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CBCP Monitor I Lived in the House of Sin / P5

CBCP Head Condemns Killings

June 19, 2006

From Gaudium et Spes to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church / P11

Facts About the Fiction “The Da Vinci Code” / P14

The Laity in the Church / P10


CBCP Monitor

THE president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed alarm over the spate of abductions and killings that has swept the country.

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace

Vol. 10 No. 5

CBCP Head / P 4

June 19, 2006

Closure of Mining in Rapurapu Unlikely Says Bishop by Roy Lagarde SAYING that “money” could influence decisions, a bishop said it remains a “big question” whether the government will heed calls to cease the operations of Lafayette Mining Ltd., in Rapu-rapu Island, Albay.

BEST OPTION: Afloat mine-spilled waters, protesters press for total closure of Lafayette Mining Ltd. in Rapu-rapu, Albay. Inset: Bp. Auturo Bastes, SVD, Chairman of the Rapurapu Fact-Finding Commission.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA, JP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), stressed that while many things are possible, the call for a “moratorium” would be a tough decision for the government. “It is a very difficult decision because money has been going on and this is true world wide,” he said. “Life in the world is controlled by transnational corporations.” “And they would like to have money at whatever cost and they will use people, abuse them, exploit them, and discard them if they are no longer useful,” he added.

Best option The Rapu-rapu fact-finding commission (RRFFC), chaired by Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes has called on the government to issue a moratorium on mining in the island and the revocation of its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC.) It recommended the review of the “Philippine Mining Act,” specifically the provisions on the ownership and management of mining firms and operations. The CBCP has been asking for the said assessment of the said law since 1998 and reiterate their call last January in a pastoral statement. Closure of Mining / P 4

DepEd Opens Sex Education in High Schools by Maria Lourdes G. Ebilane DESPITE strong opposition from the Church, high-school students this school year will be taught sex education including the use of condoms and other contraceptive devices. Set for implementation this month, the Department of Education has come out a teaching module integrating population education concepts on adolescent reproductive health. The “Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH)” lesson guide, a copy of which was obtained by this paper, integrates the concept in areas of Health, English, Science, Filipino, Technology and

Livelihood Education and Araling Panlipunan. “Information and services should be made available to adolescents to help them understand their sexuality and protect them from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and subsequent risk of infertility,” DepEd Acting Secretary Fe A. Hidalgo said in her foreword of said guide. Saying that reproductive health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being,” Hidalgo claimed adolescents have been largely ignored to date by reproductive health service providers. “Reproductive health needs of this group should be based on information

Pope Names ‘Priest of the Poor’ as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila POPE Benedict XVI has appointed Fr. Broderick Socuaco Pabillo as Auxiliary bishop of Manila on May 24, 2006. Known as an advocate of the poor, Pabillo renounced the comfort of his congregation, Salesian Society of St. John Bosco, in order to live with the poor in the parish of St. Ezekiel Moreno in Macarascas, Palawan since 1999. Born in Negros Oriental, the Bishop-elect Broderick Pabillo 53-year old auxiliary bishop-elect was ordained priest in 1982. He spent his college seminary formation in Don Bosco College Seminary, Calamba, Laguna and subsequently took his Theological studies and earned his Bachelor Degree in Sacred Theology (STB) from the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila. Fr. Pabillo took his Licentiate Degree in Sacred Scriptures (SSL) at the Pontificium Institutum Biblicum in Rome. In another development, the Vatican also appointed Fr. Pablo Virgilio Siongco-David as Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pope Names / P 4

that helps them attain a level of maturity required to make responsible decisions” she said. Disturbed Dr. Angelita Aguirre of the Human Life International, a core group of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, said she is deeply disturbed by the content of the module especially on the active promotion of “value safe sex education.” In a letter to Hidalgo, Aguirre, who also chairs the committee on Bioethics of the Makati Medical Center Department of MediDepEd Opens / P 4

Church Exhorts Faithful to Build “Civilization of Love” THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called on the faithful to build “civilization of love” during the celebration of the Year of Social Concerns at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros last May 11. In a Pastoral Exhortation, Lagdameo expressed concern over what he called weariness, cynicism and hopelessness among many people. “We urge the faithful and all our institutions: first, to evaluate what they are presently doing to build character, capacity and community; and secondly, to pray and discern over what more we can do to promote a “civilization of love,” he said. He said people can do this “prophetically critiquing and denouncing injustice and by prompting ‘positive activity’ that will

Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM, communicating in sign language the liturgy during the celebration of the Year of Social Concern.

‘promote a society befitting mankind because it befits Christ.’” Lagdameo said the country’s present situation “calls us to be more actively committed to living out the social teaching of the church. “Political turmoil, moral corruption, and environmental degradation have worsened massive Church Exhorts / P 4

CBCP Welcomes New Nuncio ”WE are welcoming Archbishop Filoni as a brother and a colleague sharing our Episcopal concerns with the heart of the Pope Benedict XVI who he represents,” said Arch- Most Rev. Fernando Filoni bishop Angel N. Lagdameo, CBCP President, on his Welcome Message on the arrival of the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on May 16. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, appointed Filoni last February to replace Archbishop Antonio Franco who was transferred to Israel. Lagdameo said that as pastor and diplomat, Filoni “will reflect and dialogue with the Philippine Bishops on the pastoral and social concerns that today characterize our local church.” CBCP Welcomes / P 4

CBCP Monitor


World News

June 19, 2006

World Mission Day: “Charity, Soul of the Mission”

Young People: Build Your House on the Rock of Christ VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - This afternoon, having first visited Wawel cathedral in Krakow, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to the city’s Blonie Park the site of many of John Paul II’s celebrations in Krakow where he met with young people. Following a greeting pronounced by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, and testimonies from a number of young people, the Pope delivered an address to the 1,000,000 strong crowd that had gathered in the park to hear him. “In the heart of every man,” he began, “there is the desire for a house. Even more so in the young person’s heart there is a great longing for a proper house, a stable house. ... There is a longing for a house you can be proud of. ... These longings are simply the desire for a full, happy and successful life. Do not be afraid of this desire! Do not run away from this desire! Do not be discouraged at the sight of crumbling houses, frustrated desires and faded longings. God the Creator, who inspires in young hearts an immense yearning for happiness, will not abandon you in the difficult construction of the house called life.” “How do I build that house called life? Jesus ... encourages us to build on the rock. In fact, it is only in this way that the house will not crumble. But what does it mean to build a house on the rock? Building on the rock means, first of all, to build on Christ and with Christ.” It means “to build on a foundation that is called ‘crucified love’.” Christ, Benedict XVI added, “knowing us better than we know ourselves, says to us: ‘You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you’.” Building on the rock “means to build with Someone Who is always faithful, even when we are lacking in faith, because He cannot deny Himself; ... with Someone Who constantly looks down on the wounded heart of man and says: ‘I do not condemn you, go and do not sin again.’ ... Do not be afraid to lean on Christ! Long for Christ, as the foundation of your life!” To build on the rock, the Pope went on, also means “building on Someone Who was rejected,” and he recalled St. Peter’s description of Jesus “as a ‘living stone rejected by men.’ ... The undeniable fact of the election of Jesus by God does not conceal the mystery of evil, whereby man is able to reject Him Who has loved to the very end. This rejection of Jesus ... extends throughout human history, even to our own time. ... Often, Jesus is ignored, ... He is declared a king of the past Who is not for today and certainly not for tomorrow. He is relegated to a storeroom of questions and persons one dare not mention publicly in a loud voice. If in the process of building the house of your life you encounter those who scorn the foundation on which you are building, do not be discouraged! A strong faith must endure tests. ... Our faith in Jesus Christ ... must frequently face others’ lack of faith.” Yet to build on the rock, the Holy Father highlighted, also means “being aware that there will be misfortunes. ... Christ not only understands man’s desire for a lasting house, but he is also fully aware of all that can wreck man’s happiness. Do not be surprised therefore by misfortunes. ... An edifice built on the rock is not the same as a building removed from the forces of nature, which are inscribed in the mystery of man. To have built on rock means being able to count on the knowledge that at difficult times there is a reliable force upon which you can trust.” “What does it mean to build on the rock?” the Pope asked again. “Building on the rock also means to build on Peter and with Peter. ... ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.’ ... If Christ, the Rock, ... calls His Apostle ‘rock,’ it means that He wants Peter, and together with him the entire Church, to be a visible sign of the one Savior and Lord. ... Do not be fooled by those who want to play Christ against the Church. ... Young people, you know well the Rock of our times. Accordingly, do not forget that neither that Peter who is watching our gathering from the window of God the Father, nor this Peter who is now standing in front of you, nor any successive Peter will ever be opposed to you or the building of a lasting house on the rock.” “The last word is a hopeful one,” Pope Benedict concluded. “The fear of failure can at times frustrate even the most beautiful dreams. ... It can convince one that the yearning for such a house is only a childish aspiration and not a plan for life. ... You are all witnesses to hope, to that hope which is not afraid to build the house of one’s own life because it is certain that it can count on the foundation that will never crumble: Jesus Christ our Lord.” Having completed his address, the Pope gave the young people the “Flame of Mercy,” as a symbol of their mission to carry the light of faith throughout the world, and blessed the first stone of the John Paul II Center.

VATICAN CITY, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) “Charity, Soul of the Mission,” is the theme of the Holy Father’s Message for 80th World Mission Day, due to be celebrated on October 22, 2006. “Each Christian community,” writes the Pope in his Message which is dated April 29, “is called to communicate God Who is Love. ... Man came from the Creator’s hands as the fruit of an initiative of love. Sin then clouded the divine stamp within him,” but God the Father sent His Son to save “all human beings from the slavery of evil and death.” “Thanks to Christ, the Good Shepherd Who does not abandon the lost sheep, men and women of all times are given the possibility of entering into communion with God. ... The amazing sign of this love is the Cross.” Benedict XVI indicates that “in order to love according to God, it is necessary to live in Him and of Him. God is man’s first ‘home’ and only those who live in Him burn with a fire of divine char-

ity capable of ‘setting alight’ the world. Is this not the mission of the Church in all times? It is not, then, difficult to understand that true missionary solicitude the principal commitment of the ecclesial community - is linked to faithfulness to divine love, and this is true for each individual Christian, for each local community, for the particular Churches and for the entire People of God. “Awareness of this shared mission,” he adds, “is what animates the generous willingness of Christ’s disciples to undertake works of human and spiritual promotion that bear witness, as the beloved John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical ‘Redemptoris Missio,’ to ‘the soul of all missionary activity: love’.” The Holy Father emphasizes the fact that “to be missionaries means to love God with all one’s being, to the point of giving, if necessary, one’s life for Him. How many priests, religious and lay people, even in our own time, have rendered the supreme witness of love through martyrdom!”

He adds: “To be missionaries is to attend, like the Good Samaritan, to everyone’s needs, especially those of the poorest and most needy, because those who love with Christ’s heart do not seek their own interest, but only the glory of the Father and the good of others. This is the secret of the apostolic fruitfulness of missionary work, which cuts across frontiers and cultures, reaches people and spreads even to the confines of the world.” The Pope concludes his Message by asking that World Mission Day “be an occasion to better understand that the witness of love, the soul of the mission, concerns everyone. ... Alongside those who are on the front line ... of evangelization - and here my thoughts go out to missionaries - there are many others, children, young people and adults, who with prayer and cooperation contribute in various ways to spreading the Kingdom of God on earth. The hope is that, with everyone’s contribution, this shared participation may grow ever more.”

Ecclesial Movements: Builders of a Better World VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities which is taking place in Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, from May 31 to June 2 on the theme: “the beauty of being a Christian and the joy of communicating this.” Referring to the theme of the meeting, Benedict XVI affirms in his Message: “Over the course of the centuries, Christianity was communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness. This was the force that ‘mobilized’ so many people over the generations. ... Today also, Christ continues to make so many people’s hearts ring with that decisive ‘come and follow Me,’ which can decide their destiny.” The Holy Father calls on the ecclesial movements “always to be schools of communion. ... Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live. ... Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies. ... How much evil in the lives of men and nations can be produced by thirst for power, possession and plea-

sure! Bring to this troubled world the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free.” “Where charity is expressed as a passion for the life and destiny of others, radiating into the affections ... and becoming a force for creating a more just social order, there we build a civilization capable of facing up to the advance of barbarism. Be builders of a better world, according to the ‘ordo amoris’ in which the beauty of human life is expressed.” The Pope highlights how ecclesial movements and new communities form part of “the living structure of the Church. She thanks you for your missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life.” The Church also thanks you, the Holy Father’s Message concludes: “for the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of Peter’s Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your ready obedience. ... The movements must face all problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to legitimate pastors.”

Beatification of 188 Japanese Martyrs moves closer to realization JAPAN—The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican office that conducts the theological examination of causes for beatification and canonization, gave approval May 7 to the cause of Petro Kassui Kibe and 187 other Japanese Martyrs of the 17th century. According to Jesuit Fr. Fuyuki Hirabayashi, secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan’s (CBCJ) committee working on the presentation of the cause to Rome, a beatification ceremony will likely take place some time after May 2007. Bishop Junichi Nomura, the CBCJ president, and Bishop Osamu Mizobe, head of the special committee for the beatification, visited the

Vatican offices with Fr. Hirabayashi in January and submitted a petition signed by all the members of the CBCJ. Cardinal Seiichi Shirayanagi also presented a petition with the same request to Pope Benedict XVI in person. A date has yet to be fixed for a meeting of the cardinals who will give final approval to the request, but according to Bishop Mizobe they are almost certain to approve it. The next step will be the pope’s signature and promulgation of the decree of beatification. At the next meeting of the bishops’ conference in June Bishop Mizobe will propose setting up a special committee to prepare for the beatification ceremony. (CBCJ News)

Church organisations rush massive relief to quake victims NEW DELHI, India—Following the massive earthquake which struck Yogyakarta, Indonesia, countries and organisations around the world have rushed relief and aid. Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Internationalis along with various other Catholic and Christian organisations have launched massive relief to the quake affected victims. Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale and said to be Indonesia’s worst disaster after the Tsunami in 2004, the earthquake has killed at least 5,427 with the death toll likely to rise. Another 20,000 people are reported to be injured while nearly 200,000 have been rendered homeless. A number of bodies are likely to be still trapped under the debris, but chances of finding survivors are slim, rescue workers have said. “Local Churches and Church buildings are already housing affected people and we have staff from our Caritas in Indonesia as well as from Caritas members of Netherlands, Germany and USA in the area,” reported Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, Duncan MacLaren. “The seven Catholic hospitals in the Province have opened their doors and we are preparing to help as much as we can.” Catholic Relief Service (CRS) is working alongside local partners to distribute shelter material for the homeless survivors and has committed an initial $200,000 to the initial relief efforts. Relief teams from World Vision in Jakarta have dispatched emergency supplies to thousands of now homeless people in central Java. Items to be distributed include essential nonfood items: blankets, tarps for shelter, clothing, and medical supplies for the wounded. Other Christian Organisations like Salvation Army and Church World Service has also launched massive relief operations in the quake-ravaged areas. (CBCI News)

CBCP Monitor


News Feature

June 19, 2006

© Denz Dayao

Social Concerns Year Urges National Renewal

Flanked by CBCP President, Abp. Angel Lagdameo and Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales talks on Pondo ng Pinoy during a press conference on the celebration of the Year of Social Concern, May 11, 2006.

by Bob R. Acebedo THE Philippine Catholic church cannot be more emphatic in calling for national transformation and renewal when it launched recently its pastoral agenda for 2006 as Social Concerns Year. In a solemn concelebrated Mass held last May 11 at the Manila Cathedral and attended by representatives of various Catholic groups, network of CBCP Commissions, Church agencies and organizations, the CBCP marked the formal launching of Social Concerns Year of 2006 and urged the public to discern, strengthen their common mission of

social action and pray for social transformation. The solemn celebration was presided by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and concelebrated by the memberbishops of the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The CBCP Permanent Council, consisting of 11 bishops as members, is the central management body of the CBCP which acts in behalf of the Episcopal Conference’s Plenary Assembly and meets regularly every 2 months. CBCP President Archbishop An-

gel N. Lagdameo, who delivered the homily, highlighted the need to raise the Filipinos’ moral consciousness with respect to the social issues affecting the country, and to be aware of the responses being given by the Church. “2006 as a Social Concern Year (is) a year to remind ourselves that we can renew our nation, we can transform our country as well as our social relationships through the concerns we show to the least of our brethren,” Lagdameo said. Lagdameo urged the public to learn or draw inspiration, as basis for social concern, from the social teachings of the Church already articulated by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), particularly on the social doctrines and issues of human dignity and solidarity, universal purpose of earthly goods and private property, social justice and love, active non-violence, love of preference for the poor, value of human work, integrity of creation, and ‘people power’ as people empowerment. Current social and political situation in the country, Lagdameo inferred, would indicate that these social doctrines of the Church have been oft violated. “The concentration of economic wealth and political power in the hands of the few is an affront to human dignity and solidarity,” said Lagdameo, quoting PCP II. “Dishonesty in the market

Quevedo Cites Challenges in Formation of Priests in Asia by Roy Lagarde ARCHBISHOP Orlando Quevedo, OMI, Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) focused his attention on the proper formation of priests, as he met last month with formators from all over Asia. Quevedo emphasized that point in his keynote address delivered to around 80 major seminary formators at the formal start of the consultation on the Human Formation of Priests conducted by the new FABC Office of the Clergy last May 14-19, at the Selesian Retreat House in Hua Hin, Thailand. The archbishop underscored that the faithful are outraged and scandalized by the cases of some priests violating their vow of celibacy. “People are deeply pained by the lack of congruence between priestly commitment and priestly behavior,” said Quevedo, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). What saddened the people more, according to Quevedo, is what they witness “as pastoral mediocrity among some priests” and their “wanting to remain in the status quo of ministry.” Ripple effect He said that some priests have succumbed to the temptation of comfort and security abandoning their priestly idealism and spirit of self-sacrifice. Quevedo emphasized that priesthood should not be seen as a career or a livelihood, but as an identification with and imitation of Christ. “People make snide remarks about the ‘Church of the Poor’ when they see some priests with the latest expensive electronic gadgets or even vehicles,” he said. He said that priestly failure has a ripple effect that could create great damage to the image and credibility of the Church. “The number of priestly failure is insignificant among the thousands of Asian priests but the notoriety that this small number forms is sadly disproportionate,” he said.

