Page 3Monitor CBCP
First Asian Mission
Vol. 10 No. 7A Celebration of Congress: July 17, 2006 Life and Faith
Lagdameo Calls for Value Formation and Value Shift
Bishop Claver on the CBCP Pastoral Letter of July 2006
The Pastor’s Service of Charity to the Poor ‘Deus Caritas Est’
Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope: A CBCP Pastoral Letter
ONE who is apprehensive with personal safety and security will tend to have values that can develop in him the character of a "dictator," Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Abp. Angel Lagdameo said. Lagdameo Calls / P4
CBCP Monitor Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace July 17, 2006
Vol. 10 No. 7
Davao Archdiocese to host NYD ‘06 FOR the first time, the largest gathering of Filipino youth in the country will be held in Mindanao. The Archdiocese of Davao, considering young people as the greatest resource of the Church and the hope of the nation, will host the National Youth Day on November 8-12, 2006. Davao Archdiocese / P4
CBCP: Impeach Process Won’t Yield Truth ‘Unless guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good’
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, DD reads to the press the latest Pastoral Letter on Social Concern entitled “Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope. He is flanked by Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, Bp. Arturo Bastes, SVD, and Bp. Angelito Lampon, OMI.
THE pastoral statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued at the conclusion of its 93 rd Plenary Assembly has spawned a blistering criticism on the Church for not supporting the spiraling impeachment raps against President Macapagal-Arroyo. In their statement, titled “Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope,” the prelates expressed their distrust of the impeachment process, saying it would be an “unproductive political exercise” in determining the truth. While respecting “in all sincerity” the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process, the CBCP maintained that citizens’ negative perception of politicians would only deepen unless proponents and opponents of impeachment were both guided by concern for the common good. “In the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizens’ negative perception of politicians – Left, Right, and Center,” the CBCP said. CBCP / P3
© Roy Lagarde
by Bob Acebedo
Conservation Group Appeals to Stop Modernizing Old Churches by Roy Lagarde THE Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) filed a petition recently asking the Catholic bishops to protect the heritage of the catholic churches, saying that some priests have caused damage on old churches in a desire to “leave their mark” through renovations. Almost every town in the country has at least one church built during the Spanish colonial period, all of
which are inherent parts of the architectural ancestry of the Filipinos. HCS claimed several parish priests have taken it upon themselves to modernize and renovate heritage churches under their care without proper consultation with conservationists or representatives of agencies mandated to protect historical heritage. In their petition, the HCS asked the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to defend old
Prison Ministry to Pursue Problems in Prison System (ECPPC), the assembly resulted in the adoption of a more systematic and significant approach to the prison ministry, thus enhancing their efficiency in helping the inmates. ECPPC Executive Secretary Rodulfo Diamante said the conference was “intended to give prison chaplains and volunteers Mr. Rodulfo Diamante, ECPPC Executive Secretary a more focused venue to tackle AFTER claiming victory in the aboli- problems affecting jails in their respection of the death penalty law recently, tive areas.” the CBCP Episcopal Commission on It aimed “to come up with conPrison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said it crete and workable action plans, which will reinvigorate campaign to solve the hopes to redound to the benefit of the country’s problem-laden prison sys- members of the prison community.” tem. Dubbed as the “1st Regional AsSome 150 chaplains and volun- sembly of Chaplains and VIPS (Volunteers from South Luzon gathered in teers in Prison Service)” in the southLucena City on July 28-30 and exam- ern provinces of Luzon, the particiined the country’s justice system, par- pants focused on theme: “Restoring ticularly its restorative aspect. Dignity... Healing Hurts... Building Organized by the CBCP Episco- Community.” Prison Ministry / P4 pal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care
churches from further damage by stopping all ongoing and proposed renovations to churches without the consent of the CBCP Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (CCHC). “In their desire to ‘leave their mark’ on the churches, parish priests have caused irreversible damage to our old churches during their short stints in their parishes,” the group said. “Sadly, there have been instances where parish priests
Conservation Group / P4
Health Commission Meets on Care of People with Terminal Illness THE Catholic Handicapped Development will hold a symposium on Catholic care for the terminally ill at Paco Catholic School, Manila on July 22. The group is the main component of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) incorporated under the name Catholic Handicapped Development Inc., as a non-stock, non-profit organization. For many years, ECHC has been helping the lives of many hapless Filipinos. It devotes its time not just to handicapped but also to those with mul-
tiple disabilities, the mentally ill and those dying in the streets. According to Fr. Luke Moortgat, ECHC Executive Secretary, people with terminal illness and progressive diseases constantly go through physical and psychological pain. Sadly and so often, they are not cared for properly and many people don’t know how to attend to them. Through the symposium, Fr. Luke said, “we’re Health Commission / P4
Pope Asks CBCP to Pray for Peace in Holy Land THE Vatican has invited the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to offer special prayers for unity in the Holy Land. In a letter received this week, the Apostolic Nuncio, Fernando Feloni, requested the President of the CBCP, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, to convey the angelus message of the Holy Father “to all the Bishops of the Philippines as quickly as possible.” “In front of the aggravat-
ing situation in the Middle East, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has invited, during the last Sunday ‘Angelus’, the particular Churches to offer special prayers for peace in the Holy Land as well as the entire Middle East,” the letter stated. From a retreat house in Bacolod City, Archbishop Lagdameo immediately sent a circular letter to all the bishops in the country to convey Pope Asks / P4
CBCP Monitor Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
CCBI Plenary to Deliberate on Navarro-Valls Steps Down; Jesuit named Spokesman Role of Laity in Church VATICAN, July 11, 2006—Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that BANGALORE, July 15, 2006— The president of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops on India (CCBI), Archbishop Oswald Gracias, has said that the Church was looking at the urgent need to train the Catholic laity to exercise their specific roles in the Church. In an effort in this direction, the CCBI will host its forthcoming 19th Plenary Assembly to study the theme of the ‘Role of the Laity in the Life and Mission of the Church’ in Alwaye, Kerala, January 4-9 next year, the archbishop said July 12. He was presiding over a meeting to prepare for the Plenary Assembly, attended by the deputy secretary-general of the CCBI, Dr. Udumala Bala, the former deputy secretary-general Dr. Simon Sebastian and executive secretary of the Laity Commission, Dr. X.D. Selvaraj, at the St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore. Dr. Selvaraj pointed out that not enough training was given to the laity to play their part in the Church mission. In order to fulfill this task, the Commission has engaged itself
in a scientific study through a questionnaire that scrutinises the reality today and that supplies some material for the future of the life and mission of the Church. “Hence the Commission has already prepared a questionnaire having consulted experts and worked out the sampling procedure to select the dioceses in a scientific way,” he said. Each selected diocese will have 50 questionnaires on priesthood and laity, as the CCBI wants to make a study of the identity and roles, particularly the participative roles and their structures. The English questionnaire that is translated in Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu will be sent to 49 dioceses selected using the Random Numbering Method. These answers will then be scrutinized and evaluated by experts as well as laity representatives. “These analyses will picture the reality of the Church in India and apprise the bishops at the Alwaye Plenary Assembly of the problems of the laity, their aspirations and needs and ascertain their position in the functioning of the Church for the future growth of Christian presence in India, stated Father Selvaraj, who now resides in the Bangalore CCBI Secretariat. (SAR NEWS)
Making Slippers Support Carmelite Sisters JAPAN, July 2, 2006—”Warm, light, silent”— this is the reputation that slippers handmade by 14 Carmelite nuns at Mary Mother of the Church Monastery in Yamaguchi City have enjoyed for 25 years. As they sew, the nuns pray that everyone who wears their slippers will feel the warmth of the love of God. “Our mission is to pray. Prayer goes into the making of the slippers also,”said the abbess, Sister Kiyomi Kobayashi. “The whole day is a prayer; not only the time spent in the chapel — housework, cooking, resting — everything is carried on in familiar closeness to God and in solidarity with the people of our time; a service to the Church and the salvation of souls,” she added. “Fortunately,” she said, “slipper-making lends itself perfectly to the solitude and silence that are the special marks of the contemplative life. We thank God for it.” A day in a Carmelite monastery revolves around Mass and seven periods of prayer in praise of God. The slipper-making is conducted in a way that does not interfere with this. For two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, the nuns appointed to the task cut out,
sew and glue the slippers in the workroom, all in silence. Twice a day, in during the morning and in the evening rest times, the nuns take needle and thread and put the finishing touches to the slippers as they chat. The slippers move along from one nun to the next in assembly line fashion. In the early days when the monastery was founded, the nuns made their living by baking bread, but as the years went by they wondered if they could not find something more suitable for the older members of the community. Hence the slippers. They began by making slippers with cloth from old garments and the finished product was sold only to acquaintances. Then the orders started coming in. Time and again the Sisters thought of closing their workshop but each time they got a present of another bundle of material. Their only advertising was by word of mouth but their reputation spread till eventually the younger Sisters also took up slipper-making. Slippers had become the support of the Yamaguchi Carmel. Orders come from all over Japan, but the nuns make only the amount ordered. They do not try to increase their output. Prayer comes first. (CBJC News)
Holy See Condemns Violence in the Middle East VATICAN City, July 14, 2006— Cardinal Secretary of State A n g e l o Sodano today made the following declaration on Vatican Radio: “The news we are receiving from the Middle East is certainly worrying. “The Holy Father Benedict XVI and all his collaborators are following with great attention the latest dramatic episodes, which risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions.
“As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a State’s right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations. “In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence. “Once again, it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties.” (VIS)
Navarro-Valls has resigned after nearly 22 years as director of the Vatican press office. He will be replaced by Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, who currently serves as director general of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center. In announcing the departure of Navarro-Valls, Pope Benedict XVI thanked the Spanish layman for his “long and generous service.” The outgoing director, in a letter made public by the Vatican press office on July 11, thanked the Pope for accepting “my oft-expressed readiness to leave.” The announcement of the change at the Vatican press office came as the Pope began his summer vacation in the Italian Alps. Thus the transition in leadership comes at a time when few public announcement are expected from the Holy See— allowing the new director to become acclimated to his tasks over the quieter weeks of the summer. While stepping in as the new director of the press office, Father Lombardi will retain his current responsibilities as head of the Vatican Radio and television operations. That combination of duties lends new credibility to the persistent rumors that Pope Benedict is planning to reorganize the Vatican’s communications efforts, bringing several different offices (Vatican Radio, the press office, L’Osservatore Romano, and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications) under one roof. In a statement issued to accompany the news of his resignation,
since his appointment by Pope John Paul II in December 1984 he had “received much more than I have been able to give, more than I am at present capable of fully comprehending.” In his own statement, Father Lombardi thanked the Pope for his confidence, © Gianni Giansanti/Immaginazione/Corbis and praised his predecessor for his “exceptional ability, intel- Navarro-Valls could not hide his personal emotion at the death of the Polligence, and dedication.” Navarro-Valls assembled the ish Pontiff. After the election of staff of the press office on Tuesday Benedict XVI he began to signal an morning, July 11, to announce his interest in stepping down, remarking departure. He then left the offices on that he had served “a long time— the Via della Conciliazione before the perhaps too long” in the Vatican’s top public statement was released, trav- communications post. In a June teleeling north to join Pope Benedict XVI vision interview he confirmed that he at his vacation home. Meanwhile was ready to leave, and that the Pope Father Lombardi arrived at the office was well aware of his wishes. Now 69 to greet journalists as his appoint- years old, Navarro-Valls has said that he has no specific plans, but hopes ment was announced. Originally trained as a psychia- to have more time for reading and writtrist, Joaquin Navarro-Valls took a ing. Father Federico Lombardi was special interest in the use of the me- born in Saluzzo, Italy, in 1942, and dia for publicity purposes, and entered the Jesuit novitiate in Turin switch his own professional field to in 1960. Ordained in 1972, he did journalism. He became the spokes- graduate work in mathematics in theman for the Vatican under Pope John ology, in Turin and Frankfort. From Paul II, at a time when the Holy See 1984 to 1990 he was provincial for the commanded unprecedented public Jesuit province in Italy. In 1991 Father Lombardi became attention on the worldwide scale. A celibate member of Opus Dei, he was programming director for Vatican Raknown in Rome for both his charm dio, and 10 years later he was given and his efficiency, having trans- responsibility over the Vatican Teleformed the Vatican press office to vision Center as well. In October 2005 meet the demands of the internet age. he became the director general of Having lived and worked beside Vatican Radio, succeeding Father Pope John Paul for over 20 years, Pasquale Borgomeo. (CWNews)
Theme of the World Day of Peace 2007 VATICAN City, July 13, 2006—In a brief communique made public today the theme was announced of the 40th World Peace Day, due to be celebrated on January 1, 2007: “The Human Person: Heart of Peace.” This theme for reflection, chosen by the Holy Father, “expresses the conviction that respect for the dignity of the human person is an essential condition for peace within the human family,” says the communique. “Only through an awareness of the transcendent dignity of each man and woman can the human family follow the path that leads to peace and to communion with God.” The communique continues: “Today, perhaps more persuasively and with more effective means than in the past, human dignity is threatened by aberrant ideologies, assailed by the misguided use of science and
technology, and contradicted by widespread incongruent lifestyles. Indeed, ideologies that find their inspiration in nihilism or fanaticism (material or religious) seek to deny or to impose supposed truths upon reality, upon man and upon God.” The note highlights the fact that “often science and technology (especially biomedicine), rather than serving the common good of humanity, are instrumental in serving an egotistical vision of progress and wellbeing. Moreover, propaganda and the growing acceptance of disordered lifestyles contrary to human dignity are weakening the hearts and minds of people to the point of extinguishing the desire for ordered and peaceful coexistence. All this represents a threat to humanity, because peace is in danger when human dignity is not respected and
when social coexistence does nor seek the common good. “The Church,” the communique adds, “has the mission of announcing the Gospel of Life, the central position of mankind in the universe and God’s love for humanity. Therefore, to the challenges of the present time, the Church responds with a Christian anthropology based on the three pillars of human dignity, sociality and activity in the world, oriented in accordance with the order stamped by God on the universe, and with a view to an integral and solidary humanism that tends towards the development of all of man and of all men.” The communique concludes by affirming that “any offence to the person is a threat to peace; any threat to peace is an offence to the truth of the person: ‘The human person is the heart of peace’.” (VIS)
Mass Suicide Amongst Youth, A Disturbing Phenomenon HANOI, Vietnam, July 14, 2006— Alarm bells are being set off in Vietnam as a result of the rising number of mass suicides among young people. Since the beginning of 2006, 16 teenagers, school mates or friends, have killed themselves. The latest case involves five 13-year-old girls from Phuong Hoang in Thanh Ha district (Hai Duong province). After tying their hands with a red string they jumped together into the Huong River. In Hanoi’s Long Bien district, a boy and a girl, both 14, killed them-
selves by taking sleeping pills because their parents opposed their budding love. In Co Nhue, also near Hanoi, nine 14-year-old girls took lethal doses of sleeping pills after their parents scolded them for not doing well at school. Similarly, three 12-year-old teenagers from a high school in Ben Tre died from taking sleeping pills. For principal Nguyen of Hanoi’s DTH High School, “life today has become very complex and kids are
vulnerable. Education is largely theory-oriented, unconcerned with spiritual activities or teaching the country’s traditional values. We forget that our love and respect as adults for them is also very important in a child’s development.” For Ms Tran, from another Hanoi high school, “in the absence of spiritual education, young people are defenceless against consumerism, which sucks the life out of their existence providing no positive or strong motivations.” (AsiaNews)
Bible in Long Silk Earns Guinness Records BEIJING, July 13, 2006—An authentic work of art, a Bible written on a piece of silk 5,007 metres long a combination of Chinese culture and Christianity has been given a place in the Guinness Book of Records. This longest Bible in the world, on show at the Exhibition Hall in Beijing, is perfect in every detail. The fifty volumes are written in 900.000 Cao Shu Chinese characters (one of the
most important types) and it is the work of one artist. The white silk, which signifies sacredness and purity is decorated with pale blue silk as a sign of Heaven, the House of the Father. The outer cover is green and the work is tied with ribbon of red the colour of life and energy and the national colour of China. The 5.000 metres of silk recall 5 thousands years of Chinese history and
civilization. Each volume weighs about 8 kilos and when rolled up its dimensions are 33 centimetres by 66 centimetres. The volumes are contained in a boxes of scented wood with bronze decorations and the lock is a Chinese symbol of happiness because the contents of the box contain the happiness of mankind. (Agenzia Fides)
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
October 20), “The Story of Jesus in the Cultures of Asia” (on October 21), and “The Story of Jesus in the Life of the Church in Asia” (on October 22, which is World Mission Sunday). The pedagogy of the presentation of the daily themes of the Asian Mission Congress corresponds to the four objectives set by the Congress Executive Committee—(1) share the joy and enthusiasm of our faith in Jesus Christ; (2) celebrate Asian ways of mission through witness in the midst of life realities; (3) raise the awareness in the Asian churches about the renewed understandings of mission ad gentes during and since Vatican II; and (4) note priorities for a renewed mission animation. With around 1,000 delegates from all parts of Asia—50 of whom are official representatives from the Philippines—the Asian Mission Congress’ keynote speaker is Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle. On the whole, thus, the providential success of the coming Asian Mission Congress aptly resonates to the words of the late Pope John Paul II: “If the Church in Asia is to fulfill its providential destiny, evangelization—as the joyful, patient and progressive preaching of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—should be your absolute priority” (EA # 2).
by Rev. Msgr. Gilbert A. Garcera, HP
First Asian Mission Congress:
‘A Celebration of Life and Faith’
(Msgr. Gilbert Garcera is concurrently the national director of the Pontifical Missionary Societies in the Philippines and the executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Mission – Ed.)
