•A3 Pope urges ‘fearless’ missionary efforts

despite persecution

‘Truth, Proclamation •B1 Authenticity of Life inand •C1 the Digital Age’


The News Supplement for Couples for Christ

Ex-Vatican official asks Aquino family to guide brother
A RETIRED Vatican official has lashed out at President Benigno Aquino III’s stance on contraceptives and urged intervention from his family ‘who is very Catholic.’ As the battle over the reproductive health (RH) bill intensifies, Jose Cardinal Sanchez told Church-run Radyo Veritas that Aquino needs guidance for him to decide morally on
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Vol. 15 No. 11

Php 20.00

Bishop warns Aquino against repeat of ARMM tension
Bishop Martin Jumoad

CBCP says RH is not only a Catholic issue
By Roy Lagarde

A CATHOLIC bishop insisted that ARMM polls should push through as scheduled to avoid a repeat of the political tension that gripped the region. The statement came as President Benigno Aquino III continues to push for the postponement of the August 8 elections. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad warned Aquino of a repeat of the “chaos” during the term of

her mother, the late and former President Cory Aquino, if the elections will be deferred. “They want that elections… it must go on. This should not be stopped by the President,” Jumoad told Church-run Radio Veritas. He recalled that during the time of President Aquino’s mother (1986-1992), there were so many conflicts and tensions

in the region faced by the appointed officials of Cory. It was back in 1990 when the ARMM had its first elections, where Atty. Zacaria Candao became its first governor. This should now prompt Aquino to re-think his position in delaying the ARMM polls until 2013 and appoint officersin-charge (OIC) in the meantime, he said.

“There were so many tensions before, so to avoid tensions, we have to really proceed with our exercise of our constitutional rights by electing our own leaders and it is through the democratic way, which is elections,” said Jumoad. Aquino had repeatedly called on lawmakers to expedite the measure pushing for the postponement of the ARMM polls and its synchronization with the

national polls in 2013. The President said his administration wants to correct the problems in governance in the region but denied he would “dictate” on the local officials of the troubled region. House Bill No. 4146 has already been approved by the Lower House while Senate Bill No. 2756 is still being deliberated by senators. (CBCPNews)

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Launches web portal on life, family

Catholic schools defend high tuition rates
CATHOLIC schools defended their high tuition fees compared to state universities and colleges. The Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said a lower fee would affect the quality of education and would mean job losses and other cutbacks. After all, said CEAP President Fr. Greg Bañaga, Catholic schools don’t have subsidies from the government unlike the state universities and colleges. “We have to do justice to our professors and to our staff and administrators in Catholic schools,” Bañaga said over Church-run Radyo Veritas in interview. “The tuition [fees] may be high, but if you look at the amount we spend in educating a Filipino child it is even less than what the state spends in a public school. That’s why we are still more efficient,” he said. The CEAP head also said that while there are some Catholic schools with high tuition fee, they are but only a “small portion” of the entire institution. “If you go to the mission schools in rural areas, we have a lot of these Catholic schools that are struggling even to survive,” he said. But school administrators, he said, are doing everything “even without a just compensation for what they are doing.” “It’s a missionary work for them… it’s a charitable work to educate these kids,” he said. CEAP has 1,194 members, which include 30 universities, 101 graduate schools, 240 colleges, 1,070 high schools, 592 elementary and 596 pre-elementary schools. Some of the prominent Catholic schools in the country are Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, San Carlos University, St. Paul University and San Beda College. (CBCPNews)

THE drive against a proposed measure on contraceptives is not just a Catholic issue, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.
Monsignor Juanito Figura, CBCP Secretary General said it is a fight of many Filipinos who treasure authentic values regarding human life. According to him, there are many people at the sidelines of the campaign against the bill. It just so happened, he said, that Church statements are the ones being given so much attention. “The CBCP is only one of those who stand against the bill and we will continue proclaiming as much as we can the Gospel of Life,” Figura said. Supporters of the bill have been criticizing the CBCP for intervening on state affairs and for meandering on matters of religion. RH bill principal author Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, for instance, said that the measure “is not about religion” but “about rights.” But Figura said the CBCP is speaking on “religious point of view” as a basic right stated in the preamble of the Constitution, which is making a reference to God. “It may be the God of us Christians, maybe the Allah of our Muslim brothers and sisters, the Buddha of the Buddhist, or anybody transcendental to other religions,”

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WBO welterweight champion and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Nereo Odchimar together with the members of the CBCP Permanent Council face reporters to explain their position against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill during a news conference at the CBCP Headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, May 17, 2011.

Stop VIP treatment in jails – bishop
SPECIAL treatment given by prison officials to high-profile inmates must be stopped immediately, a Catholic bishop said. Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview that no matter what they are, inmates should be treated equally along with others in the jail. “(Authorities) should stop really VIP treatment (in jails),” said Arigo, who heads the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Arigo was reacting to the controversy surrounding homicide convict and former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste who was caught in and out of the National Bilibid Prison. The bishop said he had been to the national penitentiary many times and some inmates are being treated “differently” compared to ordinary prisoners. He said there are those confined in air-conditioned cottages. “You really need to be rich to avail those privileges… you must have money,” said Arigo. The bishop then called on the government to seriously

Bishop Pedro Arigo

Boxing champ Pacquiao uncovers Lagman’s misleading claims of amended provisions
IN what started out as a seemingly one-sided debate between a neophyte and a veteran legislator, with the newcomer looking hesitant in some instances, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman ended up admitting to the newbie that certain provisions of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill he had been claiming amended were, in fact, still intact in House Bill 4244. Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao queried the bill’s principal author on the provision regarding a two-child ideal family size, saying that such a measure may lead to a population drop in the country. Lagman replied that the bill’s auPacquiao / A6

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look into and resolve the current controversy at the national penitentiary. “The existing system or subculture inside the prison should really be investigated,” said Arigo. The CBCP official also said that the issue involving Levite shows the problem of corruption in the justice system even under the present administration. He said that as long as an inmate has the political influence or money to bribe the police or jail authorities, “the VIP treatment is guaranteed.” (CBCPNews)

Pope appoints new bishop of Kalibo diocese
THE Holy Father on Wednesday has appointed Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc as the new head of the Diocese of Kalibo in Aklan province. A native of Aklan, Tala-oc was the bishop of the island province of Romblon prior to being named in his new post. His appointment was announced at the Vatican on May 25 at 12:00 noon (6:00 pm, Manila time). Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc A staunch advocate of the environment, Tala-oc people to become “faithful has been very vocal against s t e w a r d s o f c r e a t i o n ” mining activities in Romblon asserting that taking care province, especially in scenic of the environment is a Sibuyan island. moral intergenerational I n a m u l t i - s e c t o r a l responsibility.” gathering held in Born on June 16, 1950, Romblon during the 16th in Tagas, Aklan, Tala-oc anniversary of Mining Act finished his philosophy at 1995, Tala-oc rallied the Kalibo / A6

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Illustration by Bladimer Usi




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Bishops urge Obama to act quickly for Middle East peace
WASHINGTON D.C., May 23, 2011—The U.S. Catholic bishops told President Obama to act quickly if a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to work, warning that the chance for peace could be fleeting. “If the opportunity for a twostate solution is missed,” they said in a May 20 letter, “there almost inevitably will be renewed violent conflict with more suffering for Israelis and Palestinians, and increased dangers of extremism.” Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the bishops’ international justice and peace chairman Bishop Howard J. Hubbard sent the May 20 letter to the president on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops. Together with a group of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders, they praised the president’s “strong affirmation … that peace is possible” between Israel and the Palestinians. In a May 19 speech, President Obama called for negotiations that would establish a Palestinian state on the basis of Israel’s 1967 borders, with land swaps that would be “mutually agreed-upon.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes the approach would compromise Israel’s security, and there are further concerns about what policy the new Palestinian unity government – incorporating the Hamas and Fatah factions— will take toward Israel. Last year, peace talks broke down over the issue of Israeli settlements. The bishops, however, believe that neither party can afford to forestall negotiations—nor can the U.S. take the risk of withdrawing support from the Palestinians. “We believe the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, should continue to respond carefully to the new Palestinian unity agreement,” the bishops stated. They urged the president not to

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“cut off aid that is essential for humanitarian purposes and for building the capacity of a future Palestinian state.” For its part, the Hamas-Fatah unity government “must commit itself to rejecting violence and negotiating a two-state peace agreement with Israel.” The bishops said the U.S. and its international partners “should insist on these commitments” from the Palestinian side. The Catholic bishops and other religious leaders once again affirmed their support for a peace proposal brought forward by a group of former Israeli government officials in March of 2011. That proposal, like President Obama’s, involves a return to Israel’s 1967 borders “with agreed modifications.” They renewed their call for President Obama to visit Jerusalem, in order to offer “urgently needed, strong, sustained U.S. leadership” to Israeli and Palestinian leaders. (CNA)

Cardinal Bagnasco expresses grief over pedophile priest
GENOA, Italy, May 22, 2011—Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, is expressing his “profound grief” over the case of Father Riccardo Seppia, who was arrested for pedophilia and drug charges. Father Seppia, 51, was a parish priest of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, before he was arrested May 13. Investigators say they have evidence of him arranging sexual encounters with minors as young as 14, and offering cocaine to older youth. Cardinal Bagnasco issued a communiqué the day of the priest’s arrest to express his “full confidence” in the magistrates’ investigations, in addition to his “fraternal closeness to the victims and their families.” He also affirmed his “renewed solidarity of the Christian community, which is being so painfully tested.” In addition, the cardinal pointed out that, “in keeping with canonical discipline and in particular with the directives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” Father Seppia was immediately suspended “of all pastoral ministry and all sacramental acts, in addition to the immediate revocation of the faculty to hear sacramental confessions.” In a homily last Thursday at Genoa’s Shrine of Our Lady of Guardia, on the occasion of the Day of Priestly Sanctification, the cardinal spoke of the “sorrow for all the forms of sin and evil that, if they have really been committed by our brother, disfigures the beauty of the soul, scandalizes souls and wounds the face of the Church.” “Our grief is so profound because it was so unforeseen and unexpected ― nothing seemed to presage it. We want to entrust to the Virgin all those who have suffered the scandal in any way, and communicate to them our humble and sincere closeness,” he said. “We believe,” Cardinal Bagnasco continued, “that our expression and feelings of sorrow will lead us to important reflections on the path of conversion necessary for all, which tirelessly challenges all the disciples of Christ, all the true ministers of God.” “As docile children,” he added, “let us pray to the Virgin Mary that we might have the courage of the truth, to scrutinize ourselves deep down to sing the works of the Lord, because the Lord’s love is faithful and eternal, as the Psalm says which we have just prayed: He never abandons us, he is always with us if we make room for him in our hearts.” (Zenit)


Vatican Briefing
Pope urges evangelization to combat slavery

There are new forms of slavery in our world today, Benedict XVI is pointing out, and evangelization is needed in order to combat them. The Pope said on May 14 in an audience with participants in the ordinary assembly of the High Council of the Pontifical Missionary Societies. “New problems and new forms of slavery, in fact, emerge in our time,” he said, “both in the so-called first world, wealthy and rich but uncertain about its future, both in emerging countries, where, even as a result of globalization often characterized by profit, they end up increasing the poor masses, the immigrants and the oppressed, in which dims the light of hope.” (Zenit)
Pope Benedict XVI prays for peace in Libya and Syria

Nobel nominee to be beatified Sunday
SALVADOR DA BAHIA, Brazil, May 19, 2011—Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes is the most admired woman in the history of Brazil, according to a newspaper of São Paulo. This Sunday, the nun who died less than 20 years ago will be recognized as Blessed Dulce. “Every saint is an example of Christ, as was Sister Dulce. She dedicated herself every day throughout her life to the poor and the suffering,” said Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, the retired archbishop of her native Salvador da Bahia, when he learned of her beatification. The cardinal will represent Benedict XVI in presiding over the beatification of this 1988 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who was twice visited by another blessed, Pope John Paul II (in 1980 and 1991). The future nun was born in 1914 and baptized Maria Rita. Her mother died when she was 6 and her aunts brought her up. At 13, one of her aunts took her to see the poorest areas of the city, an event that awakened her great sensitivity. Thus, at 18 she entered the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, where she took the name Sister Dulce. One of the inspirations for her vocation was the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. “I think I am like the little love of my small heart, that no matter how much love it has, it is little for such a great G o d , ” wrote Sister Dulce w h e n she entered the convent. Like “St. Thérèse, I think that the Child Jesus is pleased with all little acts of love no matter how small they are.” Love turned into works Her little acts of love were translated into great social works. Sister Dulce founded the St. Francis Union of Workers. Then she began to shelter sick persons in abandoned houses of Salvador da Bahia. When t h e y w e r e evicted, she moved her shelter to an old fish market, but the municipality obliged her to leave that site too. T h e o n l y place she could receive more than 70 people who needed medical care was the chicken coop of the convent where she lived. The coop soon became an

Pope Benedict prayed for peace in both Libya and Syria following Sunday’s Regina Coeli. “I continue to follow with great concern the dramatic armed conflict in Libya that has caused a high number of casualties and suffering, especially among the civilian population. “I renew an urgent appeal that the paths of negotiation and dialogue prevail over those of violence, with the help of international organizations that are working toward finding a solution to the crisis,” he stated on May 15. (CNA)
Human rights’ report lists Vatican for failure to protect children

improvised hospital. Thus began the history of another of her foundations: St. Anthony’s Hospital, which was opened officially in May of 1959, with 150 beds; now it cares for 3,000 patients daily. Today her foundations are known as Sister Dulce’s Social Works, with the acronym OSID (Obras Sociais Irmã Dulce). It functions as a private charitable entity under Brazilian law. In the last 30 years of her life, Sister Dulce’s health declined. She had only 30% of her respiratory capacity. In 1990 she began to worsen and was hospitalized for 16 months. While there she received a visit from John Paul II, with whom she had had a private audience 10 years earlier. She was transferred to St. Anthony’s convent where she died on March 13, 1992. Thousands of men and women in conditions of extreme poverty gathered for a last farewell before her mortal remains. Last year her body was taken to the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, where it was found to be incorrupt. (Zenit)

Amnesty International named the Vatican in its annual report on human rights’ concerns for not sufficiently complying with international mandates on protecting children from abuse. It marked the first time the Vatican was named in the group’s Annual Report on the state of human rights around the world. The 2011 Annual Report covered human rights in 157 countries, looking particularly at rights abuses and restrictions and at failures to implement international rights’ agreements. The report, released May 13, said, “The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children,” specifically regarding sex abuse. (CNS)
Aide: Many bishops already have abuse guidelines

The Vatican is asking Episcopal conferences to turn in guidelines for handling sexual abuse by clergy, but many nations already have such guidelines in force, the Vatican spokesman clarified. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, presented three documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today, in which broad principles are given to bishops to assist them in establishing their own guidelines. The Vatican has asked every Episcopal conference to turn in their guidelines within a year’s time, by the end of May 2012. (Zenit)
Layman elected to secretary position in Vatican dep’t

A Uruguayan with four decades of experience at the Vatican has just made history. He’s the first non-cleric to be chosen by the Pope as the “number two man” in a Vatican department. Dr. Guzmán Carriquiry was appointed as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America at noon on May 14. He replaces the commission’s vice president Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, who just a day earlier was named secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. (CNA)
Pope’s 2012 World Peace Day theme focuses on young people

Cardinals join call to scrap anti-Catholic British succession law
SYDNEY, Australia, May 19, 2011—Cardinal George Pell of Sydney is backing calls to scrap the 310 year-old law banning Catholics from the British throne. “I would welcome a change,” the Australian cardinal told CNA. His comments come just hours after Scottish Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien of St. Andrews & Edinburgh claimed in a BBC documentary that the 1701 Act of Settlement was fuelling anti-Catholicism in his country. He describes the law as “the country’s shame.” Just a few weeks ago the manager of the predominantly Catholic-supported soccer club, Glasgow Celtic was assaulted during a match by an opposing supporter and sent a parcel bomb in the mail. Arrests have followed each incident. Meanwhile, Cardinal O’Brien has revealed that he received a bullet in the mail prior to the September 2010 papal visit to Scotland. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that “in principle” he supports reforming the law on royal succession to allow Catholics to become king or queen or marrying the heir to the throne. However, he also says the decision would have to be approved by all Commonwealth countries—hence the significance of Cardinal Pell’s opinion. “I would welcome a change. It is not a first order issue, and there is no great urgency about it, but I anticipate that the law will be changed at some time,” the Australian archbishop said. “It would certainly be welcomed in Australia.” At present, there is no similar prohibition on the British royal family marrying members of other faiths such as Islam or Judaism, or those who profess to be agnostic or atheist. The Act was originally passed to prevent the descendants of the Catholic King James II from ascending the throne. He was deposed in the 1688 “glorious revolution” by supporters of the Protestant William and Mary. Mary was the eldest Protestant daughter of James II and was married to William of Orange, who later became William III. In recent years, the Act has effected several members of the British royal family. In 2001, Lord Nicholas Windsor, the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, permanently forfeited his right to the royal succession by converting to Catholicism. In 2008, Autumn Kelly, the Canadian fiancee of the Queen’s grandson Peter Philips, converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism, thus preserving her husband’s chances of becoming king. Today’s news coincides with Queen Elizabeth making the first trip to Ireland by a reigning U.K. monarch to predominately Catholic Ireland since it gained independence in 1922. (CNA/EWTN News)

In building a world of peace and justice, the Catholic Church must listen to the ideas and hopes of young people and offer them educational opportunities that will strengthen their ability to work for the common good, the Vatican said. As part of the church’s efforts, Pope Benedict XVI has chosen “Educating young people in justice and peace” to be the theme for the church’s 2012 celebration of World Peace Day. World Peace Day is Jan. 1 each year. A papal message on the theme is sent in December to heads of state around the world. (CNS)
All aboard the Caritas Express

The Caritas Express will bring passengers from Vatican City to Orvieto on May 21, marking the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Caritas Internationalis. The railroad border between Italy and the Vatican will be opened for this unique trip, which aims to raise public awareness of the aid agency’s work and collect funds for its humanitarian projects. The journey will end in Orvieto, famous for the Corporal of Bolsena—a Eucharistic miracle housed in the Duomo cathedral—where Caritas’ 19th General Assembly will be held from May 22-27. (Zenit)

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Vol. 15 No. 11
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News Features


Pope urges ‘fearless’ missionary efforts, despite persecution
VATICAN, May 17, 2011—In a world marked by new forms of slavery and injustice, the church must evangelize constantly and fearlessly— even in the face of persecution, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope, addressing directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies May 14, said Catholic activity at every level needs to be infused with the missionary spirit. “All the sectors of pastoral life, of catechesis and of charity should be characterized by the missionary dimension: the church is mission,” he said. Evangelization, he added, must begin with a firm faith and an enthusiastic desire to share it with others. The church’s evangelization efforts are aimed at “transforming the world according to God’s plan,” leading men and women to “read freedom” and out of all forms of slavery, he said. “New problems and new forms of slavery, in fact, are emerging in our time,” the pope said. “This is true in the so-called First World, which is well-off and rich but uncertain about its future. And it is true in developing countries where, partly because of a globalization that is often profit-driven, there’s an increase in the masses of poor, of emigrants and of the oppressed, in whom the light of hope grows weak,” he said. Pope Benedict said the duty to evangelize requires a “total love” of Christ and a willingness to sacrifice even one’s life in order to witness the Gospel. “Christians should not have fear, even if at present they are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith,” he said, quoting from his 2011 World Peace Day message. The 120 directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies were concluding their annual weeklong meeting in Rome to make decisions about missionary funding around the world. Oblate Father Andrew Small, the newly appointed national director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, said U.S. Catholics continue to be the most generous donors to the pope’s missionary projects, giving more than 40 percent of the total raised worldwide. Father Small said that even in the church, however, there’s a risk of overlooking the particular needs of evangelization. “Things have shifted. People are aware of the world and its needs more. I think we’ve forgotten the missionary needs. That was the way we looked at the world in the past: We saw it through the eyes of faith,” he told Catholic News Service. Nowadays, he said, people often see the world’s needs through the lens of hunger or poverty or HIV/AIDS. “But we’re forgetting that when somebody needs their AIDS drugs, they might also want somebody to pray with them. I think we’ve neglected that side of it a little bit,” he said. In his talk to the group, Pope Benedict warned of the “temptation to reduce evangelization to a project that is merely human or social, hiding or passing over the transcendent dimension of the salvation offered by God in Christ.” (CNS)

Vatican calls for solidarity to Benedict XVI calls for guarantee access to health care evangelization of economy
VATICAN, May 18, 2011—Global solidarity is needed so that every country can guarantee all of its citizens have access to health care, a Vatican official told the annual assembly of the World Health Organization. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, told the World Health Assembly that nations appear “stalled in the status quo where the rich people have higher levels of coverage, while most of the poor people miss out, and (even) those who do have access often incur high, sometimes catastrophic costs in paying for services and medicine.” The archbishop’s speech to the assembly in Geneva was released May 18 at the Vatican. Under Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, he said, the Catholic Church has called for “universal access to medical care.” “Despite the progress made in some countries, on the whole, we are still a long way from universal coverage,” the archbishop said. Reviewing the World Health Organization’s annual report and proposed strategies for the future, Archbishop Zimowski also praised efforts to combat HIV/AIDS by stepping up efforts to prevent transmission of the virus to children and by expanding programs that treat children. He expressed the Vatican’s reservations, however, over a section of the report that seemed to encourage the expansion of needle-exchange programs and other projects the Vatican said might delay new infections among intravenous drug users, but “does not really take care of, treat or cure the sick person.” In addition, he said, the Vatican supports World Health Organization efforts to prevent non-communicable diseases and promote healthier lifestyles through proposed programs to reduce smoking, obesity and alcoholism. “Non-communicable diseases end up being communicable because of the transmission of the underlying behavior,” the archbishop said. Finally, he said, the Vatican shares the assembly’s concern over the number of children who are killed or injured in accidents each year. Traffic accidents, drownings, burns, falls and the ingestion of poison are the leading causes of child deaths from injuries, WHO said. Archbishop Zimowski called on the international community to increase funding to the world’s poorest countries so they could step up prevention and treatment programs, particularly in areas where “long civil wars drastically increase the incidences of child injuries” and severely limit resources to care for them. (CNS) VATICAN, May 16, 2011—The globalized world needs a new evangelization, and though the context of today is different than that of 50 years ago, the Church’s social doctrine still has the pillars to resolve social inequality. These reflections were made today by Benedict XVI when he addressed participants in an international conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The conference marked the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Mater et Magistra.” The Holy Father said his predecessor’s writing is still very applicable today. “Pope Roncalli, with a vision of the Church at the service of the human family, especially through her specific evangelizing mission, thought of social doctrine—anticipating Blessed John Paul II—as an essential element of this mission,” he reflected. “For Blessed John XXIII,” he continued, “the social doctrine of the Church has Truth as its light, Love as its propelling force, and Justice as its objective, (cf. n. 209), a vision of social doctrine, which I took up in the encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ as testimony of that continuity that keeps united the entire corpus

of the social encyclicals.” Truth, love and justice, along with the principle of the universal destination of goods, are still the pillars to enable solutions to the imbalances seen in the globalized world, the Pontiff proposed. Back to zero Benedict XVI lamented that after the acute phase of the financial crisis, the same problems have returned. He said the practice of dangerous speculation, for example, only results in graver problems for those who already live in precarious situations. “Today’s social question is without a doubt a question of global social justice, as, moreover, ‘Mater et Magistra’ reminded 50 years ago, although with reference to another context,” he stated. “It is, in addition, a question of equitable distribution of material and immaterial resources, of globalization of essential, social and participatory democracy.” The Pope said a new evangelization of the social realm must bring about justice at the universal level. Such a justice, he said, cannot be achieved by “leaning on mere social consensus, without recognizing that, to be lasting, it must be rooted in the universal human good.” (Zenit)

Multi-sectoral group hits DENR’s failure to protect Sierra Madre
MANILA, May 19, 2011—A multisectoral group has given the Department of Environment and Natural Resources a failing mark for its inability to protect the forest cover and preserve the biodiversity of the Sierra Madre mountain range. In an open letter sent to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, the Save Sierra Madre Network said everything is “business as usual” at the mountain range. They bewailed the DENR’s and local governments’ failure to implement President Aquino’s orders to rid the bureaucracy of graft and corrupt practices. “Hindi kayo pinakikinggan ng maraming local na leader at mga kawani ng pamahalaan,” the Save Sierra Madre Network said in its letter written in Filipino. They said the agency failed to implement the projects mandated by Executive Order No. 23 which prevents the cutting of trees in natural forests and Executive Order No. 26 which calls for tree-planting activities in some 1.5 million hectares and provide livelihood opportunities to some six million families. The group also cited the case of the reforestation project at Ipo Dam which brought further destruction to its forest cover. The group believes the project was further expanded for DENR officials to gain more access to funds. The denudation goes on to beat the moratorium which begins on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The signatories said the situation is the same in Dinapigue, Isabela and Casiguran, Dipaculoa, Dingalan towns in Aurora province. “Hindi matigil ang pagputol dahil sa patuloy ang sabwatan ng corrupt na DENR, local na pamahalaan at financiers ng logging,” they added. The group said what they could not understand was the way DENR person-

nel “converts” freshly-cut lumber into old wood, apprehended lumber are instantly issued permits, one text message could hide what is illegal, they could afford to lose winning cases at various courts, failure to act on complaints to stop illegal activities. For all of these, the Save Sierra Madre Movement has given DENR under Secretary Ramon Paje, a forester by profession, a failing mark. The utter neglect of the Sierra Madre’s upkeep, the group said, far outweighs whatever positive accomplishments the agency may have gained elsewhere. Among the signatories were Fr. Pete Montallana, OFM, Haribon Foundation, Prelature of Infanta Social Action Director Fr. Israel Gabriel, Sr. Angie Villanueva, rc, Sr. Elizabeth Carranza and the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People. (Melo M. Acuna)

