A3 Every Catholic is called to encourage vocations

Pope says

to Us of B1 ‘It SpeaksDestiny’ Our Very


The Cross
A Supplement Publication of KC Life and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

Group urges ARMM polls postponement, caretaker gov’t
A MULTI-SECTORAL organization demanded the postponement of the August 8 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections and that a caretaker government is formed in the meantime. The newly-launched iPAD-Mindanao (I am for Peace and Development in Mindanao) underscored that the upcoming polls would still not bring the desired change there.

Thousands of teens to gather for discussion of pro-life issues
THOUSANDS of young people across Metro Manila are expected to gather for a candid discussion of pro life issues on February 27, from 1:00-5:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center. Around 10,000 teenagers from all over the metropolis are attending the event dubbed “Real Love Revolution” organized by Catalyst, a student organization based at the University
Teens / A6

February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

Php 20.00

People Power for or against him
By Roy Lagarde

PNOY has 2 options:

RETIRED Bishop Teodoro Bacani said there is no room for neutrality in the controversy against the contentious Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
In his homily during the “Filipinos Unite for Life” rally at the PICC grounds in Pasay City on Feb. 13, Bacani called on President Benigno Aquino III to once again clarify his position on contraception. “Just make it simple. If you support it, say yes. And if not, then say no,” Bacani said. He also issued an ultimatum to the Aquino administration: push programs that promote the use of contraceptives and abortifacients and face the consequences. The bishop’s words were blunt. He said the country has so many problems and Aquino should not waste his time on RH bill. “I think President Noy would like to have a people power supporting him rather than an enemy,” Bacani said earning applause from the crowd. “The country has so many problems. Don’t add this RH bill headache into your administration,” he said. The rally was held five days after the United States Conference of the Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called on the Filipino prelates not to give up its fight against RH bill. Bacani said in the 65-year history of the CBCP, there were only two occasions when the bishops “unanimously agreed” on sensitive resolutions. He admitted that while the CBCP regularly releases statements, there were debates from several prelates. The first occasion, according to him, when the bishops stood united was in 1986 when they said the February 7 snap
People Power / A6

Displaying Philippine flags, placards and banners, a huge crowd of Filipinos, composed of parents, lawmakers, students, and religious leaders, voiced their concerns over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill during a protest rally at the PICC complex in Pasay City, February 13, 2011. The pro-lifers warned of more protests in the coming days if Congress passes the measure.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

THE head of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has noted a decrease in incidents of nullity of marriages. Archbishop Oscar Cruz, judicial vicar of the CBCP’s National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal said the reduction in nullity cases may also have something to do with the significant decrease in the number of matrimonial tribunals across the country. There are about seven functional tribunals in the country with three to four tribunals able to resolve a case or two every year. “Most of the marriages brought to Church Marriage Tribunal have something to do either with personality disorder or gender dysfunction,” he explained. Asked why there are fewer tribunals in the Philippines despite the growing number of Filipinos who see annulment through the regular courts, Archbishop Cruz said while there are a lot of Canon lawyers in the Philippines, the work in marital tribunals may be described as “very technical.” He added the “work is long and difficult” and the stipend is “peanuts.” Many priests have studied and trained in Canon law but few dare work in matrimonial tribunals. There are 16 archdioceses in the Philippines and every archdiocese has a judicial vicar who heads the tribunal. (Melo M. Acuña)

Archbishop Cruz notes fewer nullity of marriages

Holy See to UN: Invest in children to aid poverty
Stresses promotion of authentic human development
THE permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations is affirming that an effective means to eradicate poverty is to invest in the health and development of children. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt stated this in an address delivered Friday to the 49th session of the Commission for Social Development of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. The theme of the meeting was “Poverty Eradication.” The prelate affirmed that “the future generations of children and youth are in fact the best and only means of overcoming social and economic problems.” He continued, “Poverty is caused not by too many children, but by too little investment and support in the development of children.” “Human history teaches us that if there is sufficient investment in children they will grow up to contribute far in excess of what they have consumed, thereby raising the standard of living for all,” the archbishop observed. “It is their strong hands and able minds that will feed the hungry, cure the sick, and build homes for the homeless,” he added. Archbishop Chullikatt affirmed that “promoting a culture that is open to life and based on the family is fundamental to realizing the full potential and the authentic development of the society for both today and the future.” Economic growth He noted that “while policy makers often state that population growth is
Holy See / A7

Bishop to Mayuga: Don’t ‘call evil good’
A CATHOLIC bishop lashed at retired Navy chief Mateo Mayuga for describing former military chief of staff Angelo Reyes’ suicide as an honorable thing to do. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said committing suicide is wrong and Mayuga’s statement is like “calling evil good.” “Let us not send a wrong message to the people, especially the young that suicide is alright. No, it is all wrong!” he said. “Whatever troubles we find in life, we should be brave enough to face them.” “We are not owners even of our

Bishop Broderick Pabillo

Mayuga / A7

INSTEAD of an increase, members of Congress should not be given Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) known as pork barrel, a Catholic bishop said. Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos said there is no assurance that the hefty money will be used properly because it only becomes one big source of corruptible public funds. It would be better, he said, if pork
Pork / A6

Bishop hits solons’ hunger for more pork

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Listen to the CBCP Online Radio at: www.cbcponlineradio.com

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media


World News

CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

US bishops support ban on abortion funding
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 10, 2011—The U.S. bishops are expressing support for the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (H.R. 3), noting that this proposed ban is “long overdue.” On Tuesday, Richard Doerflinger, a representative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made this affirmation in a testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee. Doerflinger, the associate director of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, underlined the prelates’ stance that a permanent ban on abortion funding should have been enacted years ago. “H.R. 3 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years,” he stated. “The federal government should not use tax dollars to support or promote elective abortion.” Doerflinger continued: “Since 1976 this principle has been embodied in the Hyde amendment to annual appropriations bills funding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs. “It has consistently had the support of the American people.” He noted that “even public officials who take a pro-choice stand on abortion have supported bans on public funding as a middle ground on this contentious issue—sometimes observing that it is not pro-choice to force others to fund a procedure to which they have fundamental objections.” The bishops’ representative noted, “So secure is this legal and political consensus, in fact, that some have assumed it is already fully implemented at all levels of our federal government.” He lamented, “The fact is that Congress’ policy has been remarkably consistent for decades, but the implementation of that policy in practice has been piecemeal, confusing and sometimes sadly inadequate.” Doerflinger concluded: “H.R. 3 is a well-crafted and reasonable measure to maintain longstanding and widely supported policies against active government promotion of abortion. “It consistently applies to all branches of the federal government the principle that government can encourage childbirth over abortion through its funding power, and that it should not coerce anyone’s involvement in abortion.” He asserted, “It merits prompt and overwhelming support by this congress.” (Zenit)

Nuncio in Egypt: nation’s future in the hands of the people
ROME, Feb. 11, 2011—The future of Egypt is now in the hands of its people, says the apostolic nuncio in the country. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, who has held the post of nuncio in Egypt since 2006, told ZENIT that “it is for Egyptians to find the right solution to the present crisis.” After 18 days of protests that left some 300 dead, President Hosni Mubarak stepped down earlier today. Mubarak, 82, had ruled the country for 30 years. The archbishop recalled that last Sunday, Benedict XVI “prayed that Egypt and the people of Egypt may find once more harmony and peace,” and added that “apart from that, there has been no specific statement from the Holy See.” “Yet,” he continued, “the teaching of the social doctrine of the Church is clear. Every human community needs an authority to govern it, but the authority does not derive its moral legitimacy from itself. It must act for the common good, using morally licit means to attain this good, and not acting in a despotic manner.” Quoting from the Catholic Catechism of the Church, he stated: “The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the human person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and its members” (No.1925). “Many of the protestors’ complaints about the present regime could fall under these headings, even if they would not use the same wording,” Archbishop Fitzgerald noted. When asked about the role of Egyptian Catholics in the unfolding events, he stated that they are, “as citizens of their country, to take their responsibility in moving toward a society where greater attention is paid to justice and equality.” Regarding interreligious dialogue, the prelate said “the events of recent weeks have produced a feeling of solidarity among Christians and Muslims. This should be a good basis for increased dialogue and cooperation in society.” (Zenit)

Vatican Briefing
Number of priests growing worldwide, Vatican reports

There are more than 5,000 more Catholic priests globally in 2009 than there were in 1999, according to official Church statistics. The Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper anticipated the news from the soon-to-be released 2009 almanac prepared by the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics. The statistics reveal that there were 410,593 priests in the world in 2009 compared to 405,009 in 1999. The number of diocesan priests among these increased by over 10,000 while the number of those belonging to religious orders fell by nearly 5,000. (CNA)
Aide clarifies pope’s organ donor status

Benedict XVI’s private secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, has clarified rumors about the Pope’s organ donor card, saying that after election to the See of Peter, it automatically became invalid. In a letter to a German doctor who was using the Pope as an example in order to promote organ donation, he said: “It is correct that the Pope has got an organ donor card,” Gänswein said. “But contrary to some claims made in public, the organ donor card from the 1970s became invalid ipso facto when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected leader of the Catholic Church.” (Zenit)
Catholic nurses seeing rise in threats to consciences

Death of John Paul II’s father propelled him to his future vocation
ROME, Italy, Feb. 14, 2011—Seventy years ago this week, Karol Wojtyla was “pushed” forward in his vocation by the death of the last member of his close family. The anniversary was recalled on Italy’s national television channel RaiUno on Feb. 13 by Italian journalist and writer Gian Franco Svidercoschi. He was close to Pope John Paul II and has written numerous books about the late pontiff’s life. Svidercoschi was given a couple of minutes during regular programming to offer an anecdote about his friend Pope John Paul II’s life. The tragic event of his father’s death is one that many books on the late Pope “seem to neglect,” said Svidercoschi. For the journalist, however, due to this event—which took place 70 years ago this week—the future Pope was given a further impulse to pursue his vocation. In 1941, a 20-year-old Karol was working at a stone quarry after the government closed Jagiellonian University where he studied philosophy. He returned from work on Feb. 18 to find that his father, also named Karol, had died of a heart attack. His sister had died before his birth, his mother died when he was a young boy and his older brother also lost his life six years earlier to scarlet fever. He was “alone,” said Svidercoschi. “And this,” he explained, “brought about a change, or perhaps it pushed him harder toward that which he already felt inside, that is, to become a priest.” It is important to remember that these “Polish years” were “the decisive years that formed this Pope, because every experience that he had, every trial that he overcame, in some way then returned and was represented during his pontificate,” said Svidercoschi. The young Wojtyla’s personal experience of war and Nazism in the 1940s and of Communism in Poland in the years that followed “explains his attentiveness to the cause of man,” said the journalist. Pope John Paul II put a great deal of emphasis during the first half of his pontificate on advocating for democracy against communism, especially in the Eastern bloc European nations ruled by the Soviet Union. His position against authoritarianism is credited with the eventual fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Svidercoschi remembered that Wojtyla’s formation during “the Polish years” continued throughout his priesthood until he became Archbishop of Krakow. As archbishop, he took on a “battle” for the creation of new churches that showed him the relationship between the law of God and that of man, “that is, the right of man to be respected.” All these experiences, Svidercoschi concluded, resurfaced again when he became Pope. (CNA)

Catholic health care workers are facing a worldwide erosion of spiritual and moral standards in their profession, according to the leader of a Vatican-affiliated organization for Catholic nurses. “In the United States, the biggest problem that Catholic nurses are facing is the ability to use their conscience,” said Marylee Meehan, president of the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medical-Social Assistants, or CICIAMS. (CNA)
Australia prepares pilgrims’ center in Rome

Surrounded by cement mixers, bricklayers and slabs of marble flooring, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney surveyed progress on an unusually ambitious construction project in Rome. “Now down below here is the dining area, and they’ll be able to eat outside,” he told a visitor, pointing to a pit where foundations had been laid for a breakfast room. The cardinal was pleased to hear that, despite the discovery of an ancient Roman wall during the excavations, work on the breakfast room was moving ahead as planned. (CNS)
New delegate to Kosovo does not change Vatican’s position

Although the Holy See has appointed a delegate to help Catholics in Kosovo, it does not recognize the region as an independent state, the Vatican’s top diplomat to Serbia has confirmed. When Archbishop Juliusz Janusz was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the new ambassador, or “apostolic nuncio,” to Slovenia on Feb. 10, he was also entrusted with the responsibility of apostolic delegate to Kosovo. The Holy See’s Press Office explained that as an apostolic delegate his responsibility has “a purely intra-ecclesial character.” (CNA)
Vatican: Pope not seeking to restrict liturgy reform

Bishop decries lack of state protections for Christians in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 11, 2011—A bishop in Indonesia has strongly criticized national officials for failing to protect Christians and other religious groups after a mob of 1,500 Muslims destroyed three churches, an orphanage and a hospital on Feb. 8. Religious minorities in Indonesia “have been left without any protection from the state,” Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Amboina said in remarks to Vatican-based Fides news agency on Feb. 9. Bishop Mandagi—who also serves as president of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue for the Indonesian Bishops Conference—called for “a decisive step” from the government to put an end to the violence and urged local Christians to practice forgiveness as opposed to revenge. Earlier this week, an estimated 1,500 Indonesian Muslims destroyed three churches before attacking an orphanage and hospital in Central Java on Feb. 8. The mob was protesting a court’s decision not to sentence a Christian man to death for defaming Islam. Antonius Bawengan, 58, received a five-year prison sentence—the maximum penalty allowed by law—under the “blasphemy law” that has been invoked to silence critics of Islam. However, the crowd assembled at his trial believed the sentence was too lenient, and demanded his death. They assaulted a group of police officers that reportedly numbered around 1,000 before moving against the churches. The crowd first attacked the Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, in an assault that seriously wounded a missionary priest of the Holy Family congregation. The missionary, identified only as Fr. Saldanha, was beaten by the mob as he attempted to defend the tabernacle containing the Eucharist against desecration. Local priest Fr. Benny Susetyo, who serves as executive secretary for the bishop conference’s Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, said in remarks to Fides that Muslims are not the sole perpetrators of conflict in the area. He said that Protestant “fundamentalist preachers” have added to a climate of “discontent, disharmony, discomfort, and verbal violence.” “These are Protestant Christian preachers, often makeshift, from evangelical and pentecostal denominations, who have no respect for other religions,” he said Feb. 9. “Their preaching and their language are typical of sects: ‘Islam is evil,’ ‘convert or go to hell.’ All this results in anger and hatred among the population, which then explodes into anti-Christian violence.” Fr. Susetyo said this is what he believes happened in the situation


The Vatican is denying reports that Benedict XVI seeks to reorganize the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments with the goal of restricting the liturgical renewal promoted by the Second Vatican Council. Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, acknowledged Wednesday that the Pope has been working on a “motu proprio” that concerns the congregation, but that it is limited to transferring a “legal-technical competence, such as dispensation from a ‘ratified and non-consummated marriage,’” from the congregation to the Roman Rota. (Zenit)

of Bawengan who was accused and imprisoned for blasphemy. The priest called Bawengan a Christian who spread material that was offensive to Islam. “On the other hand,” he noted, “there are Islamic extremist groups, of the Wahhabi ideology, which constitute the other side of the problem. They are both small groups, but when fanatics collide, the whole society and all the faithful pay for it.” All things considered, Fr. Susetyo added, “the government is absent and does nothing to stop these different extremists, or to protect human rights … which is the basis of peaceful coexistence between religions.” (CNA)


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

Every Catholic is called to encourage vocations, Pope says
VATICAN City, Feb. 10, 2011— The vitality of the Church depends on individual Catholics fostering vocations in their homes and parishes, the Pope says in his annual message for the May 15 World Day of Prayer for Vocations. “It is essential that every local Church become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations,” the Pope writes in his new statement issued by the Vatican on Feb. 10. He speaks of the role of the Church in helping children and young people to grow in a real friendship with Jesus, to increase their familiarity with the Scriptures, to understand the truth of his message and to be generous in creating relation ships with others. The theme of this year’s prayer for vocations day is “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church.” The Pope says this “means having the courage, through an attentive and suitable concern for vocations, to point out this challenging way of following Christ which, because it is so rich in meaning, is capable of engaging the whole of one’s life.” Answering Jesus’ call of “Follow me!” is “no less challenging” today than it was for the disciples 2,000 years ago, says the Pope. “It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments” and “learning to conform our will to his.” The Church is called to protect and love the gift of God’s call to people to share in his mission and serve as ordained ministers and consecrated religious, he says. “Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by ‘other voices’ and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one’s own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs to consciously feel responsible for promoting vocations.” A cc o r di n g t o a r e p or t f r om t h e U.S. bishops, there are currently 5,131 men enrolled in the U.S. seminaries. The number is up from 4,973 in 2009. The Pope urges the faithful to take every opportunity to develop vocations. “Every mome nt ” i n Chu rch communi t y lif e from catechesis to prayer and pilgrimages can be “a precious opportunity for awakening in the people of God ... a sense of belonging to the Church and of responsibility for answering the call to priesthood and to religious life by a free and informed decision,” he says. “The ability to foster vocations,” Pope Benedict concludes, “is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church.” (CNA/EWTN News)

News Features


Vatican plans document on Internet and seminaries
VATICAN City, Feb. 7, 2011—The Internet can be a valuable tool for Catholic education and evangelization, and its proper use should be encouraged in seminaries as well as other church institutions, Pope Benedict XVI said. “Internet, with its capacity to reach across distances and put people in contact, offers great possibilities for the church and her mission,” the pope said in an address to members of the Congregation for Catholic Education holding their plenary meeting at the Vatican Feb. 7-9. The pope said the congregation was working on a document titled “Internet and Formation in Seminaries,” but did not say when it would be published. When used with caution and discernment, the pope said, the Internet can be useful for future priests not only for studying, but for pastoral work in areas of evangelization, missionary action, catechism, educational projects and administration of various institutions. The church will therefore need well-prepared teachers to keep the seminarians up to date on the “correct and positive” use of information technology, he said. Addressing congregation members, the pope said the education and formation of future priests in seminaries is “one of the most urgent challenges” of the church today because of the culture of relativism dominant in contemporary society. “For this reason, the service performed by so many formation institutions in the world that are inspired by the Christian vision of man and reality is so important today,” the pope said. The seminary is one of the most important institutions of the church and requires a thorough program that takes into account the context in which they exist today, he said. “Many times I have said that the seminary is a precious phase of life, in which the candidate for priesthood has the experience of being ‘a disciple of God,’” he said. The pope has made recent references to the potential—and the dangers— offered by new media technology. Last month in a message for the upcoming World Communications Day he said, “this means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.” He encouraged the use of social media such as Facebook as a means of spreading the Christian message, but warned of the dangers of substituting human relationships with virtual contacts. (CNS)

IPhone confession app ‘no substitute’ for the sacrament
VATICAN City, Feb. 9, 2011—A Vatican official said a new iPhone application can help Catholics prepare for confession, but cannot substitute for the sacramental encounter between a penitent and a priest. “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch was recently released as a way for Catholics to prepare for and participate in the sacrament of penance. Some recent press reports, however, have suggested that the application could replace in-person confession. “It’s essential to understand that the sacrament of penance requires a personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor, and absolution by the confessor who is present,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters. “This is something that cannot be replaced by any application. One cannot speak of a ‘confession via iPhone,’” he said. Father Lombardi said the new application could be useful in helping people make an examination of conscience. In the past, he noted, Catholics would sometimes use written questions and answers to prepare for confession, and that’s something that could be done today with the aid of a digital device. The application, developed by a small firm in Indiana, is based on the Ten Commandments. It was designed in part for people who have been away from the church and want the opportunity to go to confession. (CNS)

CHR recommends Probe the PNP too, says interfaith group withdrawal of mining company’s contract
CAGAYAN DE ORO City, Feb. 13, 2011—The Commission on Human Rights en banc has recommended the “probable withdrawal” of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) the government signed with Australian mining company OceanaGold Philippines, Inc.over gross human rights violations in the mining firm’s concession in Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. The FTAA is a contract between the Philippine government and mining companies on large-scale exploration and development of minerals that allows up to 100-percent foreign ownership in a mining project. The recommendation for the “probable withdrawal of the FTAA granted to the foreign company in view of the gross violations of human rights it has committed” is number one of five recommended actions the Aquino administration should take against OceanaGold. The other actions CHR recommended to the Aquino administration to take are (2) request all concerned agencies, particularly the NCIP, the DENR-MGB, the PNP and the AFP, to submit reports to the Commission on Human Rights regarding concrete actions they have taken to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of the affected community in Didipio, within 30 days from receipt of this Resolution; (3) request the same agencies to continue monitoring the Human Rights situation in Didipio with the view in mind that all reports of violations be verified and acted upon; (4) advise OceanaGold to consider the Commission’s findings and conduct a policy reorientation on the conduct of mining operation taking into conscious account the observance of human rights of the community involved; and (5) direct the CHR Region II Office to actively advocate for the Human Rights of the affected community and to take every step possible to avoid the occurrence of further violence and oppression. But Oceana Chief Executive Officer Mick Wilkes, in a statement, insisted that “it has met and is committed to continuing to meet the human rights of the local community” in its mining site. As to CHR’s findings that OceanaGold had violated the Right to Residence, the Right to Adequate Housing and Property Rights of several residents in Didipio; the Right to Freedom of Movement and the Right not to be subjected to arbitrary interference; the Right to Security of Person of the people in Didipio; the indigenous community’s Right to Manifest their Culture and Identity, Wilkes simply said: “The company is compliant with all the laws and regulations associated with operating as a foreign company in the Philippines and is committed to ethical, responsible and sustainable mineral development.” (Bong D. Fabe) MANILA, Feb. 12, 2011—As accusations of massive misuse of funds hound some military officials, an ecumenical group called on the government to conduct similar probe into the Philippine National Police (PNP). In a statement, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) said the investigation is necessary to unearth allegations of corruption in the police hierarchy “whose reputation has gone down.” “We also pray that something similar to this (investigation in the military) will come out from the ranks of the PNP,” the EBF said. Aside from corruption, the group said the reported involvement of police officers in human rights violations and the commission of heinous crimes should also be investigated. The interfaith group has also thrown its support to former state auditor Heidi Mendoza and former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa exposing alleged irregularities in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). “Their courage to tell the truth in spite of threat to their lives and possible harm to the members of their respective families is certainly commendable,” according to the statement. “They are both driven by the desire to put a stop to the malpractices in the military which adversely affect the military institution, especially the foot soldiers who are in the front lines in the battle fields, as well as the public funds which are supposed to be judiciously put to proper use,” it said. The EBF is also hoping that ongoing congressional investi-

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

gation into alleged military fund mess will not only end in the revision of laws “but to the prosecution of the perpetrators of these anomalies and the restitution of public funds.” “The expose of Col. Rabusa and Miss Mendoza can lead to right the wrongs and injustices being done by our so-called ‘public servants’ so that our nation and our people may be freed from systematic and systemic injustice and truly tread the path of righteousness,” it said. (CBCPNews)

Sorsogon environmentalists light candles for slain activist
MANILA, Feb. 4, 2011—Anti-mining advocates in Sorsogon lighted candles as they sought justice for slain activist Dr. Gerry Ortega. Hundreds of people gathered in a symposium on Mining and Climate Change in Sorsogon City lighted their own candles in solidarity with thousand others in Palawan and Metro Manila who prayed and held vigil for the slain environmentalist. Fr. Alexander Jerus, Matnog parish priest and chairman of the Coalition Against Mining (CAMPS) in the Province of Sorsogon led the people in praying for enlightenment and environmental justice. “Let these candles enlighten our dark minds and souls to understand our role as stewards of creation and maintain ecological balance; let the light of justice shine upon those who were persecuted and oppressed for the sake of defending the integrity of creation and dignity of persons,” he said. Sorsogon is also at the forefront of an ongoing crusade against mining in the province. For Jerus mining in Sorsogon is generally “a moral and spiritual issue for it destroys the relationship of persons with each other, with the environment and with God; it further degrades the dignity of persons through the evils of greed and deception.” Many of those who participated in the symposium organized by Alyansa Tigil Mina expressed grief on the untimely death of Ortega even as they salute his commitment in protecting the environment. Bryan Gavanzo, Matnog municipal tourism officer and public information officer of CAMPS said Ortega’s crusade for ecological preservation serves as an inspiration for all of them. He pointed out that mining, both large and small scale may “destroy tourism potentials and fuel the effect of climate change disasters in the upland and coastal communities.” Food security is also at risk if mining will be allowed in the province, according to Teodoro Garbin, president of Matnog Sagip Kalikasan Organization (MSKO) and Matnog Environmental Protection and Waste Management officer. Intensified agriculture and aquaculture is a top priority program of the municipality, Garbin said, adding that “climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management are being implemented in the province of Sorsogon.” Meanwhile, Sorsogon provincial board member Vladimir Ramon Frivaldo disclosed that roughly “35%-40% of Sorsogon’s mountains and coastal areas are being opened up for extractions of iron, magnetite, manganese, gold, copper and titanium.” “I am surprised that our lands are already mapped to be sold without the knowledge of our constituents,” he said. He called on the provincial government to protect the environment and uphold the rights of the people. “I challenge the provincial board and Governor Raul Lee to defend our people and serve within the mandates of the Local Government Code to enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology and the Philippine Constitution to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” he said. (CBCPNews)


RH in social networks

CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

SURELY, it was not by a careless twist of fate that the architect of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was voted Time’s person of the year. It was because of the tremendous revolution that this social medium has triggered especially on how people the world over interact with each other, spontaneously bringing about a democratization of information and, perhaps, power. With about 600 million users and over a billion new pieces of content posted every day, it is touted to be the third largest “country” in the planet—with the most information on its “citizens” than any country in the world. In the Philippines alone, there are over 18 million Filipinos connecting daily on Facebook, not to mention other social networking platforms such as Twitter, Friendster, Myspace and a bevy more. In this country which is one of the global top users of social media, a greater majority of information—from news to views, from hi’s and sighs, from photos to videos—are lodged and dislodged more in these two-way social networks than in traditional one-way media such as television, radio or press. That being the case, most of the hullabaloo about the Reproductive Health Bill are found in social networks more than—some say more than 60%—what one hears or see in traditional media. By cursory check, the latest Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines titled “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill”, for instance, was cast by a popular Facebook account, “100% Katolikong Pinoy!”, to its nearly one hundred thousand members shortly after it was officially released on January 30. And so were other Catholic social media such as “I Oppose the RH Bill,” “Filipinos for Life,” “YouthPinoy” and a few smaller ones that cascaded the same content. Ironically, the same pastoral letter was not even read in many parishes throughout many dioceses nationwide until today according to ground info. On the other hand, the opposite camp, those who are pushing for the immediate legislation of the RH Bill who seem very friendly to the media, are aggressively using every nook and cranny of social networks—even if, by the hasty looks of it, they do not have as much “likes” or membership. They push and shove every argument they can muster, every “Damaso” they can lash at and every language they can utter, no matter how foul or obscene. Anyway, this is how Egypt was lately done—through twitter, among others. This order of things should be very alarming to ordinary mortals who consider even using an email passé—but not to those in greater ecclesiastical circles where the digital divide is still way up in limbo. Perhaps, it’s about time now for Church leaders to sincerely peek into what’s all these social networks are all about—and perchance understand why in the arena of public opinion, especially among the youth, a greater majority still do not understand what on RH the Church is trying to say.

