says, “Anumang magaling kahit maliit, basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” Fr. Camilo C. Caabay, vicarial coordinator of Pondo ng Pinoy, presented the catechesis of Pondo ng Pinoy. The anniversary was organized by Rev. Fr. Camilo C. Caabay, vicarial PnP coordinator and the Commission on Social and Special Concerns headed by Rev. Fr. Juan Felipe Torrecampo, assisted by Bro. Anthony Badilla with the support of the AVPP community. (Fr. Camilo C. Caabay)

THE Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa celebrated the 4th Anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy last July 12, at the Holy Trinity College Gymnasium, Puerto

Princesa City with the theme, “Halina Pondo ng Pinoy Sali Tayo!” A thousand participants coming from the different parishes,

UST Singers to join European Choral Festivals
PROFESSOR Fidel Gener Calalang, Jr., multi-awarded Filipino composer and conductor of the University of Santo Tomas Singers (UST Singers), will conduct the UST Singers during its 13th International Concert Tour dubbed as “Festival Europe” in August. Traveling over Spain and France, Calalang and UST Singers will represent the Philippines to four international choral festivals in September and October respectively. Recently, Calalang was one of the members in the international jury of the 20th International Festival of Academic Choirs Competition (IFAS) in Pardubice, Czech Republic which was held from July 1 to 8. The competition, organized every two years, was the largest gathering of outstanding university and academic choirs from all over the world. He was joined by other members of the jury from Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Poland and USA. Calalang is the Chair of the UST Conservatory of Music Conducting Department, where he is also a professor in Piano. He is the founder and conductor of the internationally-acclaimed UST Singers that has won 45 top prizes from choral competitions around the world including the 1995 Choir of the World Grand Prize in the United Kingdom, 1998 Gran Premio Citta di Gorizia in Italy and the historic 1st Prizes with five 100 per cent scores in all categories at the 2002 Festa Musicale in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Recently, Calalang has been named in the Marquis’ “Who’s Who in the World 2009,” to be published in the United States in November 2008. (Santosh Digal)

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Knights of Columbus must help change society with ‘new politics,’ says Carl Anderson

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‘In the Philippines today, God calls us most urgently to serve the poor and the needy’

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Bishops stress transparency on controversial agreement
THE controversial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Ancestral Domain between the government and Moro Liberation Front (MILF) the signing of which was deferred by the Supreme Court on Aug. 5, drew remarks from some Catholic bishops. CBCP President and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said he would recommend
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Samar bishop to organize protest action against anti-life bills
BISHOP Isabelo C. Abarquez said the diocese of Calbayog is organizing a big event to register its strong opposition to the Reproductive Health bill pending at the House of Representatives. The prelate said Western Samar’s lawmakers Reynaldo Uy and Sharee Ann Tan are both supportive of the controversial bill which the Catholic Church strongly opposes.
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Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace August 4 - 17, 2008 Vol. 12 No. 16 Php 20.00

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Junk JPEPA, appeals bishops
By Roy Lagarde

ROMAN Catholic bishops made a last minute strong pitch to the Senate to junk the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
At least six bishops added their voices to the growing number of civil society groups who want the bilateral trade pact, which many fear that if could be ratified soon, be totally rejected by the Senate. The move comes after twelve senators signed the committee report on a resolution seeking concurrence of the controversial agreement. In a statement, the bishops and other signatories called on the Senate to uphold national interest and defend Filipinos’ rights and welfare.
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Give jobs to people, not dole-outs, says Cardinal
THE government should provide jobs to people to address hunger and poverty in the country than j u s t give “dole-outs” to them. This was the reaction of Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) delivered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently. The prelate said that giving dole-outs or subsidy is not helpful as it makes the poor more dependent on the government. “Create jobs so that people won’t be dependent. If people have work, they have money to spend no matter how small it is,” Rosales said. “The P500 subsidy is nothing. They should give jobs to the poor,” he said. Without jobs, people tend to take part in rallies creating a negative impression to the country and the current administration, Rosales said. Last month, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo also said that dole-outs are “quick-fix” solution that does not solve the problem of poor people. In her SoNA address, President Arroyo defended her stand to maintain E-VAT (Expanded Value Added Tad) as against the demand of Catholic Bishops to scrap E-VAT on oil and review the oil deregulation law. Arroyo said E-VAT is necessary to generate funds to help the poor. This was contested by some Catholic bishops including Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles. Arguelles said that E-VAT does not help the poor because the tax collected does not return in the form of social services. Cruz said the government wants to retain E-VAT as it is an easy source of collecting funds. (Santosh Digal)

‘Hands off the Philippines,’ population controllers told
A US-based pro-life advocate has asked for a halt to foreign intervention in the country with “immoral” purposes, which results in the extermination of Filipino babies. Dr. Brian Clowes, author and researcher for Human Life International, said the proposed reproductive health bill in Congress is “not a Filipino bill.” “The language maybe written by Filipino hands but the language and texts comes from London, England and Washington DC,” he said. “So this is why you have to resist this reproductive heath bill. I’ve seen the same bill in many parts around the world,” he added. Clowes said some powerful countries want to control the population of the Philippines to control its natural resources. If the bill is passed, he said, it will lead to legalization of abortion. He called on the Filipinos to “condemn foreign imperialism” and reject politicians that are pushing for population control. “Tell the population controllers to get and repeat the four short words: Hands off the Philippines,” Clowes said. He said the Spanish and the Japanese ran this country for many years and “then the Americans came in and they think they can run this country too.” “It’s about time that the Filipinos run their own country,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Newly installed Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza greets people in the crowd after his episcopal ordination at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City on August 4, 2008.

‘Acrobats’ to raise funds to build church
AN entertainment performance dubbed as “Acrobatic Entertainment Show” will help in building the parish church of the Holy Family Parish in Baliok, Toril this city. Acrobats will not only bring cheers, laughter and wonder to the crowd as explained by Parish Pastoral Coordinator (PPC) Myla Rocaberte, but this will also be for a cause. The event was held at St. Peter’s College of Toril Gym last July 27. Rocaberte said that they are targeting P300,000.00 for the construction materials and labor for the groundbreaking alone. The parish scheduled the groundbreaking on October 5, 2008. Aside from the acrobatic show, the parish also initiated different fund raising projects like asking every family to donate at least P1, 000.00 per family. Students also took part in the fund rais-

IPs lament exclusion in GRPMILF pact on ancestral domain
SAYING that the government has failed to recognize the basic issues confronting the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, the State of the Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA) conference participants lamented the absence of the lumads (tribal people) in the forging of the government’s claimed GRP-MILF agreement on the issue of ancestral domain. The government has already made the formal act of initializing the final draft agreement on ancestral domain in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last July 27. In a report posted at Luwaran, MILF Peace Negotiating Panel Mohagher Iqbal said that the initializing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) guarantees that no more changes, amendments, alterations or renegotiations be made on its overall contents or substance of the agreement. “What only remains to be done is its formal signing in a would–be historic ceremony to be held early August at Putrajaya, Malaysia,” he added. But, tribal leaders in Mindanao said that
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Bishops saddened by ‘commodification’ of Filipino workforce
ECUMENICAL Bishops Forum (EBF) co-chairpersons Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, D.D., Bishop of Kalookan (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Bishop Solito K. Toquero of the United Methodist Church were saddened by the “commodification” of the Filipino workforce, especially women and children. In a joint pastoral statement released last July 26, in line for the communal action of religious groups done in Cebu City, members of the religious communities coming from different Christian denomination agreed about the injustice brought by penury and grave human rights violations now plaguing the country. “We are very much saddened that while our nation is richly endowed with vast natural resources and hard working and resilient human resources, most of our farmers are landless and hungry, our sisters and
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Illustration by Bladimer Usi

ing activity like putting up of donation boxes in their respective schools to be given later to the parish for its on-going parish church construction. Rocaberte is optimistic that they would succeed in their efforts of raising funds for the construction of the parish. The Parish Pastoral Council is also thankful for the success of acquiring the one-hectare parish lot a year ago through the efforts of the parishioners. (Mark S. Ventura)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Catholic bishop Benedict XVI hopes for carries Olympic Olympics that ‘respect dignity’ torch in China relay
ROME, August 4, 2008—After delivering his traditional Angelus address to thousands of the faithful on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI told the crowd that he hopes the Beijing Olympics will provide a good example of coexistence, while respecting human dignity. Looking ahead to August 8, the Holy Father noted that “Beijing will open the Games of XXIX Olympiad.” Although he is on vacation until August 11, the Pope said that he will be following “this great sporting encounter with profound interest.” Addressing himself to China, the organizers and participants, and above all the athletes, Pope Benedict sent his cordial greetings, “with the hope that everyone can give their best in a genuine Olympic spirit.” While the preparations for the Olympics have been marred by the Chinese government’s restrictions on the freedom of the press and Tibetan freedom protests, the Pope diplomatically chose to express his hope that the Olympic Games “provides the international community a good example of coexistence between people of many different origins, while respecting common dignity. May once again sport be a pledge of brotherhood and peace among peoples!” (CNA) BEIJING, China, August 3, 2008— A Chinese Catholic bishop carried the Olympic torch on its way to Beijing on Thursday as the Chinese government tries to express its appreciation for the Church’s active participation in social affairs and to show progress in its religion policies. Peter Fang Jianping, Coadjutor Bishop of Tangshan, took part in the July 31torch rally in Tangshan, a city about 110 miles from Beijing. Bishop Fang was the eighth of 208 torch bearers during the last leg of the relay in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing. The 45-year-old bishop told UCA News on Friday that he was named a torchbearer because of the Chinese government’s progress in its religious policies and in expressing concerns over religious issues to religious leaders, but also “because of the Church’s contribution to the society.” Bishop Fang said the Diocese of Tangshan, which has about 45,000 Catholics and 40 priests, donated money and materials worth about $22,000 to earthquake relief in Sichuan. An earthquake measuring 8.0 in magnitude struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, causing at least 69,200 confirmed deaths and leaving more than 18,000 still missing. According to the bishop, many local Catholics who saw the live TV broadcast of the Olympic torch relay told him they were overjoyed and heartened to see their bishop take part in the event. Torchbearers are allowed to keep their torch as a souvenir after their relay run. Bishop Fang told UCA News he will keep his “precious spiritual legacy.” Bishop Fang, a native of Hebei, was ordained a priest in 1989 and ordained a bishop in Beijing in 2000 without papal approval. The Holy See legitimized his episcopal status in 2002. The Beijing Olympics will begin on August 8. (CNA)

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Catholic cardinal denounces ‘social revolution’ against Christianity
During his remarks, Cardinal Cañizares denounced the existence in Spain of a plan presented as a “modernization” movement, but that “in reality seeks to modify the social and cultural reality of Spain, transforming its identity.” “This social and cultural project aims to construct a secular society without any moral or religious reference, attempting to impose nihilist thought and deliberately eliminating everything Catholic from public life,” the cardinal said. While such a plan is present in the West in general, “it is especially intense in Spain,” he added, where it is supported by “powerful and sometimes dark forces, present everywhere from the media to schools.” The promoters of this plan “have made the Catholic Church their target,” as they see her and the family as the main obstacles to their plans. “Thus the Church is presented as the enemy of democracy and modernization, opposed to science and progress, against freedom, the enemy of happiness or the promoter of division, confrontation and violence…in an effort to isolate religion to private life,” the cardinal stated. “The silencing of God is the fundamental event of our times,” he continued. “There is nothing else that compares in terms of its radicalism and serious consequences.” In the designing of this new society, Cardinal Cañizares explained, relativism plays an important role, since “nothing can be said to be definitive, it is at the center of a society that constantly doubts itself. There is no law, only rights that are restricted or broadened according to the will of whoever is in power. In all of this is the concept of man as a being autonomous of the will of God, who counts for nothing.” (CNA)

Loss of clerical state for Paraguay’s President-elect
ASUNCION, Paraguay, July 30, 2008—Benedict XVI has granted a reduction to the lay state for the president-elect of Paraguay, a former Catholic bishop who had been suspended “a divinis.” The apostolic nuncio in Paraguay announced today the Pope’s decision regarding Fernando Lugo. Archbishop Orlando Antonini explained at a press conference that the Holy Father “granted [Lugo] the loss of the clerical state, with all the obligations, as a priest and bishop of the [Society of the] Divine Word.” The nuncio said Lugo’s request was accepted because “the people have elected him” and “his clerical state is not compatible with the presidency of the republic.” “Having examined all the circumstances carefully, His Holiness Benedict XVI has granted him the loss of his clerical state with the consequent loss of its inherent rights,” he added. A January 2007 decree signed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, had announced the suspension “a divinis” of Lugo, for having declared himself a candidate for the Paraguayan presidency. The Code of Canon Law prohibits this. On Dec. 18, 2006, Lugo had requested the loss of the clerical state to become a candidate in the elections. On April 20, 2008, the day after winning the election, Lugo asked the Church, and Benedict XVI in particular, for forgiveness for the sorrow his disobedience to canon law had caused. According to a communiqué read by the nuncio, the Pontiff is now exhorting Lugo “to be faithful to the Catholic faith in which he was baptized and to lead a life that is consistent with the Gospel.” Lugo will take office Aug. 15. (Zenit)

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares

MADRID, Spain, August 1, 2008—During the inauguration of a summer course on modernization in Spain, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Toledo denounced the existence in Spain and the Western world of a social revolution aimed directly at undermining the Christian roots of the West.

Former encyclical protestor signs ‘Humanae Vitae Pledge’
FRONT ROYAL, Va, August 3, 2008—In this weekly email newsletter, President of Human Life International, Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, shared a letter he received that caused him “to shed tears of gratitude.” The author, a former priest who had protested Humanae Vitae in 1968, had written to tell Fr. Euteneuer about his conversion from dissident priest to his acceptance of the controversial and prophetic encyclical. The writer of the letter had decided to sign HLI’s “Humanae Vitae Pledge,” promising loyalty to the teachings of the Catholic Church, obedience to the teachings of Humanae Vitae, and “to embrace God’s precious gift of life.” “There is for me a special significance in signing this Pledge, and [it] will give me a peace of mind and heart that I have not experienced since 1968. In 1968 I was a young Franciscan priest studying in the Graduate School of Religious Education at Catholic University,” the man wrote. The writer knew many who signed the document in protest of Humanae Vitae such as Fr. Charles Curran, Fr. Dan Maguire, and Fr. Robert Faricy, S.J. “Since they, as well as many other professors and graduate students were signing the Protest Document, I went along and did so also.” “In 1975 for personal reasons not related to any doubts or questions about the Faith, or the Church, or the Religious Life...I requested and obtained...a dispensation from Pope Paul VI returning me to the Lay State. Later, I was married in the Church and raised my two children in the Faith....I have had many conversations with my Pastor and with his assistant (who is my spiritual director) about my days as a Franciscan Priest, and have been active in many of our parish’s lay apostolate and ministries.” “But I have always regretted having signed the Protest Document against Pope Paul’s teaching in 1968, and having learned a few years ago that Fr. Faricy had publicly repudiated signing the Protest, I had wished that I, too, could repudiate in some official way, having signed the Protest....And so your ‘Pledge’ document offers me an opportunity to correct my mistake, and find healing % and telling you about all this helps me to feel that my repudiation of the Protest is now known and accepted in a kind of semi-official sort of way by an ‘authority’ in the Church.” “And thank you for reading this, thereby humoring an old man, who despite every-

Food crisis in North Korea, millions hungry
PYONGYANG, North Korea, August 2, 2008—North Korea is going through a severe food crisis, comparable only to the famine that struck the country at the end of the 1990’s. Jean-Pierre de Margerie, director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), says the poor harvests in recent years and the flood in 2007 have left millions of North Koreans without the minimum amount of food necessary for survival. The UN fund affirms that at least 6.4 million people (out of a total of 23 million) are in urgent need of food, three out of four families have drastically reduce their consumption of food—including grains and proteins— and an increasing number of people are turning to grass and wild berries just to survive. For a number of years, North Korea has received aid from the international community, but environmental disasters and poor harvests have intensified the emergency. According to initial estimates, 20 million dollars are needed right away to confront the immediate needs, ahead of the fall harvest. The WFP, finally, hopes for the creation of a longer-term assistance plan, which calls for the investment of 500 million dollars by September of 2009. (AsiaNews)

HLI President Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Vatican official defends life of Anglicans see blunt talk from Catholics Italian woman in vegetative state as sign of friendship
ROME, August 1, 2008—Behind the headlines about tough words from Roman Catholic observers at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference there also was straight talk about the blunt words only real friends could say. At a July 29 dinner for the 75 ecumenical observers attending the conference, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury said the guest speakers have praised the Anglican Communion on some points, but also have shared “truths that may be a little less palatable.” Introducing Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Archbishop Williams said, “One of the things that we have always looked for him to do for us is to ask some very awkward questions in a way that only a friend can ask with effect and pungency.” The next day, at one of 15 small sessions Anglican bishops could choose from, Cardinal Kasper offered a Roman Catholic assessment of the issues the Lambeth Conference was dealing with: the ordination of women priests and bishops; blessing same-sex unions and ordaining people who are openly gay; and trying to find a structure to strengthen and guarantee the unity of the Anglican Communion. (CNS) VATICAN CITY, August 1, 2008—Because Eluana Englaro is alive, caregivers must continue to give her food and water, said the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the academy, hailed a July 31 decision by the procurator general’s office in Milan to ask Italy’s Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision authorizing the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration at the request of the young woman’s father. The procurator general’s office said that when Milan’s civil Court of Appeals ruled July 9

thing else, knows that he is a ‘priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek.’” Fr. Euteneuer explains that this conversion story demonstrates that: “in Christ’s Kingdom it is never too late, even after forty years, to fully embrace the Truth. All of us make mistakes and all of us sin, but He gives us all a chance to be reconciled with Him and turn our sorrow into joy.” The HLI president chose to share the letter to honor the “priest’s desire to let his repudiation be a public testimony to others.” The pledge can be found on CNA’s site for the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae. (CNA)

Archbishop Rowan Williams

that the provision of nutrition and hydration could be stopped it did so without obtaining a clear scientific opinion that the young woman’s condition could never improve. In addition to saying it would take the case to the Supreme Court, the procurator general’s office asked the Court of Appeals to suspend its ruling so that Englaro’s family does not act before the Supreme Court can rule. Now 37 years old, Englaro was injured in a car accident in 1992. She has been in what doctors describe as a persistent vegetative state for 16 years. (CNS)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

News Features

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Knights of Columbus must help change society with ‘new politics,’ says Carl Anderson
QUEBEC CITY, Canada, August 5, 2008— Riding the enthusiasm of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United States, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson delivered a rousing speech today in which he challenged his fellow Knights to transform the world through their actions and political decisions. “Pope Benedict’s visit was an enormous gift to us: millions of Catholics are now more willing to live the Catholic life more actively. But it is up to us to follow through on this opportunity,” said Anderson. “Let us be co-workers in the renewal of the Church that our great Pope is leading,” he encouraged. Turning to the Pope Benedict XVI, Anderson quoted, ‘The Horizon of love, is truly boundless: it is the whole world!’ “It may seem too ambitious to talk about transforming the world, much less doing so by trying to create a civilization that is very different from the one we now live in. But the earliest Christians did precisely that: they did so by their example, by holding out the possibility of a life that is higher, more beautiful, and above all more authentic than the vulgarity, violence and greed of the ancient pagan world.” “Gentlemen, we have the power— given to us by the Holy Spirit—to transform the world in the same way,” the head of the Knights of Columbus exhorted in his annual report. The Knights have been very active in trying to positively impact the culture in 2007, according to Carl Anderson. In the past year, the men’s fraternal organization has raised more than $144.9 million for charity and volunteered 68 million hours to churches, neighborhoods and communities. In addition, the group has been very active in supporting the Church at the financial level and in providing solidarity to fellow members. As one example, Anderson related that he and Bishop William Lori were able to present Pope Benedict with a gift of $1.6 million for his personal charitable organizations. On the solidarity front, Carl Anderson highlighted the fact that since 1961, Knights from Cuba had been unable to attend the annual convention because of the political situation on the island nation. This year, however, marks the first time in 58 years that delegates from Cuba were able to attend the meeting, he announced, as the Knights from Camaguey, Cuba were received with a standing ovation. However, the work of the Knights must go beyond the present efforts, Anderson said as he assessed the current political and social climate. Saying that the opposition to abortion on demand is not going away but getting stronger every year, the Knight’s leader pledged that the group will “never waver in the cause to ensure legal protection for every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death.” Anderson touched on the U.S. presidential election as well, saying that the question, ‘How should Catholics exercise their responsibilities as citizens?’ must be answered by people working to build a culture of life through a “new politics.” “Today we constantly hear about change. We must remember that real change means building a culture of life, and real change means building a civilization of love, and that means truly transforming our politics. In this process of change, dealing with the abortion issue is fundamental,” said Anderson. Noting that the Knights are a nonpartisan organization, Supreme Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson greets Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec Tuesday night at the annual States Dinner. View Knight Carl more comvention coverage at Convention Central. Anderson emphasized that there are “certain moral issues that affect our most for Catholics, Anderson stressed, as he Knight underlined. Thus far, the Knights of Columbus have fundamental values as Catholics and as warned that, “We will never succeed in building a culture of life if we continue sponsored a conference for men on being citizens.” “This is especially important since to vote for politicians who support a good husbands and fathers with the ArchCatholics confront a moral dilemma culture of death. … It’s time we stop ac- diocese of Boston, and will host others in when deciding how to vote: Can we sup- commodating pro-abortion politicians, Chicago and Houston this coming Fall. port a candidate who may be attractive and it’s time we start demanding that The organization’s new “Fathers for Good” initiative, which was launched for many reasons but who supports abor- they accommodate us.” The head of the Knights also said that today, is another way that the Knights tion? Some partisan advocates have sought to excuse support for pro-abor- the fraternal organization “must be in are supporting marriage and the family. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson closed tion candidates through a complex bal- the forefront of efforts to defend the sancancing act. They claim that other issues tuary of human life—the institution of his speech by saying that building the are important enough to set off a marriage.” The work to support mar- civilization of love will not be easy, but riage and the family “does not end with “it is our mission, our vocation, our solcandidate’s support for abortion.” This type of reasoning is unacceptable legislation and referenda,” the Supreme emn duty.” (CNA)

Filipino scientist warns of diminishing groundwater supply Pope Benedict asks faithful to treasure teachings of Pope Paul VI
ROME, August 3, 2008—Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his predecessor Paul VI. Recounting the Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father encouraged his audience to remain faithful to Pope Paul’s teaching and witness of holiness. Speaking in the square in front of the cathedral of Bressanone, Italy, Pope Benedict thanked those present for joining him to pray the Angelus. He thanked Bishop Wilhelm Egger of BolzanoBressanone and the local authorities for assuring him a “peaceful and safe stay in the city.” The Holy Father extended a special blessing to children, the sick and those in difficult situations. Pope Benedict then invited his audience in Bressanone to remember the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, the 30th anniversary of whose death is commemorated in three days. The Holy Father recalled that his predecessor, who died on the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, had “guided the people of God to contemplate the face of Christ.” Christ, he continued, is “at the center of the Bible and Tradition, the heart of the church, the world and the whole universe.” The Holy Father recounted how Pope Paul, elected to the papacy during the Second Vatican Council, “presided over the Council to its closing and governed an eventful post-conciliar phase.” He added, “Thanking God for the gift of this great Pope, let us commit to treasuring his teachings.” Pope Benedict concluded by reminding his audience of Paul VI’s proclamation, at the conclusion of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, of the Virgin Mary as “Mother of the Church”. After the Angelus, the Holy Father directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors united with us here in Bressanone for this Angelus prayer. Wednesday, the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI. As we recall this great Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council and guided the first phase of the post-conciliar renewal, let us give thanks for his wise teaching, his passionate love of the Church, and his desire to draw all people to the contemplation of Christ’s glory. Dear friends, during these summer holidays, may you grow closer to the Lord in prayer, and may he shed the light of his face upon you and your families!” (CNA) MANILA, August 5, 2008—A Filipino scientist warned of diminishing groundwater supply in some parts of the country. Dr. Fernando Siringan of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute said excessive groundwater extraction or diminishing groundwater supply results in land subsidence, which in turn causes floods in coastal areas. In the case of the Italian city of Venice (known as the “Sinking City”), he said it sank rapidly during the mid-20 century as a result of the over-abundance of wells pumping out large amounts of water to supply the needs of the entire region. He was speaking during the Coffeehouse Environmental Forum held at the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) on July 25. “Have you ever wondered why some areas in Bulacan and other parts of the Philippines are like Venice, becoming permanently submerged in water?” he asked. We should pay attention to warning signs in our own country, where we see many towns experiencing floodwaters for weeks even without rain. These are indications of subsidence in places where artesian wells appear to rise up from the ground,” Siringan said. The UP professor also pointed out that demand for groundwater rises as population increases. A large part of uncontrolled groundwater extraction is made by households and industries. He mentioned the Camanava area in Metro Manila, where land

subsidence has deteriorated and floods have worsened. Siringan offered some suggestions to limit land subsidence—1) limit the use of artesian wells. In this connection, people should encourage water companies to expand their pipe-laying projects to service more areas; 2) properly implement the rules under the Philippine Water Code; and 3) study and implement actions that would trap and store rain water for other use. Over a hundred participants attended the Coffeehouse Forum from schools, government agencies, press, non-government organizations, church and development groups, according to a communiqué from CFA. (CBCPNews)

