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Vol. 11 No. 4

Benedict XVI4,Tells February 19 - March 2007

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Youth to “Dare to Love”

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Pope’s Message for Lent 2007

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Poverty, Main Reason Why Filipinos Migrate

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PPCRV Launches Poll Monitoring Manual A CHURCH coalition of more than 3,100 parish units nationwide pushed anew its campaign for ensuring credible elections by launching a “bible” for its poll watchdogs. PPCRV / P4

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The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today

Cardinal Asks Arroyo to Recall GE Rice

CBCP Monitor

MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales urged President Arroyo to look into the sale of genetically enhanced rice in major supermarkets and stop the import of such rice from the United States.

Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace February 19 - March 4, 2007

Vol. 11 No. 4

Php 20.00

Cardinal / P4

EDSA 1 Failed but the Spirit Remains by Royroy Lagarde

EDSA / P4

Oppressed by Poverty, 3,000 Filipinos Sell Their Organs by Santosh Digal MORE and more Filipinos are selling their kidneys and other organs to rich Westerners seeking transplants. An order has been issued from the Malacañang Presidential Palace for the Department of Health to take every measure necessary to stop this practice. According to government’s own figures, at least 3,000 Filipinos have been involved in illegal transplants. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said a meeting is scheduled on Saturday (February 10) among officials of the Oppressed / P4

Formation in Ecumenism Needed in Christian Unity, Say Bishops

© www.rcam.org

AMIDST the present political frenzy, a young Catholic bishop admitted that Edsa 1 celebration “no longer stir” the people into participation but said its spirit remains unshattered. Bataan bishop Socrates Villegas, a longtime aide of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, said the feeling during the first People Power seem no longer expressive in these commemorations. “The feeling is not there,” said Villegas. But while some people may have somehow lost the ideals of the famous revolt, the bishop believes the spirit of Edsa I remains just as it was when it happened. “It is alive in the young people whose hearts yearn for goodness, truth and love. It is alive in people who selflessly serve the poor, setting up cooperatives and other livelihood projects to lift them out of their helplessness,” he said. “The feeling will fade, but the spirit remains,” he added. In 1986, millions of Filipinos defied tanks and troops to fight the Marcos dictatorship. The bishop said that when Edsa I is commemorated, it is to reaffirm the values we stood for and gathered together without guile but with much courage and firm determination. Last year, Villegas criticized the government for its “low key preparations” for the 20th anniversary celebration. “Let the anniversary of Edsa I be our special day of prayer for its spirit to remain in us, for its spirit to be passed on through all generations, as the epiphany of God’s love for us, and

“The Search for Christian Unity: Where we stand today?”: Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, CBCP President, with Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at a seminar held at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center Manila, February 8-10, 2007.

WHILE the quest for tangible Christian unity demands brilliant ideas to hurdle denominational differences, Catholic bishops said it definitely needs education aimed at amplifying basic Christian faith. If the faithful are called to work for unity, they must know and believe the faith they claim to share, the prelates said in a statement issued after the Asian Bishops’ Seminar on Ecumenism held in Manila last February 7 to 11. “All Catholics are called to work for Christian unity; there is a pressing need for ecumenical formation, especially for clergy and laity who have leadership roles in the Formation / P4

On the Season of Lent, CBCP Urges Sharing AS the whole Christendom enters Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, Catholic bishops are calling on the faithful to surmount indifference to the poor and share what they have with the needy. CBCP head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo urged the Catholics to look at the needs of their brethren in a country still marred by “poverty, hunger thirst, suffering, brokenness and violence.” “We are in the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is sacrifice. Lent is loving… Jesus has said that whatever is given to the least, the lost and

the last of our neighbors is given to him. And whoever so gives repeats the experience of Jesus,” he said. In his message, Lagdameo underscored the 35th anniversary day the Alay Kapwa (AK), the Lenten action-evangelization project of the Philippine Catholic Church which is observed every Ash Wednesday. The campaign, which is under the supervision of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) calls for sharing of one’s resources in favor of the less fortunate. It also invites people to volunteer time, talent and

Bishop Condemns Mining Resumption in Rapu-rapu A CATHOLIC bishop condemned the recent government decision to allow Australianbacked Lafayette Philippines to resume largescale mining operations in Rapu-rapu, Albay. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said the reopening of mining activities would surely endanger the health and safety of his flock. “We strongly object to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Angelo Reyes’ approval for the irresponsible mining company to resume operations,” he said. The bishop said he would hold Reyes and Lafayette responsible for further danger and damages that will befall on the island. Based on experience, other scientific studies and expert opinions, the mining in Rapurapu is “inappropriate” and “detrimental” to the environment, said Bastes. “They just don’t get it,” he said. Reyes announced the government has allowed Lafayette to resume open pit mining opBishop Condemns / P4

energy in the service of the poor in the community channeled through the parishes. The proceeds from AK contribute towards supporting and sustaining the social action programs of the Church. Lagdameo appealed to the faithful to “give generously” to this worthy cause of the CBCP. “Alay Kapwa is one way in which our ‘little’ will become ‘much’ when joined with the little which others give. The measure is not ‘how much you give,’ but ‘how generous you are,’” he said.

Bishops Assail Antiterror Bill THE country’s new anti-terrorism bill could lead to rights abuses, Catholic bishops say. The Congress approved the bill recently to root out and detain suspected terrorists without charge for three days and to access suspect’s bank accounts. A nagging concern from some prelates on the “controversial” bill is the possibility that authorities might use it to suppress civil liberties. Caloocan bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said the bill could further intensify human rights violations in the country. “We should be very cautious and vigilant about this controversial bill,” he said. Some 172 congressmen who were present during the February 19 session approved the law. There are 230 members in the lower house, but some did not attend the session. The Senate had ratified the measure earlier and Arroyo must sign it into law. “This is another sad experience how we are manipulated by numbers,” said Iñiguez. The bill, known as the Human Security Act Bishops Assail / P4

AK, he said, is people living and experiencing the solicitude of God for the poor, the abandoned, the victims of natural calamities, the victims of injustice and violence. The CBCP president added that to have the spirit of Alay Kapwa, one does not have to be wealthy or powerful or influential; only to be good and committed to one’s neighbor. “In order to give to Alay Kapwa Lenten Fund Campaign you do not have to be rich or to have plenty, you need only to be generous, desirous like Jesus to serve and to give life more abundantly.”

Pope Appoints Auxiliary Bishop for Tuguegarao THE Pope has chosen a new auxiliary bishop to serve the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. Fr Ricardo Lingan-Baccay, 45, the rector of San Jacinto Minor Seminary in Tuguegarao has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Auxiliary Bishop the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. The archdiocese headed by Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan covers a total of three suffragan bishoprics, namely, the dioceses of Batanes, Bayombong and Ilagan. Born on October 19, 1932, Talamayan will be reaching his retirement age eight months from now. Church law dictates that every bishop should request permission of the Pope to resign from the Episcopal office at the age of 75. The new auxiliary, however, does not have the right of succession. Bishop-elect Baccay was born in Tuguegarao and studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He also received his Masters of Arts in EducaPope / P4


World News

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Apostolic Exhortation on Eucharist is “Imminent”

ROME, February 22, 2007—Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will soon release the apostolic exhortation summarizing the work of the Synod on the Eucharist, which concluded its deliberations

16 months ago. The appearance of the apostolic exhortation is “imminent,” the Holy Father told priests of the Rome diocese, during a traditional earlyLenten meeting in the Hall of Benedictions at the Vatican on Thursday morning. In June 2006, the bishops who make up the ordinary council of the Synod completed a final text on the previous year’s Synod on the Eucharist, to be submitted to the Pope as the basis for his apostolic exhortation. The Synod of Bishops met in October 2005 to discuss the theme, “The Eucharist: Living Bread for Peace in the World,” with 256 bishops from 118 countries participating in the discussions. In a break from the usual practice, the Synod fathers made public an “unofficial” list of the 50 propositions approved at the conclusion of their deliberations.

Ordinarily the propositions remain confidential to be used by the Pope in preparing an apostolic exhortation on the topic of the Synod’s deliberations. But Pope Benedict approved the public release of the conclusions. During his February 22 meeting with priests of Rome, the Pope said that his apostolic exhortation would offer a series of meditations on some of the key points made during the Synod. Pope Benedict did not mention the motu proprio that he is also expected to release in the near future, allowing broader use of the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy. Several Vatican journalists have suggested that the motu proprio is likely to appear in conjunction with the apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, although the Holy See has not confirmed that speculation. (CWNews)

Nuncio in Sri Lanka: a Forgotten Country at War

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, February 22, 2007—On the fifth anniversary of the signing of a ceasefire between the Colombo government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), peace is very far from Sri Lanka. Yesterday in Batticaloa, in the east of the island, an attack on a police patrol killed three people, including an officer, and injured 16. The Catholic Church frequently draws attention to the tragedy of the people, which however does not seem to touch the international community in the same way as the tsunami catastrophe.

The Nuncio of Sri Lanka, Msgr. Mario Zenari, told AsiaNews that the war was building barriers in Sri Lanka, a tragic reality made all the more poignant by the generous support which poured into the island from abroad in the wake of the Tsunami tragedy in 2004. “After the Tsunami, the people of Sri Lanka experienced an unprecedented wave of solidarity all over the world,” he said. “Still today many delegations come from all over the world, from thousands of miles away, to show their solidarity and to inaugurate projects of reconstruction and development, while we, on this small island, cannot move from one part to another, cannot move from relatives to relatives, from friends to friends, from one parish to the next because of the increasingly strict and impenetrable barriers imposed by the

conflict.” In the midst of this sad and humbling scenario, continued Msgr. Zenari, “it is consoling to see that the people keep praying and trusting in the merciful love of God”. Civil war erupted in Sri Lanka in 1983, when movements within the Tamil minority took extreme action following systematic pogroms that claimed the lives of thousands of people. The Tigers, who are aiming for the creation of an autonomous, self-governing state in the north and north-east, have taken control of entire swathes of land. On 22 February 2002, thanks to international mediation, especially from Norway, a cease-fire in force since Christmas 2001 was signed. Today the ceasefire is valid only on paper. More than two decades of war have claimed the lives of between 60,000 to 80,000 people. Since December 2005, the country has seen a resurgence of hostilities between the rebels and military that has claimed the lives of 4,000 people including 660 since the beginning of 2007. (AsiaNews)

Catholic Media Council Sponsors Seminar on Evangelization on the Internet TOKYO, Japan, February 4, 2007— The Catholic Media Council’s seventh seminar was held at the Paulist convent in Wakaba, Tokyo, Jan. 27. The theme was “new openings for evangelization on the Internet” and among the more than 60 people attending the seminar were some who manage church homepages and others searching for ways to proclaim the gospel through the internet. In the opening address, auxiliary Bishop Kazuo Koda of Tokyo, explained the “gospel hints” that are offered on the Tokyo archdiocese homepage. These “hints” were started by Bp. Koda to aid people when reflections on the gospel did not continue at churches where there was no priest present. The hints form a detailed guide to the Sunday gospels. However, in mentioning that there were some people who read

these hints alone, Bp. Koda emphasized that, “the gospel is passed along through contacts among people,” and the Internet must be seen as “an opportunity for real people to meet each other.” Hirauki Hirai, who manages the Tsukuba Church’s homepage in Saitama prefecture, said that if the purpose of a homepage is refined and the work involved lessened, information can be delivered regularly. Among the proposals made at the seminar was to “record some parts of the Mass and put them on a church site.” Fr. Masahide Haresaku of Tokyo archdiocese, vice president of the council, said, “The age of the Internet could be compared with the changes brought by the Guttenberg age. It is an opportunity for the Church, and should be thought of

as a mission for us.” The Catholic Media Council is the Japanese branch of the international Catholic media organization SIGNIS for those involved in media work. In September the Asian meeting of SIGNIS will take place in Japan for the first time. Preparations for this meeting are already underway, and appeals for volunteers and donations are being made. (Japan Catholic News)

Public cradles against abortion TOKYO, Japan, February 23, 2007– Japan has also set up “public cradles against abortion”. Following India, which last week launched a “cradles scheme” against abortions and foeticide of girls, the Japanese Health Minister approved a decision taken by a hospital in Kumamoto to have a “baby box” for the public. Hospital officials said the box

was intended to ensure absolute privacy for those parents who wanted to abandon their newly born babies. The “box” is an incubator which is always working and monitored by a nurse of the hospital. Babies can be put there through an opening in the hospital wall. According to officials of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the proposal “does not violate

any law but should be supported because it protects the safety of unwanted babies.” Clearly, they added, from a legal point of view, the hospital would have to answer for the safety of the children. All the same, “the government will do everything possible to help through adoption and tax reduction campaigns”. (AsiaNews/Agencies)

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

5 in Line for Canonization VATICAN CITY, February 20, 2007— The Church intends to canonize four male saints from Malta, Poland, Brazil and the Netherlands, and one female saint from France. The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that on Friday, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, an ordinary public consistory will be held for the canonization of the following blessed: • George Preca (1439-1482), Maltese, priest, founder of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae. • Szymon of Lipnica (1439-1482), Polish, priest of the Order of Friars Minor. • Charles of St. Andrew (born

Johannes Andreas Houben), (1821-1893), Dutch, priest of the Congregation of the Passion. • Antonio de Santa Ana (born Antonio Galvão de Franca), (1739-1822), Brazilian, priest of the Order of Alcantarine, or Discalced Friars Minor, and founder of the Convent of Conceptionist Sisters Recolhimento da luz • Marie-Eugénie de Jésus (born Anne-Eugénie Milleret de Brou), (1817-1898), French, founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The ordinary consistory is convened to provide the formal assent of the cardinals for the approval of decrees for the canonizations. (Zenit)

Nobel prizewinner Yunus to leave Grameen Bank and run for office D H A K A , Bangladesh Dhaka, February 20, 2007— Mohammad Yunus, inventor of microcredit and Nobel peace Prizewinner for 2006, has announced his intention to leave the Grameen Bank (literally, ‘Village’ or ‘Rural’ Bank, i.e. the Bank of the poor) he founded in order to run for office in the upcoming Bangladeshi elections. Since last October the country has been shaken by a major crisis that forced President Iajuddin Ahmed to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for January 22 of this year and declare a state of emergency. Mr Yunus’s party will be called Nagarik Shakti, Citizens’ Power or people’s power in Bengali. Reactions to his decision to join the fray have been multiple and disparate. Some view him as the “Saviour of the fatherland;” others are less generous and see him as trying to capitalise on his Nobel fame. Papers are full of responses to his ‘open letter’ to the population in

which he asked citizens for their views on his plan to set up a political party. For many Bangladesh experts, Yunus’s decision to float his idea in the press seems good and at least runs against the grain of the established system in which parties are groups of supporters of absolute leaders with no democracy and internal debate. A good idea is also that of setting up village level units upon which to build a national party. However, Yunus is a political neophyte and has always taken a neutral stance even when neutrality meant supporting corruption and injustice, according to some analysts. Now this neutrality is bound to change and a political program with its guidelines and alliances must be formulated. Moreover, nothing is known about his ties to the Bangladesh’s army, which remains an institution everyone must reckon with. Hopefully, Yunus won’t play up too much his Noble prize and use the respect and prestige he gained to further his political ambitions; otherwise, he will be in trouble very soon. (AsiaNews)

Pope Hails Focolare Movement’s Charism VATICAN CITY, February. 8, 2007— Benedict XVI greeted a group of 85 participants in the annual congress of bishop-friends of the Focolare Movement, and called the organization’s charism of unity a richness for the Church. The bishops attending the meeting, held in Castel Gandolfo (south of Rome), are from around the world, including countries such as Lebanon, Sudan and Pakistan. The meeting, which ends Friday, is on the theme “The Crucified and Forsaken Christ, a Light in the Cultural Night.” The Pope greeted the bishops today in audience, along with the bishop-friends of the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio. Benedict XVI said that he was pleased to take advantage of “this occasion to send Chiara Lubich my best wishes and blessing, which I extend to all the members of the movement that she founded.” The Pope said: “The Focolare Movement, precisely from the heart of its spirituality, that is, Jesus crucified and forsaken, underlines the charism and the service of unity, which is realized in the different social and cultural realms as, for example, in the economic, with the ‘economy of communion,’ and through the paths of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.” During the meeting, the Pontiff

said that bishops and the new ecclesial realities that have arisen over the last decades “can together address with stronger drive the challenges” that urgently face them at the “beginning of the third millennium.” The Holy Father said he was thinking “in the first place of the search for justice and peace and of the urgency to build a more fraternal and solidaristic world, beginning precisely in the countries some of you come from, which are being tried by bloody conflicts.” Lubich founded the Focolare Movement in Trent, Italy, in 1943. (Zenit)


CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

VATICAN CITY, February 5, 2007—Benedict XVI exhorts young people to “dare to love,” in his message for the upcoming diocesan-level World Youth Day. “Everybody feels the longing to love and to be loved,” the Pope says in his message. “Yet, how difficult it is to love, and how many mistakes and failures have to be reckoned with in love! There are those who even come to doubt that love is possible. “But if emotional delusions or lack of affection can cause us to think that love is utopian, an impossible dream, should we then become resigned?” “No!” the Holy Father replies. “Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you — you who are the future and hope of humanity — trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another.” The diocesan-level World Youth Day will be held on Palm Sunday, April 1. Benedict XVI continues in his message: “Let us now go on a journey together in three stages, as we embark on a ‘discovery’ of love.” 3 stages The papal message explains that the first stage is learning that God himself is love, as St. John explains. The second stage, the Pope states, is knowing “love in all its magnitude” as re-

News Feature

Malaybalay Celebrates Week of Peace

Benedict XVI Tells Youth to “Dare to Love” vealed by Christ, especially on the cross. The third stage, the Holy Father writes, is realizing that love longs to be shared: “Christ cried out from the cross: ‘I am thirsty’ (John 19:28). This shows us his burning thirst to love and to be loved by each one of us. “It is only by coming to perceive the depth and intensity of such a mystery that we can realize the need and urgency to love him as he has loved us. This also entails the commitment to even give our lives, if necessary, for our brothers and sisters sustained by love for him.” The papal message ends by giving “the secret of love,” namely, the “indispensable support of divine grace.” “Each one of us, my dear

friends, has been given the possibility of reaching this same level of love, but only by having recourse to the indispensable support of divine grace,” the message states. “Only the Lord’s help will allow us to keep away from resignation when faced with the enormity of the task to be undertaken. ”It instills in us the courage to accomplish that which is humanly inconceivable. Contact with the Lord in prayer grounds us in humility and reminds us that we are ‘unworthy servants.’” Benedict XVI urges young people to discover the Eucharist. “Above all, the Eucharist is the great school of love,”

he explains. “When we participate regularly and with devotion in Holy Mass, when we spend a sustained time of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it is easier to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of his love that goes beyond all knowledge (cf. Ephesians 3:17-18). “By sharing the Eucharistic Bread with our brothers and sisters of the Church community, we feel compelled, like Our Lady with Elizabeth, to render ‘in haste’ the love of Christ into generous service towards our brothers and sisters.” In his message the Pope also invites young people to Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day in July 2008. (Zenit)

Voters’ Forum Gets Candidates’ Commitment to Life, Family, Country ELECTION fever swept the Bulwagang Balagtas of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa last February 3 where some 800 people gathered to affirm their commitment to vote only for Pro-life candidates this coming May election. Among those who attended the Voters’ Forum were Congressmen Ed Zialcita (1st Dist., Parañaque), Bienvenido Abante, Jr. (6 th Dist., Manila), Rene Velarde, BUHAY Party List (represented by his chief of staff) and Christian Señeres (BUHAY Party List) and Hermilando Mandanas (2nd Dist., Batangas) and Mayor Lito Atienza. Other party lists’ represented were AKMA, ASCOPH and ABA AKO and KAPATIRAN, a new national party. Senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, son of Senator Nene Pimentel also attended the occasion. Pro-Life Philippines orga-

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nized the event as its opening salvo for Pro-Life Month. The forum was attended by parish workers, youth and a few elderly folks who witnessed the candidates’ signing of the Covenant for Life, as their commitment to upholding prolife, pro-family and pro-Filipino principles during their term of office if ever they are elected. Courageous advocates of the pro-life movement, Zialcita, Mandanas and Señeres, reiterated their pledge to defend life and family values in legislation. Abante tackled in his speech how the bills on divorce, same-sex marriages and reproductive rights were defeated with the involvement of both legislators and concerned citizens. Pampanga archbishop and head of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

(get pictures taken by royroy on this event)

(ECFL-CBCP) Most Reverend Paciano Aniceto, signed the Covenant for Life as a witness to the commitment of these political candidates. Earlier in the day, Pro-Life held its annual convention wherein pro-life activism and volunteerism were taken up

by speakers Ed Sorreta and Cory Arevalo, both long-time advocates of the pro-life cause. Counselors, parish ministry and community workers, medical practitioners, teachers and students took part in the event. (By Jose Descallar)

Bike for peace. A group of cyclists led by Fr. Robert Selecios biked to Dabong Dabong Valencia City for peace and the environment.

