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Popes Lent message: charity is extension of Gods love

B1 Lord, increase our faith!


Integral faith formation: towards maturity in Christ

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The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Ugnayan

Be transparent, Comelec told


SUSPICIONS and lack of trust over the upcoming automated elections will remain if questions and concerns about the system remain unanswered, Catholic bishops said. The Commission on Elections has yet to clarify on a range of outstanding issues hounding the automated polls, which drew concern from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. If not properly addressed, the present automated election system can lead to wholesale cheating. The integrity of a pillar of our democracy the election is at stake, the
Comelec / A6

Bishops urge Aquino to hasten land distribution


By Roy Lagarde

February 4 - 17, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 03

Php 20.00

IF only for the sake of millions of farmers and the common good, Catholic bishops have openly registered their dismay over President Benigno Aquino IIIs commitment towards genuine land reform in the country.
The church leaders reiterated their concern of the governments underperformance in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with extension and reforms (Carper), which ends by July 2014. In a letter to Aquino dated Jan. 24, about 84 prelates, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, reminded him of his promise for the speedy implementation of the law. They also called on the President to revamp the leadership of the Department of Agrarian Reform, which according to them has been consistently underperforming particularly in land acquisition and distribution. Mr. President, please take a quick decisive action that Carper be fully implemented, said the bishops. You are racing
Hasten / A7

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the CBCPs National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace answers questions from the media after celebrating a Mass with a group of protesting farmers inside the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City, Feb. 4, 2013. The farmers wear orange prison shirts to show that they are not afraid of being jailed as they call for the resignation of DAR Sec. Virgilio de los Reyes for allegedly failing to implement a genuine comprehensive agrarian reform law.

CBCP chides Aquino admin failure


THE Catholic bishops leadership has taken a swipe at the Aquino administrations inability to address serious issues plaguing the country. Following a three-day closed-door meeting, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has put corruption, unsolved and continuing crimes, and poverty at the center of their latest pastoral statement. The church officials said there is a long litany of storms besetting the Filipinos and the nation as a whole. On top of their list is the continuing corruption and abuse of power by government officials due to lack of transparency, or still worse, the possible hiding of information from the public. The CBCP particularly lamented Malacaangs cold treatment of the Freedom of Information bill, which if enacted will allow the public to scrutinize any government transactions, projects and other documents. Why are they afraid to entrust the citizens with the truth of their governance? the CBCP said in a strongly worded pastoral statement released after the plenary. It is ironic that the government that prides itself of treadCBCP head Archbishop Palma (center) tells reporters about ing the Daang Mathe administrations failure to address the countrys pressing tuwid fears the FOI problems during a press conference after their plenary because of possible assembly in Manila, Jan. 29, 2013. discovery of wrongdoing by public officials, it said. rights of the poor. The bishops also lashed at the inAmong them, they said, include ability and unwillingness of public secure jobs, decent housing, adequate officials to take the road of social justice medicine, ownership of lands that they which resulted in failure to share the till, and quality education. resources in the country to meet basic Failure / A6
Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Church releases new guidebook for Catholic catechism


TAKING an active role in promoting new evangelization, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has come out with guidebook for catechists in the country. Published by the newly constituted Office for the Promotion of New Evangelization (OPNE), the book titled Called to be Catholic is a lesson plan for catechists to help in their role as evangelizers. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, OPNE chairman, said C2BC aims to invite the faithful to a deeper understanding of the 12 tenets of the Catholic beliefs as stated in the Creed. So it is supposed to be a formation and renewal program dwelling on the 12 articles of the Apostles Creed, said Villegas, currently the vice president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The guidebook has actually been tested among some catechetical practitioners and they found it useful and catechist-friendly, said Villegas. In responding to the youth, Villegas said the books title was also acronymed C2BC. It can be used for BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) and also for adult catechesis, he also said. The program also follows the National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines principles of being integrated, inculturated and community-forming. It is integrated in that it takes on St. Augustines triple definition of faith for its structure: knowing the truth (what can we know?), living the truth (what should we do?), and celebrating the truth (what may we hope for?), part of the book reads. It is inculturated because it contexGuidebook / A6

Bishops seek ban on political dynasties


AS the May 2013 elections approaches, Catholic bishops deplored the widening practice of political dynasties in the country and the lack of measure against political clans. In pastoral statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines wants the political dynasties to disappear in Philippine politics, saying that it exacerbates the problem on corruption. Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude, reads part of the statement signed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president. Without naming any family in particular, the bishops stressed that political authority should not be monopolized for certain family interests or of a political party. When political authority is exercised merely for these narrow interests, it betrays the reason for its existence, according to them. Moreover, such situation breeds corruption and inhibits general access to political
Dynasties / A7

Bishops, anti-RH lawmakers meet CBCP to survey Churched and un-Churched youth over lunch
CATHOLIC bishops and legislators who voted against the reproductive health bill pledged to stay in touch and work together against anti-life measures. In their first meeting after the RH bill became a law, members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and some legislators met for lunch at the Pius XII Center in Manila. But Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, quickly clarified that the meeting had nothing to do with politics and the May 2013 elections. We are tendering this luncheon as an appreciation for what they have done, Palma said. This is not something we have to take for granted because it is done for their great love for the country and what the values mean to them, he said. The meeting was held after the bishops concluded their threeday plenary assembly. The CBCP has repeatedly said it is not endorsing any candidate because their role is only to give guidelines to the faithful on what to look for in a candidate. We are not in any way partisan. We do not tell the whole world who to vote or name people who are the right person to vote, Palma said. The CBCP head added that they just share the Churchs teachings and help the people
Meet / A6

IN order to effectively respond to the spiritual needs of the young faithful, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) will conduct a survey among young Filipinos this year to come up with future

programs that will better suit their profiles. The conduct of a National Filipino Youth Survey is one of the ECYs plans this year after marking its 25th anniversary
Survey / A6

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2013 Cardinal Roger M. Mahony will no longer have any administrative or public duties as retired archbishop of Los Angeles because of past failures to protect children from clergy sex abuse, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez announced Jan. 31. The archbishops statement came the same day the archdiocese released 12,000 pages of personnel files of clergy who were the subject of a 2007 global abuse settlement. The material has been posted on the website http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org, along with supporting information that includes the names of members of the hierarchy involved in the handling of abuse allegations. Archbishop Gomez also accepted Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Currys request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara. Cardinal Mahony, 76, headed the archdiocese from 1985 until his March 2011 retirement. Bishop Curry, 70, was the archdioceses vicar of clergy and chief adviser on sexual abuse cases in the mid-1980s. These files document abuses that happened decades ago, Archbishop Gomez said Jan. 31. But that does not make them less serious. I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today, he said. Some of the files show in the 1980s that some archdiocesan officials worked to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement authorities. Memos exchanged in 1986 and 1987 by the cardinal and the bishop detail proposals to keep police from investigating three priests who had admitted to church officials that they molested young boys. Sad and shameful as the past history of sexual abuse is, an archdiocesan statement said, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can point to more than a decade of modern child protection efforts that are among the most effective in the nation at preventing abuse and dealing with allegations of abuse. Archbishop Gomez in his statement noted that Cardinal Mahony has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care and Bishop Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as vicar for clergy. Effective immediately, he continued, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties and accepted

World News
Bishop Currys request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara. Jesuit Father Tom Reese, director of the Religion and Public Policy program at Georgetown Universitys Woodstock Theological Center and author of several books about the power structure of the church, told several news organizations that Archbishop Gomezs steps were extraordinary. An archbishop has never before restricted the ministry of his predecessor and publicly taken him to task like this, he told Religion News Service. It is clear that the abuse crisis is now having consequences not just for the abusing priests but also for the clerics who did not deal with them properly, he added. Archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg told Catholic News Service that since his retirement, Cardinal Mahony has had no administrative duties. He will be reducing his public profile, which included numerous invitations to give lectures on immigration reform, on the church in the 21st century, etc. Tamberg said the cardinal also voluntarily cleared his calendar of appointments to confer confirmation this year. He remains a priest in good standing and a cardinal of the church, said Tamberg. He can celebrate the sacraments with no restrictions. Archbishop Gomezs statement said that reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience Ive had since becoming your archbishop in 2011. To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you, he said. To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry. We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the archdiocese, he said. The 2007 settlement for $600 million covered more than 500 people who made claims about being sexually abused by priests and other church personnel. Some of the priests who had claims against them sued to keep their names from being released, saying it violated their privacy rights. A Superior Court judge ruled in early January that the names of personnel identified in the files could be made public, over-

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

Cardinal relieved of public duties for past failure to protect children

Cardinal Mahony, left, and Archbishop Gomez after a Mass in Rome last April.

turning an earlier decision by a retired federal judge who was acting as a mediator in a settlement between the archdiocese and victims who said they had been abused. Church officials in Los Angeles had fought for years to keep the files private. The documents show that Bishop Curry suggested to Cardinal Mahony that they prevent the priests from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that the priests be given outof-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators. Cardinal Mahony said Jan. 21 that he prays for victims of abuse by priests daily as he celebrates Mass in his private chapel. It remains my daily and fervent prayer that Gods grace

will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life journey continues forward with ever greater healing, he said in a statement, explaining that on his altar he keeps cards with the names of each of the 90 victims he met with from 2006 to 2008. As I thumb through those cards I often pause as I am reminded of each personal story and the anguish that accompanies that life story, the cardinal said. I am sorry. Tamberg said Cardinal Mahony will continue to say Mass in the parish where he lives. The retired archbishop was named a cardinal in 1991. As a member of the College of Cardinals who is under the age of 80, he is eligible to vote in a conclave. (CNS)

Holy See and State of Prisoners help prepare Rios World Youth Day Palestine hold bilateral negotiations
RAMALLAH, Jan. 31, 2013An official meeting took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine in Ramallah yesterday. The meeting is a continuation of bilateral negotiations that have been held in the past years between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Holy See. The talks were headed by Dr. Riad Al-Malki, minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine and Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under-secretary for the Holy Sees Relations with States. In a joint communique released today by the Holy See Press Office, the two parties exchanged views regarding the draft Agreement. The talks were held in an open and cordial atmosphere, the expression of the existing good relations between the Holy See and the State of Palestine, the communiqu stated. The Delegations expressed the wish that negotiations be accelerated and brought to a speedy conclusion. It was thus agreed that a joint technical group will meet to follow-up. The State of Palestine also expressed its gratitude for the Holy Sees contribution of 100,000 euro towards the restoration of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Zenit) RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Jan. 30, 2013Inmates from Brasilias prisons are helping Brazil prepare to welcome the youth who will arrive for this Julys World Youth Day. Paulo Fernando Melo, vice-president of the National Pro-Life and Pro-Family Association and one of the partner proprietors of Jabuti Religious Articles (www.lojajabiuti. com.br), explained to ZENIT that some of the religious products to be used at the WYD are being prepared by inmates. Its about putting into practice the truths contained in Saint Matthews Gospel (25:36): I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me, Melo said. An important opportunity for them can be to learn the crafting of religious articles. And it might be useful for them when they return to society. Some 50 men and 30 women have been trained for the project, in which they work six-hour days four days a week. The prisoners are crafting rosaries, bracelets, and other articles to be used in the WYD packages. Melo noted that the prisoners sentences can be reduced through the work program.

The inmates also have meditation and prayer during the program. Our intention is to spread this program to other prisons, to increase the number of prisoners in Brasilia who wish to take part, and to motivate other businesses so that they will establish work associations with inmates and awaken the desire to help in initiatives of this sort, Melo said. He added that after WYD, the plan is to teach the inmates how to make vestments, habits, veils and other clothing items of the Catholic liturgical tradition. (Zenit)

Two religious communities forced to leave Libyan town of Cyrenaica


TRIPOLI, Feb. 1, 2013Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli reported to Fides news agency that two religious communities have left the town of Cyrenaica after facing pressure from local fundamentalists. Bishop Martinelli stated that according to reports in east Libya the situation is critical. On February 20, large-scale demonstrations throughout Cyrenaica are expected so the Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi has been warned to leave the church from February 13thto take shelter, Bishop Martinelli told Fides. In past days, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto who had been there for nearly 100 years was forced to abandon Derna, [along with] a Polish Salesian priest, who was abused by some fundamentalists. In Beida, another womens religious community was forced to escape even if in this case, for internal reasons. In Barce, the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus will leave their home in [the] coming days. Bishop Martinelli also said that while the situation in Tripoli has been relatively calm, the atmosphere in Cyrenaica has been extremely tense. We regret having to reduce our activities in that area because we have built a very strong and beautiful relationship, made of testimony and friendship with the Libyan people, which unfortunately in recent times has been affected by the presence of fundamentalists, Bishop Martinelli said. These do not represent the identity of the Libyan people but an expression of Libyan society today. The Libyan prelate stated that although the Church will take precautions, they will not abandon the Christians that remain in Libya. Bishop Martinelli said that two religious communities will remain in Benghazi, a small community in Tobruk, and a small community of Indian sisters will remain in Beida. We remain impoverished, but full of hope that one day our communities will resume force, Bishop Martinelli said. (Zenit)

Vatican Briefing
Benedict XVI mourns tragic death in Brazil

In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Hlio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria in Brazil Jan. 28, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone conveyed Pope Benedicts condolences upon hearing of the tragedy in Rio Grande do Sul. Over 230 youths died when a fire erupted in a local nightclub in the vicinity. Cardinal Bertone stated that the Holy Father was shocked by the tragic deaths of hundreds of young people and asked Archbishop Adelar Rubert to convey his deepest condolences to the families of the victims while sharing in the sorrow of all those who mourn. (Zenit)
New archbishop of Portland named

Catholic priest to be first clergyman on Nepal martyrs list


KATHMANDU, Jan. 31, 2013Fr. John Prakash, an Indian priest assassinated in 2008 by Hindu extremists, will be recognized as national martyr, this according to Gita Rasailee, coordinator of the probe committee for martyrs and the disappeared. The latters aim is to come up with a list of people worthy of this title. The Catholic priest is the first victim of religious hatred to be recognized in the predominantly Hindu nation. Martyrs are currently picked under political pressure, she told AsiaNews. Each group uses them to gain voter support. Instead, for her, before anyone is defined as a martyr, there should be agreement on the criteria used to grant them the title of national martyr. Our team is looking at various groups in society in order to separate those who died for political reasons from those who were killed on religious grounds, she said. Fr. John Prakash falls into this latter category, she noted. His death and work on behalf of the poor are sufficient reasons to consider him a national martyr even though he was Indian. More importantly, for Rasailee, few people in Nepal know the real meaning of martyr. After the war against the Hindu monarchy, it has acquired an ideological function to celebrate politically relevant figures. Last Wednesdays controversial National Martyrs Day was a case in point. The celebration was marked by great tensions after Maoist Prime Minister Baburan Bhattarai was accused of using his power to protect party officials involved in civil war massacres. Since they came to power in 2006, Maoists have pushed for recognition of their war dead, presenting a list of 835 fighters. This led opposition parties to counter with their own lists. The party representing the Madhesi minority for example submitted a

Pope expresses sadness over Venezuelan riot victims

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his over the recent riot that took place in Uribana Prison. The riot broke out on January 25 when Venezuela National Guard faced heavy resistance from armed inmates. The National Guard was to carry out a raid in order to confiscate illegal weapons in the prison. The death toll has reached 61 and expected to increase, while over 120 have been seriously injured. In the message sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father conveyed his deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to the families of the victims, and prays for a speedy and full recovery of the wounded. The pope all encouraged all institutions and persons involved to continue working in a spirit of collaboration and good will to overcome the problems so as to avoid future repetition of such dramatic events. (Zenit)
New Vatican vocations booklet mobilizes spiritual support

Fr. John Prakash

list of 53 Madhesi killed during the civil war. Rightwing parties and other political groups presented 150 names. (AsiaNews)

Saint Teresa of Avilas example shows how to fight violence against women
MUMBAI, India, Feb. 1, 2013Violence against women is a terrible evil. This is especially significant for us at the Carmelite monastery, as we are celebrating the feminine genius of Saint Teresa of Avila, said Sister Mary Joseph, a cloistered nun from the Carmelite monastery in Andheri East, Mumbai, who was born into the Brahmin class. Tomorrow the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 17th Day of Consecrated Life, also known as Candlemas, symbol of life that marks the meeting of Simeon and Anne with Jesus in the Temple where they recognise Him as the expected Messiah, the light of men. We consecrated are called to radiate the light of Christ, Sister Mary Joseph said, We bear witness with our lives and work. We are a bridge for all the people who encounter God. We Carmelites have withdrawn from the world to embrace everyone in Christs heart. Tomorrow has special meaning for her and her fellow nuns, coming especially in the Year of Faith and New Evangelization. It is in fact the 450th anniversary of the founding of the Monastery of St Joseph by Saint Teresa of Avila, marking the beginning of the orders reform. In his message for the occasion, Benedict XVI described Teresa of Avila as a model of the new evangelization for all Christians, because she evangelised unhesitatingly, showing tireless ardour, employing methods free from inertia, and using expressions bathed in light. At a time when India is still shaken by the New Delhi gang rape case, debating violence against women, the saints example as a nun and a woman is particularly significant, for it drives us to pray with greater intensity for all Indian women victims of discrimination. For Sister Mary Joseph, the latter begins before birth with selective abortion and female infanticide. Vocation is a gift from God, she said. It is so great, one cannot explain it. For her, Faith is a treasure, a [pearl of great value. As a community, we are called by God to bear witness to his love through worship and prayers, with the Word of God and the Eucharist as the centre of our lives. Our aim is to support the Church and intercede for humankind. (AsiaNews)

The latest edition of a Vatican magazine aimed at increasing priestly vocations and encouraging the spiritual adoption of priests has been released in English. Msgr. Richard Soseman from the Congregation for the Clergy said Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity, was published in Spanish and Italian in 2008, and finally in English in 2011. And with the new edition released in January, the Congregation for the Clergy hopes it will sell over 1 million copies. The booklet, written by the congregations head, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, includes the stories of people who offered their lives for priests or prayed for them. (CNA)

www.asianews.it

Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 29 has appointed Bishop Alexander King Sample as Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, USA. The Holy Father chose the 52-year-old American prelate to succeed Archbishop John Vlazny whose resignation was accepted by the pope upon reaching the age limit. Archbishop-designate Sample served as Bishop of Marquette, Michigan and currently serves on the Subcommittees on Native American Catholics and on the Catechism for the U.S. Bishops Conference. He is also vice-postulator for the cause of canonization of Venerable Frederic Baraga, first bishop of the Diocese of Marquette. (Zenit)

CNS / Paul Haring

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

News Features
MANILA, Feb. 1, 2013The Diocese of Petrpolis will be the host of the official Philippine delegation to the World Youth Day (WYD) for the Missionary Week. The announcement was made by Fr. Conegundo Garganta to the leaders of various groups applying to be part of the Episcopal Commission on Youths official delegation to the WYD 2013 during a meeting at the CBCP Headquarters in Intramuros, Manila earlier today. The ECY executive secretary and the head of the ECY-Philippines delegation, Garganta said pilgrims who will later on be accepted as members of the delegation will be accommodated by families, parishes and communities throughout the Diocese of Petrpolis from the days in the diocese, which was renamed Missionary Week, from July 17 to 21. Upon arrival of the ECY-Philippines delegates in Brazil, they will be transported to Petrpolis, which is two hours away from the Galeo International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, the host city for the WYD that will take place from July 23 to 28. Also known as the Imperial City, Petrpolis (translated City of Peter) was the summer residence of the Brazilian emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century. Meanwhile, the Diocese of Petrpolis is under the Ecclesiastical Province of Niteri and is under the pastoral care of Bishop Gregrio Paixo Neto, OSB since 2006. After the Missionary Week in Petrpolis, members of the ECY-Philippines delegation will travel to Rio de Janeiro on July 22, just before the start of the six-day Jornada Mundial da Juventude. Victoria Tacderas of the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate advised pilgrims to physically prepare for a lot

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of walking as they have observed limited transportation in Brazil, compared to the previous WYD host countries. She estimated the pilgrim walk from accommodation sites to the venue of the Closing Mass with the Holy Father to cover 14 kilometers. There has to be preparedness on the part of the pilgrims because of the physical challenges given the locations of the activities, Garganta added. Meanwhile, NSYA junior staff Stephen Borja also announced the extension of the deadline for submission of requirements for prospective WYD pilgrims from January 31 to February 28. As of yesterday, the ECY-Philippines delegation secretariat has received complete requirements from the groups representing the Archdiocese of Lipa, Diocese of Butuan, Diocese of Dumaguete, Diocese of Paraaque, Military Ordinariate, CFC-Singles for Family and Life, CFC-Youth for Christ, CFC-Youth for Family and Life, Kadang Dominiko of the Santuario de Santo Cristo Parish, San Juan City, Assumption College of Makati City and YouthPinoy. Borja urged the pilgrims to expedite the process of completing their application in order to get cheaper air fares. The sooner you finalize the preparatory steps, the better for you because you will be able to get more competitive air fare rates and better flight schedules, he said. WYD pilgrims from the Philippines are expected to travel from Manila to Rio de Janeiro from July 12 to 14 and to return after the WYD closing ceremonies from July 29 to 31. But members of the ECY-Philippines delegation will be undergoing a re-entry session to process the blessings of the WYD and to cap their pilgrimage. (YouthPinoy)

Popes Lent message: charity is extension of Gods love


VATICAN City, Feb. 1, 2013Pope Benedict XVIs message for Lent is that when people are open to Gods love, then they can love with him, in him and like him. When we make room for the love of God, then we become like him, sharing in his own charity, said the Pope in his annual message for Lent. If we open ourselves to his love, we allow him to live in us and to bring us to love with him, in him and like him, said the pontiff. Pope Benedicts message is titled, Believing in charity calls forth charity. It was released Feb. 1 with a media event at the Holy Sees press office. The panel presenting it included members of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum which is dedicated to carrying out charitable work and the president for the Society of St. Vincent of Paul, Michael Thio. The president of Cor Unum, Cardinal Robert Sarah, said that the essence of the Popes message is focused on illuminating the relationship between faith and love. The Pope noted in his Lenten message that faith, as gift and response, causes us to know the truth of Christ as love incarnate and crucified, as full and perfect obedience to the Fathers will and infinite divine mercy towards neighbor. Faith implants in hearts and minds the firm conviction that only this love is able to conquer evil and death, said the pontiff. Faith invites us to look towards the future with the virtue of hope, in the confident expectation that the victory of

Petrpolis to host ECY-Philippines delegates for WYD Missionary Week

Mons. Segundo Tejado Muoz, Mons. Giampetro Dal Toso, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Michael Thio and his translator in the Vatican Press Office on Feb 1, 2013 during the presentation of the Popes message for Lent.