Health Care commission to tap gov’t, private sectors
MANILA, May 12, 2011—In line with its new vision and mission of expanding the commission to all dioceses across the country, the Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) plans to tap government and non-government sectors in extending its medical and charity mission. ECHC executive secretary Fr. Marcelo Pamintuan, MI, told CBCPNews that their commission wants to work “hand in hand” and “find common ground” with other sectors. “[We want] to tap other institutions and [to] network with private institutions and go in the same pathway leading to our vision: to provide fullness of life to our people,” Fr. Pamintuan said. Pamintuan said that they have been already contacting private institutions to collaborate with them in their mission of helping the HSED (handicap, sick, elderly, and the dying). “What we do now is contact private institutions that are helping the sick, the HSED. We tap them, we collaborate with them. We share our vision and mission. Our vision-mission is not only for us, but also for all of those [organizations] taking care of the HSED,” he said. He added that one of their goals is reach out to the needy and learn how to alleviate their health care needs. “We share what we want to happen to others. How we can mitigate their health care needs. We get our objectives and I go to them and give my support as I try to reach out to them. That is what we are doing right now,” he said. He also noted that the national budget allotted for health care services is only one percent, which he said should be at least five percent. That is why there is a dire need to get help from other agencies. “Looking at the situation of the Philippines, the number one most insufficient in terms of services is health care services; the access to health care. Right now, health care services is just one percent of the national budget. We need to have a good source of funding for health care, at least in the government level. [It should be] at least five percent of the national budget,” said Pamintuan, who served as the director of St. Camillus Hospital in Davao Oriental before his post as the executive secretary of ECHC last April 1. Likewise, he said that he also plans to talk to Department of Health secretary Dr. Enrique Ona. Pamintuan was the chaplain of National Kidney Center, where Ona was once the director. “That is what our target, to find something in common. I see, in these times, we need to have something in common. It is not to agree with what everything they want, but what we all do to help. [DOH] has a lot of program, so we want to involve ourselves,” Pamintuan said. On the other hand, he has yet to meet with Bishop Patricio Buzon and the rest of the commission to talk about the new directives of ECHC. As of now, they plan to conduct a survey in all dioceses and parishes all over the country to know if they have their own health care commission. “We will survey if there are health care commissions in dioceses. Then we share sources and strategies. We want all dioceses in the country to be under one vision and mission,” he said. (Brylle B. Tabora)

Gov’t notes growth in agriculture
QUEZON City, May 11, 2011—The country’s agriculture output grew by 4.1 % in the first three months, the Agriculture department said, boosted by good harvests of palay, corn, sugarcane, and banana. DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said the crops sub-sector continued some 52.99% to the total agricultural output which expanded by 8.19%. He said despite the decline in fisheries production, the gross value of agricultural output amounted to P 347.2 billion or 12.72% more than last year’s record. “The recent typhoon came at a time when most palay crops have been harvested and within the next two or three days, we will have a clear picture of Bebeng’s effects on our crops,” he said. However, Alcala said he remains hopeful the ill effects of the typhoon will be very minimal. He said most of the rice crops may recover as soon as flood waters subside. Alcala said they will not revise their projected rice imports due to the typhoon because they have already factored in the possible impact of typhoons this coming rainy season. He explained the reported La Nina phenomenon was not as severe as projected. He said he is more than satisfied with the rice and corn harvests for the first quarter as he allayed fears from Filipino consumers that sugar prices would increase this year. “Sugar mills in the Visayas will continue operations until the end of the month and I have been informed the withdrawal of stocks from sugar mills have been slow which means there’s limited demand,” he said. Interviewed after the press briefing, Alcala said it is imperative for rice farmers to consider using organic fertilizers because with every increase in petroleum prices, commercial fertilizers sourced from petroleum, would also increase and significantly reduce farmers’ income. “It is time for farmers to turn to organic fertilizers for environmental and economic reasons,” Alcala said. He added he has personally tried using organic fertilizers in his farm in Quezon Province that is why he is strongly recommending it to other Filipino farmers. The CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) has introduced sustainable agriculture to most of the country’s 86 ecclesiastical provinces. Various pilot farms utilizing sustainable agriculture methods have been set-up by different dioceses across the country. “With all these factors, we look forward to being self-sufficient in rice by 2013,” he explained. He said they have already repaired most irrigation facilities across the country as this was the first order he received from President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III when he assumed office. (Melo M. Acuna)



Official admission

CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

NOW it can be said with clarity and certainty. The once sanctimonious and pretentious national leadership together with its docile cohorts, now officially and openly admit its incapacity of undertaking socio-economic developmental ventures for the welfare of the Filipinos, for the redemption of the Philippines from poverty and misery. Their simplistic option and blatant decision is lessening the number of Filipinos if only to have a better Philippines. Forgotten is the once proud and loud shout “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. Now the maxim sounds “Kung walang ipapanganak, walang mahirap”. The over-all message being now assiduously shouted by Malacañang is not only dismaying but also insulting. Population is the enemy. Filipinos are the culprit. The lesser they are, the better. Don’t allow them to be born. And the country becomes a paradise. It is neither difficult to know nor demanding to understand that the national economy—its productivity or misery—depends much on the kind of leadership a nation has. It is not really dependent merely on the number of people there are in a given country. That is why although China has a big population and Singapore has a small one, both however have progressively emerging economies in Asia. Instead of but the material number of people there is, it is the competent or the incapable, the dull or the intelligent leadership that makes the difference in the matter of a country enjoying affluence or suffering from destitution. The Filipinos were few when the Spaniards came. They were then poor. The Filipinos were few when the Japanese came. They remained poor as well. The Filipinos were few when the Americans came. They stayed poor as before. And to these date and times, the Filipinos are still poor and continue to be a “Third World Country”. Let there be a dedicated, not a laid-down national leadership. Let there be a wise, not a dull national government. Let there be an economically sagacious, not a guns-and-girls preoccupied Malacañang. In other words: do away with a graft-and-corruption ridden government. Free the streets of hoodlums and criminals. Get rid of a dysfunctional justice system. Do remedial moves to lessen at least the foreign debt. Vanquish the disunity of ideology and dynasty. Undertake big capital investments especially in agriculture. Reconcile labor and capital for their greater productivity and mutual benefit. Hold on the reigns of economic development with decisiveness and creativity. Admittedly, these are very tall orders. But they have to begin somewhere. Otherwise, this country and its people are condemned to what they have been before, what they are now and what they will be—in command of destitution and in tenure of mendicancy.

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

IT is in the midst of doctrinal confusion and uncertainties, like that which has recently been unleashed by the introduction of the RH Bill injecting into the consciousness of our people new belief system and onedimensional programs of family life, sexuality, and reproductive health that the voice of theology is badly sought after. The voice of the teaching Church may be there and can be heard distinctly, but in-depth study of theology is needed to clarify issues so that realities can be shifted from perceptions and assumptions. We are living in a globalized world whose borders are pierced through and through by the technology of modern communications. As people are brought closer to each other, the interaction that it generates, the social behavior that it spawns, the human and humane values that it shapes and develops, the ethical standard of human actions that it presses on our minds and consciences is mind boggling ― it goes beyond the proportion of what we have learned in schools, colleges, and universities. The whirl of the world has become so complicated that we in the Church are dizzily panting to catch up with what we are going to offer to our people in order for them to pursue developmental goals that, in the words of Benedict XVI in his Encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”, ‘possess a more humane and humanizing value’. Theology is precisely there for the service of this social

Voice of Theology and the RH Bill
truth which the Church believes can set man free from the cruel grips of the nihilistic and myopic world view. Commitment, therefore, to the study of theology is not only a noble task, but also a priority in our globalized world. The RH Bill in its attempt to make a headway to legislation is presenting a document that packages a set of laws, organizational set up, programs of activities that would for its goal set the Philippines in a better shape economically. Its philosophy is: economic prosperity of a nation becomes possible only through control of births and population. To advance this kind of legislation, it makes assumptions that run counter to the teaching of the Catholic Church. For one, it presupposes that there are no other laws, except human laws, that should govern man’s individual and social conduct and behaviour. Natural laws, transcendental laws, Divine laws, do not count. It is on this ground that the Church opposes the Bill. Meantime, in its fight against the passage of RH Bill, the Church is falsely accused of imposing its faith on other religious denominations. It is true that the Catholic Church has no desire to impose its belief on other religions. But, its insistence in its opposition to the Bill is perceived to be such. It is precisely here that we need the voice of theology ― that is, how does the Church stands
Tidbits / A7

A Question of Development Models
ECONOMIC recovery will be slow and more painful than is yet popularly perceived. Not only is this a currency and banking crisis or a property bubble that must be weathered. More profoundly, the present economic situation, replicated in many other parts of Asia, has raised serious questions about the viability of development models. Already in 1995 questions were raised in Malaysia about a socalled “Asian” development model that has as core elements high economic growth sustained indefinitely, managed and/or guided by omnipresent government officials, financed by foreign debt and implemented by cheap labor. Moreover, Westerners denounced “Asian” values that they associate today with crony capitalism, widespread corruption, banking irregularities, and lack of transparency. On the other hand, the dominant “Western” model emphasizes free trade and encourages competition, especially under the umbrella of globalization. The idea is to produce higher and better quality returns than one’s competitors, to be open to foreign investments, protect property rights, liberalize regulations, privatize government business corporations and have minimal government intervention. Unfortunately, those countries that had rushed to embrace this model have suffered most in the crisis. Yet it is clear that the best examples of the Asian model, Hong Kong and Singapore, topped the world in the 1997 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street. There is indeed an “East Asian miracle” which got the “basics” right. These include low inflation, high levels of domestic saving, heavy investment in education and openness to foreign technology. Experts tell us that East Asian economies have been mixing the formula of Asian values and market capitalism and have been reaping considerable success. Still, many economists claim that development models be they Western or Asian, with their variants and combinations, tend to produce the same inequality of income, growth disproportionately against the poor, persistence of poverty and increased possibilities of social conflict. “Trickle down economics”, another name for “growth economics” inevitably creates inequality of income and wealth. We have yet to see a version of what some economists call “trickle up economics” where the fruits of economic growth are universally and equally shared. In the final analysis present development models are based on a vision of society that remains materialistic if not consumerist. Pastoral Exhortation on the Philippine Economy, 1998

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Innocence lost
HER family named her Princess but she said she was treated as a slave. One evening, when she was age twelve, her grandmother told her to get dressed as they were going out. Little did she know that she was going to be taken to a bar. At eleven o’clock that night, she was told to sit at a table with an elderly man and just chat with him. Her grandmother assured her that she will just be around and she will not be hurt. Also, to make sure she accepts whatever money he gives her. She said she respectfully answered his questions about herself, then, when he stood up to go, he did hand over to her a one thousand peso bill— the biggest amount she had ever seen. The next day in school, she fainted due to lack of sleep. Her teacher requested her classmates to escort her in a tricycle back home. When she pulled out the blue bill to pay, her classmates exclaimed how rich she was. In heart, she felt shame and in her mind, she thought—“If they only knew how she got that amount!” Her mother accepted the cash very quickly—no questions asked as to how she got it. On her part, she was happy that she was able to contribute to the food that day. It was only a couple of years later that she found out that her grandmother and mother were into the prostitution trade. A couple of years later, her grandmother came again to fetch her and said they would live in a bigger house. Indeed, it was a big house with many rooms—all occupied with young women who go out at night to work in the bars and clubs around the town. She was often alone at night until dawn when they would start arriving back. One evening, the 25 year old boyfriend of one of the ladies, came to that house. They chatted for a while, then he forced himself on her. He raped her. She reported the incident to her grandmother and parents, and they did have the man put to jail. But from then on, at the age of 14, she decided she might as well join the women in their work, night after night. When her period got delayed, the women accompanied her to where they get abortion. The following week, after the bleeding was over, she was back to “work”. She said her only consolation was that she provided clothes and toys and better food for her younger half brothers and sisters. Her pain was that her mother and step father never even asked where and how she earned the money, sometimes even demanding cash from her. Tired of that life, she accepted the invita-

Love Life
tion of a married man to live-in with him – practically a housemaid-housewife for him. Deprived of a father and seeking for love, she did fall in love with him even if all she got in return was his insulting remarks and sexual demands whenever he wanted them. In the depths of her depression, she remembered a friend of the family who had helped them go to school many years ago. He generously accompanied her to Baguio to seek for assistance. He had once seen a poster in the Cathedral announcing help to women in crisis. Luckily, the Women’s Pastoral Counseling Center was open and the counselor there referred them to one of the convents. The Sisters in that convent welcomed Princess to work there while waiting for the school year to open. And then they could get a scholarship for her so she can go back to school. However, she was so confused and depressed that she attempted suicide. She was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Upon discharge, the Sisters said they cannot handle her case, so they referred her to Welcome House Good Shepherd Sisters for recovery and rehabilitation. Princess has been staying in Welcome
Love Life / A7

www.cbcpmonitor.com cbcpmonitor@cbcpworld.net

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

Living Mission
Pedro C. Quitorio

Becoming Asia’s Foremost Missionaries
devise means to pursue initial evangelization and subsequent catechesis in the face of a harvest that is immense.” The pope continued: “At the same time you will hear other nations, especially your neighbors in Asia, calling to you: ‘Come over … and help us’ (Acts 16:9). There is no doubt about it: the Philippines has a special missionary vocation to proclaim the Good News, to carry the light of Christ to the nations. It must be accomplished with personal sacrifice…. Paul VI confirmed this missionary vocation of yours during his visit here, and repeatedly thereafter. From many points of view, dear Brothers, you are truly called to be a missionary Church.” Addressing priests and seminarians in Cebu, John Paul II noted: “You are the heirs of the missionary task begun by Fray Domingo and the early evangelists of these islands: the Augustinian, Franciscan, Jesuit and Dominican priests whose evangelizing feet will forever be called beautiful. In prayerful homage to those missionaries and to all the other missionaries … let us reflect upon this priestly task which is yours today.” The pope noted: “This Church is missionary by her very nature (cf. Ad Gentes 2),” and all in the local Church
Living Mission / A6

Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Associate editor

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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

THIRTY years ago the Philippines rejoiced in the apostolic visit of Pope John Paul II from February 17-22, 1981. While in the Philippines he delivered 28 addresses, traveled thousands of miles, and conquered the hearts of millions. Among the dominant themes of the papal messages, one finds a clear emphasis on the missionary vocation of the Philippine Church. As a kind of celebration of the recent beatification of Blessed John Paul II, our local Church can profitably review the words of the saint who walked among us for nearly one week three decades ago (1981-2011). The theme of mission—and the responsibility of the Philip-

pine Church—resounded like a symphony in the inspiring messages of the pope. John Paul II addressed the Asian bishops at Villa San Miguel and included these words in his exhortation: “In reflecting on the Church in the Philippines, the missionary aspect emerges in various ways…. To reflect on this is to praise God in your history, in the generosity of the missionaries that continues into the present. To reflect on your missionary past is to be challenged to go forward with the same zeal…. It will be your zeal and that of your priests, together with the commitment of the whole ecclesial community that will

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, SSL

Spaces of Hope Heaven can’t wait
LAST March 31, my Dad, Enrique “Eking” Yuson Diola, breathed his last. He died of renal failure. Tatay had been in and out of the hospital ever since he had pulmonary embolism in the early morning of September 3, 2010. I had given him the last rites. It is not easy to lose a parent. Yet God, in his mercy, has been good to us. The last seven months have been a period of grace allowing our family to gradually get used to the reality of losing our beloved father. When he did go, we had enough strength to let go. Our loss is heaven’s gain. Dad was born in 1928 in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. When World War II erupted in the Philippines on December 1941, “Boy” was a 13-year old lad who was learning to play the violin. The war years left a strong imprint on the teenager. His vivid stories of those trying times provided me with a bridge to an earlier generation and planted in me seeds of patriotism and an unabashed bias for the underdog. A few years after the war, Eking studied under the noted violin maestro, Luis Valencia, and enrolled at the U.P. Conservatory of Music and became a member of the U.P. String Quartet. He was in good company. One of his classmates was the late Redentor Romero who once referred to him as “Heifetz of the Philippines,” comparing Dad to the late Russian-American virtuoso. Dad’s marriage to Mom in 1958, though, effectively limited the full flowering of Dad’s musical talents since eventually they had eight mouths to feed. In 1959, they had their first child while the youngest was born 16 years later. In 2008, Eking and Elena Diola celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. As a souvenir for guests, the couple decided to come up with a booklet titled, “50 Simple Things to Remember for a Fruitful Marriage.” Wisdom nugget number 8 goes: “No fixed plan on how to raise a family except love, understanding, and humor.” Number 14 says: “Start with the eldest and the rest will follow.” And no. 16 advises: “Children are of more value than any earthly possessions or material goods.” When Dad became semi-comatose and died seven months later, I was glad I was not an only child. In the book’s foreword, Dad and Mom write: “Hope this little book will encourage parents and parents-to-be to muster enough courage to have eight children or more. God provides.” They spoke from experience recognizing that each child that comes into the world is a gift from God, not the result of an accident or the product of a disease. On 9 April 2011 Dad was buried. *** Two days before his burial, I was at St. Peter’s Parish along Commonwealth Ave. to witness the launching of the Partnership of Churches and Barangays initiated by the Public Affairs Ministry of the Diocese of Novaliches in collaboration with the two other dioceses of Quezon City: Cubao and Caloocan. The gathering was aptly called: “Barangay At Mga Simbahan Magkabalikat Para Sa Matuwid Na Pamamahala.” The event saw the gathering of around 300 barangay officials and their parish-priest counterparts from the three local churches. They were there in response to a letter from Sec. Jesse Robredo of DILG to bishops of the CBCP last January 2011. The letter had invited bishops to consider partnerships for the common good at the parish and barangay levels. After the speeches of Sec. Robredo and other DILG and LGU officials followed by some reflections by Bishop Ongtioco and Bishop Tobias, a covenant signing was made. This was between the leaders of the dioceses in Quezon City, the city government, Liga ng mga Barangay presidents of the 4 cities, diocesan PAM lay coordinators, and officials of the DILG. The gathering stressed the need to begin the journey together between barangay and parish leaders by creating spaces for leaders to come together in a journey towards integrity for the common good. As Bishop Ness’ reflections point out, the Church and the State are like two parallel iron rails in a railroad track. Although distinct from one another, they merge in the horizon. Even more fundamental than deciding on agenda and common action is the initial step of coming together and encountering each other’s humanity. This is done by making room and space for one other. Would it not be great if parish priests invite their counterparts in the barangay and even the local police station for a meal? Why not a short, simple prayer afterwards? Well, after coffee, perhaps? Big things begin from small beginnings, do they not? Dad, who made room for people by paying attention to details of their lives, would have been glad that I was there to witness this historic gathering. *** On the day of my father’s burial, I joined the “Wanna BET? Youth (WBY) for Hope Fun Run” in the streets of Cebu City. This was something that had been planned months before. BET stands for Bible, Exercise, and Tubig and is a simple initiative meant to spark social transformation by starting with personal transformation along these three realities. It begins with a single-message text early in the morning trying to connect all three (four during Sunday) Biblical readings in the Mass. The 5 am fun run was participated by members of the AFP, PNP, out-of-school youth, and students. WBY is about a year in the making starting with the realization that the youth represents the starting point for social transformation. It is not easy to be a young person nowadays. There are many more distractions than in by-gone years. And there are many broken homes or dysfunctional families. There are, it seems to me, three basic outreaches to youth. One has to do with addressing their immediate needs: feeding the youth, sheltering them, clothing and protecting them. The third one tries to empower the youth: providing scholarships, employment opportunities, and livelihood projects for them. There is a necessary intermediate stage: helping young people discover who they are in the context of a broader family. WBY starts with the second one and tries to move on to empowering young people. It challenges the youth to live and lead by the basics of prayer, fitness, and citizenship. Its entry point is jogging since this form of physical fitness is simple, cheap, and works! The basics of citizenship are something we picked up from Randy David in one of his articles. He had written that small acts of good citizenship can be reduced to three: Come on time! Fall in line and stay in line! Read and follow instructions! How true. Through simple daily prayer, fitness, and citizenship we make the Holy Spirit more comfortable in the temples of our bodies. The run that launched WBY was extra special. The heads of the AFP Central Command and PNP PRO 7 joined the Archbishop of Cebu for a 2 km jog. Many good things begin with the simple communion of jogging together. Dad would have approved.

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points
THERE are times when the sad truth has to be said. There are occasions when dire reality must be pointed out. And this is that instance when one has to call a spade nothing else but a spade. Now, why call the now hotly debated issue “Sex Bill 4244”? To call it “Reproductive Health Bill” is a big distortion. Reason: The bill is not “reproductive” simply because it is against reproduction. Neither may the Bill be considered as about “Health” precisely because the chemicals in the contraceptive pills can be anything but healthy. To title it “Responsible Parenthood Bill” is gross falsity. Why? It is specifically against parenthood. And it particularly promotes irresponsibility by promoting the unlimited enjoyment of copulative right yet deliberately separating the parental obligation that could come from it. Hence, the right and proper title is “Sex Bill 4244”. Take away the dear trimmings and endearing niceties from the Bill and this is its fundamental tripod: Sex. Safe Sex. Sexual Methods. The conclusion is then elementary: It is the “Sex Bill 4244” in plain and elementary language. Sex is treated as something separate from the human person with its inherent dignity, rights and obligations. Thus looked upon, sex becomes but a piece of meat. Safe sex is distinct preoccupation. What is honorable and noble has now become dangerous. Hence, people should be protected from it. Sexual Methods freeing human sexuality from personal accountability— this is the fundamental rationale behind the drive for contraceptives unlimited. Withdrawal, Rubber, IUD, Pills, Injectables, Vasectomy, Tubal ligation. And others still in the making. End products of Sex Bill 4244: Promiscuity. Insensibility. Amorality. The Bill promotes promiscuity. It guarantees copulative de-

Sex Bill 4244
light without fear or worry. No attention to their consequences. No concern for human dignity. It invites sexual consummate actions with others not his or her spouse. It induces “lovers” to premarital relationships. It draws young people to sexual acts. Reason: No problem. No conception. No dispute. The Bill encourages insensibility. Simply enjoy sex with anybody at anytime, in any way and at any place. The good manners and right conduct about human sexuality are irrelevant. The good or evil of sexual acts is nonsense. The propriety or inequity of sexual encounters is immaterial. The supreme law of life is sexual delight. Sexual deviates are likewise a non-issue. The Bill inspires amorality. Just enjoy sex. Simply ensure safe sex. Try any and all sex methods that give the greatest sexual pleasure. Ethics? What is that? Morals? So what? Sexual amorality promotes addiction to sex. And sexual addiction is a real family malediction, a special empirical social curse. The concern for children’s welfare and material care are admirable. These however are debased when proclaimed under the cover-up of a Sex Bill. The pursuit of human socio-economic development is admirable. Nevertheless, it becomes questionable when it makes human beings its adversaries. Pitiful Pilipino People (PPP)! They are the enemy of the government. They are the cause of poverty. They are the liability of the country. Then “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!” Now: “Kung walang ipapanganak, walang mahirap! Then: “Ang daang matuwid!” Now: “Ang daang masikip!” Then: “Kayo ang boss ko!” Now: “Ako ang boss ninyo!” One thing certain: When those already born do not want others to be born like them—there must be something very wrong about this.