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
INSTEAD of celebrating it as something noble and sacred, instead of fomenting the exalted intention and exalting spirit that launched the “Day”, it is sad to know that there are certain individuals and organized groups apparently bent in making it but carnal in nature and egoistic in context. And this is exactly the case of associating Valentine’s Day with condoms—whether they are given away free or sold half their price. Thus it is that the “Day” becomes associated with but sex, contraception and motels. The objective reality is exactly the opposite: Valentine’s Day is the affirmation of human love, the distinction of the affection reigning between a man and a woman. And rightly so. Even those people who are avidly pro-contraception and/or proabortion precisely came to life because of the consummate conjugal love between their fathers and mothers. In fact, anyone who is anti-life can only be such because of the life they already have through their parents. Those fighting tooth and nail for the passage of the RH Bill cannot but be but very grateful because they were born long before its approval. And those who would be denied of life on account of the Bill could be anything but grateful to them. This has special relevance to those who swallow abortifacient pills in order to spit out human lives in toilets, in dirty canals, in gar-

Desecrating the sacred
bage dumps. They violate their own dignity and at the same time, kill babies of their own making. This is not only odious but also heinous. Just for the record: “Marriage is a covenant… which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses, and to the procreation and upbringing of children…” Thus remains the teaching of the Church. Thus stands the provision of Canon Law (1055 par. CIC). And thus means Responsible Parenthood. The conjunction “and” says it all. The licitude of procreation rests on the pursuant obligation of the upbringing of the children born of the Covenant. And “upbringing” means caring for and nurturing, forming and educating them. Otherwise, procreation precisely becomes irresponsible parenthood. Being some 2000 years old, relating with peoples of all colors, races and creeds, studying the norms of ethics and the imperatives of morals, it is definitely not the thinking and teaching of the Church that couples may have as many children as possible— without however neither the needed means nor the honest intention of attending to their “upbringing”. This brings to mind the intimate and inseparable relationship between the right to procreate and the obligation to up-bring children born of marriage. This is the Church Teaching. This is Church Law. This is the truth.

The Impact of Graft and Corruption
OUR nation groans from the weight of more than $52 billion in foreign debt, which draws away resources from urgent development needs and social services. The added loss of an estimated $48 billion to graft and corruption over the past 20 years, reportedly about 40 percent of the government’s annual budget, is simply morally unacceptable. It is the poor who suffer most from corruption. Public funds that should provide development for the poor are stolen. “Stealing from public funds is so much more food plucked from the mouths of the starving.” (CBCP Pastoral Exhortation, “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.) The impact of corruption extends far beyond the direct cost to government and to its capacity to provide public service. Corruption has besmirched the reputation of our nation. Last year, we ranked 77th among 102 countries scored on the extent to which corruption is perceived among public officials and politicians worse than the 65th place of two years ago [Transparency International]. We are the 11th most corrupt among the 102 countries scored. Corruption is instrumental in driving down the value of the peso. It makes possible the proliferation of criminal syndicates engaged in kidnapping and the drug trade. It imposes countless burdens on business people and ordinary citizens who must give lagay in order to obtain services to which they are entitled. It has weakened the moral and spiritual fiber of a people that sees almost everyone as “on the take”, lahat nandadaya, including the most powerful institution of the land. Corruption has weakened the resolve of many to work for change as they are gradually being conditioned to accept and tolerate systemic and institutional wrongdoing by those in power. Today these corrupt systems have become so established that they can even boot out well-intentioned and crusading officials in critical offices notorious for graft and corruption. Legislators hold up the national budget because of squabbles over “pork,” or socalled “development” funds. Indeed, corruption has become so entrenched as not to spare even such revered institutions as media and civil society. Even some in the Church have been known to accept donations from persons known to be corrupt. For this we express our repentance and ask the forgiveness of the Lord. Let Integrity Flow Like a Stream!, A Pastoral Letter of the CBCP, 2003

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Who cares?
WITHIN the next twenty-four hours, while we eat, drink, sleep, and go about our daily business of earning a living, over a hundred innocent lives will be lost, many of them through violent means that the only word that fits the crime is MURDER. That the crime is committed by doctors and midwives sworn to protect human life, by vendors and drug stores out to make profit through selling abortive drugs, and by the very people who are supposed to love them, their parents, is to say the least, horribly shocking. Every now and then, we read of a fetus found by the gutter of a backstreet, inside the ladies room, or left in a taxi. The typical reaction would be shock. But only for a while. Then the incident is forgotten as other sensational news grab our attention. But to those who are involved, it is a business, a solution to an embarrassing problem, a way out of predicament, even an alternative to “overpopulation”, an accepted fact of life, a part of a current sense of values. Yes, abortion is so much a part of life today that even students know where to get it, and what is the prevailing rate per month of pregnancy! Boys give tips to their gang mates on where to get the abortion pills, girls accompany their classmate to inquire about getting an abortion, and office employees exchange notes and addresses in order to “help out” a friend. Little is said about the devastating effects of abortion as they make their own decisions. Hardly anyone shares after an abortion how she cowered in fear as the instruments entered her delicate organs often without anesthesia, unable to scream because of shame or a false sense of courage. Or how she was forced to swallow the tablets by the irresponsible father of the baby then left to herself to bleed alone in the toilet. Or how she was rushed to the hospital emergency room to stop infection and hemorrhage. Or how months and years after, she would hear cries of babies in the middle of the night, unable to sleep without sleeping pills, then unable to get up in the morning without cocaine, ending up becoming an alcoholic, a drug addict, a chain smoker, or a prostitute. Sad to say, even less is said of how the “need” for abortion can be avoided—and the simple answer is chastity—no to premarital sex. Boys and girls, men and women enter into relationships without any consideration of the consequences. Because of media influence, boys see girls as objects of pleasure and a conquest that they can brag about when they return to their gangs. Girls see boys as sources of material wants, emotional security

Love Life
and listening ear, conversation pieces when they return to their own female groups. Chastity is honesty and respect. Premarital sex is dishonest. It is pretending to be married when one is not. It is disrespecting the God-given gift of one’s body as part of the total person, made in the image of God and looking at the physical only as objects of selfish pleasure. Living a chaste life of discipline and focusing on one’s state of life with all it’s responsibilities will avoid the pitfalls of premarital sex, untimely pregnancy and the possibility of abortion. It is about time that the youth get involved in matters that affect their lives. Especially during this month of February, the love month, let us put a proper perspective on the word LOVE and not confuse it with sex. It is about time that the youth care—care enough so that no more babies are killed in abortion, that no more girls go through the tragic effects of abortion, that no more boys get involved in the violence and irresponsibility of premarital sex, and that no more people suffer through guilt and depression for having closed their eyes to the reality of abortion. Who cares? Raise your hands, stand up for life, and shout out—we care. I care!

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Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

By the roadside
Pedro C. Quitorio

Unmasking the ‘Crab Mentality’
so-called ‘crab mentality’. But what is it about? Why do we have it? What do we do about it? Some critics say that the ‘crab mentality’ is basically positive; it’s about Pinoys’ collective desire for justice and equality. No one must be given special treatment, all persons being equal (in dignity); all must be treated as such before the law etc. Understandably then, when someone thinks he’s better and deserves better, Pinoys pull him down. This seems fine except that it doesn’t apply in all the social classes. Poor Pinoys are seldom known to practice ‘crab mentality’ in regard to rich Pinoys; and the opposite is unthinkable. The ‘crab mentality’ seems to thrive best when Pinoys are in the same social, professional, work, family and local conditions. Other critics say that the ‘crab mentality’ is nothing but pure and simple envy. Nothing else explains better, for instance, when a very successful Pinoy or Pinay is showered accolades by everybody but fellow Pinoys. Or when a Pinoy neighbor reacts to a kabayan who acquires the latest SUV or high tech ‘toy’ by
By the roadside / A5

Kris P. Bayos
Features Editor

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate Editor

Gloria Fernando
Marketing Supervisor

Melo M. Acuña

Ernani M. Ramos
Circulation Manager

Managing Editor

Roy Q. Lagarde
News Editor

Marcelita Dominguez

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

A MAN in San Francisco, it is told, once received notice that his brother in Manila sent him one huge basket full of crabs from the Philippines. But when he went to claim it a customs officer had the names and labels accidentally mixed up. The man ended up being made to choose from among three huge baskets full of crabs the one sent to him. At first, the man appeared upset; then he hit upon an idea. He opened all three baskets and watched. In no time two of the baskets had crabs climbing up to the rim unbothered. The third basket, on the other hand, was oddly

quiet. The reason? Every time a crab climbed up it was dutifully pulled down by the others. The man’s face lit up into a smile. Triumphantly he said, “This is it! This third basket is the one from the Philippines!” So goes one more legend of the Pinoy ‘crab mentality’. The first time I heard this story from a priest in a conversation, spiced up with other hilarious details and embellishments, I remember all six of us laughing so loudly my sides ached. But we all agreed. There’s nothing so Pinoy, so real, so human and so destructive of unity as our

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking RH Bill again!
I’M afraid this is an old dog that refuses to die. For all its pretensions of goodness, practicality, realism, etc., The RH Bill just cannot stand on its own if its morals are to be considered. Because of that, it has lost all its claims for validity. It simply swells with toxic ethos. I’m happy the bishops have roundly repudiated it in a recent statement, and are planning some street action all over the country to convey a loud and strong message to our public officials who seem to be playing deaf and dumb. It’s correct that where questions of faith and morals are put to the test, especially in the ridiculous way these are played out in our local political arena, the Church hierarchy should be in the forefront to clarify and to put things in order. All of these should be based on prayers and sacrifice, and the transmission of the relevant doctrine. They have to do everything, in spite of their limited resources, to do this. Pain and suffering, the cross of Christ that can come in many forms, actually do not hinder things. They actually serve to guarantee the success of a divine mission. So they should not be afraid of the amount of blood, sweat and tears involved. Of course, together with them should be the laity who share the responsibility of defending these truths of faith and morals. In fact, given the nature of their status in the Church, they should be more prominent in the streets and other forums where these matters are discussed. They don’t play a secondary role. Theirs is as important as that of the clergy. So it’s a welcome development for me to hear groups of concerned citizens who are actively organizing and promoting various protest actions against this notorious bill, even without direct prodding from the clergy. This is a sign of Christian maturity. I hope this trend continues. For a long period of time, this bill has been talked about, dissected, analyzed, etc., etc. A lot of dialogue has taken place. And everytime it’s done, the proponents always cannot defend their position in the moral aspect without redefining morality itself. They can ooze with a plethora of practical reasons. And their strongest point seems to be, “what do we do with the poor that are growing in number?” Well, if they are truly consistent with their position, I suppose they will end up proposing that we kill the poor, the weak, the old, and other “useless” citizenry. The most likely reason why they stop short of that radical, extreme measure is that many of the RH Bill proponents are there mainly for the money. In fact, that view has been expressed a number of times in several encounters with politicians and officials. There’s a powerful bloc behind all this move, and it seems to gather unlikely partners from both the political right and left who coincide in addressing this so-called problem by practical means that ignore the indispensable moral requirement. While we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt and accord respect to all, we neither can be naïve to the reality that more than human, as in devious, forces can be at work here. We have to be extra wary of this possibility. Pieces of evidence seem to be emerging. They have developed a powerful and attractive ideology, again catering to the more practical and shallow aspects of the issues. They have organized themselves quite well, growing in leaps and bounds in many parts of the world, and have generated a massive war chest. They have established a formidable network of leaders and workers, and continue to proselytize among the prominent sectors of society. They have even won over some religious leaders. They have employed tremendous means like polls and surveys, knowing that while these can give them favorable results, these cannot make what is inherently immoral moral. So, what’s wrong with the RH Bill? In plain language, it promotes a contraceptive lifestyle that destroys the family and debases the true nature and meaning of human sexuality. The world’s leading scientific experts have also claimed that artificial contraceptives kill children since many of them do not prevent fertilization. They simply prevent implantation. They also injure women’s health since the pill, for example, causes cancer, as well as stroke, and increases the risk of heart attacks. Condoms have been found to promote, not stop, the spread of AIDS. Economists also claim the RH Bill is based on wrong economics. We need to expose the myths.

Bp. Broderick S. Pabillo

IN the headline of Philippine Daily Inquirer last February 10, retired Philippine Navy chief Mateo Mayuga was quoted as saying that Angelo Reyes’ act of taking his life by shooting himself in the chest showed “extreme courage” and that it was an honorable thing to do. I am not a military man so most probably I do not understand what exactly are the ‘extreme act of courage’ and the ‘honorable thing’ in taking one’s life. In plain language that is suicide, and every act of suicide is wrong. I do not and cannot judge the state of mind of General Angelo Reyes when he committed suicide. In this, he renders personal account with his Creator. What I am referring

Calling evil good
military spends its moneys. I hope that this very unfortunate and sad end of General Angelo Reyes will not make the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Ombudsman and the Aquino Administration soften its commitment to root out corruption in our country. The corrupt people in government do not care at all at the grave sufferings they inflict on the nation and on the nameless people who are deprived of what is rightfully theirs. Let us not also be soft in the quest to right this wrong! The Sacred Book warns us: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness” (Isaiah 5,20)

to is the act itself of taking one’s life. Yes, we condole with the family, the loved ones and friends of General Reyes. I personally felt extreme sadness at his action and prayed for his soul. But sympathizing with him should not induce us to saying what he did was right. Let us not send a wrong message to the people, especially the young, that suicide is alright. No, it is all wrong! Whatever troubles we find in life, we should be brave enough to face them. We are not owners even of our lives. We are but stewards. Taking one’s life is an act of escapism. It does not even serve the country in this case. The country, especially the foot soldiers who are struggling it out on the ground, need to know how the

Truth-telling ignites spaces of hope
An Earnest Auditor I first met Heidi Mendoza in Makati on May 2004. A common acquaintance from Cebu had introduced us to each other. Heidi had been promoting her booklet, A Guide to Investigation of Common Procurement Fraud and Irregularities, and our mutual friend at once saw a highly effective, dedicated, and trustworthy public servant who was willing to go the extra mile in her work. Golly, our friend, excitedly swapped our cell phone numbers. Heidi gave me a copy of her book while I opened my laptop computer to show her some slides on advocacy work against graft and corruption. The red booklet gives a straightforward presentation of government procurement, civil works contracts, alternatives modes of procurement, common procurement fraud and irregularities, red flags of procurement fraud, and practical tips on investigation. Each chapter contains actual case studies that, one surmises, came from the auditor’s actual experiences in documenting procurement fraud. The cut-and-dry descriptions did not really do justice to the author and one caught glimpses of the author’s disarming, out-ofthe-box personality only here and there. In the closing paragraph of the introduction, for instance, she writes: “I am not a writer, I am an auditor. While I may be expert at numbers, I am inept with words. Starting with numbers, I search for words until some numbers give meaning to some words and some words deepen the meaning of the numbers I have gathered and then this book is written…” Heidi could be blunt, yet also playful. She also tends to underestimate herself. Whatever dimension of Heidi comes out, it is never dull. She notes in the introduction that “the creativity of the corrupt finds a way to channel public funds for private gain all the while presenting a legal basis for such.” I soon discover that this auditor could more than match wits with those who misuse this gift of creativity. Soon I was listening intently to her relate stories of actual experiences in the field. It seems an auditor’s job is never done and this auditor certainly ventures into areas where others fear to tread. This was no ordinary public servant. Sharing Dreams and Exchanging Gifts It was now my turn to share. I opened my laptop computer to show a very rudimentary power point presentation on a newlyemerged advocacy group called Barug Pilipino (Cebuano: “make a conscience-stand, Filipino”) whose goal was “to mobilize and develop a critical mass of awakened, vigilant, and committed citizens nationwide who will help establish, achieve, and sustain good governance for a transformed Filipino nation.” The group was to be composed of Filipino citizens with faith in God. Heidi became ecstatic as she viewed the slides and pictures. She later told me these resonated with a dream that she had. Little did she know that, nearly seven years later, she is to contribute to this critical mass of awakened and awakening citizens! I soon discover someone with an eye for details and a passion for public service. Already then, she had taken risks where others prefer to play the ostrich. Yet, not once do I recall hearing her bad mouthing her colleagues or claim any monopoly on virtue. She was just doing her duty. This, I believe, made her stick out like a sore thumb in a bureaucratic culture that values conformity and mediocrity, and uncomfortable with rocking the boat. I believe it when Heidi tells me that a former COA chairman tells her not to be too serious about the plunder case since even Jesus himself was not able to solve the world’s problems. Heidi eventually visits Cebu several times to speak before our emerging network about government procurement. It is an awkward start for us as we have no blueprint on what exactly to do. In corporate terms, we are in the “product-development” stage, better yet, “what-did-weget-ourselves-into” stage. Mrs. Mendoza leaves a positive imprint on our advocacy group – first of all, as a dear friend, an adopted Cebuana who speaks Tagalog like a modernday Balagtas; secondly, as an anti-graft, good governance champion who enjoys a good laugh; and, thirdly, a wife and a mother who is also a patriot and has to balance time, not always successfully, between family and work. The visits slowly bear fruit. Heidi and others are instrumental in helping us conceptualize the LASER test which we eventually promote as a basic tool for discernment by voters and even candidates. The acronym stands for lifestyle, action or accomplishment, supporters, election conduct, and reputation. Her input during a strategic planning session helps yield the image of citizens standing behind, standing alongside, and standing in front of public servants in solidarity with one another. Last May 2010 elections, we requested the former COA auditor to submit a list of situations or instances that would confront elected officials as they assume office – situations that offer opportunities for transparent or accountable service, or for obtaining easy money. We call this a “list of vulnerabilities” and we have been disseminating these. It is really like an examination of conscience, only that the commissions and omissions have to do with the role of an elected official and conversion is not necessarily a good thing. Yes, Heidi makes time for the country. Voice of Conscience It was with a heavy heart that Heidi resigned from COA in 2006. She had been involved in auditing a plunder case and had been handpicked by the Ombudsman to do the job in 2004. However, when he unexpectedly resigned in 2005, it seems she was left holding the bag. This was a low moment in her life. She, however, persisted, despite all the odds. Some people would call this dogged determinism. She was actually responding to the call of conscience fuelled by her Christian faith. We are told that conscience is the voice of God embedded in each human being regardless of race and religion. Even atheists have this embedded voice that says: “Do good, avoid evil.” We can decide to shut this voice out or to listen to it. When we listen, we become our better selves. When we fail to do so, we go from bad to worse. Concrete experiences and the collective

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL

Spaces of Hope
wisdom of peoples and faith communities provide some objective basis for evaluating this interior voice. Conscience must be formed correctly since there are many discordant voices. Heidi is no plastic believer. Humanly flawed like the rest of us, she can even be hard on herself (she even has some choice words in Tagalog to describe herself). But she knows how to listen to that inner voice of duty and conscience. Her parents certainly have something to do with this. Once she told me her late father, a retired policeman, engrained on her and her siblings this saying: Ang pagsasabi ng katotohanan, daan sa kaginhawaan.” The plunder case involved meticulously examining 12 balikbayan boxes of papers for a paper-trail. It led to sleepless nights and, God only knows, numbers that are forever seared in the consciousness of Heidi and her dedicated team. It also meant attending court hearings where the accused is surrounded by a battery of high-handed lawyers. These were lonely and even fearful moments for her. This was also hard work. What made this even more so was that since 2006, Heidi was actually doing this as a volunteer. One can say that Heidi was borne on the wings of prayer of an expanding network. Not Institution Bashing Heidi has become quite visible these days. If she had her way, I know she would prefer a quiet life. But this is not to be so. After all, the mouth is not just for taking in food but also for telling the truth. And in contemporary Filipino society where many subcultures have given in to outright lies and half truths, telling the truth rocks the boat is often unappreciated. Those who do so are even painted as contrabida and of not being pakisama. They can also be accused of undermining institutions. This, I believe, is farthest from Heidi’s mind. At the end of her first congressional hearing, she said: “I am part of the system. I tried to fight the system. I am not perfect. Spare me from attending the hearing. I am not destroying institutions. I am for reforms within the system. I want a clean government. Never did I fear the AFP because I believe I am fighting for the ordinary soldier.” I believe Heidi. Several years ago, when certain government institutions were shaken due to high-profile resignations, Heidi would express strong concern that the institutions would be weakened. What many people do not realize is that Heidi, a reserved officer in the Philippine Air Force, has her life deeply intertwined with government institutions. One sees this, for instance, in a series of poems she published in 2004 on the life of soldiers. In one poem, entitled Sundalo ng Bayan, she writes: Sundalo ng Bayan, kung ikaw ay tawagin, Lahat ng panganib iyong susuungin. Ilang ulit na nga bang nalagay sa alanganin Sa pagtataya ng buhay para sa bayan natin… Sariling pamilya ay iyong iniiwan, Buhay ay itinataya ng dahil sa bayan Sadyang sa tulad mo, nararapat ay pagpupugay, Sundalong Pilipino…ikaw ay MABUHAY! Heidi deals with ultimate values that undergird the integrity of institutions. I fail to see the truth in those accusations that put her in a negative light. It is truth spoken in love that strengthens, rather than weakens, institutions. Faith-Impelled Social Transformation Being in the limelight can be too glaring for comfort. Roy, Heidi’s hubby, puts it this way: “Those who want to shed light must endure the fire of burning.” It is not easy to go public about the truth, not when one is going against the current. Humanly speaking, Heidi has everything to lose and nothing to gain by going public. She had to quit her job from the Asian Development Bank and she could no longer live a “normal” life. It is no mere coincidence that public truth-telling about the plunder case coincided with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Each beatitude is actually composed of a congratulatory note of a religious nature (“blessed”), a human condition that elicits this blessing (“poor in spirit”), and a promised action to be made by God (“the kingdom of heaven is theirs”). Two beatitudes highlight the realities of Heidi, the truth-teller. One is that those who mourn will be comforted. Bible scholars tell us that the kind of mourning mentioned here has more to do about grieving that the values of God’s kingdom have not yet been fully adopted and less about personal losses. A believer weeps because human beings have not yet surrendered to God’s sovereign will and the result is conflict and lack of peace. A second beatitude is about the meek inheriting the earth. Aristotle tells us that meekness is the half-way point between irascibility and sluggishness. Those prone to anger and those who are apathetic are not meek. Meekness for Christians is active waiting for the Lord to act, not passivity. When I reflect upon what Heidi is doing I recall Psalm 37. Verses 5-6, for instance, say: “Commit to the Lord your way; trust in him, and he will act. He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.” After the beatitudes, the next Sunday gospel calls on Christians to be salt of the earth and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Christians are to shed their light in public so that God may be glorified. Without salt and light, there would be no life and, if life remains, it would be tasteless. God, it seems, has chosen a simple person and a simple family to embody a response to the call of the beatitudes. I believe the figures of Heidi Mendoza and that of Roy and their three children symbolize the journey towards fulfilling the unfinished businesses of People Power. They deepen—if not purify and strengthen—the meaning of EDSA (i.e. “the manifestation of the saints”). In the New Testament, particularly in Paul’s letters, all baptized believers are referred to as “saints.” People Power is not a threeday affair. It is not really about asking people to step down; rather, it is the call to step up to the continuing challenges of building a nation. It is very ordinary citizens, impelled by their faith, who provide accompaniment to public servants in
Spaces of Hope / A7

By the roadside / A4

himself buying a similar, better and/or more expensive one. Or when a Pinoy/Pinay who becomes an elected leader in a community of kabayans suddenly loses very good friends who later form other Pinoy groups in which they maneuver themselves to leadership positions. “I hate to tell you this,” an American husband said to his Filipino wife, “but what’s keeping you guys from being united is that every time you form an association everybody wants to be president!” Indeed our ‘crab mentality’ has nowhere better to be than the Hall of Shame. There’s not a single explanation why Pinoys have it or particularly associate Pinoy culture with it. In fact, an Australian, upon reading it being talked about in Manila, promptly called the ‘crab mentality’ an Aussie reality too. Or maybe an American who comes to understand it would also say it’s an American reality. In truth, it’s a human reality. Perhaps we Pinoys have it only to a greater or lesser degree than others. I have a sense that, if we delve into our history a little more deeply, we might discover in our colonial experience of being regarded a race well below that of our colonizers part of the explanation. But deal with it we must today. Let me suggest that, first of all, we must name what it really represents. If it represents the real aspiration for justice and equality in social relations, in giving

and receiving equal services, in seeking equal treatment before the law, then the ‘crab mentality’ is the right mentality. But if it represents envy, then we had better listen to our conscience and the voice of our faith. Those who are the object of the ‘crab mentality’ do very well when they put on humility because the success, wealth or power that set them up above fellow Pinoys are passing gifts in a temporary existence; they do even better when they use these things generously to express compassion and service to others. When we are tempted to adopt the ‘crab mentality’ we must listen to St. John Chrysostom when he said: “Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother’s progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised.” St. Thomas More saw the things that invite envy differently. “If we were to…esteem everything according to its true nature, rather than according to men’s false opinion, then we would never see any reason to envy any man, but rather pity every man—and pity those most who have the most to be envied for, since they are the ones who will shortly lose the most.” ‘Crab mentality’? For crabs maybe. For us Pinoys, I think there’s only one option: ‘Pinoy mentality’.


