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Vol. 11 No. 5

Biblical Scholars March 5 - 18, 2007

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Reject Filmmakers’ Claim About Tomb of Jesus

Holy See’s Statement on Status of Women

Page 10 Catholic Associations and Partisan Politics

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CBCP Monitor Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace March 5 - 18, 2007

Bishops Support Debate Over Platforms IF it’s going to help voters choose the right candidates, some Roman Catholic bishops welcome the idea of holding a debate among the candidates to discuss their platforms. CBCP head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo urged political parties to lead the country in a healthy national debate on crucial issues that highlight clear alternatives for voters rather than lead them down to a narrow partisan road of negative campaigning. “There’s a need for every political party to state and explain their platforms of government,” he said. The bishops said candidates should do things that serve the best interests of democracy, allowing vigorous ideological debate aimed at strengthening the nation. According to CBCP vice-president Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a “democratic space” is significant for all the candidates to explain their platforms and their programs once they are

elected into office. It is also important, he said, for ordinary citizens and voters themselves to be made aware about the record and the promises of each candidate. “That is the essence of democracy of voting based on concrete evidence of the sincerity of each of the candidates,” said Ledesma. For his part, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said that if the debate would be “well motivated”, it would help voters know the candidates more. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, on the other hand said that political debates are often only pure words “which the poor, the hungry and the sick have no use for.” “The better debater does not necessarily mean the champion of the truth,” Cruz also said. “Those who will listen to the debate are those who already have their own convictions. The great majority will rather watch telenovelas.” (CBCP News)

Rosales Takes Possession of his Titular Church in Rome MANILA Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales formally took possession of his titular church, the parish of the Most Holy Name of Mary in Via Latina in Rome on March 4. As he conferred red hat on Rosales along with 14 other new cardinals during last year’s consistory, Pope Benedict XVI also assigned each cardinal to a titular parish. The said tradition symbolizes their distinctive roles as the closest collaborators of the Pope and establishes the seat of their authority in the Church of Rome. Rosales, which left the country on March 1 for Rome, is one of the three Filipino cardinals in the Philippine Catholic Church at present. The College of

Cardinals represents the clergy of Rome, and each cardinal is given the title to a parish or suburban diocese there. The cardinal is expected to take an interest in his titular Roman church, providing advice and support as he can, although he is not directly involved in the administration of the parish. Rosales also attended the meeting of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications where he is also a member. He also celebrated a Mass on March 8 with the Filipinos in Rome at the Collegio Filipino, the residence of Filipino priests studying in Rome where he launched his project “Pondo ng Pinoy sa Italya”. (CBCPNews)

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Vol. 11 No. 5

Church Group Calls for End to US Aid to RP Military IF the US government is serious in helping stop political killings in the country, it must first stop giving support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a Church group critical of the Arroyo administration said. Church / P4

Youth Challenged to Stand up to their Faith By Roy Lagarde

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

TO provide a level playing field to all political parties so that the upcoming elections are contested with a cricket spirit, a bishop has barred political programs from being aired at a Churchowned radio station.


A Month of Prayer and Peace for Filipino Family

Bishop Bans Political Programs on Air

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“I think it’s the miracle of the cross that can bring people together…,” said Bishop Joel Baylon of the World Youth Day Cross that journeyed lately in selected dioceses in the country on its way to the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.

CATHOLIC Bishops challenged thousands of young faithful who have gathered to see and touch the World Youth Day (WYD) Cross to renew their commitment to the Church. Bishop Joel Baylon, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) urged the youth to stand up and be counted by remaining faithful to Christ, and that they should not be afraid to commit themselves to Him. The WYD Cross, and an accompanying Icon of the Virgin Mary were brought back to the country to encourage youth to join together and make a difference by using the Gospel to transform society. The two significant symbols of the largest youth gathering in the world were being carried around the world “as a sign of Christ’s love for humanity.” With so many social problems in the country as a backdrop, Baylon took advantage of the journey of the cross and the Icon to carry out a catechesis that reminded young faithful that Christ is our only savior. He entrusted these efforts of the Church to the Mother of God and invited young people to accept her as their role model and source of consolation. “The Cross has been able to reconcile warring tribes within the nation,” said Baylon. Youth / P4

Pope to Meet Filipino Youth via Satellite Linkup POPE Benedict will meet Catholic Filipino students in praying the rosary on March 10 along with dozen European and Asian countries linked via satellite with the Vatican. The event in the Vatican aims to discuss charity and cooperation between the two continents. The Philippines, represented by students of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), is among the three Asian countries invited to join the occasion.

“Intellectual Charity, Path for New Cooperation between Europe and Asia” is the theme of the Saturday event, which will begin at 4 PM in Rome (around 11 PM here) and will be hosted from Paul XVI Hall. During the event, Benedict XVI will symbolically pass on to the students Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortations “Ecclesia in Europa” and “Ecclesia in Asia,” documents featuring the conclusions of the two continental synods of bishops.

Vatican Official to Meet Local Canon Lawyers on Marital Issues A CHURCH law expert from Vatican will arrive in Cebu next month to meet with the country’s Canon lawyers and discuss issues about canonical marriages. Roman Rota Judge Msgr. Cormac Burke’s visit to the country coincides with the Canon Law Society of the Philippines’ (CLSP) 15th Annual National Convention on April 16 to 18 at the Montebello Villa Hotel in Cebu City. The Roman Rota is a tribunal of the papal curia exercising jurisdiction especially in matrimonial cases appealed from diocesan courts.

Hosted by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and the Cebu archdiocese, the convention will focus on the theme: “Towards an Authentic Juridical Anthropology of Marriage: A Review of Jurisprudence on Marriage Nullities under the 1983 Code of Canon Law.” Burke will also deliver three different lectures focusing on the Challenges to Matrimonial Jurisprudence posed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, The Incidence of Immaturity in the Juridic Concept of Grave Lack of Discretion for Matrimonial Consent, and The Notion of Vatican / P4

The meeting will end with the young people joining the Pope in praying the rosary. The students will be joined by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head Archbishop Angel Lagdameo who will also preside the Eucharistic celebration. The German Pope is not the first to use satellite technology to meet the faithful. John Paul II reached nearly

1 billion viewers in 1987, in 16 different countries, for the event “A Prayer for World Peace,” and later that year joined American youth during his Los Angeles visit, connecting four U.S. cities. Other cities in which the young people will gather to be connected by satellite with the Vatican are: Bologna, Italy; Calcutta, India; Coimbra, Portugal, Krakow, Poland; Hong Kong; and Manchester, England. (CBCP News)

Religions are not to Blame for Conflicts RELIGION is not, and never has been, the true cause of violence or warmongering, religious leaders said. Organized by the CBCPEpiscopal Commission for Interreligious Dialogue (ECID) and the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Christians and Muslims met at the University of Santo Tomas recently for the second major attempt to try to curb conflicts fought in the name of religion. It was made clear during the gathering that Christianity and Islam are religions of peace, for dialogue and respect for human

dignity. Religious leaders claimed that religion has never been the cause of any evil doings adding that it is people who use religion as weapon to all the atrocities mankind committed over the centuries. ECID chairman Archbishop Antonio Ledesma urged government leaders not to “hijack” religion just to push forward their own political interests. Another aim of the dialogue was forging means to ensure that no individual or organization succeeds ever again to Religions / P4

CBCP Monitor

World News


Pope to Meet Youth via Satellite Linkup To Discuss Cooperation Between Europe and Asia

VATICAN CITY, February 28, 2007—Benedict XVI will meet via satellite transmission with university students from Europe and Asia to discuss cooperation between the two continents. The theme of the March 10 event is “Intellectual Charity, Path for New Cooperation between Europe and Asia.” The event will begin at 4 p.m. Rome time and be hosted from Paul VI Hall. During the event, the Holy Father will symbolically pass on to the students Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortations “Ecclesia in Europa” and “Ecclesia in Asia,” documents

featuring the conclusions of the two continental synods of bishops. The meeting will end with the young people joining Benedict XVI in praying the rosary. The German Pope is not the first to use satellite technology to meet the faithful. John Paul II reached nearly 1 billion viewers in 1987, in 16 different countries, for the event “A Prayer for World Peace,” and later that year joined American youth during his Los Angeles visit, connecting four U.S. cities. Pope / P10

Family group denounces failure of Spanish Parliament to defend marriage MADRID, Spain, March 2, 2007— The president of the Institute for Family Policy in Catalonia, Liberto Senderos, expressed regret this week that Spain’s House of Representatives has rejected a petition by more than 1 million citizens to protect marriage as a union between one man and one woman through the reform of the Civil Code. “Instead of listening to the voice of the citizens, the Spanish Parliament has given in to the interests of absolutely minority lobbyists and has not wanted to hear the cry of the people for the defense of marriage, which can only be understood as the union between one man and one woman,” Senderos said. He said the petition organized

March 5 - 18, 2007

Youth Cross Carried to the Border with North as a Sign of Hope SEOUL, South Korea, March 3, 2007—The World Youth Day Cross given to the youth of the world by Pope John Paul II was carried to the border that separates North and South in a symbolic gesture for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and as a blessing for Christians’ life in North Korea. About a hundred young people carried the Cross to the demilitarized zone that divides the country, where they prayed the Rosary and asked for Our Lady’s intercession for durable peace and union between the two halves of Korea. In the years in between worldwide celebrations of World Youth Day the Cross is carried all around the world. It arrived in Korea this month after a tour across Africa.

Within a week it will be on its way to more Asian countries before it reaches Sydney where the next World Youth Day will be held in the summer of 2008. Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, archbishop of Seoul, spoke about reunification and peace in the Korean peninsula in his Lent message. Titled “Repent, and Believe in the Gospel,” he stressed that the “faith in God manifests itself in concern and love for one’s poor neighbors. During the Lenten season, the observance of fast and abstinence from meat as well as making sacrifices can obtain significance only if we share charity with our neighbors.” “The Church,” he noted, “should listen carefully to those

suffering and in difficulty and heal their wounds. Charity spiritually enriches both givers and receivers.” He concluded saying: “Let us make this Lent full of grace by repenting, following the Gospel, overcoming death and bearing witness to life.” (AsiaNews)

Roman Congregation Approves Beatification of 188 Japanese Martyrs TOKYO, Japan, February 18, 2007—A committee of cardinals meeting on Feb. 6 at the CongregaCardinal Fumio Hamao tion for the Causes of Saints in Rome approved the beatification of Peter Kibe and the 187 other Japanese martyrs. According to Bishop Osamu

Misobe (Takamatsu diocese), chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Special Committee for the Cause of Japanese Martyrs, if Pope Benedict XVI grants his approval, the date for the beatification will be scheduled. Speaking on Feb. 7, Bishop Misobe said, “We have reached the final stage. Optimistically speaking, we have crossed the mountain! I am hoping that final approval will soon be granted and we can begin preparations for the beatification ceremony in Japan.”

Cardinal Fumio Hamao, who attended the meeting of cardinals, said, “I was the one who requested their beatification. All the cardinals and bishops attending the meeting voiced approval.” “Now the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will go to the Pope and request his final approval. Preparing for the canonization ceremony in Japan will involve a lot of work, so I requested the approval as soon as possible,” added Cardinal Hamao. (Japan Catholic News)

Vatican Delegation in Hanoi to Discuss Religious Freedom, Diplomatic Relations HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, March 5, 2007—Vietnam’s state-run press reported the arrival in Hanoi of a delegation representing the Holy See to discuss religious freedom and the normalization of diplomatic relations. Newspapers report that the Vatican delegation, led by Undersecretary of State for Relations with States Msgr. Pietro Parolin, will work directly with the government and the local Church. He is scheduled to remain in the country until March 11. The delegation will also visit a few dioceses, some without bishop like B c Ninh in the north, L ng Sõn also in the north near the border with China, and Ban Me Thuat, in the central part of the country.

Discussions will be held with the government’s Religious Affairs Committee. “We hope that in the future the Church will have a Vatican representative,” Father Joseph, a priest in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s parishes, told AsiaNews. “Although Hanoi and Rome do not have diplomatic relations, Vietnamese Catholics have carried out some religious activities since 1986 when the country opened its doors to economic development and integration into the international community. However, the government still intervenes in the appointment of bishops and sets limits to the number of priests per parish.” Vietnam’s Catholics are just under 10 per cent of the total popula-

t i o n , some 8 million Catholics out of 84 million. After 1975 the Communist regime expelled some foreign priests and nuns as well as the Vatican representatives. The first visit by a Holy See delegation took place in 1990. Now, especially following the Vatican visit by Prime Minister Nguy n T n Di´ng, there should be greater space for religious freedom. (AsiaNews)

mid-year. Organizers are expecting 500,000 pilgrims. “We are opening group registrations online now - earlier than is normal for World Youth Days - to capture information on expected numbers, language groups and special needs,” said WYD 2008 coordinator, Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP. “This will enable us to plan early and match groups to accommodation and catechesis sites throughout Greater Sydney,” he said, adding that most pilgrims come as members of diocesan pilgrim groups, religious movements and youth groups. Furthermore, the Australian government is offering all WYD pilgrims a free three-month standard visa in an effort to promote tourism throughout the country. A new DVD, titled Sydney: Wit-

Swedes Forewarn of “Abortion Paradise”

Regent Restates Vatican’s AntiMasonry Position

Anti-terrorism Law Used to Choke Media Dissent

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, March 4, 2007—Christian leaders urged that Sweden not be turned into an “abortion paradise,” after a government proposal to allow women from abroad to come here to undergo lateterm procedures. Last Sunday, Catholic Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and the leader of the Pentecostal church, Sten-Gunnar Hedin, wrote an article in Sweden’s largest daily paper decrying the move. Göran Hägglund, of the Christian Democratic Party, has backed the proposal to open Swedish healthcare facilities to women from countries where abortion restrictions are tighter. “We see ourselves obliged to recommend our Christian voters not to vote for the Alliance in the next elections in 2010,” the bishop and Pentecostal leader wrote. “As Christians it is our duty to defend the inviolability of human life.”

ROME, March 2, 2007—The Church has not changed its ruling on Catholic membership in the Masons, said the regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Bishop Gianfranco Girotti made this statement Thursday at a conference on the topic of Freemasonry held at the St. Bonaventure Pontifical Theological Faculty. The bishop presided over the congress held in cooperation with the Socio-Religious Research and Information Group of Italy. Officials of Masonic associations and grand masters also took part in the meeting. Bishop Girotti reminded his listeners that the Church has always criticized the concepts and philosophy of Freemasonry, considering them incompatible with the Catholic faith. He mentioned the last official reference document, “Declaration on Masonic Associations,” which was signed by the then prefect of the

COLUMBO, Sri Lanka, March 2, 2007—The government of Sri Lanka is using the anti-terrorism law to silence critical voices in the press, said the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The charge follows the arrest of a media executive who has been in prison without charge since 26 February. Dushantha Basnayake, 40, is a director of Standard Newspapers, a private firm which publishes the Sinhalese language weekly Mawbima. He is the second person affiliated to the publication

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by the Spanish Forum on the Family and was signed by more than 1,330,000 people. It was the largest signature-driven legislative proposal in the history of the country. Senderos criticized lawmakers for not allowing members of his organization to speak in defense of the proposal during debate. Representatives who voted against the measure, he said, preferred to keep a norm in place that is clearly unconstitutional and contrary to international treaties and declarations on human rights. Likewise, he said that instead of approving “marriage” and adoption for same-sex couples, the Parliament should have supported a social policy truly beneficial to the family. (CNA)

Sydney Opens World Youth Day Registration

SYDNEY, Australia, March 5, 2007— World Youth Day 2008 organizers have officially opened group registrations for the international Catholic youth event, to be held in Sydney, Australia, next July 15 to 20. Group registrations opened officially on March 2nd, with still 500 days to go until the start of WYD. Registration for individuals will open

Vol. 11 No. 5

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Delegates to the 2nd Western Visayas Family Life Congress

Jaro Hosts 2nd Western Visayas HLI-HLA Congress By Marjorie E. Libo-on “OUR enemy attacks us in the form of euphemisms,” said Msgr. Higinio Velarde, H.P. JCD, Chancellor of Jaro archdiocese, at the opening of the Second Western Visayas Human Life International (HLI)-Family Life Apostolate (FLA) at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary on February 24, 2007. Velarde stressed that people should be aware of the guise and different strategies undertaken by certain groups to destroy human life and the family as the basic unit of society. Drawing on the theme Standing on a Common Ground for Family and Life, he reiterated his desire for the delegates to reach a resolve on the measures needed to respond to the challenges that endanger the Church today. Mrs. Filipinas Rañada, a teacher in Special Education, civic worker, lecturer, researcher, and crusader against abortion and other anti-life programs, discussed “Sex Education: The Final Plague.” Her talk centered on “The Hidden Danger in the Classroom.” Rañada exposed the disguise under which the lessons on sex education and population control are given to the primary and elementary pupils and the high school students. “Sex education is like a thief in the night; while we all were sleeping, through the ‘back door’ it came . . .” Rañada answered the questions of teachers and parents as to what they were supposed to do to counteract the negative approach in the sex education awareness and defense of human life. Mr. Bernardo Cañaberal, national director of the Family Rosary Crusade and media practitioner, tackled the topic “Media: The New Communicator.” “God,” according to him, “is the perfect communicator. His message is love.” Cañaberal said the trend today is that the television and other forms of media have taken the place of the parents and elders who traditionally taught children the values that were morally and socially acceptable. He continued to share the words of Fr. Patrick Peyton, founder of the Family Rosary Crusade, “a world of prayer, is a world at peace.” Furthermore, he still adheres to the slogan “the family that prays together, stays together.” Cañaberal emphasized that the task at hand in the information age is to be at the service of truth. He enumerated the following: Be critical of the significant impact of media. Be critical about the marketing strategies. Be critical about the content and format. Be analytical, critical, discerning of whatever is heard and seen through media. According to him, “media is just a reel; go to the real. It is man’s duty to communicate the truth.” Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, Family Life coordinator for Visayas and Mindanao also presented short information on some election tips and other Pro-Life issues. The Second HLI-FLA Congress was attended by parents, delegates from the different family life groups, women religious, priests, teachers, and the youth. The Statement of the Congress, which embodied the common ground upon which the HLI-CFL stands regarding issues related to human life and the family, was read to the participants. The event concluded with the final blessing given by Msgr. Ramon Pet, HP, chairman of the Commission on Family Life of the Archdiocese of Jaro.

