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Vol. 11 No. 2

In China, Obedience January 22, 2007

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Isn’t a Virtue Anymore

Bishop Seeks Result of Erap’s Plunder Case A Catholic bishop has viewed this year’s anniversary of the People Power II in a different light. Manila Auxiliary bishop Broderick Pabillo said Edsa II should serve as a challenge to the slow-paced justice system in the country. He cited the case of deposed president Joseph Estrada whose plunder Bishop Seeks / P4

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The Family is Where Human Values Begin

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Tech-Savvy Priest Turns Parish Into E-Community

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace January 22, 2007

Php 16. 00

Vol. 11 No. 2


Message of Benedict XVI for the 15th World Day of the Sick

Prelate Exhorts Faithful Not to Vote Jueteng Protectors ANTI-GAMBLING advocate and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz urged the faithful on Friday not to vote politicians who are jueteng protectors. Cruz, head of the of the People’s Crusade Against Gambling, said his Prelate Urge / P4

Contraception Upped Adultery, Premarital Sex and Homosexual Activity

Photo credit: Dennis Dayao

By Roy Lagarde

“AUTHENTIC progress, which promotes the dignity of the human person from contraception until natural death, is a fundamental concern which the Catholic church shares with all of humanity,” thus opened the press conference led by Abp. Angel Lagdameo at the International Conference on Bioethics and the Family, January 9-10, 2007.

CONTRACEPTION has stimulated sharp increase in adultery, pre-marital sex and homosexual activity said the CBCP 2007 International Conference on Bioethics and Family held in Manila, January 9-10, 2007. “With contraception,” says the conference statement, “the abominable crime of abortion has been condoned and even considered right while the loss of respect and care for human life at its beginning has led to the loss of respect and care at its natural end as in the evils of euthanasia and abandonment of the elderly and the handicapped.” The Conference also noted the global phenomenon of an alarming decline in population. Experts said the normal population rate is 2.1, which means that couples should have at least two

Caceres Holds 1st National Mission Congress for Seminarians THE Archdiocese of Caceres hosted the First National Mission Congress for seminarians and priest-formators of the Philippines last January 17-21, 2007 in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines. The Congress was spearheaded by the Commissions on Mission and Seminaries of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Around to give the keynote talk was Secretary General of the Pontifical

Society of St. Peter the Apostle, Fr. Jan Dumon, who came all the way from Rome. Around 350 participants, including bishops, priests and seminarians, participated in the 4-day congress. The event, dubbed as the National Congress on Saint Peter the Apostle had the theme, “Integrating Mission in Seminary Formation.” The congress’ main objective was to provide a forum for seminarians and seminary formators, as well

Fr. Peter Malone, MSC, with the members of the Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation (CINEMA).

Known Film Critic Lauds CINEMA FATHER Peter Malone, MSC, an internationally known film critic was in town recently to conduct a seminar on Film and Faith at the Communications Foundations in Asia (CFA) which were attended by priests, religious, educators, and lay, working with media evangelization. Among the 110 participants in the seminar were the executive secretary of the CBCP Office on Women, Dr. Zenaida

Rotea, and movie reviewers of Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation (CINEMA). Malone, a consultant to the Pontifical Council of Social Communications and former president of the International Organization for the Cinema (OCIC), and SIGNIS, was instrumental in the formation of movie reviewers and assessors which comprise the present group Known Film / P16

as to reflect together on the importance of mission in seminary formation, and, to discover possible ways of integrating mission in the aspects of seminary life. The congress was held in the context of the 75th anniversary of Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) and its contribution to the seminaries in the Philippines. Resource persons included members of the hierarchy. Among them were Most Rev. Benjamin J.

Almoneda, bishop of Daet; Most Rev. Edwin A. de la Pena, MSP, prelate bishop of Marawi and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Mission; Most Rev. Jose R. Rojas, auxiliary bishop of Caceres, who spoke on Formation and Mission in the Experience of the Local Church; and Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, and chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Semi-

‘Fast Wednesday’ Campaign to be Launched Feb.21

Faithful Urged to Consider Integrity, Capacity of Poll Bets

HEEDING the call of the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines that Character change should precede Charter change, a non-government organization is launching a period of prayer starting Ash Wednesday on February 21. Dubbed as “Fast Wednesday”, Kubol Pagasa said the campaign would also serve as a moment of fasting and discernment that will continue every Wednesday for the whole year. “One day a week prayer and fasting can be a source of both strength and enlightenment as the Church and other groups conduct various ‘voters’ education programs which should not neglect the dangers of Charter change attempts, political dynasties, cheating, patronage and personality politics,” it said in a statement. The group lamented the stubborn persistence of the old problems of corruption, abuse of power, violence, poverty and the entrenched culture and system of traditional poli-

CATHOLIC voters should make their political judgments based on the integrity and capacity of the candidates. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the people should make sure a candidate has integrity and enough capacity and the welfare of the people at heart. Integrity and capacity, he said, can be seen in a person’s married life. “Integrity can be measured if a person is faithful to his or her partner,” he said. “Capacity is when they’re able to raise their children well.” The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), meanwhile, urged the voters to be vigilant and to be wary of politicians who only rely on rigging the electoral process. “People should be watchful and vigilant. There should be more discernment,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president.

Fast Wednesday / P4

Faithful Urged / P4

Caceres Holds / P4

children to keep the balance of the population in the world. To date, the number of replacement in the country is at 2.3, apparently higher than .2 percent from the ideal rate. European countries’ fertility rate has been under replacement rate for many years and is reportedly suffering severe population loss. Declining fertility is an issue that affects many other nations besides Europe resulting particularly in the dropping number of labor force to support a growing elderly population. “We are not saying that couples should just keep on having babies as many as they can,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Contraception / P4

PPCRV Issues Guidelines on Choosing Candidates WITH the national elections barely four months away, it’s a good time to remind voters of their responsibilities. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), an organization initiated by lay faithful for responsible electoral process, has joined efforts to ensure clean, honest and peaceful May 14 elections. The group has issued guidelines for voters dubbed as the “10 Commandments” that will be used in its education campaign. PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa said the guidelines will be used by the clergy, lay leaders and volunteers to facilitate the information program for electoral education. “The kind of government we get is the fruit of the votes we cast,” she said. The commandments, in order, are as follows: 1. Thou shalt vote according to the dictate of your conscience. 2. Thou shalt respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates. 3. Thou shalt seek to know the moral integrity, capabilities, and other personal qualities of the candidates you will vote for.


CBCP Monitor

World News


Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Latin American Bishops Conferences to Meet in Brazil

3.2 Million Visited Pope in 2006 VATICAN CITY, January 9, 2007—More than 3.2 million faithful and pilgrims attended public meetings in 2006 with Benedict XVI in the Vatican or the papal summer residence. The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household reported this figure, which does not include those who attended meetings with the Pope during his apostolic visits within and outside of Italy. The number of faithful and pilgrims includes participants in the Wednesday general audiences, special audiences, liturgical celebrations

and the recitation of the Angelus. Last year, 45 general audiences were held, attended by a total of 1,031,500 visitors. Special audiences gathered 357,120 visitors. Crowds were the largest in April with 196,000 individuals attending celebrations. In addition, 1,295,000 people took part in the recitation of the Angelus. In 2005, when Benedict XVI began his pontificate, some 2.85 million people attended public meetings with the Pope. (Zenit)

Benedict XVI Reacts in Wake of Bolivian Violence

VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2007—In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, Fr. David Gutierrez, director of the press office of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), briefed journalists on the forthcoming Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting will be held in Aparecida, Brazil from May 13 to 31. Fr. Gutierrez affirmed that the conference—which will have as its theme “Disciples and missionaries in Jesus Christ, that in Him our peoples may have life (‘I am the way and the truth and the life’)”— will be inaugurated by Benedict XVI on May 13. The Pope will preside at a Mass,

Chaldean Catholic Bishop Fears Splintering Iraq

Archbishop Louis Sako

VATICAN CITY, January 14, 2 0 0 7 — Benedict XVI appealed for “frank and respectful dialogue” in Bolivia following the outbreak of violence in the city of Cochabamba. The Holy Father made his appeal in a telegram sent in his name by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to Cardinal Julio Terrazas, archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Coca growers in Cochabamba have taken to the streets to call for the resignation of their provincial governor, Manfred Reyes, after he proposed a referendum that would give his state greater autonomy from the leftist gov-

ernment of President Evo Morales. These protests turned violent Thursday when the governor organized a counter demonstration, and the two groups clashed. The conflict left two dead and hundreds wounded. In the telegram, Benedict XVI expressed his sadness over the incidents “as well as his special closeness to the pastors and all those making efforts to maintain the citizenry’s harmony and peaceful coexistence, by engaging in frank and respectful dialogue to resolve eventual discrepancies.” The Holy Father prayed that the Lord will “give all a heart full of fraternity and simplicity so that violence is transformed into cooperation and the common good is truly promoted.” (Zenit)

KIRKUK, Chaldea, January 16, 2007—Iraq is rushing headlong toward a break-up of the country, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk has told the AsiaNews service. The prospect of national divisions causes new concerns for the Christian minority, he adds. Internet sites and papers are already publishing the new political maps with the Kurdish north, the Shia south, and the Sunni center, Archbishop Louis Sako told AsiaNews. The execution of Saddam Hussein and the influence of Iran have aggravated tensions between Shia and Sunnis, he reported, while in the north Kurdish interests lean toward independence.

Pope to Meet Communist Leader

The Holy See and Vietnam do not maintain diplomatic relations. Both Prime Minister the Pope and Nguyen Tan Dung Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone have publicly expressed the desire that the Holy See establish relations with those countries that do not yet have an ambassador to the Vatican. The Catholic community of Vietnam is, after the Philippines, the second most numerous of Southeast Asia, with some 6 million faithful, 7% of the population. (Zenit)

ROME, January 18, 2007— Members of various Vatican dicasteries are gathered to begin discussing the situation of the Church in China, AsiaNews reported. The meeting will begin Friday, and include discussions on the illicit ordination of bishops, the unity of the official and underground Church and the Patriotic Association, reported today the news agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. The Chinese government allows religious practice in the country only with recognized personnel and in places registered with the Religious Affairs Office and under the con-

VATICAN CITY, January 18, 2007—The Holy See confirmed that Benedict XVI will receive Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam in a Jan. 25 audience. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the news verbally to journalists, which was announced shortly before by a communiqué from Hanoi’s Foreign Ministry.

concelebrated with representatives of all Latin American bishops, and will pronounce an address during the opening session. A group of experts is currently selecting the themes from proposals being put forward by the various episcopal conferences. They will prepare a summary and, at the end of February, publish a preparatory document for the conference. The presidents of the 22 episcopal conferences of CELAM will attend the Aparecida meeting, as will groups representing the prelates in each episcopal conference, for a total of 176, also including bishops from Canada, U.S.A., Spain and

For Christians, Archbishop Sako said, the prospect of a splintering in the national government would raise new questions about religious freedom in each of the sections. Some Church leaders have suggested that members of the Christian minority should move into one location, on the Nineveh plain, the archbishop said, have called. There, the proponents of the move suggest, the Christians could find safety in numbers, and their community would “serve as a useful and undefended buffer zone between Arabs and Kurds.” Archbishop Sako argued, however, that it would be more prudent for Christians to seek constitutional protection in a unified country, so that the central government would “guarantee religious freedom and equal rights for believers of all faiths throughout the land, including Christians who can be found everywhere.” (AsiaNews)

Vatican Officials to Discuss Church in China

and Hindus. The violence began last Friday when some 10,000 Muslims gathered to protest against the execution of Saddam Hussein and US foreign policy. Ruling Congress Party politicians like Jaffar Sharief and Dharam Singh were present.

When police tried to stop some hooligans it used tear gas and truncheons to disperse the demonstrators who reacted throwing rocks at cars and store windows of Hinduowned businesses. Eventually, some 50 people needed medical help. Two days later, the

titude of nearly 5,000 meters and there were fears this might affect the health of the delegates, particularly the more elderly. Benedict XVI had then asked for the meeting to be celebrated at a Marian shrine, and Aparecida was chosen, a site that can hold 35,000 faithful and is visited annually by eight million pilgrims. (VIS)

Venezuela’s Chavez Rips Prelate for Criticism CARACAS, Venezuela, January 19, 2007—Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has renewed his feud with the country’s Catholic bishops, the German-language news service reports. Responding angrily to criticism by Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, the vice-president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, Chavez burst out: “Archbishop Luckert will be waiting in hell for me; he isn’t going to go to heaven.” Archbishop Luckert had drawn the wrath of the mercurial Chavez by criticizing the president’s style of leadership. The archbishop was reacting to public statements in which Chavez had said that he was leading Venezuela on an “irreversible march to socialism,” and added that Jesus Christ was “one of the great socialists of history.” President Chavez, who has quarreled frequently with

President Hugo Chavez

the Venezuelan hierarchy, insisted that he had no desire to prolong the disagreements, in spite of his angry words. “The state respects the Church,” he said, “and the Church should also respect the state.” “I don’t want to go back to the times of confrontation with the bishops,” Chavez added, “but that is not my decision; the decision is up to the bishops of Venezuela.” (CWNews)

Bicycling UK Seminarians Raise Funds for Cuba

trol of the Patriotic Association. Various members of the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples will take part, as well as Cardinal Joseph Zen, of Hong Kong, and other Asian cardinals and bishops. AsiaNews sources say that the meeting is not so much about the longtime impasse on diplomatic relations, but the situation caused by the three illicit episcopal ordinations which took place during 2006. AsiaNews also reported that a permanent commission will be created to deal with the issue. (Zenit)

LONDON, January 21, 2007— Seminarians from the United Kingdom decided to help the Church in Cuba with a bicycle ride fundraiser. Some 270 kilometers (167 miles) later, they had raised €23,500 ($30,465). Six seminarians and the vice rector from St. Mary’s College, near Birmingham, England, wanted to help the 77 seminarians studying at the seminary of Sts. Charles and Ambrose in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban seminarians rely entirely on donations for everything from food to their teachers’ salaries. The Havana seminary re-

ceives an annual grant from Aid to the Church in Need. The charity reports that it has made Cuba a priority for aid in Latin America, especially as tension mounts with President Fidel Castro’s failing health. The charity’s director of the Cuban project, Xavier Legorreta, visited the English seminary in December to pick up the check for the seminarians’ Cuban counterparts. “I was very astonished by the seminarians’ success,” he said. “It came as big, big surprise. It just shows how really important things can be achieved by such simple and very practical initiatives.” (Zenit)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS (National Volunteers’ Union, A Hindu nationalist paramilitary group)

met in Bangalore to celebrate the one hundred years since the birth of one its founding leaders, Madhawa Sadashivarao Golwalkar. Members of the two communities eventually came into contact and started throwing insults at each other. Soon words were followed by sectarian violence. When the police intervened they shot into the crowd

and killed a 12-year-old boy. They also arrested about 150 people and now have the city under control. However, the danger of new clashes still looms over the city. Bangalore is India’s IT capital. Some 1,500 IT companies and call centres are located in the city and its immediate region and serve almost the entire Western world. (AsiaNews)

Boy Dies in Hindu-Muslim Clash BANGALORE, India, January 22, 2007—Police are patrolling the streets of Bangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, after sectarian violence broke out a few days ago in which a boy was killed. Security forces remain in high alert to prevent any further clash between local Muslims

Portugal. Also present will be 24 priests, 23 male and female religious, and 17 lay people, as well as six ecumenical representatives. The novelty of this conference with respect to the previous four held in 1955, 1968, 1979 and 1992, said Fr. Gutierrez; is that on the closing day, when the final document is published, a “great continental mission” will begin. Fr. Gutierrez also explained that the original intention had been to hold the meeting in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, but the idea was abandoned because the city lies at an al-

Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

ROMA, January 19, 2007—Beginning today, a “sub secreto” meeting is taking place in the Vatican on the subject of the Church in China. Participants include key members of the secretariat of state and of the congregation for the evangelization of peoples, but also personalities from outside the curia: the bishop of Hong Kong, cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun; cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-shi, of Taiwan; the bishop of Macao, José Lai Hung-seng; and professor Anthony Lam, from the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong. At the center of attention is a question evoked by Benedict XVI in the Angelus of December 26, 2006. After recalling the protomartyr Saint Stephen and all those who today “are persecuted and suffering in various ways for their witness and service to the Gospel,” Benedict XVI continued: “I think of those Catholics who maintain their fidelity to the See of Peter without ceding to compromises, sometimes at the price of grave sufferings. The whole Church admires their example and prays that they have the strength to persevere, knowing that their tribulations are the font of victory, even if at that moment they can seem a failure.” The news from China in recent weeks confirms this rift between the Christians who bow to the commands of the communist authorities, and those who resist them; between the official Church created by the regime in opposition to Rome, and the one that is united with the pope and not officially recognized by the state.