THE Diocese of Malaybalay celebrated Mindanao Week of Peace last November 30 to December 7, 2006 with activities aimed to bring a greater awareness among people of their responsibility in caring for the earth, and greater unity among Christians, Muslims and Lumads. To kick off the weeklong celebration, Fr. Robert Selecios led a group of bicycle riders and one employee from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to go to Dabong Dabong, Valencia City to nurture the trees planted there during the previous months. Other activities included reading of the bishop’s pastoral letter and harmony prayer in the Mosque of Valencia. A symposium with the theme “Care of the Earth” was also organized and held on December 2, 2006. The symposium which was participated by Christian, Muslim and Lumad leaders, tackled the theme from three different perspectives— that of Muslim, Lumad, and Christians as Shepherd. Ustadz Alem Sanussi Pandapatan said that the earth’s resources were created by God for the benefit of all living beings. Datu Crispin Linsagan spoke of their beginning, their livelihood, their cultural practices and affinity with the earth. Sr. Nila Sajelan, MCM, speaking from the perspective of Christians as Shepherds and carers of creation, talked about the four pillars of peace; such as, truth, freedom, justice and charity. Other pressing issues tackled in the forum included environmental degradation and pollution, illegal logging and mining, and land development. The harmony prayer was aired on December 4 at station DXDB (the diocesan Catholic radio station) and

also in the campuses of schools belonging to the Bukidnon Association of Catholic Schools (BUACS). In Valencia Cluster, the harmony prayer was aired at 5 am at the Mosque. It was the first time in the history of Bukidnon Silsilah Forum that such activities were initiated together by Christians, Muslims and Lumads. It was also on this day, that the Valencia Cluster celebrated the Mindanao Week of Peace. Muslims, Christians and Lumads were all part of the celebration. The event started in the morning with the reading of the Holy Qur’an by Ustadz Abdul Fatah Mindalano. The grade school Christian and Muslim pupils of San Agustin Institute of Technology did an interpretative dance of the harmony prayer. Other activities included collage and poster-making contest on the theme’s celebration. In his message during the event, Malaybalay bishop Honesto Ch. Pacana, SJ, explained the beginning of the Bishop’s Ulama Forum. He emphasized that the profound meaning of care for the earth is care for people. Inevitably, he said, when we care for people, we care for the earth. He challenged everyone to be a part of the continuing dialogue. The Bishop-Ulama Conference was organized in 1984 as a means of helping solve the escalating discord between the Muslims and the Christians in Mindanao. But what was initially meant for Mindanao only has now spread all over the Philippines and abroad. The Christian-Muslim Dialogue eventually evolved to a Tri-People Forum which now includes the Lumads. One of the annual activities of this forum is the week of Peace which starts on the last Thursday of November. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)

Dumaguete Holds Vocation Youth Camp WITH the theme, “Searching? Come and See!”, the Diocese of Dumaguete marked its second vocation youth camp last February 3-4. More than 600 youth celebrated an overnight camp of songs, dances, prayers and talks meant to touch the hearts of the participants to discern God’s call. Don Bosco School in

Dumaguete City hosted the event. Participants from different parishes and youth groups in the diocese converged at the school’s gymnasium as early as 12:00 noon. Various religious congregations and seminaries set up vocation exhibits. Priests, nuns and seminarians animated the young people with informal conversations during their visit to the exhibit areas.

The evening program had moments of lively animation, a talk deepening the theme of the program, presentations by vocation promoters, a Taize prayer service and sharings. Bishop of Dumaguete, Most Rev. John F. Du, D.D., came to encourage the participants to “continue searching for God and respond to His invitation to ‘come and see’.” The overnight activity

culminated with the celebration of the Holy Mass after which the youth erupted into songs and dances. Dumaguete Vocation Director, Fr. Marcelo Kinilitan, said, he looks forward to see more young people participating in the next celebration of the diocesan camp in 2008. (With reports from Fr. Marcelo Kinilitan)

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Reasons Why Catholics Move to Pentecostals Discussed CATHOLIC bishops said that Church leaders should consider the larger picture why their members especially the youth are leaving their congregation in search for other denominations. “Catholics who leave their parishes often long for a sense of Christian community and direct spiritual experience that they find lacking,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper. Kasper, who heads the Vatican office for better relations among Christians, said many Catholics have not been taught and do not even know to how respond to criticisms of their faith. At the seminar held February 7 to 11, at Pius Catholic Center in Manila, the German prelate presided over the discussions on ecumenism and the challenges posed by the Pentecostalism, among others. The particular focus on Pentecostals is a response to the steep rise of Catholics who identify themselves with the Pentecostal tradi-

tion. Kasper noted that Pentecostal denominations have about 600 million members worldwide. Pentecostal churches and the noncatholic charismatic movement are the fastest growing Churches in the Christian world. The Vatican official said Pentecostal beliefs have a stronghold in the major churches in several countries. Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle said the primary target of the seminar is to get to know what the “growing” Pentecostal movement is all about. “It’s very difficult to respond without full knowledge. It’s not easy,” he said. Tagle said the seminar should also serve as an opportunity for Church leaders to learn how to respond to this recent “phenomenon”. “This is an opportunity because we are able to ask ourselves what Catholics find in Pentecostal groups that they do not find in us.

It might be an opportunity to purify ourselves.” Kasper has also called for better faith formation, which does not denigrate other Christian denominations, prayer activities and Bible studies where people can form a close spiritual community. The seminar on ecumenism is one of several organized by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, in cooperation with various bishops’ conferences, to know the extent of ecumenical work, particularly in Asia. Previous conferences were held last year in Nairobi, Kenya; Dakar, Senegal; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Seoul, South Korea. A total of 133 delegates including local and foreign bishops and lay leaders attended this year ’s seminar. Among the Asian bishops’ conferences that were represented include the countries of Taipei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei and Japan.

tial part of ecumenism today. The bishops’ statement also underscored that such ecumenical formation should prepare and enable the faithful to respond fully and personally to the challenge of promoting Christian unity. “Comprehensive ecumenical formation must shape attitudes by heightening an ecumenical awareness and sensitivity in its human, spiritual, intellectual and apostolic aspects,” it said. But the bishops clarified that in assisting the process of ecumenical formation, ecumenists must be deserving and well-trained so that they can make the faithful understand and respond positively to the challenges facing the work for Christian unity. The goal of this formation is “to develop a true ecumenical spirit among Catholics.” Kasper also presented during

the seminar his “Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism” to the Asian bishops. The handbook includes many concrete suggestions on how Catholics can prepare spiritually for the gift of Christian unity. When applied to the real situations of the Churches in Asia, the bishops said, the handbook promises to be a valuable companion for individuals and communities who are committed to work in the apostolate of Christian unity. Kasper said “spiritual ecumenism,” must be accompanied by “fundamental ecumenism,” a common Christian focus on the basics of faith. Over the past half-century, ecumenism has been based on a conviction that Christians can and must build shared beliefs to find a way to overcome their divisions and unite fully in one faith, he added.

several issues on entry and sale of genetically made products in the country. In that petition, the archdiocese urged the government to impose a moratorium on the importation of GM rice from the US. They also asked Arroyo “to certify as urgent” the bill that would require mandatory labeling of all imported and locally-manufactured processed food and other agricultural products. Rosales also said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) must require the mandatory testing of all rice imports from the US to determine if the GMOs are among its components.

“As a Church institution we have the moral obligation to protect the interest of God’s people and their inherent right to safe food and healthy environment,” he said. Independent and environmentally concerned local and international scientists, he said, already warned that genetically modified crops and food products could be very harmful to the environment and to human beings. “We therefore strongly endorse the petition and in addition request you to order the recall and stop the sale of all US rice contaminated with LL601 GE rice together with Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice from all markets and grocery stores,” added Rosales.

book contains everything a poll watcher should know on Election Day—before the opening polls, during the voting period, the counting of votes, and up to the different levels of canvassing. All election procedures and rules in the manual also come complete with illustrations. The PPCRV said election monitoring is an important defense against fraud at polling stations on Election Day. The group will start conducting an extensive poll watching training next month in the country’s different dioceses. De Villa said at least 500,000 poll watchers are needed to effectively

monitor some 260,000 precincts nationwide. In the manual, volunteers are also instructed with the procedural and observation techniques during elections. De Villa said that serious poll watchers could only happen through the seriousness of their formation and training. “This election monitoring manual is an indispensable part of this training,” she said. “This is also our tribute to the volunteers who give so much of themselves without making noise.” “It is ‘the heroism of the little ones’—the PPCRV poll watchers who might still transform Philippine elections into an act of God,” said De Villa.

Formation / from p1 Church,” read the statement. The seminar, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) brought together 133 participants and representatives of different Episcopal conferences in Asia. The participants included PCPCU head Cardinal Walter Kasper, CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal and 33 other bishops. Kasper earlier said that ecumenism is based on unity of faith and, therefore, “Christians must know and believe the faith they claim to share”. Teaching the basics of the Christian faith, he said, is an essen-

Cardinal / from p1 In a letter dated February 9, Rosales asked Arroyo to recall from the market “Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice”, which is being distributed by Purefoods Inc. “We believe that we should strongly oppose any experiment or attempt to use genetically engineered food that is not safe or good to the environment,” he said. “We should feed our people with food that are produced through natural means.” The US rice was reportedly negotiated recently under the US-RP PL480 Agreement on loan basis. The Cardinal also endorsed a petition initiated by the Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Desk which raised

PPCRV / from p1 The “Election Monitoring Manual” published by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is a new and updated complete guidebook for PPCRV poll watchers. “It’s like a bible for men and women volunteers who will be PPCRV’s witnesses to truth in the voting precincts nationwide,” said Ambassador Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV national chairperson. The manual has lots of information to provide the PPCRV poll watchers together with all its organizational partners a detailed operational procedure for effective poll watching in the May mid-terms. De Villa said the 97-page guide-

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

EDSA / from p1 our love for Him and our country,” said Villegas. Still, another bishop lamented that after another people power that toppled Joseph Estrada in 2001, vested interests remain in business and the national unity is in tatters. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles in his homily on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the people power at the EDSA Shrine, cited reasons behind the “apparent collapse” of turnouts at its anniversary celebration. “The pursuit of self-interest prevailed, true welfare of the people was set aside and instant heroes turned perpetual traitors,” he said. He bewailed some politicians constantly grabbing the credits as EDSA heroes even if they were absent during those days of courage. “The seeming EDSA 1 collapse

is due also to the nation’s return to trusting the weapons of war as well as the prevalent belief that the nation’s future depends on foreign investments and financial advancements,” Arguelles added. Present political situation and government’s policies might have fuelled people’s disappointment, the archbishop said. Arguelles said the rate of poverty and starvation rose “as the wellfed continue to feast at the expense of those who have nothing to eat.” “The poor exalted in EDSA 1 as the true Filipino has been marginalized more than ever,” he stressed. “EDSA has never died. It has only been allowed to bloom in the proper way. The EDSA that only God can claim as the source has been snatched by the wrong hands,” he said

Bishop Condemns / from p1 erations “with stringent monitoring by the DENR”. Lafayette was suspended in November 2005 due to the two spill incidents that resulted to cyanide contamination and fish kills. The DENR issued the lifting of the cease and desist order on February 8 though it contradicted an earlier verdict that the mining firm is guilty of technical, management and operational lapses that violate “responsible mining” standards. Bastes said Reyes called him up on February 7 asking for a dialogue to justify government’s decision to allow Lafayette to resume operations. The prelate said he is not convinced with Reyes’ assurance that

everything is “okay” with the mining operations. “It’s clear that the government is only after the welfare of transnational corporations and not of our people,” he said. Meanwhile, a local alliance opposing Lafayette mining vowed of a continued fight to block mining operations in Rapu-rapu. “You can count on it. Our campaign to save the people and environment of Rapu-rapu Island continues,” said Fr. Felino Bagauisan of “Sagip Isla” movement. “We will do everything to drive out Lafayette in our communities. We will intensify our protests and we will file legal actions against Lafayette,” the priest said.

Bishops Assail / from p1 of 2007, includes a provision that grants wrongfully detained persons a right to compensation of up to P500, 000. The bill also authorizes surveillance of suspects and sentences of up to 40 years’ imprisonment. A political motive that lies beneath the legislation, meanwhile, is what is being sensed by Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias saying that the bill is a threat to the people who are against the Arroyo administration. “We believe that more than curbing the terrorism, this Act is directed against the people who are working for political, social, and economic changes in the country,” Tobias said reading the statement of the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) in a press conference. Iñiguez and Tobias are senior advisers of the KME, a group of churchmen, economists, businessmen and

academics critical of Arroyo’s economic policies. “Generally in a weak and corrupt government, this law will be most certainly abused, as even without it, the events of the past two years already show the propensity of this present dispensation to abuse the basic human rights,” he said. It is “a de facto dictatorship under the pretext of preserving human security,” Tobias also said. Other bishops also raised questions about the new bill but an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the Permanent Council had yet to take a collective position on the matter. The council, headed by CBCP President Angel Lagdameo, is in charge in policy making when the CBCP is not in plenary session. Such a session is held only twice yearly, in January and July. (Roy Lagarde)

Oppressed / from p1 Department of Health, the National Kidney Foundation, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Philippine Medical Association, the Philippine Hospital Association and prominent doctors to see how to control the problem of organ “brokers” operating in the country. Ermita said guidelines are being prepared “so that where there are criminal liabilities involved, then they have to be proceeded against.” Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada assailed another reported plan of the Department of Health to double the number of foreigners being given kidney transplant in the Philippines as

part of the administration’s medical tourism program. “If allowed, this would be one of the most hideous tourism program ever designed by any government— make its own citizens as the source of human organ parts needed by rich but dying foreigners,” Estrada said. Making matters worse, the plan would reserve a proportion of organs to foreigners. The new policy on kidney transplant would mean that for every 100 kidney transplant patients, 20 slots would be immediately reserved for foreigners. This would mean continued discrimination of the poor. (AsiaNews)

Pope / from p1 tion at the Lyceum of Aparri, as well as a Doctorate in Educational Management. Baccay was ordained a priest at the age of 26, and served as Secretary to the Archbishop from 1987 to 1993.

He also served as a pastor of Saint Dominic Parish in Gataggamman and Santo Niño Shrine in San Gabriel. Baccay’s appointment was published in Rome Friday at 12 noon (7 PM local time).


CBCP Monitor

Feature

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

5

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2007

7 QUESTIONS for

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37)

Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, D.D.

How is the Church’s Social Concern agenda being implemented in your Archdiocese? The Archdiocese of Cebu started last 2005 its pastoral thrust of inculcating the Spirituality of Stewardship among our people. This thrust has been carried over to the pastoral year 2006-2007 to include the Social Doctrine of the Church. As the basic stewardship program of the Archdiocese, we have been implementing since 1997 an archdiocesan-wide microfinance program we call the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Self Reliance, or CAPSR, patterned after the Grameen banking system. This program has benefited hundreds of households throughout the Archdiocese, having released as loan a cumulative amount of P143 million. Parishes have also initiated their own stewardship programs, based on the needs of their respective localities. As part of the Pastoral Thrust, we have started also to update and rework our accounting system in the parishes to make it more transparent and the parish priests more accountable. At the level of formation, we will be giving a catechesis on the Social Doctrine of the Church to all the parishes and down to the Basic Ecclesial Communities, using as basis the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. It has been your practice to celebrate your Christmas novena masses in different parishes in the archdiocese. How did it come about and is it helping your Episcopal ministry?

How would you assess the quality of vocations in the Archdiocese today? Dear Brothers and Sisters! I have to be realistic that while there may be an abundant harvest, eventually the chaff will have to be separated from the grain. The big number of vocations does allow us to be more selective and strict in our standards. What is the status of the family life program in your Archdiocese? The Family and Life Apostolate is very active in giving seminars to couples intending to marry. They give Pre-Cana Seminars in the parishes. A major concern is to educate young couples in natural family planning methods, but the parishes have been slow in catching on. The Apostolate is also active in pro-life advocacies. The changing patterns of families today, that is; one or both parents not around to provide moral guidance to their children, is one big challenge to the Church. How does the Family and Life apostolate respond to this? Given the new challenges faced by families today, I think the Family and Life Apostolate should be given more impetus to face new realities. I am especially concerned about the lifestyle created by so called “Call Centers”, where young people work the night shift and sleep during the day. To be proactive, there should be a program cut out for these young people who are earning much but have very little opportunity to attend formation programs. The changing face of the Filipino family does present a great challenge to the Church. Demographics and economics have conspired to create a situation where old notions of family ministry no longer work. We have families with parents who are migrant workers. Young people work different hours in “call centers”. We have a situation where parish-based programs are no longer very effective. We cannot simply wait for parishioners to come to our rectories. We cannot set fixed schedules for people and simply wait for them to come. If we insist on our static institutions, we risk losing our people to new forms of “spirituality”, especially those that suit their lifestyle and working conditions.

7 QUESTIONS

I started the practice since I assumed the office of Archbishop of Cebu. It started with some parishes inviting me to celebrate one of the novena masses, and other parishes followed suit, so it became part of my program during the Advent season. When I go to the parish, I do not just celebrate the mass at dawn, I come the night before so I can sit down with the Parish Priest and the Parish Pastoral Council and be able to hold a forum with them. Certainly, this has given me a more intimate view of the situation in the parishes. The archdiocese traditionally celebrates the vocation month by organizing vocation campaigns and jamboree. How have these activities been helping in the increase of vocations?