Pope’s Prayer Intention for March POPE Benedict’s general prayer intention for March is: “That the Word of God may be ever more listened to, contemplated, loved and lived.” His mission intention is: “That the training of catechists, organizers and lay people committed in the service of the Gospel may be the constant concern of those responsible for the young Churches.” (VIS)

News Feature CATHOLIC biblical scholars and an Israeli archaeologist rejected filmmakers’ claim that a tomb uncovered nearly 30 years ago in Jerusalem is the burial site of Jesus and his family. Dominican Father Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, a biblical archaeologist and expert in the New Testament at the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem who was interviewed for the film two years ago, said he did not believe there was any truth to the claim. “It is a commercial ploy that all the media is playing into,” he told Catholic News Service Feb. 27. Amos Kloner, an Israeli archaeologist who wrote the original excavation report on the site for the predecessor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, called the claim “nonsense.” “In their movie they are billing it as ‘never before reported information,’ but it is not new. I published all the details in the Antiqot journal in 1996, and I didn’t say it was the tomb of Jesus’ family,” said Kloner, now a professor of archaeology at Israel’s BarIlan University. “I think it is very unserious work. I do scholarly work... based on other studies,” he said. Toronto filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and Oscar-winning Canadian director James Cameron announced at a press conference in New York City Feb. 26 that by using new technology and DNA studies they have determined that among the 10 ossuaries— burial boxes used in biblical times to house the bones of the dead—found in the cave by Kloner in 1980 are those of Jesus, his brothers, Mary, another Mary whom they believe is Mary Magdalene, and “Judah, son of Jesus.” The documentary film by Jacobovici and Cameron is to be aired on the Discovery Channel March 4 and in Canada March 6 on Vision TV. A book on the topic, written

Biblical Scholars Reject Filmmakers’ Claim About Tomb of Jesus By Judith Sudilovsky by Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino and published by HarperCollins, is to go on sale Feb. 27. Father MurphyO’Connor said the names found on the ossuaries “are a combination of very common names.” “Fifty percent of all Jewish women in the first century were called either Mary or Salome. It doesn’t mean much at all,” he said. “You can prove anything with statistics.” The DNA tests could “only prove that they are human” but “certainly did not prove” any familial connection, he said. Father MurphyO’Connor noted that Kloner had written about the findings a decade ago, and though it was all out in the public domain nobody had been interested. According to press reports, the filmmakers said they had worked on the project with world-renowned scientists, including DNA specialists, archaeologists and statisticians. They said the ossuaries were not identified as belonging to Jesus’ family when they were first discovered because the archaeologists at the time did not have the knowledge and scientific tools that now exist. But Kloner noted that Jesus’ family was from Galilee and had no ties to Jerusalem,

Sapporo Parish Youth Visits Manila SAPPORO, Japan, February 4, 2007—Eighteen high school and university students from 12 parishes in the Sapporo diocese visited Manila and Quezon City in the Philippines Jan. 4 – 10, 2007. The Konopporo Church in Sapporo is a sister-church of the Mabuting Pastol Parish in the Novaliches diocese in the Philippines and has organized various exchanges since 1990. In addition to the exchange programs, the Japanese parish arranges charity concerts and other events to give education scholarships to students in the Philippines. According to Taisuke Mizukami, 75, who led the group, each of the young people spent four nights staying at the homes of families of the parishes they visited. These parishes are in a poor area of Quezon City where social services are as yet undeveloped, and people from rural areas on their way to Ma-


nila often gather there. Mizukami said that though many of the local people appear to be full of life, electricity and water services have only recently been supplied to the area. However, since there are still no sewage pipes, household waste often flows onto the streets. During this trip, scholarships worth 150,000 yen were entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) which administers parishes in the area. One of the participants in the exposure trip, Mai Oyamauchi, 18, of the Kitajuichijo Church said, “Last year’s exposure trip was cancelled, so I was really looking forward to this trip. I felt at ease with the family from the first day of the home stay, and I enjoyed the local children and the kids at the church. The Mass was moving and powerful. Everyone was truly friendly.” (Japan Catholic News)

casting serious doubt that they would have had a burial cave in Jerusalem. He added that the names on the ossuaries were common during that time and their discovery in the same cave is purely coincidental. He said the tomb belonged to a middle- or uppermiddle-class Jewish family during the first century and the cave was in use for 70-100 years by the family. Other books, films and articles about the tomb, including a full-page feature in London’s The Sunday Times, a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary film and a book called “The Jesus Dynasty” by James D. Tabor, have been published and produced on the topic in the years since the tomb’s discovery. At the New York press conference, Jacobovici said he thought the so-called “James ossuary,” purported by its owner, Oded Golan, to have belonged to James, the brother of Jesus, was also from the tomb, and he cited a forensic technique used to determine this. He did not mention that in 2003 the Israel Antiquities Authority declared the inscription on the James ossuary a forgery or that Golan is currently on trial for forging part of the inscription. Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, a biblical scholar and

head of Toronto’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, said this latest film shows that “self-proclaimed experts” have learned nothing from the James ossuary incident. “One would think that we learned some powerful lessons from the media hype surrounding the James ossuary several years ago, and how important public institutions like the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto) were duped in their hosting such fraudulent works,” he said. Father Rosica said: “Why did the so-called archaeologists of this latest scoop wait 27 years before doing anything about the discovery? James Cameron is far better off making movies about the Titanic rather than dabbling in areas of religious history of which he knows nothing.” However, Tabor, who is also chairman of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, said he thinks the tomb might be connected to Jesus “despite all the hype and heat and at the risk of being derided by some. In my view we should give the evidence a fair hearing.” Tabor was a consultant to the film, but said he has no legal or financial connection to it. “What has surprised me the past two days is the willTomb / P11

Luzon Diocesan Vocation Directors Meet By Fr. Joel Francis Victorino THE National Office of Directors of Vocations in the Philippines, through its National Coordinator, Fr. Jason Laguerta, gathered recently 32 vocation directors from different dioceses in Luzon for the first in a series of Conferences for Diocesan Vocation Directors. With the theme, “Diocesan Vocation Directors: Vocation Collaboration and Direction,” the conference was held last January 28 to February 1, 2007 at the Convent of the Holy Spirit in Baguio City. This conference was a followup of the first gathering of vocation directors held two years ago in Cebu City. The conference aimed to help the vocation directors in their ministry in the various local Churches as they set goals and programs in vocation promotion. It was also

convened as a response to certain challenges posed in some dioceses where a vocation ministry is not present or where there is a need for more organization and structure. At a time where mass media has control in almost all aspects of life and with the young people choosing more what media is giving them, the vocation directors were given insights how to maximize its resources, especially in the area of vocations promotion and animation. Arlene Aquino of McCann Erickson, gave a picture of a recent study made regarding the youth’s perception of priests and religious. It offered valuable help to the participants in recognizing how the youth see their religious leaders, both posiLuzon / P11

CBCP Monitor



Church Watchdog Seeking More Volunteers THE Archdiocese of Cebu urged the faithful to do volunteer work in voter’s education and poll watching. The church-backed Cebu Citizens’ Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-Cimpel) said they are in need of at least 19,000 volunteers for the synchronized national and local elections on May 14. The group said the target number of poll watchdogs would be enough to serve the more than 10,000 precincts in Cebu. The C-Cimpel was able to get

around 10,000 volunteers in the last election that served in various voters’ assistance centers, task forces and mobile monitoring groups. But for a volunteer to be qualified to do poll watching, the group said that he must be non-partisan starting February 2007 to June 2007. Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Vidal also urged all cause-oriented groups to collaborate with C-Cimpel to ensure clean and honest elections. “We cannot leave to the politicians alone the state of our political life and nation,” the group said.

Recently, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has come out with its election manual that would help the poll watchers in safeguarding the upcoming political exercises. The “Election Monitoring Manual” is an updated complete guidebook for the PPCRV poll watchers. “It is like a bible for the women and men volunteers who will be PPCRV’s witnesses to truth in the voting precincts nationwide,” Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV national chairperson said. (CBCP News)

Blaze Razes Catholic School in Tondo HUNDREDS of Catholic school students have lost their classrooms in a fire few hours before March—the fire prevention month. While nobody was hurt in the incident, the fire which started 10 p.m., on February 28, destroyed eight classrooms and laboratory equipment at the Holy Child Catholic in Tondo, Manila. Investigators said the blaze broke out on the second floor of one building and crossed over to the fourth floor of the adjoining building. The damage to property was initially placed at P 1 million, authorities said. Arson investigators have yet to

determine what caused the fire, but Manila Senior Fire Officer said a computer left on may have sparked or some overloaded electrical outlets may have triggered the fire. The school’s rector initially suspended classes March 1 and 2 to give way to the investigation being conducted by the authorities and for the administrators to assess damage and plan for further action. “Thank God the fire happened in the evening and no one was hurt,” said Fr Enrique Santos. According to statistics, the community of Tondo from among Manila’s 16 districts has the highest population and lowest poverty level.

Santos said he would ask help from the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Administration (MAPSA), an umbrella organization of 94 archdiocesan and parochial schools. “Many poor students rely on us and this fire won’t stop us from continuing our mission,” the priest said. Only a few weeks before the school year ends, the school resumed classes on March 5. Affected high-school students will hold classes in spare rooms in the pre-school building Monday, Thursday and Friday, while affected grade-school students will come on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. (CBCP News)

Church Observes Ash Wednesday WITH the words “Turn away from your sin and be faithful to the Gospel” or “remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you will return,” a black smudge of ash is placed upon the foreheads of many Catholics on February 21. The day marks the start of Lent, 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which are to serve as preparation for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. “We are in the beginning of the Lenten Season. Lent is sacrifice. Lent is loving,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). This time of fasting and repentance, Lagdameo also reiterated his call for prayer, spiritual reflection and social transformation. Our vision of social transfor-

mation, 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, he said. “No reform is possible unless the reformers are themselves reformed. No renewed society unless the agents are themselves renewed,” said Lagdameo. “Social transformation is possible. With the help of God we can change the corrupted image of our country.” In Ash Wednesday services, churchgoers are marked on the forehead with a cross of ashes as a sign of penitence and mortality. The use of ashes, made by burning palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday, is very symbolic. They also symbolize death

and so remind us our mortality. “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return,” are usually the words that are spoken during the imposition of ashes. In Catholic churches, the worshippers leave with the mark still on their forehead so that they carry the sign of the cross out into the world. At the other Christian churches, however, the service ends with the ashes being washed off as a sign that the participants have been cleansed of their sins. The ash is usually mixed with anointing oil, which makes sure that the ashes make a good mark. The use of anointing oil is said to be a reminder to the faithful of God’s blessings and of the anointing that took place at their baptism. (CBCPNews)

“There’s no religious war. These things are political,” he said. These evil things, the nuncio said, are perpetrated by people in power, who have invoked their religion to justify their actions and motivate people. “These are not based on religious but political and economic factors,” said Filoni. He called on religious and political leaders to maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace, freedom for all peoples, respect and reciprocity. The Muslim panel, meanwhile, stressed that aggression “is always wrong” adding that atrocities are “not allowed” by Islamic teaching. “War in order to impose one’s religion upon another by force is wrong,” the Muslim panel said in a

press statement. “Terrorism and random violence that target non-combatants and the innocent are not allowed by Islam.” Muslim leaders pointed out that acts of terrorism is not a prerogative of a single religion but are masks of madmen using religion. The Muslims share this view and condemn all that corrodes civil society. “It was acknowledged however that in every tradition some people may become fanatics when they perceive that justice cannot be achieved by peaceful means. They are misguided and must be educated but the situation is complex,” they Muslim leaders said. “On the one hand, we should address the injustices while on the other hand we should strive against violence.” (CBCP News)

The Holy Father, he said, referred to this phenomenon as a veritable “crisis of the meaning of marriage,” which has even led to calling same-sex unions as marriage. Furthering their ministry through Canon Law, the organizers have also inserted within the Convention a Symposium on Canon Law on April 18, at the Celebrity Ballroom of the Montebello Villa Hotel, open to the local clergy, religious and lay

people of Cebu and nearby provinces. Convention chairman Fr. Raul Go, in a telephone interview, assured that preparations are in full swing to welcome not only the CLSP members and other Convention participants, but also all the faithful—clergy, religious and lay—who may be interested to attend the half-day symposium on April 18. (With reports from Fr. Jim Achacoso)

Religions / from p1 use religion to instigate violence and terrorism. “In that sense we are all united in the fight against violence, terrorism, and we would like to make that known especially to our own religious communities,” he said. In attendance during meeting were some Catholic Church leaders, Iranian leaders, government officials, senior Imams and Muftis. Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni said, it is not religion that has caused war but the lack of peace in mankind’s heart that has led to hatred. Religion has often been seen to contribute to violence and strife, when actually, conflicts stem from politics and other underlying motivations, said Filoni.

Vatican / from p1 Dolus in Defective Matrimonial Consent. Asked about the choice of topic, CLSP head Bishop Romulo Vergara cited Pope Benedict XVI’s recent address to the Roman Rota, in which he warned that the “truth of marriage (loses) existential relevance in a cultural context marked by relativism and juridical positivism, which consider marriage as a mere social formalization of emotional bonds.”

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Youth / from p1 Learn eyes of faith The large wooden Cross and the Icon first arrived in Cebu on March 1, 2007 and was received by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. In a Mass, Vidal urged the faithful to “stop, look at the cross, listen to the crucified and learn from Him, with the eyes of faith.” “As baptized persons, you are expected to behave according to your belief in the love of God, in the grace of our Lord, and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” the cardinal said. We need to take up our cross, he said, and to be humble and honest enough to call sin a sin and not by any other name. The cross and the Icon then proceeded to Jaro Cathedral the following day. On March 3, the symbols traveled to Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro City. They were also brought to the archdioceses of LingayenDagupan and Caceres on March 4 and 5. Eucharistic celebration, veneration of the cross, catechesis, reconciliation, spiritual animation, cultural presentations and similar activities have been organized by each host dioceses. The Cross and the Icon is due to arrive in Sydney, Australia on July 1 in time for the WYD 2008. Sydney’s WYD is expected to attract more than 100,000 overseas pilgrims, rivaling the 2000 Olympic games in attendance. Only few Filipinos could join the event but that is precisely the reason why the WYD Cross was brought here for the second time since 1995. “It’s here for us to experience its power as well,” said Baylon. Tool for reconciliation Before the two symbols left the country bound for Guam on March 7, they also spent few

hours at the Saint Andrew Cathedral of the Diocese of Parañaque and Immaculate Conception Cathedral of the Diocese of Cubao. For Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado, the Cross has been an instrument for reconciliation in the face of conflicts and problems in our society. The Cross that has been carried all throughout the world since 1984 “really has the power to bring us together”. “I think it’s the miracle of the cross that can bring people together not only of the youth,” he said. ‘Sleeping giant’ “The youth is beginning to wake up,” Mercado said when asked to describe the youth of today. He said the youth is like a “sleeping giant” that is only beginning to discover its role and participation in the development of Christian community especially in the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC). The prelate called on the young faithful to be aware of how important they are in the Church. “The youth has the role to play in making the Church more relevant and more in touched with the world today,” said Mercado. Legacy Established by the late Pope John Paul II, the WYD has been held every year since 1986. He established the international gathering as an occasion for young people from different parts of the world to gather and celebrate their faith. The WYD Cross, entrusted to the youth by Pope John Paul II in 1984, stands 12 feet tall and weighs 88 pounds. The Icon of Our Lady accompanies the WYD Cross in all its journeys. It is a copy of the painting of Salus Populi Romani, or the Protectress of the Roman People.