News Feature In China, Obedience Isn’t a Virtue Anymore by Sandro Magister Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun

A GROWING number of bishops, priests, and faithful of the official Church are refusing to submit to the communist authorities. The pope and cardinal Zen are encouraging them: “Enough with the compromises.” And a book breaks the silence on the Catholic martyrs during the Mao years But the same news shows the divisions and developments even within the official Church. Eight out of ten official bishops have sought and received approval from Rome. And now they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation of twofold obedience: to the universal Church, and to the anti-Roman politics of the communist authorities. Cardinal Zen, a leading exponent of the Vatican’s new politics with China, comments: “This compromise cannot last forever. To be in communion with the Holy Father and at the same time remain in a Church that calls itself independent is a contradiction. The Holy See generously tolerates this. But the time has come to abandon this contradiction.” This is what some bishops of

the official Church are already doing, tending to withdraw increasingly from the submission to the regime. *** The illicit episcopal ordination carried out on November 30, in the city of Xuzhou in the Jiangsu province in west-central China, is the latest episode showing this situation in motion. Any episcopal ordination not approved by the pope is illicit. This is punished with the automatic excommunication of those who carry it out by their own free will, without coercion. In former decades, the Chinese communist regime had many dozens of bishops ordained illegitimately. Before last November 30, the last two ordinations of this kind were carried out on April 28 and May 3, 2006, followed by harsh protest from

Malaybalay: Where the Poor and the Affluent Are Benefactors By Fr. Virgilio Delfin changed the image of BENEFACTORS from those who have lands and properties, who are considered rich, who are holding high positions in government or in the Kadingilan Chapter Members during their orientation day private sector; I FIRST reported to my mission as to every family who has the desire Deacon of our diocese in Malaybalay, to support the Seminary Formation Bukidnon on March 29, 2000 after re- Program of the diocese without putceiving the gift of diaconal ordination ting his or her material affluence as a through the laying on of hands of the requirement. We agreed that a famlate Jaime Cardinal Sin at the Manila ily who desires to support the SemiCathedral on March 17, 2000. I was nary Formation Program of the dioimmediately assigned to the Chan- cese of Malaybalay has to commit cery. One of the areas that my bishop to the following: a) help pray for asked me to look into was the finan- the perseverance of a seminarian cial need of our seminary, the heart of every school year who will also pray our diocese. I started reflecting on for his/her family; b) attend formahow this area of our diocesan opera- tion programs such as recollections tions be sustained considering the ne- in order to deepen their faith; c) give cessity of forming young men to be- material support from their farm harcome priests not only for our diocese vests or from their businesses or but for local and foreign missions vis- work; d) help solicit additional funds à-vis‘ our lack of funds to sustain such to further answer the needs of the need. seminary formation program. I started seeking help from With the support of Fr. Felix people outside our diocese espe- Abadies, then Rector of the Pope cially in Manila. One of the benefac- John XXIII College Seminary and Fr. tors challenged me to tap our parish- Bernard Saburao, then Director of the ioners because they must know their Pope John XXIII Pre-College Semiresponsibility in terms of forming nary, we started the necessary prepamen to become priests. At first I was rations for the establishment of pahesitant because I saw how poor our rochial chapters of the association people are, but after a prayerful con- based on the above guidelines. The sideration, I made some research. In following chapters were organized the course of my reflection and re- with the support of their parish search, I came across the descrip- priests. San Isidro Cathedral Chaption in the Second Plenary Council ter in Malaybalay was established of the Philippines’ vision for the Phil- in July 15, 2000, Our Lady of the Holy ippine Church as “church of the Rosary Chapter in Damulog was orpoor” which states, “a church where ganized in September 16, 2000; San no one is so poor as to have nothing Isidro Labrador Chapter in to give, and no one is so rich as to Kadingilan on October 7, 2000; San have nothing to receive.” (PCP II- Andres Chapter in Maramag on NoXCVII). vember 12, 2001; Immaculate ConFrom this premise, I formulated ception Chapter in Kibawe on Febthe guidelines for the creation of the ruary 14, 2002; St. Michael the ArchSeminary Benefactors Association angel Chapter in Linabo on March 5, of the Diocese of Malaybalay. We 2005; San Isidro Labrador Chapter

in Musuan on March 13, 2005; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Chapter in Busco on March 13, 2005; Our Lady of Lourdes Chapter in Camp Philips on September 13, 2005; Immaculate Conception Chapter in Manolo Fortich on November 20, 2005; Sto. Nino Chapter in Dangcagan on January 7, 2006; and St. Vincent Ferrer Chapter in Kalilangan on January 21, 2006. Indeed, the poor and the affluent are so inspired by the Holy Spirit. They receive ongoing formation through their regular meetings, mass sponsorships, recollections and annual gatherings. They get to meet their prayer partner-seminarians during their yearly get-together. Six years into its operations, the Seminary Benefactors Association of the Diocese of Malaybalay, certainly plays a very significant role in our Seminary Formation Program both in prayer and in material support. For school year 2005-2006 alone, out of the total seminary formation expenses of P 2,424,000, the SBA contributed a total of P 658,000. It is heartwarming to hear that members who are vendors, farmers and farm workers, employees in both government and private sectors pray for their prayer partner-seminarians, and set aside a part of their budget mostly for food just to support our Seminary Formation Program. Some give rice while others give vegetables or any harvest from their farms. Many members share their encounter with God through this association and the message of St. Luke is truly experienced by the people which states, “give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38). The association was officially registered with Securities and Exchange Commission on December 8, 2005. Our mission is to organize all the parishes in our diocese into SBA chapters. After all, the task of forming men to become clerics is for the Malaybalay / P10

the Holy See. After this, in June, a Vatican delegation went to Beijing to ask that this be stopped. They received assurances, which were later confounded by the facts. But the communist authorities took greater pains than usual to organize the ceremony held on November 30. For the concelebration of the illegitimate ordination, the authorities wanted to place beside the pro-government bishop of Xuzhou, 94-year-old Qian Yurong, other bishops also from the official Church, but reconciled with Rome. But to get them there, they had to compel them by force. They placed two bishops in isolation and “treated” them for several days before the ceremony. Two others they literally kidnapped, but without getting what they wanted. One of the two, Peter Feng Xinmao,

3 bishop of Hengshui, attended the rite but did not participate. The second, Li Liangui, bishop of Cangzhou, was able to get away without being recaptured before the end of the ceremony, which was shunned by much of the faithful. As a comment on the illicit ordination, the Holy See released a note of protest on December 2, emphasizing the state of coercion in which both the consecrating bishops and the newly ordained bishop, 34-year-old John Wang Reniei, had to operate. The day after Christmas, Benedict XVI pointed out as an example the Christians who accept “tribulations” instead of “giving way to compromises.” But a few hours later, the communist authorities struck again. On December 27, nine priests from Hebei who belong to the unofficial Church were arrested. Hebei is the region in China with the highest concentration of Catholics, at around a million and a half. And it is also where Catholics are persecuted the most, precisely because so many of the bishops, priests, and faithful refuse to register with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the organism through which the communist party exercises control over the official Church. In Hebei, six bishops have vanished without a trace over the past ten years. These include the bishop of the diocese of Baoding, James Su Zhimin, who was arrested in 1996. Practically all of the bishops now over fifty years old—even among In China / P10

Holy See to Host Meet on Women Issues VATICAN CITY, January 13, 2007—On February 27, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, together with the Path to Peace Foundation and the Vincentian Center for Church and Society of St. John’s University in New York, will host an event within the framework of a meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, entitled “The Human Dignity of Women in Contemporary Society: Addressing Violence against Women.” According to a communique made public today, the event “will identify the key contemporary social economic and legal issues that violence has upon women; discuss

these issues through the prism of the dignity of the human person; describe current best practices and the applied ethics approach to the issue of violence and its prevention; and provide a forum for the exchange of experience across nations and enhanced communication among panelists and participants.” The meeting, which will be moderated by Marilyn Martone, associate professor of theology at St. John’s University, will consider such questions as: Domestic Violence: Service and Policy Issues; Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls: Trafficking, Prostitution and Weapons of War; and GenderBased Violence: International Human Rights and Family Reunification Policy. (VIS)

© Denz Dayao / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor

Crisis in Governance Tops Bishops’ Seminar MEMBERS of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will convene a three-day seminar, preparatory to their 94th plenary assembly January 23, 2007. The bishops plenary assembly, to be held on January 26 to 28 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila, will follow the seminar. The bishops’ seminar has adopted the theme: “Collabora-

tion of Priests, Religious and Lay in Addressing Crises in Governance”. CBCP Secretary general Msgr Juanito Figura said the theme draws inspiration from this month’s culminating activities of Year of Social Concerns 2006 and the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action- Justice and Peace’s (NASSA) 40th year anniversary. Crisis / P12


4 World Day of the Sick on February 10 MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales will lead the faithful in celebrating the 15th World Day of the Sick. Rosales will preside at the Healing Mass for the Sick on February 10, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes at the Holy Spirit Parish in Tayuman, Manila on February 10 at 9 a.m. The theme for this year’s celebration is “The Spiritual and Pastoral Care of the Patients with Incurable Illness.” The archdiocese invites the faithful, especially those who have loved ones who are sick, to come and join the Mass to be able to receive the bless-

ing and anointing of Holy Oil. Anointing of the sick is healing in a special sense as it reminds of Jesus Christ’s compassionate healing of those suffering, according to the “Catechism for Filipino Catholics.” On May 13 1992, His Holiness Pope John Paul II instituted “World Day of the Sick” to be celebrated on the month of February every year. The Archdiocesan Mass for the Sick is in coordination with the Ministry of Health Care of the Archdiocese of Manila headed by Fr. Prudencio T. Solomon, Jr. and the Philippine Association Sovereign Military Order of Malta. (CBCP News)

CICM Congregation Marks 100th Anniversary THE Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), is celebrating 100 years of missionary work in the Philippines. The centennial celebration will last a whole year from November 28, 2006 to November 28, 2007 with a huge gathering in Pasay City of all the missionaries in country and from abroad. The celebration will carry the theme: “100 years of CICM Missionary Presence in the Philippines: Remembrance and Revitalization.” The yearlong celebration aims to increase the people’s awareness of CICM past and present engage-

ments as well as to express gratitude to people and communities for the opportunity to do its mission. The centennial is also a time to revitalize missionary spirituality among CICM confreres and mission partners; to intensify and renew mission and vocation animation and to shape a dynamic future direction of CICM in the Philippines. Other celebrations, involving CICM communities nationwide will include meetings in schools, rallies to celebrate, to remember and revitalize missionary endeavor. (CBCP News)

CBCP Media Office Launches Radio Program THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office has launched a new radio program entitled “Ang Tinig ng Pastol” (The Voice of the Shepherd). The one-hour live program focuses on relevant issues that affect Church and society. “Ang Tinig ng Pastol” is aired live every Sunday, 10 to 11am at Radyo Veritas 846 and hosted by CBCP spokesman Msgr Pedro Quitorio and Sr Pinky Barrientos, FSP. The program is radio magazine that features phone-ins, interviews with bishops and priests and discussions on various social issues. But why “Tinig ng Pastol”?

CBCP Monitor

Barrientos said the clergy is our shepherd and their voice echoes the teachings of the Good Shepherd, Jesus himself. “The relevant topics that they will discuss through the program will help the listeners understand issues that confront our Church and society today,” she said. She stressed that the new radio program will serve as a venue for the prelates to talk on various social concerns that directly affect the faithful. “And we can also amplify the pastoral concerns that the CBCP is doing, which most of the time are not given media mileage or simply misinterpreted by the mainstream media,” said Barrientos. (Roy Lagarde)

More Devotees Flock to the Black Nazarene THOUSANDS of Filipino devotees, young and old, converged in Quiapo yesterday to commemorate the Feast of the Black Nazarene. As early as Jan.8, devotees already gathered in Luneta where a replica of the statue was brought for an overnight vigil and also to highlight the 400th anniversary of the Filipino’s devotion to the Black Nazarene. Many of the devotees wore tshirts printed with an image of Christ as others forced their way in to grab a piece of the rope used to pull the carroza or threw towels at marshals,

asking them to wipe them on the statue. Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, Quiapo parish priest, said the rope and hands in the logo of the Black Nazarene indicates the spirit of caring, unity and cooperation of devotees in the procession. Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has declared May 31, 2006, to June 1, 2007, as a Jubilee Year for the Fourth Centenary of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno. He said the Archdiocese of Manila has petitioned Pope Benedict XVI for the “canonical celebration” of the 400-year-old image. (CBCP News)

Fast Wednesday / from p1

Faithful Urged / from p1

tics eroding the people’s morale and hope for change. “Our efforts at both genuine character and societal change should be relentless and go on beyond the 2007 elections,” it said. At press time, Kubol Pagasa members are still planning where to hold the every Wednesday activity and are inviting all those concerned for our country to join. (CBCP News)

He called on the faithful to motivate public discussion that would examine into the qualifications and platforms of the candidates and would help voters in making decisions. “There should be discernment, discussions in the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) on the candidates that the people want for the good of the country,” said Lagdameo. (Roy Lagarde)

Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Bishop Urges Participation of Lay Faithful in Politics, Society CATHOLIC lay faithful, more than any other people, must be at the forefront in the battle against political and social problems in the country, a senior prelate said. Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said a field in which lay people are called to play a major role is the campaign against corruption in the government. He said the faithful have great relevance in the pastoral activity of the Church and its mission to carry Christian values to the fields of politics and social action. “Bishops should help the country fight corruption by educating people in moral values but I urge the

people to join and lead the fight against this scourge,” said Bacani. The church cannot be directly involved in political battle but the prelate underscored that fighting social sins is also the role of ordinary people. “Let us not wait for bishops to expose government anomalies because that is the duty of everyone. If you discovered something anomalous in some government projects, you should expose it,” urged the bishop. As a nation, he said, people must stand together in fighting for change in the daily lives of many people and against bad governance. The prelate stressed that without

PBS Joins Poll Education Drive ANOTHER Christian group has come out with a guideline for the faithful on responsible voting in view of the forthcoming mid-term elections. The Philippine Bible Society (PBS), an inter-faith group devoted to the study and propagation of the Scripture, packaged certain passages from the Bible as voters’ guide. The guide is non-partisan, but unequivocally moral and full with wisdom. It reminds the faithful of the characteristics of worthy candidates for seats in the Senate, the House of Representa-

a concerted and united war against the demons of corruption, the country will not achieve the aimed transformation of the lives of many people. “We just need brave whistleblowers,” he said. He cited the extortion issue against former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez saying had no one requested the Ombudsman to prosecute it, “we will never know it.” Fortunately, he stressed, we have fearless journalists and other people who are so concerned for our nation. “We bishops should be at the background and the people should really be at the forefront in these fight,” he said. (Roy Lagarde)

tives and local government posts. It will be made available to the public via national campaign, mail shots, e-mails and handouts. Entitled “Sino Ang Dapat Iboto sa Halalan2007?,” the guide outlined the following characters of a good leader: 1. God-fearing (2 Samuel 23: 3-4); 2. Displays genuine concern and love for our nation Deuteronomy 17:15); 3. Has leadership abilities (Genesis 41:37-41); 4. Manages his own family well (1 Timothy 3:4);

5. Has integrity (Deuteronomy 16:18-19); 6. Industrious Romans (12:11); 7. Righteous (Song of Songs 89:14); 8. Generous (Proverbs 29:4); 9. True to his words (Proverbs 25:14); and 10. Impartial (Proverbs 31:8-9). “We are going to use the power of the voters to put the kind of leaders who will provide good governance,” said Nora Lucero, PBS secretary general. “But they are free to make their own decision. This is a democratic country.” “The PBS campaign is not political. We only want to help Filipino voters in making their choices,” she added. (CBCP News)

est strides in the economy. But Lagdameo said the real culprit on poverty is the fact that economic progress and government programs are not reaching the grassroots. “People are not enjoying the fruits of progress. There’s still no food on the table and many people still can’t find jobs,” he stressed. Instead of trying to force population control measures down the throat of many couples, the government, the prelate said, should encourage policies promoting natural family planning and the education of women and men rather than coercive

measures of population control that violate moral norms. The Church stands for responsible parenthood and freedom of the couples to choose the size of the family. Senator Aquilino Pimentel who participated in the conference, voiced support for the Church saying it was wrong to blame population—which seemed to be widespread in the Philippines—as the cause of poverty. “It’s important that we turn ourselves into the government’s policies to insure people are being served well and to stop graft and corruption,” he said.

Contraception / from p1 But Lagdameo said the government should also not dictate couples of cutting back the number of children they want to raise. The bishops agree that although the burgeoning population is something that needs attention, the government should not force population control measures on the Filipino people. The Church also rejected government’s campaign to control the population growth through the use of contraception like condoms, IUD and pills. Some government officials are in the firm belief that rapid population growth would negate the mod-

Caceres Holds / from p1

PPCRV / from p1

naries; who gave the talk on Mission Formation in the Revised Philippine Program of Formation. Other speakers included Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM, professor of theology at Loyola School of Theology and Mother of Life Catechetical Institute, at the same time president of the Philippine Association of Catholic Missiologist, and Mission Consultant of the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences as well as executive secretary of the Asian Missionary Societies of Apostolic Life; Fr. Andrew G. Recepcion, professor at the Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City and Diocesan Mission Director of the Archdiocese of Caceres; Msgr. Gilbert

A. Garcera, H.P., national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies and executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Mission, who spoke on The Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle and Seminary Formation; Msgr. Jose Antonio S. Galvez, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception of Malolos, and PMS Diocesan Mission Director; Fr. William J. LaRouse, MM, professor at St. Francis Xavier Regional Seminary of Davao and president of the International Association of Catholic Missiologist and executive secretary of the Philippine Catholic Mission Council; who spoke on Rethinking Mission Formation in the Philippine Seminaries. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Bishop Seeks / from p1

Prelate Exhorts / from p1

case remain unsolved six years after his ouster on allegations of massive corruption. “It’s been six years already and the people are still waiting for the result of the case if he really committed a crime or not,” said Pabillo. The prelate insists the case must be resolved the soonest. Estrada was ousted in January 20, 2001 through the popular second revolt and catapulted Ms Arroyo to power. Estrada was impeached on allegations that he received kickbacks from “jueteng,” an illegal numbers game, and from the tobacco excise tax. His criminal cases including perjury and illegal use of alias remain pending before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court. (Miami Ebilane)

group is set to visit different areas in Luzon and Visayas to know candidates who are anti-jueteng or antigambling. He said they are going to let candidates sign a covenant stating their full commitment against what he called a “social cancer” and will be supported by his crusade. “We are going to support them in the sense that if they are antigambling, there is a presumption of honesty and integrity of life,” said Cruz. Although being anti-gambling is not just the qualification that’s needed, he said, “it’s also a sign of integrity.” “Integrity is one that we need so much in the political community,” he said. Cruz, however, clarified they are

4. Thou shalt strive to understand the issues, platform, and programs of candidates and parties seeking your vote. 5. Thou shalt not sell your vote. 6. Thou shalt not vote for candidates using guns, goons and gold. 7. Thou shalt not vote for candidates with records of graft and corruption. 8. Thou shalt not vote for candidates just because of debt of gratitude, popularity, or camaraderie. 9. Thou shalt not vote for candidates living an immoral life. 10. Thou shalt put the welfare of the country above all else in choosing the candidates you will vote for. (CBCP News) not going to identify who the projueteng candidates are. “We are just going to let the people know the candidates who are anti-gambling that needs support,” he said. “We will not name those who are pro-jueteng or pro-gambling because it’s not fair also to them and we might commit mistake.” Cruz also expressed concern on the possibility of money from jueteng be again used this elections. “Jueteng money bribes some election officials, pays for campaign expenses and buys votes,” he said. “It takes away votes from honest and upright candidates and credit votes in favor of corrupt and corrupting pretenders for public office.” (CBCP News)

CBCP Monitor


January 22, 2007

Value and Life

7 QUESTIONS for Abp. FERNANDO R. CAPALLA Most Rev. Fernando Capalla, D.D., archbishop of Davao and who preceded Abp. Angel Lagdameo as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, talks to CBCP Monitor about Davao archdiocese’s social concern programs, priestly vocations and clergy formation, family life program as well as his perception of the mainstream or secular media.