CBCP / from P1 In a media interview following the announced CBCP pastoral statement, CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo lamented at how the impeachment process is flawed referring to last year’s impeachment process when Mrs. Arroyo’s allies in the House, by their sheer number, cited a technicality and killed the complaints. “There was so much politics behind this. There was no listening and real talking among the congressmen. So that, practically they all went by numbers, and really we do not discover the truth simply by numbers. Jesus was condemned by a majority, and we know that he was holding to the truth.” Stumped Early on with its issuance last July 10, the CBCP statement on impeachment immediately raised a howl stumping pro-impeachment groups, opposition politicians and members of civil society who admitted that the bishops’ junking of the impeachment process was a blow to oust President MacapagalArroyo even as they vowed to push through with the impeachment case just the same. “It’s a loss but this can’t stop those pushing for impeachment,” House Minority Leader Francis
Escudero said. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. was just as stumped. “That’s the CBCP privilege. While I don’t see how impeachment can succeed, I find it strange that they are not convinced the complainants seek the public good,” he said. Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Belran said the CBCP’s pastoral letter was a let-down to those supporting impeachment. “The CBCP’s withdrawal of support for the impeachment process will not cause the masses to withdraw their calls for the President’s ouster from office,” said Beltran, who is under police custody at the Philippine Heart Center on rebellion charges. Members of Hyatt 10 and the Black and White Movement said they would pursue the impeachment case they filed even without the support of the CBCP. “We are going through a molting process as a people who believe in democracy and who believe in the people’s rights in exacting accountability from its officials, including the President, through the representatives of the people,” former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of Hyatt 10 said. Indictment For others, however, the CBCP’s stand is but an indication that it has ruled out neither impeachment itself nor its “relentless” search for truth. According to newspaper colum-
© Roy Lagarde
THE first Asian Mission Congress will be held on October 18-23 this year in Changmai, Thailand. The plan to hold such a continental Mission Congress in Asia was introduced by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples during his address to the Central Committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Bangkok, Thailand on September 27, 2002. He said: “I wish to express my gratitude and that of the Congregation over which I preside for the project of organizing the Asian Mission Congress. Not only do I agree with this proposal but from now on I pledge the total collaboration and the full support of our missionary dicastery for this missionary venture. We will be happy to place ourselves at your disposal so that this project may be realized as soon as possible and obtain the best fruits for the new evangelization of the Asian continent.” Thereafter, over the past four years, committed Asians have held several consultations and organizational meetings to decide on the project’s details like, among others, determining the host country as well as the overall theme, objectives, content and methodology of the missionary assembly. Several significant reasons emerged for holding the Asian Mission Congress. One, it is to be an offshoot of the Year of the Eucharist which was celebrated in 2004-2005. In particular, the Congress thus posed as a fitting response to the late Pope John Paul II’s apostolic call, “The Eucharist: The Principle and Plan of Mission.” The late pope exhorted, “Christians ought to be committed to bearing more forceful witness to God’s presence in the world. We should not be afraid to speak about God and to bear proud witness to our faith. The ‘culture of the Eucharist’ promotes a culture of dialogue which here finds strength and nourishment.” (Mane Nobiscum Domine, # 26). Another equally significant reason that precipitated the forthcoming Asian Mission Congress is this year’s 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier—patron of mission and missionaries—which provided as it were the providential signal to focus Asia’s missionary attention on a model of ad gentes mission. As a Jesuit missionary born in Navarra, Spain in 1506, Francis Xavier crossed continental boundaries and evangelized in various Asian countries like India, Indonesia, Japan and China. Worth mentioning likewise, this year also marks the 300th year of the approval of the oratory of Blessed Joseph Vaz, the first indigenous “Society of Apostolic Life” in Asia. No question, hence, these important milestones undeniably provided the impetus for the coming first Asian Mission Congress. With its overall theme, “Telling the Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Life and Faith,” the biblical verse from the gospel of Mark anchors the spirit of the Asian Mission Congress: “Go home to your people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you” (Mk. 5:19). The biblical challenge to tell the story of Jesus poses to be one of our Asian expressions of faith. This faith expression seeks to inspire “the church’s evangelizing work in Asia which is often carried out in difficult and even dangerous circumstances” (EA # 10). During the congress, 10 faith sharers and 4 missiologists are scheduled to deliver their reflections on the overall theme. In addition, the daily themes of the congress have been pre-arranged or formulated to invite the participants to interiorize and share, namely— ”The Story of Jesus in the Peoples of Asia” (on October 19), “The Story of Jesus in the Religions of Asia” (on
nist Conrado De Quiros, what the CBCP has actually indicted is not impeachment itself but more so the Congress. “What the CBCP rejects is not impeachment per se but the kind of travesty we have been treated to in the past and we are bound to be treated to in the future. That is, Congress overseeing impeachment with the expected results. That process won’t establish the truth.” Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, chairman of the CBCP Commission of Public Affairs, who had filed an impeachment complaint against the President, pointed out that the CBCP’s pastoral statement should not be construed as favoring the Arroyo administration or that the bishops have already relinquished the search for truth. “If you analyze the statement you will understand that the bishops are still after the truth but they are losing confidence in the impeachment process due to last year’s experience,” Iñiguez told reporters in an inter-religious dialogue held at the St. Peter’s Church in Quezon City. For his part, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP spokesman, clarified that the bishops’ collective statement is not favoring anyone but all as the same flawed impeachment process will not serve the interest of everybody who are seeking for the truth. “We do not look at it as favoring anyone. What we are concerned with is the truth. The statement of the CBCP favors all because what was stated in the pastoral statement is that it is not inclined to support impeachment if the same things that happened in the past will happen again because the truth was not given the chance to come out. If the purpose is to search for the truth and the same things will be repeated, then it’s a futile exercise.” Even so, most critics and observers yet chided that CBCP’s pastoral letter, aside from junking the impeachment process, has all the more fallen short of offering a viable alternative in searching for the truth. Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero said the pastoral letter left a huge question that only the CBCP can answer. “My question to the CBCP is: If not impeachment, what other peaceful mode, legal and con-
stitutional process in the search for truth and exact accountability from those who are to be held accountable by law?” Not political spinners Borongan Bishop Leonardo Medroso, chairman of the CBCP Commission of Canon Law, in an exclusive interview with CBCP Monitor, however countered by saying that it is not within the appropriate function or turf of the bishops to provide concrete political measures to the country’s political affairs. “The bishops are not political spinners. They are not the appropriate body to prescribe concrete actions on what to do in political affairs.” Medroso said that the proper role of the bishops is best delineated only to giving pastoral guidance to the faithful. “Otherwise we become ideologues instead of being ministers of the good news.” Similarly, in a subsequent press statement, titled “On the Burning Issues” issued last July 14, CBCP president Angel Lagdameo clarified that CBCP’s July 10 Pastoral Letter was but intended only to provide “some guidance” to the lay faithful and not any particular action on how such “guidance is to be followed.” “The pastoral letter ‘Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope’ is meant to give some guidance to the lay faithful on the subject of social issues and on the burning issues. How this guidance is to be followed or put into effect is beyond the intention of the Letter. Whatever each individual or group decides to do, by God, do it well and don’t sacrifice the common good,” Lagdameo said. The CBCP’s pastoral statement was drafted by a committee composed of Archbishops Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato and Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres, Bishops Chito Tagle of Imus and Pablo David of San Fernando, and Bishop Francisco Claver, prelate-emeritus of Bontoc-Lagawe.
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
Nuncio Hits Political Killings, Demands Justice THE Papal envoy to the Philippines has raised concerns about mounting violence especially on activists and journalists and urged government leaders to bring to justice all the perpetrators. Human rights groups reported at least 700 people have been killed since President Arroyo took office in 2001. In a forum at the University of Asia and the Pacific, Archbishop Fernando Filoni said the number of killings is alarming de-
CBCP Head Questions Motive and Timing of Gifts
spite the abolition of the death penalty law. "I am surprised to see that in the Philippines there is still an activity of high incidence of a moral and political violence against those who profess different political ideologies, like... journalists and political activists," said Filoni. While he hailed President Arroyo's decision to junk the capital punishment, the nuncio said it raises question on the government’s intention.
"It will truly be a contradiction, if on the one hand, we practically abolished the death penalty and yet on the other hand we are not respecting or implementing the rights of the human race," he added. Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also denounced the spate of killings in pastoral statement issued recently. "We join the outcry of groups that have denounced the increasing number of extra-judicial
killings of journalists and social activists suspected as sympathizers of insurgents allegedly by some ultra-rightist elements in the military," the CBCP said. The bishops also called attention to a "great number" of similar executions that have never landed in the newspapers. "The defense of human rights and of human dignity must itself be just. It has to be impartial, irrespective of religious belief or ideology," the bishops added. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
Church Empowers Lumads Vs Environmental Destruction
ARCHBISHOP Angel Lagdameo, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has questioned the motive and the timing of the reported cash donations given by Malacañang representatives to some bishops on the occasion of their retreat and plenary assembly. In a statement, Lagdameo said when some bishops were reportedly invited for separate dinners where “cash gifts” were distributed to some bishops, they did not have the consensus on whether to accept or not but later they realized that there have been political underpinnings. “Truth to tell, the bishops did not have any knowledge of the alleged plan of Malacañang to use these gifts or envelopes for political ends,” he said. Lagdameo said the prelates were told that the cash gifts were for the poor but he underscored that it was only later when the bishops realized the implication of the offer. “Some, we know, returned their envelopes,” he said. He said the bishops with the limited resources of their dioceses are already trying to respond to the needs of the poor through their social action programs. He pointed out that the government must use its instrumentalities for helping the people and not the bishops. “If powerful institutions are not effective and efficient in the work of poverty alleviation, the question that must be asked is WHY? But must it be channeled to the bishops at this time?” he asked. (CBCP News)
THE indigenous Lumads in the Diocese of Mati have vowed to oppose any forms of environmental destruction in their place with the help of the local church. Many Lumads have expressed anger and concern about their denuded mountains and forests due to heavy logging operations for the past three decades. Faced with this deplorable situation, the Lumads are now strengthening and building local and regional alliances. Fr. Robert Ombon, Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) Coordinator of diocese said that the threats of illegal logging and mining are the major concerns of the indigenous tribe. “That is why, we have to empower them and this can be done through the different basic ecclesiastical community programs of the local church, said Ombon. Saying that Lumads bear risk of manipulation by people with dark interests, the priest described the indigenous peoples as “vacant containers” that needs education and utmost attention. Ombon also lamented that some agencies whom they are banking on for assistance are dictated by politics, and do not have exact background on how to deal with the Lumads.
Conservation Group / from P1
Lagdameo Calls / from P1
Davao Archdiocese / from P1
He claimed such a leader would like to keep his people poor and dependent rather than bestowed them with progress. Lagdameo made the statement during his speech at the opening of the two-day Bishops' Plenary Assembly yesterday as he shared on the spiritual, moral and value formation of the faithful in the task of social concerns. "A person's values, world-view and mindset are indicators of his leadership style," he said. He reminded his fellow pastors of their role to give continuing formation of those faithful who hold position of leadership or responsibility in charitable initiatives. "Personal renewal and social transformation means going beyond the survival phase of life whose concern is to simply secure ones safety and security with their attendant goal and means," he said. Quoting the Apostolorum Successores, Lagdameo said: "The bishop should also take care to provide to provide adequate spiritual formation for the lay faithful who work in such public institutions, so that they themselves might offer a com-
This year, the youth will reflect on the theme, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Ps 119:05) According to the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the CBCP, the event is expected to gather around 10,000 Catholic youths from all over the country. Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla called on the people— clergy, religious and the laity— to pray for the success of the celebration. “I appeal for community support to and collaboration with the efforts of our Davao Archdiocesan Youth Coordinating Apostolate (DAYCA) and our respective youth groups as they prepare comprehensive and meaningful program for the NYD in 2006,” he said.
sold off priceless antiques and other church property to unscrupulous antique dealers and collectors to fund these renovations, with the treasures of the Church ending in homes and other private collections,” HCS wrote. They said representatives of agencies mandated to protect cultural and historical heritage should also review any renovations. As of press time, the petition posted in the Internet already gathered more than 600 signatures from online visitors. The group has argued that instead of using the money for “costly and unnec-
essary” renovations, it would be better if it will be directed toward the pastoral programs of the church. “Instead of spending on renovations, the various parishes could use the funds ‘to empower those who are needy to construct a better future’ by supporting ‘social action programs.’” HCS also urged the CBCP to declare all Catholic churches fifty years old and above as part of the cultural heritage of the Church. It said the bishops’ conference should create a list of said churches for the information of the people and to aid the CCHC in monitoring.
Healthcare Commission / from P1 all encouraged to enlighten our government leaders, the church and each individual on how to serve people who suffer so much.” A task of utmost importance to the Commission is the building up of public awareness and involvement for the handicapped. Besides helping the handicapped directly and physically, the Commission is involved in a continuous campaign to inform and bring about awareness for those with disability. “Our mission is to help those who are in need and for whom we have the least ser-
vices,” he said. On July 8, the group also held a symposium on Catholic Care for Progressive Diseases at the same venue. Among its more visible activities is the promotion of the sign language in liturgical celebrations and its involvement in the celebration of the World Day of the Sick on February 11 each year. It also institutes gatherings, or small congresses, for pastoral health care coordinators and handicapped in general, and the deaf in particular in collaboration with other organizations that work toward the same goals. (CBCP News)
Bishop Patricio Alo in one of his pastoral visits to a parish in the Diocese of Mati, Davao Oriental. The Diocese is active in ministering to the Lumads through its Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA).
“It’s the real situation here in our place, and it’s very disgusting”. The lumads, which covers the eleven municipalities of Davao Oriental, Ombon said, are aware that the indigenous peoples are “not the priority” of
petent and consistent Christian witness." He pointed out that values are both tools and goals for social transformation, for the renewal of public life, for the renewal of both church and society. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni, meanwhile, stressed to the bishops the importance of educating their priests and the significance of the consultation being done by the nunciature. He encouraged the bishops to continue in their being _expression of God's Trinitarian love for their flock. In particular, Filoni told the prelates not to be tired of loving their priests, especially those experiencing problems, The nuncio also urged the bishops to make their respective dioceses their main mission, to be the father of the diocese, "entrusted with the power of Jesus to sanctify, to teach and govern." The CBCP discussed reports of the various Episcopal commissions, committees and offices of the Conference. A total of 91 bishops attended this year's plen a r y a s s e m b l y. ( CBCP News)
the government. The Indigenous Peoples Apostolate in the diocese is now counting on the help of the International Labor Organization (ILO). (Neela G. Duallo, DXHMMati)
NYD is a youth festival of celebrations, formation, prayer, conferences and other religious activities. It also aims at giving the modern Catholic Filipino youth a more satisfying experience of faith, hope and love by reflecting on the message of the World Youth Day by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. In 1986, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), as a way of concretizing its preferential apostolate for children and the youth, approved the annual celebration of the NYD. From 1987 to 1990, the said youth gathering was all held in Manila. Since 1991, however, NYD has already been celebrated in different dioceses. (CBCP News)
Prison Ministry / from P1 Same conference was held in Baguio City for about 100 chaplains and volunteers in North Luzon provinces last April 27. They closed their three-day meet with visits to various jails in Benguet. The prison system in the Philippines has been plagued with problems that include juvenile pris-
oners who are lumped in the same cells with hardened criminals and are thus exposed to abuse. Many inmates are said to belong to the poorest of the poor, and with only few helping them. The E C P P C ’s apostolate volunteers are extending pastoral care for them, particularly the minors. (CBCP News)
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006 NOT too many people got the Pastoral Letter right, it seems, on what is said about the persistent move to impeach the President. Of the columnists that I’ve seen who commented on it the day after it was issued, it was, to my mind, only Jarius Bondoc of The Philippine Star who did. Most pro-and anti-Arroyo people got it all wrong: They both were agreed the bishops were against impeachment. But they were at opposite poles in their reactions to it. Malacañang rejoiced, greatly elated, from the President down, quickly forgetting that just a few days ago they had been muttering about unwarranted Church intervention in matters of the State. Her enemies and critics, on the other hand, were heavily disappointed, some darkly insinuating that the bishops had been bought, others asking in exasperation how the truth was to be established if it was not going to be found through the impeachment as the means for establishing the truth; yet—so the grumbling went—they did not propose any solution to the problem impeachment sought to solve
The CBCP Pastoral Letter of July 2006 by Francisco F. Claver, SJ, DD
Quiet simple: The impeachment process as it is practiced now by our legislators will not lead to the truth. What happened in 2002 in the case of President Estrada and last year in the case of President Arroyo is evidence enough. But it will, they go on to say, if—a big f—all those involved were to act, not from narrow, selfish, partisan considerations, but from a strong moral motivation of and concern for doing what is right by the people, acting solely and principally for their good. To quote their operative words in full: [U]nless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen’s negative perception of politicians, left, right and center. The point of the bishops is that, if the impeachment exercise is going to prove an unproductive way of getting the truth of the 2004 elections, it would be a futile act that does the citizenry no good. In this judgment, they are simply saying that political acts should be at all times rational and moral. It is a stance forcefully dictated by the Church’s social doctrine that they expounded at length in the earlier parts of their letter. For if there is anything that that doctrine bids us do, it is to look at social problems under the double light of faith and reason. Always. Against the bishops’ position, the argument has been put forward that success or failure is not what matters but “the principle of the thing.” I don’t know what the bishops would say in response to this objection, but I for one would ask if a principle, any principle, is something so sacrosanct that it has to be followed at all costs even when the acts it supposedly calls for are clearly detrimental to the good of the people. To the accusations that the bishops rejected the impeachment process as a way at getting to the truth but did not offer any alternative—the charge is a facile ignoring of a clear fact: They did not offer an alternative, namely, an impeachment process in which all who are involved in it would act more from a high motive of morality and not from the base political partisanship. An impossibility? The whole thrust of the Pastoral Letter was precisely in the direc-
© Roy Lagarde
But what exactly were the bishops saying?