Local News

CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

Catholic school holds RH bill symposium for students
THE University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu City recently held a symposium on reproductive health bill to educate its students on the implications of the controversial measure. Sponsored by the university’s Center for Religious Education (CRE), the symposium, according to the university website, also signified the institution’s unequivocal stand on the contentious RH bill. CRE Director Rev. Fr. Amado Emmanuel Bolilia, OAR said that “that as a Catholic University we must be at the forefront of protecting the sanctity of marriage and families.” The school community had Dr. Rene Bullecer, Chair of the Cebu City AntiIndecency Board and the Philippine representative to Vatican City for the Pontifical Council for Life, as resource speaker. Bullecer discussed the loopholes and fallacies of the reproductive health bill, disproving claims of RH supporters that the country’s poverty is caused by increasing demographics. Instead, he said it is bad governance, coupled with graft and corruption, among other factors, that keep the country in the throes of poverty. Saying that it is important to say no to RH Bill because it is “unconstitutional, immoral, anti-child, anti-parent, antilife, against Catholic Faith and religious freedom,” Bullecer urged his audience to reject the measure. The symposium was part of a series of activities, including a mass wide rally, the Archdiocese of Cebu together with other Pro-Life Organizations are planning this February against RH bill. (CBCPNews)

Cruz skeptical of Loterya ng Bayan
THE Loterya ng Bayan, said to be the government’s counter measure against an illegal numbers game called “jueteng”, has just took off last Feb.4. But this early, the move has already faced stiff opposition from retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a vocal anti-gambling crusader. Just like the much ballyhooed small town lottery (STL), he believes that the Loterya ng Bayan will only end up being “front” for jueteng operators and a cash cow for corrupt officials. “It’s the same story as the STL before. It is the same jueteng lords and jueteng operators who would take charge of running the Loterya,” Cruz said. “The name is changed but the reality is the same.” “Second, the same operators cannot but favor jueteng more than the Loterya because it has taxes to pay while jueteng income is all theirs.” “Another thing, as far as the raffle of the winning numbers of STL everybody—either by city,

municipality or province—will draw their respective numbers exactly like jueteng. In lotto, at least there is one number nationwide but in STL everybody has the prerogative to make the numbers they wish to come out as a winning pair,” he said. Cruz reiterated that it takes only political will on the part of the public officials and the police authorities to get rid of jueteng. The prelate also revealed that he and the other members of the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng are preparing to do battle with the Loterya ng Bayan. “KBLJ is now rearranging its structure and reach in the country in order to precisely prepare the Krusada for the gambling game Loteryang Bayan which nurtures jueteng,” he said. He said they already started reorganizing the group two weeks ago by orienting its members on how the new game is played and how it exploits the poor people,” Cruz said. (CBCPNews)

Church leaders back CBCP official not worried impeach bid vs Ombudsman over RH bill budget approval
AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is not worried over the approval Wednesday of the funding provision of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. According to Fr. Melvin Castro of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, the real fight would be on the plenary debates in which anti-RH bill lawmakers are expected to block its passage. “It’s not new because there are really many pro-RH bill in the House Committee on Appropriations… so the real battle will in the plenary by next week,” Castro said. Aside from its “immoral” provisions, the church is opposing the passage of the RH bill which would require the government to buy contraceptives using taxpayer’s money. The bill classifies artificial family planning devices such as oral contraceptive pills, which have been confirmed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogens, as essential medicines where billions of pesos will be used for its purchase. “Will our government legislate a bill that will use taxpayers’ money to further expose women to all these risks?” asked Castro. Voting 20 to 3, the said House committee approved the proposed P173 million budget for the controversial measure. Among those who favored the proposed budget is the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations himself, Cavite 1st district Rep. Joseph Abaya. (CBCPNews) A CATHOLIC bishop and other church leaders on Wednesday expressed their full support for the move to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. They said that it is high time for a decisive action to hold Gutierrez accountable for allegedly sleeping on several high-profile cases. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called lawmakers to “expedite” the impeachment proceedings against the Ombudsman. “We have been clamoring that the Ombudsman be made answerable to the public and one way to do that is through the process of impeachment,” Pabillo said. He, however, called on the lawmakers not to make the impeachment proceedings as a venue for “grandstanding.” “I hope that the search for the truth will not be politicized and nothing personal,” said Pabillo who also chairs the National

Secretariat forSocial Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The bishop made the statement a day after the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the right the House of Representatives to take up the impeachment complaints against Gutierrez. Voting 7-5-2, the court junked the plea of the Ombudsman who earlier asked the SC to sanction the Lower House from hearing the complaints against her. The complaints stemmed from the cases filed by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, retired military officer Danilo Lim, and another by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Sr. Mary John Mananzan and others. Mananzan, co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) also welcomed the SC decision saying that the impeachment process “really has to go on.” (CBCPNews)

Teens / A1

It said elections in ARMM is still determined by traditional and “warlord politicians” who use money and guns to cling to power. In a manifesto, iPAD-Mindanao chairperson Janree Pundato-Disomimba said that the ARMM election has never been truly the reflection of the real sentiments of the people. Voluminous cases of ghost and flying voters, massive vote buying, harassment, electoral violence in the ARMM election are always “the order of the day,” she said. “We believe that the postponement of ARMM election is a decisive step to institute immediate political and electoral reforms. We are for reform first before we agree to hold an election,” Disomimba said in a forum in Manila
People Power / A1

on Feb. 15. The group believes that that there can be no credible and honest polls in the war-ravaged region when the bases of warlordism are still intact. Disomimba said a caretaker government is also necessary to pave the way for an “engagement” or consultation with the people in the grass roots level to find out who they really want to lead them. She said they are not for hold over capacity, but for a leadership and system change. “We need to change the leaders from top to bottom,” according to her. “Let us listen to the people and let’s give them a venue where they can truly participate and choose what and who they really want,” said Disomimba. “More than the environmental, legal

and social issues, the real issue here is character and leadership crisis. The quality leadership is what we don’t have,” she added. The organization already has a short list of candidates that they want to lead for the caretaker government they are proposing. Nash Pangadapun, secretary general of Bangsamoro Freedom Alliance, said the short list contains nine civil society leaders, politicians and religions leaders. He, however, refused to identify the personalities “because we also don’t want to preempt the decision of President Aquino.” What is clear in the shortlist, Disomimba said, is that the former and current ARMM leaders are no longer

included. She said they are open to other political leaders who share similar vision for the good of Mindanao as long as they are not part or allies of the “Ampatuan and Mangudadatu” clans. “Even the people from the grass roots level don’t want them anymore,” the iPAD-Mindanao chief said. It will be remembered that the Ampatuan clan was accused of a massacre of 57 persons, including the wife, sisters and supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu on Nov. 23, 2009. The massacre was committed when the wife and supporters of Mangudadatu was supposed to file his candidacy for gubernatorial seat. At least 34 journalists who were in the convoy also perished in the massacre. (CBCPNews)

elections was marred with fraud. The Vatican was cautious as it called on the bishops to be careful with the statement they would release. It also asked one certain condition: “that in every decision, we should always be unanimous,” said Bacani. But this time, he said, during the most recent plenary assembly, the 90 or so bishops unanimously agreed to choose life and reject the RH bill. Not a single soul disagreed with the decision because it was a moral issue. “Now, even without Rome’s asking for a unanimous stand on the issue at hand, the bishops already delivered a unanimous stand against the controversial RH bill,” Bacani said. Just the beginning Organized by the Coalition for the Family and Life against RH bill, the rally was in response to the CBCP’s pastoral letter calling on the people to “act together” against the measure and in what they foresee to be just the beginning of more street protests if the measure would be passed. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, said the church is grateful for the support of the lay people in the bishops’ RH bill stance. “The power emanates from the people, so here they are and I hope they recognize this sentiment of the people,” stressed Castro. More than a dozen lawmakers addressed the crowd during a rally to observe “Prolife Month.” The lawmakers called on their colleagues to reject the bill and said they would work to derail its passage. “We stand with you for life,” Lanao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, a Muslim, told around 10,000 protesters.

Dimaporo said that promotion of contraceptives in family planning would risk women’s health and would not solve the country’s problem on poverty. RH bill foes, including many Christian and Muslim groups, trooped to the venue to croon songs such as “Say yes to life, no to RH bill” and “We strongly reject abortion” during the four-hour rally. Melisa Miguel of Quezon City carried the sign that read “RH bill destroys human dignity” and she said she vowed to join more rallies against the measure. “We’d rather support life than death,” said Miguel, a mother of five. Draw the line Organizers of the rally, on the other hand, directly accused the Aquino administration of taking the country “for a ride” over the RH bill. Pro-Life Philippines President Eric Manalang said President Benigno Aquino III should make a firm position on RH bill. “I think it’s time for us to draw the line and stop all of this because we are just being taken for a ride,” Manalang said. He said it would be more acceptable for the people if Aquino would just give a more definitive stance on the controversial measure. “At the end of the day, is he pro-RH or not? Let’s get away from putting in this responsible parenthood bill whatever. Yes or no? Are you or are you not?” asked Manalang. “If you are pro-RH, then we draw the line. We stop there. If you are not proRH, he has the power to call the Speaker of the House and tell him ‘let’s drop this bill against life’,” he said. To recall, Malacañang officials have been quoted as saying that the RH bill, renamed as responsible parenthood (RP)

bill, would be among the priority bills of the government. Recently, though, the 17 priority list of the administration did not include the RH/RP bills as the Palace cited its ongoing dialogue with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as the main reason. Manalang said the “flip-flopping” position of the government only indicates that it is not sincere in dialoguing with the church. “It did not happen only one time. It happened several times. It’s about time that they tow the line. If you are here (dialogue) on bad faith… we will not talk,” said Manalang. Among the personalities in the rally were former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez, Cebu Rep. Cutie del Mar, and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. Other religious leaders from other Christian and Evangelical churches were also present during the rally including Muslims led by Padel Hassan and the Grand Imam of the Philippines. ‘Civil disobedience’ At least two Catholic bishops urged the people to rise up in a campaign of ‘civil disobedience’ against the reproductive health bill if it becomes a law. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said over church-run Radyo Veritas that they have no choice but to resort to such action but in a peaceful way. “We will have a civil disobedience! Those laws that are immoral, we will tell the people not to obey,” Bastes said. Arguelles, however, clarified that their civil disobedience is not meant to topple the government but rather a move to strongly reject the RH bill.

“Let’s make it clear that we are not against any person. We are not against the government. We are not subversives,” Arguelles said. The Sorsogon prelate added they will be not be cowed of any penalties of the law saying it is their duty to promote morality. “We bishops, are willing to be imprisoned, together with our priests, and protest the immoral things there (RH bill). To be firm with our teachings, let them imprison us!” said Bastes. “We are just saying what is right! We are going to proclaim whatever it is,” Arguelles also said. US bishops support The head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) earlier called on the CBCP to strongly fight the passage of the bill. USCCB President Cardinal Francis George called up Archbishop Paciano Aniceto on Feb. 7 expressing his explicit support for the CBCP’s campaign against the measure. Aniceto said Cardinal George assured him of their prayer that the CBCP would win the battle against measures that attack the sanctity of life. “He told me that they are praying for the Philippine Catholic Church and our advocacy against the RH bill,” Aniceto said over church-run Radyo Veritas. “(So) the Catholic bishops of America are one with us in pushing for protecting the sanctity of life, dignity of the family, and the health of our women,” he said. Aniceto chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life which is at the forefront of the church campaign against RH bill. According to him, the church will do everything to block the passage of the measure that pushes “the culture of death.”

of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). The event comes at the heels of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ pastoral letter titled “Choosing Life, Rejecting RH Bill” issued last January 31, 2011. Ed Sorreta of Pro-Life Philippines and Jason Evert of “Romance Without Regret” fame will be the affair’s principal speakers on life and love, chastity and sexuality. Evert has been going around the United States giving talks to more than 100,000 young people every year. Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life and San Fernando, Pampanga Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto will preside over a concelebrated Mass with San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop and CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth Vice Chair Roberto Mallari. The world-famous Madrigal Singers will provide the solemn music for the Mass. Among Catalyst’s partners are the Couples for Christ and the diocesan youth commissions. Interested participants may get their tickets from the Catalyst of the University of Asia and the Pacific at telephone numbers 6370912 local 277 or call 09088648491. More details can be accessed at Facebook “Pro-Life Youth Conference: Jason Evert at SMX.” (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/ Melo Acuña)
Pork / A1

barrel will be abolished and the funds given directly ins tead to the concerned local and national agencies. “Who will be in favor if you are in a good mind and in a good sense? Our country is in need actually and many of our poor people are languishing in poverty,” said Pueblos over churchrun Radio Veritas. “It’s sad that only politicians are getting richer while millions of people are getting poorer,” he said. The prelate was reacting to a proposal by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez for an additional pork barrel funds for Congressmen and senators. Suarez, in a proposed bill, seeks P30 million for pork inflation for each lawmaker and P60 million for each senator. To date, lawmakers in Congress are receiving some P70 million PDAF while the senators are allocated with P200 million each. As proposed, the additional pork barrel funds will be taken from the income of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) or road user’s tax. (CBCPNews)


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

Diocesan News
canned goods and noodles to the relief goods. “We’re still in the process of gathering resources. Even the local parishes are raising funds to help,” Calumpiano said. “(And) because there has been an increase in the number of families affected, we might increase the target, too,” he said. Officials of Eastern Samar provincial government said assistance has been pouring in the form of food and health kits. Based on the initial report of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, the damage to infrastructure projects and agricultural crops in the province has now hit P440 million. (CBCPNews)


Borongan diocese to give more flood aid
BORONGAN, E. Samar— The Diocese of Borongan will reallocate more of its budget towards relief funds, a local church official said. Fr. Juderick Calumpiano, director of the diocese’s Social Action Center, said they are targeting some 6,000 more families affected by recent flooding across the province. The priest confirmed this during a recent consultation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “We initially distributed 150 sacks of rice to six parishes that requested assistance,” Calumpiano said. With donations from large corporations and some individuals, the agency also plans to include

Romblon residents renew call against mining
ODIONGAN, Romblon— Romblon residents staged a rally on Feb. 14 as they renewed their call against mining in the island. More than ten thousand people led by Romblon Forum Against Mining (REFAM) and Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM) gathered at Odiongan, Tablas Island calling for the junking of Mining Act of 1995. REFAM chairman Msgr. Ernie Fetalino said the people’s attendance in the rally was a concrete manifestation of their opposition to all kinds of mining because of the dangers it pose on the islands’ topography. “Mining fuels disasters brought about by the inconsistencies of our climate. We will never stop defending the integrity of creation and dignity of persons,” he said. In a video message shown during the rally, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros lauded Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo for issuing a mining moratorium in the province. “Congratulations to Gov. Eduardo Firmalo, the local councils and the people of Romblon for the executive order and resolutions on mining moratorium. We continue to work against all destructive forms of mining,” Hontiveros said. She said House Bill 3763, also known as Minerals Management Bill (MMB), filed in Congress by Akbayan aims to manage efficiently the country’s mineral resources. It will strictly establish and implement No Go Zones for mining, involve a multi-sectoral committee in decision-making, and a rightsbased approach to development. “We need the support of local governments like Romblon to strengthen the cry against large-scale mining. Let’s work together to preserve our resources,” she added. Firmalo on January 10 has issued an executive order declaring an indefinite mining moratorium in the province. It has been reported that Ivanhoe Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. has applied for permit to explore 15, 000 hectares of land spanning several towns in Tablas Island. Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) also declared his group’s support to the indigenous people, saying, “These people know that they will not benefit from mining, and their lives will be further put at stake when mining starts and their islands are in a greater disaster risk, and it is just right that they are fighting for their land.” “We stand together with them in calling the national government and President Aquino, to stop letting these companies dig up our natural resources and leave the islands half bare with people to suffer the consequences,” Garganera further said. The nine municipalities in Tablas Island have earlier approved resolutions opposing any exploration, development and utilization of minerals on the island. (CBCPNews)

Kato’s breakaway a challenge to peace process, says Maranao leader

MARAWI City—A leader of a Maranao civil society organization said the Philippine government and MILF should take Kumander Kato’s breakaway from the mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a challenge to make the peace process work. Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, chairman of the Islamic Movement for Electoral Reform and Good Government based in the Islamic City of Marawi, said that Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato’s departure from the BIAF-MILF should be viewed as a challenge that should compel the government and the MILF in making the peace negotiations work. (Bong D. Fabe)
Independent church backs Mendoza, Rabusa

NEA takes over ailing Albay Power Coop
LEGAZPI City—For the seventh time, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) will manage and operate the ailing Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) as the six-man team from the electric company swooped down the premises of the lone power facility on Feb. 11. Together with the team headed by NEA Deputy Administrator for Electric Distribution, Engr. Edgardo Piamonte, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and a handful member of ALECO Board of Directors met in a closed door conference and with tight private security barring the presence of the media. After an hour, through Salceda’s intervention, the media were allowed to witness the ceremonial turn-over of management from Engr. Jose Abiera, operation-in-charge designated by the ALECO board, to Piamonte. Earlier, ALECO Board of Directors chaired by Rene Tronqued resigned from their posts following a resolution from Albay Mayors League calling for their resignation to pave the way for the takeover of NEA. During the hand over, Salceda expressed optimism that

CAGAYAN DE ORO City—The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) or Philippine Independent Church (PIC) threw its support to former state auditor Heidi Mendoza and retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa for exposing the massive corruption in the AFP. “Their expose accentuates public criticism about the use of military aid, expensive military modernization programs, and well-oiled counterinsurgency campaigns principally as milking cows for AFP senior officials, at the expense of rank-and-file soldiers, the sons and daughters of the Filipino peasants and workers,” it said. (CBCPNews)
Manobos accuse NGOs of using IPs for funding purposes

© Elmer James Bandol / CBCP Media

KIBAWE, Bukidnon— The Manobos in Southern Bukidnon and North Cotabato provinces are accusing two NGOs of using the indigenous people as capital for funding purposes. The lumads claimed that the non-government organizations Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/ Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE Phils.) and the Nasabakan Tarigunay Bukidnon Dut Kalindaan (NATABUK) or Cultural Solidarity of Indigenous Peoples in Bukidnon are only using them so the NGOs can continue their opposition to the Pulangi 5 Hydro-electric Plant Project to the detriment of the lumad communities. (Bong D. Fabe)
ARMM official wants August polls postponed

ALECO hands over management of the facility to National Electrification Administration (NEA) during a meeting on Feb. 11.

the problems hounding the lone electric cooperative will be solved including its financial obligations now reaching to more than P2 billion. Piamonte, on the other hand, openly mentioned his debt of gratitude to Salceda for allowing the NEA to take over ALECO again. “We are here not to investigate but to make the cooperative viable,” Piamonte said. But he backtracked when asked how the ailing power facility will turn around when problems hound-

ing it are not investigated. ALECO has been in the hands of the NEA since 1990 up to the time of former NEA Administrator Fr. Francisco Silva who pushed for the privatization of ALECO to a Singaporean based business mogul, SALCON. The move was opposed by Albay Consumers Watch who exposed the questionable contract that was hidden to the public. From the hands of Adonay, Rosales, Cruz and to Misael Moraleda, all NEA designated managers, ALECO has never

been the same again, until after typhoon Reming hit Bicol in 2006 when all ALECO power lines were down and B-CARE funds of P500 million was infused by former President Gloria Arroyo to rehabilitate the power coop. Records show that the management contract between ALECO and the National Power Corporation in 2009 was the point the cooperative has started to meet its financial obligations under the management of Engr. German Silva. (Elmer James Bandol)

CAGAYAN DE ORO City— An official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is pushing for a postponement of the August 2011 ARMM elections citing unresolved issues that could spawn violence. “It is the most practical alternative that the national government can adopt,” said ARMM Acting Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong. Continuing with the elections will “only complicate unsolved social issues” such as the absence of a negotiated political settlement with the MILF, aside from worsening the conduct of the polls, he said. (CBCPNews)
Ban magnetite mining in Regions 5, 8—Pamalakaya

QUEZON City—The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya sa Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the DENR to stop the magnetite (black sand) mining operations on the shores of Eastern Visayas, saying it would lead to environmental destruction. “We ask President Aquino to recall all these Public-Private Partnership led escapades in Region VIII and stop black sand giants from destroying the livelihood and the national patrimony of the people,” said Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Reyes’ death must not hamper probe on military corruption— Solon

Laguna prays Oratio Imperata daily until RH Bill is rejected
SAN Pablo City—For the seventh time, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) will manage and operate the ailing Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) as the six-man team from the electric company swooped down the premises of the lone power facility on Feb. 11. Together with the team headed by NEA Deputy Administrator for Electric Distribution, Engr. Edgardo Piamonte, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and a handful member of ALECO Board of Directors met in a closed door conference and with tight private security barring the presence of the media. After an hour, through Salceda’s intervention, the media were allowed to witness the ceremonial turn-over of management from Engr. Jose Abiera, operation-in-charge designated by the ALECO board, to Piamonte. Earlier, ALECO Board of Directors chaired
Holy See / A1

by Rene Tronqued resigned from their posts following a resolution from Albay Mayors League calling for their resignation to pave the way for the takeover of NEA. During the hand over, Salceda expressed optimism that the problems hounding the lone electric cooperative will be solved including its financial obligations now reaching to more than P2 billion. Piamonte, on the other hand, openly mentioned his debt of gratitude to Salceda for allowing the NEA to take over ALECO again. “We are here not to investigate but to make the cooperative viable,” Piamonte said. But he backtracked when asked how the ailing power facility will turn around when problems hounding it are not investigated. ALECO has been in the hands of the NEA since 1990 up to the time of former NEA Ad-

ministrator Fr. Francisco Silva who pushed for the privatization of ALECO to a Singaporean based business mogul, SALCON. The move was opposed by Albay Consumers Watch who exposed the questionable contract that was hidden to the public. From the hands of Adonay, Rosales, Cruz and to Misael Moraleda, all NEA designated managers, ALECO has never been the same again, until after typhoon Reming hit Bicol in 2006 when all ALECO power lines were down and B-CARE funds of P500 million was infused by former President Gloria Arroyo to rehabilitate the power coop. Records show that the management contract between ALECO and the National Power Corporation in 2009 was the point the cooperative has started to meet its financial obligations under the management of Engr. German Silva. (Elmer James Bandol)
Spaces of Hope / A5

