Lent: a time for selfreform, correction of social ills, reminds CBCP
Manila declares 2008 as Year of Mission, Ministry and Spirituality
God’s Word as source of justice, reconciliation and peace
Supplement Publication for KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
THE archdiocese of Manila has declared 2008 as “Year of Mission, Ministry and Spirituality.” Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales inaugurated it at a Mass and the First Saturday MAGPAS assemblies for 2008-2009 on February 2 at the Paco Catholic School auditorium.
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Vol. 12 No. 4
Catholic educators join fray vs. ZTE mess THE quest for truth behind the aborted $329-million national broadband scandal stepped up a gear with Catholic educators joining the fray. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, an association of 1,252 schools, colleges and universities with at least 2 million students, broke their silence on the current issues of corruption.
Protagonist of Truth, Promoter of Peace
Manila / A6
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
Catholic / A6
CBCP urges ‘communal action’ vs. gov’t corruption By Roy Lagarde
Church fails to stop birth control measure
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it’s about time to liberate the country that has long been ‘captive’ to government corruption. Lagdameo said the “confession” recently made by Lozada and ousted House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. may save people from being “hostage to scandalous and shady government deals.” “Only the truth, not lies and deceits, will set our country free. This truth challenges us now to communal action,” he said. Lagdameo said Lozada and De Venecia’s act may yet called “courageous” in exposing government anomalies they knew and “somehow they have been involved in.” He said it could be detrimental to their political career but still the truth must be pursued. “Truth hurts. But the truth must be served. The truth will set our country free,” he stressed. He renewed an earlier call of the CBCP lamenting the “absence of social conscience today” which he said was “the root cause of our systemic graft and corruption.” “We have to confess that corruption is in truth our greatest shame as a people,” said Lagdameo.
The CBCP head backed the “Crusade for Truth” movement of the influential Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), civil society groups and clergy. He also endorsed an initiative “Watch and Pray” by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, adding that the flame of “social consciousness and common good” must be kept alive. “As we said in our last CBCP Statement ‘let us pray together, reason together, decide together, act together’ towards a more vigorous work for good governance and a more active promotion of responsible citizenship in our society in the light of the Gospel and the Social Teachings of the Church,” he added. In a later interview over Radyo Veritas, Lagdameo said that communal action depends on what people want. “We have not identified what we want of communal action because it would depend on what the people want and what the people read from what’s happening in our society,” the prelate said. He said the collective response to pray as a community is a welcome development. “We have mentioned this in our previous statement the all involved parties peacefully CBCP / A6
Photo by Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
THE Catholic bishops’ leadership has called on for ‘communal action’ following Rodolfo Lozada’s expose on alleged corruption involving top public officials.
Catholic nuns raising their clenched fists and singing “Bayan Ko” after the “Mass for Truth” held at the La Salle Greenhills campus in Mandaluyong City February 17, 2008.
Cardinal Vidal, 4 others ask Pope for new Marian Dogma CEBU Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal has called on prelates worldwide to call upon Pope Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would “proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary.” Vidal is one of the four cardinals who sent a letter to other bishops to join them in asking the Pope to proclaim Mary as “the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.” Other signatories of the letter include Cardinals Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi, India; Luis Aponte Martinex, emeritus of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Varkey Vithayathil of Ernakulam-Angamaly, India; and
Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada, emeritus of Mexico City. The same 5 cardinals co-sponsored a conference on “Marian Co-Redemption,” held in Fatima, Portugal in 2005. The late Canadian Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, the former president of the Pontifical Council of the Family, joined them as co-sponsors of that conference. The secretariat of the five cardinal co-patrons released the English translation of the letter including a translation and the original Latin text of the “votum,” or petition, that was formulated in 2005 and presented formally to the Pope by Cardinal Telesphore in 2006. The petition states: “We believe the time oppor-
tune for a solemn definition of clarification regarding the constant teaching of the Church concerning the Mother of the Redeemer and her unique cooperation in the work of Redemption, as well as her subsequent roles in the distribution of grace and intercession for the human family.” In their appeal for support the cardinals said that they hoped to “start an in-depth worldwide dialogue on Mary’s role in salvation for our time.” Anticipating the argument that a new dogma could affect ecumenical dialogues by reinforcing the fears of Protestants about Catholic attitudes towards Mary, the cardinals said that a clear presentation of Catholic beliefs could be a “service of clarification to other religious traditions.” (CBCPNews)
Priest saves endangered serpent eagle in Abra
Photo by Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
Thousands rally in prayer vs. corruption
THOUSANDS of churchgoers gathered for Sunday mass in apparent support for ZTE witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada. Filling La Salle Greenhills Gym in Mandaluyong City, nuns, priests, civil society groups and former President Corazon Aquino chanted in thunderous unison, filling the
warm morning air with: “Mabuhay ka Lozada.” The Catholic groups hoped to gain widespread support in the disclosure of rampant corruption in President Gloria Arroyo’s government which has been popularly accused of cover-up and political manueverings.
The Mass was held few blocks away from the historical EDSA Shrine—the site of two “people power” uprising that ousted two presidents. Jesuit priest Fr. Manoling Francisco who led the Mass started his homily by asking the people whether they believed Lozada’s testimony at
the Senate inquiry. “Do you believe Jun Lozada? Do you believe in his testimony? Therefore let us clap for the Chinese from the province,” he said. The crowd of about 5,000, almost all of them wore a pin with a Philippine flag labeled “Jun Lozada, you’re not
alone,” then showed their approval by continuously clapping their hands. The priest vowed that the Church will continue to protect Lozada from harassments from public officials whom he implicated in the aborted $329- million project. Thousands / A6
QUEZON CITY officials passed an ordinance to teach sex education to students, despite the persistent lobby by the local Catholic Church against the controversial move. The City Council yesterday finally approved a proposed ordinance seeking to teach reproductive health lessons in all of the city’s public schools from elementary to high school. Church officials led by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco picketed outside Quezon City Hall as the council voted on the proposed measure. Ongtioco was joined by many priests, nuns, students and other Church-based organizations to denounce what he called as an “an anti-life” ordinance. The proposed health measure, he said, was “cleverly crafted” under the guise of Reproductive Health and Population Management that pushes “safe abortion” and the use of contraceptives. The same policy will make compulsory the teaching of contraceptive methods to the city’s public students. What’s worse, Ongtioco protested, is that recipients of said measure, are under a punitive provision of imprisonment and fines if they are not followed. “They use the name of the poor on the issue of poverty to push their deadly intent of promoting contraceptives and abortifacients,” Ongtioco said. The councilors, however, defended the ordinance authored by Councilor Joseph Juico and reportedly endorsed by Councilor Diorella Sotto-De Leon. Juico said it’s about time for family planning “because this is really a poverty issue.” He said they are alarmed that five out of every 100 children in Quezon City are malnourished and one of the reasons is successive birth. Majority leader Ariel Inton, for his part, maintained that the ordinance underwent normal procedure and public hearing before it was approved. It was learned that only Councilor Janet Malaya was not in favor of the proposed health measure. (CBCPNews)
THANKS to Fr. German Cabillo, a priest of the diocese of San Fernando, for his prompt sensitivity to save an endangered serpent eagle in Abra province, northern Philippines. After Cabillo notified residents of its importance to nature, the adult serpent eagle was saved from harm in a remote town. Cabillo rescued the eagle lately and turned it over to Mayor Pablo Ortega. The eagle will be taken cared of by the personnel at the La Union Botanical Garden in Barangay Cadaclan here. The eagle is in good health, said Marilyn Racoma, ecosystems management specialist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Cabillo, chair of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Ilocos, told media that local residents caught the eagle and wanted to keep it as a pet but were unable to provide the proper treatment and food needed. Racoma said the bird, which has a wingspan of 15 inches, is endangered. She could not immediately ascertain if the bird was male or female. The eagle will be housed at the Garden’s minizoo in a big screen cage so the public can view it, Ortega added. The local government is maintaining the Garden as one of the tourist attractions here. (Santosh Digal)
Sister Lucia’s beatification process to begin VATICAN CITY, February 13, 2008—Benedict XVI announced he will dispense with the fiveyear waiting period established by Canon Law to open the cause of beatification of Sister Lucia, one of the three Fatima visionaries. The news was announced today in the cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal, by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on the third anniversary of the Carmelite’s death. The Holy Father dispensed with the established waiting period once before for the cause of Pope John Paul II. Benedict XVI made the announcement on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, some 42 days after the Pontiff’s death in 2005. John Paul II waived the waiting period in the case of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. The blessed died Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified by John Paul II on Oct. 19, 2003. A communiqué of the Vatican press office states: “Benedict XVI, taking into account the petition presented by Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimbra, and supported by numerous bishops and faithful from all parts of the world, has revoked the five-year waiting period established by the canonical norms (cf. Article 9 of the ‘Normae Servandae’), and he has allowed for the diocesan phase of the Carmelite’s cause of beatification to begin three years after her death.”
Apparitions Lucia de Jesus dos Santos was 10 years old when she said she saw for the first time, on May 13, 1917, a lady whom she later identified as the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Cova de Iria. She saw the vision with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were beatified by John Paul II in Fatima, in 2000. In a pastoral letter dated Oct. 13, 1930, the
CARACAS, Venezuela, February 15, 2008— In a strongly worded statement released on Thursday, the Bishops Conference of Venezu-
Sister María Lúcia and Pope John Paul II
bishop of Leiria-Fatima, José Alves Correia da Silva, declared the apparitions of Fatima worthy of faith and allowed public devotion. Since then, the shrine has become a center of spirituality and pilgrimage of international scope. Born in Aljustrel in 1907, Lucia moved to Oporto in 1921, and at 14 was admitted as a boarder in the School of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar, on the city’s outskirts. On Oct. 24, 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy and at the same time was admitted as a postulant in the congregation’s convent in Tuy, Spain, near the Portuguese border. She made her first vows on Oct. 3, 1928, and her perpetual vows on Oct. 3, 1934, receiving the name Sister Mary of the Sorrowful Mother.
She returned to Portugal in 1946 and two years later entered the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, where she made her profession as a Discalced Carmelite on May 31, 1949, taking the name Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. She wrote two volumes, one entitled “Memories” and the other “Appeals of the Fatima Message.” In her writings, she recounts how the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus appeared to her on other occasions, years after the initial apparitions. The mortal remains of the Carmelite were moved in 2006 to the Shrine of Fatima. The body of the nun, who died at age 97, is buried next to Jacinta. Francisco is buried in the same basilica. (Zenit)
ela strongly rejected a new attack against the Apostolic Nunciature. At 4pm local time, a group of protesters threw explosives at the Nunciature in Caracas and covered the walls in graffiti. The building suffered minor damage from the explosives. For almost a year student leader Nixon Moreno has taken refuge in the Nunciature to escape persecution and false accusations by the government of Hugo Chavez. In its statement, the Bishops’ Conference said, “In keeping with our mission as pastors of the Church, and concerned about the new attack on the offices of the Apostolic Nunciature in Venezuela that took place this
morning, and concerned about the outbreak of political violence that is happening in various parts of the country, we feel the duty to reiterate our call to calm, to common sense, to respect for freedom and constitutional rights and to the cultivation of a democratic climate.” The bishops called on officials to investigate the incident and to “punish those responsible for these acts of violence. We also request that the government take actions to safeguard the diplomatic see of the Vatican, which for all Venezuelan Catholics is also the home of the Holy Father in Venezuela.” They also expressed their prayers and support for Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, the Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela. (CNA)
Archbishop Romero’s beatification stalls on martyrdom question the welfare of the poor. The day after calling on the military to halt its repression, he was shot during Mass at a hospital chapel on March 23, 1980. Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said there was a question about the motive of the archbishop’s assassin. “To be a martyr, the Catholic faithful must be killed for ‘hatred of the faith,’” Cardinal Saraiva Martins said at a news conference on the Church’s new sainthood procedures. “There can be political, social motives. If the motive
is not clear it must be studied in depth.” The cardinal emphasized that the Vatican was not trying to block the beatification of Archbishop Romero. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said publicly that Archbishop Romero Archbishop Oscar Romero was a martyr for the faith. If the Congregation for the without having a verified miracle Causes of Saints confirms his attributed to him, as is the case martyrdom, he could be beatified with all martyrs. (CNA)
Cardinal Vithayathil elected new president of Indian bishops
Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil
NEW DELHI, India, February 19, 2008—Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil has been elected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). The prelate, who heads the SyroMalabar Church (some 3.5 million of India’s 16 million Catho-
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Apostolic Nunciature in Venezuela bombed CARACAS, Venezuela, February 18, 2008—Venezuelan bishops urged their government to protect the Pope’s “house in Venezuela” after a bomb was set off outside the offices of the apostolic nunciature in Caracas. The bombing occurred Thursday, and caused only minor damages. The façade of the structure was also vandalized with political graffiti. A statement from the Venezuelan bishops’ conference expressed the prelates concern, both for this attack and the “eruption of political violence in various regions of the country.” The bishops called for calm, prudence and respect for constitu-
Venezuelan bishops strongly condemn attacks on Apostolic Nunciature
VATICAN CITY, February 19, 2008—The beatification cause of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero has stalled because of a question concerning whether the archbishop died as a martyr for the faith, the Associated Press reports. In the late 1970s Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, criticized the actions of the militaryled government in El Salvador during its crackdown on suspected guerillas and leftist opponents. He delivered passionate homilies condemning human rights abuses by the government and paramilitary groups. He also advocated
lics), spoke to AsiaNews about his work and the Indian Church. “My priority is to make the three Episcopal bodies (the SyroMalabar, Syro-Malankara and Latin Churches) work together with greater cohesion, communion and cooperation in unity of spirit,” he said. Even though “my election as president was completely unexpected given my age (81), [...] I humbly accepted.” For the cardinal India has to cope with many great contradictions. The country is undergoing “great economic development” but still faces “immense misery”. Its “constitution guarantees us freedom to practice and propagate our faith and yet fundamentalist forces unleash their reign of terror on minority” communities. “The CBCI will try to use all
the resources and personnel of the Catholic Church to ensure that in Asia, the poor and the vulnerable sections of society get a better deal, that the marginalized are embraced with the charity mission of the Church through education and healthcare services.” For the cardinal the CBCI wants to remove “misunderstandings and prejudices towards the Christian faith [...] through dialogue” in “a climate of understanding and mutual exchange of views.” Hence the “CBCI will work towards building a society and a nation of peace, unity and mutual understanding and tolerance.” “Our beloved John Paul II in ‘Ecclesia in Asia’ had said that the Third Millennium belongs to Asia and this is the renewed com-
mitment of the Indian Church.” More importantly, “evangelization” is “not merely doing social work, but the explicit and direct proclamation of the message, works and promises of Jesus Christ. It is essential that we communicate the Good News with courage and commitment, bringing joy and fulfillment into people’s life,” he said. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a former CBCI president, expressed “great joy” for a choice that “sends a strong message that the Eastern Churches are important and an integral part of the one Catholic Church.” “The appointment,” he added, “also highlights the growing importance of the Church in Kerala (the new president’s state) which is truly God’s country.” (AsiaNews)
tional rights and liberties. “We ask the corresponding authorities to carry out the relevant investigations to punish those guilty of these violent acts,” the bishops wrote. “We also ask the national government to do what is needed to protect the diplomatic see of the Vatican, which is also for all Catholic Venezuelans, the Holy Father’s house in Venezuela.” The prelates reiterated their support for Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, the apostolic nuncio, and promised their prayers “for his intentions and for the successful development of his diplomatic and pastoral service.” (Zenit)
German bishops’ leader airs controversial views
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch
BERLIN, Germany, February 18, 2008—The newly elected president of the German bishops’ conference has called for reconsideration of clerical celibacy and distanced himself from a Vatican pronouncement that Protestant communities cannot be regarded as churches. In an interview with Der Spiegel, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg observed that priestly celibacy is “not necessary, theologically.” He said that a shift away from that discipline would lead to “a revolution, in which a part of the Church might not join.” But he said the option should be considered. Questioned about relations with Protestant groups in Germany, the archbishop said that he hoped to improve ecumenical ties. He said that a statement released last year by the Vatican¯ saying that Protestant groups do not quality as “churches” in the full sense of that word, since they have not preserved the apostolic priesthood and the Eucharist¯
was harmful to ecumenical relations. The Protestant community, Archbishop Zollitsch announced, “is a church; I cannot deny it.” In his Spiegel interview Archbishop Zollitsch was critical of the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, saying that the group’s historic ties to the Catholic Church have been weakened. He said that the Christian Democrats were too heavily influenced by “neoliberal” economic theories, and suggested that Church leaders are becoming more sympathetic toward the economic views of the Socialist and Green parties in Germany. The archbishop told Spiegel that Muslims should have the right to build mosques in European countries, and have training in the Islamic faith provided by German schools. Archbishop Zollitsch, who has led the Freiburg archdiocese since 2003, was elected last week to replace Cardinal Karl Lehmann as president of the German bishops’ conference. (CWNews)
Pope hails German aid agency’s 50th birthday VATICAN CITY, February 15, 2008—The German aid organization Misereor is a bridge connecting the haves with the have-nots, says a message from Benedict XVI. The message, signed and sent by the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, marked the 50th anniversary of the aid organization entrusted to the German bishops’ conference. Bishops from Germany, Latin America, Asia and Oceania participate in the group. The papal message is directed to Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, as the representative of Misereor before the German episcopal conference. “Fifty years ago,” the message said, “the foundation of the episcopal aid organization Misereor was an expression of necessity, and the experience of divine compassion, which Christ gifted us and the Church makes known to us. [It was] a call to notice the needs of the others that invites us to share with them the treasures of the faith, but also mate-
rial goods.” The papal message recalled how Misereor began with uncertainty, causing Cardinal Joseph Frings to call it at that time “an adventure of the Holy Spirit.” “Over the past years,” the message continued, “a solid bridge has been constructed over the abyss between those who have and the needy; a movement of collaboration that unites numerous people in German, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin American in solidarity.” (Zenit)
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
IN a quest for a peaceful co-existence in the conflict-ridden province of Jolo, delegates representing various sectors of society got together in a symposium held at the Bishop Benjamin de Jesus Auditorium, Notre Dame of Jolo College on January 26. Some 300 representatives of the Youth, Civil Society, Religious Leaders, Military, Academe and Line Agencies of the Government participated in the seminar, and expressed their aspirations for a peaceful co-existence as a people of the province. Resource speakers were Fr. Jose Ante, OMI, Social Action Director of the Vicariate of Sulu and Prof. Ali Aiyub, Director of Silsilah Dialogue Institute. Panel of Reactors were Dr. Ofelia Durante, Director of Ateneo Research Center and Ms. Fatima Pir Allian. The participants came out with a statement at the end of the symposium, stating their dream for a peaceful Jolo where people live a lifestyle of dialogue, marked by sincerity, sensitivity and solidarity for one another.
Mutual respect for each other’s culture made possible by inter religious dialogue lays the groundwork for Christians and Muslims to work together in their quest for peace, according to the statement. The delegates likewise mentioned in their statement that those in “positions of leadership can make the dream of a peaceful Jolo a sooner reality when they exercise this leadership for people to see God in their actions.” The declaration also stated that “economic and social development will contribute significantly to the attainment of peace in Jolo if spiritual development is made the foundation.” The conference, dubbed as “Dreaming a Peaceful Jolo in the name of God: Muslims and Christians called to build together a Culture of Dialogue and Reconciliation,” was organized by the Silsilah Forum of Jolo in collaboration with the Office of Presidential Advisers on the Peace Process (OPAPP). (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
NRC consultation held in Palo RURAL folks voiced concern about their own situation in a gathering led by the Catholic Church last Feb. 13-14 in Palo town, in Leyte. Many participants trooped to Sacred Heart Seminary as the Palo archdiocese organized the Archdiocesan Rural Congress to hear the voice of the poor. The meeting is part of the local consultations held in different archdioceses in preparation for the 2nd National Rural Congress organized by the CBCP. The process aims to assess what they themselves as poor people, the government, and the Church can do for the sake of the rural poor. Under the theme “Dignity of the Rural Poor, a Gospel Concern,” the delegates chosen from the various rural backgrounds and livelihood, tried to come out
with solutions to the challenges they are facing. At the onset, morning’s activity consisted mainly of the presentation of consolidated material from previously done consultations held in the different parishes. In the afternoon, workshops were held where delegates discussed the material previously presented. These discussions continued up to the next day. During the plenum, the Congress resolutions were presented and the election of the representatives to the National Rural Congress was held. Palo Archbishop Jose Palma served as the keynote speaker in the two-day event. The meeting was concluded with a concelebrated Mass led by Palma at the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. (CBCPNews)
RP to host 7th Asian Conference of Religions for Peace
THE 7th assembly of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP) is scheduled to for Oct. 17-21 in Manila. More than 300 delegates from around 30 countries including China and North Korea are likely to attend the international event. The pontifical University of Santo Tomas and the interreligious dialogue commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are co-sponsoring the gathering. ACRP was founded in Singapore in 1976. It seeks to promote understanding among various religions in Asia and to build peace, justice and human dignity through cooperation, said Pakistani Supreme Court lawyer Nawaz Khan Marwat at a press conference in Manila on Feb 9. ACRP is the regional affiliate of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. It tries to blend spiritual values and social action, inspired by people such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Mahatma Gandhi, national father of India, and others, said Reverend Katsuji Suzuki, ACRP associate secretary general. The theme of the conference is “Peacemaking in Asia.” The deliberations would help to come out with a declaration and a list of concrete group actions toward peace, according to ARCP secre-
tary general Sunggon Kim, a Korean professor of Buddhism. He said corruption is rampant because politicians are not sincere in putting into praxis the teaching of God, Buddha and their religions. Politicians need to widen their conscience so that politics would be deemed as a business, Marwat said. Reverend Suzuki, of Rissho Kosei-kai, a Japanese Buddhist movement, shared about ACRP’s food aid program to North Korea, and welfare projects for tsunami victims in South Asia and earthquake victims in Pakistan and Indonesia. He and other foreign ACRP officials had meetings from February 6 with Fr. Carlos Reyes, executive secretary of the CBCP interreligious dialogue commission, Lilian Sison and other Philippine Board officers. The visiting ACRP delegates also met Philippine government officials and bishops. Some visited Mindanao where Muslim and Christian villagers compel people to leave their weapons at a government hall before entering the village. Catholic Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan, vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs, was also present at the conference. (CBCPNews)
© VIENNA (AFP)
Peace symposium held in Jolo
Human trafficking is modern slavery, says Vatican official VATICAN CITY, February 15, 2008—On 13 February, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, participated in a “Forum to Fight Human Trafficking.” In his talk given in English, Archbishop Marchetto spoke of how human trafficking is the slavery of modern times. Archbishop Marchetto defined human trafficking as “one of the most shameful phenomena of our era. ... It is well known”, he went on, “that poverty, as well as the lack of opportunities and of social cohesion, push
people to look for a better future despite the related risks, making them extremely vulnerable to trafficking. “Moreover”, he added, “it should be emphasized that, nowadays, several factors contribute to the spread of this crime, namely, the absence of specific rules in some countries, the victims’ ignorance of their own rights, the socio-cultural structure and armed conflicts. “The Holy See encourages all kinds of just initiatives aimed at eradicating this immoral and criminal phenomenon and at promoting the welfare of the victims. The Palermo
Protocol and the successive regional conventions have introduced an exhaustive international legislation against trafficking in human beings. Moreover, the Holy See notes with satisfaction the coming into force, at the beginning of this month, of the Council of Europe’s Convention against trafficking in human beings,” said the prelate. In this context, the archbishop recalled that the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples also monitors “the issue of the victims of human trafficking, considered to be the slaves of modern times.” (CNA)
Lent: a time for self-reform, correction of social ills, reminds CBCP LENT is a time for self-reform, reminded the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, (CBCP). “This season is the appropriate beginning for profound reform and conversion. It is the time for a spiritual combat against the enemy within, our pride and greed, our lust for power and wealth,” said a CBCP statement issued at the 96th bishops’ plenary assembly last Jan 26-27, signed by its president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. The bishops urged the faithful to do a spe-
cial project for this year’s Lenten observance and in the spirit of penance, come together in little groups of reflection and discernment. “In these groups we look seriously at our part in the many evils of our day—as individuals, as families, as communities—and discern what action we can do together,” Lagdameo said. Talking about Alay Kapwa, the traditional Lenten program of the CBCP, he stressed, “This Lent, without forgetting the treasure
part, we zero in, in a very special way, on time and talent, asking what we can offer of these for the common effort towards the correction of our social ills.” “In our coming together, in our exchanging of ideas and discerning on them, in our praying and acting together, we bring hope to our despairing land—the hope that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, says in his most recent encyclical is the great need of our modern world,” the CBCP President said. (CBCPNews)
Gov’t needs to assess mining in Caraga, says Butuan Bishop THE Government needs to review mining operations and the management of other natural resources in the country, said Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos in his recent pastoral letter. “While we believe that natural resources including mineral resources are God’s advance gifts to humankind, as their purpose to sustain human life that He later created, in many experiences their abundance have become a curse to local communities,” Pueblos said. Mining has destroyed original landforms due to extraction, reforestation, landslide and erosion and has polluted the water, killing other forms of life. Pueblos reiterated. Church leaders must mobilize efforts to eliminate corruption in the government, since responsible mining is impossible in a corrupt
government, the prelate said. According to the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences Caraga Regional Office that there are now more than a hundred Mineral Production Sharing Agreements or large-scale mining operations approved in Caraga Region excluding the number of small-scale mining operation permits issued. A report on the Caraga Mining Industry from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in 2006 said that the region’s mining and quarrying industries are certainly becoming a major player in the domestic and international markets. Total production worth of the mineral resources produced in Caraga Region reached P2.1 billion, while its sales value was estimated at P1.3 billion A NEDA report said the
region’s leading mineral export is nickel since Caraga has one of the biggest nickel deposits not only in the Philippines but in the entire world Over 5,000 workers are now employed or economically dependent on the mining industry in Caraga Region not including indirect beneficiaries such as ambulant vendors, small-scale stores, boarding houses for mine workers and others and the number is on the increase. Since natural resources like minerals are becoming scarce, mining can never be sustainable as the current extraction challenges the capacity of the future generations to access and use these resources. Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa vicariate is also at the forefront of the anti-mining movement
Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, DD
in Palawan province, citing ill effects of mining on humans and nature in urging local people and government to protect the environment for the future. Led by Arigo about 1,000 residents from the municipality of Brooke’s Point, demonstrated Jan. 31 carrying against mining placards. (Santosh Digal)
Iba diocese takes measures to revitalize schools THE Catholic diocese of Iba, Zambales, has undertaken measures to revitalize Catholic educational institutions. Through a series of workshops, trainings and meetings, since last year, the diocese has been spearheading efforts to evaluate and improve learning environment, school infrastructures, educational facilities, syllabus related to teaching of Catholic faith, a teacher from a school of the diocese told CBCP News. “The primary focus of this is to discuss ‘how Catholic are Catholic schools in the diocese?’” she said. According to the 2006-2007 Catholic Directory of the Philippines, the educational centers of
the diocese include: colleges (3), high schools (19), elementary schools (13), and pre-schools (33) having more than 21,133 students. The second priority of the assessment process is to make sure Catholic religion and values taught in Catholic diocesan schools so that they would be models and inspire other public (government) and private-owned and managed schools by others within the diocesan territory, the teacher said. Established in 1982, the diocese comprises the province of Zambales. In each of three diocesan vicariates, the evaluation process is being carried out in first phase. The second stage is to collate the find-
ings in a diocesan level before a comprehensive report is prepared and recommendations are made to improve all the Catholic schools administered either by diocese or religious orders, the teacher said. This process would enable to ascertain how Christ-centered are Catholic schools and centers of evangelization through campus ministry. Besides, it would be beneficial to foster and understand the distinct Catholic identity of schools in the diocese, she added. “Our mission is to evangelize. We are not mere teachers, but evangelizers. This would truly make us proud as a Catholic nation,” she said. Under the aegis of the San
Sebastian Vicariate that includes eight parishes, a Catholic school congress will be held on March 2 at Immaculate Conception Academy in Cabangan. In order to initiate evaluation process of Catholic schools, a diocesan-level seminar was held last November in Subic. Sr. Irene Torres, RA, principal of Assumption school, Antipolo, was the main facilitator. Fr. Roland Almo is the superintendent of Catholic Schools in the diocese. Last year the diocese celebrated 400 years of the arrival of Catholicism in the region and 25 years of existence as a diocese. (CBCPNews)
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Integral faith formation MORE than half of the pastoral letters and statements of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, since its foundation in 1945, focuses on political issues— highlighting it with the issuance of a full-length pastoral exhortation on politics in 1997, and the Catechism on Church and Politics the following year. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) in 1991 has devoted a good amount of discussion on the role of the Church in politics in its final document. In 2001, during the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR), the Church identified nine pastoral priorities—and the second of which is the empowerment of the laity towards social transformation emphasizing as it did that the laity “must be empowered to engage in greater dialogue and discernment with the clergy and the religious concerning social, economic, political, and cultural issues, in order to take the leading role in the transformation of society.” But the way things are moving today, it looks like the integral faith formation that everyone should have been working on did not seem to have trickled to anybody except perhaps in the circle of the clergy and the religious— if at all. A good barometer of this is what we read over columns and editorials in national dailies, not to mention the polarity of reactions from the general public on the intervention of some church people at the unfolding drama of the alleged multi-tiered mega-corruption lodged against government leadership. There are pockets of church people (those that you easily see around the itinerary of Jun Lozada) who are clamoring for the truth, justice and accountability in the face of ZTENational Broadband scam. But even this is being dismantled as a work of the opposition to oust the incumbency.
Abp. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD
Equipped with fidelity to the PCP-II call for social transformation, the CBCP President has been exhorting for communal action and a new brand of people power. This, too, is seemingly not getting through—sadly, even among peers.