We must stand firm in the Faith!
CONGRESS returned from its recess last May 09. Though it was not certified as urgent by President Noynoy Aquino, the Pro-RH Bill lawmakers in the Lower House immediately calendared the bill for debate at Plenary Session. Thinking about it, there is actually no need for the President to certify it as urgent because he himself had already made known his view on the issue when he announced during the Commencement Exercises in the University of the Philippines that he supports the RH Bill and is prepared to be excommunicated in doing so. Being a Catholic and the son of President Corazon C. Aquino, known to be very religious and prayerful and a Pro-lifer herself, such comment from the Father of the Filipino people is too hasty and uncalled for. At the time the announcement was made, has the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines or the CBCP issued circular or policy that supporters of RH Bill will be excommunicated? Shall we say, is that putting words into the mouth of the bishops or is it challenging them to issue such a circular? What I know of is that when asked by television talk show host Mr. Boy Abunda in his Bottomline program several months ago if those who support the RH Bill would face the penalty of excommunication from the Catholic Church, my good bishop Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. of the Diocese of Kalookan and Chairman of Public and Political Affairs Committee of the CBCP replied in the negative. Let discussions about the RH Bill not turn personal; let the issues be argued objectively and with open mind. Why pick on the Catholic clergy when other religious denominations are also against the RH Bill, like the Muslims and the Protestants to name a few. Forty-eight different Catholic organiza-

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
and may our Almighty Father continuously bless them, together with their family, for choosing to be Pro-lifers. After everything has been said and done, the lawmakers should be guided by the provisions of the Constitution before they cast their vote on the issue. “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” (Art. II, Section 11). “The State recognises the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government”. (Sec 12, Art II) “The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”. (Sec 3(1) Art XV) “The State shall defend “the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.” (Sec 3, Art XV) Let us pray to our Almighty Father, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima (Feast Day was May 13) and Blessed John Paul II (whose birthday was last May 18), that life continues in its God given course. *** We welcome and extend birthday greetings to His Excellency, Most Rev. Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, as the new Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, the successor of His Excellency, Most Rev. Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams. Archbishop Pinto who is turning 59 on May 26 was in Bari, Italy. He was ordained priest on April 1, 1978 and was the Apostolic Nuncio in Chile since 2007.

tions and 50 Archdiocesan and Diocesan Councils of the Laity all over the Philippines which are members of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (the Council of the Laity of the Philippines) under the capable leadership of its President Edgardo Tria Tirona, as well as Pro-Life Philippines headed by Mr. Eric Manalang, stand firm in their faith by continuously conducting seminars and information campaign as well as issuing position papers and flyers so that the citizenry is well-informed why RH Bill should be rejected by the lawmakers. They are also faithfully and devotedly attending Congressional committee meetings and now, the plenary sessions. The Diocese of Malolos, with over 100 parish churches and 200 Catholic priests, will hold a prayer rally on June 11, 2011 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral grounds at downtown Malolos. Other Dioceses had also lined up their respective activities to reject RH Bill. We congratulate the pound for pound king Hon. Manny “Pacman” Paquiao for coming out with his stand in rejecting the RH Bill despite the hazards and disadvantages of such declaration. This lawmaker is very famous and is held in high esteem not only in the Philippines but all over the world. In the United States alone, Cong. Manny has been the top choice as endorser of several American products. He should not be criticized by his colleagues in the House of Representatives and the Senate for voicing out his opinion on the issue because in doing so, they are practically issuing a gag order on the neophyte congressman from exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion. Of course not to be forgotten are the many other lawmakers who are against the RH Bill; lack of space prevents us from naming them. God knows who they are

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
AN amusing sideshow in the RH debate were the recent interventions of our Pacman, the boxer/congressman, and his supermom, Mommy Dionesia. I’m sure many of us had a grand time enjoying the scene, if only through the papers and the Internet. I salute their bravery in their simplicity that was roundly mocked by our so-called intelligent senators and congressmen and many in the media who are supposedly also Catholics. I thought I was seeing a David and Goliath face-off. We should be thankful to the mother-and-son tandem and emulate them in their effort to defend the moral truth in the RH issue. Indeed what St. Paul said about the foolish, the weak and the base things confounding the wise, the strong and the proud came to life again. We should lose our fear and shyness and do our part also. This is Philippine politics. Not everything in it is bad and rotten after all. There can be good entertainment. And it can come to us cheap and with a surprising dose of good politics when morality is upheld where it usually is hidden and ridiculed. Manny continues to unravel himself even outside the ring and is showing his true grit in the political arena as well. I could understand why many people would prefer Manny to just confine himself to boxing. But since we are in a democracy, we cannot stop him from entering politics if he wants to, can we? So, the tongueloose Miriam should just keep quiet, please. What she said just could not be stomached by any decent man. Besides, with how he is acting with respect to the RH issue, I must say that he is damn right in showing his raw guts about it. We may not agree with his style, we may say he is not credible enough because of his past, etc., but at the end of the day, his conclusion is right. And there´s transparent earnestness in his delivery in spite of his beginner´s awkwardness. We should just give him a chance in politics. I don’t think we will lose a lot if he joins the ranks of the people’s representatives in Congress. As far as I can see, he seems to be faring better than many of them insofar as morals and

Learning from Manny and Mommy Dionesia
the source of their war chest are concerned. As to his past, or even to his present and future, I’ll borrow a line from a movie to say there is no saint without a past, and no sinner without a future. Come on, just let him be. Let’s be kind enough to help him fill the shoes of a congressman. So far, he is showing good potential. Go, Manny, go! As to the mother, let me apologize first because I must confess that the first time I saw her, she struck me as a comedienne catapulted from poverty to instant wealth and popularity. Only lately did I realize there´s a lot more inside her simple and funny visage that the media is also quick to exploit. How else would Manny learn to pray before and after a bout if not through her? How else would Manny think about the RH issue if not because of her guidance? How else could Manny have the guts if the mother did not have the balls? As far as I know, Manny and Mommy Dionesia did not graduate from exclusive Catholic schools. Their faith and sense of morals must have developed from a good heart touched by grace. Let´s keep them in our prayers. I have no doubt we are blessed with them, even more than we are with our highly educated politicians. And, by the way, we should not be ashamed to include religion in our discussions of public issues. If religion would not be the underlying framework of the discussion, what would it be then? Some ideology, some reasoning, some estimations of what is practical, convenient and popular? We´ve had enough of those, and look where we are now? These are some of the things I am learning from Manny and Mommy Dionesia, together with the stronger realization that in our politics we don´t need a high pedigree, nor IQ, nor wealth nor English proficiency to do good there and really contribute to the common good. A good heart and common sense would be enough, or at least, the basic. I just pray that Manny and Mommy Dionesia remain as simple as they are now, avoiding the subtle corruption of power and money. Lord, protect them with your grace!

‘Civil disobedience’ threat not official CBCP stance
THE head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines clarified the CBCP has no position yet on civil disobedience in case the reproductive health (RH) bill would be approved. Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP President, said calls by some prelates for civil disobedience are not yet a collective position of the bishops’ collegial body. “The CBCP does not have any official stand regarding civil disobedience. We did not discuss what action to take on civil disobedience,” Odchimar said. But Odchimar said they will do everything to block the passage of the measure which seeks to promote the use of contraceptives. The Church official made the statement during a press conference on May 17 along with boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao had lunch that day with ranking officials of the CBCP in Manila’s Intramuros district. Some bishops and anti-RH advocates earlier said they will campaign for civil disobedience and threatened not to pay taxes in case the bill is passed. President Benigno Aquino III responded to such threats saying those who will refuse to pay taxes could be charged with sedition. Pacquiao also believed that fighting the birth control measure should not go to the extent of a tax boycott. Such move, he said, is likely to create more problems and the government will end up the biggest loser if people decide not to pay taxes. “Kung hindi tayo magbabayad ng tax kawawa ang gobyerno lalo. Magbayad tayo ng tax,” said Pacquiao. (CBCPNews)

Local News
THE Catholic hierarchy made final its decision to pull out of talks with the Aquino administration on a proposed birth control measure. In a letter sent to President Aquino, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said it finds no more reason to continue the dialogue. “…The bishops affirmed the decision of the CBCP team to discontinue the dialogue of the HB 4244,” wrote Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP President. “This action was taken after considering the prevailing circumstances where a healthy atmosphere for dialogue on the matter is wanting.” “We acknowledge, with gratitude to your office, that the past dialogue have somehow provided for us opportunities to study possible areas of collaboration for the interest of the people demanded of us by our mission,” he added. The decision was made after the regular meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council at its office in Intramuros despite Malacañang’s appeal to continue the dialogue. It was last May 10 when CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Juanito Figura disclosed the CBCP’s decision to stop the talks on the RH or the responsible parenthood bill with Malacañang. He said the CBCP was turned off with Aquino’s recent declaration that he would support the bill, which pushes the use of contraceptives, even if he will be excommunicated. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

It’s final: CBCP quits RH bill talks with Palace

Bishop Nereo Odchimar

Pro-life Summit leaders encourage support for lawmakers Sotto, Pacquiao
THE National Pro-Life Leaders’ Summit held in Cebu concluded with the issuance of a manifesto of support for pro-life lawmakers Sen. Vicente Sotto and Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao for their all-out efforts to advance a culture of life, specifically with their staunch opposition to anti-life legislation, such as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. The May 16-17 event hosted by Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas, gathered lay couple coordinators, priest-directors, and sister-coordinators from 42 archdioceses and dioceses all over the country, plus several members of the Pro-Life Coalition of the Philippines. Speakers included Most Rev. Juan M. de Dios Pueblos, DD, Episcopal Commission on Family & Life (ECFL) vice-chair for Mindanao; Rev. Fr. Melvin Castro, ECFL Executive Secretary, Dr. Telly Somera of the Committee on Eucharistic Congresses, and Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas country director. After surveying the current situation and existing programs concerning life issues in the different parts of the country, the leaders crafted short- and long-term plans to make sure that pro-life legislation prevails in both Houses of Congress, and to reach more people with the truth about the RH Bill and encourage them to stand up to it. The group is expected to meet again in August. (Diana Uichanco)

Archbishop Soc calls for ‘sobriety’ as RH bill debate heats up
A CATHOLIC archbishop has called for ‘sobriety’ as the debate over a proposed government measure on contraceptives intensifies. The issue on the reproductive health, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas noted has already put Catholics at “odds” with one another. In a pastoral statement, Villegas said it is not the Church’s intention to “add flame to the fire” but rather to make an appeal “for the triumph of reason and sobriety.” “We want to make a plea for greater charity even as we passionately state our positions on this divisive issue,” Villegas said. “At the end of the heated debates, we will all be winners if we proclaim the truths we believe in with utmost charity, courtesy and respect for one another,” he said. It is “sad” and even “scandalous,” he said, for non-Christians to see the Catholics divided among themselves. He noted that there are also instances where some Catholics’ relationship with their own pastors is already affected because of the issue. “We appeal to our Catholic brethren to remember that the unity of the Church does not only pertain to the acceptance of a set of doctrines. Our Catholic faith has a moral mandate,” Villegas said in pastoral statement. “It is not enough to recite the Apostles’ Creed; we must show that we are Catholics by living by the norms of Catholic morality. We are Catholics by creed and cult and code. We are Catholics in beliefs. We are Catholics in prayer. We are Catholics with one moral life,” he said. The archbishop also called on the people for understanding on the Church’s position on the issue, adding that all it wants is for the welfare of the people. RH bill is a proposed measure that seeks to control the country’s growing population through artificial methods of family planning. But the prelate said the issue belongs to the realm of “faith not
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Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Summer camp boosts seminarians’ faith
SEMINARIANS said their faith has been strengthened after attending an exposure program in an interior village in Eastern Samar. “We learned and valued teamwork strengthened more our brotherhood, experienced God among us,” said Brix Dongallo, a junior seminarian who attended the May 19-21 event. For the first time, the Diocese of Borongan’s Seminario de Jesus Nazareno organized the “Summer Camp Adventure” for young people in formation in Salcedo town’s Peregrine Hill. The event was attended by 77 incoming sophomore, junior and senior high school seminarians. Organizers said the intention was for the seminarians to nurture and rediscover the brotherhood and unity among
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them. It was also filled with activities and inspirational talks. “There were many challenges but there were many learnings too,” said Patrick Conge, an incoming 3rd year seminarian. Sleeping at night inside tents instead of the dormitory. Taking a bath outside, exposed to nature, instead of the community shower room. Praying at an open chapel instead of the main chapel with pews. These are just few of the many twists and “first times” the camp adventure gave the seminarians in their three-day event. On the last day, the community set out for an outreach program at the nearby Gawad Kalinga (GK) village.

Giving out canned goods, noodles and other basic needs to residents, seminary rector Fr. Jan Michael Gadicho said the seminarians witnessed poverty and how the poor villagers deal with it. As Gadicho told GK residents, “By coming here, we hope to see God in you and may you see God in us.” It is beyond the usual big events that take place outside the seminary walls. Formators said their desire was to let the seminarians realize that by exposing themselves to pain, exhaustion and defeat they could see how important it is to hold hands and unite. More important, they said, the paramount intention of the activity is to let them feel that God is ever-present even in the smallest and insignificant moments of life. (RJ Abonal)

the issue. “I only hope that the family (of Aquino) who is very Catholic will do something. It seems that they cannot tell him… the mother probably if she was alive,” Sanchez said. “I was very close to the mother before,” he added referring to the late and former President Corazon Aquino. The Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy also said he is praying that Aquino rejects the bill on contraceptives and favor on what is just and moral. “I pray for the enlightenment of the President that God may give him the strength… a moral strength,” Sanchez said. “I hope the family will also be praying for this light from God. He needs moral light… the spiritual and wisdom.”
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“We need spiritual gift [for] our leaders to really prefer the light and to prefer or stop this human desire which in the end will destroy human family,” he said. The Catholic hierarchy is one of the strongest opponents of the RH bill saying that the measure contains “immoral” provisions. Catholic bishops have been at odds with Malacañang after the Aquino administration has strongly vouched for the measure’s passage. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier withdrawn from the RH bill dialogue with Malacañang citing Aquino’s apparent “firmness” in his position. “I hope that our leaders see that the Church is here to protect the truth,” said Sanchez. (CBCPNews) the Catholics of Asia. In view of this, I ask: has not the Lord of history destined you to play a prominent role in the missionary effort of the Church in this region? Speaking with deep emotion, John Paul II affirmed: “This is my heartfelt desire and fervent prayer: that you, my brothers and sisters of the Philippines, may now take your place in the forefront of the Church’s missionary effort, especially here in Asia.” To celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul II and to honor his memory must mean more than simply recalling past papal visits. To paraphrase the Gospel (Lk. 8:21), blessed are those Filipinos who hear the missionary words of John Paul II and put them into practice. Blessed John Paul II, inflame our hearts and the entire Philippine Church with a burning missionary zeal!

he pointed out. “But the Almighty had to be there and his teaching had to be listened to and followed. This is the first basis in the Church’s involvement (in the fight against RH bill),” Figura said. Portal Figura made the statement during the launching of a web portal of digital materials on life and family on May 25 at the CBCP Conference Room in Intramuros, Manila. Through the website, www. cbcpforlife.com, the Church hopes to help inform Filipinos on current issues on family and life such as the RH bill. “This presentation that we have is simple but very powerful indication that the CBCP is not alone in the anti-RH bill campaign,” Figura said. Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Office director, said the contents of the website
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will be provided by various organizations, Catholics and even non-Catholics. “This is a collaborative work of many institutions and individuals who believe in the worthy cause of building an ‘online databank’ of multimedia resources,” he said. While archiving, documenting and databanking are the prominent features of the portal, he said, it also has a pool of journalists, bloggers, podcasters and social networkers who are committed to come up with news stories and features on life and the family on a daily basis. It just shows, Figura said, that the project is “very powerful” manifestation that the Church “is not alone” in protesting the passage of the measure. “This indicates the solidarity of men and women of goodwill based on religious convictions,” Figura said. “This solidarity needs no

color, no endorsements of particular individuals or groups (because) everybody is welcome here,” he added. Extension of the pulpit Quitorio said they decided to make use of the Internet not only because of its wider reach but also because this is where most of the “war against life” is taking place. “I might be wrong, but about 85 percent of that happens on the internet not really on radio, television or print. You’ll see a lot of that in social networking sites,” he said. Figura, for his part, explained that the portal is just another avenue for them to preach and spread the word of God. “This is just one of the avenues through which we can continue to preach…even during the time of Pope Paul VI, he started to call the media as the extension of the pulpit,” he said.

“This is just one of the ways, resources in which the Church continue to spread the word of God. But we’ll continue to make use of the pulpit, meetings and Bible studies…” added Figura. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, meantime, urged lawmakers particularly the supporters of the RH bill to visit the website for them to be enlightened on the issue. “They should visit this portal so they may also see the other side,” he said. Zambales Rep. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay also recommended the portal to her fellow lawmakers. “At least through this website they can discern for themselves. God gave us the power of discernment that’s why it’s important that we enlighten our citizens,” she said. (With reports from Ronalyn Regino)

must “share in the missionary task of apostolic service to the world.” In his homily at the Mass with the Indigenous Tribes, the pope spoke these extremely forceful and poignant words: “I wish to tell you of my special desire: that the Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church in Asia. In this regard I would like to make my own the words which Pope Paul VI addressed to you on the occasion of his own pastoral visit to the Philippines: ‘At this moment one cannot but think of the important calling of the peoples of the Philippine Islands. This land has a special vocation to be the city set on the hill, the lamp standing high (cf. Mt. 5:1416) giving shining witness amid the ancient and noble cultures of Asia’.” John Paul II continued: “Indeed you number more than half of all

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thors had already removed the twochild ideal, adding that it would take a century before a feared “demographic winter” would set in. After expressing his concern over the bill’s P3 billion proposed annual budget, the world boxing champion then focused on mandatory sex education, which the bill requires for students from Grade 5 to 4th Year high school in all schools as well as for out-of-school youth. “Puwede po bang tumanggi ang isang estudyante sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang mga magulang?” the solon asked, airing his concern that more students will be unable to graduate from high school should they miss their sex ed classes. “Ang compulsory sex education ay labag sa Constitution,” he added. Lagman replied that the provision

on mandatory sex education had also been amended. “Wala na nga pong obligasyon na ito, tinanggal na nga ito,” the Albay congressman said. “Walang basehan ‘yung apprehension na walang makakagraduate. Exempted sa pag-attend, exempted din sa pagkuha ng periodic tests. Ang mga estudyante po ay makakagraduate.” The Sarangani congressman then brought up the question of whether or not employers will be required to provide condoms and other artificial contraceptives to their employees, as stipulated by the RH bill. He expressed concern that this would disregard the religious convictions of employers who believe that the measure goes against their beliefs. “Amended na ang provision na ito.

Hindi mo yata narinig dahil nag-eensayo ka para sa laban mo,” Lagman countered. “Incomplete ang impormasyong ibinigay sa iyo. Hindi ito sapilitan.” In an unexpected turn in the line of questioning, the pound-for-pound fighter then asked the solon from Albay why there were amendments to the bill when they were still in the period of interpellations. Once a bill has passed the committee level, amendments may only be proposed and accepted during the period of amendments that comes after the period of interpellations. Lagman responded by relating the March 22 deviation he and ACTTEACHERS Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio carried out in which the proposed amendments were merely voiced out. This took place after the Committee on Population and Family Relations had

already formally approved the Committee Report. Pacquiao then asked Lagman by what rules these supposed amendments were accepted, as the period of amendments were yet to be reached. Lagman was unable to provide an answer. In other words, the so-called amendments that Lagman and the bill’s coauthors have been insisting are still proposed amendments. The current version of House Bill 4244—which contains provisions on mandatory reproductive health and sex education (Sec. 16), ideal family size (Sec. 20), and employers’ responsibility to provide RH services to employees (Sec. 21), as well on malicious disinformation under “punitive acts” (Sec. 28)—stands. (Diana Uichanco)

the St. Pius X Seminary in Roxas City and theology at the University of Sto. Tomas’s Central Seminary. He was ordained a priest on April 9, 1979. Pope John Paul II appointed him to the episcopacy on June 11, 2003, and was installed as 4th Bishop of Romblon on Sept. 3, 2003. Tala-oc will take over the post vacated by Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo who in July 21, 2009, was appointed bishop of San Jose de Antique. Since then, Kalibo has been under the care of Fr. Ulysses Dalida, who was appointed administrator of the diocese pending appointment of a new ordinary. No date yet has been set for the installation of the new bishop. (CBCPNews)

FILe Photo

FILe Photo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Diocesan News


Journalists urged to lift high the torch of truth, freedom
CAGAYAN DE ORO City—A slight drizzle that later turned into a downpour did not prevent members of the country’s oldest press club from saying mass at the foot of the Press Freedom Monument, March 23, to formally open the 29th Press Freedom Week here. Officiating the Eucharistic Celebration in honor of journalists, especially those who were silenced while officially doing their duty and responsibility of reporting the truth, Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, SSJV, urged journalists to always lift high the torch of freedom and truth in their work not only as chroniclers of event but as harbinger of good news. “You have the duty and responsibility to your fellows—to tell the truth no matter what,” he told UCA News in a chat, which he later repeated in the dialect during his homily. Abacahin, who is also a director of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), said that while it is ideal for journalists to work in an atmosphere that is free of threats and challenges, “the truth is much more valuable when it is ferret out of many challenges and hardship.” He was referring to the infamous Ampatuan Massacre where 58 innocent civilians, including 34 journalists, were killed in November 23, 2009. The masterminds of the massacre, described by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Executive Director Joel Simon as the “single deadliest event for the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths,” are behind bars while their cases are being heard. Monday’s Eucharistic Cel-

Top youth leaders first to see latest Cesar Buendia film
BACACAY, Albay—Indie film director Cesar Buendia gave a special screening of his latest film Agawang Base to the Philippines’ top youth ministry leaders last May 13. Upon the request of Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi, Buendia, together with some members of his crew, traveled some 12 hours from Manila to show a still unpolished version of Agawang Base, a political drama/comedy that revolves around the faith of 12-year old Mano, a slum dweller who gets involved in a power play between two presidential candidates who will stop at nothing to win the 2016 elections. Together with several seminarians and less than a hundred youth of Legazpi, the regional youth leaders, directors and coordinators watched the fulllength feature film that is yet to be released to the public. Before the showing, Buendia told the youth leaders that the film is yet to be technically polished, with some parts of the audio track not yet in sync with the actors’ lip movements and some special effects not yet rendered completely. The movie, which has religious and moral overtones, kept the viewers laughing for the most part due to the young actors’ comic timing, while aiming to deliver the message of having faith in God no matter what. When asked what his inspiration was for creating a film that talked a lot about faith in God, Buendia simply answered, “It just has to be done.” He went on to say that coming from the mainstream film industry, he believes he needs to use his talents for God’s purposes. Director Buendia also appealed to the youth leaders to help organize screenings for the film, which he and his co-writer Abner Tulagan hope will reach more people. Also during the open forum, Jomar Luciano, the Regional youth leader of Central Luzon, talked about bringing the film to his region in time for the arrival of the National Youth Cross in Central Luzon region. Baylon, who also heads the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, suggested that Buendia’s next film could be about pro-life issues which are timely especially with the on-going debates on the Reproductive Health bill. Buendia has also directed Idol: Pag-asa ng Bayan a film about students cheating in school and Padre de Pamilya, a film about a Filipino family that revolves on a moral dilemma. (Nirva’ana Delacruz)

ebration and opening of the 29th Press Freedom Week here was also the 18th month anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre. The COPC, which was officially born on August 2, 1962 and touted to be the oldest continually existing press club in the Philippines, spearheaded the Press Freedom Week celebration since it was institutionalized by then Mayor Aquilino Pimentel Jr. in 1982. Among COPC’s founding members are Reuben R. Canoy, Manuel V. Quisumbing, Lorenzo M. de la Cerna, Sarah A. Velez,

Noli F. Olarte, Alfredo S. Cruz, Corazon A. Cid, Filomeno O. Apolinario Jr., Abelardo U. Clavano, Pureza N. Ramos and Emilio V. Corrales. Pimentel’s declaration of Press Freedom Week in the city came less than a year after former dictator Ferdinand Marcos lifted Martial Law. It was also the first declaration worldwide by a local chief executive setting aside one week a year to celebrate press freedom. This city’s Press Freedom Week celebration was even 8 years ahead of the United Nation’s declaration of World Press

Solon to “sell” Cha-Cha nationwide, starting in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO City—Are Filipinos ready to dance the “ChaCha”? This will be answered on May 27 during the first-ever public consultations on the move to amend the 1987 “Freedom” Constitution that was the “best” gift to the Filipino nation by the mother of the incumbent occupant of Malacañang. “We in the Lower House strongly believe it is high time to amend the Constitution,” said Rufus Rodriguez, the congressman representing Cagayan de Oro’s second legislative district. (Bong D. Fabe)
Want funds? Plant trees first, says governor

Political leaders’ ‘double talk’ cited in pastoral statement
NAGA City—Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi, OP said the much debated issue on the Reproductive Health bill and the new version, House Bill 4244 known as Responsible Parenthood bill “continues to scatter the flock, pushing fellow Filipinos to make a stand based on what they hear and watch from the news and what they can gather from highly opinionated information.” In a Pastoral Statement titled “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” read during Good Shepherd Sunday in the archdiocese’s 83 parishes, Legaspi explained why the CBCP withdrew from the on-going dialogue with Malacañang officials. He quoted the official statement released by CBCP Secretary General Monsignor Juanito Figura last May 10. “What confuses people all the more is how our political leaders engage in double talk on what the House Bill 4244 really is intended for and how they would like the people to see it,” the 76-year old prelate said. He added the Church remains and continues to be “consistent in its call to stand up for life, truth and for what is right” as he called on the laity to pray harder than before. “We cannot see yet whether this bill

Freedom Day. Before yesterday’s Eucharistic Celebration, Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno officially opened the 29th Press Freedom Week celebration with the ribbon cutting of the photo exhibit outside the Press Club building and in front to the Press Freedom Monument. The photo exhibit featured some of the work of the News Photographers of Northern Mindanao (NPN) such as Froilan Gallardo of Mindanews, Erwin Mascariñas of Mindanao Gold Star Daily and other photojournalists. (Bong D. Fabe)

© Bong D. Fabe / CBCP Media

MALAYBALAY City—Bukidnon province is now requiring all local government units, businesses, non-government organizations, cooperatives, even small-scale miners, among others, to maintain a tree park before their business permits will be renewed. Without a tree park, LGUs and other enterprises will not be able to get financial assistance from the provincial government, said Gov. Alex Calingasan. “We are now requiring all 464 barangays in Bukidnon to maintain a tree park each before any financial assistance is released to them. We are requiring each to plant at least 1,000 trees and the PENRO should attest that they have done what we required before we release money to them,” he said. (Bong D. Fabe)
Migrante-ME appeals for amnesty for arrested migrant workers

Cotabato faithful urged junking of RH bill
COTABATO City—Around 6,000 Catholic faithful from the 31 parishes of Cotabato archdiocese have gathered at the Notre Dame of Tacurong gym on March 23 calling on proponents of RH bill to junk the controversial measure. Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Engr. and Mrs. Alfonso Dimasuay of the Archdiocesan Family and Life Apostolate and various lay leaders read their respective position papers and resolutions calling for the outright rejection of the controversial Reproductive Health bill pending at the House of Representatives.
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will be approved in the Congress, in the Senate and how it will be implemented,” he added. He emphasized God’s words continue to be the people’s hope and guide during these “trying times” saying that those who belong to the flock of the Good Shepherd listen to His voice and follow him. “Win or lose, what clearly matters for us, is how we stood our ground and remained faithful to Our Lord who has assured us: ‘I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) (Fr. Louie Occiano/Melo M. Acuña)

QUEZON City—With the recent arrest of 54 undocumented foreign workers, including some Filipinos, migrant workers’ watchdog Migrante Middle-East (ME) has appealed to the Kingdom of Bahrain to grant amnesty to these workers and let them work in the Kingdom legally, or just let them go home. “We viewed that the on-going crackdown of undocumented migrants is a part of the efforts of the Bahrain authorities to maintain and secure its internal peace and order situation, under its State of National Safety declaration; however we are quite sure that the undocumented, mostly Asian migrant workers, are not part of the anti-government groups,” Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Group hits Health chief’s statement on nursing

QUEZON City—Migrante International assailed Health Secretary Enrique Ona’s pronouncement, discouraging incoming college freshmen from taking nursing as a course for it is no longer “in demand” abroad. Migrante national chair Garry Martinez said the country lacks nurses and it is so “callous” for the health secretary to issue such statement. He added that instead of discouraging students from taking nursing, the Health Department should create jobs here for nurses. (Noel Sales Barcelona)
Diocese eyes natural family planning drive

Church and lay leaders described the bill as “deceptive” in the use of terms and goal of the program. “Instead of promoting life the bill promotes the use of contraceptives most of which are abortifacients,” they said. They expressed concern over the wide and well-coordinated availability of contraceptives which will promote sexual promiscuity by creating a climate of what they described as “free sex without responsibility.” The signatories believed that the bill’s provision of mandatory introduction of sex education from Grade 5 to senior year in high school will destroy
Love Life / A4

the purity and innocence of children. “Classroom sex education assaults the intimacy of sex, invades privacy, causes psychological harm and poses moral dangers on children and usurps parental rights to educate their children,” they further said. The said resolution was unanimously approved and signed by Msgr. Antonio P. Pueyo, DCC. Vicar Forane of Tacurong and President of Notre Dame of Tacurong College; Engr. and Mrs. Alfonso Demasuay, couple coordinator of the Archdiocesan Family and Life Apostolate; Rev. Fr.