The vocation campaign and jamboree have certainly increased vocation awareness in the Archdiocese but I cannot give exact statistics establishing a direct relationship between these activities and the increase in vocations. I can however cite the fact that the Diocesan seminaries in Cebu are full to capacity, even when new buildings were constructed. I have about five hundred seminarians from the Minor to the Major, and I ordain an average of ten priests per year within a twenty-five year period. Right now, I have more than 300 priests. Vocations are also booming among the religious congregations and orders, male and female. So many congregations want to open in Cebu and some I have to tell to locate in places far from the city so their ministries can be spread out to other areas.

© ETTORE FERRARI/epa/Corbis

A native of Marinduque, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, was installed as Archbishop of Cebu, in 1982. He was elevated to the Cardinalate in 1985. Recently, the soft-spoken Cardinal shared with CBCP Monitor how the social concerns program is being implemented in his archdiocese, his traditional practice of celebrating Christmas novena masses in different parishes, concerns on the quantity and quality of vocations entering the seminary, the archdiocesan family and life program, and his perception of mainstream media’s treatment of Church issues in the news.

What is your take of the mainstream media’s treatment of Church issues in the news? The media will always act as media. We can only go so far in educating them to be fair and balanced. What is needed by the Church is expertise in handling the media, not in the sense of manipulating events or reports, but in the sense of knowing when and how and what to say in order to maximize media’s potential to highlight and to magnify. We in the Church must also be aware that we have contributed to the notion of the freedom of the press. We should therefore not feel threatened by a reality to which we have contributed in creating. If there is anything we need to do, it is that we in the Church must live lives that are beyond reproach, act honestly and with humility in instances where we have failed, and choose always the way of truth in every case.

“They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19: 37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favorable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of his life (cf. Jn 19: 25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ Crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros. God’s love: agape and eros The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that he does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature, then, who is in need of God in everything. But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom he has chosen as his own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3: 13). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16: 1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very Heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of his creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3: 17). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2: 15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was

the decisive impulse that moved him to manifest his love in all of its redeeming strength. The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the Heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of his creature, he accepted to pay a very high price: the Blood of his Only Begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with St Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because he died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed, as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it, that force which “does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De Divinis Nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make himself one with us even to the point of suffering as his own the consequences of our offences? “Him whom they have pierced” Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced on the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God himself who begs the love of his creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of his side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of his agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12: 32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome his love and al-

low ourselves to be drawn to him. Accepting his love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to himself” in order to unite himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with his own love. Blood and water “They shall look on him whom they have pierced”. Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19: 34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves in trustful abandonment to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. St John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3, 14ff.). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation... we enter into the very dynamic of his selfgiving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, n. 13). Let us live Lent, then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us in particular to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbor, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you a special Apostolic Blessing. From the Vatican 21 November 2006 BENEDICTUS PP. XVI


CBCP Monitor

Opinion

6 Editorial

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

“We cannot afford yet another controversial electoral exercise that further aggravates social distrust and hopelessness.”

Social Dimension of a Vote WHEN elections are coming, it is customary to hear certain common observations about the significance of voters and their votes. Voting is both a democratic privilege and a civic duty. A vote is not only precious but also sacred. To vote is a moral duty and a civic commitment. But add another complementary view on the distinct implication of a vote. This: every single vote cast has a signal social dimension. This simply means that a vote of one person impacts everybody else. When someone votes, he or she necessarily implicates all others with it. When a citizen casts his or her vote for a candidate with integrity and capacity, all others are benefited in the event that the candidate wins. The opposite is also true. When one casts a vote in favor of a lying, cheating and/or stealing candidate, the others are all harmed if the candidate wins and gets the office. An elected public official assumes a public office and handles public funds for public service and welfare. If the official who is adorned with sound moral values such as honesty and industry gets elected, he becomes a big blessing for all the constituents. Its opposite constitutes a big curse for the people.

Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD

In and Out of Season THIRTY-TWO years ago, in 1975, on Ash Wednesday, the Lenten project ALAY KAPWA was born. This project of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines through its Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace has for its objective the evangelization of the Catholic communities towards Christian awareness of their social responsibility with preferential option for the poor. Alay Kapwa is people responding to the Gospel demand to love as Jesus loves, to care and share as Jesus wants us to care and share (cf. Jn. 15/12). Alay Kapwa is people living and experiencing the solicitude of God for the poor, the abandoned, the victims of natural calamities, the victims of injustice and violence. Alay Kapwa is people united by the spirit of Jesus and of the Father in solidarity with the sorrowing, with those who hunger and thirst, with the pure of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted (cf. Mk. 5/1-10). To have the spirit of Alay Kapwa you do not have to be wealthy or powerful or influential, you need only to be good and committed to your neighbor. In order to give to Alay Kapwa Lenten Fund Cam-

Something the same can be said about those qualified to vote but do not in fact vote for one untenable reason or another. One vote for a good candidate that is not cast is a loss for many others. This is the underlying rationale of the truth that to vote is both a moral duty and a civic commitment. The social dimension of every single vote should be duly disseminated and understood as a distinct service to a democratic society where every voter is a constituent member. This is precisely the reason why every voter should vote, why the voter should vote for the right candidate, why the voter should see to it that his or her vote is counted—and why cheaters in elections have no place in a decent society. Selling one’s vote is a threefold evil. One, the voter becomes a traitor to society. Two, the elections become a farce. Three, the vote undermines the democratic processes. This is evil as its best!

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paign you do not have to be rich or to have plenty, you need only to be generous, desirous like Jesus to serve (cf. Mk. 10/45) and to give life more abundantly (cf. 10/10). After 32 years of Alay Kapwa, the task of social transformation goes on. There are still poverty, hunger, thirst, suffering, brokenness, violence. The work of Alay Kapwa must continue. Our vision of social transformation, of an end to underserved poverty, of an end of man’s inhumanity to fellowmen, the birth of hope for those who suffer from calamities, necessarily demands radical personal conversion. No reform is possible unless the reformers are themselves reformed. No renewed society unless the agents are themselves renewed. The evangelical call is still there: to build a society where truth, freedom, justice and love reign. With or without miracle, we must build it on the foundation of personal conversion to charity. We must build it on the foundation of people willing to forego their personal interests, to overcome their selfishness, to limit their enjoyment and satisfaction for the sake of their needy brothers and sisters. That

Caring for Gay Loved-Ones Means First Understanding Them

ISSN 1908-2940

A FEW months ago, His Holiness Pope Benedict VI stirred up a lot of discussion when he issued guidelines to seminaries on accepting applicants who have homosexual tendencies or are actively involved in gay life-styles. Knowing that schools also encounter problems and questions on homosexuality, Prolife Philippines sponsored a forum last February 17 on “Caring for Gay Loved Ones” at Bahay Ugnayan inside the Good Shepherd Compound, in Quezon City. It was attended by over a hundred teachers, counselors and college students. The forum was not to promote acceptance of homosexuality but it was a way for the participants to learn how to reach out to homosexuals with the love of Christ. Highlight of the morning’s activity was a monologue play presented by Bagong Pag-asa, a Christ centered ministry designed to help people struggling

On Ash Wednesday: Alay Kapwa, Age 32 is being patriotic. Social transformation is possible. With the help of God we can change the corrupted image of our country. But remember: the work of God does not happen in a vacuum. The material of the work of the Spirit of Jesus in the transformation of human society according to the Father’s dream is in the heart of men and women willing to transform their selfishness into patriotic acts of justice and love. The inspiration of our Alay Kapwa Lenten Campaign is Jesus himself, Jesus giving, sharing, caring, curing, healing. We are praying for the miracle to start in the heart of every Filipino. We are praying for personal and communal conversion towards total social transformation. This appeal for Alay Kapwa will be preached in all Catholic Churches throughout all dioceses of the country. Let us give generously to this worthy cause of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace. Alay Kapwa is one way in which our “little” will become “much” when joined with the little which others give. The measure is not “how much you give,” but “how generous you are”. In and Out / P12

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

with homosexuality to leave their pastlife. The play “Haring Kopas” portrayed three characters seeking an answer. In real life, the three actors are former gays, having surrendered their past life to the healing touch of the Lord. The play portrayed the lives of: Rhoda na pinalayas ng kanyang tatay nang siya’y 14 taong gulang dahil sa kanyang “pagkatao”. Mula sa Tagbilaran, dumayo siya sa Maynila at namasukan sa isang maliit na parlor sa isang maliit na eskinita. “Bakit Niya ako ginawang ganito?” ang nalilitong katanungan niya sa kanyang sarili. Gian longs for his dad’s love and affection. Sadly his dad’s attention is poured on his athletic brother, Jojo. His younger sister Andrea, became his best friend. They grew up playing Barbie dolls together. Gian grew up to be a “closet queen”, and now a yuppie in Makati. He

Love Life asks himself, “Kasalanan ba ang maging isang homosexual?” Stefan, a successful and driven visual artist, had a huge crush on Antonio, the Boy Scout leader, during his high school days. Confused, he asks “Ang pagiging bading ba ay nakaguhit sa isip lang o nakaukit sa kaluluwa?” “Haring Kopas” attempts to explore a way out from the quagmire of homosexuality. Is change really possible? What is the role of the Church, society, and the family in the homosexual issue? After the play, representatives of exgay and lesbian support groups gave their individual reactions and additional input on effective ways of ministering to the homosexuals. For more information on how to get in touch with Bagong Pagasa and Courage, contact Pro-life office at 911-2911 or email at life@prolife.org.ph. Our website also carries topics on homosexuality (www.prolife.org.ph)


CBCP Monitor

Opinion

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Jose B. Lugay

Laik o Lampstand Laiko THERE is no news more devastating to a patient than hearing a doctor’s verdict that he/she has End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Both kidneys of the patient are diseased and can no longer eliminate toxic wastes that the body generates. Slowly the toxin accumulates in the blood and must be removed and cleaned by hemodialysis. It is a costly process and a family with an average income can not sustain paying highpriced medicines and the twice a week hemodialysis longer than 6 months without outside help. As they say, this is a disease for the super rich. The advances of medical science had perfected organ transplantation several decades ago. Although man has 2 kidneys only one is needed for him to survive and live normally. Thus, this breakthrough, success in kidney transplantation using cadaver donors, created a big demand for kidneys from braindead victims mostly of vehicular accidents. To protect exploitation of these victims and selling of kidneys, Republic Act No. 7170, the Organ Donation Act of 1991 was passed. This act regulated

the harvesting of kidneys from cadavers with the consent of the next of kin, or if none, the effort required and the period of waiting before harvesting is done. Severe penalties are also imposed for trafficking of organs, that is, by brokers who convince persons to sell their organs and profit by it. However there are no guidelines for Living Non-Related Donors (LNRD) who donate their kidneys willingly for altruism and receiving some incentives but not as a precondition for the donation. A kidney donated by a living nonrelated donor (LNRD), when used for kidney transplant gives the patient more years to live than a kidney from a deceased donor. These are findings of many years of statistical study. This big advantage made an instant demand for LNRD kidneys especially by the growing number of diabetic patients. The sale of kidneys by a broker whose victims were poor fishermen of one island in Mindanao was exposed by the journalist, Jessica Soho sometime in 1990 and created public awareness of this abuse. She won the Peabody award for this ex-

It’s Showtime!!! THESE days we get to see candidates for national and local positions smiling, doing the usual visits to the countryside and in high spirits rubbing elbows with the common tao. We see them on television and newspapers and get to listen to them during interviews over the radio and television networks. Issues from the form of government to governance to garbage collection and the environment would be discussed. This early, there are candidates whose views may well be considered “motherhood statements.” In fact, all these can be described as “seriously thought of but mean nothing.” Didn’t they say “diplomacy is the science of thinking twice before saying nothing”? What do these candidates say about poverty, overseas employment, the widening gap between the rich and poor communities and families as well as human rights? Of course, there are serious and well prepared candidates who have some-

By the R oadside Roadside

pose. Definitely a law is needed to prevent the wanton sale of kidneys whose victims are the poor barrio folks with no steady means of livelihood. But what is the mechanism to address the donation of kidneys from living non-related donors? To handle this sensitive issue, the Philippine Organ Donation Program (PODP) was established in 2002 by the Department of Health—Administrative Order No. 41. It defines how volunteers called living non-related donors (LNRD) may be accepted as kidney donors by transplant surgeons. The Administrative Order also created the National Ethics Committee on living organ donors including living related donors (LRD) or immediate relatives and LNRD’s It also serves as an accreditation body to approve hospitals where transplantation may be done. The committee provides control and prevention of hospitals to abuse ethical guidelines that have been set. The Order, among others, stipulates that foreign patients may be allowed to receive kidneys from Filipinos but limLaiko / P10

Melo M. Acuña

Issues and Concerns

thing between their ears. These persons have wider perspectives of issues that affect the country and their immediate communities. According to our Catholic bishops, these candidates ought to be screened by the faithful. One serious consideration is whether these candidates are morally upright. One ought to know the difference between right and wrong and should be expected to fear God at all times. It is also expected these candidates should have some recall or should have some acceptance from the general public. They ought to have advocacies which could very well summarize the aspirations of the Filipino people. What stands in the middle is the competence of the candidate. Would the candidate be an effective executive or lawmaker? This is as important as one’s character and popularity. Take a long hard look at some members of the Philippine Senate. There are several of them whom we haven’t heard from Day One. While

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD

IT WAS just a simple chat. We started with an innocuous topic, namely, possible local candidates for local positions. Then my friend who, by the way, is as church-going as anyone in my parish, said, “If there are a hundred ways to skin a cat, there are a thousand more ways to cheat so as to win an election, Philippine style. And there’s nothing you can do about it.” He was referring, of course, to the Church’s efforts through PPCRV to stem what I feel has become a ‘cultural tide’ of election cheating and other election-related irregularities in the land of Rizal, Mabini et al. So are PPCRV and other well-meaning Filipinos only whistling in the dark and, worse, merely charging against the windmills? I refuse to agree. And so do many others. But neither do I take the situation lightly. I live and minister to God’s People in very rural Eastern Samar. Very rural doesn’t mean very naive though. Right now, ordinary Eastern Samar Pinoys don’t give much attention to the already loud election brouhaha bruited about largely by the sensational-starved media, at least not yet. But I’m sometimes disarmed by the honesty with which some local vot-

Kidneys Not For Sale But Donated To Save Lives

it’s true we have seen these honorable lawmakers attending sessions, cutting ribbons and attending fiestas their job demands serious participation during floor deliberations and committee hearings. One should also think of the candidate’s track record, political affiliation and business interests. While it is true everyone has the right to seek public office as guaranteed in our Constitution (provided they meet the basic qualifications), it’s definitely interesting to watch and listen to them debate on national and local issues. Debates would provide everyone the chance to discover what these candidates think of significant issues i.e. urban development, migration, unemployment and underemployment. Come to think of it, there are candidates aspiring to be lawmakers or executives simply at the dictate of some highlyplaced persons and interests. This early, we can truly say the coming months would be “showtime.”

Buying or Selling Votes? Think Again

ers admit to having received money from local politicos or their agents for their votes in past elections. And when I begin raising the issue of the evils of such a practice, bad governance being the most obvious aftermath in the Eastern Samar context, at best I get a shrug of the shoulder. It’s as if to say, “You are a priest, Father. You are expected to tell me those things, or you have no business being a priest. But you can’t stop vote-buying or vote-selling any more than you can stop the rain from falling down.” I was stunned by a local barangay captain, a very close friend to many priests, who within my hearing gave what he thought a sage advice to some wouldbe voters, “Take the money, and vote for your choice candidates anyway. Period.” Again I refuse to bite this common mindset. But I understand that fighting against vote-buying, vote-selling and election-rigging in general don’t only rest on how they flout basic morality (of which most practitioners don’t much give a thought anyway). They also rest on how the practice blinds us to commonsense, practical wisdom the lack of which has brought Pinoys and their country to

the weeping point. I have gathered five arguments that are really plain common sense wisdom. First, the (Filipino value of) ‘shame’ argument. All indicators tell us that the value of ‘hiya’ hasn’t left our shores with many decent Pinoys who have migrated elsewhere. The question is, are we ashamed enough to see that buying and selling votes and election-rigging are still with us in this day and age? Are we ashamed enough to stop pointing to the poverty of the masses as the fundamental culprit behind the practice simply because it means we just don’t want to go against an evil deeply imbedded in our culture? As an ordinary citizen recently put it in an interview on television originally referring to COMELEC’s refusal to implement the automation law: “Pag gusto, laging may paraan. Pag di gusto, laging may dahilan (If one wants it, he always finds a way. If he doesn’t want it, he’ll always find an excuse).” Isn’t the poverty of our people the convenient excuse we invoke because we just don’t want to lift a finger and make their lot better? Besides, the poverty of our masses is not the sole explanation to Roadside / P13

7 Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

…and tha uth! thatt ’s the tr truth!