ANTIPOLO City— Despite former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes’s death, the investigation on the corruption in the AFP should continue as the public wants clarification over the issue. “It is unfortunate that Reyes passed away for he could have been a vessel in solving these corruption cases. While we condole with his family and friends, I sincerely hope that the people’s quest for truth and justice will not be delayed by this sad incident,” Kabataan Party list Rep. Raymond Palatino said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Mayuga / A1

detrimental to development, the reality is that where economic growth has increased, it is often accompanied with population increases.” “In developed regions, we are now witnessing dwindling and ageing populations and many nations are struggling to maintain social services and economic growth as the ratio of workers to non-workers decreases,” the prelate warned. He continued: “In the developing regions, we are witnessing

an unprecedented decline in fertility/birth rate—a decline advocated often as the best means to achieve development. “However, many nations in the developing world are now at risk of growing old before they grow rich.” The archbishop affirmed, “At the center of development is recognizing the dignity of the human person and ensuring full respect for man’s innate dignity and fundamental rights.” “This calls for renewed forms

of cooperation and a more decisive commitment by all,” he stated. “Development cannot be measured only in terms of economic growth and eradication of poverty cannot be based only on measurable economic outcome,” Archbishop Chullikatt asserted. “Rather,” he added, “authentic development requires fostering the development of each human being and of the whole human being.” (Zenit)

the journey together towards integrity. It is about realizing that we are all in this together as part of the problem and part of the solution. It is about connecting personal conversion, family renewal, and social transformation. It is about organizing for the common good. It is about igniting spaces of hope. This demands prayer and sacrifice. Thank you, Mendoza family, for showing us that it can be done!

lives. We are but stewards. Taking one’s life is an act of escapism. It does not even serve the country in this case,” said Pabillo. Mayuga was earlier quoted in a newspaper report that Reyes’ act of taking his life by shooting himself on the chest showed “extreme courage”. The prelate said the country, especially the foot soldiers who are struggling in the ground need to know how the military spends its money. Pabillo said he is not a military so most probably he does not understand what is “honorable” in taking one’s life. “In plain language that is suicide, and every act of suicide is wrong.” “I do not and cannot judge the state of mind of General Angelo Reyes when he committed suicide. In this, he

renders personal account with his Creator,” he said. “Yes, we condole with the family, the loved ones and friends of General Reyes. I personally felt extreme sadness at his action and prayed for his soul. But sympathizing with him should not induce us to saying what he did was right,” he added. The church official is also hoping that the “very unfortunate and sad end” of Reyes will not make the government soften its commitment to root out corruption in the country. “The corrupt people in government do not care at all at the grave sufferings they inflict on the nation and on the nameless people who are deprived of what is rightfully theirs. Let us not also be soft in the quest to right this wrong!” Pabillo said. (CBCPNews)

Photo courtesy of Sol Angelie Libanan


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

Manila Cardinal celebrates Mass for World Day of the Sick

Visayas Bishops in Rome on ad limina visit
THE Pontificio Collegio Filipino welcomed the second batch of bishops from the Visayas region who arrived in Rome on February 7 for their ad limina visit. While in Rome, the bishops will be visiting the different Dicasteries at the Vatican, and will have a personal audience with Pope Benedict XVI. They will also have the chance to celebrate Holy Mass at the four Major Basilicas of San Pietro, Santa Maria Maggiore, San Paolo Basilica and Basilica Laterano. On their day off, the bishops will take a pilgrimage to Padre Pio Shrine, Pompeii and Monte Cassino. Back in PCF, the bishops, priests, and guests, participate in

THE Archbishop of Manila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has celebrated a special Mass to mark World Day of the Sick. During the ceremony at the Manila Cathedral, Cardinal Rosales urged ordinary people to become more involved in caring for the sick within the community. The Cardinal said the country needs a new sense of common responsibility towards those who are ill. He added that people can contribute to the ongoing reform of the health system by creating a new awareness of the community. Ca r dina l Rosa les a lso c a lled on t he sic k F ilip inos not t o g ive u p a nd k eep praying because “you are loved by God.” For the healthy people, the church official urged them to pray for the sick or those who are suffering including the multiple handicapped and the mentally ill. During the Mass, an anointing of the sick was also held. The activity is in coordination with the CBCP’s Commission on Health Care and the Philippine Association Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Celebrated every Feb. 11 on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick was instituted by late Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1992, and since then has been celebrated annually. (CBCPNews)

Catholic schools urged to hang banners in support of Mendoza, et al
CATHOLIC schools are urged to hang banners in support of whistleblowers former state auditor Heidi Mendoza, retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa and Lt. Col. Antonio Ramon Lim, both former military budget officers. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines lauded Mendoza, Rabusa and Lim for risking their lives and the security of their families just to expose alleged corrupt military officials. It’s just right, it said, for Filipinos to be vigilant and strengthen their support for the ‘truth-tellers’ such as hanging banners on the face or at the gate of school buildings. “We encourage our members to publicly manifest their support for truth-tellers: hang banners of support in their schools and release statements of solidarity,” the CEAP said in a statement. They also called on Catholic schools across the country to partner with other Church and civil society groups who support the three witnesses, conduct join activities that respond to the issue. The CEAP also enjoin all its members to continuously educate their students towards “Christian conscience.” “Discuss corruption in all academic circle; form our students in truth, integrity and courage,” the statement further read. In the statement, the CEAP also appealed to the government to ensure that those “who dared speak to reveal the truth” be protected. It likewise called on the judiciary, particularly the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan, to uphold the truth “without fear or favor.” “We urge the legislature to ensure that this investigation results in concrete measures to curb corruption and improve the justice system in the country,” the CEAP added. “Let it not degenerate into a circus for political vendetta and empty grandstanding,” it also said. (CBCPNews)

Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez, Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez and Capiz Archbishop Onesimo Gordoncillo.

AMID the corruption controversy hounding the military, several Catholic nuns and priests formed a human chain on Feb. 11 along with whistleblower retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa. Sr. Mary John Mananzan, co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), said it was a symbolic action of their unity for truth and justice. “It is also our wish that our students, faculty members, professionals and church people be aware of the problems besetting our society,” she said.

Nuns form human chain vs military corruption
The church official said they are also hoping that the public will be inspired by the “courageous deed” of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza “to do a service to the country.” “We also aim renewed unity in our quest for truth, accountability and justice,” according to Mananzan. Those who participated in the formation of human chain in Taft Avenue include some artists, students, and members of various civil society groups. The activity was the culmination of a forum dubbed as “May Pabaon ka ba diyan?” that was held at the De La-Salle-College of Saint

personal prayer and communal vespers and rosary at PCF crypta together with the resident priests and nuns. The bishops are staying at

the Collegio in the duration of ad limina visit which ends on February 19. The ‘ad limina’ visit is an opportune time for the bishops of

the Philippines to visit the Pope and to renew their commitment to shepherd the Faithful in our local Church in the Philippines. (Garret Alfonso Ulanimo)

ELECTED. Fr. Jerome Adriatico was re-elected provincial superior of the Society of Divine Word (SVD), Northern Province during the SVD provincial election assembly held last January 13, 2011 at the SVD Provincialate House in San Fernando City, La Union. Re-elected together with Adriatico was Fr. Reynaldo Jimenez as vice-provincial. Fr. Cisogono Cancino was elected as Admonitor and Frs. Damianus Abun and Pablo Garay as Councilors. The team will serve as a council to Northern Province for three years. The Northern Province is situated in Northern Luzon, with communities in the Ilocos Region, the Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region. It is made up of four districts: Abra, Cagayan, Vigan-Laoag and Tabuk, and SVD communities in Urdaneta, Dagupan, Baguio and in La Union. INAUGURATED. A new nursery of Heart of Mary Villa was inaugurated on the occasion of HMV’s 54th anniversary on February 8, 2011. Located at the Good Shepherd Compound at Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, the new nursery was built a year after typhoon Ondoy destroyed the nursery in HMV Malabon. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco led the blessing which was attended by the Sisters, HMV staff, friends, benefactors, adopting parents and their families. The blessing was followed by a Mass at the Good Shepherd Chapel. The Heart of Mary Villa was founded by the Good Shepherd Sisters to provide a temporary residence for pregnant single women and nursery for babies waiting for adoption. ERECTED. San Vicente Ferrer Parish of Talusan, was erected last January 20 in the island of Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibugay. Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel presided the celebration attended by parishioners, comprising 80 percent of the town’s population. Fr. Herman Suico, SVD who joined the Ipil Mission last June 1, 2009, was installed parish priest. Suico serves as team leader of the Divine Word Missionaries in Olutanga Island. The island has been evangelized by various missionaries, including the Jesuits, Dominican sisters and the pioneer SVD missionaries who came in 2005.

A PAINSTAKING restoration job is underway in Ilocos Norte, the rebuilding of San Jose de Dingras Church, a 15th centuryold building Project organizers said they would like to restore the town’s church heritage to look like the original, which has been considered one of the most picturesque facades in the country. The church was ruined and rebuilt many times on separate historical periods beginning 1707 until the structure became unsafe and was finally abandoned in 1931. Catholics used a chapel built inside the ruins for church services. The province’s Philippine Information Agency said it was in the late 1990s that the church

Ilocos Norte’s heritage Church undergoes revival
began asking support from parishioners locally and abroad and restored the ruins. Metal sheets perched on steel columns replaced the church’s original roofing while its walls that bore deep fissures and cracks were strengthened. Conservation groups said the church’s architecture, along with the churches of San Nicolas, Piddig, Sarrat and Vintar, all in the Diocese of Laoag, follows the character of the Vignola masterpiece of the Church of Il Gesu in Rome. The International Council for Monuments and Sites Philippines have expressed disagreement with the restoration plan saying that tearing down the original façade and substituting it with a replica would mean losing an important symbol of Ilocos architecture. “Before its rehabilitation, the façade was said to have been leaning inwards prompting church officials to secure the structure’s inner section with temporary support made of steel poles,” the PIA Ilocos Norte said in an article posted at its website. “The outer section was pulled outwards using cables attached to the base of a statue and centuries-old acacia tree fronting the church.” Amid calls to preserve the old façade, the Laoag diocese has already consulted a team of technical experts from the National Historical Institute and the Historical Preservation

Benilde Augusto Rosario Gonzalez Theater, Solomon Hall 5th floor from 1:30pm to 5pm. Aside from Rabusa, a former military budget officer, other persons in the forum were former UP Dean Luis Teodoro and Philippine Air Force Capt. Joenel Pogoy. Pogoy was released October 2010 from jail after a two-year detention for posting videos of his views on corruption in the popular video-sharing website YouTube. The three speakers gave their insights on the alleged corrupt practices in the Armed Forces of the Philippines as recently revealed in the Congressional hearings. (CBCPNews)

© Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

Commission. A rehabilitation plan drawn in 2009 laid out the restoration plans in detail including the cost of materials and repairs that amounted to about P9.2 million. The plan bore the stamp of approval from Architect Reynaldo Inovero, of the NHI and chief of the Historical Preservation Commission. In his marginal note dated Nov. 23, 2009 on the design, Inovero said “the rehabilitation plan is an acceptable method to preserve the church façade.” Inovero further advised the church to undertake a geotechnical study of the foundation in addition to the plan. (CBCPNews)

Religious groups hold labor forum
THE country’s ordinary workers can always pin their hopes in the Catholic Church for support in their struggles for just labor. In an effort to guide people make enlightened decisions with regards to the current plight of the country’s workers a team of religious groups has organized a labor forum on February 5 in Cebu City. The Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) has teamed up with Task Force on Urban Conscientization (TFUC-AMRSP), a mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, and other ecumenical groups to discuss the social teachings of the Church on human labor. Resource speaker during the forum was

VCDG convenor and Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza who led participants in the reflection on the social teachings of the Church. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma gave an inspirational talk to encourage faithful to participate in the work of renewal in society. Themed “Best-Kept Secret Exposed: Church’s Social Teachings on Human Labor”, the activity included testimonies from Cebu workers and responses from various lay groups. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

Pastoral Concerns


‘It Speaks to Us of Our Very Destiny’
(This is the preface of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI to the new catechism for the youth called “Youcat” that is being prepared in time for the upcoming World Youth Day; for release on March 1, 2011 by the L’Osservatore Romano)
Dear Friends, Young People! Today I counsel you to read an extraordinary book. It is extraordinary because of its content but also because of its format, which I wish to explain to you briefly, so that you will understand its particularity. Youcat drew its origin, so to speak, from another work that came out in the 80s. It was a difficult period for the Church as well as for worldwide society, during which the need was perceived of new guidelines to find a way towards the future. After the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and in the changing cultural environment, many people no longer knew correctly what Christians should actually believe, what the Church taught, if it could, no more and no less, teach, and how all this could be adapted to the new cultural climate. Is not Christianity, as such, obsolete? Can one still today be reasonably a believer? These are the questions that still today many Christian ask themselves. Pope John Paul II then made an audacious decision: he decided that the bishops worldwide should write a book to answer these questions. He entrusted to me the task of coordinating and overseeing the work of the bishops so that a book would be born from the contributions of the bishops, a real book and not a simple juxtaposition of a multiplicity of texts. This book was to bear the traditional title of Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and yet be something altogether stimulating and new; it was to show what the Catholic Church believes today and how one can believe in a reasonable way. I was frightened by this task, and I must confess that I doubted that such a thing could succeed. How could it be that authors who are spread around the whole world could produce a legible book? How could men who live in different continents, and not only from the geographical but also from the intellectual and cultural point of view, produce a text with an internal and comprehensible unity in all the continents? To this was added the fact that the bishops had to write not simply as individual authors but in representation of their confreres and their local Churches. I must confess that still today the fact seems a miracle to me that this project in the end succeeded. We met three or four times a year for a week and discussed passionately on the individual portions of the text that had been developed in the meantime. The first thing to be defined was the structure of the book: it had to be simple, so that the individual groups of authors could receive a clear task and not force their affirmations into a complicated system. It is the very structure of this book, it is taken simply from a centurieslong catechetical experience: what do we believe/ in what way do we celebrate the Christian mysteries / in what way do we have life in Christ / in what way should we pray. I do not wish to explain now how we engaged in the great quantity of questions, until a real book resulted. In a book of this nature there are many debatable points: all that men do is insufficient and can be improved and, this notwithstanding, it is a great book, a sign of unity in diversity. From many voices it was possible to form a choir because they had the common score of the faith, which the Church has transmitted to us from the apostles through the centuries until today. Why all this? already then, at the time of the drafting of the CCC, we realized not only that the continents and the cultures of their people are different, but that also within the individual societies different “continents” exist: a worker has a different mentality from a peasant’s, and a physicist from a philologist’s; an entrepreneur from a journalist’s, a youth from an elderly person’s. For this reason, in language and in thought we had to place ourselves above all these differences and so to speak seek a common area among the different universal mentalities; with this we became ever more aware of how the text required “translations” into the different worlds, to be able to reach the people with their different mentalities and different problems. Since then, in the World Youth Days (rome, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney) young people from all over the world have met who want to believe, who are searching for God, who love Christ and desire common paths. In this context we asked ourselves if we should not seek to translate the Catechism of the Catholic Church into the language of young people and make its words penetrate their world. Of course also among the young people of today there are many differences; thus, under the tested guidance of the archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schoenborn, a Youcat was formatted for young people. I hope that many young people will let themselves be fascinated by this book. Some persons tell me that the catechism does not interest today’s youth, but I do not believe this affirmation and I am sure I am right. Youth is not as superficial as it is accused of being; young people want to know what life truly consists of. a crime novel is fascinating because it involves us in the fate of other persons, but which could also be our own; this book is fascinating because it speaks to us of our very destiny and that is why it concerns each one of us very closely. Because of this I invite you: Study the catechism! This is my heartfelt wish. This supplement to the catechism does not flatter you; it does not offer easy solutions; it calls for a new life on your part; it presents to you the message of the Gospel as the “precious pearl” (Matthew 13:45) for which there is need to give everything. Because of this I ask you: study the catechism with passion and perseverance! Sacrifice your time for it! Study it in the silence of your room, read it together, if you are friends, form groups and study networks, exchange ideas on the Internet. In any case remain in dialogue on your faith! You must know what you believe; you must know your faith with the same precision with which a specialist in information technology knows the working system of a computer; you must know it as a musician knows his piece; yes, you must be much more profoundly rooted in the faith of the generation of your parents, to be able to resist forcefully and with determination the challenges and temptations of this time. You have need of divine help, if you do not want your faith to dry up as a dewdrop in the sun, if you do not want to succumb to the temptations of consumerism, if you do not want your love to be drowned in pornography, if you do not want to betray the weak and the victims of abuse and violence. If you dedicate yourselves with passion to the study of the catechism, I would like to give you yet a last counsel: You all know in what way the community of believers has been wounded in recent times by the attacks of evil, by the penetration of sin in the interior, in fact in the heart of the Church. Do not take this as a pretext to flee from God’s presence; you yourselves are the Body of Christ, the Church! Carry intact the fire of your love in this Church every time that men have obscured her face. “Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord” (romans 12:11). When Israel was in the darkest point of its history, God called to the rescue no great and esteemed persons, but a youth called Jeremiah; Jeremiah felt invested with too great a mission: “ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth!” (Jeremiah 1:6). But God did not let himself be misled: “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you shall speak” (Jeremiah 1:7). I bless you and pray every day for all of you. Benedict PP. XVI




CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

The Obligation to wear Ecclesiastical Garb
Deacons and exorcisms
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:) Q: Can deacons perform the rite of exorcism or be appointed by their bishops to serve as exorcists? I’m not interested in doing so, but with more movies coming out recently on the topic, I am trying to anticipate this question from parishioners.—J.L., Oswego, New York a: The word exorcism is used in two ways. First of all, it is used to describe certain rites in which the minister asks God to keep someone or something from the power of the evil one. This is the general sense of the rite of exorcism performed during baptism, and a deacon can obviously perform this rite since he is an ordinary minister of the sacrament. Second, an exorcism is an order made to a demon in Christ’s name to leave a person he has possessed or a place or thing he has infested. With respect to this rite, No. 11 of the rite of exorcism says, “The minister of the rite is exclusively a priest who by reason of his piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life is considered by the Ordinary as suitable to this ministry and has been expressly authorized by him to exercise it” [my translation]. Therefore, in this sense a deacon may not perform an exorcism.

Communion for Late Arrivals at Mass

By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
Introduction I have always been edified by priests who dress properly─either with a clergyman or at least a barong with a distinctive cross insignia, and even more so with an old-fashioned cassock or sotana. Considering that the tropical climate must surely make such attire a bit uncomfortable, I am awed by the spirit of sacrifice of such men of the cloth who thereby present a credible witness of the presence of Christ and his Church in the midst of our too often secularized communities. On the other hand, I also notice that many more of our Filipino clergy go around dressed casually like everyone else, to the point that quite often it is impossible to identify them as clerics. I consider this a setback for us ordinary faithful for several reasons: (1) we cannot have easy access to them when we are in dire need of them, since we cannot identify them easily; (2) when we do identify them, it is not easy to give them the reverence due them because─as a diocesan priest blurted once─he thought the priest was the driver; (3) it is quite disconcerting to see denims with a really casual T-shirt peeking from under the flowing liturgical garb of a priest during Mass; worse if he is wearing rubber shoes or sandals. What does Church Law say about this matter? THIS is not the first time that a layman has expressed this sentiment to me; laywomen, on their part, are even more expressive and disconcerted. Of course, the more comic opposite is what happened to me once when I visited the former bishop of Sorsogon, whom I had never met at that time. Upon arrival at the bishop’s residence late in the afternoon, I and my companion─a wellknown professional who was going to deliver another lecture with me─were met by a man in his 50s, in T-shirt, casual pants and slippers. My companion, a layman with great respect for the clergy, immediately took the hand of the middle-aged man and kissed it, saying “Good evening bishop” or something to that effect; my clerical sense made me hesitate. at that moment, the good bishop appeared, dressed in clergyman, welcoming us with great affability. It turned out the other fellow was his driver! The Purpose of the Ecclesiastical Garb On 1.I.1994, John Paul II approved and authorized the publication of a very important document emanating from the Congregation for the Clergy, signed by its Prefect then, Filipino Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez. Titled Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, it came as the juridic expression of the rich teachings of John Paul II’s PostSynodal apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis of 25.III.1992, which in turn gathered the results

Q: at what point in time during Mass it is considered too late for anyone coming into the Mass to receive Communion? These days I see a lot of people who enter the Mass even as Communion is being given and they head straight to receive. Is this right?—E.M., Port Harcourt, Nigeria a: Like most priests, I am loath to give a straight answer to this question because, in a way, it is a catch-22 question for which there is no right answer. It is true that before the Second Vatican Council some moral theology manuals placed arrival before the offertory as the dividing line in deciding whether one fulfilled the Sunday obligation of assistance at Mass. But after the liturgical reform, with its emphasis on the overall unity of the Mass, modern theologians shy away from such exactitude. Mass begins with the entrance procession and ends after the final dismissal and we should be there from beginning to end. each part of the Mass relates and complements the others in a single act of worship even though some parts, such as the consecration, are essential while others are merely important. To say that there is a particular moment before or after which we are either “out” or “safe,” so to speak, is to give the wrong message and hint that, in the long run, some parts of the Mass are really not all that important. It may also give some less fervent souls a yardstick for arriving in a tardy manner. Although I prefer not to hazard giving a precise cutoff moment, certainly someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, go to another Mass. Arriving on time is not just a question of obligation but of love and respect for Our Lord who has gathered us together to share his gifts, and who has some grace to communicate to us in each part of the Mass. It is also a sign of respect for the community with whom we worship and who deserves our presence and the contribution of our prayers in each moment. The liturgy is essentially the worship of Christ’s body, the Church. Each assembly is called upon to represent and manifest the whole body but this can hardly happen if it forms itself in drips and drabs after the celebration has begun. Thus people who arrive late to Mass have to honestly ask themselves, Why? If they arrive late because of some justified reason or unforeseen event, such as blocked traffic due to an accident, they have acted in good conscience and are not strictly obliged to assist at a later Mass (although they would do well to do so if they arrive very late and it is possible for them). Likewise for many elderly people, even getting to the church is an odyssey, and one must not burden their consciences by counting the minutes. If people arrive late due to culpable negligence, and especially if they do so habitually, then they need to seriously reflect on their attitudes, amend their ways, and if necessary seek the sacrament of reconciliation. Depending on how late they arrive they should prefer to honor the Lord’s day by attending some other Mass, or, if this is not possible, at least remain in the Church after Mass is over and dedicate some time to prayer and reflection on the readings of the day.

of the Synod of Bishops of 1990 dedicated to the topic of the identity, life and ministry of priests. In order to outline the content of that Directory, the suggestions of the entire world episcopate─consulted for that purpose─as well as the considerations of many theologians, canonists and experts on the matter from diverse geographical areas and involved in current pastoral work were taken into account. Thus, that Directory can veritably be considered as a manual on the life and ministry of priests, and is the final word when it comes any question of practical nature as the issue at hand. The Directory deals with the matter of ecclesiastical garb under the rubric of Obedience, first stating the reason for such garb: “In a secularized and materialistic society, where the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to disappear, it is particularly important that the community be able to recognize the priest, man of God and dispenser of his mysteries, by his attire as well, which is an unequivocal sign of his dedication and his identity as a public minister. The priest should be identifiable primarily through his conduct, but also by his manner of dressing, which makes visible to all the faithful, indeed to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and the Church” (n.66). Hence, it is not a question of blending in, as some would propose in a misguided pastoral desire to make the priest more present in secular environments. For as St Josemaría escriva used to say, such attempts would result not in a priestly presence, but rather in a priestly absence─in the sense that it would make the priest’s presence unrecognizable because of the absence of any outward sign of the priest’s identity. The Proper Priestly Attire The Directory continues: “For this reason, the clergy should wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the episcopal Conference and the legitimate local custom. This means that the attire, when it is not the cassock, must be different from the manner in which the laity dress, and conform to the dignity and sacredness of his ministry. The style and color should be established by the episcopal Conference, always in agreement with the dispositions of the universal law” (n.66). The Code of Canon Law─the universal law referred to by the Directory─precisely stipulates that “Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb in accord with the norms issued by the conference of bishops and in accord with legitimate local custom” (c.284). For its part, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines─the Episcopal

Conference referred to by the Directory─has laid down the following:1 “The proper clerical attire… are as follows: 1) Cassock or religious habit; 2) Clergyman suit; 3) Trousers of dark one-tone color or white, and shirt of onetone color, with the clerical collar. The shirt may also be either polobarong or barong tagalog, with a distinctive cross.” an attentive reading of the above dispositions shows that the following are the options for proper priestly attire, in decreasing order of preference: 1st: Cassock or religious habit. In this regard, it is worthwhile remembering that the Philippine clergy enjoys a long-standing privilege from the Holy See to use white cassock, in view of the tropical climate. 2nd: Clergyman suit. Given the tropical climate and local custom, it would seem that this option is suitable for more formal occasions of a non-liturgical nature (e.g., conferences, formal banquets and the like) where airconditioning would make the attire comfortable. 3rd: Dark one-tone colored trousers (or white) and one-tone colored shirt with clerical collar. Otherwise known as the roman collar, this is a distinctive collar equipped with a white plastic (or stiffened cloth) strip running through the front. 4th: Dark one-tone colored trousers (or white) and polobarong (or barong tagalog) with a Roman collar. 5th: Dark one-tone colored trousers (or white) and polobarong (or barong tagalog) with a distinctive cross (in lieu of the roman collar). With the foregoing, it is very clear that casual T-shirts and polo shirts (of whatever color), whether with or without collar, do not constitute proper priestly attire. Neither do shorts, of whatever color or style. The impropriety of such attire is even more pronounced during liturgical ceremonies, especially since the common use of the chasuble-alb makes what is worn under it to be more obvious and incongruous. It stands to reason that all these norms do not apply when the priest is in a private recreational activity─e.g., doing sports, going on outdoor excursions, and the like. Nevertheless, common sense and sensitivity might dictate that the priest limits his movements in these latter conditions, being sufficiently discrete as not to be too public when he is not in ecclesiastical garb. There is nothing mentioned about footwear, leaving it to the common sense and sensitivity of each priest to choose whatever is fitting to the occasion and circumstances. The Binding Force of the Directory as regards Ecclesiastical Garb On 22.X.1994, the Pontifical

Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts─the competent dicastery of the Holy See charged with the official interpretation of all norms of Canon Law─issued a Clarification regarding the Binding Force of Art.66 of the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, i.e., the provisions regarding ecclesiastical garb that we are considering.2 In that Explanatory Note, the Holy See pointed out that although the aforementioned Directory is imbued with a deep pastoral sense, this “does not detract from the prescriptive force of many of its norms, which do not only have an exhortative value but are juridically binding” (n.1). “With regard specifically to art.66 of the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests─the Note continues─it contains a general norm complimentary to c.284 of the CIC, with the characteristic proper to general executory decrees (cf. c.31). It is therefore a norm which clearly enjoys juridic enforceability, as can be deduced even from the tenor itself of the text and the place where it is included: under the rubric “Obedience” (n.4). Furthermore, the Note urges, with a categorical declaration, the right observance of the discipline regarding ecclesiastical garb, stating that “for their inconsistency with the spirit of this discipline, contrary practices cannot be considered as legitimate customs and should be removed by the competent authority” (n.5, c). On the other hand, the Note specifies the subjects of the aforementioned norms of art.66 of the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests as “all those who are obliged by the universal norm of c.288, namely the Bishops and priests, but not the permanent deacons (cf. c.288)” (n.7). This is worth underlining, because─as can be easily observed─the aforementioned norms on ecclesiastical garb are being violated not only by priests (rampantly in the Philippines), but unfortunately on occasion even by Bishops. This is doubly unfortunate because, as the Note adds, “The Diocesan Bishops are the competent authority for demanding obedience to the aforementioned norms and for removing eventual contrary practices as regards ecclesiastical garb (cf. c.392, §2).” For its part, the Note concludes “The Episcopal Conference should help the individual diocesan Bishops in the fulfillment of this duty” (n.7). Since we are demanding more compliance with the law on the part of our politicians and civil servants, this simple matter of the norms regarding ecclesiastical garb give food for thought for priests and Bishops alike.
1 2


SCB, Prot.n.35/84.