Church / from p1 In a statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) also described as mere “posturing” the US embassy’s seeming concern on the issue of extra judicial killings. The group was obviously referring to US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, who has been urging the government to take steps to stop the killings. “If the US government really wants to help solve political killings under Arroyo, it should stop advising, funding and giving all forms of support to the military,” said Fr Jerry Sabado, PCPR spokesperson. He said the possible hand of the US on the killings must also be investigated by the international human rights bodies.

In the first place, he said, some counter-insurgency operations of the Philippine military have been “heavily funded” by the US government. “We see the US’ hand in extrajudicial killings directly above the Malacañang-AFP operations that are guided by US agenda to rid the country of militant groups that are critical of US economic, political and military intervention,” said Sabado. The priest added that as long as the military operations are designed to preserve Arroyo in power, government-formed groups to probe the killings will all be part of Arroyo’s “cosmetics” to deny state accountability on political killings and other human rights violations. (CBCP News)

Bishop / from p1 Bishop Patricio Alo of Mati, Davao Oriental imposed the ban over DXHM-AM despite proposals of block time programs from various local candidates and political parties. Alo issued a memorandum stating that “no political block time programs should be allowed in the station.” DXHM’s station manager, meanwhile, said the bishop’s move only highlights the real mission of their station. “After all, our main thrust is evangelization—a contradiction to character assassination escalating on times of election,” said Fr Dennis Alingalan.

Alingalan said they’ve rejected several political parties already eyeing for a program slot. Other stations, however, are upbeat about the handsome revenues streaming from political programs. The priest admitted that the money that can be generated through political programs could serve as “big help” in the operation of the radio station. But he said respect and credibility given to the station is more important than the hefty revenues the station could raise from politicians. The station is to celebrate its 16th founding anniversary on March 19, 2007. (Neela Duallo)

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Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007


Bishop Sofronio A. Bancud, SSS, DD Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud was first appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cabanatuan in May 24, 2001. He succeeded Most Rev. Sofio Balce as bishop of the diocese and was installed in January 25, 2005. Recently, CBCP Monitor asked His Excellency to share his thoughts on various concerns in the Church, especially in his diocese. The Year of Social Concerns has just come to a close. How are the social teachings of the Church being realized in your diocese? The year of Social Concern was, indeed, a graced occasion to reawaken the consciousness of the Clergy, Religious and the Lay faithful of the inherent social responsibility in living out our baptismal vows. One of the highlights of the year-long celebration was a diocesan program called “Dalaw Kristiyano” which was designed for the whole month of October, being the mission month, where the priests, religious and lay leaders visited every single family in the parish. This program proved very helpful inasmuch as those who have been away from the Church for years, for a variety of reasons, had the opportunity to express their experience of the Church as well as their needs, their hopes and expectations. After an evaluation of the Mission month program it was strongly recommended that the “Dalaw Kristiyano” be enhanced and continued as a helpful means to be in touch with our people. The other Diocesan Commissions have, likewise, made use of the data gathered in order to develop further their programs making them more relevant and responsive to the expressed needs of the parishioners. Would you say that participation in political advocacy is a part of the social concern agenda of the Church?

tified. It is hoped that the programs/ projects that are to be considered for the family and life apostolate will rouse greater interest and involvement of every family in this noble task of building a civilization of love and a culture of life. What is your take on the changing patterns of families today, and how does this situation influence the quality of vocations for the priesthood and religious state especially in your diocese? It is, indeed, very true that the set up of families nowadays have changed radically. The onslaught of materialism, secularism and consumerism have an overwhelming influence in the upbringing of our youth. Added to this is the widespread phenomenon in our country today where one or both parents are absent during their children’s early and crucial years of formation. Aware of the fact that these are the very circumstances from which our candidates to the priesthood and religious life come from it is of utmost importance that the formation program be made more relevant and responsive to this reality. In this way we can be assured of a formation that can facilitate the development of committed disciples and dedicated servant-leaders of the Church.


The area of politics is just one of the many aspects of life and so when we speak of the Church’s mission in our world today, this has to be addressed. In fact, this has been underscored in the 1971 Synod of Bishops’ Justice in the World which affirms that “action in behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, that is, of the mission of the Church for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.” Therefore, by virtue of our baptism it is our prophetic role to become involved in every way possible in the area of politics, in accordance with each one’s state of life. And I must stress that the kind of involvement that is expected of us is a commitment that flows from the Gospel.

Do you get a good number of vocations entering the seminary today? How is the percentage of those who persevere until ordination?

We do not get as many candidates as we used to some 20 years ago and, correspondingly, the percentage of perseverance until ordination, are just as meager. But we do have, in the next years, candidates in line for ordination. This situation may seem grim. However, we are encouraged when we recall Jesus’ words “pray to the Lord of the harvest that He sends laborers to his vineyard…”


How is the family life program in your diocese? The Family and Life Apostolate is now instituted in our diocese as a working Commission to address family concerns. As we uphold the belief that the family is the basic unit of the society and the domestic Church, such conviction impels us to attend to the many challenges that beset all families with out exception. Existing programs on family life like the Pre-Cana seminars are now being reviewed and further developed in coordination with the national office of the Family and Life Apostolate. The various needs that have emerged during the diocesan “Dalaw Kristiyano” program are now being looked into. Issues and concerns related to family life have been iden-

Does the diocese have a program which ensures the continuing formation of the clergy? Yes. Besides our regular monthly recollection, annual R & R, and annual retreat we have sabbatical programs that are made available to the jubilarians (i.e., those in 10, 15, 20, 25 etc. years in the ministry). Further studies in areas of specialization and some other relevant courses offered here and abroad could also be availed by the clergy. The Commission on the Clergy facilitates the implementation of such programs and periodically reviews and evaluates their accomplishment. What is your perception of the mainstream media’s treatment of Church issues in the news? Church issues seem to draw so much attention and interest among the many, so much so that they become vulnerable to different biases or interpretations. And as such it is unfortunate that what would have been expected to set moral directives have turned into woeful discountenance. Greater objectivity in handling whatever issues on hand, I believe, would dispel pointless animosity.


Holy See’s Statement on Status of Women (The following is the statement Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, delivered on Friday to the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held March 2, 2007. The session is considered a follow-up of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “‘Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twentyfirst century”). ON the occasion of the 51st session of the Commission of the Status of Women, my delegation welcomes the progress made in favor of women over the years and hopes that positive achievements in this field may continue to establish a sane and solid foundation for the future. However, it seems incongruous that, at a time when the sensitivity for women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is now obliged to confront new forms of violence and slavery directed especially at women. It is therefore appropriate that the Commission has chosen this year as its priority theme “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.” Every day, violations of the rights of women, adolescents, and young girls are committed and even tolerated in many fields. Women bear the brunt of the world’s child prostitution, sexual exploitation, abuse, domestic violence, child labor and human trafficking. The international sex trade has become an important industry as degrading as almost any mistreatment of women prior to it. This trade is often passed over in silence because it is considered a part of supposedly democratic freedoms and is too deeply rooted in places or is too lucrative to confront, so my delegation commends those states and organizations that have stepped forward in recent times to combat and draw attention to this scourge. The mistreatment of women is a long-standing reality in many places and a disregard for the age and vulnerability of young girls in particular is especially repugnant. If we wish to engage in a sustained process to stop and reverse this phenomenon, peoples and cultures will have to find common ground that can safely underpin human relations everywhere due to our shared humanity. There is still a profound need to strive

to uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, with special attention to the most vulnerable of society, our children and all the girls among them. We would also do well to examine why women and especially younger women are so vulnerable. This appears to be due to the inferior status bestowed upon women in certain places and upon female infants in particular. In some local traditions they are thought of as a financial burden and are thus eliminated even before birth. In this way, abortion, often considered a tool of liberation, is ironically employed by women against women. Even those allowed to live are sometimes considered as if they were a piece of property best disposed of as soon as possible. This is to be found in many parts of the world, due to prejudicial traditions extraneous to what should be a universally available and safe nurturing environment for girls. Besides the usual thriving channels of trafficking in persons, even the institution of marriage is sometimes misused to give a safe façade to sexual exploitation and slave labor by means of what is known as “mail order brides” and “temporary brides.” The trade which results in the exploitation and profit of women forms a driving motive in this equation. No one profits from this except the traffickers themselves and the clients. In order to put an end to the violation of human rights of trafficked women and girls, it is not enough to sensationalize their tragic plight; rather there is a need to trace the question back to the market that exists due to the demand which makes such trade possible and profitable. Thus, if the reason behind the violence visited on women and girls is mostly cultural prejudice, exploitation and profit, which body should be mandated to intervene in order to overcome this situation?

This is a clear question of human rights, since trafficked women have their right to life and dignity violated. Health, freedom and security, are all compromised in such circumstances, to say nothing of universal rights regarding torture, violence, cruelty and degrading treatment. For younger women it can also be a question of forced marriage, the violation of the right to education, the right to work and the right to self-determination. Nor should we limit the complexities of trafficking to a few social laws or customs, the construction of a refuge here and there and the social reinsertion of the women in question. Ways must be found to let them go home safely and without shame, and not merely have them repatriated; and if women do decide to travel abroad for work, they should be able to do so safely. Raising awareness is a simple and effective means to combat this phenomenon at the local level. Rural villages where the search for employment impels girls to seek work elsewhere need to know as a community how to deal openly with the risks to their young people. Organizations with a proven track record already exist and could assist communities in this way. Local and national politicians also need to be brought to account for their policies in this regard. The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women’s rights. With that there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies.

CBCP Monitor


6 Editorial

IN his blog Archbishop Oscar Cruz thinks that the Anti-terrorism Law a.k.a “Human Security Act of 2007” shall condemn EDSA 1 and 2 as acts terrorism. Because, this law stipulates that terrorism is anything that “causes widespread and extraordinary fear and panic to force the government to give in to an unlawful demand.” In both EDSAs there was “extraordinary fear”. There was “extraordinary panic” too. And both the governments of Marcos and Estrada had been forced “to give in to an unlawful demand”—or were they “lawful”, because in revolutions the winners always become right and the losers adjudged wrong. “People Power” was canonized by both EDSAs. And this has propelled the Philippines to international acclaim among nations which highly regarded the Filipino as avant-garde in modern democracy for demonstrating nonviolently people’s supremacy and power over erring, if despotic, regimes. Should this perspective be in order then the heroes of EDSA would automatically be tagged as terrorists and villains—including one cardinal! If not, then something is terribly wrong with the Anti-Terrorism Law.

Bp. Leonardo Y. Medroso, JCD, DD

Tidbits THE busy chore in the parish which includes among others the looking after the spiritual needs of the people entrusted to his care, the setting up of the organizational systems and needed structures, the building up of BECs and taking care of faith communities and other movements, teaching the children and forming the youth, giving guidance counseling to married young couples and troubled families, the keeping up of the physical plant of the community, all these programs and activities could engage the parish priest so much that he forgets that time is not always his. Before he realizes it, illness is getting hold of him and the advancing age is slowing him down. And there he is alone and untended. The Church, true mother that she is would not like that scenario to happen to her priests. She knows very well the all out dedication of her priests in the ministry, their heroism in giving up their own personal dreams and ambition for the sake of the Kingdom. She too remembers full well she started as a small community in Jerusalem and yet with pooled resources could support one another as well as the poor and the needy (cf. Acts 4: 32): for “they held everything in common” and “distribution was made to each according to

Thank you, Woman ON this women’s month, the late: Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women still reverberates in the midst of current issues. He talks about the “feminine genius” that was highly expressed in Mary herself. And delivers the primordial anthropological gratitude: Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your future to that of your husbands, in a relationship of mutual giving, at the service of love and life. Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity. Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman!

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THREE years ago, pro-lifers gathered in Malacañang to witness the proclamation of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo that each year, March 25 would be celebrated as the “Day of the Unborn”. This idea was presented to her by several pro-life groups because several countries around the world have been celebrating it also on this day. What a fitting time to commemorate the value and dignity of the unborn child as a human person on the feast of the Annunciation when Mary conceived Jesus in her womb though the power of the Holy Spirit. Proclamation 586 signed March 24, 2004 is very well worded” “Whereas, pregnancy is a physiologic process that has certain risks because not all pregnancies lead to the birth of a live and healthy child;

Social Security of the Diocesan Clergy

need” (Acts 4:35). It is on this account that she comes out strongly with this stipulation in law: “Provision must also be made so that they (clerics) possess that social assistance which provides for their needs suitably if they suffer from illness, incapacity, or old age” (Canon 281, §2). This law is actually a juridical formulation of the desideratum expressed by Vatican II which states: “In countries where social security has not yet been adequately organized for the benefit of clergy, Episcopal Conferences are to make provision…for the setting up of diocesan organizations…for the proper support of priests who suffer from ill health, disability or old age” (PO 21). The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines specified more this provision of the Code and in terse language stated: “When…priests retire from years of service in the Ministry, the Church should see to it that their respective Dioceses continue to support them….” (PCP-II, Acts, 561). Here the dioceses in the Philippines are enjoined to dig deep into their own creative selves to devise workable system that would meet squarely the plight of her ailing clergymen. The task at hand is not at all easy, especially for poor dioceses that have to depend mostly on the love offerings and contributions of

March 25—Day of the Unborn in the Philippines

ISSN 1908-2940


March 5 - 18, 2007

“At a time when the sensitivity for women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is now obliged to confront new forms of violence and slavery directed especially at women.”

Were EDSA 1 and 2 Acts of Terrorism?

P r o ta g o n i s t

Vol. 11 No. 5

the faithful. Other dioceses have to contend with old financial systems that may have incorporated the social security of their members, but are in fact failing to meet the needs of the aging priests. A case at bar comes to the fore. In one of the clergy meetings this issue surfaced when a member of the aging priests of the diocese presented to the body an innovative system that would somehow help the sick priests in purchasing their prescribed medicines. The idea is this: make collection boxes with a big-letter message painted on them as, “Support Our Aging Priests (SOAP)” and place them in strategic places in the parish churches. Simple or crude the idea brings home the message that the aging priests are overwhelmed with the mounting expenses that they have to defray. Seven thousand (P7,000.00) to nine thousand pesos (P9,000.00) as monthly expense for maintenance medicines is simply staggering for any priest whose monthly earning is only P9,000.00. They need support; they beg for help. Who could help them if not the generous lay faithful? After all, it is the lay faithful who through the years have been the beneficiaries of the services of these ordained ministers. In fact, this doctrine is already enshrined in the Tidbits / P8

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

Whereas, almost three percent of total fetal deaths have been registered due to the effect of maternal health and nutrition and socio-behavioral factors on the eventual outcome of pregnancy; Whereas, to prevent and effectively manage complications of pregnancy and childbirth, it is necessary that quality and timely interventions before, during and after pregnancy be developed through comprehensive health services; Whereas, the “Day of the Unborn” will promote a culture of life and defense of life from the moment of conception, Now, therefore, I, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by the virtue of my powers vested in me by law, do hereby declare March 25 every year as the “Day of the Unborn.” Parishes and organizations have

Love Life been sent copies of the Proclamation so that they will celebrate the day in a special way. While we celebrate March as Women’s month, let us remember the millions of female babies in the womb who are being aborted due to sex discrimination. Let us put in more effort to reach out to women in distress because of pregnancies they are not ready for. Let us put a stop to abortion now. For a copy of the Proclamation and for more information on Pro-life activities, call our office at telefax 421-7147, or email or mobile 0919233-7783. Our website: You may also refer counseling pregnant, post-aborted women, natural family planning information and teen problems to our counselors at 911-2911.

CBCP Monitor


Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Oscar V. Cruz, DD

Vie ws and P oints iews Points THE much dreaded and much debated anti-terrorism bill desired, crafted and endorsed by the administration, carries both good and bad news as now formally approved by Congress. First the good news: much of its sharp and mortal fangs have been removed. And to make it less disgusting and disturbing, it is even given a new title: “Human Security Act of 2007”. It has to be admitted that the amendments made thereon constitute more than just having it merely deodorized. Yet, it also carries a bad news: it punishes those who bring about “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the government to give in unlawful demand.” To say the least, this provision by itself alone already says a mouthful. In effect, it raises many legitimate doubts and questions even among well

meaning citizens. What really makes fear—not simply trepidation, apprehension or distress? As basically an interior psychoemotional perception, will there be a mind reader to say when there is real fear or actually none? And, what makes fear extraordinary? What degree or gravity should it have? How many— children and youth, men, women and old folks—should harbor fear to make this extraordinary? And what is the panic contemplated by the law? How much panic should there be among how many people of what age, sex and status? What about panic caused by fear with no real basis? What is the gauge or measure used for panic to be qualified as extraordinary? How intense and pervasive should the panic be, to make this extraordinary?