In and Out of Season FEBRUARY 22-24, 1986 were historic and momentous days. They ushered in the end of 14 years of Martial Rule and Dictatorship and the beginning of a new democracy. It was a peaceful and non-violent revolution by People Power, a movement “of the people, by the people and for the people, who prayed together, reflected together, decided together and acted together.” They knew what they wanted. Cardinal Sin and the CBCP articulated their communal sentiment or collective discernment through Radio Veritas and their Pastoral Letter respectively. Many of the participants in that decisive People Power have already died. Those who are still around are 22 years or almost a quarter of century older. Age is an important factor that comes with the cynicism, apathy and indifference for “another People Power.” Besides, are there “teach-ins” for young people today on current political issues? Came People Power II in 2001: we thought that history would automatically repeat itself. It did not. With the disappointment and doubts surrounding Election 2004, we now look at People Power II with mixed emotions and interpretations. Sadly, People Power II installed a leader who lately only has been branded as the “most corrupt” and our government is rated “among the most corrupt government.” Is this the reason why many
Not unlike the myth of Sisyphus, the formidable barrier may look like the complex web of political machinations by those in power and the way politics is practiced in the country which according to CBCP is “possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development.” But, come to think of it, at the end of the day it all boils down to the sluggish implementation of the Church of a most basic pastoral program of integral faith formation. --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conversion to new values THE most basic pastoral action needed is conversion to new values. This should be the aim of catechesis on politics. There will be no radical change in our political situation unless we all undergo a change of heart— conversion, therefore—in our priorities, in our values. In our society a high premium is put on power and money. Compromises are made, truth is subverted, principles are abandoned, elections are rigged, frauds are perpetrated, politicians perpetuate themselves in power, their families are placed in positions of authority, “options are kept open”—simply because of power and money, the prime values of our present political culture. That is why financial supporters invest tremendous amounts of money on candidates and the candidates themselves spend so much to be elected—not because of what they vaguely invoke as “the people’s will” or “the common good”—but because of the power and the easy money they seek. Let us not be fools. As we said earlier, we know that expenses are recouped, gargantuan profits made once political victory is achieved. The conscienceless remark of a politician years ago wanting to take advantage of power remains operative even to this day: “What are we in power for?”
in civil society regard another People Power with cynicism and indifference? They are afraid another People Power might only bring the country from one frying pan to a worse frying pan. To the disappointment of some, the CBCP recent statement did not specify what “communal action” to take. The Bishops did suggest: “pray together, reflect together, decide together and act together.” The call to communal action is a challenge to “political conscience” which would admit creative, imaginative and democratic response to political problems. Many good things have started to happen. The Church is guided by its Social Doctrine which instructs: “The lay people (civil society) are called to identify steps that can be taken in concrete political situations in order to put into practice the principle and values proper to life in society. This calls for a method of discernment at both the personal and community levels” (no. 568). If, according to collective discernment which can occur in unpredictable ways, the communal action is People Power, it will have to be with a different “brand.” It will not be simply a repeat of the past. What brand will it have? What is God through the signs of the times telling us? The movements of some groups for a National Campaign
Liberating power of truth
We need to change all this. Conversion to new values is the most basic of pastoral action. Again these points to the need for, as a first step, catechesis on politics, the need for political re-education at all levels of society and the Church, laity, religious, priests and bishops. It is noteworthy that at the level of grassroots Basic Ecclesial Communities, such a political re-education is taking place quite effectively.
IN #1227 of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics it says: Jesus proclaimed the liberating power of truth. “I am the light of the world; no follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he will possess the light of life… If you live according to my teaching, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn 8:12, 31-32) In the recent testimonies of Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Jr., we seem to have a man who has found the value of truth and justice, and the virtue of fortitude to do the right thing despite the pressures to do otherwise and threats to his and his family’s life and liberty. After months of inner conflict, Mr. Jun Lozada discloses, he finally decided to follow his conscience, particularly after having been “instructed” by others to just lie to the
At the level of Church leaders—whether clerical or lay— conversion is also imperative. By accepting special gifts and privileges from so-called trapos, by allowing them or their immediate relatives to take positions of authority in religious organizations, we are abetting their deeds of dishonesty and fraud, graft and corruption, and helping them maintain their power. By such conduct we allow our prophetic denunciation of political evils to lose its sharpness and credibility. We need to change our ways and be true prophets in our day. -Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997
Discovering a new brand of People Power Against Corruption in the government may be a sign. Imagine, with just one courageous person willing to witness to the TRUTH, some good things are already starting to happen, like the exposition of other scams, lies, deceits, “moderate and immoderate greed.” We hope and encourage that other courageous and inspired persons will emerge to tell or expose or humbly face the truth, whose concealment had made our country captive to corruption and greed of powerholders? There will be a convergence of bearers of truths saving our country. Today, what is God telling us about expressing our highest sense of the national common good? This is the question that must be answered in all honesty, no matter how painful, by Church leaders and Church people, by civil society, the military and police, by our congressmen and barangay leaders, by our Senators, above all by the residents of Malacañang. We must pray. Yes. There is a suggested Prayer of the Faithful for the nation in crisis. But we must also sacrifice for the highest national common good, inspired by “political charity” for the country, honesty and justice, guided by truth, like participating in a National Campaign Against Corruption in Government.
Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD
public. After much prayer with family, with the La Salle Brothers and a Bishop, he decided to come out and simply tell the truth as he knows it. Indeed he did just that. First on February 8 and then in subsequent interviews with Media and Senate hearings on the NBN– ZTE. Filled with terror, and with courage to do the right thing, “I choose to move to the light,” as he himself said. However incomplete his testimony is, for lack of corroborating evidence presented, one can still say that what Mr. Lozada has done is similar what hundreds of thousands of other good ordinary Filipinos, both in the private and public sectors, who everyday selflessly serve the truth in love for the sake of others, for the sake of the country. Mr. Lozada reminds us that there are still many Filipinos, individually and collectively, who do have a
“clear conscience,” but have the right “judgment of conscience which leads to the acceptance of responsibility for the good accomplished and the evil committed.” (#139, CSDC). There is hope after all. May there be more of them. Only such will make us free from the greatest bane of Philippine society which is corruption not only among the elite in high places of government but also in every sphere of daily living among the ordinary citizens.
Reform of Comelec, the beginning of restored democracy. I and some other Bishops had the occasion last month, to exchange views with the former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and DADITAMA / A6
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS
CBCP Monitor Protagonist
Tr u t h ,
Passing on the Torch
Pedro C. Quitorio Pinky Barrientos, FSP
Kris P. Bayos
Melo M. Acuña
Dennis B. Dayao
Ernani M. Ramos
Roy Q. Lagarde
The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612. Email: email@example.com Website: www.cbcpworld.net/cbcpmonitor
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THE pro-life movement is a coalition of different pro-life/pro-family organizations with each group having its own thrust and emphasis on certain programs and services. The groups also come from varied walks of life, professions, sectors and ages. All have one mission in common though—promoting the dignity and value of life and family. Pro-life Philippines is just one of the organizations within the movement. I founded it 33 years ago and am still very active as the Chairperson of the Board, having handed the day to day concerns of the organization to the Executive Director Mrs. Marita Wasan and the President Mr. Benjamin Santillan. And it is these two minds that got together to conceptualize the Youth Congress that we
will hold on February 23 at St. Paul College, Pasig City. Theme of the Congress is “Passing on the Torch”—yes, passing on what we hold dear to our heart and soul—the value and meaning of life, love, sexuality, fertility, family and children. It seems unnecessary to have to hold a congress for this objective, but given our experience of attending to the counseling needs of the youth who call our crisis centers and answering the open forum questions during our Teen Sexuality and Relationship Seminars, we see the urgency of multiplying ourselves, the sooner the better. On February 23 then, we expect around 250 youth leaders aged 15 to 21 from the different high schools, colleges and universities of Metro Manila. The first
speaker, Mr. Ed Sorreta, will speak on “Living in a Culture of Death”. The youth will surely recognize the many influences that cause so much stress, confusion, immorality and distractions in their lives. Next speaker is the lovely radio and TV co-host of Preacher Bo Sanchez, Mrs. Rizza Singson-Kawpeng. Besides being herself a preacher, she edits the many publications of Shepherd’s Voice, among them Kerygma magazine. She will be on her 4th month of pregnancy by end of February so she will be a good witness to her topic on living the pro-life way “The culture of Life for the Generations to come” Highlight of the day will be the workshops wherein the youth will be able to interact with each other and come up with
Love Life / A5
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Oscar V. Cruz, DD
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
Views and Points THE days are truly dark and gloomy. The times are very suffocating and sickening. The present administration is not merely stagnant but actually putrid and nauseating with its long litany of corrupt acts and practices. The national leadership is already beyond redemption in its moral bankruptcy. The hour of final decision has come—a decision which the key government official with the conspirators devoid of conscience have to make or will be made by the people for them. It is no longer a matter of simply walking the talk but decidedly acting on the walk. The glaring fact is that except for certain Malacañang favorites and beneficiaries plus some individuals wallowing in dirty money on account of glaring corruption plus transactional politics, there is a continuously growing number of people who are neither amused much less patiently receptive of one big and dismaying government scandal after another. Long and
deeply buried in a huge pile or rotten and rotting garbage, the ruling administration has become one big living infection already immune to remedial sanitation. Many young and old people alike, already much fed up with the behavioral brazenness of the ruling government, have become not only angry but also look at its key officials with hateful disgust. There are groups of individuals among the professionals and business people, in the academe and work force, among the employees and laborers, who are appalled at the gross misdeeds eventually appended to the incumbent national leadership. Add hereto practically all the members of the Fourth Estate who know only too well about the many flagrant socio-moral liabilities of the de facto sitting Chief Executive—and the over-all scenario becomes morally suffocating. The Court of Public Opinion has already formed a judgment. They require no docu-
mentary evidence which can be in fact manufactured. The general public highly appreciates credible individuals and simply uses common sense in firmly deciding who are truthful and who are liars, who are upright, and who are corrupt “to the bones”. The Court of Public Opinion acquires more importance and relevance when—except for Supreme Court—the judicial branch of government has become subservient to brute power and selfish interests, the House of Congress has become a damaged institution, and the executive body has become dysfunctional such as in promoting “moderate greed”. This being the case, much discredited and disrespected highest office holder in the land is faced with a multiple choice: a) Make a voluntary exit, a permanent disappearance, a clean cut; b) Make a proper impeachment complaint accepted and processed; c) Make others do the cleaning and clearing of the Palace.
Jose B. Lugay
Communal action THE call of CBCP for communal action has been in the headlines for sometime now. The timing is just right to trigger mass action. Consider the 10-hour suspense of the Senate hearing after Jun Lozada was “abducted”; his confession of the $130 million bribe involving Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and the First Gentleman; is this not enough to incite the political opposition and their supporters to again march in EDSA to depose President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? The bishops’ pronouncement for communal action immediately encouraged the gathering of nuns of the Association of Religious Orders to come to comfort and listen to Jun Lozada tell the truth about the NBN-ZTE bribery while being protected in his sanctuary in De La Salle University, Greenhills. He has now become the rallying point and in fact the media’s favorite pawn in moving the Opposition politicians, the leftist organizations, civil society and even the Management Association of the Philippines to ACT NOW as headlined by the Philippine Inquirer of Sunday, February 17 to do a checkmate – GMA to resign!. To emphasize the “truth” further, ABSCBN featured the HARAPAN—with Korina Sanchez and Ricky Carandang—a face-toface encounter with Jun Lozada in his ‘camisa chino” and invited guests all in formal wear—Comelec Chairman Abalos, PNP General Razon, Atty. Formoso representing NEDA, and an Assistant Secretary from Malacañang. In the lower part of the screen was a running total of votes for OO or Hindi to count those who believe that Jun Lozada is telling the truth or not. As the viewers
expected, he rated a resounding “yes” majority. With the media hype and the grandstanding of the Senate investigators, the Philippines projected an image of a highly politicized country trying again for the nth time to wrest power through people power revolution. If the same rating is done to measure how the Bishops’ call for “Communal Action” fared, what would it be? The rally on Friday in Makati was attended only by 10,000 people. The mass held at De La Salle probably was more than that of the Friday rally which also included President Aquino herself and Mr. Jose de Venecia, Jr. The next day’s paper, February 18 cited the following comment from GMA’s spokesman himself, Secretary Ignacio Bunye: “It is a pity that explanation of top Catholic leaders regarding “communal action”, were not picked up by media. (Comment – they did not want to). He quoted the explanation of the following prelates: Archbishop Gaudencio B.Cardinal Rosales: “Maliwanag naman iyong sinabi ng CBCP na iyon nga na hindi pag-aaklas ang tinatarget ng CBCP. Hindi naman yan ang bagay na inaasam, lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng cuaresma. He went on “Maliwanag iyon kung ano ang lalamanin ng ating communal action: Reflection, discernment as individual, as family, as community. Iyon po ang nakalagay doon.” Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, past President, CBCP: “We never said that (calling for mass action) in the statement. The context of the statement is about the season of Lent, in which the Church is always calling for moral revolution applying it to the country’s situation now.
The call of the pastoral letter is that it’s the time for us to change our mental framework. Let us also reflect on ourselves and the truth according to the essence of Lent. Let’s start the transformation ourselves and this is needed for all of us to act. That is the meaning of communal action.” In a separate statement jointly issued by Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, Bishop Rodolfo Beltran and Bishop Ramon Villena, they explained communal action as a call to prayer, to self-examination and to earnestly seeking out the truth. What happens now? There is no people power revolution. The Ombudsman is investigating (at last!) the NBN-ZTE case and invited the First Gentleman to appear on Feb.18. Maybe we should go back to the pastoral letter of January 28, 2008 issued by CBCP President Angel N. Lagdameo entitled, REFORM YOURSELVES AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL The letter is divided into separate sections: Darkness of our Situation – the Common Good Subordinated; In the Darkness, Light, Journey to the Light – Start with Ourselves; Personal and Communal Conversion Towards a Social Conscience; Renewal of Faith-Communities; Lent – The Time to Journey Together toward Transformation; and With Mary, Mother of Hope, on the Journey of Renewal. The pastoral letter uses Church language which has to be learned by the laity. This was my experience when I attended PCP II. Probably, each time a pastoral letter from CBCP is published, there is a corresponding explanation from lay people who could better situate the meaning of the pastoral letter to the conditions of the time.
Nicolo F. Bernardo
Lifeguard IT WAS Valentine’s fever again. So while chocolates, roses, and words of endearment are still as hit, marriage, statistics say, is on its low ebb; with papers for annulment on the roost in the courts. For many people, this is a non-issue. If love has a sweet beginning, it definitely has to have an end. Whether by death, chance, or choice it has to end. If people don’t love each other anymore, they better be honest, break and patch up, so they could love again. Here we can observe that the changing concept of marriage has much to do with people’s idea of love’s place in this union; or what is love in the first place. Perhaps the reason why youngsters don’t want anything to do with “marriage and family” and “family values,” but are very interested with “love matters,” is that they can’t see what true love (eros) has got to do with marriage. In logic, there’s a rule that one cannot understand the relationship of things without understanding their terms. It is very important that kids are shown that marriage is not just an “institution.” After all, no human institutions last. Even in any advocacy against divorce, marriage should not be pictured as another good-old “institution” on the rocks. It’s rather a question of relationship. People today are not interested with preserving institutions; they are interested with meaningful relationships. Thus, the approach on marriage should be the language
A long and lasting love
of love, not institutional units. Is it true love to love somebody only in good times? With expiry date? On-and-off? These in fact are the same questions for marital vows. Enduring love is the essence of marriage. Would you love a person for better or for worse? In sickness and in health? For richer or for poorer? ‘Till death (since death is outside human determination) do you part? Many people have an idea of, and in fact a need for, tough love. The next step is to get them to commit for it, so one can’t simply give away the words “I love you” without the constancy to mean this. Many even question why love should be constant and self-giving. Who are we to tell the “nature” of love, deconstructionists ask. A good answer is to point on a mother, who has identified herself, her life, with her child. Couldn’t this be what true love should be? Isn’t that the very condition and expectation of this human relationship called love, including sexual love? Isn’t that a common language and wish? Just listen to the message of love songs anywhere in the globe and argue if this is not so. Just survey the best love stories. In the Muslim world, there’s the inseparable and monogamous Shah Jahan and his Mumtaz Mahal. In the Hindu world, there’s Rama and Sita. In the atheist world, there’s Simoune de Beauvoir who was dead jealous of Jean Paul Sartre’s mistresses, despite their “open marriage” agreement. These stories,
both the real and the ideal, reflect both human possibilities and human aspirations. When we are through with things, like computers or gadgets, or perhaps roses and chocolates, we simply dump them. That’s because these are things. But human beings, no. Indeed, we humans, being human, have limits. But we humans, being human, also have free will. We have good control on the multiplicity of our desires. We can always decide to love the person again and again with determination. We as humans are always valuable, irreplaceable, and worth keeping. We as humans need total acceptance, forgiveness, and attachment. That is why marriage has to be understood as this commitment to love, to bear with the other as a human person, not as a thing (from John Paul II’s philosophy of personalism, which he indebted to Immanuel Kant). Again, this is not about being a Catholic or a love theorist. The question of love is a question of ethics, not religion; although it helps to have the infinites—infinite faith, infinite hope, infinite love. If we ask ourselves why marriage is being broken, it’s because there are so many breaks in how we understand and experience love. Marital crisis is everybody’s crisis. It’s about the state of loving today. It’s about the state of how we treat—accept and dump—human beings. It’s about our terms on those we promised, and supposed to promise, to love always.
Love Life / A4
ideas on how to pass on the teachings and values they receive. The first challenge, of course, is for them to live the pro-life lifestyle themselves even before they can pass it on to their peers. That means no to premarital sex, no to abortion, contraception, drugs, al-
cohol, gambling, pornography or prostitution. Youth leaders will give their response during the Plenary. The last talk will be given by Hon. Ma. Carissa O. Coscolluela, Buhay Party Representative. She will give the pro-life challenge or “Passing
on the Torch”. Hon. Coscolluela is among the younger members of Congress and has been very vocal in defending the pro-life position to ensure that the DEATH Bills will not pass into law. School heads and parish youth coordinators have
shown much interest in the Congress. Reservations are fast coming in and we are afraid the venue will not accommodate all those who wish to attend. If you are interested and want more details regarding the Pro-life Youth Congress, please call our office at 911-2911 or 421-7147.
By the Roadside Truth-telling in my country, flooding in my province “WHAT is Truth?” Pilate once asked Jesus. Never did it occur to him that Truth was right before his very eyes. And right before my eyes, even as my country is glued to the televised truthtelling Senate appearances by Jun Lozada, I am seeing our rivers swelling like they never did before, sweeping away scantilybuilt huts by their banks, bridges being washed away to the sea or to heaven knows where, roads being swamped by water from several days of rain to a traveler’s knee or to his neck. La Niña and the effects of global warming are suddenly so real, so true, to our poor folks in Eastern Samar, not simply to some distant environmentalists. And the trouble is, we are so ill-prepared that all we (especially our older folks) could do is exclaim, “We never had flooding this big before! Why now?” Now all these things, too, are part of truth. But hardly do we get any attention, televised or printed (till now). As “Engr. Lozada” was being grilled intensely on the now-infamous ZTE broadband deal, I received a desperate text message from a teacher in Brgy. San Jose national high school (well within our parish). “Father, four of us teachers are trapped with some parnts & studnts in our skul sins lst nte at arnd 11 bicoz our bridgs got washd out by floods frm the ovrflowng strim arnd us” or words to that effect. I frantically sent urgent messages to our mayor, governor, DepEd authorities and simple ordinary citizens who, I know, would do something to help. I did all these while keeping an eye and an ear on the now heightening tension caused by Jun Lozada’s revelations on the extent of corruption in government. Meanwhile, rescue efforts for Brgy. San Jose’s flood victims were themselves stymied by the floods. Well-meaning rescue groups were blocked by mudslides and impassable dirt roads. The four teachers, with the parents and students, had to wade through flooded waters, prodded by fear and hunger, till they reached safe grounds. Some seventy or more families, I’m told, are trapped in the mountains towards Brgy. San Gabriel. The helicopter rescue we’ve been appealing for from government on their behalf is still never heard from. But we are not complaining. The reason is mainly because the country is going through a worse case of flooding in our souls and spirits. Claims and counter claims on the truth on the Arroyo government inundate us. The upside is that many unbiased patriots in the country appear to have found a hero whose heroism consists largely on his decision to tell the truth on a failed and cancelled business deal. But what is being uncovered has gone beyond it. One truth seems to have led to another; we seem to be moving from shock to shock, rather than from realizations to solutions, although ultimately we hope they finally await us at the end of the tunnel. Many compare the situation now in the Philippines to the last days of the Marcos and Estrada regimes in that the uncovering of truth contributed greatly to those regimes’ unraveling. The hidden health, the hidden wealth and the hidden guilt of Marcos before, during and after the snap elections erupted into a revolt of some of his most trusted men (Ramos, Enrile et al) who were themselves rescued by People Power Edsa 1. The 2001 impeachment hearings on the Jose Velarde account uncovered sordid details of plunder that led to the ouster of President Estrada by Edsa 2. In same way the present exposé of the “web of corruption” in the Macapagal-Arroyo regime may or may not trigger its own undoing. But, quite apart from this, what also concerns us is truth. From our historical experiences it seems we have basically reduced truth to the accumulation of facts with cumulative impact on our personal and national consciousness, decisions and actions, as parts become pieced together sometimes without even forming the whole. And perhaps therein partly lies the reason behind our failure to be set free by truth. We haven’t really reached the whole truth about Marcos, Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo and even of ourselves. The whole truth certainly includes us there. The sad, unjust and shameful realities of those regimes are, to a great degree, of our own making. We, as a nation, are from whom Marcos, Estrada and GMA came. We have created them, not only by our longstanding tolerance of wrongdoing until it explodes in our faces but also by our spawning the culture of wrongdoing from our very first act of political involvement, that is, from our tainted elections (there is very little denying the fact that we elect those who, in one way or another, can buy us). From this one wrong follow all other wrongs. Truth will not set us free until we trace it all the way to where it is from—the God of Truth, the God who is Truth. We seem to have taken “objective reality” or its “unveiling” as the sum of truth. But the unveiling of objective reality is hardly truth if it excludes the author of all reality. We need a profound catechesis on truth that sees it in the quality of our relationship with one another as grounded in God who is Truth, who is revealed by Jesus Christ, the Way, the “Truth” and the Life (Jn 14:6), and enlivened by the Spirit of Truth (Jn 15:26). The truth about the “web of corruption” in our land includes our not being true to this God who, in Jesus Christ, tells us to, like him, “testify to the truth” because anyone “committed to the truth hears my voice” (Jn 18:37). The truth about our fundamental malaise is that we detach truth from the whole of who we are. We are not simply material or economic, political or social animals; we are spiritual and moral beings as well. We are not only for ourselves or only for our families (Filipinos cannot be reminded enough of this); we are first for God and for our fellow Pinoys and human beings too. We are not only the words we speak; we are also the actions we do. We really should have the “whole truth and nothing but”. Let me go back to our parish. The other priests and myself in our Team Ministry spoke last Sunday of the sufferings of our flood victims and appealed for extra clothes, blankets, rice, canned goods or even extra time to offer them words of consolation. In no time we saw, to our happy surprise, some kind of ‘flooding’ of these goods in our parish hall which we now call a “charity center”. After giving out some clothes to people who lost theirs to the floods, a volunteer texted me, “Father, I’m so happy to have helped people truly in need.” Now, I said to myself, there goes the truth that sets people free.
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Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
God’s Word powerful to change society, says bible bishop “GOD’S Word has power to transform society and our personal lives,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, head of CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate. He urged Catholics to read the Bible daily. Inaugurating the 17th National Workshop for the Biblical Apostolate on February 11, Bishop Bastes said it is distressful that the Philippines is one of the most corrupt in Asia and in the world despite its being a Christian country. More than 267 Philippine and foreign delegates including from Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam attended the five-day workshop. Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate was established in 1986 having its regional and other international links and activities. The commission is a member in the Catholic Biblical Federation from Southeast Asian sub-region. The workshop was held as a part of the Philippine Church’s preparation for the forthcoming 12th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “The Word of God
in the Life and Mission of the Church.” The seminar focused on how Biblical apostolate workers would make use of the Word of God as a means in combating corruption and other social malaise in the country, the prelate said. One of the resource speakers, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, talked about the transformative power of God’s Word in the struggle against corruption, noting the present situation of the country where the Arroyo administration is accused of massive and multi-level graft and corruption. (CBCP News)
Restoring credibility in RP a big challenge, says Simbahang Lingkod
A JESUIT social ministry group said that restoring credibility in the country is a big challenge. Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), is a Church-based organization that looks forward to a Filipino nation that celebrates love of country and genuine democracy in the spirit of faith that does justice with a preferential option for the poor.
SLB is supporting Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr., a government consultant who publicly exposed alleged large-scale bribery in a $330 million government broadband contract being investigated by the opposition-dominated Senate. In a statement, SLB said the bishops have stressed in their recent pastoral statement that there is a continuing challenge to rebuild trust and credibility in the political institutions. “Part of the challenge is for us to create a space for politics that goes beyond personalities, money power, patronage, and coercion toward one that is based on principles, programs, and venues for constructive and popular participation that would truly serve the common good and foster hope to our fellow Filipinos,” the press statement said. There is no other way to achieve this and to counter hopelessness and social distrust in democratic institutions but to be politically involved. SLB is an association of religious, priests, seminarians, and lay people committed to the service of the Filipino Church and people. Through its various projects and programs, SLB seeks to create ways to foster participa-
tion and vigilance among Filipino citizens in the socio-political and economic affairs of the state. SLB intends to revive and strengthen the spirit of democracy in the country and build the hope of progress and development with the faith of justice. Guided by Gospel values, SLB is committed to promoting responsible citizenship through various advocacies, values-education, socio-spiritual integration, the awakening of popular conscience, and bridge-building among the various sectors of society. SLB also strives in the pursuit of truth through research, information dissemination, social analysis, discernment and dialogue, and vigilant action respectful of democratic institutions. It also aims to evangelize the Filipino culture through the revitalization of hope and empowerment. To concretize their vision-mission, SLB is currently having numerous projects to foster the continuing maturity among the Filipino people and to provide them with an arena where they can share their skills and live out their passions in order for the country to progress. (CBCPNews)
Pondo ng Pinoy not a gimmick, Cardinal Rosales says FOR the critics, ‘Pondo ng Pinoy’ is a gimmick, for the believing Christians it is an extension of love, said Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales. Speaking recently at the 40th St. Tomas More Lecture at the University of Santo Tomas, he said, the “Theology of the Crumbs or the Philosophy of the Little, will have to be given a locally friendly or acceptable name, Pondo ng Pinoy… for the critics a gimmick, for the believing Christian the continuing activity of love.”
The lecture carried an overall theme “Opting for the Poor: Educate towards justice but live in Christian love.” “Today’s demanding conditions of people near the inhuman subsistence challenge the Church to re-define or re-express the love it has learned in Jesus,” he said. The season of Lent should take the continuing presence of Jesus Christ’s love through charity which is within the practice of everyone and not the exclusive realm of the better off, the cardinal said.
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discuss what needs to be done for the common good,” he further said. He lauded the efforts of the Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting under former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Henrietta “Tita” T. De Villa to lead the prayer every 3:00 P.M. for the country. Asked about the testimony the senate hearing on the botched National Broadband Network, the prelate said that Rodolfo Lozada appeared to have “focus”. He believes witness Lozada spoke truthfully as he was consistent with his statements. “When one tells lies, inconsistencies come in and no amount of cover-up would suffice,” the archbishop said. (with reports from Melo M. Acuña)
“Silent then we must not be or must no longer be, if once we were,” the CEAP said in a statement. “We too must speak, we too must act.” The CEAP said the current “crisis in our land” spurred them to join the clamor for truth in the alleged anomalous government transactions. “To this end, we link up with other groups sincerely searching for truth and justice,” it said. The CEAP stressed their goals include teaching morality, thus urged its members schools to set up “truth centers” about alleged anomalous transactions in the government. The group said such initia-
tive is vital so that students and teachers are led to continuing awareness, reflection and formation toward “sociopolitical engagement.” “We should pledge to continue to teach and live truth, honesty and integrity in our own schools so that when our graduates leave us they bring with them not just skills and knowledge but wisdom and love to inspire and change the world,” it said. The CEAP asked its members to support the “sanctuary fund” for ZTE witness Rodolfo Lozada initiated by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines. Lozada’s revelations, it said,
stirred memories of other allegations by other people of graft and greed in government, and is “shaking the souls of many to speak and act in response.” The Catholic educators urged those who are knowledgeable about the NBN mess not to be afraid to tell the truth. “For those of us who know the truth, we pray for the courage to speak it,” it added. It also echoed support for the signature campaign seeking the implementation of Supreme Court’s ruling junking Executive Order 464 so that there will be no hindrance in the search for truth. (CBCPNews)
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“Jun, be assured that your solitude is no longer isolation as we profess our solidarity with you. You are not alone. We are committed to stay the course and do our best to protect you and your family and the truth that you have proclaimed,” he said. Francisco also tagged Lozada as a “credible witness” in the Senate inquiry on the NBN scandal for “he has witnessed what it means to be truly human” and inspired many people “to be true to ourselves.” “Jun we know you have feared for your life and continued to do so but in transcending your fears and yourself you have reclaimed your humanity and your courage and your humility despite calumniation and harassment of government forces,” he said. He likewise assailed Mrs. Arroyo for losing the moral ascendancy to lead the country. He also called on Commission on Higher Education chairman Romulo
“Through its catechesis, Pondo ng Pinoy has democratized charity. From the teaching one gets today, we leave this auditorium believing and hoping to change the little community or world we visit and live in. Charity is not a word we keep in the shelves of our rooms. For the Christian, LOVE is a way of life,” he said. The St. Thomas More Lecture was attended by hundreds of staff and students.