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo delivers the customary President’s Address at the opening ceremonies of the 93rd Bishops’ Plenary Assembly, held July 8-9, 2006; (inset) BishopEmeritus Francisco Claver, SJ.
tion of bringing morality to bear on our political processes. Hence, the bishops in their Letter took pains to show why Christian citizens—and for that matter, the “Church,” i.e., bishops, priests and religious— should involve themselves in political issues but always from a strong evangelical social concern. Fully two-thirds of the text of the Letter was devoted to developing the “why” of this involvement, only onethird to the “how” (and even then applied to just a few current political issues). In the whole controversy stirred up by the Letter—interpreted as antiimpeachment and therefore proGMA—forgotten is a little phrase in the part quoted above: pro and con. The bishops used it in their assessment of how the principal actors in the impeachment question have been behaving. They took to task “all participating parties, pro and con” impeachment for their part in thwarting the efforts to get to the truth. Pro-GMA or anti-GMA—they were all being enjoined to act as behooved people of integrity and not simply as partisan supporters of one or another political faction On this last matter of partisanship: The CBCP lauded groups of people who were trying to inject a little more morality and rationality into the present confused situation, and they mentioned Kapatiran and One Voice explicitly. One commentator took exception to their singling out precisely because, he claimed, they were partisan. If he had read the text of the Letter carefully, he would have seen that it said these groups are to be commended and encouraged, but only “when they remain non-partisan.” Looking at what the bishops’ Letter stirred up, one is led to conclude from the actions of those who criticize it—as well as of those who think they are being supported by it—that the biggest bane of Philippine politics is an excessive partisanship that goes beyond rationality and morality in the pursuit of its ends; and it is this kind of partisanship that prevents us from getting out of the deep political morass in which we continue to be mired as a
nation. The conclusion wasn’t drawn as I am doing here, but I think it’s there. And in the light of the havoc that that kind of partisanship works on our political culture, one wonders if it has something to do with why the truth of the Aquino assassination—who killed Ninoy?—is still not known, and this after 23 long years. Nor the truth of the “Marcos loot” that the PCGG is still working to free—no hard results yet after 20 years of investigation. Nor the Estrada corruption case, now four years pending and still grinding on in fits and starts. And now in the matter of cheating done in the 2004 elections, the out-and-out partisanship being shown so far promises that it too will be without conclusion (and the CBCP Letter is seen by many as not helping that conclusion to be reached!). Will there be any satisfactory resolution to them? There will not be, the bishops are saying, if we continue to play partisan politics the way we do. The “unless” clause in their Letter quoted above hangs like a black cloud over all these four unresolved cases. Yet what it proposes is the only way closure can be brought to them. The Church’s (read, the bishops’) “meddling in politics” contin-
ues to exercise a good number of writers in the dailies. But in all that is being said in criticism of their “meddling” we see a strange thing: Whether the bishops speak out or remain silent on any issue, they will continue to be accused of playing politics—a case of being dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t? But that is probably what it means to be non-partisan in order to be able to apply the rules of morality evenly. In their efforts at non-partisanship, no one has called them “fence-sitters,” straddling issues, afraid to commit themselves. Possibly the reason is in all their pronouncements so far they have been taking an uncompromising a-pox-on-both-yourhouses stance! No comfort, this, for either pro- or anti-GMA forces. And for GMA herself. The fact point to a basic factor in the bishops’ involvement in political problems: The force of their non-partisanship depends on only one condition, that it is—and is seen to be—solidly and transparently based on moral grounds. Not on whether it is popular or fashionable or to the liking of the powers-thatbe. It was this principle that led one archbishop in the course of the discussion leading to the final formulation of the Letter to remark that the bishops are not issuing it to please
people but to state what they believe is the right thing to do. The question then to ask about what the bishops said about pending legislation on family issues, the impeachment process, charter change, electoral reform and extrajudicial killings is whether or not their stance on these five issues are, as we said above, “solidly and transparently based on moral grounds.” One last note: Rereading the Pastoral Letter and the offending passage on the process of impeachment, I wonder if the objection to it by anti-GMA forces and its interpretation by Malacañang as pro-administration would have been different if the wording of the bishops’ stand had also been different. Suppose they had not used the phrase “we are not inclined” but instead had simply said: We respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth. But with the way the process is being vitiated by both pro- and con-impeachment advocates in Congress, we don’t see how it can be an effective means of establishing the truth about the alleged cheating in the 2004 presidential elections. All those involved in the process should be guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good—a concern that we are afraid we have to say is sadly missing in the conduct of impeachment processes that we have witnessed so far. So the question is: How do we—ordinary citizens— make government functionaries act as real statesmen and not simply as party hacks? Or something to that effect— but put in better ecclesiastical language in order not to downgrade or insult “party hacks!” The question added at the end would have served to remind parishioners of something the bishops have always done: put the burden on them to seek solutions through their own communal discernment and action. Why want it said that way? The problem was the idea behind the offending phrase “we are not inclined” had been put to a vote and the majority said to keep it. (The first draft had “we do not favor.”) So it was kept. The re-working done above of the Letter’s language, I readily admit, comes from a 20-20 hindsight vision. But I think, considering the way the Letter has been (and still is being) interpreted, it wouldn’t have raised too many hackles—nor, on the other side of the political divide, caused undue rejoicing—if the wording had been along the lines of the fancied re-working. Its substance, as far as I can see, is exactly what the bishops said in their Letter.
© Roy Lagarde
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
Left or Right IN this country, whether someone belongs to the “left” or “right”, has taken on a big socio-political significance and relevance. The branding is such that the distinction automatically says who is what and what one does. The presently infallible norm formulated and applied is this: whoever belongs to the “left” is automatically wrong. And someone who goes with the “right” is necessarily correct and unerring. It has gone to the extent that the government is seen as a “rightist” while those who dissent thereto are considered “leftists”. What really matters, however, is who is right or wrong. What is good or evil, virtuous or vicious. What is right brings about social harmony and progress. What is wrong destroys society and impedes development. Good unites while evil divides. It is this distinction that really counts. Just as who belongs to the “left” is not always wrong, those identified with the “right” are neither always upright. Depending on the objective reality of what one concretely does, makes this good or evil— irrespective of whether he or she is a rightist or a leftist. It is important to bear this truth in mind especially during these disturbing times in the country. It seems that it is hunting time—once again. The right appears to have operationalized the mandate to seek and destroy the leftist. What is good or evil is no longer of any consequence. What defines individuals is who belongs to the “right” or the “left”. As the former claims to be always right, the latter is considered wrong always. There is neither “ifs” nor “buts”. This is not necessarily in defense of the “left”. This is but a reminder to the “right”. But over and above all, this is a call to sanity and truth. There must be something wrong with the “right” if leftists are repeatedly killed here and there. This is an appeal to the government who readily sees what is wrong with the left but conveniently forgets to find out what is wrong with itself. This screwed perception and pursuant actuation on the part of the government already happened not too long ago. And that government is long gone, but the “left” is still up and about.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
Insta IN our Pastoral Letter on “Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope” (July 9, 2006), for this Year of Social Concerns, we have stated the church’s mission to promote the Social Doctrine of the Church to guide our social relationships in justice and love. We encourage the reading and study of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and the review of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Nos. 290-329. Why have we dedicated this Year of Social Concern to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well as to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Because history shows our human social concerns are also our Blessed Mother’s concern. We have always turned to Mary in times of difficulties, tragedies, crises, and of seeming hopelessness. In our prayer, as in the “Hail, Holy Queen,” we ask her to turn her eyes of mercy towards us, groaning and weeping in this valley of tears. Mary knows what our country is going through at this point in time – in the political, social and economic order.
Pedro C. Quitorio
Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Baltazar R. Acebedo
Marcelo T. Dalanon
Dennis B. Dayao
Ma. Lourdes G. Ebilane
Roy Q. Lagarde
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Tr u t h ,
ARE we now, Filipinos, in the only Catholic country in Asia ready to become missionaries in this region of the world? We address this to the Catholic Laity. We associate the word missionary with the religious priests and nuns who established the many Catholic schools in the country including the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas which is older than Harvard University. Still history tells us of Filipino lay missionaries—San Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod are the primary examples. Pope John Paul II, I am sure, said those words because deep in his heart he believed that the Filipinos can “play a missionary effort of the Church in the region.” There are several religious organizations that send their nuns to different mission areas, e.g., the S.Sp.S. sisters are in Indonesia. I know of only three lay organizations that have sent missionaries in Asia.
joy to the afflicted.” (Ang Mahal Na Birhen, # 96) We support the initiative of the Lay Marian Organizations in calling for the THIRD NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE for Conversion, Consecration and Reparation to LIPA CITY on September 12, 2006 at the Shrine of the Mediatrix of all Grace. It will be a Day of Prayer for our country, for the sanctification of our Clergy, of us Bishops and Priests and of the leaders of our nation. We have much to pray for to our Blessed Mother. We will accompany our prayer with C-O-R: Conversion, Life-Offering and Reparation. We pray that this National Pilgrimage on September 12 Feast of the Holy Name of Mary will give us the opportunity to experience our Marian devotion as our way towards personal and social transformation. This Day of Prayer will be concluded with a concelebrated Mass with His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the Bishops and Clergy in attendance. Let us be together in our “Pilgrimage of Faith” (Lumen Gentium, 58).
Jose B. Lugay
Laik o Lampstand Laiko
“Your country also has a majority of Christians. Indeed you number more than half of all Catholics in Asia. In view of this, I ask, has not the Lord of history destined you to play a prominent role in missionary effort of the Church in the region? Has he not prepared you to give shining witness amid the ancient and noble cultures of Asia?” —Pope John Paul II
CBCP Monitor of
Let us recall what the CBCP has said before: “Our devotion to Mary should never lose sight of the present plight of the vast majority of our Filipino brethren who live lives unworthy of human beings. These poor and oppressed brethren of ours are devotees of Mary, too; and they call out to her, their Mother, to ease their sufferings and free them from their chains. And surely her maternal heart goes out to them. Her appeal comes to those of us who can help the helpless. Mary is the model of the perfect disciple of the Lord: “the disciple who builds up the earthly and temporal city while being a diligent pilgrim towards the heavenly and eternal city, the disciple who works for that justice which sets free the oppressed and for that charity which assists the needy.” Devotion to Mary shows itself in works, and the works which are needed in the Philippines today are the works of justice and freedom from oppression. As the Church points out to us, our mission is “to be present in the heart of the world proclaiming the Good News to the poor, freedom to the oppressed, and
Filipinos — Missionaries for Asia?
Let us go to Mary An Invitation to a National Pilgrimage
One of them is FONDACIO which celebrated its 25th anniversary in the Philippines last May 5 this year. It is of course logical that Filipinos, who statistically are 95% Catholics, should be the first source of missionaries for the rest of Asia. Therefore, why is there such a dearth of organized Filipino lay missionaries? Is it lack of funds? Of course not— Pondong Pinoy contributions have surprisingly reached tens of millions of pesos in such a short time! Is it the lack of dedicated lay persons? Not likely. Like the 8 million Filipino Overseas Workers, I am sure it is not the fear of going to strange lands that deter devout Catholics from joining a mission. Rather, it could be organizational management coupled with the right motivation which are both needed in harnessing the zeal of many lay workers to do missionary work not only in Asia but anywhere in the world.
While unmarried lay persons perhaps, are easier to convince to leave one’s hearth and home for mission work, married couples with their families may be more effective in evangelization considering the common challenges Asians face—the 5 major concerns discussed in great detail by the Federation of Asian Bishops in Manila in 1995. These are: 1. The Asian Family which is under siege. Anti-life and anti-family attitudes, values, policies and practices are being brought to bear on them. 2. Women and children are often subjected to abuse, discrimination and exploitation. 3. The Youth which form the majority of the vast continent of Asia are in situations of competing values and ideologies. 4. Ecology can no longer be ignored as a pastoral concern in Asia. People, especially the poor, and the ecosystem that support life are being destroyed—sacrificed Laiko Lampstand / P8
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006 Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Vie ws and P oints iews Points WITHOUT either advice from mundane strategists or help from secular tacticians, the CBCP did rather well in their Pastoral Letter on social concern dated 9 July 2006. The open letter carried basically good and practical conclusions on the ethical dimensions of the socio-political realities now obtaining in the country. But just the same, the CBCP Pastoral Letter drew rather loud and repeated lamentations from many sectors of Philippine society. In fact, it even caused deep dissatisfaction and frustration among a good number of people of goodwill. It can even be said it was only Malacañang that rejoiced much and thus profusely praised the Letter. All the above is understandable—if its reading only begins and simply ends
on the CBCP stand on impeachment. While congress looks at impeachment as a purely politico-partisan matter—and rightly so in principle—the CBCP however sees much more in it. It looks at the impeachment process according to the basic socio-ethical imperatives of objective truth, social justice and national peace—and rightly so, too, because CBCP may and do speak only in the light of the Gospel teaching. The more profound and comprehensive corporate message-content of the CBCP Letter goes this way: 1st: At the present moment, it is not inclined to favor the impeachment process. Reason: it would simply suffer the same fate it underwent last year before the present congress.
The Agony of Change:
Rediscovering the Filipino Identity THE most serious problem we are facing is not our being physically poor. The far more vicious impoverishment that has afflicted our nation for decades is poverty of the spirit. Here are some facts; • 90% of resources is in the hands of only 10% of the population; • 50% of the country’s annual budget is lost to corruption; • 150 billion pesos is lost yearly to smuggling while only 46 billion pesos is needed to build 18,000 classrooms; • only 0.01% of the total loan portfolio of the formal banking system goes to the active poor forcing them to seek alternative capital from loan sharks who charge as much as 20% per week interest or 1,000% per annum; • and we are shocked when we see a government servant do his job without
Issues and Concerns
2nd: Meantime it categorically rejects Charter Change through either the socalled “People’s Initiative” or the Constituent Assembly. Reason: The present constitution of congress would be simply extended and any other impeachment process would suffer the same misfortune. 3rd: So it clearly looks forward to the 2007 Elections on proviso only that trust is restored in the COMELEC through the much desired reform of its leadership plus modernization of the electoral process. With the above composite reality, it is highly probable that the composition of Congress would change not only in terms of the majority but also the latter’s perception and consequent action when another impeachment case is filed before it.
From the F ring es Fring ringes
grease money because bribery has become the ‘norm’. The root cause of this moral decay can be remedied thru the painstaking process of rediscovering who we are as a people. The impatient among us may prescribe extra constitutional processes to do away with the political and social structures. But hate only breeds violence which breeds more hate. Decades of colonization from the Spaniards, Americans, Japanese, and ‘internal’ colonialism, has clouded our identity even more that we can no longer define who we are. The solution is entirely in our hands. Behind this mask of poverty is moral decay. Our real enemy is ourselves and education is the only alternative, though agonizingly slow, that will lead the Filipino back to himself.
Melo M. Acuña
LEADING newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations thrive because of revenues from advertising. Even international television stations now air advertisements. The internet has millions of advertisers offering services from basic information to pornography. In fact, advertising use media as its vehicle to shape attitudes and behavior in everyday life. The Catholic Church has underscored, time and again, the responsibility of media to contribute to total human development. Pope John Paul II in his Centisimus Annus said “Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity.” Advertising, the lifeblood of almost all media outfits, simply conveys information and invites patronage, if not sympathy and support, as in the case of politicians running for public office. Studies proved advertising could be either simple or complex for sophisticated researches are made to validate earlier assumptions and findings. There’s this assumption that advertising mirrors attitudes and values of a specific culture but the Church says “it is a mirror that helps shape the reality it reflects, and sometimes it presents a distorted image of reality.” Pope Paul VI was quoted saying “No one now can escape the influence of advertising.” While some say advertising is a waste of time, talent and money as it is an “essentially parasitic activity,” the Church believes advertising has strong potential for good. It can sustain honest and ethically responsible competition for economic growth.