Bishop mulls communion ban on some Filipino Catholics in Kuwait
MANILA, August 1, 2008—Some Filipino Catholics in Kuwait face the risk of being barred from receiving communion, Kuwait Apostolic Vicar Bishop Camilo Ballin, MCCI, said. Bishop Ballin told CBCPNews that it is mainly because many Filipinos in Kuwait fall into having a second family while working abroad. “There are cases, I just cannot say how many, when men are supposed to send money to his family back home in the Philippines but he has to keep some money for his other family in Kuwait,” he said. Bishop Ballin, a Comboni missionary from Italy, said there may be no hard and fast rule “because we have to look at every single case.” Under the Catholic Church’s regulations, those who divorce and remarry are currently barred from receiving Holy Communion. A remarried Catholic may receive Holy Communion only if a marriage has been declared null by the Church. “What I try to stress is that they can enter the Church but they cannot receive Holy Communion,” Bishop Ballin said. “I don’t want them to feel I sent them away from the Church so they are allowed to come to pray, attend Mass but cannot receive communion although they can participate in prayer meetings, social meetings especially on feasts days but definitely no communion.” The Church official said “we inform them of the situation and we help them understand that marriage in the Philippines lasts forever, especially so in marriages solemnized in Catholic churches.” “I understand Filipinos come to Kuwait to provide a better future for their family in the Philippines but please, if possible, for couples, don’t separate because the risk is too much and the risks include the possibility of having another family,” he added. The prelate said he understands the plight of Filipinos in Kuwait because he comes from a poor family in Italy too. “My family’s very, very poor and my parents were looking for opportunities but there are many serious dangers for them (workers) and their families,” the bishop said. He has observed Filipino workers go home at least once a year for their needed vacation but added “the loneliest day in their lives is when they leave home for another contract abroad.” Bishop Ballin was consecrated Bishop on September 2, 2005 in Kuwait. He succeeded Bishop Francis Micallef, OCF as Fourth Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait. Bishop Ballin was in Manila for around a week after attending the 23rd World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. He left the Philippines and returned to Kuwait yesterday. There are around 350,000 Catholics in Kuwait and from this number, some 130,000 are Filipinos with Fr. Ben Barrameda as the lone Filipino priest attending the growing Filipino community there. Bishop Ballin said there are at least ten groups of Catholic faithful in his vicariate. “They can be found in El Shaddai, Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ and a number of charismatic and pastoral groups,” he said. He said he is still looking for a Filipino priest, probably from Switzerland, where there are three and the bishop there is prepared to send one “provided the Filipino priest would accept the assignment.” Bishop Ballin said the Kuwaiti government allows a man to bring his wife and children to Kuwait provided he has a gross salary of one thousand dollars per month. However, he added, not many Filipinos receive a salary of at least a thousand dollars a month. (Melo Acuña)

Poverty, key reason for Mindanao conflict
MANILA, August 1, 2008%Poor socioeconomic conditions are the key reasons for conflicts between majority Catholics and minority Muslims in Mindanao, southern Philippine region, said Ustadz Exmael Ebrahim, executive director of Mindanao Integrated Network Development Center in the Philippines. Ebrahim was one of the delegates from the Philippines speaking at the international conference on the theme “Conflicts and Dialogue: Peace-building in Discordant Areas and the Roles of Religious People,” held in Seoul, South Korea, July 17-19. There were 20 religious delegates from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Korea. They discussed religious conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines. About 4 million Muslims live in the Mindanao region, which is the poorest of the three main Philippine island groups. Many development agencies ascribe the poverty partly to armed conflicts in the region, including the centuries-old Muslim insurgence, including Abu Sayyaf, a group listed on various countries’ lists of terrorist organizations. The Church, government, liberation movements, religious leaders, civil society and the international community should work in a network to accelerate peace in Mindanao, said Ebrahim. Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla bemoaned that various efforts undertaken by many government and non-governmental organizations have achieved a little while providing socioeconomic solutions. Before other measures are taken by anyone the wounds of the indigenous Moro people, many of whom are Muslims, who have suffered suspicion, prejudice, discrimination, and violence, must be healed, Capalla suggested. “Social healing based on the Bible and the Qur’an should come first before other measures for peace in the region. Peace in the region should be based on integrity and holiness, not accords on paper,” the prelate said. The Bishops-Ulama Conference, which is composed of Christian bishops and Muslim scholars in the southern Philippines, has been working for peace and development in the

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region. Meanwhile, Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad reported last weekend that he got a letter threatening him with serious consequence of attack if he does not convert to Islam or pay “Islamic taxes.” Jumoad further said that he was told to convert to Islam or give “jizya,” Islamic tax, to an Islamic group in exchange for protecting him in the “place of Muslims.” Other Christians from Isabela diocese seemed to have received same threats from some Islamic rebel groups of late. The Bishop has sought protection of civilians in the wake of threats. (Santosh Digal)

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EDITORIAL

Opinion
Fighting too many battles

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

EVEN the most elementary records kept and books written about the generalities and particulars of the “Art of War” proclaim in unison that fighting too many battles is not only futile but also fatal not only for the general but also for all the latter’s battalions no matter how loyal and devoted these are to their war leader. The cardinal rule wherefore is not only choosing one’s battle but also decidedly and skillfully avoiding fighting too many battles. This is asking for one big composite trouble, viz., one huge compound and complex loss! There is still the annoying issue of legitimacy of the Malacañang occupant. There is the well remembered State Emergency and much debated Pre-empted Calibrated Response whatever these panicky Government responses really meant. There is the convenient Executive Order 464 to hide the inconvenient truths of “lagay”, “bukol” and “tongpats” on Government deals. There is the big Expanded Value-Added Tax (E-VAT) curse insistently and ridiculously invoked for the benefit of the poor. There is the curiosity well deregulated oil prices vis-à-vis the much regulated salaries and wages. There is further the constant lack of employment in the land and the consequent ever increasing number of OFWs some of whom come back to the Country in coffins. There is the ever-increasing price of basic food and standard commodities—in the event that they are available at all. There is the unsettling question of the diminishing value of the Philippine peso. There is the unavailability of education for children of destitute families plus the moral impossibility of affordable good education for the general public. There is the ever-increasing poverty in the country—notwithstanding the vain predictions of “Super Regions” and empty projection of the Philippines as a “First World Country” soon. There is the odious political transactions and consequent political accommodation of administration allies and cohorts. There is the fearsome rising hunger and criminality in the land— without even mentioning the most troubling forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. There is the endless government graft and corrupt practices plus progressively resentful citizenry towards a national leader perceived as most distrusted and least effective. Add hereto the no less than eight SONA’s that were basically considered as predictable and wherefore tiring big fairy tales—told with either entertainment finality or delivered with a dreamland perspective. There must be more of these lamentable economic reversals and pathetic socio-political actualities confronting the ruling administration. Each and every reality in the Philippines scenery is one concrete and big battle that the present government is squarely faced with and strongly challenged to meet. But weird and unusual as it may seem, it looks like there is only a Don Quixote with no windmills in the offing. The little paradox is that the commander perceives no battle to fight, only victories to celebrate.

Francisco F. Claver, SJ

Afterthoughts
THE term BEC (basic ecclesial community) is not a household term for many Filipino Catholics. To those in the middle class—and especially in urban areas—the term doesn’t mean a thing. But to rural folk in many dioceses, the BEC is their way of being Church— and being Church in deeper ways than are known and practiced in more established parishes. For it stands for people coming together to worship and, in their worshiping, to discern in community on their problems from motivations coming from their Gospel faith; and more, acting on those problems as community, in community. The potential of this mode of being Church for the reform of society is tremendous and may well be the only way open to us in the Philippines to get out off “the slough of despond”--the low level of hopelessness--into which we have been sunk by the extremely self-serving kind of politics we unfortunately are shackled with. The story of the BECs is briefly told. The movement for their development started in Mindanao in the early 1970s. In 1971, the first MSPC (Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference) was held in Davao in a three-day gathering of delegates—bishops, priests, religious, laity—from all the dioceses of Mindanao-Sulu. The conference’s theme was the building up of Christian communities in the southern region of the Philippines, and to achieve that end, they zeroed in on three thematic Vatican II ideas, namely, dialogue, participation and co-responsibility, asking themselves how they could make these three ideas operative in the pastoral works and programs of their dioceses and parishes. Without realizing it, they had hit on a formula for the formation of what was known in other parts of the world, in Latin America especially, as Basic

Those BECs
measures or laws result from the arguing that is going on today. The arguments of lawmakers for the need to control heavy population growth and their proposals for limiting it must be put squarely to the BECs for their discernment; so too the Church’s restrictions on some of those arguments and proposals, these are all grist for their discernment. Or the corruption in high places that our papers so nauseatingly report every day: Many of us despair of ever seeing an end to this shameful bane of our national life as one effort after another to face up to them and correct them ends in dismal failure. If this particular problem were brought down to the people in the BECs, rural folk for the most part whom the rest of the nation thinks are cogs in the political machines that power-holders treat as witless and easily manipulable, and they realize how in the end it is they who suffer most from the corrupt practices of “higher-ups”, what will happen? They may not be able to do much by way of stopping corruption, but one thing I am dead sure of: they will start us on the process of self-conversion simply from the realization that the biggest reason for its endurance is our high tolerance of it as SOP for politicians. Such a wide and concerted reflection on national problems—is this beyond the thinking powers of our people? Church people who have had experience of BECs and their mode of worship and discerning are convinced there is no better way for entire communities to imbibe by their own efforts the values of the Gospel and hence to work our nation’s survival than through the discerning/praying process of self- and communityempowerment that is the Basic Ecclesial Community.

A cause for alarm
WE wish to register our strong and unqualified objection to actions of the government and its instrumentalities which (despite any contrary intentions) work towards the destruction of the Filipino family. The blatant promotion of direct contraception and direct sterilization which separate the two aspects of the conjugal act%the expression of love and openness to the transmission of life%is contrary to the will of God. Already the evils spawned by these practices have been abundantly demonstrated by the experience of many nations where contraception has met with common acceptance. The acceptance of abortion, the breakdown of families, the encouragement of pre-marital sex, the increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases are only some of the evil consequences. We especially object to the promotion of contraception as an abrasive act of insensitivity to the sentiments of the majority Church whose ethical principles prohibit such practices. This manifestation of insensitivity comes at a time when the President of the Republic is asking us to unite and work together for our countrymen’s welfare. This insensitivity is compounded with injustice when the promotion of contraception is accompanied by undue pressure on health care workers to do acts which their conscience tells them are wrong. We ask our people—pastors, religious and lay people alike— to stand up in a united way for the teachings of the Church on contraception, sterilization and abortion, and to refuse to promote contraception and sterilization and abortion should they be ordered to do so by their superiors. There are times when we must bear witness to Christ and dare to say, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). The government itself has said that it will not order health workers to perform acts violative of their consciences and that those who refuse to perform such actions will not in any way be punished. We ask Catholic health workers to report to us, the bishops, violations of this standing government policy. —(Save the Family and Live: A Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Family, 1993)

Christian Communities (BCCs). That formula was later developed further in the AsIPA, the Asian Integral Pastoral Approach, that I spoke of in my last column. Where comes the potential of the BECs for the reform of Philippine society? It is in the possibility of communal conversion to a greater sense and practice of the common good, the correction therefore of our greatest lack as a people and the wellspring of our massive and persistent culture of corruption. For simply from the BECs’ mode of common discernment and action on their life problems as a community, the members of the BECs develop a sense that their faith is not just for personal sanctification and conversion but for social as well. This sense is developed in their manner of community worship on Sundays. It is not the usual thing that is done in parishes where a priest leads the celebration of the Eucharist and preaches a homily on the day’s readings. And the parishioners sit passively and listen to his interpretation of scripture. People in the BECs do not have the Eucharist, but they have the Word of God in the scripture readings of the day. They apply the message of the readings themselves to their life, discerning individually and communally on what the Holy Spirit through scripture is saying to them in regard to their life and its problems in the here and now. Thus, to give an example: today’s controversy about “reproductive health”—is this something that only legislators and bishops should argue about? If this is a problem of national significance for all of us, then the arguing on it must take place too among the rank-and-file of both state and Church, among and by the people whose lives are going to be affected by whatever government

Some myths (and truths as well) on the contraceptives issue
PLEASE excuse my intruding late into the conversation. But I can’t help overhearing the noises even from far-away Eastern Samar, where I am ministering to a portion of the Lord’s flock. And, as is obvious to many conscientious Catholics, not all the noises could pass the truth meter. Let’s try to sift the truth from the myth. Myth One: To go with the times and to serve the poor better by helping alleviate poverty, contraceptives must now be accepted by the Church. It’s no secret that a number of national and local politicians, media outlets and journalists, civil society groups consider the Church’s opposition to the artificial methods of birth control outdated, if not brazenly insensitive to the plight of women and the poor. This mindset is expressed by other variations. For example this one: “Unless the Church changes its position [on contraceptives], it should ask itself if it’s still relevant,” as intoned by a member of a civil society organization campaigning for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress. Is the Church’s relevance to be anchored solely in giving up on its moral stand on contraception? If we were discussing an architectural design of a building, the argument of relevance would itself be relevant. But the truth is that the issue of contraceptives has always been essentially a moral issue. As long as contraceptives, as they do by definition, flout the purposes of the marital act, namely, its openness to the transmission of life (procreative) and the loving union of husband and wife (unitive), or separate one from the other when sexual pleasure is sought for itself, they will always be morally indefensible. And morality is always relevant to human life yesterday, today and tomorrow. Poverty is an economic issue; it’s

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

By the Roadside
scribe contraception itself. I’d rather listen to Pope Paul VI’s words: “Contraception is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [or indeed any genital act], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes [intendat], either as an end or as means, to impede procreation [ut procreatio impediatur]” (Humanae Vitae, no. 14). This third myth, in effect, sugarcoats contraception with the notion of population growth reduction while failing to acknowledge that it actually violates the life-orientation of the marital act. Myth Four: Contraception merely suspends the procreative purpose of the conjugal act while keeping intact its unitive aspect. This myth is a bit sophisticated; it’s adopted by some Catholics who have actually listened to and imbibed the teaching on the twofold purpose of the marriage act: one, the transmission of life or procreative aspect and; two, the fostering of the loving union of husband and wife or unitive aspect. The only problem here is that the marriage act, being a human act, is one and that in it both aspects are inseparable. Take away its life-orientation and you also violate the capacity of the marriage act to express true love. True love as selfgiving becomes crippled by a selfish orientation to sexual pleasure that denies the total acceptance of the other person. The language of self-giving in marriage becomes “overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads…to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality” (Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, no. 32). Myth Five: Contraception is not abortion
Roadside / A6

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CBCP Monitor
P r o ta g o n i s t of Tr u t h , Promoter of Peace

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also a moral issue. A moral problem is not resolved by committing an act that violates morality itself. Myth Two: No one’s Catholic identity is compromised by embracing or promoting the use of contraceptives. This you easily sense when you listen to Catholics who till now haven’t graduated from their gradesschool catechism. But what especially staggers the mind is hearing famous, wealthy and powerful personalities from different sectors of society solemnly declaring that they are “Catholic”, on the one hand, and, on the other, insisting that they are “only being realistic” and “democratic” in promoting artificial means of birth control to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, promote safe sex in the face of the threat of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, effect poverty alleviation through population management (they won’t say “population control” but that’s exactly what they want) etc. My humble suggestion is simple: If you were really Catholic, why not do the logical act of consulting your Catholic Catechism or talking to your pastor and be enlightened on the “Catholic” teaching on contraception? If you were being realistic and democratic, what could be more realistic and democratic than looking deep into natural law and what it teaches us human beings, Catholic or not, Christian or not, on marriage and sexuality as well as it ends? Alas, however, even if morality must guide all reality, it’s not determined by democratic choices. Morality, as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has always taught, is based on objective norms. Myth Three: Contraception is only about helping reduce the population growth by preventing unwanted births. This is only partly true. It doesn’t really explain or de-

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Opinion
Jose B. Lugay

A5
Laiko Lampstand Growing poverty
THE third paragraph of the Vision-Mission of the Catholic Church written in 1991 during the Second Plenary Council states: “Following the way of the Lord we opt to be a Church of the Poor, which demands evangelical poverty of us all and harnesses the transformative power of the poor among us toward the justice and love of God in the world.” Even delegates of PCP II could not immediately grasp the meaning of the statement especially that of evangelical poverty. In fact, due to many questions about PCP II’s Acts and Decrees, Fr. Pedro S. de Achetegui, S.J. published a booklet, “121 Questions and Answers on the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines”. From this source, we quote his answer to the question, WHAT IS THEN THE MEANING OF THE CHURCH OF THE POOR? “The Church of the Poor means a Church that embraces and practices evangelical spirit of poverty; that is, a church:

Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD

DADITAMA
REMASE is the short name of the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao in Davao City. It was founded by the PME Fathers (Priests for the Foreign Mission) from Quebec, Canada; established in 1964, upon the insistence of the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries, for the philosophical and theological formation of future diocesan priests for the entire island of Mindanao. On the occasion of the national celebration of St. John Mary Vianney Sunday on August 3, 2008, celebrating the Patron of Parish Priests, allow me to remember and celebrate REMASE with you. the life and loves of St. John Mary Vianney would be very relevant. His simplicity, passion for the Eucharist, the work of evangelization and catechesis, and his life of prayer, could not but impress priests of their utmost necessity in the ministry. St. John Mary Vianney Sunday on August 3, 2008, is a special day for all Catholics in the Philippines, not only to remember this great saint for parish priests, but also to be extra generous in the mass collection for the purpose of the continuing formation of our priests. We give special thanks to all who contributed in bringing to reality the St. John Mary Vianney Galilee Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay and all those who continue to support it.

REMASE
ing the missionary spirit to the REMASIANS. Being missionaries themselves, they too passed on the torch of mission so that REMASE’s alumni continue to be the “light” and “salt” in Mindanao. Now REMASE is under the administration of the Diocesan Clergy from different parts of Mindanao. What the PME Fathers started 44 years ago, has now come full swing with local diocesan priests holding the helm of REMASE, under the guidance of a completely Filipino Bishops’ Commission. From foreign missionaries to local missionaries. We remember the PME Fathers and SVD Fathers with joy and gratitude in our hearts.

Rediscovering St. John Mary Vianney

The month of August should really be a special time for all parish priests and their assistants because we celebrate our patron saint this month. I remember that entering the St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in 1968, the first story of the saints I read about was that of St. John Mary Vianney who I just learned, then, was the patron saint of parish priests. Having grown up with the Jesuits, I knew very little of parish priests. So it was quite interesting for me to discover his life and ministry. It is no wonder that in recent years, this exemplary priest saint is once again being proposed as role model and intercessor for us priests. Today, when there is a new impetus in the renewal of the clergy, returning to

St. Francis Xavier
The PME Fathers who began REMASE could not help but pass on the missionary sprit to their disciples in REMASE. They were especially devoted to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries. It is no wonder then that REMASE is named after him. Indeed, the REMASE alumni, who were sent forth to the different parts of Mindanao, whether with the lowland Catholics or with the Lumads in the highlands and the Moros in the central and western Mindanao, became indefatigable evangelizers and formators of small Christian communities, Then, the SVD Fathers came and continued, where the PME Fathers left off, inculcat-

Alumni Bishops
You must have guessed by now that I am an alumnus (1976) of REMASE. So are, Bishop Elenito Galido (1979) in Iligan, Romulo dela Cruz(1972) in Kidapawan, Bishop Romulo Valles (1976) in Zamboanga, Bishop Sofronio Bancud, SSS (1977) in Cabanatuan, Bishop Martin Jumoad (1983) in Basilan, Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo (1980) in Cotabato. Thus far, six active Bishops serving the local churches in Mindanao and Luzon have come from REMASE. Surely, the PME Fathers couldn’t be happier to know that what they have started continues to bear good fruit. To all my fellow REMASIANS: Happy Alumni Homecoming August 18-20. (email: daditama_now@yahoo.com.ph)

a) whose members and leaders have a special love for the poor, b) where at the very least the poor are not discriminated against, c) which will be in solidarity with the poor, d) that “cannot remain silent before today’s forms of exploitation of the poor (John Paul II), e) which not only evangelizes the poor but where the poor themselves will become evangelizers, f) where pastors and leaders will learn to be with, work with and learn from the poor, g) whose leaders and better-off sectors will orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy, h) finally, which is willing to follow Jesus Christ through poverty and oppression in order to carry out the work of salvation.
Such a Church will become truly a communion, a sign and instrument for the unity of the people.” We can definitely say that the Church today has been doing activities related to the PCP II’s vision on the Church of the Poor. These are the recent involvement of the Church through the bishops: a) The holding of the Second National Rural Congress and the participation of peasant farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous people in dialogue concerning various socio-economic issues affecting their daily lives; b) The call for the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in their session last July 2008 with Engr. Raymundo B. Bernardo of DAR provincial office, Zamboanga, c) the initiative of the Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta leading the efforts to defend the environment together with his priests and parishioners, d) the holding of the Mindanao Bishops and Priests Congress reiterating their opposition to mining in the Philippines and reaffirming their previous stand on the repeal of Mining Act of 1995, and others. While the Bishops as shown support the Church of the Poor directive of PCP II’s Vision Mission, what has the Laity shown lately to support it? Wholehearted support was expressed during the prayer rally last June 25 at the University of Santo Tomas, on the issue for reproductive health and population control measures, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The lay organizations with family life apostolates and parishioners were present in big numbers. While we confess that population control is necessary, we oppose means that violate Church teachings. The Laity which composes 99.97 percent of the People of God, that is, the Church in the Philippines. We must be more concerned with the Church of the Poor’s Vision-Mission expressed in the sections:

Restore love for life! Welcome every child
THERE are many methods by which evil invents to destroy the apex of God’s creation. Because people are God’s best creative effort, if the devil could destroy humanity, he could laugh at God. It seems from the book of Job that the devil cannot kill people directly. He can only destroy humanity by enticing humans to kill one another. However, God has always had an alternative plan. Frequently, what the evil one sees as triumph over God because humans suffer and die, God uses as an opportunity to promote beauty, truth and growth. God never enjoys watching people suffer. He always wanted humans to gradually become his friends, quietly wandering in a garden. Since he chose evil, God uses that as an opportunity for each one of us to get to know God again. When God is present in suffering and death, what looks to be tragedy is triumph. When God’s only Son was cruelly killed on a cross and covered with sin so deeply that even God had to look away, God never abandoned his Son. It was the beginning of the most wonderful alternative plan, eternal joy life as a gift from God for all who will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Love Life
and other natural resources. However, they have a rapidly declining population, mainly because of abortion, and consequently there is no employment for a large percentage of people who would otherwise be teachers, home builders, pediatricians and city planners. As a result of 80-90 percent of women having had abortions, approximately 8-9 per woman, about 30 percent of the child bearing population is sterile. Even if they were forced to have children as they were in Romania, the instinctual heart desire for children has been broken. In Romania, the police made sure women did not abort their children, but they put their children into orphanages. The situation is so different in Ireland. Ireland, with almost no resources at all, but with many bright-eyed, tousled-haired children, has one of the best economies in the European Economic Community. Because eager workers are plentiful, many industries are settling in Ireland. The Filipino people should stop swallowing the population control propaganda of the government that the cause of poverty is too many babies being born, ergo couples should use contraceptives, being ligated or have abortion. Children are our future. Children make grown-ups restore love for life. (Source: “Deeply Damage” by Dr. Philip Ney, Child Psychiatrist)

Restoring love for life through fostering HOPE
Hope is essential for life. Children, prisoners, the sick and the handicapped die when

hope is absent. Humans give up only when hope is absent. But humans do not give up hope easily because to give up hope means not to seek for what they need. Not trying to find what they need for life, they would surely die. Rather than see their parents for what they really are—hopeless models and providers, most children will continually idealize their parents’ images so there is some reason to hope that their parents will somehow someday meet their needs. Children create hope. When adults have children, they are more likely to maintain a committed relationship, plan for the future, conserve their resources, forgo personal pleasure and mature as their children grow. Without children, people become narcissistic, hedonistic and materialistic. After all, “why not eat, drink and be merry because there is no one else than ourselves to be concerned with?” Without children there is declining hope in the world. When there is declining hope, people are less likely to have children. They argue when the world is coming apart, “Who would want to bring a child into a global catastrophe?” Without an increasing population of children and young parents, a free market economy cannot work. A good example of this is the Ukraine, which is a country well blessed with expansive wheat fields, oil, coal

Fr. Melvin P. Castro

Speaking of Mary
THAT is how Pope Pius XII began the Apostolic Constitution of 01 November 1950 defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Munificentissimus Deus. And even purposely chose the date of November 1. For us Filipinos that date maybe a little bit trivial since it is the day we usually dedicate in visiting the cemetery. Instead, in the mind of Pope Pius XII, our Lady’s privilege of being assumed into heaven both body and soul is placed in the context of the Communion of Saints, that Our Lady is in heaven with God and all the saints in the dignity and sanctity of her entire being—her body and soul.