The Measurement of Corruption ELECTION time is here again. Surveys from Pulse Asia taken last January 29 before the start of the campaign showed Loren Legarda leading the pack of the Genuine Opposition (GO) senatoriables. Atty. Adel Tamano, the GO campaign manager, started taunting Team Unity (TU) for its poor showing in the survey. Of course, the Administration’s spokesman, Secretary Gabriel Claudio was quick to demolish the early claim of the Opposition. The local government leaders, he avowed, 90% of whom promised support and allegiance to the Administration, will deliver a 9-3 or 8-4 victory in the TU’s favor. The accuracy of predicting the winners depends to a great degree on the measures used, statistical sampling and/or the use of baseline indicators, properly validated, to extrapolate the outcome, i.e., the majority voters’ choice. The technology of measurement is now as scientific as it could be. In a recent meeting last February 26, the measurement of corruption was done by the World Bank in its Country Procurement Annual Report (CPAR) deliberation. Representing the CBCPLAIKO, having been involved for the past 3 years in the government procurement process as observer, I was invited by the World Bank and Government

Issues and Concerns

Furthermore, who decides what is fear and panic, and what make them extraordinary or otherwise. Questions and doubts are not pleasant to hear. But truth and reality do raise valid questions and reasonable doubts about the interpretation and application of the above cited provision—which is but one element of the security act of 2007. The fact of the matter is even a most clear and very simple law can be dangerous when invoked and applied by a public authority of dubious mentation and/or with devious intention. This is the more true when a law under question and doubt is the subject matter. No sane person would love a terrorist nor promote terrorism. But every reasonable individual should watch against seeing a terrorist when there is none, pointing at terrorism when this is non-existent.

Jose B. Lugay

Laik o Lampstand Laiko

Procurement Policy Board organizers to attend a meeting to deliberate on the country index of corruption. Now it is clearer to me how they ranked the Philippines next to Indonesia and Vietnam in the year 2000 as the top three most corrupt countries in East Asia. This past year however the Philippines show a good measure of improvement in good governance. The exercise given to the participants was to discuss the validity of the observations using Base Line Indicators, or BLI’s. These are measures of systems of good governance, its laws and policies; and how implementation is managed and reported for corrective action. To be measurable, these base line indicators are grouped into four pillars, namely, Pillar I – Legislative and Regulatory Framework Pillar II – Central Institutional Framework Pillar III – Procurement Operations Pillar IV – Integrity and Transparency of Procurement. Each Pillar’s 3 or 4 indicators with their sub-indicators are given scores. The score of 3 is the highest and 0 is the lowest. Once the four pillars and their corresponding indicators are approved by the World Bank and OECD donors, these are used to measure the

Melo M. Acuña

DURING my high school days (that was a long, long time ago), then strongman Ferdinand Edralin Marcos declared Martial Law. It was September 21, 1972 when Mr. Marcos implemented the contents of Proclamation 1081 and instantly declared a “New Society.” In fact, it was described as the “smiling Martial Law” as soldiers, including elements of the Philippine Constabulary were caught on statecontrolled media as courteous and attentive to the needs of the people. However, in the towns and boondocks of Bicol, reports had it that soldiers and NPA guerillas were engaged in periodic skirmishes. Constables usually patrolled the streets of Albay’s 17 towns but not in Legazpi City. The marching cadence from combat boots in the stillness of the night brought shivers to peace-loving individuals for they were in full battle gears and ready to strike known enemies. In fact then strongman Marcos said he declared Martial Law to save the country from the communists.

Human Security Act of 2007

participating countries’ procurement performance. Each country will be rated using the Compliance Performance Indicators or CPI’s which will be ranked accordingly. The findings that are of most concern to me as a technical man serving the Council of the Laity, is the concentration of the corruption measurement on adherence to the legal system, the procedures, the management system and the areas for the improvement for good governance. It would seem from the discussions that when all the above pillars and indicators are measured, and assuming the government, lawmakers and local executives follow the ideal system of governance of procurement all is well and done—corruption may now be a thing of the past. Yes, the legal framework rated almost perfect. Republic Act 9184, the new government procurement law received a very high score! Does that mean that the country will succeed in eradicating corruption? Not quite! What is missing in the whole equation is the moral aspect of corruption. The measures arrived at, the base line indicators, are measures of performance in implementing the procurement system. Corruption in procurement is an activity that occurs between the supLaiko / P8

The Armed Forces and Special Courts

Today, we still have NPA guerillas in the countryside. Their issues against the government remained unchanged as genuine land reform, graft and corrupt practices, violations of Human Rights, among others. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has said NPA guerillas have dwindled over the years and may well be considered a “spent force” in the same way as the Abu Sayyaf which was reported to have been significantly reduced by intense military operations. Alas, the military leadership said local government officials requested for regular patrols in their areas to arrest the threats of drug trafficking and criminal elements. I still have to hear a city or municipal mayor saying they’ve given up on the police service. After all, no chief of police sits without the approval of the concerned city or town executive. If indeed the soldiers were sent to scare pushers away, it won’t solve the drug menace. It is the government’s responsibility to arrest and prosecute and jail people in the il-

legal drug trade. Detectives can very well track down these shady characters but not soldiers in camouflage uniforms. If they’re into civil-military operations doing medical and dental missions, wouldn’t this duplicate the responsibilities of city and municipal health offices? While we appreciate the creation of special courts to try cases involving political killings, it wouldn’t solve the killings without strongly worded statements from the executive department that the full force of the law would be used to curb Human Rights violations, and that ought to apply to everyone. The government has targeted 8% growth rate in ’08. Our economic managers declared the country’s growth should trickle down to the grassroots. That simply goes to show we have to wait, as we have always waited, for the crumbs that would come our way. If and when the common tao sees and feels a marked improvement in the current standards of life, insurgency and separatism would become history.

7 Michelle Bauman

In the Light of Day

Letter to Children TODAY’S society seems to have a negative perception of young people. In my dealings with adults, I have seen many people who stereotype teenagers in harmful ways. I have come to see two major generalizations that are often held about young people. However, I have also found hope in a letter to children, written twelve years ago by Pope John Paul II. This letter reaffirms the value and dignity of the youth and calls all people to grow in holiness. Young people are often seen as being inadequate. Many employers are hesitant to hire teenagers because they are afraid they will be lazy, stupid, or incompetent. They think they will lack the skills, knowledge, or dedication for the job. This stereotype of teenagers as inferior human beings is harmful and degrading. Furthermore, it is false. While it is certainly true that some teenagers are lazy and inept, it is also true that there are many others who are just as talented, dedicated, and mature as most adults, and judging an entire group of people based on a few is destructive to the group as a whole. The second phrase I often hear about young people is that they are “the leaders of tomorrow.” While this view is more hopeful than the previous one, it still does not do justice to the youth of the world. Labeling young people as the scientists, doctors, and businessmen of tomorrow fails to recognize their value today. It suggests that they have potential for greatness in the future, but do not yet possess what is necessary for greatness now. Despite its good intentions of encouraging and motivating young people, this perspective is actually detrimental to the way in which they are viewed. Unfortunately for the youth, many adults have bought into either this mentality or the previous one, both of which are harmful labels. The late Pope John Paul II, however, was able to see beyond these stereotypes and generalizations and see deep into the heart of the youth. In his Letter to Children, written in December of 1994, he wisely reminds us that the call to holiness is a call to all people, young and old. He reminds us of the great dignity and worth of young people in their current state of life, not only in their potential as adults. Although his letter was specifically intended for small children, his message applies to all young people of today, including those in their teenage and young adult years. Very little is known about Jesus’ youth. But, as the Pope points out, the one story we do have of the young Jesus is the story of the Finding in the Temple, in which twelve-year-old Jesus taught the teachers in Jerusalem. Although his public ministry had not yet begun, he was already starting his Father’s work and spreading the Gospel. Clearly, the Pope places great value on the lives of young people. He puts emphasis on the way in which Jesus was able to carry out his Father’s will as a child. And just as Jesus was able to make an impact on those around him as a child, all young people in the world today can make a difference in the lives of the people surrounding them. It is not necessary for them to try to do adult things; rather, they must simply strive to follow God’s will in their everyday lives, living out their youth in Christ. In his letter, John Paul II commissions children to pray for world peace. It is to the youth, not the adults, that he entrusts this important task. Why? Because he recognizes the power of a child’s prayers. Children give an example of how to pray: with simplicity and complete trust. When Jesus says “unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Mt. 18:3) he is pointing to children as models for adults. All people are called to imitate the simplicity and trust found in the hearts of children, who, in their simple wisdom, realize that “love and harmony build peace,” while “hatred and violence destroy it.” The Pope invites everyone to follow the example of goodness and purity set by small children, who “instinctively turn away from hatred and are attracted by love.” The Pope then continues to ask children to pray to discover their vocations, and to follow them with love; to remember God’s love for them and to spread that love to the whole world. This is a message that applies to all people, and it is a good reminder to all young people of their inherent worth in God’s eyes. We do have immeasurable value—not only in the future, but now as well. We are capable of doing good things by following God’s will, and we even have the ability to set an example of holiness for the adults in our lives. These truths are so simple and yet so important in how adults look at young people and how young people view themselves. John Paul II saw this, and in his wisdom, he passed on this message to young people throughout the world. It is now time for the youth to respond to this calling and to live in the holiness for which we were made. (Michelle Bauman is an honor student in the 12th grade at Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver. Catholic News Agency)

CBCP Monitor

CBCP Commissions


Episcopal Commission on Health Care Caring for the disabled, sick, aged, dying “Whatever you have done to the least of My brothers and sisters, you have done it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40) STARTED on December 8, 1993, the Episcopal Commission on Health Care works toward a world where all people will be loved and who, in turn, will love and help others as Jesus Christ did. Its mission is to help people, especially those who are in greatest need including the multiple handicapped, the mentally ill and those dying on the streets. The Commission assists the people with disabilities, the sick, the aged, the dying. It also reaches out and tries to provide people who suffer severely and have the least services, with spiritual, pastoral, social, psychological, medical, nutritional assistance through various activities. Guiding Principles • The Commission assists the Bishops in their concern for the handicapped, the sick, the aged and the dying. It endeavors towards the implementation of Decree No. 33 of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) that is very effective and rather easy to execute: “Diocesan and parochial

commissions for the pastoral care of the sick, aged, and disabled must be created, and these commissions should be functional and effective.” • It strongly supports the need for a greater unity with members of the hierarchy, other commissions, various Catholic organizations and NGO’s. • One of the aspects stressed by PCP II was being a Church for and of the poorest of the poor. As a group, the persons with disabilities are surely the poorest of the poor. Among them, the multiple handicapped are at the very bottom. The mentally ill occupy a special place as most of them do not have enough food or medical care besides being ridiculed by society. As a Church, we try to give leadership, show the way and propose methods we have tested ourselves. Activities 1. General a) Newsletters The Commission mails a series of simple but free newsletters (one

for each disability and mental illness as well as general ones) to all parishes, catholic schools and committed individuals. A special mailing is the one with the message of the Pope for the World Day of the Sick. b) Congresses and Symposia Commission organizes various symposia and meetings to increase public awareness and understanding as well as to plan for activities for the people afflicted with different ailments and illnesses, the mentally retarded, the physically disabled, the blind, the deaf, the mentally ill, the elderly, those with progressive diseases, as well as the terminally ill. 2. Handicapped Survey Objectives: • To gather data on the existence of persons with disabilities / handicapping sicknesses that will serve as basis for planning. Psychological disabilities as epilepsy and mental illness, progressive and terminal diseases are also included. • To tap available support from the commission for identified clientele through the local parish / diocesan ministries.

Tidbits / from p6

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Code which states: “The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers” (C. 222, §1). And so, the idea was hatched. But that idea did not take away the obligation of the diocese to take care of its priests in need. The presbyterium understood well the plight of their brother aging priests. And so they came out with two resolves: first, ask the aging priests to desist from the planned collection boxes; second, the diocese will resume the serious talk on the social security system of priests. These resolves are based on the conviction of the presbyterium who sincerely believed in the principle enunciated by the Second Vatican Council (PO 20): “Completely devoted as they are to the service of God in the fulfillment of the office entrusted to them, priests are entitled to receive a just remuneration. For ‘the laborer deserves his wages’ (Lk 10:7), and (1 Cor 9:10) ‘the Lord commanded that they who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel’ (1 Cor 9:10).

plier and the purchaser—between the private sector and the government sector. The root of corruption is a moral problem of individuals, hence, it can only be solved by formation. As we are predominantly Catholics, the moral problem is addressed by conversion and evangelization. The intervention for change therefore should be the training of participants of procurement in the private sector, the government sector and civil society. In addition to the training on procurement and the governing law and systems, it should encompass both professional ethics and moral formation of all procurement practitioners in government and the private sector. It is a fact that the World Bank which receives donated funds from OECD countries will not support funding for religion-related activities. Hence the approach to solving the problem of corruption by the World Bank does not

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

• To include in the mailing list of free newsletters (updates on activities and information disabilities). • To, hopefully, obtain 20% transportation discount for the disabled.

6. Terminally ill Support This is for those who only cannot afford curative, but also cannot afford to buy pain relievers when dying in pain.

3. Educational Assistance a) Sign Language Manila and various places: We organize sign language classes for free at all levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advance. Each class lasts 60 hours of lectures. b) Reading Materials in Braille For our blind brothers, the Commission have made essential but expensive Braille reading materials available free of charge, from Grade 1 to College, as well as for adults. c) Special Education Courses The Commission offers free graduate level special education for teachers in various universities of the country to help them educate the disabled and special children with special needs.

7. Areas of special concern: request for the mentally ill: “A patient, A bed” Ever since, the Commission had a most special concern for the mentally ill. Even in specialized institutions, most of them not only lack food and medicines but they also lack bed—they sleep on the hard pavement. Strengthened by the recent letter of the Pope asking for the necessary care and treatment of the mentally ill, the Commission increased their efforts to help them.

4. Sunday Holy Mass with the Disabled This is a concrete application at the parish level for one Holy Mass per Sunday at virtually no cost. This will create a welcoming atmosphere for the disabled and improve the awareness of the other parishioners about persons with disabilities without expenses. Some examples: • the deaf can sign some common parts • a blind person can take care of the First Reading using the Braille text (we can send free of charge) • the blind can join the choir • the physically and intellectually disabled persons can assist in the offertory procession. 5. Low Cost Medicines: FOR ALL Aware of the system that raises the costs of medicines to levels that too many people can not afford, the Commission started a project where the hope is to sell medicines at 1/3 below the retail cost in leading drug stores (half the cost of that retail price in the leading drug stores).

address the root cause which is moral in nature—the violation of the commandments of God. Nevertheless, the World Bank’s Country Procurement Assessment Report (CPAR) and their methodology to measure corruption should be supported by the government regardless of its weakness. Hopefully what it lacks in moral formation has been addressed partially by the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission’s Integrity Development Action Plan. Using 4 strategies of corruption prevention, investigation and strategic partnership, inculcating these to 70 government agencies, has resulted so far in rating these agencies as compliant with 22 doable anti-corruption measures. PAGC chairperson, Constancia de Guzman recently announced the ten most compliant agencies of the anti-corruption program of the IDAP. They are the 1) DOH, 2) DSWD, 3)

8. Advocacy on issues affecting the disabled • Accessibility of buildings and services • Catechetical and spiritual formation • General Education • Vocational Training • Employment Officers: Chairman: Bp. Patricio H. Alo Vice Chairman: Bp Jose R. Manguiran Members: Bp. Prospero N. Arellano Bp. Patricio A. Buzon, SDB Bp. Warlito I. Cajandig Bp. Edgardo S. Juanich Bp. Filomeno G. Bactol Executive Secretary: Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM Office Address: De La Salle University (LS156) 2401 Taft, Ave., 1004 Manila Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4453, 1000 Manila Telephone: (02) 521-08-27 Fax: (02) 521-58-76 SMS: 0920-211-3425 E-mail:,

DOST, 4) DTI, 5) BIR, 6) DPWH, 7) PNP, 8) Office of the President, 9) DepED, 10) MMDA. This is a good sign that there is improvement in the government’s advocacy drive for good governance. It is a challenge however, to the Church in the Philippines, particularly the Catholic Lay Organizations, to undertake the moral regeneration program. The parishes must redouble their efforts to catechize the youth and support family evangelization programs. Everybody has a stake in the redemption of this country from the evils of corruption. Hopefully we elect legislators who are morally formed and untainted by corruption since their pork barrel allotment, taken from the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) amounting to P 11.445 Billion for 2007, is known by the electorate as the greatest source of funds for their reelection.