Allan Crismel M. Buendicho, DCC, Vicar Forane of Midsayap and Parish Priest of Libungan; Rev. Fr. Hermenegildo B. Albasin, DCC, Archdiocesan Family and Life Apostolate director and Parish Priest of Parang municipality; Sr. Betty Cardinas, OND, Coordinator, Archdiocesan Committee on Family and Life; Rev. Fr. Edwin Degracia, DCC, Vicar Forane of Cotabato and parish rector Cotabato Cathedral; Rev. Fr. Armand M. Dice, Chairperson for Caravan for Life; Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo and Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI. (Melo M. Acuña)

PARAÑAQUE City—A Catholic diocese is stepping up its campaign for natural family planning as the debate over a bill on contraceptive in Congress heats up. In starting the program, the Diocese of Parañaque is conducting its NFP trainors training on May 28 and 29. In a circular, the diocese said the activity aims to train parish couple trainors who in turn conduct user training programs to their respective parishioners. “It is the vision of the diocese to institutionalize NFP training by making it widely available and regularly conducted in all parishes, and establishing a diocesan training and competence center that will continually produce competent parish trainors,” the circular read. (CBCPNews)
Church will never run out of arguments vs RH bill– Laguna priest

SAN PABLO City—The Church will never ran out of arguments against the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill issue, on the contrary, the Church has always proven strong, consistent and convincing in its opposition against the RH measure, San Pablo Diocesan Family & Life Ministry Director Fr. Jerry Oblepias said. In fighting against the RH Bill, he said, the Church is motivated by genuine love and concern for the poor and it is not running out of reasons and wisdom in the defense of life. (CBCPNews)

up for its right without imposing its religious belief system on others? After all both the Church and politics are not fixed realities. They are living realities in progress and evolution. No wonder the relation between Church and State is a complex issue. The Holy Father himself keenly observed that the Church does not claim to interfere in any way in the politics of States, nor does it have technical solutions to offer. But it does possess the truth about society and the mission to teach this truth in every time and circumstance. It is this truth that shields our society from an empiricist and skeptical view of life. Can theology come out to help the teaching Church in its mission to proclaim this truth of the family vis-à-vis the challenge of the RH Bill?
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House for a few weeks now. She is undergoing counseling on Post Abortion Syndrome. A psychiatrist has also assessed her and observing if she still needs to take her medications. The scheduled life with the other girls in Welcome House is stabilizing her, especially the regularity of prayer time, meals, household chores and group therapy sessions. She has also been volunteering at the Home for the Angels, an orphanage founded by former Mayor Lito Atienza for abandoned babies. She said she is able to pour out her sorrow and guilt at having participated in the death of her aborted baby whom she has called “Harmony”. At every free moment, she is seen writing her reflections in her notebook – mostly of her joy at how God has found her and her hopes, dreams

and trust that she will have a good future from now on. The story of Princess is just one among the thousands of girls and women caught in the web of prostitution, victims of sexual abuse, led to abortion, enduring battering from cruel partners, helpless on how to raise up the children they have born, angry at the government for such lack of services to help them through from day to day. Whether the Reproductive Health Bill becomes a law of not, this situation will remain a challenge to the Catholic Church on how to reach out to her daughters (and the men involved in their lives) with the love, mercy and compassion of the Good Shepherd. Pro-life Philippines Counseling hotline – (733-7027, 0919-233-7783)

opinions” and contraception can never be justified. “We must not make wrong right by the sheer force of surveys or legislation by the majority or the convenience of some,” he said. “On this highly divisive issue, the Church is still a mother protecting her children from greater dangers and moral traps

which until now her beloved children are still unable to foresee,” he added. The pastoral statement will be read as homily this Sunday, May 29 in all Masses in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. (CBCPNews)


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

Filipino youth leaders learn from Swiss counterparts
LEADERS from Chiro Philippines had the chance to learn from their counterparts from Blauring and Jungwacht, two of the largest Catholic children and youth groups in Switzerland. Pascal Vonlanthen and Erich Schwyter, leaders from Jungwacht and Blauring or together known as JuBla, arrived in Cebu on May 6 to conduct trainings for Chiro leaders. Chiro leaders learn more Thirty-three Filipino youth leaders from Chiro Philippines gathered for the four-day trainers’ training with the theme “Trip Around the World in Four Days”. Chiro is a Catholic youth and children’s group, which has been gathering Filipino kids and youth every week for discussions on topics, games and other activities for personal and spiritual growth since 1952. According to Badette Felix, National President of Chiro, the trainer’s training was meant to bring a deeper understanding about training and training styles; to learn how to establish and maintain new groups; and to acquire skills in conducting creative activities for children Headed by Chiro Regional leaders Ninia Jayme and Neil Villaester, participants from Visayas and Mindanao learned more about organizing camps and crisis management in groups, among others. Felix said participants enjoyed the sessions, games, and singing moments. “The Chiro Evening (cultural evening) was a blast! Most of them came with full costumes,” she added. Held at the St. Louis School, a CICM school in Mandaue, Cebu, the training was positively evaluated by participants. Felix added that though there were some unmet expectations, most participants said that they experienced a lot more than they had hoped for. Chiro-JuBla partnership Training on different topics will be held on May 19 – 22 in Silang, Cavite for the South and North Luzon regions. The trainings were arranged as part of an existing partnership between Chiro and JuBla which has a combined membership of almost 32,000 young people in Switzerland. Starting in 2006, JuBla chose to partner with Chiro Philippines as part of its membership in Fédération Internationale des Mouvements Catholiques d’Action Paroissale (FIMCAP). FIMCAP is an international federation of youth movements based in the parishes. FIMCAP organizations in Europe may choose to partner with organizations in African, Latin American or Asian countries to facilitate a cultural and technological exchange among the organizations. (Jandel Posion)

Journalists turn to prayer on World Communications Day
MEDIA practitioners in Leyte province are turning to prayer for this year’s observance of the World Communications Day. In the Archdiocese of Palo, local television, radio and print reporters will lead a nine-day novena on May 27 until June 4. “Each day there will be a group of media outlet assigned to sponsor the novena Mass,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero, archdiocesan social communications officer. The Church will mark the World Communications Day on June 5 with a call from Pope Benedict XVI for Christians to spread the Gospel through digital media. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in digital age.” In his message, the pontiff acknowledged that the Internet has fundamentally changed the way people communicate today. In the digital world, he said, information is increasingly transmitted through social networks as a form of sharing between persons. He added this dynamic has favored dialogue, exchange, sense of solidarity and the creation of positive relations. Alvero said the celebration is the Church’s way of honoring all the media practitioners “and acknowledging their contribution in providing useful information to the people.” This year, he said, the Palo archdiocese has organized activities that would give the media practitioners “a time for relaxation and gather them to enhance their camaraderie, friendship and unity.” It was also decided, he said, that the usual Media Olympics will be set aside this year to give way for a “medical mission” to benefit the Manobo Tribe, the only organized indigenous tribe in the area, with a community located in uphill Cabalawan. “This is a way of giving back to the community the blessed and fruitful year that media practitioners in the province have received,” Alvero said. (CBCPNews)

Health Care Commission sponsors sign language class for nuns
THROUGH the effort of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care, the novices of the Daughters of Wisdom attended a one week sign language class that began last May 16 at the religious congregation’s novitiate building in New Manila. Carmen Ricea, who has been in the deaf ministry for thirty years now, taught the novices the skills they needed to become experts at sign language which is necessary for their apostolate. The religious congregation provides the needs of the handicapped mainly the mentally retarded, deaf and blind in its center located in Bunting, Pasig which was founded by Sr. Irene Chateauvert ten years ago. Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM, program director of ECHC said “let us go to people who suffer the most and for whom we have the least service,” encouraging the religious and laity to care for the handicapped, sick, elderly and dying in the society. He is hoping that the Daughters of Wisdom may become an example for other religious congregations, sisters and seminarians to learn the sign language, particularly those who are in their formation years where they can arrange a common schedule and can learn the sign language without much difficulty. The commission sponsors the activity particularly the compensation of the teacher and gives free sign language dictionaries to those who will attend the class. (Vanessa Puno)

AROUND 98 Christian and Muslim youth leaders gathered in a spirit of dialogue to discuss the prevailing issues in society and their role in promoting good governance in the nation. Representing various youth groups, communities, schools and organizations, the young leaders assembled for the 12th Silsilah Solidarity Youth Camp (SSYC) held at the Harmony Village Campsite, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City on May 10-14. With the theme “Youth of Today: Leading Good Governance for Better Society through Dialogue and Peace”, the youth gathering aimed to lead the youth to become more involved in the advocacy of good governance. Resource speaker Prof. Alzad Sattar, a young respected Muslim leader in Basilan, spoke on the topic “Youth and Its’Role”, highlighting the important role of the youth effecting change in society.

Summer camp tackles youth’s role in good governance
Citing their idealism and boundless energy, Sattar said young people can become dynamic agents of social change. He said they would have to put God at the center of their lives though, to become good Christians and Muslims. The youth camp had various activities that included team building, camp-fire, camp craft making, film viewing, and sports festival which gave participants the opportunity to interact with one another. Sessions and workshops were also given to participants to lead them to reflect more deeply on the meaning of dialogue and peace as promoted by Silsilah. The assembly “aimed to strengthen friendship, camaraderie and understanding between Muslims, Christians and youths of other living faiths in Mindanao through discussion of relevant issues in a spirit of dialogue.” The youth leaders expressed

CeLeBRAteD. ten religious brothers belonging to the Augustinian Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu-Philippines said yes to a life of consecration and service in a simple ceremony of religious profession, vowing to follow Jesus closely by living a chaste, poor and obedient life. Reo Cabahug (Danao City), Peter Cantones, Jr. (Loon, Bohol), Peter John Cardos (Calinog, Iloilo), Christian Funtanars (Gubat, Sorsogon), Ian Geoffrey Kasilag ( Quezon City), Rodel Magin (Roxas City), Wendell Allan Marinay (toledo City), John Ion Miranda ( Manticao, Misamis oriental), Cyril Jeth tagalog (Liloan, Cebu) and Nov. Melitito Pocholo Visda, Jr. (Compostela, Cebu); made their first simple profession of vows of Chastity, Poverty and obedience before their Prior Provincial, Very Rev. Fr. eusebio Berdon, oSA during the celebration of the eucharist on May 15, 2011 at the Sto. Niño de Cebu Mohon Parish. In his homily, Fr. Berdon challenged the ten young men to be always ready to die for Christ’s sake. he said that to be faithful in the practice of the vows is more than enough to express their love and confidence to God who calls them in this holy sharing of life. the newly professed friars will report to San Agustin Center of Studies in Quezon City on May 30, 2011 to start their theological studies. More than a hundred Augustinian friars, Religious sisters, families, and well wishers attended the said event. CeLeBRAteD. Sr. Rosa Mia C. Garnace and Sr. Ma. Veronica M. Gungon, 25th anniversary of religious profession of vows among the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (SJBP). the silver jubilee celebration was held at the our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Pasay City on May 14. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas led the thanksgiving Mass attended by members of the Pauline Family, families, relatives, friends and benefactors. CeLeBRAteD. the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia in ermita, Manila, has commemorated the 440th year of the feast of our Lady of Guidance on May 19, 2011. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presided the solemn high mass at 6 pm in honor of the Blessed Virgin. A solemn procession of the image followed the Mass. the oldest among other icons venerated in the country, the image of Nuestra Señora de Guia was believed to have been brought into the Philippine shores by Magellan’s fleet. According to historical accounts, Spanish conquistadores “found the natives worshipping a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary placed on top of trunk surrounded by pandan.” the image was later given the title “Guia” (guide) because of the many miracles attributed to the image by the people, especially the navigators. the icon was canonically crowned by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines on December 30, 1955 and enshrined in ermita Church. CeLeBRAteD. ordination to the priesthood of Fr. Jeffty M. Mendez, CP and Fr. Ramil S. Poquita, CP on April 12, 2011 at the Parish of our Lady of the Peace and the Good trip in General Santos City. Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez led the ordination rites. the newly-ordained priests belong to the Passionists congregation. DIED. Sr. Ma. Purificacion Y. Maglasang, RVM, May 20, 2011; Sr. Sylvia George, FSP, May 23, 2011.

Youth leaders plan for 500th anniv of Christianity in PHL
TOP youth leaders from all over the Philippines met on May 13 to lay down plans for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Christian faith in the country. Prime movers in the youth ministry gathered in Bacacay, Albay for the annual National Youth Coordinating Council to lay down the action plan framework for the years leading to 2021, focusing on three key areas, namely: personal renewal of the youth; understanding and honoring God-given sexuality; and family evangelization. Thirty youth ministers representing all the regions in the Philippines as well as the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines (MOP) and the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) joined three workshops to thresh out possible solutions to pressing youth issues and concerns that pertain to the three key areas. Notably, the youth ministers identified inadequate spiritual formation, sexual promiscuity and the phenomenon of “absentee” parents brought about by the reality of OFWs leaving their children behind with little guidance and supervision, as three of the most urgent and disturbing problems concerning the Filipino youth today.

their appreciation for the gathering as it has given proof to “the reality that Muslims and Christians can live together harmoniously, in simplicity and can appreciate the differences by accepting each other as brother and sisters, as one Family.” They also learned to appreciate more profoundly the values of discipline, respect, sensitivity, love and strong faith which are

essentials in dialogue. Scout Master Jadzen Nahoor Jaji, who has been camp consultant for six consecutive years for SSYC, was behind the creative implementation of the programs and activities of the five-day summer camp. The five-day camp was organized by SilPeace, a program for the youth of Silsilah Dialogue Movement. (CBCPNews)

The youth leaders suggested coordinating with the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) for this concern. According to UNICEF, Filipino OFWs have an estimated 3-6 million children left behind.

OFWs’ children most vulnerable FNYO representative Loreto San Juan explained that children of OFWs are particularly vulnerable because of their parents’ absence. “There is a lack or no communication. Because one or both parents are absent, nagkakaroon ng identity crisis...Walang role-modeling,” he said. It was suggested that special formation be given to children of OFWs to address their unique situation.

Church teachings on sexuality The youth ministers also agreed that an increasingly sexually active young population should be given “sex education” but not the type that the RH bill proposes. The said formation would be based on Church teachings, specifically the late Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which talks not of dos and don’ts of sexual behavior but of a redeemed sexuality that is based on love and sacrifice. One of the facilitators of the planning session said that “the Church has a P.R. problem where young people misunderstand Church teachings on sexuality.” Lastly, the youth leaders saw the need to intensify evangelization efforts for the young, who have become markedly nominal in their faith due also to a lack of credible and consistent role models within the Church. (Nirva’ana Delacruz)
Photo courtesy of ECY

CoNtRIBUteD Photo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

‘Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age’
Benedict XVI’s Message for the 45th World Day of Social Communications, June 5, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters, On the occasion of the 45th World Day of Social Communications, I would like to share some reflections that aremotivatedbyaphenomenon characteristic of our age: the emergence of the internet as a network for communication. It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as the Industrial revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation in society by the modifications it introduced into the cycles of production and the lives of workers, so today the radical changes taking place in communications are guiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. 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. New horizons are now open that were until recently unimaginable; they stir our wonder at the possibilities offered by these new media and, at the same time, urgently demand a serious reflection on the significance of communication in the digital age. This is particularly evident when we are confronted with the extraordinary potential of the internet and the complexity of its uses. as with every other fruit of human ingenuity, the new communications technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being. In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges. The clear distinction between the producer and consumer of information is relativized and communication appears not only as an exchange of data, but also as a form of sharing. This dynamic has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations. On the other hand, this is contrasted with the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence. Youngpeopleinparticular are experiencing this change in communication, with all the anxieties, challenges and creativity typical of those open with enthusiasm and curiosity to new experiences in life. Their ever greater involvement in the public digital forum, created by the so-called social networks, helps to establish new forms of interpersonal relations, influences selfawareness and therefore inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one’s own being. entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for “friends”, there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself. The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others. To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert exp r essly r elig iou s content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it. In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith! I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Savior of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfillment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery. In the final analysis, the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks. Believers who bear witness to their most profound convictions greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalizes people, attempts to manipulate them emotionally or allows those who are powerful to monopolize the opinions of others. On the contrary, believers encourage everyone to keep alive the eternal human questions which testify to our desire for transcendence and our longing for authentic forms of life, truly worthy of being lived. It is precisely this uniquely human spiritual yearning which inspires our quest for truth and for communion and which impels us to communicate with integrity and honesty. I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world. I repeat my invitation to them for the next World Youth Day in Madrid, where the new technologies are contributing greatly to the preparations. Through the intercession of their patron Saint Francis de Sales, I pray that God may grant communications workers the capacity always to carry out their work conscientiously and professionally. To all, I willingly impart my apostolic Blessing. From the Vatican, 24 January 2011, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Pastoral Concerns


“To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically.”

“The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its ‘popularity’ or from the amount of attention it receives. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. ”
attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my “neighbour” in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world “other” than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives. In the digital age too, everyone is confronted by the need for authenticity and reflection. Besides, the dynamic inherent in the social networks demonstrates that a person is always involved in what he or she communicates. When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being


Towards a Canonical Status for Basic Ecclesial Communities (Part III)
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.
I am a priest in a diocese in Mindanao, where there is a strong impetus for the establishment of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). The work these are doing for the Christian faithful is undeniable, especially in those areas hardly reached by the inadequate number of priests. However, at times I have been at odds with such groups because of a certain tendency to supplant the parish. It has even happened that such groups in the rural areas outside the poblacion even dissuade their members from going to town to attend Mass on holy days of obligation, with the reason that they already have what they call a “dry Mass”─basically a liturgy of the Word with the administration of Holy Communion outside Mass─in their chapel. In matters of governance too, at times such BECs are at odds with our Parish priest, because they impose


CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

be constituted into a parish or quasi-parish. Nevertheless, the diocesan Bishop is bound by Law to provide for the spiritual care of such a community of faithful in some other way, so that they are not marginalized as far as pastoral care is concerned. B. Point of Arrival: The Collaboration of Non-ordained Faithful in the Pastoral Care of a Parish, under the Direction of a Priest with Powers and Faculties of a Parish Priest.

Can. 517 ─ §2 If, because of a shortage of priests, the diocesan Bishop has judged that a deacon, or some other person who is not a priest, or a community of persons, should be entrusted with a share in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish, he is to appoint some priest who, with the powers and faculties of a parish priest, will direct the pastoral care. This canonical norm provides

C. Pastoral Care of Souls is an exercise of the Sacra Potestas. Before Christ ascended to Heaven, he gave the apostles a solemn mandate: All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world (Mt.28, 19-20). We can summarize the great truths enshrined in these lines as follows: 1) The pastoral care of souls consists essentially in teaching (make disciples of all nations), sanctifying (baptizing them, and together with that administering all the other sacraments), and governing (teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, meaning to follow the path to holiness). 2) Such pastoral care was entrusted principally to the

structure of the Church. This is one of the few canons that suffered a small but Copernican change in the final revision of the present Code just months before its promulgation in 1983 by John Paul II. In effect, the final Schema of the Code of Canon Law, c.129, §2 read: Lay members of Christ’s faithful can participate in this same power in accordance with the law. This would have implied that lay faithful could take part in the power of jurisdiction─i.e., be subjects of such power. With the slight revision, Canon Law confirmed what ecclesiology had long accepted, that such power of governance in the Church can only be possessed by the sacred ministers (priests and bishops, not even deacons); and that the non-ordained faithful (and deacons) can only cooperate in the exercise of such power. The nuance is subtle, but it is there: Only bishops and priests (in

When to extinguish the Easter Candle
(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: Some years back, in the calendar of the diocesan yearbook, apparently for all three Welsh dioceses, a quaint enthusiast instructed that the paschal candle should be extinguished at the ascension but left in the sanctuary unlit for the novena of Pentecost. This directive was never repeated but has permanently confused people. Is it correct, is it optional, or is it a piece of ill-devised symbolism for the absence of the Lord, who is always present? We would be so grateful for your advice.—S.M., Hawarden, Wales a: It is quite probable that this suggestion was inspired in part by the custom of the extraordinary form in which the easter candle is extinguished after the Gospel during the principal Mass of ascension Thursday. In this ritual context the candle symbolizes the presence of the glorified risen Christ. It is therefore logical, in the extraordinary form, to extinguish the candle at the ascension. The rubrics of the extraordinary form, unlike the indication of the aforementioned calendar, foresee the removal of the candle from the sanctuary after this Mass. The indication of leaving it unlit until Pentecost would appear to be an attempt to reconcile the earlier custom with the clear indication in the present rubrics that the candle remain until Pentecost Sunday. In fact, the present rubrics foresee a much wider use of the paschal candle during the year than the extraordinary form. In the latter the use of the candle is limited to the more solemn celebrations during the 40 days between easter and ascension. even during this period it is not used for Masses for the dead and other Masses requiring violet vestments such as rogation Masses. With respect to the ordinary form the Circular Letter on the easter Feasts states the following: “99. The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass or at Morning and evening Prayer. after the easter season, the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of baptism, the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the easter season.” This expanded use also explains why, in most parishes, the norm that the easter candle be renewed each year is also a practical necessity. The extraordinary form is less demanding on this point. The indication that the candle should be lit “at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations” of eastertide means that it is not required to light it at all Masses and community celebrations of the Divine Office. This possibility is not excluded, however, especially in communities such as seminaries and religious houses that regularly celebrate the liturgy with some solemnity but where baptisms and funerals are rarely celebrated.

requirements on their members (beyond those required by the Parish) in order to be included in the roster for the reception of Confirmation and Baptism, and even for Marriage. What does Canon Law say about this? GIVeN the existence of BeCs, the question now is can they be accommodated into the hierarchical structure of the Church? Better still, if they are to be accommodated into the hierarchical structure of the Church, how should they be configured so as to make them fit better in that structure? A. Point of Departure: The Duty of the Bishop to Provide Pastoral Care. Can. 516 ─ §2 Where some communities cannot be established as parishes or quasi¬parishes, the diocesan Bishop is to provide for their spiritual care in some other way. This canonical norm provides us with the point of departure for finding a legal support for the BeCs. In effect, the BeCs as we know them are precisely communities of faithful, which for various reasons─e.g., distance from the parish or town proper, insufficient number of people to warrant an investment of priest and material resources, or as mostly happens in Mindanao a scarcity of priests─cannot

Anointing for Mental Disorders
Q: Could someone who has mental problems/disorders receive the anointing of the sick? For example, people who battle an illness such as anxiety/panic disorder, bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, etc. I would think that these types of illness are not in and of themselves necessarily lifethreatening, but they could be and could lead to life-threatening situations. I have a friend in Nova Scotia who visited a shrine in Quebec last summer. The shrine held a special anointing of the sick, but the priest announced that it was only for those truly ill and/or with a life-threatening illness. My friend was truly upset and didn’t know whether to receive the anointing. She has had cancer and now suffers an anxiety/panic disorder, always living in fear of the cancer returning.—T.O., Vermont a: In general the sacrament of the sick is reserved for serious (but not necessarily life- threatening) physical illness which significantly affects one’s health and well-being. It can also be administered before a serious operation or one that requires complete sedation, even if the underlying condition is not in itself lifethreatening. It may also be administered to those over 65 if notably weakened, even if they do not suffer from any particular illness. Historically the Church has not administered this sacrament for less serious illnesses, even if chronic. Until relatively recently, mental illnesses were not usually considered as subjects for anointing. Medical science, however, has discovered that some hitherto mental illnesses are in fact symptoms of physical imbalances. For example, the dementia associated with alzheimer’s is apparently mental, but it is also a fatal, and still incurable, disease. even if the serious mental illness is not caused by known physical phenomena, No. 53 of the introduction to Pastoral Care of the Sick: rites of anointing and Viaticum (PCS) opens up the possibility of the use of the sacrament in such cases. To wit: “Some types of mental sickness

us with the legal nexus between the traditional ways of being Church and the so-called BeCs. In effect, the canon admits the possibility of delivering the pastoral care of souls─which properly belongs (i.e., entrusted by Christ) to the bishops, but is participated in by his presbyterium─to a community which cannot be constituted into a parish or quasi-parish due to a shortage of priests, through a sharing in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish by a non-ordained person or persons. This then is the possible legal basis of the BeCs: they can be the application in the Philippine context of c.517, §2. But for this to happen correctly, an indispensable requirement must be met, as stipulated in the last part of the aforementioned canonical norm: the diocesan Bishop…is to appoint some priest who, with the powers and faculties of a parish priest, will direct the pastoral care. Why this requirement? To understand this, we need to delve deeper into the nature of the pastoral care of souls, as carried out by the proper pastors─i.e., primordially and principally the bishops (as successors of the apostles who directly received that mandate from Christ), and participating with them as their collaborators, their presbyterium.