Substantial improvement Because of the said challenges, Quevedo urged formators to prepare the seminarians well and highlighted few areas in the formation of priests that needs improvement. Among those he mentioned is the need for a “holistic continuum” in seminary formation and a systematic follow-up of spiritual formation in the succeeding years. “In many cases there seems to be a lack of continuity between a special stage—a year—of spirituality formation and the other stages of formation,” he said. The archbishop also stated the lack of a definite orientation in seminary formation. “The idea seems to be that the seminarian should be given an opportunity to get a good education and in the process he would somehow get the call from God,” he said. As they prepare young men for priesthood, Quevedo reminded the formators the importance of giving attention to the seminarians’ growth towards human maturity. Model by example “Seminary formators can only do so much,” he said. “The individual candidate himself is the principal agent. But the teacher, Quevedo continued, cannot be really effective unless he is also a witness of the Good Shepherd unto whose image he helps form the seminarian. “Beyond teaching then is the daunting task of being a role model,” he added. Plenary Assembly Meanwhile, last May 19, Quevedo also met the Bishops-Chairmen and Executive Secretaries of all the FABC Officers in Bangkok. The main agenda was planning for 2008 FABC Plenary Assembly on Living the Eucharist in Asia. FABC is a voluntary organization of Episcopal conferences in Asia, formed with the approval of the Vatican to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of the Church in Asia.

place, graft and corruption in private and public life, and unjust wages for employees violate social justice and love,” Lagdameo exhorted. Lagdameo also reiterated PCP II’s favorable stance on active nonviolence. “Peaceful but persuasive rallies, assemblies, marches, demonstrations, strikes and acts of ‘passive resistance’ to unjust laws can be effective even if non-violent.” The year of Social Concerns urges Filipinos, Lagdameo added, “to be more concerned about the substantive issues concerning street children, the unemployed, poor fishermen, farmers and workers, exploited women, slum dwellers, sidewalk vendors and beggars, tribal Filipinos and others at the margins of human and social life.” Lagdameo likewise did not miss to mention the moral implications sine qua non to ecological concerns as mining, logging, and fishing. “(While) fishing, mining, and logging contribute enormously to the national coffers, but when done with inadequate safeguards for ecological integrity, moral issues are involved. Our natural resources are not to be exploited as though they were inexhaustible. Destruction can be irreparable and irreversible.” Lagdameo no less underscored the importance of ‘people power’ as a prerequisite for national renewal.

Picking up from PCP II’s definition of ‘people power’ as “going beyond the mere gathering of people but which include greater involvement in decision-making, greater equality in both political; and economic matters, more democracy, and more participation,” Lagdameo stressed that “no social transformation is genuine and lasting where people themselves do not actively participate in the process” and that “no integral development of people is possible without their corresponding empowerment.” “We need to encourage the emergence of people’s organizations, sectoral associations and the like, inspired by the principle of solidarity and empowered by the principle of subsidiarity,” Lagdameo said. Last January, the CBCP during its Plenary Assembly declared this year as a Social Concerns Year under the auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In its Pastoral Exhortation for the Year of Social Concerns, “Building a Civilization of Love” issued last May 11, the CBCP cited the present Philippine situation of “political turmoil, moral corruption, and environmental degradation (that) have worsened massive poverty and scandalous social inequality” as an indicative factor that precipitated the Philippine Church’s declaration of the Social Concerns year.

Third Filipino Nuncio is Sibling of First by Ace Baltazar AT 3:00 in the afternoon, the spinning summer heat yet fluttering a blistering whiff, Cebu’s Metropolitan Cathedral was already packed to the brim. At the altar, more than 100 priests and some 13 bishops from different parts of the country, immaculately donned in ecclesiastical robes, conspicuously suggested the solemnity of the occasion. The presence likewise of three papal envoys—Philippine nuncio Fernando Filoni, archbishop Osbaldo Padilla of Costa Rica and archbishop Ambrose de Pauli of Australia—augmented even more the historic accent of the celebration. The historic event, held last May 23, marked the episcopal ordination rites of archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, the newly appointed papal nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Most Rev. Francisco Padilla is the third Filipino nuncio— and the younger sibling archbishop Osbaldo Padilla, the first Filipino nuncio. With Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal as Principal Consecrator and the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Most Rev. Fernando Filoni, as Co-consecrator, the Papal Bull, containing Archbishop Francisco Padilla’s official appointment by the Holy Father, was read during the solemn rites. In his homily, Cardinal Vidal no less commended the Padilla family’s blissful feat. “I congratulate the Padilla and Montecillo families, whose generosity to the Lord has borne fruit in not one but two Archbishops in the Church; not one but two Apostolic Nuncios in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See.” Archbishop Francisco Padilla’s appointment similarly precipitated jubilant reverberations of adulation among Cebuanos. “It is certainly an occasion of great joy for the local Church of Cebu as well as for the whole country. Archbishop Padilla’s feat as the 3rd Filipino nuncio, the second from Cebu and more so from the same Padilla family, really added to the joy and pride we have,” said Fr. Marnell Mejia, the editor of Bag-ong Lungsoranon, Cebu’s official archdiocesan publication. Even ordinary folks who came to observe the event couldn’t hide their covetous avidity for the Padilla family. “Uy, tingali duol na gyod sila sa langit (Wow, perhaps they’re already near enough to heaven),” said one observer. Born in Cebu City to Dr. Tiburcio Padilla (deceased) and Concesa Montecillo, both

from Cebu province, the 52-year old Francisco Padilla is the tenth of 13 siblings including elder brother Osbaldo Padilla, the current papal nuncio in Costa Rica. After finishing his elementary edu- Abp. Francisco M. Padilla, cation at the Colegio Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New de Sto. Nino de Guinea and Solomon Islands. Cebu, Francisco Padilla entered the Pope John XIII Minor Seminary in Cebu City, and subsequently took his Philosophical studies at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos, also in Cebu. Thereafter, Francisco Padilla proceeded onto his Theological studies and earned his Bachelor and Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STB and STL) degrees from the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila. Ordained priest in 1976, archbishop Francisco Padilla first served as assistant parish priest of Mandaue, Cebu in 1976-1977, and later as resident Professor at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos in Cebu City from 1977 to 1979. In 1985, before joining the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See, archbishop Francisco Padilla earned his Doctorate Degree in Sacred Theology (STD) and his Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL), summa cum laude (with highest academic honors), from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Prior to his present appointment as apostolic nuncio, archbishop Francisco Padilla has held several positions in the Church’s Diplomatic Corps: as Secretary, respectively in the Apostolic Nunciature in Venezuela in 19891992 and in the Apostolic Nunciature in Austria in 1992-1995; as Counselor, respectively in the Apsotolic Nunciature in India (19951998), in the Apostolic Nunciature in Japan (1998-2000) and in the Apostolic Nunciature in Australia (2000 to 2006). Archbishop Francisco Padilla’s elder brother, Archbishop Osbaldo Padilla, became the first Filipino nuncio when he was named in 1990 by the late Pope John Paul II as the apostolic nuncio to Panama. The second Filipino nuncio is Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, from Naga City, who is now the papal envoy to Pakistan.

CBCP Monitor


4 Bishop Villegas Rejects STL in Bataan BISHOP Soc Villegas of the Diocese of Balanga slammed the government’s Small Town Lottery (STL) and said he does not want it to operate anywhere in his diocese. In a statement, Villegas expressed fear over the spreading of gambling in their province which he described as the “source of corruption in the government.” Noting that the province often referred to as the “cradle of heroes,” he said that STL devalue the heroism they want for Bataan. What is worst in gambling, according to Villegas, is that it could lead to addiction until people neglect their children because the money they are supposed to spend for food and

education is misused in gambling. “They teach indolence instead of diligence and they bring deceit instead of honesty,” he said. The statement, written in Filipino, was read in all parishes in Bataan during Mass and in barangays with “bible service with Holy Communion” on April 29 and 30. The prelate also urged the faithful to block the proliferation of gambling and not to reelect government officials promoting gambling in Bataan in the next elections. “They are not supposed to lead this province whose people strive to be heroes,” he said. “They are our enemies.” (CBCPNews)

Lagdameo: No to cha-cha now CHARTER Change is needed but not the way it is proposed now, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said. Lagdameo made the statement to clarify reports saying that the CBCP has extended its full support for the planned scheme. He said that it should be better if it should be done thru a constitutional convention, “where the people will elect the members of the convention.” “But again, this convention would be better done after the elections of 2010,” he said. The archbishop also said that they do not want “incumbent

leaders” to convert themselves into a constituent assembly. “There are many good, capable and qualified people who should be in constitutional convention,” he added. Last month, the bishops assailed the signature campaign on the People’s Initiative for Charter Change saying that it was collected without “adequate information, discussion and education.” “The changes that are being proposed for signatures of citizens are dangerously unclear and open to manipulation by groups with self-serving interests,” the CBCP said in its pastoral statement. (CBCPNews)

Jueteng is back for election purposes, says Cruz IF jueteng is back anew, it’s because the next election is drawing near, Archbishop Oscar Cruz said. As what have been exposed during the Senate Hearing on jueteng last year, he stressed that jueteng money was used to “make a difference in the 2004 national elections, it’s not surprising at all that jueteng is once again back in business.” Dismayed over the resurgence of the said illegal gambling, Cruz claimed that jueteng is like a cat with proverbial nine lives that keeps coming back like a bad dream. “Those in power and influ-

ence stop it at will for a reason, and at will likewise have it resumed for a purpose,” he said. Cruz, who heads the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, said that the authorities who are supposed to implement the law against illegal gambling are “irrelevant.” “The jueteng syndicate is again alive and well,” he said. “The jueteng structure is intact, strong and operational.” He said that reports reaching his crusade revealed that jueteng has resurfaced in all Ilocos provinces, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon and Camarines Sur. (CBCPNews)

Expressing strong support to commission’s recommendations, Gutierrez said that “banning” the current mining operations on the island would be “even better.” He said that closure is the “best option” because the present condition suggests that the company has become irresponsible in their operation. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo however discarded the call to review the mining law, while DENR Secretary Angel Reyes said he will consult all sides first before ruling on Lafayette’s bid to resume operation. Inefficiency Mining operations on Rapu-Rapu drew headlines following twin mine spill in October last year that reportedly led to fishkills and affected the fishing industry. The commission assailed the authorities’ “inability or unwillingness” to monitor mining operations saying that it was factor for the disaster. It said the DENR is so “dysfunctional as to be unable to prevent the occurrence of the October incidents.” The commission earlier said the mine spill could have been avoided had the DENR made close watch over the Lafayette operations. The commission also found that Lafayette violated ten out of 29 conditionalities in the ECC issued in their operation. “This could have been a compelling reason to revoke Lafayette’s certificate, thus halting its operation,” the commission said. In its report submitted to Malacañang, the probe body said that Lafayette is guilty of irresponsibility for starting operations prior to the completion of environmental protection infrastructures. “Lafayette had no emergency mechanism to stop or mitigate this kind of incident,” it said Gutierrez also backed the commission’s suggestion to improve the capability of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) especially in the Bicol region to “manage and monitor” effectively mining operations.

man rights and are entitled to due process in an unbiased court," he stressed. Lagdameo also expressed concern on families of the victims who are "suddenly and unhappily left orphans." "The killings leave deep scars on the memory of people especially members of their families which no amount of talk about national security will completely erase," he said. "Retribution and vengeance simply perpetuates the cycle of violence." "If we are to work out our salvation and transformation as a nation, we must begin with our Gospel faith which tells us what our perspective on human life and our task in its regard," he added. (CBCPNews)

Not factual A lone member of the commission, however, eventually sung a different tune dissenting the findings and recommendations of the RRFFC. “I wish to stress that, for lack of scientific data or clear factual basis, I am not prepared to condemn Lafayette of the Project,” said Gregorio Tabuena. “In the same manner, I am also not prepared to completely exonerate it for the incidents.” He opposed the recommendation on issuance of moratorium on mining saying “there is no factual or scientific basis” for the findings of the commission. He said the commission was “appeared to be prosecutorial” while conducting their investigation. The Lafayette also said the investigation was biased in claiming the investigation was based on hearsay and not facts. Out of mandate Tabuena said the mandate of the Bastes commission is only to probe the effects of Lafayette’s mining operations on the people’s health and environmental safety. “The report, however, proceeded to discus matters beyond its mandate,” he said. “I believe that the commission does not have such power and should not have overstepped its mandate.” President Arroyo through Administrative Order No. 145 issued on March 10 created the RRFFC in response to the problems presented by some bishops about the incident in Rapu-rapu during the March 10 dialogue at Malacañang. Tax violations The commission has also called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to investigate the Lafayette group for “underreporting of ore/processed ore production and violations of tax laws. They urged the government to require the company to pay back all back taxes equivalent to those waived because of incentives/privileges for the whole duration of their mining operations.

Church Exhorts / from p1

CBCP Welcomes / from p1

poverty and scandalous social inequality,” he said. Building a “civilization of love” can also be met, according to Lagdameo, by building associations for justice and peace, pro-environment movements, anticorruption programs, livelihood programs, training programs for good governance and citizenship, election monitoring, voters’ education and research based social and political advocacies. The CBCP also reiterated their stand on various issues in their statements last January and April. “We continue to view with alarm the signature campaign for the People’s Initiative which many of our Social Action Centers have reported as being deceptive, lacking in adequate information and discussion, and not initiated by the people,” Lagdameo said. Lagdameo also reiterated the call for a “thorough reform of the Commission on Elections to restore trust in our electoral process, particularly on the investigation involving anomalous contracts worth P2.3 billion”. He lauded the Supreme Court (SC) for its ruling on Executive Order 464 and Proclamation 1017. He likewise sought transparency on the probes following the Senate hearings on the P728-million fertilizer fund appropriations, as well as “full disclosure” of the Mayuga Report on the conduct of certain military officers in the last elections. The CBCP also launched the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” a book containing Catholic Church’s mission and teachings and “meant to help Christians in their daily commitment to make the world more just.” (CBCPNews)

“Having been a counselor to the two former Apostolic Nuncios to the Philippines for several years before he became Nuncio to Iraq, he has already some experience and understanding of our situation in the country,” he added. Filoni, 60, has been in our country for ten years working at the Philippines Nunciature, from 1992 to 2001. Born in Manduria, Italy on April 15, 1946, Filoni was ordained a priest at the age of 24. At the time he was ordained bishop at age 54, he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan. Fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, Filoni also holds a doctorate degree in Philosophy and Canon Law. Upon joining the Diplomatic Services of the Holy See, he served the Apostolic Nunciatures of Sri Lanka, Iran, Brazil and the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. (CBCPNews)

Pope Names / from p1

CBCP Head / from p1 In a statement, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo described the said incidence as "a sad commentary of our country and government which want to abolish death penalty." Saying that the cases of killings are "alarming," Lagdameo stressed it is not right that people be killed "simply because they have different 'political beliefs' or are suspected of being 'subversive' or plotting against the government." He noted that killing is a "sin against life, a sin against human dignity." "Whoever are the perpetrators, and whatever is the cause, the victims—irrespective of any ideology they profess—are still subjects of hu-

Closure of Mining / from p1

June 19, 2006

Ordained priest in 1983, David is currently serving as the Director of Formation of the Theology Department at the Mother of Good Counsel Semin a r y, S a n F e r n a n d o , Pampanga. Born in Guagua, Pampanga, the 47-year old Bishop-elect Pablo Virgilio David auxiliary bishop-elect is one of the 13 children (including newspaper columnist and University of the Philippines Sociology Professor Randolf David) of the late Pedro David and Beinvenida Siongco of Pampanga. David spent his college seminary formation (19741978) at the San Jose Seminary, Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Divinity degree. He took his Master of Arts degree in Theology at the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University. David also holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) degree and Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD), both from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. (CBCPNews)

DepEd Opens / from p1 cine, said the lesson guide is devoid of full disclosure and truth telling. She stressed it does not inform that the condom “does not protect 100 percent” and its failure rate varies from four to 25 percent with an average of 16 percent. Study data “It claims to foster values, restraint and responsibility yet it implies that sexual activity outside of marriage maybe acceptable for as long as it does not result to ‘unwanted pregnancy’ and sexually transmitted by ‘protected sex,’” Aguirre said. Saying that the rationale for the said module is supposed be “overpopulation and poverty,” Aguirre urged DepEd module makers to study the data presented by demographers and economists who do not profit from the birth control industry. Suggestive not prescriptive Hidalgo said the lessons “were carefully crafted so they will naturally blend with the lessons competencies of the mother area.” While the guides are just prototypes, she said the activities are suggestive not prescriptive. “The teacher is free to inject activities that she/he thinks is appropriate to the age, interest and capability of the students,” Hidalgo said. UNFPA representative Dr. Zahidul Huque, on his part, said that sex education is a helpful start to solve reproductive health concerns of adolescents who are increasingly exposed to risky behavior, like early sexual activity. Huque urged the DepEd to adopt said program and be utilized from national down to district levels. Not just an act Aguirre also wanted sex education to be done not by the schools but by parents. “We knew there is a time for everything because our teachers taught us character and values education,” she also said. “Human sexuality meant our total personhood and is not just an act,” she added.