CBCP Monitor


Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007


Diocese of Boac, Marinduque

“Duc in altum, ecclesia pauperum, in iustitia, in caritate et in pace.” By Rev. Fr. Renato M. Sapungan

Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista Bishop of Boac

CREATED suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lipa, separating from the Mother Diocese of Lucena on 2 April 1977, the Diocese of Boac comprises the whole civil province of Marinduque. It has a total area of 959.2 sq. kms. In his book, “Historico Religioso Estado Geografico,” 1865, Fr. Felix de Huerta says that the first apostle to Marinduque was the Franciscan Missionary Fray Estevan Cruz, who planted the first cross in 1579 that paved the way for the evangelization of the people. The first “visita” was established in 1580 and it was called “Monserrat de Marinduque” (now Boac) with Fray Alonzo Banol as its minister. In 1609 two other “visitas” were instituted, “San Juan de Marinduque” (now Sta. Cruz) and San Bernardo de Marinduque (now Gasan) with Fray Pedro de Talavera and Fray Juan Rosado as their first pastors, respectively. Later on, the Franciscans ceded the administration of the island to the Archbishop of Manila in 1613. “The Jesuits in the Philippines 1581-1768,” a book written by Fr. Horacio de la Costa, states that Archbishop Miguel Garcia Serrano of Manila entrusted the island of Marinduque to the care of the Society of Jesus in 1621. The Jesuits stayed in the province and founded the town of Boac on 8 December 1622 and later on the towns of Sta. Cruz and Gasan. By virtue of a Spanish Royal Decree dated 19 May 1864, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers took over the spiritual administration of Boac in exchanged for the Curacies they left behind to the hands of the Jesuit missionaries in Mindanao. Before the creation of the Diocese of Lipa by St. Pius X, the island of Marinduque, since 14 August 1595 till 10 April 1910, belonged to Archdiocese of Manila. When the Diocese of Lucena was created on 20 August 1950, Marinduque became a part of her. In 2 April 1977, by virtue of the Apostolic Bull “Cum Tempura Maturuere” issued by Pope Paul VI, Marinduque was created as an independent Diocese. It was called Diocese of Boac. On 10 May 1978, carried by the effect of the Papal Bull, the Diocese of Boac was canonically erected according to the Decretum Executorium signed by Most. Rev. Bruno Torpigliani, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. Most Rev. Rafael M. Lim, the former Bishop of Laoag since 1971 and a native of Boac, was appointed on 26 January 1978 by Paul VI as the first Bishop of the new Diocese. Boac is a poor Diocese in the island province of Marinduque. Its geographical location contributes greatly to this situation driving Marinduqueños (the inhabitants of the island) to seek for greener pasture outside of its provincial confine. Seeking excellence through Godgiven talents, some have defied poverty by going out of the island and engaging into a multi-faceted business world. Many have succeeded; others have worked hard and

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Boac, Marinduque.

achieved the prestige of national positions in government offices; while the majority has remained in the island-province contented with the kind of life they had since birth. Marinduqueños are peace-loving, simple, religious and hardworking. Through the loving guidance of the Most Rev. Rafael M. Lim, the first bishop of the diocese, a diocesan vision is made in 1981: Marinduque, Simbahan ng mga Dukha na may Katarungan, Pag-ibig at Kapayapaan. Through a concerted effort of the faith community and upon the leadership of the Clergy, the local Church of Marinduque tried to realize this dream for the diocese. Programs and activities were focused towards this vision. Many of them have succeeded and have been continuously implemented within the diocese. In one of the monthly recollections in 1998, the members of the Clergy affirmed that the Diocese is a Church that is materially poor but with a deep grasp and sense of the Lord. Poverty exists because of sinful structures and those who are socially poor are marginalized. The diocese aims towards a participatory Church where both poor and rich people share each other’s time, talent and treasure; where harmonious relationship exists between them thereby giving witness to the spirit of pastoral charity. As the Church denounces the sinful causes and structures of poverty, she at the same time designs programs and plans to alleviate the condition of the poor

and inspires her ministers to the real witnessing of the spirit of poverty. Although the Diocese is materially poor, giving and sharing have a great place in the minds, hearts, and practices of the people. There is a remarkable atmosphere of sensitivity, cooperation and responsibility towards one’s neighbors and to the Church’s programs and activities. Poverty has become an occasion for sensitivity among the people of God in the Local Church of Marinduque. On 10 September 1998, Most Rev. Rafael M. Lim, the first Bishop of the diocese passed away. Concerted efforts of the members of the Clergy and the collaboration of the faith community towards achieving a diocesan vision have not been hampered by his death. Through an unending support of the successors of Bishop Lim, the diocese edged towards achieving its vision. Their dedication and zealousness have paved and cemented the areas of concerns for the benefit of the people of Marinduque especially in their faith and belief in God. On 10 May 2003, the Silver Anniversary Foundation of the Diocese of Boac was celebrated. Prompted by the creative thinking and pastoral concern of the new Bishop Jose F. Oliveros, the First Diocesan Synod was held on 4-9 May 2003 whose objectives include: to thank God for all the graces the Diocese received from Him for the past years; to assess and evaluate the life of faith and

pastoral activities in the past up to the present; and to plan for the better future of the Diocese. This ecclesial activity is based on the admonition of the Holy Father John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter entitled Tertio Millennio Ineunte which says that: “We do all these things in order to discover and reflect on the face of Christ. Because our witnessing would be nothing if we would not discover and reflect the face of God.” Synodal decrees came out after a weeklong deliberation and reflection of the appointed delegates from the fourteen parishes of the diocese. Participated also by government and civil servants and together with the different sectoral leaders from the local communities, the progress of the Synod edged slowly towards its historic culmination wherein decrees based on the diocesan vision: Marinduque Simbahan ng mga Dukha na may Katarungan, Pagibig at Kapayapaan were finally voted and ratified. In her journey towards a new way of life as a Church, after the advent of the Diocesan Synod 2003, the local Church of Marinduque is once again sent by Christ: “Duc in altum, ecclesia pauperum, in iustitia, in caritate et in pace.” This is a new call that de-

mands a new response and sharing in the mission of Christ. As a Diocese, she cannot accomplish all the necessary changes expected of her as a people of God, all by herself. There will be no significant implementations of all the Synodal Decrees towards the realization of her vision: “Marinduque, church of the poor with justice, love and peace”, without the much needed support and cooperation of all the faithful to this new endeavor. After the Synodal Decrees were solemnly voted by the delegates at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Boac and canonically ratified by the Local Ordinary of the Diocese, much remained for their eventual implementation. This has become the main task handed over to the new Bishop-elect Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista by the former Bishop Oliveros who was transferred to shepherd the Diocese of Malolos in 5 August 2004. Having in mind the value of the Synodal Decrees, Bishop Evangelista expressed his desire to continue with the existing programs and activities in the diocese. Equipped with pastoral experiences and engaged in the formation of seminarians in the Archdiocese of Lipa before becoming a Bishop of Boac, Bishop Evangelista called for a Pastoral Assembly in September 2006 to look into the Decrees and its implementation in the diocese. A Diocesan Pastoral Plan was unanimously approved based on the Synodal Decrees. Positive outlook of the future is heightening based on the optimism of the people of Marinduque since the First Diocesan Synod in 2003. The positive gestures of the Bishop and the entire Clergy are encouraging and thus ushering in great hope for a brighter future of the Church in Marinduque. God is so good to the Diocese through the witnessing of the priests and the Bishop of Boac. The Diocese of Boac aspires to become a witnessing community of the Church of the Poor where justice, love and peace reign. Moving towards the task of continuous evangelization of the people, the diocese propels towards the vast ocean to fish for its constituents in her local Church bringing and putting into mind the imperative of Jesus Christ: “Duc in altum, ecclesia, pauperum, in iustitia, in caritate, et in pace.”

IMPORTANT FACTS Name: Diocese of Boac Area: Population: Catholics:

952.2sq.m 216,815 193,585

Teaching Personnel: Lay Sisters Priests

65 9 2

Educational Centers: Bishop Priests Religious Sisters Seminarians: Major in Theology College in Philosopy Pre-College High School Total

9 16 4 2 31

Diocesan Division: Vicariates Parishes

3 14

Educational Centers College Enrollment High School Enrollment Kindergarten Enrollment

1 31 23

St. Marys College of Marinduque (RVM), Boac. St. Joseph Acdemy (Diocesan), Napo, Sta. Cruz Our Mother of Perpetual Succor Academy, (Diocesan) Torrijos. Holy Infant Jesus Parochial School, Sta. Cruz. Holy Child Jesus Learning Center, Buenavista Lourdes Children’s Catechetical Center, Malibago, Torrijos Miscellaneous Listings:

1 263 3 916 109

Sacred Heart Pastoral Center - Boac Monastery of St. Clare - Bantauyan, Boac Mary of the Passion House - Quatis, Gasan

Canon Law


Catholic Associations and Partisan Politics by Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D. It is an election year once more, and an old question has again come to the fore: the involvement of the Church in politics. Granting that the Hierarchy itself should not be involved in partisan politics, the following questions have been asked: 1) Can Associations of Christian Faithful—either Public or Private— engage in partisan politics? 2) If Public Associations of Christian Faithful cannot engage in partisan politics, can Private Associations of Christian Faithful do? This is indeed a thorny issue that has been discussed in ecclesiastical circles repeatedly. What is novel is the way it is being asked now. The concrete application is of course quite obvious: Can the Couples for Christ or the Knights of Columbus—for example—issue a mandate for its members to push for the candidacy of a specific person or party? The pertinent provisions of Canon Law on this issue can be summarized as follows. 1. Existence & Nature of Associations of Christian Faithful. In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, in which the Christian faithful, either clergy or laity, or clergy and laity together, strive by

CBCP Monitor

common effort to promote a more perfect life, or to foster public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other apostolic works, namely to engage in efforts of evangelization, to exercise works of piety or charity and to animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit (c.298, §1). 2. There are Two Kinds of Associations of Christian Faithful: a) Private Associations. Can.299: §1. The Christian faithful are free, by means of a private agreement made among themselves, to establish associations to attain the aims mentioned in c.298, §1, with due regard for the prescriptions of c.301, §1. §2. Such associations are called private associations even though they are praised or recommended by ecclesiastical authority. §3. No private association of the Christian faithful in the Church is recognized unless its statutes are reviewed by competent authority. b) Public Associations. Can.301: §1. Competent ecclesiastical authority alone has the right to erect associations of the Christian faithful which set out to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship or which aim at other ends whose

pursuit by their nature is reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority. §2. Competent ecclesiastical authority, if it judges it expedient, can also erect associations of the Christian faithful in order to attain directly or indirectly other spiritual ends whose accomplishment has not been sufficiently provided for by the efforts of private persons. §3. Associations of the Christian faithful which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations. The distinction between public and private associations of faithful, therefore, stems neither from the nature of their ends, nor even from the degree of supervision or control of the competent ecclesiastical authority over their actuations, but rather in the way they come about: — Public associations of faithful are erected by the competent ecclesiastical authority. — Private associations of faithful are established by mutual agreement of private individuals, and then praised, recommended or recognized by the competent ecclesiastical authority after reviewing their statutes. 3. Autonomy of Associations of Christian Faithful. The Code of Canon Law is quite

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

clear in stating the sphere of autonomy of such associations of Christian faithful: a) Public Associations: Can. 315. Public associations on their own initiative can begin undertakings in keeping with their character, and they can direct them in accord with their statutes, but under the further direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in c.312, §1. b) Private Associations: Can. 321. The Christian faithful guide and direct private associations according to the prescriptions of their statutes. Such autonomy, therefore, is not absolute, as provided by c.232: §1. Although private associations of the Christian faithful enjoy autonomy in accord with the norm of c.321, they are subject to the vigilance of ecclesiastical authority in accord with the norm of c.305, and are subject to the governance of the same authority. §2. It is also the responsibility of ecclesiastical authority, while observing the autonomy proper to private associations, to be watchful and take care that their energies are not dissipated and that the exercise of their apostolate is ordered toward the common good. The aims of associations of faithful have to be not only consistent with but also relevant to the fundamental pretension of the Ecclesiastical Juridic Ordering: the salvation of souls. Can.298, §1 specifies this when it establishes that the faithful in such associations strive by common effort: (i.e., individually they can freely do other things on their own) to promote a more perfect life; to foster public worship or Christian doctrine; to engage in efforts of evangelization; to exercise works of piety or charity and to animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit. 4. Can associations of Christian faithful engage in partisan politics? The point may be raised that engaging in partisan politics might fall under the heading of the canonically recognized aim of Associations of Christian faithful to animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit (c.298, §1). After all, such evangelizing action is indeed what is proper of the Church as a whole, and more specifically of its lay faithful. However, such an interpretation would unduly compromise a fundamental right of every Catholic faith-

Pope / from p2

Sydney / from p2

Masonry / from p2

The cities in which young people will gather to be connected by satellite with the Vatican are: • Bologna, Italy, where university students will gather with Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in the University Church of St. Sigismund. • Calcutta, India, where they will meet with Archbishop Lucas Sirkar, in the Crypt of the House of the Missionaries of Charity, next to Mother Teresa’s tomb. •Coimbra, Portugal, where they will meet with Bishop Mamede Cleto in the University Chapel. • Krakow, Poland, where they will meet with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, in the Church of Divine Mercy. • Hong Kong, where they will meet with Cardinal Joseph Zen, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. • Manchester, England, where they will meet with Bishop Terence Brain, in St. Augustine’s University Chapel. • Manila, Philippines, where they will meet with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, on the campus of the University of Santo Tomas. • Prague, Czech Republic, where they will meet with Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, in the academic Church of the Holy Savior. • Tirana, Albania, where they will meet with Archbishop Rrok Kola Mirdita, in St. Paul’s Cathedral. • Turin, Italy, where they will meet with Cardinal Severino Poletto, in the Church of the Holy Face. • Islamabad, Pakistan, where they will meet with Bishop Anthony Lobo, in the University Chapel of Ave Maria College of Rawalpindi. The Vatican Television Center will broadcast the event. (Zenit)

ness the Spirit, about WYD and Australian tourism sites will be available online. The DVD includes personal invitations from the archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and Bishop Fisher. Registration information is on the website ( in English, Italian, Spanish, and French. (CNA)

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on Nov. 26, 1983. The text states that since the principles of Masonic associations “have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church,” membership in them, therefore, “remains forbidden.” “The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive holy Communion,” adds the declaration signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Benedict XVI. Father Zbigniew Suchecki, an expert in the subject, quoted number 1374 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: “Whoever is in-

Sweden / from p2

Media / from p2

The Christian leaders continued: “As Christians we are deeply worried that the Swedish government is preparing a new bill in which foreign women are given the possibility to come here and have late abortions done. “As Christians we want to appeal to the Minister of Health and Social Affairs not to make Sweden an abortion paradise. …We ask instead to have a policy asking our rich country, Sweden, to do more for the women who need help to bear their children, both in our own country and abroad.” (Zenit)

to be detained under the new law. Witnesses said men from the anti-terrorism division interrogated Basnayake for four hours in his office before taking him to prison. The IFJ said Mawbima is known for its critical stand towards the government and has already refused to bow to pressure and intimidation to review its editorial policy. A reporter of Mawbima, Tamil journalist Munusamy Parameshawary, 23 years old, has been detained without charge since last November. In a press statement issued yesterday, the president of the IFJ, Christopher Warren, expressed concern that the anti-terrorism law is

ful—autonomy in temporal affairs— laid down in c.227: Lay Christian faithful have the right to have recognized that freedom in the affairs of the earthly city which belongs to all citizens; when they exercise such freedom, however, they are to take care that their actions are imbued with the spirit of the gospel and take into account the doctrine set forth by the magisterium of the Church; but they are to avoid proposing their own opinion as the teaching of the Church in questions which are open to various opinions. In effect, every Christian faithful—but most especially a Catholic layman—has the right to engage in partisan politics, without such right being limited by the Ecclesiastical juridic ordering, except in accord with c.227. If an Association of Christian Faithful were as a body to engage in partisan politics, then the corporate position would unduly infringe on the individual right of the members of the said association to maintain their own partisan political orientation. In other words, if an Association of Christian Faithful were to have an official position as regards partisan politics, then its members would have to toe that line; hence, the individual members would not have the freedom to follow their own party leanings, if they are to remain in good graces within the Association. This would be tantamount to the Association, proposing their own opinion as the teaching of the Church in questions which are open to various opinions (c.227). Conclusion The right of the individual Christian layman to autonomy in temporal matters (including partisan politics) is recognized in the Canonical Order. Such a right is as fundamental as the Right to Religious Freedom of the citizen under the Law of the State. In other words, just as it would be unjust for a State institution to actively promote a purely religious position, it also would be equally unjust for an Ecclesiastical institution (e.g., Association of Faithful, whether public or private) to corporately foster a specific political partisan position. This is the reason why after all these years the Catholic Church has always resisted resorting to what others have touted as the Catholic vote.

scribed in an association that plots against the Church must be punished with a just penalty; whoever promotes or directs that association, must be banned.” “Masonry’s attempts to express divine truths are based on relativism and do not agree with the principles of the Christian faith,” said the Conventual Franciscan. Bishop Girotti made reference to the statements of some priests who have declared publicly their membership in Masonry and called for the intervention of “their direct superiors,” not excluding the possibility that “measures of a canonical character might come from the Holy See.” (Zenit)

being used by the authorities in Sri Lanka to “oppress the press and suffocate independent voices”. The fear is that “Basnayake’s arrest will emulate Parameshawary’s who tomorrow will have spent 100 days in detention although no formal charges have been made against her.” “These cases send a strong massage to the international community that the Sri Lankan authorities are abusing the anti-terror laws in an attempt to quash criticism,” said Warren. The IFJ is an organization that gathered more than 500,000 journalists from over 115 countries around the world. (AsiaNews)