Apostles and their successors in history─i.e., the bishops (behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world). 3) Such pastoral care requires a sacred power that only Christ can give. This is the reason why the mandate by Christ is preceded by a solemn declaration: All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Only by investing them with such power of jurisdiction─to bind and loosen─can they effectively carry out such pastoral care. Hence, Christ continues: Go, therefore, and make disciples…. D. Only the Ordained Ministers are Capable of the Power of Governance in the Church. This theological truth is expressed in canonical language in the famous c.129 of the Code of Canon Law: Can. 129 ─ §1 Those who are in sacred orders are, in accordance with the provisions of law, capable of the power of governance, which belongs to the Church by divine institution. This power is also called the power of jurisdiction. ─ §2 Lay members of Christ’s faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this same power in accordance with the law. a little excursion to the genesis of this canon can give us the final piece in the puzzle of how to fit the BECs in the hierarchical

union with them) can possess and properly-speaking exercise the power of jurisdiction and thus provide authentic pastoral care; the non-ordained can only collaborate with the bishops and priests in the delivery of such pastoral care. applying this to the phenomenon of BeCs, the laymen involved in such communities can only collaborate in the pastoral ministry of the priests; they cannot be the source of such ministry altogether. Put another way, the laypersons in such communities must at all times act in accord with the norms laid down by the sacred ministers. To summarize: For the BeCs to really be a way of being Church, it must form part of the pastoral care of souls emanating from the diocesan bishop, but passing through an ordained minister (a priest), who is endowed with the power and faculties of a parish priest (hence, a proper pastor of souls). How this can be done in practice can be the object of particular legislation by the bishops, by─for example─drawing up a Guidelines for the Constitution and Conduct of Basic Ecclesial Communities. Subject to the recognitio by the Holy See, these Guidelines can constitute a common set of norms for all the dioceses.

are now classified as serious. Those who are judged to have a serious mental illness and who would be strengthened by the sacrament may be anointed. The anointing may be repeated in accordance with the conditions for other kinds of severe illness.” The minister should proceed with some caution with respect to anointing for mental illness. There is no clear cut standard to determine “seriousness.” For this reason, such situations should be handled on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the person’s physician. as stated in PCS, No. 8: “a prudent or reasonably sure judgment, without scruple, is sufficient for deciding on the serious of an illness. If necessary

a doctor may be consulted.” also PCS, No. 52: “Those who receive this sacrament in the faith of the Church will find it a true sign of comfort and support in time of trial. It will work to overcome the sickness if this is God’s will.” Finally, while it is possible that anxiety and similar mental strains could reach a stage of seriousness that would warrant anointing, it is also important to recall that the Church’s habitual sources of grace such as frequent recourse to the sacraments of reconciliation and eucharist, closeness to the Blessed Mother, as well as prayer and seeking spiritual guidance are of great benefit in helping us to overcome these burdens or at least bear patiently the trials permitted by God.

© Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

8 Reasons Why We Should Not Pass the Philippine RH Bill
By World Youth Alliance
© Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia


By Leonardo Q. Montemayor

Over Population —A Convenient Lie
Moreover, why isn’t there a stronger push for the meaningful settlement of Third World debt, so that countries like the Philippines can free up hundreds of billions of pesos for badly needed schools, health services and food production-related infrastructure, among others, and thus register huge advances against poverty, hunger, ignorance and disease? Instead, the Filipino people—particularly the poor—are being seduced with condoms, pills and intra-uterine devices (at a cost of billions to their already cash-strapped government) as “essential medicine” that will improve their “quality of life”! Our Constitution commands the State to protect the life of the unborn from the moment of conception. The 1986 Constitutional Commission records clearly show that “conception” starts from the union of the male sperm and the female egg in the mother. Hence, pills, IUDs and contraceptives that kill the living, fertilized egg are abortifacients. Pro-rH bill advocates insist that they oppose abortion. However, many of them claim that medical science is divided on when life begins. assuming arguendo that this is so, every Filipino remains obligated to follow the Constitution. and, why can’t we give the fertilized ovum the benefit of the doubt by protecting it? We are told that a reproductive health law is crucial to ensuring maternal health, inasmuch as eleven mothers die daily from complications arising from pregnancy. The hidden message is: no pregnancy, no death. Ergo, distributing state-subsidized contraception is the easy way to maternal/ reproductive health! (Incidentally, shouldn’t maternal health concerns include the prevention of cancer, high blood pressure and other known adverse effects of birth control pills and devices on their users?) Surprisingly, defenders of women’s “empowerment” have not batted an eyelash against the Department of Health’s acknowledged goal of two million ligated or sterilized women by 2015. according to the DOH, the procedure will cost P1,500 if performed in a government facility. (Under pending rH legislation, for poor patients, the full cost will be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and/or government public assistance.) Large-scale ligation will supposedly promote reproductive health and respect for each woman’s “inherent right over her own body”. But, by crippling a woman’s God-given capacity to create life, aren’t we destroying the essence of her mother/ personhood and her dignity?

THe so-called problem of overpopulation is a convenient falsehood being peddled by rich countries to cover up their injustices against, and to shirk from their obligations to, developing nations. In 2009, ambassador alistair MacDonald of the european Union expressed support for continued assistance to the Philippines, on the condition that our government undertakes comprehensive population control. at present, some 60% of existing eU aid for the Philippines is devoted to population management-related programs. Mr. MacDonald could have mollified the anger felt by self-respecting Filipinos had he also underscored the urgent need for greater consumption control by citizens of eU states. The truth is that many advocates of population control, under the cloak of “reproductive health” and “family planning”, are concerned not so much to save lives, as to prevent them. This would mean less pressure from developing nations to clamor for a fairer distribution of global wealth and a stop to the profligate consumption of finite resources by the developed states. If rH and population control advocates truly desire to safeguard the welfare of mothers and family members, they should accord the highest priority to fund generation and genuine anti-poverty programs through effective socio-economic reforms, balanced agro-industrial development and good governance. But where are their calls on the Organization for economic Cooperation and Development (OeCD) countries to comply with their international obligation to allocate 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for the economic development of the Third World? Where is the leadership of the United States and others mainly responsible for global warming that has been disrupting climate, food security and health, especially in developing nations? Poverty, unemployment and hunger are most severe in rural areas. Yet, developing countries cannot progress, because the unfair trade practices of the eU and other OeCD member-countries are forcing increasing numbers of desperate farmers and fisher folk to degrade their local environments just to survive the day. Yearly, trade-distorting agricultural subsidies of the OeCD drain their public treasuries of about US $300 billion, which is three times the amount of OeCD’s “foreign aid” to developing countries.

Incidentally, the DOH’s plan is discriminatory. Only 30,000 men have been targeted for genital invasion through vasectomy by 2015, although the procedure costs much less — P500. Mass sterilization of women and men – the most “cost-effective” final solution in the war on poverty? Our friends in the rH camp say that they want principally to help “couples, parents and individuals”, (married, we hope, as the Philippine Constitution upholds marriage and the family as the bedrock of society), to achieve their desired family size. But they should realize that the State has no business to even suggest the desirable number of children. Otherwise, the State would infringe on the fundamental rights of spouses and parents, and go against deeply held Filipino values that children are our “wealth” and not our “liabilities”. respected demographers warn that a two-child policy will hasten the decline and dying-out of the Philippine population starting around 2020, and undermine the viability of our economy and social security systems. Ironically, several rH bills pending in Congress seek to establish two as the ideal number of offspring. We must therefore guard against efforts by national, local and foreign governments to foist a radical depopulation policy. This will be attempted through provisions in the rH bills requiring, among others, sexuality education for youth aged 10-19, easier access to affordable or birth control services, sanctions against uncooperative health providers. Ongoing and proposed programs, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer undertaking of the Department of Social Welfare and Development should also be monitored closely. a pell-mell rush into a “contraceptive society” will trigger a tectonic shift and create dangerous fissures in our family mores and relationships. There will be profound and damaging consequences on the stability and character of our economic, social, political, cultural and religious institutions. Hopefully, we and our lawmakers will give adequate consideration to the far-reaching implications of the rH and Population and Development bills, and REJECT them. (Leonardo Q. Montemayor is the President of the Federation of Free Farmers and Party-List ABA or alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang-Bukid at Mangingisda. He served as Agriculture Secretary in 2001-2002 and Party-List Representative in the Fourteenth Congress.)

1. The Reproductive Health Bill undermines the human rights it seeks to advance. The government cannot, on the one hand, guarantee the “universal basic human right to reproductive health” with its concomitant “right to make free and informed decisions,” and on the other hand advocate a policy that tells parents—especially women—what their choices should be. Such an approach is an unjustifiable affront to the dignity and capacity of the poor. The bill also claims to give equal importance to natural and artificial methods of family planning. This claim does not hold. While mention is given to natural methods of family planning, no funding is provided for the promotion of these methods in the budgetary provisions of the bill. Natural methods rely on investments in the education of women and increased knowledge, in order to enable women to manage their health, and make informed decisions. Budgetary allocations must be inserted to the bill to provide funding for the training of knowledge-based reproductive health care providers, and the promotion of necessary information to women in order to enable informed choice. 2. Maternal Health requires access to healthcare facilities and reproductive health education, not contraceptives. Improved access to basic health care, nutrition, medicines and technology are the additional means by which maternal mortality and morbidity can be reduced and eliminated. The mandate of the rH bill to increase obstetric care and skilled birth attendants, is not emphasized in this bill. The causes of maternal mortality and morbidity are limited: hemorrhage, infection, obstructed labor and hypertensive disorders. These causes can be significantly addressed through investment in skilled birth attendants, and provision of health education for women and families. There is probably no more important step the Philippines could take toward improving reproductive health. The UNFPa states that three-fourths (¾) of all maternal deaths could be averted by the presence of skilled birth attendants. By contrast, family planning is likely to reduce maternal deaths only by one-third. The rH bill’s current provisions for maternal care are important, but underdeveloped in comparison with other parts of the bill. 3. It does not protect the rights of conscience of those that will be responsible for implementing new measure. all reproductive health care workers should “provide information and educate” and “render medical services” consistent with the new provisions in this bill. This bill does not include measures that protect conscientious objections for healthcare workers or institutions that refuse to provide services due to religious or cultural beliefs and practices. In addition, through state-imposed reproductive health curriculum in schools, this bill undermines the rights of parents to be the primary educators of their children. Likewise, denying couples the right to marry without first receiving “adequate instruction” on family planning and responsible parenthood violates their individual freedom conscience and discriminates against those who would refuse such training in religious or cultural grounds. 4. It violates freedom of expression. The bill’s criminalization of speech that “maliciously engages in disinformation” (an undefined category) about the substance or even potential motives behind the rH bill violates the constitutional right to free speech and expression. The provision should be eliminated in its entirety. 5. Increase in Contraceptive use leads to higher abortion rate Dr. Malcolm Potts, abortion and contraceptive advocate and past medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said that “as people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.” Dr. Judith Bury of the Brook advisory Center chimed in a few years later that “There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.” The reason for this is twofold: First, contraceptives fail a certain percentage of the time. a 5% failure rate means that 5% of the couples using a certain method will be pregnant at the end of the year. Second, the use of contraceptives gives a false sense of security that leads to risky sexual behavior. The result is more “unplanned” pregnancies and hence more abortions. http://www.pop.org/content/presidents-pagecontraception-reduces-1874 6. It fails to reaffirm the Philippines’s protection of the unborn. Filipino law has long defended the right to life of all persons, whether born or unborn. The reproductive Health Bill makes only an ambiguous statement of principle (“While nothing in this act changes the law against abortion...”) as part of a care provision for post-abortion complications. additionally, the bill’s guarantee of “reproductive health care services,” as opposed to the defined term “reproductive health care,” as well as a “universal basic human right to reproductive health” according to international legal custom, could eventually open the door to undermining Philippines national law protecting unborn persons. 7. Recent reports emphasize the problems with widely used family planning programs that fail to meet the needs of the poorest populations. “Strategies that seek to increase contraceptive use rapidly by improving services and access in convenient or wellresourced areas are likely to increase observed inequities in contraceptive use.” Maternal mortality and general reproductive health problems also remain high because the unique issues facing poor populations are not addressed. (Nuriye Ortayli and Shawn Malarcher, “equity analysis: Identifying Who Benefits from Family Planning Programs.”) In this way family planning programs, by focusing on contraceptive use rather than an integrated, comprehensive approach to population development, fail to address the needs of the poor.
8 Reasons / B7

Why mothers matter
By Jenet Erickson
a CLaIM recently made in a premier family science journal raised a question that likely would have shocked previous generations: “Does having a mother really matter?” The claim was based on the premise that mothers do not provide anything particularly unique in children’s development. rather, all that children need for healthy development is two caring adults. Or do they? British researcher John Bowlby first brought to light the unique importance of the mother-child relationship after he observed a consistent pattern of disrupted relationships and later adult psychopathology (Bowlby, 1944). Children who were deprived of maternal care during extended periods in their early lives “lacked feeling, had superficial relationships, and exhibited hostile or antisocial tendencies” as they developed into adulthood (Kobak, 1999, p. 23). Bowlby concluded that the attachment between mother and child is critical for a child’s healthy social-emotional development, and that mother and child are biologically designed to form this essential bond. as Margaret ainsworth continued studying Bowlby’s attachment ideas, she found that when mothers consistently responded positively to their child’s needs and autonomy in exploring, the child received the sense of security needed to thrive (ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). If that sense of security was threatened by her absence or lack of sensitivity, fear activated the child to try to restore the mother-child bond. Fear that was not appropriately addressed resulted in feelings of depression, anxiety, and aggression, initiating pathways associated with later social-emotional struggles (Kobak, 1999; Sroufe, Carlson, & Shulman, 1993). Neuropsychological studies of infant brain development provided additional evidence showing that mothers have a special ability to sensitively modify the stimulation they give to their infants. Through fine-tuned perceptions mothers provide the optimal bits of positive interaction needed for the child’s brain to develop an appropriate understanding of emotions and relationships (Schore, 1994, p. 355). as research continued over the following decades, the importance of mother-child interactions and bonding became clearer. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Study of early Child Care concluded that not only was maternal sensitivity and bonding important, it is the strongest, most consistent predictor of a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development (NICHD, 2003). But it isn’t just in infancy that mother-child bonding and interactions matter. Mothers consistently show a unique capacity to facilitate conversations about feelings, listen carefully to feelings, offer encouragement, and ask questions to elicit sharing of feelings. For many mothers, this kind of emotion work is integral to their efforts to nurture the growth and development of children (erickson 2005). research findings show that children seem to do best when mothers express love through listening to and communicating with them about thoughts and feelings while monitoring their behavior by setting and enforcing appropriate limits. adolescents who reported telling their mothers where they were going to be and what they would be doing also reported lower rates of alcohol misuse, drug use, sexual activity and delinquency (Barnes, 2006). In other studies, children’s academic success and healthy behaviors were tied to their mothers’ involvement in talking with them, listening to them, and answering their questions (Luster, Bates, Vandenbelt, & Neivar, 2004).
Mothers / B7



CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

Instruction on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio
(Released by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei on May 13, 2011)
I. Introduction 1. The apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio on 7 July 2007, which came into effect on 14 September 2007, has made the richness of the roman Liturgy more accessible to the Universal Church. 2. With this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a universal law for the Church, intended to establish new regulations for the use of the roman Liturgy in effect in 1962. 3. The Holy Father, having recalled the concern of the Sovereign Pontiffs in caring for the Sacred Liturgy and in their recognition of liturgical books, reaffirms the traditional principle, recognized from time immemorial and necessary to be maintained into the future, that “each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi).”1 4. The Holy Father recalls also those roman Pontiffs who, in a particular way, were notable in this task, specifically Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Pius V. The Holy Father stresses moreover that, among the sacred liturgical books, the Missale romanum has enjoyed a particular prominence in history, and was kept up to date throughout the centuries until the time of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently in 1970, following the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI approved for the Church of the Latin rite a new Missal, which was then translated into various languages. In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition of this Missal. 5. Many of the faithful, formed in the spirit of the liturgical forms prior to the Second Vatican Council, expressed a lively desire to maintain the ancient tradition. For this reason, Pope John Paul II with a special Indult Quattuor abhinc annos issued in 1984 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty under certain conditions to restore the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio ecclesia Dei of 1988, exhorted the Bishops to be generous in granting such a faculty for all the faithful who requested it. Pope Benedict continues this policy with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum regarding certain essential criteria for the Usus antiquior of the roman rite, which are recalled here. 6. The roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one roman rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor. 7. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was accompanied by a letter from the Holy Father to Bishops, with the same date as the Motu Proprio (7 July 2007). This letter gave further explanations regarding the appropriateness and the need for the Motu Proprio; it was a matter of overcoming a lacuna by providing new norms for the use of the roman Liturgy of 1962. Such norms were needed particularly on account of the fact that, when the new Missal had been introduced under Pope Paul VI, it had not seemed necessary to issue guidelines regulating the use of the 1962 Liturgy. By reason of the increase in the number of those asking to be able to use the forma extraordinaria, it has become necessary to provide certain norms in this area. among the statements of the Holy Father was the following: “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful.”2 8. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church’s Sacred Liturgy.3 The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church,4 and has the aim of: a.) offering to all the faithful the roman Liturgy in the Usus antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved; b.) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees; c.) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church. II. The Responsibilities of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei 9. The Sovereign Pontiff has conferred upon the Pontifical Commission ecclesia Dei ordinary vicarious power for the matters within its competence, in a particular way for monitoring the observance and application of the provisions of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 12). and serenity in their Dioceses5, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.6 In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate. 14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the roman rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. The coetus fidelium (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 1) 15. A coetus fidelium (“group of the faithful”) can be said to be stabiliter existens (“existing in a stable manner”), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus (“group”) can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for 20. With respect to the question of the necessary requirements for a priest to be held idoneus (“qualified”) to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, the following is hereby stated: a.) every Catholic priest who is not impeded by Canon Law7 is to be considered idoneus (“qualified”) for the celebration of the Holy Mass in the forma extraordinaria. b.) regarding the use of the Latin language, a basic knowledge is necessary, allowing the priest to pronounce the words correctly and understand their meaning. c.) regarding knowledge of the execution of the rite, priests are presumed to be qualified who present themselves spontaneously to celebrate the forma extraordinaria, and have celebrated it previously. 21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin8 and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the roman rite. 22. In Dioceses without qualified priests, Diocesan Bishops can request assistance from priests of the Institutes erected by the Pontifical Commission sacred rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962. Confirmation and Holy Orders 29. Permission to use the older formula for the rite of Confirmation was confirmed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 9 § 2). Therefore, in the forma extraordinaria, it is not necessary to use the newer formula of Pope Paul VI as found in the Ordo Confirmationis. 30. as regards tonsure, minor orders and the subdiaconate, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum does not introduce any change in the discipline of the Code of Canon Law of 1983; consequently, in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, one who has made solemn profession or who has been definitively incorporated into a clerical institute of apostolic life, becomes incardinated as a cleric in the institute or society upon ordination to the diaconate, in accordance with canon 266 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law. 31. Only in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission ecclesia Dei, and in those which use the liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria, is the use of the Pontificale Romanum of 1962 for the conferral of minor and major orders permitted. Breviarium romanum 32. art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language. The Sacred Triduum 33. If there is a qualified priest, a coetus fidelium (“group of faithful”), which follows the older liturgical tradition, can also celebrate the Sacred Triduum in the forma extraordinaria. When there is no church or oratory designated exclusively for such celebrations, the parish priest or Ordinary, in agreement with the qualified priest, should find some arrangement favourable to the good of souls, not excluding the possibility of a repetition of the celebration of the Sacred Triduum in the same church. The rites of religious Orders 34. The use of the liturgical books proper to the religious Orders which were in effect in 1962 is permitted. Pontificale Romanum and the rituale romanum 35. The use of the Pontificale romanum,theritualeromanum, as well as the Caeremoniale episcoporum in effect in 1962, is permitted, in keeping with n. 28 of this Instruction, and always respecting n. 31 of the same Instruction. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission ecclesia Dei on 8 april 2011, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication. Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, 30 april, 2011, on the memorial of Pope Saint Pius V. WILLIAM CARDINAL LEVADA President MONSIGNOR GUIDO POZZO Secretary

10. § 1. The Pontifical Commission exercises this power, beyond the faculties previously granted by Pope John Paul II and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, artt. 11-12), also by means of the power to decide upon recourses legitimately sent to it, as hierarchical Superior, against any possible singular administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio. § 2. The decrees by which the Pontifical Commission decides recourses may be challenged ad normam iuris before the Supreme Tribunal of the apostolic Signatura. 11. after having received the approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Commission ecclesia Dei will have the task of looking after future editions of liturgical texts pertaining to the forma extraordinaria of the roman rite. III. Specific Norms 12. Following upon the inquiry made among the Bishops of the world, and with the desire to guarantee the proper interpretation and the correct application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, this Pontifical Commission, by virtue of the authority granted to it and the faculties which it enjoys, issues this Instruction according to can. 34 of the Code of Canon Law. The Competence of Diocesan Bishops 13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace

this purpose. 16. In the case of a priest who presents himself occasionally in a parish church or an oratory with some faithful, and wishes to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, as foreseen by articles 2 and 4 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the pastor or rector of the church, or the priest responsible, is to permit such a celebration, while respecting the schedule of liturgical celebrations in that same church. 17. § 1. In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome. § 2. In cases of groups which are quite small, they may approach the Ordinary of the place to identify a church in which these faithful may be able to come together for such celebrations, in order to ensure easier participation and a more worthy celebration of the Holy Mass. 18. even in sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage the possibility to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria is to be offered to groups of pilgrims who request it (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 3), if there is a qualified priest. 19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church. Sacerdos idoneus (“Qualified Priest”) (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art 5 § 4)

ecclesia Dei, either to the celebrate the forma extraordinaria or to teach others how to celebrate it. 23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the roman rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors. Liturgical and ecclesiastical Discipline 24. The liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria are to be used as they are. all those who wish to celebrate according to the forma extraordinaria of the roman rite must know the pertinent rubrics and are obliged to follow them correctly. 25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal9, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently. 26. as foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular. 27. With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies. 28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the

NOTES 1 Benedictus XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum motu proprio datae, I, AAS 99 (2007) 777; cf. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, tertia editio 2002, n. 397. 2 Benedictus XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 798. 3 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 838 §1 and §2. 4 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 331. 5 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 223 § 2 or 838 §1 and §4. 6 Benedictus XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 799. 7 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 900 § 2. 8 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 249; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36; Declaration Optatum totius, 13.9 Benedictus XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 797.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011



Pastoral Letter explaining the decision of CBCP to withdraw from talks with Malacañan on HB 4244
MY dear people of God, as we celebrate this Sunday the Feast of the Good Shepherd, allow me once more to fulfill my obligation as your shepherd in the archdiocese. There remains to be one Good Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus, who urges each of us to conform ourselves with Him, to imitate Him and to follow Him. as your archbishop, it is my duty to help you, in the best of my ability, to make the voice of our Lord clearer and understandable. Only when we are able to listen and follow His voice can we call ourselves His sheep. The Gospel of John echoes perfectly this invitation in the words of Jesus: “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10: 14). The much debated issue on rH Bill and its new version, House Bill 4244 known as responsible Parenthood bill continues to scatter the flock, pushing fellow Filipinos to make a stand based on what they hear and watch from the news and what they can gather from highly opinionated information. What confuses people all the more is how our political leaders engage in double talk on what the House Bill 4244 really is intended for and how they would like the people to see it. recently, we learned that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) withdrew from the talks arranged by President aquino. In this context allow me to explain the reasons why the CBCP considered the talk destined to failure. along the course of identifying the reasons, may we clarify what really the Church stands for; what it sincerely believes and therefore will fight for. 1. The HB 4244 has good provisions (building hospitals, maternal and children’s health care, rights of the poor, education, etc.); however these are interwoven—packaged with—bad provisions. By the term bad provisions is meant, first, those portions of the bill which will promote and legalize contraceptives as means for population control (contraceptive pills and gadgets which have abortifacient effects, sterilization procedures, etc.); these are widely acknowledged as having serious adverse consequences on human lives, especially those of the mothers, mothersto-be and of the new human lives that are formed at fertilization. Second, deemed bad provisions also are those that seek to establish a mindset and a valuesystem that are secularist, materialistic, individualistic and hedonistic, in the guise of development and modernity, but which in effect are hostile to human life, the family and religion. The bill abuses the meanings of “rights”, “choice”, “freedom” and “responsible parenthood” even as these trample on the religious and moral exercise of conscience. Since bad provisions are present in HB 4244, the Bishops reject the bill in its entirety. 2. The Philippines does not need this bill. all the good provisions it contains are already mandated in the Constitution and are already programs of the government agencies concerned. These simply need to be implemented through aggressive and sincere policy enforcement. 3. Since public funds will be used to promote HB 4244’s contraceptive agenda (hidden behind the funding for construction of hospitals, maternal health programs, and the like), the Bishops object to the passage of the bill. 4. The Philippines is a sovereign state. Government should not yield to

‘My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me’ (Jn 10: 27)