Liturgy teaches us to hear Gods voice, Pope reflects Teach kids value of life Filipina
about our ability to listen, he emphasized. Every moment can be a today moment for our conversion and become a day of salvation because salvation is a story that continues for the Church and for every disciple of Christ, he said, adding that the the Christian meaning of carpe diem is to seize the day in which God is calling you to give you salvation. During his remarks on Sunday, the pontiff also recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day, created by the United Nations in memory of the Holocaust victims of Nazism. It must be a constant reminder to all so that the horrors of the past, which exceeds all forms of hatred and racism, are not repeated, he said, as well as a reminder to promote respect and dignity of the human person. Pope Benedict also noted that this Sunday marks a special day of intercession for peace in Holy Land. I thank those who promote it in many parts of the world and I greet in particular those present here, he said. During the angelus a young boy and girl freed two doves, as symbols of peace, from the window of his Apostolic Palace after reading a message of Acr di Roma, an Italian lay association with over half a million members. The Boys of the Catholic diocese of Rome, who celebrate annually a Caravan of Peace at the end of January, were also at St. Peters Square. On Jan. 27 this year, the Church also celebrates the 60th World Day of Leprosy. I express my closeness to those who suffer from this disease and encourage researchers, health professionals and volunteers, particularly those who are part of Catholic organizations and the Association of Friends of Raoul Follereau, the Pope said. He also invoked the intercession of St. Damien de Veuster, who gave his life for those afflicted with the disease, as well as St. Marianne Cope, who was canonized in Rome in October of last year. Both worked with leprosy sufferers in a colony in Hawaii in the 19th century. (CNA/EWTN News)

Christs love will come to its fullness, he added. Pope Benedict highlighted that charity ushers us into the love of God manifested in Christ and joins us in a personal and existential way to the total and unconditional self-giving of Jesus to the Father and to his brothers and sisters. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love, he said. Faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity, he stated. Love is the light (and in the end, the only light) that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us

the courage needed to keep living and working, said the pontiff. The Holy Father noted that all this helps us to understand that the principal distinguishing mark of Christians is precisely love grounded in and shaped by faith. Monsignor Segundo Tejado Muoz, the undersecretary of Cor Unum, added that the great strength of the Church is that most times charity is done anonymously and is often volunteer work. The Popes message also states that Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity and between believing in God and love. (CNA/EWTN News)

Estefania Aguirre / CNA Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

pro-lifer
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28, 2013A Filipina wife and mother, fresh from attending a prolife event in the United States West Coast with some 50,000 other life advocates, urged Filipinos to hold on to time-tested of values of respect for life and love for children amid the changing social climate brought on by the recent enactment into law of the RH bill. We have to continue to love life and not give in to the contraceptive mentality, which promotes that more babies are a burden, that pregnancy is a disease and a hindrance to financial growth and development or career growth, said Rowena Mendoza de Guzman, a US-based pro-lifer who took part in the 9th annual Walk for Life West Coast together with family and friends on Jan. 26, the day after the March for Life took place on the other side of the country. All life is precious and sacred and should be protected from the moment of conception to natural death. The families will really have to teach their children the value of each life, to give importance to people and treat each one according to the dignity and value that each one deserves. Otherwise, people will treat others like property, she lamented. De Guzmans husband and brood of six boys aged 2 to 12 prepared well for the Saturday event, even fashioning their own hand-drawn posters bearing life-affirming messages. Their signs read A persons a person no matter how small, attributed to Dr. Seuss, Choose life, Every life is precious plus two modified Stop signs that read Stop abortion. Taking part in the Walk for Life West Coast for the third straight year now, De Guzmanwho moved to the US with her husband 12 years agostrives to educate her children on culture-of-life issues. I asked my three older kids what they thought about the walk and why they think we needed to walk for life. They replied: So that more people will know about abortion, So that the killing of babies would stop, To let people know abortion is wrong, To change the laws about abortion, the mother related. While admitting that she was unaware of the annual event till several years ago, she delightedly noticed that more parishes, schools and pro-life organizations have started going as groups. The estimated 50,000 participants this year are also a far cry from the 7,000 during the 1st Walk for Life West Coast in 2005, which certainly have not gone unnoticed by abortion rights advocates. In news reports and interviews in 2012, defenders of abortion on demand including veteran activists from Planned Parenthood the biggest provider of abortion services in the United States admitted that the pro-abortion side has been losing the battle. Thats also because the young people are pro-life, De Guzman said.

VATICAN City, Jan. 27, 2013Pope Benedict XVI told thousands gathered in St. Peters square Jan. 27 that marking Sunday as a day of rest and engaging in the liturgy can teach us to listen to the voice of God. Before we can speak of God and with God, we need to listen, and the liturgy of the Church is the school of this listening to the Lord who speaks to us, he said during his weekly Angelus address. Exploring the days reading from the Gospel of Luke, the Pope recounted how Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath. As a true believer, the

Social networks need more logic, love and less ranting, rage, pope says
used wisely and well, which means fostering balanced and respectful dialogue and debate, he said, and paying special attention to privacy, responsibility and truthfulness. Too often, popularity garnered either from fame or strategic powers of persuasiondetermines the significance and effectiveness of online communication, not intrinsic importance or value, he said. Catholics can show their authenticity by sharing their hope and joy, and its source in Jesus Christ. Catholics also should give witness by the way they live their lives and how their choices, preferences and judgments are fully consistent with the Gospel, he added. Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told reporters during a briefing that the pope is asking everyone to take responsibility for creating a more humane culture online by being respectful, honest and contributing to the growth and wellbeing of individuals and society through social networks. Very often in new media the more provocative I am, the more strident, the more extreme I am in my views, the more attention I get, he said. But, he said, the pope is calling for the importance of the quiet voice of reason; we need moderation, reason and logic otherwise our debates are going nowhere. Archbishop Claudio Celli, the councils president, said even Catholic sites and forums can be plagued by an aggressive and divisive atmosphere. The problem isnt so much displaying straightforward fidelity to particular dogmatic statements of the faith, he said; the problem is how to best show Gods mercy and love, which is often more credibly and effectively done with actions and not just words. I knew my mother and father loved me not because they showered me with solemn declarations, but because they let me experience first-hand what it means to be loved, the archbishop said. The same needs to happen in the realm of faith, because what humanity needs more than anything is to experience first-hand Gods love and mercy, he said. In his message, the pope said, Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own.

Lord does not avoid the weekly liturgical rhythm and joins the assembly of his fellow citizens in prayer and in listening to the Scriptures. This passage from scripture, Pope Benedict said, makes us think about our way of life on Sunday as a day of rest and for the family. Sunday, he noted, is the first day to devote to the Lord by participating in the Eucharist in which were nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and his Word of life. In our scattered and distracted era, this Gospel invites us to ask ourselves

VATICAN City, Jan. 24, 2013Social media need to promote more logic, kindness and Christian witness than bluster, star-status and division, Pope Benedict XVI said. Given that the online world exposes people to a wider range of opinions and beliefs, people need to accept the existence of these other cultures, be enriched by it and offer others what they possess that is good, true and beautiful, the pope said. Christians are called to bring truth and values to the whole worldonline and offremembering that its ultimately the power of Gods word that touches hearts, not sheer human effort, he said in his message for World Communications Day. The theme of the 2013 celebrationmarked in most dioceses the Sunday before Pentecost, this year May 12is Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization. The papal message was released on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, Jan. 24. Social media need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation, the pope said. Social forums need to be

Social networks are an important place for people of faith to reach out to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence, the pope said. If evangelizing is to bear fruit, he said, people need to remember that it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. The level of debate can be toned down and sensationalism avoided when people begin to put more trust in the power of Gods work than any confidence we place in human means, he said. We need to trust in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and trutha desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and womankeeps our contemporaries ever open to ... the kindly light of faith, Pope Benedict said. He also reminded people to use online networks to invite others into a faith community, religious celebrations and pilgrimages: elements which are always important in the journey of faith. (CNS)

Unlike temperatures that dipped and snowfall that caught up with the marchers in Washington D.C. toward the end of the event, it was the most perfect weather in San Francisco on Saturday, according to De Guzman, and it wasnt too cold or breezy at all. It was great to see so much more people than last year, too. Pope Benedict XVIs representative to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano delivered a message from the pope along with his papal blessing during the rally that started at around 12:30 at Civic Center Plaza. Pope Benedicts message, which was also sent out on a Vatican Twitter feed, said His Holiness is grateful to all those who take part in this outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right to life and the moral imperative of upholding the inviolable dignity of each member of our human family, especially the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, according to the Walk for Life West Coast website. At 1:30, participants started walking, with young and old life advocates brandishing various signs and streamers expressing life-affirming slogans. By around 4:00, everyone had reached Justin Herman Plaza. De Guzman pointed out that Americans carrying out the annual event is connected with what is going on in the rest of the world, the Philippines included. I think this is so similar to what is happening now with regard to abortion. Many people are realizing just now the truth about the evil and injustice of abortion, she said, adding that the contraceptive mindset spreading among Filipinos is happening because that is the lie that is being fed to us day in and day out through the mainstream media and now with the RH law, even in the schools. She reiterated that it was up to families to teach the next generation to regard every person as precious and shun the mentality that treats the unborn as mere property, in that if theyll do me good, then well and good, but if not, then we just dispose of them.just like [many of them] do with the babies. We intend to establish a new West Coast tradition of celebrating life and were calling for solidarity among women and all people of good will in affirming human life, Walk for Life West Coast states on its website. Abortion harms women and men; it divides families and society. Women, and all people deserve better than abortion. (CBCP for Life)

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A4
EDITORIAL

Opinion
Lent is coming

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

FEBRUARY 13 is Ash Wednesday this year, and with it starts another liturgical season of Lent. Its good that we once again relish the true essence and purpose of the period. Pope Benedict XVI has already given out his Lenten message for this year that zeroes in on the indissoluble relation between faith and charity. Its a wonderful message, so characteristic of his very theological mind, which should not be confined only to intellectuals and considered in strictly intellectual circuits. In his message, the Pope precisely talks about evangelization as the greatest work of charity toward others. There is no action more beneficialand therefore more charitabletowards ones neighbor than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. Lent is a good occasion to go back to God. But one has to understand that it involves a lot of sacrifice and struggle. Thus, the Pope in his message says that Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with Gods own love. We should look forward to the discipline that Lent encourages us to live. It is truly good for us. And anyway, we cannot avoid having to grapple with suffering and ascetical struggle due to our wounded human nature. And so we really need to learn how to go through the discipline to prepare ourselves for the challenges of life. We should see all this as part of the Good News God has given us. It should make us happy, and not too wary and afraid. We can consider it as some kind of sport and exercise that require some sacrifice but actually give us a lot more of benefits. Truth is we need to learn the ways of spiritual combat, how to deal with our own weaknesses and do constant battle with the temptations around. We need to learn how to grow in the virtues, since we usually tend toward laziness, disorder, imprudence, vanity, pride, gluttony and lust. Most of all, we need to learn how to know, love and serve God in a way that is directly felt and continuously done. All of this requires some kind of training, planning and a whole range of discipline. There are stages to go through, and so we need to articulate as clearly and as specifically the appropriate plans for each stage. We obviously need to ask for grace always, since it is grace that should underlie all the efforts. Without it, we cannot go very far in our spiritual growth. And thus, aside from prayer, we need to avail of the sacraments, the usual channels for grace to come to us. Lets hope that this season of Lent will truly give a big boost in our spiritual life. If we try to be professional about it, we should devise ways to see if indeed such growth has taken place at the end of Lent.

Same sex marriage


WHAT do people say about marriage? What does the 1988 Family Code of the Philippines state about marriage? What does the 1986 Constitution of the Philippines provide about marriage? What does the Church in the Philippines teach about marriage? What does the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines declare about marriage? What does the Catholic Church in the world proclaim about marriage? What does the Pope himself affirm about marriage? Strictly speaking, it does not matter! It is not important! It is not necessary! Reason: Natural lawthe nature of realities, the objective substance of things, the essence of earthly mattershas already specifically and clearly defined, established and affirmed what is marriage. No Church and no Pope, no government and no president, no people of any race, color, and creed can really change it. Why? Ground realities as categorically and concretely determined by nothing less than the Law of Nature are beyond denial or contradiction by any con-

Oscar. V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points


be respected by people of all races, colors, and creeds. And in the event that a man and another man or a woman and another woman want to live together, this they do at their own personal accountability. Such togetherness can be called a Partnership, a Venture, a Contract, an Agreement or whateverbut marriage it is not! It takes more but mere human preference to alter the Law of Nature. So it is that the Philippine Constitution provides that it does not only recognize family life and shall also equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn (State Policy: 12). This does not apply to Same Sex Marriage. So it is that the Family Code of the Philippines states that marriage is between a man and a woman (Art. 1). This does not apply to Same Sex Marriage. So it is that the Code of Law of the Church stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman (Canon 1955). This does not apply to Same Sex Marriage.

Contribution of Catholic Education


FROM the nature of Christian Education and from what has been done in the course of history, we cannot deny that we have benefited from it. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that the establishment of schools in our country has laid the foundations of education in our country. The brief historical survey earlier cited does not speak of all of the four centuries accomplishment of Catholic Education in the Philippines. It is a happy thing, that the Catholic School is still very much present and felt, not without challenges however. There are about 1300 Catholic schools spread all over the Philippines, offering different levels of education and types of formation. These schools, while relying mainly on their own resources and efforts, strive to provide decent classrooms and facilities so as to offer quality education even in remote towns and barrios. There are a number of these which have consistently been among the top schools not only in the country but also around the globe. At great cost and without necessarily incurring the government any burden, the Catholic schools recruit, train and sustain their personnel. Advanced studies and researches are pursued again at the expense of these same schools, thereby contributing to the advancement of society. In fact, Catholic schools have been a major contributor to the professional sector of our country. It is not altogether surprising then that quality education is almost always appended to Catholic schools. Furthermore, a number of these schools are not exclusive to Catholics, but serve peoples of other faiths; others are dedicated to out of school youths, to the handicapped, to cultural minorities, and those in the periphery. With the significant shortage of classrooms and teachers in public schools, Catholic schools assist the government in providing education to the rest of the citizens who opt for Catholic education as well as those who cannot be accommodated in public schools. Citizens, in choosing to be educated to Catholic schools, waive as it were their right to a free education, so that others may avail of it. Catholic schools by raising their own resources assist the government in providing employment and saving financial resources. One can only imagine what if these Catholic schools would close at the same time. Will the government be able to absorb all the students and provide the same quality education many of these schools provide given the present circumstances in public schools? -- A Pastoral Letter of the CBCP on the occasion of the 400 Years of Catholic Education in the Philippines, 2012

trary human opinion, by any opposite human authority or legislation. Therefore: To think and affirm, to promote and proclaim that marriage is between a man and a man or between a woman and a womanthis is an excellent example of an exercise in futility. So it is that the Church through all the ages as well as all over the globe professes and declares that marriage is between a man and a woman. She has no choice. This is why the Pope himself teaches and affirms that marriage is between a man and a woman. He has no alternative. This is why the Church in the Philippines and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines maintain and insist that marriage is between a man and a woman. They have no option. To even think, much more to assert and insist that marriage is not sothis can be done but is does not in any way change the nature or essence of marriage. Homosexuals are human persons with their intrinsic human dignity that should

Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

Year of Faith Reflections


SUCCINCTLY stated, faith is a free gift from God, a grace, an undeserved beneficence bestowed gratuitously by a loving God. Saint Paul was profoundly aware that he did not deserve to have faith and be an apostle, but by Gods grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless (I Cor. 15:9-10). We admit that we do not deserve or earn the gift of faith; yet, we respond to Gods loving initiative by a free and personal act. Our response can be captured in three words, all beginning with the letter r. Faith is all about profoundly recognizing Gods inestimable gift in sending his Son for our salvation. With grateful hearts, a Christian focuses on receiving the gift of faith and personally integrating it into ones life. The recognition and reception of the giftparticularly the person of Christoverflow in concrete efforts to share this faith and love with others, reciprocating Gods love in Jesus through deeds of compassion and service. Faith, a special gift, is a precious possession! During this Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics are asked to delve deeply into the meaning and dimensions of the gift of faith. A simple description offered by A. Dulles is: Faith is the basic act or disposition by which human beings respond to revelation and enter into a saving relationship with God. In traditional theology, faith was clarified with two helpful terms: fides quae and fides qua. Fides quae (faith which) refers to the knowledge and acceptance

Living Mission

Exploring the meaning of faith


of revealed truth as content, teaching, doctrine, or dogma. Catholics are familiar with both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds used in the liturgy; they describe the content of the essential truths of the faith. Fides qua (faith by which) refers to a personal, self-surrendering act of trust to a personal God who reveals his inner divine life and invites individuals into a personal relationship of communion and friendship. In short, as described by the Youcat 21 [Youth Catechism]: Faith is both knowledge and trust. Yet, mature faith must also be a missionary faith. In his message for World Mission Sunday 2011, Pope Benedict XVI noted that it was at Vatican II (50 years ago) that the Church defined herself by asserting that the pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature (AG 2). Benedict XVI notes that mission must be the constant horizon and paradigm of every ecclesial endeavor. Mission demands profound faith. Blessed John Paul II had stated: Mission is an issue of faith, an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us (RM 11). He went on to say that in the Churchs history, missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a sign of a crisis of faith (RM 2). The Lord is always calling us to come out of ourselves and to share with others the goods we possess, starting with the most precious gift of allour faith (RM 49). Indeed, this is a great challenge during this Year of Faith: Do not only keep the faith; spread the faith to others!

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Political genius or political animal?


AS a priest, I of course do not do politics, that is to say, I cannot run for public office, I cannot take partisan positions in public, unless the issues involved are clearly inhuman and unchristian. But I should follow it closely, because politics is part of life and needs to be guided by the proper spirit of Christ. Thats the reason why there is the social doctrine of the Church that also covers politics. While it is the lay faithful who can take active and direct part of it, the clergy should also see to it that the whole political life in all levels of society is done properly. Besides, the clergy is also part of the citizenry, subject to the laws of the land. They are part of the political life, obviously in a way proper to their state. Everyone takes part of politics always in accordance to ones state and possibilities, the clerics in their own way, the lay also in their own way. This doctrine of the Church has to be understood properly. It is that way because the priests mission is eminently spiritual and supernatural in nature. Its a mission that is above but not exempt from the understand-

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
As of now, I learn a lot from certain moves of some politicians, both local and international. There are instances when I think the move is stupid, but also many instances when I am convinced the move is brilliant, is a masterstroke. Since politicians are at the forefront of the development of society, they cannot help but be extremely cautious and smart in their actuationstheir planning, their speeches, their public appearances, etc. But they cannot avoid controversies and conflicts. And I must say that I admire how some of them handle these situations well how they explain their positions, or defend them when attacked, how they have a good sense of timing and of what to say to what kind of audience at a given time. Some of them really have excellent speaking talents, with sharp minds and witty tongues, and very adept both in aggressive and defensive tactics. Obviously, there are some who truly are political geniuses. But there sadly are others who can only elicit the judgment, tentative at best, of being political
Candidly Speaking / A5

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able differences and conflicts of temporal affairs such as politics. Thus the priest has to be extremely discerning to do his part in the political life of the country. He is not supposed to take a passive stance in it. He should be disinterested, but not uninterested. At least he has to pray a lot, offer a lot of sacrifices, do a lot of catechizing, etc. He has to be keenly interested in it, but in a specific way. Having said that preamble, I must admit that I enjoy reading political developments here and abroad. There is obviously the chance to get excited with all the twists and turns of the political maneuverings politicians do. But at the end of the day, I bring these political items to prayer, trying to discern how things ought to go. And I learn a lot from this exercise, since it allows me to read between the lines, to somehow read the minds of people, politicians especially, and to read the signs of the times. While there is a lot of tentativeness in this exercise, it actually gives me a lot of ideas and all sorts of impulses that I need to tame and clarify.

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

Opinion
Symptoms of a greater malady
Neptali Gonzales II could have done their duty to hasten up its passing, but they did not. President Noynoy could have certified it as urgent, thereby fulfilling his promise, but he did not. Why? More debates needed, it was reported. They cut short debates on the RH Bill, but are now delaying FOIs passage. With the FOI practically dead, how can we find out how the reproductive health program will be implemented, how its mammoth budget (from taxpayers money) will be spent, what its supporters will say and do to brainwash the trusting masses. FOI was the ordinary citizens hope for transparent governance. And its not just about the RH program. We have every right to know, for instance, how our leaders deal with foreign governments on our behalf, on cases like, for example, Chinas encroachment on Philippine territory, or the United States illegal entry into our marine sanctuary. Both cases threaten to deprive future generations of Filipinos of natures abundance that is rightfully theirs. But with the FOI frozen, the truth will be accessed only by those in power, the masses will be left with no choice but to hope despite their doubts. Representing the majority of Filipino believers in God, the Catholic Church stands as the peoples biggest hope for truth and justice to prevail, the greatest witness to the Living God moving in mans affairs. The enemies of Life and Truth, well equipped to propagate falsehood, are having a heyday boosting Church bashers. The Catholic Church in the Philippines stands at the crossroads now. This reminds me of a verse from Jeremiah, Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it To my mind, the imitation of Christ is one ancient path, one that we should follow if we must mature in our faith and bear fruit as authentic Christians. And following Christ demands, most of all, that we embrace His Cross. And thats the truth.