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006 ON June 21, we shall commemorate with a great sense of loss the first death anniversary of Jaime Cardinal Sin. I cannot help but reminisce those eighteen years I lived in the House of Sin. Villa San Miguel is a house with many rooms. It has ready rooms for priests who need a place to rest. It has big rooms for big meetings as big as all the bishops of Asia and small rooms for small meetings like pre-wedding interviews. That Villa San Miguel has many rooms is to be expected. It is not a villa for nothing! What makes Villa San Miguel most memorable to me are the many tables in the house. Villa San Miguel is a house of many tables! The tables give character and identity to the rooms. My favorite table is the working desk of Cardinal Sin. The second table that I love the most is the big round table in the bar room. On these two tables, Cardinal Sin undertook his mission of justice and peace. These two tables know more about the inside story of historical events in the country than any other person. The Office Desk Cardinal Sin’s office desk is an old style narra table with carvings on the corners. It has the usual drawers on the side of the person working on the table. The only drawer Cardinal Sin really used was the long drawer on the level of the stomach. Here he kept rosaries, stampitas, medals and little religious articles. These were given away generously to the guests and visitors. There is no peace without prayer. From that small drawer, he gave tokens to his guests and reminded them to pray. A nation at prayer is a nation at peace. There is something peculiar about his office desk. It has a movable table extension in front so that his guests can have a place to put their cups of coffee or cake plates while they talk to the Cardinal. Over a cup of coffee or a glass of juice with a slice of cake or a simple sandwich, Cardinal Sin entertained his guests, counseled estranged couples or mediated between politicians. That little table extension has served nuncios and archbishops. Its unique design even became a conversation piece. How can you fight against each other when you eat from the same cake? The easiest way to cool hot heads is through the stomach. This is a table extension for peace. This was the table on which he read letters from Popes and Cardinals, from Kings and Presidents. Here on this table, he read countless manifestos of the urban poor and political prisoners. Here on this table, he wrote his pastoral letters, signed them and issued them. Here on this table, he read The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, his favorite spiritual reading book. Here on this table, he read the newspapers and magazines and scribbled his Spanish poems. From this same table, he took the telephone and called Radio Veritas to summon the people to go to EDSA! In the morning of January 20, 2001, the future President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on Cardinal Sin at Villa San Miguel and told him that she was accommodating the request of the generals to give former President Estrada an honorable exit. The generals were asking her to give Estrada four days to prepare to exit from office. The Cardinal’s face grew red. He pounded his hand on his table and said, “Gloria, you are now the President! You are now the commander-in-chief. If you begin your Presidency by doing what the generals want, you will have to do that for the rest of your term. Let the generals obey you and take orders from you. Please take your oath. The people are waiting for you.”

I was happy to learn recently of an American study that provides concrete data on the close relationship between our family life and the children’s performance in schools. Even if the data are American based, they are relevant since they can shed light on our local situation. The study should alert us to ever strengthen our families, and to more effectively handle issues that tend to weaken our sense of family. We cannot take this responsibility lightly. We are facing difficult challenges in this regard. According to this study, done by the Center for Marriage and Families, a part of the New York-based Institute for American Values, and covering a period of 35 years, the proportion of children raised in two-parent homes has dropped drastically. From a high of 85% in 1968, this proportion dropped to 70% in 2003. Of course, the proportion of children raised in singleparent homes practically doubled, from 15% to 30%, for the same period. The consequences are very disturbing. Marital breakup is associated with a higher incidence of anti-social behavior in the classroom for boys. Children from homes headed by their own married parents have the fewest incidences of misbehavior at school. Students from non-intact families miss school, are tardy, and cut class about 30% more often than do students from intact homes. Parents in non-intact family homes appear less able to supervise and monitor their children. Teen-agers from non-intact families are



I Lived in the House of Sin

by Socrates B. Villegas, D.D. At this moment, the cell phone rang and the caller informed her that the negotiations with Estrada had reached an impasse. Putting down the phone, she said, “Your Eminence, this is the will of God for me. I will take my oath at the EDSA Shrine by noon.” The Cardinal bowed his head and his tears rolled on his desk. What a historic table this is! If tables can speak, I am sure every fiber and splinter of this table will proudly retell recent Philippine Church history. The Round Table of the Bar Room The second table is one of a kind in the whole house. It is the only round table in the house that seats sixteen persons. To bring the table into the room where it is now, we had to dismantle a part of the wooden wall to bring it through. This table is in the bar room. It used to have a wine bar during the time of Cardinal Rufino Santos. It was originally a recreation room for a leisurely drink or just to laze around and watch the television. It has evolved through the years. The television is not there anymore. The lazy seats are not there anymore. The wine bar is not there anymore. It is still called Bar Room in spite of the changes. The Bar Room has become a room for confidential meetings. The sixteen-seater round table is symbolic of the rules that operate in those meetings. There is no special place for the head. All are equal in this arrangement. The discussants look at one another, listen to another and decide together. This round table is symbolic of the Church as a community of disciples called by the Lord personally and yet answering the call of the Lord together. This table is symbolic of the Church as people of God.

On this table, Cardinal Sin met his Board of Consultors once a month in order to decide on maters affecting the Church. On this table, he met Governor Chavit Singson and allowed the tense governor to lay before him all the evidences against the incumbent President. On this table, in the presence of the Board of Consultors, he told Cory Aquino that she will be the President of the Philippines long before EDSA broke out. On this table, Cardinal Sin prophetically told Cory Aquino to prepare her gown for her oath taking as President of the Philippines. On this table, he met then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the Erap Resign Campaign and advised her on moral principles for moral governance. On this round table, he made decisions that changed the course of our history. The Tables of Peace The true table of peace is Jesus Himself. This is symbolized liturgically by the altar for the Eucharist. From the table of the Eucharist, we are fed and nourished. On the table of the Eucharist, we lay our gifts for the Lord. There is a second table for the spiritual nourishment of the people of God. It is called the table of the Word. The Word of God refreshes us and gives us strength. The desk table in the Archbishop’s Office is a veritable table of peace. On it, feuding camps were reconciled, differences were resolved and commitments to peace, no matter what the cost, were vowed. The huge round table speaks so eloquently of equality and justice, one of the many pillars of peace. It speaks of a Church less concerned with dignity and more preoccupied with humble service. From the table of “communion”, we find the bread of peace. In the House of Sin, the house of many tables, there is peace.

Family and School by Fr. Roy Cimagala more likely to smoke, use drugs and consume alcohol. They are more likely to be sexually active. Young people who have never lived with their biological fathers have the highest odds of being arrested. Children growing up without their own

married parents are linked with higher rates of stress, depression, anxiety, and low selfesteem during the teen-age years. These problems reduce their ability to focus and achieve in school. We have to see to it that in the first place our own families are strong and healthy, not

only socially and economically, but also and more importantly, spiritually and morally. Then we can start reaching out to other families, especially those in distress. We have to remember that family welfare is a crucial part of our common good. It should also be a part of our common concern. We have to help one another in this area. Thus we have to learn how to organize ourselves more effectively to face the challenges. This can be done in the community level, or parish and school levels. Even professional and social associations can be tapped for this purpose. Initiatives in this regard should be promoted. Continuing formation among couples especially about courtship, marriage and family life should be established. Counseling services should be made available. We have to encourage everyone to give due attention to his or her family, putting in ample time with the children, and equipping him with skills to transmit proper values to children. This has to be done in a serious way. The truth is that we are confronted with a lot of challenges. There are moves to legalize divorce that surely will undermine the family. There is apathy in the efforts to solve problems like infidelity, rise of illegitimate children, separation of parents due to socio-economic reasons, etc. There has to be a more scientific effort to tackle the different problems families can meet. Church and government, as well as other non-government organizations, should give their appropriate contributions.

CBCP Monitor



June 19, 2006


The Church Media IN May last year, Impact Magazine bannered a story about the state of the media apostolate of the Catholic Church. “Has the Catholic Media Failed?”, it asked. A media summit held in March this year of those in catholic media work in southeastern Mindanao posed the same question. From the cursory looks of it, not much rhyme or reason is needed to concede. More so when one sees it comparatively with other religious denominations that boast of a fleet of TV or radio stations or aggressive block-time programming. The inventory, however, of Catholic Media Network, or the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters which is its more realistic nametag, lists of about 50 or so AM and FM Catholic radio stations nationwide—albeit, admittedly, some are more concerned with basic survival than pride. Immediately, the quantity is appalling. But it feels like worrying about NEDA or the present Malacañang that routinely trumpets about economic success behind the facts where more and more people are getting hungrier and economically depleted. Without being too simplistic, media work is not just a matter of putting up media facilities and leaving them to rot with time. Sustainability is one of the key issues. If the medium is the message, and Herbert Marshall Mcluhan insisted it is, then some dying catholic media facilities are messages enough. But why is it that when lay entrepreneurs put up, say, a small community paper, a printing press or a 1 kilowatt radio station they are most likely to sustain, while Church initiatives, which habitually scoops grants from foreign funding agencies, do not? The bigger scenario is ecclesiological. Despite the alarming “shadows” painted by PCP II, the Church in the Philippine is operating on a pastoral that is built on the comfort that 85% of Filipinos are Catholics. A priest doesn’t have to work for his church to get filled up on a Sunday mass. You seldom hear a priest, if ever, looking for church-goers on a Sunday as is done in mission countries. The opposite is true—people look for priests, hopefully not in golf courses! In a church that is not missionary, media work is an accessory. At the present order of things, a radio station or a diocesan paper is not an exigency and, therefore, can be done even without. So a diocesan media director is left to fend for himself with his hi-tech equipment in tow, while the rest of the world continue dispensing the sacraments. Who needs the media when Quiapo Church, for instance, is still brimming with people? The only rub is, the children of today that calls a day abnormal without a TV or an MP3 or a PC might not be around in the next parish fiesta or house blessing.

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IN the Gospel (Mt. 9/35-38; 10/1-9, 16) Jesus Christ is presenting himself as a new type of leader in Jewish society in response to what he sees as a pressing need. His compassion is pressing him to care for the people who are “like sheep without a shepherd.” In this setting Jesus chooses a completely new set of leaders, his chosen twelve apostles followed by 70 other disciples and sends them on a trial mission at the beginning of their ministry. What he intends this new brand of leaders to do is to gather the people to become a new church, a new community of disciples of the Lord, a new people of God. What he requires from them is openness and integrity of heart, availability, generosity. The scope of their activity is to look after their own people—a leaderless multitude, seemingly lost and deprived of guidance. A new brand of leaders they are to become active and itinerant preachers, proclaimers of the saving work of God. What is our society being challenged today? What are our catholic colleges and universities being challenged to respond to in our complex crisis-ridden globalized society? Our catholic colleges and universities, by far all educational institutions, are being challenged more than ever to supply our country with the leaders she needs, leaders with moral integrity and values. As they have done in the past, so must they do, but with greater sensitivity for the emerging circumstances. We believe in their capability to train their students in leadership and character building. Jesus’ action is a paradigm for our vision of nation building. While he does choose a new brand of leaders for the new people of God, he is convinced that this new people will continually need to be replenished by new leaders to respond to emerging needs of the community. And so he says “beg, pray that the Lord may send ever new brand of leaders into your country.” That is what we pray the 2007 election will bring. What our country today is experiencing along with economic, societal, cultural and political crisis is a crisis in leadership, a crisis of leaders, a crisis among the leaders of the land. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) explains the crisis as the result of the erosion of moral values. “At the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake to the common good and genuine peace.” [cf. CBCP January Pastoral Statement, no. 5] The Bishops are, there-

fore, calling for a renewal of moral values in public life. More than a century ago (1898), Apolinario Mabini, writing about “La Revolucion Filipina” stated: “Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangan radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon, kundi m a g i n g a n g a t i n g p a g i i s i p a t p a m u m u h a y. Kailangan ang rebolusyon hindi lamang sa panlabas kundi lalo na sa panloob.” According to Apolinario Mabini radical change of structures would be useless and hallow if it is not accompanied by radical change of mind and attitudes. More than an external revolution we need an internal revolution, a revolution of the heart according to moral values. We said something similar to this at the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines [PCP-II 1991] where we stated our Vision as a people: “We shall have to create a free nation: where human dignity and solidarity are respected and promoted; where moral principles prevail in socio-economic life and structures; where justice, love and solidarity are the driving force of development. We shall have to build a sovereign nation: where every tribe and faith are respected; where diverse tongues and traditions work together for the good of all; where membership is a call to participation and involvement, and leadership a summons to generous service. Ours will have to be a people: in harmony with one another through unity and diversity; in harmony with creation and in harmony with God.” Are we on the path of fulfilling that vision? What do we hear people say? The kind of government depends on the kind of people running it. More than a change in the form of government, we want a credible government, a competent government, an accountable government, a truthful and honest government. If we cannot have that, what is the use of changing its form? Our people need and want a new set of leaders, with values and character, elected by and from the people, with a common goal which will solve the crises and poverty that have held our people in bondage. Whether it is parliamentary or federal, or unitary or presidential, it will be a good or bad government, depending on the power-holders and power-wielders of that government. That’s why the CBCP has recommended Constitutional Convention for Charter Change; so the people can have a chance to elect other people with integrity and moral character for a very crucial exercise of framing our constitution. When Jesus chose the twelve apostles and started to build their character in true leadership, the vision of a new people of God started to take shape. This is the spirit that we are observing today in our country: the vision of a new nation is taking shape. The present crisis is the birth-pangs of a new nation with a new set of leaders who have the character to lead and the agenda for the renewal of our country.

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006

Jose B. Lugay

Henrietta T. de Villa

FAITH and FIRE TO write a column for the reformatted CBCP Monitor is an exciting venture. Especially for me—an ordinary lay woman and a simple housewife. For the past week since Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, editor of this fortnightly publication, invited me to be its columnist, so many things rushed to my mind on what I could write about. First, what to call my column. My daughter immediately suggested, “Ma, you say this very often in your PPCRV talks: Faith and Fire. That’s a good name for your column, and it is so like you.” Bless my daughter. Whenever there is something important happening in my life—joyful, sorrowful, glorious, luminous—the automatic reflex of my heart is to pray. And it is so heartwarming to know through so many contacts with people, that praying is a common source of strength and comfort. This is particularly true for this texting generation of Filipinos. Asking for prayers through texting is a beautiful way of linking people to each other, and to God. In a sense, the texters though they may not have met, are no longer strangers. What is also implied is that God is recognized not as an uncaring stranger to our needs, but as a loving Father open to all that we are. And so I inaugurate my column with this prayer of Servant of God, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, with a moving vision of those reading Faith and Fire looking at Jesus and Jesus looking at us. Dear Jesus, Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go,

Charter Change

Flood our souls with your Spirit and life Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly That our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us and be so in us That every soul we come in contact with May feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us But only Jesus. Stay with us And then we shall begin to shine as you shine, So to shine as to be light to others. The light, dear Jesus, will be all from you. None of it will be ours. It will be you shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way you love best By shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching Not by words, but by our example By the catching force The sympathetic influence of what we do The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is on a renewal-revitalization course—revisiting its voters’ education program and re-calling its women and men to again throw fire on the earth. An urgent sign of the times that gives PPCRV a golden opportunity to proclaim the word and urge people, especially the voting public to have principled values underscore their decisions is the current hype on Charter Change. Cha-cha as they call it. In an effort to have everyone accept and dance to Chacha, DILG is implementing a people’s initiative, in short PIRMA, to gain public ap-

proval for it. But in its rush to do so, legal realities have been sidestepped, and adequate information on Charter Change has not been given due diligence. In line with the CBCP Pastoral Statement of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, PPCRV is holding a series of Public Forums on Understanding Charter Change—its What, How, Why, When—in key dioceses nationwide. The first one was held in Dagupan, Pangasinan with a sell-out crowd of over a thousand on May 20. Other Forum sites are Legaspi City, Albay on 27 May; Cotabato (including Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat and Midsayap) on June 3,4,and 5; Borongan, Eastern Samar on 17 June; Roxas City, Capiz on 19 June; and in Metro Manila on 24 June at Pius XII Catholic Center Auditorium from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. When the fundamental law of our land, the Constitution, which gives the basic direction for governance affecting our daily lives, is to be subjected to revision or amendment, then this demands participation from all of us. An informed and informing participation of each and all Filipinos. We must realize that this is a concern not only of Congress or the President of the Philippines, business leaders or NGOs. Charter Change concerns all of us, including the youth and the poor—especially the youth and the poor. What is needed is our watchful heart moved by faith and fire so that in the time of Cha-cha, at all times, this will be the “catching force and sympathetic influence of what we do.”