FiLe Photo

Sheep / B7

Charity and conscience on the RH debate Position Paper of the
MY dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Love is the core of the message of Jesus in today’s gospel. Love is indeed the trademark of the followers of Jesus. The Lord promises further in the gospel that if we choose the path of love and keep His commandments we will never be orphans. The past few months have seen many of us who belong to the same Church and who share the same faith in Christ at odds with one another on the issue of the reproductive health bill in Congress. It is indeed sad and perhaps even scandalous for non Christians to see the Catholic flock divided among themselves and some members of the Catholic lay faithful at odds with their own pastors. If we fail to have love, we make ourselves orphans. Bring back charity It is certainly not our intention to add more flame to the fire but rather to make an appeal for the triumph of reason and sobriety. We want to make a plea for greater charity even as we passionately state our positions on this divisive issue. at the end of the heated debates, we will all be winners if we proclaim the truths we believe in with utmost charity, courtesy and respect for one another. Charity is at the heart of the social doctrine of the Church Pope Benedict XVI reminds us. In the first letter of Peter today, he admonishes us today never to be without gentleness and reverence. Return to conscience We appeal to our Catholic brethren who stand on opposing sides on the reproductive health bill to return to the voice of conscience, to state their positions and rebut their opponents always with charity. Today’s second reading is a call for clarity of conscience beyond reproach. The moral conscience is man’s sanctuary through which the voice of God is heard, that voice that tells us to embrace what is good and reject what is evil. However, conscience is not the ultimate tribunal of morality. Conscience must be formed in the light of truth. Conscience must be enlightened by the Spirit of God. We appeal to both sides engaged in debate to pray, to seek the light of God and allow the voice of an enlightened conscience to prevail. We pray conscience does now allow itself to be swayed by statistics or partisan political positions. The only voice conscience must listen to is the voice of God. The only way for conscience to speak is through the language of Christlike charity. Restore unity We appeal to our Catholic brethren to remember that the unity of the Church does not only pertain to the acceptance of a set of doctrines. Our Catholic faith has a moral mandate. It is not enough to recite the apostles’ Creed; we must show that we are Catholics by living by the norms of Catholic morality. We are Catholics by creed and cult and code. We are Catholics in beliefs. We are Catholics in prayer. We are Catholics with one moral life. In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things charity! The issue of contraception belongs to the realm of faith not opinions. Blessed John Paul II repeatedly taught us during his papacy that contraception can never be justified. We must not make wrong right by the sheer force of surveys or legislation by the majority or the convenience of some. People in authority who mislead others on the matter of contraception put themselves in open conflict with the law of God and lead others to sin. Fight all corruptions The Church holds close to her heart the dream of everyone to rise out of poverty and live the fullness of life. Pope Paul VI correctly pointed out to us that “the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order. They lie above all in the will, in the mind and, even more so, in “the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples”. In other words, the greater cause of underdevelopment is corruption of the soul and corruption of

Ladies of Charity – aIC Philippines, Inc. on the reproductive Health Bill
THe Ladies of Charity – aIC Philippines, Inc., a religious, charitable organization founded by St. Vincent de Paul on 1611 in France, composed of 100 units all over the Philippines do hereby manifest our vehement objection to House Bill 4244 more commonly known as the reproductive Health Bill because of the following reasons: 1. Reproductive health and services, as defined by the United Nations and to which definition the Republic of the Philippines has agreed to bind itself, includes the services of abortion which, the rH Bill tacitly approves and which we find unacceptable as it is inhumane. 2. The RH Bill makes legal the official funding for population control measures and devices which have been scientifically evaluated by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic and hazardous to women’s health. By classifying contraceptives as essential medicines, the rH Bill allows them to be purchased and distributed by all national and local hospitals and other government health units, thus, making it appear that pregnancy is a disease that must be treated. 3. The mandatory education of Grade 5 students on sexuality and family planning, as recommended among others by the rH Bill provisions, unnecessarily exposes children to such subject matter at a very tender age. It violates the constitutional rights of parents to educate their children in accordance with their moral and religious beliefs. 4. Population control through promotion of the use of contraceptives, which has been clearly exposed as the underlying reason behind the rH Bill, ignores the strong argument against the claims that our country is overpopulated and that it is the primary cause for the existence of poverty. We contend that the main cause of poverty in our country is corruption, abetted by substandard dispensation of justice due to inefficient governance. Furthermore, President Benigno C. aquino himself stated that “Kung walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.” 5. The rH Bill violates the right of health workers to decide according to one’s conscience by requiring them to be part of certain procedures, such as those leading to abortion, thus forcing them to be unwilling accomplices to an act they believe is immoral and unacceptable according to their religion. We, the members of the Ladies of Charity-aIC Philippines, cited only a few of several other reasons why we are against House Bill No. 4244. On the other hand, we strongly recommend that whatever funds proposed to be allocated for rH Bill instead be used for the promotion of health care by: 1. Increasing the budget for more efficient operation of existing Government Hospitals and Health Centers, providing the necessary medicines and medical equipment for the use of indigent patients, free of charge. 2. Constructing more Government hospitals and Health Centers especially in rural areas. 3. Training a work force in the Barangay level for health care and sanitation services. 4. Increasing the salaries and benefits of government health care workers particularly doctors, nurses, midwives and health attendants including care givers and providing them the necessary security of tenure. We reiterate our objection to the legislation of the rH Bill because it is hazardous to health; it is counter-productive to social development; and, it is a waste of funds as, upon scrutiny, it is not really a necessary legislation. Thus we implore our legislators to keep an open mind and listen to the voice of reason. Most of all put only the benefit of our people above the interest of others. Lastly we say: Let life continue in its God-given course. Maraming salamat po at mabuhay! AUROSA E. SANTOS National President TERESITA S. FAJARDO Vice President, Metro Manila CARMEN M. PASCUAL National Secretary 4 May 2011

society. Contraception adds to the moral corruption of our society and family. We all want progress for the nation and for the family of nations. We cannot progress without freedom. Jesus died and rose to set us free. Indeed eDSa 1986 taught us that. But freedom must always be grounded in truth. Freedom is not absolute. Freedom must submit to truth. Freedom without truth is only sentimentalism and will only lead to social laxity. In fact, ethical relativism eventually leads to totalitarianism. ethical relativism destroys freedom. ethical relativism turns freedom into licentiousness. Licentiousness and laxity have destroyed many great civilizations of history. Those who ignore the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them. Church as mother We plead with our officials in government and our friends in media to look at the Church as a partner in the mission of development. The Catholic Church throughout its two thousand year history in the

world and almost five hundred years in the Philippines has proven itself as a potent agent for holistic authentic human progress and not an obstacle for development. If the Church issues this stern warning about the reproductive health bill, it is not to impede national progress but to protect our nation from greater harms and tragedies in the generations ahead. On this highly divisive issue, the Church is still a mother protecting her children from greater dangers and moral traps which until now her beloved children are still unable to foresee. We need God if we want development. Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life for us. There is none like Him. We will be lost without Him. Ignoring Him and setting Him aside in pursuing progress we do only at our own peril. From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, May 24, 2011, Feast of Mary Help of Christians. +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Statement on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bills in Congress
THe Federation of Free Farmers, meeting at its national convention on 3 May 2011 in Quezon City, reaffirms its commitment to uphold the sacredness of human life and the integrity of the Filipino family as the bedrock of Philippine society. These long-held and deeply cherished values are also enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and many existing laws. Consistent with this position, the FFF registers its vehement opposition to the so-called rH (reproductive health) bills pending in both Houses of Congress. The main reasons are: 1. Filipinos in general and farmers in particular consider their children as blessings to their families and as assets to society. In contrast, the rH bills seem to treat pregnancy as a disease and child-rearing as an affliction, both to be prevented or even eliminated. 2. The massive promotion and provision of pills, implants and other artificial means of birth control will likely expose our women to greater, rather than less, risks to their health. The bad side-effects of these methods are medically recognized and have been validated by actual experience, especially among rural women, who face the daily reality of extremely limited medical supervision and facilities in the countryside. (On the other hand, natural family planning — such as the Billings ovulation method — is easily affordable, protects women’s health and the life of the unborn, enhances husband-wife interaction, and respects the religious faith and cultural sensitivities of the overwhelming majority of Filipinos.) 3. The rH bills assume mistakenly that lowering population will lead to a significant drop in poverty. actually, history teaches that it is the opposite that holds true. Hence, the limited resources of government are better invested in economically and socially productive programs on food security, education and skills training, and improved governance, among others. 4. The provisions on mandatory sexuality education will likely bring about a tectonic shift in the youth’s mind set against our traditional and constitutionally protected values on the individual, marriage and the family. For instance, some of the rH bill’s [provisions] apparently will recognize the right of adolescents to a satisfying sex life even outside of marriage, provided that the right is exercised “responsibly”. FEDERATION OF FREE FARMERS May 3, 2011

© Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia


Ref lections
Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year A (John 14:15-21) May 29, 2011
you, we wish to reiterate our expression of affection and loyalty to him.” The central message of easter is that Jesus is alive! But if he cannot be found among the dead, where is he? Where do we encounter him? In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the Paraclete. It may be noted that John uses the term another Paraclete—to indicate that Jesus is the first Paraclete. Literally, the word means “called-to-one’s-side” or helper, and has reference to the Holy Spirit that the Father sent as a response to the prayer of his Son. As Paraclete, Jesus revealed the Truth about God the Father to his disciples until his death; but after his ascension, the Spirit now reveals the Truth about Jesus. Thus, as Paraclete, the Holy Spirit continues the work of Jesus. This is what is meant when Jesus says that “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete—to be the developing Christian community to incorporate them fully into the fellowship, this implies that local churches cannot be isolated from rome, even as the expanding church in Judea and Samaria cannot severe itself from the Church in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit that is at work in the mother Church in Jerusalem is shared in the community at Samaria and Judea. The spiritual presence of Jesus is thus shared and expanded. Until his death, Jesus was physically present only in the community of disciples, but with the coming of the Holy Spirit, he becomes present in all the communities that profess his name, and are at the same time linked to the mother Church in Jerusalem. How do we say this in our time? Perhaps this means that all communities must form a unity with the mother Church in rome. Secondly, because the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church, the
Photo courtesy of Reajoy San Luis, FSP

CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

The Risen Lord lives on in the Church
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHeN the late archbishop antonio Franco, apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, visited the Diocese of Borongan, the people were too happy and enthusiastic to meet him. Indeed, all the barangays and towns that dot the around 200kilometer stretch on eastern Samar welcomed him with arches, streamers, and standing parade, with men and women, old and young alike, waving their improvised papal flags as the Nuncio’s convoy passed by. When he visited the northern town of Dolores, for instance, the long queue of people wishing him well was tremendous. One, of course, wonders why such an honor is accorded to him. But the people of God in eastern Samar had one answer—they know the Nuncio is the representative of the Pope. Most of them have not seen the Pope in person, but the Nuncio was his representative. as the priest who welcomed him at the Borongan Cathedral said, “Our people are eager and happy to see you. We know that you come here not only as an ambassador of the Vatican State to the Philippines, but also as the representative of the Vicar of Christ… But now, we are even more joyful, because we are able to see you who represent him. Through community is in communion with the risen Lord. The risen Lord lives in the Church because the Holy Spirit is there. But quite apart from being present, the community shares the life of the risen Lord, who shares the life of the Father. For this reason, the Church experiences the continuing action of God among men. The Father is revealed by Jesus and his saving-presence is shared through the Holy Spirit. That is why the Church is an icon of the Trinity: the saving work of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is shared in the Christian community. In other words, being Church is an experience of Trinitarian life. and finally, this Trinitarian life is lived in love. “He who obeys the commandments he has from me is the man who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal himself to him” (John 14:21). The fact that the Spirit lives in the Church—this signifies that the Church is a charismatic Church. There never was a time that the Church was not charismatic, or it is not a Church at all. But this should not be taken to mean that ecstatic experience is always a necessary element of being Church. There was and there will be ecstatic experience; miracles of healing and driving of spirits might be present, but what being
Risen / B7

with you always: the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17a). As Helper, the Spirit will be the source of Truth; and will act as Paraclete, as the disciples suffer hostility from the world. For John, the coming of the Paraclete is the return of Jesus to the community of disciples. That is why Jesus says that, even with his departure, he will not leave them orphaned, because through the Holy Spirit, he will continue to abide with his community. In fact, they will share his life, even as Jesus shares the life of his Father.

Thus, the Holy Spirit appears to be the spiritual presence of Jesus in the community. In other words, if we ask the question, where do we meet Jesus? John’s answer is: we encounter him in the Holy Spirit, who is present in the community. Because Jesus abides in the Church through the Holy Spirit, we are therefore given a very rich understanding of what being Church means. First of all, since, as the First reading (acts 8:5-8, 14-17) tells us, the Church in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to confer the Spirit on

The Church of the Risen Lord
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
ONe time, I happened to meet a man in his 50s who has gone to various Christian denominations and sects. In the end, he settled for a born-again community that he felt answered his affective needs. I recalled that he believed all religions were the same, and so it did not matter to him which religion was true. What was important for him was that the particular sect he had chosen assured him that he was saved. This line of thought that all religions are the same is rather common even among the educated. Of course, when one scans the spectrum of religions, he may observe that they appear to be all the same—they teach about God (under different names) and good behavior, they observe certain rites, and call everyone to conversion. No wonder, some people would advocate pluralism in religion. They would tell us that all religions are of equal value, and are ways to salvation, and what is decisive is that one follows the religion he professes. Indeed, others go even as far as saying that what one believes does not matter; what is decisive is what he does. It would seem, however, that today’s Gospel does not accept that line of thinking. From a Christian point of view, the most decisive act of God in history is his revelation in Jesus. As we noted in the previous Sundays, that revelation was unfortunately rejected. Jesus’ preaching of the Kingdom of God and his demand of conversion fell on deaf ears; in fact, his enemies crucified him, and they thought that was the end of him. But God was with him. The Father raised him from the dead. His cause—the Kingdom of God—was entirely correct, and the resurrection vindicated him. Hence, the mission he began must be continued. That is why, in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples the so-called Great Commission: “Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:18b-20a). Since Jesus could no longer personally continue his mission, because he has already ascended to the Father, the Christian community where his Spirit lives on must carry on the cause. The disciples must proclaim the Gospel, and those who accepted it have to be brought to the community through faith and baptism. That is why the Church continues to send missionaries to bring people to the fold. Does this mean that we will have to reject other religions? There is no question about it—today we are in the age of interreligious dialogue. We can no longer go back to the time when Christians had almost nothing good to say of other religions. Nowadays, we seek dialogue, trying as we do to explore areas where we can agree with believers of other faiths, mindful as we are that God can speak, too, through other religions. Of course, in the practical level alone, dialogue is important. For us, Filipinos, dialogue with our Muslim brothers is of paramount significance. In the words of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCPII), “(1) our history as a Christian people has pitted us against them in a long series of religious conflicts, and lowland Filipinos still suffer today from its psychological and cultural effects. and (2) we are part of the asian region and asia contains the bulk of the world’s Islamic countries. We need, therefore, to take a closer look at inter-religious dialogue as an imperative of mission.” Part of this dialogue that has to be encouraged is the dialogue of life. The PCP II was happy to note that “in the areas of Mindanao and Sulu where Muslims and Christians live and work together, a dialogue of life is taking place. In daily life they witness to each other to their own religious values and both contribute to the building of a just society.” But inter-religious dialogue cannot mean a compromise of the Christian uniqueness and the command of Jesus to carry on his work. as the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Dominus Iesus (On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church) says, “it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church as one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions, seen as complementary to the Church or substantially equivalent to her, even if these are said to be converging with the Church toward the eschatological kingdom of God.” x x x “With the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him to be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf acts 17:30-31). This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’” If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking, they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.” Therefore, even as the Church advocates inter-religious dialogue, she cannot surrender the mandate that Jesus gave to the Church in today’s Gospel. She must preach the Gospel to all nations, and those who accept it must be baptized and admitted to the historical embodiment of the Kingdom of God. “Following the Lord’s command (cf Matt 28:19-20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church ‘proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without faith Christ who is the way, the truth and the lie (John 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life.” Says the Declaration: “Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom, must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the Lord, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to Jesus Christ and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Bishop Pat Alo

‘Conversion in 3D’
THe present fiery debate on the rH Bill has triggered a time bomb that sadly may gravely polarize Christians who are either against the Bill or in favor of it. There is hope, however, that this on-going moral issue may also help both sides to sincerely dialogue and galvanize unity in their convictions that would further serve society and especially the family. Perhaps, Abby Johnson’s eight-year long journey—from being a studentvolunteer to becoming the Director of an efficiently run model clinic of Planned Parenthood—towards conversion may inspire persons with a sincere heart to finally find the truth. In her page-gripping book unPlanned, abby powerfully reveals the various stages that led to her discovery of the splendor of the truth. One cannot help but be attracted to the sincerity of her quest for truth. Perhaps, one demonstration of her sincerity is being able to discern that in both sides (the Pro-life and Pro-choice) there are actually good and bad points. She reflects: “To this day I have friends on both sides of this polarizing debate. We all long for a story that shows that our side is right and good, and their side is wrong and bad, don’t we? But I testify that there is good and right and wrong on both sides of the fence. and even more shocking—we have far more in common with the other side than we might imagine.” at first this affirmation may be hard to accept and understand. But as one discovers what abby went through, one realizes that common here doesn’t refer to simple intellectual concessions made by one side or the other. Moreover, it can never mean compromising objective moral truths –providentially created for the ultimate good of man’s unchangeable nature– that do not depend on the arbitrary views, feelings or situations that persons involved on either side may nurture. By common we mean the individual’s openness to the truth about the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the person. She says: “In all likelihood, as you look through the fence (referring to the iron fence around the clinic), you see faulty thinking and harmful behavior on the other side. Here’s my question for you: are you ready to look through the fence and see goodness, compassion, generosity, and self-sacrifice on the other side?” I do not intend to discuss here abby’s intriguing and enlightening arguments. Perhaps, this will be for another moment. For now, I will give a brief narration of her conversion in 3D. Hopefully, our conversion in the truth will be along a less dramatic and arduous path than the one God had opened her to follow. *** 1D: Noble Youthful Ideals – Her heart, as a young student, was filled with the noble ideal of helping others. When she first met Planned Parenthood she was quite reluctant to volunteer because she says: “I didn’t like the thought of appearing to be pro-abortion, no matter what. I love babies and family, and I wanted to be thought of as someone who was pro-family.” This uneasiness, however, was resolved when she was candidly informed of the organizations primary objective: “[the] goal at Planned Parenthood is to make abortion rare. Women need to know their options so they can avoid unwanted pregnancy.” This was elaborated by further stating “that Planned Parenthood was the leader in providing community education about birth control. (…) how many abortions could be avoided with only simple information. Because Planned Parenthood made birth control available to women, thousands and thousands of abortions weren’t required. But when women really did need an abortion, she said, the organization’s clinics were vital to their safety. (…) Caring for women in crisis is what [the organization] is all about.” abby found herself at home because of her sincere desire to help others, especially women who needed access to the right information and safe medical procedures. Later on, however, she would confess after her conversion that what may have


Obedience to God comes before obedience to man
aMID the entire controversy on the reproductive Health bill, the main consideration of the Church is that we respect God’s laws as regards respect for the life of human beings, which as you all know is the very first right of man. Of course, it’s not just respecting the life that is existing but it implies also that we respect the normal outcome of life as result of the male and female sexual relationships. If we block nature’s normal trend through artificial devices we go in a direction that brings us close to self-destruction or extinction. That is the reason why the Church opposes the artificial methods of birth control as being opposed to God’s will and design. “God blessed them, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.” (Gen. 1:28). We must endeavor to follow God’s laws and decrees faithfully, otherwise we risk falling under God’s anger and punishment. St. Paul describes it this way: “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). remember history and consider how God has punished those who dared to violate His laws and decrees.

3D / B7

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Social Concerns
the crises it has faced through the years. “Hindi naman papabayaan ng Panginoon ang mga taong tumutulong sa mga mahihirap tsaka alam naman niya na tumutulong kami ng bukal sa loob,” said aregno, who works at the pastoral office of the Institute, headed by Sr. alice aycocho. Hospicio gets its fund solely from donations and benefactors who want to share their blessings said. She has been working in the Hospicio for five years, revealing that it has been her dream to work with the Sisters since she was in the third grade. Hospicio is licensed and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Its residential care services for children and youth, persons and people in crisis situation were accredited in March 2007 by the DSWD marginalized sectors of society especially the abandoned and neglected children, persons with special needs, older persons, and people in crisis situation through sustainable programs and services where resource sharing and participative involvement is a way of life. Hospicio’s way of life is guided by the two great icons of charity— Saint Louise de Marillac, the rooted recognizing that serving the poor is a privileged encounter with God who loves and accepts them as they are. They try, in their own way to serve the people with humility, simplicity and most of all charity. Portrait of happiness Walking along the hallway, I saw the faces of some elderly residents who radiated happiness and contentment. I did not see

twilight years meaningfully. Programs for various needs The institute has programs for the children and youth welfare development that aim to effectively respond to the varying needs of children ages 0-18 who are abandoned, surrendered, neglected, orphaned, abused, displaced or in difficult circumstances. These services are designed to ensure the general welfare of children, protecting them from further neglect and abuse, preventing situations that would be detrimental for their growth and development. Their services for children and youth welfare includes adoption, temporary shelter and semiindependent group living. Persons with special needs are provided with a short term and long term residential care and rehabilitation, especially those who are surrendered, abandoned and whose family situation will be detrimental to the well-being of the person. Moreover, they have this Crisis Intervention Program that aims to respond to the needs of individuals and families in difficult situations brought about by circumstances which caused the downfall of their functioning and thus their stability. This program is designed to provide appropriate services to the person who is in crisis to regain his/her normal condition. Steadfast service for the underprivileged Hospicio de San Jose has with stood the test of time. Its existence evoked decades of unyielding service for the people of God. Today, Hospicio stands firm to its vision and mission. Despite the struggles that they faced and still facing, the staff do not fear the future, for they know that God is with them. What Gamaliel said to Saul in the acts of the apostles comes to mind—if it comes from God, no one can destroy it. The personnel`s love and dedication to their ministry of caring has brought a sweet haven to the society`s underprivileged. Indeed, they are here not to be served but to serve.

By Ralph Kevin Baclor

A haven for the underprivileged

THe oldest Catholic welfare institution in the Philippines that serves people of all ages, Hospicio de San Jose has celebrated its 200th foundation in 2010 following the year when the archdiocese of Manila recognized its presence as a welfare institution. “Hospicio General” was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Francisco enriquez Gomez in 1782 with the aim of helping the poor and the needy. The institution was first established in Pandacan and was later on moved to Intramuros then to Binondo, Nagtahan and echague. In 1810, the institution finally found its permanent home in “Isla de Convalescencia”, now a part of Mega Manila. In the late 1800’s the establishment developed a “turning cradle” to help mothers who wanted to remain anonymous, have a safe place where to leave their babies. The idea has saved hundreds or even thousands of lives of infants who were eventually put up for adoption. In 1810 the archdiocese of Manila acknowledged the presence of the institution when it opened its doors to the “poor” within Manila area. In 1853, Hospicio also began accepting the mentally-ill individuals among its dependents. The Daughters of Charity were given the administration of the institution in 1865 which they still hold until this day. In the early 1980’s the nuns brought up the idea of giving mothers an opportunity to discuss some alternative solutions to their problems that became more productive; thus the “Tahan Center” was established that provides service to mothers and families who are in crises. ‘God’s providence’ evangelyn aregno, one of the employees in Hospicio, believes that the institution is what and where it is now because of “God’s providence”. It has survived and remained strong despite
8 Reasons / B3

to those who need help. Since February 2011, Hospicio de San Jose has a total of 265 individuals of different ages and personalities living under its roof. Mrs. aregno revealed that it is not easy to blend with people of various personalities. But because she believes that what she is doing is a ministry, she gladly performs her responsibilities of helping the Hospicio residents. “eto ang bokasyon ko,” aregno
Risen / B6

Standards Bureau here in the Philippines. Haven of hope The institute envisions itself as a Haven of Hope for persons who are poor, treating the poor as the most precious treasure of the Church. Hence, it provides what is not just essential for their physical but also for mental and spiritual needs. It commits to the integral development of the
3D / B6

patron saint of Christian Social Workers and Saint Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of charitable organizations. The institution moves along with the changing times as it seeks new ways and knowledge to meet the changing needs of every person who are poor. The personnel innovate themselves for the betterment of the people who are in need. Ministering to the poor also leads them to become spiritually

any sign of hardships which I ordinarily saw in some people’s faces. Instead I saw a portrait of happiness reflected on their countenance, in their smiles and laughter as they talk to each other, assuring me that they are not just fine, but great. I learned that the staff provides continuing residential care services for the older persons especially the needy. also, the institute provides a HOMe to the elderly where they can live their

8. There has never been a direct link connecting high population with high poverty rates. Correlation is not causation. It is short-sighted to think of declining population growth as a goal in of itself. Population control, as an economic policy, has proven to be unsustainable. across europe and asia, countries that saw steep declines in fertility in the past generation are now bracing themselves for the future consequences of an aging population, when a large number of elderly can no longer be supported by the smaller and younger working class. During the 1970s and 1980s, Singapore instituted an aggressive twochild policy, which led to a situation of labor shortages and the difficulty of supporting an aging population. In an effort to recover, Singapore now pursues a pro-fertility policy. In the case of Hong Kong, the country’s dense population has had no debilitating effects on its economic development. Hong Kong has experienced a great economic boom and high levels of economic prosperity largely due to a sound banking system, no public debt, a strong legal system, and a rigorously enforced anti-corruption regime. This case provides a clear example that economic development is not synonymous with small population size, and that a large population is not only sustainable but an asset to development.
Mothers / B3

charismatic necessarily implies is the observance of the commandment of love, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In fact, in today’s Gospel, the presence of the Father is linked with the commandment of love: “If you love me and obey the commands I give you, I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you always: the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:15-16). In contemporary theological reflection, the Church is viewed as a Church of Communion, and there is no doubt that today’s Gospel provides a solid basis for such a theology. In the Church, the members are in communion with the Trinitarian God and with one another. In practice, this implies that the love of God dwells in the community and is shared among the members. On the other hand, the members are assured of the presence of the Trinity by their observance of the love-commandment. Their love for one another is a sign that the Trinity dwells in the Church. Which means that it is not enough to view the Church simply as an institution. Of course, to see the Church as a structured visible society has its own merits, but to look at the Church as a Communion is to emphasize the work of grace that unites all members in Christ and draws them into the communion with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

unconsciously led her to volunteer was not only her desire to help women in crisis. It was also to help them prevent choosing a choice hidden deep inside her, one which he regretted and tried to forget: she already had two abortions prior to becoming part of Planned Parenthood. 2D: eye-opening Commitment – Her outstanding performance as a volunteer gradually earned abby numerous promotions. Finally, she was given a very important job of becoming a clinic director. During her career as director, her clinic became a model for other clinics both for its efficiency and dedication, but above all for its financial viability. It was financially self-sufficient because it provided services for women who chose to abort. Now performing an abortion was not exactly a cheap procedure. But Planned Parenthood’s focus changed when government funding for their services dwindled. This became another major conversion point for abby. at this point she still held onto her praxis of reducing abortions by helping women to opt for adoption or contraception. But as funds became scarce their superiors demanded that they increase abortion procedures in order to earn more. This opened her eyes to reality. She confesses: “I was starting to put

the pieces together. I couldn’t escape the thought that this organization that had given me my career would soon be in the late-term abortion business. My dilemma was deep and profound. I was finding it increasingly hard to justify what I now saw as Planned Parenthood’s money-first attitude toward abortion, especially late-term abortions.” 3D: Ultrasound assisted abortion – One often wonders why God would allow so much time to pass before some realizes that what he or she is doing is morally wrong. abby’s eyes saw the truth in 3D when the lack of manpower required her to help out in an abortion of a 13 week-old baby. abby narrates: “at first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen. “The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started
Sheep / B5

kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader. as the cannula pressed in, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that the fetus could feel the cannula and did not like the feeling. and then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me. “Beam me up, Scotty, he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction—in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.” *** God indeed has strange ways of drawing people towards the light of his truth and mercy. abby’s conversion aptly demonstrates this. The arguments, the means and the consequences of what she had first sincerely believed and supported are very similar to what many of the reproductive Health Bill proponents are now saying. Let us pray, without judging anyone—always seeing goodness, compassion, generosity, and selfsacrifice through the fence—that they too may find the path towards the truth about life, the person and the family. Let us pray, however, that it may not be an arduous road at the expense of the lives of many innocent children before they embrace the truth.