Wisdom without Pretension
There is HOPE. The Chinese traders in ancient times used to leave their goods along our shores unattended. They return afterwards to collect whatever was bartered without fear. We can rediscover our honesty. No other country in the world has ever produced a national hero with the talents, skills, and stature of our very own Jose Rizal. We can rediscover our selfless heroism. Built before the colonizers came, the highest terraces in the world are in Banawe, Ifugao. They are a clear reminder that patiently waits to help us rediscover our genius, industry, unity, and perseverance. We are a heroic breed of people that need only to be rediscovered. Mabuhay!
A Closer Look at Advertising
Political advertising would inform people of ideas and policy proposals of either candidates or political parties, to include those previously unknown to the public. Advertising could also trigger creativity. For the Church, its involvement in media-related activities is considered an important part of its strategies to reach out to its flock. There are Catholic radio and television stations, publications and audiovisual production. In the Philippines, the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters-Catholic Media Network, including Veritas 846, TV Maria, JesCom, Daughters of St. Paul, Claretians, the SDB and St. Paul Publishing are highly visible. Advertising could turn bad if and when harmful and useless goods are touted to the public, along with false accounts. And “if less than admirable human tendencies are exploited,” the very people behind them harm society and “forfeit their good name and credibility.” There is also that strong possibility that political advertising may distort views and records of political opponents and unjustly attack reputations. Advertising may be made to appeal to people’s emotions and instincts instead of one’s sense of justice and the common good. The Catholic Church also discovered that advertising could have “corrupting influence upon culture and cultural values” as in developing nations “by advertising that fosters consumerism and destructive patterns of consumption.” It has also been noted in some advertising that include religious themes or utilize religious images or personages to
sell products. Religion should not be exploited just to sell. The Second Vatican Council declared: “If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully in this domain. Social responsibility may be that broad to some but both advertisers and their respective agencies have their respective share in what the Church has called authentic and integral human development. In the Philippines, the advertising pie has continued to shrink as we feel the effects of lesser purchasing power of the peso and the impact of the ever-increasing petroleum prices. The bulk has remained with the top media outfits. As small outfits still find creative means to survive, they have the luxury to come up with socially-relevant messages that top media outfits may no longer find attractive. Have you ever noticed why telenovelas whether from Spain, Taiwan or Korea and our very own fantasy-dramas gained wide acceptance among the classes C, D and E? People need some relief from the pressures of everyday life. Love stories ease tension and provide some “support” for what we all want: a simple and peaceful life where justice prevails as the good triumphs over evil. This also explains why advertisers have poured their respective budgets to such time slots. For comments, suggestions and reactions, this column may be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD
New Ecclesial Movements and the Diocesan Bishops (2) THE heavy downpour of 26 June 2006, mercilessly pelting the thousands of participants gathered together at the Luneta Park from 10AM to 7 PM, failed to dampen the festive mood that marked the 25th Anniversary of the CFC’s existence in the Church of the Philippines. On the contrary the inclement weather served as the opportunity for the CBCP president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, to utter these prophetic words: “We cannot tell nor describe how many and what kind of storms have been encountered by CFC through the years. But this much we can say: many storms have passed and you are still around” (Lagdameo, Homily, CBCP Monitor, July 3, 2006, p. 16). That prophetic description can be aptly applied to the many other ecclesial communities and movements existing in the parishes and dioceses with this paraphrase: “Many storms have passed and they are still around.” The passage of time with all the varied experiences that go along with it has not weakened the fervor and zeal of the members of the ecclesial movements and faith communities. They are still around, alive and active, members of the same communities where their initial awakening occurred. The reason for this persistence to live on in the life of the community is their genuine encounter with Christ. This was the conclusion made by Cardinal Ratzinger when he said: “Only when the person is struck and opened up by Christ in his inmost depth can the other also be inwardly touched, can there be reconciliation in the Holy Spirit, can true community grow” (Ratzinger, “Theological Locus of Ecclesial Movements,” The Crossroads). It is for this reason that the local Church authority has to seriously consider the insertion of these communities into the organizational set-up of the parishes and dioceses. However, to welcome these ecclesial movements and faith communities into the working organizational structure demands the exercise of a high quality of leadership from the diocesan bishops and the parish priests. This implies above all the study of the Magisterium’s recent pronouncements on new lay movements and ecclesial communities. John Paul II who has meticulously followed the evolution of the movements and the fruits of renewal has made through the years some insightful conclusions. These conclusions could serve as excellent guidelines to local pastors in their approach to the movements. First, John Paul II concluded that ecclesial movements are important for the Church. As he observed these movements are deeply rooted in the Church; nay, the Church herself is a movement. As early as 1981 he already applied the term “movement” to the Church. He said: “as you know the Church herself is a “movement” (John Paul II, Homily, 27 September 1981). And as such she participates in the dynamism of the Blessed Trinity who even up to now works and acts in the day-to-day history of man. In a mysterious way she dispenses the mystery of the eternal Love of the Father, of his fatherly heart, from which the mission of the Son and of the Holy Spirit begins. As a movement therefore the Church not only initiates the redemptive works of God in humanity, but must ever be opened to the initiative of the Holy Spirit who causes irruptions in the hearts and consciences of the baptized. Cardinal Ratzinger in his address to the bishops in 1999 made a sweeping observation that the Church is not just programs and organizations. It is shaped by its spirituality born in its openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He said: “It is important that the spiritual office, the priesthood, itself be understood and lived charismatically. The priest himself should be a ‘pneumatic,’ a homo spiritualis, a man awakened and driven by the Holy Spirit… It must not over institutionalize itself, but must always remain open to the Lord’s unforeseen, unplanned call” (Ratzinger, Theological Locus of Ecclesial Movements). Second, John Paul II saw that charism is vital to the Church’s life. At the origin of these ecclesial movements and faith communities there has always been a charism granted to the founder. It is a grace, a gift freely granted by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Church. It is therefore a boon to the community and not a bane; not a threat to the institution but a support to it. John Paul II in his 2 March 1987 address clearly said: “In the Church, both the institutional and the charismatic aspects, both the hierarchy and associations and movements of the faithful, are co-essential and share in fostering life, renewal and sanctification, though in different ways.” Third, the late Pope observed that communities are the fruits of charism. Charism builds communities. It is of its nature to reach out to people and lead them to unite together, eventually forming them into associations. Charism Tidbits / P8
Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate ECBA
THE Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) was organized by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in July of 1978. Before that the CBCP had a Bible translations committee functioning under the Commission of Ecumenical Affairs. This Committee had become necessary since the CBCP wanted translations of the Bible in the various indigenous languages for the celebration of the Liturgy in the vernaculars. ECBA is a pastoral commission of the CBCP. Its area of competence and service is the biblical-pastoral ministry in its five-fold concerns, namely: Animating BiblicalPastoral Formation; Organizing Bible Celebration; Promoting Bible Translations; Assisting Bible Production; Coordinating Bible Distribution. Purpose ECBA supports and fosters the work of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) for biblical-pastoral ministry, which throughout the world, collaborate with the bishops to make the Word of God available to all (DV c. VI, No.22), as expressed in: • In the promotion of translations and widespread sponsored distribution of Sacred Scriptures, since “easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful” (DV 22). • In the study, understanding and use of the Bible among Catholic clergy and Christian faithful who are active in the ministry of the Word and who are to learn “through diligent sacred reading and careful study of the divine Scriptures the excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ” (DV 25). • In biblically based pastoral care since “like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture” (DV 21). • In the Lay Ministries of the Word that “will be able effectively to provide the nourishment of the Scriptures for the People of God” (DV 23). All of these activities are geared toward the pastoral thrust of the Church in the Philippines as decreed by the
Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II)—the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). Administration ECBA is supervised and governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of Bishop Commission members, the Executive Secretary, and the Regional Directors. It communicates with the Catholic Bible Federation and the Office of Evangelization of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) and maintains relations with the Philippine Bible Society (PBS), the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and other interconfessional entities involved in the Biblical Apostolate. ECBA is also a full member of the Catholic Biblical Federation, which is “a Catholic world fellowship of administratively distinct international local organizations committed to biblical-pastoral ministry”. The Federation is a public association of Christ’s faithful. It relates to the Holy See through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Its office is situated in Stuttgart, Germany. Bible Centers When the Episcopal Commission was formally formed in 1978 there was only one Catholic Bible Center in the country, the one in Manila. Today the ECBA is organized into ten regions, each with its duly organized Regional Biblical Center and a Regional Director. The said biblical centers are responsible for the implementation of on-going biblical formation programs for their region. These include: 1. John Paul I Biblical Center for Northern Luzon and Cordillera Region. Located at the Immaculate Conception school of Theology in Vigan City, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Alaminos, Batanes, Bayombong, Ilagan, Laoag, LingayenDagupan, Nueva Segovia, San Fernando LU, Tuguegarao, Urdaneta, Baguio, Bangued, BontocLagawe, and Tabuk. Fr. Dominador Ramos, SVD is the director. 2. Pius X Biblical Center for Central Luzon. Located in
Orani, Bataan, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Balanga, Cabanatua, Iba, San Fernando (Pmga), San Jose (NE), Tarlac. Msgr. Victor Ocampo is the director. 3. St. Peter Biblical Center for the National Capital Region. Located at , Commonwealth Ave., Old Balara, QC, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Cubao, Kalookan, Manila, Novaliches, Paranaque, Pasi. Fr. Gerardo Tapiador is the director. 4. Mary, Star of Evangelization Biblical Center for Manila Suffragans. Located at San Antonio de Padua Parish, Calumpang, Marikina, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Antipolo, Imus, Malolos, Puerto Princesa, San Pablo (Laguna), Taytay (Palawan). Fr. Alfredo Ganzon is the director. 5. Sentro Pastoral ng Diocesis Biblical Center for Southern Luzon. Located at San Roque Parish, Tayabas, Quezon, the center covers the following areas: Boac, Calapan Or. Mdro, Infanta, Gumaca, Lipa, Lucena, San Jose (Occ Mdro). Fr. Ferdinand Maano is the director. 6. Nuestra Senora de la Penafrancia for the Bicol Re-
gion. Located at the Mater Salutis College Seminary, Sipi, Daraga, Albay, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Caceres, Daet, Legazpi, Libmanan, Masbate, Sorsogon, Virac. Msgr. Noe de los Santos is the director. 7. Living Word Biblical Center for Eastern Visayas. Located in Borongan, Eastern Samar, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Borongan, Calbayog, Catarman, Naval, and Palo. Msgr. Lope Robredillo is the director. 8. Dei Verbum Biblical Center for Western Visayas. Located at La Salette Bldg, Valeria St., Iloilo City, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Bacolod, Capiz, Jaro, Kabankalan, Kalibo, Romblon, San Carlos, San Jose de Antique. Fr. Tomas Terania, Jr., is the director. 9. St. Jerome Biblical Center for Central Visayas. Located at Seminario Mayor de San Carlos, Mabolo City, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Cebu, Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, Talibon. Fr. Adonis Aquino is the director. 10. Pope Paul VI Biblical Center for Mindanao. Located at the Archbishop’s Resi-
dence, Banadero, Ozamis City, the center covers the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Davao, Digos, Tagum, Mati (DADITAMA), Kidapawan, Marbel, Cotabato (KIDMACO), Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, Tandag, Malaybalay (CABUSTAM), Dipolog, Ozamis, Pagadian, Iligan, Marawi (DOPIM), Zamboanga, Isabela (Basilan) Jolo (Sulu), Ipil. Fr. Illuminado Rojo is the director. In cooperation with the Philippine Bible Society, eight “Common Bible” translations have finally emerged. 1. The Tagalog Magandang Balita Biblia translated by Fr. Emilio Palma of San Pablo Diocese; 2. The Cebuano Maayong Balita Biblia by Fr. Cesar Alcoseba and Fr. Diosdado Camomot, launched in September of 1981; 3. The Hiligaynon or Ilonggo Maayong Balita nga Biblia launched by Archbishop Alberto Piamonte in Jaro in 1982; 4. The Ilokano Naimbag a Damag Biblia translated by Fr. Godofredo Albano and a layman, Mr. Julian, launched by then Archbishop Jose T. Sanchez in 1983. 5. The Pangasinense Maung a Balita Biblia launched in Dagupan by Archbishop Federico Lim in 1983; 6. The Samarenyo Popular Version Bible launched by Bishop Lucero in Calbayog in 1984; 7. The Bicol Popular Version Bible launched by Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi in Naga in 1993; 8. The Pampango Popular Version launched by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto in San Fernando, Pampanga in 1994. Activities From 1971 to 1986, National Bible Week has been celebrated each year, in cooperation with the Philippine Bible Society, to enhance awareness of the Bible. Today this celebration is held every last week of January For the past 28 years, the Biblical Apostolate developed steadily in the spirit of Dei Verbum. The biblical-pastoral activities of the local Church were strengthened through the different biblical formation programs that have been devel-
Laiko Lampstand / from P6
Tidbits / from P7
for economic gains. 5. Displaced persons constitute a new group of the poor in Asia. They are the internal and external refugees seeking and struggling towards life. They are the migrant workers from the poor countries of Asia searching for livelihood and security in other countries. These 5 major concerns are within the ambit of the secular world. If placed within the context of the Philippine situation, these are specific advocacy work of the laity. The Church through the CBCP Pastoral Letters interprets the moral issues of each specific problem situation. With this in view, we realize now that the call of Pope John Paul II was not in the tenor of a mandate but a gentle hint and challenge if the Filipinos
therefore takes its root in communities. John Paul II finely described this reality when he said: “In the Church’s history we have continually witnessed the phenomenon of more or less vast groups of the faithful, which, under the a mysterious impulse of the Spirit, have been spontaneously moved to join together in pursuit of certain charitable or sanctifying ends “ (ibid., Address 2 March 1987). . Fourth, these movements lead the members to deeply appreciate the sacrament of baptism which they had received. No matter the diversity of forms, these ecclesial movements are marked by a common awareness of the newness and radicality of life which baptismal grace awakens in them. They deeply realize what it means to be a baptized person, that is, a person
can launch such a gargantuan endeavor. Optimistically we can say, if the Pope says so, with God’s help, this can be achieved—Filipinos as missionaries of Asia! The future Filipino lay missionary should be familiar with the 5 major concerns while serving in the local Asian Church. He must be trained in the art of dialogue with the people of different religious faiths (Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc.) if he has to be in communion with them effectively. Most importantly the Filipino lay missionary must be able to witness through action the values he has learned from the Gospel, so that the eucharistic love of Christ can be perceived by our Asian neighbors. We should not doubt at all that this can be done. Someone has proven it before, not a Filipino but a European nun—Mother Teresa!
CBCP Monitor Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006 oped in the different regional biblical centers. Several biblical-pastoral modules have been developed for the on-going formation of lay bible animators and facilitators that are distributed throughout the year. The most popular biblical module is the “Basic Bible Seminar” (BBS) which was developed by John Paul I Biblical Center. This booklet is translated into Ilokano, Tagalog, Cebuano and in twenty languages in Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Many other modules have been developed either as an introduction or a follow-up of BBS. Some of the modules from the regional centers are: Bible Orientation Seminars, Core Team Formations, Trainers’ Training Seminars, Biblical Institutes, Bible Youth Camps, Children’s Bible Camp, Basic Bible Seminar 2-3, Calapan Biblical Modules, Cebu Values & Leadership Seminars for Policemen with BBS, Bibliodrama Workshops, Recollections, Retreats and many more. Some dioceses have their regular Bible on the Air radio programs. All these attempts of growing in the Word function more efficiently when good coordination exists among the existing and functioning Episcopal Commissions in the regional and/or diocesan levels. Social Concerns The launching of the Year of Social Concerns last May highlighted even more the role of the Biblical Apostolate in the daily life of the faithful. A social doctrine with a sociopastoral action is better acknowledged and lived when done in the light of the Word of God. Mr. Aries Aguilar, the promotion officer of PBS Marketing Department believes that “the Bible is the life of any community that aspires to grow together in faith. …it is the Word of God that guides, teaches, comforts, and strengthens people in all circumstances” It is the Word of God that inspires the members of the community to reflection and action to combat poverty, injustice, violence etc. The main spiritual power in the transformation of a nation is none other than the Word of God that is shared and lived in the basic ecclesial communities.
who is committed to the mystery of communion with Christ and with their brethren. In sum, these movements do not affect only partial aspect of Christian life, but are new ways of living the Christian message. Lastly, the late John Paul II emphasized on the need of the movements for complete communion with the Church. This communion with the Church is for the Pope the critical path which the movements have to trod. In Christifideles Laici he said: “This journey requires of movements an ever stronger communion with the Pastors God has chosen and consecrated to gather and sanctify his people in the light of faith, hope, and charity, because no charism dispenses the person from reference and submission to the Pastor of the Church” (n. 24).