Jo M. Imbong

Do You Dread Solitude? SOMETIME in your life, think of yourself casting out into nowhere, waking up in a different place the next morning and setting foot on unfamiliar trails, placidly enjoying your anonymity. At least once in your life, you owe it to your inner balance to turn your back at the frenzied tempo at which your life has to be lived. Take a voyage, no matter how brief. Sail, preferably, so that by nightfall, you can climb to the highest deck and savor the luxury of “looking at the highest of the heights of heaven, where you will see where the stars still keep their ancient peace.” Can you, in your 24-hour day, splurge in such luxury of stillness? If you can, would you? If you are one of those who can smile and mutter, “If only I could afford to buy that silence, I certainly would,” then bless your soul! You would have just pulled aside the curtain that many would not even touch. Many of us are afraid of silence. Too often, “modern” man will do everything to avoid silence. To him, stillness can be suffocating, much like being trapped inside an elevator. Claustrophobic. But modern man is not to blame. Our world seems to ban silence. At every turn, there is an “everlasting flow of noise” including noise which the eyes can “hear.” Aren’t we eternally before our laptops? We are incessantly killing time texting as though there was no tomorrow. For noise is not confined to the eardrums. It would seem that stillness is abnormal. Into every bubble of time the world dictates that


there should be relentless sound—artificially induced, it does not matter. The whole idea is to drown out the natural vibrations of the human spirit until eventually the inner man becomes deaf, callous, hardened, and impervious to the silent power of thought and reflection. Gerald Vann, O.P. once wrote, “We have our share of complicity in creating the world we live in; for to a great extent, the world we live in reflects and expresses the inner world of our own souls.” That was 53 years ago. Today, what he wrote is still true. Consider these: the most momentous events in the history of salvation occurred in silence: Mary was alone in her thoughts when she was startled by the Angel’s greeting. Stillness enveloped the shepherds’ night just as the Gloria in Excelsis exploded before their bewildered eyes. No fireworks preceded the Bethlehem star which shed its magnificent laser beam upon the roof of a stone cave. Surely, a deadly silence must have fell upon Saul before the Light hit him at Damascus. How blessed is solitude, what light and peace it brings! For it is only in silence that you will hear God’s breath against your ear. It is a sound so faint and gentle, but so piercing in its softness that it can shatter the darkened niches you have built inside your soul. And if you are patient, in that silence you will also hear your own inner voice singing its paean of supplication, a voice you thought you never even had at all. Suddenly, you find yourself—praying! You should try it before the holy Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. The signals are quite strong

in there because you are sitting right on His domain. Forgive the pun, but it will floor you! Your silence will unravel the burdens and passions in your breast. Modern man who has forgotten how to keep quiet finds himself battered by his own phantoms. Like him you hunger for peace, but you only find aggravation because your search for peace brings you to the wrong places: to a whirlpool of cheap consolations, like the prodigal son in Scripture, so sated that he practically hurls his “pearls to the swine.” But if you persevere in silence, your reward will be boundless. Like a doting father that He is, the Lord is bemused and moved by your struggle. He unleashes his arsenal of graces and you find yourself reaching out to Him. Seek and you shall find. You ask Him to snuff the air out of the pathetic little idolatries nestling in your heart. He obliges. Ask and you shall receive. And then, the turning point. You discover to your great delight that He knows about your pain and has been carrying the heavier portion of what you call your cross. You feel He listens to the lyrics of your song and understands every word of it, because He sees in secret and hears in secret. He also answers your questions in secret. It will be just the two of you. But you must summon Him in silence. Knock and the door shall open. He left the code with which to open His door and He has never changed the combination: “Be still.” It is so simple, you cannot err. Friend, use the code. And get that voyage now.

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

VIEWS and POINTS INTEGRITY is a natural imperative in human relationship. It generates and maintains honor and dignity among individuals. It promotes and confirms veracity and honesty in society. It moves and inspires people to live in unity and enjoy peace. Human integrity is the standard accompaniment of decency and respectability in every level of human living. The presence or absence of integrity in domestic life means the success or failure of the family. In the local community, the integrity or lack thereof on the part of those holding public offices promotes or arrests the social development and progress of the place. For those holding national public office, their integrity or corruption brings about the inspiration or desperation, the admiration or disdain of the people they are bound to serve.



Integrity in Public Office

Lying, cheating and stealing, dishonesty, falsity and lechery, these and similar sick and sickening personal liabilities constitute one big living social curse. This malediction becomes more destructive when those thus ethically disqualified precisely come to hold high public offices. The more socio-ethical havoc they cause in the country, the bigger and hotter social volcano they bring about. Those who are basically corrupt by their given personality constitution, habit or disposition, should be the last persons who should be entrusted with any public offices—especially those wielding big power and influence. Those who could not be trusted even with small things should never be entrusted with greater responsibilities. Those who happen to trust them are eventually the victims and losers.

Integrity in public office comes as a matter of course. It is not something that should be automatically expected. It is neither anything extraordinary that could be considered as a reality in the supra-human order much less in the supernatural sphere. One who seeks and gets a public office has no option but to be upright and forthright. If one gets the gratitude of the people, well and good. Otherwise, he or she is simply doing a sworn duty, and getting well paid for it. Devious and deceitful parents ruin a family, public leaders who are deviates and crooks waste a nation—these are constants in human history. And they always leave behind a shameful memory, a despicable legacy. (Lifted with permission from the blog of Archbishop Oscar Cruz, DD


The Role of the Laity “Jesus also said to them, “When the light comes, is it to be put under a tub or a bed? Surely it is put on a lampstand. Whatever is hidden will be disclosed and whatever is kept secret will be brought to light.” (Mark 4: 21-22) We greet all CBCP MONITOR readers on the inaugural issue of this column. “Lampstand” projects enlightenment, the propagation of truth, the need for transparency— secrets to be brought to light—at the time it is most needed. *** Vatican II (1964) and PCP II (1991) defined the role of the laity—”through baptism, they have the same mission as Christ, the mission to evangelize and to be holy. They share Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly functions. The laity’s responsibility is in the world. The Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church (CSDC) paragraph 543, summarizes the laity’s role clearly: “It is the proper duty of the lay faithful to proclaim the Gospel with an exemplary witness of life rooted in Christ and lived in temporal realities: the family, professional commitment in the world of work, culture, science and research, the exercise of social, economic and political responsibilities.” Are the Filipino Laity expressing the new role of the laity as defined by Vatican II and reinforced by PCP II? Before Vatican II the laity’s role was defined for him by the parish priest—what his/her responsibilities were in the pastoral plan of the parish. The Church hierarchy told us what to do aside from our daily devotions and participation in the sacraments. Isn’t this the same situation in most parishes in the Philippines today? In fact most dedicated parishioners today in their service to the parish carry the same way of thinking, the same paradigm—that to attain holiness for men is to serve as lay ministers and for women to serve in parish organizations that take care of the flowers and décor of the church, vestments of the images that will participate in the procession for the fiesta or the Holy Week. While there is value to this and we appreciate their work, there is now a new direction by Vatican II (42 years ago!) and by PCP II (15 years ago!) on how the laity could best serve the Church. Critical to the understanding of this new role is the definition of Church. Filipinos until today refer to Church as the place of worship like the Baclaran Church or the different sects like Iglesia ni Cristo or the Mormon Church. Vatican II refers the term Church to mean the People of God, consisting of the clergy, the religious and the laity. Through baptism the People of God have one mission—the mission of Christ to spread the good news to all men. What has the Laity done to educate the faithful about this change in direction? The Council of the Laity of the Philippines now registered as the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO for short), has undertaken a training program called “Lay Leadership Towards a Community of Disciples” since the year 2000. The training module starts with the “Theological Foundation of Christian Leadership” by Bishop Gabriel Reyes followed by “The Role of the Laity”, Servant Leadership”, “Interpersonal Relations” “Problem Solving” and “Pastoral Planning” given by professional lay volunteers: Dr. Bella Dumas, Mel Ricafrente, Dr. Pete Villanueva, Mr. Ernie Burdeos and Jose B. Lugay. So far, the group has given these sessions to 16 different dioceses in Luzon and the Visayas. All expenses for the training materials and travel to the diocese are LAIKO’s expense. Accommodation and meals are for the Diocese’s expense. Surprisingly, LAIKO’s offer is sometimes met with indifference. There is still resistance by some dioceses to the intervention of “outsiders”. The task is so great and the time so short that it is almost a disservice to the Church to negate such opportunities for learning. Our population is increasing fast and there is a need to focus on family evangelization before the children become corrupted by the present consumeristic and hedonistic trends of Philippine society. When can the laity be mobilized to join hands with the People of God to arrest the incoming disaster of total corruption of Philippine society? *** Antonio B. de los Reyes, known to us as Sonny, has left us forever to be with the Lord last May 26. Sonny served as President of LAIKO from 1991 to 1999. He initiated LAIKO’s involvement in spreading the decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines through his programs of the “Church of the Home”, the “Church of the Poor” and the “Church of the Future”. Our present undertaking with the Philippine Solidarity Foundation is the Jubilee Homes Project in New Cabalan, Olongapo. The first Jubilee Homes has 54 families, about 370 persons, 180 of them are the youth. They have all been orphaned with the passing away of Sonny. We join Bai his wife and his children Bugsy, JC and Amelia and their spouses, and his grandchildren in their bereavement. God bless Sonny’s soul! May he rest in peace!

CBCP Monitor


CBCP Commisions

Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace

Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development This promotes pro-environment and pro-farmer agriculture focusing on the formation and development of BECs, people’s organizations (Pos), non-government organizations (NGOs), and individuals who adopt the technology and practice of sustainable agriculture (SA). It also supports projects and initiatives on organic-based and natural farming methods, cooperative development, capability building and farmers’ empowerment, food and agri-based productivity, rural community development programs, networking, and advocacy campaigns promoting farmers’ rights. Ecology Protection and promotion of the integrity of creation This program seeks to preserve the sustainability of life and the whole of creation in response to the imminent danger of environmental destruction. This is through building and mobilizing ecology activists and promoters who will seek to prevent or deter development aggression and at the same time promote communitybased ecology initiatives. NASSA’s Ecology program implements community-based projects, education and skills development, institutional networking, and advocacy campaigns to address issues related to mining, deforestation,

torial/ agrarian disputes that displace local communities and/or violate human rights. Thus, NASSA envisions transforming the BECs as catalysts of peace, promoting and supporting initiatives in communities who suffer from the adverse effects of conflicts. Other services of the NASSA include resource development, advocacy, research, promotions and communications.

solid waste disposal, and coastal/marine resource exploitation. Children and Women Development and Social Services Through this, NASSA addresses several concerns of children and women in the country such as the lack of education due to poverty, violence and an insecure environment brought about by development aggression, militarization and high urban poor population. The program strengthens social service delivery through the enhancement of Information and Education Campaign (IEC) activities on children’s and women rights; creation of Development Programs that promote gender-sensitivity within and among BECs, organization of abused/street children, provision of legal services, and technical assistance in education, health and nutrition initiatives; and many others.

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NASSA’s reorganization held on 16-18 February 2005 underscored its commitment to quality service even more. The new structure is envisioned to streamline and synchronize service delivery to the DSACs, PSACs and the BECs especially by fusing units with complementing duties and responsibilities Democratized decision making The Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) Board Members, composed of bishops from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is the highest decision-making body of the entire social action network. Having met twice last year, the Board headed by ECSA-JP Chair Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez decided to admit an Executive Committee member as an observer in Board meetings, and authorized the conduct of regional assemblies as follow up to the biannual National Social Action General Assembly (NASAGA). Three regional social action assemblies (RESAGAs) were held in November 2004: the Luzon Social Action General Assembly (LUSAGA), Visayas Social Action General Assembly (VISAGA) and the Mindanao Social Action General Assembly (MISAGA). Aside from being a venue for networking, this mechanism is instituted primarily to monitor the level of accomplishment of NASAGA resolutions. NASSA’s Executive Committee (Execom)

Relief and rehabilitation The centerpiece of NASSA’s disaster response proclaims the Christian character of aid—as a witness to charity borne from faith, a reconstitution and promotion of individual and collective self-sufficiency and responsibility, and a community-oriented disaster program. This program aims to reduce communities’ vulnerable to disasters as it strengthens peoples; capacity to respond effectively and systematically through resource generation for immediate relief and rehabilitation needs such as housing and livelihood projects, capability building and training, disaster management and planning, research and documentation, campaigns and advocacy. Alay Kapwa Established in 1975, Alay kapwa (AK), which literally means offering (alay) for one’s neighbor (kapwa), is the Lenten fund campaign of the Church for the poor. Contributions to this program are used to support and sustain social action initiatives on peace advocacy, democratic governance, ecology, sustainable agriculture, children’s rights, disaster management, and other development projects by NASSA, DSACs and BECs. Peacebuilding This is a continuance of an ecumenical work for peace. It addresses issues arising from militarization and insurgencies, clan/tribal conflicts, development aggression, terrorism threats, and terri-

The Philippine Catholic Church’s involvement in social work was institutionalized in 1966 with the founding of the Episcopal Commission of Social Action (ECSA) and the National Secretariat of Social Action (NASSA) as its action arm. Its birth roughly coincides with the postVatican II period, a time of great strides in the evolution of Church social teachings. Several encyclicals and major documents were issued calling for renewed social involvement. Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio in 1967 has been a landmark encyclical and practically the bible of social action efforts in the ‘70s. In the region, social action apostolate was beginning to gain ground with pioneers like Father Walter Hogan and his Priest’s Institute of Social Action (PISA) in Hong Kong. In August 1965, 32 Filipino priests attended a one-month training at PISA. It paved the way for the creation of the Episcopal Commission and NASSA. NASSA gave birth to Diocesan Social Action Centers (DSACs) all over the Philippines. Now totaling 85, the DSACs have become responsible for the organization, direction, and coordination of social action activities in the parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). NASSA’s work has been strongly grounded on Church social teachings that give criteria for reflection, guidelines for judgment, and direction for action. Thus, NASSA views social teachings as the application of the Gospel to concrete situations. Today, NASSA continues to respond to the calls of the Philippine Church for greater and deeper social involvement and people empowerment. It has adopted the crucial recommendations and redefined its thrusts based on the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) in 1991, the National Pastoral Consultation on the Church Renewal (NPCCR) in 2001, DSACs’ regional assemblies and the National Social Action General Assembly. In its 40 years of existence, NASSA has gone through several paradigm shifts and reorganizations. However, it has remained faithful to its commitment of serving the Poor.

The Administration : Polishing mechanisms and capacities

© Denz Dayao

THE National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA) was established in 1966. This organization is the implementing arm of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The NASSA-JP network of services is made up of four secretariats and 85 Diocesan Social Action Centers (DSACs) nationwide. Its legal name is Caritas Filipinas Foundation Incorporated (CFFI), and it represents the Philippines in Caritas Internationalis—a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations present in 201 countries. Over the years, NASSA has continued to promote and conduct studies on fostering social justice and encourages movements animated by Christian principles. It promotes social action projects for the benefit of the poor, deprived and the oppressed, and constantly builds a firm solidarity with the people. The commission has at least six special programs:

June 19, 2006

convenes when urgent and crucial decisions have to be made. Three Execom meetings were held last year. While the first two worked on clarifying the duties and functions of Execom members and securing the ECSA-JP Board’s approval on the Execom’s proposal to send a member as observer to Board meetings, the third meetings approved NASSA’s reorganization. It was also during this meeting that Execom members participated in the strategic planning for 2005 to 2009. At the Secretariat level, NASSA held 11 monthly meetings presided over by Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez. Both the Administration and Country Program departments present accomplishments and updates during these meetings. Collaborative activities are also hatched during such meetings. Enhancing skills, lifting morale NASSA continuously enriches the competence of personnel through local and international trainings that equip staff members with skills necessary in implementing programs and responding to challenges that emerge along the way. On its own, NASSA sees to the social and spiritual development of its personnel. To sustain its members’ zest for service, the entire NASSA family hied off to Abarro’s Resort in Subic, Zambales for its annual outing on 9-11 May 2005. NASSA personnel then joined a CBCP retreat in Tagaytay City on 20-21 May 2005.

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006 ANTIPOLO is famous because of the Shrine of “Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje,” or the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Known also as the “Virgin of Antipolo” (Birhen ng Antipolo), and her statue having arrived to the Philippines in 1626, she has been the object of devotion and pilgrimages for centuries. The city of Antipolo is also the see of the Diocese of Antipolo, which was formally established or canonically erected on June 25 1983 at the Shrine Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Antipolo City. It was carved from the Archdiocese of Manila, taking mostly the eastern part of Rizal. Antipolo Diocese has a land area of approximately 1,859 square kilometers which is almost 70 percent of the total land area of the Archdiocese of Manila. In includes the whole province of Rizal with the following towns and municipalities: Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Cardona, Jalajala, Montalban, Morong, Pililla, San Mateo, Tanay, Taytay, Teresa, the city of Antipolo, and the neighboring city of Marikina. Since Metro Manila is already bursting to the seams, the Diocese hosts a number of resettlement areas for displaced families, thus increasing the diocesan populace. In 1983, its estimated population was 900,000. At that time, the Diocese was divided into 3 vicariates and 21 parishes. Today, over the same land area, population has risen to more than two million, 85 percent of which is Roman Catholic. While the clergy also grew in number, the percentage gap between the number of faithful and the number of clergy has widened. Now there are 138 priests under the episcopal leadership of Bishop Gabriel Reyes—but only 74 of them are active diocesan priests. Proportionately, this would mean that, without the valuable number of religious and resident guest priests in the Diocese, each active diocesan priest must cater to the spiritual or pastoral needs of almost 33,000 faithful. To address the escalating scarcity of diocesan priests, incumbent Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes is currently undertaking the 49 million-peso construction of the Diocesan Minor Seminary to attract and accommodate young prospective candidates for the priestly formation. As of April 2000, the Diocese registered some 45 parishes (37 full parishes, 5 quasi-parishes, 3 sub-parishes) under its care with 62 diocesan priests and 11 religious priests taking charge. Today, the diocese has 54 parishes, 10 of which are administered by Religious priests. The present set-up divides the diocese into two ecclesiastical districts and four vicariates, accommodating 18 religious congregations of men (with 66 professed religious priest and brothers) and 33 religious congregations of women belonging to Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life (with a total number of 399 professed and 211 novices and aspirants). In 1988, through various diocesan consultations, the clergy, religious and laity all worked together to formulate the collective vision-mission of the Diocese. Thereafter, the diocesan pastoral ministries were streamlined and their functions or roles were specifically defined. After the conclusion of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991,

Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes D.D. celebr ated his 25th episcopal or dination anniversar y last April 3 this year.