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Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

and thats the truth


JUDGING by the headlines these days, so much is happening around the world which seems to say that human life is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day. Teenagers going on a shooting rampage on campuses, killing scores of schoolmates and children. Desperate fathers and mothers killing their children and then themselves. Jealous husbands shooting their wives and then committing suicide. Angry women killing their partners over unsatisfying sex. Fetuses found in odd places, mostly females ones in certain countries. In our own backyard, the life-is-cheap trend seems to be on the rise, too. Motorcycling gunmen riding in tandem go almost scot-free as the number of unsolved cases rise. Politics-related murders are almost taken for granted. The Atimonan ambush, formerly labeled a shootout, remains a mystery as authorities drag their feet in coming up with explanations. These are not mere headlines, especially when viewed through a web of recent developments in Philippine legislation. Diminishing regard for human life as demonstrated by the escalating shooting/killing incidents (war related ones still excluded) is a worldwide phenomenon, of which a reproductive health law institutionalizing a contraceptive mentality is but an offshoot. They are both symptoms of a greater maladya megalomaniac mental set that denies God as giver of life. Massacres and murders, whether committed by minors or hired killers, can all be traced back to some kind of mental illnessit matters little if such mental illness is caused by depression, greed, or lust for power. A man divorced from God follows a broken inner compass. My question now is: are our public servants following a broken inner compass? The Freedom of Information (FOI) bill has been shelved anew, making a mockery of a presidential campaign promise made three years ago to prioritize it. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader

Duc in Altum Listen to our shepherds


THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its President, Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, D.D,, Archbishop of Cebu, issued the much awaited Pastoral Statement, normally issued after its Plenary Sessions in January and July every year. The Bishops observed: Our country continues to suffer grave crises, disasters and challenges x x x We have had our share of violent storms. Typhoons Sendong and Pablo inflicted horrific damage the loss of lives, the destruction of properties, the dislocation of thousands of families, the radical disruption of human life and livelihood, and the severe trauma of the survivors. I was a flood victim myself during typhoon Pedring in September 2011, first time it happened in our place in Navotas City. Then, typhoon Gener and monsoon rain Habagat in August 2012 caused another flooding in our place. However, what I experienced is nothing, compared with the tempest suffered by our countrymen in Mindanao who lost not only properties but also loved ones. These natural disasters are due to the destruction of our environment, our natural resources, continuous denudation of our forests and mountains through illegal logging, destruction of our seas and rivers where the waste of industrial factories and ships are recklessly thrown out instead of having a welltreated sewage system, and worst, the uncontrolled mining industry. What has our leaders done to abate, if not stop, this atrocities? Our shepherds are correct in saying These must lead us to examine and question the sincerity, quality and effectiveness of the governance of our leaders. Can we not convince our government officials to cross party lines? Unless they forego their vested interests in exchange for the well-being of their constituents, the Filipinos will continue to suffer these crises. Unless they honestly use the pork barrel for the construction of houses and schools, to provide medical needs and livelihood of the residents of their congressional district, the Filipinos will keep on suffering poverty despite the well-publicized economic upsurge of the country. Our shepherds talked about a long litany of storms, not necessarily natural: Promotion of culture of death and promiscuity We already expected this to happen when majority of our Senators and Representatives, who think they are all-knowing and infallible, passed the RH Bill and the President signed it into law. Like our Bishops, we the laity also condemn the passage into law of RH Bill. Try visiting a barangay health clinic, ask for cough and colds medicine for your child, they cannot give any; next time around, ask for pills and condoms, these will immediately be given. Wrong priorities by our government? The continuing corruption and abuse of power The bishops correctly hit the nail when they questioned the nonpassage of Freedom of Information Bill (FOI). It is more urgent than the passage of RH Bill. We only want truth and honesty in the governance of our leaders. Is it too much to know where the pork barrel goes? The widening practice of political dynasties 26 years since the passage of 1987 Constitution which mandated banning of political dynasties, yet not such law was ever passed. They shamelessly field their sons and daughters, wife, brothers and sisters so that they will have the monopoly of power. Wrong priority by our so-called leaders? Power really corrupts, once they have tasted it, they will grabbed it come hell or high water. Automated election concerns at the COMELEC The right to vote is a sacred right and duty of the citizen; it is our obligation and responsibility to make sure that there is clean, honest and credible election. Automated election can be a cause of widespread cheating. Just a little manipulation here and there, our votes go to trash. The COMELEC should listen to technical experts and must correct the defects in system of automated elections. Our Bishops said There can be no transparency in elections if the COMELEC itself is not transparent. The COMELEC officials should not be influenced by fear and fervor; they should not allow themselves to be used by greedy politicians; do not be blinded by power and gold, do not succumb to threats and coercions. The inability and unwillingness of those in power to take the road to social justice, the deepening of the culture of impunity, the unabated suffering of the poor in spite of bright economic ratings If our economy is really bullish, how come there are still many poor and hungry people, many children begging in the streets, many homeless sleeping in sidewalks and parks. Uneducated and poor citizenry is the best bet to abuse by government officials. What has the government done to solve crimes and to give justice to the victims? *** Updates on the petitions citing unconstitutionality of RH Law. The 6th petition was filed at the Supreme Court by Mr. Eduardo B. Olaguer together with Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines (CXAP). The other petitions were filed by Atty. James Imbong, Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI), Task Force for Family and Life Visayas, Inc., and Serve Life CDO, a Cagayan de Oro-based group. It was reported that a petition was also filed by former Vice-President and Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. The latters son, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, voted for the passage of RH Bill. *** Congratulations to my nephew, Roberto Enrico S. Imperial, who passed the recent Pharmacist Licensure Examinations; he graduated number 4 at the College of Industrial Pharmacy, University of the Philippines, Manila and is a scholar at St. Lukes College of Medicine. Happy Birthday to his sister, my niece Ria Edeliza S. Imperial, whose birthday is on February 14; she is a constant University Scholar at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon, taking up B.S. Biology.
Candidly Speaking / A4

Faith: free yet morally obliging?


COULD a leader who calls himself Catholic and lawmakers, too, many of them saying the same thing about their religious affiliation, justifiably turn their back on what their Church teaches on faith and morals? In my feeble attempt to answer this question without pretending to be a self-appointing authority, let me take you to A case in Criminal Investigation channel once confined me to my chair for an hour or so, a thing that, quite frankly, I didnt notice much as I watched the unfolding of a true story of a woman who fled her boyfriend and was eventually murdered. The boyfriend, of course, was the principal suspect. It helped the investigators that they found her diary in which, in one entry, she described her boyfriend as a controlling maniac. Then, on top of the finding, forensic science enabled them to find the boyfriends DNA in the womans clothing and body and to identify the blood in the boyfriends car as belonging to the victim. Eventually it led to the boyfriends conviction. I found it striking how the boyfriend, after initially winning the woman by the exuberance of his courtship and by the open abandon of his expressions of love for her, later gave the lie to that love by his very controlling ways. It baffled me and made me ask, Does true love and freedom go together? Isnt it that people in love control one another and hold one another in various forms of confinement? The answer, of course, is that love and freedom must go together or it is not true love at all. In fact, the nature of true love is to set free the one loved. We are familiar with our human condition in which, according to Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, we are enslaved by our tendency to sin. He gives voice to our

Rev. Eutiquio Euly B. Belizar, Jr., SThD

By the Roadside
counting, we humans do refuse to heed or hear Gods call to believe in him and to accept his plan of salvation. Even the words of Jesus in Johns Gospel that, for all intents and purposes, constitute the secret to a happy life, namely, Love one another as I have loved you is only an invitation, not an imposition. God does not say to us, Love one another or else! The records, in fact, say that it is he who makes the initiative. As John, the NT love expert, makes it clear: This is love: not that we have loved God but that he first loved us and has sent us his Son in atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Jn 4:10). And yet faith, like love, also morally obliges. If, for instance, a husband takes a blind wife to a walk and says to her, Do you believe in me? If the wife says to him, Yes, I do believe in you, and the husband says to her, Now give me your hand and follow me, would not the wifes faith in her husband oblige her to do exactly that? The same can be said of faith. Precisely because we say we believe in God, it follows that when God issues us his commandments and more fully reveals himself and his will in and through Jesus his Son, our faith morally obliges us to respond to him in the only way logical and wiseobedience. Now, and I risk here being called a defender of the Damasos of our time, since Gods revelation of himself and his saving plan is in history a mediated reality, as when Jesus his Son mediates it to us, he continues this uncanny way in our day and age through the living Body of his Son, the Church; if so, then our faith in God entails not only obedience to Jesus Christ who reveals him to us but also to his Church who continues Jesus revelation. Or it is not faith at all.

common human experience of wanting and intending to do what (we believe) is right and then actually doing what (we believe) is wrong. This tendency to sin or to do wrong is known in our basic Catechism and theology as concupiscence and is a real form of spiritual-moral confinement, as it were our unseen but veritable jail. Fortunately for us, because of his unfathomable love, God sends us a liberator in Jesus Christ our Savior, Gods only begotten Son. Gods love, in other words, sets us free in and through Jesus Christ. Which speaks volumes to us of the nature of love as a respecter and promoter of freedom. On the other side of the fence, we also experience love in another way. It obliges. And we have our own Filipino experience for a case in point. We Filipinos are known for our love of family. We sacrifice so much for family. Even as we resist it tremendously, many of us decide to go abroad and choose to suffer loneliness, humiliation, racial discrimination and sometimes physically harmful conditions just so we could send money to our families and give them the good life. But only the unthinking or unfeeling of us would say that we have been forced by our families us to do this. Our families, by and large, leave us free to do it or not. Yet we make the decision to leave precisely because our love for spouses and children, parents and siblings obliges us to make those incredible sacrifices. If love is free and yet morally obliging, so is faith. Why, we must ask. Because God respects our freedom, neither forcing us to believe in him nor obliging us to put ourselves in his hands without our consent. He calls to himself but that call is an invitation that we, in an often tragic exercise of freedom, can refuse. In fact, in ways beyond

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

Whatever
ITS quite surprising to see every now and then what new trends the Internet can set. Recently, we saw the cute and irresistible wish of children who got 2.6 million LIKEs on FaceBook when their father, Ryan Cordell, agreed to buy them a puppy if they got 1 million LIKEs on the social network. Faced with this challenge the kids digitally armed themselves by creating an FB account Twogirlsandapuppy. The page hosted a message saying: Hi World. We want a puppy! Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 million likes! So LIKE this! He doesnt think we can do it! Seven hours later, their dad conceded defeat and got them a puppy! Coincidentally, their endearing and amusing initiative that went viral over cyberspace linked with their fathers research. Ryan, a Northeastern professor, and his team are studying reprinted text in 19thcentury newspapers to see what makes people share or like certain words or events. The reasons for making us like things, often based on socio-cultural values and traditions, may not have changed through the years. The only difference now is that the Internet offers global accessibility, ease of response and speed to surf for our likes. What perhaps would have taken weeks or even months to accomplish through printed medium, only lasted a few hours to reward his kids with a puppy. Unfortunately, this innocent and sincere attempt to win the worlds approval for a pet was followed by similar but less edifying petitions. For example, the hoax by a Norwegian high school couple requesting a million LIKEs to usher them into pre-marital relations. There are others that have yet to be verified such naming a baby MEGATRON if 1 Million people liked it and another asking for likes to convince his father to quit smoking. Theres no telling how far this LIKing trend will reach and what consequences it will have. Even though some of the things posted are not really substantial, a social network like FaceBook and many others, can gradually shape how people make choices. This also means that unlike before, the weight of a million likes can circumstantiallythat is, a million people are somehow indirectly involvedinfluence a persons decision to do either for something good or bad. Thus, all those involved share in either the good or bad effects of the persons choice.

1 Million Likes
And since more and more peopleespecially the youth are using the Internet, their ideas, judgments and choices will be influenced by and often based on this rapid flux of information that gives little space for reflection. Inasmuch as this is a growing trend, no 1 million LIKEs or more can make something good bad or vice versa. Something good will always be virtuous and something bad will always be vicious. The former will always contribute to the persons goodness and perfection, while the latter deforms him and eventually may not allow him to reach his true end. Moreover, a million LIKEs can never deprive someone of his freedom to choose or decide on something. Certainly, factors such as fear and ignorance can limit human freedom, but they can never be totally deprive man of this gift. Mans dignity and purpose, and society as well, would be abolished if objective moral standards were to be placed at the mercy of trivial and relativistic clicks of a million digital LIKEs. In the end, what is essential is making decisions and aligning our actions to only one LIKE: what God expects of us, His will. This one like of God is the most important and fruitful decision to embrace, even though a million or more likes may state the contrary. The saints are models of this faithful response to Gods will. They were often heard to express strongly their identification with Gods like by saying: So much do I love your will, my God, that heaven itself, without your willif such an absurdity could beI would not accept. (St. Josemara, The Way, no. 765) We are all called to follow this same path the saints have trodden. This is the road where our wills identify to that one Will. Against the virtual and superficial waves of trends in cyberspace, there is the witness of millions of men and women who silently live virtue constantly and heroically. There are mothers quietly overcoming tiredness in preparing their familys daily meals cheerfully, young professionals heaped with work and still manage a smile for their colleagues and find time to help them in menial tasks, student who correct themselves against the temptation to cheat in their exams, and a million invisible daily acts of love and sacrifices trustingly responding to only one like from Gods loving heart.

animals bereft of conscience. Political developments are actually good learning moments. They should not be wasted by tackling it superficially as in simply giving knee-jerk reactions that tend to exaggerate or oversimplify things and are prone to make negative responses more than positive. In short, politic discussions and analyses should go beyond the level of the barbers. Lets pray that our political columnists really do their part well, giving well-thought-out opinions and commentaries that should always be characterized by charity and fairness.

Sad to say, there are instances when some of these commentators are just out and out unfair, painting their enemy-politicians as the devil incarnate while putting their friend-politicians on a pedestal as if these are incapable of sinning. Thats really over the top or way under the bottom. We have to learn to hold our horses when reacting to political issues. Lets study them first, weigh things disinterestedly. Better, bring them to our prayer and ask God for light. We need to learn to relate political developments and issues to God and to the common good.

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ENVIRONMENTAL groups are questioning a regional courts decision to allow a mining company to proceed with mining exploration despite the local governments executive order against mining activities in the island. Romblons regional court has issued a resolution last January 17 declaring Romblons Executive Order no. 001, S. 2011 as unconstitutional, thus allowing the Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation (SNPDC) to proceed with minerals exploration. Anti-mining advocates in the province are challenging the Courts decision saying it goes against local autonomy and right of local government to protect the environment as mandated by the local government code. Romblon Gov. Eduardo Firmalo said

Local News
that he will stand by the executive order, not the Courts resolution. It seems this will be a test case of Mining vs. Local Autonomy and I believe we will win in the end because as the caretakers of our province, the local leaders should agree to protect the environment by measure that is bound by law. I do not think that the executive order and municipal resolutions are unconstitutional, Firmalo added. SNPDC has earlier been ordered by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to desist from mining activities pending investigation on the complaint of the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other groups. The mining firm, on its part, filed a declaratory relief against the local issuances that disallowed metallic mining operations in the province. Msgr. Nonato Ernie Fetalino, diocesan administrator of Romblon and Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer, leaders of Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) said they will continue to support the mining moratorium. Mining moratorium is the cry of our people, it is very clear, this is a moral and spiritual call, they said. The mining industry has been dividing communities, they said, but they have remained united in the province of Romblon. We shall continue to fight for the integrity of creation, promoting human rights and environmental justice. We remind our people to think twice this coming election, they furthered. For his part, San Fernando Mayor Dindo Rios explained that they are empowered by the Local Government Code and the mandate of their constituents which is to protect resources and people from devastating effects of industries like mining. I come from an ice-age island of Sibuyan, a sensitive ecosystem teeming with unique biodiversity, the source of our sustainability, Rios said. Meanwhile, Rodne Galicha, sites struggle officer of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) reiterated the groups support of the governors moratorium order to preserve a healthful and balance ecology. We were disappointed with the courts decision on councilor Armin Rios Marins death and with this recent decision of the same court; the honorable judge favored the same mining

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

Environmental advocates quiz Court verdict upholding mining firm


company involved. We will exhaust all means to protect our island ecosystems and the rights of our people to determine our own path to genuine sustainable development, Galicha said. The group found the Courts ruling directly opposed on the right of local governments to promote the general welfare of their constituency and implement policies geared towards the protection of their environment and natural resources. Local Government Units who have enacted legislation prohibiting mining operations in their jurisdictions are Albay, Bukidnon, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Iloilo, Samar, Marinduque, La Union, Capiz, Romblon, Antique, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Negros Oriental and South Cotabato. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

Post-Pablo rehab underway Caritas Philippines BSP to issue 50-peso bills with Saint
CARITAS Philippines rehabilitation work is underway to help victims recover from Typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha) which struck Mindanao last December. The Churchs social action arm said it will prioritize typhoon-ravaged areas in Cateel, Davao Oriental and in Gabi, Siocon, New Alegria and Laak, all in the province of Compostela Valley. With the support of its local and international partners, the agency initially continues to provide survival kits containing food and other basic needs. The project will eventually move towards recovery efforts and distributing shelter materials for the construction of better homes, the Caritas said. Caritas Philippines is the international name of the CBCPs National Secretariat for Social ActionJustice and Peace (Nassa). The agency is also designing a comprehensive development program as a response to the victims clamor for livelihood after the typhoon decimated their major cropscoconut and banana. Caritas Special Humanitarian Team recently made another visit to the typhoons calamity-stricken areas last Jan. 21 to 25. As part of its preliminary preparations for the Early Rehabilitation project, the team made a return visit to Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. The team also met with the

Calungsod image
THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will issue for public circulation 50-peso commemorative bills bearing an image of Saint Pedro Calungsod. The limited-edition bills commemorate the recent canonization of the second Filipino saint, a teenage Catholic missionary who died a martyr in Guam more than three centuries ago. Henrietta de Villa, secretary general of the National Commission on the Canonization of Calungsod, said special bills will help promote Calungsod.
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Thousands of families in Mindanao region are now deprived of livelihood because of destroyed coconut and banana plantations.

The former ambassador to the Vatican said she has no idea yet as to how many copies will be made but they are expected to be out for public circulation before April. Because of the many signatures needed, certainly I think these will be released not later than the feast day of Calungsod on April 2, De Villa said. The Monetary Board, she added, has also approved to issue commemorative medals to honor the sainthood of Calungsod. (CBCPNews)

Diocesan Social Action Directors and other humanitarian groups to coordinate assistance to com-

munities still reeling from the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha last 4 December 2012. (CBCPNews)

Youth initiates programs to educate first-time voters


YOUTH leaders are making certain politicians with the right intentions would make it in the upcoming mid-term elections. To ensure that people with integrity would be voted in the upcoming 2013 elections, youth leaders in the National Capital Region (NCR) are doing some initiatives to educate young people, especially first time voters. NCR youth coordinator Peter Pardo said, they are intensifying their efforts on voters education among parish youth and also co-organizing voters education to small circles like campus ministries. This is just a small effort from our part, we tap schools before the school year ends but definitely, the voters education will be intensified in the parish level, Pardo said.
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Pardo, who is youth coordinator of Paraaque diocese, is encouraging all young people and youth leaders in the different dioceses in NCR to inspire fellow youth to vote in May election because their vote is very important to ensure that right people will be voted to represent the youth sector in both Houses of Congress. This coming election is critical, based on the events that happened in our society in the past months, we need to ensure that we will vote for the right people, he said. Hopefully, if there is any election that the youth will lead, it must be this coming election. To ensure that right people will be elected especially in the House of Representatives and Senate, we must

vote for the right people to represent us, Pardo added. Meanwhile, Dani Villanueva, youth coordinator of Antipolo diocese said their focus is to educate not just youth leaders but also the grass roots. We actually started the campaign for voters education using the social media, so there are youth leaders who are interested and excited for the activity. We wanted to use the means in order to invite and ask the youth to go to polling precincts during election period to vote, to exercise their right to vote, Villanueva furthered. Pardo and Villanueva stressed that NCR youth will be non-partisan so as to have a clean and honest 2013 mid-term election. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes answers questions from the bishops about the May 2013 automated elections during the CBCP assembly in Manila, Jan. 28.

New rights are being pushed while the most basic rights are being ignored, said the CBCP. The collegial body of the bishops then lamented the continuing human rights violations and unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings even almost three years of Aquinos election into office. Other forms of crimes and kidnappings continue, they said, and the government is not able or lacks the political will to prosecute the perpetrators and touch powerful people. Little inclusive growth Despite the governments much flaunted idea of high growth and economic development, the bishops said the unabated suffering of the poor continues. According to them, growth itself, that is, more products and more money should not be the sole aim of development but also equity. The huge gap between the rich and the poor remains. There
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is little inclusive growth, the CBCP said. Still on RH law The bishops deplored the recent enactment of the Reproductive Health law, and the promotion of a culture of death and promiscuity. This is due to the slavishness of our political and business leaders to follow practices in Western countries that promote, in spite of examples that we clearly see in the West, divorce, resulting in more break-up of families and the dysfunctional growth of children, contraceptives, leading to more abortions, the use of condom, aggravating HIV-AIDS infection, and school sex education, bringing more promiscuity and teenage pregnancy, they said. Not retaliation CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma clarified they have nothing personal against President Benigno Aquino III for approving the RH law. Admitting that they also have

shortcomings and do not want to appear self-righteous, he said, As shepherds, we feel that it is also part of our duty to voice the sentiments of the people. Its not because we want to condemn but we want that all of us will try to take a hard hit over these realities and hopefully be able to come out with solutions, Palma said. We dont want to appear like fighting anybody. Our main intention is for the good of the people, he said. Critical collaboration Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes echoed Palmas statement, saying that they only speak for those who suffer. We are always for the good of everyone especially the poor, said Pabillo who heads the CBCPs National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace. Reyes said that as citizens of the country, they are also entitled to make opinions especially on issues affecting their flocks.

If the government is doing good, we will always have collaboration. But if the government is doing something bad, we will criticize and we will oppose, he said. Double standard While they acknowledge that the government is trying to address the countrys problems, the bishops said the effort is not enough. We denounce the non-prosecution of alleged perpetrators of corruption and strongly call upon the government to pursue allegations and signs of corruption of power holders not only of the past but also of the present, even of friends and party mates, they said. Pabillo criticized Aquino for being selective in choosing which corrupt officials to prosecute, even claiming that there had been a double standard of justice under the current administration. There are reports about corruption under the present administration but nothing happens to them, he said. (CBCPNews)

in 2011. ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said the survey results will serve as a relevant foundation for the ECYs formation program for youth ministers as front-liners in the youth apostolate. The CBCP executive admitted that the survey questions and methodologies have not been finalized yet as the group tasked to formulate themcomposed of representatives from the ECY, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomasis still undergoing its planning. But it has to happen this year, Garganta told YouthPinoy in an interview. The survey will give the ECY a good representation of the status of the youth these days and it will help the Church to better respond to the signs of the times and create programs that are effectively rooted in the needs of the youth, he added. Gargantas disclosure about the National Filipino Youth Survey came after ECY chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon made a bold statement that the youth ministry in the Philippines is ready to reach out to the 70 percent of young people that are far from the Churchs reach.