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006 THE Archdiocese of Palo in the island of Leyte had belonged to the Diocese of Cebu from 1595 until 1910 and then belonged to the Diocese of Calbayog from 1910 until 1937. It was created a diocese on November 28, 1937, by virtue of the Apostolic Constitution, Si Qua in Orbe, and then elevated to an archdiocese on November 15, 1982 by the Apostolic Constitution Ad Fidelium Christi with three suffragan dioceses: Calbayog, Borongan and Catarman. Later, Naval created diocese in 1989, was added as suffragan to the metropolitan province. Leyte was the scene of the first mass in the Philippines. It was celebrated by Father Pedro Valderrama on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday on the island of Limasawa in the southern part of Leyte. Tradition holds that Miguel Lopez de Legazpi passed by the island in 1565. However, formal work of evangelization did not start until 1595 when the Jesuits arrived in Kangara (or Carigara) led by Fray Pedro Chirino. His companions were Fray Antonio Pereira, Fray Cosme de Flores, Fray Juan del Campo and a layman, Gaspar Garay. The first missions were in Carigara (1595), Dulag (1595), Palo (1596), Alangalang (1597), and Ormoc (1597). Early church structures were made out of light materials, but eventually they were replaced by stone structures, like that of Tanauan (1714) and Abuyog (1718). In 1768 the Jesuits were commanded to leave the Philippines. This was due to the unfortunate circumstances in Europe at that time. They were replaced by the Augustinians. In the nineteenth century the Franciscans began working in the northeastern part of Leyte, while the diocesan clergy were given the parishes in the west and south. In 1896 by the end of the Spanish regime in the Philippines, the Franciscans, as Spanish citizens, were ordered to leave the country. Thus, the diocesan clergy took over. Today the Archdiocese of Palo (a major town 12 kilometers north of Tacloban City) comprises the civil province of Leyte, excluding four municipalities in the north which belong to the Diocese of Naval, and six towns in the southwest which belong to the Diocese of Maasin. It has a land area of 4,620 square kilometers and a population of 1,572,472 (AP 2002) of which 80 percent are Catholics. In 1984, under the leadership of the late Archbishop Cipriano Urgel, the clergy, religious and the laity al-
Leyte and the Archdiocese of Palo (Archidioecesis Palensis) by Rev. Msgr. Ramon Aguilos, MSEM, SThD
Archdiocesan Chancery at Brgy. Salvacion, Palo, Leyte (top), and the Archbishop’s Residence (right).
attended by all priests and religious as well as lay representatives. The Acts and Decrees were promulgated on November 30 of that same year (1996). Shortly thereafter the parishes went into the process of forming their own Parish Pastoral Plans, to conform with that of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. There are 57 parishes in the archdiocese which is divided into two districts: the Eastern District which speaks Waray and the Western District which speaks Cebuano. There are 8 vicariates: 5 in the east comprising 40 parishes, 9 mission stations; 2 vicariates in the west with 17 parishes 1 chaplaincy and 2 mission stations; one vicariate composed of all priests without parish assignments, i.e., those assigned in the chancery and in the seminaries. There are 127 diocesan and 15 religious priests actively working in the archdiocese at present; 4 priests are pursuing further studies outside the archdiocese, and 16 are working out of the diocese. There are two seminaries: the Sacred Heart Seminary founded in 1944 which offers high school, precollege, and philosophy education and the St. John Evangelist School of Theology founded in 1988. The latter is an archdiocesan seminary that admits students coming from the suffragan dioceses of the metropolitan province; also studying in the same theologate are
together came up with a Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese. After a yearlong process of deliberation the Archdiocesan Organization and Pastoral Plan was promulgated in 1985. The whole enterprise was ready for implementation when the untimely death of Archbishop Urgel cut short the project’s implementation stage. Shortly after the installation of Archbishop Dean, the preparation and resumption of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan was considered. Then came a significant event in Philippine Church history, the epochal Second Plenary Council of the Philippines which was convened in 1991. The council drafted a National Pastoral Plan after which all the diocesan and archdiocesan plans had to be patterned. Thus, to realign the Archdiocesan Plan with that of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, the Archbishop of Palo convoked the First Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly on June 18-22, 1996
seminarians from the Diocese of Maasin and the Military Ordinariate. In 2002, the Commission on Higher Education awarded the theologate the recognition to grant Master of Arts in Theology to its students. This same institution is now in the process of applying for a permit to grant Bachelor of Arts in Theology and MA in Pastoral Ministry degrees. The bishops who had served the Archdiocese were the following: Manuel M. Mascariñas † (Bishop: 16 December 1937 to 12 November 1951); Lino R. Gonzaga † (Bishop: 12 November 1951 to 12 August 1966); Teotimo C. Pacis, C.M. † (Bishop: 18 November 1966 to 23 May 1969); Manuel S. Salvador †
(Bishop: 21 October 1969 to 25 September 1972); Cipriano V. Urgel † (Bishop: 12 April 1973; Archbishop: 15 November 1982 to 22 April 1985); Filomeno G. Bactol (Auxiliary Bishop: 29 July 1981 to 29 November 1988); Pedro R. Dean (Archbishop: 12 October 1985 to 18 March 2006). The present archbishop of Palo is the Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, DD, who was appointed to the archdiocese on March 18, 2006, and assumed the position as archbishop on May 2, 2006. Assisting him in the administration is Most Rev. Isabelo Caiban Abarquez, DD, appointed Auxiliary Bishop on June 19, 2004. (Msgr. Ramon Aguilos is currently the Media Liaison and Catholic Schools Superintendent of the Archdiocese of Palo – Ed.)
© Denz Dayao
His Excellency, Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, DD Archbishop of Palo
Population: 1,572,472 Catholics 1,257,977 Area: 4,620 sq. kms. Personnel Archbishop 1 Auxiliary bishop 1 Priests: Diocesan 130 Religious 18 Priests working/studying outside the diocese: 15 Priests on leave/study/ no assignment: 13 Brothers: 1 Sisters: 144 Pious Unions (women): 28 Diocesan Division Districts 2 Vicariates 8
Parishes Chaplaincy Quasi-Parishes Shrine Mission Stations
57 1 3 1 13
Institutes of Consecrated Life (Men) Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSsR) Claretian Missionaries Order of the Augustinian Discalced (OAD) Order of Friars Minor (OFM) Blessed Sacrament Fathers (SSS) Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Institutes of Consecrated Life (Women) Agustinian Recollect sisters (AR) Clarisas Capuchinas Sacramentarias (CCS)
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (DC) Daughters of St. Teresa (DST) Franciscan handmaids of the Lord (FHC) Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) Franciscan Sisters Pro Infante Et Familia (FSPIF) Missionaries of Charity (MC) Missionaries of Charity Contemplative Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (SMIC) Oblates of Notre Dame (OND) Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing (OSB) Sisters of St. Francis of the Perpetual Adoration (OSF) Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM) Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM)
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
by Manny Cabajar, C.Ss.R., DD
The Pastor’s Service of Charity to the Poor ‘Deus Caritas Est’
© Denz Dayao
(This is one of the talks delivered during the annual retreat of the bishops last July 4-6 preceding their 93 rd Plenary Assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila)
The Reality of the Poor in the Philippines POVERTY is here as a reality. It is a socio-economic poverty that often takes the concrete form of extreme misery, a dehumanizing condition that verges on death. The poor are struggling to survive. Their lives are continually threatened by unjust socioeconomic structures that deprive them of decent food, housing, sanitation and medical services. Their urgent daily task is to survive! The dehumanizing situation of poverty of the majority of our people is an attack on and a vitiation of God’s creation. God created life and the life he created is continually being threatened by poverty. In many developed societies there is a terrible anxiety and fear among the people arising from their perception of the serious threat to life by violent terrorist attacks or by nuclear annihilation. To some extent there may also be that kind of fear among many of us in the country, but the direct negation of life that God has created and gifted us with comes principally from the abject misery daily experienced by millions of our people. Whatever may be the structural causes or explanation of this unjust and dehumanizing situation of impoverishment we, Christians, consider it as a result and manifestation of serious sin. The sense of the faith of the ordinary Filipino Christians tells them that this scandalous situation cannot be and can never be in accordance with God’s will. The common face of poverty is not simply a condition of lack or want that millions of Filipinos experience today. The poor around us are not simply close to death. They are in fact being led to death. The poor around us are victims. They are victims of unjust structures; they are victims of exploitation; they are victims because they are poor. There is wealth because of their poverty. They are poor because there is wealth, superabundant wealth, and scandalous wealth. The poor are poor because the gods of wealth want them to remain poor. When the poor become conscious of their rights and of what may have led them to poverty, when the poor aspire or struggle to be free, a lot of pressure, manipulation, repression, even violence, is brought to bear on them. Thus they are led even much closer to death. It is not uncommon that the poor in our country are being mur-
dered. They are being crucified. To borrow Sobrino’s phrase, they are “Crucified for being poor”. The Eruption of the Poor in the Philippines We are all familiar with the eruption years ago of Mt. Pinatubo and the terrible and incalculable destruction it caused. In recent weeks, due to the impending eruption of Mt. Merapi in Indonesia, thousands of people living at the foot of the volcano have been asked to evacuate their homes for their own safety. An eruption of a different kind, and one that can be considered as one of the most important historical events in the last three or four decades, is the eruption of the poor. That eruption consists in the awakening of the poor, in the growth of their collective awareness that they are the main protagonists of their own history. Thus they are now aware that as active subjects of their own history they have the right and the capacity to participate in the decision-making that directly affect their lives. They are now aware that they can do something to change their situation. Thus they are crying out to be allowed to speak. They are crying out to be heard. Poor farmers, fisher-folks, laborers, students, indigenous peoples in the country gradually have come to the awareness that they could be liberated from their apathy and fatalistic attitudes and from their socio-political and economic enslavement. That is why they join efforts being exerted at conscientization processes all over the country. That is why in many areas community organizing has taken on much importance and relevance in the pursuit of people power. Almost everywhere the poor participate in peaceful demonstrations and initiatives for justice and social transformation. What do we notice in the poor? The first is that they have hope. And their hope is active. That is why they join the struggle to be liberated from servitude and misery. They hope for life and so they struggle for life daily. They believe in God’s promise of life and so they hope and act for the realization of that promise. Their aspiration for life is in resonance with what Third Isaiah says: “They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant;” (Is. 65, 21.) There are no signs to show that the situation of the poor today has changed radically. Whatever benefits
of the economic recovery the country may have achieved have definitely not trickled down to them. However, there is a shift in the spirit in which the poor live their poverty. Even if their dehumanizing situation tends to make them “non-persons” their awareness of being subjects of their own history, their awareness of their own value and dignity, has challenged and empowered them to live as persons and relate with one another as persons. While they may still remain in poverty they are increasingly becoming aware that their poverty is not God’s will, but the privileged place of God’s gracious intervention. (PCP II) As Sobrino says, “The poor live the paradox of the Sermon on the Mount: a life of beatitude in difficult material conditions. The resolution of the paradox is a matter of living the difficult material conditions in a particular spirit.” After a thanksgiving Mass for their successful struggle to defend their forests, the poor people in a barrio in Bukidnon shared with one another the simple food they brought to their simple ‘agape’. Poor and simple indeed! But there was richness in the quality of their celebration. One could sense their solidarity and communion in an atmosphere of joy and gaiety. Reflecting on the event, an old woman commented to a lay missionary: “Isn’t this the kingdom of God?” The missionary answered, “If this is not yet the Kingdom of God, at least we can say that it mirrors the Kingdom and is a clear sign of it!” The new spirit that the poor have acquired empowers them. While that is a welcome sign for those who want to be in solidarity with them it poses a threat to those who want to keep them in poverty! The poor are believers. When they participate in the struggle to be free they are easily and conveniently branded as communists, as godless people. Yet they are simple Christians with a simple faith in God. They experience God as the God of the Poor who is near them and who liberates them from servitude. They have faith and trust in God who sides with the poor and the oppressed, and who is bent on their deliverance just as He delivered His people from the slavery in Egypt. They have faith in Jesus Christ who preached the kingdom and declared that the poor are blessed. “How blessed are the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Mt
5,1.) “He has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.” (Lk 4, 16-19.) Jesus took flesh and pitched his tent in the midst of the poor. Jesus took flesh to take on the cause of his brothers and sisters, the poor. All of us have in different ways witnessed the selfless love and commitment the poor have shown in their struggle for liberation. There is no denying that despite their personal limitations and weaknesses, they are able to transcend themselves and express generosity and kindness to others. Despite their own poverty they are willing to share the little that they have with others. They are willing to struggle not just for themselves but for others, whom they recognize as brothers and sisters. The depth of their commitment even led many of them to give their lives so that others may live. We saw many examples of this, especially during Martial Law days. They must have experienced in a radical way in their own personal lives that ‘Deus Caritas Est’ to be able to practice and express that love in behalf of their brothers and sisters. The challenge to be Church of the Poor in the Philippines PCPII reminds us of God’s most urgent call to serve the poor and the needy. It says, “The poverty of at least half of the population is a clear sign that sin has penetrated our social structures. Poverty in the sense of destitution is not God’s will for anyone. Vatican II teaches that ‘every man has the right to possess a sufficient amount of the earth’s goods for himself and his family. To the shanty dwellers of Favela dos Alagados, Pope John Paul II forcefully asserted: “Do not say that it is God’s will that you remain in a condition of poverty, disease, unhealthy housing that is contrary in many ways to your dignity as human persons. Do not say ‘It is God who wills it’.” Yet everyday we continue to witness poverty in the Philippines and this unsettles us. For we realize we can not be deaf to the cry of the poor for help and consolation. We can not remain silent before today’s forms of oppression leading the poor closer to death. We are called to announce the Word strongly and denounce the many
injustices being committed to the detriment of the poor. “Pastors and members of the Church will courageously defend and vindicate the rights of the poor and the oppressed, even when doing so will mean alienation or persecution from the rich and powerful.” (PCPII 131) Due to the stand of a local church against mining a businessman and brother of a congressman put up a big streamer across the street in front of a parish church. It is still there and partly reads, “You, Bishop and priests, return to Rome! If you can not provide rice, if you can not give hospitals and medicines, if you can not build schools etc., etc., then leave the mines alone!” Woe to us if we do not proclaim the Gospel! But serving the poor and the needy implies not just the proclamation of the love of God in Christ Jesus, but also giving witness to it through ‘Christ-like deeds’. And the Church will be credible in its witness if it truly becomes the ‘Church of the Poor’. The Church is daily called to conversion. To be converted to God means to be converted to the poor, to become Church of the Poor. PCPII tells us what it means to be a church of the poor. It means that we embrace and practice the evangelical spirit of poverty, which combines detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the sole source of salvation. It is not that the Lord wants us to be materially poor but that he wants all his followers to be “poor in spirit”. Simplicity of lifestyle gives witness to poverty in spirit. When one lives simply one can better share what one has with the poor and the needy. (PCPII 133) A terrible scandal in our country is the ostentatious and luxurious living of the few in juxtaposition with the life of destitution and misery of the majority. We need to be sensitive to that. Church leaders are not exempt from the temptation to equate or confuse pastoral efficiency with atrociously expensive equipments for the ministry. Poverty of means is a challenge! It is inspiring to see church leaders who make the vow of poverty and also consistently live a simple and poor life. In our context taking the vow of poverty and leading a poor lifestyle should be interpreted as a sign of protest and solidarity. It is not meant to idealize the condition of material poverty but is to be a form of protest against poverty itself as an evil situation that needs to be eradicated. Moreover a poor lifestyle is also an expression and sign of solidarity with the poor in their struggle against poverty in order to be liberated from it. Solidarity with the poor is not just affective but also effective. It is affective when it feels one or in communion with the poor. It is effective when it concretizes that feeling of solidarity, when it makes choices and hard decisions in favor of the poor. One is willing and ready to follow Christ through poverty and suffering in order to carry out the work of salvation. To be a church in solidarity with the poor means to collaborate with the poor themselves and with others in order to support the initiatives of the poor to be liberated from their servitude. “The Church encompasses with her love all those who are afflicted by human misery and she recognizes in those who are poor and who suffer the image of her poor and suffering founder. She does all in her power to relieve their need and in them she strives to serve Christ.” (PCPII 130) The church of the poor is one where the pastors and church leaders as well as the entire community of disciples, including the better off, have a love of preference for the poor. Our solidarity with the poor derives inspiration from the principles of Christian life in the Acts of the Apostles (2: 44-45) that reads: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need”. The Pastor’s / P11
July 17, 2006 IN response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’s declaration of 2006 as the Year of Social Concerns, the Diocese of Malolos formally kicked off its celebration of the Year of Social Concerns last February 2006 with a Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Most Rev. Jose F. Oliveros, DD, Bishop of Malolos and with a Diocesan General Assembly of all the leaders of the Parish Commissions on Service and other Church-mandated organizations. Our celebration carries the theme: “Kapakanang Panlipunan, Pananagutan ng Simbahan.” Especially this Year of Social Concerns, we are relentlessly committed than ever to achieve our vision of total human development of the people of God in the Diocese. To attain this, our pastoral programs revolve on formation, organization and mobilization of our flock. Programs are categorized into three areas of concern—i.e. Community-Building Apostolate, Livelihood Development Apostolate, and Social Development Apostolate—based on the kind of ministry extended by the Commission on Service of the Diocese. Social Concern programs and activities under the Community-Building Apostolate include the following: • Formation programs, which at present, are being provided to the residents in the Bulacan relocation sites. These consist of about 14,000 families evicted from their previous homes due to Project North Rail. This is made possible through the pioneering efforts of the Couples For Christ. • Strengthening and energizing of the Parish Commissions on Service (PCOS) through district assemblies, proper orientations and formation programs. • Revitalization of the PPCRV/C (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting/Citizenry) units in the parishes towards developing a more pro-active, conscientious and responsible citizenry. It includes advocacy on social issues confronting the diocese and the
nation, some of which are mining, justice and peace, charter change and Small-Town Lottery. • Organization and coordination of schoolbased commissions on service and of other social action organizations in schools under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese. It has the noble aim of instilling in our youth a sense of service and providing them with more opportunities for social action. • Series of seminars/workshops on BASPAPA (Batayang-Aralin sa Panglilingkod Pastoral), which also includes a thorough study of the Church’s social encyclicals and of the “Compendium of the Social doctrine of the Church.” Under the area of Livelihood Development Apostolate, various livelihood programs are being conducted in the numerous towns under the Diocese in coordination with provincial government offices such as TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), PAO (Provincial Agriculture Office, PYSEACO (Provincial Youth, sports, Employment, Arts and Culture Office) and PESO (Provincial Employment and Sports Office). Concerning itself with the good welfare and well-being of the people in the Diocese, our Social Development Apostolate includes several social concern programs and activities, namely—Medical Missions; CARITASMalolos, which has under its supervision the operation of a free clinic offering medical, dental, optometry and ob-gyne services; feeding programs; Scholarship and Educational Assistance Program like PAMANA (Pagtulong sa Mahirap na Nag-aaral), which is a joint project with the provincial government; Opening of a Mission School for the poor children living in the relocation sites, as pioneered by Food For Hungry Minds, Inc., in partnership with the Commission on Service. The school aims to empower poor children to succeed in a highstandard, English-medium curriculum. In addition, we are on a firm resolve this year to make more active our social action desks
The Pastor’s / from P10 The element of solidarity and “communion” consists in the fact that believers hold all things in common and that among them, there is no longer any distinction between rich and poor. The essential principle is that within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.” (DCE20) That is why love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to the church as the ministry of the sacraments and the proclamation of the Gospel. “The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word.” (DCE 22) The service of charity is essential to the Church and she can not do away with it even where there is a just ordering of society. “There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbor is indispensable.” There will always be a need for loving personal concern, which can be found even among the workers of the vineyard of the Lord. And so “Love—caritas—will always prove necessary, even in the most just society”. (DCE 28) The advances in science and technology have provided the Church with more resources or means to help the suffering and the needy in a more effective way. The growing solidarity among peoples and among the poor has also opened up for the Church various forms of collaboration with different instrumentalities that can redound to effective charitable service. The awakening of the poor has given the Church an opportune event to animate the poor lay faithful and to help them help themselves and exercise “social charity”. (DCE 29) What makes the Church’s service of love distinctive? ‘Deus Caritas Est.’, pointing out the parable of the Good Samaritan as
an example, says that “Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison, etc.” It is dedication with heartfelt concern to enable the needy “to experience the richness of their humanity”. (DCE31) Secondly, “Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies…it is a way of making present here and now the love which man (and woman) always needs”. It is a “heart which sees”. “This heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly”. (DCE31) “Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends.” Not that we put God and Christ aside, but that we “realize that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love.” (DCE31) Conclusion By way of conclusion, while it is the responsibility of the whole Church, at all levels to carry out the responsibility of charitable activity we, Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, are charged with primary duty to carry out in the local churches the programme set forth in the Acts of the Apostles (2, 42-44). At our ordination we promise expressly to be merciful and to welcome in the name of the Lord the poor and all those in need of consolation and assistance. It is incumbent on us to exercise charity as an action of the church and an essential part of her mission. In ‘Deus Caristas Est’ Pope Benedict XVI encourages us to look to the saints, especially to Mary, as our model of charity. She is one who is completely available to God and to others. We see that in Luke when she serves Elizabeth and magnifies the Lord, not herself. We see that when she remains beneath the Cross and when the disciples gather around her at Pentecost.