How is the Church’s social concern agenda being implemented in your diocese? Well, one is that we have a housing project for the poor that is being funded by a group. Then also, at the squatter areas, we try to help people whose houses are demolished without proper relocation. The housing law says that you cannot demolish unless there is already a place for relocation. Another also, which is something personal for me, is about those personalities who were accused of rebellion—there are 8 of them, aside from the socalled ‘Batasan 5’. I wrote to President Arroyo that they should be given due process. Another one, which is also close to my heart, is that we are helping the coconut planters in our diocese claim or regain the Coco Levy Fund. After four years of helping them, we are now at the last stages of the process, forging unity between coconut farmers, the coco levy, and the land owners. Do you think the Church’s involvement in politics is part of the social concern agenda?

our BECs, or from the lower class families. This in itself is already a problem among our candidates—seminarians or sisters—because seemingly one stumbling block in their vocation is equally their desire to help financially their families. So that, sometimes when they are ordained priests, they are tempted to mishandle or mismanage the funds in order to help their families. Second, in most of our seminaries, though 80-90% of the young formators have academic degrees earned from abroad, they lack in terms of real pastoral experience. But having a degree does not readily qualify you to become a formator or as an excellent role model to young seminarians. Third, materialistic values have become so strong that they seem to have eroded the spirituality even of our seminarians and priests. Do you have programs in your archdiocese that ensure the continuing formation of the clergy?


It depends. For the Church, the arena of politics in general could be a highest form of service to the people, particularly in forming Christian moral conscience. But the Church should not engage in partisan politics. We should not participate in political activities. It is not our role. It is not allowed in the Canon Law.


Moving on to the subject of priestly vocations. What is the situation in your archdiocese? Oh, yes. Our seminaries are full. Though admittedly the number of our priests may not be really that enough vis-à-vis the number of people or population we are serving, we have enough seminarians to care for. The problem actually is not the number of vocations but the quality of the formation program that is being given to them. How would you assess the quality of vocations in your area? You see, 95% of vocations in Mindanao are coming from

Yes, we have our monthly presbyterial meeting, followed by the monthly recollection. We also have our annual retreat. Aside from that, we have also our fraternity meeting every three months. How about the family life program in your archdiocese?

It’s very active. We have two volunteer doctors in our staff, and they regularly meet at the bishop’s house every month. They are updated about the bills related to family life pending in Congress. One of the urgent problems in our place regarding family life is that I have noticed that a lot of our priests are asking me for faculties to absolve abortion. It is reported that abortion is rampant, being done in broad daylight, especially in Bangkerohan district (Davao City). What is your perception of the mainstream or secular media? About the secular media, I have my thumbs down. But I am for having a very good media office or media program. For me, however, what is more important is the education of people on social communications than having an expert on media in the office.

IN the matter of values, the best gauge is to examine what one holds as dear. But it goes without saying that there will be set of values for every agreed interest. This could easily include the value tied to an effort, an object or a person. The value holder could be a group or the individual person. When professional concerns are considered, the teacher will naturally hold on to a different set of values from that of a businessman. However, there are values that are highest in the scale, and they are common to all, what ever the interest may be involved. Values that are directly linked to life will always be great values. The closer the interest to the Divine plan, the easier can a person appreciate its value or worth of self. Evangelization, for example, as the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is so important “that, by comparison, everything else become ‘the rest’, which is ‘given in addition’. Only the kingdom therefore is absolute and it makes everything else relative”. (Evagelii Nuntiandi, 8). Since the kingdom of God admits that in it (in the kingdom) God has no rival, no equal, and no competitor and that the love that reigns in it has freed humans, in and through Christ, from everything that has enslaved them, including liberation from sin and the Evil one, it (the kingdom of God) cannot, therefore, be subject to anything higher than itself. Simply put, there is nothing higher than the Transcendent. But the measure of worth, indisputable to anyone, is in relation only to God. Basis of Human Values What if the question is about humans? What scale of values should be offered to him? No less our Lord Jesus Christ presented the question rooted in fundamental human values, when He asked, “What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16.26). For humans, then, the highest value is life. It is in their human life where men and women resemble God. “Let us make humans in our image, in the likeness of ourselves…” God said. (Genesis 1:26). In the old Covenant Yahweh demanded an accounting of life when he said, “Of man as regards his fellow men, I shall demand account for human life. He who sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God was man created”. (Genesis 9:5-6). Again the reminder is directed to us when the late Pope John Paul II, in the Document Evangelium Vitae, said, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involved the ‘creative action of God’, and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end; no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being”. (EV, 53) The value attached to life is a value given to the entire life of the human being. The critical defense of the yet unborn life and compassionate care of the elderly does not at all mean that our commitment to guard and assure the more human existence of the poor, the sick, the ignorant, the marginalized by the growing culture of uncaring wealth and consumerism, those victimized by power and vice—has waned and become only secondary concerns to the first. It is obvious that in our reckoning any valuation that could be linked with life, or is posited next to life or equated with life must be of great value. The closer to life, the greater

5 The Family is Where Human Values Begin by Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales

© Bloomimage/Corbis

Vol. 11 No. 2

the value. Equated with life, the greatest value. Family: Where Values are Nurtured Value-worth is linked necessarily with life. The family then which is the cradle of human life necessarily becomes the nurturing ground for correct values. Life is first shared and is continuously sustained in the family. But it is also in the family that relationships are born; and when a person, young or matured, becomes aware of relationship, correlation and dependency, then she learns what a person or thing, is worth (to him/ her). Does he or she create the values? Kinship plays a great role in the development of values. It is no small wonder that the young are endeared to persons who loved and cared for and smiled at them in childhood. Much appreciation and worth were stored up form the experience of every person’s childhood within the family. For this reason the family is rightly called “a kind of school of deeper humanity. … if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds and the joint deliberation of spouses, as well as the painstaking cooperation of parents in the education of their children”. (GS, 52). The family is a domestic school for human enrichment for it is here where under the tutelage of parents and elders the individual person is encouraged, helped and accompanied to freely and responsibly practice whatever is good. A Potential for Good in every person There is then in every person the potential for good. When this potential, with the encouragement and guidance of parent and elders, is developed and becomes a habitual and firm disposition for good, disposing the intellect and the will which guides one’s conduct according to reason and faith, it is called virtue. (CCC, 1833, 1834). In the task of training the person to goodness, it is next to impossible to replace the role of parents who, beyond affection, looks at the young as flesh of their

flesh, blood from their blood. Of parents and family this is what Vatican II states, “As it is the parents who have given life to their children, on them lies the gravest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education. The role of parents in education is of such great importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute”. (GE, 3). In the education to virtue and value the best paternal teaching tool is good example. When there is an abundance of good example in the home, hardly is there a need for prolonged and wordy reminders. On the power of good example Our Lord Jesus Christ has this to say, “In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in Heaven”. (Matthew 4:16). Examples in the home linger longer than the echoes of repeated counsels. It was the Chinese sage who once said, “From the loving example of a family, a whole nation may become loving and compassionate; from the ambition and lust of one man, the whole country may be thrown into rebellion. Such is the nature of good example”. (Confucius). How true the saying is that example speaks louder than words. (The saying of Francis of Assisi). Freedom enhanced by Mastery of Self Training a strong will, further reinforced by discipline, comes in next in the list of tools parents may use to instil values among the young. Repeated acts lead to virtue; but values are defended by restraint and discipline. Here is where the experience of parents comes in as inspiration to the children. Or as the Book of Proverbs reminds, “… the precept is a lamp, the teaching is a light; correction and discipline are the way of life”. (Proverbs 6:23). Elders remind the young of the need for mastery over self, because there is no such thing as absolute freedom before a choice between good and bad, between God and what is evil. “The more one does good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom The Family / P10

CBCP Monitor



Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007


The Family Barometer THERE was a time when political pundits would single out efficiency as the most important qualification of a candidate, downplaying other attributes, or liabilities if you may, as secondary if not outright negligible. They would banner Clinton whose merry-making with Monica did not distract a bit the job of governance—initially, at least. At first blush this looks valid, because why bother about mistresses here and there when one can propel the country into becoming a tiger economy and build skyways and hundreds of hectares of reclamation areas? But in a situation where the issues are massive corruption, cheating and name-it-you-have-it, then the efficiency issue is simply beside the point. Like the bishops have been crooning of late, it is really a matter of character. Yes, Virginia, it’s all about morality. Traditional or not, but a good barometer is the family. A bishop places it succinctly “make sure that a political candidate has integrity and enough capacity. Integrity can be measured if a person is faithful to his/her partner; capacity is when they are able to raise their children well.” Isn’t it stupid to vote for a candidate whose family is in shambles? Or whose family members are in both houses of Congress?

The Reel and The Real “PINOYS enjoying boom, they just don’t know it.” Thus reads the headline in a broadsheet (PDI 21 January 2007). It conveys the substance of a speech of the national leadership about the triumphant Philippine economic gains leading the nation to a “first world” country. It would not be fair to say that the national leadership is deliberately lying in its own perception and affirmation of its illustrious economic achievement. But it is an objectively strange way of looking at the real economic standing of the state of the nation—especially as far as the millions of poor starving and sick Filipinos are concerned. And this is precisely the big problem with the national leadership. It sees what does not exist. It confirms what is not present. It perceives what is not real. How sad but true. Someone is lying basically saying the opposite of what the person really knows. But to be convinced of something as a glowing truth when it is in fact a miserable falsehood, this is a big problem. This is exactly the big danger poised by the national leadership—it sees abundance when there is poverty. It claims development in the face of misery. There must be something definitely wrong in this ominous contradiction. It is no wonder that to the miserable poor and depressed millions of Filipinos, the country is in effect going nowhere. What the national leadership has is all wrong. But everything is just right for its avid allies and blind followers who have been having all the goodies and the fun. The rest of the people let them take care of themselves if they could. Again, when someone sees something big when there is actually nothing or claims great achievements when such is really non-existent, this is something to worry about—a lot!

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Vie ws and P oints iews Points IT was with great pride and sheer pleasure that the present Administration announced that the Philippines and China are henceforth trading partners. In a moment of glory, one is much impressed and elated. It is like a huge giant conceding to be an equal of a tiny dwarf. What an amazing grace! After such fleeting glorious feeling, doubt begins to gradually creep in. How could such a magnanimous concession come about? Where would such a super generosity be an actuality? It’s too good to be true, too neat to be real. Then a disturbing question starts to form. China is such a vast land having massive production at minimal cost and a pursuant enormous export. Prac-

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tically all big malls and markets in the country carry predictable Chinese products selling at strangely low prices. Thereafter comes the upsetting conviction that there must be something fundamentally wrong with the much celebrated trade agreement—even but considering the three following national open secrets of this country: First: the Philippines is basically a consumer society. From clothing to food, from house decors to holy images—not to mention Christmas lights and tinsels—all these are imported. And most of them are “made in China”. There are even imported “bagoong” and toothpicks. The recent scandal of “hot” pork smuggled from China has been one long big bad news in the country.

Candles in the Windstorm BEING from, and residing in, Eastern Samar is both a boon and a bane. My province is probably one of the few islands in the archipelago that still have some lush forests, a relatively fresher air, a number of not-too-polluted rivers and seas. Our soil is fertile though largely not as productive as it should be, owing partly to our farmers’ outdated methods of farming, a perennial state of bad roads and a long history of inefficient governance. But, to add more misery to our woes, we can’t seem to shake the early nineties’ phenomenon—brownouts. We Eastern Samareños are used to, but do not relish, the brownouts. They seem as predictable as the rising of the sun. No matter what protest or complaint we make, they come, and they come because our source of power is just too far from us. In the distance just a single tree or branch falling could trigger power outage. February’s Feast of the Presentation reminds me of how the electric brownouts we loath in my province are nothing compared to the brown-outs or even blackouts inside our souls because of sin. Which is why traditionally we bring candles to the church whenever we celebrate the feast because we want to remind ourselves of what Simeon says of Jesus in Luke’s gospel: “My eyes have seen the salvation which you have pre-

Trading Partners Second: the Philippines has cheap services vis-à-vis high cost of production. The peso is becoming dearer but continues to buy lesser. Its productive economy is singularly very much smaller and costlier. Filipinos themselves purchase local products only in the absence of very cheap Chinese duly imported or simply smuggled items. Third: the Philippines primarily depend on people as its export. The OFWs remittances are what keep the country economically afloat. OFWs keep their Filipino families fed, clothed and housed. Records show that there are some 2,800 Filipinos and Filipinas who become OFWs every day of the year. What has the Administration to trade with China?

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

pared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel (Lk 2:30-32).” The candles remind us of the Light who is Jesus Christ, our Savior from all sin and from death, the two horns of darkness, the archetypal blackouts of our lives, but which he has overcome. But what was the Presentation all about? In the book of Exodus it is provided that every “first-born male child” of Israelites and their animals are to be “consecrated to the Lord” (Ex 13:2). That is to say, the first-born male animals have to be sacrificed and the first-born male child of Israelites has to be presented to the temple and ‘redeemed’ or bought back from the Lord. To buy back a first-born son of a poor couple it was enough to offer a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons (Lk 2:24). Being poor, Mary and Joseph had to make do with those precisely. Now why the presentation of the first-born male? Basically it was to recall God’s saving act for Israel in Egypt when he made their release from slavery possible by the deaths of the Egyptian firstborn males in both humans and animals. But God spared the Israelites’ first-born males in humans and in animals because the angel of death ‘passed over’ them. Why? Because the blood of male lambs splashed on doors of Israelites’ houses

By the R oadside Roadside according to the Lord’s instructions indicated they were of God and to be spared. That is why every first-born male in humans and in animals within Israel had to be consecrated to the Lord and bought back from him. Moses’ words offer a rather raw explanation: “If your son should ask you later on, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall tell him, ‘With a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, that place of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed every first born in the land of Egypt, every first-born of man and of beast. That is why I sacrifice to the Lord everything of the male sex that opens the womb, and why I redeem every first-born of my sons’” (Ex 13:14-16). Unknown to most, known only to some selected people like Simeon and Anna, Jesus, a first-born male, was himself the Messiah, the Lamb of God by whose blood the sins of the world would be forgiven, by whose blood we are continuously being freed from the darkness of sin and death (Jn 1:29). In effect, his coming, his presence is good news to us who are among the “people walking in the darkness” but now “have seen a great light” (Is 9:1). It’s an experience you and I have. Darkness is what we see when there’s trouble, problem, danger, wrongdoing or Roadside / P12

CBCP Monitor


Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Jose B. Lugay

Laik o Lampstand Laiko NANDY Pacheco, better known as a staunch advocate of the gun ban, was a delegate to PCP-II when I first met him. He, together with other lay leaders organized the Ang Kapatiran Party. The Party Platform dimensions come straight from PCP-II Acts and Decrees on social transformation and the renewal of the Church. Nandy approached me while attending the Sangguniang Laiko’s National Conference on Social Transformation held at the PICC, May 17-18, 2003. His invitation was a call for the organized laity to join in partisan politics, fielding candidates having values of servant leaders. The invitation could not be accepted right there and then since involvement of the organized laity needed the expressed permission of the Church hierarchy. To dwell on this issue and to resolve it once and for all, the Council of the Laity in its 14th Biennial Convention of October 29–30, 2005, invited distinguished canon lawyers of the Church to give their inputs on the theme, “Lay Empowerment According to Vatican II and the Code of Canon Law.” Bishop Leonardo Medroso, Bishop Nereo Odchimar, Rev. Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso and Fr. Agustin

Opalalic had one common answer—the Church can not get involved in partisan politics. The Council of the Laity which reports directly to the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate, is classified as a public association, hence, it can not get involved in partisan politics. The case is closed and the organized laity, in peace, continued its work on the lay apostolate. Recent political events however elevated the blood pressure of the dedicated LAIKO members—the Administration’s attempts to push through charter change, first through peoples’ initiative which was debunked by the Supreme Court; next, the Con-Ass disregarding the vote of the Senators. This obvious desire of incumbents in Congress to prolong their stay even by foul means incited the people to pursue a people power movement. The CBCP’s call for a prayer rally on Sunday, December 17, 2006, tempered the mood of the faithful who settled down to listen to the call of CBCP President, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, for a character change instead of a charter change. Now that the May election is coming, the voices of the people rise in crescendo. This desperation is expressed in

The Party’s Over THE country recently hosted the 12 th ASEAN Leaders Summit in Cebu without a major hitch. Security officers were quoted saying they had almost 10,000 men and women from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was learned the country spent almost a billion pesos for the scheduled leaders’ summit last December (it was cancelled allegedly due to the typhoon tracked to hit Cebu and its environs although some said it was more of a security issue) and rescheduled this month. Major landmark agreements were forged with special emphasis on biofuel. The occasion provided the appropriate venue for the regional group to discuss more issues with its dialogue partners, notably China, India, Japan and Korea. It has been said Vietnam, after being ravaged by bitter fighting for decades has finally caught up with the Philippines and now on its way to better days. Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore have all passed us by. Some even dare say we’ve become the region’s basket case. China is acknowledged for its remarkable economic performance, guzzling al-


the Readers’ Views and Opinions of a daily newspaper. We quote a few: “More and more Filipinos are sliding into the poverty line and starving because, like a broken record … this goes on – unabated graft and corruption, smuggling and tax evasion whose annual total runs into hundreds of billions of losses to the government.” — Elpidio Que, Vigan. “A flawed political system, corruption, overpopulation have made the Filipinos poor. Add to this the greed for money and power of politicians.” — Jim Veneracion, Naga City. A political scientist, Clarita Carlos of U.P. says, “The people are physically and emotionally tired of politicians … hence the low turnout on CBCP’s rally against Charter Change last December.” In the din of all these, the LAIKO board met with the ECLA bishops last January 22—Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the Diocese of Antipolo, Bishop Honesto Pacana of the Diocese of Malaybalay, Bishop Guillermo Afable of the Diocese of Digos—to discuss once more the same issue: Can Laiko get involved in partiLaiko / P8

Melo M. Acuna

Issues and Concerns

most all raw materials from all over the world to feed its industries. Come to think of it, it’s system is quite different from what the Americans taught us at the turn of the century, described as evil and godless by some, yet achieved gains in trade and commerce. China has spent an enormous amount of money for education, health and other basic services. India, known for its libertarian form of government, now has over a billion citizens yet became an influential member of the international community. Sheer hard work and its adherence to democratic principles made India what it is today, capable to communicate with the world in English. Japan is known for its frugal lifestyle and industry. After being “burned” to the ground, no thanks to the twin atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki prior to the close of World War II, it rose to become the region’s economic power. Korea, too, suffered from bitter conflict with its northern neighbor yet developed its industries to compete with the United States and Europe. South Koreans are also known to patronize their products above imported and branded goods.