9 --- FAST FACTS --Diocese of Antipolo Bishop(s) 2 Priest (s) 123 Diocesan 72 Resident Guests 5 Religious (Filipino) 51 (Foreign) 8 Deacon 2 Seminaries Religious 6 Enrolment 195 Diocesan Seminarians 33 Studying in other dioceses Minor 4 Major in Pre-college In College 16 In Theologate 13 Diocesan Divisions Vicariates 9 Parishes 54 Sub-parish 1 Educational Centers Colleges 6 Diocesan 3 Religious 3 High schools 19 Parochial 10 Religious 9 Sacraments Baptisms 51,191 Confirmations 10,947 Marriages 4,187 Between Catholics 4,078 Mixed 109 Institutions Orphanages and Asylum 3 Retreat Houses 12 Hospitals and Clinics 2 Population 3,484,269 Number of Catholics 2,849548 Area of Territory 1, 828 sq. km


A Pilgrim’s City and Diocese by Msgr. Rigoberto De Guzman Antipolo Diocese accordingly convened its diocesan convention to discuss the documents and resolutions of PCP II. From thereon, the groundwork was laid in holding a Diocesan Synod in affirmation to the Acts and Decrees of PCP II. The First Diocesan Synod of Antipolo was held on February 22-26, 1993 at the St. Michael Retreat House, Antipolo City and impressively attended by some 110 representatives from the diocesan clergy, the religious and the laity. With its theme, “Bagong Nilikha, Bagong Pagkatao,” the first Diocesan Synod precipitated follow-up efforts for its needed dissemination, education, and implementation planning both in the diocesan and parish levels. Thus, on June 25, 1993, on the occasion of the 10th foundation anniversary of the Diocese, the bishop of Antipolo formally issued the Decree of Promulgation of the Acts and Decrees of the First Diocesan Synod of Antipolo. In his decree, the bishop aptly stated, “The implementation of its (synod) decrees will enable us to follow Christ more avidly as His disciples and thereby make His presence felt more avidly in the community.” Vision-Mission: “A Community of Disciples of the Risen Christ” Formulated in 1988, the Vision of Antipolo Diocese states thus: “We desire to belong to a Diocese where parishes are formed by commu-

nities of disciples of the Risen Christ, enlightened by the Word of God and nourished by the Eucharist where priests, religious, laity are collaborating to realize the Kingdom of God according to their God-given charisms which are properly channeled to various ministries and called for by the Bishop so that the mission of Christ may be lived and shared with the total community – a mission that recognizes God’s universal love and His preferential option for the poor and oppressed.” The vision set by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for the Philippine Church is to be a “Community of Disciples and a Church of the Poor,” and the mission is “integral evangelization” whose components are catechesis, worship, and social action. Accordingly, this is likewise echoed by Antipolo Diocese and is promoted both by the diocesan and parish ministries on catechesis, worship and social action. The diocesan stress on integral evangelization is very much in line with what the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, says in his first Encyclical Letter, “Deus Caritas Est”: “The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia).”

Pastoral Ministries The Diocese has established various ministries through which its pastoral programs are implemented. These pastoral ministries include, namely: Worship and Liturgy, Evangelization and Lay Formation, Social and Human Development, Temporalities, Youth, Vocation, and Family Life Apostolate. Today, already on its 23rd year since its inception, the Diocese of Antipolo continues to grow in Christian faith, hope and love. Last 1997, the Diocese re-echoed the Provincial Council of Manila by holding a similar diocesan conciliar activity. Likewise, the Diocese actively participated in the successful National Eucharistic Congress held on January 22-26, 1997 in Manila. These and other programs and activities have certainly made the Diocese ever faithful not only to the mother Church but even also to the least of its constituents. Only recently, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes has just completed his pastoral visit of all the parishes, from St. Michael Parish in Jalajala on one end to the Ina ng Kapayapaan Parish in Montalban on the other end. No less, Bishop Reyes did see for himself the actual situation of his own flock, faithfully listening to their needs and thereby address their concerns. Indeed, the Diocese of Antipolo, truly a pilgrim’s city and diocese as well, cannot but continue to heed the voice of the Good Shepherd and count ever more on the maternal care of its patroness, the Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje.

CBCP Monitor



June 19, 2006


Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

head, that is, to teach doctrine, maintain the deposit of faith, govern the life of the Church, administer the sacraments (cf. SC 10). For this function to be translated into the external life of the Church, the clerics must have rights and obligations proper to them. These constitute his juridical status. Along the same vein, the laity must also have a character that is proper to them. This takes the form of the ministry that is peculiar to them within the Church, that is, to imbue the temporal order and earthly realities with the Gospel values. It is within this context that the Second Vatican Council made this definition: “The laity are those members of the faithful who, by divine vocation, are destined to seek the kingdom of God by dealing with and ordering temporal things according to God’s will” (LG, 31). To them also belongs the freedom in secular matters within the ecclesiastical society. In other words the Church does not have competence over them in secular affairs. Hence the Code states: “To the lay members of Christ’s faithful belongs the right to have acknowledged as theirs that freedom in secular affairs which is common to all citizens. In using this freedom, however, they are to ensure that their actions are permeated with the spirit of the Gospel, and they are to heed the teaching of the Church proposed by the magisterium….” (Can. 227). Empowerment of the Laity. In the Church attempts have not been wanting to empower the lay faithful, for them to own their specific powers over the temporal order and specific mission to engage in the social transformation of the world as its leaven. But, sad to say, they have been undertaken in areas that are not properly their own, not based on their specific rights as laymen in the Church. To empower them towards a life-style and apostolic activities that are properly and uniquely theirs have not been given due emphasis. To empower something means to understand thoroughly the nature of the thing, its personality, its distinctive trait, its uniqueness. To do otherwise is improper. To train a Doberman pinscher dog to dance may be good but improper. Doberman dogs are supposed to guard, not to entertain; to protect the master with their fierceness, not to dance with grace. I am afraid that this is what is happening to many of our laymen and women. They participate actively and zealously in the liturgical and pastoral activities of the Church; others seem to be happy when they look like religious with the way they are dressed and the way they exercise their spirituality. They may be good for the Church, but they sorely miss the life-style and apostolic activities that are their proper signatures as envisioned by her. To empower the laity, therefore, means to know their real status, the expected life-style, and the proper role as lay men in the life of the Church; to accept their uniqueness, their distinctive features; and thereby to form them accordingly. It empowers them by helping them to readily accept their specific mission to be the leaven in the world, ordering the temporal affairs in accordance to the Gospel values. To build up Christian families, to engage in politics so as to influence it with Christian principles and values, to enter into the arena of mass media and communication bringing into it their Christian moral formation and wellformed conscience, these are the areas proper to the lay faithful. Given the adequate doctrinal and spiritual formation and guidance, supported with the intense sacramental life, and granted the autonomy and right independence to responsibly pursue their role in the world, the lay faithful will be effectively empowered. Then, they will not be contented to act as mere lay ministers in the Church, or as mere cooperator in the governance of the ecclesial community, or as secularized versions of religious men and women. With heads up they will be seen more and more as empowered Christian lay men and women as they really are, that is, Christ in the middle of the world.



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I am a Catholic. I pray the Holy Rosary. I go to church. And I have a question. I am bothered seeing Catholic mass held at the malls on Sundays and Saturdays. And I don’t understand why this practice is tolerated. Why accommodate mall goers who obviously prefer to go to malls than hear mass at real Catholic churches? Why condone this? You don’t allow garden weddings but it is okay to hold masses at Megamall and Glorietta where one gets distracted by other “mallers” and the displays meant to attract attention. At Festival Mall in Alabang, mass is held inside the cinema arcade. Thus, church goers can easily watch a movie after listening to the celebration. Have we really succumbed to the call of commercialism that we allow Catholic activities be part of the malls’ one-stop-shop design? At the malls you can do anything from shopping to dining, from playing bingos to playing computer games, from bowling to skating, from watching movies to studying, from paying taxes to car registration, from dating to hearing mass. Is that what we want? I believe that God is omnipresent, but there are places made to worship Him, particularly on Sundays. And these places aren’t the malls. And you wonder why attendance is low on regular churches, on why donations aren’t enough to cover even the church’s basic needs. This is so because people have been led to believe that going to church is no longer a holy sacrifice. To sacrifice to go to the city’s or town’s church before going to the malls. Instead of giving to the church, people spend money playing in the arcade, watching movies or shopping for cheap, useless things sold at mall-wide sales. All these can be done in one place. The mall. And the church goes there to join in the chaos called commercialism. I hope you review this practice and decide to bring back the dignity of going to church, of wearing a Sunday dress, attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. At real churches. With all due respect to Catholic Church, Kristin L.

Church and Politics I have always been thankful to our bishops, especially here in Cebu, as they take care of the ritual aspects of the religious life, teach or otherwise help in spreading the religion's doctrine and practices. But for the clergy to meddle in matters like amending the constitution of our country and to support and even lead the call for an elected President to resign, I believe, are not within their authority as leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, which maybe is the reason why no less than Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for priests (presumably including bishops) to stay away from politics as confirmed by Bishop Tobias himself. Between these bishops and the Pope, I have to take side with the Pope. Neil P.

Discipline in Church I am currently residing in Santa Clara, CA USA but I AM A FILIPINO. Born in Baliwag Bulacan, raised by a catholic family, learned in a catholic school and will forever be a CATHOLIC. I went to USA like other Filipinos to seek job and to support/help their families in the Philippines. It is true what they said "Americans are caring and disciplined". This is something I noticed on my first mass here. To receive the Holy Communion people doesn’t walk all at once in the aisle to form a line, but instead HANDICAPS or people with disability receive HIM first, AND THEN the sequence WILL GO BY THE ROW, first row fall in line first, followed by the 2nd row and then the third row, and so on, while OTHERS ARE WAITING FOR THEIR TURN they remain standing and pray solemnly. I think this is something that can be useful in our country to promote disciple. I believe in the great influence of our religion to our country, and we should use it for the improvement of the Philippines. This is a small step but a great one to instill in the minds of the next Filipino generations. I met Filipino priests visiting here, had held mass and is familiar with this procedure/rule Marvin A.


A couple of weeks ago, a good number of leaders met together to seriously discuss on the plight of the country and on what they as a group could do. It turned into an emotional meeting, triggering up not only bright ideas, but also heated passions of anger and deep frustrations. One of the discussants blurted out with a comment: “If the CBCP is ambivalent, nothing will happen to us… At least be like Cardinal Sin who was at the forefront of the fight that removed the dictator.” Another responded: “The CBCP is refraining from political actions; it’s only making judgment on the moral issue. If we have to hide behind the bishops to take action, we should be ashamed of ourselves.” From the many insightful expositions and brilliant repartees, I specifically picked out these comments for they are intriguing in their ecclesiological import. They summarily disclosed the faith quality of our lay faithful, their confidence as active lay members of the Church. To hold on to the belief that the clergy must always decide for the laity even in matters temporal is an inaccurate assessment of what the laity in the Church should be. It subtly suggests that the lay faithful, left to themselves, are not potent enough to undertake the call to social transformation; that they do not have the needed competence to institute reforms for justice and harmonious living to reign in the ecclesial community; that they always need to look up to the official nod of the hierarchy in articulating the vision, goals and objectives of lay associations, of setting up programs, systems and structures that would impact Christian values on society and on the world; or, not sufficiently empowered to carry out the mission to “permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel” (cf. Canon 225. § 2). The contrary, however, is true. Powers of the laity for social transformation have long been recognized by the Second Vatican Council’s introduction of the dynamic concept of the People of God in the reality of the Church and of the specific place of the lay faithful in its life and mission. This was followed up by subsequent decrees and eventually made official and definitive by the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law in 1983. Here, the legal status of the lay faithful is declared, his rights and duties defined and recognized. The dignity and mission of the lay has been firmly established, setting them equal with the clergy and the religious men and women. In the eyes of the law the lay faithful are not second-rate citizens. Consequently, the lay are constituent members of the Church. They are Christian faithful as much as the clerics and the religious men and women are. As baptized, they are authentic subjects of laws, enjoying common and specific rights and obligations. The Clergy and the Lay Faithful in the Church. The sacrament of baptism is the source of this dignity and power of the faithful. It puts a juridical stamp to the members of the Church, configuring them as members of the body of Christ, bonding them together as the People of God. Because of this, they are constituted as bonafide constituents with the radical possession of freedom, submission and autonomy of the children of God, assigning to them specific duties and rights. To express this juridical reality of the baptized, Canon 204, avers: “Christ’s faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. They are called, each according to his or her particular condition, to exercise the mission which God entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world.” Within the fundamental equality among the members of the Church, there are nevertheless functional distinctions, differences of ministry or office. All the faithful do not perform the same functions in the Church. The clerical state is characterized by a number of duties imposed by his ordination to serve the people of God in the person of Christ the

Mass in the Malls

Call Digna for Reservation at 515-8306 Deadline of Registration: August 30, 2006

The Laity in the Church

Schedule of Seminars at the Lay Formation Center, Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City: “The Background of the Social Doctrine of the Church” by Fr. Jim Cerezo & Fr. Fidelis Layog July 1, 8, 15, 22, 2006 “The Pastoral Implications of the Social Doctrines of the Church” by Fr. Oliver Mendoza & Fr. Mario Morales August 5, 12, 19, 26, 2006 “Lay Theology and Spirituality” by Fr. Mario Dominic Sanchez September 2, 9, 16, 23, 2006

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006


Social Concern

IT IS WITH A feeling of great pride and gratitude that we in the Social Action Center of Infanta look back at the past year. Looking at the present situation, there’s no denying that we have yet to conquer a mountain of developmental problems. But looking at it from where we were a year ago, we are but awed by the small miracles that have beautifully unfolded since then. Let me share with you our story. Shortly before the disastrous floods devastated our province in November 2004, the Social Action Center was little more than a dream. Fr. Cha Colendres, Demo Raynera and myself had sat together to make a concept. A very good friend of the Prelature, Fr. Franz Edlinger, had promised financial support. An old building was then being rehabilitated to serve supposedly as an office. Then the disaster came. The building was covered in mud! But the dream survived. In fact the disaster forced us to do in months what probably would have taken years in a normal situation. First was the relief operation. A center was set up in Mount Carmel shrine Parish in new Manila to receive and prepare the relief goods and sent people and goods, doctors and nurses and medicines to the area. Demo, who himself spent with his family the night on the roof of their house, started to organize the distribution system in Infanta. He set up a center in the seriously damaged house of the Bishop. Fr. Osee organized the Social Action in Real and Sr. Hersie in Nakar. Logistics were a nightmare those first days but eventually with the help of many volunteers and generous people we were able to conquer that problem. Very significant for the human-spiritual recovery were the traditional nine early morning masses before Christmas. Our bishop and our priests provided hope to our disaster-stricken populace. We believed then that spiritual revival through Christmas liturgical celebrations combined with activities of the Foodfor-Work program made the big leap forward, socially and psychologically. In the meantime, Christian Aid, a church-based relief group, worked out a solid framework for our rehabilitation program. This did not only shape our program for the year but also structured the Prelature’s Social Action Center (SAC). The Shelter Program became the touchstone for the SAC staff. We had learned from the weaknesses of previous months and used this knowledge to organize a program that brought shelter relief to the most needy in the farthest places. The key of success proved to be the Basic Christian Communities. We involved them from step one—the selection and organization of the beneficiaries—and throughout the entire process. Along the process too, the SAC established a close working-relationship with the Parish Social Action Offices (PSAO) and the Tribal Center for Development (TCD). This completed the structural backbone for the Social Action program as a whole. Currently, our shelter program has already constructed one village of concrete houses, made possible under auspices of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice

Prelature of Infanta

Where there’s Faith, Hope and Love, there is Fullness of Life by Deacon Mario van Loon, ACT

and Peace (NASSAJP). The initial success gained by the SAC precipitated our resolve to proceed to the next step: the income generation projects. Food-for-work had inspired people to take initiatives. With the working network of the SAC, the PSAO and the TCD, inspiring initiatives from the people were readily stimulated. The 14 million-peso program budget of Christian Aid and the many donations received by the Prelature made it possible to answer most requests: fishing boats, nets and other equipments for the poor fisher folks; seeds, all kinds of utensils, carabaos (water-buffaloes) for the farmers; irrigation canals, water systems, roads for the villages; materials for community centers, daycare centers, chapels, etc; and piglets, chickens and other livestock for the poorest. During this period also, other programs were likewise incorporated into the process. Psycho-social Debriefing was very necessary to help people, especially children, to deal with their traumatic experiences. Not a few medical missions that reached out to poor and needy were also conducted, thanks to the doctors and nurses who came all their way from Manila. A relevant concern also during this period was our Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness program efforts, which we nonetheless conducted even to the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) level in collaboration with local government units and other non-government organizations. Admittedly, much yet has to be done on this level.

Of course, there’s no arguing that value formation and spiritual education are as prominently essential to the whole process described above. Change will only take root when it is accompanied with the proper formation. This, we did not fail to integrate in our social action efforts. The last step we took in our process was the challenge to revive the agricultural land. Approximately 800 hectares of fertile rice fields have been covered with layers of mud soil from the mountains. This has changed completely the agricultural reality of Infanta, Real and Nakar. Farmer families who have planted rice for generations have to accept the fact that they cannot plant rice anymore. They have to learn to plant other crops and that requires a change, a very difficult process. But then, faced with such challenge, three government institutions – the PCARRD, UP-LB and CHED — have readily thrown their support behind our efforts. They have committed themselves to help us three years in order to reestablish agriculture as the main economic vehicle of our area. Under this, a significant start was made with our pilot project of 78 hectares in Boboin. Thus is our story. Looking back, we are both awed and humbled by the solidarity, dedication, commitment of so many people from all over the country and the world. We can only be grateful that God allowed us to be His hands through which the poor could experience those small miracles. True enough, where there’s Faith, Hope, and Love, there is fullness of life.

From Gaudium et Spes to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

© Denz Dayao

by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD

Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, presents the book “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” during a press conference on the occaision of the Year of social Concern, May 11, 2006; while Fr. James Reuter, SJ, looks on.