Mothers also influence development through teaching. During infancy, the cognitive stimulation and emotional support mothers provide lays the foundation for intellectual and linguistic functioning throughout development. Just by talking to their infants, directing their attention to objects in the environment, and labeling the objects they see, mothers provide cognitive stimulation that enhances their infant’s language skills and intellectual abilities (Tamis-LeMonda & Bornstein, 1989). as children grow, mothers provide essential stimulation when they ask questions or give suggestions that invite the child’s thinking, or provide conceptual links among objects, activities, locations, persons, or emotions (Hubbs-Tait, Culp, Culp, & Miller, 2002). Mothers continue to provide cognitive stimulation for pre-school and school-age children when they read to their children and teach them concepts, encourage them in hobbies, take them to libraries, museums, and theaters, and expose them to books and other sources of learning in the home (Votruba-Drzal, 2003). Mothers’ influence on discussions during dinnertime, car rides,

and when working together, also engage children in developmental processes while also inculcating values. Research findings indicate that children whose mothers openly discuss the risks of behaviors such illicit sexual activity, alcohol and substance abuse, and smoking, are less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors (Guilamo-ramos, et al., 2006). Further, children whose mothers pass on their religious beliefs and facilitate their children’s involvement with religion report the lowest levels of delinquency among adolescents (Pearce & Haynie, 2004). a mother’s teachings become a key ingredient in preparing her children to live fulfilling and contributing lives. Finally, mothers influence how fathers provide their essential contributions to children’s development. andrea Doucet’s recent analysis of caregiving found that fathers nurture development in ways that are unique to mothers by focusing on play to connect, fostering independence, promoting problem solving, and encouraging risk taking, among other things (Doucet, 2006). Mothers influence how fathers enact their caregiving through the quality of their

relationship with fathers and in how they view fathers’ contributions. Fathers in turn, enable mothers to provide essential contributions to their child’s development by caring for mothers emotionally and physically. a father’s emotional care of his wife strengthens her maternal sensitivity and reduces her maternal stress, enabling her to nurture more effectively. Perhaps the best answer to the claim that mothers do not really matter is a statement made by a group of stay-at-home fathers when asked what resources they would like for single fathers in an “ideal world.” Their statement provides an insightful commentary from “the trenches” of parenthood: “an ideal world would be one with a father and a mother. We’d be lying if we pretended that wasn’t true. How can there be an ideal world without a mother for the children?” (Doucet, 2006, p. 215). (Jenet Erickson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Family Life, at Brigham Young University, Utah. This article is reprinted here under special republishing agreement with MercatorNet)

pressures coming from the treaty monitoring bodies of the UN such as ICPD and the CeDaW to legislate certain rights that have not been contemplated nor intended in various international instruments. It should not be pressured to comply with the MDG agenda, which uses a disturbing “reproductive rights” approach in fostering its 8 goals. Moreover, it is only a declaration. 5. In as much as President Benigno Simeon aquino has already publicly declared his intention to implement his own 5-point agenda on responsible parenthood (rP), the Bishops do not see any reason to further undertake a serious study/ dialogue on HB 4244 with the administration as was proposed by Pres. aquino himself. HB 4244 and Pres. aquino’s 5-point rP agenda are deemed to be basically the same.

Photo courtesy of Ralph Kevin Baclor

The Church continues to be consistent in its call to stand up for life, for truth and for what it is right. We are called to pray harder than before. We cannot see yet whether this bill will be approved in the Congress, in the Senate and how it will be implemented. But certainly, the words of the Lord continue to be our hope and guide in these trying times. Those who belong to the flock of the Good Shepherd listen to His voice and follow Him. Win or lose, what clearly matters for us, is how we stood our ground and remained faithful to Our Lord who has assured us: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly”(Jn 10: 10). Given from the Office of the archbishop this 11th day of May, 2011, in the year of our Lord. +LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI, O.P., D.D. archbishop of Caceres


Moral Assessment Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

 Abhorrent  Disturbing  Acceptable  Wholesome  exemplary

 Poor  Below average  Average  Above average  excellent Title: Water for Elephants Cast: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, James Frain, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider, Ken Foree, Tim Guinee, Mark Povinelli, Scott MacDonald Director: Francis Lawrence Writer: Sara Gruen, Richard LaGravenese Running Time: 122 min. Genre: Drama Distributor: 20th Century Fox Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: ½ CiNeMA rating: R 14 (For audiences aged 14 and up)

IN 1931, Jacob (Robert Pattinson) is a regular guy with dreams of having a happy family life as a veterinarian like his dad. about to take his final exams at Cornell University that would earn him his license as a veterinary doctor, he is dealt a blow by life when his parents die in a car accident. He discovers that they have left neither cash nor home for him since they had mortgaged their house in order to give him an Ivy League college education. The bank now owns everything. Distraught, Jacob decides to leave the house without looking back. He is determined to leave behind his house, his past and his dreams, although he does not know where to go and what to do. He just wants to get away, and so he hops a train, unaware it is the traveling Benzini Brothers circus. After a minor scuffle that almost gets him thrown off the train, Jacob is taken in to do odd jobs like shoveling the cars clean of animal manure to earn his keep. He is soon bewitched by Marlena (reese Witherspoon), the circus star and wife of the travelling show’s mean big boss august (Christoph Waltz). Directed by Francis Lawrence (I am Legend and Constantine) with screenplay written by richard LaGravenese and based on a novel by Sarah Gruen, Water for elephants is an extremely watchable film that has the power to take the viewer by hand to a world all its own. The sets, the costumes, even the smallest props are meticulously prepared and chosen to bring about a nostalgic

feel to every frame, creating not only a charming but also an enchanting period movie. Part of its appeal, particularly to the young at heart, is its circus environment. Who wouldn’t be entertained by animals dressed up and trained for tricks that delight young and old alike? and to see these intelligent animals off stage and interacting with humans—that’s certainly an experience few would pass up even if only in the movies. any Filipino who has ever wondered how the local feria at town fiestas magically sprouts up in a few hours can find charming answers just watching how the Benzini circus hands put up their big top as if it’s almost a ritual. Waltz is perfectly cast as the circus owner august, exhibiting the same strengths that made for hisaward-winningperformanceas Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. With a face so mobile it can switch back and forth between charismatic and tyrannical in a split-second, Waltz’s villainous portrayal defies prediction—one never knows what he’ll do next, giving the movie its much needed tension. Pattinson and Witherspoon are also the best choices for their roles—Pattinson out of his vampire mold combines intensity and gentleness, while Witherspoon deviates from happy roles to play a small town girl who endures her husband because the circus is “the only place (she) can be somebody.” Despite a few critics who claim the two actors lack


chemistry, director Lawrence is correct in keeping the illicit passion between them on slow burn—otherwise the love angle would overwhelm the other elements that make the movie worth watching even by younger audiences. Indeed, Water for elephants is not a love story at all; it is more about kindness—the abundance or lack of it in people—and the dynamics of cruelty and poetic justice. It’s about the intelligence of beasts. That could be the reason behind this old-fashioned film’s endurance at the box office—at a time when movies bring to life fictitious superheroes through CGI, Water for elephants has remained—now back to back with the lords of spectacular special effects Thor, The Priest, Fast and Furious 5—signaling a return to real people in real situations in real life. (Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS)


Ni Bladimer Usi

Title: The King’s Speech CAST: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Max Callum, James Currie; DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper; WRITER: David Seidler; GENRE: Drama; RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes. Technical Assessment:  Moral Assessment:  CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 with parental guidance.

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of Mother Teresa, Guardian Angel and Sto. Niño de Cebu. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi) IN 1925, Prince albert (Colin Firth) and wife elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) are quite content with living their lives away from the public eye. Bertie (albert), who smokes heavily and stammers, has a speech therapist whose method of making him speak with marbles in his mouth so frustrates the former that he gives up sessions with him. Under cover of anonymity, elizabeth then arranges for another therapist, a rather unorthodox one by the name of Lionel Logue, a failed australian actor (Geoffrey rush) who insists on dealing with his patients as friends as part of his therapy. This friendship, at first uneasy, is to deepen in time, especially when his elder brother and King of england, edward, abdicates the throne to marry an american divorcee—making albert step up as King George VI. Being a monarch then means speaking through a microphone as the entire British empire is listening, a nightmare to a seemingly incurable stammerer. How would Bertie face public humiliation on account of his glaring speech deficiency? We understand how The King’s Speech won so many awards including Oscars for the film, the director Tom Hooper, actors Firth, Rush and Carter, etc. It is a historical drama that satisfies the audience’s craving for drama while respecting accuracy in the retelling of history. There couldn’t have been a more perfect cast for such a period piece. The actors virtually crawl into the skins of their characters and revive the excellent synergy among their real life counterparts that actually worked to help gain for a stuttering prince the courage to overcome himself and to eventually give hope to a nation at war. Particularly impactful is the scene where Bertie approaches the microphone, glumly as though being led to the guillotine, to deliver a speech to unite the nation. Firth’s and rush’s acting, the content of the speech itself, footage of the anxious population, and the majesty of the background music all combined to make these perhaps the most memorable 3 minutes in the whole film. Prepare for goosebumps. The King’s Speech is a story without a villain—rare, it seems, for cinema these days when villains actually outnumber heroes. It throws the spotlight on royalty but says nothing about royalty’s flamboyance or extravagance. It even sidesteps the over-romanticized newsmaker of the day then, King edward’s renouncement of the throne “to marry the woman I love”, twice-divorced american Wallis Simpson. Director Tom Hooper must have thought there were better things and better people to make a movie about than the infatuation of a wimp for a woman who felt she was all worth the attention and the scandal. Hooper is right. The King’s Speech is a rich and deeply human story that highlights the characters’ sympathy and support for one another, positive attitudes in the face of limiting circumstances. The friendship that deepens between the stammering king-to-be and his persevering therapist, together with the unstinting support of the loving of queento-be, effect a transformation in the monarch that will surely inspire audiences of all ages.

Vol. 15 No. 11

CBCP Monitor

May 23 - June 5, 2011


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

A Call To Victory
By Thelma Hizon
“A CALL TO ARMS/ A CALL TO VICTORY” was the theme of the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) International Conference at the Ynares Stadium in Antipolo last April 29- May 1, 2011. Five thousand three hundred Handmaids from all over the Philippines and from seventeen countries thronged to Antipolo, Rizal to show their readiness to fight for the Lord. The Friday Night Praise Offering was a sight to behold for the delegates came in colors assigned to their regions. They came wearing armor: helmets, swords, sandals, belts, shields, and breastplates, all in gold. It was a night of “gearing up for battle,” in keeping with the year’s theme, “Put on the Full Armor of God.” The conference started with a mass celebrated by Bishop Gabby Reyes of the diocese of Antipolo and concelebrated by Monsignor Allen Aganon, CFC’s spiritual director. In his homily, Bishop Reyes affirmed that indeed the world is a battlefield between good and evil, and that the Handmaids of the Lord are women called by God to prepare and fight in this battle. Governor Casimiro Ynares, Jr. and Vice- Governor Frisco San Juan of Antipolo graced the opening ceremonies and welcomed the delegates to their city. Monsignor Aganon exhorted the Handmaids to be “Amazonas” for Christ during his homily on the Saturday morning mass of the conference. One of the speakers was quick to add that they are “amazonas” but with the character and the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the true Handmaid of the Lord. Precy Confiado, wife of the Philippine Consul to Tokyo, in the first talk, shared how their faith in God and their support for each other helped them reach out to Filipinos, especially members of

Joe Tale leads the ministries coordinators in a pledge of unity

HOLD members from other countries came in their national costumes.

the CFC community, after the devastation wrought by the powerful earthquake in Japan. Sp ea k er s Gr a c e Bu nt a g , Edythe Avendano, and Myrna Vega spoke on winning in the battlefields of the Church, the CFC community, and the family respectively. The highlight of the third session was the appearance of leaders of all the family ministries led by CFC Chairman Joe Tale. Joe called on the whole community to unite and fight to win the battle for Christ. The final call to arm for battle,

to fight and win the battle was Didi Galsim’s challenge to all Handmaids in the last session of the conference. She emphasized the need for personal cleansing and healing as a means of preparing for the battle. Once the battle begins, the Holy Spirit directs and helps in discerning the enemies and personal relationship with God becomes the source of strength. While in battle, the Handmaid is not alone for Jesus, Mary, the Saints and the Angels will be fighting the battle with her.

14th KFC International Kids’ Village: Full of Surprising Firsts
By Beth Comahig
THIS year’s CFC – Kids for Christ International Kids’ Village registered historic firsts. For the first time in KFC history, a KFC member gave a talk during the IKV, to the amazement of adults and kids alike. Also for the first time, the parthe theme “LEAD! Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10), the conference was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ open grounds. After the storm, the IKV held its sessions at the nearby World Trade Center in Manila. KFC International Coordinator Nic Escalona Jr. officially opened the conference and welcomed delegates composed of KFCs, YFCs, SFCs and parents from different parts of the Philippines, and from China, Qatar and Riyadh. The first day of the village was a time for the kids to show off their talents and skills in the creative and sports competitions. Well-known child actor Makisig Morales, a former KFC member, set aside his celebrity status to serve as a judge at the creative competitions. A R.O.C.K. forum was also held for the CFC - Youth For Christ and the CFC - Singles For Christ members serving in KFC. Called R.O.C.K (Reaching Out Christ to Kids), the forum reminded the facilitators (ROCKers for short) of their mission - to lead the children and help them know Christ more. A colorful and exuberant Lead Parade energized the first night.

The CFC Home Office: A Fulfillment of God’s Faithfulness
ON Tuesday, May 10, more than 200 guests gathered to celebrate the blessing of the new CFC Home Office building at 156 20th Avenue in Cubao. The entrance of the new building, a four-storey building that would house the CFC staff and fulltime workers, was festooned with an arch of blue and white balloons. The celebration started with ribboncutting led by special guest Bishop new home office. The International Council, led by Joe Tale, Joe Yamamoto, Melo Villaroman, Rouquel Ponte, Lito Tayag and Joey Arguelles, welcomed the guests and thanked the global family for their generosity that has enabled this dream to finally come true. They shared their awe at how mysteriously God works, granting us triumph even in the midst of, and especially because

ents had their own special segment called the Parents’ Summit, where the unique calling of raising Christ-like children was discussed. Indubitably the most exciting “first” was the sudden storm on the second night of the IKV. The downpour was so strong and sudden that the IKV play, which was ongoing at the time, had to be put off until the next day. A total of 7,013 delegates attended the KFC IKV. With

KFC / C3

Bishop Ongtioco during the thanksgiving Mass.

Honesto Ongtioco of the diocese of Cubao. As the congregation followed holding lighted white candles and as the Home Office Choir sang songs of jubilation, the bishop proceeded to bless every room of the building. After the blessing, the guests proceeded to the lobby for the thanksgiving Mass celebrated by the bishop and Msgr. Allen Aganon, CFC’s spiritual adviser. In his homily, the bishop spoke of sharing in the joy of CFC because we now have a home, after 30 years! He prophesied that the community will continue to grow with the help of the gifts it receives, including the

of, our trials. They cited that no one could have imagined that the community would pay its debts of more than P20 million because this was accomplished while CFC was in deep leadership crisis. It is also a source of wonderment that CFC members pulled together in common purpose to buy this new building, at a time when the community was still in crisis because of the letting go of GK. They all reiterated that the new home office is a fulfillment of and a testament to God’s faithfulness to CFC over 30 years, and a symbol of
Home / C3

Joe Tale, CFC Chairman


CBCP Monitor
May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

Reflections on CFC@30
AS we celebrate our pearl anniversary in June, we in CFC can truly say that we celebrate a new day. The dark night has dawned into daybreak. Morning has indeed broken, and what a beautiful morning it is for the next phase of our community life. We have just been through severe challenges, much more than any other we have experienced in any period in CFC’s history. But these challenges, which could have broken us and even destroyed us, have instead united us as a community, have made our vision and mission clearer, have strengthened our integration with the Catholic Church, have in fact opened up new horizons for evangelization, for family renewal, and for caring for the poor. Much like the grain of sand that irritates an oyster, these challenges have honed us as a community, and by the grace of God, the Pearl Maker himself, have turned us into a people poised to do more for His kingdom. Our journey these past five years, from our 25th year to now our 30th year, has been rough, even stormy, but necessary for God’s purpose for CFC to happen. And after going through our desert and wilderness as we moved from silver to pearl, we understand better, we realize more deeply, God’s wisdom in all that happened. We now stand on the mountain ridge, appreciating the valley where we came from, but gazing up to the peaks that await us and to where He is directing our path. We, too, now stand more confidently on the water’s edge, no longer as fearful of the occasional wind and waves, for during our tumultuous times, we dove deeper into our spiritual reservoir, into the depths where the sand and the oysters are, and where pearls are made. Contemplative prayer has allowed us to confront the dark nights, and we now recognize that it was dark because the resplendent God, in His great love for us, was so near and our human eyes could not take the glare of His brightness. This, our pearl anniversary, is therefore special, particularly because the precursor events leading to and surrounding it, have made us realize God’s hand designing this event to be a watershed moment for CFC, for us to pause and appreciate, much more than any other anniversary in the past. This moment is an opportune time to reflect where the Lord has taken us through the years, and how He wants us to move forward. It is clear to us now, coming from the storm, that we have been honed to take CFC to yet another level in our mission. We have been molded and formed in order to share the gift that is CFC to the world in a greater way. We have turned the corner as far as evangelization is concerned. There is resurgent evangelization once again, in the Philippines and around the globe. We are opening new countries once more, and growing in number and territory where we are established. Globally CFC is experiencing a new springtime of evangelization. In the Philippines, the center of the work, new fields of harvest beckon. The Archdiocese of Manila has asked CFC to take on the family life apostolate programs in its 84 parishes. The government has asked CFC to conduct values formation programs for migrant workers and their families. We have recently partnered with Ateneo de Manila University to help uplift the condition of some 400 public schools under their care. The Department of Education has engaged our help in various aspects of public education in the country. We continue to expand our evangelization and formation programs in the parishes, in government, business and industry, the armed services, prisons, and other institutions. We hear again, louder and clearer now, Blessed John Paul II’s exhortation: “Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ. Open to his saving power the confines of states, and systems political and economic, as well as the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid.” We thank the Lord that He has brought CFC to where it is now, established and better geared up to more fully respond to His Great Commission. CFC has also been blessed with a rich pastoral formation program, tried and proven over the years, but also dynamic and responsive to the times, helping CFC brethren at all levels of membership towards spiritual growth. We have introduced new formation programs that help strengthen the spiritual foundations especially of our leaders. The “Great Adventure: A Journey through the Bible,” developed by Jeff Cavins, provides a better appreciation of the Bible and the story of our salvation, thereby helping draw us to be more solidly anchored on the Word. A course on Contemplative Prayer, developed with the guidance of Sister Mary Niere of the Carmelite nuns, has enhanced our spiritual deepening. We are also responding to the community’s evolving demographics after 30 years. Thus, we are finalizing programs designed to address concerns of the senior members of the community, in the same way that we have developed programs especially relevant to young couples just starting a family. We are initiating an annual global recollection, a near simultaneous period of prayer and reflection of all CFC communities everywhere around the world. This will help us to be truly one global family together in prayer, and strengthen our common spirituality, culture and way of life. Our work in total Christian liberation has been revisited, and is now on firmer ground. We have gone back to our original work with the poor, ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor), guided by principles that govern our way of life in CFC. It is clearer now that our work with the poor is intimately connected to and flows out of our love for God, and that therefore, Christ is always the center of the work. In line with our vision, we likewise pursue this work consistent with our being one and integrated with the Catholic Church. This posture has also endeared us to partners, old and new, who clearly see the need for a strong spiritual and moral values foundation for any work with the poor. The various programs have been refocused, refined and revitalized. The backroom systems and processes have been tightened and the organizational structure streamlined. While still on the re-launch mode, our work for the poor in ANCOP is surely generating new energy, gathering steam, and just about moving full steam ahead. We are fine-tuning the different Social Ministries to be more focused on much needed advocacy work to promote good governance, responsible citizenship, transformational justice, environmental renewal, community health and wellness, and other issues to advance social justice. The different Social Ministries core groups will continue to be the main resource to the CFC areas with regard to our evangelization of various sectors of society. Its actual programs for the poor will be pursued in coordination with ANCOP for greater synergy and impact. Our integration with the Catholic Church has been strengthened. Vatican, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has time and again confirmed its recognition of only one Couples for Christ, the one under the leadership of the International Council. In line with this, we were invited to participate in the Vatican-organized Congress of Asian Catholic Laity held in Seoul, Korea in August/September 2010. We have been received in official audiences with the heads of the Pontifical Councils of the Laity, of the Family, and of Migrant Workers and Itinerant Peoples. We are represented in the Board of Trustees of Laiko, the umbrella organization of Catholic lay organizations in the Philippines. We publish a monthly supplement in the CBCP Monitor, the official newspaper of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. We are represented in the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Bible Society, representing the Catholic lay. CFC volunteers help out in the various CBCP Episcopal commissions, particularly for the youth, missions and migrant workers. An increasing number of our young around the world have responded to the call for vocation in the priesthood and religious life. Church integration has also been established and strengthened in our international communities in the different continents, much, much more than ever before, especially where ClergyLay Congresses have been initiated and organized by CFC. We have also strengthened the expression of our core value of being pro-life. We have named the ministry Gift of Life to give fullness of meaning and relevance to this important aspect of our life and mission. This ministry is actively involved in the fight for life not only in the Philippines (currently focused on the RH Bill), but also in the other countries. Even as we faced the storms, but also moved on without let up on our holistic mission of evangelization, family renewal, and work for the poor, we have not been remiss in the prudent governance of our resources. We have put our books and finances in good order. With the inspiring generosity of CFC brethren worldwide, we wiped out our sizable bank debts and have operated within the means that the Lord has given us. And significant amidst all these, we have been blessed by the Lord with the special gift of a home we can now call our own. What a great 30th year anniversary blessing to CFC! This has been a long time dream of community, which now, in God’s own time, has finally become reality. Once more, the generosity of CFC brethren from all over the world has been overwhelming. Thank you all. To our young full time workers and missionaries especially: this new home also expresses our love and concern for the next generation of CFC, part of our legacy to you to equip you better for the mission. More and more, we are not working on our own, and have in fact strengthened linkages with other partners in mission. Of great significance is our full reconciliation with our mother community, Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (Joy of the Lord), which founded CFC in 1981. The relationship was broken when CFC separated in 1993. Although a joint statement of reconciliation was signed in 2005, the substance and fullness of the reconciliation really occurred only on April 7, 2011, in a joyful and meaningful gathering of the leaders of the two communities. Both communities now look forward eagerly to cooperation and collaboration in our shared mission of evangelization, particularly in the work with the poor. We have begun to pass on the torch to our younger set of leaders. The training and formation of our KFC, YFC and SFC have also honed them to assume greater
Reflections / C3