Neri to come out in the open and tell everything he knows about the said anomalous transaction. For her part, former President Corazon Aquino said, “My only prayer and the prayer of many others is for the truth to come out.” Political tensions rose in Metropolitan Manila few weeks after Lozada surfaced and implicated the alleged involvement of the President’s husband, lawyer Juan Miguel Arroyo in the broadband controversy. Last Friday, over 10,000 government critics held a rally in Makati City, demanding Arroyo’s resignation. Malacañang had tried to distance itself from the scandal, but has since said the deal was above board and tagged the many accusations as lies. Arroyo has survived at least two coup attempts against her and three impeachment attempts in Congress. (CBCPNews)
It was the first of a year-round first Saturday recollections/talks centering on a specific concern for each Saturday. The recollection/talk on March 1 will be on Priestly Life and Ministry and with the Bahay Pari as prime initiator. The vision of the Manila archdiocese takes on deeper shades and tones as the formation and catechetical series around it tackles topics and concerns that will move the faithful towards genuine Christian action and witnessing. The vision is “a people called by the Father in Jesus Christ to become a community of persons with fullness of life witnessing to the Kingdom of God by living the Paschal Mystery in the power of the Holy Spirit with Mary as companion.” In his invitation to participants Cardinal Rosales pointed to the success of MAGPAS II (held on
October 21, 2007 at the De La Salle Greenhills) which drew more than 3,000 delegates from parishes, religious congregations, seminaries, ministries, transparochial communities, catechists and MAPSA/CEAP schools. He said that the success of the MAGPAS II is not “the end of our task. There is still much to be done.” “The MAGPAS First Saturday assemblies are therefore a way to provide still much-needed directions to the different vicariates, parishes, and various sectors of the community on how they can align their programs and projects to the Vision,” Rosales said. Auxiliary Bishop of Manila bishop Bernardino C. Cortez and Msgr. Gerardo Santos, ACM Minister also addressed the gathering. (Santosh Digal)
‘Sanctuary fund’ for Lozada rises DONATIONS to the “sanctuary fund” for Senate witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada has reached P236, 253.75 in three days. Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines executive secretary Sr. Estrella Castalone said contributions are pouring like rain for Lozada’s legal defense fund. But Castalone said the amount is not yet enough, considering the imminent legal battle that Lozada may have to hurdle. She said the money that will be generated from the fund-raising activity will also be used to aid other whistleblowers on government corruptions. Contributions for Lozada was P186,253.75 as of yesterday but Castalone announced after the “Mass for Truth” in La Salle Feb-
ruary 17 that they got another P50,000 from an anonymous donor. She called on the people to help Lozada, as they anticipate various forms of further intimidation to be thrown at him such as the filing of various cases against him. “We repeat the appeal. AMRSP has opened special fund to support witnesses like Lozada. We all know that he has a long road battle to face,” she said. Donations to the AMRSP Sanctuary Fund may be sent to the AMRSP Secretariat, 28 Acacia Street, New Manila, Quezon City, tel. nos. 724-4434 and 448-5644, or deposited directly to MBTC Account No. 3259-07445-3, under the account name AMRSP Special Funds (Sanctuary Fund). (CBCPNews)
WGC launches advocacy on ‘gender sensitivity’ THE Women and Gender Commission (WGC) of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) will undertake a nationwide advocacy program on “gender sensitivity,” for the next three years. This was one of the resolutions that was passed after a day-long deliberations of WGC’s general assembly which had its theme “Women in the Church: Stand Firm for Prophecy and Hope” at Sampaloc, Manila, on February 14. Training and seminars to be conducted two times a year for training for educators on Gender Fair Education in three zones¯Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, said Sr. Flolyn S. Catuangal, OSA, co-coordinator of WGC. The other topics would be covered under the flagship of gender sensitivity include women and the Church, women spirituality, eco-feminism, holistic healing and participation in actual legislative advocacy. Sr. Leticia Andrea Garcia, DC, a key guest speaker from Sacred Heart Academy, Lucena, urged the participants to promote the image of Christ in men and women through various ministries. She said, “We need holistic spiritual approach to empower women and protect ecology.” More than 100 participants representing over 30 congregations attended the conference.
Formed in 1957, AMRSWP has members from 280 women congregations from all over the country. It is a forum to share common interests, to be an avenue for collaboration, and to be a means to actively pursue the role of prophetic witness of being religious. In his address, Fr. Jesus Malit, SSS, executive secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men in the Philippines (AMRSMP) said the power of women to change the world is noteworthy. The General Assembly’s theme was chosen to revitalize our commitment to women and gender issues. The conference decided to raise the consciousness of sisters on women and gender issues in the Congregations so that they are able to integrate the women consciousness in their apostolic mission, Sr. Flocer R. Dalena, OSA, a participant, told CBCPNews. WGC helps women to develop themselves as persons and catalyst for change through skills, leadership trainings and activities, Dalena added. Some of the concerns, the conference addressed include, human trafficking, women and health, human rights, sex and gender, migration and how to evolve ways to address women issues and work for justice and liberation of women from all forms of violence and oppression. (CBCPNews)
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Madame Tita de Villa about the reform of the Comelec. We were of course, delighted in the appointment of former Justice Jose Melo as the new Chairman of the COMELEC which is in need of radical changes. While it is true that the new Chairman has impeccable credentials and integrity, we do not have any illusions that his work of reform is going to be easy. While it is true that it takes one person to make a lot of difference, it is doubly true that many more “ones” are needed. For indeed the COMELEC “operators” who thwart the democratic exercise of suffrage in our country are deeply entrenched in the institution down to the lowest strata in the barangay, municipality, and city and province. Such a corrupted institution cannot but become active or passive partners of dirty politicians and citizens, supported by those who have guns and goons, who want to win elections at all cost—at the cost of truth, justice, freedom, and the common good. With such a corrupted institution conducting disorderly elec-
tions, many have lost hope in elections and do not participate at all. Many others, like myself, believe that the COMELEC is beyond redemption. It is much too despoiled beyond repair. It would be easier to adopt an alternative, more cost effective, transparent structure to conduct and ascertain honest, orderly and peaceful elections in 2010. What is imperative is no longer just a citizens’ watch, but first and foremost, the citizens’ ethical and patriotic participation in the correction of structures and systems and procedures and malpractices in the electoral process. We cannot leave the reform of COMELEC and of the Electoral process to government officials alone, who themselves benefit from the malpractices. Citizens themselves must take things into their own hands, to be on the side of the light. However, we do wish and pray that the new COMELEC chairman may lead the entire COMELEC towards people’s participation in the reform of the COMELEC and thus succeed in making a big difference for the crucial 2010 elections.
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Media exaggerated coverage of abuse cases in the Church, says Cardinal Hummes
Cardinal Claudio Hummes
BRASILIA, February 18, 2008— The prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, said pedophilia is one of the gravest problems of sexual misconduct, but he asserted that the media exaggerated the number of priests involved in such
cases, which in reality involved less than 1% of the clergy. Speaking to some 450 participants at the 12th National Priests Meeting, the cardinal noted that worldwide the clergy numbers 406,000 priests, with 18,000 in Brazil. Later on during his remarks, he called on priests to provide ministry to the divorced and then remarried, noting that their situation prevents them from receiving the Eucharist. Asked about priestly celibacy, Cardinal Hummes said it is a gift from God that should not be seen as an imposition, but rather as something “we embrace in response as a gesture of love.” He recalled that the Church does not allow priests to marry and has no intention of “reinstating those who have married to the ministry,” even though some have expressed their desire to resume pastoral duties. (CNA)
Filipino chaplaincy established in Zurich ANOTHER Filipino chaplaincy was recently established in Zurich, Switzerland to minister to expatriates in various cantons or suburban areas. CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People chairman and Maasin (Southern Leyte) Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, said Fr. Johan Dumandan was installed chaplain to Filipinos in Zurich and its nearby areas. In an interview with CBCPNews, Bishop Cantillas said Fr. Johan has scheduled his regular visits to Filipino communities on a monthly basis, to celebrate Mass and perform religious rites. “With the recent establishment of the Filipino chaplaincy in Zurich, we expect more Filipinos to participate in faith-based activi-
ties in the area,” Bishop Cantillas said. Fr. Edwin D. Corros, ECMI Executive Secretary, said there have been instances when chaplaincies have been established as the Filipino communities grow in specific areas. He explained the difference between the Zurich and Rome chaplaincies is that Fr. Johan will visit various areas while Filipinos in Rome flock to the Filipino chaplaincy for Catholic rites and celebrations. Fr. Johan Dumandan, a former Salesian Missionary and now incardinated to the Diocese of Maasin may be reached at Birmensdorgerstrasse 445, 8055 Zurich, Switzerland or through his email address email@example.com or 0041435384902. (CBCPNews)
Persecution strengthens faith of Christians in Iraq, archbishop reveals
Pius XII’s beatification cause still under way Pope Pius XII
VATICAN CITY, February 18, 2008—Pius XII’s cause for beatification is not stalled, and the upcoming anniversary of the Pope’s death is an occasion to make him better known, says the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, affirmed this today when he presented the instruction
“Sanctorum Mater,” regarding diocesan or eparchial enquiries in the causes of saints. The cardinal was asked about the progress of various causes for canonization, among them, that of Pius XII. The cause of Pope Eugenio Pacelli “has not been delayed nor much less is it suspended,” confirmed the cardinal. He called this year’s 50th anniversary of the Pope’s death a perfect opportunity to “promote certain initiatives that will bring an ever better knowledge of Pope Pius XII.” Among these initiatives, Cardinal Saraiva Martins mentioned a conference “that will go much deeper into his character and spiri-
tuality” and a commission that is “studying and going ever deeper into the pontificate of Eugenio Pacelli.” Cardinal Saraiva Martins said those who claim Pius XII was silent in the face of Nazism and thus should not be canonized are not informed of the historical facts. “More than silence, I would say prudence,” the cardinal clarified. “I would like to confirm my affirmation. I would translate silence as prudence. “There was not silence. When the encyclical ‘Summi Pontificati’ was published, Goebbels—the number two man in the Nazi ranks—wrote in his diary, ‘This encyclical of the Pope has come out and he has been very hard on us.’ So we can see that it was a very non-silent silence.” (Zenit)
Cardinal explains reasons for new standards for sainthood VATICAN CITY, February 18, 2008—Today the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins presented the anticipated Instruction, “Sanctorum Mater” to increase the rigor of the sainthood process. The new restrictions are expected to diminish the number of candidates proposed to the Vatican for recognition. In his remarks, the Portuguese cardinal explained that the Instruction is divided into six sections. “The first draws attention to the need for a true reputation of holiness before beginning a process, and explains the duties and roles of the petitioner, the postulator and the competent bishop,” the cardinal said. “The second part describes the preliminary phase of the cause which extends as far as the ‘Nihil Obstat’ of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.” The ‘Nihil Obstat’ is a status given to the works of the person in question which certifies that nothing in their teachings contradicts the teachings of the Church. “The third section concerns the instruction of the cause. The fourth part concentrates on the gathering of documentary proof and the fifth on the gathering of proof from witnesses. Finally, the sixth section of the document outlines the procedures for the closing of the inquiry,” he explained. Cardinal Martins also explained the need for the publication of the document. “In some dioceses, certain provisions of the law have not always been understood and, consequently, not been put into practice with the necessary meticulousness, which has sometimes made it necessary for the congregation to supply clarifications or to ask diocesan curias to correct errors.” He continued, “dioceses do not always have
access to specialized individuals with practical experience of the various procedures involved in a cause of canonization.” For this reason, “it is evident that a practical document, such as this Instruction, was useful, indeed necessary.” The new norms are also expected to clear up confusion regarding the methodology of the process. “When the current legislation on causes of saints came into force,” said the cardinal outlining another reason for the publication of the present document, “an unfounded idea became widespread that the traditional methodology ... had been substituted by some kind of historical-critical investigation.” The reason for this confusion was “the fact that the term ‘inquisitio’ used in Latin (the only official text) to designate the procedure of the diocesan phase of a cause of canonization was translated in Italian as ‘inchiesta’ (inquiry)”. The new Instruction, then, highlights “the importance of procedure” in causes of beatification and canonization, “and accurately highlights the norms that must be observed.” A final reason for issuance of the document is to emphasize the significance of the “fame of sanctity or martyrdom.” According to Cardinal Martins, some dioceses or others promoting a potential saint’s cause were not aware that a reputation for holiness “is a prior requirement of absolute importance.” Lest a person’s reputation for sanctity be built up by their cause for sainthood being introduced, the cardinal insisted that “a procedure must not begin without irrefutable proof that the Servant of God ... is held to be a saint or martyr by a considerable number of faithful, who invoke him or her in their
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins
prayers and attribute graces and favors to his or her intercession.” During the pontificate of Benedict XVI, there have been 20 beatification ceremonies during which 563 Servants of God were beatified, including 48 diocesan priests, 485 male and female religious, and 30 lay people, for a total of 509 men and 54 women. The canonization ceremonies celebrated thus far during the pontificate of Benedict XVI number four (three in Rome and one in Brazil), during which 14 people were canonized. According to the Press Office of the Holy See, the current total of saints and blesseds of Pope Benedict’s pontificate is 577. (CNA)
French cardinal says legal Liberal Christianity is dying, Orthodox Bishop says status of the unborn should be recognized Archbishop Luis Sako of Kirkuk
KIRKUK, Iraq, February 16, 2008—Archbishop Luis Sako of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, revealed that the persecution suffered by Iraqi Christians at the hands of Muslim fundamentalists is strengthening rather than weakening their faith. In an interview with the SIR agency, Archbishop Sako said that the three Christian students who were recently kidnapped in Kirkuk by Muslim fundamentalists confronted their captors saying, “We are willing to die for our faith.” The archbishop thanked God that the incident did not end in tragedy and that the students were released unharmed. The kidnapping took place last week in Baghdad, when fundamentalists kidnapped some 40 people, including the three students. The students were subjected to violent interrogation and were threatened with torture and execution if they did not renounce their faith. Archbishop Sako said the three young people reacted with heroism that apparently
moved their captors, who decided to let them go. “What happened with the three young people means that despite so many difficulties, our faithful have not lost faith and hope. On the contrary, they have been strengthened,” he said. The archbishop noted that an inter-religious committee for dialogue has been created in the city in order to help Muslims better understand Christians and their role in building the Iraq of the future. The initiative was presented to Iraqi President Jalal Al Talibani during his recent visit to Kirkuk. The president offered his support and encouragement for the committee. Archbishop Sako also has begun a campaign to solicit the help of Christians in Kirkuk who are more economically secure to help prevent believers who are poor and under pressure from having to leave the region, which would diminish even further the presence of Christians. The monies collected will be distributed during Holy Week to the poor, he said. (CNA)
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois
PARIS, February 20, 2008—The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, has expressed his support of a decision by a French court to grant legal status to the unborn. The ruling, which unleashed the anger of feminist and proabortion organizations in Europe, declared that embryos less than 22 weeks old and that weigh more than one pound are persons under the law. The decision comes after three couples, whose miscarried fetuses fell below the previous limit of 22 weeks, sued to register them as family members and give their children a burial. The
court agreed the limits were not legally binding and permitted registration. The ruling is now in the hands of the Court of Appeals. “The law in France never legalized abortion, it decriminalized it,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said in an interview with Ouest-France. “We hope the court of Appeals will decide to legitimize the registering of the embryo as a member of the family,” he added. “The position of the Church,” he explained, “is that the embryo must be treated as a person.” Cardinal Vingt-Trois, who is in the city of Rennes with 60 other French bishops to discuss the defense of human life, recalled that the 1975 law that permitted abortion in France “does not establish a right,” and that over the last 50 years the embryo has been increasingly treated as a thing. “We must respect both the beginning of life and the end,” the cardinal stated. (CNA)
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev
GENEVA, February 15, 2008— Russian Orthodox bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Moscow Patriarchate’s delegate for international relationships, said on February 15 that liberal Christianity is on its way to extinction. “Liberal Christianity will not survive long and political correctness within the Christian environment is destined to die,” said during a conference addressing the Ecumenical Council of Churches at Geneva, Switzerland. The Orthodox bishop also criticized the words of the Anglican primate, Rowan Williams, regarding the “inevitability” of introducing the “sharia” (Muslim Law) in England. “I would like to warn you about the perils of liberal Christianity,” a trend, he said, that has sharply divided the Christian community in the last decades.
“Today we can’t talk about Christian morality because the standards of ‘traditional’ and ‘liberal’ Christians are dramatically different and the abyss between these two branches of Christianity is growing,” he added. “We are hearing from some Christian leaders that marriage between a woman and a man is not the only possible option for the creation of a Christian family, that there can be other type of couples and that the Church should be ‘inclusive’ by recognizing such lifestyles and grant them a solemn blessing,” Hilarion also said. The Orthodox bishop also said that “we have heard that the human life is a negotiable value, to the point that it can be aborted in the mother’s womb.” “What has happened with Christianity?” In a confused and disoriented world, “Where is the prophetic voice of Christians?” he asked. Finally in a veiled criticism to the Anglican primate, Hilarion said that “it is not our duty to defend sharia, promote alternative lifestyles or secularized values. Our mission is to announce what Christ himself announced.” (CNA)
People, Facts & Places
17 National Biblical workshop held in Cagayan de Oro AROUND 250 delegates from various dioceses throughout the country gathered for a five-day biblical workshop in Cagayan de Oro City from February 1115 reflecting on the theme, “God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace.” Now on its 17th year, the recently-concluded biblical workshop featured biblical luminaries who expounded the word of God in the light of current issues hounding the country today. Biblical speakers include Bishop Broderick Pabillo, DD, Bishop Virgilio Pablo David, DD, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, and Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, FSP. Bishop Pabillo who was to deliver the keynote speech to the assembly failed to make it to the congress due to bad weather. Bishop Bastes instead gave the talk of Bishop Pabillo which dwelt on the theme of the biblical workshop. Bishop David likewise failed to make it at the convention. Bishop Renato Mayugba of Lingayen-Dagupan gave the prepared conference on the Lineamenta
Photo courtesy of ECBA
Delegates representing the region of Mindanao during the 17th National Biblical Workshop organized by the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate in Cagayan de Oro, February 11-15, 2008.
for the Synod of Bishops dwelling on the theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” Fr. Alejo expounded on the “Transfor-
mative Power of God’s Word in the Struggle against Corruption, while Sr. Dianzon gave a reflection on “St. Paul and the Groaning of Creation.”
Other speakers include Elvira Go and Fr. Mike Garcia, SSS who shared on “Promoting Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in the Filipino Family” and former am-
ishes and in the archdiocese. A statement drafted by the participants at the conclusion of the congress affirmed the importance of the convention in celebrating the word of God. They resolved to renew their commitment as workers of the Word of God and to intensify the bible apostolate in the archdiocese. The event culminated with a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Cathedral of Vigan. Msgr. Formoso presided the Holy Mass with other priests present in the congress. In his homily, Msgr. Formoso encouraged the delegates to be committed in the Bible apostolate and stressed the importance of the Word of God in all pastoral ministries. (Sr. Guada Naungayan, OSB)
National Mining Conference held MORE than a hundred delegates representing various sectors participated in a two-day conference on mining held at Claret School of Quezon City last February 4-5. Religious, lay and NGOs took part in the national mining conference on the theme “The Philippine Mining Revitalization Program: Its Impact to the Integrity of Creation and the Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.” The two-day meeting provided updates on the impact of
the ongoing Mining Revitalization Program of the government. The conference also explored the possibility of networking among Religious and IPs in the local and national level. Among the topics discussed were the effects of mining on the environment and on the lifestyle of the Indigenous People (IP). It also tackled the legal aspects of mining campaign and off-shore mining on Tanon Strait where oil exploration is being conducted. Also discussed was the Church’s
ALAY Kapwa ’08 was launched on February 8, at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral in San Jose, Antique. The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, presided over the Eucharistic celebration with a couple of bishops and priests concelebrating. Alay Kapwa is the Lenten action program of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in 1975, it is being implemented by the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA). “Offering one’s self to others” is the guiding spirit of Alay
involvement against mining with religious taking the causes of tribal communities. Religious conduct solidarity mission to areas of tribal communities where there are mining activities, according to Leo Tadena, documentation and information officer of JPICC. Those places where mining activities are done are called site struggles, he said. A statement addressed to the 14th Congress and the Church was drafted at the conclusion of the
conference. The delegates highlighted the call to become more responsive to the call of the Church to become responsible stewards of God’s creation. The Association of the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines–Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission (AMRSP-JPICC) organized the forum in coordination with Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and the Philippine Misereor Partnership– Mining Advocacy Campaign (PMP). (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)
RE-ELECTED. Fr. Hienz Kulueke, SVD, as Provincial of Philippine SVD Southern Province, during their Provincial Assembly at the University of San Carlos, Talamban, Cebu; January 29, 2008. Before becoming Provincial Superior in 2005, Fr. Kulueke worked for a while in the District of Agusan del Sur. Then he was moved to Davao to be a member of the Formation Team. Finally he was transferred to Cebu at the University of San Carlos where currently he serves as a Professor. His election to the office of the Provincial Superior did not hinder him to continue teaching. He also served for a short time as the Acting Vice President for Academics in the same university. Prior to his election as Provincial Superior, he was the rector of the SVD-USC Community for several years. Aside from being professor and superior, Fr. Kulueke still finds time to carry out the apostolate for the poor, the sick, the oppressed and the victims of social abuses. The Philippine SVD is divided into three ecclesiastical provinces, namely: the Philippine North that covers Tarlac to Aparri; the Philippine Central which is composed of Metro Manila, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Pampanga, Bicol and Palawan; and the Philippine South which include the Visayas and Mindanao islands.
OFW’s families participate in Migrants’ celebration OFWs nationwide. Likewise, the Province recorded 2nd-3rd in ranking having the most cases of illegal recruitment. The diocesan hosting of the NMS, introduced in 2005 was started in the Archdiocese of Lipa. It was followed by the Archdiocese of San Fernando-Pampanga in 2006 and in 2007 by the Diocese of Antipolo. The diocesan hosting aims to raise public consciousness within a particular diocese on the social costs of overseas migration and employment. This leads eventually to the development of a migrant’s ministry to provide pastoral care to migrants and their families. The NMS started on March 8, 1987. The migrant families that took part in the different NMS events showed solidarity among each other and echoed their commitment and support to the initia-
tive of the Church in the migrants’ ministry. Around 1,500 OFW family members came from various parishes and schools of the Diocese of Imus. They gathered at the Gymnasium of the Sisters of Mary’s Girlstown in SilangCavite where solidarity fellowship was held. One of the highlights of the celebration was the cultural performances of the migrant families. The performers wowed the crowd as they presented different faces and voices of the OFW sector. Those participated in the cultural show came from Saint Jerome Emiliani Institute in Bacoor, Cavite and Jesus Good Shepherd School in Imus, Cavite. Also other dioceses showed its solidarity dances which include Antipolo and Manila. A special intermission number was delivered by Warner
Music Recording Artist Miguel Aguila. ECMI Chairman Bishop Precioso Cantillas, SDB, together with Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle were the guests of honor during the celebration. The two Bishops committed to work for a concerted effort in the migrants ministry. They reflected on the NMS theme: “Show Concern to the Young Generation of Migrants.” The recently concluded NMS celebration in various dioceses reportedly had positive results according to the Migrants Ministry Priest Directors of participating dioceses. The national celebration hosted by the Diocese of Imus was successfully accomplished through the hardworking effort from the Migrants Ministry Core Group led by Rev. Fr. Leonardo Bagos. (Edmund H. Ruga)
WON. Power to Unite, a music video that promotes the Word of God as a tool for overcoming the desperation of modern life and uniting people of various persuasions; Gold Medal; at the New York Festivals International Television Broadcasting Awards; February 1, 2008. A brainchild of Elvira Yap Go, president of Power to Unite Family Bible Foundation, the music video is a lively and colorful mosaic of ethnic Filipino costumes, dances, and faces, the beautifully-posed tableaus flashing past to the rhythm of a song whose lyrics can only have come from the heart. The production of “Power to Unite” harnessed the talent of several big names in the Philippine performing arts circle: musician Charo Unite, arranger Roy del Valle, singer Rene Martinez, the late National Artist for Dance Ramon Obusan, and multi-awarded director Louie Ignacio, to mention just a few. Championed by bigwigs in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines, led by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila, “Power to Unite” depicts the Filipino family as evangelizers, spreading the Good News throughout the world.
Photo courtesy of ECBA
THOUSANDS of OFW family members flocked in various places nationwide to participate in the 22 nd National Migrants Sunday (NMS) last February 10, organized and simultaneously celebrated in 17 dioceses. The Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) said 17 dioceses organized different forms of innovative celebration of NMS. Among them are: San Fernando-Pampanga, Lipa, Kalookan, Manila, Novaliches, Bayombong, Antipolo, Imus, San Fernando-La Union, Alaminos, Jaro, Maasin, Bacolod, Palo, Tagbilaran, Cebu and Davao. The Diocese of Imus that hosted this year’s celebration is the fourth to host the NMS. The Province of Cavite was selected as host because of its being fourth in rank with the most number of
Kapwa program, calling everybody to share their time, talent and treasure with the poor. The theme for this year’s program is “Pagkalinga at Pangangalaga sa Kapaligiran, Tungkulin ng Sambayanang Kristiyano” which hopes to stir public awareness and support for environmental protection. Now on its 33rd year, contributions to the Alay Kapwa program are used to support and sustain social action initiatives on peace advocacy, ecology, sustainable agriculture, children’s rights, disaster management, and other development projects. (Melo M. Acuña)
intendent; Fr. Raymond Ancheta, Parochial Vicar of St. Augustine Parish, Bantay; Fr. Peter Dagsi, DZNS Director; and Fr. Lester and Fr. Marion, both formators in the seminary. Rev. Fr. Nick Vaquilar, STL, was the guest speaker during the Biblical Congress. He currently teaches Scriptures at ICST and president of Priests’ assembly of Nueva Segovia. He expounded on the year’s theme: “God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace.” The group discussion during the workshop revolved mainly on one’s personal experience on the word of God and the motivation for seeking justice, reconciliation and peace; as well as the concrete steps to be taken so that the word of God will shine in the par-
bassador to the Holy See Henrietta de Villa who talked on “Challenge 2010…Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.” Workshops on the topics discussed in the assembly enriched the participation of the delegates. Addressing the delegates at the start of the convention, Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA), noted that for various reasons 2008 can be called the Church’s Year of the Bible. He cited several biblical events, the National Bible Week held from January 21-27; the Southeast Asian Catholic Biblical Federation workshop following the National Biblical Workshop from February 11-17; the 7th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation slated from June 24-July 3 in Tanzania, Africa; and the 12th Ordinary Synod of Bishops centered on the theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” to be held in the Vatican in October 2008. He likewise mentioned National Family Bible Quiz, now on its 3rd year, as another biblical event highlighting the significant role it had in bringing families together to reflect and live the word of God. Participants drafted a statement at the end of the convention pledging to realize the “lines of action” taken up in the biblical workshop. (CBCPNews)
Alay Kapwa ’08 launched
Nueva Segovia holds 1st Archdiocesan Bible Congress THE Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia celebrated National Bible Week last January 27, 2008 by holding its 1st Archdiocesan Bible Congress. Msgr. Gary Noel S. Formoso, the newly appointed Biblical Director; spearheaded the event in collaboration with parish biblical coordinators. Around 160 delegates including students of St. Benedict Institute attended the Congress. Priests came also to give their support and encouragement. Those present were Fr. Dominador Ramos, SVD, John Paul I Biblical Center Director and Divine Word College of Vigan (DWCV) President; Fr. Antonio Calauit SVD, Campus Minister of DWCV; Fr. Arthur Amian, Timek Director and NUSACS Super-
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Participants to the 5th Southeast Asian Catholic Biblical Federation representing eight countries in the subregion of Southeast Asia during their workshop in Cagayan de Oro, February 16-17, 2008.
APPOINTED. Sister Mary Leticia Bolinao, PDDM, January 4, 2008; as Provincial Superior of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, a religious congregation for women founded by Blessed James Alberione in Italy on February 10, 1924. A native of Cebu, Sister Leticia is the third among seven children. She joined the PDDM in 1984; and finished her theology studies at Maryhill School of Theology in 1993. She was assigned as Vocation Animator and Assistant Formator until she professed her perpetual vows on December 29, 1995. On the following year, she was sent to Rome to study Pedagogy for Religious Formation. She returned to the Philippines on 2000 and has handled several responsibilities on various occasions: Vocation Directress, Postulant Directress, Local Councilor and Provincial Councilor until her latest appointment as Provincial Superior. The PDDM Philippine-Taiwan-Hongkong Province devotes itself to the Eucharistic, Priestly and Liturgical apostolates, with major devotions to Jesus Divine Master, Mary Queen of Apostles and St. Paul the Apostle. ORDAINED. Rev. Joselito Anthony S. Layug, SSP at the Sanctuary of St. Paul the Apostle, San Antonio Village, Makati, February 23, 2008. Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, bishop of Imus, led the ordination rites. DIED. Sr. Ma. Maura M. Lopez, RVM, January 28, 2008. Sr. Ma. Conchita J. Valerio, RVM, February 11, 2008
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Bishop Broderick Pabillo and religious nuns accompany Senate witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada in a pre-dawn presscon at La Salle Greenhills Photo courtesy of Noli Yamsuan, RCAM
God’s Word as source of justice, reconciliation and peace
WE are all aware that we are in a very difficult moment of our life as a people in the Philippines. In spite of the claims of economic gains, people on the ground say that their situation has not improved; in fact it has gone worse. There is a great credibility gap regarding our political leaders. Corruption is perceived as normal by many. The only future seen by a great number is to go abroad, so much so that according to the Health Secretary Duque himself, 85% of our health workers are currently working abroad. Who takes care then of the health of our people? The Agrarian Reform which had been seen as the center piece project of several administrations to fight rural poverty is ending this year with its job half accomplished. Foreign debt has ballooned for the past 6 years. The present administration has borrowed more money than the last three administrations combined! Yes, where are we going? Many people are indeed asking; where are we going? And they are asking the Church. They are asking the Church because they see that, in spite of her own weaknesses, she is still a credible institu-
God desires morality from human persons in the practice of religion Micah 6, 8; 2 Corinthians 5, 17-20
tion as a whole and she gives moral guidance to the people. So it is but proper that we should not frustrate those who turn to us. We have to give them the proper direction to take, the proper attitude to have. We have to give them not human concocted advice, but clear teachings from God. So we turn to the Bible which is “inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3, 16-17). Our New Testament theme, taken from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, tells us that we are ambassadors of Christ. God is appealing through us. The appeal is: Be reconciled to God (cf. 2 Cor 5, 20). God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. It is Christ Jesus who has reconciled the world to God. Our ministry is to proclaim to people that they allow themselves to be reconciled to God and to one another.