The most bountiful God
issue is much wider and deeper. Let me quote part of the Apostolic Nuncio’s message at the Holy Mass of July 9: 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. Selfgiving 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. Hence, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, may we value, treasure, and

The Sanctity and Dignity of the Human Body
Alas the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a solemn reminder that we are to be saved not just soul, not just body but the entire integrity of our personhood which means body-soul together. Hence, the struggle for sanctity includes the sanctity of the human body. And this seems to be very antithetical to the current contemporary culture that we have. Reproductive Health, by international usage of the term, includes abortion. The local counterpart bills using such terminology is therefore inconsistent to the claim that such bills do not include abortion. Indeed, the bills may not include abortion, for now. Even the proponents of the bills, including the PLCPD (Philippine Legislators Committee for Population Development, an NGO which interestingly enough holds office in the House of Representatives compound) say that they are not for abortion since abortion is a crime in the country. They even say that we should not worry about the international definition of the word Reproductive Health because it does not apply to our country. Well, it may not apply now but it may apply later on. When we

have a more and more liberal Senate and House of Representatives, what is illegal and inapplicable today may end up to be the standard of tomorrow. What they fail to understand is that once we have pervaded a culture of contraception, a culture of thinking that there are UNWANTED PREGNANCIES, we will end up as the other societies have ended up: UNWANTED BABIES WHOSE LIVES SHOULD BE PREMATURELY TERMINATED, and that is what simply refer to as ABORTION. The Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, in his message in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae at the Manila Cathedral last 09 July 2008 rightfully noted that in the final analysis the issue about humanity’s desire to control everything and the ever-failing acknowledgment that everything and everyone is of God, and we are simply stewards. Our Church’s position on the regulation of birth has always been consistent because she has consistently believed and taught the dignity of the human body. We are not less human when we are able to dominate the instincts of the human body and human spirit. We instead become more human and more humane when we realize the dignity of our entire selves—body and soul—and think, act, live, and die according to this dignity. It is in fact less human of us if we fail to consider this dignity. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an invitation for us not to lose sight of this great dignity of our humanity. Her Assumption is not to set Her distant and very far from us. On the contrary, it is to set our humanity to a higher degree, to the degree we are meant to be. In the end, the issue of contraceptives, reproductive health, population management/ control is beyond the debate between natural and artificial means of birth control. The

In the Laity’s world of corporate governance, problem solving starts with the identification of the “true” not just the “perceived” problem. Consequently the root causes will have to be identified first. The problem of growing poverty is not population growth. There are many industrialized countries that need more people to man their industries but there is a constant decline of population. This is the reason they hire labor from other countries like the Philippines. In this regard, statistics show that in 2007, there were 11 million overseas Filipino workers. Their P14.4 billion remittances to their families was the biggest help to the government to contain the growing poverty of 2.9 million households who experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2008 according to SWS Survey. An economist, Cielito Habito, says that the problem is the economy. It is the lack of good governance to achieve three important measures of poverty alleviation: prices, jobs and incomes. An educator says the problem is lack of schools, lack of trained teachers, and lack of operating funds. The problem as seen by industry is that there are more graduates of favorite courses like nursing but less technical graduates who can operate machines. While unemployment is high at 3 million or 8.4 percent of the labor force, an additional 1 million graduates per year can not find jobs. But the greater problem is the children of the poor since there is no money for the child’s enrollment, school supplies and money for transportation and baon. The farmer will say that the prices of seeds, fertilizers are increasing, the cost of transport of goods is escalating due to increased fuel cost, not to mention the lack of farm-to-market roads. The recent world crisis in the prices of oil and food is caused by many factors not attributed to our own economic management. As the price of food and the cost of energy increases, more and more people especially those earning below the minimum wage suffer hunger as shown by a recent survey of SWS. According to the latest SONA of President GMA, there are enough funds collected from the VAT to spend for the immediate alleviation of poverty of the poorest of the poor. In fact, VAT from oil alone is P18.6 Billion. At the end of the year the total VAT collection from the BIR and Bureau of Customs will amount to P120 Billion. To spend this ready money for the immediate alleviation of the poorest of the poor is supported by businessmen affiliated with the Makati Business Club. Of course, the political opposition does not trust that these funds will be disbursed without part going to the pockets of corrupt officials. The growing poverty in the midst of worsening increase in energy and food costs and the added burden of rehabilitation of disaster areas need the Laity’s help in acting on the problem of graft and corruption—the establishment of good governance both in the private sector and in government. The Administration may be right in supporting the continued collection of the VAT but their record of credibility in doing what they say has been the cause of political opposition. Perhaps there will be more credibility if the Church-supported laity will implement the solutions to the causes of problems identified according to the corporate approach to problem solving. We, the Laity should always have the PCP II vision-mission in mind while doing our work for the Church of the Poor. uphold the dignity of the human body. And may we pray that those who think on the contrary and who wish that we also think in the like manner may receive God’s grace and realize that God, our most bountiful God, has given us our bodies not to be used and abused but to be loved and cared for. Ave Maria! Ad Jesum per Mariam.

a) whose members and leaders have a special love for the poor, b) whose leaders and better-off sectors will orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy.

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Local News

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Prelate tells Gov’t to stop killings of farmers in Masbate
IN a press conference, 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 last July 20. He was the fourth victim in land-reform related killings in the province in less than seven months. 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. 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. 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)

Corruption thrives in RP courtesy of gov’t officials
CORRUPTION thrives in Philippine government because many of its officials ignore or even engage in it. This was the consensus of several Church, civil society and government leaders who participated in a conference on corruption at the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), July 26-27. It was a follow-up of a similar conference a month earlier convened by the Cebu-based Dilaab Foundation, according to a CFA statement. CFA is a Catholic media center that is spearheading accountability and transparency in public and private sectors, besides educating people to use media for development. The “Dear Peace” exhibit showcases the creative output and peace aspirations of young Christian and Muslim students who participated in the Peace Camp conducted by the CFA last May 2006 in Taytay, Rizal. It was upon Museo ng Maynila’s invitation that CFA agreed to mount the Dear Peace exhibit for the Tertulia event. Tertulia is originally a Spanish word for social gatherings that serve as informal platforms for literary and artistic interaction or for sharing expertise and knowledge. Even if government officials realize the social degradation resulting from corruption, they are reluctant to confront it. Many of them are being elected due to campaign contributions from jueteng lords, drug lords and other unscrupulous patrons, it was pointed out. Their staying in power is dependent on bribes from the same sources. The former president Joseph Estrada plunder case was cited as proof that even the highest government position can be tainted when malefactors demand payback for their financial support. Ordinary citizens partake of this unholy partnership when they sell their votes during elections. Or when they fail to probe deeply to check whether candidates have questionable connections. Part of the solution to corruption may be the election of candidates whose qualifications include a demonstrated commitment against corruption. The participants were in concurrence that the 2010 election would be the tipping point. They intend to scan the field and scout for alternative candidates who would be better candidates than the usual “presidentiables” and “senatoriables.” They also agreed to bring together efforts at voters’ education, which they said was a natural complement of anticorruption. Especially targeted are young voters, who make up the majority of both the electorate and the national population. (Santosh Digal)

Church partners with DA in promoting sustainable agriculture
THE Archdiocese of Davao through its Social Action Center (ASAC) has partnered with Department of Agriculture (DA) in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to farmers. Part of the sustainable agriculture training is conducting seminar on livestock management and home technology in order to help farmers acquire extra income for their sustenance. In a communiqué sent by ASAC, it was learned, that around 92 farmers and church workers joined the livestock management
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training and home technology seminar with emphasis on meat and vegetable processing held last July 25-26 at Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (SMIARC) in Manambulan Tugbok District, Davao City. ASAC director Fr. Rico Enriquez coordinated with DA director Roger Chio in conducting the seminar for the representatives coming from the parishes of Panacan, Tibungco, Lasang, Malabog, Marahan, Tagakpan, Mintal, Buhangin, Babak and

Kaputi-an. The two-day seminar was done through workshop, lecture, and creative presentations and coaching on sustainable agricultural practices. ASAC is also thankful to SMIARC chief Juanito Lupiba and his staff and to the resource speakers namely Norberto Bantig, Vicente Guinabasan, Luzviminda Delgado, Fe Mercado and activity coordinators Richard Ano and Charleo Modequillo together with the activity facilitator Dolores L. Apellado. (Mark S. Ventura)

“We call on the Senate to stand up for the Filipino people on the issue of JPEPA,” they said, adding that side notes will do little to improve the Philippines’ position. According to the statement, after several hearings in the Senate, the public have yet to see credible studies to back up the fantastic claims of the government that the deal will boost the economy. But rather than economic development, signatories of the statement said, the agreement is poised to further damage the already crisis-ridden Philippine economy. They said the side agreements “tread on dangerous waters as has been shown by precedents in the arena of international treaties.” “The faults and ills of JPEPA cannot be fixed by side notes. The threats on the environment on the lives and on the livelihood of the Filipino people cannot be eliminated by a general stateIPs / A1

ment that our so-called trading partner will respect Philippine laws,” they said. The Arroyo administration is urging the Senate to ratify the $4 billion trade deal with Japan, which it says could create over 300,000 jobs. The pact would bolster exports to Japan, the government claimed, a market being eyed by market rival Thailand. Japan has also pledged to employ thousands of Philippine nurses. Under JPEPA Japanese investors could also own Philippine private land for all ventures other than those in the manufacturing and services sector, thus violating the Constitution, the statement read. Also, they said JPEPA allows Japan to fish in Philippine waters, an activity reserved solely for Filipino citizens. They added that JPEPA allows Japan to exclude and thus protect 651 of its products, while allow-

ing the Philippines to protect only six. But critics have objected with claims the deal would see toxic waste sent to the Philippines. However, this had been denied by the government, which said that diplomatic notes had been exchanged stating that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessions. The deal was originally struck in 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Sen. Mar Roxas said the Senate must concur with the ratification of the JPEPA before November or it will be left behind by the rest of the South East Asian nations. He said that Japan will hold a summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in November or December this year, with economic partnership agreements as the main agenda.

Roxas warned that if the Senate had not concurred with JPEPA by then, the Philippines would lose a major market for its products like copra that are also offered by other ASEAN member nations. Catholic bishops who signed the statement were Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bishops Deogracias Iñiguez (Kalookan), Rolando Tirona (Infanta), Antonio Tobias (Novaliches) and Infanta BishopPrelate Emeritus Julio Labayen. They were also joined by other Church leaders like Bro. Edmundo Fernandez, provincial superior of De La Salle Brothers and Bro. Armando Luistro. Others who signed were former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr., Von Hernandez of Greenpeace, columnist Randolph David, and former Senate president Jovito Salonga.

the exclusion of the lumads in the ancestral domain issue goes against the tri-people character of Mindanao. In a statement sent to CBCPNews earlier, Timuay Fernando Mudai of the Pigsalabukan Bangsa Subanon said the absence of the tribal people in the “ancestral domain” agreement is a violation of the “sapa,” a 13th century peace covenant between moro and indigWorkforce / A1

enous peoples on the recognition and respect of their respective territories. “While we welcome any initiatives for peace in Mindanao, peace cannot be achieved with the disenfranchisement of the lumads in any peace agreement,” he added. Tribal leaders here made an indignation rally today against the government accusing the president of her failure to help the indigenous

peoples in their struggle for survival, cultural integrity, human rights and self determination. “Her dismal accomplishment of distributing 525,000 hectares of ancestral domain in a total of seven years could never hide the true state of the indigenous peoples which continues to be that of discrimination, deprivation, disenfranchisement, displacement and disintegration,” he ended. (Mark S. Ventura)

brothers in workplaces are denied of their right to just wages, our indigenous peoples are denied of their rights to ancestral domain and self-determination, our fisher folks are left without enjoying God-given marine resources, our women and children are subject to commodification and abuse and many of our young workers and professionals are forced to

earn a living abroad away from their homes and families,” says the pastoral statement. It added, as Church Peoples, we long for a kind of peace in our country that is fundamentally based on justice. “We firmly believe that there will be no peace when our people live in hunger and misery, when the tillers remain landless, when

workers do not receive just wages, when urban and rural communities are dislocated to cater to big business interests. There will be no peace as long as the peoples’ fundamental socio-economic rights are grossly subordinated if not utterly neglected in favor of power, profits and privileges for the rich few,” added the statement. (Noel Barcelona)

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to the CBCP Secretariat and its permanent council, composed of eleven bishops and archbishops to study the said agreement before making any statement. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, Jr. pointed out the failure of government to satisfactorily explain to the people the contents of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He said he also want to be clarified on the concept of autonomy because to make Mindanao “another country or nation is too controversial.” Interviewed at Bacolod Port August 4, Bishop Iniguez said “the government should explain every detail of the agreement because it is something that concerns the Filipino people especially with this long-standing problem of relationship with the Muslims.” “We owe it to the Filipino people to explain the (agreement’s) details,” the prelate further said. Butuan Bishop Juan De Dios M. Pueblos said “politicians should be more considerate this time for peace in the whole Philippines and especially in

Mindanao.” He said the government should reveal the contents of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain so “it could be properly discussed and probably a compromise could be made to prevent any trouble in the future.” (Melo Acuna)
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“Aside from the planned protest action, which the Diocese of Calbayog strongly condemns, I have already ordered the 60 priests under my jurisdiction to report and inform the people of the ill-effects of the reproductive health bill to one’s health and well-being,” the 52-year old prelate disclosed in an interview with Catholic-run Radio Veritas. He said they will also launch their “family values seminar” this August with Dr. Ligaya Acosta and Atty. Jo Imbong of the CBCP Legal Office as resource persons. “We will also invite local government officials to attend the seminar, including our lawmakers,” Bishop Abarquez said. (Melo M. Acuña)

and will not lead to abortion. Listen to the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill that provides, among others, easy access to artificial means of birth control, and they strongly harp on what they call “misinformation among bishops” that contraceptives promote abortion. On the contrary, they claim, contraceptives keep women from having to undergo abortion since no human life will be formed in their wombs, in the first place. Reproductive health advocates say that the Church therefore errs and actually promotes abortion by declaring immoral the use of contraceptives. Let’s grant that contraception is not abortion by distinction. But what’s being ignored here? The close connection, nay

the orientation of contraception to abortion. For example, we are informed that the invention and proliferation of chemical products, such as “the pill”, IUDs, vaccines etc. which (a) inhibit ovulation, (b) prevent the union of sperm and ovum (fertilization) and (c) impede the implantation of the zygote in the uterine wall— clearly indicate that while contraceptives, through (a) and (b), prevent the formation of human life, through (c), are abortive. In other words, more updated contraceptives avoid high doses and allow more ovulation, more conception and so depend on chemical abortion back-up that prevent the fertilized egg (baby human being) from being implanted in the wall of the uterus that is necessary for

its development and growth. The fetus is, in effect, expelled from the womb. The truth? It’s simply aborted; hence the term ‘abortifacient’ when describing contraceptives that really perform abortions for all intents and purposes. So say experts like Bogomir M. Kuhar who, as early as 1988, wrote an article entitled, “Pharmaceutical Companies, The New Abortionists” in Human Life International. Of the contraceptives now available and soon to be made more accessible to Filipinos, who would guarantee abortifacientfree sets of choices? The Church’s critics say she errs on the contraceptives issue. Granting that she does (as only non-believers would say), I’d say, “Better err on the side of life”.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Diocesan News

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News Briefs
Archbishop calls on govt to solve 2004 killings
LIPA City—Amid calls for gov’t action on an ambush on RMN anchor Dennis Cuesta, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles lamented the gov’t has yet to resolve the killing of a journalist and an ombudsman in Batangas province in 2004. He said that in the case of Arnel Manalo and Guillermo Gano, “the wheel of justice turns very slow in this part of the world.” “If we cannot expect justice for such high profile crimes, how would ordinary victims and their families get justice,” he said. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)

Lawmaker withdraws support for repro health bill
Bishop says it’s the ‘best gift ever’
MANILA, July 30, 2008— Romblon Roman Catholic Bishop Jose Corazon Talaoc said it was his best Episcopal anniversary gift ever. The bishop, who is celebrating his 5th year as bishop today, told CBCPNews how glad he was when Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona has withdrawn his support for the reproductive health and population control bill in Congress. Talaoc, who is currently in his hometown in Tangalan, Aklan, said the lawmaker phoned him this morning to disclose that “he is backing out” from the proposed measure. “I am celebrating my 5th Episcopal anniversary now so I think this is the best gift for me ever,” he said. The 58-year old prelate said Madrona is also going to release a formal letter signifying his total withdrawal of support for the reproductive health measure. “Rest assured that I will be backing out of the bill and I will always support the stand of the Church,” Talaoc quoted Madrona as saying. Madrona also serves as chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges. The Catholic Church still retains a considerable influence on issues such as family planning in the country. Earlier, Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza of the fourth district of Batangas also has withdrawn his support for the measure. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, whose pastoral territory covers Mendoza’s legislative district, said the lawmaker made his “change of heart” in a letter to the prelate dated June 28. “He apologized for his position,” Arguelles said. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, lauded the move made by the two legislators. “We praise and thank God. Our prayers and hope that many will follow suit,” he said. Castro called on lawmakers who are supporting the bills on population control to rethink their position and withdraw their signatures. “We beg our lawmakers, whom we love and respect, to drop the entire bill altogether,” he said. Castro earlier said that the Church is humble enough to beg for the legislators to “rethink their position and by God’s grace, in time, withdraw your position.” He likened the Catholic Church to a “mother” and a “teacher” who despite their differences in opinion, still love and respect the lawmakers. “We want them to walk the path of the truth. We want them not to be misguided, we do not want them to be influenced by the factors against life....Reproductive Health is not a natural word, it is an alternative word that includes abortion,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)

Make own survey on Arroyo satisfaction rating, Palace told
DAGUPAN City—Instead of questioning pollster Pulse Asia over it s surveys “unfavorable” to President Arroyo, Malacañang should make its own survey, Lingayen-Daguoan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said. Cruz made the suggestion as he chided press secretary and presidential spokesman Jesus Dureza for questioning recent surveys by Pulse Asia. (CBCPNews)

Catholic educators vow to be more militant
DAVAO City— Mindanao Catholic educators said they will be more militant on various issues affecting residents there. DACS-CEAP executive director Jimmie Loe dela Vega said they will give reflection and attention to issues like peace education, intensifying environmental advocacy especially on mining issues, and the need for Catholic schools to be involved in social issues which include the killing of missionaries like Fr. Rey Roda. (Mark Ventura)

Bishop dares govt, MILF negotiators to stay in Basilan
BASILAN—Basilan bishop Martin Jumoad dared government and MILF negotiators to live in Basilan to see for themselves the effects of their agreement on ancestral domain. He said there was no consultation with local residents regarding the agreement. (Melo Acuña)

Bishop: Trust President Arroyo on eVAT
MALOLOS City—Bishop Jose Oliveros said the government was correct in imposing the expanded value-added tax and that Filipinos should trust President Arroyo because “what she is doing is for the good of the nation.” He argued that if properly collected and accounted for, the VAT can do much good. He said the VAT may hurt the pockets of many people but it is still their clear obligation to the government. (CBCPNews)

Million devotees expected to flock Peñafrancia festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24875591@N04

Prelate urges ‘Gov Vi’ to act vs gambling in Batangas
LIPA City—Alarmed by the proliferation of jueteng and small-town lottery, Lipa archbishop Ramon Arguelles has urged Batangas governor Vilma Santos-Recto to personally act against gambling in her turf. Arguelles, a former military bishop, said the governor must oppose all forms of gambling to dispel rumors that her administration tolerates the illegal numbers game. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)

Bishops’ Forum asks gov’t to resume peace talks with Reds
MANILA—Catholic and Protestant bishops on Wednesday urged government to work to resume talks with communist rebels. The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), an alliance of bishops coming from different Christian denominations in the country, said that it was high time that government resume pending peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Cardinal tells Arroyo: Subsidies, dole-outs not enough
MANILA—Jobs and not dole-outs is the answer to hunger and poverty in the country, Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales told President Arroyo. Rosales chided Arroyo for her dole-out program, saying this merely makes the poor dependent on the government. “Create jobs so that people won’t be dependent. If people have work, they have money to spend no matter how little it is,” he said. (Santosh Digal)

Catholic university holds ‘week of prayer’ for priests
MANILA—The University of Santo Tomas (UST) held a week of prayer and gratitude for priests as “men of service and beacons of truth” from July 28 to August 1. The event is for the feast of St. John Mary Vianney on August 4. “This would also create awareness that hearts of priests are molded to be men of service and beacons of truth,” said UST secretary general Fr. Isidro Abano. (CBCPNews)

IPs not convinced with SONA
DAVAO City—Indigenous people in Mindanao are not convinced with the claims made by President Arroyo during her recent SONA. Datu Angkong Limikid, a lumad leader from Maragusan in Compostela Valley, appealed to President Arroyo to fulfill her promises on awarding of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title. “She lumped the CADT issuance along with land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) citing 525,000 hectares of land have been distributed,” he said. (Mark Ventura)

NAGA CITY, August 6, 2008--More than a million devotees are expected to attend the much-awaited Penafrancia Festival in September according to Fr. Luisito Occiano, head of Caceres Commission on Communications. “The Archdiocese of Caceres is now preparing for the 2008 celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia this September with more than a million devotees expected to attend,” Occiano said. Occiano is also Vice Rector of the Basilica Minore, home of Our Lady of Peñafrancia or “Ina” as fondly called by millions of her devotees. A series of seminars will be held in the different parishes in the city in preparation

for the upcoming festivities according to Occiano. The seminar is aimed to brief the men devotees who will carry the image in processions in view of a more proper coordination and orderly activity. The religious festival officially kicks off on September 3, with the start of the novena to the Divino Rostro. It will culminate on September 12, in which the Traslacion procession carrying the image of Ina will be transferred from the Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral for the novena prayers. On September 20, the colorful fluvial procession will take place. Here, the miraculous image will be carried and brought around

the city. The image will then be transferred to a waiting pagoda to take the image back to her basilica minore. This yearly activity dates back to the 17th century and has never failed to attract devotees. The ever growing attendance to the festival has been attributed to the miraculous image, which according to some has cured them of their diseases and other miracles which they claim happened due to the intercession made by Ina to her Son. “It is our wish to see to it that with the big volume of devotees coming to visit Ina, order and solemnity of the religious activities are observed while everyone is given the chance to visit, pray and honor her during the occasion,” said Occiano. (Elmer Abad)

Ozamiz City Council urged to oppose anti-life bills
OZAMIZ CITY, August 5, 2008— Chairperson of Committee on Family and Ozamiz City Councilor Simplicia O. Neri has appealed on the City Council to stand united in their opposition against the anti-life Bills pending in Congress. In her privilege speech during their regular session August 4, Neri said the Health Committee in the lower house has approved and passed post-haste the consolidated bills on reproductive health in so short a time with hardly, if at all, any discussion. Neri added that the Philippine Government through the Department of Interior and Local Government mandating the various members of Sanggunian, has pushed the “Anti-Life” contents of the bills under the deceptive heading, “Improved Women’s Reproductive Health.” “A case of the same dog with [a] different collar,” she stressed. Neri, however, said many of these bills propose harmful programs involving education for two-child families, free access to abortifacients and contraceptives, even for men and adolescent, legalization of abortion and the introduction of inappropriate education on sexuality in schools deemed harmful to wholesome personal and moral development of the students. “Penalties of imprisonment up to 6 months are provided for those who do not participate in the program,” Neri said. Neri encouraged the City Council to do their best to resist such measures that violate the right of spouses to build a family in line with their religious principles which include the safeguarding of the true and responsible parenthood and the rights of the children and the family. She mentioned the government should prioritize the allocation of public funds. The first priority should be given to remove the root cause of poverty. Controlling population growth through specious and deceptive means, to say the least, is an attack on moral life. She explained that these bills are clearly unconstitutional. Citing Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution, Neri said that the state recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government. “Under these premises, may we stand united in our position to strongly oppose these proposed bills,” Neri concluded her privilege speech. (Wendell Talibong)

Bishop wants religious leaders to mediate in GRP-MILF talks
CAGAYAN DE ORO City—The presence of a third party would be help ful for the success of the peace talks between the government and the Moro International Liberation Front (MILF), Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said. “We should ask the intermediation of a third party to make sure both sides are really sincere, and that they are sticking with the agreement,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Ozamiz faithful warned vs fake priest
OZAMIZ City—The Ozamiz presbyterium warned the faithful Friday against a fake cleric sending solicitation letters to prominent Catholics and various establishments asking for donations. The fake priest claimed to be one Fr. Carlos Borja, a Carmelite priest. Reports said Borja would visit prominent families and various offices soliciting cash donations for the poor. (Wendell Talibong)

Priest scores high school survey on family planning
DAET, Camarines Norte—A Bicol-based priest voiced alarm over a survey conducted in a public high school in Camarines Norte where students were asked to “choose” between government or Church family planning. Daet diocese social communications director Fr. Ernesto Corre said the students were asked whether they favor government or the Church’s family planning methods. “Asking school children the question reflects the fact that the right moral values are not being properly conveyed to them in the classrooms,” he said. (Elmer Abad)

Caritas Vigan sustains rice, other social action programs
VIGAN CITY, August 6, 2008 -The Social Action Commission (SAC) or CARITAS of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia (ANS) continued its self-sustaining rice program dubbed Bigasan ng Parokya, which it initiated at the height of the national rice crisis in mid-May this year. From an initial 20 cavans per week, CARITAS-ANS in Vigan has increased its supply to locals of up to 40 cavans per week of NFA rice. Thirteen other Nueva Segovia parishes have since implemented similar Bigasan ng Parokya rice programs for their parishioners. But SAC’s weekly limited supply of cheap rice (P18.25/kilo) runs out after two hours of distribution on Tuesdays, to the dismay of people seeking more viable substitutes to commercial rice which sells dearly from P36P46/kilo in the local market. Sr. Lillian Carranza, OSB of Caritas said the sale of cheaper NFA rice is now limited to DSWD and Bigasan sa Parokya outlets while public market outlets sell NFA rice at a higher price. Helen Grace Olipane of the Religious Affairs Dept. of Malacanang Palace, during her visit to Caritas in Vigan last month, promised to support the SAC program with an additional grant of 17 sack-allotment of NFA rice within the next 60 days. Meantime, SAC’s Lorenzo Gomez Charity Clinic continued to serve an average 20 patients daily. Free check-up and medicine are extended to indigent patients, mostly children. A referral system allows patients needing further medical attention to the Gabriela Silang Provincial Hospital, where the volunteer-doctors of CARITAS are based, the Regional Training Hospital in San Fernando, La Union or to other national health institutions. Carranza said CARITAS is currently organizing a medical-dental-optical mission to be held on August 13 in partnership with local pharmacy owners and volunteer doctors. The outreach serves some 300 patients per mission and usually held in Nueva Segovia’s upland and interior parishes. These missions are part of SAC’s year-round health program for the people. (Fran Quitoriano)

2 altar boys found dead inside church premises
ABUYOG, Leyte—Police here are now looking into the gruesome killing of two alt ar boys whose bodies were found inside their quarters in Abuyog town on July 23. The victims, both minors, sustained at least four stab wounds each in different parts of their bodies. The victims, aged 14 and 17, were both residents of Palo town. (Regine Olimberio)