Cf. Communicationes, 27 [1995], pp.192-194.

© Pinky Barrientos / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

massive Christianization that brought havoc to our primitive culture.” I stayed there for almost nine months, from July 2009 to March 2010 before the Holy Week. I was really thankful because my short stay with them taught me how to appreciate more my being a “Filipino”. It boosted my missionary spirit to reach out and learn the diverse through the mountain ranges: the nearest is Inwaloy, at least 1 1/2 hour hike and the farthest is Nattum, 6-7 hours hike. On rainy days even a fourwheel drive vehicle will not dare enter alimit (the gateway to Nattum, and from there you can reach Nattum by 3-4 hours of hiking) because of landslides, eroded road, deep canals made by month, I tried my best to visit all BECs for masses, baptisms, weddings and other sacraments that they need. I also invite speakers/resource persons to give seminars, recollections and other spiritual talks that would deepen their faith. Even though all of the 16 BECs are dear to me, Inwaloy is the most special because it is the newest BEC composed of ‘new converts’ from the ‘espiritista sect’; a Christian sect which is one of the earliest in Cordillera. Some of them are Catholics from other parts of the Cordilleras w h o intermarried with the Ifugao people and stayed there. I scheduled my visit to Inwaloy during fourth Sundays of the month. after the 9:30 a.m.

outside my usual schedule to give catechesis about the Catholic Faith, which they embraced recently. Usually, after the Mass we share a meal which they prepared composed of their “pan de sal” (camote), their barako coffee, organic rice of different varieties and colors, and of course their famous “pinikpikan native chicken.” This would be a time for entertaining their different questions on the Catholic faith. They would ask about the devotion to the Saints, the existence of purgatory, Marian devotion and others. They have insatiable questions regarding the Catholic Faith, I was fortunate that during my theology years I really listened attentively to the professors and studied well my lessons, so I was able to answer all their queries and would-be questions the next time we will meet. every time I went to Inwaloy, I hiked along with two or three companions coming from the poblacion. We would travel about 15 to 20 minutes ride to Bolhe, then walk for about one and a half hour. Inwaloy is 5-6 kilometers only from the highway. The road is under construction, the pathway that we usually take is being widened but due to lack of budget, only 2 kms from Bolhe had been finished. But continuous rain brought landslides and erosion, which eventually damaged that 2 km stretch of widened road. We have to pass through cliffs, climbing up and down an uneven terrain because of soil erosion caused by too much degradation of the place due to the ‘kaingin system’. Hiking becomes a challenging activity for me. However, despite the difficulty of going there, hidden between the forested areas of Inwaloy is the enchanting Tenogtog Waterfalls, cascading from a height of 50 ft or even more through the fertile land of Inwaloy. Water is life for the people of Inwaloy, not only because they are getting their drinking water from the falls but all the more because it irrigates their centuries-old rice terraces. In one of my earliest visits to Inwaloy, we started the Mass with a fair weather when suddenly the rain poured down heavily. The wind blew so hard that we had to use the blackboard to shield us from wind and rain. We also had to squeeze ourselves at the opened-portion of a small native house where we hold masses. We formed a circle around the “altar-table” and continued with the Mass. That rain gave me something to ponder for my homily and I said: ‘This is a blessing for each of us. With this rain, it is good that we became closer to each other physically instead of being divided. Just like in times of crisis, this is also the best time for us to become closer to God. When we are in crisis, the more we remember Christ. And at this very moment, the more we come closer to Christ, the more we become closer to each other.’ The hut is too low so we had to sit down for the whole duration of the mass. everybody was sitting. But, what struck me most was
Ifugao / B7

Celebrating Christ in the Mountains of Ifugao
By Fr. Gil Rochar Pancho-Dulay, SVD
THE thought of Cordilleras haunted me since my childhood and seminary days, even though one of my motivations why I joined the SVD (Societas Verbi Divini, an international religious congregation founded in Steyl, Holland by St. arnold Janssen) is for me to be assigned in the foreign missions. Before ordination we were asked to write our ‘petitio missiones/desiderata’ or in layman’s term ‘our preferred countries for our mission assignment.’ I wrote Mexico Province as first choice, China, second, then last is the Philippines. I did not write any SVD Province as my choice. (SVD Philippines has three provinces: the North Province, covering the upper part of Luzon, from Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija up to Cagayan; the Central Province, covering the Central and Southern Luzon including the Bicol Peninsula; and the Southern Province comprising the whole of Visayas and Mindanao). But our prefect insisted to put one in my desiderata where I wanted to work given the chance that my other first two choices would not materialize. He reminded us that all of those three choices of ours whether first, second or third are always considered to be first choice. Mesmerized and enchanted by the beauty and culture of the Cordilleras, I immediately wrote Northern Province, although I know that I can be assigned anywhere in the north and not in the very place that captivated my adventurous spirit. That particular summer assignment in Calanasan, Apayao provided me a glimpse of the life that I would be embracing as an SVD missionary. Though, at first I was dismayed by the result of my application because none of my first two choices were given to me, I was able to overcome it by accepting that maybe the Lord wanted me to be rooted first and learn about my identity as a Filipino before being sent to a foreign country. after ordination to the priesthood, I was sent to Claveria, Cagayan to learn how to say mass in Ilocano for more than a month. I was told already that I will be assigned in Tabuk District particularly in Sadsadan, Bauko, Mountain Province as asst. Pastor to Fr. Bong Garay, SVD. Sadsadan is the newest SVD Mission Station under the Vicariate of Bontoc, and one of the coldest in Cordillera, even colder that Baguio. I arrived in Sadsadan on July 2009. I enjoyed my stay with the Kankanaey people, learning and appreciating their ‘culture.’ I once said to them in my homily during the Indigenous People’s Sunday, “Be proud of being an Igorot, be proud of being a Kankanaey... your culture is God’s greatest gift to you and to the Philippines as well. I am very fortunate that I was able to see, feel and live the very life of our forefathers of which the Spanish Conquerors had deprived us “lowlanders” due to the

culture of the Cordillera people, seeing it as God’s greatest gift to us. I was sent to the Our Lady of assumption M i s s i o n S t a t i o n , Mayoyao, Ifugao to substitute and continue the last year of Fr. romeo Benitez, SVD’s term who was re-assigned to Claveria, Cagayan. The Mayoyao Catholic Mission was established by the CICM Fathers (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) sixty-plus years ago. As of now, it is under the administration of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). It is composed of 16 BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) including the assumption academy. Most of these BECs can be reached only by walking

cascading water and other factors that render one helpless. The Poblacion (BEC) is composed of five BECs, they usually have their mass in the main church. A BEC is composed of one or two or sometimes three barangays depending upon the numbers of the faithful in the said barangay. Once a

Mass in the Poblacion, I would leave the rectory at 12:30 p.m. for my 2:00 p.m. Mass in Inwaloy. Most often, our Mass starts at 2:30 p.m. or even 3 p.m. as we wait for others to arrive because they are still coming from the outskirts of the barangay. I see to it also that I visit them

Consultation Meeting on Migrant Ministry held in Mindanao
By Fr. Edwin Corros, CS
THe Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines has organized a consultative meeting with representatives of various dioceses in Mindanao region concerning the pastoral care for migrants and itinerant people. The meeting was held on February 1-2 in preparation for the celebration of the 25th National Migrants’ Sunday which will take place on March 13, 2011. The meeting has been long arranged and planned with the assistance of Msgr. Eutiquiano “Tex” Legitimas, the chaplain of the apostleship of the Sea (aOS) and diocesan director for the migrants’ ministry in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. Some delegates though failed to represent their respective dioceses due to heavy rains that inundated parts of Mindanao. The consultation meeting started at about 9:30 in the morning with Sr. Diane Cabasagan, RGS of Davao archdiocese, leading the opening prayer. Fifteen participants representing the dioceses of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Digos, Iligan, Malaybalay and Tandag participated in the meeting. Msgr. Tex welcomed the participants on behalf of archbishop antonio Ledesma, who was in Manila. Since Bishop Precioso Cantillas, who is the ECMI chairman, could not participate being in rome for their ad limina visit, I took the task of explaining the rationale of the consultation meeting. The participants had articulated their interest on the issue especially d u r i n g workshops. The common subject of profound concern was the family. The consultative meeting was in fact very productive as ECMI has received unanimous support from the participants of the programs and services being shared in the dioceses, although in Mindanao, most of them had not yet established their own migrant ministry. at the end of the consultation, a simple statement was produced by the participants expressing their sincere concern on the worsening effects of labor migration to the affected families. They had also articulated their earnest yet humble desire to continue what they had done so far among the migrants and their families left behind. The participants were in fact very passionate in their sharing of experience as they encounter good, beautiful and very unfortunate stories while pastorally assisting the overseas Filipinos and their families. Msgr. Leo Labiste, the current director of aOS-Iligan had shared a very touching story as well the difficulty to sustain their work as some are not familiar with the ministry yet, and in sourcing their funds. right at the beginning of the meeting, the participants expressed their expectation on the consultation, including from ECMI as their guide. They also recognized that they have the capacity to help other dioceses in which they promised to bring in the national consultative assembly in Manila on March 11-12, 2011. Most of them will not be able to attend the activity in Manila, but they promised to send some delegates in order to share their regional report. Tracing the history of the migrant ministry in the region, it was in 1995 that the ECMI had started to operate in Mindanao with the appointment of someone from the region to coordinate the work and promote the program and services that ECMI was trying to develop. During that time, a lay person from Davao was appointed coordinator who started the program that had focused on education and information dissemination as a preventive approach to solve the various problems born from labor migration. The title of such program was Preventive education on Migration Seminar (PeMS) which was targeting students and teachers especially among catholic administered schools. There were also reports that the


of evangelization concerning a Burmese seafarer whose ship he was working in happened to dock at Iligan seaport. Just like him, all other pastoral workers had stories to share during the workshop and at the plenary sessions. They all agreed that the families of migrants need to be guided and taken care of, while their loved ones work far away from home. The participants acknowledged

establishing their own migrant’s desk or commission. During the consultation, the participants were reminded to come up with a doable plan especially when they started to talk about their respective diocesan plans in shaping their future migration ministry in Mindanao. While it is not easy to plan for the future, they were able however to make some feasible commitment

regional coordinator had delivered similar seminars in the parishes targeting the parishioners and parish leaders in various dioceses. Based on the written report, the seminars were attended by 300 to 2,000 students per session which was facilitated mainly by the strong support from the basic ecclesial communities. In 2000, ECMI had introduced the regional migration desk to explore on structure building among dioceses, which requires a greater effort to lobby among bishops. The setting up of a migrant desk was envisioned for the delivery of other ECMI programs beside PeMS. Unfortunately, this was not successful as the coordinator found it difficult to convince dioceses because it has no financial support to offer. In his inability to deliver the program of structure building that lay coordinator had reported that the bishops in Mindanao were not that open yet to migration issues and their focus was the BEC program and peacekeeping work. In 2004, ECMI officially shifted its focus from the program on PeMS to structure building. The Mindanao ECMI coordinator eventually resigned, leaving no progress on the work among the migrant ministry until only recently when new diocesan directors had been appointed by their bishops.

By Fr. Fidel P. Palísoc, S.T.D., J.C.L.
DIFFereNT forms of piracy thrive not only in the South but also in the North. This article deals only with two forms of piracy: the piracy of intellectual property and biopiracy. Intellectual property rights The concept of intellectual property (IP), broadly defined as products of the human mind and creativity protected by law (cf. http:www.wipo.int/aboutip/en), originated from the North. The general assumption is that the objective behind the protection of intellectual property is the promotion of intellectual creativity and innovation, which propels scientific advancement that purportedly contributes to the common good of mankind. The idea behind the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (March 20, 1883), which protects against trademark and patent infringement, and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and artistic Works (September 9, 1886), which protects against copyright infringement, is intellectual property rights (cf. Biron, 2010, 382-84; Wilson, 2010, 540-63; F. romero, 2006, 146 ). But membership in these Conventions was voluntary on the part of the membercountries. The United States of america, Japan, the european Union, and other developed nations lobbied for the international protection of IP rights to be added to the agenda of the Uruguay round of General agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GaTT) in 1994 (http:wn.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Timeline_of_the_World_Trade_ Organization). The agreement of Traderelated aspects of Intellectual Property rights (TrIPs), which was adopted in Marrakech, Morocco on april 15, 1994, sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of World Trade Organization (WTO) members (http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ agreement_on_Trade_related_ aspects_of_Intellectual_ Property_rights). a country that wishes to accede to the WTO must agree to abide by the TrIPs agreement, which seeks to impose and universalize the levels and forms of IP protection existing in the North. Because the ratification of the TrIPs agreement is a compulsory requirement of WTO membership, any country seeking to obtain access to markets opened by the WTO, must enact the strict IP laws mandated by TrIPs. Thus the Senate of the Philippines ratified the TRIPs Agreement on December 14, 1994 and republic act No. 8293, The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, was enacted on June 6, 1997 primarily to give effect and in deference to the TrIPs agreement (cf. Defensor Santiago, 1995, 18-20). Piracy of intellectual properties But the problem is the piracy of IPs by transnational organized crime groups (cf. SandovalGutierrez, 2006, 149). These

organized criminal groups know that “[e]nforcement is the weakest aspect of international law.”(F. romero, 2006, 149). That is why they continue to prosper. What is involved are infringements of IP from NorthSouth as well as South-South. The director general of the Intellectual P r o p e r t y Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) “said as of November 2010, P4.369 billion worth of pirated products have been confiscated by authorities, lower than the more than P5 billion worth of fake goods seized last year.” (Osorio, 2010, B-1) This seems like a token enforcement because pirated CDs, DVDs— most notably pornographic— wrist watches, wallets and bags, and other products are openly sold seemingly u n a b a t e d anytime of the day in Quiapo, Divisoria, Baclaran and other parts of the greater Manila area. For individuals with weak moral values,

Piracy in the Philippines
limited income, and who want to stretch the value of their hardearned peso, buying pirated products, e.g., a CD, which costs from 8% (P25.00) to 17% (P50.00) of its real market value, is a real temptation. But this cheap purchase of pirated products injures the moral fiber of the individual. On the other hand, because many pirated products seem ingeniously real, even moneyed buyers will think hard, informed by the knowledge of piracy, about the true nature of the products they intend to buy in a country where pirated goods


CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

abound. Some, ultimately, like the writer, will refuse to make a purchase, unless it is a question of urgent necessity. Investors are aware of this attitude. That is why “piracy also scares away potential investors,” (Penna et al., 2004, 101) thereby further exacerbating unemployment in the country. Multinational corporations opt to invest in and/or transfer their investments to “friendly” countries, where piracy of IPs likewise exist but, unlike the Philippines, offer incentives in subsidized fuel and energy and free use of vast tracts of land for a certain number of years, e.g., Vietnam. Furthermore, in a climate of poverty, if not destitution, not only of material resources but also of moral values, TOCGs easily influence the morally and spiritually bankrupt. a brilliant retired associate Justice of the S u p r e m e Court of the Philippines describes the
CBCP Media

operation of transnational criminal organizations: The ordinary TOC [transnational organized crime], much like terrorism, is a serious global threat that has evolved into a sophisticated and even legitimate means of perpetuating criminal activities and shadowy nefarious operations across borders. It continues to threaten the future and the very existence of every man, woman, and child because of its innate voraciousness. No one is spared [. . .] It destabilizes economies and creates a façade of stability and progress to conceal the erosion of the moral fabric of modern society on which it feeds. Globalization and the growing popularity and application of the Internet have made it possible for the TOCGs to expand their activities at an alarming rate under a cloak of legitimacy and to establish bases of operations beyond their normal and traditional confines. States with high poverty levels are particularly vulnerable to such incursions because of the staggering amounts these groups are willing to invest in employing offshore managers and in gaining the goodwill of some well-placed corrupt local law enforcers and officials. Many countries fit this profile, including [. . .] the Philippines. (F. romero, 2006, 170) That is why a congressman from eastern Samar who “is calling for the imposition of stiffer penalties not only for ‘pirates’ of Filipino movies, but fines and jail time for people caught actually buying pirated copies of local films” (P. Romero, 2020, 15) has not only a parochial worldview but grossly dark ignorance of the evil forces behind the piracy of IPs in the Philippines. Biopiracy of Philippine flora and fauna Biopiracy is “a term that describes the means by which corporations from the industrialized nations claim ownership of, free ride on, the genetic resources and traditional knowledge and technologies of developing countries.”(Calan, 2006 In Bautista, 2007, 16) The Philippines continues to be the victim of biopiracy. associate Justice angelina SandovalGutierrez of the Supreme Court of the Philippines enumerates the concrete instances of biopiracy of Philippine biological resources: Foreign pharmaceutical companies have successfully acquired patents over biological resources found only in the Philippines. For one, the Philippine sea snail has already been patented by Neurex, Inc., a U. S. based pharmaceutical company, and has earned millions of dollars for the company. Neurex, with the help of scientists, has been isolating from the snail a toxin called SNX111 or Ziconitide [,] which is a pain killer that is reported to be 1,000 times more powerful than morphine. [. . .] For another, “ampalaya” or bitter gourd is now privately owned by the US National Institute of Health. Meanwhile, Cromak Research, Inc., in New Jersey has started raking in profits reaching to as high as $500 million from an antidiabetic product extracted from “ampalaya” and “talong” or
Piracy / B7

May They Be One

Bible Campaign A Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

Strength, Healing and Wisdom in God’s Word

grandmother in Dipolog City and her granddaughter find strength, healing and wisdom in the Bible. Nimfa Sularte is an active Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) leader from Saint Anthony de Padua Parish at Gulayon, Dipolog. In October 2009, she went through an ordeal when her granddaughter Charity Faith Sularate Saleinte was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Nimfa stood by Charity as the child submitted herself to a series of chemotherapy treatments. By June 2010, through the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible Campaign, Nimfa and her BEC group received a copy each of the Bible. Nimfa began regularly reading the MTBO Bible, which brought her a lot of comfort and encouragement. She took courage to continue to lead the BEC “Sagrada Pamilya” group in their Bible sharing and Charity always joined them. By December 2010, through continuing medication, prayers and trust in the Word of God, Charity was healed. The reading, studying and sharing insights from the Bible have enriched Charity in other practical aspects of life. She is now 11 years old in fifth grade and a topnotch student in her class at Gulayon Integrated School. Up to now this precious child still attends Bible sharing with the BEC group which continues to witness God’s work in her life.

No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign – 80 out of 86 Dioceses Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2011 – Feb. 7, 2011): 16,303 cps Bibles Distributed by Languages - Tagalog (5,907 cps.); Cebuano (4,503 Bible Sharing of Tolda 4 BEC Sagrada Pamilya Group with Nimfa Sularte, BEC Group Leader cps.); English (833 cps.); Ilocano (748 cps.); Hiligaynon (1,341cps.); Bicol (773 cps); Pangasinan (8 cps.); Pampango (62 cps.); Samarenyo Praise God for the endorsement given by the CBCP President Most Rev. Nereo (1,513cps.) P. Odchimar, DD for the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible campaign. Pray Parishes/Communities served: 42 that the Lord will open doors for a strategic promotion of May They Be One Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Feb 7, 2011): 324,911 cps Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2011: 400,000 cps. in Europe and other parts of the world. Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2011: P60M

CBCP Media

Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday and Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete. May They Be One (MTBO) is a 5-year (2009-2013) joint project of Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA), the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) and Christian churches/groups which aims to bring the Bible to every Filipino home, thereby facilitating moral and spiritual transformation throughout the country. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit www. bible.org.ph and www.ecba-cbcp. com. Donations can be made by making a deposit to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account#393-0649-34 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch) Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251-021376 (BPITayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments – go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011


B5 Speak the Truth from the Heart!
“LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart. (Psalm 15:1-2) Introduction We are moved by the recent turn of events in the plunder case against former military comptroller Gen. Carlos Garcia. The end of the year left us shocked at the scandal of the plea bargaining agreement entered into by the Office of the Ombudsman. The New Year, however, has uplifted us with the unfolding of truth through the revelation of courageous, competent and faith-inspired witnesses. This series of events reveals both the ugly and the redeeming qualities of the Filipino people. On the one hand, we are confronted with the reality that political expediency and patronage are the elements that currently define our government. Notwithstanding our hope and supposition for a better form of governance, the Ombudsman’s decision to reduce the case of plunder to bribery forces us to consider the malignance of corruption that continue to paralyze government’s generation of revenues and delivery of social services. Garcia, a former military comptroller who figured in a plunder case involving Php 200 M in 2007, entered into a plea bargain with the Ombudsman last February 25, 2010. Under the agreement, the cases of plunder and money laundering were dropped in exchange for Garcia pleading guilty to lesser offenses of bribery and facilitating money laundering. On December 16, 2010, he posted a Php 60,000 bail and was immediately released from his detention cell in Camp Crame. The fact that Garcia was allowed at all by the Ombudsman to enter into a plea bargain despite the extensive and damning evidences unearthed by the team of auditors is a case for misgivings. The surreptitious transfer of funds amounting to 200 M, authorized by Garcia from AFP Land Bank account to a private account in UCPB, is a major transaction that should have been properly reflected in AFP’s book of records. Thus, a defense of “late recording”, as argued by the prosecutors and upheld by the Ombudsman, is insubstantial to say the least because a two-year delay of bank reconciliation is in itself a qualification for misconduct and corruption. On the other hand, the integrity and noble sacrifices of public servants show an inspiring side of the Filipino people. Former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio, and more recently Lt. Col. Rabusa, have risked their lives and the security of their families to unmask the arrogance of those who abuse their power. They have also exposed the desperate moves of government and financial institutions that try to cover up the crimes. a good number of lawmakers have displayed love of country by the way they are probing the case. and media has been generous in informing and educating the public. A Test Case This is a test case for the sincerity and stamina of the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III, who pledged a clean government with zero tolerance for corruption. There are so many other unresolved cases pending in the courts. They all cry for a strong, no-nonsense drive against the perpetrators. Please heed the call of noble Filipinos, like Heidi Mendoza, when they come out against the abuse of office that impoverishes the people and harm the common good. It is unfortunate that the greatest threat to our country’s wellbeing has come not so much from globalization or financial crises but from the entrenched system of corruption that has crippled our development and eroded public trust. But it would be even worse if truth-tellers themselves, who struggle to live a life of integrity, would be left in the cold, while the real culprits were allowed to enjoy impunity. This is also a challenge to our institutions, including our families, schools, and even religious communities. This is not anymore about Gen. Garcia; this is now more about the honor and integrity of the country that is at stake. This is now more about the reputation of fiduciary institutions – the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) – that is suspect. This is now more about the entire Filipino people losing trust and faith on these institutions. This is a classic betrayal of public trust. Challenge to All Gen. Garcia’s case is corruption that creeps into our families. His wife had admitted that the whole family shares in the loot. How sad indeed that a few families benefit from this corrupt system while other soldiers and their poor children suffer. and so, we call on the parents to serve as good examples to their children and espouse the virtue of honest toil. We call on the children to ask your parents about their sources of income. We also call on family movements, prayer groups, and other lay communities to include parenting for integrity in your prayer and ministry. We call on the schools and the coalition of schools to review our formation programs that may unwittingly breed selfishness and narcissism, equating academic excellence with financial success. We must develop pastoral programs for our erring alumni as well as support mechanism for those who serve as moral exemplars. We call on offices – public and private alike – to look deeper into your procurement practices, and enhance transparency and accountability. We remind lawyers, law enforcers and law schools, too, of your public oath of honor and integrity. Beware of just being used as instruments of impunity of corruption. We knock on the doors of the OMB and OSP. It takes years to build trust and a few seconds to destroy it, and takes longer time to restore it. We beg on bended knees, do not fail the country. We will also have to examine ourselves. Where have we gone wrong? We beg the Lord for the gift of discernment in order to see what is right, for commitment to do what is just, and for the gift of pronouncement to speak the truth from the heart (Ps. 15). amidst these challenges, we thank God, in particular, for Mrs. Heidi Mendoza whose Christian witness in public service ignites spaces of hope for many Filipinos. The undersigned networks stand firmly behind her. Finally, we call on our fellow Filipinos to pray that out of our brokenness – speaking the truth from the heart – we may become whole again. FR. ALBERT ALEJO, sJ ehem/aha Movement FR. CARMELO O. DIOLA Dilaab Movement