Oh, if we are just reconciled: then there would no longer be the divisions—those ugly divisions—that keep us from working together as a people. We are already in a precarious situation. Instead of helping each other we push one another to the precipice in front of us! Most especially, to be reconciled to God means to come back to Him. The desire of God for his people Israel at the time of Solomon is his very desire for us now: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chr 7, 14) So we ask ourselves: what are we to do to turn to God? This is the very same dilemma that the people faced at the time of the prophet Micah around 750 B.C. The sins of the people then were so great—injustices to the poor, the state officials were only thinking of themselves, people were worshipping foreign
gods—that Yahweh summoned the people to a court case. This was no ordinary court case because Yahweh was the complainant and the whole people of Israel were the accused. As witnesses, God called the mountains and the hills. It was a cosmic court case. “Hear what the LORD says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.” (Micah 6, 1-2) What is the case of Yahweh against his people? We do not have the complete record of the case. What we have is the lament of the Lord. He had been good to Israel. He freed them from Egypt. He sent them such great men and women as Moses, Miriam and Aaron. He has gone out of his way to forgive them when they prostituted themselves with the Moabite and Medianite women and sacrificed to
Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo By S. Ma. Rosa Celestial, RVM and Ma. Luisa Lacson THE Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI officially accepted the positive decision of the Congress of Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation of the Causes of the Saints
that the Servant of God, Ignacia del Espiritu Santo had lived the theological and cardinal virtues to a heroic degree. The Decree on Virtues or Decretum Super
Virtutibus was issued on July 6, 2007. The Holy Father ordered the publication of this Decree on Virtues by which the Servant of God earned the title Venerable. It was promulgated on February 1, 2008. The Cause of Venerable Ignacia was formally initiated by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin who presented it to the Sacred Congregation in 1986. That same year particularly on October 20, 1986, it received the Nihil Obstat from the Sacred Congregation to review the Cause in the archdiocesan level. Immediately the following month, an Archdiocesan Tribunal was organized to study and review the Cause. They released a unanimous declaration that Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo was “a shining example of a life of profound holiness,” during the “first few hundred years of Church’s life here in the Philippines.” The Archdiocesan Tribunal supported the Cause of Mother Ignacia’s beatification. It was then elevated to Rome and it progressed gradually. The Positio submitted on the life of Mother Ignacia was reviewed and discussed by the Historical Commission designated by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints on January 16, 2001. Majority of the members saw the merits of the Positio and found it favorable for endorsement. The proceedings of the meeting of the Historical Commission and the endorsement of Relatore
General¯Fr. Ambrose Eszer, OP—were included in the final volume of the Positio that would be evaluated by the Theological Commission. On February 23, 2007, the Congress of Theologians also made a positive appraisal, accepted it and made a favorable endorsement on the life and virtues of the Servant of God, Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. The process wrapped up on June 19, 2007, when the Congress of Cardinals scheduled the cause of the Servant of God, also resulting in a positive decision and the Cause was elevated to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. Consequently, on July 6, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the publication of the Decretum Super Virtutibus or Decree on Virtues of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, the Servant of God” (cf. RVM Souvenir on Promulgation, February 1, 2008). On February 1, 2008, a Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated at the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo, Manila on the promulgation of the DECRETUM SUPER VIRTUTIBUS (Decree on Virtues) of Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, Filipino founder of the first and oldest indigenous religious congregation for women in the Philippines. His Eminence, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, was the main celebrant and preacher; and concelebrated by the other Archbishops and Bishops and 58 Monsignorii and Venerable / B3
their gods at Shittim (cf. Num 25, 1-18). He saved them from the intended curses of the pagan prophet Balaam. Instead of being cursed, they were blessed (cf. Num 22-24). They also felt the special presence of God when they were circumcised in Gilgal and celebrated the first Passover in long desired Promised Land after crossing the Jordan with Joshua (cf. Josh 4, 19-5, 12). What more could Yahweh do to show them his love and care. Why had they acted thus to him, compensating his goodness with their sins and betrayal? Yahweh was really hurt. We feel this pathos of God from the text. “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD.” (Micah 6, 3-5) At this heart rendering appeal of God, God’s Word / B4
Most Rev. Francisco C. San Diego, DD Ordained to the Episcopate on August 10, 1983, Bishop San Diego was appointed as first Bishop of the Diocese of Pasig and installed on August 21, 2003. He is currently a member of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, CBCP Pension Plan, Episcopal Commission on Canon Law and Pondo ng Pinoy Finance Committee. In this issue of CBCP Monitor, Bishop San Diego talks about the situation of the less privileged in the diocese and efforts to help them; the effects of a consumerist’s lifestyle on the family and the diocesan family apostolate’s efforts to counteract this; the application of restorative justice in our justice system; the influx of guest-priests ministering in the diocese; and the continuing formation of the clergy. How does the diocese help alleviate the situation of the less privileged in your area? The Diocese of Pasig helps alleviate the situation of the less privileged in our area through the various programs of our Diocesan Ministry for Social Services headed by Msgr. Cesar Pagulayan. The Ministry has identified 25 mission areas within the Diocese where they could focus on what they call “CIDSS”—Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services. These are the areas of Bambang, Bagong-Ilog, Iskul ni Bobby (Vicper/Bolante), Maybunga, Ismar Kalawaan, Resettlement Kalawaan, Sagad, Sto. Tomas, Kangkongan Manggahan, MPK Manggahan, Rosario, Acacia, Gahit Pinagbuhatan, Catmic Nagpayong Pinagbuhatan, Kabalikat Nagpayong Pinagbuhatan, SMB Nagpayong Pinagbuhatan, San Joaquin, Epas Santolan, Paseo de Animales Santolan, Sta. Lucia, Sta. Cruz, Pineda, Sta. Rosa, Mt. Era Riverside Nagpayong Pinagbuhatan. The locations of these places are usually near the easement of the river and near dumpsites. The usual problems addressed by the Ministry are financial, medical, family related problems, psychotic vagrants, solo 7 Questions / B7
Proper celebration of the Holy Mass By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D. Thank you for shedding some light on the question of rubrics in the liturgy. However, you failed to give me any definite answer on the specific point of holding hands during the communal recitation of the Our Father at Mass. In the process, you suggested that “other points raised by the most recent Instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Redemptionis Sacramentum, On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist (19.III.2004), can be given priority.” Would you clarify this further please? THE most concise way of answering these queries is by simply quoting from the aforementioned Instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Redemptionis Sacramentum, On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, dated 19.III.2004. It is good to recall that an Instruction does not legislate anything new, but is rather a reminder to those with executive power in the Church (primarily the bishops in their circumscriptions and secondarily the parish priests) to put into practice existing norms and legislation. What follows then are direct quotations from Redemptionis Sacramentum, with brief comments—when needed—in italics. Even the original numbering of the Instruction has been retained for easy reference. Given the length of the material, however, I shall dwell first on the other “matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist”, reserving the question of holding hands in the Our Father for the next issue. Chapter III: The proper celebration of the Mass The Matter of the Most Holy Eucharist [48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. Bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. [50.] The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances. During the celebration itself, a small quantity of water is to be mixed with it. It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance. Nor are other drinks of any kind to be admitted for any reason, as they do not constitute valid matter. The Eucharistic Prayer This is what occurs between the Preface (after the Sanctus) and the Our Father.  Only those Eucharistic Prayers are to be used which are found in the Roman Missal or are legitimately approved by the Apostolic See, and according to the manner and the terms set forth by it. It is not to be tolerated that some Priests take upon themselves the right to compose their own Eucharistic Prayers, or to change the same texts approved by the Church, or to in-
troduce others composed by private individuals.  The proclamation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which by its very nature is the climax of the whole celebration, is proper to the Priest by virtue of his Ordination. It is therefore an abuse to proffer it in such a way that some
parts of the E u charistic Prayer a r e r e cited by a Deacon, a l a y minister, or by an ind i vidual member of the faithful, or by all members of the faithful together. The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full. [53.] While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent. [55.] In some places there has existed an abuse by which the Priest breaks the host at the time of the consecration in the Holy Mass. This abuse is contrary to the tradition of the Church. It is reprobated and is to be corrected with haste. The Other Parts of the Mass [57.] It is the right of the community of Christ’s faithful that especially in the Sunday celebration there should customarily be true and suitable sacred music, and that there should always be an altar, vestments and sacred linen that are dignified,
proper and clean, in accordance with the norms. [59.] The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce must cease. For in
sober manner. The Priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remain within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. As regards the sign to be exchanged, the manner is to be established by the Conference of Bishops in accordance with the dispositions and customs of the people, and subject to the recognitio—i.e., written approval—of the Apostolic See. [73.] In the celebration of Holy Mass the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread—done only by the Priest celebrant, if necessary with the help of a Deacon or of a concelebrant—begins after the exchange of peace, while the Agnus Dei is being recited. The abuse that has prevailed in some places, by which this rite is unnecessarily prolonged and given undue emphasis, with laypersons also helping in contradiction to the norms, should be corrected with all haste. [77.] The celebration of Holy Mass is not to be inserted in any way into the setting of a common meal, nor joined with this kind of banquet. Mass is not to be celebrated without grave necessity on a dinner table, nor in a dining room or banquet hall, nor in a room where food is present, nor in a place where the Illustrations by Bladimer Usi participants during the celebration itself are seated at claim the Gospel reading in the tables. If out of grave necessity celebration of the Holy Mass. [64.] The homily, which is Mass must be celebrated in the given in the course of the celebra- same place where eating will tion of the Holy Mass and is a later take place, there is to be a part of the Liturgy itself, should clear interval of time between the ordinarily be given by the Priest conclusion of Mass and the becelebrant himself. He may en- ginning of the meal, and ordinary trust it to a concelebrating Priest food is not to be set before the or occasionally, according to cir- faithful during the celebration of cumstances, to a Deacon, but Mass. [78.] It is not permissible to never to a layperson. In particular cases and for a just cause, the link the celebration of Mass to homily may even be given by a political or secular events, nor to situations that are not fully consistent with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, it is altogether to be avoided that the celebration of Mass should be carried out merely out of a desire for show, or in the manner of other ceremonies including profane ones, lest the Eucharist should be emptied of its authentic meaning. doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy. [62.] It is also illicit to omit or to substitute the prescribed biblical readings on one’s own initiative, and especially to substitute other nonbiblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God. [63.] The reading of the Gospel is reserved by the Church’s tradition to an ordained minister. Thus, it is not permitted for a layperson, even a religious, to pro-
Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate. [65.] Particular care is to be taken so that the homily is firmly based upon the mysteries of salvation, expounding the mysteries of the Faith and the norms of Christian life from the biblical readings and liturgical texts throughout the course of the liturgical year and providing commentary on the texts of the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass, or of some other rite of the Church. [72.] It is appropriate that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a
Conclusion As can be seen, the aforementioned details are just a selection of the details raised in the Instruction, which this author thinks need more urgent attention, given the prevalence of deviations from them in the local setting. As n.11 of the Instruction (quoting John Paul II) states: The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured.” On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free reign to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved, and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Laypeople distributing ashes (Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following questions:) Q1: Are laypeople allowed to give out ashes on Ash Wednesday? At the Mass I attend on Ash Wednesday I would say there were more than enough priests present—obviously it would have taken longer— but I can’t think that the laypersons were actually needed as such. — C.McL., Greenock, Scotland Q2: The priest sprinkled the ashes on our heads as if he were putting a pinch of salt into a recipe (rubbing his thumb and index finger over the head while reciting the prescribed words). As far as I can remember, the only method I’ve seen used in the past has been a cross on the forehead. I always thought that the cross on the forehead was a blessing with the ashes. Is there a correct and/or incorrect way of applying the ashes? — J.P., Montreal A: With respect to the first question the Shorter Book of Blessings has a rite for the blessing and distribution of ashes outside of Mass. No. 1062 of this book has the following indication: “This rite may be celebrated by a priest or deacon who may be assisted by lay ministers in the distribution of the ashes. The blessing of the ashes, however, is reserved to a priest or deacon.” A lay minister may also lead a slightly varied version of the rite of distribution using ashes previously blessed by a priest or deacon, for example, when bringing ashes to the sick. The Roman Missal makes no explicit mention of the use of lay ministers to assist in the distribution of ashes blessed during Mass. I believe, however, that the indication in the Book of Blessings also applies to this situation whenever such help proves necessary. The second question regards the manner of imposing ashes. There are no set rules regarding this, and it largely depends on local custom. In most English-speaking countries the prevailing custom seems to be that the priest places enough holy water into the ashes to form a kind of paste. The ashes are then daubed in the form of a cross on the forehead. Many Catholics see this practice as a means of publicly showing their faith and leave the smudge on their forehead throughout Ash Wednesday. In other countries, such as Spain, Italy and parts of Latin America, the prevailing custom seems to be sprinkling fairly dry ashes on the crown of the head. But even within these geographical areas, both customs are practiced and there may be other legitimate traditions as well. The most important thing is to live the rite according to its true meaning. As No. 125 of the Directory for Popular Piety says: “The act of putting on ashes symbolizes fragility and mortality, and the need to be redeemed by the mercy of God. Far from being a merely external act, the Church has retained the use of ashes to symbolize that attitude of internal penance to which all the baptized are called during Lent. The faithful who come to receive ashes should be assisted in perceiving the implicit internal significance of this act, which disposes them towards conversion and renewed Easter commitment.” Q: My parish priest made a regulation that anyone who arrives in Mass after the Gospel is not allowed to take Communion. According to him, the reason is that Jesus is “the Word made flesh.” Therefore we must recognize Jesus in the Word before we recognize him in holy Communion. Another priest, who is a professor of liturgy, has another opinion. He said that people who arrive late in Mass with a valid reason (for example, an unusual traffic jam, attending sick children, etc.) should not be denied Communion. Could you please give a clarification on this matter? — B.E., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia A: We dealt with the question of late arrivals at Mass in one of our first columns, on Nov. 4 and Nov. 18, in 2003. Then as now, I would agree more with the second priest: that someone who arrives late out of no fault of their own should not be denied Communion. I also consider it unwise to set any barrier point; I continue to insist that the faithful should assist at the whole Mass. It is quite possible that some members of the faithful could begin to see the Gospel as the cutoff moment and feel comfortable in habitually arriving for the second reading, thus assuring that the Mass is “valid.” It is true that the Mass is a whole and that we must first recognize Jesus in the Word before we recognize him in the Eucharist. But this would include the entire Liturgy of the Word and not just the Gospel. Also, while there is some certain logic in choosing the Gospel as such a moment, the reasons given are not sufficiently well grounded from the theological, canonical and moral standpoints to support such a blanket impediment to receiving Communion. The pastor has a duty to direct and inform the consciences of the faithful entrusted to him. And while I disagree with his suggesting the Gospel as a demarcation point for receiving Communion, it is at least clear that he is trying to perform his sacred duty. Therefore, the onus of the decision whether or not to receive Communion, in this particular case of a late arrival, falls primarily upon the individual Catholic rather than upon the pastor who can hardly be expected to be attentive to every late arrival. It is therefore incumbent on those arriving late to examine their conscience as to the reason behind their tardiness. If the reason is neglect or laziness, then they would do better attending another full Mass if this is possible. Even those who blamelessly arrive late should prefer to assist at a full Mass although they would be less bound to do so in conscience. At the same time, there are some objective elements to be taken into account besides the reason for lateness. Someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, no matter what the reason for his belatedness. Such a person should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, has the obligation to attend another Mass. It is true that Communion may be received outside of Mass, so Mass is not an essential prerequisite for receiving Communion. This would not, however, justify arriving just in time for Communion at a weekday Mass, as all of the rites for receiving Communion outside of Mass include a Liturgy of the Word and one should attend the entire rite.
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
By Fr. Rolando Salvaña, SJ THE Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is only a little over five years old, having been established only on May 26, 2002 from what was then the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan. Century-old Parishes The Vicariate has three parishes that are over 300 years old and have beautiful centuries-old stone forts: the Parish of Sta. Monica (Taytay) having been founded in 1622, the Parish of St. Augustine (Cuyo) also in 1622, and the Parish of San Juan Bautista (Agutaya) in 1692. Four parishes are over 100 years old: the Parish of St. Augustine (Coron) having been founded in 1901, the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi (El Nido) also in 1901, the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Araceli (Araceli) in 1902 and the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Culion) in 1906. Three other parishes have remnants of what were then mighty forts: the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel (Linapacan), the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Culion), and the Parish of St. John the Baptist (Dumaran).
Yet, the communities in the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay are among the poorest in Palawan. Except for the towns of Roxas and Coron, the rest of Northern Palawan neither enjoy a 24-hour supply of electricity nor a good water system that provides water to households. Apart from Culion which has a general hospital, there are no good hospitals in the area. The local government units, though, have money to spend for the improvement of their airport facilities meant to lure more tourists.
Bishop Edgardo S. Juanich, DD celebrating mass (background) and addressing participants of a youth camp (below).
The Apostolic Vicariate The Vicariate has 20 parishes, 10 of which are found in Northern Mainland Palawan and another 10 are situated in the islands, in particular, in the Calamianes and Cuyo Group of Islands, and Dumaran Island. The total land area is about 769,110 hectares. Travel from one parish to another, even in the mainland, is too weather-dependent because a day’s rain often transforms the roads into soft cakes of clay and makes some stretches in the national highway impassable. Travel from one island parish to another is just as difficult and dangerous because the Amihan and the Habagat winds spawn big waves that can sink small pumpboats and can unnerve
The The Apostolic Apostolic Vicariate Vicariate of of Taytay Taytay
Yet, the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is still gathering stones to build its own Cathedral in Taytay. As Most Reverend Edgardo S. Juanich, D.D. said, Taytay has the biggest cathedral in the world with the stars as its roof at night and the clouds as its shade during the day. World-class Resorts among Poor Communities The territory is known for its world class resorts, foremost of which are the Amanpulo (Cuyo), Club Noah Isabelle (Taytay), Club Paradise (Coron), Lagen and Miniloc Island Resorts (El Nido). It is also the source of the much sought-after but expensive bird’s nest called balinsasayaw which is supposedly extremely good for one’s health (a kilo sells for around P150,000) and of live fish or buhay-buhay culture, in particular, of the red lapulapu fish; a good size of which sells for P1,500 a kilo.
bangkeros of lesser mettle. Its Principal Patron is St. Joseph the Worker (May 1). The Vicariate, moreover, venerates the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, St. John of God (Patron of the Sick) and St. Benedict Menni (Patron of Volunteers) as its Secondary Patrons. The Most Reverend Edgardo S. Juanich is Taytay’s first Vicar Apostolic and the first Palawano Priest, Taytay’s very own, to be raised to the ranks of the episcopacy. He was appointed as Vicar Apostolic by the late Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2002, and ordained Bishop on July 11, 2002 by His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Franco, former Papal Nuncio to the Philippines. Bishop Juanich was installed as the first Vicar Apostolic of Taytay on July 12, 2002. Religious men and women of various congregations work hand-in-hand with the Bishop and the Diocesan Clergy in pursuing the aims of the Vicariate. The
priests of the Society of Jesus are involved in parish work and educational apostolate in Culion; the Mill Hill Fathers are engaged in parish work in Turda, Coron; the Mensa Domini Sisters of the Lord’s Table do Catechetical and BEC work in Taytay; the St. Paul of Chartres Sisters are into catechetical and hospital apostolate in Culion; the Augustinian Recollect Sisters have their educational apostolate in Liminangcong, Taytay; and the Daughters of Charity Sisters their parish and educational apostolate in Coron. Pastoral Programs During the First Vicarial Pastoral Consultation and Planning held at the Parish of St. Isidore the Farmer in Roxas on October 7-11, 2002, the delegates articulated the Vision of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay with these words: Led by the Spirit in discerning the signs of the times,
We envision the local Church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Palawan as a community of Christ’s disciples, with Mary as our model, journeying together in proclaiming the Father’s reign. At present, the priests of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay run and man the Seminario de San Jose in Puerto Princesa City. The seminary has a high school and college seminary program that cater both to the Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay. The promotion and development of Basic Ecclesial Communities has been relentlessly pursued in the whole Vicariate. The Ministry on Worship and Liturgy has been conducting updating seminars and workshops for the Special Ministers of the Eucharist as well as for the parishes’ Lectors and Commentators. The Mass Media and Communications Ministry has ventured into radio broadcasting with its regular Sunday radio broadcast on the air for over a year. The Ministry on Clergy Formation has already sent most of its Senior Clergy to the Integrated Renewal Program. The Ministry on Catechetics has finished its drafts on two catechisms and intends to publish them this 2008: Checkbook to Heaven (A Basic Catechism for Elementary School Pupils) and I, Sick (A Catechism for the Sick). The Youth Ministry has been conducting Youth Camps with the hope of making the youth more participative and active in church activities and in promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. On his own, the Vicar Apostolic has been visiting communities of Indigenous
IMPORTANT FACTS Bishop ……………………………… 1 Priests: Diocesan ………………………….. 27 Religious ………………………….. 3 Sisters …………………………….. 17 Seminarians: High School (Externs) ………….... 17 Pre-College …………………….... 13 College ………………………...…. 13 Theology ………………………….. 9 Vicarial Division: Districts …………………………… 5 Parishes …………………….…… 19 With resident pastor ………….. 19 Entrusted to Diocesan priests .. 18 Entrusted to Religious ………… 1 Educational Centers: College ……………………...……. 1 Secondary Schools ……………... 4 Kindergarten and Nurseries .…... 7 Population ………………...... 310,383 Catholics ……………....……. 265,000 Area ………………… 6,413.30 sq.km.
People in Northern Palawan and organizing peoples’ organizations among farmers, fishermen and manual laborers. Landmark Projects One of the many landmark projects the Vicariate has achieved in its five-year history is the 2006 Memorandum of Agreement it has forged with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding forest protection and development programs covering an area of 1,077 hectares, called “Adopt-aMountain Program”. Seizing this opportunity of adopting a mountain, the Vicariate has developed a demonstration farm in Sitio Quilala (Taytay) for vermi culture/compost, herbal garden, vegetable garden, a fishpond, among other things. It has also initiated tree planting programs for its diocesan priests and other sectors in Northern Palawan even as it has pursued the spiritual and pastoral care of the settlers in the mountain entrusted to the Vicariate. Very recently, a Mass Wedding for some of these settlers has been successfully concluded. Three monks with roots from the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras, Iloilo, live as hermits in three separate stations in the mountains. Indeed, given its short history—with the first five years spent in strengthening old parishes, establishing new mission territories/parishes, as well as in making the different ministries become more responsive to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Faithful—the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay now looks forward to erecting the first pillars of its cathedral. Given another five years, through God’s grace and the generosity of friends – that is, stone after stone after stone, peso after peso after peso, prayer after prayer after prayer – the Vicariate hopes that the spires of the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral shall be ready to reach out to the heavens.
Venerable / B1
priests. The Decree was read by CBCP President, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, DD. Venerable Ignacia Del Espiritu Santo, a Chinese-Filipina mestiza, born in Binondo, Manila in February 1663, was named after St. Ignatius of Antioch. She was baptized on March 4, 1663 at Holy Kings Church, at Parian, Manila. Ignacia was a valiant indigenous Filipina who founded the first female religious institute in the Philippines known as the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary. Ignacia’s parents, Jusepe Uico and Maria Jeronima; were devout Catholics and were her first catechists, who taught her basic tenets of the Faith and prayers and who reared her according to the Christian ideals. Furthermore, Venerable Ignacia was a product of a fruitful evangelization of the early missionaries in the 17th century. In her youth, she was taught the Doctrina Christiana by the Dominican Fathers from Binondo parish. In 1684, at the age of 21, Ignacia met her first serious dilemma in life. Her parents wished her to get married and bring prosperity to the family while Ignacia wanted nothing but to join the Beaterio de Santa Catalina. Earnest in seeking for the will of God, she made the Spiritual Exercises of
St. Ignatius through the guidance of Fr. Paul Klein, the first Jesuit confessor she approached. It was during the Spiritual Exercises that Ignacia became certain that she wanted to consecrate her life to God, by “serving the Divine Majesty.” Ignacia broke the traditional mold of women being confined in the home. She radically and courageously followed the will of God for her by establishing the first Beaterio for Filipino natives and mestizas who would serve God and the local Church of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial times. In those days, the only form of religious life was cloistered and limited only to Spanish women, and Ignacia made a breakthrough. The Beaterio she founded was for the natives and mestizas. Members were earnestly in pursuit of God through a life of holiness in a native beaterio, marked by a lifestyle of self-support, through the labor of their hands and through their work with and among the poor people. With only “a needle and a pair of scissors” that Ignacia brought from home, she taught her fellow beatas to live by the sweat of their brow and to be self-supporting. Many young women were edified and attracted to the life of prayer, sacrifice and service of Ignacia es-
pecially to the poor. They grew in number as well as in holiness and loving service to the local Church of the colony. Venerable Ignacia’s life was Christ-centered. She deeply internalized and emulated the suffering of Christ through her asceticism and penance, humble service and heroic witnessing. Her life had strong apostolic dimension with her great love for the uplift of the marginalized sectors such as: the Filipino women and the youth. Her service and concern excluded no one, emphasizing love and forgiveness, bearing the wrongs patiently and correcting with gentleness and meekness. Furthermore, she greatly emphasized living “in peace and harmony in the community, mutual love and union of wills, witnessing to the love of Christ and the maternal care of the Blessed Mother. This spirituality reflected Venerable Ignacia’s great faith, hope and love which she lived out fully for God and the Church. Venerable Ignacia dedicated her Beaterio to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She called it the “Family of Mary” and specifically designated Our Lady of the Assumption as the Patroness (1726 Rule I.16; I.21). At the start, the Beaterio was called Beaterio de la Compañía de Jesús because they “attended
the Church liturgies in the Jesuit college Church and performed their devotions there; the Jesuits guided and helped them in their state of life; they listened to the exhortations and spiritual conferences given by the Jesuits.” The Jesuit Fathers were at that time their confessors and spiritual directors. Aside from Fr. Paul Klein, her first spiritual director, Fr. Murillo Velarde, a historian-canonist, biographer and contemporary of Venerable Ignacia pointed out in his book Historical Account of the life of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo her outstanding qualities and spirituality: She was a truly valiant woman, for she not only overcame the great difficulties which she met in this foundation from the beginning even to the end…She was mortified, patient, devout, spiritual, zealous for the good of souls. She was so humble that she proved it in what I believe to be the greatest way in this matter, by insisting on abdicating the government of that house without letting herself be overcome by that desire to command, which like a cancer proper to this region, corrupts everything from the cedar to the hyssop. She was honored at her burial, which was in our church, by some ecclesiastics and Spaniards, who carried her coffin. Mother Ignacia died on September 10, 1748. After her death,
Murillo Velarde wrote this honest assessment and prayer for the beatas that she left behind: What has always been a source of wonder to me is that in spite of their large number and of being all Indias or mestizas, governed by themselves, in more than seventy years they have not given reason for talk in the commonwealth. Rather they have given much edification to all by their devotion, humility, application to work and to the Spiritual Exercises. May God give them perseverance, and not permit that there be introduced any relaxation or disorder which might destroy in a day the work of so many years . . . Archbishop Pedro Arizala, then Archbishop of Manila in the 18th century took notice and spoke highly of Venerable Ignacia and the Beaterio of which he wrote to the King of Spain requesting the King to grant his Royal Protection to Venerable Ignacia and the Beatas. (Ignatian Spirituality and the R.V.M. Life, Beaterio Papers, 364.) My Lord, inasmuch as these native women, whose praiseworthy lives edify everyone, are of great advantage to the country by their education of the young and the retreat movement for women, at no cost to your royal treasury nor prejudicial to any existing community, I believe they should be recipients of your Royal goodness and clemency, encouraging
them, granting the permission and approval to continue their community life in the house they occupy at present. Thus, remaining in their holy calling, may serve as a motivation and example to others in the country, inspiring them to imitation for the greater glory of the Divine Majesty and the good of the country. Venerable Ignacia has given the Church a shining example of how to live the Christian life heroically. The late Fr. Pedro Achutequi in his poem (excerpt of The Challenge) brought home the “bold initiative” of Venerable Ignacia: “A simple woman IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO Broke the mold. She challenged the society and the church of her time and guided by the Spirit opened new paths on Philippine soil.” …. How can we, each of us men and women alike do To challenge the society and the Church of our time?” Indeed, how can we Filipinos of today concretely respond to the challenges of our society’s needs? How can we, like Venerable Ignacia, bring about new life and more effective service to the Church, for God’s greater glory?