Real challenge In an earlier interview with YouthPinoy, Baylon admitted that the ECYs programs have been crafted mainly to sustain and nurture the percentage of young Catholics who are already active in the Church. But the ongoing celebration of the Year of Faith has convinced ECY officials that the real challenge for the youth ministry is to reach those who are beyond the Churchs ambit. The Churchwe had been saying[is] so inward looking, looking at what is already there, the 30 percent. We tend to take care of this alone, Baylon said. It is about time that we looked outside of this 30 percent and this is what this Year of faith is all about, the prelate added. Reinventing ECY But aside from profiling the Filipino youth, the survey will also help the ECY in terms of capacity building. Garganta said the survey will determine the direction for ECY to reinvent itself to better journey with the youth. As a way to respond to the signs of

times, the survey will help the ECY draft its mission and vision and to be clear on its roles and responsibilities, he added. The CBCP-ECY marks its anniversary every July 6. According to the commissions official website http://cbcp-ecy.ph, the ECY is initially a committee under the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate (ECLA) during the period 1976-1985. This period marked the rise of national youth organizations and movements and the creation of youth ministry structures within the dioceses. Diocesan youth directors, coordinators and leaders head these structures. During the National Conference for Youth Ministers in January 1986 in Tagaytay City, the delegates, composed of the youth directors, coordinators and leaders, proposed for the creation of a separate commission specifically for the youth. The bishops acknowledged the need for a commission that addresses all youth ministry concerns distinctively. In June 1986s CBCP plenary assembly, they unanimously approved the creation of the ECY. (YouthPinoy)

CBCP said. The bishops statement is contained in the CBCPs pastoral statement released after their three-day pastoral assembly in Manila. According to the bishops collegial body, the election is not a matter of speed but trustworthiness and honesty. While they have nothing against the system per se, the church officials said the poll body must be transparent and address concerns of many groups who just want fair and credible elections. We call upon the Comelec to adequately address the issues and respond, place corrective measures if necessary, to the studies of technical experts to the alleged deficiencies of the present system and technology of automated elections, they said. There can be no transparency in elections if the Comelec itself is not transparent, the bishops added. CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said it is not their intention to criticize the Comelec or discredit the automated election system but they just raised concerns of the public. We voice out the concern of many because we would wish and we want the elections as a process, will truly be credible. Until these guarantees are in placed we will continue to be fearful, Palma said. It has to be clear especially to the voters and candidates. We are not candidates, we bring
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this out because we care for the people, for the process, and we care for our country, he added. Issues and concerns about the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines were among the topics discussed by the bishops during their plenary assembly. On January 26, various poll watchdogs led by Automated Election Systems Watch (AES Watch) presented to the bishops the flaws and dangers of the PCOS machines that will be used in the May elections. A day after, the bishops listened to the side of the poll body led by its Chairman Sixto Brillantes and other Comelec commissioners. But Palma said that due to the limited time, there are still many concerns that Comelec has answer to assure the credibility and reliability of the PCOS machines. As of now, we can only hope and pray optimism is part of a Christian virtue but we also want our fears to be resolved immediately, he said. For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Comelec should build the needed safeguards to ensure that the voting machines will not be used for cheating. Thats why the Comelec should answer all the questions on its (machines) integrity to erase the doubt in the minds of the people, said Pabillo, who chairs the CBCPs National Secretariat for Social Action. (CBCPNews) Among the lawmakers present include Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Majority leader Vicente Sotto, and Sen. Gringo Honasan. Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia, , Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, Bohol Rep. Arturo Yap, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, among others, were also there. (CBCPNews)

in the process of discernment. We trust in the discerning process of the people to choose by themselves, believing they know how (to choose), said Palma. Aside from Palma, some of the ranking church officials seen at the meeting were Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
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tualizes the faith into the Philippine setting, highlighting the faith as truly Filipino. It is community-forming because the interaction with other participants and the team allow for greater bonding with the local parish community of which

they are part of, it added. Pope Benedict XVI earlier called on the Filipino bishops to a new evangelization in the country, a campaign that calls on the faithful to deepen their faith, believe in the Gospel and spread it. (CBCPNews)

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

Diocesan News
Tominobo in Iligan City. To date, the project has already constructed 173 units, 125 of which have been already awarded and occupied by deserving families. The 125 family beneficiaries held their first General Assembly last January 25, facilitated by Mrs. Mary Jane Reynonthe projects Area Coordinator, and Sr. Mapet Bulawan, DC of Nassa. The community has agreed that a regular General Assembly would be held every fourth Saturday of the month. Regular formation sessions will likewise be conducted to build the new community into a homeowners association. The diocese is building a new community of typhoon survivors into a Gagmay ng Simbahanong Katilingban (GSK) or basic ecclesial community. Meanwhile, in Cagayan de Oro, the Caritas Village Shelter Project has also awarded units to 20 victims of Tropical Storm Sendong. The units are among the remaining 60 shelters constructed through the joint efforts of CBCPNASSA and Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro Caritas Village Shelter Project in partnership with the Foundation for Peoples Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC). On January 27, beneficiaries were given a tour around the Coop-Ville Relocation Site at Brgy. Mambuaya, Cagayan de Oro City organized by Caritas Village Shelter Project Coordinator, Dodong Arellano, and CBCP-NASSA Administrative Officer, Sr. Mapet Bulawan, DC. (SocialActionNews)

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31 houses awarded to typhoon Sendong victims


ILIGAN CityThe Caritas Village Shelter Project under the auspices of the CBCPs National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) together with the Diocesan Social Action Center of Iligan Caritas Village Shelter Project has again awarded another 31 new units to qualified beneficiaries. The new homes were blessed and turned over to families after the Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Fr. Nazer Zaragoza, Parish Priest of the receiving community, at Brgy. Upper
Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA

Thirty-one newly-constructed units were turned over to victims of Typhoon Sendong in the Diocese of Iligan in a simple ceremony on Jan. 26, 2013.

Summit on credible elections in Cebu


CEBU CityThe Archdiocese of Cebu is holding a summit to address election issues and come up with concrete actions for electoral reforms. Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma in his invitation to different groups said the summit will endeavor to forge maximum unity in embracing electoral advocacy and in implementing the needed concrete strategies for electoral reforms. Around a thousand participants, including COMELEC Election Officers, DepED Supervisors, Cebu Clergy, NGOs/POs representatives, Universities and Colleges Representatives (Administrators/Faculty), Youth Leaders, PNP (Regional, Province, City) Directors, representatives from media, political parties, LGUs, business, and religious/faith-based communities/ councils, are expected to participate in the summit. The following concerns will be taken up during workshop at the summit: 1) Vote-buying; 2) Electoral Rules Violations/Irregularities; 3) Political Dynasty; and 4) Sectoral Agenda. The sectoral agenda workshop will have farmers, fisherfolk, urban poor (informal settlers, vendors, drivers), workers, women, youth, elderly and persons with disabilities, as participants. Resource speakers include Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Visayas Clergy Discernment Group Head Convenor Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza, Secretary of Education Bro. Armin A. Luistro, FSC, and Comelec 7 Regional Director Temie Lambino. Called Summit on Credible Cebu Elections 2013: Addressing the Most Challenging Elections Issues, the conference is being organized in partnership with Comelec and DepED of Region 7, and slated on February 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cebu Mariners Court, Pier 1 in Cebu City. Participants will be asked a registration fee of Php 250.00 for lunch, snacks and handouts. Inquiries can be made at the Archdiocesan Discernment Group Secretariat at telephone (032) 255-2743. (CBCPNews)

Pasig diocese opens first Catholic Mass Media Awards


PASIG CityThe Diocese of Pasig will hold its first Catholic Mass Media Awards to provide an opportunity for local print and broadcast journalists to be recognized in their fields of work. Search period has started last month with the deadline for submission of entries on March 31. Screening period is from April 1 to May 15 while awarding of winners is on May 17. All entries must be those products released from January 2012 until March 30, 2013. The diocese said that entries should also promote love for God, love for truth, love for family and life, love for positive Filipino values, and love for natural environment. Award categories include Best Newsletter/Magazine, Best News, Opinion, or Feature Article, Best Video Documentary, Best News Photo and Best Website. Organizers said any person or institution, religious or secular, governmental or non-governmental, parish and school, within the territory of Pasig diocese may nominate or call them to nominate a meritorious media production. A person or institute may also submit more than one entry in each category. Entries need not be religious in nature nor the participants be exclusively Catholics. Entry forms are downloadable from www.dioceseofpasig.org. (CBCPNews)

PPCRV conducts voters education in Filipino


PLARIDEL, BulacanIn a bid to be more understandable to Filipinos, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) gave a massive volunteers education in pure Filipino for the first time on Jan. 19 in Plaridel, Bulacan. In his opening remarks, PPCRV Priest Coordinator Fr. Anthony Chan said, Sinadyang Tagalog ang kabuuan ng programang ito nang sa gayon ay wala kayong dahilan para hindi ito maunawaan, (The entire program is intentionally done in Tagalog, so that there will be no reason for you not to understand). According to PPCRV Youth volunteer Gailbert Vito Bosea, all future PPCRV orientations will be given in Filipino to accommodate most of the volunteers and coordinators who are native Filipino speakers. Chan translated materials used to orient some 304 PPCRV coordinators from the diocese of Malolos, not including students and seminarians, from English to Filipino. The training with the theme Simbahan at Pamahalaan patungo sa Malinis, Matapat, Makatotohanan, Makahulugan, at Mapayapang Halalan 2013 (Church and Government towards Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Elections) featured a talk called Pilipinas, Inc., which compared the country to a corporation with candidates seeking public office as job applicants. According to PPCRV executive director Ginny de Villa, voting should be based on 3K, which does not refer to P3,000 but to 3 Ks: Karakter (character); Kakayahan (capacity); and Katapatan (loyalty). PPCRV will also be touring the country to hold voters education in dioceses, schools and universities before election day on May 13. One session was conducted in the University of the Philippines-Los Baos last January 31. COMELEC information officer Leo Lim also oriented the participants on technical matters like the recent decision to provide the PPCRV with the fourth copy of the election returns, as well as on the protocol for absentee voting for members of the media. The event was held at the St. James the Apostles Parish in Plaridel, Bulacan. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz with reports from Gailbert Vito Bosea)

Briefing
Burglars steal cash from Church in Surigao City

SURIGAO CityBurglars destroyed a door and busted into a Catholic parish office to steal money from a church in Surigao City Sunday morning, Feb. 3, 2013. The thieves scored P9, 775 cash from the Virgin dela Paz Y Buen Viaje Churchs parish office. Reports said that parish staff, Efren Edica, discovered the incident at 4:30 a.m. after the burglars entered the office by destroying its padlock. An investigation is underway that could lead to the arrest of the still unidentified suspects. (AHV/CBCPNews)
Image of Ina Poonbato episcopally crowned

Avoid further damage on Tubbataha, bishop appeals


PUERTO PRINCESA CityA Catholic bishop has joined calls that the US Navy will be held liable for the damage of the Tubbataha Reef off Palawan brought by its unauthorized entry. Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo said the US government must pay for the damages caused by its USS Guardian minesweeper when it ran aground at the protected reef last month. Whoever is responsible for that should pay for it and should be held liable, Arigo said. The bishop also called on the authorities to avoid further damage of the coral reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as they try to salvage the US war ship. Our appeal is that the ship should be retrieved as soon as possible to prevent larger damage of the coral reefs. The government should exert all efforts not to aggravate the damage, he said. Malacaang has said that the incident has damaged around 1,000 square meters of the protected marine area and assured the public that it would be claiming for
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IBA, ZambalesA diocese in Central Luzon area granted the request of the people to crown the image of Ina Poonbato at the Ina Poonbato Shrine in Botolan, Zambales on Jan. 23, 2013. Led by Iba Bishop Florentino Lavarias, the Episcopal coronation was held in recognition of the special reverence and devotion the Christian faithful of Zambales and other devotees have shown to the Mother of God through her title Ina Poonbato. Themed Inang Maria Kaisa sa pananampalataya, buhay-Kristiyano at pagsamba, the coronation was also held in celebration of the Year of Faith. Fr. Marciano Sandoval Jr., parish priest of Sta. Monica Parish said the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through her title Ina Poonbato has grown not only in the province but worldwide. (Jandel Posion with reports from Rolly Abelon)
Nueva Ecija celebrates Holy Childhood Sunday

SAN JOSE CityMore than a hundred members of the Holy Childhood Association gathered at the Conference Hall of Mary Help of Christian Parish in the diocese of Nueva Ecija to celebrate the Holy Childhood Sunday on Jan. 20, 2013. Organized by Canossian Nun Sr. Fely Tolentino, FdCC, the mission animation was focused on the Holy Childhood Association. Anthony Dameg and Jette Antolin of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) talked about the life of HCA founder Bishop Forbin Janson, the objectives and goals of HCA and the childrens missionary role as members of HCA. They also discussed the history of HCA beneficiaries and the motto of HCA which is Children helping Children with three important duties; prayer, sacrifice and material offering. (Jandel Posion)
Clergy Festival held in Kabankalan
Photo courtesy of AFP-WesCom

Image taken by the AFP Western Command on Jan. 21, 2013 shows the USS Guardian still stuck at the protected marine sanctuary after it ran aground off Palawan.

KABANKALAN, Negros OccidentalMore than a hundred priests participated in a three-day Clergy festival hosted by the Diocese of Kabankalan on Jan.14 to 16. Themed One Faith, One Priesthood, One Mission, the 9th Negros-Siquijor Clergy Festival had Bacolod, San Carlos and Dumaguete as participating dioceses. This years clergy festival is one of the significant activities that highlight the year-long celebration of the 25thyear of Kabankalan as a diocese. Kabankalan Bishop Patricio Buzon, SDB, led the festivals opening Mass at the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and was followed with a motorcade from the Cathedral to the Little Way College Seminary for lunch and various outdoor and indoor games. (Jandel Posion)
Pasig youth intensifies leadership through assembly, retreat

damages from the US government. The Tubbataha management office earlier said that the US war ship en-

tered the protected area without permission and failed to coordinate with environment officials. (CBCPNews)

against time. We make this appeal with great urgency. The prelates underscored that it is necessary for Aquino to continue what his mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino who had placed CARP as her centerpiece social justice program, has envisioned. Is it a design of the Divine Providence that what your mother, of happy memory, started would be finished within your term when the Carper law ends by July of 2014? they noted. Aquinos fault The dismal performance of the DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes is the acDynasties / A1

countability of no other than Aquino, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said. Malacaang said that De los Reyes continues to enjoy Aquinos confidence despite criticism from bishops and the farmers themselves. Aquino has the command responsibility and if Palace still believes in the DAR administration, then they should be held accountable for this, said Pabillo. Pabillo chairs the CBCPs National Social Action, Justice and Peace, which is at the forefront of the Churchs campaign for land reform. The bishop also urged the government to fix the prob-

lem between De los Reyes and his employees, as well as the farmers concerns. Alarmed CARP was first enacted in 1988 and extended by another 10 years in 1998. And still due to huge volume of land that remained undistributed, it was extended to another five years in 2009. The bishops said they were elated when Aquino heeded their call, met the farmers last year, and assured them of a speedy implementation of the law. The church leaders said they were also bolstered when the President stated in his State of the Nation

Address in July 2012 that his administration is serious on land reform. We are greatly alarmed, however, that barely one and a half years from the expiration of Carper, the accomplishments of DAR have been dismal, to say the least, and many promises made to the farmers in June dialogue are not fulfilled, the bishops added. We, therefore, make common cause with the farmers and many agrarian reform advocates in the call for speedy implementation of this law that touches deeply a grave social justice issue in the country affecting so many poor farmers, they also said.

PASIG CityTo ensure good leadership, the Youth Commission of the Diocese of Pasig has intensified its programs for young people through a youth assembly and retreat for youth leaders. Held on Jan. 29 at the John Paul II Formation Center of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Pasig, the 1st youth assembly for the year 2013 focused on reports from parishes and vicariates and more updates on youth programs and events for the whole year round. The quarterly meeting is also a fellowship day for the youth leaders of the diocese where they can bond and relax. Attended by more than 50 youth leaders from 30 parishes and 4 vicariates, the assembly helped them understand the importance of updating each one and report on issues concerning the youth of their respective parishes or vicariates. (Jandel Posion)

ANNOUNCEMENT
DISCERNMENT RECOLLECTION
For May 2013 Election Candidates and Stakeholders
Dilaab Foundation in partnership with Couples for Christ will be holding a Discernment Recollection for all candidates in the May 2013 elections and the election stakeholders. The gathering will be on February 15, 2013, Friday. The Discernment Recollection for Stakeholders will be at 8:00AM to 12:00NN while the Discernment Recollection for Candidates will be in the afternoon, 1:00 PM to 6:00PM, at the Covention Hall, Sacred Heart Center, D. Jakosalem Street, Cebu City. Recollection Master will be Manila Archbishop Jose Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle. All candidates and stakeholders are invited. A minimal registration-solidarity fee of Php 120.00 to cover snacks and recollection materials will be asked of each participant. For more inquiries please call Dilaab office at (032) 412-7572, 09328844149, 09176212270 or email us at cide.dilaab@gmail. com look for Jenny, Carlo or Fr. Melo Diola.

power which is a fundamental mark of democracy, said the CBCP. The Catholic hierarchy also chided lawmakers for failure to pass a measure that would ban political dynasties. Therefore, we denounce the continued existence of family political dynasties and the continuing delay of passing a law to implement the constitutional

provision banning political dynasties, the bishops said. We are aggrieved that lawmakers themselves defy the supreme law of the land by not following the mandate of our Philippine Constitution given 26 years ago to make an enabling law to ban political dynasties, they added. And if Congress continues to ignore

their moral and constitutional duties, the CBCP said they will back initiatives of lay people to enact a law through the peoples initiative. If Congress is unwilling to act on this, we support initiatives by the lay faithful to pass an enabling law against political dynasties through the peoples initiative, which the Constitution provides, said the bishops. (CBCPNews)

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People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 03
February 4 - 17, 2013

Pope gives Cardinal Tagle new assignments in Vatican


TWO months after being elevated as cardinal, the head of Manilas Catholic Church has been appointed to two vital councils in the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has given Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle new assignments to help him govern the universal church. The pope named Tagle as member of presiding committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. New assignments in the dicasteries and organs of the Roman Curia were also given to the five other new cardinals, created in the consistory last November along with Tagle. According to the Catholic News Agency, while keeping their main jobs, the new assignments allow the cardinals to bring their experience and perspective to bear on the discussions and decisions of the central church offices that assist the pontiff. As member of the two Romebased offices, Tagle may attend the Councils important meetings and receive regular correspondence from Rome on matters that need consensus. It may be recalled that the pope has just appointed Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon to be part of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue last October. The other appointees include: For US Cardinal James Harvey, archpriest of Romes Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, membership on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and on the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees Vatican property and investments. Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, head of the Maronite Catholic Church, was named a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Indian Cardinal Baselio Cleemis Thottunkal, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, was named a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Nigerian Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja was named a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the presiding committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota was named a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CBCPNews)

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

Schools hold youth assembly for Year of Faith

Year of Faith calls for discipleship priest


A PRIEST from the Society of St. Paul (SSP), in a recently concluded Mission Congress has reminded children and young people that the celebration of the Year of Faith is a call to discipleship and apostleship. Fr. Ramil Tapang, SSP on January 26 spoke about the importance of celebrating meaningfully the Year of Faith and the mission of children and young people to share to others the meaning and spirit of the celebration. Tapang emphasized that discipleship is a call on every Christian to live the faith and share the Good News to others. You have the mission to help the Church propagate the faith. Jesus wants us to go out to spread His word and out of our comfort zone. Now, do you respond to the call of the Lord? Tapang said. He also stressed the need for young people to read and integrate the message of the Bible in their daily life instead of spending their entire waking hours using their mobile phones. tion: will you take the risk? Meanwhile, Dr. J. Baptistine Ralamboarison, secretary general of the Vaticans Pontifical Society of Missionary Children, has expressed her deep gratitude for the work done by members of the Holy Childhood Association here in the country. In her message, Ralamboarison encouraged the children and young people present during the mission congress to grow more in the spirit of spiritual and material solidarity. I would like to ask you [to] promise to be missionaries every day. This is the mission that is entrusted to you because you know you have the ability and you know that God loves you. It is your task to spread the good Word, she added. The secretary general also expressed her wish that every Filipino child will do even more mission work so that everyone can fulfil their missionary role to share the love of God not only in their own community but in the whole country. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

Photo courtesy of CFAM

CEAP and other schools associations organized a whole-day assembly for students from various public and private high schools in a first among series of activities to celebrate the Year of Faith.

Fr. Ramil Tapang, SSP

MORE than 2,000 young people from different public high schools, and member-schools of the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM), Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA) and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) gathered for the CFAM-MAPSA-CEAP Youth Assembly. Themed Live the Faith, Share the Faith, the gathering focused on celebrating the Year of Faith, establishing and strengthening the youths relationship with Christ, providing opportunities for personal growth, encouraging community involvement and inspiring and empowering them to become citizen imbued with the Gospel values for the service of the society and the local Church. In his homily, MAPSA president Msgr. Gerry Santos explained the meaning of faith as a deeper relationship with God. Faith can be summarized as friendly relationship with God. Appreciate your being Catholic. Live the faith, profess it, share it, guard it and proclaim the faith to others; the role of Jesus Christ and the Church in your life and holiness. This is the real meaning of faith and we must remember it in our daily life, Santos said. Topics on how to live the faith, sharing the faith and engaging citizens in

the upcoming 2013 elections were also discussed in a series of talks during the whole-day event. Alvin Barcelona of Kerygma talked about deepening and living ones faith while Fr. Bong Gino, the assistant minister of CFAM talked about sharing the faith to others. Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Chair Henrietta de Villa discussed the topic of citizens engagement in the upcoming mid-year elections. De Villa stressed three things that should concern young people and impel their engagement in the coming elections. These three are concern for God; [as there seems to be] a deliberate forgetfulness of God. We must not forget Him because He is the center of everything. Next is the concern for others, especially the poor. And third is the concern for the environment, de Villa said. She said the concerns she mentioned may seem simple but important, and these are the concerns we can engage [in] during election time. Held on January 26 at the De La Salle University in Manila, the gathering was the 1st event for this year of Faith. The youth assembly is slated to be held quarterly in an effort to have high school students from both public and private schools get to know each other. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)

Stay focused and do sacrifice, have fun and give importance to your life. Dont hesitate to take risks. Life is also a great challenge and dont we all [take] risks [in life]? [Take a] risk, you might discover a new person in yourself, he said. He furthered that only a person who takes risks is free, while adding a ques-

Thousands gather for Eucharistic adoration in football field


According to Samia, a particularly emotional part of the adoration, which left many in tears, was the Touching of the Cloth prayer ritual where participants were encouraged to touch six unrolled pieces of cloth near the Blessed Sacrament, following the example of faith of the hemorrhaging woman in the Gospel. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also offered during the adoration, with 8 priests on stand-by for the purpose. It was an awesome sight to see the long line of penitents, both young and old seeking forgiveness from God, Samia said. The organizers were amazed at the unprecedented attendance of young people in the said event, a smaller version of which is usually done in the chapel with 100 people or so attending. That was despite rains right before the event, leaving the field muddy, but as Samia noted, people did not just stay on, but stayed on their knees to be close to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. When asked about the adoration as the groups choice for an event, Samia cited the power of the Blessed Sacrament, quoting Don Bosco, Have devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are. In celebration of DBTCs 60th anniversary, the Days With The Lord organized the Grand Eucharistic Adoration as a way of thanking the school for its support of the group for the past 16 years. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)

From 6 to 8 p.m., participants stayed close to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Markings
RESIGNED. Two Filipino Catholic bishops have resigned before the mandated retirement age of 75. Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignations of Bishops Deogracias Iiguez, 72, of Kalookan and Leo Drona, 71, of San Pablo. Drona was ordained a priest on December 22, 1967 in Rome, Italy and was appointed bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija in July 1987 and served until 2004 until he was transferred to San Pablo. Iiguez, meanwhile, was the first bishop of Kalookan and had served the diocese since August 2003. Born in Cotabato City in December 1940, Iiguez was ordained a priest in 1963. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos from 1985 to 1989 and Bishop of Iba in Zambales from 1990 to 2003. Iiguez is currently the chairman of the CBCPs Permanent Committee on Public Affairs. The two prelates resignation was made under Canon 401, par. 2 of the Code of Canon Law which provides that a diocesan bishop who becomes unsuited for duties due to illness or other grave reason is requested to tender his resignation from office. APPOINTED. Pope Benedict XVI has appointed current Gumaca Bishop Buenaventura Famadico, 56, as successor of Bishop Leo Drona who has tendered his resignation as Bishop of San Pablo. Famadico was ordained a priest in 1983 and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa in July 2002. In June 2003, the pontiff appointed him as the second bishop of Gumaca in Quezon province. Currently, he is a member of the CBCPs Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. As the new bishop of San Pablo, Famadico will serve the more than two million Catholic population of the diocese. APPOINTED. Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco De Leon as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Kalookan. The pontiff made the appointment following the resignation of Bishop Deogracias Iiguez after serving the diocese for around 9 years. The 65-year old prelate will remain the administrator of Kalookan until the pontiff names a new bishop for the nine-year old diocese. An interim diocesan administrator is normally appointed by the pope to oversee the affairs of the diocese when it becomes vacant. De Leon has been serving as auxiliary bishop of Antipolo since 2007, assisting Bishop Gabriel Reyes. There are about 1.2 million Catholics and around 50 priests, in the Diocese of Kalookan. AWARDED. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has conferred the Jorge Barlin Golden Cross Award posthumously to the late Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB last January 26. In the citation, Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel, chairman of the CBCPs Episcopal Commission on Liturgy said Chupungco received the honor for his great contribution in the liturgical renewal of our country. The award was received by Fr. Rafaelito Alaras, current prior of the Abbey of our Lady of Montserrat, during a Mass at the start of the CBCPs plenary assembly at the Pius XII Center in Manila. The Jorge Barlin Golden Cross Award is the highest recognition given by the CBCP to an individual for exemplary service to the nation. The Benedictine monk was the third recipient of the award named after the first Filipino bishop. Other awardees were Atty. Sabino Padilla, Jr., and the late Fr. James Reuter, SJ. Padilla is the legal counsel of the CBCP, while Reuter served as the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media. Chupungco, a prominent liturgist, has influenced the Church in the Philippines with regards to liturgical reforms. He was also executive secretary of the CBCPs Liturgy commission for several years. During his funeral last Jan. 17, the priest was also conferred the papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for his service to the Church.