Bishop seeks prayers for bus bombing victims
DIGOS City—Digos bishop Guillermo Afable called on the Catholic faithful to offer prayers for the victims of the bombing of a Metro Shuttle passenger bus in the city on July 24. Afable said the bombing was the first in Digos this year. “May all the necessary assistance be rendered to them and may God have mercy on the perpetrators of the crime ... May truth, justice and live reign in all our hearts,” he said. (Melo Acuna)

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People, Facts & Places
strong force and light of the Church in the Philippines,” the bishop stressed. According to Bastes, it was a simple prayer that launched the pastoral commission’s mission that send God’s Word into action. Its area of competence and service is the biblical-pastoral ministry in its five-fold concerns, namely: Animating Biblical-Pastoral Formation; Organizing Bible Celebration; Promoting Bible Translations; Assisting Bible Production; Coordinating Bible Distribution. Before that the CBCP had a Bible translation committee functioning under the Commission of Ecumenical Affairs. This committee had become necessary since the CBCP wanted translations of the Bible in the various indigenous languages for the celebration of the Liturgy in the vernaculars. ECBA is supervised and governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of Bishop Commission members, the Executive Secretary, and the Regional Directors. When the Episcopal Commission

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Bible apostolate marks 30th anniversary
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Bible ministry observed its 30th anniversary last July 23 with gratitude to God for a multitude of blessings. Since 1978, the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and its partners have helped provide thousands of Scriptures nationwide. “ECBA remains committed to serving the faithful by providing Bibles and training to people who share the transforming Word of God,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, ECBA chairman. “We aim that the Word of God will be a was formally formed in 1978 there was only one Catholic Bible Center in the country, the one in Manila. Today the ECBA is organized into ten regions, each with its duly organized Regional Biblical Center and a Regional Director. The said biblical centers are responsible for the implementation of on-going biblical formation programs for their region. “The desire to help and lead people to Christ through God’s Word has expanded to ECBA’s present ministry of placing Bibles into waiting hands in various Biblical centers,” Bastes added. (Roy Lagarde)

Lipa archdiocese launches Pauline year

CBCP elects bishop-delegates to FABC assembly
THE recently-held 97th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center last July 5, elected six bishops as delegates to the upcoming IX Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Bangalore, India on January 11-20, 2009. Elected to the Asian plenary assembly are Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, Bishop of Cabanatuan and Most Rev. Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, Bishop of Baguio; Most Rev. Onesimo Gordoncillo, Archbishop of Capiz, and Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Palo; and Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Zamboanga and Most Nereo P. Odchimar, Bishop of Tandag. The six elected bishops represent the regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, an FABC ex-officio member in his capacity as CBCP president, will also participate in the upcoming assembly. Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus who chairs the FABC drafting committee that will prepare

THE Archdiocese of Lipa officially launched the Year of St. Paul with a 7 a.m. Eucharistic Celebration last July 27 at the San Sebastian Cathedral, Lipa City. The Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa presided over the celebration along with the Most Reverend Salvador Quizon and some diocesan and religious priests in the Archdiocese. Spearheading the celebration were the Pauline congregations in the archdiocese; the Daughters of St. Paul in Lipa, the Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation (IOLA), and

the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in Balayan. Many other religious congregations, organizations, institutions, and lay faithful, coming from as far as Tuy, Batangas, joined the celebration. In his homily, Archbishop Arguelles called on the faithful to rejoice and be grateful for the gift of faith that we now have because of the holy Apostle St. Paul’s zealous proclamation of the Gospel. He also gave a succinct catechesis on the life and mission of St. Paul in a language un-

derstandable to all gathered for the celebration. In his final blessing, Archbishop Arguelles prayed that during this year of the Apostle’s Jubilee, the faithful in the Archdiocese of Lipa may grow in faith and continue to choose the way of St. Paul, who lived his life for God. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had earlier declared June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009 as a Special Jubilee Year in commemoration of the 2000th Birth Anniversary of St. Paul the Apostle. (Cherell Bacus)

the Instrumentum Laboris, has been chosen as one of the speakers during the assembly. Another Filipino bishop participating in the assembly is Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI of Cotabato, currently the secretary general of FABC. The FABC is a voluntary association of Episcopal conferences in Asia which meets in plenary every four years. Membership includes all presidents of member-conferences, associate members and members of the Standing Committee. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Int’l media conference to be held in Ateneo de Davao
THE Ateneo de Davao University will be the venue of the first international media conference organized by the Asian Congress for Media and Communication (ACMC) this coming August 21-23. The theme of the conference is “Media in Asia: A Tool for Human Rights Education and Monitoring” is expected to tackle issues on human rights both in an academic and practical perspective. Organizers said expected participants include mass communication educators from the Philippines and neighboring Asian countries, students, media practitioners, government public information officers, people’s organization, and other interested individuals. Director of Special Projects Alan Davis of the London-based Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) will be the keynote speaker. ACMC is a Philippine-based Asian-wide professional organization of lecturers, practitioners, and students in the field of media, communication, and language education. The initiative of ACMC will expose media and communication educators to the complex interconnections between media, communication, languages and human rights at a time when both have become central tenets of political, cultural and policy debate. (Mark S. Ventura w/PR)

Markings
ORDAINED. Most Rev. Gerardo Alimane Alminaza, as Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo, by Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, August 4, 2008 with Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra as co-ordaining prelates. Alminaza, who was the director for Spiritual and Pastoral Formation Year of Seminarians at St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Iloilo at the time of his appointment, was born in San Jose, Sipalay, Negros Occident al on August 14, 1959. He studied Philosophy at Sacred Heart Seminary in Bacolod and completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Ordained priest on April 29, 1986 at the Diocese of Bacolod, Alminaza took postgraduate studies at Fordham University in New York and obtained his Doctorate in Educational Management at the University of Negros Occidental, Bacolod City. CELEBRATED. Sr. Ma. Elizabeth M. Acebedo, Sr. Ma. Corazon D. Agda, Sr. Ma. Elna C. del Mar, Sr. Ma. Victoria S. Lolo, Sr. Ma. Cynthia C. Mendiola, Sr. Ma. Evangeline C. Nakila, Sr. Ma. Rodita O. Salcedo, Sr. Ma. Mercedes A. Sandoval, Silver Jubilarians; S r. Ma. Benita C. Compra, Sr. Ma. Constancia L. Grana, Sr. Ma. Jesusa T. Pasco, Golden Jubilarians of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. Thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, RVM Generalate, Quezon City August 15, 2008. , CELEBRATED . Sr. Lourdes Eugenia of Jesus (right) and Sr. Paula Victoria “Vicky” (left) of the Crucified Jesus of the Religious of the Assumption Congregation professed their Final Vows at the Assumption Chapel, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City last July 26, 2008. Rev. Fr. Edwin Soliva, SDB presided the celebration with concelebrating priests from different congregations: SDB, Assumption Fathers, SJ and PDSP or Calabrians. The event was attended by families and relatives, religious brothers and sisters, benefactors and friends of the sisters and of the community. Sr. Lourdes, a native of Dangcagan, Bukidnon is presently assigned in Xavier de Kibanggay High School in Lantapan, Bukidnon while Sr. Vicky of Mina, Iloilo City is in Saint Martin School in Baguio City. ORDAINED. Arvin Mosqueda of Bohol, Robert Saballo of Lubang Island (Mindoro) and Percy Singco of Cebu, to the Sacred Order of Deacons, at the Mission Society of the Philippines Seminary, Tagaytay, July 22, 2008 with Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle as ordaining prelate. The MSP is a Society of Filipino Catholic missionary priests, committed to share the gift of faith to the peoples in Asia and the rest of the world. Established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the MSP serves as the official and chief missionary arm of the Catholic Church of the Philippines. Since its inception in 1965, the MSP now has been working in 13 countries % Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, American Samoa, the Netherlands, England, United States of America, and Guyana.

Palawan celebrates 4th Pondo ng Pinoy anniv
barangay chapels and schools of the Vicariate including priests and religious sisters, participated in the festive and upbeat celebration. His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, founder and chairman of the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc. along with Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, a member of the PnP Board of Trustees joined the Local Church in its celebration. In his keynote address, the Cardinal pointed out that Pondo ng Pinoy is a product of a vision or an inspiration for the Filipino Christian community. Through repeated acts of love and goodness towards one’s neighbor, the love of God is experienced thus bringing hope and fullness of life to all, especially the poor. As the slogan says, “Anumang magaling kahit maliit, basta’t malimit ay patungong langit.” Fr. Camilo C. Caabay, vicarial coordinator of Pondo ng Pinoy, presented the catechesis of Pondo ng Pinoy. The anniversary was organized by Rev. Fr. Camilo C. Caabay, vicarial PnP coordinator and the Commission on Social and Special Concerns headed by Rev. Fr. Juan Felipe Torrecampo, assisted by Bro. Anthony Badilla with the support of the AVPP community. (Fr. Camilo C. Caabay)

THE Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa celebrated the 4th Anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy last July 12, at the Holy Trinity College Gymnasium, Puerto

Princesa City with the theme, “Halina Pondo ng Pinoy Sali Tayo!” A thousand participants coming from the different parishes,

UST Singers to join European Choral Festivals
PROFESSOR Fidel Gener Calalang, Jr., multi-awarded Filipino composer and conductor of the University of Santo Tomas Singers (UST Singers), will conduct the UST Singers during its 13th International Concert Tour dubbed as “Festival Europe” in August. Traveling over Spain and France, Calalang and UST Singers will represent the Philippines to four international choral festivals in September and October respectively. Recently, Calalang was one of the members in the international jury of the 20th International Festival of Academic Choirs Competition (IFAS) in Pardubice, Czech Republic which was held from July 1 to 8. The competition, organized every two years, was the largest gathering of outstanding university and academic choirs from all over the world. He was joined by other members of the jury from Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Poland and USA. Calalang is the Chair of the UST Conservatory of Music Conducting Department, where he is also a professor in Piano. He is the founder and conductor of the internationally-acclaimed UST Singers that has won 45 top prizes from choral competitions around the world including the 1995 Choir of the World Grand Prize in the United Kingdom, 1998 Gran Premio Citta di Gorizia in Italy and the historic 1st Prizes with five 100 per cent scores in all categories at the 2002 Festa Musicale in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Recently, Calalang has been named in the Marquis’ “Who’s Who in the World 2009,” to be published in the United States in November 2008. (Santosh Digal)

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CBCP Monitor
seminars, and high-level caucuses was similarly completed during the period, complementing the formal consultation processes. These tracks involved many individuals and institutions, coming from the academe, media, civil society, Church groups, legislators and the Bishops themselves. Various publications, papers, statements and documentations have been produced and compiled to supplement the workshops that came about in NRC-II. What was seen In the course of the Congress, several important information came out clearly. The rural poor are trapped in a vicious intent of the Congress. Going deeper into the dialogue, several causes of this rural poverty were unearthed. Foremost appears to be the lack of serious implementation of laws and policies designed to promote asset reform and social justice. Inadequate resources and capacities to provide basic services were also mentioned. One other major concern was the prevailing graft and corruption and the “culture of helplessness”—that there is nothing anyone can do to make change happen. On the other hand, it was also recognized that some problems on the level of awareness and knowledge of the rural poor, that they need to learn more about their rights and responsibilities as reform, two proposals were presented— the extension of CARP with major reforms (CARPER) and the enactment of a new land reform law (GARB). The Congress recognized that there is a need to further review and to deepen the understanding of the implications of both proposals. From the fisherfolks, they called on the strict implementation of the Fisheries Code (or RA 8550), including its review to address some loopholes in its implementation. The fisherfolk also identified specific issues such as landlessness, the presence of destructive fishing methods and called for more activities that will enhance the capacities of the fisherfolk sector, including trainings, organizing

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alized dialogue”, a process and venue where the rural poor can continually and sustainably interact with the Bishops and the Catholic Church. There was also a recommendation to activate specialized desks in the Church structure that maybe able to specifically implement sectoral or thematic work at the parish, diocesan, regional and even national levels. It is imperative that the dreams and aspirations of NRC-II must be fulfilled through action. In the next few months, several things will happen that can hopefully cultivate a sense of hope for the rural poor and their partners, in order for them to overcome the forbidding challenges of rural poverty.

DEAR brothers and sisters, Last July 7-8, 2008, we successfully conducted the Second National Rural Congress or NRC-II. More than 300 participants representing the rural poor and the clergy converged at the San Carlos Seminary, and had a fruitful interaction, discussing the very important and complicated issues that surround the communities in the rural poor in the Philippines. In the context of meaningful dialogue, the Congress was convened by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and it intended to help strengthen and sustain the Church-rural poor linkages established some forty years ago, during the 1967 National Ru-

Pastoral Concerns
Second National Rural Congress (NRC-II) Communique

‘In the Philippines today, God calls us most urgently to serve the poor and the needy’
ral Congress. A participatory and transformative course of action was done that led to the: Identification and discernment of urgent national and local issues confronting the rural poor; Recommendation of policies and programmes for both the Church and the government to address the identified issues, Internalization and elaboration of lessons learned on Church-rural poor linkages since the First National Rural Congress, and Identification of potential actions and concrete mechanisms for Church-rural poor linkages to implement NRC-II resolutions. Using the backdrop of the Catholic Social Teachings, and reflective of the SEEJUDGE-ACT framework, this momentous event allowed both the Church and the rural poor to expand their understanding of the situation, the circumstances, and the possible solutions to the myriad problems that confront the rural poor— the farmers, the fisherfolk, the indigenous peoples, the women and the youth—those that have less in life. It is hoped that this event will strengthen the will to be a “Church of the Poor”.1 “Before today’s forms of exploitation of the poor, the Church cannot remain silent. She also reminds the rich of their precise duties. Strong with the Word of God2, she condemns the many injustices which unfortunately, even today are committed to the detriment of the poor.”3 The journey to NRC-II In the journey towards this Congress, it was emphasized that the actual event was merely a culmination of a series of equally important discussions held at the Diocesan and Sub-Regional Consultations (DRCs/SRCs) conducted since last November 2007 until March 2008. More than fifty (50) DRCs and BEC consultations were facilitated by NASSA and similarly, thirteen (13) SRCs were convened by the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMP). Afterwards, five Regional Rural Congresses (RRCs) were convened between April-May 2008. These consultations allowed the rural poor to articulate their concerns, and the Church to listen and discern their roles in accompanying the rural poor in their voyage. To ensure that the interface between the Church and the rural poor is effected, the ad intra and ad extra approach was used to add vibrancy to these consultations. The former refers to the internal Church structures and the latter to the support mechanisms and external groups that provided direct partnership work with the rural poor and the Church. A parallel track of several researches, cycle of dependence and hopelessness, citizens and as followers of Christ. This mainly due to the fact that they do not involves the responsibility of caring for have enough access or control of their the family, and the earth as well. There is assets. The bountiful harvest from the also a need to organize the sectors and God-given endowments of land, forests the communities, so that they can enand waters are not being enjoyed by the hance and complement each other torural poor. The dire situation is reflected wards self-help and self-reliance. Finally, there is also a need to reach out, link and in the circumstances of the rural poor. The farmers have not completely partner with the many institutions that owned their land; the small fisherfolks are excited and ready to serve the rural are lamenting the displacement of their poor communities. Roles and involvements of these many fishing activities and communities, due to pollution and encroachment of large- institutions have also been recognized. scale fishers; the indigenous peoples’ cul- For its part, the Church has mobilized its ture and ancestral domains are threat- Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and ened by large-scale mining and logging; the Social Action Centers (SACs) to be at rural women face the many challenges the forefront in responding to the needs of nurturing the well-being of the chil- of the rural poor. These institutions have dren and at the same time, respond to provided training, organizing, credit serthe economic needs of the entire family vices, disaster response, spiritual and soas well. The rural youth are in a special cial formation and other modes of supsituation, as they are left confused and port. The non-government organizations sometimes misguided, because of the (NGOs) have worked together with difcomplex problems and situations that they find themselves due to this poverty. Complicating this indigence are the apparent forces that intensify the cruel reality of poverty across the sectors and across the regions. The environment is gasping for help, as pollution and degradation of natural resources are rampant in the rural areas. The issue of the aggressive entry of large-scale mining and logging The participants of the Second National Rural Congress has been brought out The participants of the Second National Rural Congress in many of the sectoral and regional workshops. These extractive ferent peoples’ organizations (POs) in industries are threatening not only the advancing broadly sustainable developlives and livelihoods of rural communi- ment in the rural areas. The academe and ties, but also endanger ecological balance, the media have produced and dissemias it destroys forests, watersheds, agricul- nated information and knowledge. In the tural lands, and coastal areas. This imbal- midst of the Congress, it was essential ance in nature and ecology leads to more that an inter-faith dialogue was encourdisasters and tragedies at the personal and aged, with representation from the Chriscommunal levels. Another cross-cutting tian groups, the Moslems, and the indigtheme is the phenomenon of migration. enous religious of the IP communities arThis has distressed the family, and in the ticulating the perspective of their groups. process, introduced a whole new set of Emerging proposals moral issues. The significance of NCR-II will be di“Each person, no matter how poor is endowed with an inalienable dignity as an im- minished if we fail to highlight some of age of God, a child of God4, redeemed by God the principal themes that emerged, iniand entrusted with an eternal destiny5. Each tially coming from the sectoral discusperson has to be respected as equal member of sion groups and the regional planning the human family,6 actively participating to- sessions. These themes do not comprewards the common good in solidarity with oth- hensively reflect the detailed discussions ers.”7 and agreements of the Congress, but represent the common and most urgent calls What was realized of the rural poor. Being mainly observers was not the On the issue of landlessness and land and partnership-building within the sector, to address these issues. From the indigenous peoples, the call centered on the recognition of the customary laws and culture of the IP communities, the implementation and review of IPRA, and a specific advocacy on opposing the transfer of the NCIP to the DENR. From the rural women sector, they urged the need to protect and uphold the welfare and rights of women, through the enhancement of Filipino values of family and moral responsibility. They also appealed to all concerned agencies and institutions to provide more support to respond to the special needs of women, such as the issue of domestic violence, access to basic social services, livelihood, health, family planning and awarenessbuilding on women’s rights. From the rural youth, their call centered on strengthening the moral and spiritual foundations of the youth. They requested that Church and the a c a d e m e strengthen their programs on spiritual and moral values formation, in order to equip the youth with more tools and handles to guide them in their growing and maturing years. Finally, from the consolidated “Other Sectors”, a set of recommendations were forwarded that addressed the wide-ranging but distinctive concerns of labor-related issues, informal urban settlers, persons with disabilities (PWDs), elderly, small rural traders, migrants and their families and the informal sector. A common thread that weaved their discussion anchored on the themes of addressing the problem of graft and corruption, strengthening the roles of the local government units as direct providers of services to the sectors, exacting accountability from government, NGOs and other institutions, and the need to promote networking and linkaging among the stakeholders. Overall, the proposed emerging roles of the Church in these themes is to become a facilitator % a moderator or an intermediary that nurtures a platform for interaction among the rural poor, the government, civil society and the private sector. One of the notable concrete proposals was the creation of an “institutionFirst, the official proceedings of the NRC-II will be released in Aug. 15, 2008; Second, the official publication of NRCII will be produced, published and issued by November 10, 2008, in time for the National Assembly of the BECs, and also as a reference document for the many planned activities of the civil society partners; Third, the operational structure of NRC-II, including the Central Committee and its working groups, will be retained in order to oversee post-NRC-II activities and establish clear plans regarding actionable resolutions of the Congress, including the institutionalization of the dialogue process started; Fourth, re-echoing sessions of the NRCII will be conducted either at the Diocesan or Sub-regional levels, to be convened by the respective Bishops. These sessions will expectantly enrich the regional plans, sharpen the regional translation of the sectoral discussions, and identify mechanisms by which local action plans can be initiated; Fifth, collectively (as CBCP) and individually (as Bishops), the Church shall actively pursue in carrying out the prophetic role of the Church in articulating and addressing the issues of the rural poor, through the provision of programs at the Church and the mobilization of resources; Sixth and finally, the CBCP, through its Permanent Council, shall study and reflect on the results of NRC-II, and will issue its Pastoral Statement on its next Plenary Assembly, on January 2009. Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD Chairman-NRC II
1 Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 20 January – 17 February 1991, The Conciliar Document “Go…I am with you always!”, Part II, A Church Renewed, No. 122 2 Laborem Exercens – On Human Work on the Ninetieth Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum”, Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, 14 September, 1981. 3 4

Cf. Is 5:8; Jer 5:25-28; Jas 5:1, 3-4

Pope John Paul II to the Cardinals, Members of the Pontifical Household and the Curia: “The charism of Peter: To serve universal unity by protecting and defending the Gospel’s authenticity,” L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 21, 1985, p.8
5 Gn 1:26-27; cf Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World 12, 14-17; Jn 1:13; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Rom 8:14-17; cf John Paul II, To the People of the Sugar Plantations, Bacolod City, Feb. 20, 1981, No. 8 6 Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World 22 7 Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World 63 8 Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 20 January – 17 February 1991, The Conciliar Document “Go…I am with you always!”, Part II, A Church Renewed, No. 296

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Updates

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

The Magisterium of the CBCP
B y Fr. J a i m e B . A c h a c o s o , J.C.D.
WITH regularity, reports appear in the mass media of certain declarations attributed to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), quite often making these appear as official positions of the Catholic Church. Only on closer reading does it become clear that in fact the position is only that of a particular bishop, or of an official of one of the several standing commissions (like departments or offices) working within the CBCP. Can you please clarify the authority of the CBCP to issue doctrinal statements, and the binding (or non-binding) nature of such doctrinal statements on the Catholic faithful? In order to understand this issue, we need to understand the nature of the teaching office of the Church— what is technically known as the magisterium. Notion and Mission of the Magisterium The term Magisterium comes from the Latin magister, meaning “master”, “director” or “teacher”. In Church parlance, Magisterium came to refer to the teaching authority, finally narrowing specifically to the pastoral teaching office of bishops— i.e., the teaching function of the hierarchy. In other words, it refers to the exercise of the munus docendi (teaching office) taken in its strict sense. Christ, sent by the Father to be a witness of the truth (cf. Jn 18, 37), entrusted to his Church his word and gave the hierarchy the power to teach with authority. The imperativity of the word of God in itself acts in the internal forum. However, man needs—and the word likewise demands it—an authoritative voice that can bind him in a palpable manner to the truth of the word. Thus, Christ established this authority in his Apostles and in their successors the Bishops (cf. Mt 16, 19; 18,18). Types of Magisterium and their Subjects 1) According to the grade of authoritativeness that the teaching office assumes in its teaching, there can be two types: a) Authentic Magisterium: The Church Magisterium is called authentic because it proceeds from the authentic Teacher, Christ, and is exercised by those who have been given his authority (cf. Lumen Gentium, 25). The Code of Canon Law stipulates: A religious respect of intellect and will, even if not the assent of faith, is to be paid to the teaching which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate on faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they do not intend to proclaim it with a definitive act; therefore the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid whatever is not in harmony with that teaching (c.752). b) Infallible Authentic Magisterium: The authentic Magisterium enjoys the note of infallibility in its entirety, and also when in specific formulations the teaching office puts its authority in the highest degree and declares a doctrine with the intention of defining it as belonging to the faith. However, the Code stipulates is quick to point out: No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless it is clearly established as such (c.749, §3). 2) According to the form or manner of exercising it, there can be two types: a) Extraordinary—when it is carried out through a solemn form or manner. Examples are the so-called ex cathedra teachings of the Roman Pontiff and that of the Council. b) Ordinary—when the habitual form or means are used. This in turn can be (1) universal—when it is addressed to the whole Church; or (2) particular—when it is addressed to a specific segment of the Church (e.g., a diocese or an episcopal conference). 3) According to the content, the magisterium can refer to (1) dogmas of the faith, which define the truths of the faith; (2) customs that must be followed; (3) exhortations regarding Christian life; or (4) moral judgments on temporal questions. Active Subjects of the Magisterium 1) The active subjects of infallible authentic magisterium are: 1° The Roman Pontiff—when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful, whose task is to confirm his fellow believers in the faith, he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such (c.749, §1). 2° The College of Bishops—also possess infallible teaching authority when the bishops exercise their teaching office gathered together in an ecumenical council when, as teachers and judges of faith and morals, they declare that for the universal Church a doctrine of faith or morals must be definitively held (c.749, §2). They also exercise it scattered throughout the world but united in a bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, when together with that same Roman Pontiff in their capacity as authentic teachers of faith and morals, they agree on an opinion to be held as definitive. 2) The active subjects of authentic magisterium are firstly the Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops, for the Universal Church (c.752); and secondly the individual bishops, Episcopal Conferences and Particular Councils, for the faithful entrusted to them. In the latter case, the Code of Canon Law provides: Although they do not enjoy infallible teaching authority, the bishops in communion with the head and members of the college, whether as individuals or gathered in conferences of bishops or in particular councils, are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the faithful entrusted to their care; the faithful must adhere to the authentic teaching of their own bishops with a sense of religious respect (c.753). Although c.753 lumps them together, we have to clarify that the three are not on equal footing as far as the exercise of authentic magisterium is concerned. The diocesan bishops (and their equivalents) exercise a primary and direct authentic magisterium over their respective proper flocks, while the Episcopal Conferences and Particular Councils only exercise a secondary and indirect role—i.e., only to the extent that the individual bishops or the Pope empowers them. The Magisterium of the CBCP The competence of Episcopal Conferences as regards the authentic magisterium was neatly delimited by the Motu Proprio Apostolos suos (21.V.1998), and more practically regulated in a Letter (13.V.1999) prepared by the Congregation for Bishops in collaboration with the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of and sent to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences. After stating a general principle that “the joint exercise of the episcopal ministry [by the Episcopal Conference] also involves the teaching office” (n.21), the Motu Proprio lays down the following norms limiting this exercise. 1) A stricter norm for episcopal collegiality. The document lays down the following: In order that the doctrinal declarations of the Conference of Bishops referred to in No. 22 of the present Letter may constitute authentic magisterium and be published in the name of the Conference itself, they must be unanimously approved by the Bishops who are members, or receive the recognitio of the Apostolic See if approved in plenary assembly by at least two thirds of the Bishops belonging to the Conference and having a deliberative vote (Art.1). In effect, this norm guarantees that a certain doctrine is really an expression of the communio of the episcopal college in a given territory. Otherwise, such lack of unanimity needs to be offset by an explicit recognitio by the Holy See. 2) Exclusion of Inferior Bodies from usurping the teaching office of Bishops. The document lays down the following two norms: The document continues: Art. 2. – No body of the Episcopal Conference, outside of the plenary assembly, has the power to carry out acts of authentic magisterium. The Episcopal Conference cannot grant such power to its Commissions or other bodies set up by it. Art. 3. – For statements of a different kind, different from those mentioned in article 2, the Doctrinal Commission of the Conference of Bishops must be authorized explicitly by the Permanent Council of the Conference. These norms effectively limit the tendency—unfortunately not uncommon especially in more developed countries—for standing commissions and other such bodies to usurp the teaching office of the bishops. We can summarize all the aforementioned, relating them to the original issues raised, as follows: Doctrinal declarations can only be issued in the name of the CBCP when such have been approved unanimously by the bishop members of the CBCP. Such statements would then constitute authentic magisterium of the bishops, to which the Catholic faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect. However, if such unanimity is lacking, a majority alone of the bishops of the CBCP—much less a few only— cannot issue a declaration as authentic teaching of the Conference, unless such statement obtains the recognition of the Apostolic See, which on the other hand will not give it if the majority of bishops requesting it is not substantial. In this case, all the Catholic faithful in the Philippines (the territory of the Conference) are obliged to adhere to such teaching with a sense of religious respect. With more reason, a statement by a bishop alone—even as Chairman of an Episcopal Commission—should never be presented by the mass media as authentic magisterium of the CBCP. With even more reason, a statement of an official of an Episcopal Commission should never be taken as authentic magisterium of the CBCP. All these are very clear to the bishops and officials of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. What is lamentable is the way the mass media quite takes them out of context, confusing the Catholic faithful in the process.