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

ONCE there was an aging king who, after long years of leadership, wished to hand over his kingship to his son, the only heir to his kingdom. The problem was that his son was far from being prepared for the huge responsibility. He was imprudent, rash, and decadent. He had so much to learn to be a true leader and a good servant. Yearning his son to be a good king, the old king thought of a way to teach his son the lesson he needed. And so one day he asked his son to spend some days in the forest. The son, although mystified by his father’s order, immediately consented to the demand because he dreamed to be a king right away. After two days in the forest, the impatient son went back home. The king excitedly asked his son what he had learned. The lad answered, “I saw how beautiful the trees are, how dark and dangerous the forest is, how cool the stream waters, how fresh the morning dew, how freezing the night in the for-

The May Elections—Partisan Politics for the Laity?

The Philippines? Well, ours is still a “promised land” with a host of leaders promising to bring the country and its people to the land of prosperity. In a matter of weeks, we’ll get to hear all these recycled promises as the campaign season gets into high gear. Yes, the party’s over. We ought to learn from the lessons of life and governance from our neighbors and dialogue partners. As we begin returning to our daily lives after the pomp and historical discussions at the Queen City of the South, we ought to begin anew. It’s never too late for us to get our acts together. Let our leaders lead, respecting the provisions of law, providing good examples to the citizens and in touch with the ordinary folks on how best to serve them. An old Jesuit inspirational goes this way: “If we only have the humility and the courage to walk with the poor, we will learn from them on what they have to teach us how to help them.” We simply can’t expect our neighbors or dialogue partners to care enough for country and people. We have to believe in ourselves and do everything right.

Learn From the Forest

est.” “In that case you have learned nothing,” the king desperately said. “Go back to the forest and let the forest teach you what you need to learn,” the king commanded. Puzzled and dismayed, the lad went back to the woods. He could in no wise understand what he had to learn from the forest and how to learn it. As he wondered and pondered, the mystery and marvel of the forest enchanted him. And for six months he stayed deep in the forest. After six long lonely months he went back to his father. The king was delighted to hear what his son had to say. “What have you learned?” he asked. The son humbly explained, “I am not sure of what I have really learned. I just realized that everything in the forest bears a subtle shade of meaning to each other. I saw the mystical nuances of things as I enjoyed the music of the gushing stream and the singing crick-

ets. As I discovered how vulnerable the beasts could get when afraid, and how they wail when wounded. As I saw how splendid the sun is as its rays pierce through the leaves and break through the darkness and depth of the forest. As I noticed how lovely the insects behave and how painful they sting. As I observed how the birds find their resting place in the twilight and how cold and dark the night can be. As I discovered when the leaves shall fall, and how and why they fall. Until suddenly I felt that I belong to the forest. I am one with the forest. I found out that something greater than me connects everything in the forest and makes sense of everything. I may not know how the forest really works but I think the forest is one big paradise where everything is one—a rhapsody that does make sense.” Finally the king said, “My son, you are now ready to be a true good king.” I may not know how Borongan reTidbits / P8

7 Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

…and tha uth! thatt ’s the tr truth!

Signs of the Times FOR a change from New Year’s Resolutions that never seem to resolve anything anyway, let’s begin 2007’s truth-telling in a lighthearted mood. Travel not only broadens your horizons and expands your waistline—it also brings you funny moments at the most unexpected times and places, especially when you count on signs to find your way around. I for one find some signs so amusing or downright hilarious that I collect them, either jotting them down in a memo pad or photographing them whenever possible. Friends who know of my unusual “collection” contribute to it, too; so, enjoy what I have to show after 30 years of periodic globetrotting. (A word of caution, though: many of the signs here are Strictly For Adults Only). Let’s start in Paris, where a cozy hotel reminds guests to: PLEASE LEAVE YOUR VALUES AT THE FRONT DESK. A rather apologetic sign at a hotel lobby in Bucharest says with all good intentions: THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET THAT YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE. Across from a Russian Orthodox monastery in Moscow, a hotel welcomes tourists with this sign in the lobby: YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY. Very politely, a hotel in Tokyo has this sign in its rooms: GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED. Elsewhere in Japan, a hotel’s Instruction Sheet for using the air conditioner says: COOLES AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM, PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF. And speaking of self-control, see this reminder in the rooms of a Zurich hotel: BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE. So as not to tire guests having to iron their own clothing, a hotel in Yugoslavia tacks this warm reminder on the rooms’ door: THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID. With the same concern for guests, a hotel in Japan posts this in the rooms: YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID. In case a chambermaid is unavailable, and the guests’ lack of care in ironing their clothes results in fire, this hotel in Vienna shows foresight with this sign: IN CASE OF FIRE, DO YOUR UTMOST TO ALARM THE HOTEL PORTER. Mindful of its guests’ safety, a notice in the rooms of a Chiang-Mai hotel in Thailand cautions: PLEASE DO NOT BRING SOLICITORS INTO YOUR ROOM. Solicitors invading the rooms may not be a problem for a hotel catering to skiers in Austria, but some of its rowdy guests might be, thus the warning: NOT TO PERAMBULATE THE CORRIDORS IN THE HOURS OF REPOSE IN THE BOOTS OF ASCENSION. Sightseeing is made more enjoyable when you’re also “sign-seeing”. Look at this one posted in Germany’s Black Forest: IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE. A zoo in Budapest advises enthusiastic tourists with this sign: PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT TO THE GUARD ON DUTY. This one in a Third World cemetery is well meaning, but still manages to tickle the imagination: PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES. A sign at a Bangkok temple wags its finger at insensitive tourists: IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN. Bars and restaurants offer their share of funny The Truth / P12



Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (PCCHH) By Fr. Ted Torralba Beginnings THE Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church was created by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on 8 July 1996 during its 73rd Plenary Assembly, in Tagaytay City, Cavite, as a separate entity from the Episcopal Commission on Culture. The CBCP had discerned rightly that due to the emerging concerns in this particular pastoral field and in view of the many issues surrounding the conservation interventions applied to many heritage churches in the country, a distinct pastoral arm in the Conference would be given the task to focus its efforts of monitoring the preservation and advocating the promotion of the cultural heritage of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Mandate The mandate of the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church is derived from the common will of the CBCP. This mandate is enshrined in the CBCP Statutes that articulate the finality of the Permanent Committee, which are: (1) to promote the cultural heritage of the Church in the Philippines as an invaluable aid to evangelization and catechesis; (2) to foment research on and understanding of the ecclesiastical cultural heritage; (3) to serve as a consultative body on the scientific conservation of cultural ecclesiastical goods; (4) to initiate and sustain collaboration between

the Permanent Committee and similar Government and/or civic agencies involved in the care, conservation and appreciation of the cultural heritage of the Church; (5) to act as official liaison with the pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, in the Apostolic See; and, (6) to undertake projects in different Dioceses or Prelatures upon invitation or authorization of and collaboration with the local Ordinaries concerned. Clearly, therefore, the Permanent Committee, contrary to not a few expectations, does not possess an entitlement to bring into contestation heritage issues and concerns. On these matters, the Permanent Committee works by moral suasion fortified, as it were, by heritage laws that find their fundamentation in Church Magisterium, as well as those laws enacted that imbibed international and national standards of heritage conservation. Senior Staff At the beginning when it was created, the CBCP elected as the Permanent Committee’s first chairman the Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak, then Bishop of Tagbilaran (1993-2005; apostolic administrator of Tagbilaran, 2005-2006; now the Bishop of the Philippine Military Ordinariate) whose Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church was making significant stride in heritage conservation and awareness among Philippine dio-

ceses. In May 2000, he became consultor to the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church. Bishop Tumulak then secured the collaboration of Fr. Milan Ted D. Torralba, Tagbilaran diocesan chancellor (1999-2005), to serve as the Permanent Committee’s executive secretary. Fr. Torralba, a canon lawyer, was also the Tagbilaran church cultural heritage commission chairman from 1995-2005, and chair of the Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage Council, of the Province of Bohol, from 2002-2005. At one time, from 1997 to 2004, he was executive council member and vicehead of the National Committee on Monuments and Sites, of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Manila. Bishop Tumulak served the Permanent Committee in his capacity as its chairman for five terms (1996-2005) as allowed by the CBCP Statutes. On 1 December 2005, he was succeeded by the Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes, Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu. Bishop Cortes is assisted in this episcopal work by Bishop Tumulak, vice-chair, and Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso, Bishop of Tagbilaran, Bishop Christian Vicente F. Noel, Bishop of Talibon, and Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Zamboanga, as members of this Permanent Committee. Secretariat Aside from Fr. Torralba, the Permanent Committee has a national coordinator in the person of Prof. Regalado Trota Jose, multi-awarded author, researcher, anthropologist, and professional heritage worker. Prof. Jose also teaches cultural heritage subjects at the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and is consultant of the U.S.T. Center for the Conservation of Cultural Properties and Environment in the Tropics (CCCPET). Fr. Roy M. Rosales, Diocese of Pasig chancellor and chair of the Pasig Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, serves as the Permanent Committee’s oeconomus, while Fr. Gaspar R. Sigaya, O.P., President of the Society of Ecclesiastical Archivists of the Philippines (SEAP), is the archivist. Highlighted Activities Aside from the diverse activities initiated by the Permanent Committee and by its members and the secretariat, this Permanent Committee organizes once every two years the Biennial National Convention of Church Cultural

Laiko / from p7 san politics? Anticipating the organized laity’s question on involvement during this May election, Bishop Reyes brought the feedback from these 3 eminent canon lawyers on the laity’s participation in partisan politics—Fr. Luis Navarro, professor of Canon Law, Universidad di Santa Croce in Rome; Rev. Fr. Jaime Achacoso, Secretary of Canon Law Society of the Philippines and Rev. Fr. Javier Gonzales, O.P., Dean of Faculty of Canon Law, U.S.T. Seminary. Their answers are basically the same: “These associations, public or private, have to follow the same rule—The Church should not be involved in partisan politics or should not be directly involved in politics; but she has the right to preach morality in politics or, as ‘Gaudium et Spes 76,’ states, she also has the right to pass moral judgments, even on matters touch-

Heritage Workers, an important ecclesial gathering of all those who are working in this specific field. The convention is meant to be an occasion for heritage workers to strengthen ecclesial bonds by the exchange of insights and experiences through mutual discernment and respectful discourse. It is also the moment for an informal cultural heritage education as is characteristic of conferences, seminars, and conventions. The idea of visiting the sub-regions and particular Churches is to encourage in a more direct and intimate way fledgling diocesan commissions for church heritage in their work of caring for the patrimonial goods of their particular Church. The venues of the biennial national conventions have been designed such that the major sub-regions of the country and particular ecclesiastical circumscriptions are alternately visited in a span of time. The first biennial was fittingly held in the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Bohol (Central Visayas), on 2-5 February 1999. There followed the other biennial conventions in the Diocese of Butuan, Agusan del Norte (Northeastern Mindanao) in 17-20 September 2001; in the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga (Central Luzon) in 29 September-1 October 2003; and, in the Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo (Western Visayas) in 18-21 April 2005. This year, the 5th Biennial National Convention of Church Cultural Heritage Workers will be celebrated on 2326 April in the Archdiocese of Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental (Northwestern Mindanao). The Permanent Committee also conducts another gathering, but of a more focused scale. The Regional Ordinary Fora on the Church Cultural Heritage gathers periodically the diocesan Bishop’s direct collaborators in cultural heritage conservation and awareness at the level of the particular Churches. Venues have also been considered so that the Permanent Committee senior staff can directly meet with the chairpersons, directors, and point persons of the arch/ diocesan commissions for the cultural heritage of the Church. In these fora, reports from each diocesan commission are presented to serve as subjects for the forum proper. It is during these instances when more detailed issues and concerned are evoked and problematized. These offer for the delegates present the context in which ecclesiastical cultural heritage is fleshed out in its many features and typology. As of the present, there had been two Regional Ordinary Fora already conducted. The first was held in July

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

2002 in Manila (Luzon region), Cebu City (Visayas), and Malaybalay City (Mindanao), while the second fora was conducted in October 2005 in Legazpi City (Luzon region), Cebu City (Visayas), and Surigao City (Mindanao). Agreements and Mutual Accords In 2000, the Permanent Committee initiated and endorsed the Memorandum of Agreement entered into, by, and between the CBCP and the NCCA to govern the relationship between the two parties regarding the care of some 26 identified churches throughout the country that were declared by the National Museum as National Cultural Treasures pursuant to Presidential Decree 374, as amended. Recently, since 2003, the Permanent Committee has been instrumental in the drafting and processing of the International Bilateral Agreement that is to be entered into, by, and between the Holy See and the Republic of the Philippines on the care of the cultural heritage of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Once the two Parties sign the Agreement and the accord comes into force, a joint committee constituted of the National Government cultural agencies and the CBCP, together with the Apostolic Nunciature, will be formed to articulate in a National Agreement the provisions of the Holy See-Philippines Bilateral Agreement. These binding instruments are meant to eloquently enunciate the concerns of the local Church in the Philippines, and that of all the church cultural heritage workers, on the proper estimation and valuation of the Church’s and the Nation’s common patrimony as witnesses of our religious experiences, as moments of the transitus Dei, and also as privileged means of the renewed evangelization. Final Word The care of the cultural heritage of the Church is not a priority of the last instance. Although it is an emergent pastoral interest, it is a prime and essential component of the apostolate of the Church. The Venerable Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, on 25th of March 1993, in his motu proprio apostolic letter Inde a Pontificatus Nostri, succinctly declares it so: “Indeed, by its very nature, faith tends to express itself in artistic forms and historical testimony having an intrinsic evangelizing power and cultural value, to which the Church is called to pay the greatest attention.”

Tidbits / from p7 ing the political order whenever basic personal rights or the salvation of souls make such judgments necessary.” Bishop G. Afable, chose the elucidation of the same guideline by Fr. Javier Gonzalez which states, “While the lay faithful—as individuals, not as members of associations—are urged to engage in political activity, and can, with full freedom, participate in partisan politics, pastors can teach moral principles and issue moral guidelines regarding political activity but cannot engage in partisan politics. The same prohibition applies to all associations of Christ’s faithful in the Church, whether public or private, clerical or lay, especially the “public” ones since they act in the name of the Church. This is the general rule. It is not, however, an absolute rule. When the judgment of competent authority, moral and gospel

values are at stake, the prohibition against the clergy (and associations?) involvement in partisan politics may yield to the necessity of upholding the rights of the Church, the common good and the cause of human dignity and peace.” With these pronouncements from our canon lawyers, will the May election considering the political situation today, merit the support of everyone, i.e., the lay faithful, the People of God, in the same way that Pope John Paul II exhorted the people of Poland to vote against the Communist Party? I suppose Nandy Pacheco is on the right track but will he ever win without the endorsement of our Bishops? Another alternative is to follow Archbishop Cruz’s call not to vote for politicians who are engaged in jueteng, that is, to black list undesirable and corrupt candidates and campaign against them.

ally works but I was able to learn that it is one big wonderful rhapsody where everything makes sense. And I thank God that He has given me many wonderful years so I could be with the people and be one with the people—and so to be able to listen to them, to live with them, and to love them and be loved by them. Borongan taught me a lot for over nineteen years. The connections and nuances of so many things. The subtle shadows of meaning in the smiles and sorrows of real people and in their silent joys and simple hopes. In their pains and struggles. In their faith and in their love. Having learned so much from Borongan, I asked myself: Have I become a better servant-leader? That I cannot tell. What I can only tell is that, like the king, God always wants us to learn more and beyond—because there is always

something more to learn. God can lead us even to where we don’t expect to be if only to teach us what it means to love and how to love better. For over nineteen years, Borongan has been teaching me a lot … until now. “Until now” … because starting today I will learn from Tagbilaran. I took the purifying pain of letting go and leaving the place and people who taught me a lot about life and love that is Borongan. Now I am here with you, hoping to learn how to love better and how to walk better with God and closer to God … with all of you, my dear people of Tagbilaran. (This piece was one of the talks delivered by Bishop Leonardo Medroso at his installation as the new bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, December 14, 2006)

CBCP Monitor


Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

PALAWAN... known the world over as the Philippines last ecological frontier. It is where one is brought to vast tracts of rain forests and marine wilderness. It is 1,489,655 hectares and has a total of 1,780 islands and islets. It is subdivided into twenty three municipalities, twelve of which are in the mainland and the rest are island municipalities, four hundred twenty barangays and one city. It is the largest province in the country with fifty-two dialects. Tagalog is used by the majority. Cuyonin, Agutaynen, Cagayanen, Tagbanua, Bataks, Ken-uys and Palawan are some of the native tongues. The people of Palawan share a rich heritage of history. It takes its roots from earliest known people as proven by the discovery of fossils at Tabon Cave. This discovery has earned Palawan the title the “Cradle of Philippine Civilization”. The Church of Palawan continues to grow, sustain and nourish by the spirit of God. As one looks back, one cannot deny that the people of Palawan is blessed by the creative hands of God and guided by the same Spirit. The Christian faith having taken root centuries ago, it’s full blossoming fortified by the sacrifices and blood of the early missionaries who were martyred in defending the native from Moro invaders. Despite this bloody struggle, “the Christian majority population of this province has been living in peaceful co-existence with their Muslim brothers of today”. The particular Church has its own beginning. Interplaying the historical events are the people who played important roles to achieve the ends of the mission. The Early Beginnings of Evangelization Work in Palawan In 1622, Msgr. Pedro de Arce, the Augustinian Bishop of Cebu committed to the Augustinian Recollects the difficult task of evangelizing the group of islands called Calamianes, Cuyo and Palawan. The first evangelizers commissioned to evangelize were Fr. Francisco de San Nicolas, Fr. Diego de Sta. Ana, Fr. Juan de Sto. Tomas and the lay brother Francisco de la Madre de Dios. In Cuyo (Batong Cuyo), where the valiant missionaries first landed, they saw the first fruit of their missionary labor: a thousand of the natives were baptized and the Catholic Church in the region was constructed. “De Palawan al cielo” from Palawan to Heaven—was the motto of the early evangelizers. The Strategy of the Recollect Missions in the Evangelization The missionaries started their mission by searching for scattered native settlement, followed by the

Personnel: Bishop …………….........……... 1 Priests:(at present) Diocesan ….................…… 43 Religious ……...................… 7 AFP Chaplains ….................. 3 Sisters …….................…… 44 Seminaries: High School ……….......………. 1 Pre-College .....…….………….. 1 College ….......…………………. 1 Diocesan Division: Districts Parishes ...…………………… 25 with resident Pastor ….......… 25

I have loved you first.” Love alone is the fulfillment of God’s command. Even the loftiest gifts of faith, preaching prophesies and self-sacrifice amount to nothing without love (1 Cor 13). As Bishop Arigo faces his ministry, he fervently prays that all his endeavors in the service of community of Disciples in Palawan be animated and permeated by love. True to his motto, he came to Palawan to fulfill the greatest commandment of love. His pasturing will imbue and perfect his sheep in love.