THE football field in Don Bosco Technical College (DBTC) became a witness to a scene totally different from the usual hustle and tussle of games when 2,500 students, alumni and parents gathered there for a Eucharistic adoration last Jan. 21. I was moved when I saw

the 2,500 participants all converging at the altar at center of the football field, all wanting to touch Jesus, and be touched by Him, said Bro. Juvelan Paul N. Samia, SDB, the Salesian animator of the Don Bosco Days With The Lord, who helped organize the event.

PBS hands out Bibles at LRT stations


A GROUP distributed Bibles inside major terminals of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) on January 24 to further spread the Scripture. In partnership with the LRT Authority, the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) said the activity is among their activities as they celebrate the National Bible Week in the country from Jan. 21 to 27. The interfaith organization had simultaneous Bible distribution to employees of 4 major terminals of LRT Line 1 and 2 including Central, Baclaran, Cubao and Santolan. About 3,000 pocket New Testaments and Our Daily Bread devotional books were given out to the recipients. The LRT has an average of 800,000 passengers a day and the PBS is cognizant of the challenges that its management is facing such as irate commuters, pickpocket incidents and even suicide attempts. PBS General Secretary Dr. Nora Lucero said Bible distribution is their way of helping alleviate the situation and aid the harassed employees. We support the initiatives done by the LRTA to improve its services and operations, Lucero said. According to her, as the LRTA is doing its best to give quality and safe travel for passengers, the PBS want to help them cope with difficult situations by providing them with copies of the Bible. The PBS management decided that since we are celebrating the National Bible Week this January, we want to share the Word of God to the hardworking people of LRTA as we try to uplift their spirit and provide inspiration to them, Lucero said. By sharing the Word of God to the hardworking people of LRTA we hope to try to uplift their spirit and provide guidance and inspiration to them, she added. The PBS also distributed copies of the Daily Bible Reading Guide (DBRG) to commuters to encourage them to read the Bible and follow Gods Word. The Bible teaches us to follow the
Photo courtesy of PBS

Photo courtesy of Fr. Ramil Tapang, SSP

Jandel Posion / CBCP Media

In celebration of the National Bible Week, PBS distributed copies of New Testaments to employees of LRTA.

law, be disciplined and be mindful of others. These are basic tenets that when followed by everyone will also benefit all, said Lucero. LRTA officer-in-charge Emerson Benitez said they are glad for having been chosen as one of the recipients of the Bible. We believe that the Word of God is a source of wisdom and strength that will aid us in serving our nation better, Benitez said. (CBCPNews)

Pro-Life youth group solidifies network


EVEN with the Reproductive Health (RH) bill now being implemented, several prolife youth groups maintained they are not giving up the fight and will continue the battle against the law. The Youth United for the Philippines (YUP) has organized a 1st pro-life youth meeting this year in an effort to solidify networking with other young people who want to do something positive for the country. Called Reclaiming our Future, the meeting has on top of its agenda the solidifying of the Pro-Life youth network and planning for an organized strategy to educate voters for May 2013 elections. The meeting held on February 2 in Quezon City, proposed and strategized on how to select candidates for elections that promote and uphold Christian values. Spearheaded by YUP President Anthon Lumicao, Mr. Robert Cortes and Mr. Vars Sunio, instructors at the University of Asia and the Pacific, the youth meeting was an answer to the question: What now? Weve publicly declared our sentiments and now things have seemingly gone flat! What do we do next? We are convinced that the Filipino youth can still do something to steer our nation back to the path of reason and life. If you are like us, attend this meeting along with a companion. Even better, invite other Pro-Life youth who may be interested, YUP encouraged young pro-lifers. The meeting was endorsed by Pro-Life public figures such as Bernie Villegas, Atty. Jemy Gatdula, Atty. James Imbong and Ms. Linda Valenzona. (Jandel Posion)

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Pastoral Concerns

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Lord, increase our faith!


Integral faith formation: towards maturity in Christ
(A Pastoral Exhortation of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines)
Beloved People of God: Introduction The Year of Faith which our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XvI opened in Rome on october 11, 2012 will end this year on the Feast of Christ the King, November 24, 2013. The Holy Father said that the Year of Faith would be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.(1) It is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the lord, the one Savior of the world.(2) For us in the Philippines, the Year of Faith is foundational for a nine-year era of New evangelization. In our Pastoral exhortation to open the Year of Faith, live Christ, Share Christ, we, your Pastors, said that the nine-year period of intense evangelization in our country will culminate in 2021 with the 500th anniversary of the Christian faith in the Philippines. Therefore, this year 2013 we begin the era of New Evangelization with the first of the nine-major pastoral priorities of the Church in the Philippines Integral Faith Formation.(3) A. Commencing the Era of New Evangelization The PCP-II Vision and Mission of a Renewed Church In 1991 the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCPII) envisioned a renewed Church, a participatory community of authentic disciples of Christ, a Church of the Poor, a Church-inmission. In 2001 at the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR) we declared that to achieve the vision we would embark on a renewed integral evangelization, a mission that PCP-II had described in terms of the New evangelization of Pope John Paul, new in its ardor, methods and expressions.(4) It is to fulfill this mission of renewed integral evangelization or New evangelization that we drew up the nine major pastoral priorities of the Church in the Philippines. Given a fresh and powerful impulse by the Year of Faith, we focus this year on the first of the pastoral prioritiesIntegral Faith Formation. The Meaning and Necessity of Faith What is faith? Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed.(5) As personal adherence to God, faith is ones total surrender to the love and wisdom of God. It is the entrustment of oneself to God in total dependence on him. It is the free offering of ones mind and heart to God. Faith is our adherence to the Triune God, revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is our friendship with Christ and through Christ with the Father, in their Holy Spirit.(6) By faith we freely commit ourselves entirely to God.(7) This is what we really mean when we say, I believe in God. on the other hand, as a free assent, faith is the virtue of saying yes to the truth that God teaches in the Sacred Scriptures and in the living tradition of the Church. This is what we express when pray the Act of Faith: O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man, and died for our sins and that he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen. The Act of Faith expresses a religious and intellectual assent to all the truths that God has revealed. Faith then involves the total person, his heart and mind. It touches every part of us: our minds (believing), our wills (doing), and our hearts (trusting). (8) Without such faith, we cannot be saved. once again the CCC teaches us: Believing in Jesus Christ and in the one who sent him for our salvation is necessary for salvation.(9) Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith no one will ever attain eternal life.(10) Positive and Negative Qualities of our Faith Today But not every one who says I believe will be saved. The question then is: Is it real faith? Hence we need to look into the kind of faith that we have. Is our faith one that possesses the mind and heart? A faith that flows into daily life such that our private and public life demonstrates our being true disciples of the lord? In truth our Filipino faith is deep and simple. We are not embarrassed to perform religious rites, like making the sign of the cross, or to display religious articles in vehicles. Many even dare to follow religious practices in places where the faith is banned. And yet our faith is largely uninformed, prone to ritualism and pietism, tending towards the externals of prayer and sacraments without understanding their meaning. And most of all our faith is separated from life; we do not practice our faith, putting it aside when it comes to crucial decisions regarding, for instance, money or power or popularity. This is why in our predominantly Christian country poverty, social injustice and lack of integrity are glaring while dishonesty and corruption continue with impunity. The Impact of Secularism on Filipino Faith Yet another powerful social force, a secularist and materialist spirit, is impacting our faith. Beginning in europe with the Age of Reason and enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, the secularist and materialist spirit has gradually but decisively taken over the developed world, resulting in the ignoring of God, the loss of faith, the weakening of divine authority and the authority of the Church. Secularism and materialism have created their own values, contradicting and rejecting the universal values of the Gospel as taught by the living tradition of the Church. The tools of social communication disseminate the secular ideology of developed countries. This has resulted in a type of faith that adheres
Increase / B5

Proclaim the message, in season and out of season (Cf. 2 Tim 4:2)
(A Pastoral Statement of the CBCP on Certain Social Issues of Today)
Beloved Brothers and Sisters: our country continues to suffer grave crises, disasters and challenges. We are reminded of the experience of the tempest at sea by the Apostles when they feared for their lives. Jesus chided them for their lack of faith. (cf. Mk 4:35-41) Our Problems as a Nation We have had our share of violent storms. Typhoons Sendong and Pablo inflicted horrific damagethe loss of lives, the destruction of properties, the dislocation of thousands of families, the radical disruption of human life and livelihood, and the severe trauma of survivors. We must listen to expert environmentalists who declare that much of these natural disasters are due to the destruction of our natural resources, our forests and rivers, as a result of unabated logging and mining. These must lead us to examine and question the sincerity, quality and effectiveness of the governance of our leaders. But this is only one in a long litany of storms, not necessarily natural. We can include: * the promotion of a culture of death and promiscuity. This is due to the slavishness of our political and business leaders to follow practices in Western countries that promote, in spite of examples that we clearly see in the West, - divorce, resulting in more break-up of families and the dysfunctional growth of children, - contraceptives, leading to more abortions, - the use of condom, aggravating HIvAIdS infection, and - school sex education, bringing more promiscuity and teenage pregnancy. * the continuing corruption and abuse of power by public officials due to lack of information, or still worse, the possible hiding of information from the public. It is ironic that the government that prides itself of treading the daang matuwid fears the Right of Information (FoI) bill because of possible discovery of wrongdoing by public officials. Why are they afraid to entrust the citizens with the truth of their governance? * the widening practice of political dynasties. As monopolies in business, monopolies in politics limit the entry that can bring in new ideas and offer better services. Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude. We are aggrieved that lawmakers themselves defy the supreme law of the land by not following the mandate of our Philippine Constitution given 26 years ago to make an enabling law to ban political dynasties. * the issues raised to the CoMeleC on automated election concerns. election is not a matter of speed but of trustworthiness and honesty. If not properly addressed the present automated election system can lead to wholesale cheating. The integrity of a pillar of our democracy the election is at stake. * the inability and unwillingness of those in power to take the road of social justice. This has resulted in failure to share the resources in the country to meet basic rights of the poor, such as secure jobs, decent housing, adequate medicine, ownership of lands that they till, and quality education. New rights are being pushed while the most basic rights are being ignored! * the deepening of the culture of impunity. extrajudicial killings, unsolved crimes and kidnappings continue and the government is not able or lacks the political will to prosecute the perpetrators and touch powerful people. * the unabated suffering of the poor in spite of bright economic ratings. Growth itself, that is, more products and more money, should not be the sole aim of development but also equity. The huge gap between the rich and the poor remains. There is little inclusive growth! We note the above social and political storms that buffet our Filipino life because they deeply touch the experiences of our people. We speak for those who suffer. We bring these concerns to those who have responsibility and hence accountability. These stormy situations need not be so! The Position of the Church our position on the above issues is based on our faith, a faith that is integral, a faith that surrenders to God in the intimacy of obedience and love. Faith is not only concerned with doctrine but applies that belief in all dimensions of life - social, political, economic, cultural, and religious. Such belief is synthesized in the social doctrine of the Church Catholic moral and social teachings declare: 1. Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (Catechism of the Catholic Church or CCC, no. 2270). The use of artificial means to prevent human life from being conceived is evil (CCC, no. 2370). Sexual acts are forbidden outside of marriage (CCC, nos. 2390-91). * Therefore, we denounce the passage of the Reproductive Health law, the political and financial pressures imposed on lawmakers, and the imperialism exercised by secularistic international organizations in the legislative process. * We admire and commend the valiant efforts of lay people and lawgivers to prevent the passage of the law. * We support the efforts of our lay people in challenging the RH law in the Supreme Court and in other venues within the bounds of our democratic system. * We support and encourage the participation of the laity in electing competent and morally upright candidates who are faithful to their correct and informed conscience. We shall be vigilant and act against moves that will be destructive of family and life. 2. Political corruption is one of the most serious deformities of the democratic system because it rejects moral norms and undermines social justice, which is the justice of the common good (see Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church or CSDC, no. 411). Freedom of information promotes integrity, transparency, and accountability in the political order (see CSDC, nos. 414 416). * Therefore, we denounce the nonprosecution of alleged perpetrators of corruption and strongly call upon the government to pursue allegations and signs of corruption of power holders not only of the past but also of the present, even of friends and party mates. * We likewise call upon government to give due priority to the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill at the soonest possible time. 3. Political authority exists for the common good. It is not to be exercised for the sake of private and family interests or simply for the interests of a political party. When political authority is exercised merely for these narrow interests, it betrays the reason for its existence. Moreover, such situation breeds corruption and inhibits general access to political power which is a fundamental mark of democracy (see Gaudium et Spes or GS, no. 74; CSDC, e.g., nos. 393, 407, 410). * Therefore, we denounce the continued existence of family political dynasties and the continuing delay of passing a law to implement the constitutional provision banning political dynasties. 4. every citizen ought to be mindful of his right and duty to promote the common good by using his vote (GS, no. 75). Such right and duty would be denied if obstructions are put in place to prevent its free and responsible exercise, such as dishonesty in elections. * Therefore, we call upon CoMeleC to adequately address the issues and respond, place corrective measures if necessary, to the studies of technical experts to the alleged deficiencies of the present system and technology of automated elections. There can be no transparency in elections if the CoMeleC itself is not transparent. 5. love of the poor who in the Gospel reflect Christ himself impels us to work for justice for the poor (see CCC, e.g., nos. 2447-48; CSDC, no. 184). This requires promotion of social justice, not by targeting the reduction of the number of poor people. * Therefore, as Church of the Poor we direct our social action services towards
Proclaim / B7

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

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Updates

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Addressing the Plight of the OFWs


Towards a Jurisdictional Structure for the Pastoral Care of Filipino Migrant Workers.1 (Part I)

Renewal of Marriage vows


(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:) Q: In some places married couples are sometimes invited to renew their wedding vows during Mass. Has the Church given norms on how this should be done? When is it appropriate and what format should it take? J.d., leeton, Australia A: The universal Church has not proposed any ritual for the renewal of marriage vows either within or outside of Mass. At the same time, the Church offers great leeway for national bishops conferences to prepare their own Rites of Marriage and submit them for approval by the Holy See. Through this process several countries, especially in North and South America, have included in the Ritual for Marriage a rite for the renewal of vows, especially on the 25th and 50th anniversaries. These rites make a slight but significant distinction between the original vows and the renewal of the ongoing marriage commitment. In the United States the formula of vows is slightly different from the original formula, in order to reflect a spiritual renewal. In Canada, on the other hand, it is the priests introduction that explains the meaning and reasons for the renewal of the original formula. There are also different moments for the renewal. In some countries the renewal on jubilee anniversaries is done after the homily; in others it follows the Prayer after Communion. The reason for these slight but significant changes is because in an essential way there is no such thing as the renewal of the marriage vows. The exchange of vows is seen as the sacramental form and is thus essentially unique for the same couple. Through their consent the spouses mutually give and accept each other through an irrevocable and perpetual covenant in order to establish marriage (see Canon 1057.2 of the Code of Canon law and the Catechism, No. 1638). It is true that Catholics annually renew their baptismal promises, priests their ordination commitments and many religious their vows. But these promises are complementary to the sacrament and do not constitute the sacramental form itself. Nobody is ever baptized or ordained anew for devotional purposes. This is why it is important that such renewal formulas be carefully framed and should avoid any expression that might hint at actually renewing the original sacramental bond. A fairly good example can be taken from an english-language ritual used in the 1960s: Renewal of the Marriage vows The jubilarians join their right hands and repeat after the priest, the man first: I, N.N., reaffirm my marriage vow of twenty-five (fifty) years ago, and rededicate myself in the same spirit that I once took you, N.N., for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. The woman next repeats the same formula; after which the priest says . Besides the renewal of the vows the Church has several other ways of honoring perseverance in married life. The Roman Missal has three special Masses for anniversaries, especially for jubilees. The Book of Blessings contains several beautiful prayers and blessings for married couples both within and outside of Mass. These latter texts may be used anywhere in the world, whereas the renewal of vows within Mass may be used only where it is officially incorporated within the ritual books or has been specifically approved. From what I have been able to gauge from simple anecdotal observation, the practice of renewal of marriage vows seems prevalent above all in the Americas. It appears to be less common in europe.

By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, J.C.D.


Prologomena even Church documents recognize that todays migration makes up the vastest movement of people of all times. In these last decadesthe latest major document affirmsthe phenomenon, now involving about two hundred million individuals worldwide, has turned into a structural reality of contemporary society. It is becoming an increasingly complex problem from the social, cultural, political, religious, economic and pastoral points of view. 2 The Ecclesial Challenge of the Philippine Culture of Migration Since the 1970s the Philippines has supplied all kinds of skilled and low-skilled workers to the worlds more developed regions. As of december 2004, an estimated 8.1 million Filipinosnearly 10 % of the countrys 85 million peoplewere working and/or residing in close to 200 countries and territories. As one expert on Filipino migration would affirm: In the last 30 years, a culture of migration has emerged, with millions of Filipinos eager to work abroad, despite the risks and vulnerabilities they are likely to face. 3 on one hand, this same expert continues, the development of a culture of migration in the Philippines has been greatly aided by migrations institutionalization. The government facilitates migration, regulates the operations of the recruitment agencies, and looks out for the rights of its migrant workers. More importantly, the remittances workers send homes have become a pillar of the countrys economy. on the other hand, the phenomenon of Filipino migrant workersmore commonly referred to as Overseas Filipino Workers (oFWs)does not seem to be something temporary. on the contrary, if at all it seems to be a phenomenon which is on the rise and destined to become more significant in the near and middle-term future. This is so, despite the improving economic situation in the Philippines, for two reasons: (1) the economic growth is still too slow to trickle down to the masses, so that the present OFWs will find it difficult to match their income abroad with whatever they might make in the Philippines; (2) the graying population in the developed countries will continually increase the demand for oFWs. The ecclesial dimension of this phenomenon is a veritable challenge to the Philippine hierarchy. In effect, while the positive economic effects of the millions of oFWsreligiously remitting their hard-earned foreign currency to their families at homeare undeniable, it is equally undeniable that many of these souls are oftentimes in quite precarious situations. While the Philippine Government has taken important steps towards institutionalizing Philippine labor migrationto the point that the Philippines has been cited as an international model for best practices in migration policythe ecclesiastical response to the oFW phenomenon leaves much to be desired. Many oFWs, especially in those countries of Catholic minority or where there is no Catholic hierarchy, are literally like sheep without shepherds, relying

solely on the isolated missionaries or chaplains who may succeed in accompanying them in their place of oversees employment. In this article, I would like to focus on the possible solutions to the pastoral problems posed by the aforementioned phenomenon of Philippine labor migration. In the process, I hope to go beyond simply solving the problem posed by the Filipino migrant workers, andfollowing the lines of the familiar SWoT analysis in managementto look at how to convert an erstwhile weakness into a veritable opportunity, an ecclesial problem into a factor for evangelization. Limiting the Discussion The canonico-pastoral issue connected with the oFWs can be conveniently pared down to two: (1) the care of the Filipino migrant workers themselves in their respective countries of deployment; (2) the care of the families that the Filipino migrant workers leave behind in the Philippines. The latter does not really present any significant complications as to warrant a separate canonico-pastoral treatmenti.e., distinct from the cura ordinaria animarum provided by the particular Churches through the territorial parishes in the Philippines. Thus, I would like to limit this discussion to the care of the oFWs themselves in their respective countries of deployment. on the other hand, the canonico-pastoral orientations and norms applicable to the case of oFWs in their countries of deployment can be divided into two kinds: (1) those addressed to the host Church (ad quam) if and where such ecclesiastical hierarchy exists; (2) those addressed to the Church of origin (a qua)i.e., the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Now then, sincerealistically and practically speakingthere is little we can really do as regards the Churches ad quam, I would like to focus this discussion on what the Church Hierarchy in the Philippineseither as individual dioceses or as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines collectivelycan do in order to better take care of the oFWs. A final distinction is in order. on the one hand are those overseas Filipinos (oFs) who are stably migratedi.e., mostly with resident visas or even dual citizenships, presently numbering around 3.7 millionand are therefore already incorporated to the particular Churches (host Churches) where they are (in North America, europe, Australia and the Pacific). On the other hand are the so-called overseas contract workers (oCWs)presently numbering 4.5 millionusually on two-year contracts, albeit renewable but also rescindable at a moments notice for a host of reasons, including the unstable political situation in their areas of deployment. Given that the latest official records place the number of overseas Filipinos at 9.0 million, the unaccounted balance of 1 million would have to be comprised of what have been referred to as illegals. It is this group of 4.5 million oCWs and 1 million illegals who I would henceforth refer as oFWs, since one and the other are all Filipinos, overseas and working one way or another. These are the 5.5 million unstably migrated Filipinos, who are in dire need of pastoral care. Ecclesiological Principles

Ashes for Children and non-Catholics


Q1: on Ash Wednesday is it appropriate for young children to receive the ashes? The formula Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel, implies the recipient is capable of committing sin. We normally consider this to be at the age of reason, that is, 7 years of age. Parents often bring up small children, from babes in arms, to toddlers, to 4-5-year olds, and want them to receive the ashes. Is this appropriate, given that the children might have no understanding of what is involved? e.K., Toronto Q2: A question arose on Ash Wednesday: Are there any limits as to distribution; i.e., who may properly receive ashes? Can non-Catholics and baptized infants receive? Are there any norms for distributing blessed ashes and where are they? The assumption was that anyone could receive regardless of age or religious affiliation. Is this correct? S.M., Indianapolis, Indiana A: The rules regarding imposition of ashes are scant, to say the least, and do not seem to put any particular limitations as to who may receive them. The rubrics of the missal simple say that the Priest places ashes on the head of all those present who come to him . The Congregation for divine Worship published a circular letter regarding these celebrations in 1988. Regarding Ash Wednesday it says: 21. On the Wednesday before the first Sunday of Lent, the faithful receive the ashes, thus entering into the time established for the purification of their souls. This sign of penance, a traditionally biblical one, has been preserved among the Churchs customs until the present day. It signifies the human condition of the sinner, who seeks to express his guilt before the lord in an exterior manner, and by so doing express his interior conversion, led on by the confident hope that the Lord will be merciful. This same sign marks the beginning of the way of conversion, which is developed through the celebration of the sacraments of penance during the days before easter. The blessing and imposition of ashes should take place either in the Mass or outside of the Mass. In the latter case, it is to be part of a liturgy of the word and conclude with the prayer of the faithful. Although it is clear that young children have no need to repent nor to do penance, I would see no reason to refuse to impose ashes if their parents present them. This act can serve as a means of forming them in Catholic traditions just as they will teach them to make the sign of the cross and will often bring
Ashes / B4