Leaving right after Communion
Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following question.
Q: Unfortunately some in the parish have developed the poor habit of leaving Mass immediately after Communion. I estimate around 30 percent, or approximately 225 people, leave early. Our church holds 750, so the disappearance is definitely noticeable. Could you provide a theological discourse on why this is not appropriate behavior?—D.S., Port Charlotte, Florida A: This is a perennial problem, but one which must be faced with patience, insisting, as St. Paul would say, “Opportune et inopportune” (in season and out of season), until the message reaches home. This question reminded me of the story of a saintly priest who had the same problem with one of his devout parishioners who attended daily Mass but left immediately after Communion. He solved the problem by ordering two altar boys with lighted tapers to walk on either side of him as soon as he started to leave the church and accompany him all the way to his carriage. When, after three days repeating this action, the somewhat flustered and embarrassed gentleman asked the priest for an explanation, he was told that since Christ was still present in him as he left the church, his presence had to be honored by lighted candles. Needless to say, he never left early again. This anecdote could serve as a starting point for the priest to reflect with the people on the importance of giving thanks for the gift of Mass, of being spiritually nurtured by God’s word, of participating in his unique sacrifice, and by receiving Communion. This also requires that there is effectively a period of silence after the Communion song and that the priest, deacon and other ministers lead by example, dedicating two or three minutes to silent reflection at the chair. On occasion the priest may assist the people by directing a brief meditative prayer of thanksgiving. This is especially effective at so-called children’s Masses for, while the prayer is ostensibly directed toward the children, it often serves adults just as much. Another point to be emphasized is the importance of assisting at the entire Mass. There are many plastic images to illustrate this, but most can grasp that if their boss, or the local mayor, summons them to a meeting, they would not dare leave before their host has formally brought it to a close. Even more is this true when a beloved parent, sibling or lifelong friend invites us to spend time with them. If we behave thus before mere human authority and relationships, then how much more should it be true when our host is the Father who created us, the Son who died and rose for us, and the Spirit who gives us life. Let us leave courtesy aside for a moment and return to thanksgiving. The Mass is something we celebrate together as Church and as a worshipping assembly united to Christ through the priest. It is not just something we do as individual Christians. In the same manner, our thanksgiving for Mass cannot be reduced to the individual sphere and must be carried out as Church. This collective thanksgiving is done through the priest at the closing prayer to which all respond “Amen.” Finally, the Mass is intimately united to Christian life and mission. The final blessing and dismissal send us forth to transmit what we have received to our brothers and sisters. If we leave directly after Communion, then we lose this important component of our spiritual life. From a very material standpoint one could also see if there is some tangible motivation that leads so many of the faithful to leave early. Is there a bottleneck in the parking lot? Are Mass schedules too close together? If there are real practical inconveniences involved, then theology alone will be ineffective in changing people’s habits until these are resolved.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Diocese
living signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God and effective instrument of it’s spreading to other communities. Mission We the faithful of the Diocese, inspired and challenged by the Word of God, the Sacred Tradition, the teaching of the Catholic Church and the discernible “signs of the times” commit ourselves to help one another. Arrival of the PME Fathers Since the beginning, the PME fathers (Foreign Mission Society) from Quebec, Canada were inFirst Filipino PME bishop In 1978 when the late Msgr. Generoso C. Camiña, PME, DD was ordained as the first Filipino PME bishop, he became an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Davao. After it was separated and divided on November 8, 1979, Digos became an independent Diocese. Msgr. Camiña was installed as the first bishop in the local church of Digos on February 11, 1980, and had only four priests. There were only 13 parishes and 6 mission stations when they started, but now it has 1,235 GKK’s in 5 vicariates inbarangays and coastal towns. They have very rich culture and unique tradition. The natives were basically hunters. They did not know how to till their fertile lands. The Ilocano migrants, mostly teachers, were the first mentors of the LUMADs. The Protestants were the first group of evangelizers, until the Canadian PME Fathers arrived and dominated the mountainous areas of the province. They built churches, convents, schools, and educated the local folks, teaching catechism to children and women. The mission stations had grown bigger with the help of some generous urgy, the Social Action Center with the Caritas, Prison Commission and Social Communication. The Couples and Singles for Christ and the Knights of Columbus are still very active as well as the mission and vocation movements. Religious Reinforcement The diocese was very fortunate to have very supportive and active religious communities scattered all over the province that are relentless in offering services for the welfare and the benefits of the parishioners. There are the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM)

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under consideration for development, such as Ageing Gracefully, Caring for the Aged and Disabled, Coping with Problems and Mixed Marriages and the FLACat which has been enriched with some lessons on Family Ecclesial Community seminar. Meanwhile the FLA implemented the ALL-NFP methods and has successfully instilled the value among the acceptors of the controversial Standard Days Method (SDM). Many couples practiced discipline for the sake of their family’s welfare. Caritas and social apostolate

By Madeline FrancaEnrique
IN the early days, Digos was a watercourse, a meeting place of inhabitants belonging to the Indo- Malay tribes, settled along the southern foothills of Mt. Apo. The Digos river meets the Davao Gulf and it is ideal for fishing and bathing, that is why the native folks called it “PADIGOS” which means to take a bath; when a group of them were approached by some Spaniards and asked what was the name of the place, believing that they were asked where they were going, while

‘Adveniat Regnum Tuum’

Diocese of Digos

Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral

traversing the very fertile tracks of land in Davao.

strumental in building up the Church of the Diocese. It started in 1936, when one could find PME Digos Fathers in almost every Parish of The Seat of the Diocese is the the undivided Davao. This young capital town turned city on Sep- church has beautifully and gratember 8, 2000. The very strategic ciously grown into a self-suplocation in the middle of two con- porting diocese. Many new pargressional districts of the prov- ishes were founded along with ince of Davao del Sur; where the some Mission Stations in an eflandmark is Mt. Apo in the north fort to reach out to the less fortuand Balut-Saranggani Islands in nate in terms of distance and huthe southern tip. The place is agri- man development. It is only with marine producer, where most of God’s grace that this was made the residents are farmers and fish- possible. To date, there are only ermen. The Mary Mediatrix Ca- three remaining PME Fathers thedral, the Bishop’s Residence who handle the coastal and and Home of the Clergy, as well mountainous mission stations as the numerous religious congre- namely Fr. Jacques Robert asgations and Catholic institutions signed at San Lorenzo Ruiz Parare situated here. ish in Don Marcelino with five Tribal Literacy Schools, Fr. Gilles Vision Bellanger in Kalatagan, Malita Christian communities united Tagakaulo Mission (MAT AMIS) in the same Spirit, fully devel- along with Fr. Pierre Samson in oped, self reliant and responsible, Little Baguio, Malita. The PME that pray, teach and serve in soli- Fathers founded the St. Francis darity with the Magisterium— Xavier College Seminary and later became the Regional Major Seminary in Davao City IMPORTANT FACTS which produced hundreds of graduBishop …………………………… 1 ates in College PhiDiocesan Priests: losophy and TheolActive …………………………… 35 ogy all over the reStudy Leave ……………………… 2 Guest Priest ……………………… 2 gion and even enOn Leave ……………………….. 1 tire Mindanao. On Renewal ……………………... 1 Religious Priests: Filipino ………………………….. 14 Foreign …………………………. 6 Religious Brothers: Filipino ………………………….. 23 Foreign …………………………. 1 Religious Sisters: Filipino ………………………….. 105 Foreign ………………………….. 3 Seminarians: Pre-College ……………………… 16 College …………………………. 34 Theology ………………………… 1 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates ………………………... 5 Parishes ………………………….. 20 Educational Centers: Colleges …………………………. 2 High School ……………………… 15 Elementary ……………………….. 5 Pre-school ……………………….. 8 Population ………………. 890,300 Catholics ………………… 622,136 Area ……………………. 3,938 sq.kms.

cluding the far-flung barangays and coastal towns. The parishes are now dominated by the local diocesan clergy, mostly residents of Davao del Sur. Msgr. Guillermo D. Afable, DD was installed on February 11, 2003 as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Digos when Bishop Camiña retired. He stayed at the Home of the Clergy Compound where all Diocesan Apostolate hold their office, and also the Seminar House and the Apostolic Daughters of Mary or the ADM nuns—a religious congregation founded by the late Bishop Camiña. As to date, there are already 36 religious congregations, 8 kindergarten schools, 18 secondary and 2 colleges, managed and administered by the religious nuns and brothers. Indigenous People and Tribal Literacy Schools The province lured many migrants, majority of whom came from the Visayas regions, some from Ilocos in Luzon who settled permanently in the area. They acquired huge hectares of lands and married to native-mestiza decendants. The place is a mixture of different tribal groups of B’laans, Tagakaulo, Kalagan Bagobo and Manobo scattered all over the province in the far-flung

benefactors all over the world and even the local populace. The Literacy Schools continue to survive with the assistance of some missionaries NGO’s, GO’s and subsidized by the government and the church. The IP’s are currently learning the modern agricultural technology, entrepreneurship and technical education especially the women and youth sector. Many scholars and graduates from different colleges and universities are now serving in their areas of origin. Creation of GKK and Lay organizations The Basic Christian Communities (Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban-GKK) were organized to assure the people of accessible services, this in the midst of various disagreements and political turmoil. Lay movements and organizations were also created to respond to the various needs of the local Church, especially the Catechists, the Catholic Women’s League, the Altar Servers, the Lourdes and Legion of Mary, the choral group and some movements like Charismatic and PREX (Parish Renewal Experience). Some developed into apostolates; the Youth, Bible, Divine Mercy, the IP’s and the Lit-

who assisted the PME Fathers as educators. The Sacred Heart Brothers have established their community and institution for almost 50 years and still faithfully serving the people through Cor Jesu College and other NGO’s. Another pioneer is the religious Order of the Benedictine Nuns of the Eucharistic King. The tranquil lives of the OSB Sisters and Fathers, Brothers and Monks, were devoted to prayers and pastoral works. They continue to attend unconditionally to the spiritual needs of the parishioners when the parish priests are preoccupied with congregational activities. Our Lady of Peace Monastery accepts any group or individual for spiritual retreats, to any interested parties within and outside the diocese. Family and Life Apostolate The FLA had evolved tremendously; it has been formally institu-tionalized by the Diocesan council, in an effort to reach out to almost every family as possible. Among its various programs are series of orientation, marriage enrichment seminar, Pre-cana, Pre-Baptism, marriage validation, Christian Parenting, Sex Education, Family Counseling services and Natural Family planning. There are programs

Bishop Guillermo Afable with the Diocesan Clergy Bishop Guillermo Afable with the Diocesan Clergy

After the separation from the Social Action Center, some parishes continue to support and implement the MICRO-Finance program while educating women and helping them acquire small capital to start a business. Most residents from remote barrios avail of the cheapest medicines from the Botika ng Barangay. While the poor families and malnourished children of the different GKKs benefited from the distribution of relief goods and feedings from the HAPAG-ASA program. The PABAHAY is currently on process due to various requirements and proper identification of the qualified beneficiaries who can possibly avail the housing project. The Social Action Center continue to supervised the NASSA projects in livestock and agriculture and in giving seminars and workshops to BECs in five vicariates and sub-parish. The YOUTH Apostolate continues to actively participate in various church-based organizations. Sixty percent of the population comprises the youth sector. The youth’s zest for life also inspires the children missionaries to enhance their talents in sports, dances and music ministry. The TUBURAN Community or The SPRING of the LIVING WATER, is the most established Youth community in its more than two decades of existence, and becoming bigger and stronger over the years. They conduct regular gatherings, retreats, and conventions to original members and siblings. The objective is to encourage more children, teenagers and adults to be more close to God through sharing and fellowships, worship and praise, arts and music, outreach program and interaction. Meanwhile, the Prison Commission led by the Marist Fathers together with Bible Apostolate under SAC are also doing well, they are helping hundreds of prisoners in the province by conducting Basic Bible Seminar, Bible Sharing, Formation Orientation, Saying Mass, Confessions and charities.

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By Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP
his opening lines: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son” (1:1). The apostles and the preachers of the word would do to them what Jesus did to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures” (Lk 24:27).

Features
little reference to Jesus’ words and deeds during his public ministry. Instead, Paul would speak of the crucified and risen Jesus, the Christ of glory. His gospel is the logos tou staurou, the word/message of the cross. This is the “gospel” that he preaches to the Gentiles to whom he was particularly sent by God (Gal 1:16). He warns the Galatians that there is no other gospel, and should anyone—even an angel from heaven—preach a different gospel, let that one be accursed (Gal 1:8). The “Jesus story” in Paul’s letters is not a narrative of the events centered on Jesus of Nazareth nor does it contain elements that characterize Jesus’ public mn idid not hear it” (Lk 10:23-24). And yet Paul was given a grace by no means inferior to that of the original witnesses. He encountered the Risen Christ: “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1 Cor 9:1). “He appeared to me” (1 Cor 15:8). In this encounter that Luke dramatizes in the Acts of the Apostles (chapters 9, 22, 26), Jesus “apprehends” the former persecutor and totally changes his perspectives. The “revelation” of Jesus causes a complete turnabout in Paul, so that what he held dear he now considers so much rubbish, loss, before the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (see Phil 3:7-8). The Lessons of the Cross This revelation to Paul makes him less victim of cruel machinations of the authorities, Jesus does the offering with full consciousness and with the desire to adhere to the divine will to the end. Paul thinks of the cross as the historical document of the love of God who does not spare his own Son but hands him over “for us all” (Rom 8:32). The word of that love is addressed also to him—Paul—by Jesus “who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Gal 2:20). Secondly, the cross shows the primacy of grace and of faith. As a Pharisee, Paul thought of the primacy of the Law. Faithfulness to the Law would bring the Jews to right relationship with God. Then P a u l meets Jesus, now in glory, but who died on the cross—”for all.” This transcending price of the blood of the Son of God could not be a “prize” for a g o o d that one c a n achieve b y one’s power.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Paul’s Gospel Proclamation

THE “good news” of Jesus and about Jesus was proclaimed by the Apostles when they were empowered by the risen Christ with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The early preaching of the Apostles is often called kerygma, from the Greek kyrusso, to proclaim. A classic example of a kerygma is the speech of Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36). Peter spoke before a big crowd of Jews celebrating the pilgrim feast of Shavuot or end of spring harvest in Jerusalem. A large portion of the audience was composed of diaspora Jews (those living outside Palestine) from every part of the Roman Empire. Among them were surely “God-fearers,” Gentiles who were attracted to the Jewish religion. At the heart of the kerygma is the story of Jesus of Nazareth, a man commended by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs. Jesus, however, was delivered up by the authorities and was crucified. But God raised him from the dead and to this Peter and the apostles to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection bear witness. What happened to Jesus is according to the will of God, in fulfillment of Scriptures. Exalted at the right hand of God, Jesus now bestows the Spirit, the effects of which the audience now sees and experiences. God bestows forgiveness through Jesus. Men and women are reconciled with God through one name: Jesus of Nazareth. The people were touched by the kerygma and were baptized in the name of Jesus. They then formed themselves into a community known as “the Way.” Outsiders might have referred to them as belonging to the “sect of the Nazarene,” referring to Jesus’ place of origin. This group of converts to Jesus held things in common. As Jews they continued to go to the Jerusalem temple to pray, but then they would do something that characterized them as a new group: they would “break bread” or celebrate the Eucharist in their homes. Then they devoted themselves to the didache, the teaching of the apostles. The didache gave them more information about Jesus, based on the memory of the apostles of their rabbi Yeshua. The word that was preached to them is the story of salvation history which culminates in Jesus Christ. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews summarizes this in

Paul’s Proclamation to the Gentiles The “narrative events” centered on Jesus cannot be the core of Paul’s proclamation for two main reasons: the pagan background of Paul’s converts and Paul’s very own experience. In Acts of the Apostles, Luke shows Paul adjusting or “inculturating” his message to his pagan audience. At the Areopagus in Athens, Paul does not mention the patriarchs, the covenant, the law, the promises, the Messiah—all Israel’s pride, which, how-

ever, would sound “Greek” to the Athenians attracted to novel doctrines and philosophies. Instead, Paul speaks of God who made the world and gives life and breath to everything. Paul’s entry point to their consciousness is the altar inscription “To an unknown God,” the God who has overlooked the times of ignorance of the Gentiles and now reveals the one he has appointed to bring salvation to all: Jesus, whom he has raised from the dead. What would the Gentile converts have heard from the mouth of Paul in his catechesis? Would the euangelion (good news) be the same as that heard from Peter and the apostles, which, many believe, we now have in the Gospel of Mark, the earliest of the canonical Gospels? From Paul’s letters, we find very

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

istry. It lacks elements that would form the narrative thread in the memory of the apostles and the disciples of Jesus: e.g., the miracles, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the parables, the intimacy with the Twelve, the conflict with the official Judaism, the journey to Jerusalem, the passion events, and the resurrection appearances. Paul is not a disciple as Peter, John and others. He did not see Jesus in his earthly life. He cannot appropriate the privilege of a witness pronounced by Jesus: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but

a disciple at the school of the Crucified from here he draws certainties which would form the “gospel of the cross.” In his paper “The Master in Paul,” Bible scholar Giovanni Helewa, OCD, condenses in three statements the heart of this gospel preached by Paul. First, the cross is the initiative and the demonstration of God’s great love. Paul’s focus is not the passion narratives which he may have known from Peter and other Christians. With a keen mind and thankful heart, he interprets the death on Calvary. It is Jesus giving himself totally in accord with the will of God and Father (Gal 1:4). On the cross, far from being a help-

It can only be given as a pure gift of grace, a grace mercifully predisposed by God “because of the great love he had for us” (Eph 2:4). If grace is a free gift, then it is for everybody, not just for the Jews. Jews and Greeks are alike since they are under the dominion of sin (or better, Sin). The light of the gospel now cancels the distinction because it declares each and everyone a sinner. But then God declares everyone a sinner to save all, encompassing everyone under the mantle of Christ’s universal salvation. Paul is vehemently against anything that would replace this grace that becomes ours through faith,

and not through any works of the Law. Christ’s offering on the cross is complete; to add something to it as some kind of requirement that would justify us before God is to demean or even nullify God’s most precious gift. Lastly, the cross is the wisdom and power worthy of God. Paul is a man of prodigious intellect. His letters are proof of this. Luke narrates that after Paul’s self-defense, the Roman governor Porcius Festus could only marvel: “You are mad, Paul; much learning is driving you mad” (Acts 26:24). Paul can easily fit his preaching to his audience. Speaking to the learned Athenians at the Areopagus, he tried to graft the proclamation of God into the culture of the philosophers, preaching a God who created everything and everyone and was close to each one. However, that formulation fell strangely flat and without bite. It was a failure. Next time, in Corinth, Paul changed his approach: “When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling” (1 Cor 2:1-3). In Corinth, Paul was more successful in attracting people to Christ. From his experience as a veteran missionary, Paul understands that the gospel faces an obstacle of a typically human boast. The Jews ask for “signs”: God should demonstrate his power with proofs sensible to the human eye and meeting the measures of worldly reality. The Greeks look for “wisdom”; they are seduced by the attraction of an intelligence that controls things and events. For Jews and Gentiles, it is obvious that the Cross is weakness and pathetic folly (1 Cor 1:23). Yet Paul experiences a total paradox. He has seen that the Cross has an innate power, worthy of the power and wisdom of God: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). Paul’s experience made him understand that to adapt the truth of Christ to criteria of worldly wisdom—of the Jews or Gentiles—so as to please people is to empty the cross of its power. Either one proclaims the gospel of salvation as the “word of the cross” or one does not proclaim it at all. In the end, Paul decides to know and preach nothing except Jesus, the Crucified one.

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QUESTIONS

Most Rev. Wilfredo D. Manlapaz, DD
THE Diocese of Tagum had come a long way since 1986 when Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz took over as Ordinary of the diocese. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop Manlapaz talks about the various diocesan programs aimed at helping the poor cope with high cost of living. He also speaks about the need to strengthen Christian values that are slowly being eroded by materialism, the threats on family life, the flourishing of BEC’s in the local Church and how it empowered the laity, the continuous rise in the number of vocations and the continuing formation of the clergy. How does the diocese help alleviate the situation of the poor especially at this time of soaring prices of prime commodities? The diocese has spearheaded several programs to alleviate the situation of our poor. One success story we have is the microfinance system, which is patterned after the Grameen banking system. We call it Spes Pauperum Foundation, Inc. (SPFI). Through SPFI the poor are empowered to help themselves. Now in its 10 years of operation with members numbering more than 12,000, SPFI addresses not only the financial needs of its members (Catholic and those from other religions and denominations) through loans with minimum interest and other monetary benefits, but also through value- and spiritual-formation of its clientele. Similarly, through our Social Action Ministry (SAM), we have been engaged in livelihood projects like hog-dispersal programs in our parishes and BECs. It also initiated partnerships with LGUs and corporations to help in the funding of projects identified by the poor members of BECs. We also have some scholarship grants for deserving students of our Indigenous People. A number of them have already finished college through scholarships. What is your take on the threat of materialism creeping into our lifestyle because of globalization? Materialism refers to “how a person or group chooses to spend their resources, particularly money and time”. Literally, “a materialist is a person for whom collecting material goods is an important priority”. In common use, the word more specifically refers to “a person who primarily pursues wealth and luxury”. While we cannot do away with materialism, our Christian faith should

always direct us to the real giver of life. Tempted by the devil to turn stones into loaves of bread, the Lord said in reply, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). In another biblical passage Jesus instructed his disciples, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? (Mt 16:26). Material things must not be at the center of our life but a means to exercise our Christian call of loving by sharing what we have to our less privileged brothers and sisters. We therefore need to strengthen our Christian values, which are gradually eroded by our materialistic society. Our BECs, diocesan schools, family and life, and social communications apostolate, and other ministries/apostolates are important channels to communicate our Christian values and convictions to others. Would you say consumerism has affected our sense of values, especially the young? “Consumerism is the equating of personal happiness with the purchasing of material possessions and consumption.” Yes, consumerism has affected our sense of values, especially the young. When we place our personal happiness on the things and the goods we acquire, and discount the spiritual dimension of the person, we are heading for nowhere. While there are values which may have been set aside, I believe there are values which are also strengthened. Technology, for instance, allows one another to be connected, to be in touch. PCP II acknowledges though there are “grave ills that plague our nation”, there is also “much of the Gospel that has become part of us”. I believe this is a challenge to every Christian, especially the ministers of the Word: to find new meaning for every situation and event in the light of our Christian faith. How does the family and life apostolate in your diocese respond to various threats hurled against the family nowadays? The family is regarded as the basic unit of Christian life, the Church in the home (LG 11; PCP II art. 48). More than ever,