Mindanao Regional Consultation on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

aS the church in the Philippines prepares to celebrate the 25th National Migrants’ Sunday this year, we, fourteen priests, religious and lay people coming from the arch/dioceses of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Digos, Malaybalay and Tandag, who attended the Mindanao Regional Consultation on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People held on February 1-2, 2011 at SearSOLIN Cagayan de Oro City, after sharing our pastoral experiences ministering to the migrants and their families and listening to the varied lectures on migration facilitated by CBCP-ECMI, had become even more aware of the following: * That the issues on migration become even more rampantly serious and the victims of exploitation and abuses linked to labor migration continue to increase * That in the Mindanao region, not many of us in the Church are yet attending to the needs of the huge number of migrants and their families in our midst * That the ministry to migrants is receiving less priority and support; hence the difficulty to start the ministry and sustain the program * That we feel the concern to help other

dioceses that have not established or started the ministry to migrants and their families * Due to the complexities of migration issues, there is a greater need to collaborate and cooperate with other ministries in the Church and other government agencies including other NGOs working with migrants and their families aware of these realities, we commit ourselves to: * To continue what we have started in our respective dioceses and improve and strengthen the program and services * To make ourselves available to assist other dioceses in establishing their migrants ministry * To hold regular meetings or forums to sustain our commitment to the ministry * To maximize the celebration of National Migrants’ Sunday as a tool in promoting wider and deeper awareness in all our parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities. * To continue a cooperative collaboration and partnership with CBCP-ECMI * To start establishing cooperation or collaboration with other church ministries, government agencies and NGOs working

with migrants acknowledging with gratitude the support and encouragement of our dear bishops to the ministry, the efforts and initiatives made in the past by those who had worked with migrants, we pray that on this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, may God continue to offer His Light as our guide in our journey with migrants and their families. MsGR. EuTIquIANO M. LEGITIMAs Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro MsGR. LEO E. LABIsTE Diocese of Iligan FR. ARNuLFO P. CuBERO archdiocese of Davao FR. BERNARD P. sABuRAO Diocese of Malaybalay FR. ELvIEs A. PETROs Diocese of Tandag sR. ALICE P. ARREGLO, DC Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro

Migrant / B7

Speak the truth from the heart
RECOGNIZING the competence of the laity in transforming society, we echo the challenge of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in 2009 in their Pastoral Letter, Year of the Two Hearts for Peacebuilding and Lay Pariticipation in Social Change, for the lay faithful “to take the lead in the task of moral renewal towards a deeper and more lasting change in the Philippine Society.” In the letter, the bishops called on “all lay people involved in politics to renounce corruption and bond together in the task of evangelizing politics for effective governance and pursuit of the common good.” On such concrete expression of lay leadership is the emergence of inspired witnesses in the case involving the use of public office for private gain. We laud Former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio, and more recently Lt. Col. rabusa, who all risk their lives and the security of their families to unmask the arrogance of those who abuse their power. We also laud a good number of lawmakers who have displayed love of country by the way they are probing the case. The media has likewise been generous in informing and educating the public. as bishops, we support and encourage such people. We are with Heidi Mendoza in speaking out against the abuse of office that impoverishes the people and harm the common good. We implore His excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III, to critically review the decision of the Ombudsman in the plunder charges against Gen. Garcia. We likewisecallontheSandiganbayan to pursue the case in the interest of transparency and restoration of public trust. Gen. Garcia’s case is corruption that reflects the deterioration of moral family values. No less than his wife admitted that the whole family shares in the spoils, at the expense of poor Filipinos. Therefore, we call on the parents to serve as good examples to their children and espouse the virtue of honest toil. We call on the children to ask their parents about their sources of income. We also call on family movements, prayer groups, and other lay communities to include parenting for integrity in your prayer and ministry. We remind lawyers, law enforcers and law schools to remember their public oath of honor and duty to uphold democracy. We call on offices – public and private alike— to look deeper into their procurement practices, and enhance transparency and accountability. This is an opportunity for us to get our acts together inspired by courageous men and women who stand up for the truth for the good of our nation. +BRODERICk s. PABILLO, auxiliary of Manila; +GERARDO A. ALMINAzA, auxiliary of Jaro; +ROMuLO T. DELA CRuz, Diocese of Kidapawan; +JOsE COLIN BAGAFORO, Auxiliary of Cotabato; +ANTONIO J. LEDEsMA, Cagayan de Oro archdiocese; +BERNARDINO C. CORTEz, auxiliary of Manila; +EDGARDO s. JuANICh, Vicar apostolic of Taytay; +EMMANuEL TRANCE, Diocese of Catarman; +ARTEMIO RILLERA, Diocese of San Fernando, La Union; +ROBERTO MALLARI, auxiliary of San Fernando; +JOsEPh NACuA, Diocese of Ilagan; +ROLANDO TIRONA, Prelature of Infanta; +MARLO PERALTA, Diocese of alaminos; +CRIsPIN vARquEz, Diocese of Borongan; +MARTIN JuMOAD, Prelature of Basilan; +JOEL BAyLON, Diocese of Legaspi; +DEOGRACIAs s. IñIGuEz, Diocese of Kalookan; +ANTONIO R. TOBIAs, Diocese of Novaliches; +ARTuRO M. BAsTEs, Diocese of Sorsogon.

The Youth Decides to Stand Up for Life
(An open letter to the Filipino youth)
Bill because it is unconstitutional and even upon closer analysis, it shows that it will not uphold the rights of women, children and the youth in the long run. allow us to outline several points, especially those that have a direct impact on the youth: 1. The promotion and availability of contraceptives will give rise to more cases of teen pregnancies and STDs. We cite the Guttmacher Institute’s report “Contraception Counts” (2006) which showed that better access to contraceptives DID NOT lead to lower abortion rates among US teens. The study stressed, “Seventy-two percent of TO our fellow youth, We all know of the image some have of young people in general—the youth are the picture of apathy; they care about nothing but themselves and cannot be moved to do otherwise. Yet with the growing possibility of the reproductive Health Bill (or the responsible Parenthood Bill) becoming a law, we realize that the greatest stakeholders in a future of true freedom and life are the youth. Our values formation is what is being directly assaulted by this brewing evil, being railroaded by moneyed and powerful forces in government. We are making a stand rejecting the rH low-income teens who cohabitate and rely on condoms will become pregnant within a year, and protection rates against STDs are even worse. We have one million unplanned pregnancies in the US every year due to contraceptive failure, half of which result in abortion.” 2. Sex education prescribed by the Bill does is more focused on the “contraceptive” mentality that goes with sexuality. The Mandatory age-appropriate reproductive Health education prescribed by the Bill cuts off sexuality from the rest of the human person’s totality of mind, emotions and
Youth / B7



Ref lections

CBCP Monitor
February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

How to deal with those who injure us— sow7th Sunday in Ordinary Timereap the whirlwind? the wind, - Year A (Matt 5:38-48) February 20, 2011
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
“War is hell,” Gen William Tecumseh Sherman correctly noted, and its hellish character is exemplified in what has been called “the Balangiga Massacre”. As part of the pacification of the Visayas, the 37th Infantry regiment of the US army was sent to Balangiga in the island of Samar, Philippines, to garrison the town. In a few days, what started as a friendly relation between the natives and the soldiers turned sourish. On September 28, 1901, while all the 47 soldiers were having their breakfast, the local revolutionaries made a surprise attack, killing 54 of them, wounding the rest. Still, the “americanos” were able to fight back, killing about 250 natives. In a few days, however, the payback time came. Gen Jake Smith ordered his men “to kill and burn”, shooting anyone capable of bearing arms, including boys above 10 years old. Hundreds of houses were burned, farm animals slaughtered, and, according to one writer, about 2,500 Samareños, mainly of southern part of the island, were killed. The revolutionaries sowed the wind, they reaped the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Is this the way for Christians to respond to those who do them violence—almost unlimited vendetta? One is reminded of what Lamech said to his wives, “if Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times” (Gen 4:24). Some scholars say that this song of Lamech is probably the origin of the tribal sevenfold vengeance to obtain justice for killing a powerful leader (see 2 Sam 21:1-9). and it is against this background that one has to understanding the law of revenge that the Gospel adverts to: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Matt 5:38). This law, known as lex talionis, tit for tat, was part of the commandments given at Mt Sinai: “If there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (exod 21:23-25). although that law may appear savage to modern ears, yet in intent it was the beginning of mercy, as it limits revenge. In other words, it was meant to regulate boundless vendetta. But for Jesus, even limited reprisal has no place in a Christian community. Which is why with authority he replaced the law of talion with another law—the law of non-resistance: “You have heard that it was said, ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, ‘Do not resist an evil person” (Matt 5:39). In Jewish law, retaliation was a right, but for Jesus even this right has to be renounced. The force of this saying can be well appreciated if one recalls that during the time of Jesus, there were already various groups and movements to the cause of revolting against the emperor, a movement that in fact culminated in the First right—the question was certainly raised—for a Christian to ground his action on lex talionis? The law of Moses grants a Jew a right to make revenge, but Jesus would ask his followers to renounce it, offering no armed resistance. In the Gospel, Jesus gave three examples of applying this principle: [1] The first concerns suffering physical violence: “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (v 39). [2] The second prohibits meeting a legal action with another legal action: “and if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” (v 40). [3] And the third is about accepting force labor with cheerfulness: “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (v 41). If Jesus urged non-retaliation, the motive, as noted in the Gospel last Sunday, is none other love. He wanted to perfect this love by perfecting respect for any person, even one’s enemies. Love is shown by ending retaliation and resentment, and by offering no resistance to injury. If it would seem that justice has little place, it is probably because justice, without love, may just be a cloak for one’s vindictiveness. Love is shown in suffering (cf 1 Cor 13:4-7). Of course, Jesus walked his talk. When one of his companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the High Priest, he said to him, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw their sword will die by the sword” (Matt 26:52). Notice that it was in his power to take revenge, but he did not use it to destroy his enemies: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (v 53-54). But he came to bring God’s love for men, even for those in power who wanted to murder him. Indeed, it was to fulfill this plan of God that he came: “But how then the Scriptures be fulfilled that say, it must happen in this way?” (v 54). Thus, Jesus was clearly determined to follow the path of non-retaliation, a path which God himself has outlined for his Son. This principle of nonresistance is echoed by St Paul: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (rom 12:21). Thus, we see a powerful Jesus not using his power to destroy his enemies, but allowing himself to be liquidated instead. To suffer indignity and humiliation, instead of retaliating—this is the challenge. When a committee of congressmen conceived the idea of transferring some troops in the east to the west, and some in the west to the east, abraham Lincoln agreed and told the committee to see edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War. Hearing that the President was
Deal / B7

that sought to dislodge the hegemony of rome, and it is not impossible that some in Jesus’ audience were being recruited

Jewish revolt against rome in 66-70 aD. Here was an empire that used violence against its subjects; and would it be

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A (Mt 6:24-34) February 27, 2011
By Fr. Joseph Pellegrino
IT is a real joy for us all to bask in the proclamation of today’s Gospel, Matthew 6:25-34, the teaching on God’s love and care for us. It certainly is easy to wax poetic on the beautiful images presented: the birds of the air cared for by God, the fields, dressed by God with wild flowers making them more grand than King Solomon in all his glory. The images are beautiful, but we do need to be careful that the message is not lost in the poetry. The underlying message of this passage is pointed to those who are weak in faith, certainly me, perhaps also you. The theme of little faith, found throughout the Gospel of Matthew, strengthens those of us whose faith in the risen Lord is continually assaulted by the situation of our daily needs. We are called to faith not just in times of great spiritual experiences, or in times of personal crisis, we are called to faith in the face of our typical daily needs. Last Sunday’s Gospel was the passage in the Sermon on the Mount that immediately precedes today’s Gospel. It contains warnings about limiting the growth of holiness through a strict adherence to the letter of the law without going to the heart of the law. You remember the precepts: it is not enough to avoid murder, we cannot hate, and so forth. That passage was first pointed at the establishment thought of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the wise men or sages of Jerusalem. The limitation of the wisdom of these same sages is confronted with the enthusiasm a Christian must have in God. The bottom line is that we are to trust in God to provide. We should not base our trust on our money. Today’s Gospel must have been seen as thoroughly irresponsible to the Sages of Jerusalem, but it is an accurate demonstration of the faith we must nurture. “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Seek first God’s kingdom over you and his way of holiness, and all will be given you.” What irresponsibility the ancient and modern sages of the world would claim! What a thorough faith in God’s love, the Christian must reply. The passage is itself a practical living out of the Lord’s prayer. In the Lord’s prayer, which begins some 20 verses before today’s gospel, we are told to pray to our Father who is in heaven. Now we hear that our heavenly Father knows our needs. We pray that his kingdom may come. Now we are told that must seek his kingdom and his righteousness and all else will be given to us. We pray that God might take care of our daily needs, our daily bread. Now we are told that we must trust in God to take care of today and not worry about tomorrow. In this age of information, when nothing is attempted unless it is the result of a thorough consultation, today’s gospel affects us the same way it affected the sages of Jerusalem. It seems irresponsible to put our full trust in God and not to worry about tomorrow, but this is the radical faith demanded of all Christians. We are challenged to live as individuals of faith in a materialistically orientated society. We are challenged to live out the Lord’s prayer. We are challenged to put faith in God first, to make his kingdom our priority, to trust in him not in our stuff. Today’s Gospel is not just a poetic image of God’s love, it is a challenge to trust in this love. The radical demands of Christianity. They are full of life and love. When we put God first and have faith in Him, our happiness is no longer dependent on the contents of our closets, our bookshelves, our cars, boats or houses, or even the people who move in and out of our lives. When we put God first our happiness flows from the experience of the presence of God’s love in our lives. When we put God first we have the time, no, more than that, we have the ability to look at the birds of the sky and flowers of the fields and say, “God, how beautiful they are. How good You are. How caring You are.” In today’s Gospel the Lord calls us to enjoy life by trusting in him. If we could only develop that attitude of faith, then whenever the events of our lives become heavy, when calamity strikes individuals or relationships in a family, we can call on the presence of the Lord to care for us, to share our burdens. “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome,” Jesus will say later on in the Gospel of Matthew, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” May the Lord give us the faith to trust in the power of his love in our lives.

Trusting in the Lord in our daily lives

Bishop Pat Alo


The clear stand
LaST 30th January 2011, the Catholic Church in the Philippines gave its clear stand rejecting the rH bill as contrary to people’s conscience and contrary to the best interest of lives of our people, in the sense that it violates life by terminating its initial phase in the fertilized ovum or by preventing the normal union of sperm and ovum towards the act of fertilization; this being done through artificial contraceptives that are abortifacients and by abortion. The Church position as explained in the Humanae Vitae encyclical is that the union of the male and female in sexual activity must always remain open to the transmission of new life. The title of the document Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill asks our people to respect always the sacredness of life in all its stages according to the biblical tenet: “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:12). Live and let live. Can you imagine that if the lives of millions of young keep on getting aborted through the various abortifacients and contraceptives, life will be as desolate and lonely as an arid desert. The ironical thing is that some powerful and big nations want to oppress the developing nations and have power over their natural resources, especially through the manipulation of birth and population control. The wombs of mothers will become like a war zone of slaughter of the innocents. The Christians’ celebration of Christmas is a celebration of life, as Mary and Joseph brought into our world God’s only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, conceived in Mary’s virginal womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. even the Muslim book of the Koran talks of the birth of Jesus from the immaculate womb of Mary in Chapter (Surah) 3 verses 45 to 47.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Of mentors and ‘dementors’
HOMer’S ancient epic poem the Odyssey tells of a man who left his country Ithaca to fight in the Trojan Wars. It took ten long years for Odysseus to return to his homeland and rejoin his beloved family. Odysseus could be considered the predecessor of today’s many foreign overseas workers. He left home, however, not to earn a living—since they were pretty well off—but to fight in a war he was reluctant to join. He tried feigning madness by sowing salt in his field to avoid being drafted into the army. This was discovered and he had no choice but to fight in Troy. The decision to leave behind his family and country was truly difficult. Before leaving for Troy, since Odysseus was not sure about the length of his absence, he made sure that his son Telemachus would receive proper education. He entrusted him to a faithful teacher: his name was Mentor. When Odysseus returned to Ithaca, he was overjoyed to find a mature and faithful son. Telemachus possessed a deep love for his parents and their family traditions. He had a balanced personality and character. He courageously resisted the bad example of his mother’s many vile suitors, and later on he helped his father to drive away these evil-minded men. Finally, he didn’t develop a wrong attachment to Mentor as some sort of “father figure or substitute”. Mentor had successfully educated Telemachus to engage life. *** Today, there are more and more parents who spend less and less time with their children. Many spend a considerable number of years working away from home to support their family. Undoubtedly, theirs is an urgent and reasonable concern when financial obligations (e.g. tuition, board and lodging) are not getting any easier. Likewise, there are parents, who may not work abroad but are intensely absorbed with work. They are often “missed at home” by their children. These parents have become literally invisible, and have been replaced by “visible” material substitutes (i.e. money, food, entertainment gadgets, etc.). The growing absence of parents from the home—whether they live abroad or spend a great deal of their time at the office—has grim emotional and psychological consequences upon children. Unfortunately, unlike Odysseus, many parents often do not have anyone competent enough to whom they can entrust the formation of their children. Thus, children are often “home alone” and become captives of “digital mentors” like the T.V. or cable, the Internet, movies, video games, and other gadgets. Thus, children today are arbitrarily exposed to almost anything—both the good and the bad things—about life. These new mentors, or shall we call them “dementors,” are sinister forces that sap the young of their ability to maturely develop their character and personality. *** Parents are the primary educators of their children, and no one can substitute what they can offer. But when this isn’t possible, what can they do to address the trend of “invisible parents” and minimize to some extent the bad effects of “dementors” within their own homes? • Parents First. This requires a sincere examination of their personal sacrifice to make their home and children the genuine life priority. It may entail discerning what they have to lessen as regards their time for work and leisure in order to spend more time at home. This also includes cutting down on “superficial expenses and whims”, so that the rest could be funneled to support the family’s real needs. • “Sibling Mentors.” For parents with children, a great deal of help comes when they have formed the older children who will be models (i.e. learning the family’s household traditions and norms) for their younger siblings. • “Yaya Mentors.” Very peculiar to our culture is the strong presence of nannies or “yayas” who spend a great deal of their time in household maintenance and care of the children. Parents, have to make sure that these “household members” are also properly oriented, not only to care for the material needs of the family, but to also become effective guides to the children. Thus, they also have to be taught how to respect and abide with the norms and traditions of the family. This may entail teaching them temperance and sobriety in the use of personal and family resources (i.e. texting, listening to the radio, or watching T.V., and also in fostering piety, modesty and decency at home) • “Visible Material Mentors.” Once the family’s peculiar lifestyle has been consolidated, visible material mentors can be effectively put into place. For example, a written schedule of weekly chores or activities for the weekend. These gradually help the family and its members acquire constant “bonding power”. It may be helpful to have a schedule sheet that defines these activities, as well as a visible bulletin board that displays each member’s crucial role in the family (i.e. their duties, responsibilities and reminders for important events). • “Invisible Mentors.” These come in the form of the virtues transmitted constantly through good example and advice. There is also fostering prayer individually or as a family. Maintaining the lines of communication at all levels of the family is also very helpful. These are some of the possible “mentors” that parents can institutionalize in their homes. at least to begin with, they will help a great deal in offsetting the bad influence that children receive arbitrarily from “the virtual dementors” plaguing our homes today.


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

Social Concerns


The point of no return
By Fr. Shay Cullen
IT is vitally urgent for humanity that progress be made in reducing world levels of carbon dioxide, methane emissions, and deforestation. The greenhouse gasses emitted when we burn coal, oil, wood, garbage in power plants all over the world in ever increasing amounts are called that the gasses, especially co2, rise into the earth’s stratosphere and form an insulation blanket that traps the earth’s heat leading to an overheated planet causing the climate to be affected, violently at times. The most direct impact this has is seen in the retreating ice glaciers of the arctic. The once gigantic mountains of ice and snow are melting rapidly and the mirror effect they had in radiating the sun’s rays back into space is greatly diminished. Scientists measure the retreating ice and warn that if the temperature of the planet increases above 2 degrees centigrade, the Greenland mass of ice will disappear. That will be a point of no return. The water unleashed by this catastrophic event will cause sea levels to rise 7 meters. Millions of coastal villages that rely on fishing will be wiped out and driven inland. With the ice diminished, the natural reflectors gone, the sunbeams can penetrate the oceans and scorch the earth. This year alone, millions of people
Piracy / B4

eggplant. Piracy has also claimed the Philippine Yew Tree [,] which has been reported by the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] as having been patented by the University of Philadelphia. The tree, which can be found only in Mt. Pulag, contained taxol, a cancer-curing chemical. (SandovalGutierrez, 2003, 33-34) Associate Justice Sandoval-Gutierrez continues: The biopiracy of plants and animals [from the Philippines] placed ownership of these valuable resources into the hands of the few companies [,] which can control their storage, patenting, licensing, reproduction and sale. More often, biopiracy is committed by multinational firms and [g]overnments of developed countries which patent and map chromosomes of genetic resources without informing, consulting, acknowledging and duly compensating the poor countries which own the resources. [sic] (SandovalMigrant / B5

Gutierrez, 2003, 34; cf. Bautista, 2007, 26-27). In the end, the biopiracy of Philippine resources wreaks more havoc on Philippine society than the piracy of songs and films on CDs and DVDs from the North to South and SouthSouth because in biopiracy the whole country is robbed, not merely individual owners of IPs. Moreover, many of these songs and films are easily accessible and downloadable on the internet free of charge. Recommendations The first one is education in justice from the earliest stage of growth and development of a child in the family. The child is taught at home the value of justice, i.e., to render to each his or her due, and integrity. This value formation should be reinforced in the schools and should be observable in the lives of people around the growing child. as he or she grows older, there is a need
Deal / B6

for a more explicit education on the reality of piracy of IPs, the detection of pirated goods, and the weighing of the pros and cons of buying pirated goods. Such education will promote mores of behavior based on honesty, integrity, responsibility, and a will to excel. Because there will always be individuals who are morally bankrupt and who will try to make a living out of other people’s ignorance and moral weakness, legitimate business establishments should “provide difficult-to-counterfeit hologram stickers to protect” (Penna et al., 2004, 104,) their IPs. as it is, the businesses with interests in IPs need to be vigilant about infringements on their IPs. To discourage potential buyers of pirated domestic products, Filipino entrepreneurs and businessmen need to find a way to make copies of their CDs and DVDs affordable to the daily wage earners. On the level of the Philippine

government, retired associate Justice romero noted that the government “has taken some crucial steps” (F. romero, 2006, 149) in the direction of proper and adequate enforcement. The country’s judges are already being trained through programs designed by the Philippine Judicial academy, and the Departments of Justice and Interior and Local Government to have their own training modules for prosecutors and law enforcers. (F. romero, 2006, 149) The armed Forces of the Philippines and the Office of the President of the Philippines need to make better use of their intelligence funds through updated education of the concerned agencies and responsible individuals on the latest information and communication technologies, which are being used by TOCGs for their illegal and morally destructive activities, which for the most part remain uncurbed in the Philippines. The government and the academic
Ifugao / B3

community should encourage scholars to document the many biological resources in the country and their medicinal and other uses. This literature can be used as evidence against novelty when multinational corporations from the North acquire patent on genetic resources obtained from exclusively Philippine flora or fauna. everybody should work hand in hand towards the elimination of material and moral poverty, which is a threat to intellectual property anywhere (cf. http: //www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/ constq.htm http: //www.ilo.org/ ilolex/English/constq.htm). Better still, instead on focusing on the concept of property be it of token or type, there is a need to make a paradigm shift to the concept of stewardship of IPs and other forms of property and its equitable sharing in the global village for the material and moral well-being of all, thereby establishing “a society of equals.” (Wilson, 2010, 460)

sR. DIANA J. MADuLARA, RGs Diocese of Malaybalay sR. LEAh G. TuLOD, ADM Diocese of Digos sR. MARy GRACE M. BARCINAs, DC Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro MRs. NAOMI R. LABALAN Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
Youth / B5

sR. MA. CARMEN DIANA T. CABAsAGAN, RGs archdiocese of Davao MR. LEONILO v. sOLON Diocese of Iligan MR. ERNIE B. NERI Diocese of Malaybalay MRs. ARLENE D. NERI Diocese of Malaybalay

agreed to the plan, Stanton told the congressmen that Lincoln “was a d-d fool.” When this was related to the President, Lincoln commented, “He [Stanton] must be correct, as I have yet to know of Stanton being wrong.” True, one might say that the principle is applicable at the personal level, but can this be applied in other situations, like the relationship between nations? But, why not?