THE year 2005 marked the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in Modern World” (or Gaudium et Spes). This document focuses on the Church’s relations ad extra—i.e., sharing “the joys and the hopes” of the world. It synthesizes in contemporary accents the Church’s social teachings from the first social encyclical of Pope Leo XIII in the late 19th century to the encyclicals of Pope John XXIII in the 1960’s. In its opening chapters, the document touches on recurrent theme such as the Church’s mission in the world, the dignity of human person, and the challenges of modernday atheism. In its second part, Gaudium et Spes focuses on problems of special urgency such as: marriage and the family, culture, socio-economic life, the political community and world peace. One concrete result of Gaudium et Spes

was the creation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace which was tasked by the Holy Father to carry on the Church’s dialogue with the world on the Social issues if the day and to help guide the Church’s pastoral action in society. It was with this mandate that the Pontifical Council convened in Rome in October 2004 the First World Congress of Ecclesial Organizations Working for Justice and Peace. There were two interrelated reasons for the congress: first, to prepare for the commemoration of the 40 th anniversary of Gaudium et Spes; and secondly, to launch the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which had just been published by the PCJP presidency of the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, the 525 page Compendium has finally come to light and offers “a concise but complete overview of the Church social teaching.”

In systematic fashion, the Compendium takes us once more the classical themes of Gaudium et Spes, this time expanded with citations from other ecclesial documents, particularly Pope John Paul II’s three social encyclicals and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994). The Compendium contains three parts. Part One, comprising four chapters, discusses the presuppositions of the Church’s Social Doctrine: God’s plan of love for humanity; the Church’s mission and social doctrine; the human person and human rights; and the principle of the Church’s Social doctrine. Part Two, composed of seven chapters, contains an up-to-date examination of the traditional themes of social doctrine: the family, human work, economic life, the political community, the international community, and the promotion of peace. A noteworthy addition is a chapter on the environment. Part Three, in a single chapter, contains recommendations for pastoral action in the social field and dwells in particular on the commitment of the lay faithful. The Compendium concludes with an invitation to the men and women of our age to build a “civilization of love”—the overarching motif of the entire document. At the dawn of the third millennium, the Compendium is offered as a continuing work in progress not only for Catholics but also for brethren of other faiths as well as for “all people of good will who are committed to serving the common good.”

If Gaudium et Spes has been characterized by Cardinal Renato Martino, current PCJP President, as containing the “genetic code” for the Church’s social apostolate, the Compendium can well be viewed as the vademecum for today’s church worker in the social field—as bishop, priest, religious or, especially, as lay person. Comprising about a third of the Compendium is a valuable analytical index that provides cross references for the topical themes of the Church’s social teachings. A papal audience for the delegates provided a high point for the world congress. In his brief message, the late Pope John Paul II forcefully remarked: “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church has just been published as an instrument meant to help Christians in their daily commitment to make the world more just, from the perspective of a true solidary humanism. The social doctrine is an essential part of the Christian message (Centesimus Anus, 5) and must be better known, integrally spread and witnessed to by constant and coherent pastoral action.” For the Church, there is no socio-pastoral action without a social doctrine; but neither there can be a social doctrine without pastoral action. (Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD, the newly installed Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro is a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; he is also the Vice-President of the CBCP)

CBCP Monitor



© Denz Dayao

Pastoral Statement on The Alleged ”People’s Initiative” to Change the Constitution

Introduction “The Church... must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.” (Deus Caritas Est, 28) This challenging call of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, impels us to express to you, our beloved People of God, our deep concern over the attempt of certain sectors to make hasty and substantial changes to our Constitution, supposedly through the “People’s Initiative” provision in our present charter. We speak to you, not as lawyers or politicians, but as Shepherds, applying principles of our Catholic Social Teaching to our present situation, and inviting you to discern, decide and act in the light of the Gospel. We recognize and respect those many concerned and thoughtful Filipinos who see constitutional reform as necessary remedy to the country’s many problems at present. In our pastoral statement of January 2006, we already stated that “we agree that certain aspects of our Constitutions may need amendments and revisions.” What we wish to challenge and express unease about is the process by which these changes are being brought about. Concerns about the present campaign First, we believe that “changing the Constitution involving major shifts in the form of government, requires widespread participation, total transparency, and relative serenity that allows for rational discussion and debate.” (CBCP State-

ment, 2006) The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches that “the shared participation of citizens in the destiny of their communities calls for work for information and education.” (No. 191) The provision for a “People’s Initiative” in the present Constitution was precisely an attempt to allow our people this participation. We view with alarm, however, the present signature campaign endorsed by the government. Signatures are apparently collected without adequate information, discussion and education. The manner in which these signatures are supposedly collected, including door to door campaigns, are not conducive to the kind of informed participation that such fundamental changes demand. The changes that are being proposed for signatures of citizens are dangerously unclear and open to manipulation by groups with self-serving interests. The complexities and variations of the parliamentary system are not adequately explained and have not been sufficiently discussed by our people. Second, we believe that “the reasons for constitutional change must be based on the common good rather than on self-serving interests or the interests of political dynasties.” (CBCP Statement, 2006) The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches that: “An authentic democracy is ... the fruit of ... a commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life.” (No. 407)

In other words, charter change can only be morally justifiable if the revisions being proposed will lead to authentic reforms and development for the nation. Changes must assure shifts towards: principled politics, transparency and accountability, electoral and institutional reform, and more efficient delivery of services to the people, especially the poorest. However, no such provisions have been clearly specified in the present signature campaign. What form of parliamentary system, how such a parliamentary system will truly serve the common good and the interests of the nation, especially the poor, have not been articulated. Instead, people are given general and sweeping promises of political stability and reform that will allegedly automatically come with a new political system. This lack of clarity on how the changes will truly benefit our nation raises disturbing questions about who will truly benefit from these changes. It seems that the changes as they are being proposed now will benefit mainly those who already hold positions of power and privilege in the current political system. This raises questions as to the authenticity of this signature campaign and the motives of those who promote it. Is this truly a “people’s initiative” or the initiative of self-seeking political players wanting to entrench in power? We might further ask the question of the source of funding for this entire operation.

Capital and Labor are Interdependent

LABOR Day is an occasion to recognize how much society, government, industry, technology depend on labor as efficient cause of progress and development. Through work man cultivates the earth. Through work man perfects the earth through more and more highly improved machinery. Through work man enriches fellowmen. Unfortunately, in the Philippines those who are in the labor force are oftentimes deprived of the just share of the fruits of their work. The value of work is not derived simply from the material of work but from man himself. The dignity of work comes from man and his right to work. Ang dignidad ng trabaho ay galing sa nagtatrabaho. Capital, which is controlled by capitalists, is the “historical heritage,” or product itself of human work. Developed through science and technology, capital is an instrumental cause of production. Capital represents the material and financial resources that are employed for further production. In any event there is no production

without the application of human resources on material resources, on capital. In the PCP II the “priority of labor over capital” is recognized (318). What then is the relationship between labor and capital, or more concretely between the worker and the capitalist? More than a century ago, Pope Leo XIII gave the classic statement of principle: “Capital cannot stand without labor, nor can labor stand without capital” (Rerum Novarum 109). Labor and capital depend on each other. Their relationship should be one of interdependence and complementariness, if they are to effectively serve the integral welfare of society. Economic progress is the joint work of both capital and labor. It would be unjust for either labor or capital to arrogate unto itself the contribution of both. This is stated by the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.” In the past, such as during the Industrial Revolution, and in our time through some ex-

Conclusion A call to discernment and action. In the light of the difficulties connected with the present efforts to change the Constitution, we, your Pastors, invite the People of God to take up once again the responsibilities of good citizens, who love this country and seek its true good. We remind you of the words of our Holy Father: “The direct duty for a just ordering of society ... is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the state, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. They cannot relinquish their participation ... to promote ... the common good.” (Deus Caritas Est. 29) We invite you then to reflect and pray over what we have presented in this statement. If, before God speaking in your conscience, you agree, we call upon you to discern the appropriate actions. As Christians, we cannot be complacent and inactive in the face of this present issue of charter change, which is so crucial to the future of our country and people. Vigilance, education, principled opposition may be necessary steps to take. As Holy Week draws near, we pray that the self-sacrificing love of Christ, that along brings life to the world, may fill the hearts of all Filipinos and bring about the new life we all desire for our nation. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President April 7, 2006 treme ideologies and totalitarian regimes, circumstances have led to the conflict between capital and labor. The relationship of conflict, competition and antagonism has proven disadvantageous to both and most especially to the poor. The victim of the conflict between labor and capital is likewise the economy. The principle of collaboration instead of class struggle must be the fundamental means for social change. The church stands on record that in any social question “the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligation of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity” must always be taken into account in the just ordering of society. Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter Centessimus Annus affirmed “that serious social problems, (whether in economy or politics, in the relationship of capital and labor) could be solved only by cooperation between all forces” (CA 60). Labor Day, MAYO UNO, can be a happy occasion for labor and capital/government to express to each other how much they need each other and what they can give to each other for the good of the country. +Angel N. Lagdameo Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP May 1. 2006

June 19, 2006

A Pastoral Statement on “The Da Vinci Code” With the imminent release of the movie version of the bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, many people have started inquiring again about the veracity of its claims. Some readers take the assertions made by Brown to be true, while others entertain the possibility that they might be true. Some take the novel for what it truly is – a work of fiction and nothing more. But no matter how a reader views the novel, it cannot be denied that fiction shapes the imagination, stirs emotions and forms mental associations. Brown has created the impression that his fiction is historical fact. Aware of St. Paul’s admonition that some people “will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables,” (2 Timothy 4:4) we, Pastors and Teachers of the faith, invite the faithful to carefully discern the truth of the Gospel. The novel gives erroneous impressions of many things, among them some fundamental truths of the Christian faith. The most serious are the following: Jesus is not a divine Person. He is only human. He married Mary Magdalene and had children. The belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ was an “invention” imposed by Constantine through the Council of Nicea (325). The Church manipulated the choice of the Canonical Gospels, destroyed important documents and suppressed the memory of Mary Magdalene and her children to maintain the lie about Jesus. Brown makes these claims through fictional accounts that give the impression of historical accuracy due to frequent reference to events. He employs the tool of unraveling the alleged secrets of the Church through the interpretation of symbols and codes hidden in works of art, notably Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. In the face of the confusion the novel has generated, we invite the Catholic faithful to serenely affirm the fundamental truths of our faith, in particular the following: Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human. The full truth about Jesus is not attained by mere historical reconstruction or ingenious human speculation. The truth about Jesus as the Son of God comes from a revelation of the Father, as Jesus told Peter (cf. Mt 16:17). The truth about Jesus as Lord can be confessed only in humble faith that is a gift of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul reminds us (cf. I Cor 12:3). The truth about Jesus is revealed to mere children but hidden to the wise and the learned (cf. Matthew 11:25). Without commitment to the faith, the search for Jesus is reduced to curiosity. The revelation of Jesus, received in childlike faith, is preserved and transmitted by the Church. The Church is a human and spiritual community whose fidelity to the revealed truth is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. The witness of the believers of Christ, dating from the apostles to the saints and martyrs of our time, constitutes the most reliable “evidence” in history of the truth about Jesus. The Church does not manipulate revealed truth. It serves the truth. What can we do as communities of faith in this situation? How do we prepare ourselves for similar situations that might arise in the future? We invite you dear brothers and sisters in Christ to do the following: Let us deepen in our homes, schools, ecclesial communities and Church organizations the knowledge of Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Tradition through a systematic study of the Word of God and the teaching of the Church, a renewed Bible Apostolate and Catechesis, and a serious study of the History of the Church. Let us appeal to publishers and people in media to practice their profession responsibly, with uncompromising respect for the truth, especially about persons and beliefs dear to various religions and faith communities. Let us collaborate with historians, scholars of the arts, and scientists in shaping a culture with depth and integrity. Let us imbue our evangelizing mission with renewed vigor, methods and expressions so that people who are earnestly seeking the truth about Jesus may encounter Him in our word, worship, prayer and humble service. As a further help to our discernment, we are providing you with a guide on how to respond to the claims made by Dan Brown in the novel. This can be reproduced for use in the various dioceses, parishes, schools and other groups. Let us not lose heart. The history of the Church attests to how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has withstood many trials. The Truth of Jesus Christ can never be shackled. With St. John, we proclaim, “We are declaring to you what we have seen and heard, so that you too may share our life. Our life is shared with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I Jn 1:3). May Mary, the Mother of the Son of the most High God (cf. Lk 1:32), share with us her humble faith! For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. + ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D. Archbishop of Jaro President , CBCP May 12, 2006


We are just a click away... • • • •

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006 Beloved People of God: Last January we, your Bishops, declared this year 2006, Year of Social Concerns.” We pay special attention this year to the teaching, appropriation, and implementation of the social doctrine of the Church as contained in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. We are called to build a “society more human, more worthy of the human person,” (Compendium, 582). This is a mission that we your Bishops have frequently urged all the faithful to do. Even now we continue to urge everyone to study, pray over, and apply the four Pastoral Exhortations – on Philippine Politics (1997), economics (1998), culture (1999), and spirituality (2000) – that we wrote for the Year of the Great Jubilee 2000. Two new factors make the focus on social concern this year more urgent. First, the whole Church is powerfully reminded by the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, that the social concern “is as essential to her mission as the ministry of the sacraments and the preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word.” (DCE, 22). Secondly, our present Philippine situation calls us to be more actively committed to living out the social teaching of the Church. Political turmoil, moral corruption, and environmental degradation have worsened massive poverty and scandalous social inequality. We are today especially concerned about a pervasive sense of weariness, cynicism, and hopelessness among many of our people. What can we, must we, as Church do to heal this terrible malaise of spirit? What more can we do to help our people, especially the poor, believe that there is hope? Our Commitment as Church We believe that today the Lord’s commandment of love, the social teaching of the Church, and the urgent needs of our people are calling us to intensify our commitment to build in our land “a civilization of love” (see, e,g. Centesimus Annus, 10). “Love builds up,” St. Paul teaches (1 Cor. 8:1). With love the Church builds up by prophetically critiquing and denouncing injustice and by prompting “positive activity” that will “promote a society befitting mankind because it befits Christ” (Compendium, 8, 63). How shall we do this? We commit ourselves to a three-fold program of pastoral action: • The Church will continue to build character. Through the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, through the ministry of Catholic education, through programs of formation and spirituality, we shall seek, with the help of God’s grace to build persons of faith and virtue. To build the future, we need to deepen our sense of honesty and integrity, service and responsibility, stewardship and solidarity. Corruption is rooted in a fundamental self-centeredness or selfishness, an evil that contravenes the human responsibility to exist “with” others and “for” others (see Compendium, 165). Transforming persons from this self-centeredness to the life of virtue and social responsibility remains our primary task and contribution to nation building. • The Church must build capacity. Poverty is not only about “not having” but also of “not being able.” Poverty is also a question of capability. We have to empower those who are needy to construct a better future. Our social action programs, training programs and institutions, research centers, schools, charitable agencies and organizations, religious orders and congregations, lay organizations and movements, Basic Ecclesial Communities, need to help people grow in capacities, such as the capacity to govern themselves, the capacity to develop their abilities, the capacity to find meaningful and fruitful employment and work, the capacity to care for our environment, the capacity to make leadership accountable. We, therefore, commend our charitable institutions that are at the service of the most vulnerable in our society. We commend programs such as Pondo ng Pinoy, Gawad Kalinga and Tabang Mindanaw for empowering people to participate in their own development and in continuing work of creation. The Church must build community. Fifteen years ago we pointed out that the ruinous divisiveness in our country is rooted in a culture “too focused on the good of small social groups” (Acts and Decrees of Second Plenary Council, 21), on the good of those we identify with, our families, our town-mates, our province-mates, etc. Through formation and education, through various means including the use of the media of social communications, we need to promote, at every level of society and Church, a spirituality of citizenship, which is a concrete way of living out in our country the “ fundamental social virtue”: solidarity (see Compendium, 193). This spirituality of citizenship fosters a sense of patriotism and of being responsible for our country. It develops Filipinos into becoming active and constructive participants in social and political life. It enables the laity to take their rightful leadership role in the social transformation of our country. To build community in a country battered by various kinds of conflict is to promote peace. This “requires the establishment of an order based on justice and charity” (Compendium, 494). Concretely we need to foster dialogue among Christians, between Filipinos of different faiths, and among different sectors of society. For this reason we commend the efforts of many peace advocates, parishes, NGOs, religious groups, the Bishops-Ulama Conference, and others that actively dialogue for peace. A Call to Action We end our reflection with a call to decisive action. The late Pope John Paul II reminded us that “the social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all a basis and a motivation for action” (Centesimus Annus, 57). Our action must not be merely seasonal or ad hoc or crisis driven. It has to be action that is a sustained “ministry of charity exercised in a communitarian, orderly way” (DCF, 21). In particular, we reiterate the call to action from a moral standpoint expressed in our CBCP statements last January and April. We need to restore trust in our political institutions “which are perceived by many to be corrupted”: • We commend the Supreme Court as an independent institution of government for clarifying the constitutional pa-



BUILDING A “CIVILIZATION OF LOVE” A Pastoral Exhortation for the Year of Social Concerns

rameters for E.O. 464 and P.P. 1017. • We continue to view with alarm the signature campaign for the People’s Initiative which many of our Social Action Centers have reported as being deceptive, lacking in adequate information and discussion, and not initiated by the people. • We continue to call for a thorough reform of the Commission on Elections to restore trust in our electoral process. In particular, the Ombudsman’s investigation of COMELEC officials involved in anomalous contracts worth P2.3 billion should be completed as soon as possible, as directed by the Supreme Court. • Other investigations conducted by other institutions of government should be followed up in the proper forum and fully reported to the public. We refer to the Senate hearings on the fertilizer fund appropriations which concluded that hundreds of millions of pesos remain unaccounted for. With other citizens’ groups, we also ask for the full disclosure of the Mayuga Report on the conduct of certain military officers in the last elections. We urge the faithful and all our institutions: first, to evaluate what they are presently doing to build character, capacity and community; and secondly, to pray and discern over what more we can do to promote a “civilization of love”. We offer a few possible concrete steps: • Family associations for justice and peace; • Education and formation sessions and study weeks on Catholic Social Teachings; • Bantay-dagat, bantay-kalikasan movements • Anti-corruption programs; • Livelihood programs; • Training programs for good governance;