Christian families today are threatened by fast-changing values and advocacy to anti-life culture. Thus, we have tried to strengthen our Family and Life Apostolate down to our BECs through various programs and activities such as marriage enrichment, counseling, and ministry to OFWs and the elderly. We have organized teams in many of our parishes and BECs who give family catecheses and instructions on the values of life and the sanctity of marriage. As remote preparation for married life, we have programs for our youth to help them understand better the meaning of Christian marriage. As proximate preparation to would-be couples, we conduct pre-cana and other pro-life seminars, centered on the values of Natural Family Planning Methods. The diocese will be celebrating the Ruby Jubilee of its GKK this October. How did the formation of basic ecclesial communities enrich the life of the local Church in all its aspects? “Basic Ecclesial Communities must be vigorously promoted for the full living of the Christian vocation in both urban and rural areas” (PCP II, 109). The BECs of Tagum, locally known as Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKKs), now in its 40 years, have not without shadows. We have many of them and we continue to confront them. While we learn much from our shadows, we also remember, give thanks, and celebrate for the gifts of BECs to the Church. To date, we have around 2,096 BECs throughout the diocese, distributed in 27 parishes, quasi-parishes, and chaplaincies. This number of GKKs resulted in the increase of lay leaders in various apostolates and ministries. The increase of those entering the priesthood and religious life has been attributed also to the active ecclesial life through the GKKs. The GKK also helps nourish the spiritual life of the people by the regular celebration of the Word, Holy Eucharist, prayer activities, and other religious instructions/formation. Because of GKKs, the laity are empowered to actively participate in the task of evangelization (PCP II, Art. 112) and exercise their Christian vocation. It has en-

riched the life of the Church as GKK fosters “communion, participation, and mission”; as it exercises its priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions; and, as it embodies a Church of the poor (PCP II, 137). How is the status of vocation in the diocese? The Diocese of Tagum has been blessed with vocations especially to the priesthood and religious life. Today we are one of the dioceses in the whole island of Mindanao with the most number of seminarians. We have 148 resident seminarians in our college seminary, the Queen of Apostles (QACS), 126 from the Diocese of Tagum and 22 from the Diocese of Mati, which used to belong to the Diocese of Tagum. We have 32 seminarians studying in various theological seminaries in the country; a number of seminarians are in their regency period. At present the number of diocesan priests has reached 115, majority of them graduated from our college seminary. In recent years, the average number of ordination to the priesthood every year is four. When Tagum was established in 1962 as a prelature, all the priests were Americans. When I came in 1986, there were only 30 local clergy serving the diocese with a population of almost a million people. Today with the number of our priests, we are able to be of some help to other dioceses in the country and abroad by sending some of our priests to minister to them for a period of time. The consistent rise of vocation is above all due to the Lord of the harvest, the generosity and openness of the parents and young people to the grace of vocations, the efforts of the clergy and of vocation promoters in different parishes, the vibrant Basic Ecclesial Communities, Knights of the Altar, the Diocesan Youth Apostolate and the Catholic Schools. Every October we have vocation promotion and campaign throughout the Diocese. The above activities help our young people to discern for their vocation.
7 Questions / B7

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Statements
Human Life and John Paul II’s Letter on the Gospel of Life, advocate only natural family planning methods as the only morally acceptable way of practicing responsible parenthood. The Church does not forbid the advocacy of the increase or decrease of population provided the freedom of the couple to exercise sexual and family morality, like the tion in Art. II, section 12, specifies the function of the State: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the of the Church, but of civil society and government as a whole. The subtle attacks on family and conjugal morality through legislations that promote artificial methods of birth control, are couched in attractive but deceptive terminologies like Reproductive Health Care, population management, anti-discrimination of women and chil-

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ering of respect for women; husbands will regard their wives and other women as mere instruments to serve their bodily desires. And they are happening, increasingly happening today. It has been said time and again in order to reduce world poverty and the number of the poor, in order to improve the quality of life, the family must act

WE celebrate today the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI on Human Life. Against the prevailing expectation of liberalization, that the Catholic Church would change her traditional teaching on conjugal and family morality and allow all forms of birth control, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968) instead courageously re-

Celebration of Family and Life
Homily of Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, at the Prayer Rally held on July 25, 2008, at the University of Santo Tomas
affirmed the Church traditional teaching regarding birth control and responsible parenthood. What the Catholic Church teaches through the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae is that human life, from the womb to tomb, is a gift of God. Only God is the author of human life. The child becomes God’s gift to its parents and entire family. The dignity, the value and inviolability of human life must be respected and safeguarded at all cost. There is pessimism and a certain panic deriving from the studies of ecologists and futurologists on population growth, which sometimes exaggerate the danger of demographic increase to the quality of life. Against such trends not only Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae but also Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 1995) have restated that the Church has the mission to celebrate human life, as the Gospel of Life, by seeing life in its deeper meaning and beauty, by revering and honoring every person, by praising and thanking God for the gift of life, by preserving the gift of life. At the hearts of the many threats to human life and threats to conjugal and family morality is the wrong concept of freedom which leads to complete relativism. Any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on every one is lost. With the eclipse of the sense of God and of man, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining, even the first and fundamental right, the right to life (EV 20). There is a need in our society to restore the sense of God. When the sense of God is lost there is also the tendency to lose the sense of man’s dignity and life. The result is practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism… hedonism. (EV 21- 22). We in the Catholic Church, and I say this with reference to Paul VI’s Letter on AS we observe the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’ s encyclical “On the Regulation of Birth,” we can focus on three positive challenges highlighted by the letter. I. Responsible Parenthood The first challenge pertains to every couple’s right and duty to exercise Responsible Parenthood. The transmittal of human life takes place within the context of conjugal love that is characterized as fully human, total, faithful, exclusive and fecund (HV, 9).1 In this light, Responsible Parenthood includes the spouses’ knowledge of biological processes related to birth (i.e., fertility awareness); the necessary dominion of reason and will over instinct or passion; and the conformity of a right conscience to the objective moral order (HV, 10). With regard to the question of regulating births, the encyclical states: In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised, either by the deliberate and generous decision to raise a numerous family, or by the decision, made for grave motives and with due respect for the moral law, to avoid for the time being, or even for an indeterminate period, a new birth (HV, 10). The Second Vatican Council Fathers had earlier counseled parents to “fulfill their task with human and Christian responsibility” and should “thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring” (GS, 50).2 This is reflected in the Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines: Christian parents must exercise responsible parenthood. While nurturing a generous attitude towards bringing new human life into the world, they should strive to beget only those children whom they can raise up in a truly human and Christian way. Towards this end, they need to plan their families according to the moral norms taught by the Church (PCP II, 583).3 Family planning then is an integral dimension of married life and is intimately related to the exercise of responsible parenthood. Is this a challenge that couples today have adequately met “ or do we still all too often “responsibly” and not have more than two children. Uncontrolled birth! Population Control! Dr. Joseph Chamie of the UN Population Division had already commented in 1998 that the problem is not about population explosion but population implosion. In 51 countries the birth rates had fallen so low that it is nearly impossible for these countries to replace their deaths with births. Countries which succeeded to impose “two-child” policy are now worried by the continuous drop in population that has reached a point of no return. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN admitted in 2004 that indeed the world is aging inexorably. By 2030 the world population aged 45 and above will be much larger than the population 44 and lower. Few children and workers will be supporting a big number of aging seniors. The result in some countries is Euthanasia. What of our country? While our government policy makers claim that our growth rate is 2.36%, both USAID and the UN have arrived at a much lower PGR. In fact, as of December 2004, the National Statistics Office had projected a population growth rate of 1.99%. The Philippines is slowly joining the countries with very low growth rate. We have strong reasons to be alarmed. That instead of becoming “the last hope of a dying world,” we are joining the group of the dying world. This is among the reasons why the Church in the Philippines, (call her conservative, ignorant, too traditional) think differently. If all the money that go to graft and corruption of government or are used for the wrong reasons, were spent for our increasing poor population, we will have indeed both population and true progress, a population that is the resource and object of development. methods that may be considered abortifacient. They represent the opposite of what Humanae Vitae describes as an “integrally honest love” (HV, 16). On the other hand, going beyond “anti-life” labelings, Pope John Paul II has drawn the distinction between contraception and abortion: From the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage; the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment, “You shall not kill!” (EV, 13).6 The Holy Father nonetheless notes the close connection between contraception and abortion which in many instances are rooted in a “hedonistic mentality” and “a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfillment” (EV, 13). Some social scientists, on the other hand, have pointed to desperation borne out of poverty rather than a hedonistic mentality that have forced a number of women to resort to contraceptives or even abortion – for lack of a positive alternative like NFP.7 An economist points out the impact of unmet needs for family planning on low-income households: The inability of couples, especially the poorest, to achieve their desired fertility directly reduces their well being. Such inability is due to their high unmet need for family planning, which in turn is related to their lack of information and access to effective and high quality family planning services that are consistent with their preferences (e.g., including modern natural family planning methods).8 Even as the advocacy campaign against the proposed “reproductive health” bills continues, in Cagayan de Oro we are gratified to note that a number of our legislators have come out to support the Church’s moral stand. Likewise, within the executive branch of government, the national and regional offices of the Department of Health and the Commission on Population have followed the Presidential directive to adopt only natural family planning in their program of activities. Similarly, a number of municipal
Three Challenges / B7

decision to have any number of children, according to their religious conviction is respected. Artificial birth control, which includes the use of contraceptives and abortifacients, are against the institution of marriage. Our Philippine Constitu-

development of moral character shall receive the support of Government.” The family is the basic unit of society. If the Filipino family is destroyed, the Philippine society will likewise be destroyed. The protection and strengthening of the family is a concern not only

dren, reproductive rights, patients’ rights. Pope Paul VI had predicted, and John Paul II confirmed that artificial methods of birth control open the way to a lowering of moral standards and lead to marital infidelity; they lead to the low-

Pastoral Letter

Three Challenges of Humanae Vitae
To: The Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
come across instances of irresponsible parenthood in our communities? II. Natural Family Planning If Responsible Parenthood is the goal for all couples, Natural Family Planning is the means deemed morally acceptable by Humanae Vitae: “the Church teaches that it is … licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions” (HV, 16). This is further described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom (CCC, 2370).4 In Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese and earlier, in Ipil Prelature, several parish priests and family life workers have pointed out to me three felt needs of many couples today: (1) They want to plan their families—i.e., in spacing births and foreseeing the number of children they can adequately support, particularly in terms of higher education; (2) They prefer natural family planning—provided they are given enough information about it; and (3) They want to choose among NFP methods—according to their own circumstances and preference. To address these needs, we have launched a “Responsible Parenthood and All-Natural Family Planning Program” in the archdiocese, patterned after the earlier one in Ipil. “All – NFP” in our program has three connotations: We are including all modern methods of NFP that are scientifically based. These include the earlier known temperature and mucus methods, the sympto-thermal and lactational amenorrhea methods, and two recently-developed simplified methods, called the Standard Days Method and the TwoDay Method. Since we are only for natural family planning, it becomes a pastoral imperative for us to include all modern NFP methods in our program. Conversely, we cannot withhold information on an NFP method simply because it may be mis-used or mis-interpreted by other agencies. We are reaching out to all kapilya and barangay communities. Through a five-step program, we are identifying and training resident counselors coming from local communities. After a weekend intensive training, these volunteer counselor–providers are hopefully assisted with value formation and technical knowledge to advise couples at the household level when they go back home. Periodic monitoring and updating help sustain this distinctive form of counselor-tocouple ministry. We are promoting NFP all the way—i.e., without combining it with back-up artificial contraceptives. Reports that other agencies may be promoting NFP with condom use do not deter us in our church program from insisting that NFP means natural all the way. As a matter of fact, most of our NFP-users have acknowledged the initial difficulties they experienced in the practice of periodic abstinence. A few couples have dropped out, but the greater majority has indicated that they have gotten used to the discipline needed to abide by the fertility cycle. Humanae Vitae did not equate NFP with a particular method. On the contrary it extended a general invitation to scientists: “It is particularly desirable that…medical science succeed in providing a sufficiently secure basis for a regulation of birth, founded on the observance of natural rhythms” (HV, 24). This is echoed in Pope John Paul II’s appeal to doctors, marriage counselors, teachers and married couples for “a broader, more decisive and more systematic effort to make the natural methods of regulating fertility known, respected and applied” (FC, 35).5 Despite our limited resources in the archdiocese, this is what our All-NFP program under the Christian Family and Life Apostolate is striving to achieve. Nearly half of our 57 parishes and chaplaincies have already conducted NFP orientation talks and training seminars since we started the program in five pilot parishes two years ago. The Catholic Women’s League has also carried out a parallel training program for their members. So far, 1,236 volunteer counselors have undergone training. They reside and make available their knowledge on NFP in about 275 kapilya communities. III. Engagement with Government Family planning has been equated by some quarters with birth control and population control. Yet, it is good to keep in mind that Humanae Vitae acknowledges the problem of “rapid demographic development,” particularly in the developing countries, and the responsibility of public authorities (HV 2, 23). When Humanae Vitae was issued, the Philippines was reported to have a population of 30 million. Forty years later today, the country’s population is reaching 90 million” a threefold increase in four decades! While the Church takes exception at some of the measures being proposed to slow down the population growth rate, it is well for us to heed with open minds and hearts the studies of social scientists on the population-and-development issues. Many of these perspectives need to be balanced in a world that is divided not only between rich and poor nations but now also between countries with exploding and imploding populations. The role of government is spelled out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this capacity it is legitimate for it to intervene to orient the demography of the population. This can be done by means of objective and respectful information, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. The state may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children. In this area, it is not authorized to employ means contrary to the moral law (CCC, 2372). In this regard, we join our voices with other dioceses and church groups in denouncing proposed legislative measures that would infringe on the rights of parents or resort to contraceptive methods deemed contrary to the moral law. These measures tend to devalue the true nature of marriage by artificially separating the “unitive and procreative meanings” of the conjugal act (HV, 12). They open the doors to promiscuity among teenagers and allow the inclusion of family planning

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Reflections

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

The power of faith

th 20th Sunday in the Ordinary Time Is. 56:1, 6-7; Rm. 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt. 15: 21-28 August 17, 2008
By Most Rev. Bernardino C. Cortez, D.D.
“WOMAN, great is your faith. Let it be done to you as you wish” (Mt. 15:28). This passage, part of the narrative of the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, brings to fore an important dimension of what it is to believe. Being a foreigner, the Canaanite woman is keenly aware that she has no rights to claim in front of the Jews. But she insists with a humble plea, “Help me, Lord…” This reminds us of the same attitude in the equally great faith of the centurion who approached Jesus for the cure of his servant. Like the Canaanite woman, the centurion, knowing that he is undeserving of the attention given to him but, nonetheless, confident of God’s goodness and mercy, approaches Jesus with a plea for help “I am not worthy that you should come to me; say but the word and my servant shall be healed.” Such expre ssion of trust and confidence merit an exclamation of admiration from the Lord: “I assure you, I have never found this great faith in Israel.” (Mt. 8:10) Perhaps we can recall another passage on faith—the faith of the woman with hemorrhage: “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall get well. Jesus turned around and saw her and said, “Courage daughter, your faith has restored you to health.” That very moment the woman got well.” (Mt. 9:2122) From these passages, we discover the power of faith to touch the heart of Jesus. For man, faith can make him/her do things that seem impossible or beyond one’s normal capacities. The Canaanite woman, apparently ignored by Jesus, the centurion who wields great influence and authority but compelled to beseech the poor carpenter’s Son for help and the woman with hemorrhage trying desperately to hide her shameful malady. Yes, faith can make us endure pains, humiliations and calamities. For the true believer, faith in the Lord Jesus gives one strength, courage and hope to live differently in the midst of darkness and crises. The CBCP statement last January entitled “Reform yourselves and Believe in the Gospel” can be reflected on in the light of this Sunday’s Readings. Let me cull some significant passages that are expressive of the faith of the Shepherds of our Church in their Pastoral Letter: “Beloved People of God: Our Holy Father in his most recent letter to us reminds us of the gift of faith and hope: that in him we believe, we hope; and when we hope, we live differently (Spe Salvi #2). These convictions on faith and hope set the tone of our own letter to you in the present situation. The Darkness of our Situation – The Common Good Subordinated The darkness of our situation in the country can be summed up by: the common good being subordinated to private good. The problem facing our country, from corruption to unemployment, ecological disasters to mining, high prices to drugs are the same old problems or variations of them, which have been plaguing our nation for years through successive political administrations. Nothing or very little seems to have been done about them.” The Letter mentions the appraisal of the situation in our current political affairs and the problems plaguing our nation: Nothing or very little seems to have been done about them. Faith helps us become realistic in the assessment of our situation. Faith is grounded on truth. We have contributed not a little to the common malaise, because of our unconcern, inaction, apathy, often thinking only of our interests. The Canaanite woman knows and accepts that she’s a foreigner with no rights under the Jewish law. She’s a SyroPhoenician. The centurion also accepts that the situation of his servant is beyond the authority he commands. God takes us where we are and how we are. It is from there that he makes us participate in His grace to bring about the conversion He desires. The letter continues: From Darkness to Light “In such a pastoral situation of frustrations and hopelessness, we need to be aware of the deep resources of our faith in the Lord for whom all things are possible. It is only from the perspective of our faith in the Lord that we are able to see light in the darkness. To journey to the light, we need to realize that we have contributed not a little to the common malaise, because of our unconcern, inaction, apathy, often thinking only of our interests. Therefore, this is where we have to start: with ourselves, as individuals and families and communities. We have always put the blame on people we have chosen to govern us. We have looked at the enemy as only outside us. Let us begin with ourselves. This is what we need—conversion, real conversion, to deliberately and consciously develop that social conscience that we say we sorely lack and to begin subordinating

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

our private interests to the common good. This conversion is for all of us: laity, religious, priests, bishops. This conversion is well articulated by the Pastoral Letter of the Metropolitan Bishops of Manila, drafted by our own Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales—Towards a Morally Rebuilt Nation. One who believes hopes. Hope is the motor that pushes faith towards the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a hope that doggedly moves on to the possession of what it desires because it is anchored on a humble acceptance of one’s misery and sinfulness. This is what we ALL need: conversion, a real conversion... the Bishops affirmed. It is the echo of the Canaanite woman’s humble acceptance that she cannot earn God’s mercy. She can only say “Please, Lord, even the dogs eat the leavings that fall from the master’s table.” And the Letter of the Bishops concludes: The Model for Change is the Desert “Looking back at EDSA I, euphoric and heroic as it was, it appeared that the event became the Filipino’s day of crossing to freedom that was only the first step that hardly anyone knew. The
Faith / B7

Roy Cimagala Bo Sanchez

Population issue the nth time
SORRY if I have to bring up this issue again. I’m actually tired to death talking about it. But there are just some people, even senators and others who tout themselves to having not only high IQ but also sharp human sensibility, who just don’t get it. I must say that if I were not a priest and have not studied this matter thoroughly, most likely I’d be like them. Perhaps, even more rabid than them, more sharp-tongued and critical, since I too used to have strong anticlerical sentiments, I do have a temper and I’m quite capable of creating a mess. Now though when I hear positions contrary to that of the Church about this issue, I tend to be very compassionate, because I know very well what the practical and concrete difficulties are when one has a big family to raise and he’s poor. I come from one such family, and I’m in touch with many other such families. I am fully aware of their situation. It’s never a bed of roses. In fact, to survive is a daily concern. All sorts of suffering come. And so, I try to reach out, to explain and clarify things as patiently as possible. Of course, these are just the consequences. What truly takes place before anything else is a lot of prayers and sacrifices to make people see the wisdom of the Church’s teaching. This is not easy at all, especially if one has to contend with a party who’s both combative and articulate. One such party that has figured recently in the media is Senator Lacson who openly said the Church’s position is “parochial” and “downright stupid.” No problem. Everyone is entitled to his opinion. No matter how much I disagree, we should respect the freedom of everybody else in expressing his views. My respect for him and his view has not diminished one whit. I just would like to invite him to study the matter more thoroughly, and consider or reconsider an angle, so crucial and basic, that he seems to have missed, or worse, to have derided. And also, if he can be more refined in his choice of words. We can always register our contrary views in a civilized way. We have to presume we are all honorable men. To mock anyone, let alone the Church, is below the belt. The angle I’m referring to is that of morality, of faith, of the spiritual and supernatural reality that also governs us. We have to go past the purely economic, practical, convenient or popular arguments. These do not give us the ultimate answer. If we would get stuck there, we can always come up with the most effective ways, like just killing the old and handicap. Of course, that may be illegal, but I’m sure if one is clever enough, eliminating these people without getting entangled with the law should not be a problem. There, lamentably, had been precedents. The moral-religious angle is indispensable, and no one, much less, a senator, who is still at least nominally a Catholic or Christian, can claim exemption from such consideration simply because it’s supposed to be a civil matter only, not a spiritual or religious one. This is actually the underlying problem we have nowadays. People are not living by their faith. They are just keeping themselves afloat simply by using their reason and human abilities. Faith is just a word, and not much else. Without faith, it makes no sense to have many children when these can only mean troubles, sufferings, frustrations, etc. Without faith, there’s no point talking about a morality that goes beyond what simply is practical and the like. Without faith, the negative things in our life possess no meaning, serve no purpose, and the only proper thing to do with them is to hate and discard them. Some women even have the temerity to say they are losing their religion because of the Church’s position. Some have called themselves “Catholics for choice,” which means their Christianity is first and foremost theirs and not Christ’s. They play their own God. They fail to see the link between God, Christ, Church and personal conscience. I wonder if they have a religion to lose in the first place, since it would seem their religion is just an illusion, a religion where God and his moral teachings are what they want them to be, not what God has revealed to us.

Believe in yourself the way God believes in you
YESTERDAY, I met her again after a long, long time, Aida. A mother of six children, loving wife, and pure Ilocana. A leader of a small prayer group. Perhaps twenty or thirty people. I visited her again, and was struck at how so many things have not changed. I went to the living room where I used to sit as a thirteen-year-old boy. The plastic leatherette chair felt small now. But the old brown piano was still there—and at once, I could hear the old charismatic songs of years gone by. “This is the day” and “Oh what a mighty God we serve” and “Come Holy Spirit I need You”. Funny how everything started to come back. I remember how I had a big crush on Aida’s eldest daughter. She played the piano so gloriously, I wanted to do the same. Well yesterday, I met her there—already a doctor, married, and with wonderful baby. Everything was coming back. The walls. The picture frames. The windows with old-fashioned curtains. The past started coming alive. “You shall preach next Friday, Bo” It was as though I could hear Aida’s voice. A motherly voice that was gentle yet strong. More than any other, these were the “sacred” words that changed the direction of my life. The thirteen-year-old boy looked up and nodded. “Okay,” I said meekly to her. I didn’t know what else to say. But at the back of my mind, I wondered, “Why me?” I was the youngest in the group. So the following week, I preached my first talk. It was a disaster. But Aida’s belief in me was unflinching. She smiled all through my talk. And right after the “disaster”, she told me to give another “disaster” the following Friday. That was more than two decades ago. Today, I’m a preacher. And I love my job. I have reached millions of people with God’s Word, all over the world. Why? Because of one woman who believed in me. One woman who to this day leads a small group of twenty people. As I say this, I already imagine Aida shaking her head. She will tell me with a smile, “Well, how could I not believe in you? God believed in you, Bo.” As I look back, I sometimes have tears in my eyes—thinking what would I be now without an Aida in my life. May you find one in your journey. (We need a handful of them around us.) People who believe in you so much, they’ll be willing to accept the early disasters that will flow out of our budding greatness. —0— I’ve got another idea. Be an Aida for someone else. There is always one person out there that you know who will bless so many others—if only someone will believe in them, the way God believes in them. Will you? God believes you can.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Social Concerns
him, he [was] not allowed to take the Holy Host because he [has not taken yet] his First Communion. He cried and cried, begging me, saying ‘Father, sige na po! Gutum na gutom na po ako. Gusto ko po ng tinapay’,” narrated Sabado, a member of Kasimbayan (Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan) and Promotion of Church Peoples Response (PCPR) in a statement sent to CBCP News a day after the 8th SONA last July 28. The priest said he was moved by the scene. Then he continued his story: “Last Monday, July 21, there was a huge fire in Pandacan. Some of the victims were Aglipayans. Two children died, unable to escape the fiery blaze, while the mother [was] in [a] long line, waiting for her turn to buy some kilos of NFA (National Food Authority) rice. Not so long ago, there [were] siblings that have died also in the fire, here in Payatas, while their parents [were] working—scavenging in the huge piles of garbage.” Sabado said the government is responsible in taking care of lives, nourishment and other basic needs of the Filipino children and the Filipino people as a whole. “But penury, hunger and inhuman living conditions—that’s all that this government can give to the Filipino people,” lamented the priest. “A small bread can bring a lot of joy to that small boy. How many breads, bags of rice and other food items can be bought and distributed to millions of our poor kababayans, by billions of pesos that were stolen and planned to be stolen by this government?” asked Sabado. He added that no one has a moral basis to remain in power,

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Hunger stalks majority of Filipinos even as government says otherwise
By Noel Sales Barcelona
INSIDE the Batasang Pambansa, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the 8th State of the Nation’s Address (SONA) last July 28 told legislators and other guests who graced the SONA that there are enough food for the poor Filipino’s table. There are plenty of cheap rice, cheap food that can be bought inside the rolling stores that were built in many barangays by the national government, through the help of the local government units, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. And the economy grew 7.6 percent and that they have fulfilled the promise of one million jobs a year through the business process outsourcing (BPO) and the labor export boom. The passage of the Cheaper Medicine Act of 2007 has been a great help, especially for the health of the poor, said the President in her SONA. And many other proofs of good governance and good economy were said in her more than an hour speech, which according to media, garnered 101 round of applauses. But the rosy picture that Arroyo painted in her SONA was not the real story according to Fr. Jerry Sabado, O. Carm., a priest from the Order of Carmelites. Sabado said that days before Arroyo’s SONA, children in Payatas went hungry. And it was the same, days after the “historical” speech of the chief executive inside the Batasang Pambansa. “In our church in Payatas, a child lined for the Holy Communion. But the problem is, he [was] not older than seven years old. The child cried when I told
Three Challenges / B5

“especially those in the highest position, if their positions are being used to make themselves rich, while the people are impoverishing and dying because of hunger.” “As a church that promotes life, it is righteous for the Church to join the people in condemning, in the strongest terms, the plundering of people’s money and the abuse of power of those who is in authority,” said Sabado. He declared it is an un-Christian to remain silent in the face of ongoing corruption, and it is not right for Church leaders to explicitly support Arroyo. “Gloria is riding over the proLife position of the Church, it is rightful that the Church be in front, in condemning the policies and programs of a corrupt president, who’s number one in destroying and in depriving life and

dignity to the millions of Filipinos,” said the priest. He added that as ordinary church people, like any ordinary Filipino, they can feel the impoverished state of the country. “We will not close our eyes on the immorality of this government. We are with you in fighting and in making the Arroyo government accountable, who untiringly loot the country’s chest and economy and continuously suppress and massacre the people. On that note, hand in hand, let’s call for her resignation,” Sabado said. High percentage living in poverty According to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS), 59 percent of the Filipino families, or 10.9 million people, said they are

poor. This was nine (9) points higher than of last year, where the self-rated poverty had only recorded 50 percent. Meanwhile, Pulse Asia, Inc., revealed that 66 percent of the Filipino population—or two out of three Filipinos—said that the Philippine economy have worsened, much worse than of 2005. Still, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said that majority of the Filipinos still live for less than US$2 a day. What is more saddening, before the SONA, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said more than 11 million children are malnourished. Poverty due to corruption In the 2007 Corruption Percep-

tion Index released by Transparency International, the Philippines ranked 131, meaning that people perceive there is rampant corruption happening inside the government. Earlier, in the height of investigation of the controversial national broadband network (NBN) deal with the Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited or ZTE, a Chinese company, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a strong Pastoral Statement—Seeking Truth, Restoring Integrity—condemning “the continuing culture of corruption from the top to the bottom of our social and political ladder” and urging the “President and all the branches of government to take the lead in combating corruption wherever it is found.”