B4 FOR the 17th National Biblical Workshop of the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA-CBCP), some 218 Bible workers from all over the country gathered at Cagayan de Oro City, the city of golden friendship, in northern Mindanao. They were joined by 24 delegates from ten (10) South East Asian countries who would participate in the 5th South-East Asia Catholic Biblical Federation. The ECBA Workshop held on February 11-15, 2008 was followed immediately by the CBF Workshop (February 16-17). Venue to both events was the
theme with Pauline and ecological color: “St. Paul and the Groaning of Creation.” The Keynote Speaker, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, was prevented by bad weather from coming. But he sent his reflection on the theme “The Word of God—Source of Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace” and this was delivered with “rabbinic” commentaries, by Bishop Arturo Bastes in the morning of the second day. Another speaker, Ambassador Tita de Villa, did reach Cagayan de Oro in the afternoon and she spoke on “Challenge 2010… Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.” Bishop
Family Bible Quiz, now in its 3rd edition. It has branched out to other countries and has given birth to a TV talk-show “Power to Unite.” On the third day, the participants had several workshops to choose from: Bible Translations and the Challenge of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace (Fr. Marc Jacobson and Dr. Annie del Corro), Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in the Bible and the Qur’an (Msgr. Elmer Abacahin and Ms. Aminah Mambuay), Promotion of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in the Military and Police (P. Supt. Romy Inway Palgue and P. Supt. Warren Tolito), Catholic Faith Defenders as Promot-
magnificent job. The workshop would not be successful if not through the efforts of our wonderful hosts who showed us the best of the province’s hospitality and golden heart. Our gratitude goes to Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ and his team headed by the Diocesan Bible Director Fr. Alan Pulgo. Thanks to generous individuals and groups who prepared food and entertainment for us. Thanks also to Fr. Iluminado Rojo, the Regional Director for Mindanao. With our thanks goes our felicitation to the whole Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro which is currently celebrating its
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
intensely the travails of the workers for justice, reconciliation and peace. Creation “groans” with us as we try to live up to our dignity as children of God. Although we realize how deep we have fallen into the spell of corruption, and how difficult and how hopeless the situation may seem to some, we are full of hope for we know that the grace of God in Christ Jesus is more powerful than darkness and our human frailty. Our hope and our strength comes from the Word, “inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in holiness, so
onciliation, and Peace 1.1. We reiterate our resolve in the Bontoc Workshop: that we shall, in our personal capacity, reject corruption in all its forms. We shall begin with our personal values, the values of our family, parish, basic ecclesial communities and religious institutions. 1.2. We shall apply ourselves to more organized actions to fight corruption, form or join “circles of discernment,” and support those who forsake corruption to redeem their dignity/soul. 2. Challenge 2010 2.1. We shall respect and help others respect the dignity of the
17 National Biblical Workshop TH
Cha-li Beach Resort, Zone 3 Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City. When the participants were arriving, the weather was turning inclement, delaying the flights of some participants and preventing others from coming. Outside the venue, angry waves were pounding the sea walls. It is as if nature itself, still groaning in the travails of the children of God, was mourning if not lambasting, the brewing political crisis in the country as the Senate was investigating the NBN-ZTE corruption scandal involving the officials in the highest echelon of the government. The encircling gloom played like a prelude to the theme of the workshop: “God’s Word: Source of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace.” More than ever, the power of God’s Word is needed to break darkness’ spell that threatens not just the political fabric but the very soul of the nation. In his introductory remark, Bishop Arturo Bastes, ECBA Chairman, put the two workshops in the context of several biblical events that would rightly make 2008 the Year of the Bible. On June 24-July 3, 2008, the Catholic Biblical Federation will hold its 7th Plenary Assembly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa. Then, the biggest biblical event of the year follows in October: the 12th Ordinary Synod of Bishops which has as theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” No less significant is the celebration of the Year of St. Paul marking the bi-millennium of his birth which will be celebrated on June 28, 2008—June 29, 2009. The letters of St. Paul, considered the first “Christian theologian,” comprise the earliest New Testament writings. The conferences were chosen to elucidate the different dimensions of justice, reconciliation and peace. On the first day, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ spoke on “The Transformative Power of God’s Word in the Struggle against Corruption.” He was followed by Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, FSP who developed a
Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate Cha-Li Beach Resort, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City February 11-15, 2008 FINAL STATEMENT
The regional directors of the Biblical Apostolate in the Philippines with Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD (seated, second from right) during the 17th National Biblical Workshop held in Cagayan de Oro City last Feb. 11 to 15.
Virgilio David was not as successful, so his prepared conference on the Lineamenta of the Synod of Bishops was presented by Bishop Renato Mayugba. The main conferences were supplemented by sharing and workshops. The convention appreciated the National Catholic
ers of Justice, Reconciliation and Peace (Atty. Mike Abas), and Bibliodrama and the Biblical-Pastoral Ministry (Fr. Rudi Poehl, SVD). Indeed, the participants were offered a wealth of materials to ruminate upon, a veritable banquet for the mind and spirit. The organizers have really done a
Diamond Jubilee as an independent diocese. Finally, we would like to thank our speakers and workshop animators for sharing with us the fruits of their own “wrestling with the Word” and for braving the inclement weather in order to join us. In this workshop, we felt more
that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). In the power of the Word, we shall strive to implement the following lines of action, the fruit of our 17th National Bible Workshop: 1. Our struggle for Justice, Rec-
ballot. We shall help expose in a Christian way the evils of CORRUPTION which has become imbedded in the electoral process and in our social life. 2.2. We shall help the PPCRV in the formation of conscience and the mobilization of volunteers to disseminate its roadmap, to monitor the conduct of elections, and to carry out electoral reforms. 3. Bishops’ Synod on the Word of God 3.1. We shall pray for and follow the developments in the Synod on the Word of God. Once the Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God comes out, we shall make it one of the principal guides for our Bible apostolate. 4. Jubilee of St. Paul 4.1. We shall strive to know, love, and imitate the great Apostle of the Gentiles. We shall reflect on his letters and pray for a share of his zeal for the Gospel. We shall support the various initiatives of the Church for the celebration of the Pauline Year 20082009 and her concern for ecology. 5. Bible Celebrations 5.1. We shall participate more actively in the different Biblical initiatives, celebrations, and causes: Family Bible Quiz, National Bible Month/Week/Sunday, Bible symposia/sharing. 6. Five-fold area of Biblical Pastoral Ministry 6.1. We shall integrate our biblical pastoral ministry under five areas: Formation, Celebration, Translation, Production, and Distribution. 7. Networking 7.1 We shall network with the CBF and the Biblical Pastoral Workers in South East Asia and North Asia. We shall make use of media technology in coordinating our efforts and in spreading the Good News. Approved this 14th of February 2008 MOST REV. ARTURO M. BASTES, SVD, DD Bishop of Sorsogon ECBA-CBCP Chairman In the name of the participants
God’s Word / B1
the people had felt pangs of guilt. They wanted to make up. They wanted to change their ways, to gain Yahweh’s favor once more. What should they do? “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6, 6-7) The first instinct of Israel was, since God is offended, they try to endear themselves to him, and they do so by godly and religious activities. What they meant by this was to go to the Temple and to offer ritual sacrifices. They should give more and more sacrifices—thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil. We know of big quantities of offerings by kings such as David (cf. 2 Sam 6, 12-19), Solomon (cf. 1 Kgs 8, 63), Hezekiah, the king at Micah’s time (cf. 2 Chr 30, 24) and Josiah (cf. 2 Chr 35, 7). Or they could even do more by offering to him their best; and what best can there be but their own children? Although there were clear prohibitions against human sacrifices in the Law (cf. Ex 34, 20; Lev 18, 21; 20, 2-5), still we know that human sacrifices existed in Israel due to the influences of other peoples, and the prophets fought hard against this (cf. Josh 6, 26; Judg 11, 30-10; 1 Kgs 16, 34; 2 Kgs 16,3; 17, 17. 31; 21, 2-6; 23,10; 2 Chr 28, 3; 33, 6; Jer 7, 31; Ezek 16, 20). Is reconciliation with God brought about by more religious activities— more frequent, longer and more sumptuous processions? More offerings at mass? More novenas? More pilgrimages to shrines? There was a man who was frantically opening cabinets and looking under the table. A friend passed by and asked him what he was looking for? “I’m looking for my keys.” The friend, wanting to be of help, searched the room together with him. After opening all the cabinets and cupboards of the room several times and
finding no keys, he finally asked his friend. “But where did you lose your keys?” “In the other room.” the owner answered. “But why do you look for it here when you lost it there?” “Because there is more light here!” came the answer. We too tend to look for what had been lost in an easier and convenient place rather than where we have lost it. Where have we lost our relationship with God? Many times not in the Church, but in our relationship with others. So look for it there, not in religious activities. So Micah corrected his countrymen and reminded them of what God wants: “He has told you, O mortal man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6, 8) This is one of the five anti-ritual passages in the Old Testament. The others are: Amos 5, 21-24: I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Isaiah 1, 10-17: Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and calling of convocation—I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash
yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Isaiah 40, 15-17: Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Psalm 51, 16-17: For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. The temptation was, and still is, indeed great to by-pass our fellow human beings in order to go to God. This is not to be so! Sacrifices and religious offerings would not do if we have done wrong to others. So in Micah 6, 8, of the three things that God wants from us, two are about our fellow human beings – and they are the first two, while the last one is about God, and not even about offering prayers or sacrifices! The first has to do with justice to others, so righteousness in daily relations. Then, kindness to one another. Only then comes our relationship with God, which is to walk humbly with him, what Ps 51 calls “a broken and contrite heart” which God will not despise. Very clearly then the Scriptures point out to us that we cannot relate to God unless we relate well with our fellow human beings. We find this teaching confirmed by Jesus when he said in the Sermon on the Mount: “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5, 23-24) The apostles imbibed this teaching very well. In fact John wrote in his first letter: Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. (1 John 4, 20) St. James openly put it: Reli-
gion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1, 27) When we speak of religion we refer to our relationship with God. For St. James right relationship with God is shown by our concern for the poor and the helpless, represented by the orphans and the widows in his letter. People are coming to us looking for guidance in our difficult times. They want better relationships. They want God’s blessing. We are ambassadors of reconciliation. God has reconciled us to Himself in Jesus Christ. How can we access this better relationship with God? Micah tells us by justice and love to each other and by walking humbly with our God. The prophet Micah, in this one sentence, has summarized the messages of his three contemporary prophets: Amos, Hosea and Isaiah. Amos was the prophet of justice. He lambasted the leaders of his time in Samaria who cared nothing for the poor, and in fact took advantage of them. So he demanded to allow justice to flow like a river among the people. Hosea was the prophet of God’s love. To illustrate how God loves his people Hosea was asked to marry a prostitute. In spite of her infidelity to him, he was asked to take her back as wife. Such is God. In spite of our betrayal he continuously takes us back, so also should we be kind and loving to each other. Isaiah was the prophet of God’s majesty. Yahweh is above all and is Lord of all, even of the Assyrians and Babylonians and the people in exile. On front of his glory and majesty we are a people of “unclean lips” as the prophet Isaiah himself felt. (cf. Is 6, 1-10) We humbly recognize the lordship of God and submit ourselves to him. This is also what we need in our times. We need to be just, giving each one his/ her due as human beings – that all may have human dignity, i.e., have proper work, decent housing, nutritious food, dignity in labor. We need to be kind and
loving to the poor, the sick, the aged, the unborn, the imprisoned. We need to subject ourselves to the will of God and not to the demands of the foreign banks, or the laws of economics and profit, and the lure of investments. When we do this then God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth will begin to take shape among us. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21, 1-4) Let us not say that this cannot be done, that our case is hopeless. The people in Exile also thought so at the time of the prophet Ezekiel. There was no future for them, so they thought. But God promised newness and he did it. God also promises to us and he will do it. Let God’s words then be addressed to us as they were addressed by Ezekiel to God’s people of old: Then God said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act, says the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37, 11-14) (Talk was prepared for the 17th National Biblical Workshop held in Cagayan de Oro on February 11-15, 2008.)
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
CEAP on the events of our time
Speaking the truth, seeking justice, setting things right
The truth will set our country free Rodolfo Lozada (C), a former government official whose testimony in a corruption probe has triggered political scandal in the current administration, clenches his fist as he is joined by former President Corazon Aquino (L), his wife Violeta (R) and other supporters in a Mass at the La Salle gymnasium in Mandaluyong City February 17. (Photo by Roy Lagarde/CBCP Media)
IT was courageous but damaging for two officials of government, former Speaker Jose de Venecia and Mr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, to expose questionable government deals in millions of dollars including scandalous and immoral kickbacks. It was courageous to come out in the open to “publicly confess” the high level of graft and corruption that they knew all along and “somehow” have been involved in. But it was also damaging to their political career as well as to significant others who are in high governance. Damaging also because they opened themselves to further scrutiny and inquiry. Truth hurts. Truth liberates. But the truth must be served. The
truth will set our country free (cf. John 8/32) Their public confession may be considered a providential event that may yet save our country from being hostage to scandalous and shady government deals that offend the common good and serve only personal, family and group interests. In our last CBCP Statement, the Bishops strongly lamented the absence of social conscience today. This is the root cause of our systemic graft and corruption. We lament in this season of Lent not only that we are sinners but also that our country has too long been captive to the corruption of people in governance. “We have to confess that corrup-
tion is in truth our greatest shame as a people.” The call for a moral revolution has deep implication. The CRUSADE FOR TRUTH being initiated by the Religious like the AMRSP, Civil Groups and Clergy is encouraging, and must be supported by all truth-loving and freedomloving citizens. Only the truth, not lies and deceits, will set our country free. This truth challenges us now to communal action. We encourage the “Watch and Pray” activity that will be initiated by the Parish Pastoral Councils for Responsible Voting (PPC-RV). We can also call it PPC for Responsible Citizenship. The flame of “social conscious-
ness and common good” must be kept alive. We suggest the prayer used by the Magnificat Movement, the MAGNIFICAT of Our Lady in Luke 1, 46-55 a prayer for social transformation. As we said in our last CBCP Statement “let us pray together, reason together, decide together, act together, …towards a more vigorous work for good governance and a more active promotion of responsible citizenship in our society in the light of the Gospel and the Social Teachings of the Church.” +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD Archbishop of Jaro CBCP President February 10, 2008
AMRSP statement on the Jun Lozada case “…and the Truth shall set you free!”
WE thank God for having been given the rare privilege of taking an active part in the triumph of truth over lies in a culture of fear and moral bankruptcy. We believe Jun Lozada is only an example of what is happening in our government institutions. We humbly recognize that God, in His mysterious ways had made us his instrument in enabling Jun Lozada to come out with his historic revelation to the Press and to the Senate: we consider him a modern David confronting a Goliath. Being with him these past few days is a genuine spiritual experience – getting to know a man who embodies what is best in the Filipino. We saw his courage unfolding before our eyes as he tried to overcome his fears and apprehensions leading to his testimony before the Senate in unparalleled authenticity, courage, honesty, humility and unfailing courtesy. As he spoke we began to realize with growing horror and increasing indignation the extent of corruption that is systemic in our government bureaucracy and its toll on our suffering people who could actually live in well-being if the resources of the country were truly used for their good. We recognize the important role of the media people in this critical moment of our country. We commend them for the support
they have given to Jun Lozada and for their unrelenting pursuance of the truth. It is unthinkable for us to imagine that this basic heroic act, that is putting Jun and his family not only in danger but in a state of dislocation that sees no immediate end, would be in vain. We cannot go back to “business as usual.” We commit ourselves to pursue a crusade for TRUTH. We call on all sectors of society especially the Church to join us in this commitment. Let us heed the call of the CBCP for communal action: “Truth hurts. Truth reveals. But the truth must be served. The truth will set our country free. Only the truth - not lies and deceits, will set us free. This truth challenges us now to communal action.” What could this communal action be? This is a challenge to our creative commitment. We identify some action points: · Put up TRUTH CAMPS in your community: school, parish, offices, other settings. This can be any place where people can gather to be informed on the latest turn of events in our country, be helped to reflect on these and deepen their awareness of truth, spend some moments of common prayer and light a candle for Truth to prevail. Competent per-
sons will assure the constant flow of updates and materials for reflection. · Launch SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR TRUTH Suggested introductory text for the signatures: “Naninindigan ako sa katotohanan naniniwala ako kay Jun Lozada kung sino man ang magtataguyod sa katotohanan ay paninindigan ko” If you are professional groups, DRAFT YOUR OWN STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT OF AND COMMITMENT TO TRUTH. · Join the fund drive “Fund for Truth” to concretely help Jun Lozada now and eventually other witnesses who will also hopefully find the courage to come out and uphold the truth. · Continue the CRUSADE FOR TRUTH initiated by Jun Lozada’s testimony. - This is especially an earnest call to people in government offices. We encourage you to find the courage of the truth so that you, too, may experience that “The truth will set you free.” Form groups of decent minded career professionals so you can resist being used for the wrong. Don’t allow yourself to be “political mendicants.” · Join mass actions, prayer rallies, symposia and other forms of collective actions for TRUTH.
National Mining Conference Statement Save Our Land, Defend Our Lives, Uphold the Integrity of Creation!
WE, the participants of this National Conference consist of Church, Indigenous Peoples and NGOs on mining and IP’s rights, held this Feb. 4-5, 2008, at the Claret School, in Quezon City after a two day sharing and reflection, have become: AWARE that we are facing a national crisis as our environment and ecology is seriously damaged, evidenced by the state of our natural resources including our forests and coastal areas; CONSCIOUS that human activities particularly for profit and personal gain remain to be a primary driver for the unregulated use and unnecessary destruction of our natural endowments; DISMAYED that despite rapid deterioration of our environment and biodiversity our government continues to embark on an aggressive mining policy; WITNESS to the wanton desecration of the integrity of God’s Creation and the violation of people’s rights to land, life and livelihood; APPALLED by the use of force
and the creeping militarization of communities struggling against mining; SENSITIVE to the special needs and inalienable rights of the marginalized sectors, especially the indigenous peoples and the rest of the marginalized poor such as farmers, fishers and women, who are the first and last victims of the wanton abuse of our natural resources; MORE AWARE of our collective responsibility to nurture and care for the earth, not only for this generation but for generations yet to come. STRONG BELIEVER AND UPHOLDER that the image of God resides in every human being and in all of creation. RESPONSIVE to the call of the Catholic Church to become responsible stewards of the earth, preserving our beautiful land and upholding the integrity of creation; DETERMINED to blaze paths of solidarity and partnership for the defence of Creation, we hereby declare and vow to:
1. SUPPORT and build strong partnership with communities of resistance in the sites of struggles through the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission; 2. ENCOURAGE and STRENGTHEN collective and united action in pursuing legal and meta-legal means necessary as gesture of sustained opposition to the mining policy of government; 3. BUILD AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING of the complicated issues and concerns that confront the poor and marginalized sectors, by studying more closely the situation and context of the indigenous peoples and the other rural poor communities; 4. FACILITATE closer relations with the indigenous peoples and communities affected by large-scale mining, creating platforms of interaction and dialogue between our religious groups and the affected communities at the local level; 5. SUSTAIN our networking
and linkaging efforts at the national level, to create synergy and harmonization of initiatives to work together as a community in confronting the issue of largescale commercial mining. 6. CREATE an Ad hoc committee, composed of the major organizers/participants of the conference, that shall coordinate and plan on the recommended points for action shared by the participants during the conference. We, as Church people in solidarity with indigenous peoples shall stand our prophetic ground. We offer our talents, resources and even our lives if need be as a last line of defence to save our land, uphold integrity of creation and protect human rights. Signatories: · Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission · Alyansa Tigil Mina · Philippine Misereor Partnership – Mining Advocacy Campaign
“No lie can live forever,” said Carlyle. “ Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again,” added William Cullen Bryant. And forty years ago, Martin Luther King cried: On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular; but one must take it because Conscience says, “It is right.” FOLLOWING his conscience, Rodolfo Lozada Jr. these days has revealed possible corruption in the handling of government contracts. His confession has stirred memories of other allegations by other people of graft and greed in government, and is shaking the souls of many to speak and act in response. What of us, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), an association of 1,252 schools, colleges, and universities with at least 2 million students and around 120,000 school personnel and faculty? We too must speak, we too must act. For, as the same Martin Luther King continued, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter.” Silent then we must not be or must no longer be, if once we were. May not our lives end but rather begin in a special way this Valentine’s Day. Beyond the love we are expected to declare for the persons of our hearts, is the love for the people of our country that we are invited to express in this time of crisis in our land. Mere bystanders we cannot just be but active participants in the continuous task of shaping our nation’s life. In the words of Vaclav Havel, “By perceiving ourselves as part of the river, we take responsibility for the river as a whole.” For those of us who know the truth, we pray for the courage to speak it. For those who seek justice, we pray for humility in the pursuit, personal integrity in the quest, respect for others involved in the search. For those of us who must judge and act on what we see and hear, we pray for fairness and the will to make the good triumph over evil in a way that removes the bad, without the act leading to what is even worse. In tandem with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) we invite our member schools and their constituents, our alumni and friends individually and communally to pray for guidance on what to do in these times of tension and difficulty. We ask our administrators, faculty, and students to bring to the fore the issues of the day, discuss in humility and decide in fortitude and love what we must do together as a people in the different parts of the country where we are. We must seek to discover the educative moment and the lesson for life in the investigation sessions and in the rallies and other mass actions we may join. To our country and the world we must show and say that we will not allow dishonesty, corruption, indifference or neglect to rule our lives. We must look into ourselves and ensure that what we decry in others we do not do ourselves. We should pledge to continue to teach and live truth, honesty and integrity in our own schools so that when our graduates leave us they bring with them not just skills and knowledge but wisdom and love to inspire and change the world. To this end, we link up with other groups sincerely searching for truth and justice. We encourage the establishment of truth centers in our schools so that our students, teachers, and staff are led to continuing awareness, reflection, and formation toward social-political engagement. We invite our members to support the sanctuary fund set up by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP). We support the signature campaign demanding the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision junking Executive Order 464 so that the search for truth is not hindered or compromised. Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life we shall continue to ask to lead us, accompany and comfort us in all we need to do. It is He, after all, who will truly set us free. The Holy Spirit we ask to enlighten us so that our external actions flow from inner harmony of heart. We remember the words of Will Durant: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” So we ask our Heavenly Father for the grace that we never neglect but ever firm up the moral fiber of our souls. Our anger at the wrong and sinful things in and around us may we not allow to make of ourselves men and women of violence. We take to heart the thought of Martin Luther King: The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence, you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” May our light dispel our darkness, may our love melt whatever hatred may lurk within. But in this Kairos moment, this time of grace, we, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, with all men and women of good will, in our nation and in the world, in the name of the Lord, by the grace of His Spirit, in concert and in communion call on ourselves and one another to—speak the truth, seek justice and work to set things right. CEAP National Board of Directors February 14, 2008
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Empowered to bring God’s Living Water By Rev. Fr. Remigio P. Mollaneda, Ph.D. (Diocese of Maasin) PALESTINE belongs to the Torrid Zone of the Earth characterized by hot and dry spell of weather. It is therefore but natural that the biblical people’s culture contains the trait that values and appreciates water as an indispensable support of life. And this water is the subject matter of the conversation and the connecting link between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. So it is not a great surprise that the lowly water became in the Bible (First Reading) not only an inspiring symbol for life, but also a powerful catechetical empowerment for attaining the life of faith (Gospel Reading). Jesus, the great teacher, shows us in today’s gospel how to evangelize using the simple but important element of water. A true-to-life illustration will help us understand the meaning of today’s good news. Helen Keller was a disabled American girl: blind, deaf, dumb with no way to communicate with the world. One spring day in 1887 little Helen was brought by her teacher, Annie Sullivan, to a well were someone was drawing water. Annie placed Helen’s hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other word w-a-t-e-r. Helen stood still, her whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Annie patiently repeated this action, again and again, till … all of a sudden, the mystery of language was revealed to Helen. She knew then the “w-a-t-e-r” meant the
wonderful cool, smooth something that was flowing over her hand. That living word wakened her soul, gave it light, hope, joy; set it free! This was the breakthrough; the piercing through of the thick cloud of darkness that enveloped the core of her being. Helen left the well-house eager to learn more and more. Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought, a new learning experience. As the teacher and the student returned home, every object which Helen touched seemed to quiver with life. That was because she was empowered to see everything with the strange new light and sight that had come to her. Helen Keller remained blind, deaf and dumb but was able to communicate with the rest of the world. “She graduated from College with honors, became a widely acclaimed author, was the White House guest of every American president from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy, and became an inspiration to handicapped people the world over.” (Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, 1954). The story of the Samaritan woman, like that of Helen Keller, took place at a well. It too involved a teacher and a student, with the teacher using also the water experience to communicate an important message that changed the life of the student forever. There was also a breakthrough. As in the case of Helen Keller, it changed forever the Sa-
maritan Woman’s world of darkness and ignorance and opened to her a world of light and life. Jesus catechized the Samaritan woman (RCIA process) by his asking for water from the well. He started from a felt human need. He was tired, hungry and thirsty. He then pursued and sublimated his immediate need for drinking water so as to take the ordinary meaning of water up to a higher plane with a supernatural meaning. “Sitio” I thirst¯thirst for man so that man may thirst
for God. Jesus poses as the Giver of Living Water which He will give if asked. Indeed, it is the Gift of God. This living Water has the power to quench one’s thirst forever, because it becomes the divine fountain capable of satisfying man’s thirst for God. Later, in 7, 38 f, the Living Water is explicitly shown to be the Holy Spirit whom Jesus will give, once he is resurrected and glorified. Herein lies the practical message for each one of us. The Gos-
me. I froze in terror. But a happy face greeted me and said, “Do you want to come in?” Did she say “come in?” Before I could answer, she opened the iron gate and gave me her hand. I was dumbfounded. “One, two, three, four, five…” I counted. Yep, she had five fingers. Funny, I always thought they never had hands. They kept hiding them behind their brown robes! Hmm. My penguin theory was falling apart. We walked hand-in-hand and it felt good. In fact, I felt I was holding the hand of an angel. Behold, a new theory in my brain was being formed. She led me to their fabulous garden and it struck me how beautiful the garden of God was. I caught a glimpse of a guava fruit high on a tree. She saw me look at it, so she grabbed all of me and lifted me up, enough for my hand to pluck it off myself.
Gospel commentary for 2nd Sunday of Lent
The fruit tasted sweet, but not as sweet as being in the arms of the angel of God. After a few minutes, she carried me back to the gate where my parents were now waiting. Outside. Because only I was able to enter the house of God. I recall that experience and feel the same way every time I pray today. When I make the sign of the cross, the iron gate opens. And an angel gives me her hand. We walk into the garden of God. I gaze at His beauty and even eat the fruit of answered prayer. It is sweet, yes, but not as sweet as being in the arms of love. Enter into God’s house more often. The angels await in tiptoes, ready to escort you to the Throne.
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Education and our ‘fragile generations’ POPE Benedict has been talking lately about education. The subject seems to grab his concern. He is sensing an imminent danger lurking in that strategic field. Of course, there was that unfortunate event when some university students and staff refused to receive him in their school in Rome. A clear case of misunderstanding, it could have been easily averted if cooler heads prevailed. As it turned out, the bone of contention brought up by the protesting students did not really have any basis. In fact, the Pope was more on their side. It looked like they were attacking phantoms, not real issues. Then, there also was a meeting with members of the Catholic Education Congregation, charged with the formation of seminarians. This meeting, in itself, was very interesting. He said that these Catholic centers of learning should not be afraid to assert their Catholic identity, since that identity blends fidelity to the faith and universal openness to things together. The problem these days is a
certain attitude toward education that tends to put fidelity and openness in conflict. And in most cases, favor is tilted more toward openness than toward fidelity. Some warped ideologies are behind that disturbing situation. In this regard, he encouraged priests and seminarians to learn to handle the multi-faceted challenges of our times, knowing how to put God in them and to relate everything to God. This is actually a never-ending process. We should not be afraid to admit that an education that has no reference to God is no education at all. That would be at best a limited education, rootless and ultimately aimless, confining itself to empirical data and refusing to enter a transcendent reality. Pertinent to this point, he once said: “The highest truths cannot be forced into the type of empirical evidence that only applies to material reality.” Plus, he recently issued a letter to Romans on education as his “own contribution to the formation of new generations, a difficult but crucial commitment for the future.” He said that with factors like
spreading violence, fundamentalism, secularism, crisis in marriage and the family, and in education itself, etc., today’s generation is rendered fragile. We don’t have to look far to find a smoking-gun kind of evidence to support this claim. We see all around us signs of people, usually young, who seem lost, confused or otherwise swallowed by a wave of escapist activities. Then he zeroes in on the main culprit: “What is in question is a growing atmosphere...that leads to doubting the value of the human person, the significance of truth and of the good… “It becomes difficult, then, to hand on from one generation to the next, something valid and certain rules of conduct, credible objectives around which to build one’s life.” Now that the Pope has clearly spelled out the problem, we have to set in motion many initiatives to solve it. We have to be optimistic, because the possibilities are many and can be exciting and challenging besides. One point worth reiterating is a very incisive insight the Pope
This is the challenge posed to all of us: Having been empowered by our personal encounter with Jesus at the well of baptism and at the table (drink) of the Eucharist, we should go forth as missionaries to the marketplace of everyone’s existence and there to demonstrate by word and work especially during this season of Lent that we have been catechized and evangelized by Jesus to bring God’s living Water of Love and Mercy to everyone we meet.
Falling in love with Christ
Angels are ready to escort you WHEN I was an impish kid, I recall regularly visiting the cloistered Carmelites with my family—those cute brown-clad nuns behind the steel bars and black curtain. Contemplative sisters, they called themselves, but as a kid, I had my own secret nickname for them: penguins, because they looked so much like them. I noticed they were small; they’d trot around in their black sandals in tiny little steps; and they’d be bopping their heads up and down whenever they see someone. No one could enter their holy house, my parents told me. It must be very special, I told myself, because only God and His penguins were living there. One day, as my family was still inside the church, I ran and peeked through the iron fence of the convent to see if the Almighty was indeed there. All of a sudden, one of the penguins peered through the door and saw
pel says: the Samaritan Woman invited the people to come and meet Jesus to quench not their natural curiosity but their supernatural thirst for God—thus the flippant Samaritan woman became Christianity’s first missionary. After her personal encounter with Jesus at the well,—thus having been empowered—she went off to share the good news about Jesus with others. The Gospel concludes: “And the people left the town and went to meet Jesus.”
made on this issue. He said that authentic education, meaning the moral formation and growth of the person, involves the proper use of freedom. Education cannot simply be a matter of building on past knowledge, because “human freedom is always new and therefore each person and generation must make their own decision in their own name.” “Even the greatest values of the past,” he said, “cannot simply be inherited. We only make them our own and renew them through a personal choice which often costs suffering.” The implication of this insight is that to provoke this proper use of freedom, which is what love is all about, parents and teachers should give something of themselves. “Only in this way, can they help their students to overcome egoism and become capable of authentic love in turn,” he said. Learning to love, not just transmission of technical information, is the essence of education. And God is in the middle of it all, since God is the source, goal and motor of love.