Would it be Christian to destroy Basilan or Jolo on account of the evils that the Abu Sayaf fighters have been engaged in? Would it be right to obliterate a country because the followers of Saddam Hussein continue to upset the work of peace? Of course, the logic of power would dictate that that would be right approach, but one wonders whether it can claim to be Christian.

spirit. We believe that sex education should stress that it is only when we have healthy and meaningful relationships that we can have healthy and meaningful sexual relations. The sex education proposed, on the contrary, promotes a contraceptive sexuality by choosing to focus on subjects like the “use and application of natural and modern family planning methods to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies”. 3. Contraceptives that can be bought over the counter will encourage young people to take more sexual risks that may undermine their future. The rH Bill calls hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables “essential medicines” that will be available even to students. Some people say that it does not follow that better

access to contraceptives will increase risky sexual behavior. We ask the same question: If coke were handed out for free everyday, would it increase coke consumption? We thought so. 4. We are for natural methods of family planning. even though the rH Bill is not pushing for the legalizing of abortion, it is undeniably promoting contraceptives as an ideal family planning instrument. aside from the little-known, adverse physiological side effects of the pill and IUDs, according to George akerlof who wrote “an analysis on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States”, “contraceptive use leads to the downgrading of marriage, more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers.” Many of our parents have made this mistake, allow us not to do the same. again, we stand on the side of the unborn

and on the side of life, in general. We believe that the idealism associated with the youth is not one of blindness to reality. We stake our claim on a future brighter and more full of life. We made this statement because we are not taking this matter lightly. Through this statement, we are fully supporting the pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on ‘Choosing Life, rejecting the rH Bill’. We believe that to reject the rH bill is not simply a matter of religious convictions, it is a decision to uphold what is truly human, humane and universal. We will be watching with the typical vigor of the young, and we are ready to be summoned. EILLEEN EsTEBAN President, YouthPinoy


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the opportunity that made us closer to each other. During communion, we passed both the ciborium and chalice around. each took the sacred Host from the ciborium and dipped the Host into the chalice that contained the Blood of Christ. One person commented that it was his first time to experience such way of “sharing”, by passing on the bread and wine, receiving it and having the chance to pass it over to another person. Usually, I do such way of officiating the mass if the congregation is not too big. I invite the communicants to take the host and wine to give them a feel of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ contextualizing what Jesus spoke during the Last Supper ‘This is My Body... eat it, this is My Blood, drink it...do this in remembrance of Me.’ after saying Mass in Inwaloy, I would hike for two and a half hours for Mass in Maga-Magulon BEC, (the place of Frt. reniel Nachimma, SVD, soon to be ordained priest this coming Dec 3, 2011). I have to pass through rivers and mountain ranges carved into majestic and enchanting rice terraces before reaching the Chapel of St. Luke at the foot of Mt. amuyao (one of the highest peaks of Cordilleras). The Catholic Church in Inwaloy is also experiencing persecution and harassment since some people converted to Catholicism. For one, the espiritistas were angry thinking that their members were being proselytized, which was not the intention of SVD missionaries. The fact is that when young people go out of Mayoyao and study in Ifugao State Univeristy (IFSU), and other Catholic Universities like SLU or St. Mary’s they get to learn, know and appreciate more the Catholic Faith. They learn about the Catholic Church through their own exposure. For now, the relationship between espiritistas and Catholics is quite better. I once gave the sacrament of the anointing of the sick to a daughter of the medium of the espiritista, who was converted

to the Catholic faith when she married a Catholic, while she was in the hospital. She even expressed her desire to get married in the Catholic Church. But, unfortunately she died a month after. With her family’s permission, I officiated Mass in her wake in their house just beside the chapel of the espiritistas. The People of Inwaloy are always looking forward for the monthly Masses. I also try to visit them twice a month and join them in their seminars if time permits. They are truly grateful for the Catholic services granted to them which we usually hold in the native house of a generous couple. Given the difficulty of gathering in their place, they wish to have a chapel where we can hold Masses, BEC seminars and other church activities. They are very much willing to render services only that they don’t have the means to buy the materials needed for the construction. When I had the chance to go to Manila, some of my friendpriests gave me the opportunity to celebrate Masses in their parishes to at least seek help from generous people, for them to be of help financially in attaining their goal of having a small chapel of their own. I also shared to them the story of the people of Ifugao, their condition and the desire for a chapel in Inwaloy. Some generously gave help. One of the Parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish, Kamuning, Mr. earl rosero volunteered to create a cause page in Facebook, which you can access through this link: “Help Build a Solar-Powered, Catholic Chapel amidst the Ifugao rice Terraces” to help in the campaign. We appreciate all the efforts done for the benefit of the people of Inwaloy. and they continue to appeal to the generous hearts of many. In every Mass, in every encounter, it is Christ that we celebrate. The miracle happens every time, even to those who do not believe. The grace of the generous God continues to flow to His people through His instruments of love.


have suffered the consequence of the highest temperatures on record in many countries. Forest fires raged beyond control in russia, Greece and Portugal. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of woodland has been destroyed, 18,000 hectares in Portugal alone. Such a loss of green shade adds to the rise in global warming. Moscow had temperatures that were 20C higher than normal. That was a massive climate change. In China, Pakistan, and India, devastating floods resulted; millions were and are still homeless living on handouts. Perhaps the unusual heavy melting ice on the Himalayas was the cause and super powerful typhoons caused by the warmer oceans evaporating the sea and raining down a billion tons more water. everything in this amazing and beautiful planet is connected and interacts. Living creatures are the most effected, that means you and me and every plant and animal. We must protect them from human greed and overdevelopment. The conference in Cancun has persuaded the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases, China, India and the USa to cut back on emissions. If the ever rising temperature is not held below 2C, then we can expect the worst. That is the tipping point when one event triggers another and the domino effect kicks in. The permafrost marshland and bogs of Siberia and North Canada

are already releasing billions of tons of methane gas, it clogs the atmosphere. Wildlife and plants that survive the cold will be greatly affected and become extinct. Drug resistant species of giant mosquitoes will likely breed and swarm south to human populations bringing malaria and dengue. If humanity does not change from an addicted self-destructive consumer society to a responsible sustainable society, we will pay an awful price in human hardship. Nations driven to unchained greed and global ambition for power and dominance can only lead people to self-harm, collapse of the economy and poverty. We can all do something to make it a better and safer world. We can save electricity, drive less miles, buy locally grown foods, eat organic natural food, start a small tree planting project on waste land wherever you live and support a group campaigning for a clean and healthy environment. Preda/forest feast fair-trade sales of dried mangos pay for the planting and protection of 200 fruit tree saplings 2 meters tall done with the indigenous people for the past 6 years. So eating the right food does justice, plants trees, saves the soil, provides shade, cools the earth, conserves water, and prevents landslides. everything is connected on this God-given planet, be a part of something really good, let’s save it.

Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

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

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

TITLE: The Rite CAST: Anthony Hopskin (Father Lucas Trevant), Claran Hinds (Father Xavier), Alice Braca (Angeline), Toby Jones ( Father Matthew), Collin O’Donoghue (Michael Kovak), Rutger Hauer (Istvan Kovak) DIRECTOR: Mikael Håfström WRITER: Matt Baglio, Michael Petroni DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros Pictures, New Line Cinema LOCATION: Chicago, USA, Budapest, Hungary, Rome, Italy GENRE: Mystery & Suspense, Drama RUNNING TIME: 112 min. TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:  ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT:  ½ CINEMA Rating: Audience Age 14 and above

THe only way Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) can go through college—as his father demands—is to continue as a mortician in his father’s business, or become a priest. So, to be independent of his father Istvan (rutger Hauer), while getting a four-year college education for free, Michael enters the seminary. Michael is a skeptic and has set his mind on leaving the seminary right after his ordination as a deacon. But his superior Fr. Matthew (Toby Jones) who is convinced of the young man’s potential as a pastor despite his skepticism will not let him off the hook that easily. He wants to send Michael off to rome to

take a Vatican-sponsored course on exorcism in rome; otherwise he will roll his four years in the seminary over into a $100,000 student loan. In rome, Michael comes under the tutelage of a Dominican priest, Fr. Xavier (Ciaran Hinds). Believing more in psychology than in theology, Michael vents his doubts with Fr. Xavier and a classmate, journalist angeline (alice Braga) who is attending the course for research purposes. Seeing Michael to be a hard case, Fr. Xavier assigns him as a virtual apprentice with the eccentric Fr. Lucas who is known for his unusual but effective approach to demon-fighting. Michael comes face to face with evil as he witnesses the aging priest drive away demons from the possessed. Although it is fiction, The Rite is based on the life story of a priest— Fr. Gary Thomas from the Diocese of San Jose, California—which is the meat of the book “The rite: The Making of a Modern exorcist” released in 2009 by journalist/ author Matt Baglio. Dubbed as “supernatural horror”, Warner Bros.’ The rite, being a movie on excorcism, naturally has its share of bodies contorting and convulsing, gory scenes, expletives, abusive language, physical violence, sexual innuendoes and disparaging remarks about Jesus and God. However, nothing of such necessary evil (pardon the pun) is exaggerated, thus the movie doesn’t descend to the level of an average chillfest. adding to its technical merits is the spoton casting: newcomers Colin O’Donoghue and Marta Gastini (as

the possessed Rosaria) are equally impressive in this first outing; Hauer is credible as the anguished mortician widower, just as Jones and Hinds are effective in their priest-characters. It is Hopkins’ Fr. Lucas, however, that strings everything all together into one neat bundle of thrills. Hopkins seems born to do borderline cases but somehow he escapes the stereotyping trap. Like Geoffrey rush or Morgan Freeman, he is one thespian whose characters you cannot but take seriously. The poster for The rite says that you can defeat the devil only when you believe it. Based on this premise, The rite intrigues its audience with the idea that a skeptic can be moved to believe in God by seeing the havoc that the devil wreaks. The movie is not a substitute for a theology textbook but it is certainly rich with talking points for those fascinated by or simply curious about absolute good and evil, death of a parent, psychological disorders vs. demonic possession, incest, fear vs. faith, and one’s intention in answering the call to the priesthood. In spite of an incidental colorful word uttered by priests, screenwriter Michael Petroni and director Mikael Hafstrom do not disrespect either the priest’s person or the Catholic religion. In fact the film’s affirmation of faith and the value of priestly ministry reverberates in its entirety, from the opening frame which quotes Pope John Paul II to the closing scene which will be a spoiler to reveal. Suffice it to say that in The rite, a twist of fate leads to a turn in faith.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of st. Joseph, holy Water font and Dove. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

TITLE: 127 Hours CAST: James Franco DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle AUTHOR: Aron Ralston SCREENPLAY: Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy PHOTOGRAPHY: Anthony Dod Mantle MUSIC: A.R. Rahman GENRE: Thriller RUNNING TIME: 1 hour and 33 minutes TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT:  ½ MORAL ASSESSMENT:  CINEMA Rating: V14

127 Hours is the true and tragic but triumphant story of aron ralston, an experienced mountain climber, as powerfully told by Director Danny Boyle and excellently portrayed by the talented actor James Franco. Cocky with selfconfidence, twenty seven year old Aron Ralston ventures alone into the Blue John Canyon in Utah, for some climbing and exploring which he does with much exhilaration. Moving around with some familiarity of the territory, he comes across two female hikers Megan (amber Tamblyn) and Kristi (Kate Mara) who lost their way and he helps them get to their destination. Shortly after, aron has an accident. He falls down to the bottom of a shaft where a big rock crushes his arm and pins it against a tunnel wall. Unable to free his arm in spite of all his valiant efforts, survival skills and the use of limited tools, he remains trapped within a narrow space for 127 hours, a little more than 5 days from the end of april to the beginning of May 2003. a loner, he left home without telling anyone. He realizes he can die here without anyone knowing where he is. Now, he knows no help is forthcoming. With his camcorder, he does a video of his thoughts and experiences with the hope that whoever finds it may return his body to his parents. Subjected to vagaries of the weather, hunger and thirst, he has dreams and visions. But in spite of his “half-crazed state” he continues his efforts and is determined to live. How does Aron beat the odds? The viewer may be interested in knowing the details. The film is based on the autobiography of Aron Ralston entitled Between a rock and a Hard Place which focuses mainly on his particular searing ordeal in the Canyon. Director Boyle has succeeded in transforming a relatively simple survival tale into a singularly intense cinematic experience. He begins with striking, brightly colored visuals and awesome landscape shots to the accompaniment of a.r. rahman’s throbbing music. These images give us an early insight into the overweening self-worth of the charismatic main character as well as show-off the beautifully photographed vast and rugged setting. In his dynamic storytelling, Boyle successfully captures on the screen the difficulties of the protagonist (as the latter suffers extremes in temperature, dehydration, fatigue, and mental anguish in the face of death) and deftly intertwines these scenes with flashbacks and hallucinations, without much distraction from the storyline. The film builds in intensity (though not in suspense) and has its apex when aron makes his radical decision and performs the painful procedure on himself in order to live. The scene is unflinching in its realism, stark and graphic. It is difficult to watch and is not for the fainthearted. James Franco has been known as a support actor in films like the Spider Man franchise but in 127 Hours he has most probably given a career-altering performance. He is on the screen in nearly every frame and often in close-up, so he “carries” the film for more than an hour. His insightful and very good portrayal of his role keeps us interested and engaged all the time. The others in the cast like amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara and Lizzy Caplan do comeo performances creditably. As mentioned, the film is not for the faint-hearted. Neither is it for the very young. The extreme realism with the violence, gore and self-inflicted pain maybe disturbing for them. But in spite of the negative points, 127 Hours is a lifeaffirming film. In these days when life is viewed cheap by abortionists and hired killers, a film that champions the value of life is most salutary. This is a story of determination and survival, heroism and courage. When Aron finds himself in the desperate situation when there seems no reason for hope, he does not lose heart; he continues to “fight” it out. He does not give up. He is determined to live. He succeeds but with much pain and sacrifice. He had to give up something in order to have the greater good – his life. We may not be able to do what Aron did, but in other instances when we are faced with a desperate situation in life, we may be reminded of aron’s predicament. and we remember that the determination to continue trying, even after many failures, maybe rewarded. Or we may be called upon to sacrifice or give up something in order to achieve a greater good. and we might just do that. In a way, he did something heroic: save his life. This film shows or suggests that when one wants to do what is good, often it can be done, even in the face of adversity and difficulty, if one is determined to do it. This film depicts the triumph of the human spirit.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14 - 27, 2011

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


KCFAPI honors Top Sales Performers

SIxty seven (67) fraternal counselors and eight (8) area managers will be honored in a fitting awarding ceremonies to be held on March 4, 2011 at the Boracay Regency Convention Center in Boracay Island, Aklan.

They will be receiving their plaques of recognition from KCFAPI Chairman Hon. Hilario G. Davide, Jr., KCFAPI President, Supreme Director and Luzon Deputy Alonso L. Tan, Visayas Deputy Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr., and Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz. The formal occasion will be witnessed by the awardees’ families and the members of KCFAPI Board of Trustees. Dedication to their work, concern for the financial wellness of KC families and fervent prayers are the outstanding attributes of those awardees. We extend our hearty congratulations to the following awardees and salute them for a job well done.

KC, KCFAPI declares support for Church’s stand vs RH bill
THE 270,000 members of the Order of the Knights of Columbus and its insurance arm, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) have strongly reiterated its support to the CBCP’s stance on the Reproductive Health Bill. On the February 3 issue of the Manila Bulletin, the KC and KCFAPI have posted on page 3 the latest Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines together with their formal declaration of support to the Bishop and the Holy Father. The latest pastoral letter of the CBCP entitled “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill” signed by Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar, President of CBCP, contained the moral arguments why the Church rejects the contentious bill. Also posted on the same page is an official statement dated February 2, 2011 regarding the two Associations’ declaration of support for the church’s stand on Family and life. This was signed by Sir Knight Alonso L. Tan, Supreme Director, Luzon Deputy and KCFAPI President, Sir Knight Hilario G. Davide, Jr., KCFAPI Chairman, Sir Knight Dionisio R. Esteban, Jr. Visayas Deputy, and Sir Knight Sofronio R. Cruz, Mindanao Deputy. The declaration states that the Order of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines and their families as a catholic and family-oriented organization “live by, uphold and support the magisterial teachings of the Church on family and life.” The statement expressed the KC’s solid support to the dissenting voice of the CBCP on the Reproductive Health Bill which was clearly
RH bill / C2

KC Luzon team conducts relief FBG kicks off operation for victims of typhoon Juan area meeting
IN line with the theme for this Columbian year, “I am My Brother’s Keeper,” the Knights of Columbus (KC) Luzon Jurisdiction conducted a relief operation on January 15, 2011 in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela to brother Knights who were victims of the typhoon Juan. There were a total of five hundred nineteen brother Knights who benefitted from this project. The Luzon team headed by Bonifacio B. Martinez, State Program Director was accompanied by Romulo Estrella, State Disaster and Relief Operation Chairman, and Conrado S. Dator, Jr., State Youth Director. District Master Armando C. Gonzales of District II and District Deputy Alex-

in Iloilo

THE Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) conducted a kick-off area meeting last January 15, 2011 at the Eon Centennial Plaza Hotel in Iloilo City. The participants of the said meeting were fraternal counselors, area managers and team leaders of Western Visayas with their monickers, Crusaders, Advocates, Bulls and Armors. The welcome remark was delivered by Edmundo J. de la Mota, area manager of Western Visayas Bulls. Thereafter, Mr. Gari San Sebastian, Manager of Fraternal Benefits Services discussed this year’s FBG plans and
FBG / C2

I AM MY BROTHER’S KEEPER. Picture taken during the relief operation at Tumauini, Isabela

Relief / C2

Archbishop Palma calls for unity
NEWLY installed archbishop of Cebu, Bishop Jose Palma calls on Cebuanos to help each other and be united for the growth of the church of Cebu. In a reception held in his honor, Archbishop Palma said that it is with great privilege to serve in the wonderful province of Cebu which has contributed much in the country by producing top lay leaders, archbishops and priests, senators, Philippine Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, musical artists and sports heroes. Archbishop Palma is a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus and has previously served as parish priest of Santo Rosario Church, Cebu City. Former archbishop of Palo, Leyte, he also served as Bishop of Calbayog. He said that he is overwhelmed by the warm welcome of the Cebuanos who lined up the streets from the Mactan-Cebu International
Unity / C2

KC- Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. donates to annual gathering of Diocesan seminarians
THE Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Wilmann Charities, Inc., recently donated Ten Thousand Pesos (P 10, 000.00) to the Sem Net Kapatiran, an annual gathering of the Diocesan Seminarian’s Network of the Philippines, Inc.(SemNet Phils.) held last February 5, 2011 at the San Jose Seminary and the Ateneo de Manila High School covered courts, both located within the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Last January 26, 2011, KC Fr Willmann Charities’ Executive Director Roberto T. Cruz handed over the foundation’s check donation to Rev. Fr. Silvino Borres, Jr. S.J., Rector of the San Jose Seminary. The annual encounter of seminarians, which is now on its ninth year, aims not only to fosSeminarians / C2

KC Fr. Willmann Charities’ Executive Director Roberto T. Cruz hands over the foundation’s check donation to Rev. Fr. Silvino Borres, Jr. S.J.

President’s Message
AS President of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc., It is my distinct honor and privilege to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 67 honorees in the upcoming 34th Fr. George J. Willman Annual Family Awards. As the award is a prestigious one, the venue for the awarding is no less prestigious, it will be held at the Boracay Garden Resort on March 4, 5 and 6, 2011. The year 2010 was a challenging year for KCFAPI, for the sales force and especially for the employees but at the end of the year, stellar performances were again achieved. First Year Contribution Income reached 106.8 M. while Renewal Year Contribution Income was 335 M. and Net Investment income was P227.5 M. Total resources of the Association as of December 31, 2010 was P3.4 B with an increase of 10.15% from previous year. We end the year with Net Revenue before Estimated Participation of BC Holders at P 98.2 M which is 68% higher than the target and 52% better than last year. The financial stability of your Association continues and it is our commitment to work doubly hard to sustain this financial stability for you, our Brother Knights and your family. These would not have been accomplished without the energetic and unceasing work of the Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers together with the full support and prayers of their respective families. KCFAPI is a family-oriented organization and our focus is to cover as many Brother Knights and their family members as possible with the fraternal benefits we offer. The work at the field would not be fruitful without the reliable and able hands of the management and staff who unceasingly give their 100% time and effort to finish their deliverables so that our benefit certificate holders may truly feel the fraternal service we offer. All these would not have been possible without the Holy Spirit living in all of us, in our daily lives. We are going on our 53rd year of operation and have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. The ever present guiding hands and minds of the previous and present members of the Board have truly inspired and inflamed the love to serve the fraternity with its growing membership. Once again, CONGRATULATIONS and keep up the excellent work! Vivat Jesus!

The Cross
Hilario J. Davide

CBCP Monitor
February 14- 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

Alonso L. Tan

Chairman’s Message
STRENGTHENED by the grace of Christmas 2010 with the fullness of Christ’s love, we welcome the New Year 2011 as a great promise for genuine change and of peace, unity and prosperity of our country and our people. Thus, ever grateful to God for the bountiful blessings He has showered upon it specially in 2010, the KCFAPI starts the new year with high hopes and expectations not only in the conduct of its affairs, but, above all and more importantly, in the efforts to further strengthen its relationship with brother knights and their families through its support in various relevant priority, programs and activities. Needless to stress, we have to start on the right foot and ensure that it will keep us on the right path. By the end of the year we will be able to proclaim our victory as authentic Catholic gentlemen and families. In the months ahead, difficulties and challenges will come our way to test our fidelity to our Christian faith as well as our resolve and patience to overcome them with graciousness and love. The world today is in the midst of trials, sufferings, and crises of all kinds and proportions. Our beloved country is burdened by them. The KCFAPI, in unqualified solidarity with the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines through the CBCP, and other Brother Knights of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Jurisdictions of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, commits itself in helping solve or reduce these burdens. We should not be remiss in our Christian duties in this regard. Saint Paul tells us: Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Your every act should be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16: 13-14). He assures us: affliction produces endurance, and endurance proven character, and proven character hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5). Finally, we should never forget what God assures us: For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans

to give you a future full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11). It gives us so much comfort and assurance to know that the Order of the Knights of Columbus is a brotherhood to rely on and to work with to make the world a better place to live in, and truly enriched with faith, hope and love. May the year 2011 achieve the vision of its promise and may the KCFAPI and you and me be instruments for realizing the vision through a much better and strengthened KCFAPI and our personal transformation. Vivat Jesus!

KCFAPI Officers’ Courtesy Call to New IC Chief
LAST January 28, 2011, KCFAPI officers made their courtesy call to the new Insurance Commissioner Hon. Atty. Emmanuel L. Dooc. The team was led by President Alonso L. Tan, Corp. Sec. Atty. Ramon E. Rodrigo, EVP Ma. Theresa G. Curia, VP –Finance& HRCC Mary Magdalene G. Flores, VP – Information and BC Holders’ Services Ronulfo G. Infante, VP – Fraternal Benefits Group Joseph P. Teodoro, VP – Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala, Senior
RH Bill / C1

Manager for Corporate Audit Pedro P. Lubenia and Legal and Administrative Services Manager, Atty. Rizal V. Katalbas, Jr. Among the things discussed in the meeting was the SECURO scorecard which the Insurance Commissioner was a strong advocate of. He informed the guests that his administration’s next project will be the amendment of the Insurance Code which he admitted is no longer in sync with the needs of the times specially on investments where traditional

admitted investments do not match the new plans being sold in the market. The competitiveness of the life insurance industry needs a boost from the changes to be made in the Insurance Code. He suggested that the CHAMBAI of which KCFAPI is a member of should submit its comments on the draft changes so that the members’ concerns will be addressed during the discussions and hopefully during the deliberations in the lower and upper legislative bodies.