mayors have signified their readiness to introduce NFP in their areas. These government offices and LGUs have asked for assistance from our NFP trainors in terms of seminars on all NFP methods, sharing of manuals, and visual aids. At this point, I would like to pay tribute to the late Mrs. Teresita Zayas, a member of our All-NFP executive committee. Before her death last May, she was instrumental in forging a joint NFP program promoted by the parish and the local government in her native town of Jasaan. As a midwife and former coordinator of the municipality’s family planning program, she knew well the tactics and limitations of a purely contraceptive approach. When our All-NFP program was introduced, she was among the first to appreciate its potential benefits for many struggling couples in the rural areas. Through her initiative and personal contacts with local officials including the Mayor, she helped organize NFP training seminars for Barangay Health Workers by our staff. As of now, BHWs along with church workers are helping spread the All-NFP program throughout Jasaan. Engagement with government as the third challenge of Humanae Vitae has two sides then: saying “No!” to government when its proposed measures are patently wrong; but also saying “Yes!” and entering into critical collaboration with govFaith / B6

ernment when its programs are for promoting responsible parenthood and natural family planning. In the long run, the crucial challenge for the local church is not so much to confront the actuations of government at every turn but rather how to help couples address their three felt needs “ for family planning, for natural family planning, and for a choice in NFP methods. In the heat of the controversy on population “control” or “management,” both church and state insist that they are for natural family planning. Based on actual results, however, NFP has remained for the most part an untried option. The latest demographic surveys indicate that less than one percent of Filipino couples are adopting modern NFP methods! Moreover, half of all couples of reproductive age have not adopted any family planning method at all! Can we begin to reverse this trend in our local communities? Can modern, simplified methods of NFP along with the earlier known methods help create a “culture of natural family planning”? Referring to NFP methods, a Church congress declaration on the 25th anniversary of Humanae Vitae pointed out: “All couples have the right to know of them and to have access to them. Governments should offer resources for natural family planning services and research without The most tangible expression of a lived faith is conversion: a change in one’s outlook and mindset; a change in one’s values and a change in one’s way of living. This is where we have to start: with ourselves, as individuals and families and communities. This happens when we are able to cooperate with God’s grace by accepting the daily and small conversions, while passing through the desert of our daily living. The discipline of the desert is to be taught and applied if anyone is to succeed at any level towards the “fullness of life.” Pope Benedict XVI emphasized this succinctly in Spe Salvi: When we believe, we hope and when we hope, we live differently! Amen.

imposing discriminatory conditions.” 9 “The future of humanity,” Pope John Paul II points out, “passes by way of the family” (FC, 86). In like manner, Humanae Vitae counsels us that the population issue can best be addressed by way of responsible parenthood through natural family planning. Addressing our Christian communities, the bishop presidents of the Commissions for the Family for Asia declared, “The natural methods for regulating fertility must become one of the priorities in the pastoral care of the family…”10 It is with this note of compassion and urgency that the legacy of Humanae Vitae could well be remembered and honored by us. +ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
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End sex tourism and restore Filipino dignity
By Fr. Shay Cullen
WHILE a young girl was recovering from a horrific life of sexual abuse and trafficking, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave the state-ofthe-nation-address to the Philippine congress last week and among the list of the many achievements of her government for the past year curtailing the trafficking of women and children is not among them. She is the most politically powerful woman in the country and could deal a deadly blow to the pimps and pedophiles, the sex traffickers and foreign mafia that enslave the children in their sex bars and clubs. However, the politicians behind the sex industry are powerful allies. The rich property owners that rent the buildings housing the sex dens, bars and clubs are influential. The hotel owners fill their double beds with sex tourists and the emaciated bodies of impoverished children and women have influence and the department of tourism goes along with them. Sex, even sex with children is big business and the laws are ignored and not enforced. Even police own clubs and bars. The latest arrival in our home for trafficked children is Jennifer. When she was 13, she was recruited from Bohol with seven other girls by a pimp who offered jobs as domestic helpers in Metro Manila. She paid their families and instead of jobs as servants they were brought to Angeles city, in the home province of the president, like thousands of young girls are trafficked every year. Jennifer and the other children were locked up in a private house and foreign sex tourists were brought there and they were sexually abused by them. After about six months of this of this continual abuse, she and the other girls escaped and then ran away. Jennifer was picked up by a man as she wandered the streets begging for food at traffic lights and offered a meal and money. Desperate she trusted him and was brought to Metro Manila. She struggled and escaped again from the van when he tried to rape her. Then Jennifer found a job as a domestic helper in a posh housing estate but was treated as property made work without pay and not allowed to leave the high walled compound. Again after many months, she escaped and was finally referred to the Preda children’s home and given protection, therapy and is still recovering. Soon she will start back in school and social workers are now looking for her parents in Bohol province. Her life of pain and exploitation is all too familiar. This evil is the most serious challenge of the presidency of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who can end it with one stroke of the pen and her signature on an executive order. Protecting the most vulnerable is the duty and purpose of government. The challenge facing this powerful woman president and her government is to do battle with the crime syndicates and the sex mafia and crush them. Not to comfort and coddle them. Charities like Preda are ready to help, protect and empower the rescued teenage victims so they can testify against their traffickers and abusers. But few are rescued and without witnesses there are no convictions. Immigration commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan has shown determination and commitment to investigate the suspected foreign abusers and traffickers. The local and foreign suspects must be investigated and not allowed to get away with insulting Filipinos through their obnoxious web sites that degrade the Philippines and advertise it as a sex tourist destination % a Disneyland of child sex for a small fee. When will Filipino pride awake and see how degrading this business for the image of a proud nation and president striving to be respected worldwide as a developed nation. According to the Trafficking of Persons report of the US State Department there is rampant trafficking of persons from the Philippines to other countries for sexual enslavement but also in the Philippines itself and much too few convictions. It says: “However, the (Philippine) government demonstrated weak efforts to prosecute trafficking cases and convict trafficking offenders.” The President has much to do and we are ready and waiting to help.

Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. Of Human Life, Encyclical letter on the Regulation of Birth. Rome, 25 July 1968. Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Rome, 7 December 1965.

2

3 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Acts and Decrees at the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. CBCP, Manila, 1991. 4 Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City, 1994. 5 Pope John Paul II. Familiaris Consortio. Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. Rome, 22 November 1981. 6 Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae. The Gospel of Life. Rome, 25 March 1995. 7 John J. Carroll, S.J., “Reflections on the Standard Days Method,” Q.C., JJCICSI, 2008. And Mary Racelis, “21st century challenges facing Filipino Catholics: bridging the rural-urban family divide,” Address at the commencement exercises of the Asian Social Institute, 24 May 2008. 8 Alejandro Herrin, “Social Science Perspectives on Population and Development,” in A Balancing Act: Social and Catholic Perspectives on Population and Development.” Edited by John J. Carroll, S.J., Manila, JJCICSI and PCPD, 2007. p.19. 9 “All Couples Have a Right to Know,” Final Declaration of the Congress on the 25th anniversary of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, Rome, 24-26 November 1993. 10

“desert” awaited the people who would be purified and converted, before they became fully liberated. But people preferred the convenient streets as the easier route to an imagined conversion and feared the “desert experience” that awaited conversion and new beginning. Our Response : Our Desert Experience The old and the young, from kindergarten through High School on to the Tertiary level of education till up the licensure exams, are all to be formed and guided towards integrity, trained never to cheat in studies and exams. The “discipline of the desert” is to be taught and applied, if anyone is to succeed at any level towards the “fullness of life”

“The Domestic Church, the Sanctuary of Life,” Final declaration of the bishop presidents of the Commissions for the Family for Asia, Rome, 2325 March 1995.

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Does the diocese have a continuing formation program for the clergy? “Permanent or ongoing formation, precisely because it is ‘permanent’, should always be a part of the priest’s life” (PDV 76). Our Diocesan Commission on Clergy is tasked to draw out annual plans, programs, and activities, which integrate spiritual and pastoral enrichment of the

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Entertainment
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

DAVE Ming Chang (Eddie Murphy) is a human-shaped alien spaceship from the planet Nil which crashes in Manhattan three months after the “orb” falls on earth. Apparently, the Nils, a Lilliputian race, has sent a team to the planet to retrieve and activate the orb to suck the ocean’s energy and save their dwindling power supply. The commanding team operates Dave from the inside with the captain (Eddie Murphy) functioning as the brains and voice of the space ship. However, the team, including powerthirsty No. 2 (Ed Helms), sweet natured cultural officer No. 3 (Gabrielle Union) and the rest of the crew know nothing about the planet and its inhabitants and try their best to make their humanlike space craft fit in. The captain decides to befriend a young boy Josh (Austin Lind Myers) and hang time with him and his newly widowed mom, Gina (Elizabeth Banks). Slowly, the team learns certain human qualities which begin to change their views on life and relationships. However, No. 2 is disgusted that they are getting sidetracked from their mission and organizes a coup. Meanwhile, New York police officers

Dooley (Scott Caan) and Knox (Mike O’Malley) are sent out to investigate Dave’s the crash site by the Statue of Liberty. Dooley suspects aliens have landed on earth and start a witch hunt for Dave. The movie has a potentially good plot but the humor is flat and dull. Most of the comedy comes from Dave trying to blend with the earthling; unfortunately, Murphy is either out of timing or overacting, which either way makes him only look ridiculous. The rest of the actors provide exaggerated performance and histrionics that reduce them to caricatures. The CGIs are disappointing and slightly better than those used in a 70s TV sci-fi show. The screenplay lacks strength and charm expected of a Murphy comedy. Overall, the production is passable but as die-hard Murphy fans in the theater prove, the movie can be funny despite a mediocre script and poor directing. While Meet Dave takes digs at earthlings’ lack of discipline (ignoring traffic signals, for instance), it imparts one valuable lesson: being less than average physically does not determine one’s worth as a person. Great things can be done even by the

Title: Meet Dave Director: Brian Robbins Producers: Jon Berg, David T. Friendly, Komarnicki Screenwriters: Rob Greenberg, Bill Corbett Music: John Debney Editor: Ned Bastille Cinematography: J. Clark Mathis Distributor: Twentieth Century FoxFilm Corporation Location: New York City ½ Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

least popular, most deprived, or most disadvantaged as long as one’s integrity is intact. One’s worth is not measured by the size of his physical or material assets but by the greatness of his heart. Dave reminds Josh that his being small and his being different does not make him less of a person because he has saved two worlds out of the generosity of his spirit. The movie is almost wholesome and decent save for some mild and minor profanities and coarse humor and scenes. Parents should be cautioned to accompany and guide their very young children when watching the movie.

MAC en COLET
Title: A Very Special Love Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Sarah Geronimo, Matet de Leon, Joross Gamboa, Gio Alvarez, Al Tantay, Irma Adlawan Director: Cathy GarciaMolina Producer: Star Cinema Production Genre: Romance/ Drama Distributor: Star Cinema and Viva Films Location: Manila Running Time: 105 min Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

ni Bladimer Usi

Buhay Parokya

By Bladimer Usi
There are three missing articles in this cartoon. Find a skull cap, a ciborium, and a lectern. .

SI Laida (Sarah Geronimo) ay isang bagong graduate na nangangarap na makapagtrabaho sa kompanya ng kanyang prince charming na si Miguel Montenegro (John Lloyd Cruz) na bunsong anak ng isang sikat at mayamang pamilya. Lingid sa kaaalaman ni Laida ay walang nakakatagal kay Miguel dahil sa mainitin ang ulo nito at walang nakakasundo sa kanyang mga tauhan. Nang iniwan si Miguel ng kanyang mga tauhan ay suwerte namang nag-aapplay si Laida kaya tanggap siya agad bilang editorial assistant ni Miguel. Nagpakitang-gilas si Laida sa trabaho ngunit hindi pa rin ito pansin ni Miguel. Isang beses ay tuluyang nasigawan ni Miguel si Laida, bagay na kanyang ipinagtampo. Unti-unti ay mamumulat si Miguel sa katotohanan kung bakit walang nakakatagal sa kanya. Si Laida naman ay magigising na ang pinapangarap niyang Miguel ay maaaring isang panaginip lang. Ngunit paano kung makilala ni Laida ang tunay na Miguel at siya ang maging daan upang magbago ito? May pag-asa na kaya silang magkatuluyan? Isang nakakaaliw na pelikula ang A Very Special Love. Mahusay ang pagkakatagni ng kuwento at malinaw ang karakterisasyon pati na ang pinangagalingan at pinatutunguhan ng bawat tauhan. Hindi matatawaran ang husay ni John Lloyd Cruz at talaga namang bumagay kay Sarah Geronimo ang kanyang

papel. Maging ang ibang mga tauhan ay pawing mahuhusay din. Maayos na naiparating ng pelikula ang mensahe nito at kuhangkuha ang timpla ng drama at romansa. Hindi nga lang maiaalis na pormula pa rin at komersyal ang pelikula kung kaya’t may mga eksena pa ring pilit at halatang sumusunod lamang sa komersiyalismo. Ganunpaman, maituturing pa ring tagumpay ang pelikula sapagkat nakapaghatid ito ng magandang mensahe sa paraang nakakalibang na kung saan ay saglit na makakalimutan ng mga manonood ang kanilang mga problema. Hitik din ang A Very Special Love sa magagandang mensahe hindi lamang ukol sa pagmamahal kundi pati na rin sa pagpapahalaga sa pamilya. Ipinakita ng pelikula kung paanong ang pamilya ang siyang sentro at ugat ng pagmamahalan. Sa pamilya nga naman tayo unang nakakaranas ng pagmamahal pati na rin ng iba pang emosyon. Kung walang pamilyang magmamahal ay malamang, wala rin pagmamahal na tutubo sa puso ng tao. Kung galit naman ang itinanim ng pamilya ay galit din ang siyang maghahari hanggang sa paglaki. Ngunit dahil dakila ang kapangyarihan ng pag-ibig, wala pa ring imposible. Sinasabi ng pelikula na hindi yaman o kasikatan ang siyang tunay na magpapaligaya sa tao kundi, sa bandang huli ay masusukat ang kaligayahan sa kapayapaan ng isip at kakayahang magpatawad, magmahal at mahalin.

CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

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Ugnayan
The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Ablaze with God’s fire!
By Martha Vinzons
“ARE you a fire starter?” This was the teaser that advertised this year’s Singles for Christ Metro Manila Conference entitled SFC Ablaze. More than 2,500 single men and women from all over Metro Manila gathered at the Subic Exhibition Center to try to discover the answer. Everyone was regal and royal in their stance, the women in long gowns and the men in coat and tie, complementing the kingdom-like décor of the Main Plenary Hall. The grand evening started with Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Audie Moss who told everyone that this was no ordinary get-together but indeed a gathering of God’s sons and daughters in His Kingdom. After the opening ceremony, April Dionela spoke about being “Embraced by the Father.” It was good to be reminded that nothing is impossible to a God who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. April said we should always keep in mind that “Mayaman si Papa” (Our Father is rich). April shared how he surrendered to God’s will during the most trying moments of his life. The words “Your will be done” may be painful especially when you don’t know what is in store for you but once you see everything in light of His plan, then it all makes sense. Everyone was in a cheerful mood, the right mood to be in to enjoy the masquerade party that followed. Saturday began with the usual opening worship. The conference attendees then went to the respective workshops they enlisted for. Each workshop tackled a specific gift of the Holy Spirit. Another special workshop was on Intercessory Prayers handled by the community called Intercessors of the Lamb. The main plenary hall served as the venue for the talk on Speaking in Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues which was combined with the gift of Prophecy given by Joemar Salumbides. As has been the practice, Saturday afternoon was allotted for various competitions. Talented members of the community glorified God by sharing their gift of singing and dancing. Some showed off their skill in strategizing thru the Amazing Race contest. Alongside the competitions, a talk on Global Missions was given. Later that evening, after a heartfelt worship, Kate Deiparine, SFC Metro Manila Head, talked about being Saved by the Son. She pointed out that sometimes, we act like we are unsaved when in fact Jesus saves us everyday. Kate also stressed that the character of Christ will be developed in us if we see our sufferings as a crown that unites us with Him. Barely a month with the community, Gemms Pasimio bravely shared about her battle with the Big C. She related how angry she was at God, but the moment she acknowledged who God is in her life, a message came to her right away. The Lord told her, “Be Not Afraid.” And in the most recent test she underwent, a little more than a week before the conference, her 10 cm tumor had shrunk to just 7.1 cm. That wonderful story was soon followed by a short talk about being Empowered by the Holy Spirit by Kirby Llaban. Kirby allowed the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself through prayer and healing and the powerful worship that followed. Sunday started out gloomy, no thanks to Typhoon Igme. Weather aside, everyone eagerly listened to the last talk dubbed Ablaze! Set the World on Fire, which was given by SFC Metro Manila Head, Lawrence Quintero. After experiencing the magnificence and love of the Blessed Trinity in the first three talks, it was a bit discomforting to be told that what it means to be Ablaze is to be subjected to purification. Lawrence said that we will be exposed to heat, to refining moments to be fully Ablaze. Should we be afraid of the fire? Lawrence also explained that after submitting ourselves to that painful fire, God will then use us as instruments to set other people on fire. He enjoined everyone to answer the call to do mission work – not just in foreign lands or in other places in the country but more so, to our families, friends and colleagues. As the rains continued to pour on the drive back to Manila, the flame ignited in our hearts continued to glow. Are we indeed Fire Starters? The love of the Trinity and the desire wrought in our heart to always be Ablaze will make us so, even if only in our own little ways.

Celebrating life CFC in Sibale
LAST July 25, 2008, Couples for Christ joined the Philippine Catholic Church in celebrating the 40th year of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on birth regulation “Humanae Vitae.” The prayer rally was held at the UST Parade Grounds with many church groups, parishes and dioceses in attendance. Brethren from the CFC Metro Manila Sectors and neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Batangas came in buses, vans and cars bearing streamers proclaiming our prolife stand. Other brethren opted to join the delegations of their parishes and dioceses. With its strong presence in the event, CFC made a statement that we will uphold, defend and advance family and life and will stand against the forces that seek to destroy it.

By Boy Brozas
AS part of the first anniversary celebration of Couples for Christ in Concepcion, Romblon, a medical mission was conducted on May 10, 2008 by Metro Manila Chapter North A-4A, which has its base in Sacred Heart Village and Lagro in Novaliches, Quezon City. The medical team, all coming from Quezon City, was composed of three doctors (Myrna Valencia, Larry Lianko and Hermie Canalita), two nurses (Edwin Montojo and Miriam Valencia) and two medical technologists (Billy and Tess Bascuguin). While the medical mission was going on, some members of the visiting chapter paid a courtesy call on the parish priest, Fr. German F.J. Mehler, a German SVD missionary. After the medical mission, a Lord’s Day celebration was held at the town plaza. In his message, Fr. Mehler mentioned that he would want all couples in the island to become members of CFC. Bro. Jun Maramot, the Chapter Head from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro led the celebration.

The municipality of Concepcion is the only municipality of Sibale Island, which is one of the islands of Romblon. It is composed of nine barangays with a total population of about 5,000. Though part of Romblon, the island is more proximate to Mindoro than to the main island of Romblon. All of the needs of the island are supplied by Mindoro. The first Christian Life Program in the island was conducted by North A–4A last year

. It was suggested by Mon Fallarme, a member of the said chapter who is from Sibale upon the request of his relatives in the island. The first batch was composed of 17 couples and 2 handmaids. With two more CLPs later, there is now a total membership of 48 couples, 13 handmaids, 3 servants and 5 singles. Many more couples have signified their intention to join the next CLP, which is scheduled in June.

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Ugnayan
By Joe Tale, CFC Executive Director

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

A new springtime
JUST like springtime, when new plants sprout and new life begins, when growth comes in great spurts, our community is now experiencing the “re-greening” of our life and mission. The opportunities for growth are tremendous and the means that the Lord puts at our disposal are examples of pure grace. There is a new springtime in our evangelization work. The opportunities that the Lord has sent our way are simply mind-boggling. Consider these: 1. CFC has been asked to handle the values formation program for the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). What makes this program unique, unlike previous formation programs, are the follow up programs. Thus, CFC will conduct values formation programs for those who are leaving, then conduct follow up programs for them in their country of assignment (with the help of CFC in those countries), and finally, continue those programs upon their return. Another unique feature is that CFC will also conduct values formation programs for the families of the OFWs. 2. Very recently, the government has also requested that CFC handle the values formation programs for the following: a. families relocated from along the railroad tracks to relocation areas in Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite; b. informal settlers within Taguig; c. families in Makati who will be relocated to Laguna. 3. Even more recently, we have received word that CFC will take charge of providing values formation programs for a transport group with nationwide membership. 4. CFC is now conducting a values formation program for public school teachers in Iligan. 5. A specific opportunity in academe is St Michael’s College in Iligan. The school, which was introduced to Gawad Kalinga, has not only encouraged the immersion of their students and teaching staff in GK work; they have also included GK in their curriculum. CFC is also conducting values formation programs for their faculty, staff and students. All these are not just opportunities for evangelization; they are also opportunities for our individual and collective spiritual growth. The Lord is surely giving us these many chances to proclaim Him so that we may be transformed by the very act of making Him known. What an awesome prospect! What an awesome responsibility! What is our response? As individuals and as a community, we can have only one response – to be faithful to Him who has been so generous to us. He has led us out of the darkness of strife and conflict and brought us to new heights in our life and mission. He has allowed us to be purified by the events newed lives that witness to God’s grace in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of of the past year so that recharged, re- and loving providence. the Earth and our mission of Building newed and transformed, we may be emMay this springtime bring us to a the Church of the Home and the Church powered to take on the responsibility of fresher sense of our vision as Families of the Poor. bringing Him to more people, to more areas, to new frontiers. This is our springtime. This is our season of change and new beginnings. I invite you all to share with the entire community your own experience of springtime in CFC. It is time that we let the global family know that we have been touched by the grace that God has poured upon all of us. Please send your testimonies to multimediacenter@cfcglobal.com. The global family would greatly benefit from stories of fresh beginnings and re- Joe Tale and Joe Yamamoto with Fr. Paul and Fr. Justin from Beijing, China

By Joe Yamamoto, Philippine Missions Director, International Council Member

CFC is a United Global Community
THE outputs of the Pastoral Congresses conducted by CFC all over the world from August 2007 up until the middle of the current year strengthened the unity and global reality of Couples for Christ. On the other hand, it might be argued that this claim might have been affected by the internal problems that beset the community last year. However, recent events and developments essentially reinforced the part of our expanded vision statement that proclaims that “CFC is a united global community of family evangelizers.” The strong and enthusiastic participation of the Bishops and Clergy during the CFC 27th anniversary celebration last June highlighted the critical partnership of clergy and the laity in attending to the needs of the family and the poor. Couples for Christ faithfully embodies that in our declared mission of “Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor” and our actions attest to our fidelity to these particular callings. Not only was our 27th Anniversary Week a series of happy events that culminated in the very inspiring and affirming June 21 Anniversary Celebration at the Luneta, but the presence of many leaders and members of the CFC global family lent credence to the united and global stature of the community. No problem or storm was strong enough to undermine the commitment, passion and solidarity of the members of CFC. As a matter of fact, everyone sees this period of our crisis as one providential occasion to really bring the community to the fullness of God’s plan. The faith of our people is being reinforced rather than shattered by the conflict. We have all learned to hitch our future on God rather than on any human leader. CFC is united In the wake of the 2007 conflict, 90 to 95 percent of the global membership of CFC stayed with the community. This has been borne out by the evangelization reports submitted by the Philippine mission which show, in many instances, slight growths from last year’s figures. This is a clear proof of the commitment of our members who chose to remain where they are and firmly believed that they have always been faithful to the mission; contrary to the claim of some who left the community for their particular reasons. If you ask the majority who stayed, their answer will invariably be “we serve God and not any human leader;” “we have been called to a way of life in the CFC community, and that is the identity we will always carry and that cannot be taken by anyone.” Our brethren are simple people, yet prayerful and discerning. And yes, they are united in their belief that CFC is called to help evangelize the families and the poor, and they are connected to that special call in their own circumstances of life and work. Take for instance the situation of one leader abroad who narrated his own process of discernment. He related that during the height of the crisis, when communications were at a near standstill, not only was he praying for guidance but as he looked at his ID card, he was affirmed that he and his wife were called to be Couples for Christ and not couples for someone!! Right there and then he declared his decision to stay and everyone in his area followed suit. No one outside their area influenced their decision; neither did any humanly crafted communication. Later when I asked him and his wife, their answer was that unity to the life and mission of CFC served to strengthen their resolve. So much so that even when there was paucity of information, they, like many others, simply went back to their basic appreciation of life in the CFC community. Unity is expressed in the appreciation of the vision and mission of the community. It is also defined by the way members conduct and attend a household meeting, their way of prayer and worship, including the songs and their way of singing, even if it means that once in a while one will hear that a note is sung differently. It is not even a surprise that even after the household meeting or a teaching is formally over, the members still linger on at the venue a while longer continuing their exchange of stories and anecdotes. The fact of the matter is that CFC members all over the world share the same pattern of beliefs, practices and activities that characterize its community culture and way of life. A global community CFC was established in 160 countries including the Philippines in the course of its 27 years of existence. From the shores of the country, men and women of CFC, who were imbued with the missionary zeal and spirit, brought the community to foreign countries to share the family life renewal that they experienced. There was determined commitment to bring the blessings to others and not just keep it among themselves. By using their own time, talents and resources, these volunteer teams spread far and wide and established what has become a connected global community. Wherever CFC members are present, they follow the same standards that have since characterized the community. Even if some mission areas failed ultimately, the most important aspect of the passionate dedication to work remains and continues to animate the lives of the CFC global family. Differences in language, culture and ethnic backgrounds did not dampen the spirit and life of the CFC global family. As a matter of reality, these differences did not create barriers but rather challenged our people to find ways and means to connect by overcoming the limitations of said circumstances and therefore impact on the nationals of the mission areas. There is tacit understanding in the global community that failed mission areas will be reconnected to the CFC family by fielding additional volunteer mission teams to re-establish community presence once again. Such is the avowed dedication of the members in giving serious attention to that particular reality. In everyone, CFC identity is acceptance of our role as evangelizers. Perhaps indicative of this attitude was the statement uttered by a Caucasian American GK advocate and champion, Nancy N.- who said that she was “white on the outside but brown in the inside.” It may have reference to the Filipino origin of GK, which might very well apply to the humble beginnings of CFC. That while it may have started in the Philippines, its universal message of sharing family life renewal will not be limited by the color of the skin of its adherents. There is universal acceptance and people everywhere are able to relate to that. Anyone who has gone on mission work, whether in the country or abroad, will never fail to experience the openness and warmth of CFC members. It matters not that not everyone knows everyone else, or who will meet them, host them, feed them and shelter them. The only constant is they find themselves in the presence of family, albeit strangers to one another, and that is all that matters. Many of my physician colleagues, upon learning that in our CFC trips abroad, Mila and I are hosted in CFC homes, invariably ask the question: “Do you know who will meet you and host you?” When we answer no, such response typically elicits a surprised look or heads shaking in disbelief. My guess is that for one not in community, our way is simply strange and our confidence in community life a puzzling matter. Used to hotel living that comes complete with bellboys and chambermaids, they will not understand why Mila and I enjoy lugging our suitcases up several floors and sharing rooms in cramped venues! CFC evangelizes families Perhaps the work of family life renewal brings out the very core of the commitment of CFC — that of evangelizing whole families. It is in addressing the needs of the families that indeed the CFC vision of Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth becomes powerful and relevant. This is the heart of the mission presenting Christ to the families and the families to Christ.