In order to arrive at an adequate proposal for the pastoral care of the oFWs, it is important to begin with some ecclesiological principles.4 1. Principle of Equality. As c.208 of the Code succinctly states: In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each ones own condition and function. In effect, what this principle affirms is that in the Church there are no inequalities by reason of race or nationality. 5 More particularly, in relation to the universal call to holiness, this doctrine would require a maximalist approach when determining the measure or extent of the pastoral means that must be offered to the faithful. What this principle implies is that the oFW should not receive any less pastoral care than either his other Catholic countrymen in the Philippines, or the other native Catholic faithful in the host Church where he finds himself. Furthermore, the principle of equality also underscores that all the faithful are called to take an active part in the building up of the Church. Applied to the Catholic oFWs, this means that they should not be viewed as mere passive subjects for the pastoral activity of the Church, but rather as active agents of evangelization. This implies that they have the right to receive not only the means of salvation necessary for their own holiness, but also those which capacitate them to carry out an effective apostolate in their peculiar environment. 2.ThePrincipleofTerritoriality vs. the Catholicity of the Particular Church and the Universality of the Priesthood. The principle of territoriality had always been a lynchpin in the ecclesiastical organization, even if vatican II had introduced personal criteria as a way of determining ecclesiastical circumscriptions, which had later found their way into the new Code of Canon law. However, the conceptual category of territory cannot be understood in an exclusive and rigid manner. In fact, the Code does not use this criterion in such a strict manner. The reason for this is not only due to the practicality of admitting non-territoriali.e., personalcriteria for determining ecclesiastical circumscriptions, but also to the need of understanding the criterion of territoriality from the point of view of communion. The territorial delimitation of the power of jurisdiction should admit a wider vision of pastoral responsibility, which tends to benefit all the faithful in need and which fosters the collaboration between the different ecclesiastical circumscriptions. Ultimately then, the criteria for delimiting ecclesiastical jurisdictionwhether territorial or personalshould be interpreted in the light of a higher theological principle, which is the universality of the episcopate6 and the priesthood.7 The application of this doctrine to the specific case of the pastoral care of migrants is far-reaching. Among other consequences, we can underscore the pastoral responsibility of the Church of origin. In effect, overemphasizing territoriality would tend to concentrate responsibility on the host Churchwhich would have to receive, accommodate and attend to the immigrantswithout saying much of the responsibility of the Church of origin. In contrast,

if one starts with the principle of the universality of the priesthood and the catholicity of the Particular Church, one immediately realizes that the Church of origin cannot be indifferenttowardsthefaithfulwho emigrate, whether temporarily or permanently. Again applying this to our case, the Philippine Catholic hierarchywhether individually or collectively cannot really disregard their primary responsibility to provide adequate pastoral care to the oFWs wherever they are deployed. The Philippine hierarchy cannot transfer the responsibility of caring for the 5.5 million temporary oFWs to the host Churches, whichas happens in the middle eastare themselves sorely undermanned: its a case of the visitors greatly outnumbering the hosts. 3. The Juridic Obligation to provide Pastoral Care to Migrants. Pius XII, in Exsul Familia, already laid down the foundation for the juridic obligation of offering a peculiar pastoral attention to the emigrants. Now Erga migrantes makes this more explicit: 1. To the right of the faithful to receive the help that derives from the spiritual wealth of the Church, especially the Word of God and the sacraments (CIC, c.213; CCeo, c.16), there is a corresponding duty on the part of the pastors to provide such help, in particular to migrants, in view of their particular condition of life. 3. Moreover, especially when groups of immigrants are numerous, the Churches of their origin have the responsibility of cooperating with the Churches of arrival to facilitate efficacious and suitable pastoral assistance.8 Hence, those whothrough no fault of theirs, or simply because they exercise the Churchrecognized human right to emigrate9find themselves in a situation such that, in order to receive the same spiritual help that the other faithful in the territory receive, the Pastors would need to act in a special way, have a strict right that the Hierarchy makes the necessary arrangements, different from what is ordinary, so as to provide them the means of salvation that befits them. The oFWs enjoy the same right as the other faithful to the salvific means of the Churchi.e., the Word of God and the Sacraments. What is peculiar is the way that these would be delivered to them. Hence, the special pastoral care due to the oFWs does not constitute a work of mercy corresponding to a situation of need, but rather constitutes a specific modality of the fundamental right of the baptized to receive the means of salvation from the sacred Pastors. 4. The Nature of Ecclesiastical Pastoral Care. We need to make one more precision, which might appear superfluous but nevertheless should not be taken for granted: the nature of what we have been referring to as pastoral care. We cannot forget that the pastoral function of the Church consists essentially in the exercise of the tria munera Christiwhich in practice is translated principally in the delivery of the means of salvation, especially the Word of God and the Sacraments. In effect, it would be a serious impoverishment of the figure of the priest and of the Church itself were their mission to be reduced to assuring the physical well-being of the faithful. This in no way denies either the convenience or usefulness of some works for the material well-being
OFWs / B4

FiLe Photo

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Features Divorce and Question Marks


that a valid and non-voidable marriage is still dissolved for one reason or another. The said three judicial actions on de facto marriage are substantially different in nature, consequences and implications. If it is argued that after all, the effects are the same in the event of a nullity declaration, a decision of annulment or a judgment of divorce, this is tantamount to saying that death by sickness or old age, by accident or lethal injection, by torture, massacre and other forms of killing are all the same. After all, those concerned are all dead anyway! This thought is gross and disgustingto say the least. The truth of the matter is that there is the attempt to break and dissolve marriage by any and all possible means, whatever the ethical liabilities and moral costs to the family, to the community, to the country. If one is not satisfied with legal separation, hence, in order to prevent marital infidelity, to counter conjugal abandonment, to do away with any attempt at the life of a spouse and the like, they should be instead more serious in penalizing such domestic misdeeds as provided by law not reward the culprits with the grant of divorce. It can be said with regret and pity that divorce advocates think not only contrary to simple reason but also act against fundamental ethics. QUESTION 4 Would it be unrealistic to ask the divorce proponents how many marriages, families and homes can one break? How many divorces can one obtain? How many spouses may one abuse, violate, abandon and the like? The question is not simply how many divorces may one obtain, but also how many marriages may one enter into QUESTION 5 Would the enactment of a divorce legislation really prevent marital infidelity, spousal abandonment and other possible similar marriage maladies as envisioned by its proponents? Would that it does! But the truth is that it may in fact even inspire what it intends to deter or curtail. It is definitely not improbable that when a couple is tired or simply dissatisfied with their conjugal life, one or both of them would simply commit adultery, actually abuse each other or decidedly establish any other ground for absolute divorce, and thus even benefit from their intentional reprehensible act. In short, an unhappy or discontented spouseincluding someone already married but in love with someone elsecan even intentionally engage in adultery, abuse or anything the among men and women are much less demanding and expensive. Breaking them requires no divorce, no annulment, no nullity declaration. All these however do not make such arrangements right and righteous, dignified and dignifying, QUESTION 7 Is it correct to claim that a divorce legislation is the last recourse to free couples from impossible marriages? If the intention is simply to free couples from already unbearable marriages, the recourse is legal separation, not absolute divorce. If the design is for a couple to get rid of one another for purposes of remarriages, their divorce is the wrong means to an equally wrong end: Wrong means because divorce would make them liars when they pronounced their lifetime marriage vows, and wrong end because they would have to impliedly enter into but a temporary marriage by precisely subscribing to absolute divorce. Regarding impossible or incongruous conjugal relationships such as in the case of sex maniacs, psychopaths and sociopaths, behavioral deviants and any other duly identified mental disorder, once proven by experts that any of these personality anomalies has been existent at the time of the wedding, then, legal separation, marriage nullity declaration or annulment decree is the recoursenot divorce. Truth to tell, divorce is not a last recourse but the final triumph of those who subscribe to the so-called free marriage, open marriage or renewable marriage and the like. All of which basically means an individualistic unionnot a conjugal covenant. Marriage is thus held but as personalistic arrangementnot an institutional partnership for life. QUESTION 8 Would it be too idealistic and therefore unrealistic to ask for marriage vows which are for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health until death make the spouses part? To say Yes! to the question is contrary to the salient fact of multi-million of lasting and successful marriages, marriages that were entered into across the centuries through indivisible and insoluble vowscompared to the number of broken marriages in the Philippines specially in the rural areas where Filipinos live and refuse to be americanized synonymous with divorceand free love. To say Yes! to the question is to ultimately get married for convenience, viz., marrying only for the better, for richer, in healthnot for worse, for poorer, until death. otherwise, marriage becomes inconvenient and the couple concerned should logically get rid of it through a divorce as a convenient exit from conjugal life. To say Yes! to the question is to openly and clearly explain to every child born of a marital union that he/she has but temporary parents, he/she has but a temporary family, a temporary home. divorce does not only make man and a woman a temporary couple having a temporary familybut also in effect caring for temporary children. QUESTION 9 Is it correct to say that the proposed divorce legislation has nothing to do with the Church, and that the Church should therefore not interfere in the matter? Since when did the Church concern herself only with churchy, pietistic and/ or spiritualistic matters, simply with Catholics, merely with marriages held according to the teaching of the Church? The obligations of parents, the rights of children, the stability of families are valuable realities even but in the natural order and the pursuant ethical sphere irrespective of the race, color and creed of married couples. The Church is categorically competent to speakteach, explain and proclaimtruths not only in the realm of supernatural truths but also in the sphere of natural realities. The truth is that even non-Catholics are not exempted from the 10 Commandments. When couples violate their

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marriage commitment, when parents renounce their care for the children they brought into the world, when children grow in a confused and confusing d o m e s t i c e n v i ro n w h i c h divorce infallibly causesthe Church may not pretend to see nothing, prefer to say nothing and actually do nothing, whether those concerned are Catholics or not. The Church is obliged to say and uphold the natural truth that marriage is hollowed and inviolable, irrespective of religion, the denomination or sect of married couples. Since when was marriage simply a question of religion, merely a concern of the Church, merely but a private affair between the spouses? QUESTION 10 Would it be incongruous to ask why so much is being desired and designed by the present Administration and its political and ideological allies on how to remedy broken marriages through divorce while practically nothing is said and proposed to protect and strengthen families and thus prevent marriage failuresin line with the content and spirit of the Constitution and the Family Code of the Philippines? 1. Age Should rather young people aged but some 18 years old be allowed to marry and thus commit themselves to a very adult, serious and permanent way of life such as marriage? P h y s i o l o g i c a l l y t e n d e r, psychologically unprepared, emotionally unstable and usually even financially incapable, are they really ready for marriage with its truly grave, always binding and lasting inherent obligations in conjunction with themselves as spouses and in relation to the children born of their unions as parents? 2. Livelihood Should peoplespecially meneven if they be advanced in age, be allowed to get married if they have no regular jobs, no viable means of livelihood, and in fact unable of even supporting themselves? While marriage usually starts with love, can marriage in fact survive with love alone? Could love alone really take the place of food to eat, clothes to wear and house to live in? Could love alone satisfy the many and continuous needs of children to grow, to learn and be eventually on their own? 3. Health Should physical and especially mental health, psychological stability and emotional maturity be simply left to presumption when people want to get married? Should there not be even but a minimum of attitudinal checks and behavioral test on very basic personality featuresof those desirous of getting married upon which the success or failure of marriage by and large depends in so many ways, through any means? 4. Post Marriage Should those already married be simply left to themselves to live their conjugal life as they please, to raise their children as they desire, to have and maintain their means of livelihood as they could on their own? Would there be no legislation such as on family wages, family housing, family guidance and counseling? 5. Broken Marriages Is divorce the one and only answer to broken marriages? And if it is claimed that divorce after all is not compulsory but only for those who want it, then the argument can be said that the legalization of bigamy and/ or polygamy and/or Same Sex Marriage as well as Group Marriage and Renewable Marriage Contract are alright, after all it is not mandatory and only for those desirous of practicing it. To date, the Philippines is already beset with many serious social liabilities such as widespread poverty, proliferation of crimes, futile search for peace and ordernot to mention the losing fight against drugs, gambling and prostitution plus the ever increasing number of unborn children killed, children unschooledto mention but a few. Will divorce be the ultimate solution to such social maladies? The fact is that the Philippines is the only country in the world in addition to the vatican City State, europewithout a divorce legislation. Honest, is this a shame for Filipinos or a pride for the Philippines? Answer: MABUHAY!

By O. V. Cruz, JCD
THe understanding, appreciation and pursuant teaching of the Church about marriage is definitely not based on a mere opinion, a capricious intent and/or preferential option. That marriage is per se a distinct, indissoluble and indivisible union finds its anchorage in nothing less than Natural law, viz., the aptitude and disposition, capacity and deliberate option of couples in getting married, to be together for nothing less than their lifetime, to care for one another and to care for the children born of their union, if any. This innate longing of the human spirit that makes men and women want to seal their union for as long as they live, can be readily drawn and easily perceived by simply considering more closely and attentively the consistent and repeated lyrics of any standard love song: Ill be loving you always Ill be loving you eternally Dahil sa iyo, hanggang mamatay. So it is with other innumerable songs of love throughout the world, composed by men and women of practically every race, culture and creednot authored by priests and nuns much less by the Church! Thus it is that what human nature rightfully and fervently longs for in the matter of manand-woman love, the same is duly assumed by the Church as a signal teaching about the nature of marriage, the essence of conjugal love as a partnership between the spouses premised on their mutual consenting love for a lifetimefor their own marital good and the welfare of the children born of their union. In the event that a man and a woman enters into such a marital covenant according to the teaching and law of the Church, that union is elevated to the order of grace as the Sacrament of Matrimonynothing less than a conjugal covenant in the supernatural sphere. QUESTION 1 Would divorce legislation be pursuant to the text, context and spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines? Article II, Section 12 of the Philippines Constitution, in nonetheless than the declaration of principles, very expressly and even categorically says that the State shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. Furthermore, the very first Article of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that marriage is a permanent union between a man and a woman, and an inviolable social institution (Tit. 1, Chap.1, Art. 1). How could divorce protect and strengthen the Filipino family? How would divorce make marriage a permanent union between the spouses? How could divorce make the family an inviolable social institution? It is gross sophism and wherefore a futile rationalization to say that by destroying the family, it is strengthened, by dividing the family, it is made inviolable! The undeniable fact is that it is precisely the absence of divorce in the Philippines that has kept millions of couples together in joy and in pain, that has saved families from breaking apart many times over, that has spared the children from the trauma of the sad phenomenon sadly called broken homes. A law on the possibility of divorce already threatens the stability of the marriage vows even before these are even pronounced. QUESTION 2 Would it stand reason and logic to claim that divorce is after all practically the same as marriage nullity declarations and/or marriage annulments? The present Family Code of the Philippines already carries provisions for the nullity declaration and the annulment of marriagesin addition to legal separation whereby married couples are allowed by law to live one without the otherwith the own children as the first and biggest victims thereofin terms of separate bed, table and roof. A nullity declaration means that a marriage is null and void from its very start. Marriage annulment on the other hand means that a valid marriage is eventually voided or invalidated. Absolute divorce however means

try marriage nullity. If nullity is not possible, go for annulment. And if even annulment is not viable, file for divorce. With all these legalistic possibilities of getting rid of a marriage-in-fact, the question is reasonably asked: Why get married at all? QUESTION 3 Would it be consonant with the dictates of reason and the principles of justice to reward with a divorce decree not only the victim but also the culprit in an unlivable marriage union? It is said that divorce may be obtained on the ground of a given crime, an errant behavior, a disagreeable stance and the like. In any of these cases the grant of divorce favors not only the victim but also the culprit. This is categorically dissonant with the basic norm of equity and justice. In fact, someone tired of his or her spouse, can on purpose intentionally bring about the cause for divorce. To reward him or her with a divorce grant is the summit not only of injustice but also of hypocrisy. or is it simply a matter of alimony or financial support imposed on the proper guilty spouse? In this case, the moneyed people will be favored as usual whereas they are capable of giving as much money demanded by as many ex-wives and exfamilies possible. And what if the spouse proven guilty cannot afford to pay the imposed alimony? Would this party be also allowed to remarry, allowed to divorce again, and again leave ex-spouses and children without support? If the proponents of the divorce legislation really want to strengthen the family as they fervently claim and proclaim,

and again get away from. This is definitely neither a futile nor vain questionattending to the continuously increasing number of divorces and remarriages in countries where the breaking of families and the consequent changing of spouses take place as a matter of course. And therewith also goes the grave violation of the fundamental right of children to be born, to grow and be loved and cared for by their own parents. To claim that children of broken families grow as altogether psychologically sound and/or emotionally whole is expecting too much, wishing too frivolously. A spouse proven guilty of any of the divorce grounds does not have the best credentials to enter into another marriage. viciousness, amorality, especially personality disorder of whatever kind that bring about broken marriages, are not exactly cured or remedied by any and all divorce grants. In such cases, what is needed is the intervention of psychological and/or psychiatrical experts not one or more divorce grants. on the other hand, the victim spouse as someone unforgiving and perhaps even vindictive, acting against the other spouse with the full force of the law in order to obtain a divorce decree, may not either claim good or sound personal credentials for a remarriage. And spouses, who privately agree and even intentionally collude to establish a ground for their divorce, are certainly not in command of the best intentions and qualified for their respective envisioned remarriageswith or without the standard concern for their children from the previous and the subsequent spouses.

like precisely in order to stage a ground for divorce. More recently, the competent universal Church authority made the signal pronouncement to the effect that: The stability of marriages, the soundness of family life, the continuum of parental care in favor of the children, contribute to the harmony of society and the peace of a community. Such domestic good and community benefit are certainly not promoted by divorced spouses, confused children plus their distraught relatives. QUESTION 6 Would it be justified to accept the proposed divorce legislation on the premise that it is easy and cheap to obtain it compared to filing for declarations of marriage nullity and marriage annulments? Has the issue been simply relegated to what is hard or easy to obtain? What is wrong may be easy to obtain, but this does not make it right. And what is right may be hard to obtain, but this does not make it wrong. And as to cost, cheap divorcesthe same as the so-called las vegas quickie divorcesin fact even depreciates divorce more than what it already is in reality! If a marriage is null and void from its very start, why does the government make it hard or costly for spouses to get a nullity declaration? And if the marriage is voidable, why does the same government make it also difficult and expensive for the couples to have an annulment? And if divorce is a bargain, this in no way makes it right and proper. The truth of the matter is that mere live-in arrangements

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

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By Fr. Alex C. Vega
We seek for guidance in our personal lives. logically, we want to know the truth about who we are, and about how to behave. History shows that we do not invent the truth; we have to humbly adjust ourselves to the reality. But where do we look for truths that could guide our lives? Where do we find an honest source of truths? only God can provide it, and He did: these truths are found in the Holy Bible. In this time of the year, when we examine the previous year and look forward to improve in the months ahead, we open the Bible seeking for answers to our questions. A current question in the minds of many people is concerning the RH law. Is it right or wrong? Some will say that it is a complicated issue. The Bible shows us that it is a very simple one. let us open, then, honestly, two passages of the Sacred Scriptures, one from the old Testament, and another one from the New Testament. We seek for the truth, not for justifications or pretexts for our biases. Therefore, when reading attentively the Sacred Text, we may first consider the setting or contexts of those passages. otherwise, as a modern biblical scholar put it: a text out of context, is a pretext. The First Law on Contraception We read in the first chapter of the book of exodus, verses 6 to 22, that the Israelite People lived in egypt for more than 500 years peacefully since the time in which Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. But the descendants of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong; so that the land was filled with them. That peaceful period happened from the 17th to the 13th century B.C. Both, egyptians and Jewish people lived in peace. The following account refers to real events that took place around the year 1250 before Christ. Motivations of an ancient Egyptian ruler Now there arose a new king over egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war befalls us, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land. We find in this ruler a bias; his feelings and intentions are reflected in the Sacred Text. Fear, deceit and lack of respect for freedom are blatant in his remarks. What is his political plan? To afflict them with heavy burdens. What happened to the Israelite People, in spite of the injustice? The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. We see here a glimpse, on the one hand, of the wealth of a healthy population, and the reality
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Features

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

RH laws in the Bible

of workers going abroad since long time ago. But, on the other hand, we see how human fallen nature leads some persons to envy and mistrust others: And the egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. Instead of fostering common ties and dialogue of cultures, facilitating their working conditions, they made the people of Israel serve with rigor, and made their lives bitter with hard service. Instead of following work ethics, in all their work they made them serve with rigor. First steps of contraceptive mentality: hidden attacks to the family To top the fear, deceit, lack of respect for freedom and injustices, the king of egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birth-stool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.We see here the manipulation of the health workers for political reasons. Here the crime they are forced to commit is so clear: an infanticide! We cannot be surprised to hear of partial-birth abortions in some modern societies. This crime is very old. The noble and dedicated medical profession, which serves life from the beginning, is threatened to be prostituted by the ruling power. Some centuries later we will find an oath formulated by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, defending life and rejecting abortion as loathsome.
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Hippocrates was just following the law found in his conscience; but the sound judgement of conscience can be opposed by the enemies of life, as the Pharaoh did centuries before. Conscience cannot be manipulated for long But honest and truthful conscience of people shall always prevail! The midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. So the king of egypt called the midwives, and said to them, Why have you done this, and let the male children live?The midwives said to Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not like the egyptian women; for they are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them. So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong. Where is the source of that strength? Their FAITH in God! What is Gods reward to this respect for life? Because the midwives feared God he gave them families. Families are a gift from God. We see in the previous text how the proponents of the culture of death do not respect conscience. Nowadays, it is done in a more subtle way by imposing false rights and idolatrous dogmas to the consciences. What else can we call the reproductive rights (they do not call them pro-creative rights, as if we were not CReATUReS of God) and safe sex (no reference to love and marriage either). The ideological biases harden the people who impose them.