The Apostolic Vicariate of

Puerto Princesa Sr. Eufemia A. Pama, MSLT

First Pastoral Assembly of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan 1996 – 1997

establishment of towns, building of the Church, building of the mission school and building of the priest’s residence. Only after these phases would they administer the sacraments. Due to courage, zeal and dedication of the Recollect missionaries the natives readily embraced the teachings of the Christian Religion. The natives by this time were living under the yoke of the Muslims who continually persecuted them. The missionaries become their protectors from the tyrannical rule of the Muslims in the South. The Recollect Superior was compelled to order the abandonment of the Region in 1659. Due to continued attacks of the Muslims, the missionaries were forced to live in the mountains. In 1670, the Recollects returned to Palawan and decided to construct forts in Cuyo, Agutaya and Culion. Other forts were also constructed in Linapacan, Taytay, Dumaran and Cagayancillo. These forts were built to protect the population from the Moro attacks. In 1871, the politico-military government of Puerto Princesa was founded, officially sealing, as it were, Spanish hegemony in the Palawan area. After the request of Gov. De Izquierdo for priests to minister to the spiritual needs of the settlers and natives, then Recollect Provincial, Fr. Mariano Del Pilar, assured the general of the deployment of one or two priests for the ministry. On February 19, 1872, more than six years after Jaro was erected a diocese and under whose jurisdiction belonged Palawan, the first Bishop of Jaro, Msgr. Mariano Cuartero y Medina issued the title and faculties of Mili-

Important Facts Population …………...…… 596,018 Catholics ………....……… 417,834 Area ……………… 909,827 has


entrusted to Diocesan ….... 22 entrusted to Religious …...... 4 Quasi-Parish ……..………………. 5 with resident Pastor …............. 5 Mission Territory …....................... 2 Entrusted to Religious ...........… 2 Educational Centers: Colleges: Directed by Religious …........ 3 Enrollment …………….. 2,616 High Schools: Diocesan ……….......……… 1 Enrollment ………......…… 216 Directed by Religious ........... 3 Enrollment ……...……… 1,599 Elementary Schools: ................ 4 Directed by religious …....…. 2 Enrollment ……………….. 502 Kindergarten & Nurseries: Diocesan …………...………. 5 Enrollment ……………….. 393 Directed by religious …....…. 3 Enrollment …………...……. 59

tary Chaplain of the colony of Puerto Princesa to Fr. Ezequiel Moreno. Fr. Ezequiel Moreno (who lately has been canonized a saint) with his assistant Fr. Antonio Muro arrived in Palawan soil on March 4, 1872 and celebrated their first mass on Sunday, March 10, 1872 in a makeshift altar upon which was placed an image of Our Lady of Montserrat. It was on the 8 th of December that the Church was inaugurated and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed Patroness of the Colony. The church remains to this day a living proof of St. Ezequiel’s fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother. The venerable Fr. Moreno worked untiringly for the pagan Tagbanuas who willingly embraced the Catholic faith. In his ministry he has contracted the famous Palawan fever, Malaria. On August 19, 1906, “fundador y primer misionero de Puerto Princesa, muerto en olor de santidad”, in Monteagudo. Now a Saint, he left Palaweños with a miraculous “Balon-Pari” whose divine intercession made many healed and blessed by drinking or washing from the miraculous well. Fr. Antonio Muro, his assistant succeeded him. Fr. Agustin Perez arrived in Puerto Princesa on the 6th of July to help Fr. Muro continue the mission with the Tagbanuas. In 1896, the Katipuneros rose up in arms against the Spanish government, which claimed the lives of fourteen Religious of the Order, so then the Superior decided to pull out their missionaries. It was in the year 1899, when Fr. Domingo de Pablo, the last missionary, left Palawan. Since the time he left, “Christians did not see any priest for almost fourteen years”. Yet in 1901, there were missionaries who were sent back by the Superiors of the Recollects for the reinstallation of the work. Pastoral work was limited to baptisms, confessions, weddings and religious instructions due to lack of missionaries. Despite tremendous hardships, the Church moved onward with the guidance of the Spirit. Palawan as Apostolic Prefecture The advent years of missionary labors paved the way for Pope Pius X to establish Palawan as an Apostolic Prefecture. The erection of the Prefecture was widely known and appropriately celebrated on April 10, 1910. The bull of erection entitled “Novas Erigere Diocese”, specifically mentioned the Apostolic Prefecture of Palawan aside from other elevated Dioceses. This Apostolic Prefecture, the first in the Philippines,

was entrusted to the Recollect Fathers. Fr. Fernando Hernandez was named Prefect Apostolic of Palawan but he soon declined after he was informed due to old age and chronic heart ailment which was readily accepted by competent authority. Fr. Victoriano Roman de San Jose was named to take his place. It was the feast of St. Augustine, the Patron Saint of Cuyo, when Fr. Roman took possession of the Prefecture. In August 28, 1911, Cuyo was “destined” to be the Prefect’s Residence at the same time the seat of the Prefecture until 1926. The main concern of the Prefect were “visitas”, construction of churches, establishment of schools, intensification of lay associations, administration of the sacraments and other devotional practices. In 1938, Fr. Roman turned over the administration of the mission to a new leader, Fr. Leandro Nieto, as Prefect Apostolic. It was during the term of Fr Nieto when war broke out. In 1937, being then Vicar Delegate, Fr. Nieto founded the Seminario de San Jose. The establishment of the seminary in Palawan was a concrete step towards progress of evangelization work. The Seminary formally opened during the solemn mass of the Holy Spirit on November 14, 1937, celebrated by Fr. Leandro Nieto and assisted by Fr. Federico T e r r a d i l l o s His Excellency and Fr. Paulino MOST REV. PEDRO D. Lerena. ARIGO, D.D. Palawan as Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan It was on July 3, 1955 when the Holy See elevated the Prefecture into an Apostolic Vicariate through the bull of erection entitled “Ad Christi Regnum” issued by Pope Pius XII, Msgr. Gregorio Espiga y Infante, OAR took possession of the Apostolic Vicariate on September 18, 1955. The followings have been the Vicars Apostolic since its elevation to the status of Apostolic Vicariate: 1) Most Rev. Gregorio Espiga Y Infante, OAR (1953-1987); 2) Most Rev. Francisco C. San Diego, DD (1987-1995); 3) Most Rev. Pedro D. Arigo, DD, (1996 to the present). Inscribed in his coat of arms of the present Apostolic Vicar are the words “Suprema Lex Dilectio” Love is the Supreme Law. This reflects his simplicity, uprightness and integrity. It is an invitation to “love me as

The First Pastoral Assembly of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan was held at Seminario de San Jose on 1-15 August 1997 headed by the Apostolic Vicar, Most Rev. Pedro D. Arigo, with 200 participants: Clergy, Religious and the laity from 34 parishes of the whole Apostolic Vicariate. They all where one in their aims in the assessment of the pastoral situation of the particular Church, confront pastoral problems, come up with solutions and pastoral decrees to assist the Bishop in his administration of the Vicariate so that from the past till forever, “GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL” (1Cor. 15:28). The local church defines its vision as a community of disciples, renewed and with the concern for the poor and the environment, responding to the signs of the times, one with the Father, animated by Christ guided by the Holy Spirit and nourished by the sacraments. The important thrust of the ministry of the Church of Palawan is its Social Apostolate. Highlight of the social apostolate of the Vicariate is the Indigenous People Apostolate aimed to provide services to tribal groups considered to be marginalized. The Augustinian Missionaries in the Philippines and the Marist Brothers live with tribal communities and minister to them. Part of the program is literacy and numeracy aimed to empower the tribal communities and allowing them to defend their rights. Community-based health programs, biodiversity conservation network sustainable agriculture projects, ancestral domain processing, ecology program, rural water supplies are some of programs under the Commission on Social Action of the Vicariate. The Indigenous Apostolate


The beginnings of Tribal Filipino Apostolate can be traced back as early as 1985. However, the concrete programs were first implemented in the year 1988 after series of community visitations to indigenous peoples’ communities, consultations, conceptualization and finalization of project proposals. The first program implemented by the apostolate was a three-year Literacy and Numeracy Program for selected indigenous peoples communities in the year 1988. This is in view of the fact that there is no meaningful and expedient intervention for the IPs than education. As Rev. Fr. Armando R. Limsa, the pioneering Executive Director of Tribal Filipino Apostolate says, “illiteracy is a human killer… it dehumanizes human person”. One worth mentioning is the organization and strengthening of the federation of indigenous peoples in the province of Palawan, which has now more or less 70 indigenous people organization (IPO) member province wide. Today, the said federation which is popularly known as Nagkakaisang mga Tribu ng Palawan (NATRIPAL) or United Tribes in Palawan, is a recognized provincial Puerto Princesa / P12

CBCP Monitor



Letter of Pope Benedict XVI’s to Cardinal Arinze on the Occasion of the 43rd Anniversary of “Sacrosanctum Comcilium” TO my Venerable Brother, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I am pleased to offer my cordial greeting to you and to those taking part in the Study Day organized by this Dicastery on the anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium.” After reflecting in the past on the Roman Martyrology and on Sacred Music, you are now preparing to examine in depth the theme: “Sunday Mass for the sanctification of the Christian People”. Because of its spiritual and pastoral implications, this is a very timely topic. The Second Vatican Council teaches that “the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the “Lord’s Day’ or “Sunday’” (“Sacrosanctum Concilium,” n. 106). Sunday remains the fertile foundation and at the same time the fundamental nucleus of the liturgical year which originated in Christ’s Resurrection, thanks to which the features of eternity were impressed on time. Thus, Sunday is, so to speak, a fragment of time imbued with eternity, for its dawn saw the Crucified and Risen Christ enter victorious into eternal life. With the event of the Resurrection, creation and redemption reach their fulfillment. On the “first day after Saturday”, the women and then the Disciples, meeting the Risen One, understood that this was “the day which the Lord has made” (Ps 118[117]:24), “his” day, the “Dies Domini.” In fact, this is what the liturgy sings: “O first and last day, radiant and shining with Christ’s triumph”. From the very outset, this has been a stable element in the perception of the mystery of Sunday: “The Word”, Origen affirms, “has moved the feast of the Sabbath to the day on which the light was produced and has given us as an image of true repose,

Sunday, the day of salvation, the first day of the light in which the Savior of the world, after completing all his work with men and after conquering death, crossed the threshold of Heaven, surpassing the creation of the six days and receiving the blessed Sabbath and rest in God” (Comment on Psalm 91). Inspired by knowledge of this, St Ignatius of Antioch asserted: “We are no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day” (Ad Magn. 9, 1). For the first Christians, participation in the Sunday celebrations was the natural expression of their belonging to Christ, of communion with his Mystical Body, in the joyful expectation of his glorious return. This belonging was expressed heroically in what happened to the martyrs of Abitene, who faced death exclaiming, “Sine dominico non possumus”: without gathering together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, we cannot live. How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord’s Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass! The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from “Christ’s Passover, Sunday”, should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence. The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: “On this day Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who “has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope’” (“Sacrosanctum Concilium,” n. 106).

Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, “the first day of the week”, rose and appeared to the disciples (cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16: 9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1,19; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16: 2), and appeared to them again “eight days later” (Jn 20:26). Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly. Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the “Lord’s Day”, I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life. Indeed, at every Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the sanctification of the Christian people takes place as it will take place until the Sunday that never sets, the day of the definitive encounter of God with his creatures. In this perspective, I express the hope that the Study Day promoted by this Dicastery on such a timely theme will contribute to the recovery of the Christian meaning of Sunday in the context of pastoral care and in every believer’s life. May the “Day of the Lord” that could well be called “the lord of days” regain all its importance and be perceived and lived to the full in the celebration of the Eucharist, from which the Christian community grows authentically and on which it depends (cf. “Presbyterorum Ordinis,” n. 6). As I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and invoke upon each one the motherly protection of Mary Most Holy, I warmly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, Venerable Brother, to your collaborators and to all the participants in this important meeting. From the Vatican, 27 November 2006. BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Explaining the Mass During Mass (Father Edward McNamara, Professor of Liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University, answers a question posted at by M.F. of Singapore)

Q: Are there possibilities for the celebrant to share more insights about what is taking place at different stages of the Mass, to facilitate better participation from the congregation? I pose this question because most times I observe that people seem to “go through the motions” during the Mass and many don’t seem to “be connected” with what’s happening during the different parts of the Eucharistic celebration. — M.F., Singapore A: This point is covered by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), No. 31: “It is also up to the priest, in the exercise of his office of presiding over the gathered assembly, to offer certain explanations that are foreseen in the rite itself. Where it is indicated in the rubrics, the celebrant is permitted to adapt them somewhat in order that they respond to the understanding of those participating. However, he should always take care to keep to the sense of the text given in the Missal and to express them succinctly. The presiding priest is also to direct the word of God and to impart the final blessing. In addition, he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal.” The GIRM thus suggests four moments when brief explanations or comments may be profitably inserted: at the beginning, before the readings, before the preface, and before the dismissal. Ideally, explanations of the Mass would be best imparted through programs for the continual Christian formation of adults. But

this is not feasible in most cases as relatively few Catholics have both the commitment and the time to avail of these programs. Some priests, realizing that many of the rites and prayers were lost on the faithful, have sought to remedy the situation with brief explanations carried out on a cyclical basis. For example, a priest who habitually celebrates Mass at the same time for basically the same congregation announces that besides his usual homily (perhaps shaving it by a couple of minutes), he will dedicate a few minutes each week to explain one or two particular points of the Mass. Following this he uses one of the suggested moments to explain the meaning of the rite and the spiritual fruits that the Church desires us to harvest through active participation in its celebration and a deeper understanding of the exercise of the royal or common priesthood of the faithful. Some longer rites and prayers may be explained piecemeal. For example, before the preface the priest could invite the people to be attentive to the different moments of the Eucharistic Prayer (preface, transitions, epiclesis, consecration, anamnesis, intercessions, etc.) and then explain one of these parts each week. A fairly complete explanation of the Mass can be given over two or three months, allowing for interruptions such as feasts and the celebration of sacraments during Mass. Once completed, another cycle can be preached every few years as deemed pastorally necessary. Although these explanations must necessarily be brief, several priests who have applied this method have commented that most parishioners responded positively and affirmed that it has helped them to understand and live the Mass in a deeper way.

In China / from p3 those who belong to the official Church—have spent some time in prison or in the concentration camps. Last January 7 the oldest of them died: Joseph Meng Ziwen, the unofficial bishop of Nanning in Guagxi. He was 103 years old, and until recently said Mass every Sunday in three different parishes. He had spent more than twenty years in forced labor. The regime never recognized him as a bishop. Today the persecutions

Malaybalay / from p3 against Christians continue in China, although these don’t compare to those of the years of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. But little by little, the witnesses of the great martyrdom are disappearing. Their accounts remain. Very little has been published about these—even outside of China, even in free countries, even in the rest of the Catholic Church, at least until very recently. This silence was to a large extent motivated by reasons

of politics, and of ecclesiastical politics. “But to continue along the way of silence today would be an incomprehensible and unforgivable error,” writes cardinal Zen. He writes this in a preface to a book published this winter in Italy—edited by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, in Milan—which, for the first time, collects and offers to the general public the accounts of some of the Chinese Catholics persecuted or killed from 1940 to 1983.