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap WHY are faith and religious practice in decline and why do they not seem to constitute, at least not for most people, the point of reference in life? Why the boredom, the weariness, the struggle for believers in performing their duties? Why do young people not feel attracted to the faith? In sum, why this dullness and this lack of joy among the believers in Christ? The event of Christ’s transfiguration helps us to answer these questions. What did the transfiguration mean for the three disciples who were present? Up until now they knew Jesus only in his external appearance: He was not a man different from others; they knew where he came from, his habits, the timber of his voice. Now they know another Jesus, the true Jesus, the one who cannot be seen with the eyes of ordinary life, in the normal light of the sun; what they now know of him is the fruit of a sudden revelation, of a change, of a gift. Because things change for us too, as they changed for the three disciples on Tabor; something needs to happen in our lives similar to what happens when a young man and woman fall in love. In falling in love with someone, the beloved, who before was one of many, or perhaps unknown, suddenly becomes the only one, the sole person in the world who interests us. Everything else is left behind and becomes a kind of neutral background. One is not able to think of anything else. A very real transfiguration takes place. The person loved comes to be seen as a luminous aura. Everything about her is beautiful, even the defects. One feels unworthy of her. True love generates humility. Something concrete also changes in one’s own habits. I have known young people whose parents could not get them out of bed in the morning to go to school; or they neglected their studies and did no graduate. Then, once they fall in love with someone and enter a serious relationship, they jump out of bed in the morning, they are impatient to finish school, if they have a job, they hold onto it. What has happened? Nothing, it is just that what they were forced to do before they now do because of an attraction. And attraction allows one to do things that force cannot make one do; it puts wings on one’s feet. “Everyone,” the poet Ovid said, “is attracted by the object of his pleasure.” Something of the kind must happen once in our lives for us to be true, convinced Christians, and overjoyed to be so. Some say, “But the young man or young woman is seen and touched!” I answer: We see and touch Jesus too, but with different eyes and different hands—those of the heart, of faith. He is risen and is alive. He is a concrete being, not an abstraction, for those who experience and know him. Indeed, with Jesus things go even better. In human love we deceive ourselves, we attribute gifts to the beloved that she does not have and with time we are often forced to change our mind about her. In the case of Jesus, the more one knows him and is together with him, the more one discovers new reasons to be in love with him and is confirmed in one’s choice. This does not mean that with Christ too we must wait for the classic “lightning bolt” of love. If a young man or woman stayed at home all the time without seeing anyone, nothing would ever happen in his or her life. To fall in love you have to spend time with people! If one is convinced, or simply begins to think that it is good and worthwhile to know Jesus Christ in this other, transfigured, way, then one must spend time with him, to read his writings. The Gospel is his love letter! It is there that he reveals himself, where he “transfigures” himself. His house is the Church: It is there that one meets him. (Zenit)
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
By Kawagi Fernan
THE I n d i g e n o u s P e o p l e s (IPs) Opposition Enacted into law in 1997, the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) sought to give equity to the most marginal sector of the country, the original Filipinos, those who had, in their own way, successfully resisted centuries of colonial interlopers. The minerals of the Cordilleras would have been tapped by the Spaniards had not they been driven off by the tribes.
fort to remove the barriers the IPRA presented to mining. This echoed in an attempted harmonization of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and the LGU code, to also “grease the wheels” for the entry of mining. In the case of the IPRA, it was the concept of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) that was hamstrung. As the government recognized that the IPs may very well wish to allow firms access to their lands and resources— such as timber—the FPIC demands community level decision making and community given
passed into law and continued after, spearheaded by the mining industry. This was in 1997, two years after the passage of the Mining Act and not long after the Marinduque disaster. In a way it helped to organize the IP groups against mining as the National Council of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) were the first to leap to the IPRA’s defence. Moreover organization is indeed needed and necessary. The case of Canatuan is an infamous one which displays the outer limits of the FPIC. As one can imagine, our remarkably inept bureaucracy and
swing. Evictions and militarization of the area are known facts. IP groups are wary that this will soon be the way of doing business across the country. With marginal groups cruelly robbed of promises of their rights to land, life and self determination by the combination of industry, wealth and greed. In the Final Analysis… A desperate country seeks wealth at any cost, inspired by tales of far off lands grown rich and decadent off the wealth buried beneath their soil. Yet these tales are in a certain
ment who will bear that cost, there is no office in Quezon City that will ever be flooded with tailings. Likewise, Malacañang’s residents will never suffer from heavy metal poisoning. Yet this risk is seen as risk enough to bring the country to a brighter tomorrow. Long promised but never delivered with failed projects by the wayside. With empty mining towns and poverty indexes a stark reminder of earlier, forgotten failures. Between the first and third world a struggle rages, as the first seeks to utilize the third and the third seeks to become the first.
is generated by the whim of the government and the communities must stick to this single plan, and not deviate from it. If there is no room for a tailings pit, then tailings will go into the ocean. Fishermen and farmers will learn to work beneath the earth, because mines need unskilled workers to operate complex machinery. In exchange will be what can never be replaced; there will be billions of pesos funneled into the coffers of the national government, maybe. Probably not. In any case, those billions will be wisely spent by the national gov-
A civil society perspective
The IPRA’s passage was hailed for the most part, as it allowed IP communities to finally claim legally the land which they had occupied and worked since, in the IPRA’s terms, “time immemorial.” This was all well and good until it came to the attention of concerned parties that a great many of these ancestral lands were adjacent or on top of the richest mineral deposits, bringing them into territorial and land use conflict with the mining firms. This lead to what is known as the attempt to harmonize the IPRA to the Mining Act, in an ef-
permission to industry. While it remains in place today, its effective implementation is in question. The trend of the mining act is for the government to willfully weaken its own regulatory functions and encourage self-regulatory mining. This benefits no one but the miners. In the case of the IPRA and the cases made for its “harmonization” it all but screams a removal of the rights of IPs to self determination. An interesting side effect of this is again, the timing. The attacks on the IPRA came before it
the concerns of marginalized peoples do not mix well. Canatuan and the mining firm with interests in the area—TVI— have helped to explode the area’s native Subanen population. The community is split in two, obviously one side is pro-mining, the other is anti-mining. The antimining side claims that non-native Subanen managed to pass of their FPIC as one for Canatuan. The government acted with all speed on this, but with less speed on the complaint. The pro-mining side has since claimed victory, with TVI operations in full
way, fantasy, lacking descriptions of the repercussions or comparisons to the reality within which the country must operate. It may be no surprise to anyone but the reality on the mountainside, in the quiet provinces that no one truly bothered with or cared about until the wealth under them was calculated, their reality is far removed from the one the decision makers in the capital inhabit. But it is the capital that generates the laws, and the farthest province must abide by them. No matter the cost. Of course, it is not the govern-
The struggle is between the riches we think we can make, and the riches we fail to use ourselves. What is the worth of the world, our world, our nation? The messages the government is sending out are not simply mixed but largely negative. If you are marginal, your input on mining is not only unwelcome, but possibly seditious and illegal. The words “economic sabotage” will be used. They will be used liberally. If you raise a complaint against mining, you are “anti-development” because all development
ernment, in the same way it has done so for the past years of economic stagnation and rising cost of living. The state of Philippine mining is this – with the money involved, billions upon billions, discussion is not an option. There is only lucre, there is only profit. Discussion and doubt must be avoided because they hinder profit. Cui bono—in Latin, “who profits?” In the end, will it be the Filipino people? Such has been the promise. But without discussion, how can anyone be sure?
7 Questions / B1
parents, battered wives, rape. The people in this area get their livelihood from scavenging, gardening, fishball/BBQ vending, construction work, carpentry work, and laundry service. The ministry offers the following programs: Values formation, Livelihood program, Hospital-Medical Aid, Community-Youth organizing, Educationrelated programs, feeding program, Scholarship for deserving children, Counseling, Catechism, Distribution of relief goods. What is your take on the threat of materialism creeping into our lifestyle brought about by such phenomenon as globalization? Materialism is slowly creeping into the lifestyle of our people partly because of defective value formation and the media. Our society has become so consumerist because of so much exposure to various forms of media. Everything
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now is—”get this”, “must have this”, “should buy this”, etc. So our children now are so worldly, wanting to own the latest gadget on anything. Would you say consumerism has affected our people’s sense of values, especially the young? This attitude has affected not only our children but also the adults! And so without us being aware of it, it is slowly creeping into our value formation and becomes part of it! We also have now the “mall mentality”. We spend so much time in malls. We even go to “church” inside the mall! Because of “absent parents” children now go to the malls to entertain themselves when they are lonely. How does the family and life apostolate in your diocese respond to this challenge? Our Diocesan Family and Life Ministry is very active. We have a very dedi-
cated lay coordinator couple, Mr. Tony and Mrs. Tita Kosca helping Fr. Ronnie Samaniego, our Minister for Family and Life. Our Family and Life Ministry envisions for the Diocese a truly evangelized and evangelizing community, actively responding to the needs of the family and preserving the Sanctity of Life in the midst of present realities. It aims to bring the presence of Christ to the family so as to become living witnesses of God’s love to other families. The Family and Life Ministry has the following programs for the families: Peer Counseling for the Youth; Talks in Schools in Human Sexuality, Love, Courtship and Marriage; Pre-Cana or Marriage Orientation Seminars; Marriage Enrichment; Marriage Encounter; Natural Family Planning; Basic Counseling; Family Counseling; Values Education or Family Relationship; Speakers Bureau / Resource Persons / Facilitators; Leadership Training; Education on Marriage and Family Life.
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As a member of CBCP-ECPPC and Chair of Caritas Manila Restorative Justice Committee what is your take on the penal situation in our country today? The members of the committee on Restorative Justice are taking care of the prisoners of all the municipal and city jails of the Metropolitan Manila including the one in Bicutan. We are just newly applying or implementing the restorative justice when it is possible. The purpose of Restorative Justice is not only to take care of the victim but also of the criminal(s) in such a way that there is possibility to restore all the damages, make restriction if it is necessary and later to process the reconciliation between the family of the victim and the criminal if it is possible. The primary purpose is future reconciliation. As to our penal situation, I think everybody is happy that death penalty is no longer implemented in the Philippines for several years. What is being imposed is life imprisonment. There are cases in which the treatment for one criminal is different from the other even though they committed the same crime. I think there should not be any discrimination. Every criminal must be given the necessary penalty according to the crime committed. There shouldn’t be any difference between rich and poor criminals. Sometimes the law enforcers are too strict with the poor criminals and a little bit lax with the rich criminals. I think we must practice equal justice to everybody. I hope and pray that we will see improvement in the administration of justice in our country. Justice must be served on the right time regardless of the social status of criminals. Justice delayed, justice denied. You have many guest priests ministering in various parishes of the diocese. How do you find their stay and ministry in your diocese? We have as of the moment 27 guest-
priests in the Diocese. Some of them are student-priests who have been sent by their respective bishops for further studies. They stay in the parish to help out while studying. Some of them are in the process of incardinating into the Diocese. We are giving them five years observation period before we can consider their application for incardination. They are assigned in different parishes so they would be exposed to the parochial life in the Diocese. The Episcopal Vicar for the Guest-priests of the Diocese is Rev. Fr. Paulino Balagtas. I am happy that I have these guestpriests in our diocese who are really of great help to our diocesan priests. As of now we have only 33 Diocesan priests and these guest-priests are really a blessing to our Diocese. I always keep in touch with the Bishops of these priests helping in the Diocese. I don’t accept them if they don’t have permission and celebret from their Bishops. Do you have a continuing formation program for the clergy? Yes, we do have a continuing formation program for the Clergy of the Diocese. Our Clergy Commission headed by Fr. Mariano Baranda has a program for the priests of the Diocese. We have an on-going formation program for the clergy every other month. And we have Recollection for the clergy every other month also. So we have a total of six formation seminars and six recollections in a year. These formations/recollections are always followed by a meeting or general assembly. Aside from these meetings, the priests also convene once a month for their vicariate meeting. We also have one priest now in Rome who is taking further studies in Social Communications. We are now in the midst of our preparation for the coming Pasig General Pastoral Assembly. Our priests and laity are working hand in hand to make this assembly successful.
B8 Jumper is about a slim high school boy David (Max Thierot as the young David) who discovers he has a unique gift—jumping—during a life-threatening situation. While he is braving the frozen lake to fetch a glass ball for his big crush Millie (Rachel Bilson), the ice gives way and the icy cold lake swallows him alive. David is given up for dead, but what really happens is, his unique gift manifests for the first time, enabling him to “jump” out of the icy lake and into some place dry and warm—he mysteriously lands inside a library in the city. He does not understand how it happens, but he experiments with his newly found gift, “teleporting”, which makes him effortlessly leap from one location to another, until it leads him to rob a bank without opening doors. Becoming an instant millionaire while eluding the police, he escapes his abusive father and moves to New York —assuring himself nobody knows he’s still alive anyway, and that he can pay back the bank “later.” Eight years later David (now played by Hayden Christensen) is pursuing a lifestyle of anonymity and opulence in the Big Apple, and looks for Millie again. He finds her working in a bar, and invites her on a dream trip to Rome. In Rome he discovers he is not the only jumper in the world, and in fact, Roland (Samuel Jackson) is in hot pursuit of him. Roland is a “paladin”, one of those whose mission is to kill jumpers. Obviously science fiction, Jumper may be enjoyed as long as you suspend your analytical faculties and just “jump along”
Entertainment Title: Jumper Running Time: 88 min. Cast: Hayden Christensen, Jaime Bell, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson Director: Doug Liman Producers: Lucas Foster, Simon Kinberg, Stacy Maes, Jay Sanders Screenwriters: David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls Music: John Powell Editors: Saar Klein, Dean Zimmerman, Don Zimmerman Genre: Science Fiction/ Action/ Thriller Cinematography: Barry Peterson Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Location: Michigan, USA Technical Assessment: ½ Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
with the teleporting protagonist as he vanishes from a one-night stand in London to lunch atop the head of the Sphinx facing the Gaza pyramids, and to pop into the surfing scene in Fiji before he calls it a day. The trailer promises to deliver a nifty movie but somehow the movie itself looks like almost nothing more than one long trailer. What with the can’t-help-but-be-shallow dialogue, the fight scenes that look more like skirmishes, and the thinly-drawn characters who are more credible before the teleportation begins! Considering how movies these days depend so much on CGI to outdo one another in the realm of the fantastic, Jumper will have a difficult time jumping out of mediocrity from among a horde of other science fantasies. Certainly viewers would expect more from Jumper’s director Doug Liman who also did The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. If you love your children, tell them Jumper is synonymous
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
M or al A s s es s m en t Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary
Technical Assessment Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent
with “unscrupulous”. Tell them that regardless of what some of their elders are doing, life is more than globetrotting on illgotten wealth. Ask them what they would do if they had the same gift of teleportation. Would they do as Jumper David did— zapping into bank vaults and on that ill-gotten wealth live like a king, “skipping the boring details” at airports and seeing the world without benefit of a passport? That’s the sad part—with such a unique gift, the hero cannot think beyond his caprices, plus, he endangers his girl’s life in an effort to please her, without an iota of guilt! There’s an attempt by the paladin Roland to teach him a lesson—”You can’t be like God who can be anywhere you want to be without consequences!”—but oh, it almost sounds like the director’s afterthought, and anyway, the black man Roland’s white hairdo is as distracting as loose dentures; no wonder he doesn’t seem to succeed in making David repent.
Buhay Parokya By Bladimer Usi There are three missing articles in this cartoon. Seek and find out where these items are: 1. Look for the missing bible. 2. Look for the missing rosary. 3. Look for missing chalice.
Title: Sweeney Todd; The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Running Time: 117 min. Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Allan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jane Wisener Director: Tim Burton Producers: Richard Zanuck Screenwriter: John Logan, Music: Stephen Sondheim Editor: Chris Lebenzon Genre: Musical, Thriller, Dark Comedy Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski Distributor: Warner Bros. Location: England, UK Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above
BENJAMIN Barker (Johnny Depp) is a barber who is wrongfully sentenced into exile in Australia by Judge Turpin (Allan Rickman) who lusted for Barker’s wife, Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). After 15 years, Barker escapes prison and returns to London assuming a different persona by the name of Sweeney Todd. There he learns of his wife’s suicide and her daughter, Johanna (Jane Wisener), is now under
MAC en COLET
Judge Turpin’s custody. Sweeney Todd vows revenge upon Judge Turpin who destroyed him and his family. He goes back to his old house/ barbershop where his former landlady and meat pie shop owner Mrs. Nellie Lovett recognizes him. Mrs. Lovett returns his razor and he plots his revenge by plotting a scheme to lure Judge Turpin to come to him for a shave. But when a competitor recognizes Sweeny Todd from his past life, he panics and he turns into a serial killer by slitting the throat of every man who goes to his shop for a shave. Situation turns even darker when Mrs. Lovett suggests that corpses be used as main ingredient for her meat pies so as to solve the problem of disposing the bodies. Sweeney Todd is superbly, masterfully crafted. As expected, Tim Burton demonstrates once again his out-of-the-box filmmaking sense that borders between surreal and absurd. It is not usual for audiences to see musical adaptations tackle a theme as dark as this movie’s. Johnny Depp proves time and again that he is a powerful thespian with his impeccable screen presence along with the entire casts who all turned out very good. The music and the entire feel of the movie are both haunt-
ing and lingering. Although the film may not necessarily be entertaining to everyone, it is a breath of fresh air from the runof-the-mill formulaic horror and thriller plots. Although a musical, Sweeney Todd is not your usual Broadway adaptation that can be suited to young audiences. There’s bursting of blood in almost half of the movie’s running time. The slashing and slitting of throat in countless scenes leaves a desensitizing effect on one’s tolerance to blood and gore. Furthermore, the graphic violence in the movie, though not actually realistic but stylistic, appears so real that it may result in trauma or nightmare. All the other undertones in the film such as suicide, child abuse, alcoholism and cannibalism make the film a real morality play. How far can one go for a sweet revenge? Well, revenge is not sweet after all as the movie says no one’s a winner in such a demonic end. Throughout the story, the audiences witness the moral decay of Sweeney Todd, given his circumstances and a child’s loss of innocence. But then, revenge is never justified, never glorified and ultimately, there is no redemption in the movie and Sweeney Todd gets what he truly deserves in the end.
Ni Bladimer Usi
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
The Cross A Supplement Publication for KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus
The KCFAPI Board of Officers had an audience with His Excellency Ambassador to the UN Sir Knight Hilario G. Davide, Jr. last February 7, 2008 before returning to New York, USA. Amb. Davide is a member of the Board of Advisors of KCFAPI. Photo shows Amb. Davide with Chairman Patrocinio R. Bacay, Luzon Deputy and Corporate Secretary Alonso L. Tan, Past Luzon Deputy and Treasurer Antonio T. Yulo, Former Trustee and COMELEC Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento, Executive Vice President Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Executive Secretary Annie M. Nicolas, and Keys Realty and Development Corp. Executive Vice President Carmen C. Flores.
Title holder three times over SK Reynaldo Q. Segismundo or Bro. Rey as he is fondly called is a three-time FC of the Year title holder in 2004, 2005 and again in 2008, the highest award given to a Fraternal Counselor. Living with the vision of Fr. George J. Willmann, he landed as Willmann Knights of the Round Table (WKRT) member of the honor circle during his first year as FC in 2002. He is an agriculturist by profession, and presently, the Provincial Officer of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority for Ilocos Sur and Abra provinces. Aside from being a committed Fraternal Counselor and a dedicated public official, he also serves as Chairman of their Barangay’s Power Association (BAPA BUSIING CENSUR). He received various awards from the private and public sector and Order of the Knights of Columbus and KC Fraternal, namely: 1. “Gawad Saka” – Most Outstanding Regulatory Officer of the year 1994. Highest award being conferred by the Department of Agriculture. Former President Fidel V. Ramos handed the award. 2. “Dangal ng Bayan” – National Finalist and Region I winner in 1999. The most prestigious award given to a government employee. 3. Most Improved BAPA Award – awarded by the Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative for initi-
KCFAPI honors top Sales Performers By Joseph P. Teodoro
SK Reynaldo Segismundo
ating lighting and other equally important projects for the barangay and its consumers-members, and for continuously posting a regular monthly income for the association since its stewardship since the past five years. 4. Outstanding District Deputy – CY 2001-2002; founded three councils. Born on March 13, 1960 in the historic town of Bantay, Ilocos Sur, he is the youngest of 11 children of Mr. Federico Alconcel Segismundo Sr. and Maria Concepcion Alias Quemado. He is happily married to Sis. Gertrudis Charito Requeno Romano, a public elementary school principal of San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur and blessed with three children, namely: Reygee and Grazielle Immaculate (both nurses) and youngest son, Divinorey (graduating high school student). (Gari M. San Sebastian)
THE Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc. (KCFAPI), the Mutual Benefit Association taking care of the Life Insurance needs of Brother Knights of Columbus and their family members will be honoring its top Fraternal Counselors and Area Managers of 2007 on February 29 to March 2, 2008 in Davao City Bro. Reynaldo Segismundo of Council 13058 and Northwestern Luzon Thunders (NLT) leads 36 other fraternal counselors in receiving their awards. This will be his third time to garner the honors of Fraternal Counselor of the Year Award. Bros. Lauro Evangelista and Bonifacio Morales, both from the Central Luzon Believers (CLB), share the runner-up recognition. Bro. Conrado S. Dator, Jr., of the Southern Luzon Lakers (SL) won the Area Manager of the Year over 24 other manager in the archipelago. This is his second award since he joined us in 1999. Runner-up honors went to Bro. Vimar L. Trinidad of the Metro Manila Achievers (MMA). Bro. Efren M. Casupanan has the distinction of bringing in the most number of awardees in 2007 and the highest first year insurance contribution income.
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He has grabbed the throne... not once, but twice!
Sir Knight Conrado S. Dator
BRO. Conrado “Jun” S. Dator is a full time Area Manager of KC Fraternal. He was appointed in 1999 and he already bagged the AM of the Year Runner-Up in 2000. Not long enough, he
grabbed the title as Area Manager of the Year in 2003 and of course in 2008. He became an Outstanding District Deputy of Luzon Jurisdiction in 1999 and 2000. He was appointed as Insurance Promotions Chairman of Luzon jurisdiction for Columbian Year 2001 to 2002 and 2005 to 2006. He became the Council Retention Chairman last CY 2002 and 2003. At present, Bro. Jun is the Reports and Awards Chairman. Born on December 2, 1962, Bro. Jun was the youngest son among eight children of late Conrado Lagdameo Dator and Teodora Santiago Dator. He is married to Sis. Escolatica Sy Dator, an OFW Trainor at Right Focus Training Center and blessed with two children namely John Kurt taking up Veterinary Medicine and Camille, a grade V student. (Gari M. San Sebastian)
KCFAPI maintains its being the first MBA to be ISO certified Certification International Philippines, Inc. (CIP) awarded KCFAPI a Certificate of Registration to ISO 9001:2000 with the scope “Design, Development and Provision of Mutual Benefits” on January 10, 2007, after having successfully completed the requirements for certification. KCFAPI again passed the re-
quirements of ISO 9001:2000 certification on January 30, 2008, after a surveillance conducted by CIP. This only proves KCFAPI’s commitment to provide optimum fraternal benefits to all its members and their immediate families as it continuously raises its standards of performance and improves its systems.
The 31st Annual Awards will have the most number of awardees in recent years. Chairman of the Board Bro. Patrocinio R. Bacay, and KCFAPI President Antonio B. Borromeo will jointly preside the affair. The State Deputies of the 3 Philippine Jurisdiction, KCFAPI Board Members, spouses of the awardees and family members will likewise grace the occasion. The complete list of recipients of honors with their respective areas and awards are: Reynaldo Segismundo (NWL), Fraternal Counselor of the Year; Lauro L. Bonifacio (CLB1), Runner-up, FC of the Year; Bonifacio M. Morales (CLB1), Runner-up FC of the Year; Conrado S. Dator, Jr. (SL), Area Manager of the Year; Vimar L. Trinidad (MMA), Runnerup, AM of the Year; Inocencia P. Deiparine (CVA), Fr. George Willmann, SJ, Knights of the Round Table (WKRT); Maria Teresa G. de la Mota (WVB), Fr. George Willmann, SJ, Knights of the Round Table (WKRT); Veronica C. Casupanan (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Cecilia D.L. Evangelista (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Eduardo F. Fabregar (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Avedel V. Francisco (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Diego DJ. Marquez (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Julian C. Pacheco (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle;
SK Patrocinio R. Bacay
Congratulations to all members of the 2007 Chairman of the Board Family Service Awards Circle! Your collective effort which came at the threshold of our Golden Jubilee serves as an inspiration and an example worthy of emulation for other fraternal counselors to follow. Continue with your good works and be the Fraternal Counselors in Shining Armor shielding your fellow knight and families from the uncertainties of life – prema-
ture and old age. “Daghang Salamat Kaninyong Tanan.” I expect to see you again in the next year’s honors’ circle. We pray for abundant blessings for you and your family. Patrocinio R. Bacay Chairman, KCFAPI
Ronando M. Rodriguez (CLB1), Chairman’s Circle; Francisco C. Ballesteros (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Rex E. Blanco (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Rene P. Cruz (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Jose R. de Leon (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Lolita Orgil (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Amado S. Miranda (CLC), Chairman’s Circle; Melissa Lourdes Z. Reyes (CLD), Chairman’s Circle; Angelito Lugod (CVA), Chairman’s Circle; Avelino G. De Guia (MMA), Chairman’s Circle; Francisco M. Gomez (MMA), Chairman’s Circle; Rodolfo C. Salcedo (MMC), Chairman’s Circle; Bonifacio B. Martinez (MMD), Chairman’s Circle; Reynaldo D. Valencia (MMD), Chairman’s Circle; Gabriel T. Chocyogan (NEL), Chairman’s Circle; Pedro T. Domingo, Jr. (NEL), Chairman’s Circle; Mauricio P. Pangda (NEL), Chairman’s Circle; Marteliano A. Alcontin (NM), Chairman’s Circle; Emma M. Saclote (NM), Chairman’s Circle; Ronaldo A. Sta. Teresa (NM), Chairman’s Circle; Rodrigo S. Llameg (NWL), Chairman’s Circle; Vevancio F. Capiral (SL), Chairman’s Circle; Angel C. Casiding, Jr. (SL), Chairman’s Circle; Hugo M. Goce, Jr. (SL), Chairman’s Circle; Jose L. Calvo, Sr. (WVB), Chairman’s Circle; Wildy D. Devela (WVC), Chairman’s Circle.
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After the dust of a fierce battle has settled to the ground, we usually find only the intrepid men standing while others of lesser stock were relegated to the sides. In behalf of the officers and staff, I offer you our admiration and congratulations for making it to the much coveted circle of top sales performers. Inscribing your name annually in the elite Chairman of the Board Annual Family Service Awards may be difficult to achieve but the same is doable as some have SK Antonio B. Borromeo done it. We know you can do it too with devotion to your work as fraternal counselor and dedication to the Order as an active member of the Knights of Columbus. Thank you and best regards to your loved ones. Antonio B. Borromeo President, KCFAPI
Keys Realty annex in Cagayan de Oro blessed THE annex building of Keys Realty and Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc. (KCFAPI), in Cagayan de Oro City was blessed on January 25, with KCFAPI officials leading the affair. KCFAPI Chairman Patrocinio R. Bacay, Executive Vice President Ms. Ma. Theresa G. Curia, and Ms. Buena San Juan, wife of Immediate Past Mindanao Deputy led the ribbon cutting ceremony. A thanksgiving Mass followed, presided by Msgr, Pedro C. Quitorio III, our Spiritual Director. The other officers who attended the affair were Immediate Past Mindanao Deputy Ernesto B. San Juan, Luzon Deputy and Corporate Secretary Alonso L. Tan, Mindanao Deputy and Vice
Chairman Sofronio R. Cruz, Vice President for Fraternal Benefits Group Joseph P. Teodoro. Keys Realty Board Members Reynaldo B. Castillo, Atty. Allan C. Ouano, Atty. Henry A. Reyes, Rogelio S. Sipalay, Executive Vice President Carmen C. Flores, Vice President for Finance and Administration Riz S. Nicolas. (Bong Bragat)
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
A heart-toheart talk
Dr. Raynato R. Kasilag gives a talk to KCFAPI employees on Recognition, Prevention and Treat of Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD) and Arterosclerosis at the KCFAPI Social Hall February 15, 2008.
KCFAPI sponsored a health awareness seminar in this month of the hearts for its employees, entitled “Recognition, Prevention and Treat of Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD) and Arterosclerosis” last February 15, 2008 at the KCFAPI Social Hall with guest resource speaker, Dr. Raynato R. Kasilag, MD, FPCP, FPCC. Dr. Kasilag enumerated various kinds of risk factors relating to the heart, its effects if risk factors are not modified and the complications of cardiovascular diseases. To protect the body from coronary artery disease, Dr. Kasilag suggested the following measures: • STOP SMOKING – A person who refrains from smoking for at least a week will totally rid the body of its nicotine content. Alcohol studies show that drinking one gram of alcohol content may be beneficial to your health. This would be equivalent to two bottles of beer
a day or a glass of wine a day. • EAT RIGHT – Not all food items labeled “Cholesterol Free” are really free from cholesterol. Dr. Kasilag explained that some food items when broken down can still contribute to a cholesterol build up. He suggested using cooking methods that use less fat. • EXERCISE REGULARLY – A regular exercise help keep the body from accumulating cholesterol. A sufficient work-out should take at least 30 minutes and should be done at least three times a week. The best way to gauge an effective exercise is when the person’s pulse rate becomes higher than its regular beat. The seminar was indeed a learning experience for the employees of the Association. In the process, misconceptions were clarified and employees became more aware and conscious of their lifestyle and their health. (Jaime M. Talag, M.D. – Medical Consultant of KCFAPI)
7th Visayas State Convention Set THE 7th Visayas State Convention is slated on May 16, 17 and 18, 2008 at the Grand Convention Center, Cebu City, Philippines. Dubbed as the Grand Reunion of Knights and Ladies from all over the Visayas Jurisdiction, the three-day activity will be memorable and full of fun, Bro. Dionisio “Jun” Esteban, Jr. assures. The different committees are already working to make the upcoming event successful. The convention highlights are as follows: 1st Day - May 16, 2008 Friday: Color Corps Competition, Laro ng Lahi, Bowling Tournament, Santa Cruzan (featuring Provincial, Regional and State Deputies), Barrio Fiesta at the Archbishop’s Palace grounds 2nd Day- May 17, 2008 Saturday: Plenary Session with the Visayas State Deputy presiding. His Eminence, Ricardo J. Cardi-
nal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, His Excellency, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, CBCP President, as well as the Luzon and Mindanao Deputies will be in attendance. The State Dinner will cap the day. 3rd Day- May 18, 2008 Sunday: Closing Ceremonies and raffles with fabulous prizes. A more detailed program of convention activities will be featured during the next issue of CBCP Monitor-The Cross Supplement. Brother Knights are encouraged to register early. Early bird registration fee is Php1,100.00 inclusive of meals and commemorative convention bag, while on-site registration will be at Php1,200.00 per participant. For more details, please get in touch with the Convention Secretariat at Tel. No. (032) 2311183, look for Sis. Linda. (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz)
(place here the job ad) (Bonanza Flyer, note that the graphic part of the flyer is in C2, the text part on this page)
KCFAPI Golden Jubilee Logo THE Knights of Columbus epitomizes the ideal Catholic gentleman. True to the objectives of the Order, the life of a Brother Knight is imbued with faith, fraternity and concern for the family.