Diocese of Malolos
‘Kapakanang Panlipunan, Pananagutan ng Simbahan’ by Diocesan Commission on Service
© Denz Dayao
Vol. 10 No. 7
that will cater and serve the different sectors of our society like farmers/peasants/ fisherfolks, women and children, migrants, indigenous people’s communities (IPC’s) and, not the least, a desk on ecological concerns. Truly, daunting perhaps are the enormous
social concerns and challenges, we firmly hold on to our commitment articulated by our theme, “Kapakanang Panlipunan, Pananagutan ng Simbahan”—and thus faithfully heed to the Master’s final reckoning: “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”
by Reynaldo G. Evangelista, DD
On Ethics and Mining AFTER listening to the presentation of Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, on Ethics and Mining in the light of what happened in the operations of Lafayette Mining Ltd., in Rapu-rapu Island, Albay, I cannot but empathize with him and all the people adversely affected by the twin mine spill in October last year. I easily understood all the findings and concerns of the Bastes Commission because in my ministry as Bishop of Boac, Marinduque I am deeply involved in Marinduque’s quest for environmental justice. This is in line with my obligation as shepherd of my people to address the social concern on protection of the environment for future generation and promotion of justice. The spill that happened in Rapu-rapu Island was actually a milder version of what happened in Marinduque during the operation of Marcopper for almost thirty years, from 1969-1966. But we need not wait for more serious incidents related to irresponsible mining operations to happen again in order to act on the protection of our environment and people. We need not wait for more serious damages to the health of our people, irreversible damages to our land, mountains, rivers, and seas before we make a stand on the serious negative effect of mining in our country. Empathize It is true that our country is rich in mineral resources like gold, copper, nickel, zinc and many others but based on what happened in Marinduque, Rapu-rapu Island, and other places where mining disasters occurred, I and my people plus the communities affected by mining operations strongly doubt the idea that mining is the best way or one of the best solutions to improve the economy of our country. Mariduque up to now is one of the poorest provinces in the country after almost 30 years of mining in the island. The Philippine Bishops have guided us in our struggle for environmental advocacy as an integral part of our faith in three pastoral letters since 1988 and we will remain vigilant as shepherds to our people. We will perform our prophetic role always in reading the signs of the times in order that over-exploitation may not happen to our non-renewable resources like minerals for the sake of our future generations. We will always be at the side of the poor who have suffered a lot and until now are still suffering because of the imbalance of wealth or the exploitation
of rich people and multinational corporations. We, Bishops, are not against mining per se but we urge the government, business sector, environmental groups, stakeholders, and all concerned citizens to sit down once again to review the Mining Act of 1995. We have mentioned this to the President, the Speaker of the House, DENR Secretary last March in our dialogue, but nothing is being done yet. Critics and mining investors are saying that the Bastes Commission should not have recommended a review of the Mining Act of 1995 specifically the provisions on the ownership and management of mining firms and operations. But to my mind, it is insufficient if not impossible to arrive at clearer and safer policies and supervisions of mining operations by limiting ourselves just on the legal side. As what has been suggested by Bishop Bastes, we have to address first the geo-ethical values of mining before other considerations. Ethics of any and every human activity, especially that of mining, must be checked against the prime purpose of God’s creation: to give life and to give it in abundance to all. If the Mining Act of 1995 is “one of the best mining laws in the world” as claimed by the Speaker of the House himself, then, why do we have all these objections from different sectors of society regarding its implementation? If the Mining Act of 1995 needs no review then what guarantee can we give our people that there will be no more mining spills in the next few months or years? Based on our experience and provided in the Mining Act of 1995, we have Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECC), provisions on reforestation, and other safety measures in the mining operations but mine spills and others negative effects to the environment are still happening. Protected areas and watersheds are also being threatened by the mining operations. I have listened to different groups and several conferences on mining and environmental concerns and I cannot ignore the facts that are scientifically and carefully studied. I hope and pray that we, bishops and businessmen will be truly in solidarity for the common good of our country especially for the poor. (This piece was delivered after the presentation of Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, on Ethics and Mining at the BBC General Assembly held July 7, 2006.)
Beloved People of God: GREETINGS of peace, joy, and hope in the Lord! 1. The Lord, indeed, has given us an experience of his love and peace in the five days that we spent doing our spiritual retreat. We prayed and meditated. In prayer we recalled that out of his love the Lord has called us to be shepherds of his flock. He has made us so by his ineffable grace of Episcopal ordination. 2. In these past days we were reminded again and again that our shepherding has to be grounded solely on the love of God. If out of love the Lord has called us, so in love of him wae are to feed His flock. Thus, Peter was called and appointed by Jesus as shepherd of the flock. Pastoral charity has to be the very life of the shepherd. Love has to be at the root of our task to proclaim the Word of God, to preside at worship, celebrate the sacraments, and lead in serving you, our beloved people. 3. But in this Year of the Social Concern of the Church, we have become even more deeply aware how challenging it is for us to be your shepherds. For what we see before us are the faces of poor people confused by complex factors beyond their control, political polarization, burning social issues, and the cultural and religious situation of our country that we all dearly love. With a sad feeling of debilitating hopelessness, they wonder when the seemingly endless political battles in Manila would ever give way to the more pressing problems of their daily economic struggles. They wonder if their deepening impoverishment would ever find a unified political response. 4. As shepherds we offer our moral and religious guidance. For this reason we focus our reflection on the social doctrine of the Church. We do so in the light of the Gospel of Jesus, our Lord and Savior as it illumines the darkness of our day. We invite you, our beloved People, to use our reflections as Pastors to help guide your own discernment, discussion, decision and action.
July 17, 2006
Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope
the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel” (CSD, 70, citing Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, 14 and John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 27, 64, 110). For the Church has “the right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society, to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live” (CSD, ibid.). 12. This is also a duty, since the Church “cannot forsake this responsibility without denying herself and her fidelity to Christ: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!’” (1 Cor 9:16); CSD, 71). The Gospel then has a public relevance. This is even more understandable when we realize that the Church cannot ignore “the corrupting effects of injustice, that is, of sin” (CSD, loc. cit.). 13. Therefore, the Church has a duty “to denounce when sin is present: the sin of injustice and violence that in different ways moves through society and is embodied in it” (CSD, 81). In this way the Church’s social doctrine defends human rights “especially those of the poor, the least and the weak.” One can easily see how this right and duty to denounce is both religious and moral. It is inseparable from the evangelizing mission of the Church. 14. In the Old Testament God chose prophets to proclaim God’s word, announcing judgment and hope to Israel. Today the Church fills the role of prophet to herself and to society. Her social doctrine is prophetic. It is both judgment and hope. It calls to conversion. It enkindles hope. It bears the seeds of personal and social transformation.
A CBCP Pastoral Letter on Social Concerns “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you. Jesus said to him, look after my sheep.” (Jn. 21:16)
Social Doctrine in the Context of the Philippines
The Place of Social Doctrine in our Mission to Evangelize 5. At the very outset we remind you of God’s love for all of us even as we experience great sorrows. Deus Caritas Est—the profound first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, perhaps programmatic of his pontificate, brings us back to the most basic of the teachings of the Lord and of His Church: God is love. God loves us. It is because of who God is that we need to love God above all else and to love our neighbor as ourselves. 6. If, as the Lord himself says, this commandment to love God and neighbor is the summary of the law and the prophets, most certainly it likewise summarizes what Christian life—the new life given us in the Spirit of Jesus—has to be. 7. More profoundly, God’s compassionate love for us is personified in His only begotten Son, Jesus our Savior. This is why our beloved Pope Benedict XVI says: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus Caritas Est [DCE], 2005, no.1). 8. From the truth of Jesus, urgent questions arise. Do we ever encounter Jesus who is the very reason for our being Christian? How do we encounter him? Does this personal encounter change our life, our life in the family, our life in the community, our life in society? If we believe in Jesus and love Him, have we become better persons, better Christians, better citizens? Have we become better followers or disciples of Jesus? Has the fact of being Chris-
Vol. 10 No. 7
© Denz Dayao
tians made our society become more peaceful, more fraternal, more just? 9. Such blunt disturbing questions, our beloved people, bring to the fore the necessity of linking faith and life. They also indicate the intimate and inseparable oneness of the Gospel of Love and the Gospel of Justice, i.e., the moral implications of the Lord’s Gospel in all dimensions of human life, individual, social, political, economic, cultural, and religious. 10. For this reason we set out before you these important realities of our faith: 10.1. “The Church’s social doctrine is an integral part of her evangelizing ministry” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [CSD], 2004, no. 66). Pope Paul VI had asked: “How in fact can one proclaim the new commandment (of love) without promoting in justice and in peace the true, authentic advancement of man?” (Evangelii Nuntiandi [EN], 1975, no. 31). 10.2. As “an essential part of the Christian message,” the social doctrine of the Church points out the direct consequences of that message in the life of society and situates daily work and struggles for justice in the context of bearing witness to Christ the Savior” (CSD, 67). 10.3. “On the one hand, religion must not be restricted ‘to the purely private sphere’, on the other, the Christian message must not be relegated to a purely other-worldly salvation incapable of shedding light on our earthly existence” (CSD 71,
citing Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus [CA], no. 5). 10.4. Undoubtedly, to be true shepherds, we as Bishops have to teach the integral Gospel, the gospel of the Lord with all its social implications. This is a non-negotiable task for the shepherd who is also the teacher of his people. The social dimension of love is, after all, the clear implication of the Lord’s teaching on the love of neighbor as an active solidarity with those who are in need. Without this solidarity one cannot be welcomed into the Reign of God (see Mt. 25:34-46; Jas. 2 and 5). 10.5. At the same time, we as bishops do have to remind ourselves again and again that in the Church there is a variety of roles. While “the primary responsibility for the pastoral commitment to evangelize social realities falls to the Bishop,” (CSD, 539), he is assisted by all members of the Church in a variety of ways. • Priests participate in the Bishop’s mission of teaching, sanctifying, and governing the Christian community. By their life of consecrated self-giving, members of religious congregations and institutes too give an eloquent and prophetic sign of the social doctrine of the Church. • On their part the lay faithful seek the kingdom of God by living and working in the context of secular human realities, participating directly in social, economic, and political affairs for the common good and transforming them according to
God’s will (see Paul VI, Populorum Progressio [PP], 1967, no. 81; The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines [PCP-II], 1992, nos. 435-38; CSD, 541-543). • On the other hand, we as shepherds clearly have the duty to pass moral judgments even in matters political but we cannot actively involve ourselves in partisan politics (PCP-II, 340). If Pastors were “to take active part in partisan politics they would weaken their teaching authority and destroy the unity they represent and protect” (PCP-II, 343). 10.6 . Granting all the above and given the autonomy of the temporal sphere, it remains a perennial teaching of the Church that she cannot take on a political task as her immediate responsibility. It is not her responsibility to provide any political blueprint for the just ordering of society (cf. DCE 28; PCP-II, 330-53). She has her own role to play in promoting justice, e.g., to influence life, public and private, with the integral Gospel, to form the social conscience of her members, to provide a moral light that illumines, a spiritual force that critiques social behavior and structures, denounces or purifies and reinforces in the light of the Word of God (see PCP-II, 248). The Social Doctrine of the Church as Prophetic 11. The People of God know that our role as shepherds includes the duty to “teach the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of
15. In 2001 the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR) stated that the social analysis done 10 years earlier by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II, 1991) was still substantively valid. This social analysis (see PCP-II, Appendix I, pp. 275-91) described the major problems of our country in terms of: (a) Political imbalances; (b) Economic imbalances; and (c) Ambivalent cultural values reinforcing these imbalances. 16. To prepare for the great Christian Jubilee of the Year 2000, we your Bishops picked these three major problems for pastoral reflection. Premised on theological and moral principles such as those in the social doctrine of the Church, we wrote three pastoral exhortations: on Philippine Politics (1997), on the Philippine Economy (“Development with a Human Face, 1998), and on Philippine Culture (1999). To cap these three pastoral reflections, we suggested a long term response to our problems by writing a pastoral exhortation on Filipino Spirituality: what it means to be holy in our Philippine situation (2000). 17. We urge you, beloved People of God, to revisit these pastoral exhortations. They contain principles, directives and guidelines for action from the social doctrine of the Church that remain valid and relevant for the problems that currently beleaguer us. A reflective perusal of these documents would prevent the kind of misinformation, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding of the Bishops’ position on various burning social issues. 18. Let us briefly recall the principles in the church’s social doctrine that PCP-II chose to emphasize in the light of our social problems: 18.1 Integral Development – Human Dignity and Solidarity (see Paul VI, Populorum Progressio [PP], 14; John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei
July 17, 2006 Socialis [SRS], 29, 31; PCP-II, 294; CSD, 130-134, 192-93). The human person is at the center of the Church’s social doctrine and the subject as well as object of development in all human dimensions. 18.2. The Universal Purpose of earthly Goods and Private Property. This social principle (see Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 63; PCP-II, 297; CSD, 171-181) underscores the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all. 18.3. Social Justice and Love. These are “the principal laws of social life” (John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 39; see PCP-II, 304; CSD, 201-08; DCE, 26, 28). The lack of consideration for the common good is a lack of social justice. “… for interpersonal relationships and social structures to be put in order, justice is not sufficient. Love is necessary” Social justice as the justice of the common good (PCP-II, 305). Here we add the words of Pope Benedict XVI as a comment on our politics: “Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics. Politics is more than a mere mechanism for defining the rules of public life: its origin and its goal are found in justice, which by its very nature has to do with ethics. The State must inevitably face the question of how justice can be achieved here and now” (DCE, 28). 18.4. Peace and Active Non-Violence (see Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 1971, nos. 40, 65; CSD, 49496). “The road to total liberation is not the way of violence, class struggle or hate; it is the way of love, brotherhood and peaceful solidarity” (John Paul II, To the People of Tondo, Feb. 18, 1981, no. 7; also his speech To the People of the Sugar Plantations, Bacolod, Feb. 20, 1981). 18.5. Love of Preference for the Poor. As PCP-II states, “The common good dictates that more attention must be given to the less fortunate members of society. We as a Church, indeed, opt for all men, women and children of the world but above all, preferentially we opt like Jesus for the ‘little ones,’ the poor and marginalized of our societies” (PCP-II, 312; see also SRS, 39, 42; PP, 47; CSD, 182-84). 18.6. The Value of Human Work. The primary basis of the value of work is not what work produces objectively but who does the work, i.e., the human person (see John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, 1981, nos. 6, 11-12). Again, here are the words of PCP-II: “The human person is the subject of work and must not be treated as an instrument of production. The person has primacy over things” (PCP-II, 316; see also CSD, 270-81). 18.7. Integrity of Creation. “Because the integrity of God’s creation is violated, our people suffer the destruction brought about by droughts and floods. Those disasters cannot be traced merely to the uncontrollable powers of nature, but also to human greed for short term economic gain. The physical limitations of our natural resources imply a moral demand, the duty of responsible dominion over nature” (PCPII, 323; see SRS 26, 34; CBCP, What is Happening to Our