The first two of the texts that make up this volume are the diaries written in prison and in a forced labor camp— lasting thirty and twenty-five years respectively—by the priests Francis Tan Tiande and John Huang, the first of whom is still alive. The third document is the life of another priest, Fr. Li Chang, who died in 1981. It was written by his cousin Li Daoming, who is also a priest. This is followed by the autobiography of a young

Catholic, Gertrude Li, written in longhand on little scraps of paper that arrived in the West hidden in the shoes of a missionary, Fr. Giovanni Carbone of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, who was expelled from China in 1952. The collection closes with the account of the martyrdom of thirty-three Cistercian Monks of the Strict Observance from the monastery of Yangjiaping, killed at the end of a “way of the cross” of torments in 1947.

whole people of God. True to our commitment, there are priests from our diocese who are serving in both the local and foreign missions. Though there is still a great lack in terms of number of priests for our diocese, our bishop does not wait for us to satisfy completely our need of priests before sharing some of us to other dioceses. Generosity is not giving because there is an excess, rather it is giving because others need most of what we have.

man freedom; rather, it protects and promotes that freedom. (SV, 35) In the family young people are taught to appreciate restraint and are encouraged to practice self-discipline. If parents can talk of making personal sacrifice for the needs of the family, or doing difficult things because of concern for others, then they also can and must elevate motivation and include the love of God when mastery of self is also called for. No matter how true it is that values begin in the family, still the family does not create values. Truth and goodness, love, honesty and compassion: these are not made in

the home. Not even one’s wish or freedom can create values. (SV, 35). Like gold that is discovered, mined (dug from the bowels of the earth) and then purified through fire, truth and goodness, love honesty and compassion, simplicity and humility and the rest of the virtues are discovered, discerned, enhanced and encouragingly practiced in the family. In Christian families, values are encouraged to surface, to develop and to be lived by members mutually supporting each other. Conversations, stories and experiences are interestingly exchanged and shared in the home making possible personal and family commit-

ment of virtues. This is the reason why we say that values rightly begin to be discovered primarily and only in the family, because in the family admonitions and reminders, examples and models, weaknesses and strength, sadness and joy, failure and success are perceived to complement each other.

community of life and love, that the young are formed as members of Christ’s Church. It is in the family, where, while honouring and loving their parents, they can enrich the lives of all members of the wider family. As the family goes, so goes society. “The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral

values, begin to honour God, make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society”. So we believe and so we teach and live under the guidance of the Church. (CCC, 2207). This is how important the family is to society in the teaching of the Church. The same truth is expressed in the old saying “Any success in the world cannot compensate for failure in the family”. In effect, we declare that we are trying to solve the ills of society by first saving the family.

The Family / from p5 except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to the slavery of sin”, so the teaching of the Church says. (CCC, 1733). And thus, the parents will teach their children. It is true that humans are free, but their freedom must stop before the moral law given by God. Law must not be seen as in conflict with or restricting freedom, nor freedom ought to be considered as forever grappling with the law. The truth is that “human freedom finds its authentic and complete fulfilment precisely in the acceptance of that law… God’s law does not reduce, much less do away with hu-

The Family must succeed: No Other Choice The Fourth World Meeting of Families, held in Manila, January 2003, reiterated in its Concluding Statement that the natural place for the education of the young is the Family. It is in the family, the

(This piece was delivered by His Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales at the CBCP 2007 International Conference on Bioethics and the Family, January 8-9, 2007, Manila).

CBCP Monitor

Social Concern

Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Order taking and delivery officers (OTDO) of the parish with His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and parish priest, Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD.

Tech-Savvy Priest Turns Parish Into E-Community

By Pinky Barrientos, FSP SMOKEY Mountain parish priest, Fr. Benigno Beltran talks animatedly of narrowing the digital divide between the tech-savvy middle class and his poor community through elearning and e-trading. Indeed, in the parish of the Risen Christ in Smokey Mountain, mothers are taught basic computer literacy, while children use interactive CDs to enhance their learning. The parish boasts of having the most advanced computer center in the whole archdiocese of Manila. Soon it will also showcase the first environment-friendly and electronic church in the world. The planned church building (which will be wi-fi capable and composed of four floors) will have a basement for livelihood program and two floors for e-learning program. A terrace deck will serve as a vegetable garden, while solar panels will be fitted on the roof to convert sunlight into electricity. A Divine Word missionary (SVD), Beltran started working among the scavengers of Smokey Mountain in the late 70’s. When Smokey Mountain was erected as a parish in 1989, he stayed as its pastor. Twenty-one medium-rise buildings now stood on what once a mountain of garbage. The buildings which have four floors each, house 2,000 families who were previously living on the dumpsite. Intent on liberating the community from their scavenging mentality, Beltran established basic ecclesial communities (BEC) and spearheaded various livelihood programs. “We cannot organize BEC if there is no livelihood component,” opines Beltran; stressing that a person with a hungry stomach cannot listen. But getting the trust and cooperation of the community to change their lifestyle and mindset did not come easy for the priest. “You have to be involved with them,” says Beltran. “They will not accept your vision until you are friends with them.” And befriending them he did. For the past 28 years, Beltran labored to win the trust and cooperation of the community. He talks of the spirituality of kenosis as a way of describing his life of service, that, of suffering with the community he is currently serving, and being “broken” in the process. “Here, a grenade had been thrown at me. I had been and still am a victim of slander from certain groups of people,” Beltran discloses. The parish’s livelihood programs include construction, bakery, garment, handicrafts and bags, which are made out of old newspapers. The women are involved in e-trading, the men provide manpower services, while children and out-of-school youth are into e-learning program. The parish is helping its nonschooled young people aged 15-24 to become competitive by training them in computer literacy. They avail of non-formal education being spearheaded by the parish for its out-ofschool youth through e-learning program. The parish has developed interactive CDs for elementary and

high school using the content of the modules prepared by the Department of Education (DepEd). Students are asked to take the equivalency exam from the DepEd to obtain a high school diploma when they have completed all the required modules. The women, meanwhile, are engaged into an enterprise Beltran calls e-trading. Selected women from BECs are mobilized as order takers and delivery officers of goods. Families in need of basic commodities such as rice, fish and dry goods, use their mobile phones to text their orders. The order takers bargain for the lowest price of goods among wholesalers around Manila and nearby provinces. The system, which, Beltran conceptualized work two ways. The residents get to buy their goods at a much lower price, while the order takers obtain a modest commission out of their efforts. The women drawn in the livelihood programs are mostly mothers, who have much time in their hands once the kids are off in school. They go to the parish computer center to learn Microsoft excel and entrepreneurship on a small scale. “There are cultural values in Philippine culture that resists entrepreneurship,” says Beltran. “Afraid to risk, conservatism, resignation, incapacity to plan,” he rattles off. He is confident that teaching women to be computer literate will help them overcome that kind of mentality. “It will change their thinking,” Beltran asserts. The parish community is involved not only in livelihood programs but also in other aspects of social concerns like housing, clean water, health, education, environment and advocacy. Having lived in the midst of an environmental disaster as Smokey Mountain, the present community is acutely aware of the catastrophic effects an environment not properly cared for can bring. The parish has organized a dance troupe composed of 60 children, dubbed Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig that call attention to global warming through their indigenous dances. “They are officially designated as the ambassadors for peace and environment,” says Beltran, not without a tinge of pride in his voice. In the community the families are taught to segregate their garbage. The parish has a bio-reactor that process food waste. This generates two tanks of organic compost a day which are then sold to farmers as fertilizers. “Five thousand tanks (of garbage) were dumped (here) and there were 25,000 people there,” Beltran says retrospectively. “So as a parish, we were very conscious about how to take care of (our) garbage. We (also) have to take care of air pollution.” The idea of building an environment-friendly church came from the people, according to Beltran. “Let’s build a Church to remind everyone in this planet not to dump their garbage everywhere, take care of global warming.” Beltran’s vision for Smokey Mountain is now being piloted in the vicariate level. The eight parishes—

Risen Christ, San Rafael, San Jose Manggagawa, St. Joseph Gagalangin, San Roque Blumentritt, Espiritu Santo, Immaculate Conception and Sta. Monica put up a multipurpose cooperative involving 800 women elected by the BECs in the vicariate as order takers and delivery officers. Beltran explained that the women will be considered owners of the cooperative since they have to pay a membership fee of P500 each, and will have voting power. Beltran believes that e-trading on the vicariate level will set free thousands of women from poverty and ignorance. However, his vision goes further. “We would like (to involve) the whole archdiocese. The etrading network plans 10,000 women to be uplifted from poverty in the 92

parishes. They will be selling this deliver, internet connectivity is es(detergent) and they will be earning sential to fast track the system. from 15,000 to 20,000 a month.” Beltran hopes the program will One of the commodities being spread not only within the archdiosold is a detergent repacked on the cese of Manila but throughout the vicariate’s own label called Veritas. different ecclesiastical territories in Beltran goes on to explain how the country. This early he is already the system works. With a list of com- planning to concentrate on e-tradmodities on hand, the order takers e- ing and e-learning programs when mail the orders to the different manu- the construction of the Church is facturers, whom Beltran calls strate- finished. gic partners. Since the goods are Palawan bishop Pedro Arigo, intended for twenty thousand fami- Taytay apostolic vicar Edgardo lies, these will amount to millions of Juanich, San Jose Mindoro apospesos. This gives the Coop a better tolic vicar Antonio Palang, and leverage in its buying power. The Calapan vicar apostolic Warlito purchased goods are then repacked Cajandig, have visited the parish; and delivered at once to families. and were impressed by the e-trading The idea, according to Beltran, program. is like a “mall without walls.” The Beltran sees the possibility of production or repacking of goods is having this kind of trade operational based on actual needs. As soon as in various dioceses. “It will happen.” goods are packed they are delivered Confidently, he adds, “It is just a at once to consumers. matter of time.” “That’s why, we need to be connected to the internet,” says Beltran. There are currently three computer centers in the vicariate. Plans are afoot to equip each parish with four computers each to facilitate orders and deliveries of goods. With the increase of commodities (they are targeting 20 kinds of commodities this year) to The proposed Shrine of Hope, Parish of the Risen Christ.

NASSA’s Relief & Rehabilitation Efforts Highlight Social Concerns Year By Bob R. Acebedo

FOR the casual observer at the CBCP headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, the voluminous heaps of bundled sacks, each filled to the brim and are stacked all over the corridors and grounds, are not an unusual sight. With donations continuously pouring in, these copious heaps of packed goods –of food and non-food items—are regularly sent as relief assistance to the areas or provinces in the Bicol region devastated by Typhoon Reming in November of last year. Spearheading in the relief and rehabilitation campaign is the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Apparently for NASSA, two months after Typhoon Reming wrought destruction in Bicol and with two other typhoons, Milenyo and Paeng, which earlier shortly ravaged the country—and not to mention too the killer landslides in Southern Leyte and Quezon provinces that struck even earlier on—the celebration of Social Concerns Year of 2006, declared by the CBCP, has been largely defined or pre-


occupied by relief and rehabilitation efforts in response to the disastrous effects wrought by natural calamities. Even until to date, NASSA’s Relief and Rehabilitation unit is yet on its second cycle of relentless distribution of relief goods—consisting of rice, dried fish, medicines, sheltering materials like personal hygiene items, kitchen utensils, blankets, mosquito nets, mats, etc.—to the victims of the recent killer typhoon, Particularly in the dioceses of Legaspi and Libmanan, Virac, and Boac. These areas were hardest hit by Typhoon Reming which, according to official figures, has affected over 1 million individuals and some 200,000 families. Elvira Manalansan, coordinator of NASSA’s Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) Program, disclosed that by far, to date, NASSA has already released an ample number of sacks of relief items to the affected areas—3,000 sacks for the diocese of Legaspi, 1,000 for the prelature of Libmanan, and 500 for Boac diocese in Marinduque. With NASSA’s unabated campaign of local and international appeals for help, there’s no letting up still in the on-going relief operations in the affected areas,

Manalansan said. Manalansan also revealed that NASSA is already currently initiating another level of intervention for the displaced families—the rehabilitation program which aims to provide shelters, and subsequently livelihood opportunities, to the victims. With an earmarked cost of around P119 million, Manalansan said that the Shelter Program is expected to benefit some 875 displaced families in the dioceses of Legaspi, Libmanan, Boac, and Virac. In a related development, NASSA’s 2006 annual report revealed that even earlier as of June last year, NASSA’s relief and rehabilitation efforts have benefited 14,767 famailies and 750 individuals nationwide. Likewise, the same report added that as of mid-2006, NASSA was able to raise P79.3 million for housing projects and P1.9 million for emergency or relief assistance for the flashfloods and landslides victims in Aurora, Quezon and Southern Leyte provinces. Ostensibly so, for most observers, NASSA’s continuing relief and rehabilitation efforts may just be the fitting highlight marking the culmination of the Social Concerns Year of 2006 as well as NASSA’s 40th foundation anniversary. Created by the CBCP in 1966 under its Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) as the social development arm of the Philippine Catholic Church, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) provides a host of programs and services which, aside from Relief and Rehabilitation program, include—BEC Based Integral Evangelization Program; Thematic programs on Sustainable Agriculture, Ecology, Children and Women, Peacebuilding and Alay Kapwa; and Advocacy Research and Communications Program. In the wake, however, of hundreds of extrajudicial killings plaguing the country today, the Episcopal Commission on Social Action—Justice and Peace still has to see some systems to address this very serious concern.

CBCP Monitor



Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters, On 11 February 2007, when the Church keeps the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Fifteenth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated in Seoul, Korea. A number of meetings, conferences, pastoral gatherings and liturgical celebrations will take place with representatives of the Church in Korea, health care personnel, the sick and their families. Once again the Church turns her eyes to those who suffer and calls attention to the incurably ill, many of whom are dying from terminal diseases. They are found on every continent, particularly in places where poverty and hardship cause immense misery and grief. Conscious of these sufferings, I will be spiritually present at the World Day of the Sick, united with those meeting to discuss the plight of the incurably ill in our world and encouraging the efforts of Christian communities in their witness to the Lord’s tenderness and mercy. Sickness inevitably brings with it a moment of crisis and sober confrontation with one’s own personal situation. Advances in the health sciences often provide the means necessary to meet this challenge, at least with regard to its physical aspects. Human life, however, has intrinsic limitations, and sooner or later it ends in death. This is an experience to which each human being is called, and one for which he or she must be prepared. Despite the advances of science, a cure cannot be found for

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Fifteenth World Day of the Sick every illness, and thus, in hospitals, hospices and homes throughout the world we encounter the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are incurably and often terminally ill. In addition, many millions of people in our world still experience unsanitary living conditions and lack access to much-needed medical resources, often of the most basic kind, with the result that the number of human beings considered “incurable” is greatly increased. The Church wishes to support the incurably and terminally ill by calling for just social policies which can help to eliminate the causes of many diseases and by urging improved care for the dying and those for whom no medical remedy is available. There is a need to promote policies which create conditions where human beings can bear even incurable illnesses and death in a dignified manner. Here it is necessary to stress once again the need for more palliative care centres which provide integral care, offering the sick the human assistance and spiritual accompaniment they need. This is a right belonging to every human being, one which we must all be committed to defend.

Here I would like to encourage the efforts of those who work daily to ensure that the incurably and terminally ill, together with their families, receive adequate and loving care. The Church, following the example of the Good Samaritan, has always shown particular concern for the infirm. Through her individual members and institutions, she continues to stand alongside the suffering and to attend the dying, striving to preserve their

Roadside / from p6 sin. Any rescue would bring us light. Jesus is that Light, the son born on Christmas Day. This makes it easy therefore to see Jesus with Simeon’s eyes as the “light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel” (Lk 2:32). Around this time Catholics in places where there is winter may experience snow storms. Sometimes there could be power failures too. In the middle of the storms it’s been customary for Catholics to light their presentation candles blessed on the feast day. No, it

The Truth / from p7 has nothing to do with superstition. It’s simply to express the faith of Catholics that in the middle of the storms of life when darkness reigns; Jesus, our light, is with us and does not abandon us, no matter what happens. We Pinoy Catholics are no strangers to storms and super typhoons, both literal and figurative ones. In so many of these we, I speak especially of Eastern Samarnons like myself, experience people—sometimes family or friends, very often politicians

and/or the government—deserting us. The good news is: Jesus does not. A James Ingram song expresses the message: “No need to say goodbye. I’ll see again tomorrow. No matter how life turns around, I’ll always be there.” The un-withdrawn hand of the never-absent Jesus is a fact. It’s also our command. Are our hands just as unwithdrawn and our presence freely given to people who need us? (For feedbacks please write to:

Puerto Princesa / from p9 federation with its own office, staff, programs and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), working hand in hand with CSSC in reaching the communities of IPs in far flung areas of the province. The Particular Church as Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa His Holiness Pope John Paul II officially announced on May 13, 2002 the division of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan into two Vicariates. The Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay was canonically erected covering the sixteen (16) parishes of Northern Palawan with Most Rev. Edgardo S. Juanich, D.D. as their shepherd. The remaining territory was subsequently named Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, under the jurisdiction of Most Rev. Pedro D. Arigo, D.D. The Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, having the same seat of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan, continues the legacy of the Particular Church of Palawan. It covers the city of Puerto Princesa and the mainland municipalities of Southern Palawan; Aborlan, Narra, Quezon, Rizal, Española, Brooke’s

dignity at these significant moments of human existence. Many such individuals—health care professionals, pastoral agents and volunteers—and institutions throughout the world are tirelessly serving the sick, in hospitals and in palliative care units, on city streets, in housing projects and parishes. I now turn to you, my dear brothers and sisters suffering from incurable and terminal diseases. I encour-

age you to contemplate the sufferings of Christ crucified, and, in union with him, to turn to the Father with complete trust that all life, and your lives in particular, are in his hands. Trust that your sufferings, united to those of Christ, will prove fruitful for the needs of the Church and the world. I ask the Lord to strengthen your faith in his love, especially during these trials that you are experiencing. It is my hope that, wherever you are, you will always find the spiritual encouragement and strength needed to nourish your faith and bring you closer to the Father of Life. Through her priests and pastoral workers, the Church wishes to assist you and stand at your side, helping you in your hour of need, and thus making present Christ’s own loving mercy towards those who suffer. In conclusion, I ask ecclesial communities throughout the world, and particularly those dedicated to the service of the infirm, to continue, with the help of Mary, Salus Infirmorum, to bear effective witness to the loving concern of God our Father. May the Blessed Virgin, our Mother, comfort those who are ill and sustain all who have devoted their lives, as Good Samaritans, to healing the physical and spiritual wounds of those who suffer. United to each of you in thought and prayer, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord. From the Vatican, 8 December 2006 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Point, Bataraza and the island – municipalities of Balabac and Cagayancillo. AVPP Golden Jubilee 1955-2005 On 03 July 2005, the Local Church of Puerto Princesa has celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its elevation from Apostolic Prefecture in 1955. On the very special occasion, the following were given priority attention: 1. integral faith formation; 2. renewal of the clergy and the religious; 3. people empowerment; and, 4. the re-enkindling of the missionary zeal in every member of the Church. Present Realities At present the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa has forty three Diocesan Clergy; Six Religious from the SVD; A Priest and a Brother from the OAR; Two Marist Brothers; an Amigonian Brother and forty four Religious Sisters who administer the Spiritual and Pastoral needs of 417,834 Catholics in twenty-two parishes, three prison-chaplaincies, two mission territories and five quasiparishes. Certainly there is no

shortage of pastoral difficulties or spiritual or physical exhaustion caused by overwork or a lack of that balance which recommends healthy periods of physical rest and spiritual renewal. Yet, despite of these realities, majority of our priests face the difficulties of the present positively, supported by the solicitude of the Bishop joyfully living their generous pastoral commitment and their priestly identity to the full. As we move towards the growth of the Church of Palawan, we are faced with many challenges. Yet we face this with trust and faith that God in His providence will sustain his Church, that God in his wisdom will touch the hearts of the people to be part of the missionary work entrusted to everyone. The local Church of Palawan will always be in gratitude to all who has been part of this missionary task. We are encouraged by the hope and light of Christ to its final destiny and of great consolation that the Mother of our Redeemer, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of our Vicariate is always close to us guiding her sons and daughters in the way to Christ “Ad Iesum per Mariam.”