CBCP Monitor Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Lenten Message 2008 WE enter the 2008 Season of Lent again to be reminded that Jesus Christ brought us salvation by accepting our humanity which is capable of suffering with us and for us. The season of lent is a call to compassion and consolation. We are challenged to share in the suffering of our neighbors through communion of goods. In lent we are reminded that we are not owners but rather stewards and administrators of the goods we possess. As we said in our CBCP Statement “ Reform yourselves and believe in the Gospel” (Mk.1/15), we must work for personal and communal conversion towards a social conscience, which put the common good above personal, family and group interests. Lent is a call to conversion to the common good. Social conscience for the common good: As we said in our CBCP Statement: “ we ask this of all citizens who have a concern for the national good, especially those who hold the reins of power, from Malacañang on to Congress, provincial and municipal governments, all the way down to barangay councils. People in government – as well as all other civic and business groupings – can they too reflect together in all manner of associations and look into themselves to see if, in all their actuations, the demand of common good are in fact captive to merely personal and selfish interests?” Lent is the time to do something about it. Fighting graft and corruption? Responding to the need for moral revolution and renewal? The challenge of Lent is “Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel” (Mk.1/15). Lent is the time to journey together toward social transformation. +ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO Archbishop of Jaro President, CBCP February 5, 2008 ----------------------------------------------------------
The Season of Lent Dear Brother Knights: When the season of LENT comes, people have different reactions. Since it is often associated with passion, death and resurrection of Christ with sacrifice and penance, people often ask: “What can I give up this season of Lent?” And yet we should explore what areas of our life would need improvement, a more committed way of living our faith. In other words, we should be more positive to the needs and feelings of others. Lent comes from an old English word which means “springtime.” Spring is a time when plants start to have leaves and later on flowers. In our environment, we see many changes. Likewise in our spiritual journey with Jesus. We prepare ourselves for a more faithful and meaningful share in the paschal mystery of Jesus – His passion, death and resurrection – through acts of prayer, fasting and the performance of good works. Secondly, lent is also a time of appreciating how much God loves us. Although we have sinned and we continue to sin. His love is everlasting. His love does not change. He loves us unconditionally. It is this love that motivates us to seek for inner transformation through conversion. His grace empowers us to purify ourselves throughout this season so that His image in us can come to perfection. We seek to know more personally this amazing God. All of us were born to live but Jesus was the only one who was born to die, that we may be saved… that we may receive forgiveness for all of our sins. Indeed our God is an amazing God… a God who empties Himself to fill up what is lacking in us… a God who gives without counting the cost, a God who gives Himself today until the end so that we could have everything that we need. In uttering the words while Jesus was dying on the cross: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” we get the impression that this is the cry of someone who seemed to be abandoned by God, someone whose petition or prayer was not heard. His cry expresses his feelings of emptiness, rejection, deprivation, aloneness and no sense of meaning. The cry of Jesus was the result of His kenosis, His self-emptying. In His cry He echoes the cries of many people in our times. His cry is in solidarity with people who are tempted to surrender, to give up. Allow me to share some concrete cases and challenges. • I remember a friend who lost three persons who were close to her heart: her mother, one of her sister and her husband. All their deaths happened within a year. She got drained that in case there will be another death, she could not just imagine how she would react or take it. She felt empty and lost all her tears. • The case of the Sumilao farmers from Bukidnon. They walked more than 1,700 kilometers for more than eighty days without certainty that they would be able to get what they have been struggling and fighting for so many years – their ancestral land which was taken to make that journey and yet they were determined to fight for their cause without any assurance of seeing some positive results. During their journey people gave them food provisions and a place where to sleep. Because of what they experienced in all the places they passed and stayed, they had renewed hope, a renewed belief in God who cares for the poor through the assistance of priests and bishops in their cause. • The case of more than 4,000 men confined in a facility good for eight hundred people at the Quezon City Jail. They are congested in a small area. They take turns in sleeping. More than one thousand two hundred have not had visitor in more than a year. These men have not yet been convicted and they are still waiting for the trial. Some of them are not guilty and others have served their sentence because they have stayed in that temporary detention center for some years exceeding the sentence imposed on them. With people caring for them, many have expressed the sentence imposed on them. With people caring for them, many have expressed their renewed faith that in God’s time they will be out of that detention center. • Being with Jesus and believing in Him would invite us to imitate His kenosis in our daily life. We lose ourselves that others may be filled. We die to ourselves like Jesus that others may have life and have it to the fullness. We fast and the food we save is meant to feed those who have nothing to eat. Have a fruitful Lenten season! Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD Bishop of Cubao Luzon State Chaplain
A Strong Defense Let’s face the future standing shoulder to shoulder with our pope, our bishops and our priests. by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson RECENTLY Pope Benedict XVI was the center of controversy in the Italian news media for an address he had made. The pope had criticized international discussions marked by a relativism that denies “the truth about man and his dignity” and rejects “the possibility of an ethics based on the recognition of natural law.” This was taken to mean, according to some Italian commentators, that the pope is preparing to attack the United Nations when he addresses the General Assembly during his April trip to the United States. The Vatican responded that this was not the case. Like his recent predecessors, Pope Benedict remains a supporter of the U.N. In fact, as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the pope’s comments could be seen more appropriately as a strong defense of the U.N.’s founding mission: to build a new global community based on the rule of law, reason and human rights. This should be obvious to Americans. Our Founding Fathers accepted natural law and rejected relativism when they declared that all people are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. Nonetheless, the concern raised by the Italian media has led to similar worries in the United States. Some point to a pattern of public relations “missteps” by the pope: the Regensburg
speech with its defense of reason, and rejection of violence in the name of religion; the Auschwitz visit with the statement that millions of Christians were also killed by the Nazi regime in the death camps (including thousands of Catholic priests); and the Brazil trip when Benedict rejected the idea that Christianity was imposed upon the native peoples of our hemisphere. These controversies involve much more than a dispute over headlines or “sound bites.” At Regensburg, the pope defended the achievement of Catholicism from St. Augustine through St. Thomas Aquinas of reconciling faith and reason into a coherent worldview capable of finding alternatives to the age-old human habit of “might makes right.” Reject this great accomplishment of Western Christianity and one can more easily ignore the Christian roots of Europe. Similarly, those who ignore the millions of Christians killed by the Nazis may be more influenced by the slanderous idea of “Hitler’s pope,” unconcerned with the Nazi death camps. Finally, the contention that Christianity was imposed upon the native people of the New World undermines 500 years of evangelization and overlooks entirely the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary appeared not with the power of a conquer-
ing invader but with the humility of a pregnant, mixed-race girl whose sign was not a sword but a bouquet of flowers. In each case, critics of the Church have attempted to rewrite history, placing Catholics on the defensive in the current “culture wars.” Perhaps, some argue, the pope should consider how secular elites and others will use his words to create controversy. He should not be subjected to the game of political “gotcha” that is the stock in trade of so many in the news media. But there is a more profound issue here: What is really at stake is whether Pope Benedict will be able to define his pastoral mission and teaching ministry on his own terms or whether he will have to submit to the politically correct terms of debate established by the secular media and other critics of the Church. Pope Benedict is one of the great intellectual and moral leaders of our age. He humbly and straightforwardly defends the truth. In the February issue of Columbia we consider the ability of Catholics to influence society in the 21st century. Certainly there is much for all of us to do, but I would suggest this as the place to start: Let all of us— bishops, priests and laity—face our future together, standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our great pope. Vivat Jesus!
Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento Sir Knight Rene V. Sarmiento
Lawyer, Constitutionalist, Peacemaker, Educator, Father, and a Knight.
COMMISSIONER Rene Sarmiento was privileged to work with three Presidents of the Philippines. Pres. Corazon C. Aquino appointed him to the Constitutional Commission of 1986 that was tasked to draft the 1987 Constitution. Then, Pres. Fidel V. Ramos appointed him as Member of the Government’s Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF, chairing the Government’s Reciprocal Working Committee on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. He served the Panel for 10 years from February 1996 to April 2006. On April 1, 2005, he was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (rank of Undersecretary) and then as OIC-Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (acting Secretary). While serving as
OIC-Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Pres. Arroyo designated him In-Charge of the Government’s interfaith initiative and activities. He led the Philippine delegation that participated in the Bali Interfaith Dialogue, Bali, Indonesia on July 21- 22, 2005. On April 17, 2006, he was appointed as one of the Commissioners of COMELEC. He enjoys being a law teacher. In 2006, he joined the faculty of the San Beda College of Law. SK Rene V. Sarmiento is an active member of Knights of Columbus Diego Silang Council 7656 (admitted in 1986). He held important positions in the Order such as Grand Knight for Columbian Years 1996-1998, District Deputy of District M-44 for Columbian Years 2000 to 2002. He was an Outstanding District Deputy for CY 2001-2002, a Former
Faithful Navigator of Padre Gomez Assembly. As Former District Deputy, a position he served with distinction, he led the district’s numerous projects that included the holding of Clergy Night to honor chaplains and parish priests and organizing Life High the Cross of Christ Awards to give tribute to outstanding brother knights of councils constituting the district. He was a former member of the Board of Trustees of Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) from 2001 to 2004 and an incumbent member of the Board of Directors of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., a subsidiary of KCFAPI. When not involved in government work and church activities, he happily spends time with his wife, La Rainne, and their children, Gabriela, Jeremiah, and Golda. (Annie M. Nicolas)
Visayas Deputy and State Officers conduct provincial sorties THE Worthy Visayas Deputy, Bro. Dionisio “Jun” R. Esteban, Jr. and other state officers, make rounds in the different provinces and districts of the Visayas Jurisdiction every Saturdays and Sundays with the aim of reaching out to brother knights at the council level. The provincial foray which started January of this year will go on until March 2008. The Provincial Conference serves as a venue for council officers, led by the Grand Knight to align the council’s membership and service programs to that of the whole Visayas State’s Columbian Year 2007-2008 Goals. Council officers also get to know and air their concerns and suggestions, up close and personal, to the Visayas Deputy. Bro. Esteban emphasized the significance of the Provincial Conference as an opportunity for state, district and council officers to
jointly review the performance of the Knights of Columbus in the Visayas from the grassroots—the councils—being the basic units of the Order, and identify areas for improvement. The Provincial Deputy of each province, assisted by District Deputies, acts as host/ presiding officer. The State Officers serve as resource persons on specific topics that are relevant to the councils such as: Columbian Squires and Youth Program (with Visayas Squires Chairman, Bro. Wency Canete), Council Reports (with Visayas Auditor, Bro. Cris Tadlip), Council Retention and Reactivation (with Visayas Retention Chairman, Bro. Cenon Sasan), Membership Growth and Development (with Visayas Membership Director, Bro. Ric Urot), Effective Service Program (with Visayas Program Director,
Bro. Ritto Pablo), and Insurance Promotion (with Visayas Insurance Promotion Chairman, Bro. Willie Lauron). To underscore the Visayas Deputy’s commitment for the effectiveness of the SK Dionisio “Jun” R. Provincial Confer- Esteban, Jr. ence, Bro. Jun Esteban will spend his birthday on February 24, 2008 in Dumaguete City to be with brother knights in Negros Oriental. Bro. Jun also bestowed Awards and recognition coming from the Supreme Council to intended recipients and awardees. (Bro. Junjie Navales Cruz)
KEYS REALTY & DEVELOPMENT, CORP. 3
“AVAILABLE BRAND NEW OFFICE SPACE”
Floor Area from 40 sq. to 100 square meters
A true family man SIR Knight Antonio T. Yulo started his professional life as a utility boy in his family’s printing press business. When his father passed away, he continued working for his father’s best friend and eventually finished high school and college. A graduate of University of Santo Tomas with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Accountancy, he passed the Philippine Board Examination for Accountants in December 1964. He joined the Knights of Columbus Pasay City Council 4267 in 1981. He held various positions in the Council such as Council Director, Family Director, Recorder, and as Grand Knight (two terms). He is a Past Faithful Navigator of Jesus Villamor Assembly and former District Deputy of M-63. His exceptional performance as District Deputy made him the Most Outstanding District Deputy of Luzon Jurisdiction and for which he was named delegate to the 114th Supreme Council Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. It was in 1999 when he received his appointment from the Supreme Council as Luzon Territorial Deputy. He was re-appointed for another 2-year term that ended in 2003. The most important asset of the Luzon Jurisdiction is its members with a common faith in God, in union with the Holy See, and with the common ideals espoused by our Founder, Rev. Fr. Michael J McGivney. Through his leadership, Luzon Jurisdiction achieved an all time high of newly recruited members. They instituted new councils, but what was more significant was that they were able to activate scores of dormant, inactive councils. They adopted the motto “every council active”; every council was considered as a point of light. At present, he is a Member of the Board of Trustees/Treasurer of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI). He was first elected in the KCFAPI Board of Trustees as Treasurer in 1999 to 2003 and was re-elected last July 2007. He was also elected President of Mace Insurance Agency, Inc., a subsidiary of KCFAPI, which he started serving as member of the Board since 1995. Sir Knight Tony Yulo values his family so much. He considered them his only priceless possession in life. He would often say that even if he is not well endowed financially, he has a happy family. He is so proud of his five children, especially his late son, Hubert, who died in line of duty as Philippine Air Force fighter pilot at the age of 25. Bro. Tony, and wife Sis. Conching, see to it that they travel to the United States every year to see and visit their other children and grandchildren. (Annie M. Nicolas)
As of January 30, 2008, the following KC councils have submitted their registration forms for the “KC-ing Galing Chorale Competition” for Luzon Jurisdiction:
Knights of Columbus Building Captain V. Roa Extension, Cagayan De Oro City
Past Luzon Deputy Antonio T. Yulo:
KC-ing GALING CHORALE COMPETITION
Floor, Fr. George Willmann S.J. Center General Luna cor., Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila Tel Nos: 527-2221/527-2238
Floor Area from 40 sq. to 100 square meters
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Golden Jubilee Updates:
For inquiries: Please call MS. ADRONICA “NICA” GOSE 3RD Floor, Fr. George Willmann S.J. Center General Luna cor., Sta. Potenciana Sts., Intramuros, Manila Tel. No: (02) 527-2221 Fax No: (02) 527-2238
Knights Pool Strength! Rosarian Council 10104, Makinabang, Baliuag, Bulacan Knights initialized the construction of kitchen and comfort room of Sta. Barbara Multi-purpose hall in Baliuag, Bulacan. In picture are DD Jimmy Maniego and GK Rodel del Rosario. (My family’s prayers also go to the following individuals who have helped us in the finances through their personal donations: Mr. Antonio B. Borromeo, Mr. Raymundo C. Soliman, Ms. Marissa Valenzuela, Ms. Ester Magleo, Ms. Carmen Flores and Ms. Myrna Ruanto.)(Ma. Theresa G. Curia)
MR. REYNANTE “BONG” BRAGAT Branch Service Administrator KC Fraternal Knights of Columbus Building Captain V. Roa Extension, Cagayan De Oro City Tel. #: (0882)-854-3274 Fax #: (0882)-272-1005
1. Council 10399 2. Council 6287 3. Council 10104 4. Council 10291 5. Council 3939 6. Council 1000 7. Council 5310 8. Council 14359
Sto. Niño de Meycauayan St. Vincent Ferrer of Baguio City Rosarian Council, Baliuag, Bulacan Immaculate Heart of Mary, Malabon City Three Kings Council, Gapan, Nueva Ecija Manila Council, Intramuros, Manila Gomburza, Brixton, Quezon City SSC-R De Cavite
Finalists for the competition which will be held during the Luzon Convention in May 2008 will be announced in next month’s issue.
Various councils in Luzon have shown support to KCFAPI’s Golden Jubilee activities. Rosarian Council 10104 of Baliuag, Bulacan (above) was one of the councils who registered for the KC-ing Galing Chorale competition.
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
Vol. XXVI No. 120
A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education
Delegates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao during the ACCCREs 2nd Annual Assembly in Lipa City, Batangas, January 16-18, 2008.
ACCCRE holds annual assembly THE Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges with Religious Education (ACCCRE) held its 2nd Annual Assembly last January 16-18, 2008 at the Capuchin Retreat Center in Lipa City. The objectives of the annual assembly are the following: 1) To convene the annual membership of Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges with Religious Education for 2008; 2) To present the 2007 New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines modules for teaching programs; 3) To review the Catechists’ Basic Formation Program in light of 2007 National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines. The gathering was well attended with 21 catechetical centers, 47 colleges and universities and 12 Diocesan Catechetical Ministries.
During his talk, Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos gave an overview of the purposes of the association: a) to promote continuing improvement in the religious education capability of member schools through formation, programs, faculty development and system improvements, particularly in the area of catechesis and educating future religious educators; b) to institutionalize a network among members to promote collaboration and exchange of “best practices” in religious education for both faculty and administrators; c) to promote and implement self accreditation among member schools as a process towards and commitment to continuing improvement in quality religious education; d) to provide assistance to sustain support, coordinate and monitor catechetical centers and schools with Religious Educa-
tion which may have problems related to financial, academic and other concerns; also to assist in the establishment of new catechetical centers and schools; e) Advocate on behalf of governmental and ecclesiastical policies which concerns and affects religious education. In the context of the power of vision in the service of Catechesis, Msgr. Santos defined evangelization as: 1) The Proclamation, above all, of SALVATION from sin; the LIBERATION from everything oppressive to human beings; 2) the DEVELOPMENT of human beings in all dimensions, personal and communitarian; 3) and ultimately, the RENEWAL OF SOCIETY in all its strata through the interplay of the GOSPEL TRUTHS and human being’s concrete TOTAL LIFE (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi).
ECCCE Chairman Bishop Socrates Villegas, DD with catechists from Mother of Life Center (MOLians).
If our life as Catholic Chris- be done to reverse this process. make the whole dough rise. The tians is a journey towards the The Basic Ecclesial Classroom is Basic Ecclesial Classroom as a Kingdom of God, which Jesus an attempt to inject ecclesial life way of living, being Church in a proclaimed and inaugurated, into our youth’s school life today. classroom setting is but a small then it must start somewhere. If they have the possibility of attempt to start the reign of God By belonging to the Church drifting away from our Church, right at the heart of our Catholic that Christ founded on the then the Church must cast its net schools, the classroom. Like the mustard seed, the Baapostles, we commune with in the classrooms of our Catholic sic Ecclesial Classroom is just a other believers as we walk schools. The idea may look so simple tiny effort to spark an ecclesial hand in hand towards the realization of the reign of God. but it is not without difficulties experience for the students. But But because of the influence of and the work is so immense. The given the proper support, nourthe current wave of seculariza- Basic Ecclesial Classroom is not ishment, and commitment of tion and materialism, the a new technique in evangelizing people concerned with the stumore we may drift away to- students, teacher, and parents in dents, it can grow both vertically wards the margins of our com- Catholic schools. Actually the and horizontally to provide spirimunal or ecclesial life. When principle of the Basic Ecclesial tual nourishment to whoever we fill our schedule book with Classroom is as old as the Church wants to be covered by its shade. Like the yeast, the Basic our professional and social ac- that Christ founded on the Ecclesial Classtivities to the room is an invisdetriment of ible living organour church acThe Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person ism. What makes tivities, we betook and sowed in the field. It is the smallest of all the it grow is not the c o m e seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It visible activities marginalized becomes a large bush; the birds of the sky come and dwell that characterize in our relationit, but the living ship with our in its branches. The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a spirit that props neighbors and woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour up the spiritual our God. The until the whole batch was leavened (Mt. 13:31-33). life of the stumore we refrain dents in the classfrom hearing the words of God during Sun- apostles. We have heard about room. There is that divine spirit day services or stop practicing the stories of small Christian that seeks the other not only for our faith in our daily life, the communities during the apos- dependence but also for inter-remore we become poor about tolic era, which were founded lationship. This relationship that things that give meaning to and nourished by the ministry of grows from the spirit of love, rethe apostles. If the battle cry of spect, and acceptance, makes the our lives. This reality is so prevalent Vatican II is “resourcement” or Basic Ecclesial Classroom a that our young people think going back to the sources, then leaven to God’s community of that this is the standard of our the Basic Ecclesial Classroom is a young people in Catholic schools. As I have said, the Basic life and their life. Young small attempt to go back to that people that look up to their first experience of being an Ecclesial Classroom is not easy parents and teachers as role ecclesial community during the to bring to fruition, but like the mustard seed that must die to itmodels are drifting further time of the apostles. The Kingdom of God is like a self to become a big tree and like away from the mainstream of church activities. If parents mustard seed, it is small but can the yeast that must lose itself to and teachers are not playing grow into the largest plant; it is give rise to the dough, the Basic their role effectively in this also like yeast, dissolved and in- Ecclesial Classroom must unregard, then something must visible from the eye but it can dergo a dying and losing of self
During the assembly the following directions of the General Directory for Catechesis were pointed out: a) that Catechesis is a fundamental element of being a baptized Christian and should therefore be “comprehensive and systematic,” yet is “more than instruction, but also an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life,” (GDC, 87); b) the fundamental tasks of catechesis are promoting the knowledge of faith, liturgical education, moral formation, teaching to pray, learning to live in community and a sense of mission. (GDC, 85); c) the objective of catechesis is for the person to encounter, and be in communion with Jesus Christ so that we can think, act and love like him
(GDC, 116). The catechesis was presented in a Trinitarian framework, namely:
1. The catechesis in the Philippines has the following characteristics: a) it is Christ-centered, b) it is rooted in the Word of God; c) it is systematic and inculturated. 2. The sources of Catechesis are: Sacred Scriptures, Church teachings and human experience. 3. The catechetical principles and three “fidelities”: a) integration: fidelity to God; b) Inculturated: fidelity to human person; c) community-forming: fidelity to the Church. The three-day annual assembly was facilitated by Msgr. Gerardo Santos.
Reflection on Basic Ecclesial Classroom By Jimmy D. Tablan to bring its real essence into existence. When students say, they don’t need the scripture in their lives, or they don’t go to Church, or they don’t believe in God, it is not the end of our dream to initiate the Basic Ecclesial Classroom, but actually it’s just an experience of dying and losing that may give birth to its deeper existence. When the Church was born from the side of Christ crucified, a spear thrust into his side, Jesus had to experience torturous pain first before giving birth to the Church. In the same manner, the Basic Ecclesial Classroom must experience that marginalization or pain of initial rejection, because only then that classroom can nourish its members, and provide a space where we can nourish each other. The continued financial support of the government to Catholic schools and the economic boom that we are enjoying in Alberta can be both a grace and a curse. A grace because it is a privilege that some other Catholic schools across Canada don’t enjoy. But it is also a curse, because it gives the students, teachers, and
parents a sense of unguarded security. With this financial and economic security, we also think that we have everything and we don’t need anything. These might be nails in the coffin of the death of God attitude. The Basic Ecclesial Classroom wants to overcome this attitude by leading us to look back at the reality that we are not fully complete. We are creatures that are in the process of going back to our creator. In Catholic schools we need each other to journey towards God. We need our ecclesial community to guide us and show us the way to the father. According to the Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, “By reason of its identity, the Catholic school is a place of ecclesial experience, which is molded in the Christian community” (#12). This pronouncement from the Congregation for Catholic Education about Catholic schools for sure may be realized in the life of the Basic Ecclesial Classroom. Furthermore, the same document states, “The Catholic School should be a school for the human person and of the human person,
because the person of each individual human being, in his or her material needs, is at the heart of Christ’s teaching; this is why the promotion of the human person is the goal of the Catholic school” (#9). The Basic Ecclesial Classroom will work to provide for the spiritual and human needs of the students. By doing so, it brings into reality a kind of school community that is truly Christian and Catholic. Like the early community of the apostles. The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they have everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need (Acts 4:32-35).
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
A series of modules on the
New National Catechetical Directory of the Philippines (NNCDP) (A Continuation of the last issue) Chapter III Foundations of Catechesis: Revelation, faith, and the Church Revelation through Deeds and Words in Salvation History [167-168] 1. Catechesis today draws upon revelation defined in terms of the inspired biblical narrative— the saving acts and words of God forming a dynamic unity, constituting a real divine Self-giving, in Scripture and Tradition—the Church’s teaching, her liturgy, her life of charity and service (witnessing), and her preaching. 2. Summary of Salvation History as recorded in the Scriptures [170-173] Biblical revelation then, and its transmission through Tradition, exemplifies a certain “divine pedagogy” which shows the following characteristics: 3. 1) Sacramental - through words and deeds mutually illuminating and clarifying one another; 2) unfolding in a long process - God’s salvific plan was revealed only in stages over a long history, as recounted in the OT and NT, culminating in Christ, the complete and perfection revelation. 3) communal - fur the people of Israel in. the OT, the apostolic Church in the NT, not for their private individualistic good; 4. The place of revelation is still the Word of God in Tradition and Scripture, but its scope extends to the whole field of human experience. The best single source of “human experience” in catechesis is the Inspired Word of God in Sacred Scripture. 5. Catechesis in the Philippines: biblical, Christocentric and Trinitarian  Our Philippine catechesis must be biblical, truly Christocentric and Trinitarian, dearly communicating the basic story line of God’s saving plan. God as revealed by Jesus Christ is not an isolated One in solitary loneliness, but a Trinity of Persons: Father Son and Holy Spirit. We know this from God’s own Self--revelation. 6. The Church and Revelation [181-186] Most important is the Church’s task of discerning God’s presence in the events of human history, especially in the aspirations and hopes engendered in the people. One concrete example of this need for discernment is the question of “private revelations.” 7. Since God’s public Self-revelation in Scripture is essentially an ecclesial reality, the Church plays a major role communicating God’s message. She helps us discern today God’s presence in created nature, in other religions, and in the events of our world’s history. “Private revelations” must be judged by competent Church authorities in view of God’s definitive public self-revelation in Jesus Christ. 8. Purpose of Revelation (181-190] 9. The Proclamation of Revelation and Faith Response TODAY 
10. FAITH: Our Response to God’s Revelation [192-194] Faith likewise signifies both an objective reality – what we believe in – and the personal act of believing. These two must be integrated in an adequate catechesis, otherwise both dimensions become distorted. 11. Faith is our free response to the living revealing God; a personal decision within the community of believers, involving our whole person: a) our head – understanding the truth (doctrine of faith); b) our hands – faithful action according to God will (morals); c) our heart – filial worship and trusting in the Lord (worship). 12. Faith as believing (Paniniwala) is knowing God through accepting the divine Self-Revelation to us in Scripture and Tradition; Faith as doing (Pagtalima) is simply following God’s will, keeping the word of God and the commandments; Faith as trusting (pagtitiwala) is confidently entrusting ourselves to God’s saving love, and celebrating this especial in prayer and ecclesial worship. 13. Faith, like revelation, is used both to describe the content of Christian faith, as when we say “the Christian Faith” (fides quae), and to signify the personal act of believing, the “I believe in” (fides qua). These two dimensions of faith must be integrated to provide an adequate catechesis on faith as both objective and true, yet a fully personal act and virtue, empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit. 16. Mary, Model of Faith  In the Philippines, known as “pueblo amante de Maria,” Mary provides a beautiful and powerful symbol of an inculturated response of faith. Mary is a picture of complete integration as she cooperated with the grace of God and opened herself completely to the action of the Spirit. By living her fiat, her “Yes to God in all the realities of ordinary, daily living, Mary becomes in a personal way the “Exemplar of faith.” We look to her as we wait for our prayers and hope to be fulfilled. We identify with her as our Mother who understands our problems and cares for us. For this reason, we can learn more about faith from our devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Chapter IV Basic Content of the Church’s Catechesis Article 213 Sums up the presentation of the basic content of the Church’s Catechesis 1. Chapter IV Doctrine Chapter V Catholic Morality Chapter VI Catholic Prayer & Worship 2. Outline of the chapters is as ff; • Introduction
Soul of Theology (Second of three parts) By Dr. Ma. Lucia C. Natividad Sacred Scriptures as the book of the Church Sacred Scripture is a record of God’s dealings with His people and how they responded to, remembered, and interpreted those experiences. Scripture is written principally from the heart of the people of God or the Church. Scripture is a collection of inspired books that are from the Church, by the Church and for the Church. Scripture forms the book of the Church. It was written by persons from “the people of God, for the people of God, about the God-experience of the people of God” (CFC 81). Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church established the Canon of Scripture or the list of the inspired books. The sacred Scripture of both Testaments is like a mirror in which the Church contemplates God, from whom she receives everything, until such time as she is brought to see God face to face as He really is (DV 7). These inspired books in both the Old and New Testament witness to the story of God’s faithful deliverance of humanity from sin and death in Jesus Christ. The Church determined the inspired and normative writings of the New Testament in terms of their apostolic origin, coherence
with the essential Gospel message, and constant use in Church’s liturgy (CFC 88). Scripture fundamentally belongs to the Church yet Scripture enriches the Church and her traditions. It is never to be separated from the people of God whose life and history (Tradition) formed the context and writing and development (CFC 82). Scripture, basis of the Good News of salvation, is the book of the Church, the source, the norm and basis of the living tradition of the Church. Tradition, the life of the Church under the animating force of the Holy Spirit, enables the Church to penetrate the truth and the meaning of Scripture more fully. The Church is charged with the continuing task of guarding it, listening to it, living it, and interpreting it properly. The Holy Spirit guides the Church to the truth and directs her in avoiding error until the end of time. Deepened understanding of the words and realities of salvation history is an aspect of the Spirit’s continuing work in the Church and in the world today.