Our priest’s neighbors I STEP out of the chapel and notice a brownish blob in the little garden inside the gate. An adult, I am sure, had defecated there while Mass was going on. Clearly it wasn’t a dog—dogs wouldn’t bother with privacy, wouldn’t choose to “do it” in this hidden path leading to the ossuary behind the chapel. That tiny chapel—big enough to hold a dozen daily Mass goers—is at the rear end of the building that houses the church and the parish convent. Behind that building is a street full of “urban poor”—a polite name for what used to be called “squatters.” It’s in a parish within Makati, overlooking Ayala Avenue’s skyscrapers and a stone’s throw away from the South Superhighway. Every morning I’d park my car and cross over to the chapel; even in the dark I’d know I’m there because of the odor pervading the morning air: the odor of human feces—some wrapped in newspaper and flattened out by the tires of passing motorists, the rest simply lying naked on the pavement. Still some newspaper-wrapped “flying saucers” would sometimes land in the churchyard. Right around the corner is a virtual fortress made up of sidewalk dwellings slightly bigger than the dog houses of the rich. The houses of the urban poor—like surreal dovecotes piled one on top of the other. They have no toilets. Curiosity would drive me to chat with a few of them one morning I came way too early to find the chapel gate still closed. Then I saw how they’d begin their day. The sidewalk bustled with industry: two women washed clothes; another was minding a steaming cauldron while her husband (maybe?) loaded their kariton (a wooden pushcart) with plastic eating utensils. Another man boiled corn beside a male teenager peeling pineapples and passing these on to a teenage girl (his sister?) to slice and pack in plastic bags. Farther out, close to the entrance to a vacant lot, a man grated coconut (maybe for ginataan, I thought); next to him a wiry old man chopped wood, perhaps collected from the trees the typhoon had felled along Buendia Avenue. Soon the woman minding the cauldron would load this into a kariton already half filled with two sooty pots— the whole assortment would be breakfast for the many laborers passing by their way to work: mami, lugaw, tokwa, ginataan. I admired their industry, rising so early to make a living, and I couldn’t bear to think that such a hardworking lot would be the same people littering the churchyard with human waste. These perplexing people are our parish priest’s neighbors. One particular morning our parish priest seemed short of his usual verve at Mass, I learned of a new development. His neighbors had added another storey to their sidewalk abodes, and one of the units is clinging to the wall of his living quarters. “Hindi ako mapakali. Doon nila itinayo ang bahay nila mismo sa tapat ng bintana ng kuwarto ko, idinikit nila sa pader ko. Nasisilip nila ako, baka nga kahit nasa banyo ako nakikita nila ako… Baka lumipat na lang ako sa third floor.” (I can’t be at ease. They’ve built their houses on the wall right outside my room’s window. They can see me, maybe even when I’m in the bathroom… Maybe I’ll just move up to the third floor). Not only that. The young priest, not quite 29, is robbed of sleep by the videoke sessions of his “urban poor” neighbors. He tried to call the attention of the barangay captain to this but beyond lending the priest an ear he seemed unable to do what was expected of him. The priest’s sidewalk-dwelling neighbors are increasing in number, and seem to have occupied as well the vacant lot whose owner nobody knows. The daily Mass goers bear the unsanitary environs in silence, but some parishioners have suggested he talk to Archbishop Rosales, hoping the latter could nudge Mayor Binay to action, but the young priest merely smiled at this. He knows he could ask help from Bayani Fernando,”Pag isinumbong ko iyan, talsik yan, pero ayokong humantong doon. He’s my last ace, but I don’t want to go that far.” So how does he endure the nocturnal revelers, the vandals, the shacks clinging to his wall? “I once requested the videoke people to refrain from being so loud at least from midnight to 6 a.m. For a day or two it was quiet, but soon it was back to usual.” As for the filth in the church’s periphery, he has appealed to the elders in the neighborhood but what else could he do? They have no toilets—their children have been spotted “doing it” in the streets—and their water most likely comes through illegal connections. It’s doubtful whether they can connect cleanliness with health, and they are not “church people” who would come to learn to improve their lives by imbibing of the Word. “In fact, they are of the KBL mentality, Kasal, The Truth / P12


8

CBCP Commissions

Introduction THE work of updating the Philippine Program of Priestly Formation (PPPF) spans almost a decade of work under the three chairmen of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries. Mandated by PCP-II, the updating of the ratio was initiated by Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales in 1995, continued by Bishop Benjamin J. Almoneda from 1999 to 2005, and completed by Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara last year (2006). In November 2005, the updated ratio received recognition from the Congregatio de Institutione Catholica (De Seminariis Atque Studiorum Institutis) for an unlimited period, “ad tempus prout Conferentiae Episcopali vel huic Congregationi necessarium vel utile visum fuerit.” The updating of PPPF was a logical demand of a Church which wants to renew herself. If the Philippine Church is to inch forward along the pathway of renewal as envisioned by PCP-II and National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR), then the point of departure is always the seminary. A renewed seminary formation produces renewed clergy. Renewed clergy becomes agents of renewal of the Church. And the renewed Church is what we need to renew our country. Renewal is therefore an interpretative key to the understanding of the updated ratio. It is for this reason why the whole document is painstakingly devoted to the crystallization of the agenda of renewal in the Philippine seminaries. Thus, it is anchored on the source of the movement of renewal: the Vatican II and PCP-II. It ensures the continuity of the different stages of seminary formation. It links seminary formation with the ongoing priestly formation after ordination. It captures the context of the seminary formation in the Philippines. It ensures integration and interaction of all the aspects of seminary formation in the context of community life. It identifies all the agents of seminary formation. This article presents five points. The first narrates the historical background of the document. The second point explains the genre of the document. The third presents the composition and content. The fourth clarifies the essential features and characteristics of the document. The fifth is a survey of comments on the updated ratio. Historical Background of PPPF A. The 1995-1996 Draft The mandate to update the Philippine Program for Priestly Formation comes from Article # 75 of the Acts and Decrees of PCP-II which stipulates that “the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries shall propose for the approval of the Bishop’s Conference an updated Philippine program for priestly formation based on the Ratio Fundamentalis, Pastores dabo vobis and emphasizing a deep spiritual formation.” In 1995 the Commission on Seminaries, under the leadership of Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, hosted a national consultation of seminary personnel at San Carlos Seminary, Makati City. The 110 participants reflected on their experience of seminary formation in the light of Vatican II, PCP-II and Pastores dabo vobis. The results of the consultation served as reference materials for the drafting of a program for priestly formation in the Philippines. Fr. Luis Antonio Tagle collated the obtained data from the national consultation and wrote the draft for theology and college formation. Comments from bishops and seminary personnel on the first draft were sent to the Commission on Seminaries starting 1996. B. The 2001 Draft When Bishop Benjamin J. Almoneda assumed the chairmanship of Episcopal Commission on Seminaries in 1999, one of his priorities was to continue the work of updating started by Archbishop Rosales in 1995. But when the period of redrafting came,

Episcopal Commission on Seminaries (ECS)

The Updated Philippine Program of Priestly Formation By Fr. Augusto Jesus Angeles, APD some seminary personnel voiced out the need to take into account new societal realities. The April 2001 meeting of commission consultants, which included among others, Fr. Danny Huang of San Jose Seminary, Fr. Honorato Castigador of UST, Msgr. Mylo Vergara, the former Executive Secretary, Fr. Augusto Angeles, the present Executive Secretary, and Msgr. Jonnie Aguirre of the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, recommended that the Commission on Seminaries consult the seminary formators once again all over the country through regional consultations in view of the pastoral priorities identified by the NPCCR and the new realities taking place in the Philippine Church and society. The group also decided to add introductory chapters dealing with the vision of the priesthood and objectives of seminary formation. Fr. Augusto Jesus Angeles wrote the additional chapters, which together with the two chapters written by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, became the martyr document presented to the regional consultations from November 2001-June 2002. C. The 2003 Draft The Regional Consultations on Seminary Formation (2001-2002), attended by 278 formators from the entire country, produced volumes of recommendations. The document has gone through the following stages of revision after the four regional consultations: Stage of Collation and Incorporation The Commission on Seminaries collated the materials coming from the four regional consultations from JuneAugust 2002. The collated recommendations were sent to the drafters for intense study of the materials. The Board of Drafters, composed of Bishop Benjamin Almoneda, Frs. Aloysius Cartagenas and Carmelo Diola of Cebu, James Agoo of Davao, Timoteo Ofrasio, S.J. of Cagayan De Oro, Rodel Cajot of Naga, Eddie Mercado of Manila and Augusto Angeles of ECS, had two meetings devoted to the work of incorporating the recommendations to the draft. The first meeting, held at Seminaryo Mayor de San Carlos of Cebu from August 1820, 2002, focused on the formation of the rules on revision and the division of labor. The second meeting, held at San Carlos Seminary of Manila from November 8-13, 2002, was devoted to the actual work of revision. The two meetings were periods of intense study of the materials collated from the four consultations. The output of these meetings was the 2003 draft. Expert Correction and Finalization After incorporating all the materials coming from the four regional con-

sultations, the final draft was handed over to Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D. and Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, S.J for review and correction. Likewise, the permanent council of CBCP assigned five bishops to critique and evaluate the revised draft. At a commission meeting on January 2003, the experts recommended the rewording of the first three chapters. The bishops requested Bishop Tagle and Father Huang to do the work of revision which they accomplished in June 2003. The revised three chapters were presented again to the drafters for final deliberation. Thereafter, the Updated Philippine Program for Priestly Formation was finalized for presentation to the Plenary Assembly. D. The Approved Version Comments from the plenary assembly of the bishops were incorporated from February to October 2004. The document was sent to the Congregatio de Institutione Catholica for approval. With some observations, the Decree of Recognition from the Congregatio de Institutione Catholica was granted on November 2005, after a year of waiting. The work of incorporating the proposed amendments coming from the congregation and the final grammatical correction started in November 2005 and was completed in June 2006. By July 2006, the updated ratio was printed and was launched during the Plenary Assembly of Philippine Bishops. Genre of the Document What Type of Document is the Philippine Program of Priestly Formation? First, it is not a document to be published under the name of seminary personnel but that of CBCP. Seminary personnel gave valuable input but they are not the authors. Second, it is not a recipe enumerating ingredients and techniques for a flawless formation process. Rather, it provides a vision that can adopt various forms of “enfleshment.” Third, it is not a panacea but a tool for discernment and edification. Fourth, it is not a theological treatise that seeks to promote a particular theological system’s view of priesthood. Rather, it is a pastoral vision and guide for use in the formation of priests in the Philippines. These spell out the limits and also the greatness of the document. Composition and Content A. Composition The Updated Philippine Program of Priestly Formation has two parts. Part One deals with the context, vision and objectives of priestly formation in

the Philippines. Part Two is about the stages and aspects of seminary formation. Part One is composed of three chapters: Chapter 1 - The Context of Priestly Formation in the Philippines Chapter 2 - AVision of the Church and the Ministry and Life of Priests in the Philippines Chapter 3 - The Objectives of Formation for Priestly Life and Ministry in the Philippines Part Two consist of two chapters: Chapter 4 - Theology Seminary Formation Program Chapter 5 - College Seminary Formation Program B. Content Chapter 1 provides the context of seminary formation in the Philippines. It also suggests that a reformulated program of seminary formation should reflect an awareness that the seminarians are products of the new realities reshaping Philippine culture and society. Thus, the revised Philippine Program of Priestly Formation of 2003 is an attempt to respond to this need. In Chapter 2, the ecclesiological vision provided by Vatican II and PCPII is the backdrop for the vision of ordained ministry, not only as demanded by the Universal Church but also as demanded by the needs of the Church in the Philippines. The ordained ministry is determined by the specific demands of being a Community of Disciples of Jesus Christ, a Church of the Poor and a Church in Mission (Renewed Integral Evangelization). This is so because a vision of the Church entails a vision of priestly ministry. Conversely, a particular vision of priestly ministry mirrors a vision of the Church. Seminary formation in the Philippines becomes effective only if it conscientiously and purportedly molds seminarians in the complex world of formation according to the vision of priestly ministry at the service of the Church in the Philippines andAsia. Guided by the vision of the ordained minister in the Church in Chapter 2 and following the fourfold conception of formation that John Paul II articulates in Pastores dabo vobis, Chapter 3 sets the goals or objectives of diocesan seminary formation in the Philippines. Using the areas of seminary formation identified by John Paul II in Pastores dabo vobis, Chapters 4 and 5 spell out the goals or objectives of formation, as well as propose general orientations governing the aspects and stages of seminary formation. Chapter 4 deals with Theology Seminary Formation. This chapter follows the ASPECTS of formation identified by Pastores dabo vobis: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

treatment of each aspect of formation is done under three headings: a. VISION governing the particular aspect of formation is first discussed. Why is this aspect of formation important in the Philippines? How is Jesus the model and norm in this aspect of formation? How is this aspect integrated with the other aspects of formation? b. SPECIFIC AREAS of concern are identified for each aspect of formation. This section relies heavily on the national consultation of formators in 1995 and the four regional consultations from 2001-2002. c. The third heading deals with how to RESPOND to the specific areas of concern. The realities of life in the Philippines are kept in focus. All agents of formation are mentioned in order to show the integration and interaction of the aspects of formation and to emphasize the corporate responsibility (as against “department” responsibility) of seminary personnel. Chapter 5 is about College Seminary Formation. The same structure as found in Theology Formation is followed but described in ways applicable to the needs and level of seminarians in college. How the college seminary can prepare for eventual theology formation is stressed. Essential Features and Characteristics of the update PPPF 1. Both Rooted in Tradition and Responsive to the Signs of the Times. The document springs from the wellspring of Vatican II, follows faithfully the orientation provided by Pastores dabo vobis and considers the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in great detail. But at the same time, the document listens to the contemporary development and issues. As such, it incorporates the pastoral priorities of NPCCR and their implications to the priestly formation. It acknowledges the role of CCC and CFC in the seminary as part of the intellectual formation and religious education of the seminarians. Contemporary issues, both secular and ecclesial, such as globalization, technology, pro-life are also treated. Pressing issues that need to be addressed in the seminary are also included, like cultural heritage of the Church and interreligious dialogue. 2. Clear Vision and Objectives. Vatican II’s and PCP-II’s vision of the Church and of the Priesthood provide the guiding principles for the formulation of the document. A vision of the Church entails a vision of priestly ministry. Conversely, a particular vision of priestly ministry mirrors a vision of the Church. Seminary formation in the Philippines becomes effective only if it conscientiously and purportedly molds the seminarians in the complex world of formation according to the vision of priestly ministry at the service of the Church in the Philippines and Asia. Therefore, these guidelines for priestly formation in the Philippines emanate not from theological speculations, but from a clear vision and objectives enunciated by the Philippine Church in PCP-II. 3. Priestly Formation Seen as a Continuum. The document ensures the continuity of the different stages of seminary formation. The advantage of this approach gives the seminary formators not only a panoramic view of the seminary formation. It also clarifies the goals of every stage of seminary formation and establishes the linkages between stages. As such, different stages are seen not as isolated formative process but as one leading to the other, ensuring continuity and interrelatedness. Thus, as we identify the goal, content and strategy of the different stages in priestly formation, we are also able to see clearly how one stage is preparatory to the next stage. Seminaries

/ P9


CBCP Monitor

Feature

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

THE treasures of Masbate are best depicted in its hundreds of years of civilization and the goldmines. The Calanay Pottery Complex strongly shows that as early as 2000 years ago, the rich culture of Masbate was already evident as the pottery designs were delicately and elegantly sculptured. Meaning, the early Masbateños did not exhaust all their efforts merely in looking for food or producing them. They lived an above-average lifestyle as they were already into the arts early on.

(for this article, get a good picture in Legazpi/Albay in our library, taken by roy or melo acuña)

The Evangelization of Masbate The evangelization of Masbate started in 1569. Under the Luis de Enriquez expedition, Fray Alonzo Jimenez, an Augustinian Missionary, settled in Burias and allegedly baptized a chieftain there with 49 children from several wives. They were the first to be converted to Christianity; consequently making Masbate as the place where Christianization in Bikol and Luzon began. The Secular Clergy took charge in 1609-1688 when the Bishop of Caceres was unable to visit Masbate as often as was needed. It is said there was a rule before that “A certain diocese should only extend up to 12 leagues (100km in area) so that the Bishop could attend to parishioners.” Way back then, there were only four (4) dioceses namely: Vigan, Caceres, Manila and Cebu. In 1700, the Masbate mission was under the parish of Bulan in Sorsogon. The population of Masbate from 1700-1790’s didn’t go beyond 2000. To become a parish, the population must be 2500 and up. That was the reason why Masbate could not be declared a parish just yet. Up to 1794, only 3 parish priests were assigned in the province. From 1688 to 1974 Masbate was under the care of Recollect Missionaries due to the shortage of secular priests. In 1571, a manifest from one of the galleons that traveled from Masbate to Spain and kept in a museum (also in Spain) showed that the first OFW was an “indio natural” with the (Christian) name Francisco who traveled to Spain to accompany Fr. Diego de Herrera, Provincial of Augustinians. Francisco, though not recorded with a surname, could have been a native of Ticao, Masbate as the galleon they boarded came from said areas. Unfortunately, in April 1576 on its way back the galleon was wrecked by a typhoon near Catanduanes. There De Herrera (and most probably Francisco) was martyred by the natives of the place. The Faith as a Diocese It was in 1968 when Masbate became a diocese by virtue of the bull

9

The Diocese of Masbate By Jennifer Salvador

(Sorsogonensis Dioecesis) issued by Pope Paul VI in March 23, 1968. In June 17, 1968, Msgr. Porfirio Iligan was appointed the first bishop of Masbate. He was installed September 25, 1968, taking under his protection the 265,000 Catholics (62%) in the province. Amidst the socio-economic, cultural and political problems that plagued the province, Bishop Iligan stood strong. He became the “financial wizard” despite the years of agitation (1968-1969), when finances for liturgy, the apostolate, among others, couldn’t possibly be provided for. The socio-economic situation was worse: there was no electricity, roads were so bad, political killings continued even in broad daylight. But the new diocese withstood. Twenty one (21) priests were assigned to Masbate during that first year. They were Fathers Ricarte, Virtucio, Almazan, Lachica, Redillas, Curimao, Villaroya, delos Santos, Rosero, Robles, Estipona, Erestain, Golimlim, Dooc, Embile, Balang, Lanuza, Salivio and Pura. From 1968 to 1970 a number of priests were ordained. On July 1972, the community of religious women emerged with the arrival of Daughters of Mary—a catechetical group under Sr. Paz Albao. In the same year, the diocese built Saint Anthony High School Seminary (SAHSS) in Pulangbato on a donated seven- hectare property. In 1979, Bishop Iligan founded the Daughters of St. Joseph. Ten years later, another fellowship of women, the Sisters of Sacro Costato arrived from Italy. Other religious groups who settled in Masbate were the Monastic Benedictine Sisters in Aroroy, Fazenda da Ezperança in Bangad and the Augustinian Recollect Sisters in Palanas. Several educational institutions were founded also within the diocese. There were the Liceo de Masbate run by the Dominican Sisters and the Liceo

de Baleno run by lay stockholders. After sometime, these institutions were acquired by the diocese with the efforts of Bishop Iligan and eventually became diocesan schools: Liceo de Masbate, Liceo de Baleno, Holy NameAcademy and the Immaculate Conception Academy. In June 1986, Msgr. Hermas Laurio started the catechetical formation of 21 catechists. It was through this effort that a diocesan newsletter “Mansanas” was born. The diocese celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1988 with the theme: “Evangelization: History and Perspective.” It was then that the fruits of 20 years of hard work and labor became visible. In the span of 20 years, the diocese produced 43 priests. In the 90’s various Church renewal movements came and ecclesial communities were started. In 1992 a sourcebook for all catechetical groups was released. In 1994, the Apostolic Nuncio visited the diocese. Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon was assigned as second bishop of Masbate in March 25, 1998 upon the resignation of Bishop Iligan. The year 2000 was highlighted by the Jubilee Celebration. In 2002 the conceptualization of the renovation/ expansion of St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral was made under the supervision of Msgr. Quintin Ferraren. The renovated Cathedral was dedicated on September 25, 2004. The event was attended by hundreds of parishioners coming from all over the diocese, marking yet another distinct milestone of the diocese.

fore and after ordination. 5. Contextualized and Inculturated. The document is a product of one national consultation in 1995 and four regional consultations from 2001-2002. This ensures not only comprehensive consultations on the problems and concerns of seminary formators in the entire country but also the possibility of capturing the context of seminary formation in the Philippines. This also ensures that the principles articulated in Pastores dabo vobis are integrated into the document, but in an inculturated way. 6. Integrated and Interactive. Careful attention was taken so that all the aspects of seminary formation, following Pastores dabo vobis, are treated in such a way that they are integrating and interacting with one another. Human formation is acknowledged as the necessary solid foundation of the entire priestly formation. Spiritual formation is considered as the one that unifies all the aspects of formation. Intellectual formation is seen in its totality and not just an end in itself. All the aspects are geared towards pastoral forma-

tion. And all the aspects integrate and interact in the context of community living. Thus, communio is the living context of integration and interaction. 7. Agents of Formation Identified. The treatment of formation expands to the treatment of agents of formation, which identifies not only the seminary priests as agents of formation, but also the whole diocese starting from the bishop to the Christian communities, including the families of the seminarians. It also highlights the need for collaboration among the agents of formation. As such, the document provides not only clear guidelines as to the contribution of all the agents of formation but it also clarifies the coordination with and the working relationship of the different agents of seminary formation.