Stubborn imposition of an unjust law Why are families attacked nowadays in a subtle or aggressive manner? It is the result of original sin. We are born with an inclination to evil which leads to fear, deceit, lack of respect for freedom and injustices. If this bad inclination or concupiscence is not counteracted with personal effort and recourse to Gods help, it leads to real and deep corruption of ones conscience. When the subtle attackstrying to prostitute the medical professionare not effective because of the faith of the people, then come the blatant attack, trying to involve everyone, to suffocate the consciences: Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live. Can we be surprised of the international campaigns orchestrated by the culture of death? It is not something new. Thank God, we have the guide of the Bible for us not to be deceived by lies camouflaged as good intentions. A Second Ancient RH Law But let us go to a second RH legislation found in the Bible. It is more familiar to us because of the feast celebrated in the Catholic Church on december 28, dedicated to the Holy Innocents, those dozens of children less than two years old murdered because of a decree by King Herod. It is narrated in the 2nd Chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew. The motivations of King Herod are

similar to the ones of the egyptian Pharaoh. Aside from fear, we find in the ruler personal greed, an attachment to power. He also used human calculation and deceit. He does not believe in the divinity of Jesus, unlike the Magi. What about the Magi? They were not only scientists, but Wise Men or Magi, because they were seeking God, not themselves. As a consequence they are extremely happy when they follow the star which guided not just their eyes but their conscience illumined by Faith. That is why God assist them in rejecting manipulation. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (v 15) Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. (v. 16) The target victim of that decree was the King of Israel, God Himself who took human flesh forever from the moment of CoNCePTIoN (not of implantation). Modern Genetics has demonstrated that all the genetic informationa new life!is present in conception. The holy children who were killed in the place of Christ testified Jesus kingship and divinity non loquendo sed moriendo (not confessing with their voices but dying for Christ). Joseph and Mary escaped with the Child Jesus. Also the People of Israel escaped from egypt. Although the unjust murderous laws were able to reap a number of victims, neither the Chosen People nor the Son of God were exterminated. The Bible, the Word of God is a lamp for our steps at all times. A good and unbiased guide leading us to the truth about us: we are creatures very beloved by God. on december 12, 1531, the Mother of God appeared in Mexico to an Indian, Juan diego. Her message? To uphold the real development of all peoples, through the culture of life. Fifty years later, on december 21 of the Year of our lord Jesus Christ 1581, Pope Gregory XIII issued a bull approving the construction of the Manila Cathedral with the Immaculate Conception as Patroness. Now, 431 years later, the Mother of God continues in protecting her children, even if, on that same day of her apparition the passing as law of another RH Bill has been made in these blessed islands. The Bible has the last and eternal word. (The author is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, a teacher of Scripture and a Medical doctor. He wrote the article on the occasion of the National Bible Week and the recent signing of the RH Bill into law.)

of oFWs and their families, carried out by ecclesiastical organizations with the support of the Hierarchy. In some cases, these may even be necessary in order to make up for the failure of the civil authorities. However, there is a danger that the urgency of the material needs of the oFWs might lead towards a tendencyalready observed, unfortunatelyof substituting on the one hand the genuine pastoral care with social works of beneficence, and on the other hand confusing the priestly mission of the clergy with what is incumbent upon the laity as suche.g., works of charity and mercy towards their fellowmen. [To be continued.] ____________________________
(Endnotes) 1 An updated version of a series of articles on the subject that appeared in this column in May 2001.

2 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Instruction Erga migrantes charitas Christi, 3.V.2004.[Henceforth referred to as Erga migrantes.] 3 Maruja Asis, The Philippines Culture of Migration, Scalabrini Migration CenterPhilippines, January 2006. 4 The systematization of these principles follows the lines set in Eduardo Baura, Movimientos migratorios y derechos de los fieles en la Iglesia, in Ius Canonicum, XLIII, 85 (2003) pp.51-86. 5 Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Const. Lumen gentium, n.32. 6 Cf. Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, n.23. 7 Cf. Vatican Council II, Decr. Presbyterorum ordinis, n.10. 8 Erga migrantes, Juridical Pastoral Regulations, Art.1. 9 Man has the right to leave his country of origin for different reasonsas well as to return to itand to seek better conditions of life in another country (John Paul II, Enc. Laborem excercens, n.23).

them to Mass several years before their first Holy Communion. on Ash Wednesday many people, including numerous irregularly practicing Catholics, request the imposition of ashes. There is no good reason to refuse anyone, and indeed this gesture might light a spark of repentance. I believe that most Protestants, above all evangelicals, would never dream of making use of a Catholic sacramental. episcopalians and some others, however, who might not be near one of their own churches might decide to receive at a Catholic service. Since receiving ashes is a sign of penance and does not necessarily imply communion of faith, I think that this sign could be granted even if the priest knew that they were not Catholics.

May They Be One


Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

No. of Dioceses participating in the Bible Campaign 85 out of 86 Dioceses Bibles Distributed (Jan 1, 2013Jan 25, 2013): 16, 031 copies Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (2,526 cps.) Cebuano (593 cps.), English (438 cps.), Hiligaynon (1,716 cps.), Ilocano (354 cps.), Pampango (3,384cps.), Pangasinan (1,871 cps.), Samarenyo (457 cps.), Tagalog (2,595 cps.) Parishes/Communities involved in MTBO: 1,337 Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Jan 25, 2013): 818, 336 cps. plus 39,534 New Testaments and 15,203 English New American Bibles Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2013: 600,000 cps. Total Funds Needed for Printing and Transport of Bibles in 2011: P60M

Bible Campaign
Every need met

Members of the MTBO Advisory Committee: Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Fr. Oscar A. Alunday, Mr. Rod G. Cornejo, Mr. Rene E. Cristobal Sr., Dr. Philip C. Flores, Mr. Dante M. Lanorio, Fr. Antonio B. Navarrete, Dr. Natividad B. Pagadut, Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco and Atty. Jose Tale. Praise God for a joyful and enthusiastic celebration of Gods Word during the National Bible Week from January 21-27 in different parts of the countryin schools, offices, organizations, churches and city halls. Pray that the influence and power of Gods Word will continue to spread and penetrate every sector and aspect of society and truly bring about national transformation. To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make significant change, call us at PBS 526-7777, ECBA 527-9386 or visit www. bible.org.ph and www.ecba-cbcp.com. Donations can be made by making a deposit to the following bank accounts: PBS-MTBO Account #39030649-34 (BPI Sta. Mesa Branch) Fax deposit slip to 521-5803 or ECBA-CBCP Account #0251021376 (BPI-Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card paymentsgo to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)

FINANCIAL difficulties were a dark and familiar companion of Letty de Mesa and her family. In the first year of her marriage, her husband Arthur lost his job and so the couple had to resort to odd jobs to sustain themselves. Theirs was a hand-to-mouth existence, even when the babies came. To make matters worse, Arthur got into the drinking habit with his buddies. In 2009, Letty received a May They Be One Bible during Bible distribution at her parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Marikina. Getting her own copy of the Bible got Letty into the Bible reading habit. This encouraged the other de Mesa family members to also start reading the Word. Lettys husband and children began going to church regularly. Gods Word and church going gave Arthur power to cut off drinking ties with his buddies. What the de Mesas learned from the Word, they also shared with their neighbors. As the family gave honor to the Word, God took care of their practical needs. After many years of joblessness, Arthur finally found regular employment. The eldest de Mesa child graduated from college and got a job at a company where he now actively shares Gods Word among officemates. The second child is a working student. The 3rd De Mesa child passed the qualifying exams at the National Police Commission. The 4th child is now in her 4th year in college. God has lifted the de Mesas up from the pangs of hunger and deprivation because they have come to know the Lord their Shepherd from His Word. Lettys favorite passage is found in Psalm 23 which begins with the verse The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Statements

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We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us (1 Jn 4:16)
(Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2013)
deAR Brothers and Sisters, The celebration of lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in Godthe God of Jesus Christand love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others. 1. Faith as a response to the love of God In my first encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out from Saint Johns fundamental assertion: We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us (1 Jn 4:16), I observed that being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere command; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us (Deus Caritas Est, 1). Faith is this personal adherencewhich involves all our facultiesto the revelation of Gods gratuitous and passionate love for us, fully revealed in Jesus Christ. The encounter with God who is love engages not only the heart but also the intellect: Acknowledgement of the living God is one path towards love, and the yes of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love. But this process is always open-ended; love is never finished and complete (ibid., 17). Hence, for all Christians, and especially for charity workers, there is a need for faith, for that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbor will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love (ibid., 31a). Christians are people who have been conquered by Christs love and accordingly, under the influence of that love Caritas Christi urget nos (2 Cor 5:14)they are profoundly open to loving their neighbor in concrete ways (cf. ibid., 33). This attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved,
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Believing in charity calls forth charity


forgiven, and even served by the lord, who bends down to wash the feet of the Apostles and offers himself on the Cross to draw humanity into Gods love. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. love is the lightand in the end, the only lightthat can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working (ibid., 39). All this helps us to understand that the principal distinguishing mark of Christians is precisely love grounded in and shaped by faith (ibid., 7). 2. Charity as life in faith The entire Christian life is a response to Gods love. The first response is precisely faith as the acceptance, filled with wonder and gratitude, of the unprecedented divine initiative that precedes us and summons us. And the yes of faith marks the beginning of a radiant story of friendship with the lord, which fills and gives full meaning to our whole life. But it is not enough for God that we simply accept his gratuitous love. Not only does he love us, but he wants to draw us to himself, to transform us in such a profound way as to bring us to say with Saint Paul: it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (cf. Gal 2:20). When we make room for the love of God, then we become like him, sharing in his own charity. If we open ourselves to his love, we allow him to live in us and to bring us to love with him, in him and like him; only then does our faith become truly active through love (Gal 5:6); only then does he abide in us (cf. 1 Jn 4:12). Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); charity is walking in the truth (cf. eph4:15). Through faith we enter into friendship with the lord, through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated (cf. Jn 15:14ff). Faith causes us to embrace the commandment of our lord and Master; charity gives us the happiness of putting it into practice (cf. Jn 13:13-17). In faith we are begotten as children of God (cf. Jn 1:12ff); charity causes us to persevere concretely in our divine sonship, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22). Faith enables us to recognize the gifts that the good and generous God has entrusted to us; charity makes them fruitful (cf. Mt 25:14-30). 3. The indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity In light of the above, it is clear that we can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity. These two theological virtues are intimately linked, and it is misleading to posit a contrast or dialectic between them. on the one hand, it would be too onesided to place a strong emphasis on the priority and decisiveness of faith and to undervalue and almost despise concrete works of charity, reducing them to a (cf. lk 10:38-42). The relationship with God must always be the priority, and any true sharing of goods, in the spirit of the Gospel, must be rooted in faith (cf. General Audience, 25 April 2012). Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term charity to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelization, which is the ministry of the word. There is no action more beneficial and therefore more charitable towards ones neighbor than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce Concerning the relationship between faith and works of charity, there is a passage in the letter to the ephesians which provides perhaps the best account of the link between the two: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God; not because of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (2:8-10). It can be seen here that the entire redemptive initiative comes from God, from his grace, from his forgiveness received in

vague humanitarianism. on the other hand, though, it is equally unhelpful to overstate the primacy of charity and the activity it generates, as if works could take the place of faith. For a healthy spiritual life, it is necessary to avoid both fideism and moral activism. The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with Gods own love. In sacred Scripture, we see how the zeal of the Apostles to proclaim the Gospel and awaken peoples faith is closely related to their charitable concern to be of service to the poor (cf. Acts 6:1-4). In the Church, contemplation and action, symbolized in some way by the Gospel figures of Mary and Martha, have to coexist and complement each other

him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. As the Servant of God Pope Paul vI wrote in the encyclical Populorum Progressio, the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development (cf. n. 16). It is the primordial truth of the love of God for us, lived and proclaimed, that opens our lives to receive this love and makes possible the integral development of humanity and of every man (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 8). e s s e n t i a l l y, e v e r y t h i n g proceeds from love and tends towards love. Gods gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive the first and indispensable contact with the divine, capable of making us fall in love with love, and then we dwell within this love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others.

faith; but this initiative, far from limiting our freedom and our responsibility, is actually what makes them authentic and directs them towards works of charity. These are not primarily the result of human effort, in which to take pride, but they are born of faith and they flow from the grace that God gives in abundance. Faith without works is like a tree without fruit: the two virtues imply one another. lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbor, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving. 4. Priority of faith, primacy of charity like any gift of God, faith

and charity have their origin in the action of one and the same Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 13), the Spirit within us that cries out Abba, Father (Gal 4:6), and makes us say: Jesus is lord! (1 Cor 12:3) and Maranatha! (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20). Faith, as gift and response, causes us to know the truth of Christ as love incarnate and crucified, as full and perfect obedience to the Fathers will and infinite divine mercy towards neighbor; faith implants in hearts and minds the firm conviction that only this love is able to conquer evil and death. Faith invites us to look towards the future with the virtue of hope, in the confident expectation that the victory of Christs love will come to its fullness. For its part, charity ushers us into the love of God manifested in Christ and joins us in a personal and existential way to the total and unconditional self-giving of Jesus to the Father and to his brothers and sisters. By filling our hearts with his love, the Holy Spirit makes us sharers in Jesus filial devotion to God and fraternal devotion to every man (cf. Rom 5:5). The relationship between these two virtues resembles that between the two fundamental sacraments of the Church: Baptism and eucharist. Baptism (sacramentum fidei) precedes the eucharist (sacramentum caritatis), but is ordered to it, the eucharist being the fullness of the Christian journey. In a similar way, faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity. everything begins from the humble acceptance of faith (knowing that one is loved by God), but has to arrive at the truth of charity (knowing how to love God and neighbor), which remains for ever, as the fulfillment of all the virtues (cf. 1 Cor 13:13). dear brothers and sisters, in this season of lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrectionin which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon historyI express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives. For this intention, I raise my prayer to God, and I invoke the lords blessing upon each individual and upon every community! From the vatican, 15 october 2012 BeNedICTUS PP. XvI

selectively to some doctrines of the Church but rejects others as incompatible with changing modern times, with democracy and religious pluralism. We see examples of the inroads of secularism and materialism in the setting aside of moral values and rejection of religious authority in the debates that led to the unfortunate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. We also see the influence of the secular spirit in legal attempts to redefine the limits of human freedom, the beginning of human life, and the nature of marriage and family. In these difficult times we hear and heed the words of the lord that we are in this world but we are not of this world.(11) our faith impels us to cherish and defend beliefs and values that are countersigns to those of this world. The Need for Integral Faith formation The weaknesses of our faith and the challenges facing it summon us to renewed integral evangelization, to new evangelization with new fervor, new methods and new expressions. This is the rationale for integral faith formation. It is a process that seeks and leads to maturity in faith, a faith that is informed and lived, a faith committed to the mission of announcing the Gospel of Jesus, including participation in the work of justice and social transformation. B. Lord, increase our faith! Knowing and deepening our Faith Conversion The process towards a mature faith begins with realizing that ones faith is weak, is not always concerned with essentials but with externals of religious practice and obligation, does not lead to total personal commitment to the lord, and is not always ready to say yes to Gods will in brief, that faith is not lived. We need conversion and renewal. The Synod of Bishops on the New evangelization confesses: We firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Christ who

alone can make all things new.... With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus disciples, especially of his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We know that we must humbly recognize our vulnerability to the wounds of history and we do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins.(12) The realization of weakness and sinfulness leads the believer to a great desire to know the faith, to be informed about it and to deepen it. The cry of the disciples for help that they may more closely follow Christ and be patterned to his way of thinking, acting and behaving, relating and valuing is also our plea: lord increase our faith!(13) At the basic level we need to know what we believe in. If you are asked what you believe in as a Catholic, simply recite the Apostles Creed, a true summary of the fundamental articles of Catholic belief. The Apostles Creed is further elaborated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, or simply the Nicene Creeda result of the first two universal councils of the Church in the years 325 and 381.(14) Today we have a comprehensive systematic and organic synthesis of the content of our faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1991. This universal Catechism is contextualized into our Filipino situation by the Catechism for Filipino Catholics, 1997. Moreover, the social doctrine of the Church which elaborates on the commandments of God in the CCC is now systematically organized in the Compendium of the Social doctrine of the Church (CSdC), 2004. With the Sacred Scriptures in one hand and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the other hand, supplemented by the CSdC and CFC, a Filipino Catholic has the fundamental tools of knowing and deepening the faith. Admittedly one is not expected to study all these books. Guidance by catechists and religious teachers would be necessary.

Personally Knowing Christ But it is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the faith. What is absolutely imperative is a personal, loving knowledge of the lord Jesus. He is the center of our faith. A personal knowledge of Jesus is the adherence of the heart, a personal entrustment to Jesus, friendship with Jesus. An uncompromising religious assent to the teachings of God as authoritatively interpreted by the living teaching authority of the Church can only flow from a passion for Jesus, Teacher and Shepherd. Celebrating our Faiththe Liturgy Faith is Gods precious gift to us. We have to celebrate this divine grace by thanking, praising, and adoring the lord. Nowhere can this be most properly done than in the liturgy, the prayer of the Church. For it is in the liturgy, especially in the celebration of the Holy eucharist, the memorial of the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Christ, that thanksgiving, praise, worship and the offering of ones self to God is done in the very action of Christ the High Priest. It is Christ who offers his own sacrifice in the eucharist through the hands of the Priest. It is Christ who is present and active in the other sacraments of the Church. Hence we celebrate our faith principally through the liturgy. The catechism teaches us: When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of faith: The Church believes as she prays.(15) We celebrate our faith as well when we read the Scriptures and when we pray. In all these, the Spirit of Christ helps us and Christ himself is present. C. Living our FaithCharity as Faith in Action When we know our faith and understand its meaning especially for our salvation, it becomes imperative for

us to live it through a truly moral life, a life of fidelity to Gods commands. It is most tragic that a grace so priceless such as faith would not be lived from day to day. Faith has to be a norm and guide of life, its energy, inspiration and light. To live a truly moral life is to be faithful to the 10 commandments of God. The first three commandments express our love of God and the last seven express our love of neighbor. This is why the lord summarized the 10 commandments into just two: You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.(16) A genuine moral life is, therefore, a life of genuine charity. Charity is faith in action. When we received faith from the lord at our Baptism and became members of the family of faith, we promised to believe in God and to reject all forms of evil. This promise was a promise to live a truly moral life, to be Christians not only in name but also in deed. Pope Benedict XvI urges us to pray that our witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith is a task that every believer must make his own.(17) D. SpiritualityDiscipleship of Believers To strive to live a truly moral life is to journey on the way of discipleship. A life of faith and charity is a life of discipleship, a life of being united in mind and heart with Jesus, the Teacher and lord. This is spirituality in its depth.(18) By its very name spirituality refers to life in the Spirit. It refers to the pattern of Jesus own life of being Spirit-led and Spirit-driven as we see in the first chapters of St. luke.(19) Hence to be holy or to be spiritual is to live in the Spirit,(20) to abide in the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit(21) as St. Paul is wont to say. only when we are imbued

with the Spirit and follow the lord Jesus in discipleship can we live an authentic moral life, a life of faith and charity. The result is a lifestyle directed by the values and attitudes of the Gospel, the values of the Beatitudes, a lifestyle that consists of a mind-set and behavior that are focused on charity and justice, inspired by faith. The spirituality of a living faith is maintained and nourished by prayer, personal or liturgical, individual or communal, devotional and popular or official. Prayer links faith and action. Even as prayer flows from faith, prayer also sustains a lived faith. E. Sharing our FaithThe Witness of Life Faith is not a gift that we keep selfishly to ourselves. It is a gift to be proclaimed, communicated, and shared. This is why Jesus bequeathed to the Apostles, the fathers of faith, a final mandate: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.(22) While every believer has the duty to proclaim the faith, most everyone is not called to do so in the way of catechists, religious educators, religious men and women, and the clergy. But everyone is called to share the faith by the witness of a good Christian life. A few are called by God to witness to Jesus by the offering of their very life as martyrs of the faith. This is why we are incalculably blessed with the canonization of our second martyr, San Pedro Calungsod, last october 21, 2012. Being a young lay catechist, he proclaimed the lord Jesus by teaching others to know and accept the faith. By becoming a martyr like San lorenzo Ruiz he gave the ultimate witness of his life. It is first of all by the silent witness
Increase / B7

Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA

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Ref lections
because he was a sinful man (luke 5:8). And yet, these three men were proclaimers of the lords Word. In light of this, it would be wrong to say that only those who are good deserve to be preachers, for in these three we have almost the exact opposite of goodness. This point is worth emphasizing because many of us think that, because the Church is holy, it does not have a place for sinful people. How often we distance ourselves from those we perceive to be sinful members! We do not accept them as members of religious organizations or faith communities in the parish! Yet, Isaiah was chosen by God to be a prophet to Israel for many years; despite his betrayal, Peter became the first head of the Church; and Paul became an unrivalled missionary to the known world at that time. What gives? If we go back to the readings, we will notice that there is one thing common among the three: they experienced the lord. The lord touched their lives. Isaiah was probably an aristocrat, because he could get near to the King. one time he went to the Temple, and there he was overwhelmed by a vision of God. He saw him, and that experience touched his life. From then on, he became a proclaimer of Gods Word. Paul had a vision of Jesus, while he was on the way to damascus. Before he entered the city, he was struck by a vision, and from then on, he became a different man. In the Gospel, Peter encountered God not in a place like the Temple, but in an event. He experienced the presence of the lord in the abundant catch of fish. The point of all these is that we will truly become spokesmen of the lord only if we have an experience of him. (No wonder that, because of this lack of experience of his presence, many of us look for him in astrology, feng experience of the lord? The authenticity of our experience, at least from the standpoint of the readings today, is verified in two acts. First is the consciousness that we are sinful, and therefore ability to accept the sinfulness of others. leave me, lord, I am a sinful man, said Peter (luke 5:8). of these [sinners], confessed Paul, I myself am the worst (1 Tim 1:15). Indeed, it would seem that only a person who is able to see the depth of his sinfulness can say that he has truly experienced the presence of God. The opposite is completely true. If a person comes parading that he is very good, and criticizes others for their need of conversion from sin, and sets himself apart from sinners, he has hardly any credentials to a claim of a personal encounter with God. And second: having experienced the lord and having gone into the depth of his sinfulness, one begins to proclaim the Word of God, and nothing can stop him from doing it. He may even leave everything that made him secure. Isaiah left the comfort of wealth and the company of powerful men. on the contrary, he even experienced
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

The preacher of Gods wordsinful, but touched by the Lord


An exegetical reflection on the Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (Luke 5:1-11); February 10, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
WHAT qualifies an evangelist? If we go by popular standard, we would think that only those who are clean of heart deserve to be called ministers. If this is the way we think, it is because, when we are in the realm of religion, we seem to approach the problem of ministry by considering who God is, and once we are able to identify him, we start talking about the person who is fit to serve him. For many, God is all-powerful, without sin, and incapable of error. We attribute to him almost all the qualities that are exactly the opposite of ours. And so, we believe that the stronger, the less sinless and the more correct a person is, the more he deserves to be Gods minister. So true is this that when we know of someones skeleton in the closet, we immediately question his qualification to preach the Gospel. Typical of this line of thinking is the assertion of a former ambassador, made at an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, that the Church has no business speaking about morality in politics, unless it first cleans its own backyard. Todays readings, however, give the lie to that impression. In the 1st Reading, Isaiah describes himself as a man of unclean lips (Isa 6:5). In the 2nd Reading, Paul tells us that he was formerly a persecutor of the Church, and hardly deserves the name apostle (1 Cor 15:9). Finally, in the Gospel, Peter, who denied Jesus thrice, is described as telling Jesus to stay away from him persecution because of the Word he proclaimed. Having seen the vision on the road, Paul became a Christian and nothing could stop his missionary activity. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel (1 Cor 9:16). He left the comfortable life of a Pharisee, and in his ministry as missionary, he was often flogged, stoned, and placed in dangerous situation. The vocation to be a minister of the Word requires more than a vast reserve of accumulated knowledge about the Scriptures. It would seem that if few of us persevere in proclaiming the good news and have the zeal in doing the mission, despite our initial interest and training, it is because the lord has not yet touched us. That is why, no amount of seminars and lectures can motivate us to be zealous ministers, unless we are first given this initial push, this divine touch. What matters, in the end, is not really who we are. It does not matter whether we are persecutors of the Church and public sinners, or whether we are equipped for the ministry or not. What matters is the finger of God, the touch by the Holy Spirit. of course, there are people for whom this is not acceptable. They are even afraid to commit mistakes; they want to be like God so that nothing bad could be said of them. But such a life misses the whole point of what life is all about. We cannot be like God through our own effort in the first place. What is ultimately decisive is that we allow the Spirit to move us. And after that, nothing in us really matters, not even ourselves. Besides that is probably hypocrisy.

sui, born-again sects, transcendental meditation, and new age movements, and we consult all kinds of charlatans just to encounter him.) But how do we know we had an

Called to be Gods partners in the salvation of the world


5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 10, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
IT must have been quite a shocking experience for seasoned fishermen like Simon (Peter) and his associates to haul in that extraordinary catch of fish. They had been toiling the whole night but in vain. Then, when the sun was already high, at a time when no fisherman would have hoped to get even small fry, that big catch had come which left everybody astonished! And this just because that wandering preacher from Nazareth had invited Simon to lower the nets at such an unlikely hour . . . There was something unusual in that young preachersome extraordinary, or even divine power. Simon was the first to sense it. And at the same time, he experienced what all honest souls feel in the presence of the supernatural: a deep awareness of ones sinfulness and unworthiness. Hence the plea: Leave me, Lord. I am a sinful man! (Lk 5:8). Almost eight centuries earlier, Isaiah had experienced the same feeling during the theophany he witnessed in the Temple (Is 6:5). Utter terror grips an honest person at the prospect of what an all-holy Being can do to a sinful creature. But Jesus doesnt enjoy terrifying people. He immediately reassured the poor Simon who was trembling at his feet. And he did more than that. The miracle he had just performed was only a beginning. It was a symbol of something far greater that would keep happening until the end of time. That miraculous catch of fish was a prophecy: Simon and his partners and their successors would share in Christs mission of catching men (see Lk 5:10), i.e. rescuing them from the deadly power of the forces of evil symbolized by the sea. That miracle, then, was not just Jesus way of expressing his gratitude to Simon for allowing him to preach from his boat. (See Lk 5:13.) It was part of a well thought-out plan: the plan to bring Gods salvation to mankind through the cooperation of frail and sinful creatures like Simon Peter and his associates; people like the Pope and the Bishops; people like you and me. The miraculous catch, i.e., the salvation of men, goes on throughout the world, century after century, in spite of the inadequacy of the fishermen. It goes on because it is the work of Gods power; the work of Gods love and trust. In spite of His omnipotence and holiness, He does not disdain to avail Himself of our cooperation, no matter how feeble and inadequate it may occasionally be. We are all in the saving boat of the Church. We all share in the salvation wrought by Christ. But we also share in the mission of helping Jesus to save others, for, thanks to him, we too have become life-savers, under the guidance of Simon Peter, the master of the fleet of Gods rescue team.