Beautiful Land, 1988; see also CSD, 461-87). 18.8. People Empowerment. “No social transformation is genuine and lasting where people themselves do not actively participate in the process…. We understand ‘people power’ to include greater involvement in decision-making, greater equality in political and economic matters, more democracy, more participation” (PCP-II, 325-26; see CSD, 189-91). 19. To the above social principles, we add two more principles from the social doctrine of the Church that the NPCCR in 2001 emphasized, namely, the leading role of lay people in social transformation (see also CSD, 541-74) and the family as the focal point of the evangelizing mission of the Church in the Philippines (see also CSD, 209254). 20. Fifteen years after the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, our social situation has not substantially changed. The above principles from the social doctrine of the Church remain relevant and prophetic. They represent a judgment on the way we are as well as hope for what we can be as a nation. The Social Doctrine of the Church Applied to Some Burning Social Issues 21. In the light of the social doctrine of the church, we state the CBCP position on the following burning issues: 22. The Family under Siege. We are deeply troubled by attempts to legislate or make as state policy ideas that tend to weaken or even destroy cherished religious values regarding the nature of life, the nature of marriage as union of man and woman, child bearing, the values formation of children, etc. Such ideas are part of an orientation that is fundamentally secularistic and materialistic, separated from their religious and moral roots. We find them in pending bills about population, marriage and family, reproductive health, and sex education in schools. The Filipino family is ill-served by these developments. As the foundation of a civilization of life and love, the family is most seriously threatened. Therefore, Catholic lay groups as well as our Bishops’ Commission on Family and Life have made many public interventions about these and they shall continue to do so. 23. Charter Change We reiterate what we said in January this year: Elections in 2007 must not be cancelled. The Church recognizes that in a democracy power emanates from the people—i.e., that “the subject of political authority is the people considered in its entirety…This people transfers the exercise of sovereignty to those whom it freely elects…but it preserves the prerogative…[of] evaluating those charged with governing, and in replacing them when they do not fulfill their functions satisfactorily.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 395) While we agree that certain aspects of our Constitu-
“On the Burning Issues”
© Roy Lagarde
Vol. 10 No. 7
WHEN the CBCP gathered in conference to discuss their Pastoral Letter, especially on the “burning issues,” the hottest of which was about the impeachment, the bishops knew that their guidance would not sit well with all sectors. But they must proclaim the message “whether favorable or unfavorable…to itching ears” (2Tim. 4, 2-3). The Pastoral Letter needs to be read in its entirety especially the paragraphs on the hottest issue. When we were discussing the issue of the impeachment, the bishops were concerned with proclaiming a message which would serve the country best according to the light of their discernment, prayer and discussion. Tough problems can be solved neither by force nor by the force of number nor by offering just one solution as if that were the only solution. Tough problems are a challenge for all parties—pro, con, and center—to think, talk and act together, to see new realities and create meaningful change. Each party or sector holds in part the solution to tough problems. The Pastoral Letter “Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope” is meant to give some guidance to the lay faithful on the subject of social issues and on the burning issues. How this guidance is to be followed or put into effect is beyond the intention of the Letter. Whatever each individual or group decides to do, by God, do it well and don’t sacrifice the common good. tion may need amendments and revisions, we do not support hasty efforts to change this fundamental law of the land without the widespread discussion and participation that such changes require. We continue to believe as we did in our statement on Charter Change in 2003, 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. This is best done through a Constitutional Convention. The reasons for constitutional change must be based on the common good rather than on self-serving interests or the interests of political dynasties. (Cf. CBCCP “Renewing Our Public Life Through Moral Values: Pastoral Statement” 29 January 2006). 24. Impeachment We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans: 24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth. 24.2. But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circum-
stances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen’s negative perception of politicians, left, right and center. 25. Electoral Reform We reiterate our call for a thorough reform of the Commission of Elections to restore trust in our electoral process. The call for resignation or even prosecution of a number of the Commissioners should not be lightly brushed aside. The electoral process, including counting of votes, needs to be reformed and modernized before the next elections. (Cf. CBCP “Building a ‘Civilization of Love’: A Pastoral Exhortation for the Year of Social Concerns”, 11 May 2006). 26. Extra-Judicial Killings On extra-judicial killings, the CBCP stand is of long standing. We have issued statements on this issue in the past. Needless to say, we join the outcry of groups that have
On the question of envelopes or gifts allegedly being distributed and of dinners offered by Malacañang to some bishops, since these were privately done, there was no consensus among the bishops whether to accept or not, whether to go for the dinner or not. Each bishop was completely free. Truth to tell, the bishops did not have any knowledge of the alleged plan of Malacañang to use these gifts or envelopes for political ends. It was only later that they realized the implication of the offer. Some, we know, returned their envelopes. The bishops were told that the envelopes were for the poor. But how must the poor be helped institutionally? On the one hand, bishops with the limited resources of their dioceses are already trying to respond to the needs of the poor, v.g., through their social action programs. On the other hand, must not the government use better its powerful institutions to help the poor? If the powerful institutions are not effective and efficient in the work of poverty alleviation, the question that must be asked is “WHY?” But must it be channelled to the bishops at this time? +Angel N. Lagdameo Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President July 14, 2006 denounced the increasing number of extra-judicial killings of journalists and social activists suspected as sympathizers of insurgents allegedly by some ultra-rightist elements in the military. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the great number of extra-judicial killings that sometimes do not come to light in the newspapers but are known to us in our dioceses. These are killings reported by our people as allegedly perpetrated by insurgents for various reasons, such as agaw-armas operations, the failure to pay a revolutionary tax, or “blood-debt to the people.” These we also unequivocally denounce. The defense of human rights and of human dignity must itself be just. It has to be impartial, irrespective of religious belief or ideology. Conclusion We asked above if the fact of our being Christians has made our society become more peaceful, more fraternal, more just? We ask the question again. It is easy to answer no if we focus only on the many critical problems that continue to plague Philippine society and that so far have been intractable to any satisfying solution. And because of the suffering they cause, we give way to a despairing sense of helplessness.
But are we really without hope as a people? In this Year of Social Concern, we turn our thoughts to what our faith in Christ tells us we must do out of love for our neighbor. And we see what many of our people, priests and religious, but lay men and women especially— away from the limelight and the glare of publicity—are doing quietly to put into practice what they understand Christian social concern means. Non-partisan groups like Kapatiran and One Voice, when they remain non-partisan, are especially to be commended and encouraged. So too are the many initiatives (not the least those of our own Church Social Action Centers) at combating endemic corruption in public and private life that are working quietly at the lower levels of government and society. These give us hope that our common task to bring about greater social justice in our country is not without any effect. We have dedicated this Year of Social Concern to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We pray that their redeeming love continue to be with us as we work to bring peace and justice to our suffering people. For the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, D.D. President, CBCP
14 by Rev. Fr. Ronald S. Quijano, SThD
John Paul II National Institute for Studies on Marriage & Family:
‘Promoting God’s Love for the Family’
CBCP Monitor Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
that included, among others—Fr. Nilo Tanalega, SJ, D.Min; Fr. Tom Groarke, CSsR, SThD; Dr. Natividad Dayan, PhD; and Dr. Lorenzo Cabalfin, MD. It included likewise a cast of mentors, with doctorate degrees in their respective fields, from the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod. Recollections, pastoral exposures, and lectures by visiting professors from other Sessions or Pontifical Institutes of other countries—apart from the regular classroom experience—form part of the curriculum. The Institute, by far, has already accommodated a veritable host of notable international guest professors like, namely—Msgr. Jean Lafitte, SThD, vice president of the Central Session in Rome; Mr. David Crawford, SThD, from Washington, D.C. Session; and Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston, SThD, one of the officials of the Pontifical Council on the Family in Rome. On May 28, 2004, the Institute (JPNISMF) produced its first batch of graduates who were conferred the degree of Master of Education in Marriage and Family by the University of St. La Salle in the graduation ceremonies held at the University of St. la Salle coliseum. In the school year 2004-2005, the Institute welcomed Fr. Ronald Quijano, SThD, as its new Academic Dean. Fr. Quijano obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate degrees in Sacred Theology (STL and SThD), Magna Cum Laude, from the Pontificio Instituto Giovanni Paolo II per studi su Matrimonio e Famiglia, Universita’ Lateranense, in Rome. Family ministry, indeed, is an indispensable task. There is no community renewal if it is not family based. It is the subject and object of evangelization. As the late Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, said: “The future of humanity passes through the family” (FC, 86).
FROM THE INBOX THE Pontifical Institute of John Paul II for Studies on Marriage and Family is a duly accredited institution of learning founded by the late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, at the Lateran University in Rome in 1981. It has the authority to confer academic degrees to students of family-related sciences and disciplines. The vision of the Pontifical Institute is the building or development of strong family structures whose core values are anchored on Catholic teachings on marriage and family life and whose faith and witnessing evangelizes and transforms society. The Institute, for its mandate or mission, is committed to serve as a learning and formation center providing programs on marriage, family and life according to the established teachings of the Church, and as a research center that delves particularly with the various conditions affecting marriage, family and life, especially within the Asian context. In the face of the present, and undeniably formidable, threats and challenges to family life, the Institute is but a welcome attempt at enriching the Church with theologico-pastoral reflections on marriage and family. At the turn of the century, six Pontifical Institutes, or Sessions, had been set up worldwide. These are the Central Session in Rome and the Sessions in Washington D.C., Spain, Mexico, India, and Benin in Africa. The need for a Session to serve the vast Far East arena had been acknowledged. Since the Philippines is considered as the largest Roman Catholic nation in this part of the world, the idea of establishing a Philippine Session was thus deemed as both logical and opportune. In 1994, Bishop Jesus Y. Varela, then the chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, was tasked by Rome to look into the possibility of putting the Philippine Session. The attempt to integrate it with a Catholic university in Manila did not materialize, so Bishop Varela looked for a host Diocese which can deservingly accommodate the Institute. Meanwhile, Msgr. Victorino A. Rivas of the Diocese of Bacolod, founded in 1995 the Diocesan Institute on Marriage
and Family Life in Bacolod City. It provided a six-month pastoral training to laymen and laywomen to become family life ministers of their respective parishes and chaplaincies. The achievements of the Diocesan Institute earned for the Bacolod Diocese the reputation of producing not a few invaluable family life experts and ministers in the country. In recognition of this achievement, Bishop Varela proposed in 1999 that Bacolod be the host of the Philippine Session. The positive response of Bacolod Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio was communicated to Bishop Angelo Scola, the President of the Pontifical Institute in Rome. After a visit to Bacolod, Bishop Scola, with Bishop Varela, Bishop Gregorio, Msgr. Rivas and twelve Filipino lay delegates endorsed the project to the Holy Father at the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. During its Plenary Assembly in 2000, the CBCP recognized the uniqueness and achievements of the Bacolod Diocesan Institute on Marriage and Family Life. On the same occasion also, the Bishops unanimously endorsed the proposed Pope John Paul II National Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Bacolod. Thus, even under pending evaluation by the Vatican, the Bishops approved the opening of the Institute under probationary arrangement. In June 2001, in time with the opening of the school year, the Pope John Paul II National Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family was formally opened, in consortium with the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City. Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, chairman of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, led the solemn blessing and inauguration of the Institute’s physical facilities. Eleven students immediately enrolled, including a priest from the Diocese of Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma). Msgr. Rivas, who earned his Doctorate degree in Canon Law (JCD), Summa Cum Laude (with highest academic honors), from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, headed the first faculty roster composed of noted professors
Hug Someone Today, While there is Time MY father isn’t the expressive, sentimental type. He isn’t the hugging, “I love you” kind of a guy. But I recall as a young boy, he showed his love to me the only way he knew best: he spent enormous time with me. We’d jog together every night, walk to a pizza joint on weekends, and simply talk. (Actually, I’d do the talking and he’d do the listening.) My father was my best friend. A few months ago, Dad was trying to fix a light bulb in our garage. Standing onto a chair for greater reach, he lost his balance and went crashing down. His head hit the concrete floor and immediately, blood spurted out like water from an open faucet. Because of the impact, there was like a dripping faucet inside his brain as well. Blood clots started to appear
in his X-rays, and he began to experience paralysis in his body. Even after brain surgery, he lost his language ability because of a new blood clot, found even deeper than the others—too deep for another surgery to reach. The gravest blow was severe pneumonia, an infection that developed after a few months of staying in the hospital. His lungs were now filled with fluid, and that was when the crisis hit. He was hooked up to a respirator, and the long wait began: The doctors told us frankly that he could go anytime. At that point, he was only absorbing 20% of the oxygen they were pumping to him. Someone doesn’t last too long in that state. I looked at Dad’s hands and face, and they were bluish in color. I whispered to his ear, “I love you, Dad.” That was when he regained consciousness for a few minutes. He looked
at me with so much sadness in his eyes. Then he did something that he never did in my entire life. He raised his hands towards my face, and clasped me on both cheeks. Then he brought me down towards him, and gave me a hug. My father gave me a hug. He was telling me that he loved me too. He was also probably bidding farewell. My emotions were running wild inside me. I was both grieving and joyful. Joyful because for the first time, my tough, unsentimental father gave me a hug. Grieving because he was going away. Grieving because it might be the last hug I’ll ever get from him. “Dad, we should have done this a long time ago,” I muttered to myself. Today, my father has recovered a little bit, narrowly escaping that ordeal. I hug him more often now. Hug someone today, while there’s time.