Numbers of the Heart
HAVE you been listening to your heart? February is heart’s month and maybe it is now time for you to hear what your heart says. There are numbers that are important to know and you don’t have to be a medical practitioner to understand these numbers. The most commonly encountered is the blood pressure measurement. One can take his own BP and through a stethoscope, sounds can be heard. The first number that you can hear in blood pressure measurement is what you call systolic. It is referred to as the pressure in the arteries when the heart is pumping. And the second number or the last sound is the diastolic which correlates to the pressure when the heart is relaxed. The optimal blood pressure based on scientific studies is 115/76. To make this easier to remember, doctors round it off to 120/80. A blood pressure in excess of 140/90 (either one of the numbers) is considered high and must be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medications. How important is the number? Well, if a person with a blood pressure of 160/90 reduces his BP to 120/80 through medicines, he will live approximately nine years longer. And adding to your monitoring is your heart rate. You may check your heart rate by taking your pulse at the wrist area or the neck area, and the normal heart rate at rest ranges from 60 to 90 beats a minute. The most accurate determination is by listening to the heart with your stethoscope. An athletic person may have a heart rate as low as 50, which may be normal for him. However, if a person is resting, and heart rate is persistently above 90 beats per minute, he needs a checkup to rule out thyroid disease, anemia, heavy smoking, and other disorders. During exercises, heart rate increases but should return to normal within two to four minutes of resting. Listening and understanding the above numbers will help each one of us to reflect whether we need to modify our diet and activities, and let go of bad habits.

Jaime Talag, MD.

articulated in the said latest pastoral letter. The KCFAPI as an insurance arm of the Knights of Columbus supports the programs and plans of the Order and its position on national and societal issues particularly on the rejection of the RH bill. While advocates of the RH Bill consider population growth as one of the main reasons for proposing the bill, Ma. Theresa G. Curia, KCFAPI Executive Vice President on the other hand believes that the nation’s productivity should be looked into. Curia said that “it is the government’s task to provide opporRelief / C1

tunity for each head particularly the poor to get employment or give source of livelihood.” It is the responsibility of the government to use the resources wisely and to consider the needs of the common ‘tao.’ Faithful to the teachings of the Church, Curia admitted that she is promoting the natural family planning as it also fosters respect and love of couples. She also said that the side-effects of contraceptives are detrimental to the health of the person using them. In her effort to involve the KCFAPI and its members in supporting the Church’s opposition to the RH Bill, she finds

it necessary to look for ways to circulate as widely as possible the said pastoral letter such as in enclosing it in corporate mails. Relevant slogans on pro-life such as ‘save the unborn’ or an image with religious theme affixed on the corporate’s envelopes are some of the strategies to spread the values on life and the family, she said. Being once a regent of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate Circle particularly in Makinabang, Baliwag at Bulacan, Curia sees an urgency for the pastoral letter to be circularized to as many people as possible. The Daughters of Mary Immaculate with pro-life as its

major thrust is an organization instituted by one of the founders of the Order of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. She also deems it necessary to give its members a seminar on natural family planning and responsible parenthood. KCFAPI also provides financial support to the church. Curia said that the KCFAPI has earmarked ten million pesos out of its more than three billion investment portfolio as CBCP Seed of Hope fund. Annual earnings are given for CBCP’s priority projects every July plenary assembly of the bishops. (Vanessa Puno)

ander Ulep of District T51 also joined the Luzon team in distributing the relief goods. The team proceeded to Lasam, Cagayan for the first stage of the relief operation. Through the efforts of District Deputy Glenn Serrano of District T47 and volunteer Knights, the grocery items were packed and distributed to Brother Knights who were affected by the said typhoon. One hundred seventy-nine beneficiaries from Aparri, Cagayan; Lasam, Cagayan and Centro Alcala were given assistance. The second stage of the relief operation was in Tumauini, Isabela. The Luzon team

arrived at Council Chamber of Council 8111, Tumauini, Isabela where a number of Brother Knights led by District Deputy Domingo T. Bacud, Jr, of District 111 waited for them. Prior to the relief distribution, the Knights conducted a short program wherein Martinez, in behalf of the Luzon Deputy talked about the purpose of the trip. Thereafter, more than one hundred fifty smiling faces revealed the joy they felt when the team distributed the relief goods. Affected brother Knights were from Tumauini, Magsaysay and Cabagan in Isabela. The final stage was in Ilagan, Isabela,
Unity / C1

where brother Knights headed by District Deputy Vicente Bayugan of District 113 joined the Luzon team in the distribution of the relief goods. One hundred eighty-three beneficiaries were from Ilagan, St. Ferdinand Col, and San Mariano in Isabela. The beneficiaries considered the endeavor as a big gift to them by the KC Luzon Jurisdiction. Their positive response brought fulfillment to the team and served as a realization of their aim to be in solidarity with brother Knights, especially those who are in need of their assistance. (Bonifacio Martinez)

Seminarians / C1

ter unity, solidarity, and brotherhood among all the Catholic Diocesan theology seminarians in the Philippines, but likewise to enkindle in them the impetus to be agents of social renewal making them more aware and better equipped to face the latest challenges posed by current issues and concerns. The Fr. Willmann Charities itself presently provides educational assistance to 40 seminarians/ scholars who are taking up their Theology

studies in various seminaries nationwide as well as to ten priests / scholars pursuing their Licentiate/Doctorate studies locally and to three priests/ scholars studying in Rome. Subject donation to the SemNet Phils. helped defray the costs their food and accommodation services, liturgical celebrations, cultural programs and small-group workshops for about 600 seminarians from all over the country who attended the event. (Roberto T. Cruz)

Area Sales Meeting of Central Luzon slated
THE Fraternal Benefits Group held an area sales meeting of Central Luzon in Bulacan Paradise Resort last Jan. 22, 2011. Among the topics discussed during the said meeting were the review of the sales production performance for 2010, and the plans, programs, and strategies for 2011. During the meeting, the area managers brought up the sales techniques, tips and skills in underwriting. Gari San Sebastian, Fraternal Benefits Services Manager discussed the 2011 fraternal counselors’ incentive program which is expected to help boost up their sales performance. The said meeting was participated in by the Central Luzon Believers, Central Luzon Conquerors and Central Luzon Diamonds. (KCFAPI News)

Airport down to his new residence at the Archbishop’s Palace located at D. Jakosalem Street. Palma thanked the Cebuanos whom outgoing Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal regarded as “a dynamo of faith”. The new Archbishop will lead the 4 million faithful of the archdiocese which consists of 282 priests, 400 seminarians, and almost one thousand nuns. Among the guests who atFBG / C1

tended the reception were the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and government officials led by Gov. Gwen Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Knights of Columbus Visayas Deputy Dionisio Esteban, Jr. and other officers of the Order were also present to welcome the new Archbishop. (Knights Mirror News ERE)

programs, target assignment per area or team and fraternal counselors’ incentives. Dr. Jaime Talag, medical director of KCFAPI talked about underwriting skills and tips. KCFAPI Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa Curia discussed the 2010 financial

highlights and 2011 corporate economic overview. While KCFAPI President and Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan delivered his inspirational message to the attendees. The closing remark was given by Gari San Sebastian. (KCFAPI News)

To continue in the formation of our brother knights into a mature and practical Catholic laymen and leaders of our Christian communities, the Spiritual Formation group of the Knights of Columbus at Luzon Jurisdiction organized the “1st Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan Golf Tournament” on April 26, 2011, Tuesday with Tee off starting at 6:00 am at the Alabang Country Club, Muntinlupa City. Spiritual Formation is a timely response to the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) which states that “Lay faithful and particularly lay leaders should acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to defend and explain the faith to others.” Please support this Golf Tournament.

Knights of Columbus

Luzon Jurisdiction

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 4
February 14- 27, 2011

The Cross


Christ’s presence in us demands that we be uncompromisingly pro-life
By Supeme Knight Carl A. Anderson
IN Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II’s great pro-life encyclical, we read, “The Gospel of life is not simply a reflection, however new and profound, on human life. Nor is it merely a commandment aimed at raising awareness and bringing about significant changes in society. Still less is it an illusory promise of a better future. The Gospel of life is something concrete and personal, for it consists in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus” (29). Clearly, the pope was not saying that one must be Christian in order to be opposed to abortion or euthanasia. The obligation of the law to protect the innocent arises from principles of natural justice, which we are all obligated to follow, regardless of religious belief. The obligation of the Christian, though, goes beyond justice. Those who follow Christ are called not only to obey the law, but also to fulfill it. John Paul II continues, “Through the words, the actions and the very person of Jesus, man is given the possibility of ‘knowing’ the complete truth concerning the value of human life. … In Christ, the Gospel of life is definitively proclaimed and fully given” (29). Thus, we know that the value of every human person is revealed by the love of Jesus Christ. We might go on to say that the value of every human life is measured by Christ’s love and that Christ’s love is inseparable from each of our lives. Later in his encyclical, the pope writes, “It is precisely in the ‘flesh’ of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ” (104). Christ’s loving embrace of every human being is so intense that he is truly revealed in and through each person. According to John Paul II, this “demanding truth” is revealed to us when the Lord says, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Mt 18:5). The “demanding truth” of Christ’s presence in each of us compels Christians to be uncompromisingly pro-life. With St. Paul, we may truly say that in the pro-life cause “the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14). This attitude is not a political tactic, nor does it arise from intransigence or political extremism. Rather, it dares not compromise the dignity that Christ’s love has imparted to each of us. The Church’s proclamation of the Gospel of life calls us to enter into this profound reality—the reality of the Redeemer’s love for each human being. This reality is the key to understanding who we are as persons and our responsibilities to those around us. Our responsibilities as citizens are measured by a calculus of justice, and we must therefore work untiringly for just laws. But our responsibilities as Christians can only be fulfilled through a vocation of love as revealed by “the Creator and lover of life” (100). Evangelium Vitae concludes with an appeal to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for.” The pope prays that all those who accept the Gospel of life may be granted “the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love” (105). May Venerable John Paul II continue to intercede for us, and may Mary always obtain for her Knights the grace to be foremost in the defense of “the sacred value of human life from its very beginning to its end” (2). Vivat Jesus!

Joseph P. Teodoro

For Brother Knights by Brother Knights

Atty. Rizal V. Katalbas, Jr.

Focus: Aim high!
FOCUS: Aim High is this year’s theme of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Phils., Inc. (KCFAPI), the only Catholic mutual benefit insurance system in the country. One aspect of the goal is to increase the number of members availing of fraternal benefits plans being offered by KCFAPI. The fraternal benefits group (FBG) has lined up strategic action plans to realize growth in the number of members availing of our fraternal benefits program. Foremost is the strengthening of our field sales manpower. Early this year, we have appointed one new area manager to cover the Bicol Region and 5 new team leaders in Visayas and Mindanao. We are now in the process of engaging 5 new team leaders in our East Central Mindanao under the supervision of Bro. Jose Amoroso. We have also conducted basic training course in Manila and Cebu during the month of January 2011. With this plan of action, KCFAPI can ably cover more brother knights who have not yet enrolled in any insurance plan. Second is the sales promotions program addressed to our field sales representatives. FBG Officers with the active participation of KCFAPI President. Alonso L. Tan, and Executive Vice President, Maria Theresa G Curia, have launched the 2011 Incentives and Contests. The ladderized programs start on the Minimum Six (6) paid lives which will qualify a fraternal counselor to attend the Presidential Visitations starting in the middle of April 2011. The incentive will be capped by the Focus Challenge. Third are the incentive programs addressed to the brother knights, family members and councils. These are the Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. Awards for Academic Excellence and the Fathers for Good Philippines. The fraternal benefits group have just started to draw up plans to achieve better awareness and consciousness level on KCFAPI and its products and services for the forthcoming State Conventions to be held in April to May 2011 by the three territorial jurisdictions. Some officers of the Supreme Council (not the Supreme Knight) will attend the occasions. The sales report for the month of January 2011 has just been finalized. Although we did not meet our first year contribution income (FYCI) target for the month the number of fraternal counselors who were able to make more than 100,000 in FYCI reached almost 12 while those who brought in more than 6 new paid lives was counted at 14. This is an indication that the 2011 FC of the Year will be hotly contested and at least 2 fraternal counselors will be able to hurdle the Focus Challenge.

From the Legal Standpoint

Substitute parental authority

By Angelito A. Bala

Frequently Asked Questions
cannot be both the insured and beneficiary. It is the owner who must demonstrate insurable interest on the life of the insured and not the beneficiary. Q. What is the proper way to name a beneficiary? A. A vague designation of a beneficiary often leads to difficulty in claims settlement or worse, litigation. It is therefore important that the proposed beneficiary be designated in such a way as to avoid any possible confusion or uncertainty. The owner should identify the beneficiary clearly. Designations like “my wife” or “my children” often lead to litigation in cases of multiple marriages, children born out of different marriages or illegitimate children. To prevent such a case, an owner may write “My wife, Maria,” or “all children born out of the union of marriage to Maria, share and share alike.” It is also not rare to see nowadays designations using primary and contingent beneficiary to resolve lengthy discussions if the primary beneficiary predeceases the insured. The owner may indicate “proceeds to my wife, Maria; if my wife predeceases me, then to my children (Juan and Juana)—share and share alike; if both my wife and my children predecease me, then to the KC Philippines Foundation, Inc.—60% and Philippine National Red Cross - 40%.” For unclear beneficiary designations, the insurer or KCFAPI may transfer the death claim proceeds to the court and let the court decide the rightful claimant to the proceeds. The process is called settlement via interpleader. This approach relieves KCFAPI from having to make restitution to an injured party if the “wrong” claimant is paid the benefits. The owner must always notify the insurer in writing to change a beneficiary. as CITYNET, European Commission as Senior Consultant, LIONS Club where he served as President and Region Chairman, and the Order of the Knights of Columbus. Atty. Reyes joined the Knights of Columbus Muntinlupa Council 8447 on July 1, 1983 and later on became Grand Knight in 1985 and District Deputy of District M-71 in 1987-1989. Since his election in 2003, Atty. Reyes still sits as member of the Board of Directors and now as President of Keys Realty and Development Corp., a subsidiary of KCFAPI which operates Holy Trinity Memorial Chapels located at Dr. A. Santos Ave., Paranaque City. (Annie M. Nicolas)

Q. Who are the personalities involved in the purchase of a benefit certificate? A. When a benefit certificate is purchased, three distinct personalities of interest are involved: the insured, the owner and the beneficiary. The insured is the person whose death causes KCFAPI, the insurer, to pay the death claim. The owner is the person who may exercise the contractual rights stated in the benefit certificate. The following are some of the ownership rights: a) the right to assign the BC as security for a loan b) the right to designate a beneficiary c) the right to designate dividend options d) the right to collect living benefits like cash value, early maturities, etc. The beneficiary is the one who will receive the claim proceeds when the insured dies. A person, a trust, an estate or a business/ company may be declared as a beneficiary. One person can both be the insured and the owner, or owner and beneficiary. A person

Atty. Henry Reyes

ATTY. Henry A. Reyes is formerly the City Administrator of the City Government of Muntinlupa. His assumption to the post caps 30 years of distinguished service as a community leader, business guru and public servant. His vast experience in both public and private corporations forms the foundation of his business and community outreach initiatives. He has served as chairman, vice chairman, and director for local and international working committees, academic institutions, socio-civic organizations and volunteer groups. During his tenure, the city of Muntinlupa gained prestigious award such as the Most Business-Friendly City for years

2001 and 2002. The city’s various best practices were made known through the Galing Pook Award given by the Local Government Academy and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The city also holds part with honorable mentions by the University of the Philippines Center for Local and Regional Governance which signified that the methodologies devised by Muntinlupa are worth replicating by other government units. Atty. Reyes earned his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1970 and his Cum Laude AB Philosophy course in 1966 from San Beda College. He was connected with international organizations such

THERE are three (3) types of guardianship recognized under the law: (a) the legal guardian, which refers to those who do not need judicial appointment (except if the property of the minor or incompetent exceeds P50,000.00 as provided under Art. 225 of the Family Code) such as the mother or the father of the child or incompetent; (b) the guardian ad litem, which refers to any competent person appointed by the court to represent the interest of the minor or incompetent in a particular proceeding, whose property is involved in a litigation; (c) the judicial guardian who may be any competent person appointed by the court to represent the minor or incompetent, in all his civil acts and transactions. Judicial guardianship is usually required for persons exercising substitute parental authority over the minor. Article 216 of the Family Code (E.O. N0. 209) states who may exercise “Substitute parental authority”. In the said provision it states: “In default of parents or a judicially appointed guardian, the following persons shall exercise substitute parental authority over the child in the order indicated: (1) The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art. 214; (2) The oldest brother or sister, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified; and (3) The child’s actual custodian, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified. Whenever the appointment of a judicial guardian over the property of the child becomes necessary, the same order of preference shall be observed. (349a, 351a, 354a)” The provision lays down the order of preference of persons to act as guardian of a minor or incompetent in absence or upon disqualification of the natural parents or a judicially appointed guardian. As such, they are bound to exercise the rights and duties of that of the natural parent over the minor or incompetent. At this instance a court appointment is not necessary for the performance of such functions. However, acts involving administration of the property of the minor necessitates a court appointment. This is inferred from the last paragraph of provision which speaks of matters affecting the property of the minor. Property of the minor may include insurance proceeds, maturities and other benefits derived from the policy being the policy holder or the beneficiary, as the case may be. Thus, a person acting as the guardian under the said provision, who engages in an act of administration of the property of the minor, say for example secure a loan under the Benefit Certificate issued to the minor or incompetent, regardless of the value of the property must seek first for a court appointment as guardian and secure a guardianship bond as required under the Rules of Court. The procedural aspect for a court appointment of guardianship is governed under Rules 92 to 93 of the Rules of Court and is mandatory for those exercising guardianship under substitute parental authority. The requirements may be burdensome for the transacting party but the purpose behind this requirement is to protect the interest of the minor over his property and to ensure that the guardian faithfully complies with his obligations as such. To avoid unnecessary inconvenience guardians of minors acting under “substitute parental authority” who transact business – i.e. with KCFAPI- in behalf of their ward should secure a court appointment and a guardianship bond as the case may be.


The Cross

CBCP Monitor

February 14 - 27, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 4

KCFAPI passes surveillance audit for ISO certification
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc., (KCFAPI) has recently moved a step forward by passing the second surveillance audit for ISO Certification 9001: 2008, conducted by the lead auditor Clarissa M. Oracion of Certification International. The KCFAPI through the valuable effort of Pedro Lubenia, KCFAPI lead auditor for ISO certification, has passed the surveillance audit with zero nonconformity to the set standards held last January 26, 2011 at the KCFAPI main office in Intramuros, Manila. The continued registration of KCFAPI was recommended by the Certification International as a result of zero non-conformity raised during the said surveillance audit. Observations for every area audited were presented by the Certification International lead auditor. The five auditees were Angelito A. Bala for the Actuarial and Business Development Group, Rowena M. Diapolit for the Financial Management and Accounting Services Department, Pedro P. Lubenia for the Corporate Audit, Edwin B. Dawal for Customer Satisfaction and Executive Vice President Ma. Theresia G. Curia and Magdalene G. Flores for Management Responsibility. The audit summary presented revealed that the KCFAPI complied with the Quality Management System (QMS) procedure. The scope of QMS process that was audited for KCFAPI was its Design, Development and Provision of Mutual Benefits. The opening meeting was attended by KCFAPI President Alonso L. Tan and Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Vice President for Finance and Quality Management Representative Mary Magdalene G. Flores, Senior Manager for Corporate Audit and Lead Auditor Pedro P. Lubenia, Vice President for Information and Benefit Certificate Holders’ Services Ronulfo Infante, Vice President for Actuarial and Business Development Angelito A. Bala, Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Joseph P. Teodoro, and key officers of KCFAPI. This ISO certification and surveillance audit assures the KCFAPI’s benefits certificate holders, fraternal counselors, and general public that the Association is committed to provide the best services for its BC Holders. Certification International is a local company which is accredited internationally that certifies the compliance of different organizations to quality management system procedure. (Vanessa Puno)

Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc.,
an established mutual benefits association is currently looking for: Auditor Accounting Staff BC Holders’ Relations Office Staff Treasury Staff Treasury Assistant Underwriting Staff Actuarial Assistant Real Estate Analyst Accounts Executive Staff Foundations Staff
The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc., is an established and progressive mutual benefits association operating for 52 years, has been highly committed to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their immediate families. KC Fraternal firmly believes that the continued progress and success of the association depends to a great extent on its human capital KC Fraternal also believes that through training and a host of other benefits if coupled with hard work, will help employees and the association attain their goals and objectives. In our continuous drive to provide excellent service to our members, we are currently on the look-out for individuals with promising potentials. He must be dedicated, service oriented, and willing to undergo training . Our compensation and employee benefits are comparable, if not better than most companies of our same size and nature of business.

If you are dedicated, service-oriented, and have the promising potential to join us in our continuous drive to provide mutual aid, assistance and excellent service to our members. Kindly send your comprehensive resume’ thru fax number 5272244 or hand-carry resume’ with a 2x2 photo and transcript of records to

Gen. Luna cor. Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila
You may also call 527 – 2223 local 202 for queries and look for Ms. Kristianne or Ms. Juno.

Charter presentation, installation of officers of St. Francis de Assisi Council held
THE Knights of Columbus Luzon jurisdiction held the charter presentation and installation of officers of the new council, St. Francis de Assisi Council 15115 last January 25, 2011 at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Pulo Cabuyao, Laguna. Luzon Deputy and Supreme Director Alonso Tan presented the charter certificate from the Supreme Council to Andres I. Lopez, Grand Knight of the aforementioned new council, Fr. William T. Bustamante, OFMCap, its chaplain and to its officers and members. Luzon Deputy and Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan was the guest of honor and speaker of the said charter presentation. The membership certificate and emblem of the order were awarded

Picture taken during the Charter Presentation and Installation of Officers of St. Francis of Assisi Council 15115 Pulo Cabuyao, Laguna held January 25, 1011. Standing from left: Luzon Deputy and Supreme Director Alonso L. Tan, Charter Grad Knight of Council 15115 Andres I Lopez, Council Chaplain Rev Fr. William T. Bustamante, OFM Cap and District Deputy Francisco John C. Sebastian, S56

FSt 2011 kicksoff in Manila
A FRATERNAL Service Training (FST) given to newly appointed fraternal counselors by the Fraternal Benefits Group (FBG) of Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI ) was conducted on January 18 and 19 at the social hall of KCFAPI building in Intramuros, Manila. Gari San Sebastian, Fraternal Benefits Services Manager, introduced the participants to the order of the Knights of Columbus, its relevance and contribution to society and its corresponding fundamental link to KCFAPI. Significantly, he oriented the participants with the KCFAPI, its background, plans, products which every fraternal

counselor should know as they familiarize themselves with the said mutual benefit association. Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group, Joseph P. Teodoro, zeroed in on the sales techniques and strategies and discussed on the sales opportunities the fraternal counselors are exposed to which could facilitate their optimal sales performance. The participants came from Metro Manila Achievers, Metro Manila Dragons, Northeastern Luzon Cavaliers, Northern Luzon Gold Miners, Northwestern Luzon Thunders, Southern Luzon Lakers and Southern Luzon Palawan Tamaraws. (KCFAPI News)

LD Tan attends first Squires diocesan officers’ induction

to the charter members by Francisco Jehu C. Sebastian, District Deputy, S56, and Rey I. Penolio, New Council Development Chairman, S56. The presentation of charges and investing of jewels that symbolize the member’s rank was led by Sebastian and Ding S. Ang, District Warden, S56. Meanwhile, Grand Knight Lopez, led the oath-taking of appointed officers of the new council. Thereafter, Lopez delivered his inaugural address. Sebastian and Bustamante also shared their inspirational and spiritual messages respectively to the charter members. There were 32 charter members who organized the council headed by its grand knight. (KC News)

Mindanao Deputy Sofronio R. Cruz (second to the left) together with District Deputy Manrico Narvaez, Newly Appointed Financial Secretary, Abraham Naniong, Sr. Grand Knight Joshua Alquiza and DGK/ FW Porfirio Cudal during the turn-over of Council Jewels from KCFAPI

ALONSO L. Tan, Luzon Deputy and Supreme Director graced the First Squires Diocesan Officers’ induction ceremonies of the Diocese of Parañaque last January 22, 2011. Tan was the keynote speaker of the said induction ceremonies. Held at Mary Queen of Apostles Parish in San Antonio Valley, San Isidro at Parañaque City, the induction ceremonies was made possible through

the effort of Columbian Squires of the Diocese of Parañaque led by George Michael T. Tuyay, the Diocesan Area Chairman of the said diocese. Squire Gamaliel Marco M. Sampedro, State Circle Chief Squire inducted into office the Diocesan Circle Officers. Meanwhile, Ramon C. Sanchez, Executive Secretary of Luzon State Squires Management Committee led the induction of the Diocesan Manage-

ment Committee. The affair started with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Gianni D. Sandalo, PIME, parish priest of Mary Queen of Apostles. District Deputies of Parañaque Diocese led by Eliseo P. Pacis, Chairman of Round Table of District Deputies, were present with Luisito M. Wong as Host District Deputy and Eric R. La Guardia as Host Grand Knight. (KC News)

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