Diocesan Founding Anniversary Activities The following activities were spearheaded to mark the 38th anniversary of the founding of the diocese on

September 25, 2006. Trade and Skills Fair cum Diocesan Exhibit The Trade and Skills Fair “Saodan sa may Simbahan” was conceptualized to showcase the talents and skills of Mabateños. Products from the different parishes were brought and put on exhibit. Put also on display were photos of the 28 parishes/churches of the diocese. 2nd Diocesan Catholic Family Bible Quiz The 2nd Diocesan Catholic Family Bible Quiz was held at Sienna Hall, Liceo de Masbate (LDM), on September 24, 2006 with the theme: “The Word of God is Alive! Source of One’s Hope.” Paila sa Kabataan In his message during the celebration of “Paila sa Kabataan”, Bishop Baylon explained the meaning of the four panels of stained glass of the cathedral. The first portrays the first Spanish Missionaries to set foot in the Island of Burias in 1569. The second panel was about the galleon trade which, according to history, frequently visited Masbate specifically Ticao Island

where they got their supply of water needed in the voyage, as well as manpower among the natives of the Island. The galleons from Spain would pass through San Bernadino straight between Sorsogon and Ticao going out of the Philippines on their way to Mexico. The third panel is about the birth of our diocese in 1968 with Bishop Iligan taken from Caceres (Naga) and installed as the first bishop of Masbate. The last panel depicts the diocese of Masbate today, focused on reconciliation. Masbate celebrates three aspects of life: Culture, Traditions and Youth. MUMHO MUMHO was launched during the concelebrated mass at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral on September 25, 2006 marking the 38th founding anniversary of the diocese of Masbate. MUMHO is a program which aims to give back to the poor their names and dignity by helping them sustain their needs for food, shelter, education, good health and most importantly, their spiritual needs through catechism. MUMHO is sharing with our least brothers and sisters what we have in excess, instead of throwing them off. Cultural Expression A cultural presentation called The Journey of Faith was held at Magallanes Coliseum in the evening of September 25, 2006 to showcase the richness of Masbate’s culture. The event was a collaborative effort of different schools and their students, parishes, clergy and lay people. The Filipino animistic worship, as well as the fertility dance, selected Filipino songs, interpretative dance and indigenous dances such as Pagdulang and Pangalimango, were performed by participants to an enthused audience Both indigenous dances are now listed as official Philippine traditional dances by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and they have been performed in several places, e.g. CCP, Folk Arts Theater, and have received wide acclaim.

IMPORTANT FACTS Population .......................... 707,055 Catholics ........................... 639,897 Area ........................ 7,000 sq. kms. Bishop ...........................................1 Priests: Diocesan ................................ 76 In the Diocese ......................... 52 Outside the Diocese ............... 17 On study leave ..........................1 Others (resident abroad) ..........6 Religious ....................................... 2 Deacons ....................................... 2 Sisters ........................................ 37

Seminarians: Highschool ............................. 55 Pre-College ............................... 3 Philosophy .............................. 45 Theology ................................... 7 Diocesan Divisions: Vicariates ................................. 7 Parishes .................................. 27 Chaplaincy ................................ 1 Institutions: Retreat Houses ........................ 2

Seminaries / from p8 Therefore, in terms of aspects and stages of priestly formation, we are operating not in the abstract but in the concrete. 4. Seminary Formation Linked with the Ongoing Formation of the Priests. The document sees the importance not only of the continuity in the stages of seminary formation, but also in view of the ongoing priestly formation after ordination. The logical consequence of seeing formation for priestly life and ministry as a continuum is the acknowledgement that formation, as a life long process, should continue even after ordination. Hence, the document stipulates that close linkages among the various stages of priestly formation (high school, precollege, college, pre-theology, theology, and ongoing formation) should be maintained and their continuity be promoted. This, in turn, proposes the need for a very close coordination between the Commission on the Clergy and the Commission on Seminaries and the need for coming up with the program that ensures the continuity of priestly formation be-

What are they saying about the updated Ratio? In its letter of approval, the Congregatio de Institutione Catholica remarked: “Our Congregation has completed its study of The Updated Philippine

Program of Priestly Formation. This text is most satisfactory: it is written in a clear and practical manner; it openly discusses various challenges that face the seminaries of your country; and it is suitably concerned for the unity of formation. The redactors of the document, therefore, are to be congratulated for their work.” Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D., Archbishop of Manila and the Chairman of the CBCP Commission on the Clergy, commended the Commission on Seminaries in these words: “Congratulations to the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for effectively bringing together on several occasions the different agents of seminary formation, pastors, theologians and specialists on related areas to share and discuss, to reflect and pray, to discern and come up with this inspiring document—faithful to the vision of the Second Vatican Council and the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, sensitive and responsive to the present situation, filled with the wisdom of Pastores Dabo Vobis.” Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo,

D.D., the Archbishop of Jaro and the President of CBCP welcomed the updated ratio with these comments: “The formation of future priests in accordance with the vision of Vatican II and PCP-II is an important priority of the Philippine Church. We therefore welcome the present updated Philippine Program for Priestly Formation…. which reflects the CBCP Commission on Seminaries’ ongoing sensitivity to the “signs of the times.” Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., the Bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija and the present Chairman of the CBCP Commission on Seminaries believed that the Philippine Church is “indeed blessed because of the updated program with a Vatican stamp that Bishops, priest-formators and all those involved in formation work can use to form future ordained servant-leaders of the Church.” He singled out that “integral formation in seminaries is one of the top priorities we have to address to achieve renewal in the Church and in our country. We hope this document will be a guiding light for us in our passionate quest to be instruments of renewal in this crucial task of formation.”


Liturgy

10

Distributing Communion to Concelebrants A Question was sent to Zenit by J.C. Venice of Florida; answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University. Q: Paragraph 246 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides that the deacon may present the chalice for the Communion of concelebrants at Mass, but Paragraph 242 says that the paten may be passed to the concelebrants by another priest concelebrant. The deacon is not mentioned. Does this mean that the deacon may not distribute the consecrated Host to the concelebrants? — J.C., Venice, Florida A: The paragraphs in question are: “242. When this prayer before Communion is finished, the principal

celebrant genuflects and steps back a little. Then one after another the concelebrants come to the middle of the altar, genuflect, and reverently take the Body of Christ from the altar. Then holding it in their right hand, with the left hand placed below, they return to their places. The concelebrants may, however, remain in their places and take the Body of Christ from the paten presented to them by the principal celebrant or by one or more of the concelebrants, or by passing the paten one to another.” “246. If Communion is received

Membership in the Masons Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University, answers the following question on masonry. Q: Amember of the RCIA program was told by another member of the parish that if they were going to become Catholic they needed to terminate their involvement with the Masonic lodge before they could join. Is this still the case in the United States? — T.N., Howard City, Michigan A: This question is more canonical than liturgical. The Church’s position with respect to membership of Masonic lodges, even though canon law no longer explicitly mentions the Masons, has not substantially changed. The new code states in Canon 1374: “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.” An interdict is an ecclesiastical penalty that deprives the person of the right to celebrate or receive the sacraments but is less harsh than excommunication. This text greatly simplified the former code which had specifically mentioned the Masons. This change led some Masons to think that the Church no longer banned Catholics from being Masons, since, among other things, in many

CBCP Monitor

countries membership at a lodge was merely social and had nothing to do with plotting against the Church. In order to clarify the issue the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a declaration on Nov. 26, 1983, shortly before the present Code of Canon Law came into effect. This declaration, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, states: “It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code. “This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories. “Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. “It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a

by drinking directly from the chalice, one or other of two procedures may be followed: “a. The principal celebrant, standing at the middle of the altar, takes the chalice and says quietly, Sanguis Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam (May the Blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life). He consumes a little of the Blood of Christ and hands the chalice to the deacon or a concelebrant. He then distributes Communion to the faithful (cf. above, nos. 160-162). “b. The concelebrants approach judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf.AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981). “In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.” The congregation’s judgment, therefore, was not so much based on whether the Masons as such or any specific group of Masons effectively plot against the Church today. This does not deny that some Masonic groups have historically combated the Church nor that even today, in some countries or at certain levels, the lodge remains at the forefront of those who oppose the Church’s freedom of action. Rather, the Vatican congregation above all stressed the incompatibility of some Masonic principles with those of the Catholic Church. This incompatibility resides in some aspects of Masonic ritual, but more importantly in elements regarding the question of truth. In its effort to bring together people of different provenances, Masonry requires that its members adhere to a minimal belief in a supreme architect of the universe and leave aside all other pretensions of truth, even revealed truth. It is thus basically a relativistic doctrine, and no Catholic, nor indeed any convinced Christian, may ever adhere to a group that would require him, even as a mere intellectual exercise, to renounce the affirmation of such truths as Christ’s divinity and the Trinitarian nature of God. Of course, for many people active in Masonic lodges, the conversations and activities are more social in nature and rarely veer toward the realm of philosophical speculation. A Catholic, however, cannot ignore the fundamental principles behind an organization, no matter how innocuous its activities appear to be.

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

the altar one after another or, if two chalices are used, two by two. They genuflect, partake of the Blood of Christ, wipe the rim of the chalice, and return to their seats. (Zenit.org) “c. The principal celebrant normally consumes the Blood of the Lord standing at the middle of the altar. “d. The concelebrants may, however, partake of the Blood of the Lord while remaining in their places and drinking from the chalice presented to them by the deacon or by one of the concelebrants, or else passed from one to the other. The chalice is always wiped either by the one who drinks from it or by the one who presents it. After communicating, each returns to his seat.” The texts actually refer to two different moments. No. 242 refers to the distribution of the hosts to all concelebrants before the “This is the Lamb of God.” No. 246 (d) refers to the deacons presenting (but not administering) the Precious Blood when there are numerous concelebrants. The intent of these norms is to attempt to foresee various possible situations, and indicate the best possible procedure. No. 242 indicates a preferred situation: each concelebrant coming to the center of the altar, but also offers other solutions if this is not feasible. It is clear however that, at this moment, distribution of the hosts by the deacon is not contemplated. No. 246 (d) also presents several ways in which the concelebrating priests consume the Precious Blood. No mention is made of the deacon

presenting the hosts because No. 246 is presuming that the priests have already consumed the Body of Christ. It is in Nos. 248-249 that the possibility is contemplated of the priests consuming both species at the altar, either one after the other, or by intinction. The missal cannot foresee all situations, and there are cases when the number of concelebrants is so large, or the space available so restricted, that it is impracticable for all the priests to approach the altar. In such cases it is possible for the priests to either remain at their places or to move toward pre-designated places where deacons or priests present them the paten and chalice. Communion in this case may be either one species after the other or, more commonly, by intinction. In these situations the deacons or priests presenting the patens and chalices to the priests do so in silence without saying “the Body of Christ.” This is because they are assisting in the distribution of Communion but are not administrating Communion to the concelebrants as they would to the faithful. This latter solution, which is not found in the missal, has been the practice for very large concelebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica and other similar situations. For instance, for Rome’s Chrism Mass, which gathers about a thousand priests, a large number of deacons, vested in dalmatics, present the patens and chalices to the priests who all remain in their places.

Laiko / from p7 ited to not more than 10% of the total transplants performed in a particular institution, and only if a Filipino recipient is not available. (Kidney transplantation is not part of the Medical Tourism program recently launched by the DOH)). Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the DOH, the Kidney Foundation of the Philippines (KFP) was delegated to be the sole body to grant assistance to donors approved by the Hospital Ethics Committee. Walk-in LNRD’s undergo stringent screening requirements, namely: a) legal age (more than 18 years) b) consent of wife or parent, c) no communicable disease, d) passing laboratory clinical results, c) attending a pre-transplant operation d) passing psychiatric evaluation. The Kidney Foundation of the Philippines who gets donation from different sources including rich transplant patients, provide the following: a) financial support for the loss of income during period of kidney transplantation and recovery, b) laboratory expenses during health monitoring up to a period of 10 years, c) health insurance, d) support for livelihood undertaking after the transplant. In this case, the money does not go to the kidney donor but is directly paid to the supplier, for example, of the tricycle or of the sari-sari store goods according to the donor’s choice. While the incidence of endstage renal disease needing kidney transplant has increased tremendously worldwide, the availability of kidneys from cadaver or deceased donors remained low. The waiting time to obtain kidneys from deceased donors for ESRD patients in the U.S., Europe and Japan, is as long as 5 to 8 years. It is only in Iran where there is no waiting time since payment is given by the government to living non-related donors. This situation encouraged opportunists in the United States to use the internet in kidneys for sale. Countries all over the world represented by their organizations for kidney donors are actively searching for better ways of filling the need for living non related donors, with-

out going against their established laws that ban the trafficking of kidneys. Last February 10, the PODP sponsored a symposium with the theme, Towards a National Consensus on Living Non-Related Donor in Kidney Transplantation at the Crowne Plaza Galleria, attended by heads of transplant hospitals throughout the Philippines and members of their Hospital Ethics Committee. As a member of the National Kidney & Transplant Committee, I was privileged to be invited to this well-attended event. The main speaker was Janet RadcliffeRichards, Ph. D., Director of Center for Bioethics & Philosophy of Medicine of the Royal Free & University College of Medical School, London. The session was opened by the talk on A Brief History of Organ Donation in the Philippines by Dr. Enrique T. Ona, executive director of the National Kidney & Transplant Institute followed by Dr. Angeles Tan-Alora, Director of Southeast Asian Center for Bioethics who talked on The Ethics of Human Organ Donation. This was immediately followed by the talk of Dr. Richards entitled, Is it Ethical for Patients with End Stage Renal Disease to Purchase Kidneys from the World’s Poor? The other speakers dwelled on the survey on opinions of Filipinos regarding organ donation and other statistics. While the argument that the sale/purchase of kidneys was philosophically and logically defended as a result of the kidney donation by the altruistic claim of the poor donor, Rev. Fr. Fausto Gomez, representing CBCP and a member of the Southeast Asian Center declared that the sale of human organs is morally wrong, considering our Catholic doctrine of the resurrection of the body. While everyone receives compensation in the process of kidney transplantation, including the nephrologist, the transplant surgeon, his team and the hospital, can we accept the fact that a poor kidney donor whose main aim in life is to have enough food for his family to eat Laiko / P12


CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

GRINDING poverty and lack of better job opportunities at home often force thousands of Filipinos to leave their families behind and try their luck for a job overseas, according to Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People’s (ECMI) executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros. Corros said that although people have different motives why they go abroad, economic remains the primary reason behind the move. ECMI celebrates National Migrants Sunday on February 25 to pay homage to thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their families left behind. Now on its 21st year of paying tribute to thousands of OFWs, this year’s national celebration of Migrants Sunday focuses on the theme: Social Costs of Migration, a Deep Concern for the Church. Reports show that scores of overseas workers experience a lot of hazards in and outside the workplace. Numerous Filipinos have fallen prey to human trafficking and illegal recruitment. Others have succumbed to illness or even lost their mind due to loneliness and isolation. Evidently, news about OFWs finding themselves in a quandary seems not about to stop so soon yet. Just recently, information about the 24 Filipino workers in Nigeria having been kidnapped hit the headlines. But despite difficulties, cultural or otherwise, many OFWs prefer to stick it out just to be able to send money home to provide loved ones with a better life and send children to school. Undeniably, families left behind by OFWs enjoy material benefits but the effect of not having either one or both parents around to provide moral guidance often has its negative toll on the children. The upshot is that the children grow up materialistic and emotionally distant from the parents. In addition, marital infidelities, breakups in marriage, dysfunctional

Social Concern

A Letter of Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro to Parish Priests and Family Life workers in the Archdiocese.

Termination of MOA between CWL and DOH/POPCOM

Migrant Ministry of the Diocese of Antipolo

Poverty, Main Reason Why Filipinos Migrate By Pinky Barrientos, FSP family relationships are also seen as consequences of migration. In the face of all this, what is the Church doing? “We have help desk in some organized dioceses” Corros said. “We remind the government (of its responsibility) and we fill in the gaps.” Referring on the recent news generated by the kidnapping of Filipinos in Nigeria, Corros said, “The risks are sometimes not noticed by our people. What exactly is the feeling of those left behind?” The social costs of migration are high, according to Corros. When the relative working abroad is in difficult situation, the family left behind suffers not only economically, but also emotionally and psychologically. “Their remittances has been cut, their communication has been cut, the emotional pressures on them with regards to what happened to the relative that has been kidnapped; the children in school, who have lost their father momentarily,” said Corros. ECMI offers seminars as part of its ongoing programs for migrants. But Corros admits

that people do not appreciate their programs. “People have different reasons in going abroad. Most of the time, it is motivated by economic (reasons),” Corros pointed out. “Do you think the Church is seen as an economic resource?” ECMI coordinates with the government especially in helping OFWs who are in difficult situations. Recently, ECMI supported the Department of Labor’s (DOLE) upgrade of policies concerning deployment of domestic workers in an effort to empower domestic workers on their rights. ECMI’s support, however, drew a lot of flak from a migrant organization claiming that such move would make Filipino workers less competitive to other domestic workers from Indonesia and Thailand. Economic benefits notwithstanding, the social costs of migration are keenly felt not only among immediate families of OFWs but also in the country as a whole. The nation is experiencing a brain drain because of the continuous exodus of professionals. Filipino doctors and nurses fill up foreign hospitals while Philippine

hospitals have to make do with less. The foreign demand for Filipino nurses and caregivers spawned the proliferation of flyby-night nursing schools in the country. “Every institution in this country contributes to this mentality of migration,” Corros lamented. Dubbed as the modernday heroes, OFWs sent back home remittances amounting to billions of dollars which contribute a lot in propping up the Philippine economy. In 2006 alone, Filipinos overseas sent into the country around 11.4 billion dollars in remittances. There is an estimated 8 million Filipinos living overseas at present. Migration figures show 3.60 million of this estimate are OFWs or contract workers, 3.19 million are immigrants, while 1.30 million are undocumented workers. Figures also show that leading countries of OFW destination are Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hongkong, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan; while permanent residents or immigrants are in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany.

Press Statement on the Occasion of the National Migrants Sunday 2007 THE Church in the Philippines celebrates the annual National Migrants Sunday on February 25, this year. The celebration aims to promote awareness among the faithful and the society on the ever growing phenomenon on migration and particularly its “social costs”. This year’s theme focuses on the “Social costs of migration, a deep concern for the church”. The Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) chose this theme to affirm the “Year of Social Concerns” proclaimed by the CBCP in 2006. It also echoes the Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees last January 14, 2007 which dealt with the “Family of Migrants”. The church and society are invited to look at the impact of migration on the families of our migrants. The Balikbayan Box could very well be seen as the strongest symbol of Filipino migration. It continues to project the hope of many Filipinos that migration is the only way to improve their economic condition and that of their families. Currently, approximately 8 million Filipinos are

11

working and residing overseas. An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Filipinos depart for overseas jobs. Many women too leave to work as nurses, teachers, household service workers, entertainers and other jobs proper of women. Who would then look after the children or take care of the house left behind? Filipino migration has acquired a new face that of feminization—more and more women migrate for work—which, challenges some values in the family and society. The absence of mothers in the family has great ill-effects in up-bringing of children. As more Balikbayan boxes appear at our airports, our concern for the welfare of the migrants and their families especially the children left behind becomes more frightening. The Church and society and the government should face this challenge with greater concern and dedication. As the service arm of the CBCP on the issues and concerns of migrants, ECMI tries to combine pastoral and social services. ECMI has three basic programs for our OFWs and their families: Talakayan, an educational program that aims to promote awareness of migration issues and their implication on value formation.