bone ticklers. Here’s a nutty one from a Tokyo bar: SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS. A cocktail lounge in Norway, meanwhile, shows such care in protecting the innocent: LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR. In a restaurant in Rome, this sign implies there are 521 days a year: OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND WEEKENDS TOO. A Nairobi restaurant notice matter-of-factly states: CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER. Restaurant menus also offer humor besides nourishment: Note this one from a Swiss restaurant in Fribourg: OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR. And from a quaint restaurant in Poland’s countryside: SALAD A FIRM’S OWN MAKE; LIMPID RED BEET SOUP WITH CHEESY DUMPLINGS IN THE FORM OF A FINGER; ROASTED DUCK LET LOOSE; BEEF RASHERS BEATEN IN THE COUNTRY PEOPLE’S FASHION. A new type of omelet seems a specialty in a roadside restaurant in Luxor, Egypt: WE SERVE OMELETTE WITH EGGS. Roadside reminders are another source of travel fun. Right here at home, a sign cautions motorists in Tagaytay: PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY. 6 PEOPLE DIED HERE BY ACCIDENT. To wake up sleepy local tourists on the road to Malolos, a billboard advertising chicken feed boasts: PALAKIHAN NG ITLOG. While you fill up at a gasoline station in Tarlac, an invitation painted on its

wall says: DROP IN. THIS IS A GOOD PLACE TO TAKE A LEAK. Travel agencies do their part in making your trip mishap-free—as this one from Czechoslovakia : TA K E O N E O F O U R HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES. Sometimes travel agents’ enthusiasm leads to ambivalence, like this longwinding claim noted at a tourist bureau in Padova, Italy: THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, CROWDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY ITS SOLITUDE. Sometimes, too, airline ticket offices may not be the most helpful of places; see this sign in Copenhagen: WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS. The Japanese countryside is so beautiful even its travel tips can get to be poetic, as this one found in a car rental brochure in Tokyo: WHEN PASSENGER OF FOOT H E AVE IN S I G H T, TOOTLE THE HORN. TRUMPET HIM MELODIOUSLY AT FIRST, BUT IF HE STILL OBSTACLES YOUR PASSAGE THEN TOOTLE HIM WITH VIGOUR. There’s more on the list, really, but I guess this is enough gasser for the day, lest some extra-sensitive reader ask, “What’s a column like that doing in an august, dignified paper for bishops?” Well, as any honest-to-goodness church person can tell you, bishops wouldn’t be able to endure being bishops if they didn’t know how to be human and laugh once in a while. And that’s the truth.

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. +632 4041612, 4042182

CBCP Monitor


January 22, 2007

ECMI’s Statement of Support to DOLE’s Upgrade of Policies Covering the Filipino Household Workers to be Deployed Overseas FOR over two decades now of sending our Filipino women overseas to work as household workers, their situation has never really improved. Many advocates for migrants in the Catholic Church had been appealing for the protection of their rights and promotion of their welfare as they are considered the most vulnerable workers considering their specific working environment. We recognized that while there were many attempts in the past to safeguard their situations, those systems however had always been abused by many exploitative recruiting agencies and several employers. We believed that the recently declared policy reforms covering the household workers will not necessarily resolve all the problems surrounding their deployment. Nevertheless these would improve their worsening condition, such as the case of those OFWs working in Lebanon, or somehow would lead the Philippines to graduate from sending household workers who are less skilled, in protecting and preserving their rights. The reforms are not that all perfect but we wish to praise those parts that deserve commendation. The abuse to the system would most likely to happen again, but we could only hope that the new reforms would empower our women household workers from now on. We commend the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) under your department for the resolutions made specifically affecting the following: Age requirement of 25 years old. Having raised the minimum age requirement to 25 years old, our household workers to be deployed overseas would have better psycho-emotional and physical preparation for the work. Minimum wage of US$400. Having raised their minimum monthly salary to US$400 is the

most natural thing if employers would like to hire skilled household workers as described by the new policy. There are countries that could well afford to hire household workers at US$400. The Philippines should only allow countries willing to pay the set wage. No Placement Fee Policy. The prohibition to collect placement fee from the household workers prior or during their employment has been what we were advocating for the longest time. We hope that this would apply as well to other OFWs. The employer should pay for the placement fee of their workers if that is necessary. Pre-Qualification Certificate. The requirement of Pre-Qualification Certificate could thwart abuse and exploitation when implemented well. This could provide household workers a better view of what is in store for them. We observed that while we could have good policy bills for our workers, the lack of monitoring work is where most of our workers fall victims from the exploitation of abusive employers and agents. We recommend to our government to strengthen the aspect of monitoring in the site and in the country. We think the Filipino communities overseas and our network of pastoral workers and chaplains are most willing to be of help on this aspect of monitoring when our government officials would consistently show sincerity and dedication in their assistance to our distressed workers at the site. On behalf of Bishop Precioso Cantillas, SDB, DD Chairman, Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care Of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples of CBCP Fr. Edwin D. Corros, CS Executive Secretary CBCP-ECMI January 22, 2007

A Conference Statement of the CBCP 2007 International Conference on Bioethics and the Family January 9-10, 2007 EDSA Shangri-La Hote Ortigas Center, Metro Manila

Recent developments in modern biomedical science are proceeding at a dizzying pace, presenting untold opportunities and problems for the individual, the family, and society. Authentic progress, which promotes the dignity of the human person from conception until one’s natural death, is a fundamental concern which the Catholic Church shares with all of humanity. It requires that every human activity, including and most specially those related to science, conform to the universal and timeless principles and norms of ethics, and that every human achievement confirm these principles and standards. Determined to make sure that all progress in genetic engineering and biotechnology adhere strictly to this principle, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines felt it has the duty and the opportunity to contribute to the proper dissemination, processing and utilization of information and data that could help promote the correct public policies and private response of individuals and families to the wide range of issues in biomedicine and biotechnology. For this reason, the CBCP decided to organize the 2007 International Conference on Bioethics and the Family, drawing on the knowledge of experts from the Holy See, the United States, Europe and the Philippines, from whose presentation we have drawn the following conclusions: 1. The human embryo is a human

person, composed of body and soul, from the moment of his/her conception, endowed with all the potentialities, proper identity, individuality, and uniqueness, and hence has an inherent dignity that must be respected and protected throughout his/her entire life. 2. Created in the image of God, the human embryo has God-given inviolable rights and is destined to eternal life. 3. The human family founded on the institution of marriage (which includes fatherhood, motherhood and childhood) is the natural and fundamental group unit of society. Its rights as a social unit, and not merely of its members as individuals, have to be respected and promoted. 4. We acknowledge the contributions of science to provide cure and alleviate human suffering. However, ethics and social morality set limits for what is permissible in scientific discovery and the application of scientific knowledge. 5. The claim by some scientists that human embryonic stem cells can be used for treating adult tissue is false, and hence must be debunked. Only adult stem cells have this ability. 6. There is a need to be genuinely discerning and critical of organizations and systems—national and international—that seek to

Crisis / from p3 In celebrating the social concerns year, the prelates emphasized its call for action from a moral standpoint. The CBCP committed itself to a program of pastoral action involving the building of character, capacity and community. It also called on the faithful and institutions to promote a “civilization of love” through anticorruption and livelihood programs, training sessions on good governance and good citizenship, election monitoring and voters’ education, among other projects. Figura said the speakers and facilitators for the bishops’ seminar are some public officials, lay leaders and high-ranking prelates. On the first day of the seminar, the session topics and their respective speakers are: for today, “Leader and Citizens as Partners in Social Transformation: the Marikina Experience” by Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando, and “Electoral Processes as a Tool for Social Transformation: the Isabela Province Experience” by Isabela governor Grace Padaca. On the second day, talks will include: the “Consistent Crusade

Against Gambling” by LingayenDagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, “Citizens Movements: the Ipil Prelature Experience” by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, and “Evangelizing Politics” by Nandy Pacheco of Ang Kapatiran. On the third day, the last day of the seminar, there will be a talk on “The Role of Bishops as Leaders in Addressing Crises in Governance” by CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. The assembly, meanwhile, will end January 28 with possibly another pastoral statement on the current political situation and other social issues. CBCP spokesman Msgr Pedro Quitorio said the bishops might also tackle issues related to the upcoming elections during the plenary. “We might also issue guidelines or statements on the elections as what we did in the past, particularly on what the people should do, and what their attitude should be in the coming elections,” he added. Different commissions of the CBCP are also expected to report on their achievements last year and plans for this year. (Roy Lagarde)


© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Vol. 11 No. 2

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abrogate the country’s sovereign constitutional protection of the family, parents’ rights, and the right to life. 7. Contraception which gave rise to what Pope John Paul II referred to as the “culture of death” has stimulated sharp increases in adultery, pre-marital sex and homosexual activity. With it, the abominable crime of abortion has been condoned and even considered a right. This loss of respect and care for human life at its beginning has led to the loss of respect and care at its natural end, as in the evils of euthanasia and abandonment of the elderly and the handicapped. 8. Various faiths and cultures, at the national and international levels, must mutually cooperate to promote, strengthen and protect human life and the family. 9. The government, particularly the legislators, has also the moral obligation to promote and protect human life from its beginning, as well as the dignity of marriage and the family. 10. Invoking the God of Life, may our families be inspired, strengthened and challenged by the example of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in responding to our vocation to serve the Church and society by caring for human life and serving the family, the basic unit of society.

CBCP Monitor



Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Bo Sanchez

Hunting for the Best By Bp. Jose R. Manguiran IN the course of doing our assignment we want to do it well, and the best of course. As you are the first deployed mission team, you earnestly want to set the best of everything. Later on you will come to realize that the best we have put up is not at all the best because we discover another way better than before. Therefore, the right attitude is to believe that what we are doing now is not really the best; the best is elusive, it is forever to be hunted. Hunting for the best is what makes life thrilling and missionary. The thrill of hunting ends when the hunter is trapped by death. Only at that moment can the hunter grasp the best he had been chas-

ing in his life-time. To believe that our work is the best is to be closed to other possibilities for the better, even to be proud that no one can do it better than we do. What is important is the reason which motivates us to be doing and not the doing itself. What matters most is, “Thy will be done,” and not what we have done. What is important is to “whom shall I go,” and not where shall I go. With this perspective in mind, the “rest will be added unto you” and then you are on the path to the BEST. Without this perspective, you will become the BEAST. Keep on chasing the best to tame the “beast” in us!

© Bryan Allen/Corbis

Have Fun When You Can 7:00 AM One Saturday morning, I kidnap our ANAWIM orphans and kids, all fifteen of them, and squeeze them into my car for a day of fun. Along the way, the kids are singing, dancing, screaming, and vomiting on each other. No wonder my car’s air freshener isn’t working well. And where are we going? Not to those expensive amusement parks where people pay P400 per head. Multiply that by fifteen, and I’ll be poorer than a presidential aspirant who has just lost the elections. Instead, I decide to go to a place that suits my personal tastes and cultural preferences and artistic orientation: a place with no entrance fee. 9:00 AM I drive them to a free park (Quezon Circle in Quezon City), rent old bikes—that cost me only P400 for everyone! I spend the whole morning trying

Church and Elections NOW that we are in the Year of Social Concerns, and also that we will be having elections this year, it seems but proper that we make some proactive, not reactive, effort to both humanize and Christianize this political exercise. Sad to say, our elections have gone to the dogs, consistently being accompanied by ugly cohorts like cheating, bribing, killing, violence, etc., leading us to a black hole of hideous social ills. We still fail to break the vicious cycle of poverty, injustice, violence, etc. on the one hand, and all sorts of political shenanigans, on the other. Is this task impossible? Difficult, definitely. But impossible? This is, of course, an enormous challenge, requiring heroic efforts and sacrifices and gargantuan resources, but we can always start now and build on what we have accomplished so far as we move along in our national life. We should try to avoid hasty, shallow and dangerous improvisations, amateurism, and ad hocism that should not sit well with us after so many years of nightmarish experiences regarding elections. The Church hierarchy and clergy should not just confine themselves to ceremonial acts and post-mortem complaining and lamenting. In terms of the pertinent catechesis alone, a lot need to be done. And there are many other things that can and ought to be done, before, during and after the elections. For example, what to tell or remind our politicians and candidates with respect to the conduct of the campaign and election; what to tell the electorate, the public officials involved in the exercise, etc., etc., should be very interesting and necessary. What issues to address, what platforms and programs of government would be appropriate, can be discussed, ventilated and debated upon by the different sectors with some guidelines given by Church authorities. Our Church leaders should think of a comprehensive plan to tackle

By Fr. Roy Cimagala this important social concern, and spark to life the appropriate machinery and network to carry out this indispensable ministry. This should be an affair. This is, of course, not a show of power on the part of the Church, nor to compromise the true nature and purpose of the Church, which is religious, and as such is predominantly spiritual and supernatural in character. This is not to come out with supposedly exclusive Catholic positions in political issues. This is rather to make sure that our earthly and temporal affairs conform to our proper religious end, inspiring them with true Christian spirit and doing so by carefully respecting the legitimate autonomy which these human affairs by their nature possess, and the plurality of moral positions they can spawn. Thus, it can be immediately seen that the main protagonists of this exercise would be the lay faithful insofar as they are also responsible citizens of the country. The clergy take more on the guiding and inspiring role, which is no trivial matter. Care should be taken to avoid falling into clericalism, a monstrous mongrel, bastard and hybrid between

religion and politics, the Church and state. Thus, everyone—clergy, religious and lay—should be taught about what he or she can do and not do with respect to the election and to anything political. In this regard, not only the diocesan and parochial offices can be used, but also the mass media. These offer greater reach and scope. Pope John Paul II called them the modern Areopagus, precisely for this reason. Over the years, many initiatives in this direction have already been made. On the whole, they are good and useful. But some clarifications, corrections and polishing need to be done. And, certainly, further development. It cannot be denied that there had been irregularities, outright mistakes and frontal violations to the authentic nature and purpose of the Church. Meddling by Church officials in political affairs had unfortunately happened. The elections can be a wonderful occasion for all of us to go deep and deeper into the social doctrine of the Church, which is becoming more relevant as we grow as nation. In fact, it’s a crying need today!

to teach the small ones how to balance on a two-wheeler— and wondering whether the big kids left the park and were now biking up Canon road to Baguio City. 11:30 AM As I try to catch my breath, wipe my sweat, and remove the new designs off my shirt and pants (i.e. biketracks), I begin to wonder why I ever got into this thing of putting up an orphanage. Perhaps I should shift careers now. I begin to imagine entering into Showbiz, and making a movie with Cameron Diaz. 12:00 NOON After failing to catch them with a lasso, or with ingenious pits that I dig and cover with leaves—I give up and softly whisper to myself, “Kakain na ako. Kung ayaw niyong kumain, di huwag.” Immediately, all fifteen are behind me, little angels in a row. 1:00 PM After budget meals, plus ice drops—two pesos each— for dessert, I decide on a dis-

Political Dynasty Am a concerned Pilipino in New York and I would join you in the prayer rally if I am in the Philippines. I believe that something good can be achieved in the show of another people’s power. The People must now command our politicians to pass ANTI-POLITICAL DYNASTY LAW which is already provided for in the Constitution. The problems in the Philippines can be summed up into 2 major ones: 1/3 Graft and Corruption and 2/3 Political Dynasty. If the enabling law can be passed to enforce the Anti-Political Dynasty, then 2/3 of our problems can be solved and it would lead to the minimization of graft and corruption. But considering that our Congressman and politicians will not take the action, then the initiative should be coming from the people to compel our leaders to pass the law that will implement the will of the Filipino—a more progressive and peaceful life in the Philippines—without the graft and corruption, with the more capable ordinary citizens having the chance to truly serve our people. I believe that NOW is the time to order our political leaders to heed the people’s command, while the politicians are still feeling the heat of anger by their constituents. Can I suggest that the passage of the Anti Political Dynasty be given more emphasis with those attending the rally exhorted to continue pressing their leaders to act on this very important piece of legislation. I am sure there are still some decent congressman and senators who will be willing to sponsor a bill for this matter, especially if the People will put more pressure. Thank you for reading and considering this proposal. Modesto B.

covery expedition, to a place that they’ve never been to. I escort them to a public toilet. Naturally, they are flushed with excitement. After that, it was “swings and slides” time in the park. Life’s pleasures are free indeed. 5:00 PM I’m driving home with my tired crew. I’m exhausted, yes, but peeking through my rear-view mirror, I catch a glimpse of the kids sleeping soundly, and my heart skips a beat. I love them so much. One girl was still awake. She sides up to me and whispers, “Kuya Bo, masayang masaya ako ngayon.” So I wonder if it was the bike ride, or the swing, or the ice drop, or the public toilet. I ask why. She gives me a tight hug. “Kasi, kasama ka namin.” I try to drive carefully. My tears are getting in the way.