CBCP Monitor

Social Concern

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Christian Behavior During Election Season by Fr. Roy Cimagala THIS is an attempt to describe what proper Christian behavior should be during elections. However, this is not meant to articulate an exclusively Christian behavior, since there’s no such thing, given our complex human condition. I’m sure many of us will have our ideas and opinions on how this Christian behavior should be, all of them with their valid points. My hope, in fact, is that everyone starts to express his views in this matter in public. The idea is to increase our level of literacy regarding how a Christian citizen should behave in our political exercises. We need to know what attitudes, dispositions and virtues are needed, since we have to liberate ourselves from the inhuman morass our political activities have sunk into. So far, we have been exposed to the ridiculous ways the political campaigns have been done. There’s so much mudslinging, negativism, hatredpeddling. Polluting noises emit unabatedly from selfrighteous ideologues, poisoned partisans and screaming faggots. Reason, sobriety, objective discussions of issues, not to mention the requirements of charity and understanding in tackling matters open to several valid and moral opinions, are thrown overboard. Things are made worse when opinions are converted into dogmas, while articles of faith and matters of conscience are held simply as opinions. Some people manipulate truths, facts, data to suit their purpose. Freedom is twisted. The distinction between the person of the candidates and politicians in general, and the views they hold and the actions they do, is recklessly blurred, leading to serious offenses against charity and freedom. Rash judgments explode in profusion. Many politicians seem to metamorphose into monsters during the election season, using sly tricks and games, following the unscrupulous logic of greed and disordered ambitions. Conceit spins its own deadly yarn of creativity. And a big part of the electorate, due to poverty, ignorance, apathy, etc., practically invites political abuses. Often complacent and remiss, they fail to see through many of the hidden selfish agenda of politi-

cians. What a nightmare! I think it’s really up to us, citizens, to tolerate this state of affairs or not. I think we have the power to set the proper tone of our politics. Yes, we are part of the problem, but we also hold the key to its solution. But for this to happen, we have to take our social and political commitment more seriously. We have to get our act together. We need to understand that for our social and political commitment to prosper, we need to follow what the Church teaches. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read this relevant point: “It is necessary to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him.” (1888) Then to reassure us that this teaching is not ineffective as many people feel religious doctrines to be, the same point continues: “The acknowledged priority of the conversion of the heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it.” We have to understand that only in God can we learn to be truly concerned about the common good. Apart from him we simply are at the mercy of our subjective, whimsical ideas. Our social and political commitment necessarily calls us to action, first with our own selves, and then, among ourselves. Many initiatives can come to mind. Like, having an independent body that systematically gives a thorough backgrounder of the candidates, providing personal, family and professional information, citing their pluses and minuses. This is to help voters have an idea of the candidates’ integrity and competence. Simply depending on the data given by partisans will take us nowhere. And an ongoing formation for all citizens should be undertaken, especially explaining the finer points of prudence in politics, respect for freedom, and the like.

LONG before typhoons Reming and Seniang devastated the provinces of the Bikol Region, Masbate already fought the hard life in the worst of times. The surveys showed it, Masbate had been consistently in the list of the poorest provinces nationwide. No matter how some local government officials ignored it and even tended to deny it, hunger already engulfed particularly the rural populace. Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon, D.D., the Bishop of Masbate, saw first hand in his pastoral visits the real plight of the Masbateños. The townspeople and barrio folks, though always hospitable, were evidently shortchanged in the wholehearted support they afforded their leaders. Children pitiably bore the consequences of patronage politics. Roads and other infrastructures were never thought of as means to economic progress than as sources of easy kickbacks. Lands were owned by few landlords who glory in the moniker of a “cattle country”. Not to mention the culture of violence that still stifles the province’s prospects of any good future. The youthful demeanor of Bishop Baylon probed beyond what appears evident as root causes of Masbateños’ woes. Dirty politics and other social ills after all thrived on moral decadence. Where witnesses of a crime always hide, they hide justice with them in expense of their comrades’ well-being. The Church suffered long enough. As Bishop Baylon

took over the reins of the diocese from his predecessor of happy memories, the Most Rev. Porfirio R. Iligan, D.D., Masbateños seemed to have breathed in a new spirit. In his inaugural homily, Bishop Baylon hinted on what would become the diocese’s lifetime quest, the establishment of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC’s). For the Church to be a catalyst of change, it must first find its sense of existence, its reason for being. When the Cathedral was renovated and eventually dedicated, the bishop was quick to point out “An simbahan dili bato, an simbahan tawo” (literally, church is not a stone; it is people). This became the bishop’s clarion call for all to heed. Wherever he engaged himself in conversations and other encounters, said slogan would strike down barriers and open up paths of comforts and hope. About a couple of years preceding the CBCP’s resolve to declare 2006-2007 a Social Concerns Year, Bishop Baylon already dug deep way ahead into the Masbateños fatalistic sets of mind. He turned their nose up at, among others, the conspiracy of silence; the nonchalance; the indecisions etc. Once, the Bishop pushed for Anti-Poverty Summit, but it only merited egocentric reactions from politicians and their misinformed bandwagons both of whom could not identify themselves with the poor and the marginalized. The Diocesan Commission for Social Action (DSAC)

Tomb / from p3

Luzon / from p3

ingness of many in our fields (archaeology, biblical studies, history) to comment to the press in a negative and dismissive way before viewing the film or reading the book,” he said in an e-mail Feb. 28. A spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said two of the ossuaries had been loaned to the filmmakers for their press conference as is customary for such requests for exhibiting antiquities as long as certain conditions are met. The loan was made in the name of freedom of expression and creativity, she said, and did not mean the authority supported their claims. She said one of the Mary ossuaries has been on display for many years at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum; the Judah ossuary is on display in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; two ossuaries are currently with the filmmakers; and the other six are in the authority’s warehouse just outside Jerusalem. (CNS)

tively and negatively. In the context of vocation promotion, the sharing helped the vocation directors to assess the kind of vocation activities they are conducting and evaluate the “vocational journey” they are doing with the youth who are potential candidates to the religious life. Another speaker spoke on the dimension of having a needs assessment and quality of responses from the youth discerning their vocation. It was said that an honest-to-goodness life direction program need to be set in place, but one wherein the vocation directors can be of real assistance to the discerner. A sample 12-month life-direction program called “Voice-Choice” was presented to the participants. The organizational structure of the vocation ministry in the dioceses was also discussed, especially with regard to the roles and functions of the diocesan vocation director. The regional groupings too were


What Ever Happened to Masbate? By Rev. Fr. Errol G. Bataga, Jr. coordinated with Caritas Manila to bring the Hapag-asa experience to Masbate. The clergy were briefed about the feeding program. And the project gained unprecedented support. This inspired the embattled Church in Masbate. Then grace upon grace poured in, like microfinance and lately the local adaptation of Pondo ng Pinoy dubbed Mumho (crumbs). Lay participation and empowerment proved extensively helpful in Masbate’s reawakening. When typhoons Reming and Seniang engulfed the Bikol Region, the bishop organized the disaster management network, Operasyon Tabang Bikol. When the powers that be thought that the problems that beset their neighboring provinces are not their own and nothing could be done, the bishop met with concerned individuals and civic groups to act. Almost instantaneously, people responded to the bishop’s appeal for assistance. Relief goods piled up at the chancery. The unreserved generosity of the lay faithful made

enhanced for better networking purposes. The conference also gave new insights on doing vocation promotion through the use of mass media (e.g. radio advertisements). The gathering was an opportunity for the participants to share with one another their work and experiences. It also provided an impetus for them to collaborate closely in the regional level and to draft programs and activities where they can support and assist one another. Two more conferences are being planned within the year for the diocesan vocation directors in Visayas and Mindanao. The gatherings are being held to help prepare the vocation directors for the upcoming National Vocations Convention in Palo, Leyte in 2008. The planned convention is being organized by the Episcopal Commission on Vocations - Directors of Vocations in the Philippines (ECV-DVP).

a promising turn around of the Masbateños stubbornness. So, we ask, what ever happened to Masbate? Perhaps a couple of stories would best illustrate what really ensued: It was nearing Christmas when typhoons Reming and Seniang came. Little children saw the images of disaster from televised news casts. A group of these children went on caroling. And not only to Masbate’s pride and redemption but also to all Christians as well, these same children donated all that they got from caroling to the Diocesan Social Action Center for the typhoon victims. Members of Campus Ministry gave two sacks of rice, also for the Bicol Mainland. This seemed not an extra-ordinary story after all. But, wait till we know how the two sacks came about. Students brought to school a cup of rice each from their boarding houses, from their budget rice for their own consumption. These they gathered and filled two sacks. Finally, Masbate rises up to the challenge.

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Standing On A Common Ground for Family and Life Statement of the 2 Western Visayas HLI-FLA Congress on Family and Life nd

February 24, 2007 St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary Jaro, Iloilo City THE Gospel of Life is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture (Evangelium Vitae, 1) and in our time, at this “moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family,” (Familiaris Consortio, 3) we the people of God in Western Visayas, delegates to the 2nd WV Human Life International - Family Life Apostolate, having perceived and having been convinced “in a more urgent and compelling way” (FC) our “mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, (FC, 3) hereby affirm not only our adherence to the following principles and realizations but also our resolve to proclaim them: 1. The true aim of education is not only the development of the intellect but also the formation of moral character. A developed intellect without moral anchoring is a dangerous tool not only to the individual himself/herself but also to society;

2. The first and primary source of moral instruction is the family, a basic block of civilization made up of a father married to a mother, plus a child or children; 3. Giving children an adequate preparation for adult life demands education in the Christian meaning of sexuality and the sanctity of human life. Abortion is a violation of the right to life, and sex education without morality is a subtle attack on the family and life, and promotes the culture of DEATH (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Marriages); 4. Responsible Christian parenthood is the foundation of family stability and solidarity; 5. Gender equality and equity as understood in the Christian context are essential to integral human development. Both man and woman have respective complementary roles in this development. Marriage is part of the plan of God and motherhood, or fatherhood, is, has never been a form of discrimination; 6. True reproductive health founded

on Christian principles is a human right and access to it has to be respected; 7. The curriculum of the educational system must reflect, propagate and strengthen the values of a people, and not be an instrument in the hegemonic designs of the vested well funded interest groups; 8. The Mass media is a powerful means of communication and must be used to spread the Gospel of Life. It can also be an instrument of disinformation. Its misuse can cause regrettable consequences that might be irreparable especially on the young who are very vulnerable to its influence. We, the delegates, are aware of the subtle attacks now being made against the family and life, hence, we hereby resolve to live by these principles and continue to expose all of these subtle, treacherous, and orchestrated efforts to destroy the family and undermine the sanctity of life. We resolve to be vigilant because these subtle attacks can come like the thief in the night. (Job 24:14) Above all, we must not only watch but also pray. (Mark 13:33)

“The Conscious Means of a Wonderful Event of Grace” Papal Address to Confessors who serve the Four Papal Basilicas in Rome February 19, 2007 Dear Brothers, I am happy to welcome you and I greet you with affection, beginning with Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Major Penitentiary, whom I thank for the kind words he addressed to me a few minutes ago. With him I greet the Regent, Mons. Gianfranco Girotti, and the members of the Apostolic Penitentiary. This meeting offers me the opportunity to express my lively satisfaction above all to you, dear Father Confessors of the Papal Basilicas of the City, for the precious pastoral ministry that you carry out with diligent dedication. At the same time I wish to extend a cordial thought to all the priests of the world who dedicate themselves with commitment to the ministry of the confessional. The Sacrament of Penance, which has such importance in the Christian life, renders present the redemptive efficacy of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. In imparting absolution, pronounced in the name and on behalf of the Church, the confessor becomes the conscious means of a wonderful event of grace. With docile compliance to the Magisterium of the Church, he makes himself minister of the consoling mercy of God, he draws attention to the reality of sin, and at the same time he manifests the boundless renewing power of divine love, love that gives back life. Therefore, confession becomes a spiritual rebirth that transforms the penitent into a new creature. Only God’s grace can work this miracle, and it is accomplished through the words and gestures of the priest. By experiencing the tenderness and pardon of the Lord, the penitent is more easily led to acknowledge the gravity of sin, is more resolved to avoid it in order to remain and grow

in renewed friendship with him. In this mysterious process of interior renewal the confessor is not a passive spectator, but persona dramatis, that is, an active instrument of divine mercy. Therefore, it is necessary that to a good spiritual and pastoral sensibility he unites a serious theological, moral and pedagogical preparation that enables him to understand the life of the person. Furthermore, it is very useful for him to know the social, cultural and professional environment of those who approach the confessional in order to be able to offer appropriate advice and spiritual practices and orientations. May the priest not forget that in this Sacrament he is called to take on the role of father, spiritual guide, teacher and educator. This demands constant updating: this is also the aim of the so-called “internal forum” promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary. Dear priests, your ministry bears above all a spiritual character. To human wisdom, to theological preparation, therefore, one must add a profound spiritual disposition, nourished by prayerful contact with Christ, Master and Redeemer. In virtue of presbyteral ordination, in fact, the confessor carries out a particular service “in persona Christi”, with a fullness of human gifts that are strengthened by grace. His model is Jesus, the One sent by the Father: the source from which to draw abundantly is the vivifying breath of the Holy Spirit. Before such a lofty responsibility human strength is surely inadequate, but the humble and faithful adherence to the salvific design of Christ renders us, dear brothers, witnesses of the universal Redemption worked by him, putting into effect the admonition of St Paul who says: “God was in Christ recon-

ciling the world to himself... and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (II Cor 5:19). To fulfill such a duty we must, above all, root this message of salvation in ourselves and let it transform us deeply. We cannot preach pardon and reconciliation to others if we are not personally penetrated by it. As it is true that in our ministry there are various ways and instruments to communicate the merciful love of God to our brethren, it is, however, in the celebration of this Sacrament that we can do it in the most complete and eminent way. Christ has chosen us, dear priests, to be the only ones to be able to pardon sins in his Name: it concerns, then, a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority. How many people in difficulty seek the comfort and consolation of Christ! How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy that they sought for so long! How can one not recognize also in our age, marked by so many religious and social challenges, that this Sacrament also be rediscovered and proposed anew? Dear brothers, let us follow the example of the saints, in particular those who, like you, were almost exclusively dedicated to the ministry of the confessional. Among them are St Jean-Marie Vianney, St Leopold Mandic, and closer to us, St Pio of Pietrelcina. May they help you from heaven to be able to abundantly dispense the mercy and pardon of Christ. May Mary, Refuge of Sinners, obtain for you the strength, encouragement and hope to generously continue your indispensable mission. I assure you of my heartfelt prayer, while with affection I bless you all.