Dulugnayan, a direct assistance program offering paralegal services and counseling support to OFWs and their families left behind. Unladsanayan, refers to the programs aimed at promoting growth in the economic capacity of families through training on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives, budgeting and the value of savings. ECMI regularly organizes monthly gathering, through its diocesan partners, for training leaders and providing value formation seminars to families of migrants. Furthermore, ECMI actively lobbies and advocates for the continuous protection of the rights of the migrants and their families and the promotion of their welfare. Recently therefore, ECMI supported the POEA’s package of reforms concerning the state of the Household Service Workers as announced by the DOLE early this year, which the ECMI believes contains wise reforms which would eventually bring genuine and long term benefits to the sector concerned and to the country as a whole, particularly when these reforms are appropriately implemented. ECMI continues to hope

with the Filipino people for a socio-political and economic change in our country which would provide better work opportunities for every Filipino worker here in our very own country so that our countrymen will not be forced to leave their homes at the expense of the proper growth of their families and children. Such social change could happen if we all would take active part in the genuine change of our political climate this forthcoming May elections. ECMI joins everyone who are committed to work for a clean, honest and credible elections. We urged also our migrant workers to also participate in the exercise of their suffrage for the welfare of our country. ECMI continues to reiterate its appeal to the government and its corresponding agencies for the labor and economic areas to provide quality legislations and programs which will promote the benefits and welfare of workers particularly the migrants and their families. After all, they are doing our country and society significant economic support through their work and sacrifices. ECMI-CBCP February 23, 2007 Intramuros, Manila

AT the CBCP general assembly last week, I had a dialogue meeting with bishop-members of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. They expressed their concerns about the reported Memo of Agreement on Natural Family Planning between the archdiocesan chapter of the Catholic Women’s League and the regional offices of the Department of Health and the Commission on Population. Although ECFL members agreed with the objectives of the MOA, apprehensions were raised about the sincerity of government agencies in promoting solely an NFP program, based on their past record. There were also perceptions publicized in the media that the church was now for “population control” and condoned the use of contraceptives. Similar apprehensions were earlier raised by a number of Family and Life workers in Mindanao. In order to allay these fears and for the sake of collegialitas affectiva, I have requested the archdiocesan chapter of CWL as well as the regional DOH and POPCOM offices to terminate their MOA by February 15th. In this manner, the archdiocese and church-related organizations will maintain their identity and keep a critical distance from government agencies on matters of family and life. On the other hand, as was also mentioned during the CBCP deliberations, we should not be afraid to dialogue with government agencies – particularly with regard to their avowed program on responsible parenting and the promotion of only natural family planning. Related to this, I would like to point out three distinctions to clarify issues that were raised at the CBCP plenary assembly. For lack of time, these issues could not be properly discussed by the three resource persons who gave contrasting perspectives on the Standard Days Method as a simplified NFP method. (1) Our All-NFP program in the archdiocese has the goal of promoting responsible parenthood, not population control. Regardless of how the population growth rate is interpreted, responsible parenthood through NFP is a desirable goal for all couples. This reiterates what the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines has stated: “Christian parents must exercise responsible parenthood. While nurturing a generous attitude towards bringing new human life into the world, they should strive to beget only those children whom they can raise up in a truly human and Christian way. Towards this end, they need to plan their families ac-

cording to the moral norms taught by the Church.” (Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, CBCP, Manila, 1991, no. 583) (2) We should distinguish SDM as an NFP method in itself, and SDM as it may be presented by non-church groups. We include SDM in our All-NFP program, without combining it with contraceptives. Other programs by government entities or NGOs may suggest back-up contraceptives with SDM. This is not our program. Indeed, SDMcum-contraceptives cannot be considered a natural method any more. From our field experience, we find that many couples prefer a natural method all the way and can handle the twelve-day abstinence period of SDM (which is actually shorter than that of the average cycle in the Basal Body Temperature Method.) (3) Finally, SDM has been characterized as being unreliable, not scientific, and a return to the old calendar rhythm method. The scientific basis for SDM in terms of computer simulation and the calculation of an average cycle through the science of statistics has to my mind been sufficiently explained by the available literature. But perhaps the most convincing evidence for our NFP promoters is the adoption of SDM by more than 1,300 couples in the Prelature of Ipil over the past five years. From their testimonies, SDM is an NFP method that is simple, reliable, and effective. In this regard, we should distinguish between effectiveness and the acceptability of various NFP methods. Other NFP methods, when properly followed, may have a higher effectiveness rating than SDM – e.g. 98% vis-a-vis 95%. In terms of acceptability, however, SDM from our field experience is adopted by two-thirds of all NFP-users. Indeed, in terms of acceptability SDM does not have to be contrasted with other NFP methods. Rather we should see it in the larger context that NFP, due to the availability of simplified methods, has now become much more acceptable vis-à-vis artificial contraceptives. This then is the opportunity and the challenge for all of us in our All-NFP program: to make available information on all modern NFP methods with the concomitant value formation and to reach out to all our kapilya communities through resident providers. With or without the help of government agencies, we shall continue to carry out our ministry and to pursue our goal of promoting responsible parenthood through All-NFP.


Statements

The Search for Christian Unity:

Pastoral Statements issued during the 94th Bishops’ Plenary Assembly

Where We Stand Today A Bishops’ Seminar on Ecumenism The seminar, “The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today,” jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was held on 7-11 February 2007, in Manila, Philippines. The seminar brought together 133 participants and representatives of the Episcopal conferences of Kazakhstan, Japan, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, the Philippines, and Taiwan, and a representative of the Catholic Church in Mongolia. The participants included Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the PCPCU, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, and 33 other bishops. The seminar was generously hosted by the Archdiocese of Manila and held at the archdiocese’s Pius XII Catholic Center. The keynote address, entitled “Ut Unum Sint and Catholic Principles of Ecumenism: Implications for Churches in Asia,” was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper. Other speakers in the seminar included Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle (diocese of Imus), Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez (diocese of Kalookan), Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez (PCPCU), Fr. Ramil Marcos (diocese of Pasig) and Fr. Thomas Michel (FABC). Fr. Jose Salvador Mallari, Ms. Amelita Herrera, and Ms. Norma Valencia gave personal testimonies to the spiritual values they experienced in their ecumenical encounters. Theological Foundations of Ecumenism In Cardinal Kasper’s keynote address, he stated that in ecumenical endeavor, three things must be kept in mind: a) an awareness that our goal is nothing less than the fullness of communion among Christians; b) a realization that the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities possess elements of ecclesiality, sanctification and grace, and therefore are already, even though only partially, in communion with the Catholic Church; and c) an acceptance that communio is the basic ecumenical principle. The Catholic Church’s ecumenical commitment is a journey towards a full sharing with all Christians in the one faith, sacraments, and apostolic ministry, bearing in mind that unity does not mean uniformity. Spiritual Ecumenism The ecumenical movement is inspired by the Holy Spirit, who moves people to pray fervently and work sincerely to restore the unity intended by Christ for his disciples. Spiritual ecumenism involves prayer, change of heart, and holiness of life. By presenting Cardinal Kasper’s A Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism, the seminar offered a renewed appreciation of what is described by Unitatis

Redintegratio as “the soul of ecumenism.” The handbook provides insightful perspectives, practical suggestions and concrete courses of action to be taken in the pursuit of unity. When applied to the real situations of the Churches in Asia, the work promises to be a valuable companion for individuals and communities who are committed to work to build Christian unity. Participants recommended that our episcopal conferences will promote study and reflection on this important aspect of ecumenism. Ecumenical Formation All Catholics are called to work for Christian unity; hence there is a pressing need for ecumenical formation, especially for clergy and laity who have leadership roles in the Church. Such ecumenical formation should prepare and enable Catholics to respond fully and personally to the challenge of working to promote Christian unity. Comprehensive ecumenical formation must shape attitudes by heightening an ecumenical awareness and sensitivity in its human, spiritual, intellectual and apostolic aspects. The goal of this formation is to develop a true ecumenical spirit among Catholics. To assist in the process of ecumenical formation, the local Churches must have welltrained ecumenists accompanying our people to understand and respond positively to the challenges of the search for Christian unity.

The broad attractiveness and rapid growth of Pentecostalism present the Church in Asia with both a challenge and an opportunity. In its response to this phenomenon, (1) the Church’s ecumenical engagement must begin from a dialogue of love and life and involve the Church more deeply in the task of spiritual ecumenism. (2) While keeping in mind that ignorance of the faith and the rootlessness caused by rapid urbanization are among the causes of departures from the Catholic Church, we consider it urgent to educate our faithful more deeply in the beauty of the Catholic faith through lively catechesis, sermons and Christian formation of adults. (3) The Church must help Catholics to rediscover a sense of belonging and overcome their anonymity; in this regard, the following are necessary: a warm, familial atmosphere in churches; worship services characterized by participation and joyful prayer; an enhanced openness to the contributions of the laity; solidarity with the poor, and others with physical and spiritual needs; and the restructuring of parish life into welcoming, neighborly basic communities.

Changing Situation and New Opportunities

Pastoral Suggestions Therefore, we suggest the following concrete measures: • We should support Basic Christian Communities, which will help our people overcome the sense of feeling unknown and uncared for by creating an affectionate and neighborly communitarian life. • We can learn from the insights of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements that worship should be joyful and participatory, without losing sight of the august and solemn character of our liturgical tradition. • Where they are not already being held, our parishes, BCCs, and ecclesial movements should inaugurate weekly Bible study programs, whereby our people can be guided by the Gospel message and enrich one another with their own insights into the Word of God. • The Church can help its members to benefit from the personal testimonies of faith and salvation in Jesus Christ by creating courses, days of recollection, and retreats which focus on testimonial approaches to one’s personal experience of Christ’s saving power. • Reflection on the implications of the Ecumenical Directory and the Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism is needed. • Parish communities, religious congregations, contemplative orders, and ecclesial movements must be exhorted to pray for the unity of Christians. • Ecumenical formation of future priests and lay pastoral workers must be a priority. • The Bishops’ Conferences should invite other Churches to explore prayerfully the possibilities of new ecumenical associations.

nated kidney not only passes the criteria for matching of tissues, but also whether the well being of the donor is attended. Will there be an assurance that what he receives will be spent to support a livelihood project to support his family? In short, is it a life for life exchange and not a sale? The real danger is the abuse even of this well-crafted scheme. The Medical Tourism drive of the government rears its ugly head. Although kidney transplan-

tation is not part of the tourism drive, the thousands of foreigners who have been waiting for donated kidneys for many years now, will create pressure on the hospitals to increase the percentage of LNRD’s for foreign patients. While the many poor are still with us and the government can not immediately rescue them from their survival stage, the Philippines will become the target source for kidneys – yes, for the world’s rich!

The Pentecostal Challenge Since the appearance of the phenomenon of Pentecostalism in Asia, profound changes, both positive and negative, have been taking place within the Churches. Positive developments are the rediscovery of the powerful activity of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s charisms and gifts, a stress on personal prayer, and the experience of a continuous and explicit personal conversion. Indeed, there are very attractive elements in Pentecostalism: their joyful and spontaneous worship; the intimate, friendly nature of their community life; and the opportunity for all believers to contribute their talents and charisms for the spiritual benefit of all. These are factors in drawing Christians from other Churches into the Pentecostal fold. However, there are also negative elements, such as the overemphasis on wealth and health that often leads to a disregard for the message of the cross, the stress on feelings at the expense of truth, worship perceived more as a moment of entertainment rather than an encounter with Jesus, the misuse of mass media, and the unwillingness to recognize the validity of other Christians’ faith commitment and spiritual experience. The richness of Catholic sacramental life can be abandoned in favor of emotional experience and the centrality of faith, hope, and love in Christian life can be overshadowed by reliance on the “lesser” charismatic gifts.

Laiko / from p10 three times a day be deprived of the financial help from well endowed kidney recipients? On this issue, the Kidney Foundation of the Philippines, a non-profit organization together with the Ethics Committee of the hospital concerned, screens and regulates the rush of applicants – the living non-related donors. In its screening process and deliberation of the donors’ expectations of benefits, the Ethics Committee is tasked to determine whether a do-

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Message of Pope Benedict XVI on Pro-life Day in Italy

Dear Brothers and Sisters: TODAY Pro-life Day is being observed in Italy, promoted by the episcopal conference with the theme “Love and Desire Life.” I cordially greet all those who have gathered in St. Peter’s Square to witness to their commitment in favor of life, from conception until natural death. I join the Italian bishops to renew the appeal, launched several times also by my venerated predecessors, to all men and women of good will to receive the great and mysterious gift of life. Life, which is the work of God, must not be denied to any one, not even the smallest and defenseless newborn, and much less so when he has serious handicaps. At the same time, echoing the pastors of the Church in Italy, I urge you not to fall into the deception of thinking that one can dispose of life to the point of “legitimizing its interruption with euthanasia, masking it perhaps with a veil of human mercy.” The “Week of Life and Family” begins today in the Diocese of Rome, an important occasion to pray and reflect on the family, which is the “cradle” of life and of every vocation. We know well that the family, based on marriage, constitutes the natural environment for the birth and education of children and, therefore, to ensure the future of the whole of humanity. However, we also know that it is going through a profound crisis and that it must face numerous challenges.

© Alessandra Benedetti/Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis

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CBCP Monitor

Therefore, it is necessary to defend, protect and value it in its unique and irreplaceable character. If this commitment is first of all the duty of spouses, it is also a priority duty of the Church and of all public institutions to support the family through pastoral and political initiatives, which take into account the real needs of spouses, of the elderly and of the new generations. A peaceful family atmosphere, enlightened by faith and the holy fear of God, also favors the rise and flowering of vocations at the service of the Gospel. I am referring in particular, not only to those called to follow Christ on the path of the priesthood, but also to men and women religious, consecrated persons, whom we remembered last Friday on the World Day of Consecrated Life. Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray so that with a constant effort in favor of life and of the family our communities may become places of communion and hope, in which is renewed, despite the many difficulties, the great “yes” of authentic love to the reality of the human being and of the family, according to the original plan of God. Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that respect will grow for the sacred character of life, that there will be ever greater awareness of genuine family needs, and that the number will increase of those who contribute to bring about in the world the civilization of love.

In and Out / from p6 We are in the beginning of the Lenten Season. Lent is sacrifice. Lent is loving… Jesus has said that whatever is given to the least, the lost and the last of our neighbors is given to him. And whoever so gives repeats the experience of Jesus. He becomes a living reminder of Jesus. He becomes a living witness of the love of God. What we give may not be much, but Jesus needs it. It may well be that society does not experience the transformation it needs, that the world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph, that people remain deprived of home, job, opportu-

nity and land, because we will not bring to Jesus what we have and are. Social transformation starts from the heart. The Alay Kapwa Lenten Program goes on. For many reasons the poor is still with us. The approach to the solution must be double-pronged: addressing both the reasons for poverty and poverty itself. That is why Alay Kapwa is both an evangelization program and a fund campaign. It must hit the mind, the heart and the pocket. It opens the mind, the heart and the pocket. It is for everybody who wishes to be a Christian neighbor.

The Truth / from p7 Binyag, Libing,” says the priest. “We can’t expect much of them. We must pray for them. Sometimes I’m almost driven out of my wits, tired, sleepless and ignored by them, but what else can we do? I go to them… I go on house-to-house visits, try to open our doors to them. We’ve begun holding street Masses, too. I was surprised so many of them came for the mass wedding,” the priest flashed a smile. I can empathize with the priest in this dilemma, walking the thin line between compassion and powerlessness. What do you do when you ache to help but your help is unwanted? How do you strike a balance between

firmness of hand and tenderness of heart? When does our charity fail to help the poor? Do the poor truly want to stop being poor, or is their poverty really their comfort zone? Do we “church people” really love the poor so much we would want to be poor ourselves? Our parish priest’s situation is by no means rare, nor is it the worst fate that can befall a parish priest in the Philippines. Nonetheless, for a priest who’s barely been ordained I believe he is certainly taking it most graciously, ministering in this neighborhood dirtied by dogs and children, seeing God in this place of love and squalor. And that’s the truth.


CBCP Monitor

Statements

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Consecrated Men and Women on the 11th World Day of Consecrated Life, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

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MESSAGE FOR NATIONAL BIBLE SUNDAY January 28, 2007 God’s Word: Standard of Justice and Right Living (Proverbs 14:34 and 2 Timothy 3:16)

February 2, 2007 Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am glad to meet you at the end of the Eucharistic Celebration that has gathered you in this Basilica this year too, on an occasion so meaningful for you who belong to Congregations, Institutes, Societies of Apostolic Life and New Forms of Consecrated Life; you constitute a particularly important element of the Mystical Body of Christ. Today’s liturgy recalls the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, the feast chosen by my venerable Predecessor, John Paul II, as the “Day of Consecrated Life”. With great pleasure I address my cordial greetings to each one of you present here, beginning with Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of your Dicastery, to whom I am grateful for his kind words on your behalf. I then greet the Secretary and all the members of the Congregation which looks after a vital sector of the Church. Today’s celebration is especially appropriate for asking the Lord for the gift of an ever more consistent and incisive presence of men and women religious and consecrated persons in the Church journeying along the roads of the world. Dear brothers and sisters, the Feast day we are celebrating reminds us that your Gospel witness, to be truly effective, must stem from a response without reserve to the initiative of God who has consecrated you to him with a special act of love. Just as the elderly Simeon and Anna longed to see the Messiah before they died and spoke of him “to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (cf. Lk 2:26,38) so also in our time, especially among young people, there is a widespread need to encounter God. Those who are chosen by God for the consecrated life make this spiritual longing their own in a definitive way. In it, in fact, they have one expectation: the Kingdom of God: that God reign in our will, in our hearts, in the world. In them burns a unique thirst for love

which can be quenched by the Eternal One alone. By their example they proclaim to a world which is often bewildered but, in fact, increasingly in search of meaning, that God is the Lord of life and that his “steadfast love is better than life” (Ps 63[62]:4[3]). By choosing obedience, poverty and chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven, they demonstrate that any attachment or love for people and things is incapable of definitively satisfying the heart; that earthly existence is a longer or shorter period of waiting for the “face-to-face” encounter with the divine Bridegroom, an expectation to be lived with an ever vigilant heart, to be ready to recognize and welcome him when he comes. Consecrated life, therefore, is by its nature a total and definitive, unconditional and passionate response to God (cf. “Vita Consecrata,” n. 17). And so, when one renounces everything to follow Christ, when one gives to him all that one holds most dear, braving every sacrifice as did the divine Teacher, the consecrated person who follows in Christ’s footsteps necessarily also becomes “a sign of contradiction”, because his/ her way of thinking and living is often in opposition to the logic of the world, as it is almost always presented in the media. Indeed, in choosing Christ we let ourselves be “conquered” by him without reserve. How many people thirsting for the truth are struck by this courage and attracted by those who do not hesitate to give their life, their own life, for their belief. Is not this the radical evangelical fidelity to which every consecrated person is called in our time too? Let us give thanks to the Lord so that many Religious men and women in all the corners of the earth may continue to offer a supreme and faithful witness of love to God and to the brethren, a witness that is often marked by the blood of martyrdom. Let us also thank God so that these examples may continue to inspire in the souls of many young people the desire to follow Christ always in an intimate and total way. Dear brothers and sisters, never forget that the consecrated life is a divine gift and that it is the Lord in

the first place who ensures its success in accordance with his plans. This certainty that the Lord leads us to a successful conclusion despite our weakness; this certainty must be a comfort to you, protecting you from the temptation of discouragement in the face of the inevitable difficulties of life and the many challenges of the modern epoch. Indeed, in the difficult period in which we live many Institutes may feel a sense of dismay at the failings they discover within them and the many obstacles they encounter in carrying out their mission. Today that Child Jesus who is presented at the Temple is alive among us and invisibly supports us so that we may cooperate faithfully with him in the work of salvation, and he does not abandon us. Today’s liturgy is particularly evocative because it is marked by the symbol of light. The solemn procession with candles which you made at the beginning of the celebration points to Christ, the true light of the world who shines in the night of history and illumines every seeker of the truth. Dear consecrated men and women, burn with this flame and make it radiant with your life so that a gleam of the brightness that shone from Jesus, the splendor of the truth, may shine everywhere. By dedicating yourselves exclusively to him (cf. “Vita Consecrata,” n. 15), you witness to the fascination of the truth of Christ and the joy that derives from love for him. In contemplation and in activity, in solitude and in fraternity, in service to the poor and the lowly, in personal guidance and in the modern areopagi, be ready to proclaim and to witness that God is Love and that to love him is sweet. May Mary, the Tota Pulchra, teach you to transmit to men and women today this divine fascination that must transpire from your words and actions. As I express to you my grateful appreciation for the service you render to the Church, I assure you of my constant remembrance in prayer and I warmly bless you all.

ecrate the persons who engage in them. Three, the consequence argument. This is most obvious in the Philippine over-all situation seen from a larger perspective and in my province, Eastern Samar, from a local perspective. Surveys, both local and international, have made us eat humble pie and there seems very little indication that we are responding positively. We rank among the last in development and poverty-alleviation but among the first in corruption. Clearly, cheating in our elections has produced leaders who largely fall short of the basic standards of good governance or have so misgoverned that the systems and structures of the country no longer work for the people’s welfare. They have become the milking cow of those who are in power and, by extension, by those who are within their spheres of favor. Four, the exclusion argument.