Joe and Mila Yamamoto (center) having fun with CFC foreign delegates during the anniversary.

CBCP Monitor CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

Ugnayan

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The CFC International Council
JOE TALE
CFC DIRECTOR/ GK CHAIRMAN
JOE Tale was suddenly thrust into center position in the Couples for Christ community following the events that resulted from the resignation of CFC’s top leaders in February 2007. Joe was chosen by the remaining Council members as CFC Director (Chairman and President), and by the GK Board as Chairman of Gawad Kalinga. After the June 2007 election of the new International Council, Joe was again chosen to the same positions. Joe and wife Babylou have been members of CFC since 1986, or 22 years ago, and Joe has been a member of the International Council since 1995. In 1989, Joe and Babylou, who are both from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, brought CFC to their home city and province. They served as the first provincial head of Negros Oriental. Later, they served as Regional Head of Central Visayas, consisting of the provinces of Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor. Joe and Babylou and their two daughters Vida and Rica are a devoted CFC family. Vida and Rica grew up in community, starting from Youth for Christ and later Singles for Christ, holding leadership positions in the Family Ministries. Vida, after finishing college in Ateneo de Manila University, served in YFC and later in KFC, all told for four years before seeking a career elsewhere. Rica, a dentist, served as a unit head of YFC, and later continued to serve actively in SFC, also as Unit Head. She recently got married to Jon Hizon, another active Unit Head of SFC, and son of CFC fulltime pastoral workers Bing and Ellen Hizon. Joe has had extensive professional experience both in the private sector and government. A lawyer, he served as General Counsel of the Shell Group of companies in the Philippines. He was also invited to serve in government twice. He was Cabinet Undersecretary and Deputy Head of the Presidential Management Staff during the term of President Cory Aquino. He returned to the private sector but in 2001, upon the assumption of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as President, he was again invited to serve in government as Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of the President. Joe’s service as a senior government official afforded a great opportunity to evangelize government. Thus, under his leadership, the STMA-led CLPs in government offices intensified. In Malacanang alone, three CLPs were conducted for government career officials there. Now, CFC is established in about 60 national government departments and agencies, in addition to evangelization initiatives at the local government level. As CFC Director, a position he did not seek, Joe is committed to be submitted and faithful to the one vision and mission of CFC of renewing the face of the earth. He also is committed to preserving and defending CFC, to maintaining its essence as one governance structure and process, one culture, one global family. LITO (real name Jose) Tayag and his wife Linda have been with CFC for 24 years, having attended their CLP way back in October 1984. Lito’s list of service positions held in CFC is a long one, considering the length of time he and Linda have been in community and considering that Lito has never refused any service. This is not Lito’s first time to serve as International Council member. He was elected to the Council way back in 1995 and served three terms until 2001. Prior to this, he was a member of the then CFC Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1995. Lito is a Certified Public Accountant and until his retirement very recently, was a partner at the Price Waterhouse Company, an accounting and auditing firm. He was only 19 when he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of the East. He took the accountancy board at age 20 and was in 14th place. Because he was so young, he could not practice his profession and so at the tender age of 21, he became a professor. He also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. It was while Lito was teaching that he met Linda. She was one of his students in Accounting. They got married on October 21, 1976 and the union has produced three children: Nina, now a dentist and serving in SFC, Mito, a UP graduate and now serving in Tekton, also with SFC and Jenni, a marketing accountant with URC, also in SFC. Nina and Mito served in YFC and they also went to different provinces and countries to conduct youth camps. Lito and Linda are proudest of the fact that aside from their family, they have both brought into CFC and its Family Ministries all their blood brothers and sister.

LITO TAYAG

JOE YAMAMOTO
JOE Yamamoto is simply “Joeyam” to everyone. The distinguished surgeon does not mind not being addressed as doctor. He also does not mind people knowing that he came from a poor family and that his father exerted all efforts to ensure that his children could get the one treasure he could leave them – a good education. These are the facts of Joe’s life that he will not willingly announce to everyone: He graduated magna cum laude from his Bachelor of Science course at the University of Santo Tomas. Four years later, he also graduated magna cum laude, when he finished medicine from the same school. During graduation, he was awarded the Philippine Medical Association Award for Academic Excellence. He was also adjudged “Outstanding Intern for 1974” at the UST Hospital. When he took the medical board

ROUQUEL PONTE
ROUQUEL Ponte was first elected to the International Council in June 1993, right after Couples for Christ was spun off from the Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, CFC’s mother community. He has been in the Council for 15 years. Rouquel and wife Nina (nee Faustino) attended their Christian Life Program in August 1982 at the Corinthian Gardens home of Paquito and Pinky Tanjangco. At present, aside from being a member of the International Council, he is also a member of the Gawad Kalinga Board, Pro-Life Director and International Missions Director. Nina is an artist and writer and is a much-sought after training consultant. She likes to say that, like a good CFC wife, her major service is to be a good wife and to fully and wholeheartedly support her husband in the performance of his pastoral and service duties. Rouquel and Nina were wed on January 10, 1976 and have a daughter, Ma-an (Fatima Antonia) who is a graduating medical student from the UERMMC. Ma-an is active in Singles for Christ. Rouquel speaks of the grace of being a servant and how he is able to balance his service and his personal responsibilities: “Being a member of the International Council presents a challenge to personal and family life, especially because of my full schedule and the frequent traveling I have to do as part of my mission responsibilities. Being in the IC gives me an opportunity and privilege to serve God and the CFC community. I need the special grace of God, a strong personal prayer life, grounding in the Scriptures and a solid sacramental life, as well as the strong support of Nina and Ma-an and of course the entire community in order for me to do the work God has given. The recent trials that we faced as a community shook us but it did not destroy us because of our prayers and our reliance on God as our protector and guide. I believe the crisis was our moment of grace. The Lord wants to move us to a higher plane so that we can be more fruitful in our service to Him and to humankind.”

exams, he was the 6th placer. It was in medical school where he met Mila, who would become his wife. What followed graduation was the usual residencies not only in the Philippines but in prestigious hospitals in Texas and Washington, DC, USA to further his training in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. He also is a member of many medical boards and organizations. He has been an examiner of the Philippine Board of Surgery (Cardiovascular & Thoracic Specialty) from 1986 up to the present. He has received many awards but the one he treasures most is his being awarded the order of the Knight of St. Sylvester in 1999 by the Holy Father at the Vatican. Joe has been a member of the International Council since 1997. Prior to that, he was also a member of the Board of Elders (1995-97). From the time of its inception in 1997 up to the present, Joe has been head of the medical mission ministry. He is also a member of the GK Board.

JOEY ARGUELLES
JOEY Arguelles is a very unassuming person, and he himself will tell you that he is a “promdi,” (slang for “from the province”) complete with Batangueno accent. But his dedication and commitment to Couples for Christ is unquestioned. He and wife Tess (nee Evangelista) attended the Christian Life Program in 1987 in Batangas City and they have never looked back. Joey graduated with degrees in Commerce and Management and worked in various positions in government, among them in the Records Section of the Rizal Provincial Hospital, as regional budget officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for Region 4 and finally as Executive Assistant to the then Governor of Batangas until 1990. He even tried his hand at business when he opened, in 1990, his own restaurant and catering business together with wife Tess. He left all these in 1991 when he became a full-time worker for CFC Batangas. “I could no longer reconcile my being a member of Couples for Christ with the demands and the worldly lures of my public administration career. I chose the work of the Lord and I have never regretted it.” Like everyone else, Joey has run the gamut of service within CFC – from being household head, to unit head, to chapter head and provincial area head of CFC Batangas. He has also served as Regional Area Head for Bicol, and now, as an elected member of the International Council, as Luzon Mission Director. Joey and Tess were married on October 10, 1964. Their union has borne five children: Ma. Teresita, a dentist and member of the Singles for Christ; Ma. Josefina, a doctor connected with Philhealth and who is the Provincial Coordinator for SFC Batangas; Ma. Antoniette, a lawyer connected with Robinson Land and a chapter head in SFC; Joselito, an assistant manager at Metrobank who is a sector head in SFC; and Ma. Zarah Charisma, now working fulltime at the Home Office as Events Manager with GKom. She is a household head with SFC. Joey has a very simple philosophy, one that has stood him in good stead, even in the face of the trials and difficulties of 2007: Fix our eyes on Jesus. He is in control!

ERNESTO E. MAIPID, JR.
ERNIE Maipid is now on his second term as member of the International Council. At present, his responsibilities as Council member is as Pastoral Formation Office Director and as overseer of the Ugnayan magazine. Ernie left his Country Director post at the United Nations Development Programme to be a full time worker. He finished his high school at the Ateneo de Manila and his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communication and his Master of Arts in Communication Research at the University of the Philippines. Ernie met Gigi (the former Cherilyn de Castro) at the Sacred Heart Parish in Kamuning where they were both youth church leaders, Ernie as head of the parish youth organization and editor of the parish newsletter and Gigi as youth leader of another organization. At that time, she was discerning a call to join the Pink Sisters. Instead she married Ernie (on December 10, 1977) who, if his mother had her way, would have been a priest. Ernie suffered a stroke in 2001 but this did not deter him from doing more service for the community. He continues to travel all over the country and even to far off places like Africa to give talks and to monitor pastoral formation activities. Ernie and Gigi have been in community for the past 22 years. Like many others, they speak of their journey in CFC in terms of servanthood. Ernie says, “I am at no better place, at no better time. I consider this the peak of my service thus far, enhancing both my personal, as well as family life. When Council service ends, I am confident God will continue to use me for His purposes to the end. My only task is to obey. My family serves with me. Gigi is a full time worker too, as Office Manager for Health Services. Paolo, our 24-year old second son, an Economics graduate from the Ateneo, is also a full time worker, serving as a GK volunteer. Karlo, 26, our eldest, is a registered nurse and is in Singles for Christ. Our youngest, Camina, 20, is in third year college at the UST and is an active member of Youth for Christ TORCH. We have a four-year old foster son, David, who is waiting to join the rest of the family of Gigi’s sister in the U.S.” We are reminded of our original intent to grow and truly be Couples FOR Christ. The Lord has enabled us to move from goodness to greatness, and there is indeed much, much more that lies ahead. The future indeed spells a “fullness of hope.”

MELO VILLAROMAN JR.
MELO is the youngest among the seven Council members. But he has equally impressive credentials. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines in 1984. He worked with Procter & Gamble Company for 22 years, the last 12 years of which were with P&G Asia based in Singapore. His last assignment in P&G was Director for Customer Business Development covering the countries of ASEAN, India, China and Japan. In December 2005, at age 42, he retired from this very lucrative and challenging job to go back to the Philippines and serve as a full-time mission volunteer in Gawad Kalinga. He was the most surprised when, after two years of dedicated service in GK, he was nominated and elected to the CFC International Council on June 22, 2007. As Council member, Melo has oversight responsibilities over the Family Ministries. He has also been appointed as Home Office Director where he is putting his administrative and human resource skills to work, transforming the Home Office into what he calls “the Heart, the Home and the Hands of our CFC vision and mission.” According to Melo, the Home Office radiates “the Heart of God’s presence in our community.” It also should be “the Home…where members (gain) experience of our Father’s love, guidance and joy.” The Home Office is also tasked to be “the helpful Hands that enable God’s work – effective, efficient and faithful.” Melo is happily married to Nini (for 18 years) and very proud of his two sons, Dave, 17, and Sam, 11. His whole family serves in Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries (Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines).

C4

CFC Cebu turns 18
the darnel and who are the wheat. That is not the way to understand the parable, for Jesus does not make distinctions among or between persons. When we look at ourselves as the wheat, for example, it is easy to look at others as the darnel. Then we begin to look at ourselves as the good guys and those who do not agree with us as the bad guys. This way of looking at ourselves and at others is never helpful, for it would run counter to another parable, the one about the publican and the Pharisee (Cf. Luke 18:10). It is never good to cast ourselves as good and the others as bad. That judgment belongs to God alone. The truth is, there is in everyone a mixture of good and evil. No matter how we try to be good, the tendency towards evil remains, for as St. Paul says in the Letter to the Romans, “All men have fallen short of God.” (Rom. 3:23) The parable of the darnel therefore is as much a metaphor of ourselves as it is a story about the world. We do not find evil only in the world. Evil also lurks in our hearts. What we need to do is to learn how to live with evil, without being drawn to it. It is easy to live with good people. They do not cause us any harm, much less vexation. But to coexist with evil people… that is difficult. We wish God would exterminate all evil people, and sometimes we do not ask God anymore. We take the law into our hands, even usurping God’s right to take away human life. The tragedy of exterminating evil people is that while our self-righteousness makes us indignant about their evil, we ourselves become what they are when we raise our hands to strike them a fatal blow. The evil we wish to exterminate lives on in us. How then can we preserve goodness without allowing evil to overcome us? First, do not lose your faith. Some people, when they see evil around them and feel the tendency to evil inside them, right away conclude that God does not exist. They lose faith in God when they experience evil in their lives. They begin to wonder whether God is still in control. They get discouraged and they allow their doubts to kill their faith slowly. St. Augustine, in commenting on the Lord’s admonition to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents, says that the Christian becomes wise as serpents when he imitates what a serpent does. A serpent, or a snake, always protects its head. You cut off the snake’s body and it will continue to live. But crush its head and its body becomes useless. A Christian, too, must protect its head. The Christian’s faith is his head. As long as a Christian retains his faith, he will be able to survive. But when he loses it, he will not last long. He will lose everything else. We must therefore protect our faith. “Have courage, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33), Jesus says. Courage comes from a profound faith. When we allow evil people to take away our faith, we have given up the fight and we have conceded the victory to them. Second, do not lose hope. Faith, in its most basic form, is the firm belief that God exists. There are people, however, who though they believe in God, have lost hope in Him. They think He does not care about us. They expect nothing from God because they think He has abandoned the world. The evils we experience in our world can sometimes bring us to the brink of despair. The tug of evil in our hearts can make us lose hope in ourselves. But if we affirm our faith in God, we should also affirm our hope. For the God who exists is also the God who acts. He continues to be in control of the world, no matter if we feel otherwise. There are some who say religion is a form of self-deception. Hope in things that we do not see is a form of delusion and allows us to be complacent in the fight against injustice in the world. This is not true. Pope Benedict, in his encyclical Spe Salvi teaches us that hope in fact empowers us to struggle for justice in the world. Those who have lost hope are the ones who give up the fight. Hope is at once active and effective. As long as we have hope, we do not give up. We carry on the fight to make the world a better place, no matter if evil persists despite our best efforts. Third, do not lose love. When we experience

Ugnayan

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 12 No. 16
August 4 - 17, 2008

COUPLES for Christ Cebu celebrated 18 years of dedicated service to the Lord last July 20, 2008 at the Cebu City Sports Center. More than 20,000 leaders and members attended the grand event, in spite of the rains. The occasion was blessed by the presence of His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, who concelebrated the Mass with other clergy. The following is the Cardinal’s homily, apt reminders of how we, as CFC, should conduct ourselves in pursuing our vision and mission. My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ: It is my joy to be with you today, to celebrate your 18th founding anniversary. Though it saddens me that you are no longer as united as you used to be, still I look forward with hope to the future, knowing that as long as you are true to the Holy Spirit, who guides you always, all wounds will heal and in the Spirit’s own time, you will all be one. For me, the one thing that is most important is that you continue to be one with the whole universal Church. It is this unity that will bring you all back together again as one family within the larger family of God which is the Catholic Church. The Gospel today reminds us of God’s continuing love for us, in spite of all our weaknesses. When we reflect on the parable of the darnel and the wheat, we may look around us to see who are

evil, the easiest virtue to lose is love. Evil tempts us to hate. When we hate, we lose the love in our hearts. Hatred is most often the reaction against evil. But once we hate, we have not really conquered evil. Evil has in fact conquered us. The only way to overcome evil is to fight it with love. Only love can conquer evil. Jesus experienced the greatest evil in the world. It was an evil that resulted from the malice and the envy of men. Jesus, however, did not give in to the power of hatred. He embraced the evil of his torturers and absorbed all its terrible blows in his own body and soul. In spite of the calumny and the insults, scourging and the thrust of the nails on his flesh, he did not give in. Instead, he gave evil its final blow: He forgave his accusers and torturers, and took away the sting of evil and put a limit to what it can do. Today, every Christian shares in the victory of Jesus over evil when he or she says: “ Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Faith, hope and love. These three, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, these are the seeds that Jesus sows in the hearts of men. Alongside these three, the devil also plants his malice, his envy and his pride. There is a part of us where malice, envy and pride continue to grow. As long as we keep the faith, nurture our hope and spread our love, we will not fall. We shall overcome, for Jesus himself has overcome the world. Amen.

In communion, in A life renewed for community, and on mission poorest of the poor
By Arnel Santos
“AS baptized Christians, we are called to be in communion, in community, and on mission,” exhorted Bishop Honesto Pacana, SJ, in a lecture before the Mission Core Group (MCG) of Couples for Christ held at Xavier School Gymnasium, on July 15, 2008. According to Bishop Pacana, these three dimensions of discipleship apply to both the clergy and the lay because a Christian is one who must accept that he/she is a sinner, a definition which levels us all. “We are all sinners but loved by God, always forgiven, and sent to a mission.” that to be in communion, “our faith should not be treated as just one of our priorities, but our center.”

Community

Communion
To be “in communion”, Bishop Pacana explained, is to respond to the call of Jesus Christ, who said “Come, follow me. I will make you fishers of men.” It is to accept the invitation to “be with Me,” and “be My friend.” The first disciples were not called to do the work of the Lord. They were simply asked to be “one with the Lord,” “a companion, a friend,” and to be “close to Him.” Prayer nurtures communion. Bishop Pacana encouraged not just “formulated prayer” but “Biblical prayer” or using the Bible in prayer, “where we are forced to listen to the Lord.” An example is if the Bible speaks to us in the verse “Forgive your enemies,” according to the good Bishop, we should ask ourselves, “How am I going to respond to that?” Only when we respond will there will be such communication with the Lord that nurtures communion. Bishop Pacana however emphasized

Christ’s disciples formed a community “to learn who He is” and not “to make a project.” Thus, according to Bishop Pacana, it is not a Christian community if the group’s task is a fundraising project or to form a cooperative. A community is formed because of Christ Himself. As Bishop Pacana stated, a “community of disciples” arises when the people’s “minds and hearts are one with Jesus Christ.” The best examples are the apostles, who despite being comprised of individual with varied backgrounds were “in community.” They did this by making Christ the measure of their decision making and ways of thinking. Bishop Pacana further stated that “Miracles happen when Christ is at the center.” Bishop Pacana reminded the faithful that “We all have a mission.” Not just “territorial mission,” as when we are sent to foreign lands but “existential mission,” which means entering the hearts and lives of people. “We can be missionaries wherever we are.” The mission, however, is “a mandate” that comes from the Lord. If we do not answer “Yes Lord, I love you,” the Lord will not give the mission. Hence, between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC), the difference is in the mandate. For some priests, this mission is lived out or rather, died for. Fr. Caringal, SJ

Mission

who spoke out against the military and NPA, was later assassinated in his convent. Another priest tried to defend the forest and was assassinated too, making him a “martyr for the environment.” Priests also have a task to be good at parenting. Bishop Pacana says, “We tell them that in the parish, there should be no one that should be alienated. The poor and the rich need Christ. Do not discriminate, just as good parents do not discriminate. Don’t insult. Don’t use the pulpit as a place to vent your bitterness.” The bishop clarified that it is no guarantee that if you are good at parenting, the fruits will be good. However, one does not lose “credibility” as a good parent when the child still strays. Our Lord showed “good parenting [skills]” but there was still a Judas who came out. Bishop Pacana concluded his talk by saying, “Many hearts, many lives are hungry. Let us be missionaries to one another.” The occasion was likewise graced by the presence of Fr. Savio Siccuan from the Benedictine Monastery in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. “The fact that the bishop and I have come here,” said Fr. Siccuan “is a tribute to the work that CFC and GK is doing in Bukidnon.” Fr. Savio gave a presentation on the study made by St. Luke’s Institute on “spiritual asphyxiation,” i.e. people’s dying spirituality. He explained that there are five (5) symptoms of “spiritual asphyxiation”, as follows: 1. Lack of enthusiasm 2. Lack of creativity 3. Lack of gratitude 4. Lack of sense of humor 5. Lack of inner peace Fr. Savio enjoined the CFC leaders to ask themselves: “Do I have the depth to lead? Where does that depth come from?” He then exhorted them to “be faithful to your prayer life” even and especially in times of suffering and crisis. “The greatest lessons learned in life are those made under the dark night. The best prayers said are those we say in times of suffering and crises.” He exhorted that instead of being very negative against each other, try to look at the saints in your midst, those giving good example. Citing GK as a good example of CFC and its work of evangelization, Fr. Savio pointed out the universal truth that “ It takes an outsider like me to tell you the good that CFC and GK is doing.”

By Maria Franco
(Reprinted from the Catholic News Weekly of Australia) THREE Filipino pilgrims made it to living in small shanties but they send Sydney following a stringent selec- me to high school and college and tion process in their homeland which now I’m working full-time as a declared them among the poorest of teacher in one of our communities.” the poor. Laarni graduated recently from For these three, the excitement of university with a bachelor’s degree World Youth Day not only revolves in science and religious education so around strengthening their spiritual- she could spread the Catholic faith ity but about getting on a plane for among primary school children. “It really feels great. I wouldn’t be where the first time. Jerrick Elinan, 20, Laarni I am now without them (GK),” she Bustamante, 20, and Raymond said. Dimaiwat, 24, are members of Gawad “If they didn’t help me, I wouldn’t Kalinga (GK), a Philippines-based be able to help others.” Laarni said organization which began in 1995 to WYD is a chance to deepen her faith rehabilitate young juveniles and help as well as put that faith in action by school dropouts. meeting the world’s youth and getGK has been dedicated since to ting to know them on a personal level. transforming poverty-stricken areas But for Raymond, a full-time volincluding 1,700 communities all over unteer in GK’s Culture and Tourism the Philippines and in other develop- Department, WYD is a life-changing ing countries such as Papua New renewal. Guinea, Indonesia and Cambodia. “I want to go back to the PhilipFor youth coordinator, Fredney pines and change my habits and Gales, GK is about giving hope to the change my life,” he said. “I’m so less fortunate back home and seeing proud to be here and be with the living testaments in the form of his youth that are here for the Lord. They have helped me and my family so group’s sponsored pilgrims. The significance of them coming to much. I’m so blessed.” When asked how he feels about beAustralia is, basically, the living out of the Catholic faith,” he said. “With- ing in Australia, Jerrick, a recent sciout the support of our brothers and ence and marine transportation gradusisters, they would not have had the ate, simply smiles. “I’m happy,” he said. “WYD is the opportunity to be where they are right now.” coming together of everybody for The pilgrims, who arrived on July one purpose – to unite in love for one 2, were sponsored by A Network of another and for God. I really wanted Communities for the Poor (ANCOP), to come here but thought I would GK’s international network which or- never get the chance.” ganized both their travel to Australia and host families in Sydney’s west. All three were raised in extreme poverty, having lived with their families in the slums since they were born. These days, they remain active in GK as youth volunteers giving back to the community which helped to rebuild their homes and pay for their education. “We are GK’s beneficiaries,” Laarni said. “Once we were From left, Raymond, Fredney, Laarni and Jerrick.

Bishop Pacana, extreme left, with Fr. Savio, Rouquel Ponte, Joe Yamamoto and Ernie Maipid.

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