CBCP Monitor Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

“Communion Among Charisms a ‘Sign of the Times’” Papal Address to Focolare and Sant’Egidio Friends February 8, 2007 Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, I am happy to welcome you to this special Audience and cordially greet all of you who have come from different nations of the world. I also address a particular thought to those who are here with us and belong to other Churches. Some of you participate annually in this appointment of BishopFriends of the Focolare Movement, which has the theme: “Christ Crucified and abandoned, light in the cultural night”. I welcome this occasion to send Chiara Lubich my wishes and my Blessing, which I extend to all the members of the Movement she founded. Others are taking part in the Ninth Convention of Bishop-Friends of the Sant’Egidio Community, addressing the topic so pertinent today: “The globalization of love”. I greet Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, and with him, Professor Andrea Riccardi and the entire Community, who, on the anniversary of its founding, will gather this evening in the Basilica of St John Lateran for a solemn Eucharistic celebration. I do not have all your names here, but naturally I greet all my dear Brothers, Bishops, Cardinals and all you dear Brothers of the Orthodox Church, all of you from my heart. Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, I would first like to tell you that your closeness to the two Movements, while emphasizing the vitality of these new aggregations of faithful, also manifests that communion among charisms which constitutes a typical “sign of the times”. It seems to me that these encounters of the charisms of the unity of the Church in the diversity of gifts are a very encouraging and important sign. The Post-Synodal Exhortation Pastores Gregis recalls that: “The relationships of exchange between Bishops... go well beyond their institutional meetings” (n. 59). It is what occurs also in conventions such as yours, where not only collegiality is experienced, but an episcopal fraternity that draws from the sharing of the ideals promoted by the Movements a stimulus to render more intense the communion of hearts, to make stronger the reciprocal support and a more active commitment to show the Church as a place of prayer and charity, a home of mercy and peace. My venerable Predecessor, John Paul II, has presented the Movements and New Communities which have come into being in these years as a providential gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, in order to respond in an effective way to the challenges of our time. And you know that this is also my conviction. When I was still a professor and then Cardinal, I had the occasion to express my conviction that Movements are really a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. And precisely as the encounter of the charisms, they also show the richness of both gifts and unity in the faith. For example, could one forget last year’s extraordinary Pentecost Vigil that witnessed the joint participation of many Movements and EcclesialAssociations? The emotion I felt in participating in St Peter’s Square in such an intense spiritual experience is still alive in me. I repeat to you what I said then to the faithful gathered from every part of the world, and that is, that the multiplicity and the unity of the

charisms and ministries are inseparable in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit wants the multiformity of the Movements at the service of the one Body, which is the Church. And this comes about through the ministry of those he has placed to sustain the Church of God: the Bishops in communion with the Successor of Peter. This unity and multiplicity which comprises the People of God in some way also makes itself manifest today, with many Bishops being gathered here with the Pope, near to two different Ecclesial Movements, characterized by a strong missionary dimension. In the rich Western world, where even though a relativistic culture is present, at the same time a widespread desire for spirituality is not missing, and your Movements witness the joy of the faith and the beauty of being Christian in great ecumenical openness. In the vast depressed areas of the earth, they communicate the message of solidarity and draw near to the poor and the weak with that human and divine love that I wished to repropose to the attention of all in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est. The communion between Bishops and Movements, therefore, provides a valid impulse for a renewed commitment by the Church in announcing and witnessing to the Gospel of hope and charity in every corner of the world. The Focolare Movement, precisely beginning from the heart of its spirituality which is Jesus crucified and abandoned, emphasizes the charism and the service of unity, which is realized in various social and cultural environments as, for example, the economic with the “economy of communion”, and through the ways of ecumenism and of interreligious dialogue. The Sant’Egidio Community, placing prayer and liturgy at the centre of its existence, wants to draw near to those who experience situations of hardship and social marginalization. For the Christian, man, however distant, is never a stranger. Together it is possible to face with greater effort the challenges that summon us in a pressing way at the beginning of the third millennium: I think in the first place of the search for justice and peace and of the urgency of building a more fraternal and united world, beginning precisely with the countries from which some of you come and that are tried by bloody conflicts. I refer especially to Africa, the Continent that I carry in my heart and that I hope will finally know a time of stable peace and true development. The next Synod of African Bishops will surely be an opportune moment to show the great love that God has for the beloved African population. Dear friends, the original fraternity that exists between you and the Movements you befriend, bids you to carry together “one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), as the Apostle recommends, especially concerning evangelization, love for the poor and the cause of peace. May the Lord render your spiritual and apostolic initiatives ever more effective. I accompany you with prayer and gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing to you present here, to the Focolare Movement and the Sant’Egidio Community, and to the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care.

CBCP Monitor


Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007




NIKKA (not her real name), a 15-year old girl abused by her father since she was 12 years old said, “He told me to stop going to school because we cannot afford it anymore. That was the time he started abusing me everyday…” “I chose to stay in the violent relationship because I wanted to have a complete family. I never thought that there will come a time that I will kill him….” This was the realization of Dolores who serves her term at the Correctional for Women for killing her abusive husband. The above given examples are just two of the many heart-rending stories the counsellors from Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), hear from victims who come to them for help. WCC is a non government organization helping women and children victims-survivors of Violence Against Women (VAW) in the families. WCC’s apostolic work with women and children victims of VAW was able to reach to at least 6,131 women and children through its comprehensive programs and services since its foundation in 1989 up to June 2006. Sixty percent (60%) of these cases comprise women abused by their husbands and partners, while 18.4% are victims of sexual abuse, such as rape and incest. WCC records show that majority of the sexual abuse victims are children of battered women. The Crisis Center’s programs and services

include counselling, legal, medical, temporary shelter, referral, survivor’s support group, education and training, advocacy and research.

Over the years, WCC has journeyed in prayers and in grief, the fate of countless women and children who have suffered VAW at home and in their families. In spite of almost 20 years in this mission work, WCC still find many hapless victims afraid to talk and to seek for help due to shame, fear and lack of support. The United Nations celebrates March 8 as International Women’s Day thus honouring women throughout the world; not only those who have contributed a lot in making this world a better place to live

in, but also the many faceless unnamed women who have fallen victims to abuse because of their gender and status in life. The Philippines celebrates National Women’s Month throughout the month of March. This year’s theme, “A Month of Prayer . . . For Peace in the Filipino Family”, fits well the state of the families of women and children victims of VAW. With the declaration of the month of March as the Month of Prayer by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), WCC calls on all the faithful to offer prayers for the women and children victims of VAW in the family. As WCC offers prayers for these victims, the Center also asks the abusers to reflect and refrain from their violent behavior so that peace may reign back in their families. We pray that all the faithful may offer a hand of support to the victims as Christian gestures of genuine love and peace. We honor the survivors who speak the truth and brave the odds to free themselves from the violence. May other women and children muster the same courage and strength to do the same. Help is available among our Christian brothers and sisters. Do not be afraid to take a bold step towards eliminating VAW in the family. Let us strengthen our Filipino families by not tolerating all forms of violence against women and children.

Fact and Figures International Women’s Day 2007 March 8, 2007 • Violence against women is the most common but least punished crime in the world. • It is estimated that between 113 million and 200 million women are demographically “missing.” They have been the victims of infanticide (boys are preferred to girls) or have not received the same amount of food and medical attention as their brothers and fathers. • The number of women forced or sold into prostitution is estimated worldwide at anywhere between 700,000 and 4,000,000 per year. Profits from sex slavery are estimated at seven to twelve billion US dollars per year. • Globally, women between the age of fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die as a result of male violence than through cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined. • At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. Domestic violence is the largest form of abuse of women worldwide, irrespective of region, culture, ethnicity, education, class and religion. • It is estimated that more than two million girls are genitally mutilated per year, a rate of one girl every fifteen seconds. • Systematic rape is used as a weapon of terror in many of the world’s conflicts. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women in Rwanda were raped during the 1994 genocide. • Studies show the increasing links between violence against women and HIV and demonstrate that HIV-infected women are more likely to have experienced violence, and, that victims of violence are at higher risk of HIV infection. (Source: United Nations)

International Women’s Day: Looking Back INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women’s full and equal participation. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. • 1909: The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. • 1910: The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish Parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance. • 1911: As a result of the Copenhagen initiative, International Women’s Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded women’s rights to

work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job. • 1913-1914: International Women’s Day also became a mechanism for protesting World War I. As part of the peace movement, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists. • 1917: Against the backdrop of the war, women in Russia again chose to protest and strike for ‘Bread and Peace’ on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide. Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe. (Source: United Nations)

Pakistani Women Increasingly Victims of Forced Conversions and Violence by Qaiser Felix AS in previous years, celebrations of International Women’s Day in Pakistan is at odds with a local reality characterized by women’s lack of power, growing socio–economic difficulties and violence, problems that afflict millions of Pakistani women, this according to the annual report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The report noted that last year forced conversions of minority women, rape and arranged marriages for minors were on the increase, destroying the lives of thousands of young women and teenagers. Specifically, the HRCP reported 1,821 cases of violent crimes against women in 2006, including murder, rape, mutilation, burning and other offences. In 2005 at least 1,726 women suffered similar violence. Despite the situation, several events were prepared to celebrate the day in favour of women: rallies, special ceremonies and debates with both men and women speakers. The Catholic Church’s National

commission for Justice and Peace organised different activities, meetings and conferences for March 8 to promote the status of women in various cities like Lahore, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. Joseph Francis, secretary general of the Pakistan Christian National Party, told AsiaNews that his party was holding a seminar on Women’s day in which the main issue was forced conversion of Christian women and girls. After the Muhammad caricature controversy, many Christian girls were forced to convert to Islam, mainly in rural areas. Forced conversion is especially true for Christian women and girls working in Muslim households or small factories, where they are abducted, raped and then forced to convert to Islam. “According to our research, Muslims do this to Christian girls in order to disgrace the US,” he said. “In their minds Christianity is connected to that nation.” (AsiaNews)

CBCP Monitor


The Youth of Jesus by James Tissot


Self Denial:

Allowing Christ to Walk With Us By Bp. Jose R. Manguiran AT Lenten time, the Christians are reminded to practice selfdenial as taught and lived by Jesus Christ. Christ initiated the move to deny Himself: for a while, He negates His divinity by becoming man and, by doing so, He affirmed humanity. This is incarnation, His way of suffering, like a reversed exodus from the absolute state to the particular time in space. Christ’s self-denial is His desire to walk with man in his journey through life. But man’s tendency is to walk alone, without Christ’s direction; he wants to be the sole

master of his destiny. Alone, without the company of Jesus, man tends to become a robot. The movies are showing how the people are acting without their will. Man is inclined to adore the golden calf of technology; his eyes are glued to the screen of the video machine, his mouth is sandwiched in a tin car; his stomach is embattled by the instant ready-made stuff. Although wanting to be the master, he finds himself a slave of his own making. Alone, in the absence of the Lord of life, man disrespects

GLOBAL warming was in my mind that early evening. I was somehow horrified upon pondering over the scenarios of the special report given by TIME which is created by the ever increasing amounts of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere through the unyielding burning of fossil fuels that releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in a fast rate, the unabated clear-cutting or burning of forests which reduces oxygen and increases drought, and with the rising of global temperatures, the biological world is continuously disrupted—pushing many species to the brink of extinction and turning others into runaway pests. Top this with the terrifying thawing out of the North Pole—polar ice and permafrost are melting down. Same with my other Novice brothers, I experienced the earlier days and nights of February here in Baguio City utterly cold. (Because the No. 3 of the Preliminary Notes of our Ignatian Retreat stated “NO: reading of newspapers, watching of

We are called upon to be effective signs of God’s love and reconciliation. Even in the darkest moments of the last six months, staff and volunteers have brought light to the most forgotten. As peace returns to Angola, Liberia and Indonesia, JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) teams have accompanied displaced persons back home, and where this was not possible helped them to integrate into their new communities. In other countries, primarily Sri Lanka and Sudan, conflict has exploded. Estimates put the number killed this year as high as 3,000 in Sri Lanka, on top of 65,000 killed and 350,000 displaced since 1983. The recent violence and displacement have seriously curtailed our capacity to provide education and rebuild local schools and homes. Nonetheless, JRS Sri Lanka continues to bring humanitarian relief to suffering persons. In Darfur, western Sudan, the situation is catastrophic where some two million people have been forced to flee their homes, and, despite the sporadic violence, JRS has continued to provide education services to displaced children.

by Nov. John Jay C. Magpusao, OSC television, and listening to radios,” it was beyond our knowledge that the mountainous city where we are currently living was already having a highly publicized cold spell. Temperature once dropped to 9 degrees Celsius! A similar condition which reportedly destroyed P10 million worth of vegetables in Atok, Benguet and which also caused more presence of tourists in this Pines City for their high interest of its cold weather reported by media.) Hence, my thought that early evening was driven to reflect on Earth’s tipping point status. It was nerve-freezing. When I was riveted on the matter, we were still on Week Three of our 30-day Retreat here in the Novitiate (16 January – 14 February 2007).

Stop Comparing and Start Living boy speaks up, not wanting to be beaten. “Hah! Wala yan sa bahay ng Lolo ko! If you’re in the dining room, and you want to call the people to eat, you’ll have to phone them in their bedrooms—and you’ll have to pay long-distance charges!” Kids do that sort of thing. And we laugh. But when adults do the same thing—it’s utterly em-

In the morning that day, we had just finished our in-depth discussion on the Vow of Chastity. I learned that vis-à-vis the religious chastity as fasting from, for, and with, we must also hit the road of thinking its ecological dimension—the Trinity is Interactive: an Ecological God. In the veranda, the throbbing in my heart quickly transformed into a consolation. Simply because, on site, aside from the nipping evening breeze, were the beautiful moon above casting its comforting silver glow to the Novitiate and the pleasing screeching of Cute, Chubby, Matapang, and Maliwanag down in the mini-forest below. Mga lovely owls po sila. Maaamo, mga kaibigan po namin sila. With these

barrassing! But then of course, what should we expect? Where did the kids learn it from, anyway? (I’m gonna bet we learned some of it from our mothers.) I remember the story of the four mothers who were nursing their babies, chatting over a cup of tea. One of them said, “My son will be famous when he grows up. He’ll be a Bishop, and when people see him, they’ll say, “Your Excellency…” “Peanuts,” groaned the other mom. “That’s nothing. When my son grows up, he’ll be a Cardinal, and when people see him, they’ll say, “Your Eminence…”

March 5 - 18, 2007

An Appeal from Jesuit Refugee Service

Cold Spell

Bo Sanchez

REMEMBER when we were kids? One little tyke will say, “My grandfather’s house is so large, it has forty-two rooms!” “Wala yan sa bahay ng Lolo ko!” his playmate chimes up, “To go from the kitchen to the living room, you have to ride a tricycle.” Naturally, the third

life; he is trying to raise a child in the laboratory, outside of wedlock; he wants to raise children of an anonymous personality, without a face, without identity, without a home. Alone, without Christ who breaks bread, man becomes a voracious greedy monkey who wants to consume the resources of the earth without sharing with others, without replenishing. To his eyes, the environment (forest, sea, rivers, land, sky) is not a thing of beauty, but an enemy to be conquered, to be poisoned, to be plundered. Alone, without the Lord of Order, man can invert the scale of values; what is luxury becomes a necessity. Being alone is selfishness; it is suicidal act. Self-denial, allowing Christ to walk with us, is finding the right perspective of living. Self-denial, when it is sincerely put into practice among the Filipinos, will greatly help recover our national posture. This virtue impels to uphold freedom and conscience and reject robotism. It rejects consumerism but challenges us to be creative and frugal. It demands of us to uproot imported mentality of prosperity which has turned us into beggars in our country. It challenges us to reject unnecessary, unsubstantial, junk stuff to pamper our appetite, and concentrate our effort to what is necessary. The spirit of denial from those which do not enhance life is an imperative now than ever before. The spirit of acceptance what is pro-life is a mission. In the verdict of Jesus, “unless a tree dies, it will not grow.” In St. John’s confession, “I must decrease and he must increase.”

Vol. 11 No. 5

Calls to establish new projects and expand others are constantly made to JRS. In Angola, without adequate documentation, many refugees end up in prison. We are now working to ensure refugees get proper documentation and protect them from arbitrary detention. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, JRS negotiate with armed groups to free child soldiers, and ensure they receive psychosocial support, education and vocational training. Since June last year, other projects have also been opened in Guinea, Indonesia, and Liberia. Your support and prayers for JRS are essential. Without them, we would struggle more than ever to fulfill our mission to accompany, serve and advocate the cause of refugees. Meeting so many diverse needs is an ongoing strain on our already overstretched resources. Our role is to promote peace and struggle against injustice. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your solidarity. Yours sincerely, Lluis Magriña, SJ International Director

natural offerings here in the Novitiate, I instantly shared in advance the feeling of Week Four’s Resurrection! What a wonderful world after all! Yes indeed, we are living in a wonderful world. A simple world it is not, though. It is a living organism called Earth. A Gaia. Environmentalist James Lovelock famously dubbed this Earth image. “Disasters have been with us and surely always will be,” the TIME article says. A sad reality I believe every Filipino knows about. Ormoc, Real, Guinsaugon, Albay… Who is to be blamed? Meditate upon the passion and death of our Savior Jesus Christ. Meditate upon the passion and nearing death of our Savior-needing Gaia. Scientists, environmentalists, and even skeptics have concluded, global warming is a real deal, and human activity has been causing it. In our Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament that night, a calming

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Too bad,” piped up the other woman, “because my son will be Pope, and when people see him, they’ll say, “Your Holiness…” The fourth mother was silent, patting her little bundle of joy. So the other women were intrigued and asked her, “And what will your son be when he grows up, hmm?” She smiled. “Oh, he’ll just be a priest.” “Just a priest?” the others asked incredulously. “Yes. And he’ll only be a short fellow, maybe 5 feet tall. But he’ll weigh a horrendous 350 pounds. So that when people see him, they’ll say,

nightly activity we were doing to culminate each day of our Spiritual Exercises, I believe Gaia was singing with us the meaningful lyrics in our closing hymn: Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, give me strength… “In a solar system crowded with sister worlds that either emerged stillborn like Mercury and Venus or die in infancy like Mars, we’re finally coming to appreciate the knife-blade margins within which life can thrive. For more than a century we’ve been monkeying with those margins. It’s long past time we set them right,” the global warming feature story concludes. And in my head it was ringing, “Only to do right and love goodness,” the line which prophet Micah inspires. How’s that to warm up the cold spell?

“Oh my God….” I remember I came from our prayer meeting, and my friend Mike Joseph Jr. preached to us that day. Mike’s a terrific preacher, and so I told my mother that I really loved his preaching. Mom answered, “Yeah, I liked his preaching too. But Bo, face it—no one can preach as good as you do.” Wow. The President and Founder of Bo’s International Fan’s Club, in action! I guess we’ve got this crazy thing in us that wants to know “who’s better”, “who’s bigger”, “who’s richer”, “who’s more beauti-

ful”—and even “who’s holier”! But I believe this is the source of much discontent in our lives. Really! If we can only stop comparing ourselves with others, I believe that we’ll be happier and more at peace within. My suggestion? Be yourself. Live your life. Do the best you can, and leave the rest to God. And you’ll be at peace. (And finally, our Lolo’s can rest in peace as well.)