When we sell our votes, we do so to the highest bidder. It struck me once when, on a past election day, I saw people not voting till the last hour. I asked a lay leader why this was so. He answered, “Father, they are waiting for the really big money, the highest bids from the politicos’ agents.” I said to myself, “Yes, Virginia. The problem is not in the stars but in ourselves. The problem with our Philippines is Filipinos.” When only those who can buy our votes get elected, we do not get the best because if we did, we won’t be where we are now. The best do not buy our votes because they not only tend to be poorer than the crooks but also refuse to insult us by buying our sacred trust. No, the best are excluded because we have sold them out. Five, the altruistic argument. Altruism is rooted in the Latin word ‘alter’ which means ‘other’. Don’t sell

Roadside / from p7 our rampant election irregularities. If it were, then why do even moneyed politicians sell their candidacies, say by withdrawing from an electoral contest in favor of an opponent to the tune of millions of pesos (go ask Mang Panday, it’s amazing how much he and his likes know the truth)? Two, the self-strike or ‘paniki’ (night bat) argument, otherwise known as the sanctity of the ballot argument. Legend has it that when a night bat or ‘paniki’ takes a pee, it urinates on itself. In much the same way, a citizen who buys or sells votes slaps himself/herself because that action desecrates the sanctity of his right to choose his/her leaders that fit their office. To say that power resides in the people is only half true. Power is ultimately of God; to treat it as a plaything or an object of commerce is to offend its ultimate Source. In effect, buying and selling votes and election-rigging in general des-

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My dear brothers and sisters: “Righteousness makes a nation great; sin is a disgrace to any nation.” (Proverbs 14:34). THE Book of the Proverbs, many of whose sayings are rightly attributed to King Solomon, considered the wisest man of Israel, teaches that righteousness or virtue makes a nation great, while wickedness is a cause of disgrace to any nation. The righteous or wise person is a source of advantage not only to self but also to the society of which one is a part. It is very clear then that the wisdom teachers of the Old Testament emphasize in their teaching that a human being is a creature who lives in society and is responsible for the welfare of society. Thus the righteous person must live in solidarity with others, not only concerned with a personal good or the interest of one’s family and dear ones but also involved with the situation of a town or city, province and the whole nation. The same book describes in glowing terms the reward of the righteous men and women already in this life both as individuals and as a nation. For the wise men of the Old Testament a nation that is righteous will enjoy success, wealth and honor. Virtuous people will never be hungry but will enjoy prosperity and peace. Aided by prayer the righteous persons gain the life they desire. Like the trees in a well-watered garden their root will never be moved, their house stands, and their light does not go out. The righteous will endure forever. They are an influence for good that is effective after their lifetime. They are thoughtful of the poor people and kind even to animals and the whole creation. Their speech is a source of life and blessing. The righteous persons walk the way of life, while the wicked walk the way of death. By the grace of God the righteous will rule over the wicked. Their wisdom will prevail over the foolishness of evil men and women. And because of this the whole nation will rejoice in their triumph. What a beautiful picture of a righteous and virtuous nation! It is an image of a nation that enjoys a “civilization of life and love”. It is a dream that our beloved Philippines, the largest Christian country in Asia today, has not yet achieved. Is ours a civilization of life and love, which should be a gift of God to a Christian nation? Certainly not! For as a people and church we are confronted daily with an uncertain future. Most of our folks still suffer crunching poverty. There is a lingering political and economic instability on account of many issues such as the change of the Constitution, alleged electoral frauds and extra-judicial killings. Corruption in private and public life has not stopped and insurgency has worsened because of the declaration of total war against the rebels of the government. We celebrated The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines fifteen years ago, where we envisioned a Church renewed through a renewed integral evangelization and by announcing a message of liberation. However, our social situation has not substantially changed. In some ways it has even deteriorated. So the Church in the Philippines has declared the current year as the Year of the Social Concerns to remind us

that the Church’s social doctrine is an integral part of her evangelizing mission. And the Word of God is the primary source of the Church’s social teaching. Thus, now more than ever we need to turn to God’s Word, where we find guidance for our life and faith as individuals, family and nation. As Christians we believe that God’s Word should be the standard of justice and right living. It must become the norm, the ideal, the benchmark, the banner, the measure, the pattern and the yardstick of our life as a Christian nation. St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy stresses the social value of Sacred Scripture, which gives the wisdom bringing total salvation. He says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving instruction for right living.” (2 Tim 3:16) Again and again Scripture has opened for men and women the way to God, for there is a saving wisdom here that is in no other book in the world. Among all the books only the Bible is God-inspired. For this reason the Sacred Scriptures are of use in teaching, are valuable for reproof, useful for correction and are an excellent guide for right living for persons both as individuals and as a nation. The Bible is the best catechetical book for basic Christian formation. For instance, it illustrates Jesus’ meaning of conversion, which is essential for every human being to enter the Kingdom of God. After repentance Jesus stresses “belief” in the gospel, whose full meaning can only be understood by examining the biblical doctrine on faith. And renewal of the nation starts from the conversion of each and every citizen of the country. It is beyond argument that the Scriptures are valuable for reproof. This does not mean that the Bible is valuable for finding fault but that it is valuable for convincing a man or a woman of the error of his/her ways and for pointing him/her on the right path. When St. Paul says that the Scriptures are of use for correction, the meaning of this is that all theoretical and ethical teachings are to be tested against the Bible. For example, if a certain law, proposed by the legislators, contradicts the teaching of Scriptures and of the Church, we Christians have the duty to reject it and to fight against its promulgation. The final point of St. Paul’s passage is very opportune for us Filipinos today. The study of Scriptures gives instruction for right living. The Bible trains a human person in righteousness so that one is equipped for every good work. The essential conclusion is that we Christians study, meditate and pray with the Word of God not only for our own good but the good of our fellow men and women. For conversion has a social dimension. If we turn to God’s Word as the standard of justice and right living, there is great hope that our beloved nation will taste the dawning of God’s Kingdom, a “Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace.” Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD Bishop of Sorsogon Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate


Reflections

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Prayer Power:

Reminiscence of EDSA By Bp. Jose Manguiran I’LL tie a yellow ribbon at my door to welcome you home Ninoy. You have arrived at my doorstep that August 21st, but bloody and dead. We tie a yellow ribbon around our head and hearts to keep you alive in spirit; and you gave us the exiled democracy, golden and alive. On the 25th of February 1986 the King by the Pasig River was forced to desert his

palace and given a sanctuary at Uncle Sam’s domain. The howl of a million crowd pierced the King’s ears. The deluge of tears woeing over the thousand victims killed during the reign of teeth flooded his heart. The King could not hold the stabbing thrust; he has to run for his life. Come out prisoners of cause! “Come out Lazarus”

LOVE songs, no matter how human and, therefore, imperfect and with limited scopes, can’t help but bear traces of divine love. It’s amazing that with some simple tunes and lyrics, they can make us fly to infinity, to eternity. This is simply because these love songs have God as their ultimate inspiration. God is love, and anything related to love in our life somehow begins and ends with God. This is true even if we are not aware of this reality. These songs can be very dramatic. And we can easily excuse them when they exaggerate a little, or even a lot. They exercise tremendous power over us, generating a manifold of impulses that are all meaningful and satisfying to us. Singing or humming them, or simply playing them in our mind or in our heart, without sound, can evoke peace, joy, thrill, suspense, longing, hope, memories, tears, a smile, a reconciliation, an embrace, a kiss, etc., etc. This is the power of love songs. With their melody, they easily arouse our senses, activate our emotions and passions. With their words and messages, they can crackle to life and intense activity our intelligence and heart. Before we know it, we become aware there’s something burning within us. We are brought to different worlds, go through the past, the present and the future, made to consider various situations and precious lessons. If we are lucky, they can even lead us to God—as they should, in the end. While I was in high school, way before my Bible-reading years and my immersion in philosophy and theology, there was one song that caught my attention immediately. The melody struck me first, but it was the lyrics that hooked me to singing it.

from the tomb and let the sunshine stroke your pale face. Leap over the Pasig River. There’s none to be afraid of. You, mouths glued by silence, shout on the mountaintop to recapture your fading voice. You, fettered feet, stretch out a milestep over the yellow fields. February 26, 1986 is the golden page in our history. On that day, for the first time in twenty years of suppression of will, we unleashed the “people power” by non-violence to crush tyranny. We have demonstrated that nonviolence is no longer a myth, it is real; that Filipino Christian identity in Asia is not a myth either; it is alive. That moment of February 24, 25, where the civilians, with courage alone; forming a human barricade to prevent a bloody revolution was a show of civilian protection to the military. That was the moment of emphasis on the constitutional truth that the civilian prevails over the military. That was the moment that the civilian regained his political posture in the democratic Philippines. Today, God reminds the power-hungry politicians that pride can drive them to shame. The life of Mr. Marcos serves as a warning. His pride runs at its peak. He prides over his being a hero without equal, parading twenty-seven medals of heroism on his shoulder, claiming to have a messianic

covenant with his people, believing that nobody else but he alone is the brightest son of Juan de la Cruz to make this nation great again, pasting our landscape and homes with his images. So proud is he to feel invulnerable for there are the military hardware to shield him, there are the military dobberwatchdogs to secure his palace, there are the technocrats of international brand baked at Oxford, Harvard, Wharton to read the stars. The law was at the tip of his fingers and in fact, he was the law. So powerful was he to believe he was the law; so invincible he believed to be. But, in the slap of time, on the 25th of February he sunk on his knees before a “housewife only.” It is a gravitational truth that the highest the pride is, the lowest and loudest is the fall. Almost all dictators fall into the same trap. As Christians, the Filipinos have proved to the world that they have the capacity to break the chain of slavery; not by bullets, but by rosary beads, by crucifix, by candles, by flowers, by holy water, by pan de sal, by pleading knees, by courage. All these things halted the pilots of the steel tanks. For inside that steel is a heart penetrable by love. Love disarms as David to Goliath. Love disarms death as Jesus does by resurrection.

The Power of Love Songs It went: “If it takes forever / I will wait for you. / For a thousand summers / will wait for you.” That may sound corny to some, but to my innocent ears then, it gave me tremendous lessons. Love knows how to wait! The realization came with the wonder and surprise of a discovery. Imagine the thrill I got recently when someone lent me a Sting mp3 entitled, “A thousand years.” The same idea is dramatized in a modern and secular way. Again the music first got me intrigued. It has a different and haunting beat. But the words are just marvelous. As people say, they are to die for. It goes: “A thousand years / a thousand more / a thousand times a million doors to eternity.” I find these words graphic enough of what is to wait. When one is in love, the distinction between a moment and an eternity dissolves. The idea is reiterated in finer nuances, making you flow in a beautiful stream of consciousness. “If it takes another thousand years / a thousand wars /…I could shed another million tears / a million breaths / …A million suns / ten

put it, you may please some and surprise the rest of us. Yes, the rest of us who have lost faith in the Filipino’s capacity to be who he truly is. A story has it that the philosopher Diogenes was sent by God back to earth. He is still going around the world with his lamp. After going to several countries in Europe, North

Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Bo Sanchez

You Never Graduate from Love’s Academy

CAROL was peeking through the window again. Daily, she’d watch the sweet couple next-door, doing their morning ritual: Before the husband went off to work, he’d kiss his wife, give her a hug, and declare to her, “I love you!” for all the world to hear. Each morning, Carol saw this sight, and every time, her heart was filled with envy. Finally, one day, she couldn’t take it anymore. So Carol confronted her husband Pete. “Why can’t you be like our nextdoor neighbor?” She pulled the curtain for him to take a look. “See? This man kisses his wife, embraces her, and says, ‘I love you!’ every morning. Every Morning! Why can’t you do that?” Pete’s face was pale. “Honey, I can’t do that!” “Why?” Carol asked angrily. “Why, Honey, I… I don’t even know that woman!” “Sheeeeeesh. Pete, I’m not asking you to do it with that woman. I’m asking you to do it with me!” “Oh…” he muttered blankly. “Tell me that you love me again. I haven’t heard it in a long time now!” Pete shrugged his shoulders. “Gee, Carol, I don’t know. I mean, I said, ‘I love you’ thirty years ago during our honeymoon. And I told you that if I changed my mind, I’d tell you. Well, I haven’t.” By now, I think many wives reading this would like to throw a few cooking

pans in the direction of Pete’s head. Let me ask you a question. Why is it necessary for spouses to tell each other, “I love you” each day? I mean, can’t one ‘I love you’ be sufficient for the next thirty years? This is the same principle that works for reading the Bible. Or, from learning about God. (Huh?) That’s right. As mushy as this may sound, the Bible is God’s love letter to you. And so, in your daily “Scripture” time, you can���t say, “This is boring. I’ve read this story before”; or, “Oh no, today’s reading is the Prodigal Son again. Gosh, I’ve read this a million times; or, “The beatitudes? Again? I can recite that in my sleep!” So what? You see, you’re forgetting one thing: Christianity isn’t just a religion. It’s primarily a relationship. It’s a personal relationship where “I love you” is repeated for a million times. The temptation among Christians is to look for the new, the esoteric, the higher learning, the advanced subjects with big words— thinking that they can graduate from the basics. Stuff like trust. Obedience. Humility. Faith. Surrender. And God whispering, “I love you” in our hearts again and again and again. If you feel like you can graduate from the basic stuff, I think you’re in the wrong religion. Because this one has no graduates. We remain students of love, forever.

FROM THE INBOX

By Fr. Roy Cimagala million years of uncertainty…” All of these because, “If there was a single truth / a single light / a single thought / a singular touch of grace,” the truth is “I’ve kept this single faith / I have but one belief / I still love you / I still want you.” The song ends very powerfully: “A thousand times the mysteries unfold themselves / like galaxies in my head / On and on the mysteries unwind themselves / eternities still unsaid / ‘TILL YOU LOVE ME.” I must say that the song helps me to pray. When I consider the words, and of course, when I hear the melody, I think of how our relationship with God and one another should be. Sorry, I don’t waste these thoughts on just one creature. I realize that God, who is love and who loves us first before we know how to love, precisely waits for us in time and in eternity, willing to suffer whatever, if only we learn to love the way he loves us. However things may be, the bottom line is: love endures and conquers all, dude!

Roadside / from p13 or buy votes for the sake of your ‘significant others’, namely, your spouse, your children, your relatives, your neighbors, children and the young who look up to you not only as older but also as wiser. If you truly value your fellow Filipinos or your countrymen, do it for them. Do what is right so that, as Mark Twain once

CBCP Monitor

America, Latin America, Africa and Australia, he recently visited the Philippines. Everywhere he went he was always asked why he was carrying a lamp and his answer was: “I’m looking for an honest man.” In the Philippines he was last seen at the Luneta and several cops found him at Rizal’s monument without his lamp. The

cops said, “We know who you are. And we suppose that you are in the Philippines looking for an honest man.” Diogenes said, “I was.” Then he looked into their eyes and said, “But now I’m only looking for my lamp.” Someone stole it. Stealing—Yes, that’s what buying and selling votes and electionrigging are really all about.

Isang panawagan sa darating na halalan Likha at titik ni Noel Malicdem, Dubai, UAE Malayo man ako sa ating bayan Gusto ko lang ibahagi ang nararamdaman Pagmamalasakit sa patuloy na kahirapan Umaasang may pagbabago sa darating na halalan. Malapit na naman ang pambansang halalan At halos wala pa ring pagbabago sa ating bayan Walang katuparan mga pangako sa mamamayan Kung sino nakapuwesto sila lang ang nakikinabang. Walang pinagbago ang mga politiko sa ating bayan Trapo pa rin at walang pakinabang Sa maling sistema at huwad na katauhan Kaya ang bayan patuloy ang kahirapan. Gamit ang masa sa panlilinlang Magmumukhang santo nandamay pa ng simbahan Takutin ang mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng karahasan Mas masahol pa kapag nanalo sa halalan. Paulit-ulit na lang ang ganitong kaganapan Sa tuwing sasapit ang pambansang halalan Hahamakin ang lahat sa maling paraan Upang mapanatili sa mga gawaing puno ng katiwalian. Nakakasawa na ang mga politikong namamahala Kung hindi kapamilya isa itong laos na artista Paikot-ikot lang at walang plataporma Inabutan na ng halalan wala pa ring nagawa. Batu-bato sa langit Ang tamaan huwag magalit Sa mga politikong hatid lang ay pasakit Sa bansang wala nang narinig kundi panlalait Sana suriing mabuti ang mga kandidato Kung siya ba’y karapat-dapat na mamumuno Tapat sa pangako at handang magsakripisyo Para sa kapayapaan at tunay na pagbabago Paalala lang sa darating na halalan Maging matino sa araw ng botohan Iboto ang kandidatong tapat manungkulan May takot sa Diyos at pagmamahal sa bayan.


CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Moral Assessment

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary Technical Assessment

Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent CINEMA Rating Guide

VA - For viewers of all ages V13 - For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance V14 - For viewers 14 and above V18 - For mature viewers 18 and above NP - Not for public viewing

CINEMA Reviews Title: LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA Running Time: 140 mins Lead Cast: Ken Watanabe, Kasunari Ninomiya, Nishi Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura Director: Clint Eastwood Producer: Clint Eastwood Screenwriter: Iris Yamashita Music: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens Editors: Joel Cox, Gary Roach Genre: Drama/History/War Cinematography: Tom Stern Distributor: Warner Bros. Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Japanese soldiers under the command of Lt. Gen Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) are entrenched on the island of Iwo Jima, preparing for the IS invasion of Mount Suribachi. Some of the Japanese soldiers are fighting out of a sense of duty when they would rather be home, as when it is peace time. These soldiers include Saigo (Kasunari Ninomiya), a young baker who has left his pregnant wife and is

Title: FACES OF LOVE Running Time: 100 mins Lead Cast: Christopher de Leon, Angel Aquino, Juliana Palermo, Alfred Vargas, Mon Confiado, Bembol Roco Director: Eddie Romero Producer: Eddie Romero Screenwriters: Eddie Romero, Rica Arevalo Music: Jobin Ballesteros Editor: Ron Dale Genre: Drama.Romance Cinematography: Jun Aves Distributor: Independent Location: Manila Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Nang mabiyuda si Don Arcadio (Christopher de Leon), tanging ang mga misteryosong love letters na ipinapadala sa kanya ang nagpapasaya dito. Ngunit makalipas ang maraming taon, biglang huminto ang pagdating ng mga sulat kaya nagpasya siyang kunin ang serbisyo ng isang abogado at imbestigador na si Toby (Alfred Vargas) upang alamin kung kanino nanggagaling ang mga sulat. Sa pangangalap ni Toby ng impormasyon ay malalaman niyang minsang nagkaroon ng ugnayan si Don Arcadio at ang nurse na si Ligaya (Angel Aquino). Hindi na nahirapan si Toby na hanapin si Ligaya dahil sinamahan siya ng pamangkin ni Don Arcadio na si Skip (Juliana Palermo). Pagdating sa kinaroroonan ni Ligaya ay malalaman nilang biyuda na rin pala ito at napatay sa kulungan ang kanyang asawang si Leandro na pinaghihinalaang lider ng mga rebelde. Ibinalita ni Toby at Skip ang mga ito kay Don Arcadio at kinumbinsi nilang puntahan niya si Ligaya upang damayan man lang. May mabuo kayang ugnayan muli sa kanilang dalawa? Si Ligaya nga ba ang nagpapadala kay Don Arcadio ng mga sulat? Ang Faces of Love ang pagbabalik pelikula ng ating National Artist for Film na si Eddie Romero na nakilala sa kanyang mga klasikong obra tulad ng Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon at marami pang iba. Ito ang kauna-unahang digital film ng respetadong direktor. Hindi maitatatwang sa kanya nga ang Faces of Love dahil sa makaluma nitong diyalogo at payak na pagkakabuo. Naging abala ang kuwento kay Don Arcadio samantalang mas may buhay ang kuwento ni Ligaya at Leandro pati

na ang kaugnayan nila sa pulis na papel ni Bembol Roco. Marami ring karakter na tila napabayaan at paminsan-minsan ay naliligaw ang manonood sa tunay na buod ng kuwento. Naging mahusay naman ang mga artista sa kanilang papel. Sayang nga lang at pawang hindi naging gaanong angkop ang pananalita ng mga nagsiganap na pawang makalumang Pilipino ang salitang ginamit. Epektibo naman ang paggamit ng mga simbolismo tulad ng tsokolate at typewriter na siyang naglubid sa buong istorya. Sa kabila ng mga kakulangang teknikal, naging hitik naman ang pelikula sa magagandang mensahe ng pagibig. Nangunguna na rito ang mensahe ng pagsasakripisyo ng kaligayahan alang-alang sa iba. Kahanga-hanga ang karakter ni Ligaya na nagawang isakripisyo ang lahat alang-alang sa pag-ibig sa asawa. Kitang-kita na dalisay ang hangarin nito sa pag-iwas sa masama. Isang makabagong babae rin ang ipinakita niyang tapang at lakas ng loob na ipaglaban ang tama hanggang sa huli. Si Skip bagama"t modernong babae ay nagpakita pa rin ng konserbatibong pananaw ukol sa tunay na kahulugan ng pag-ibig na hindi kailanman masusukat sa yaman at salapi lamang. Sa kabila ng mga mensaheng ito, dapat pa ring gabayan ang mga batang manonood sa mga sensitibong tema na ipinakita tulad ng pagrerebelde, pagpapakamatay, at pag-iibigan ng mga magkatulad na kasarian. Sa kabuuang konteksto ng pelikula, namamayani naman ang iba't-ibang mukha ng pag-ibig bagama't hindi lahat ay wagas; sa bandang huli, ang kabutihan pa rin ng puso ang namamayani. Sinasabi ng Faces of Love na walang kasing-sarap ang umibig kung dalisay ang puso at malinis ang layunin.

now longing to see his baby; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an equestrian and Olympic medalist who has brought his favorite horse with him on the island; and Shimizu (Ryo Kase), who was discharged from the kempetai after five days of service and virtually demoted to fight the American GIs on Iwo Jima. Although a patriot and a man of honor, Lt. Gen. Kuribayashi is held in suspicion by a handful of officers for being

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friendly with Americans, having served years ago as Japanese envoy to the United States. With Letters from Iwo Jima, director Clint Eastwood provides the other half of the circle that began with Flags of Our Fathers. Flags? saw one of the most crucial battles of World War II, the 40-day battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, from the American perspective; Letters? now views the same battle through Japanese lenses. Letters from Iwo Jima is an emotionally gripping film that owes much of its technical power to the sensitive directing, topnotch acting and masterful use of cinematic device, such as shooting in desaturated color, using English subtitles for the almost totally Nihonggo dialogue, etc. It looks almost like a documentary except that it haunts like gut-rending poetry?a thing of beauty that combines ferocity and fragility. There is a great deal of violence and gore as may be expected of a war movie, but in predominantly black and white film, blood loses its power to terrorize or nauseate. Letters from Iwo Jima is definitely stronger than Flags of Our Fathers; director Eastwood out-

did himself here, a sure contender for the Oscars. The drama in Letters from Iwo Jima spins around the characters' struggle to reconcile conflicting loyalties: deep human/personal needs versus compelling patriotic obligations; family versus country; my happiness versus my people's glory. The film is absolutely an anti-war statement, revealing war and international conflict as the offspring of ignorance. The film's theme may not appeal to young people, although it is rich with values that could be discussed with the entire family: patriotism, honor, suicide, compassion, our shared humanity in spite of cultural, racial, social and other kinds of differences. Perhaps mulling on the message of Letters from Iwo Jima would lead one to see the senselessness of war, as one Japanese soldier does upon hearing a letter read from a mother to her son, an American soldier they had captured and who died clutching the letter. The Japanese soldier says. "I thought Americans were savages? but the letter of that soldier's mother? those are the same words my mother writes to me?"

the stories that her mind shows her. Together they discover the "kingdom of Terabithia" which they could reach by swinging on a rope from their side of the river to the other side, a place of wonder and adventure. The very imaginative visual

effects, well composed shots and sequences and enhanced cinematography, instead of overwhelming the story, actually serve as the means to focus on the situation of Jess and Leslie. Josh Hutcherson and Anna Sophia Robb are effective as two preteens who experience problems in their young life. Viewers of their age-range with similar difficulties may find themselves empathizing with the characters. Jess and Leslie find themselves not accepted by their schoolmates. Jess did not also like Leslie the first few time she tried talking to him. But they soon found out that they were two of a kind and they quickly became the best of friends. They were always together, going places, doing things, helping each other, enjoying imaginary adventures and places. It is a positive friendship that helped them grow, learn to accept the not so ideal real world, appreciate praise from the teacher, feel for caring parents, do what they could, and respond to efforts to becoming peace loving persons.

Title: BRIDGE OF TERABITHIA Running Time: 98 mins Lead Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Anna Sophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Lauren Clinton Director: Gabor Csupo Producers: Hal Lieberman, Lauren Levin, David Peterson Screenwriters: Jeff Stockwell, David Peterson Music: Aaron Zigman Editor: John Gilbert Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Adventure Cinematography: Michael Chapman Distributor: Walden Media Location: New Zealand Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Difficulty in relating to people has made young Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) keep to himself. His schoolmates make him a target of their teasing and pranks. At home he is neither faring well with his parents and little sister Mabelle (Bailee Madison). His time is spent working on his scrapbook filling it with sketches and drawings. When the school scheduled a racing contest, Jess decides to enter it and win. But a newcomer to his fifth grade class, Leslie Burke (Anna Sophia Robb) beats him to the finish line. She tries to make friends with him. After several attempts he relents and they become fast friends, sharing the same interest: he draws and sketches what he imagines, as she writes and tells

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16

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 4 February 19 - March 4, 2007

Nobody Gives up on a Brother Priest

The Commission on Vocation team of the Archdiocese of Lipa

Lipa Celebrates Vocation Month THE archdiocese of Lipa kicked off its month-long celebration of vocation promotion with a concelebrated mass presided by Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan, V.G., at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian, Lipa City last February 4. The vocation month has the theme, A Life with Christ: My True Vocation. After the mass, people participated in a Walk for Vocation from the Cathedral to Carmel of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace, where a holy hour for vocation took place. Lipa’s Commission on Vocation team, headed by Rev. Fr. Rochester Charles “Toter” A. Resuello, designed programs and activities that would encourage the youth to discover the “seed” of vocation and assist them in the process of discernment. A month-long vocation exhibit on the life and mission of different religious congregations is on display in one wing of the Cathedral to

give everyone an idea about religious life. A sports festival (junior division) was held last February 17 at St. Francis de Sales Minor Seminary grounds for Altar Knights and servers ages thirteen and below. Other activities also include visit to schools and parishes for vocation campaign and promotion. This year’s celebration is highlighted by a vocation campfire which will take place on the afternoon of February 24 until dawn of the following day. Priests, nuns, seminarians, students and young professionals are expected to participate in this activity. In celebrating the event, the Commission on Vocations aimed to help in the realization of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Thrust through vocation education, promotion and preservation. (by Emma D. Bauan)

107 Couples in Mass Wedding on Valentine’s Day MANG Fidel does not celebrate Valentine’s Day but the occasion has become the happiest time of his life. After many years of waiting, his son finally got married right on Valentine’s Day. “I’ve been praying for this day to see my son get married,” the 60year-old father said. His son Mark, 35, and his wife were among the 107 couples that participated in a mass wedding in two separate churches within Intramuros that was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The first ceremony was held at the San Agustin Church with 72 couples exchanging vows. Around 35 couples, meanwhile, showed up for the holiday nuptials at the Manila Cathedral with Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presiding the ceremony. “We’ve been doing this for years now. Here, we are really looking for those couples that are not yet married but have been living together for years,” said Noel Lacanilao of the KC Manila Council 1000. He said they even exceeded their target number of couples this year that went up to 107. “This number is actually seven times more compared to previous years,” said Lacanilao. Aside from the church wedding, the KC also provided the couples’ wedding rings including electric fans as their wedding gift to each couple. “We really hope their union will last a lifetime,” he said. In another development, Novaliches Bishop-emeritus Teodoro Bacani criticized the yearly

kissing dubbed as “Lovapalooza” as “ugly and does nothing in promoting true love”. “There are things you do to show intimate love and you do it quietly or privately between the two of you. That Lovapalooza should not be encouraged,” said Bacani. Around 6, 000 couples gathered along a popular seaside walkway “locked lips” during the event that touted to kick off Valentine’s Day celebrations. A toothpaste company wherein couples kissed for 10 seconds to set a new world record organized the event. Bacani urged the people behind this year’s Lovapalooza to stop the activity that should be done in privacy. “There are ways of showing love that are good for some people and are not good for some people,” he said. The bishop said that if you love a person, you just don’t show things that are private between two of you. “We are against this just as we are against the promotions of motel accommodations during Valentine’s Day,” the prelate said. Bacani said that in Lovapalooza, the real essence of genuine love is belittled because here the intention is to beat a world record and not authentic love. He said other conservative countries might jeer at Filipinos for doing things just to achieve fame and popularity. Bacani instead urged the faithful to seek God-centered true love. “Let’s love one another even those who hurt us,” he said. (CBCPNews)

By virtue of their common sacred ordination and mission, a regional clergy convention reiterated a vital call that all priests are bound together in a sacerdotal brotherhood. Around 400 priests and bishops attended the 34th Annual Clergy of the Diocesan Clergy of Mindanao (DCM) held at the Clergy House of Mati, Davao Oriental on February 12-14. Organizers of the event chose the theme “Nobody Gives up on a Brother Priest” to emphasize the value of mutual concern among priests, especially during trying times. The Diocese of Mati, located approximately 1,025 kilometers southeast of Manila, is the Capital town of Davao Oriental province. Kidapawan Bishop Romulo Valles said that each and every priest is joined to his brother priests by a bond of love, prayer and every kind of cooperation. He told the participants that though they have been brought into “communion with God”, support among “all clergy in brotherhood” is all the more needed. Priests, Valles said, should be especially solicitous toward fellow priests who are suffering, afflicted, overburdened with work, lonely or who have failed in some way. But the bishop clarified that supporting fellow priests is not only viewing each other through practical difficulties but also building a “counter-culture” to the growing materialism of modern society, which threatens to weaken even the priesthood.

Past conventions highlighted the need for priests to be encouraged to develop some kind of communal life, which may mean a shared roof where feasible or at least a frequent and regular gathering. The ecclesial territories in Mindanao include five archdioceses, 12 dioceses, one vicariate and three prelatures. Nearly a fourth of the country’s 76.5 million people live in Mindanao. All the ecclesial territories were represented, except for Isabela prelature, which covers Basilan province. Fourteen bishops from the region graced the occasion. Mati Bishop Patricio Alo said the convention is the “perfect avenue” for beautiful transformations

and camaraderie that live up to their theme. “It is an opportune time for the priests, to come together, talk about their problems, and look for ways to be of help,” he said. The convention also focused on the role of the priests, especially along teachings of Pope Benedict XVI. At the convention, Fr Danilo Fuentes of Mati diocese was elected as DCM president for the next three years. The priest said he accepted the position with the challenge of leading the Mindanao clergy. The participants also decided to hold next year’s convention in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte province.

“Separation on Church and State: Its Impact on the Arena of Politics.” Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso, Bishop of Tagbilaran and Chair of the CBCP Commission on Canon Law, delivers his talk to the members of Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP) at the UST Martyrs’ Hall, Manila, on January 12, 2007.

Markings APPOINTED. Ricardo L. Baccay by Pope Benedict XVI as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao; on February 23, 2007. Upon his appointment, Bishop-Elect Baccay was Rector of San Jacinto Minor Seminary in Tuguegarao. Baccay finished his theology studies at the Central Seminary of the University of Santo Tomas; Master of Arts in Education and Doctorate in Educational Management at the Lyceum of Aparri. Prior to rectorship at the minor seminary, he was secretary of the Archbishop, Director of the Archdiocesan Commission on Catechesis, and Parish Priest of Gataggamman and, later, of San Gabriel in Tuguegarao. ELECTED. Fr. Nielo M. Cantilado, SVD, as Provincial Superior of the Philippine Central Province of the Society of the Divine Word; January 22, 2007. Prior to his election, he was President of Divine Word College of Calapan Mindoro. Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) is an international missionary congregation for men founded by St. Arnold Janssen in 1875. At present, there are more than 6,000 SVDs from 35 nationalities working in 67 countries worldwide. There are now 500 Filipino SVDs with 120 of them working abroad. In the Philippines, the SVD has three provinces: the Philippine North (PHN) that attends to missionary works from Pangasinan to Aparri, the Philippine Central (PHC) that covers Tarlac, Manila, Mindoro, Bicol and Palawan and Philippine South (PHS) that takes care of the Visayas and Mindanao islands. CELEBRATED. Silver Jubilee of the following Franciscan Apostolic Sisters (FAS). Sr. Lea Mapula, Sr. Ma. Delia Brimon, serving at the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao; Sr. Susan Turingan, serving at the Diocese of San Carlos and Sr. Agnes Infante, serving at the Diocese of Alotau, Papua New Guinea. Most

Rev. Diosdado Talamayan, D.D. presided the Eucharistic Celebration at Fr. Gerry Filippetto Memorial Chapel at Sta. Cruz, Sta. Ana, Cagayan on February 2, 2007 in thanksgiving for the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the four Franciscan Apostolic Sisters. The Franciscan Apostolic Sisters (FAS) of Sta. Cruz, Sta. Ana, Cagayan paid tribute to Archbishop Talamayan in thanksgiving for his fatherly assistance in accompanying the apostolic and spiritual journey of the FAS congregation from its foundation to its Pontifical Recognition in 2003. LAUNCHED. The centennial celebration of St. Paul University Philippines on January 20-26, 2007 in Tuguegarao City with the theme, “Celebrating Life and Mission”; to culminate with a grand celebration on December 16-22, 2007. The rationale: “Rediscovering Paulinian roots in the Cagayan Valley through a span of one hundred years brings us back to the charism that led to the four founding Paulinian Sisters to answer the invitation of Bishop Dennis Dougherty to come to this verdant land and spread the Good News. The spirit that inspired Father Louis Chauvet to raise the Congregation more than three hundred years ago is the same spirit sown on fertile ground that has borne abundant fruit in service to God, Church and Society. Celebrating 100 years of Paulinian presence is an act of grace, thanksgiving and joy—a sustained promise to remain faithful to our chosen ministry and continual affirmation of our commitment to God’s call”. DIED. In January 2007: Rev. Fr. Pedro Guia, Diocese of Tagum; Rev. Msgr. Macario Puno, Archdiocese of San FernandoPampanga; Rev. Fr. Peter Marcial, Diocese of San Pablo; Rev. Msgr. Amado Lopez, Diocese of From L-R:Cortez, Ms. Cynthia Banta, Urdaneta; Rev. Fr. Carmelo Diocese of President of Mission Appeal Antipolo; Sr. Aurice Nelly Palma, SSpS; in February for Seminary Support (MASS); 2007: Rev. Msgr. Orlando Balatibat, Archdiocese of Bishop Oscar Solis, first FilLipa; Rev. Msgr. Nicanor De Villa, Archdiocese Am bishop of Archdiocese of of Lipa; Rev. Fr. Esteban Los Salva, Diocese of Dr. SanZenaida Carlos; Angeles; and Rev. Fr. Nestor Abad, Diocese of Imus; Rev. Fr. BenRotea, MD, executive Secretary of CBCP on jamin Dela Paz, Archdiocese of San Office FernandoWomen.Baleares, RVM. Pampanga; Sister Ma. Susana


Feb 19 - Mar 4, 2007 - CBCPMonitor