Quiet Practice of Social Concern In this Year of Social Concern, we turn our thoughts to what our faith in Christ tells us we must do out of love for our neighbor. And we see what many of our people, priests and religious, but lay men and women especially—away from the limelight and the glare of publicity—are doing quietly to put into practice what they understand Christian social concern means. Non-partisan groups like Kapatiran and One Voice, when they remain non-partisan, are especially to be commended and encouraged. So too are the many initiatives (not the least those of our own Church Social Action Centers) at combating endemic corruption in public and private life that are working quietly at the lower levels of government and society. These give us hope that our common task to bring about greater social justice in our country is not without any effect. Chito Generoso
What will lead us to the truth? All members of my family who are Catholics are very disgusted with your pastoral statement regarding the 2nd impeachment of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that it (impeachment) will not lead us to the truth. What will lead us to the truth? Your position has embolden Mrs. Arroyo and her allies more to cover up the truth behind the alleged cheatings in the presidential elections of 2004. You are like the Rabbis whom Jesus rebuked. Some of you like to dine with Mrs. Arroyo. Some of you like to accept aid from her. By the way, aid and donation are the same banana. But we are glad there are a few among you who are like John the Baptist who rebuked King Herod II for his immoral deed of coveting the wife of his brother. We tip our hats to Bishop Iñiquez who is one of the complainants in the 2nd impeachment and to Bishop Oscar V. Cruz who supports the impeachment. Their actions should not be construed as involving themselves into politics. They are doing what John the Baptist did to King Herod II. Fight immorality. Fight sin. And here, we have a President who has no moral authority to lead because she is covering the truth. She is doing everything to cover up the truth. We voted for her but her actions betrayed me and my family. She has to repent for her sins to the nation and to the Filipino people. So, what will lead us to the truth? Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross so the Truth would be known to the world that He is the Son of God. Anthony T. Vallejos
The Struggle for Social Justice The stand of the CBCP on Impeachment does not flow, non-sequitur, from the social teaching principles it has reviewed. Is this statement a product of the bishops’ contemplation on the “pierced side of Jesus,” and pierced dignity of Filipino people? Is this all we can do as shepherds and prophets? Is this all the love of our bishops for God and His flock? What can we do about the “previous circumstances” our Congress today? It seems to me that like the apostles, including Peter, who fled during the passion of Jesus, the CBCP bishops are not inclined in the present moment to favor or to pursue the struggle for social justice in Philippine society today. I hope the AMRSP superiors gathered together in a plenary assembly next week will have a better prophetic stand than the bishops. I get fired up from the inside like many radical pastoral workers in the Church to continue the vision of the Church of the Poor and Social Transformation of PCP II, as lived and witnessed to us by Cardinal Sin and Bishop Fortich. Fr. Bong Sarabia, CM
Vol. 10 No. 7 July 17, 2006
Title:PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN:Dead Men's Chest Running Time: 140 mins Lead Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy Director: Gore Verbinski Producer: Jerry Bruikheimer Screenwriters: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio Music: Hans Zimmer Editor: Stephen Rivkin, Craig Wood Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Comedy Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski Distributor: Buena Vista Location: Caribbean Seas Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance
drooling seductress who do anything short of murder to get her hands on the man of her dreams. Not all is well that ends well, especially if you believe that the end does not justify the means. Right? Sometimes, yes. Although Love Wrecked appears harmless?the story being garden-variety star-craze and the lead female character being a smart, sensible girl who is otherwise virtuous outside of her adolescent licentiousness. Just to prolong her alone-time with her dream man on the island, she keeps him believing they're marooned on an island when in fact they're just three miles off the resort hotel. He doesn't know any better, being disabled by a broken ankle. But soon enough she sees that lies are never white; lies beget lies, and at the final countdown she sees the consequences of her "harmless" maneuvers. In the end she wisens up and fights for her real values?honesty especially before the public, abiding friendship, respect for self and others. This ending redeems the film and makes the viewer understand that the foibles of teen years somehow vanish when wholesome, deep-seated values come to the fore.
Title: SEE NO EVIL Running Time: 83 mins Lead Cast: Kane (Glen Jacobs), Christina Vidal, Michael Pagan, Steven Vidler, Samantha Noble, Penny McNamee Director: Gregory Dark Producer: Joel Simon Screenwriters: Dan Madigan Music: Tyler Bates Editor: Scott Richter Genre: Suspense Cinematography: Ben Nott Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
THE film opens with a rookie police officer and his veteran partner Williams (Steven Vidler) invading a house where people are being murdered. As soon as the cops enter the house, they get confronted by an eyeless woman and a humongous axe-wielding Jacob Goodnight (Kane). The rookie gets chopped into pieces while William's arms get slashed off but not
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JUST as the wedding of Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is about to take place, the couple is arrested for helping a convicted pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) evade his sentence. With Elizabeth in jail Will negotiates with Commander Norrington who tells him that in exchange for Elizabeth's freedom, he has to get Sparrow's compass. Will locates Jack Sparrow and gets involved in Jack's misadventures. Jack owes a blood debt to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) one of the living dead and monster-faced Captain of the ghostly ship The Flying Dutchman. Jones demands payment or Jack suffers 100 years of servitude under Jones in the after-life. Jack now tells Will that in exchange for the compass, Will must find the key to a treasure chest. But Will discovers that the key is with Davy Jones. In the meantime, Elizabeth gets out of jail through her father's influence. In search of her fianc?, she dons boy's clothes and stows away on a ship. Can Jack outwit Davy Jones? Shall Elizabeth and Will ever be together again? Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is the sequel to the very popular Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl shown in 2003. The present film is said to be the second of a trilogy. Like its predecessor, Pirates 2 is a well done adventure film that delivers pure entertainment and fun. Fast paced, it has non-stop action, very lengthy fight scenes (including a duel on a rolling giant wheel), prolonged jokes, constant shifting of locales with interesting visuals and fantastic special effects. For instance, the Kraken creature is awesome and reminds us of mythological monsters. Production design is good. Excellent prosthetics make Davy Jones look repulsive, with his slimy tentacles (which, ironically, can play beautiful organ music). Impressive too are the prosthetics and costumes of his monster-minions, which merge sea elements like corals, shells, crustaceans and fish parts. Johnny Depp's inimitable acting
after shooting Goodnight in the head. Four years forward, the now one-armed Williams works with non-violent criminals and is undertaking a program where inmates can earn one month off their sentence by volunteering to help restore historical buildings for three days. After some 3-seconder mug-shots of the inmates, their crimes and the stereotypes they fall into, four pairs of young men and women set off to The Blackwell Hotel for a cleaning spree with Williams and a female cop. On their very first night, Goodnight fancies Kira
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and characterization of Jack Sparrow exudes zest, wit, mischief and humor. Bloom, Knightly and the rest of the ensemble also deserve credit. Aside from successfully welding disparate elements like battles and horrors with humor, Director Verbinski has also created an exciting film about pirates with toned down violence and a minimum of gory and gruesome scenes. Moreover, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 has other values. Some characters are willing to brave unknown dangers in search of the beloved like Elizabeth Swann, or in search of what can be good for the beloved as in the case of Will Turner. They have shown that true love is willing to sacrifice for the person one loves. Elizabeth's father is motivated by love for his daughter when he risks his position to free Elizabeth. Will's father, likewise, does things for his son though he is aware of great punishment. Even Jack Sparrow who at first thinks only of himself putting Will Turner in danger to do the dirty job for him, later redeems himself when he returns and leads his men in the final battle. Like a true captain he allows his crew to abandon ship but decides to stay with his ship. In spite of great odds, Jack seems unafraid and determined to fight the evil of the seas.
(Samantha Noble), locks her in a cramped cage and sends Christine (Christina Vidal) and company searching for her. While in between the gory murders come flashbacks of Goodnight's teenage trauma in an attempt to create a character for the villain and explain his penchant for removing his victim's eyes. The movie borrows a lot of its ideas from Psycho and Friday the 13th, which explains the predictability of the plot and unoriginality of the twists. The script is flat and worsened by the lackluster and humdrum performances of the actors save perhaps for Kane whose massive presence makes up for being given only grunts as dialogue. Gregory Dark's directorial experience in music videos and adult movies are revealed in the constant use of jittery editing and voyeurism. The production design looks bleak and scantly budgeted. The only noteworthy technical aspect of the movie is the dynamic cinematography, which instead of resorting to the usual quick camera flashes and fast zoom-ins to scare the audi-
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Title: LOVEWRECKED Lead Cast: Amanda Bynes, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Bennett, Jaymie-Lyn Discala, Fred Willard Director: Randa Kleiser Producer: Joe Anderson, Lance Bass Screenwriters: Stephen Langford Genre: Romance/Comedy Cinematography: Gary Capo Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
RYAN (Jonathan Bennett) and Jennifer (Amanda Bynes) have been friends for so long. Ryan has a secret special feeling for Jennifer but she is head over heels "in love" with rock star Jason Masters (Chris Carmack). Ryan and Jennifer are preparing to work the summer off as waiter and lifeguard respectively at a French-run resort at the Caribbean, and in fact would be roommates, with the full blessings of her parents who trust Ryan that much. At the beach hotel, Jennifer learns Jason Masters would be arriving for a concert. Delirious with rock-star-fan mania, she manages to get assigned as waitress in the welcome party for Jason on board a yacht. The sea gets rough, Jason gets sea sick and is thrown overboard. With presence of mind, Jennifer tosses an inflatable raft to the gasping Jason, and then dives after him. The boat goes off, leaving them floating at midsea. The next morning they wake up realizing they're marooned. The fast-paced story keeps the viewer hanging on even if it's obvious this kind of thing happens only in the movies. The cast is just right, with each character seeming tailor-made for the role: Bynes as the pretty but not sensual girl-next-door going ga-ga over a dream; Carmack as the egoistic rock star so used to seeing girls fight over him; Bennett as the subdued and dependable male friend with a quiet charm; and Jamie-Lynn Discala as the
ence, swings the camera like a terrified teen so we can feel the tension around the same time the victim does. The film makes a very feeble attempt to emphasize the innate goodness of a person. Goodnight, brought up by his cruel and prudish mother turns up to be a murderous psychopath, However, towards the end he struggles between continuously obeying his mother or following the faint voice inside his heart telling him not to kill Kira. Michael (Luke Pegler), the most insolent and hardhearted delinquents at the beginning, risks his life and returns to save the remaining girls from Goodnight. If only the producers gave a little more importance to plot instead of focusing all its effort to create one gory slaughter after another then this message could have been better delivered and appreciated. As it is, See No Evil is nothing more that a series of revolting butchery of soulless characters. As a suspense movie it gives that shock value but profusely repulsive scenes and violence make the film unsuitable for the young and audiences who value their money's worth.
The CBCPWorld Network A network of Dioceses, Parishes, Catholic Schools and religious groups. Today, over a hundred of them nationwide. Pursuing one mission, linked under one nationwide satellite system. Connected together with the same passion for the Gospel. Our Broadband Connectivity is delivered to our network members through a VSAT system on a C-band or through a wireless IP system on a microwave platform, originating from our network operations center in Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City. Our Content Department aims at saturating the cyberspace with wholesome contents that are faith-related, educational and social-advocacy oriented. Its services are: web designing, web maintenance, web hosting, content sourcing and editing, and video production. Our Traning Department conducts the following trainings: EdTech, IT Awareness, WebArt, SysAd Training.
People, Facts & Places
INSTALLED. Sr. Yolanda G. Dionisio, FSP, 48, as the new Provincial Superior of the Philippine-Malaysian-Papua New Guinea-Thailand (PMPT) province of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious congregation for women committed to evangelization through the means of social communication; May 22, 2006. Dionisio, a native of Bulacan; was a Formator for 14 years and Provincial Councillor for three years prior to her current appointment as Provincial Superior. She holds an MA on Religious Education degree from De La Salle University and a Diploma on Religious Formation from the Our Lady of Peace Guidance Center. Dionisio will head the FSP Philippine province composed of 189 professed sisters scattered in 21 communities throughout the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. CELEBRATED. Roman Catholic Diocese of Butuan; 40th foundation anniversary as Diocese; July 10, 2006. Adopting the theme Pagbag-o... Pakigsuod... Pagmaya... Padayon... Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos described the occasion as an opportunity for a hightened spiritual awareness for all the people in the diocese. As explained by the Bishop Pueblos, Pagbag-o means renewal and looking back for the 40 years of existence and also counting on the blessings they have received. Pakigsuod means having closer relationships among themselves, clergy and religious and the lay faithful. Pagmaya refers to their continuing journey imbued with the renewed commitment, and Padayon signifies the fresh outlook and attitude in the practice of Christian faith with more vibrant hope for a better future. CELEBRATED. Fr. Juanito S. Figura, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), 25th sacerdotal ordination anniversary; July 24, 2006; in a solemn Mass to be held at the Miag-ao Cathedral, Iloilo City. Born on January 21, 1957 and ordained priest in 1981, Figura’s previous assignments include, namely: as Dean of Studies and Professor in Moral Theology at the St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo City from 1984 to 1990; as Parochial Vicar of the parishes of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and Holy Name of Jesus, both in Iloilo City, respectively; and as Parish Priest of San Jose Obrero Parish, also in Iloilo City. Fr. Figura obtained his Bachelor and Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STB and STL) degrees from the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary, Manila and his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (SThD) degree from the Athenaeum Romanum Sanctae Crucis in Rome. CELEBRATED. IMPACT Magazine, monthly publication of the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, 40th year of publication. IMPACT’s maiden issue appeared on April 1966, then as the official publication of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Even as early back in the late 1960?s, shortly after its inception, IMPACT was already basking in success. It was the flag bearer of the National Congress for Rural Development which was organized by the Philippine Catholic Hierarchy in 1967. It became the official organ of the National Social Action and Economic Development Year, proclaimed by then President Marcos in 1968. Now, already on its 40th year, IMPACT remains as bold and daring, inquisitive and critical, providing readers its regal vision of human transformation through social advocacy, education and evangelization.
July 17, 2006
Bibliodrama Workshop Held TO have an effective tool of bringing God’s Word powerfully to the people, more than 50 bible animators, catechists and lay leaders gathered at a bibliodrama workshop organized by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on July 11-14. Some 20 delegates from Manila led by ECBA Chairman Bp. Arturo Bastes and his executive secretary Fr. Oscar Alunday attended the event and at least 30 others from vicariates of Taytay and Puerto Princesa. Alunday said majority of the delegates are composed mainly of bible animators, catechists and lay leaders. Once described as “lectio Divina”
on stage, Bibliodrama is a creative way of understanding and interiorizing the Word of God. It also utilizes various theatre forms like dances, vignette, play and other exercise to enable the person to be in touch with the Word. “It should be able to deepen the spirituality of the animator [and] prompt [him] to be inspired in the promotion of the Word of God in whatever task or mission he or she is working,” said Alunday. Bibliodrama also include periods of silence, reflection and processing to enable the participants to discover the richness of the Scriptures vis-à-vis their own life experiences.
Alunday said, “The drama of the Bible becomes your personal drama.” He also said that the process enables the animators to realize their own weaknesses as persons and helps them to transform those weaknesses into strengths because of the power of the Word of God. Also present during the workshop were Anglican missionaries from the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The missionaries, according to Alunday were mostly Americans, Canadians and Japanese who do translations of the Bible in different indigenous languages such as Ibaloi and Kankanaey. (CBCP News)
AYD Delegates Ready for HK SOME 70 youth delegates from across the Philippines, representing different Catholic dioceses, gathered recently at the St. Josephs Retreat House in Sampaloc, Manila in preparation for the up coming 4th Asian Youth Day (AYD) in Hong Kong on July 28 to August 5. The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) organized an overnight session Undermanned. The office of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate looks skeletal in the thick of preparations for both the on July 22-23 for National Youth Day in Davao City on November 8 to 12 and the Asian Youth Day in Hongkong on July 28 to August 5 this year. The official opening of 4th Asian the delegates to be oriented about the preparatory session aimed to reflect on AYD and to encounter and grow in rela- the family in the light of one's experience Youth Day will immediately follow on 30 and faith, to celebrate the gift of the fam- July. During the AYD, participants will tionship with each other. See-Judge-Act was the process that ily and of the AYD, to create steps which jointly explore and project images of the was used on their program. SEE means to shows one’s valuing for the family and existing and ideal families through worklook into the situation both positive and to prepare for the AYD both as individu- shops, exposures, exhibitions, religious dialogue and cultural performances. negative of their own family, other's family, als and as a delegation. It is hoped that the AYD will bring The participants have also been orifamily and society, family and the church. JUDGE is to study the situation in the light ented on the culture of other countries about hope and change to participants as they are faced with different situations of the Word of God and the AYD message. that will join the large gathering. To kick off the AYD, participants from in their life through a better understandACT, meanwhile, is for individual and common response like family scrapbook, coun- various Asian countries will be assigned ing of the social factors affecting the famto stay with families within the parishes ily. The ultimate goal is that they are try and exhibit in the family. Since the theme of the Asian-wide for three days so that they can have first- able to live their faith. (Ma. Lourdes gathering is focused on the family, the hand experiences of living in Hong Kong. Ebilane) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo presides at the eucharistic celebration on the occaision of the 25th anniversary of the Couples for Christ, at the Quirino Grandstand on June 26. “The celebration is reason too for gratefully recalling the many stories that make up CFC today,” Lagdameo said in his homily. The President’s men. The CBCP Permanent Council pose for a souvenir photo at the opening of the 93rd Bishops’ Plenary Assembly with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Fernando Filoni. With the CBCP President Abp. Angel Lagdameo: (seated) Bps. Vicente Navarra, Honesto Ongtioco, Abp. Antonio Ledesma, SJ, Bps. Angelito Lampon, OMI, Nerio Odchimar and Abp. Paciano Anicieto; (standing) Bps. Gabriel Reyes, Antonio Palang, SVD, Manolo de los Santos, Carlito Cenzon, CICM, John Du, and the Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Juanito Figura.
© Denz Dayao
Vol. 10 No. 7
© Denz Dayao