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Moral Assessment

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

CINEMA Reviews Technical Assessment

Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent

Title: YOU GOT ME Running Time: 105 mins Lead Cast: Toni Gonzaga, Sam Milby, Zanjoe Marudo, Johnny Delgado, Dick Israel Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina Producers: Marizel Samson Screenwriters: Raz dela Torre, Francis Lua Music: Raul Mitra Editor: Marya Ignacio Genre: Romance/Comedy Cinematography: Raz dela Torre Distributor: Star CINEMA Productions Location: Manila Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

SI Amor (Toni Gonzaga) ay kahanga-hangang police woman na madaling mapintuho ng kalalakihan -- matapang, maganda, palaban, matuwid, walang arte at madaling pakisamahan -- maliban na lamang kung liligawan dahil tanging ang kanyang ama (Johnny Delgado) lamang ang lalaki sa buhay niya. Kaya't madaling umatras si Kevin (Sam Milby), kapwa niya pulis, na tuluyan siyang ligawan kahit malaki ang pag-ibig nito sa dalaga. Sa kabilang banda, si Caloy (Zanjoe Marudo), isang vendor ng mga piratang DVD, ay matiyaga at malakas ang loob na magpursiging mapa-ibig siya. Dahil sadyang mahina ang loob, sumuko si Kevin nang makitang nagkakahulugan sina Amor at Caloy. Magiging magkasintahan si Amor at Caloy sa paglayo ni Kevin, subalit makalipas ang 6 na buwan, magbabalik ulit ito para sa isang operasyon ng presinto na susubok sa tunay na damdamin at relasyon ng tatlo. Sino kaya ang mas magiging matimbang sa puso ni Amor: Si Kevin na kinagigiliwan niya pero natatanga sa harap niya, o si Caloy na may pagka-brusko pero lantarang inihahayag ang kanyang pagtingin sa iba't ibang nakakatuwang paraan? May sariwang ideya sana ang kwentong pag-ibig ng pelikula subalit hindi pa rin maiwasang haluan ng mga palasak na formulang eksena (konting bakbakan, konting iyakan, konting kilig). Gayunpaman, maayos ang mga


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aspetong teknikal kaya't magaan ang daloy nito. May kabagalan nga lamang ang huling ikatlong bahagi kaya't naging anti-climactic ang pagtatapos nito. Mahina ang pagganap ni Milby subalit nasasalo naman siya ng masayang interpretasyon ni Gonzaga sa kanyang tauhan at ng mga supporting cast tulad ni Delgado at Israel upang manatili ang personalidad ng pelikula. Sa kabuuan, kagiliw-giliw na rin silang panuorin. May dalawang puntong magandang pag-usapan. Una, kung paanong ang tunay na pagmamahal ay magdadala sa iyo upang magsikap na maging mabuting tao. Mas kahangahanga kaysa sa matamis na panliligaw o matiyagang paglilingkod ang malayang pagdesisyon na maging matuwid at iayos ang buhay. Upang maging karapat-dapat kay Amor, sinikap ni Caloy (kahit sa simula) na bitiwan ang pagbebenta ng piratang DVD at magsikap na makakuha ng marangal na trabaho. Ikalawa, higit na dapat pahalagahan ang katwiran at kung ano ang tama kaysa sa pag-ibig. Hindi dapat isantabi ang katwiran ang kung ano ang tama alangalang sa kaibigan, kasintahan o pamilya. Hindi yumuko si Amor sa relasyon nila ni Caloy nang mahuli ng una ang binata na sangkot sa gawaing labag sa batas kahit nabibiyak ang kanyang puso. Sa kabuuan, malinis ang pelikula at pwede na para sa mga naghahanap ng kaunting aliw at kilig.

Title: IT'S A BOY GIRL THING Running Time: 95 mins Lead Cast: Samaire Armstrong, Kevin Zegers, Emily Hampshire, Brook D' Orsay Director: Nick Hurran Producers: David Furnish Screenwriters: Geoffe Deane Music: Christian Henson Editor: John Richards Genre: Romance/Comedy Cinematography: Steve Danyluk Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

NELL Bedworth (Samaire Armstrong), a teenager nerd is not impressed with her neighbor and high school mate Woody (Kevin Zegers) though he is the most popular football player in school. Not only do their families belong to different social registers, the two teeners also have entirely different tastes and interests. Nell shows the manners of her middle class breeding, has no interest in anything physical, and is enthused about literature, especially Shakespeare and poetry. But Woody goes for ear-splitting music, is sometimes uncouth in his manners and has no predilection for anything

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intellectual. One fateful day on a visit to the science museum, they notice a statue of an ancient Aztec god of sorcery. The statue brings about a change in their genders. Upon waking up the following morning, Woody realizes he has the body and looks of Nell, and Nell finds herself in the body of Woody. This transformation brings about embarrassments and misadventures as each has to act according to his /her physical body and looks. Though they resent each other, they realize they have to do something fast because Woody (now Nell) has an important foot-ball match coming up

ment. She hardly knows anything about tending plants but she happens to be a songwriter, a delicious and convenient fact he chances upon while he is at his driest trying to compose a song with his agent Chris Riley ( Brad Garrett ) to beat the deadline set by Cora . After some mild persuasion Sarah agrees to co-write the lyrics to Alan 's melody, and they seem destined to make beautiful music together. Music and Lyrics is not exactly a musical, but because of the theme and the storyline and the presence of some musical numbers, it could be mislabeled, leading the public to expect the wrong things out of it. It

is well made, though, and while its technical aspects are nothing extraordinary, it possesses a certain appeal that emanates from the characterization, the realness of the people whose simple story is told. Grant is pathetically hilarious as he thrills his middle-aged women fans with his pelvic thrusts--not quite as vigorous as Elvis' but? that's reality in showbiz. A rather underweight but sweet Barrymore plays Grant's partner with just the right amount of chemistry to make the team come across as credible and project the level of attraction the story calls for. The plot is light enough to be entertaining, and for a movie of its genre (romantic comedy), should prove delightful for all audiences especially girls and women. It is notable that while there is much hype about the "sexy" musical star Cora , her numbers are not seductive or as "hot" as may be expected--this seems deliberate on the part of the director, especially when viewers consider that the character has spiritual leanings and in the end is mentioned as having Fletcher sing at her wedding. In short, it is noteworthy that the movie does not take advantage of the milieu (showbiz) to promote the usual and less-than-wholesome things found in the entertainment world, like extra-marital affairs, suggestive dancing, foul language or double talk, and general sexual permissiveness.

Title: MUSIC AND LYRICS Running Time: 103 mins Lead Cast: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Haley Bennet, Campbell Scott Director: Marc Lawrence Producers: Marc Lawrence Screenwriters: Marc Lawrence Music: Adam Schlesinger Editor: Susan E. Morse Genre: Romance Cinematography: Xavier Perez Grobet Distributor: Warner Bro. Location: USA Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

A SHOWBIZ has-been Alex Fletcher ( Hugh Grant ) wants to return to the stage to satisfy the demands of his middle aged female fans. Among these fans, however, is a sexy female teenage recording and concert star, Cora ( Haley Bennett ) who claims his songs had guided her spiritually as a child in a dysfunctional family. Cora--a Britney Spears clone--wants badly to do a duet with Alex for her new album, a to perform in tandem with him in a concert, but alas, his well has run dry and he can't produce anymore songs. Enter Sophie Fisher ( Drew Barrymore ), substituting for the plant sitter at his apart-

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15 and Nell (now Woody) has been accepted for an interview for entrance to Yale University. The movie shows how the two teenagers cope with their predicament. Being teenage oriented, It's a Boy Girl Thing will interest and entertain young people, especially students in high school, despite the fact that it has a hackneyed premise (body switching) and it is utterly predictable. The movie has its light moments but most of the jokes are crude, overused and off-color. The two leads Armstrong and Zegers must be credited for their good performances, successfully giving life to their characters. But the others in the cast are just one-dimensional. Most teenage comedies/romances anchor their jokes on sex and this movie is no exception. But one notices, with relief, that unlike most others of the same genre, It's a Boy Girl Thing does not show an acceptance or tolerance for pre-marital sex. There are no explicit sexual scenes. The movie also shows some values like having respect and love for parents. Most important, there is a realization on the part of the two leads that putting oneself in the place of another can bring about greater understanding of each other and that ultimately results in becoming better persons. | | +632 4041612, 4042182

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People, Facts & Places

Lipa Archdiocese Prepares for Centenary THE Archdiocese of Lipa is set to formally launch an intensive threeyear preparation for its 100th Year of foundation as a diocese in April 10, 2007, with a solemn mass at the Cathedral of San Sebastian, Lipa City. Archbishop of Lipa, Most Rev. Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D., will preside in the Eucharistic celebration commencing the threeyear preparation adopting the theme: Conversion to Jesus Christ that leads to Evangelization! Earlier, the Archbishop decreed that every April 10 henceforth, an archdiocesan assembly will be celebrated to announce the theme for the year’s celebration. In 2008, the theme will focus on Mary and the Holy Spirit; while in 2009, St. Joseph and God the Father. The Grand Jubilee Year 2010 will center on the Holy Family and the Trinity. Curiously, the theme got its inspiration from the unique Millennium Cross the Archdiocese, under Archbishop (now Cardinal) Gaudencio Rosales, produced as its contribution to the millennium celebration. One face of that Millennium Cross depicts the Father holding and showing the Crucified Son with the Holy Spirit, symbolized by a dove, resting on the Son’s shoulders. On the reverse side of the Cross are the images of the Holy Family.

Archbishop Arguelles said that this is more than just a coincidence. It should be recalled that Lipa was one of the four dioceses and an apostolic prefecture created by Pope St. Pius X on April 10, 1910. It was given to then Pro-Nuncio to the Philippines, Most Rev. Joseph Petrelli, an Italian; as its first residential Bishop. The other three dioceses were Calbayog, Zamboanga, and Tuguegarao. Palawan was the lone Apostolic Prefecture the saintly Pope created together with the four dioceses. The Diocese of Lipa then included the civil provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Marinduque and the island of Mindoro. To date, Lipa, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga have been elevated as ecclesiastical provinces. The months preceding the formal launching will be devoted to making the faithful aware of this forthcoming historic event. Vicar General Rt. Rev. Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan, P.A. heads the ad hoc committee, which has tasked the different Archdiocesan Commission, such as the Commission on Formation, the Archdiocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the Archdiocesan Commission on Liturgy among others; to take the lead in promoting awareness among the faithful regarding the significance of the Centenary celebration. Archbishop Arguelles pledged to ask Rome to declare the centenary a Jubilee Year for the Archdiocese of Lipa. (Fr. Nonie Dolor)

Western Visayas Philosophy Seminarians Meet in Capiz

love as our vocation and the springboard of our mission. The evening also showcased the seminarians’ prowess in different presentations during the cultural show and the agape. The seminarians had a caravan the following day proceeding to the famous Sta. Monica Church of Panay, home of the largest bell in Asia. Fr. Eugenio Caldeo celebrated the culmination mass at the famed church. Fr. Victor Bendico, SLD, rector of the host seminary; expressed his gratitude to the Lord for the graceful event and to other seminaries for their favorable response. Highlighted by the theme One Vocation, One Mission, One Heart for Social Renewal, the two-day activity immersed the participants to a breathtaking experience of brotherhood in the region. Moreover, visitors were overwhelmed with the Capiznon hospitality which they dubbed as “seafood galore.” Held annually, the gathering aims to promote unity, brotherhood and solidarity among philosophy seminarians in the region, a “community of communities” characterized by “unity in diversity.” Next year’s gathering will be held in Sto. Nino Seminary, Numancia, Aklan. (Sem. Dedert Duarte)

Vol. 11 No. 5 March 5 - 18, 2007

Markings CELEBRATED. Most Rev. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, DD, 50, bishop of Imus; 25 th anniversary of presbyteral ordination; February 27, 2007 . Ordained priest in February 27, 1982 Bp. Tagle finished his theological studies at Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo. He obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Bp. Tagle succeeded Bp. Felix Perez, DD as the third bishop of Imus on December 12, 2001. He is chairman of the CBCP Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith.. He was a member of the International Theological Commission in Vatican and currently a member of the Council of the Synod of Bishops. CELEBRATED. Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak, DD., Military Ordinary of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, 20th anniversary of Episcopal ordination; March 16, 2007. Ordained bishop on March 16, 1987 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu, Abp. Tumulak was born in Santander, Cebu on November 29, 1944. He spent his high school education at St. Mary’s Academy in Oslob, Cebu and at Seminario Menor de San Carlos,Cebu City. He finished his theology at Seminario Mayor de San Carlos, Cebu and obtained his M.A. in Education Administration from Colegio de San Jose Recoletos, also in Cebu. CELEBRATED. Most Rev. Cesar C. Raval, SVD, DD., bishopemeritus of Bangued; 25th anniversary of Episcopal ordination; February 18, 2007. Ordained bishop on February 18, 1982, Bp. Raval was born in Laoag City on December 17, 1924. He joined the Society of Divine Word and finished his theology course at Christ the King Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1952. CELEBRATED. Most Rev. Miguel G. Purugganan, DD., bishop-emeritus of Ilagan, 50 th anniversary of priestly ordination; March 3, 2007. Born on November 18, 1931, Bp. Purugganan was ordained priest in Rome on March 3, 1957. He finished his theological studies from the University of Sto. Tomas Central Seminary and obtained his Licentiate in Sa-

TWO hundred twenty-two philosophy seminarians and thirty seminary-formators of Region 6 met at Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium in Roxas City last January 25-26 for the 6th Regional Gathering of Philosophy Seminarians in Western Visayas. Six seminaries participated in the event: Sto. Nino Seminary (Kalibo), St. Peter’s Seminary (Antique), St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary (Jaro), Sacred Heart Seminary (Bacolod), Little Way College Seminary (Kabankalan) and Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium (Capiz), the host seminary. The participants started the day right when they sang this year’s theme song “Dali sa Capiz!” (Hasten to Capiz!). Prof. Florentino Hornedo, Ph.D., a faculty member of the University of Santo Tomas, gave a philosophical lecture entitled “Infinite Responsibility for the Other.” Sports were part of the day. The seminary’s basketball and volleyball courts were filled with yells as seminarians enjoyed the ball games. Most thrilling was the laro ng lahi (native sports). Vicar General Rt. Rev. Msgr. Vicente Hilata, H.P., presided over the evening eucharistic celebration in commemoration of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul. He reflected in his homily the Christian message of

CBCP Monitor

cred Theology and Doctorate in Canon Law from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained bishop on April 22, 1971. INSTALLED. Bp. Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD, 50, as bishop of Calbayog; March 8, 2007, in Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at Calbayog City. Abarquez, who has been Auxiliary bishop of Palo, assumes the position left vacant by Archbishop Jose Palma who was installed as archbishop of Palo in May 2006. Ordained priest in June 1987, he was made bishop in 2003 and immediately assigned as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu where, earlier on, he held the position as rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral and as Rector of San Carlos College Seminary in Cebu. CELEBRATED. Holy Child Parish, Gitagum, Misamis Oriental; 50th foundation anniversary, March 5, 2007. Belonging to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, the parish has a catholic population of 11,494. Since its foundation in 1955, fourteen pastors have already ministered to this parish. The current parish priest is Fr. Wilson Legaspi. Helping in the nurturing the faith of the parishioners especially the youth is the Sto. Niño Catholic High School which is run by the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres. CELEBRATED. The centennial of the Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary; on March 17, 2007; in a solemn mass at the Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, RVM Mother House in Quezon City, to be presided by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Fernando Filoni. The Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, the oldest and largest Filipino congregation, is the first all-Filipino religious congregation for women in the Philippines founded in 1684 by a Filipina, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. Presently, it is involved in various ministries: education, retreats, dormitory, social ministry, overseas mission, among others. DIED. Ma. Elisa S. Alvar, RVM, March 4, 2007; Ma. Milagros E. Laredo, RVM, March 4, 2007; S. Ma. Teofila S. Manalo, RVM, March 4, 2007; S. Ma. Susana R. Baleares, RVM, February 25, 2007; S. Ma. Milagros I. Dulay, RVM, January 12, 2007.

Proclaiming from the roof tops. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), headed by Ambassador Henrietta De Vila, practically uses all means available just to be able to reach every Filipino with its advocacy—so much unlike other church groups that sulk and cower for fear of being misunderstood and misreported by the media. De Villa organizes press conferences, radio interviews and name-it, at the light of day.

Mar 5 - 18, 2007 - CBCPMonitor  
Mar 5 - 18, 2007 - CBCPMonitor  

Youth Challenged to Stand up to their Faith