• Formation programs for good citizenship; • Election monitoring, voters’ education • Research-based social and political advocacies. Such tasks are some of the steps to build a civilization of love. They may seem small and insignificant, but without doubt they build hope. And the ripple effect of hope is incalculable. “Christian hope generates confidence in the possibility of building a better world” (Compendium, 579). Conclusion Beloved People of God, we have declared this “Year of Social Concerns” “under the auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” We are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (instituted in 1856 by Pope Pius IX) and the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s encyclical on devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Haurietis Aquas). Ultimately all Christian social concern and social action flow from and participate in the boundless love of the Heart of Jesus. We thank God that so many individuals and groups in the Church witness by their life and work to the socially transforming love of Jesus. May the Blessed Mother bring us all closer to the Heart of Jesus. We fervently pray that through our service of love the Heart of Jesus might rekindle our hope, heal and transform our society into a civilization of love. For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D. Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP May 11, 2006

Let Us Keep Human Life Sacred

OUR national dailies for the past few weeks have been carrying news about activists, leftist-militants, journalists, defenders of the poor suspected as communists, and even police and army men, being killed or abducted. The latest, for example, is the killing of Sotero Llamas, identified as peace adviser, among several hundred others in the list. The total number is alarming. It is a sad commentary of our country and government which want to abolish death penalty. We are concerned not only for the victims, who have not been or are not given a chance to defend themselves in court, but also for their immediate families suddenly and unhappily left orphans. Whoever are the perpetrators, and whatever is the cause, the victims—irrespective of any ideology they profess—are still subjects of hu-

man rights and are entitled to due process in an unbiased court. In defense of human life, the Church through Pope John Paul II clearly teaches: “There exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object.” Therefore, “Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide …; whatever violates the integrity of the human person such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as …arbitrary imprisonment … all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation to the honor due to the Creator” (Vatican II Gaudium et Spes, 27; Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 80). The Pope re-

iterates: “If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice” (Veritatis Splendor, 81). It is not right that people be killed simply because they have different “political beliefs” or are suspected of being “subversive” or of plotting against the government. The killings leave deep scars on the memory of people especially members of their families which no amount of talk about national security will completely erase. This is a sin against life, a sin against human dignity. Human life, whose ever it is, is sacred. Retribution and vengeance simply perpetuates the cycle of violence. If we are to work out our salvation and transformation as a nation, we must begin with our Gospel faith which tells us what our perspective on human life and our task in its regard. We would like to quote again from the late Pope John Paul II who emphatically stated “Do not kill! Do not prepare destruction and extermination for men! Think of your brothers and sisters who are suffering hunger and misery! Respect each one’s dignity and freedom!” (Redemptor Hominis, 16). May Mary, Mother of Life, help us and intercede for us that we may together work to keep life ever sacred. Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCPWorld May 31, 2006

CBCP Monitor


Feature Article

June 19, 2006

Where is God? by Vic B. Gutierrez

FACTS ABOUT THE FICTION “THE DA VINCI CODE” by Fr. Regino O. Cortes, O.P. THE movie The Da Vinci Code based on Dan Brown’s novel of the same title (henceforth DVC) is now showing in different theaters around the world. I have not seen the movie nor I intend to see it not because I fear that it would shake my faith but simply because I would only find the movie valueless. My faith, I am confident, and my conviction of our Catholic doctrine are well founded enough to be uprooted by a heretical typhoon of intensity-five much less of Dan Brown’s intensityone novel and its movie version. Maybe if I would be persuaded to view the cinematic version of the novel it would only be to observe with a critical eye how faithful was the director Ron Howard in depicting the flow of the plot in the movie as compared with the novel where mistaken distances, wrong topography of Paris, a narrative time which requires superspeed and other obvious blunders are found. For example, a lapse of the mind (or is it a collapse of Dan Brown’s mind) is clear in describing the distance of the Denon Wing of the Louvre museum where the body of the assassinated Jacques Sauniere was found. According to p. 56 of DVC the corridor is 500 yards long (almost half a kilometer). The body of Sauniere was lying thirty yards down the hall (p. 38) which s even less than one tenth of the corridor. Yet when Langdon went to the rest room he preferred to go to the far end because the body of Sauniere was lying two thirds of the way down nearer to the rest rooms (p. 68). When the pair, Sophie Neveu and Robert Langdon went to the Bank of Zurich to retrieve the keystone they had to go to 24 Rue Haxo from the Gare of St. Lazare. But they had to pass through Bois de Bolougne. A cursory glance at the map of Paris will tell that the Bois de Bolougne is in the west while Rue Haxo is in the east. Dan Brown didn’t mind but the Parisians did and probably Ron Howard noticed it too. If Dan Brown committed errors and blunders in simple facts like saying that the foundation of the Knights Templar was during the Second Crusade (it was rather during the first crusade) or that Dagobert II (he is rather St. Dagobert II in the Catholic liturgy) was the last king of the Merovingian dynasty (the last king was Childeric III) or that Stradivarius was the maker of the famous violins (the maker is Antonio Stradivari and the violins are called stradvarius) or that Opus Dei have monks or the Nag Hammadi documents are scrolls (they are rather codices) and host of others, then he should not be believed uncritically in his other assertions about the divinity of Christ and his askew reading of the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci where the Dominican Fathers in whose refectory (dining room) in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, the painting is found have the true history and the names of the persons in that painting. Definitely St. Mary Magdalene is not present in that painting and for sure the person seated on the right of Jesus is St. John the Evangelist who is portrayed even in the paintings of the Last Supper before Leonardo da Vinci

as a young man with long hair and without a beard. The story line itself of Dan Brown that a certain organization called the Priory of Sion was the guardian of a secret the revelation of which would be the destruction of the Catholic Church so that the Vatican at all cost should eliminate even through assassinations those who knew this secret is contradicted by true historical f acts. Fiction ends where true facts begin. The secret, according to DVC, is the Holy Grail (San Greal in French). But it is not about the cup or chalice of the Last Supper but rather the SanG Real, the royal blood which is St. Mary Magdalene. St. Mary Magdalene, according to the novel, has royal blood on two counts: as a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin through Saul the first king of Israel and by her marriage to Jesus, a story concocted by Dan Brown, o have been encoded in the painting of Leonardo de Vinci’s Last Supper , hence :The Da Vinci Code.” Nevertheless the sources of Dan Brown’s absurd theories in his novel are now well known. He definitely took it from the book of Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent entitled “Holy Blood Holy Grail” (1982, henceforth HBHG). In fact one of his leading characters in the novel is Leigh Teabing clearly taken from the two authors of Holy Blood Holy Grail: Richard LEIGH and Michael BAIGENT. TEABING is an anagram of BAIGENT. But the three authors of HBHG also took their story from a certain Pierre Plantard who claimed that he was a descendant of the Merovingian kings and therefore has a rightful claim to the throne of France in case the monarchy would be revived. Pierre Plantard himself got this tale from another source, a tape-recorded story in a restaurant owned by Noel Corbu in the village of Rennes le Chateau of the Diocese of Carcassone in Southern Frqance. It says that Rennes was formerly Rhedae the capital of the Merovingian dynasty where treasures were buried, some of them with certain documents were told to have been found by the parish priest of that village in 1892 while he was repairing his parish church called St. Mary Magdalene. His name was Berenger SAUNIERE. Note that the victim in DVC is named Jacques SAUNIERE. Pierre Plantard wrote a book about his claims “L’Or de Rennes,” (The Gold of Rennes) but no publisher was willing to print it until it was rewritten by Gerard de Sede and illustrated by Philip de Cherisey. The three agreed to divide among themselves the profits from the sale of the book. However de Sede reneged his agreement with the two and did not give them their share. This led de Cherisey to confess that he was the one who forged the documents in the book and the documents discovered by the parish priest Berenger Sauniere. He also had a hand in producing Les Dossiers Secrets which was deposited in the National Library of Paris with the list of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion including the names of famous men starting with Godefroi de Bouillon (1099), Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. Dan Brown took these as facts in his novel.

This second phase of the Priory of Sion ended in 1985. But in 1989 Pierre Plantard revived the Priory but this time not anymore connected with Godefroi de Bouillon but founded in Rennes Le Chateau itself in 1681 (now, which is which?). According to Plantard the previous list was actually made by a certain Philip Toscan du Plantier under the influence of LSD, a hallucinatory drug. Plantard claimed to be the present Grand Master of the Priory and his predecessor was Roger Patrice Pelat a good friend of Francois Miterrand, former president of France. But Pelat got involved in a financial scandal and committed suicide. The affair was investigated by the French Government through Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre. Since Plantard was connected with Pelat the judge ordered a search of Plantard’s residence and there they discovered forged and fictitious documents about his royal and monarchical claim. The Priory of Sion of Pierre Plantard was over in 1993. He died in 2000 and was cremated. It is quite strange that this hoaxed story of Plantard taken from the restaurant of Noel Corbu in Rennes Le Chateau and popularized by Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent in their book Holy Blood Holy Grail and even produced by Lincoln in the BBC documentaries (although corrected and revised later on by BBC) could serve as the central story line in his novel. It is definitely impossible for the Merovingian kings to have been descendants of the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. According to the true tradition of the Catholic Church St. Mary Magdalene retired to a place n Southern France called Villalata (now St. Maximin) on the hills called La Sainte Baume and died there in 75 A.D. Her relics are now venerated in the church of St. Maximin in this place under the care of the Dominicans. The story of the Merovingians can be read in the work of St. Gregory of Tours (594 A.D.). They came from the North and were called the Franks (Salians and Ripuarians). They reached France only in the 5th century A.D. from whom the country France took its name. Sarah who in the novel is depicted as the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene was rather an Egyptian girl, according to Catholic tradition. whose relics together with the two Mary’s are found in a village of Southern France called Saintes Maries de la Mer. It is near Cannes the famous place of movie festivals. She was the companion of the group of St. Lazarus who went to France. She is now St. Sarah, the patroness of the gypsies. The feast of St. Sarah and the two Mary’s (Mary of Cleophas and “Mary” Salome) is celebrated with a three day festivity in this French commune on May 2224 with thousands of gypsies all over Europe in attendance. It seems that Dan Brown is ignorant of these historical facts or possibly ignored them. In the ending of his novel it is claimed that the relics of St. Mary Magdalene are buried under the Louvre Museum. How it came to be buried there is the greatest mystery or probably the greatest deception all. For more blunders in the novel The Da Vinci Code see my book The Da Vinci Code: An Exegetical Review (UST Publishing House, 2006).

A FEW YEARS AGO, while we were in Cagayan de Oro on a short trip, my wife and I decided to visit a friend of ours, a religious sister, who was assigned by her congregation to live there for a special assignment. I wasn’t sure what her assignment was. She had just been there for a few months with other religious sisters in a small rented house when we visited her. We had a lively and animated conversation. Time flew very fast. Then it was time to leave. As I stood at the door to say goodbye, I took one more sweeping look at the house and I said, “Sister, you are blessed, God lives in this house.” And to my surprise, she burst out in tears and laughter. “Vic, we have been praying that God would come and live with us here. And here you come saying that. You have spoken God’s word to me.” I didn’t realize that such a simple statement, spoken sincerely, could mean a lot to her at that particular time. She knew that God was living among them but it made such an impact on her when those words of truth were spoken to her. God lives among his people. My younger brother came across this truth not in a theology classroom but in a time of pain. He was a good looking guy whom his friends fondly referred to as a man of the world. Then a time of conversion came. In his mid-40’s, his life turned around when he got involved in the Catholic charismatic renewal. Prayer became an integral part of his life. But soon after, he was diagnosed to have life-threatening cancer. He went for surgery and got cured. Yet, a couple of years later, his cancer was back. His health deteriorated fast. In my visits, he would tell me that there were times when the pain medication wouldn’t suffice and his bouts with pain came very late into the night when nobody else in the house was awake. He preferred not to wake anybody up. Instead, he would quietly walk into their living room, lie crouching on the sofa and converse with Jesus in the darkness, offering his pain for the intention of certain persons whom he knew needed God’s divine intervention. If you were looking for Jesus on those nights, there he was with my brother, Tony, in his time of special need. He was with Tony until the day he died. When do you normally look for God? Not usually in a time of adequacy—not when things are going well for you. Most often, people look for Him when they feel inadequate: when funds run low and there are no sources of help in sight, when sicknesses come and even the best doctors can’t seem to offer hope, when relationships with loved ones break and no mediation seem possible, when you have a crucial decision to make, etc. “Lord, where are you,” is often the cry of our heart in times of desperation. In times of great personal need, God seems so distant. But this is farthest from the truth. The reality is that God is near to us in our time of greatest need. “He is near to those who call on him, who call in truth upon his name. He fulfills the wish of those who fear him; he hears their cry and rescues them.” (Ps. 145: 18- 19). Recently, I visited my older brother who was anxiously waiting in his hospital bed for a difficult surgery to be performed around his throat area. It was natural for him to have some fears and anxiety as he lay in bed. But as we talked about a whole range of topics as is normal between brothers, the topic shifted to the promises of God in the Bible. And he started reciting from memory Psalm 91 part of which reads this way: “If you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your stronghold, no harm will come upon you, no disaster will draw near your tent. For he will command his angels to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up with their hands so that your foot will not hit a stone. . . When he calls to me, I will answer. In time of trouble I will be with him; I will deliver and honor him. I will satisfy him with long life and show him my salvation.”(v. 9 – 11, 15) At that moment, I knew he was alright. He had dealt with his fears. God had spoken to him. Three weeks later, we celebrated his 70th birthday in his home. He was healthy and fast recovering. When he said a prayer from his heart before the meal, we were all deeply touched. You can tell that God was there, celebrating among us. Last weekend, my wife Agnes and I were invited to a Mariapolis, an annual Focolare event in Tagaytay. It was a beautiful experience. The whole place was shining with smiles on the faces of people who were there. There was so much sensitivity to each other’s presence and personal needs. No one was a stranger, not even us whose spirituality is not Focolare but charismatic renewal. The priest who gave the homily at the culminating mass said, “There is really nothing extraordinary about this weekend. What made it special is God’s loving presence among us.” Here again is a clear affirmation that God is among us. One verse of the song that we all sang together during the weekend expressed it very well: “We are writing the history of a God who walks with humanity.” The refrain said: “God is near. He is here. Let us say it loud and clear! God is near. He is here. Let us rejoice and let us sing.” This is the greatest need of society today—to find God and experience his loving presence, to hear his word of hope and of love and peace. So where is God? Chances are people will find God if the Lord becomes visible in our life, values and relationships.

CBCP Monitor June 19, 2006

Title: OVER THE HEDGE Running Time: 85 min. Lead Cast (Voices): Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, Nick Nolte, Avril Levigne, Allison Janney, Thomas Hayden Church Directors: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick Producer: Bonnie Arnold Screenwriters: Len Blum. Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, Karey Kirkpatrick Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams Authors: Michael Fry, T. Lewis Genre: Animation Fantasy/Adventure Distributor: Dreamworks Animation Technical Assessment: @ @ @ Moral Assessment: # # # CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

Title: THE DA VINCI CODE Running Time: 140 min. Lead Cast: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany Director: Ron Howard Producers: Todd Hallowell, Dan Brown Screenwriter: Akiva Goldsman Music: Hans Zimmer Editors: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill Genre: Suspense/Thriller Cinematography: Salvatore Totino Distributor: Columbia Pictures Location: France, England, Scotland Technical Assessment: @@@@½ Moral Assessment: # # CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code has reportedly sold 40 million copies and has topped the best seller list for some 60 weeks. Now, riding on the crest of this popularity, the movie of the same title has just been launched with much media hype. Due to the book's controversial statements, the movie is also the point of much speculation. For weeks, the public has been clamoring for the banning of the movie Da Vinci Code due to some unfounded claims the book makes against the Catholic Church. However, much of what is said are actually reactions to the book rather than the movie. While most of the reactions are valid, they, nonetheless, refer to the literary version of Dan Brown's story. CINEMA emphasizes that these are two different mediums of art and communication and should therefore be analyzed distinctly. The film version remains faithful to the core plot of the novel. The story begins in France, as Jaques Sauniere, the curator of the Louvre Museum is murdered. As he lies drying he plants a series of clues to lead Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a noted American symbolist and Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), a French cryptographer and granddaughter of the murdered curator, to his murderer. The murder apparently is connected to the Catholic Church's well-guarded secret which if exposed could destroy the powers of the hierarchy and faith of the followers. As the plot unfolds, we are introduced to three groups: The Priory of Sion, a secret society meant to protect and preserve the secret; the Opus Dei's Council of Shadows, an ultra-conservative faction whose desire is to keep intact the system of the Church and destroy the evidence of the secret; and the "Teacher", an anonymous mastermind working both sides in his attempt to expose the secret and liberate the faithful against the autocracy and oppression of the Church. The "secret" refers to the Holy Grail and questions the most fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church -- Christ's divinity and celibacy. Supposedly, Christ bloodline, literally, is alive and personified through his last living descendant. Robert Langdon and Sophie Noveau are also led to go on the search for the supposed Holy Grail thru the symbols and signs Leonardo da Vinci subtly placed in his painting of the Last Supper. Their search takes them on a suspenseful rollercoaster adventure from France to England and Scotland under grave danger in an incredibly short span of time. Just like the novel on which it is based, the movie The Da Vinci Code blatantly espouses fallacies about the Christian faith. It maligns Jesus Christ by denying his divinity. The movie also says that Christ married Mary Magdalene and had children with her. The film considers her as the legendary Holy Grail. These and other lies about the Church, its teachings, the Apostles and the Bible, among other untruths, have elicited strong negative reactions from many Catholic faithful and other Christians and rightly so. CINEMA shares their condemnation but has stopped short of banning the film with hope that allowing these lies and blasphemies to be ventilated will lead to their rectification and that whatever questions and doubts the movie may spawn, may be clarified by a more spirited search for the truth. And when honestly searching for the truth, one is careful to look for it in the right and valid sources and not among spurious references like Brown's questionable list. One who has read the book will notice some slight differences between it and the movie. This may be due to Director Ron Howard's interpretation or some other reason but the additional scenes and dialog exchanges seem to have softened the antagonism against Christian beliefs and downplayed some controversial statements. For instance, Langdon's explanation for his claustrophobia resulting from his falling into a well is nowhere found in the book. In the film, Langdon who professes to be a Catholic, experiences God's presence in the well when he prays for deliverance and is saved. Was this scene inserted to indicate that