Joe Yamamoto, CFC Director

Heart of a Champion
NOWADAYS, travel to faraway places is no longer as tedious and difficult as it used to be. In spite of the hassles over catching flights, check-in and boarding procedures and the inevitable security checks, there are also the available entertainments, particularly inflight movies. On one recent trip with Mila and our two daughters, we were greatly entertained by the inflight movie “Secretariat,” a film about the thoroughbred that won Triple Crown titles in the early 1970s. To win in one major horse racing event is already cause for big celebration; to win three major races is an extremely rare phenomenon, particularly since this record stood unchallenged for three decades. Secretariat, the ‘hero’ of the film was named Horse of the Year and brought fame and wealth to his owners. The movie was not just about a phenomenal race horse but about the people around it -- the owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane) the trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich) and the jockey who rode the horse to victory -- three different individuals brought together by unusual circumstances. In the end, despite their differences, the chemistry between them proved right for the desired outcome. Each of them displayed the rare kind of conviction and commitment that makes for ‘champions.’ They demonstrated that feeling of assurance that they can confront adversities and overcome all odds. The thoroughbred, Secretariat, loved to ‘run,’ and to ‘come from behind’ and had inherited the instinct to win from a great pedigree. The horse was the glue that held the story together. There is another beautiful story of a champion that inspires – the story of Eric Liddell. Liddell was the Scotsman who won the 1924 Olympic gold medal in the 400meter relay race. The Oscar winning 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire, was about his life, particularly about his conviction to put his love and duty to God first before his personal honor and desires. In the movie, Liddell refused to run the 100-meter race which he was strongly favored to win because the event fell on the Sabbath. Rather than please the people and win glory for himself and his country, he chose to please and obey God. By a strange twist of events, Eric found himself scheduled to run in the 400-meter race which was never his forte. On the fateful day of the race, as he was getting settled at the starting line, an American friend approached him and placed in his hand a handwritten quotation from Samuel 2:30- “those who honor me I will honor.” From a rather ungainly start, Eric paced himself and gradually gained momentum. In the last laps, throwing caution to the winds, he literally gave everything he had in him and against all odds, won the race! Eric the Champion was swept off his feet and carried on the shoulders of his team mates for that joyful moment of triumph and victory for his country. But for Eric, the greater victory was that he had not sacrificed his principles, he had stood by what he believed in, he had given homage and honor to God. He was a ‘champion’ after God’s own heart, like the heroes of the Old testament. PURSUIT OF GREATER LOVE Liddell ran competitively for a few more years. Eventually, like his father before him, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a minister of religion and a missionary. After much discernment, he went back to China, where he was born at the time his father was a missionary there. He served as a missionary in the remote mountainous regions of Northern China. His was a life of spartan simplicity, privation and difficulty, yet he found fulfillment and happiness in proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers and in teaching Chinese children. He eventually married the daughter of a Canadian missionary couple with whom he had three daughters. The routine of their lives was interrupted as war clouds gathered. When the Second World War broke out, with China being in the midst of that conflict, Eric sent his wife and children back to Canada. He and his younger brother Rob, a doctor, stayed on. They were eventually incarcerated in the Weihsien internment camp with other foreign nationals. As prisoners, they were subjected to more privations and hardships, but those adversities failed to dampen Eric’s spirit. He never wavered in his commitment nor passion. He became the fabric that held the other prisoners together and his spiritual strength and conviction became a rallying point and anchor for many. When even other misisionaries were becoming desperate, Eric maintained his dignity and compassion. Despite hardships and scarcity of supplies, he and Rob continued to minister to others, especially the sick and the elderly. Their work days were long and hard.Finally, malnutrition and exhaustion took its toll and he developed advanced brain tumor. He died in 1945. A missionary, who was with Eric when he died, heard him utter his last words – “ It ‘s complete surrender“. Indeed Eric Liddell had surrendered everything in life to God. REMEMBRANCE Long after the death of Eric Liddell, his life and deeds continue to inspire people. Fifty-six years after the 1924 Paris Olympics, in the 1980 Moscow Olympics another Scotsman, Allan Welles, won the 100-meter dash. Asked if he was offering this victory to honor Harold Abrahams, who was the British champion for the 100-meter race in the 1924 Paris Olympics, in the race that Eric should have competed in, and most assuredly would have won, Welles replied - “No, this one is for Eric Liddell” In 2008, sometime before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese authorities revealed that during the war, a few British prisoners including Eric Liddell, were offered a chance to leave China as part of a prisoner exchange arrangement brokered by Winston Churchill. Eric refused and instead gave his place to a pregnant Chinese woman.This unknown fact about him surprised even his family. In 1991, a memorial headstone, made from special granite, was placed at his tomb in the former prisoner camp in Weifang (formerly Weishien) by his alma mater, the Edinburgh University. Written as epitaph were the simple words taken from Isaiah 40:31- “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” What lessons does the life of Eric Liddell teach us? These are all very basic values that a Christian needs to nurture: singlemindedness for God, a courageous life, fearlessness to think and act out of the box, a life of prayer, and being rooted on the foundation of the Word of God. Eric Liddell exemplified these lessons for us in this modern age. But there are many who came ahead who lived these virtues out as well. The life and times of Gideon are worth examining not for comparison but to reinforce how the heroes of the Old Testament serve as timely models. Gideon (Mighty Warrior) came from humble origin from the tribe of Manasseh, a very unlikely candidate to free the people of Israel from the marauding Midianites. Gideon was very unsure of himself and unconvinced of God’s command to free his people. But he did have the temerity to ask God for proof. He asked for two miracles, to be performed by the Lord on consecutive nights, each miracle the exact opposite of the other. God, ever faithful, showed Gideon the desired miracles. Only then did Gideon realize that he was indeed being called to do God’s bidding and that he had no other response except to show SINGLEMINDEDNESS for HIM. His initial mission was to destroy the altars of Baal and to rally the people from the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali to stand up to the Midianites and Amalekites. It took uncommon COURAGE to stand up to the enemies of Israel, who were after all much superior in strength and in numbers. It was just a short matter of time before a major confrontation happened. Arrayed against the more powerfully massed armies of Midianites and Amalekites were the mere 32,000 soldiers of Gideon. We all know the story of how God thought that the 32,000, a mere fraction of the might of the enemy, were still too many to accomplish God’s planned victory. In a series of tests, God, through Gideon, pruned the army to just 300 faithful soldiers. Conventional contemporary military wisdom will tell you that Gideon’s strategy was so farfetched and unrealistic. Modern military strategists would insist on parity in strength and numbers, at least to raise the possibility of success. But the plan was God’s and in the end, the victory was His. God’s plan for the 300 soldiers was a very unorthodox strategy to deliver the Midianites into the hands of God’s people. The night before the fateful battle, Gideon and another companion reconnoitered the enemy camp. Encouraged by what he saw and heard, Gideon issued to each man unlikely weapons – a trumpet (shofar) and a clay jar with a lighted torch hidden inside. The small band was divided into three companies of a hundred men who were ordered to march into the enemy camp. The next steps were examples of FEARLESSNESS to THINK and ACT of the BOX. Upon reaching the edge of the camp, the three companies of Israelites followed the lead of Gideon and swooped down on the unsuspecting and sleeping enemies. They blew their shofar, smashed the jars and amid the continuous blowing of the shofar, shouted: “A sword for the Lord and Gideon!” In the confusion and panic, the enemy ended up killing each other. Thus were the enemies of Israel delivered “not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zech 4:6) . Gideon PRAYED and he was answered. His remaining life was spent rooted in the FOUNDATION of the WORD of GOD. His godly ways allowed him to lead his people with wisdom and compassion. We draw inspiration from the lives of these virtuous men, one from olden times and another in modern times. Their examples show us that godliness knows no age and that the basic values never change. We continue to pray that we may emulate this kind of selflessness and singlemindedness for God.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 15 No. 11
May 23 - June 5, 2011

By Jennifer Pencil Villa

UAE Holds 1st National Conference
Rouquel Ponte, CFC International Council Member and CFC International Missions Director, delivered the second talk, “Rely on the Mighty Power of God.” He exhorted the participants to entrust their lives to God, just as Jesus did. Art Los Baños then shared about his financial struggles and how God rewarded him with a good job. material things. During the fourth talk, “Put on the Full Armor of God,” Lito Tayag highlighted that when we are at war, we can get hurt. When people in community hurt us, we must continue in the mission, knowing that the Lord has won the battle for us. Dave Donceras shared about being faithful in service despite harassments that come our way. The final session “Victory in the Spirit” was delivered by Rouquel who emphasized the virtues of integrity, righteousness, nobleness, and faithfulness. Andrew Bo, CFC’s new country coordinator for Pakistan, shared about overcoming fears through the power of prayer, obedience, and faithfulness. The conference ended with Arnel Batusin leading the crowd in a powerful praise fest. The distribution of “God tags” by the CFC leaders to all the participants was a fitting and empowering way to end the day.
June 21, 2011 (Tuesday)8am- CFC Golf Tournament (Villamor Air Base) 8pm- CFC Mission Core Teaching Night (Xavier School)



THE CFC U.A.E. 1st National Conference with the theme “ARMOR OF GOD” was held at Ewan Hotel, Sharjah last April 29 2011. The event was attended by 995 people from around the seven Emirates of the UAE, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates. The event was opened with a lively and encouraging message from the CFC UAE National Director, Leo Verdolaga. Five meaningful talks, sharings, and reflections made up the one day event. The first talk about the “Field of Battle” was given by CFC International Council Member Lito Tayag, who shared his personal experiences in serving CFC in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Samar and Nina Ponte and Lito and Linda Tayag join UAE brethren in worship. other provinces. He encouraged everyone to consider their Nina Ponte, Rouquel’s wife, gave working environment as a battle field Talk 3, “Stand Firm Against the Foe.” and to become good examples to our She emphasized that we should alwork colleagues so as to bring the ways listen carefully to the Lord’s Good News to them. His wife, Linda, leading and avoid focusing on our then gave an inspiring sharing about self. Ryan Fajardo shared about how how to fight against the negative forces we should become good stewards of the world. of God’s blessings and not focus on


June 18-19, 2011 8 am CFC Oceania Conference (Legend Villas, Pioneer St, Mandaluyong) June 20, 2011 (Monday) 8am- CFC Bowling Tournament (Ever Gotesco Commonwealth Greens)

June 22, 2011 (Wednesday) 7:30am- CFC Global Leaders Summit (Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City) 1:00pm-5:00pm- CFC ANCOP Congress (Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City) 6:00pm-9:00pm- ANCOP Song Writing Festival (Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City) June 23, 2011 (Thursday) 8am-5pm -Nomination / Elections of the CFC International Council and Board of Elders June 24, 2011 (Friday) 8:00-4:30pm- CFC Lay and Clergy Congress (Forum Tent, PICC) 7pm-10:00pm- CFC Anniversary Ball (Forum Tent, PICC) June 25, 2011 (Saturday) 8am-5pm- Freedom to Love Conference, ULTRA June 26, 2011 (Sunday) 9am-6pm-30th CFC Anniversary Celebration (Rizal Park, Luneta) June 27, 2011 (Monday) Philippine Missions Meeting June 28-July 2, 2011 ANCOP Tour (Homecoming of God’s Army)

The Chairman of the episcopal Commission on the Laity, Bishop Jesse e. Mercado, DD, has issued a letter recommending to all clergy, religious and lay people the Freedom to Love conference featuring Christopher West, an expert on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. he also commended CFC for initiating the conference. his letter of recommendation is reprinted in full below: It is with great joy that we commend the COUPLES FOR CHRIST for inviting to the Philippines CHRISTOPHER WEST, a renowned expert on Pope JOHN PAUL II’s theology of the body. Venerable Pope John Paul II — who will be beatified on 1 May 2011 — gave the theology of the body as a series of lectures during his Wednesday audiences from September 1979 to November 1984 in order to uphold Pope PAUL VI’s Encyclical Humanae vitae and to present the Church’s teaching on marriage and human sexuality in a language suited to modern sensibilities. Delivered just before the first World Youth Day, it is one of the most precious gifts he gave the Church. The theology of the body is not just about sexuality. It is also an attempt to pursue efforts at a new evangelization, as it gives us a holistic vision of the human person and his destiny. It is also a powerful tool towards the renewal of family life and combating the influence of the disastrous effects of the sexual revolution. Christopher West has contributed much to make the Englishspeaking world come to know the theology of the body. He has written several books on the subject. Recently he wrote the foreword to the new and much-improved English translation of the theology of the body lectures. He is a professor at the Theology of the Body Institute (www.tobinstitute.org). This initiative of the Couples for Christ is providential. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has declared 2011 as the Year of the Youth. I, therefore, recommend Christopher West’s conferences to my brother Bishops and Priests, to our consecrated men and women, and to our lay brothers and sisters. Above all, I recommend these conferences to our young people. You can follow this on Facebook (Freedom to Love). God bless you all! Most Rev. JESSE E. MERCADO, D.D. Bishop of Paranaque Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity January 25, 2011

CFC Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia celebrated their 11th anniversary on May 7 - 8. The celebration began on May 7 at 5:30 PM with Holy Mass celebrated by the community’s Spiritual Director, Bishop Dominic Su. A celebration dinner at a local restaurant followed at 7 pm featuring performances by the family ministries.
Home / C1

CFC Sibu Turns 11!
The next day, the festivities were kicked off by a praise parade around the compound of St Teresa’s church. After the parade, the community gathered at the church’s parish hall for the continuation of the family ministries performances. Manny Garcia, International Council member and country head for Brunei, delivered the anniversary address. Area Di-

C2 / Reflections

rector Henjie San Juan, the Area Director of Borneo East Timor Mission Center and Boy Tiongco, Sarawak Mission Head and member of the CFC Brunei National Council, also delivered their exhortations. It was announced at the gathering that Henjie San Juan will be visiting Sibu Sarawak for the last time as Area Director. He will be migrating to Canada in October.

hope that God will continue to pour out on us His blessings for the next 30 years. The council members also expressed their

(Note: As of the end of April, 2011, total donations for the building have reached more than P37 million. This is still short

may also remit your donations to the account numbers provided in earlier memos sent to the community.

CFC Home Office staff and guests worship together in thanksgiving for the gift of CFC’s new home during the Mass.

optimism that the beautiful new headquarters of the CFC would spur all staff members and full-time workers to work more persistently towards excellence and the attainment of our vision. Throughout the day, the guests inspected the recentlyblessed premises, marveling at the neat modular office spaces and the warm colors, and noted that still much more needs to be done.
KFC / C1

of the P50 million total price for the building. The Build My House committee is still accepting donations at the Home Office. You

Home Office staff inspect their new home and admire the modular furniture.

responsibilities in the Lord’s vineyard. We in the adult ministries, CFC, HOLD and SOLD, are truly excited, for we see God’s great gift of community not only for now, but continuing from generation to generation, for as long as we are faithful to our God, to our covenant in CFC, and to the teachings and way of life that we have been blessed with. And so, on our 30th anniversary, we truly celebrate in a special way, thanking God for blessing us with CFC all these years, and for forming us, through trials and pain, to be the pearl that we can be. We take time to thank with deep love every member who stood firm for the community. At the same time, we also recognize those who helped bring CFC to where it is today, even those who later chose to be inactive, even those who by their word or actuation, have chosen to separate from CFC. They, too, are part of our history, of the unfinished CFC tapestry that the Lord continues to weave into the future. We take this time to say thank you to those who have been part of this wonderful family of CFC at some time or the other. And to those who are not in the mainstream of our mission now, we say: you are welcome to come home, and once more join us as one united family, united in vision and mission, in culture, way of life and governance. But of course, our thanksgiving is really to Him, our Almighty God, who makes all things possible. Indeed, His kingdom is the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46). And as the chorus of our special song for this anniversary proclaims, “In Jesus we found the pearl of great price.” To God be the glory!

Kids from different delegations danced their hearts out as they shared the flavor and culture of their areas. One of the highlights of the IKV was the first talk given by Justin Silvestre, an 11-year old KFC from the North sector of Metro Manila. It was the first time for a KFC member to give a talk in the conference. Speaking like a person beyond his years, Justin encouraged the children not to let evil win over them because Christ has already saved us. 200 kids joined the Kids’ Run in the morning of the second day of the IKV. The run aimed to advocate a healthy mind, body and spirit. Some of the kids interviewed said that joining the Kids’ Run was “a new experience,” a means of “exercise,” “a venue for meeting new friends,” but most importantly,

it was “running with and for Christ!” The kids then participated in three different workshops on “Praying,” “Loving” and “Serving.” The kids had fun going through obstacle courses before entering the different workshop tents. While the kids were enjoying the workshops, the parents and couple coordinators attended the Parents’ Summit at the World Trade Center Tent. Melo Villaroman Jr., a member of the CFC International Council and the Family Ministries Director, explained how children are growing up in an environment where the primary role and authority of parents are being overrun by factors that are unfriendly to family values. On Saturday evening, the IKV play “Gear Up and Take the Lead” was the main high-

light, but it was cut short because of the sudden downpour brought about by Typhoon Bebeng. Despite this minor setback, the IKV pushed through the following day at the World Trade Center, starting off with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Rev. Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ. Before the closing prayer, Fr. Xave led all the kids present to pray for their mothers in commemoration of Mother’s Day. After Mass, KFC International Coordinator Nic Escalona Jr. gave the last talk and encouraged the kids to take the lead, and to continue to pray, love and serve amidst all challenges. Before the conference ended, it was announced that the next conference will be held next year in Davao.

By Pat Villanueva

Fr. Philip himself complimented the speakers, all agreeing that the talks were well delivered. Two sets of service teams went to Puerto Rico to complete the whole program. The first weekend service team was composed of the team of Mark, Benny, Magda and Tony. The second were Romy and Rizzel Vargas, Rene and Rezie Cuizon, Tony Gavino, Fernando and Ruth Lervold (Florida), Dr. Ted and Marilex Luna, and CFC USA National Director Eric Villanueva and his wife Pat. It was a true collaboration of efforts. It was Tony Gavino, who was there on both weekends, who initiated the contact with Fr. Nuñez. Fr. Nunez presented the team to His Excellency Archbishop Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves. The Christian Life Program is well

CBCP Monitor

May 23 - June 5, 2011

Vol. 15 No. 11

The Puerto Rican Connection

THE mission trip to Puerto Rico, initiated by Rod Bustos of Maryland was an enriching experience for the participants as well as the service team. The whole Christian Life Program (CLP) was truly a work of the Lord as it was filled with miracle after miracle. The first miracle was when the service team members missed their scheduled flight by a couple of minutes. The next flight would take them to Puerto Rico late in the evening (which will make them miss a whole day’s worth of CLP). But then, the plane they had missed came back to the terminal because of minor problems, and the service team were allowed to board it!. As if to confirm it was indeed God’s hands at work, as soon as they got on the plane, the flight attendant told the service team that it was a “miracle” they got on the plane. The second miracle was the boldness of our non-Spanish speaking brethren to give the talks in Spanish. While most of the talks were given by Puerto Rican born members from Maryland and Florida and a couple of talks were given by Fr. Philip Nunez (a Puerto Rican priest), talks 11 and 12 were given by members who do not understand Spanish let alone speak the language. They studied the translation into Spanish of the CLP outline, and gave the talk fearlessly, relying only on God’s mighty power (Ephesians 6:10). The participants and

His Excellency Archbishop Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves with Fr. Philip Nunez and the CLP team.

supported by Fr. Nuñez. He expressed a desire to have another CLP conducted in August this year so that CFC membership in Puerto Rico will increase. Hopefully the next CLP will be led by the new graduates themselves, with support from CFC USA. Miguel Reyes and Annie Bejarano were assigned to lead the new graduates, composed of three couples including themselves, six Handmaids, two Servants of the Lord, and one Singles for Christ. The CLP ended with a Mass where the CFC service team was introduced to the whole parish. Fr. Nuñez invited the congregation to join him as he prayed over the service team and gave them a special blessing for mission work. The service team was treated to Puerto Rican hospitality Aside from Fr. Nunez taking them to a place that serves a special Puerto Rican dish called “Mufongo,” one of the participants invited the entire team to his house to watch the Pacquiao-Mosley bout, via pay-perview that he paid for himself. It was an answered prayer for the service team, who had thought that by saying Yes to the mission, they had forfeited their chance to watch this big event! One particular miracle gladdened the hearts of everyone. One participant who hardly speaks English and a Filipino brother who hardly speaks Spanish were able to communicate somehow with a lot of hand gestures, took pleasure in each other’s company, and ended up being friends. Language is not a barrier when the Holy Spirit is at work!

Princess Diaries in UK
By Edna Nidea
RECENTLY, the CFC Family of Northeast England held back-toback events for the men and women, namely the “Knights Tale” and “Princess Diaries” weekends. For the men, the “Knights Tale” weekend was a time to know themselves more intimately as individuals, and to discover their purpose, i.e. to be God’s new army to be sent out to the world. The workshop, three sessions and fellowship night all helped the men present to bond with one another and with God as their King. The screening of the movie “Fireproof” which talks about commitment and transformation in marriage was a good reminder for all present. The last session empowered everyone to truly be knights in God’s army, ready to face all obstacles in life. The “Princess Diaries” weekend was also a memorable event, this time for the women. God reminded all the participants about their identities as “princesses” with Him as “King.” With the example of beauty, obedience and courage set by Mama Mary, women are able to do God’s will for them and for their families. Five inspiring sessions and a joyful fellowship night helped the women to be prepared, just like the “knights,” to be sent to the “battlefield.” The events were a wonderful way for both men and women to affirm their “Yes” to the Lord’s calling – to go and make disciples of all nations, starting with their adopted country, the United Kingdom.

By Emmanuel Asunto

SFC Timor Leste: Standing Firm For Christ
and a former Singles for Christ member in Cebu, delivered the second talk, and reminded the singles to always be on guard for “the enemy never sleeps.” The next talk was given by Karen dela Cerna, another fulltime pastoral worker for CFC East Timor, who rallied the “army” present to put on the full armor of God at all times. Justino Freitas, a Singles for Christ Unit Head from the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Becora, Dili, shared about God’s marching orders in the last talk, proclaiming the core of God’s mission, which is to be pro-poor, pro-life, pro-family and pro-God. for Life” and “Weeds Among Wheat”-- were given by supportive friends of CFC from the religious, namely: Deacon Florentino Gil dos Santos, SVD; Sister Christelle Zabalerio, a Maryknoll nun who helps conduct Natural Family Planning and other ProLife seminars for the CFC Timor Leste community, and Rev. Fr. Alan Bondoc, SVD, respectively.

“HAMRIIK METIN,” which literally means “Stand Firm” was the battle-cry of more than 250 single men and women during the SFC Timor Leste (East Timor) National Conference held in the district of Ermera last May 7 and 8, 2011. The participants came from all seven parishes of Dili, the capital of Timor, and districts (the Philippine equivalent would be provinces) such as Uatolari, Baucau, Fatumaca

and the 500 other parishioners that braved the Sunday morning heat to attend Mass, which was held in an open amphitheater-like area. He also lauded the work of Couples for Christ and its Family Ministries. Fr. Angelo, who is also the chaplain for the armed forces of Timor Leste said that the

CFC and ADMU team up for values formation in public schools

and Viqueque. The first talk was given by Bem Bem Asunto, a fulltime pastoral worker newly assigned to East Timor, who exhorted everyone present to stand up for God and to continue His mission of peace. Fr. Ferdinand Resuena, SVD,

The inspiring talks were backed up by equally uplifting personal experiences from the different sharers and worship leaders, who helped all the delegates lift up everything in their lives to the Lord. The different workshops -- “Love Pretend,” “Stand Up

The workshops were preceded with a “voluntourism” activity in Ermera where the SFC delegates shared their time with different families in the area by praying with and for them, helping them with their chores, and exchanging stories with them. The experience was a touching one for all, and most of the families involved ended up teary-eyed and grateful. The conference ended with a Spirit-filled Mass celebrated by Fr. Angelo Salsinha and Fr. Lourenco de Jesus Suarez, the Ermera parish priest, Fr. Ferdinand Resuena and Deacon Florentino dos Santos. During his homily, Fr. Angelo stressed the importance of “Putting on the Full Armor of God” to the SFCs

“Armor of God” talks were very fitting to be given to Timorese military. This is good news as it could be one step towards strengthening the peacekeeping efforts in Timor. As a bonus from the Lord, CFC and SFC were privileged to have the SFC National Conference featured on TVTL, Timor’s local television network. The presence and support of the CFC Timor Leste Governance Team headed by CFC fulltime pastoral worker Francisco da Costa, along with the help of CFCs, YFCs, and SFCs from Ermera also contributed to the success of the Conference.

CFC Singapore’s 24th Anniversary Celebration
By Uly Abad
Shown are: (from left) Lito Tayag and Joe Tale who signed for CFC, and Fr. Nebres and Dir. Oracion who signed for Ateneo. IC members Rouquel Ponte (standing third from left) and Joey Arguelles (fifth from left) and other CFC leaders look on.

By Fernando Academia
ON April 26, 2011, Couples for Christ (CFC) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement to introduce formation programs to the students and their parents in public schools where the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) is present. The MOA signing, held at PLDT-CTC Convergence Center, Ateneo de Manila, aims to extend ACED’s existing feeding program efforts in the public schools to include the spiritual formation of the student beneficiaries and their parents. ACED Executive Director Carmela C. Oracion briefly discussed the relationship of undernourishment to learning ability of students in public schools.

ADMU President Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ shared how the project of ACED has been benefitting its 400 partner schools in Quezon City and how this could be furthered with the formation programs that CFC is blessed with and that CFC is ready to share. Fr. Nebres pointed out further that the spiritual formation program for the beneficiaries could improve not just the students’ capacity to learn but also the entire families’ capacity to live, according to the right Catholic Christian values. In response, CFC Chairman Joe Tale shared how CFC, through its formation programs, its experience with work with the poor through ANCOP, and, its available manpower can be of help in this partnership with ADMU.

COUPLES for Christ (CFC) Singapore marked its 24th anniversary celebration by holding a day-long event last April 30, 2011, with the theme ‘Back to School.’ Members of the different CFC-SG ministries arrived at the DBS Auditorium, Shenton Way, dressed in school-

inspired uniforms. Patrick Thong, country coordinator for Singapore, formally opened the festivities with a talk centered around the activity’s theme: “One Teacher, one community – rekindling God’s gift of truth and wisdom as the battle rages!” Melo Villaroman, member of the International Council,who

came all the way from the Philippines delivered a short but inspiring exhortation on the 2011 CFC theme, “Put on the Full Armor of God.” The different CFC Singapore ministries were then presented in a parade of banners, which immediately preceded the main event of the day, the “Showtime!,” a dance competition participated in by the different

ministries. The competition judges were Claire Gaite, Joubert Burgos and Beng de Leon. The afternoon activities began with a mini-Concert by the CFC Chapter 2 Music Ministry, with volunteers from CFC East. The day closed with a Mass officiated by the CFC SG Spiritual Director, Father Stephen Yim, along with Father Harold Tolendano from Indonesia.

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