Work of Art Biblical language contains profound metaphors communicating truth about God. In the inspired
text of the Bible, God communicates Himself in a language that is intelligible to human beings. Through symbolic language found in various biblical literary forms such as psalms, narratives, parables, and allegories, God initiates and deepens an ongoing relationship with all people. Scripture is a work of art which brings in three attributes of beauty. First, Scripture shines out and illumines truth about the divine mystery. In aesthetics, beauty is that quality or combination of qualities that give pleasure. The harmony of God’s perfections and the interplay of forces in the drama of salvation history produce delight through their beauty. Scripture radiates God’s holiness worthy of enormous reverence as the Holy Being. Such for example is the opening verse of Ps. 18 “I love you, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.” We can contemplate this beauty in the glory and splendor that Christ revealed as the only-begotten Son of the Father. The Fourth Gospel proclaims, “We beheld his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). Second, Scripture has form and structure, symmetry and integrity indicative of the beautiful—catching the mind
• Basic Content per dimension • Summary
echized Filipino and his/her historical/social situation (274)
3. Morality in Catechesis
1. Basic content of the Church’s Catechesis is entirely discussed in chapter IV 2. Outline of the Chapter is as follows: 1. Introduction 2. Norms for Presenting the Gospel Message CFC and CCC 3. NNCDP and CFC - Complimentary Tools 4. Discussion of DMW 5. Situations 6. Basic Content 7. Summary Significant Contribution of Chapter IV 1. Continuity and Development Continuity § Three essential dimensions of the objective content of the Christian Faith: • Doctrine • Mora! • Worship § The sequence is chosen “to stress the need to integrate Christian moral witness with its basis in doctrinal truth and its celebration in the Christian sacrament and prayers.”(214) Stress is given to an “integrated catechesis”
• Christian Moral Witness • Christian Sacraments and Prayer • Integrated Catechesis Development • Presentation of essential guidelines of the Gospel Message • Relation of CFC to CCC and the complimentarity of NNCDP and CFC • Strong contextualization of each dimension towards a contextualized catechesis 2. Doctrine in Catechesis a. Relevance of Doctrinal Catechesis in practice, therefore, to catechize in such a way as to close the “gap” between doctrine and concrete Filipino Catholic living means focusing on three basic aspects of doctrine: FIRST, doctrine’s inner unity and coherence, or the nature of Christian truths themselves; SECOND, doctrinal development in specific contexts and certain doctrinal hierarchy; and FINALLY, doctrine’s relevance to Filipino Catholics’ fundamental human experience and problem. A brief, word about each will suffice to indicate some guidelines for a “relevant doctrinal catechesis.” (262) b. Catechesis on doctrines, when effective, will lead to an encounter with the Father through the person of Jesus and in the power of the Spirit, and cannot but transform the personal life of the cat-
with its silent coherence. Finally, Scripture can inspire, guide and empower the readers to goodness and truth as all beautiful things do. Beauty holds together and rewards the onlooker with delight, pleasure, and satisfaction (Avis, 2001, 94). Paul’s encounter with divine beauty in the blinding light from the sky that flashed around him on the road to Damascus led to his conversion (Acts 8). Scripture is rich and full of poetic language, figurative discourse, of metaphor, symbol and myth, because this is the only way the literally, inexpressible truth of God and the essence of graced faith can be communicated. The biblical words show forth the transcendent qualities of God as the uniquely One, True, Good and Beautiful. The beauty of God can at times seize, captivate, enchant and even seduce the readers. Beauty, however, must not be confused with mere “prettiness.” Isaiah shows that the beauty in Scripture is often terrible and disturbing. He speaks of a servant who was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and was held in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured (Is. 53:2-5). Biblical words do not only reveal “God who is with us” but also the mystery of the human beings in relation with God. In every human being there is the fierce yearning to answer the ultimate questions of origin and meaning of life—that is what it means to be born, to die and to rise again; what one can know, love, and hope for. The biblical and poetic words help and encourage the human being to use and develop all human faculties of reason, affectivity and imagination in order to become what
a. One common catechetical problem is the GAP existing between the faith as communicated and the everyday life of the Filipino Catholic, a type of “practical atheism” that calls for a more effective moral education fostering a personal conversion to Christ. Such a conversion deepens and purifies many traditional Filipino values, (299) b. A return to Catholic: Morality founded in Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit and focused on Christ our Way, integrates both the traditional and the personalist moral approaches together with daily life, in an inculturated process stressing the roles of values, imagination and affectivity (301)
4. Liturgy in Catechesis a. Many Filipino Catholics feel the need for a more active, more effective worship, to supplement the liturgy often is experienced as too formal and too priest-centered. (309) b. A good liturgical and sacramental catechesis can help Filipino Catholics to: 1. understand that they are doing and what is really taking place in the liturgy; 2. assume the proper attitudes that should underline their actions and gestures in the liturgy; 3. strive to live according to what they believe and celebrate. Through a solid and adequate liturgical/sacramental formation, Filipino Catholics can be brought to a conscious and holistic Catholic worship, fruitful for their own personal faith life and for the life of their faith-communities. (306) Liturgy in Catechesis, Worship and Mission Today, it is important to bring out the relationship between the call to Christian worship and the call to mission especially the search for, and working to bring about, justice for all, and the service of and with the poor, within the larger mission of proclaiming the Good News. (328) Norms for Presenting the Gospel Message (218237)
1. Christocentric 2. Trinitarian Christocentric 3. A Message Proclaiming Salvation, Liberation 4. Ecclesial Nature of the Gospel 5. The Historical Character of the Mystery of Salvation 6. Inculturation of the Gospel Message 7. A Message Meaningful for the Human Person 8. The Integrity of the Gospel Message 9. A Comprehensive and Hierarchical Message
the person is meant to be.
Purpose of Sacred Scripture In his second letter to Timothy, Paul brings out the built-in functions of Scripture. By its very nature Scripture “is useful for teaching, for refutation and for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Paul, warning against the errors of the false teachers, invites Timothy to reread the Old Testament biblical text in the Christian context, for Scripture instructs salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). Paul’s view on the purposes of Scripture, brings into light the accepted structure of the four traditional senses of Scripture: which are the literal or the historical which teaches what happened, the allegorical what is to be believed; the moral what should be done and the anagogic towards what we must strain (CFC 94). The objective reality seen in the four purposes of Scripture noted by Paul together with the four traditional senses of Scripture embrace the full range and depth of God’s word that affect and relate to the subjective reality of Christian faith as believing, doing and entrusting and worshipping which touches every part of the individual believer: mind, hands and heart (CFC 128-133).
Literal Sense The literal sense is not to be confused with the “literalist” sense to which fundamentalists are attached. For almost fifty years, beginning with Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) the literal sense has been defined as the sense which has been expressed directly by the
human author and which the written words convey (Brown 1990, 71:9-29). The literal sense is ascertained by a careful analysis of the text, within its literary and historical context, according to the literary convention of composition. Catholic biblical scholars use the historical-critical method to determine the literal sense. The Pontifical Biblical Commission recognizes that literal sense can have more than one level of reality as in the case of poetry. Divine inspiration can guide the human utterance as to create more than one meaning. The dynamic meaning of the text is brought to light when Scripture is read in a new context, that is what the Catholic Church has believed, practiced, and taught in its two-thousand-year history continuing to the present. The literal sense teaches what happened and continues to be bearers of light and life so that people may come to believe. “But they were written for the purpose of our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Cor.10: 11).
Spiritual Senses 1. Allegorical Sense
The allegorical sense of Scripture is the meaning derived when individual passages are interpreted against the background of the story of God’s work in the world beginning with God’s creation of the material world and the human being. It continues through the story of alienation from God through sin, God’s call of a particular people to be the vehicle of his revelation and blessing and the climax of this saving, reconciling work in the person, words and deeds, and paschal mystery of Jesus Christ and his return at the end of time. The allegorical sense points to Jesus, the cornerstone of the Soul / D3
Vol. 12 No. 4
February 18 - March 2, 2008
By Most Rev. Leonardo Legaspi, OP, DD
(Second of Two Parts) 2.1.2 The CCC’s Arrangement of Material
The decision to organize the catechism around the four traditional catechetical pillars of Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, and the Our Father may be one of the most important contributions of the CCC. For it helps to balance certain recent trends which have played down both Creed and Commandments while focusing rather on themes like liberation for doctrinal basis, and on virtues, values, and character for explaining Christian moral life. By choosing the “old, traditional order” in the very effort to “illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past, the CCC contains ‘the new and the old’ (cf. Mt 13:52) because the faith is always the same, yet the source of every new light. Concretely, the CCC’s arrangement re-affirms the special relevance and value of the Creed and the Commandments for organizing doctrinal and moral catechesis. It is gratifying to note that this arrangement confirms the decision taken more than nine years ago to adopt the same 4-pillar plan for the National Catechism of the Philippines (cf. Lineamenta 106). At the same time, the CCC’s admonition to illumine new situations with the light of faith shows openness and encourages possibilities for balanced, creative applications in an authentically inculturated catechesis. The CFC gives two examples on how the CCC’s arrangement can be adapted creatively to local catechetical needs: Firstly, in a follow-up volume exemplifying the guidelines proposed in the NCDP, the CFC differs from the CCC’s sequence by inserting Christian Moral Life between Christian Doctrine and Christian Worship. This responds to Philippine catechetical needs: a) of integrating Christian morality more intrinsically with Christian doctrine and worship; and . b) of strengthening morality by relating it directly to the Person of Jesus Christ (2nd article of the Creed), thus building on the Filipino cultural value of close personal relationships. Secondly, the CFC integrates its exposition of Christian Prayer with its introductory chapter on the Sacraments. Both flow directly from the opening chapters of Part 3 (3rd article of the Creed) on the Holy Spirit and the Church. This responds to the Philippine catechetical needs of: a) stressing the link between the. Filipino Catholic’s personal prayer and the liturgy of the Church; b) emphasizing the role of the Holy Spirit in both.
2.1.3 The CCC’s Content
The major contribution of the CCC to local catechesis, and especially to the preparation of local catechisms, is undoubtedly its content, which is presented as “a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith” (FD 4). The following is only a sketch of the few basic ways in which the CCC’s content can contribute substantially to the on-going dynamic process of creating an authentic inculturated local catechesis and catechisms in Asian Churches [Forming Catholics who are, in PCP-IIs terms, maka-Diyos, makatao at makabayan (636)]. The CCC’s content offers “the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine in faith and morals” (11) .
188.8.131.52 An Official “Check –List”
In effect, the CCC’s content is an official “check list” for determining what is essential to the Faith, and, by presenting a vision of the whole, this catholicity helps overcome any fragmentation of the message, or ecclesial isolation (cf Lineamenta 14, 55 a). It balances the tendency of local catechesis to focus too uniquely on the questions of the moment, as presented by current local au-
thors. It provides leads for revising and updating the local catechesis with regards to its treatment of emerging new problems.
184.108.40.206 A Rich Source of Materials
It provides a rich source of materials for developing each of the essentials of the Faith from Scripture and Tradition, from apostolic times to the present. It offers easy access to a wealth of material that is not readily available in local catechetical agencies. This wealth of material necessitates selection and adaptation by local catechetical authors and thus encourages the application of the principles of responsible, intelligent use (cf NCDP 405; Lineamenta 25, 47). It inspires inculturated, creative use of local Church documents, devotions to Saints, and liturgies, etc.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Local Catechesis
220.127.116.11 A Source of Updates Responsive to the Needs of the Times Included in the content are up-to-date developments responding to the needs of the times. It offers significant help in responding to the Holy Father’s call for “new evangelization” which was echoed and “inculturated” in the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in its call for renewed integral evangelization. The missionary dimension of present-day catechesis is emphasized. Finally, it presents faith in terms of both the intellect and the heart, observing the creative tension between the objective truths of Catholic doctrine and the intensely personal character of faith (cf Lineamenta 31). This is particularly helpful for inculturated catechesis today.
18.104.22.168 A Model of an Organic, Systematic Exposition The CCC has organized the essentials of the Faith. This carefully worked-out orderly presentation has the following salutary effects: a) It interrelates the different essentials of the Faith, and brings out Faiths basic unity (cf. FD 3). This helps counteract the tendency, especially when planning the religion curricula in schools, to offer separate piecemeal presentations. It strengthens and facilitates the effort of the CFC to implement the NCDP’s fundamental guideline of integrating doctrine, morals, and worship. b) It brings out the “hierarchy of truths” (URR 11). This aids further integration among: i. the doctrines themselves (Vatican I; DS 3016); ii. the moral principles, and commandments within moral life; and iii. prayer, worship, liturgy and. the sacraments in Christian celebration. c) It helps to focus on the essentials, the necessary local work of adaptation in bringing the Gospel to the level of the simple people.
2.1.4 The CCC’s Methodology The methodology manifested in the CCC’s text is helpful in two major ways: 1. A detailed organization is made available to all. The CCC clearly marks off different levels of exposition: Parts, Sections, Chapters, Articles, centered numbered headings, side headings, paragraph numbers, and marginal reference numbers to other paragraphs on the same subject. (This refers to the French edition of the CCC). Patristic, Liturgical, and Magisterial sources are differentiated and made easily recognizable by setting these in small print. There are helpful summations – the “In Brief” sections concluding the treatment of a unified topic and offering synthetic formulas which can be used in local catechisms (cf. Lineamenta 49, 55h). This organic, systematic presentation of the Faith (cf. Lineamenta55c) can serve as a model for local catechists in their much less elaborate but nevertheless necessary ordering of matter for their seminars, pastoral plans of action, religion programs in
school: curricula and syllabi, etc. 2. The integrated use of sources is exemplified. The Catholic integrated use and interplay of primary and derived sources of the Faith encourages like methodology in local catechesis and catechisms. Integrated in the CCC are Sacred Scripture, Church Teaching including Creeds, Ecumenical Councils, Synods, the Fathers, Writings of Saints and Church authors, Canon Law, Papal Documents, Roman and Eastern Liturgies... (cf. Lineamenta 55c; CCC 113).
selection of members cf. Lineamenta 74) to carry out the basic activities noted above and the following suggested activities. 2. The diocesan and regional catechetical centers. They play the essential part of actuating the effective use of the CCC in their local catechesis. But the influence of the CCC will be mainly mediated through the CFC and the Catechists Basic Formation Program (CBFP). 4. Implementing activities would include:
2.2 Part Two: The Use of the Catechism
• proper use of media to follow-up original promulgation of the CCC (cf. Lineamenta 79); . • the primary work of revising the national catechism, and the catechists’ formation program in view of the CCC (cf. Lineamenta 47, 126); • accurate translations of the revised National Catechism,. the CEC, into the major local dialects; • a national convention organized by ECCCE especially for Catechetical Institutes to explain the contributions of both the CCC and the National Catechism to the Catechists Basic Formation Program and local; catechesis in general; • regional or diocesan seminars for the local catechetical leaders, given by competent teams of experts sent out under the auspices of ECCCE, on the CCC and National Catechism in local inculturated catechesis • publications on the CCC (cf. Lineamenta 77-78).
2.2.1 Initial Steps of Implementation
The Church structures, organizations, groups and activities needed for implementing the use of the CCC in local catechesis and in the preparation of local catechisms are for the most part already in place. Only a certain amount of unified direction is needed to galvanize proper action. Initial steps at implementation would include: 1. The local publication of the CCC and its adequate diffusion among catechetical leaders, and especially among catechetical formation centers throughout the country (cf. Lineamenta 80f, 119); 2. The creation of competent committees to work out needed revisions in the light of the CCC of:
• the National Catechetical Directory • the National Catechism, and • the Catechist’s Basic Formation Program (cf. Lineamenta 75, 126) 3. Promotion and follow-up: Mass Media (cf. Lineamenta 76) must be harnessed in an effective information program. Instructions and commentaries on the CCC by local catechetical leaders should be published. What should be stressed are the parts and aspects most relevant to the local Church’s catechesis and National Pastoral Plan (cf. Lineamenta 73 b, c, d). .
2.2.2 Implementing Organizations, Personnel, and Activities
1. The Episcopal Commission for Catechesis and Catholic Education, or its equivalent (cf. Lineamenta 67) of the local Church’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference. This Commission should create a competent committee (norms for
3 Synthesis/Conclusion As stated in the introduction, this report focuses on the contribution that the CCC can make to the catechetical ministry in the Philippines particularly the preparation of the National Catechism, and the revision and implementation of the CBFP. In order to evaluate the depth and breadth of such a contribution the Catechism itself was examined thoroughly, concentrating on three areas, namely:
1. the process of creating the CCC; 2 its basic arrangement and content; 3. the methodology followed in presenting the content. As regards the preparation of the CCC, the essential relationship that exists between the CCC and Vatican II
has been pointed out. The CCC is the fruit of an extensive and well, organized collaboration, and is an encouraging example of how to carry things to completion. Finally, reminders stress the importance of an effective and well-advertised promulgation as well as of a thorough follow-up. As regards the arrangement and content of the CCC, the organization of the subject matter follows the classical scheme of doctrine, liturgy, moral life, and prayer. The content is based on Scripture and Tradition, but includes also up-to-date developments. In this way, the CCC is both an instrument of communion in the Church and a sure norm for teaching the faith. As for the methodology, pointed out are the detailed and systematic organization of the content as well as the consistent integrated use of all the sources in the CCC. While pursuing the objective presentation of these basic features of the CCC, the catechetical situation in the Philippines has been often mentioned as the beneficiary of these characteristics. In this way it has been made clear how much can be learned from the way the CCC came into existence and was launched. Amazingly, the basic choices and the content of the CCC confirm the choices that have already been made concerning the Philippine’s own CFC, which is an outstanding example of the mediation / inculturation the CCC requires. The part of the report devoted to implementation has been limited to the essential steps to be taken in the Philippines:
a) publication and dissemination of the CCC in the Philippines, b) creation of committees to work out the necessary revisions in official catechetical documents like the NCDP, the CFC and the CBFP, and c) the preparation of adequate commentaries and other related materials on the CCC, showing its relevance to the local catechetical situation, and/ or National Pastoral Plan. May the day come when copies of the CCC shall be available in Filipino. Having such a version would be a point of departure for many other subsequent steps and implementing activities that can be carried out by the organizations concerned.
Soul / D2
Christian faith and the heart and center of the whole of Scripture (DV 4). Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man is the fulfillment of the plan of salvation. He is the new and eternal covenant God established with His people (CFC 96). A re-reading of the Scripture texts in the context of Jesus Christ is entering more fully in the nature of Scripture as inspiring, dynamic, living, powerful, sacramental, and beauty. The allegorical sense opens up to the deep meaning of life, to the surprising gift of insight that rises in us, through us and beyond us. The truth proclaimed from Scripture lays claim to our beliefs and convictions, and reproves and admonishes people to choose life. This is because the One who proclaims and the One who is proclaimed is in Christ Himself. Jesus is the Messiah, the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn.14:6).
2. Moral Sense
Scripture narratives mediate the self-revelation of God who
invites and admonishes people to respond immediately. They witness to the disastrous effects of human evasion. Such miserable consequences of human refusal to respond are depicted in myths on alienation from God, from others and from one’s very self (Gen. 3-11). The moral sense exhorts people to a sense of urgency to accept immediately Christ’s call “follow me” (Mk.2: 14). This means to share in his power as one who suffers greatly as a ransom for the sins of people. A willing generous response opens one up to a deeper fuller life promised by Christ. Mark’s narrative on the blind Bartimaeus, for example, inspires and motivates faith in those who seek to follow Christ by highlighting Bartimaeus’ faith that enabled him to persevere against strong opposition in petitioning Jesus to cure his blindness and be able to follow Jesus “on the way” (Mk 10:52). The moral sense corrects the common misunderstanding asso-
ciated with faith. Jesus called people to respond to the ancient law “love you neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 19:19). But he removed all limits whom people are called to love which often times included only one’s family and friends. Jesus upturned the accepted social priorities in his Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus also commanded to “love your enemies” (Lk. 6:27-31). His formulation of the Golden Rule is unique and does not have precedents in the thought world of his time. This ethical teaching is not about reciprocity or retribution. It is a moral teaching of general selflessness as an imitation of the heavenly Father who is the ultimate source and origin of love. “He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk. 6:35c-36). The moral sense of Scripture exhorts all to respond immediately to God’s call to a liberating relationship with Him by follow-
ing Jesus’ call to discipleship (Mk.2: 14). This covenantal relationship liberates people from self-absorption to a love directed to others. Through the empowering love of the Spirit one takes up the challenge of keeping God’s commandments and imitating Jesus’ self-emptying love. A willing and generous response opens up to a deeper and fuller life promised by Christ.
3. Anagogic Sense
The anagogic sense of Scripture training in righteousness or holiness directs the human race to be sharers in the life of God in Jesus Christ through the Spirit. This meaning brings a sense of renewed hope in one’s life today and in anticipation of the eternal banquet. Jesus Christ offers fullness of life, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). The renewed hope becomes an image that becomes a pattern for a renewed Christian way of thinking and acting, and is shared with
others through Christian practices that include story, way of living and in the celebration of the Church’s liturgy and sacraments especially the Eucharist. Following the Church’s liturgical use of Sacred Scripture, Scripture is read, interpreted, reflected upon, and received in faith. For example, in the JudaeoChristian tradition psalms, hymns and prayers describe God with an overabundance of metaphors: king, rock, shepherd, husband, brother, friend. One psalmist runs through much of the repertoire: “I will love thee, O Lord my strength.” He cries, and then he launches forth “the Lord is “my rock, my fortress, my Savior, my God and my might in whom I will trust. My buckler, the horn also of my salvation and my refuge” (Ps. 18:1-3). Such images are edifying, comforting and moving especially in the light of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, who is the source, norm and goal of faith.
The Catholic Church from history did not study Scripture as a subject but learned it within and from the practices of piety. The yearly procession taking place in the city and more especially in the provinces during the Holy Week is a very powerful and moving means of understanding the depth of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection and invites the faithful to share and participate in his dying and rising to a new life. The Word of God when received in faith celebrated in life, prayer and sacraments can gradually form and transform disciples to a life of holiness having “this mind among [them] which was in Jesus Christ” (Phils. 2:5) and fashioning them into a closer likeness to Christ in his paschal Mystery through the power of the Holy Spirit (CFC 1531).
(To be continued) (Dr. Ma. Lucia C. Natividad is the Director of the Formation Institute for Religion Educators [FIRE], Ateneo de Manila University)
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Convention for Mindanao Catechists held A three-day convention for Catechists participated in by delegates coming from different archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates in Mindanao tackled various concerns affecting the Catechetical ministry in Mindanao. The meeting which had the theme Telling the Story of Jesus in Mindanao (Ang Pag-asoy sa Sugilanon ni Jesus sa Mindanao) was held at San Lorenzo Pastoral Center in Ampayon, Butuan City in August 2007. The three-day assembly opened with a Eucharistic celebration at the Cathedral of St. Joseph presided by Bishop Zacharias Jimenez, DD, auxiliary bishop of Butuan. Joining him were Bishop Guillermo Afable, DD, bishop of Digos and Chair of the Mindanao Region Catechetical Ministry and priest-directors of Catechetical Centers of Mindanao. A panel discussion with Sub-regional coordinators of ZAMBASULI, KIDMACO, DOPIM, DADITAMA and CABUSTAM as resource persons provided a clear picture of the Catechetical Ministry in Mindanao. The discussion tackled the pastoral context; statistical data that are related in the catechetical ministry; the different components of the catechetical program that are evident in their sub-region; the structure of the catechetical ministry; and the challenges that the ministry faces. The Open Forum that followed the panel discussion provoked inquiries that were focused on the many challenges the ministry of catechesis confronts. From the problem on catechetical resources (human and material) up to the level of functional and relational problems that are evident among the agents of catechesis (ordained, consecrated and the lay). Bp. Guillermo V. Afable, DD gave a talk reflecting the convention’s theme. Inspired by the Asian Mission Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand last 2006, Bishop Afable shared the eight fundamental principles about storytelling and its relevance in doing catechesis according to the Mindanao context. The eight fundamental principles are the following: 1) Good stories are based on experience; 2) Stories reveal personal identity and people and events that shaped that identity; 3) Stories are dynamic, open to reinterpretation and retelling and transformative; 4) Stories are the ground for understanding spiritual, doctrinal and ethical symbols; 5) Stories form community; 6) Stories when received can transform the listener; 7) Stories can be told in a variety of ways; 8) Stories can be suppressed. To discover and rediscover varied catechetical approaches, the delegates listened to the stories of three invited speakers from the dioceses of Pagadian and Butuan and the Prelature of Ipil who spoke about their unique ways of doing Children Catechesis, Youth Catechesis and Family Catechesis respectively. Sr. Vilma Esmael, OND, Directress of Notre Dame Center for Catechesis; facilitated a workshop (by local Church) that allowed the participants to look into themselves some ways in doing catechesis as storytelling within the parameters of their present field.
Rev. Fr. Ronald I. Lunas, STL, Catechetical Director of the Diocese of Digos; gave a talk on the topic The Catechist as Pray-er, to enrich the delegates with insights on cultivating “the being of the catechist”. Fr. Lunas pointed out the following in his talk: 1) Prayer, in the personal life of the catechist, makes him/her truly human and authentically Christian; 2) Prayer is a way of answering man’s longing for completion; 3) Prayer is a mark of a Church and of a Christian 4) Prayer concretizes our BEING followers of Jesus 5) Prayer allows the catechists to become more and more faithful in their apostolic mission. Thus, they preach with “authority”. Authority means three things namely (a) a learned teacher as effected by his/her formation, (b) an authoritative proclaimer (on-going process of transformation) and (c) an effective storyteller (the Church tells the Story of Jesus from its experience of Jesus!); 6) Prayer crystallizes our vocation for through it we are assured of God’s love; 7) Prayer clarifies our priorities; 8) Catechists as storytellers must be pray-ers. Sr. Esmael, OND facilitated another workshop on the third day, the output of which would serve as the basis for the revision of the vision-mission of Mindanao Region Catechetical Ministry. The result of the workshop is included in the Document on the Workshop Output. Bishop Afable presided another meeting during the assembly in which various concerns were taken up. Together with him were Fr. Johnny A. Autida, the JCC Director who is also the Mindanao Coordinator for the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis and Catholic Education (ECCCE), and Mr. Erwin Joey E. Cabilan, a member of the Ad hoc committee of MRCM. Among the various concerns discussed were: 1) The Concerns of the MRCM, its identity, structure, its relationship with the local Churches in the Mindanao Region as well as with the Catechetical centers (directors/coordinators), and its relationship with ECCCE; 2) Concerns of ECCCE’s ACCCRE; and the 3) Frequency of the Mindanao Catechists’ Convention, venue, date and objectives. In the plenary, the participants unanimously decided that the Advisory Council of MRCM shall be composed by the sub-regional catechetical directors/coordinators. Likewise, it was agreed that the Mindanao Catechists Convention shall be convened every after two years. The next convention will take place in the Archdiocese of Davao in 2009. The details of this convention are yet to be planned by the Mindanao Region Catechetical Ministry Advisory Council. The 3-day activity concluded with a concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration with Bp. Juan de Dios Pueblos, D.D., the Bishop of Butuan, as the presider and the homilist. Mr. Dominiano Esta of the Diocese of Malaybalay; Rev. Fr. Nicolas Penados of the Diocese of Surigao and Sr. Helen Bongolto, RSM of the Diocese of Pagadian took turns in facilitating the three-day convention. (Sr. Teresa May Salazar, OND, Sr. Marivic Ratilla, OND and Mr. Erwin Joey E. Cabilan)
ANNOUNCEMENTS! SUMMER CATECHETICAL INSTITUTE FOR PRIESTS An Orientation for New Directors and an updating for those who have been in the ministry for some years now. APRIL 14-18, 2008 Sta. Catalina Spirituality Center Marcos Highway, Baguio City For further inquiries please contact ECCCE office Tel: (02) 5274161 Fax: (02) 5275417 CP# 0927-4334307 Email: email@example.com Deadline for Reservations: February 29, 2008
ANNUAL MEETING OF CATECHETICAL MINISTERS (AMCM) (Diocesan Catechetical Directors and Coordinators) July 8-11, 2008 Mother Francisca Spirituality Center Lagao, General Santos City For further inquiries please contact ECCCE office Tel: (02) 5274161 Fax: (02) 5275417 CP# 0927-4334307 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please signify intention to participate before April 30, 2008
Vol. Vol.1212No. No.44
February February1818- -March March2,2,2008 2008
Cross is a Blessing (Mk. 23-27) By Bishop Socrates Villegas, DD I WAS once asked why I always mention St. Charles (or San Carlos) Borromeo in my Masses. St. Charles Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan, is the patron saint of San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati where I graduated. He was a cardinal at the age of 24. His statue at the seminary presents him holding a Bible with his left and a crucifix with his right hand, both are pressed close to his heart. The roles of a prophet are to proclaim the word of God, which is the Gospel and to proclaim the mystery of the cross in his own life. San Carlos Borromeo was very much a prophet. For him, to preach the gospel was to suffer the cross and to suffer the cross was to preach the Gospel. Somebody who preaches the Gospel but is not willing and ready to suffer for the Gospel is a bogus preacher. In the same way, somebody who bears sacrifices and endures the cross but who is unable to teach people the truth that beyond the cross is Christ, waiting
for us to reward us for our suffering, is likewise a bogus preacher. San Carlos proclaimed that anyone who wants to teach about God should also be ready to embrace the cross. It was also in this manner that he accepted the cross. Without having uttered a word, San Carlos, by his own life, already preached the Gospel. I love San Carlos, not because he was a cardinal. I love him because he is a reminder of how we should live as Christians. The role of the prophet is not simply limited to us, priests. The role of being a prophet is open to all of us. We, too, should be holding the bible and crucifix close to our hearts. As Christians we are known as followers of the cross. The cross is meaningless without Christ and Christ is also meaningless without the cross. Christ needs the cross to suffer for us. There can be no salvation without the cross, there can be no salvation without Christ. What the world needs is not a Christless cross, not a crossless Christ but
Christ upon the cross. We start the mass by making the sign of the cross. We also make it before the reading of the Gospel. The sign of the cross identifies us as Christians, in the same way that the Jews are identified through the star of David, and the communists by the sickle and hammer. Some people make the sign of the cross very devoutly. Others do it as if they were waving off flies from their noses. If we cannot make the sign of the cross properly, how can we make the sign of the cross in our hearts? We should rejoice in the cross. At the end of the mass, the sign of the cross we make is no longer to identify us but to bless us. Priests cannot bless without making the sign of the cross. Those who are not willing to take up the cross have no right to be blessed. In every blessing is a cross and in every cross is a blessing. Let us rejoice and thank God that we carry the cross day by day because the crosses in our life are also our blessings.
CBCP-ECCCE Publications Excellent Resource materials for Catechists, Religious Educators, and all who want to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith. Contact nos. Available at Tel. (02) 527-4161 CBCP-ECCCE Office 470 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila
Fax 527-5417 Email: email@example.com website: eccceonline.org