CINEMA Reviews

Langdon has some faith and is not a firm believer of the lies? Earlier in the film, his character is that of a seeker of truth, as he intermittently questions, expresses doubt, even cynicism, sometimes, while Sir Leigh Teabing explains the fallacies to Sophie. Langdon in a way represents a "seeker/searcher" who desires to understand his faith not only cerebrally but more in an experiential way. And near the movie's end, he says that "what matters most is what you believe in." CINEMA gives the film a rating of V18 as viewers must have the maturity to discern and understand the "nuances" in the movie. Those younger that 18 may not yet have a solid foundation on the Church's basic catechism especially on the articles of faith. Aside from the less antagonistic treatment of the themes in the movie compared to the book, the rating has also taken into account the fact that a film's visuals are usually more powerful than the dialog. Since this movie is verbose, its impact is less forceful. The movie is presented as just a work of fiction as opposed to the novel's claim of supposedly being based on researches and academic works. In fact, the characters and situations in the movie are too incredible to be credible. Silas, the Opus Dei hired gun, is given references of psychosis with flashbacks of fanaticism. It is impossible for a normal person to function the way he does. Awaited with high expectations, the movie though not a fantastic masterpiece, does entertain. The mysterious murder of a very important person in the sanctuary of art, the world famous Louvre immediately arouses interest and sets the stage for more suspense as the movie uses symbol and signs to deepen the mystery. However, the movie's initial momentum is slowed down by the lengthy explanations of the pagan theology and fallacious ideologies proclaimed by the important characters. The wordiness results in non-action episodes that turn off viewers who consider them boring. For in a suspense action thriller, one expects to see the visuals of the continuous action rather than to be told "stories". Technically, the movie is well made with excellent production designs, tight angling and quick editing. Commendable are the very convincing performances of the lead actors especially Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon) and Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing. Over-all, the film is above the average production but cannot be considered a great timeless movie. The film unfairly presents a negative picture of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic organization. All the Opus Dei members in the film are depicted as spiritually unattractive Christians. They are either neurotic, fanatical and murderous (like the Albino, Monk Silas), brutal (French police officer Fache), scheming, worldly and unpriestly for breaking the seal of confession (Bishop Aringarosa). Even Catholic cardinals are represented as part of a scheme or conspiracy. All of these are contrary to reality. How do we respond to the often asked question, should we see the movie? It is a matter of personal choice. If one's faith is firm and well grounded, one has nothing to fear. But if one's faith is shaky, caution must be exercised by the viewer as the movie being well made, may succeed in swaying one's convictions. The Da Vinci Code is a reminder to look into ourselves and examine our faith. Is it strong and deeply moored in God's love or is it only ritualistic that pays lip service? The film is a call to action, to affirm our faith and to help others find and affirm theirs too, by more assiduous study of the Scriptures and more thorough catechesis. If the film succeeds in inspiring this resolve among Catholics and other committed Christian groups, then whatever negative impact it may have shall generate instead much good. (Date Reviewed: 19 May 2006 @

A hungry raccoon RJ (voice of Bruce Willis) goes looking for what he could find to eat. He stumbles upon a bear Vincent's (Voice of Nick Nolte) big pile of food in his cave, and excitedly goes about stealing it. In the process, the bear who still has a week of hibernation to finish, wakes up to catch RJ carting out his food supply. The confrontation and scuffle, results in the cart and contents falling into a ravine. The angry bear gives the squirrel one week to replace the lost food items. Otherwise, when he wakes up from his week's hibernation, the little rascal is going to get what he deserves. RJ cannot but concede to the arrangement, although he has no idea what to do. Meanwhile, towards the end of the week, various forest animals wake up from their winter sleep. As they familiarize themselves with their environment, at the same time look for food, they find themselves hemmed in by a very high and endless hedge, beyond which they have no access. While they slept the winter away, a part of their forest habitat had been turned into an exclusive human residential area. As they have not found enough food, they decide to penetrate or climb the hedge to find out what is on the other side. Turtle Verne (voice of Gary Shandling) takes the lead. But outsider RJ who has been observing them all the while, butts into their midst and offers to lead them there and help them to find food. Verne and company however, have their doubts about RJ's intentions and sincerity. They also have to contend with Gladys (voice of Allison Janney), the homeowners? association head who is determined to get rid of all the animals trying to encroach on their territory. Sighting the animal invasion, she calls for the exterminator Dwayne (voice of Thomas Hayden Church) to "exterminate them as inhumanely as possible." Interesting are the visuals which include the forest backdrop, the suburban home spread and the various lively characters of the animal community. The issues in the story could have been better developed to connect with viewers. Still, the movie is sufficiently entertaining, for the young crowd as well as the adults. Although recognized actors lent their voices to the animated cast (for example Bruce Willis is RJ, or William Shatner is the possum Ozzie)., it is not easy to identify whose voice is behind which. Over the Hedge, on the whole, is more comedy entertainment than serious fare. In spite of this observation, some issues though treated in a humorous vein could be matters for thinking over.

Like, among others, the following: Being all on his own, "wise" RJ learns to manage for himself, using his wit and gift of gab that can make others follow him. But he misses a family which Verne and company have, and he wants to be one with them. It is RJ who "has seen all, been there, done that" that compares the humans in suburbia with the animal kind in the forest: "We eat to live, they live to eat; we take what we need and use what we take; they take what they want?and then want more." RJ brings them to where the food is. But his thoughts and plans are not all that altruistic for he still has a debt to pay. He now sees how it can be done, using his ability to deceive and manipulate. But realization and a change-of-heart come to him. The villains Gladys and Dwayne got what was coming to them for wanting for themselves a forest kept clean and beautiful, free of animals. Tyrant and aggressive Vincent the bear went the same way as the two. Various species of animals group together and see themselves as a family, always on the look out for each other and the whole company. For a while there is envy and rivalry between BJ and Verne as the former manipulates for leadership. But a positive turnaround brings about friendship, and helping the animal family to adjust to the new way of living: scavenging for food, and co-existing with the human community, being from now on dependent for their daily meals, on those who are on the other side of the fence. Some guidance may be needed for the younger viewers because of repeated funny physical violence, some questionable comic situations, expressions and suggestions though these would not be easily spotted by local children viewers. (Date Reviewed: 26 May 2006 @

Title: X-MEN: THE LAST STAND Running Time: 104 min. Lead Cast: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, Rebecca Romijin James Marsden, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart, Ben Foster Director: Brett Ratner Producers: Kevin Feige Screenwriters: Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn Music: John Powell Editors: Mark Heltrich, Julia Wong Genre: Action/Fantasy Distributor: 20th Century Fox Location: San Francisco Technical Assessment: @@@@½ Moral Assessment: # # # CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

A new drug is discovered and extracted from a young mutant who could make other mutants lose their powers when coming in contact with him. The government proposes this as a cure for mutants so they can become ?normal? people. Chaos ensues as mutants are divided into those wanting to relinquish their powers and those who do not. Magneto (Ian McKellen) with the rebels wants to destroy the ?cure? in his continuing attempt for world domination. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and his team want to preserve peace and harmony between humans and mutants. Meanwhile, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) emerges with more power as her dormant personality ? the Phoenix ? takes con-

trol of her. Unable to subdue her other personality, Jean Grey kills her beloved Scott Summers / Cyclopes and the Professor. Magneto sees this as a chance to enlist Jean Grey to his side but Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) will not allow this to happen and will use every means to save his beloved Jean Grey. The film is a visual feast with fantastic computer generated images and special effects. The production design is imaginative and the camerawork dynamic and engaging. It succeeds in keeping the audience suspended in awe, excitement and sympathy during the turn of events. The scripting falls flat and lacks the usual humor and comic interjections. The narrative

unfolds faster and tighter than the first two movies of The X-Men series. The characters are given depth and better motivations. Over all, the movie is engaging and entertaining. The movie speaks about two things. One, the original moral proposed by the first two movie series: Peace and harmony despite differences. Although the difference here lies in extra-ordinary powers the mutants possess, it can be taken as any other kind of differences ? race, color, belief, social or economic status, health, intellectual capability, etc. People should never alienate or look down on other people just because they are not like them. Professor X very nobly emphasizes this ethics to his students. Second, selflessness as a way of life. Just like Rogue (Anna Pacquin) who gave up her powers not for herself but for her beloved Bobby Drake / Iceman (Shawn Ashmore); or Wolverine who had to sacrifice Jean Grey for the good of the world; or Storm (Halle Berry) who continues to fight for the rights and protection of ?gifted children? in need despite the odds; or the Beast (Kelsey Grammer) who remains loyal to his friends at the height of the struggle against Magneto. The X-Men, though different, remain fully human in their hearts as they recognize the value of serving others above serving themselves. (Date Reviewed: 26




CBCP Monitor


People, Facts & Places

Mission Society’s 75th anniversary launched THE Pontifical Missionary Societies (PMS) in the Philippines held its kick off activities for its year-round 75th foundation anniversary celebration last June 2-7. Sources from the PMS national office said that the weeklong launching activities started last June 2 when PMS delegates and guests—notably including the Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union, Fr. Vito Del Prete, as principal guest of honor—boarded a boat bound for Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the official venue of PMS’s 75th anniversary opening activities. Last June 3, yet at high seas on board a commercial liner, according to PMS sources, Fr. Del Prete gave his first scheduled talk, followed with a dialogue, to the delegates and guests. PMS’s 75th foundation anniversary celebration was formally opened last June 4 with a solemn Mass held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa City, presided by Bishop Pedro Arigo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan, PMS sources reported. Highlighting the event, PMS sources said, was the 53rd General Assembly of all archdiocesan and diocesan mission directors, coordinators and representatives which was held last June 5 at the St. Ezekiel Moreno Spirituality and Development Center in Puerto Princesa City, during which the reading of agenda messages and presentation of mission program reports were made. With its foundation anniversary theme “Renewing the Philippine Church in Mission,” other national activities marking the year-round celebration for the 75 th foundation anniversary of PMS are: Mission Youth Camp on September 30 to October 2 this year, World Mission Sunday on October 22, Asian Mission Congress to be held in Changmai, Thailand on October 18-23, the Pro Fide General Assembly on December 2-3 in Baguio, the 1st National Congress on St. Peter the Apostle on January 17-21 next year in Naga City, the 2nd National Congress on the Holy Childhood and 54th PMS General Assembly in Manila on July 18-20 of next year, and the Closing Ceremonies of the 75th PMSPhilippines Foundation Anniversary on July 21 next year. In his message for the year-long anniversary celebration, CBCP President Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said, “I pray that the Pontifical Missionary Societies of the Philippines continue to boldly and joyfully proclaim the Gospel values and virtues so that our people and our neighbors anchor their hope in the true and enduring good, which only the Lord of life and love can give.” The Pontifical Missionary Societies is a Church-based coalition of four pontifical missionary societies, namely—the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith, which promotes missionary co-operation in every Christian community; the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, which aims to educate children to a missionary spirit; the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, intended to awaken Christian peoples to the problem of training local clergy in mission Churches, and; the Pontifical Missionary Union, which aims to increase the missionary awareness in the Church. ( - CBCPNews


June 19, 2006


INSTALLED. Abp. JOSE PALMA, 56, as Archbishop of Palo; May 2, 2006; making him the third archbishop ever since the ecclesiastical see of Palo was elevated to an archdiocese in 1982; in Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. Palma, leaving his prior position as bishop of Calbayog, succeeds Archbishop Pedro Dean who in February 2005 reached the canonical retirement age of 75. Ordained priest in 1976, Palma holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Pontific a l U n i v e r s i t y o f St . T h o m a s Aquinas in Rome.

I N S TA L L E D . Abp. ANTON I O LEDESMA, SJ, 63, as Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro; May 30, 2006; at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Ledesma, who has been bishop of the Prelature of Ipil since 1996, succeeds Cagayan de Oro archbishop Jesus Tuquib. Ordained priest in 1973 to the Society of Jesus (SJ), Ledesma is presently the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines where he concurrently chairs the CBCP Commission on Inter-Religious Dialogue, and a member of the Permanent Council. He is also a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

ORDAINED. Bp. C O L I N BAGAFORO, 52, as Auxiliary Bishop of Cotabato; April 25, 2006. Bagaforo, who has been serving as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cotabato and also as president of Notre Dame College in Tacurong City, will be assisting Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo. Bagaforo studied systematic Theology at the Weston School of Theology, a national Jesuit school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ORDAINED. Bp. G E O R G E RIMANDO, 53, as Auxiliary Bishop of Davao; May 25, 2006. Rimando will be assisting Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla in the pastoral administration of the archdiocese. Rimando has been earlier serving as trainer and coordinator of the Diocesan Social Action Capability Building Program (CBP) and also as administrator of the Our Lady of Assumption quasi-parish in Tagum City. ORDAINED. Bp. R O D O L F O BELTRAN, 57, as Apostolic Vicar of the Apostoliic Vicariate of BontocLagawe; May 16, 2006. Beltran has been serving as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. He obtained his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) Degree from Angelicum University in Rome.

APPOINTED. R e v. F r. BRODERICK PABILLO, 51, as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila; by Pope Benedict XVI last May 24. Leaving his current assignment as parish priest of St. Ezekiel Moreno Parish in Macarascas, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Pabillo will be assisting Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. Ordained priest in 1982 to the Salesians Society of St. John Bosco (SDB), Pabillo obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures (SSL) Degree from Pontificium Institutum Biblicum in Rome. APPOINTED. R e v. F r. P A B L O DAVID, 47, as Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando; by Pope Benedict XVI last May 27. David, ordained priest in 1983, is currently the Director of Formation of the Theology Department of the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary, San Fernando, Pampanga, and is also the vice president of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines. He is also inc h a rg e o f t h e S a n F e r n a n d o Archdiocesan Media Apostolate Networks Unlimited Inc. David hold a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) Degree from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

Bp. Alo Marks 25th Year by Neela G. Duallo, DXHM-Mati

Four Nuncios and a Cardinal. Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal (second from left), ordaining prelate and principal consecrator of Archbishop Francisco Padilla (second from right), the third Filipino nuncio; the other three nuncios are Francisco’s elder brother Archbishop Osbaldo Padilla (back) first Filipino Nuncio and Papal Envoy to Costa Rica, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philipines (extreme right), and Archbishop Ambrose de Pauli (extreme left), the Papal Envoy in Australia. The CBCP Press Corps visit Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz on a weekend trip to Dagupan City. With the CBCP Media Director, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, this trip of the print media representatives was an experiential way of “communion and cooperation” (cf. Message of the Holy Father) with the secular media in celebration of the 40th World Communications Sunday.

A jubilee– and a monumental 25th at that – rightfully calls for a jubilation. Succinct, if sententious, this valuation may pose, yet equally quite intimidating it is in either confronting with candor or whipsawing through time 25 years of being a bishop. Or so it is, Bishop Patricio H. Alo on a regular pastoral visit to one of the parishes in the Diocese of Mati. The Chairman for an episcopal of the CBCP Commission on Health Care, Bishop Alo celebrated his silver jubilee as bishop last June 7. silver jubilee feat straddles, quite liter- the occasion. ally, both human time and divine time— Highlighting the event was a solemn and to reckon on such a 25-year history Mass held at the San Nicolas de vis-à-vis the present and future with easy Tolentino Cathedral in Mati, followed by familiarity would likely be, as Theolo- a testimonial banquet and program, held gians put it, eschatological. Thus, how at the St. Therese Auditorium, where a else aptly celebrate 25 years of grace in video documentary of Bishop Alo’s life the episcopal ministry but through grate- was shown. ful jubilation? DXHM and Trinity Cable TeleviThis jubilant mood of blissful reck- sion, both owned by the Diocese of Mati, oning exactly filled the air during Bishop covered the entire celebration. Patricio Alo’s 25th episcopal ordination Bishop Alo is 65 years old. Born in anniversary last June 7 in Mati, Davao Cebu City and ordained priest in 1964, Oriental. he obtained his Licentiate in Philosophy Attended by Bishop Alo’s family, and Theology (PhL and STL) Degrees relatives, friends, guests and colleagues from University of Santo Tomas Central from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Seminary in Manila and his Doctorate of the Philippines (CBCP), the theme of in Sacred Theology (STD) Degree from the celebration – “Seek ye first the king- Angelicum University in Rome. dom of God,” Bishop Alo’s favorite Ordained Bishop in 1981 at the scriptural verse, and coat-of-arms—pre- Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu, he was cisely provided the resonant chord for installed Bishop of Mati in 1984.

June 19, 2006 - CBCPMonitor  

Closure of Mining in Rapurapu Unlikely Says Bishop

June 19, 2006 - CBCPMonitor  

Closure of Mining in Rapurapu Unlikely Says Bishop