FROM THE INBOX The Choir and English Mass We are grateful for your wise, just and satisfying spiritual guidance to the Catholic community. My friends and I are proud to strive to be good Catholics. But we have some concerns which we know you can fairly resolve. Our Parish Priests always encourage us to participate in the celebration of mass especially on Sundays. We try to and we buy the monthly missalette. However, it is difficult for us to participate because the choir usually deviates from the songs indicated in the missalette. To enable us to actively participate, it would be helpful if the choir is instructed to sing the songs as indicated in the missalette. Another concern is that all masses in our area are usually in Tagalog. Is it possible for the parish to conduct at least one mass in English on Sundays? There are a lot of visitors and foreigners married to Filipinos who desire to attend Sunday Services. Since they can not comprehend what is going on, they get discouraged from attending Sunday mass. It happened recently when our folks abroad came home to attend the 50th wedding anniversary of my sister. When they found out masses are in Tagalog, they just were disappointed. Especially this time when English is being encouraged to hone proficiency, masses in English is an excellent medium of learning. Filipinos then were admired for their ability to communicate in English fluently. Lizbeth O.

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Title: AGENT X44 Running Time: 95 mins Lead Cast: Vhong Navarro, Mariel Rodriguez, Cassandra Ponti, Pokwang, Juliana Palermo, Mura, Tony Ferrer Director: Joyce Bernal Producers: Charo Santos Concio, Malou Santos Screenwriter: Mel Mendoza del Rosario Music: Charles "Chukie" Dreyfus Editor: Renewin Alano Genre: Comedy Distributor: Star CINEMA Location: Manila, Philippines Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 13 and below with parental guidance

Nagsasanay si King a.k.a Agent X43 (Vhong Navarro) upang maging isang ganap na agent detective katulad ng kanyang Ninong na si Agent X44 (Tony Ferrer). Kasabay ni King sa pagsasanay ang kanyang sidekick na si Junior a.k.a. Bro (Mura) at kaibigan na si Mary Grace a.k.a. Agent 609 (Mariel Rodriguez). Sa pagtatapos ng training ay itinalaga bilang mga ganap na agent ang mga kapwa nila trainees kabilang si Mary

CINEMA Reviews Grace maliban kina King at Junior na sa halip ay itinalaga bilang mga tagalinis o Janitor. Ikinalungkot ito ni King at ni Agent X44 dahil kapwa pala sila umaasa na magkakaroon ng bagong X44 sa katauhan ni King at makapagpahinga bilang senior citizen ang kanyang Ninong. Hanggang isang kaso ng nawawalang artifacts sa museo ang kailangan solusyunan na may kinalaman pala sa mga unang kaso na napagtagumpayan ni Agent X44 tatlong dekada na ang nakararaan. Naging hamon ito kay King upang maisalba ang naunsyami niyang career bilang agent, kaya ginawa niya ang lahat ng paraan sa tulong ni Junior upang maibigay sa kanya ang kaso. Naibigay naman ito sa kanya na kaakibat ang mga kondisyon kasama ang maayos na pagsasama nila sa trabaho ng kaibigan na si Mary Grace na nagbalik matapos ang ibayo pang pagsasanay sa ibang bansa. Magtagumpay naman kaya si King sa kasong ito at maging ganap na Agent X44?

pagbigkas ng mga wikang banyaga) at misteryosong labanan na wala namang saysay. Walang sentro ang kwento kaya hirap masundan ang daloy nito kahit na ang karakter ni King ay nakakalito dahil sa tila likas niyang pagkakomedyante at kahit papaano ay nagging interesante ang pagbuhay sa katauhan ng maalamat na Agent X44 lalo na ang aktuwal na pagganap ng unang binansagan nito tatlong dekada na ang nakararaan na si Tony Ferrer. Sa mga umaasa ng mga kamangha-manghang eksenang detektib at mga kakaibang gatgets ay mabibigo sa pelikulang ito. Bagama't my effort na magpakita ng mga tagpo na may animated computer program parang wala naman itong dating at halos di napansin. Halos di naman makilala ang mga karakter dahil sa disenyo ng produksyon at nakakalitong dubbing. Hilaw ang musika at tunog na inilapat. Sa kabuuan ng aspetong teknikal ay walang masydong maihahain ng pelikula.

Halata na pilit lang nilagyan ng istorya ang pelikula dahil mas nangibabaw ang mga agaw eksenang patawa (pati eksaheradang

Hindi mailap ang tagumpay sa taong nagsisikap at may mithiin sa buhay. Kahit papaano ay ipinakita ito ng pelikula sa kabila ng magulong

Title: SAW III Running Time: 83 mins Lead Cast: Tobin Bell, Bahar Soomkh, Angus Macfadyen, Dina Meyer, Shawnee Smith Director: Darren Lynn Bausman Producers: Greg Hoffman, Mark Burg Screenwriter: Leigh Whannel Music: Charlie Clouser Genre: Horror Cinematography: David Armstrong Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

pletes the entire mood of scenes ? rusty, gloomy and dark. Cinematography and editing are decent and tight and the scoring is substantially chilling. It is surprising how one person can champion values such as forgiveness, faithfulness and appreciation of one's life be so violent, cold blooded and sadistic at the same time. Can a noble intention such as teaching a person forgiveness or matrimonial faithfulness justify the mutilation of a wrongdoer? Society most of the time applauds vigilantes and rude heroes who use force and violence to punish the corrupt, the immoral and the abusive. At some point we cry "death by lethal injection or gas chamber" -probably these are "more humane" and less gruesome than the devises and contraptions of Jigsaw -- but doesn't it follow the same principle? Hate the sin and love the sinner is a very basic Christian value that needs to be emphasized these days, vis-?-vis we give importance to the conversion of the heart and soul and rectification of attitude as oppose to judgment and punishment of an offender. After all, didn't we commit a mistake or fault at some point in our lives? The movie fails to bring its underlying philosophy and concentrated on spilling liters of blood, body parts and other vomit-inducing elements and is definitely not suitable for young and sensitive audience.

Jigsaw / John (Tobin Bell) returns for the 3rd installment of the Saw Trilogy as bedridden cancer patient now in the brink of death. He needs to stay alive until his newest victim Jeff (Agnus Macfayden), a father mourning for the loss of his 8 year old son completes his game wherein he meets people who contributed to the death of his son and he is made to choose to forgive and save them or watch them die slowly and painfully. His prot?g?e, Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the junkie he saved in the previous sequel, continues his torture legacy and kidnaps Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomkh) so he can ensure he stays alive to see Jeff finish his game and receive punishment fir committing adultory. Amanda designs an intricate collar bomb that will ex-

plode the moment John flatlines or she walks to far from the man. Unfortunately, Jigsaw/John takes fancy of Lynn which angers Amanda after giving him her loyalty. Considering the development of movies of this genre, one would be surprised at the dullness of the production. It is neither terrifying nor thrilling. For horror, it relies a lot on gore and blood spills and how much one can stomach as it merely moves from one torture scene to the next interspersed with a weak story line. Although this sequel ties all loose ends of the previous two; it is a little confusing as it tries to take an indepth look at the relationship of John and Amanda; masters and prot?g?e, love, father and daughter and wallows in detailing subplots of other characters in the present and previous films. The script is flat and bland while the production design com-


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takbo ng istorya. Naniniwala at naninindigan si King sa kanyang k a k a y a h a n bagama't gumamit siya ng pananakot bilang huwad na multo para makamit niya ang minimithing kaso u p a n g mapatunayan na karapat-dapat siyang maging ganap na ahente ng imbestigasyon. Sa pag-ako naman ng responsibilidad ay kailangan bantayan ang kahinaan upang wag mahulog sa bitag katulad ng pagkabighani sa seksing babae. Maraming eksenang patawa ang pelikula na gumamit ng istilong pagaalipusta at pagwawalang halaga sa kapwa lalo na sa babae. Sa kabuuan ay bitin ang paghahatid ng magandang aral sa manonood. Dapat ring maging maingat sa paggamit sa marangal na pangalan ng kilalang


bayani na katulad ni Lapu-lapu at sa mga bagay na direktang iniuugnay sa kanya katulad ng kanyang tabak na naging subject ng obsession ng iba't ibang karakter sa pelikula! Dahil sa di umano ay mahiwagang kakayahan nito na makagawa ng langis at mapagyaman sa sinuman na magmamay-ari nito.

Title: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM Running Time: 95 mins Lead Cast: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Rrobin Williams, Owen Wilson Director: Shawn Levy Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus Screenwriters: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon Music: Alan Silvestru Editor: Don Zimmerman Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro Distributor: 20th Century Fox Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a newly divorced father?jobless, rudderless, and struggling to get a job to be able to support his son Nick (Jake Cherry). So as not to have to move to Queens, which will disappoint Nick, Larry takes the only job that he can, as a security guard on graveyard shift at New York's Museum of Natural History. He inherits the museum's only copy of the instruction manual from the three guards about to retire, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Reginald (Bill Cobbs) and Gus (Mickey Rooney), along with a mysterious piece of advice: "After dark, don't let anyone in--or out." Larry soon sees why--on his first night he discovers that once the doors are locked and the sun goes down, all hell practically breaks loose. The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton reanimates, as do the lions and all the African mammals, the Egyptian statues, Attila the Hun, Theodore Roosevelt, the little figurines in the dioramas, even the miniature trains. But alas, Dexter, the capuchin monkey, tears the instruction manual to piece. It may not be the most original father-son bonding story ever told, nor the funniest comedyfantasy ever filmed, but Night at the Museum wins hands down in the CGI department. It's both

amusing and entertaining to see a T-rex skeleton, for instance, behaving like an overeager puppy and wanting to play "fetch" with a stunned Stiller. The Lilliputian diorama figurines tying Stiller down with his head on the railroad tracks while their equally tiny trains rams his head without as much as messing his hair is also comical. Stiller is his usual bumbling self here; his looks are perfect for the funny part, but can turn earnest when needed. The two screen veterans (Van Dyke and Cobbs) play their roles gamely and well, while the third veteran (Rooney), looking like a resurrected museum item himself, steals the scene from both Stiller and the capuchin monkey. More sophisticated audiences might fall asleep from either exhaustion or boredom halfway through the nigh at the museum for there are no witty gags or smart double-talk in this movie. But as long as viewers know what to expect, it could be an enjoyable family movie: entertaining enough, clean enough, and very well-made technically, plus there's that worthy message of providing oneself against all odds. Even young children may watch this, but ready when they ask things like "How can the giant skeleton drink?

People, Facts & Places


CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 2 January 22, 2007

Parish of St. Therese in Batangas Declared Shrine THE shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face in Batangas was declared an Archdiocesan Shrine last January 2, 2007, on the 134th birthday of the saint. The Archdiocesan Chancellor, Rev. Father Gerard Jonas Palmares, read the Decree in front of the heavily packed devotees including the hermanidad and benefactors. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by the Archbishop of Lipa, Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles, DD. The solemn event was also graced with the presence of the Auxiliary BishopEmeritus of Lipa, Most Rev. Salvador Q. Quizon, DD; the Bishop of Gumaca, Most Rev. Ben Famadico, DD; and the Bishop-Emeritus of Lucena, Most Rev. Ruben T. Profugo, DD, and several priests and religious. The Marker of the Shrine and the belfry were blessed prior to the celebration of the Mass. The newly declared Shrine of St. Therese is the fourth Archdiocesan Shrine in Lipa. The first declared Archdiocesan Shrine is the famous and well revered Our Lady of Caysasay in Labac, Taal, Batangas. The present rector of the Shrine is Fr. Bong Panganiban. The second is the Shrine of St. Vincent Ferrer in Banay-Banay, Lipa City. It is currently under the supervision of Fr. Jojo Mendoza as Rector. The third one which is administered by Fr. Charlie Argente, an Oblate of St. Joseph Priest,

is the Shrine of St. Joseph, The Patriarch. The latest which is under the stewardship of Fr. Bert R. Cabrera, as Parish Priest, is the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. The shrine of St. Therese used to be the parochial Church of Sta. Teresita Municipality. It is located along national highway in the midwestern part of the province of Batangas. The Sta. Teresita- Poblacion is the former Brgy. Sambat of Taal, Batangas. The Parish Church was declared a Shrine for the Archdiocese of Lipa to acknowledge the widespread of devotion to the Saint of the New Millennium. St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the Saint of the Little Way and the Patroness of Foreign Missions is also the 34th Doctor of the Church. Roses are commonly associated with St. Therese. They became commonly known as signs of granted petitions through the intercession of the saint. During the declaration event, Most Rev. Ramon C. Arguelles, DD, and Fr. Bert R. Cabrera blessed the roses brought by the congregation. St. Therese uttered before she breathed her last that she will spend her heaven by doing good on earth. She was true to her promise. Many devotees attributed the favors they have received through the intercession of St. Therese. (by Elvie Reyes & Arlene de Villa)

Fr. Théophile Verbist Founded the CICM in Brussels, Belgium THE CICM missionaries arrived in the Philippines in 1907. Since then, for 100 years now, the CICM missionaries have been in the works of evangelization in many parts of the country. This year the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), is celebrating 100 years of missionary work in the country. Today, 100 members of CICM are of Filipino nationality including Bishop Carlito Cenzon of the diocese of Baguio, and Bishop Prudencio Andaya Apostolic Vicar of Tabuk. Many are in Africa, America or Asia, like Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, in Mongolia. Prominent CICM missionaries include Fr

Francis Lambrecht who evangelized the people of Ifugao and became Vicar Apostolic of Montana province and Msgr. William Brasseur who came in 1931 to work among the Benguet people. The congregation works of evangelization have also challenged and inspired many Filipinos to give themselves to serve the missions worldwide. CICM missionaries, priests and brothers are serving in Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, D.R. Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Zambia, Senegal, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mongolia, Japan, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Haiti. (CBCP News)

Known Film / from p1 of CINEMA reviewers from the CBCP Office on Women. According to CBCP Office on Women, executive secretary Dr. Zenaida Rotea, it was out of the initial 4-day seminar conducted by Malone in Manila on January 12-15, 2000, that “CINEMA was formed, and competent movie reviewers and assessors were trained and appointed.” This preliminary seminar was followed by a six-month intensive workshop. In July 2000, CINEMA was launched. Malone had been in the country a few times, but it was his third time to come and visit CINEMA at the Office on Women. Rotea said that CINEMA makes it always a point to invite Malone whenever he is in the Philippines to give him an update on what the group is doing. In his meeting with the group last January 18, Malone praised CINEMA for what it had accomplished since its beginning. He commended the group for being able to sustain this kind of work. Malone also expressed his wish that every Episcopal Conference in the world will have a body of movie reviewers as sustainable as CINEMA.

In the past six years, CINEMA had conducted eleven seminars on “Film Review and Classification which had an over all total of 187 participants. It also conducted two seminars on TV advocacy against pornography. The review body has had 45 assessors and 16 writers who had reviewed 636 movies. “CINEMA provides a great service by its perceptive reviews, mediating the film to the public of believers and those who do not share our faith,” said Malone. Malone is a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. He is a native of Australia but currently resides in London and works for SIGNIS film desk. Having finished his term as president of SIGNIS, Malone said he is freer now to go around and do things that he loved most; that, of “being a bridge between the Church and the professional world of cinema— by review, by juries at festivals, those kinds of interactions.” He noted that there are a lot of opportunities that can be explored, “[whether] publishing books, whether it be expanding the juries, whether it be seminars or dialogues, all those kinds of things.” (PinkyBarrientos, FSP)

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The Ayala Heights Village QC ladies Association led by Maricor Castillo and Friends staged a Christmas musicale last December 16, 2006 to raise funds for the victims of typhoons “Reming and Seniang.” Featured choral groups were the Kilyawan and Children’s Joy Foundation choral ensemble. The money raised (PHP106,300.00), was presented to Msgr. Juanito Figura, CBCP Secretary General.

Markings CELEBRATED. St. Mary’s College, Meycauayan (Bulacan), 90th foundation anniversary; December, 2006. St. Mary’s College was called Escuela de Maycauayan when founded in 1916 as a parochial school offering primary education with Catechism as its core subject. It was and is still managed and administered by the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), the first Filipino Congregation founded in 1648 by a Filipino, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. The school was torn down completely by fire on April 4, 1949. In 1954, a two-storey semi-concrete structure was completed. Eleven years later, the kindergarten course was recognized. In 1981, the school opened its secondary or high school offering. Shortly thereafter, in keeping with the demands of the congregations’ education apostolate, the Sisters opened the doors of the school to students in the tertiary level. The college goal is to produce dynamic leaders imbued with Christian orientation who will contribute to the development of the Maycauayan and the whole country as well.visibly experienced and felt. CELEBRATED. Black Nazarene of Quiapo (Church), 400th anniversary in the Philippines. In 1606, Señor Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, known as the Black Nazarene, arrived at Luneta in Manila. In 1767, the image of the Black Nazarene was brought to Intramuros by the Recollect Fathers during the incumbency of archbishop Basilio Sancho. There is no definite account as to the origin of the image. Entrusted to an unknown Recollect priest, the image was brought across the Pacific Ocean aboard a galleon that arrived in Manila at an undetermined date. As the first group of Recollect Friars came in the year 1606, it has been assumed that the image also arrived on that year. Rev. Fr. Leonardo G. Agcaoile, Vice Chairman, His-

torical Research Committee, Archdiocese of Manila, stated in the 1964 Souvenir Program of the Quiapo Fiesta, “The Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno was blessed by Archbishop Basilio Sancho in the 18th Century and by Pope Pius VII in the 19th century. The Nazarene has since then towered above the altar of the Quiapo Church.”

CELEBRATED. Most Rev. Ernesto Salgado, DD, 71, archbishop of Nueva Segovia, 20th episcopal ordination anniversary; January 15, 2006. Ordained bishop on January 15, 1987 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Abp. Salgado was born in Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur on November 22, 1936. He spent his high school education at the Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary, then took his A.B. Philosophy degree at the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary, also in Vigan, from 1950-1955. Thereafter, he obtained his Bachelor and Licentiate in Sacred Theology degrees (STB and STL) from the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila. He later took his Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD) degree at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. C E L EBRATED. St. Ildephonse P a r i s h (Guiguinto, Bulacan), 400th foundation anniversary. The Catalogo of 1591 already speaks of Guiguinto convent as a visita of Caruya (later known as Bigaa and now as Balagtas), with St. Ildephonse as its Patron Saint. According to Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, OSA, during the 1600’s, Guiguinto had two chapels, one was on the hills of Malis in honor of St. Bernabe while the other was in Matungao, Bulacan under the patronage of St. Nicholas of Tolentino. On October 31, 1607, the Augustinians accepted the town of Guiguinto as a visita of Caruya.

Caceres H

Jan 22, 2007 - CBCPMonitor  

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