Fighting the greatest liberation War


1st Sunday of Lent, Migrants Sunday; February 17, 2013
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ONE of the first objectives of the devil is to convince us that he does not exist. If he does not succeed in that, he tries to make us believe that, after all, he is not so dangerous or ugly. He may even reach the point of disguising himself as an angel of light . . . . And those who fall into that trap, very soon find themselves suffering the consequences of the worst form of slavery. It is the old story of the Trojan horse, coming true in our existence. Its the sad tale of so many who underestimate the devils ruses and overestimate their ability to neutralize him at any moment. The truth of the matter is that the devil does exist and is terrible. He knows how to plan his attack and when to strike. His point of entry is usually a deceivingly harmless suggestion, such as the one we read about in the first temptation endured by Jesus. (See Lk 4:3.) eventually, looking back, his victims realize that their yielding to such an innocent proposal was just their first step in the slippery slope of ever greater concessions and humiliating defeats. By that time, they also realize that the devil has already gained a steady foothold in their lives, and their aspirations. The final result is an ever-greater un-freedom and weakness. As a consequence, they habitually get carried away by their worst passions. The devil easily turns self-esteem into pride; appreciation for material things into greed; admiration for a person of the other sex into lust; hurt for an injury suffered into hatred and vengefulness . . . . He makes people believe that they should follow such inclinations to assert their freedom. Soon they realize, however, that they have become the devils slaves and that their freedom has been reduced to ashes . . . . But no situation is without a remedy, for as long as there is life, there can be hope, there can be victory. The Lenten season is an opportunity and challenge to take up arms and fight the most urgent and fundamental form of war of liberation: the liberation from the rule of Satan. In our uprising we should remember that the devil is not invincible, and that in this struggle we are not alone. The extraordinary power of Gods word and grace are available to us to enlighten, strengthen and comfort us. Christ, the most powerful of all allies and the conqueror of Satan, is with us. Though tempted in many ways like us, Jesus never gave in for a single second. Now, he is just all too eager to make us share in his victory. For all those of us who really wish to free themselves from any subjection to the devil, Christthe man supremely freeis our great hope. All that we have to do is ask his help and follow his example. Rooted in the power of Gods word and trusting in His grace, we will fight bravely side by side with Jesus, ready to pay any price, in order to gain the wonderful prize of a real, life-giving freedom.

Bishop Pat Alo

ENCOUNTERS

Gods Providence
IN His permanent legacy to us, as recorded in the Holy Bible, God has assured us of His love and care for us (see Mt. 6:25-34). Naturally that does not mean we have no part to play or do. As human intelligent beings we are expected to do the duties that are expected of us, duties towards God, ourselves and our neighbor. Such is the reason we were given the intelligence and other faculties of soul and body, because naturally we are to do our part in the duties of our world and our building of a better society. Precisely thats what the above text refers to. look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed? It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. each day has enough trouble of its own (Mt. 6:26-34). Yes, my friend, rest assured, God cares for you and loves you. He doesnt want you to become a nervous wreck because of too much useless worrying. His point is that we trust in Gods Almighty hand and constant loving care.

Bo Sanchez

SOUlfOOd

These crazy guys already lived in heaven


A FeW months ago, God refreshed me. I was invited to give a retreat to a group of missionary priests in Mindanao. Believe me, these guys were the real Indiana Jones. But they werent searching for earthly treasure. They would go to the farthest, the most dangerous corners of the planet to find another kind of treasure: The forgotten person that needs their love. These rugged men live in the most treacherous parts of the country. Four of their brother priests have already been killed, some tortured. Yet instead of getting scared, theyre emboldened to serve God even more. Some of them receive death threats regularly. And escaping kidnap attempts is already a way of life for them. I met priests who ministered in war-torn Jolo. one of them worked there for 13 years. He was already 74 years old, yet I still saw passion burn in his eyes. I can die in Jolo, he said to me I met priests who lived in the string of tiny islands in Tawi Tawi. one of them has been serving God in that place for 22 years, living with the indigenous people therethe Tausug and Samal (sea gypsies). everyday, these priests would ride a boat to visit the few very poor Catholics in each of these islands. I also met priests who lived up in the mountains, serving the Manobo tribes. I met priests who worked in slum areas in the city. one priest told me that he was visiting sick people in a squatters area when all of a sudden, he felt the cold metal of the nozzle of a 45 caliber pointed behind his head. Click! He heard the man pull the trigger. But by Gods miracle, the weapon jammed. And that day, he lived to tell this story to me. In the morning, I saw these priests pray in the chapel. I observed how these priests loved to pray. They prayed with heart. I guess when your life is in constant danger, you have no choice but to develop a deep prayer life. And I noticed how humble they were. exceedingly humble. let me explain why I know. It was my fellow preacher and Feast builder of Sta. Rosa and Binan, Jon escoto, who gave the entire retreat. I just gave one talk in the program. So before going there, I asked Jon, What topic do you want me to give? Jon said, Give a talk on No Fear. So when I arrived at the retreat house, not knowing yet the stories I told you above, I preached to them about going out of your comfort zone and going into your courage zone. later on, I realized how silly my talk was to them. Because here I was, living in the comforts of Manilawhile they were out there in war-torn areas, living in their courage zones 24 hours a day. But these priestsbattleworn and battle-scarred listened to me like I was the brave one. A few of them were in their sixties and seventies (the oldest among them was 80), yet they sat in front of me like little children, drinking in my every word. They were happy men. Why? Because their hearts are filled with love. I believe their Heaven starts now. This is why I love giving my message today: Because to these missionary priests, no earthly Reward is enough to motivate them to do what they are doing now. It can only be eternal Rewards.

Soulfood / B7

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Social Concerns
(This piece was an attachment to a letter of January 24, 2013, addressed to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III signed by 84 Catholic Bishops)
lands that were to use it had not been distributed. In other words, the so-called lack of absorptive capacity of the farmers to avail of budgeted funds is also caused by the failure of the dAR itself to distribute the land. (2) d A R h a s g ro s s l y underperformed in land distribution. For 2012, land Acquisition and distribution (lAd) targets have been reduced from 260,000 hectares to 240,000 hectares, then to 180,000 hectares (254,653 hectares if shortfalls in 2010 and 2011 are included). The farmers doubt that the target will be met. lAd accomplishment as of december 13, 2012 was only 53,580 hectares of which only 29% are private lands. lAd accomplishment in Negros provinces was only 8% during the same period. even the latest claims of the dAR that the lAd accomplishment in 2012 actually reached about 116,831 hectares (implying an accomplishment of some 63,251 hectares in the last two weeks in december) is questionable. The dAR apparently includes in lAd accomplishment the lands covered by CloAs registered with the land Registration Authority (lRA), even if the land has not yet been distributed to farmers, which was the definition of lAd accomplishment in the past. It seems that the dAR misses the point that until the farmers actually own, possess and till their land, there is no real agrarian reform. (3) New management systems and procedures were instituted by Sec. de los Reyes which resulted in more legalistic and bureaucratic layers and, hence, discontent in the ranks. The killer provisions of Administrative orders 7 and 9, for example, have not been revoked or amended to the detriment of the farmers. The provisions allow the landowners to interrupt the processing of land distribution at a much earlier stage unlike the previous procedures. (4) Administrative order (Ao) 34 was recently issued creating an Inter-Agency Committee for the crafting of reorganization and rationalization plans to effect institutional arrangements

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and transition for post-CARP scenario by June 30, 2014. Ao3 4 is expected to address transition at the dAR, others conclude it to mean the termination of the CARP and the dAR. (5) There are no accountabilities yet for the agrarian-related killings of 13 TFM leaders which the President said he would personally look into. Farmers are still confronted with human rights violations as they pursue their struggles for land reform. (6) The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force on Agrarian Reform (MSTF-AR) that was organized to fast-track the process and report obstructions to the Presidents directives has not been able to hold the present dAR leadership to account for its underperformance. (7) The situation is aggravated by the protests of the dAR employees on the governance shortcomings of the dAR leadership headed by Secretary Gil de los Reyes. The dAR employees, for their own reasons, have made common cause with the farmers with 78 out of 98 local chapters and all the 17 Central Office chapters calling for the resignation of dAR Secretary Gil de los Reyes. It is impossible to lead dAR and make it do its job when its own employees have lost trust in its head.

There is a crisis in DAR governance


THe farmers and agrarian reform advocates have not been remiss in engaging the dAR in trying to address the problems. In the past year, there were 20 municipal-level dialogues in 15 municipalities, 8 provincial level dialogues and 6 national level meetings, as well as dialogues with Secretary de los Reyes, the latest held last dec. 21, 2012 at CBCP-NASSA. With only 1 years to go on CARPeR, the farmers beneficiaries are getting desperate that the present dAR leadership cannot do the job. essentially, the issues raised by the farmers were already ventilated in the June 14, 2012 meeting with the President, about which nothing much has been done, to wit: (1) The inadequate allocation of funds for CARP. The P30 billion annual budget for CARP has again not been budgeted for 2013 and the socialized credit program mandated by CARPeR has not been funded. The promised immediate P1 billion for support services was only released to the land Bank last december 10, 2012 of which not a single peso has been disbursed as of enddecember. In fact, even if the money had been made available earlier, much of it would have been unutilized anyway since the
Increase / B5

Chairman of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo greets DAR employees after celebrating Mass inside the Department of Agrarian Reform building in Quezon City, February 4.The Mass was sponsored by the DAR Employees Association (DAREA) who on the same day also filed graft and corruption charges against DAR Undersecretary Felix Perry A. Villanueva before the Ombudsman.

of a truly moral Christian life, a life of faith and charity that we share our faith with others. This requires a life of fidelity to Gods will in the midst of daily challenges and daily work at home and at work. It requires fidelity to our God given responsibilities in the family, in the neighborhood, in the Church and in the wider society. our Holy Father Pope Benedict XvI confirms this truth of Christian witness: The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers by their very existence in the world. Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us. (23) Applying the same truth of witness to the whole Church, the recent Synod on the New evangelization stated: It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus, by her witness of poverty and detachment, and by her witness of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity. (24) We reiterate this truth which is also a challenge for all of us -- it is by the witness of a truly moral life, the witness
Proclaim / B1

of a life of faith and charity, that we can eloquently and credibly proclaim and share our faith in the lord Jesus. F. Call 1. In the light of this years focus on integral faith formation, we call upon dioceses, their catechists, religious educators, lay leaders, men and women Religious, and clergy to design and implement a long term program of faith formation for families, youth and children, using and adapting the CCC, CFC, and CSdC for this purpose. 2. We call upon schools, catechetical institutes, Basic ecclesial Communities and other faith communities, religious organizations and movements to do the same. 3. We assign the CBCP Commissions with faith formation components to take the lead in this important project and provide assistance to the dioceses when necessary. ConclusionThe Prayers and Inspiration of Mary, Mother of Faith As we end this pastoral exhortation, the Blessed virgin Mary, Woman of Faith and Mother of Faith, is our guide and inspiration. She listened to the word of

God, reflected on it, strove to understand the mystery that the word announced, and from the depths of her faith she said yes to Gods will. Her let it be done to me according to your word became the daily norm of her life of faith and charity. May our Mother assist us to increase our faith. We conclude with some words from the hymn live Christ, Share Christ, the official hymn for the 500th anniversary of our Christian faith in our shores: The gospel is our blessing but also our mission. To the poor and the children we bring his salvation To the rest of the world his message of compassion To all of humanity his challenge of conversion! We are blessed, we are loved We are called, we are sent, We will teach, we will serve We are Christs, we are Church! For and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:

+JOSE S. PALMA, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu and President, CBCP 27 January 2013 __________________________________
End Notes 1. Porta Fidei, no. 4. 2. Ibid., no. 6. 3. In order to achieve the vision of Church that the Second Plenary Council (PCP-II) envisioned in 1991, the Council called for renewed integral evangelization. For this purpose the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (NPCCR), 2001, identified nine pastoral priorities, namely: integral faith formation, renewal of the laity, active participation of the poor, the family as the focal point of evangelization, the parish as a communion of communities, renewal of clergy and religious, active participation of the youth, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and mission ad gentes. 4. See Vision-Mission Statement of the Church in the Philippines, 1992; Pope John Paul II, Discourse to XIX Assembly of CELAM, Port au Prince, 1983. 5. The Catechism of the Catholic Faith (CCC), no. 150. 6. Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC), 1997, no. 124; see also PCP-II, no. 64, 66. 7. See Dei Verbum, no. 5; cited by Pope Benedict

XVI, Verbum Domini, no. 25. 8. CFC, no.128. 9. CCC, no. 161; see Mk. 16:16; Jn 3:36; 6:40ff. 10. See Mt. 10:22; 24:13; Heb. 11:6. 11. See Jn. 17:11-17. 12. Message of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. 13. Lk. 17:5. 14. See CCC, no. 195. 15. CCC, no. 1124. 16. Mk. 12:30-31; see also Dt. 6:5. 17. Porta Fidei, no. 9. 18. For a spirituality of discipleship, see Final Statement of IV FABC Plenary, The Vocation and Mission of the Laity in the Church and in the World of Asia, Tokyo, 1986, no. 4.8 Lay Spirituality; see also Final Statement of V FABC Plenary Assembly, Journeying Together toward the Third Millennium, Bandung, 1990, no. 9.0, Spirituality for Our Times. 19. See Lk. 1:12; 3:4, 14. 20. See Rom. 8:9-11. 21. Eph. 5:18. 22. Mt. 28:19-20. 23. Porta Fidei, no. 6. 24. Instrumentum Laboris for Synod on New Evangelization #158

Yen Ocampo / CBCP Media

the development of the poor. * We shall provide moral guidance to the better off in our society to be in active solidarity with the poor. * We call upon the government to be serious in implementing the asset reform laws that are in place in order to bring social justice such as CARPeR for the farmers, UdHA for the urban poor, IPRA for the indigenous people and the FISHeRIeS Code for the fisher folks. The end of CARPER is only 1 years away and agrarian reform accomplishment is dismal, being bogged down by bureaucracy, legal technicalities and poor governance. Consistently Proclaiming the Truth As pastors we heed the urgent appeal of St. Paul: Proclaim the message: be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having
Soulfood / B6

itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully (2Tim 4:2-5). We remind all the faithful that what is popular is not necessarily what is right. What is legal is not necessarily moral. each has to follow his/her conscience. But conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A wellformed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. (CCC, no, 1783). Faith and Hope amidst the Storms In the midst of the countrys natural and social upheavals, we see ourselves in the boat with the Apostles buffeted by stormy waves. We are tossed about by the waves created by the secularist

spirit, which continues to reduce the role and place of religious faith in the public sphere. our cherished moral and spiritual values are at grave risk. We are overcome with fear and anxiety, perhaps also wondering if the lord has fallen asleep, or if the lord does not care that we are drowning (cf. Mk. 4:38). We have to hear once again the lords words: Quiet! Be still! (Mk. 4:39). He rebukes the winds and the storm ceases. He is the lord who has power over sea and sky. He has power over dark spirits. It is He who poses the question to us: Why are you afraid? do you still have no faith? (Mk. 4:40). This is the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XvI challenges us to respond with faith to the events around us. With our eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Mt. 14:27-31), we will not drown but even launch deep into the risky waters of modernity. We should not be afraid. our values are those of Jesus, of His Gospel, and of the Kingdom of God. In spite of the storms we

know that the kingdom of God is already among us. The divine Spirit continues to blow, also in our time. With the eyes of faith we thank and praise the lord: 1. For the growing consciousness among many of the lay faithful that they have to take seriously their political duties. We commend and support lay initiatives to form circles of discernment to choose worthy candidates and even to run as candidates in order to bring values of Gods kingdom in the public discourse. We will help the people to know the stance of those who run for office on important issues of the country. 2. For the many programs that promote the Natural Family Planning methods. We commit ourselves to promote these programs in our local churches and to teach our people Christian values on family, marriage and the Gospel of life. 3. For efforts among the young to live chastely even in a world that does not value the sacredness of sex. We commend such

movements as TRUe love WAITS, lIve PURe and similar initiatives of education to chastity. Indeed, purity attracts! For the courage and steadfastness of many lawgivers to resist political and monetary pressures. For those who have other opinions, we seek to understand them with patience and charity. 5. For the effort and bold steps taken by the government in pursuing peace in the country. It is our hope that these peace initiatives will be matched by equally bold steps to bring about justice, for peace is the fruit of justice. 6. For the great clamor among the people to do away with political dynasties. If congress is unwilling to act on this we support initiatives by the lay faithful to pass an enabling law against political dynasties through the peoples initiative which the Constitution provides. With Jesus in the Ark of Peter we always have hope. But with faith and hope, we must have love. Buffeted by the same

stormy winds are the poor with their many faces. our pastoral statement addresses the political and social issues that bring them deeper into helplessness and hopelessness. We must voice out their concerns, be their moral guide, be with themthe unborn and little ones, the young, the women, the farmers, the indigenous peoples, the slum dwellers, the workers, the fisher folks, the migrants. our love has to bring them the Good News the Gospelwith all its social, political and ethical implications. We entrust the mission of the Church in these troubled times under the protection and guidance of the Blessed virgin Mary, Mother of life and Mother of the Poor. Mother Mary, pray for your children in your beloved Philippines. For the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines: + JOSE S. PALMA, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu & President, CBCP January 28, 2013

But not just any kind of Eternal Reward will suffice. For example, heavenly mansions and streets paved in gold wont motivate these guys. Halos and angel wings wont motivate them. For these modern Indiana Jones, they have only one great treasure, one eternal Reward, and that is the Rewarder Himself, Jesus Christ. They love Jesus. He is their Reward. This verse has become their life: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) Its your turn: Where are you living now? Youre not a missionary priest in Mindanao. Perhaps youre a Call Center

agent in Manila, working hard so you can send your kids to school. or a nurse on night shift, working overtime, so you could support your mothers medical bills. or an entrepreneur, trying hard to prosper your business, so you could give extra benefits to your employees. or a father of two kids, playing with them even when youre tired, because you want to tell them how important they are to you. or a mother of three, working in the office by day and cooking and tutoring and cleaning by night, sacrificing your life for your family. If you live a life of love, youre now living in Heaven. Keep loving. Keep serving. Keep giving. Because Jesus is your biggest Reward. May your dreams come true.

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B8
Title: Man with the iron fists Cast: Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, Byron Mann, RZA, Rick Yune, David Bautista, Jamie Chung Director: RZA Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 96 minutes Distributor: Universal Pictures Location: China Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA rating: NPS (Not for public showing) MTRCB rating: PG 13

Entertainment
Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 3

February 4 - 17, 2013

Technical Assessment

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

Poor Below average Average Above average Excellent

Gold is being stored in a village, and in the basement of the local brothel. The emperor is concerned about it. The villain has killed his master for it. The masters son arrives bent on revenge. The madam has schemes to hold on to it. The local blacksmith (a marooned American slave) makes weapons that can defend it. An englishman rides into town and teams up with the goodies. A sinister emissary also turns up to secure the gold. And a big man who can produce bronze armor over his skin as needed does some dastardly deeds. The slave is the title manwho has lost his arms but has been able to produce and connect hands, arms and, especially, fists of iron while working as a blacksmith. He is played by rapper RZA

who co-wrote the film with Eli Roth (Hostel) and directs. It is a Chinese production, but also presented by Quentin Tarantino (echoes of the Kill Bill films). That outline doesnt necessarily spoil the action for potential audiences. All that plotline does is provide the occasion for martial spectacle.(Excerpted from Fr. Peter Malone, Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting) CINEMA rates this movie NPS, or Not for Public Showing. With all due respect, CINeMA wonders aloud why our MTRCB approved this movie for 13-yearoldshow did such a violent movie earn such a high rating when the supposedly more lenient and sophisticated MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) has rated it R, or Restricted for bloody violence, strong sexuality, language, and brief drug use? In the USCCB

Buhay Parokya

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website, a review is published by Catholic News Service which states, the film contains excessive bloody violence, gruesome images, graphic sexual activity, implied aberrant sex acts, a prostitution theme, drug use, an anti-Catholic slur, much rough language and a few crude or crass terms and classifies it as omorally offensive. The following notes taken from variousCanadianFilmClassification boards add this information to explain why The Impossible has earned their R rating. violence: - Frequent hand-to-hand and weapons violence, with blood and detail shown. - explicit depictions of evisceration and dismemberment. - detailed gory and grotesque images.

- Frequent and prolonged portrayals of graphic violence. - disturbing scenes. - depictions of beating, shooting, stabbing, dismemberment, torture and decapitation. Sexual Content: - Infrequent portrayals of sexual activity with no nudity, but some detail. - Simulated and implied sexual activity. - Sexual references and innuendo. - embracing and kissing. language: - Infrequent use of the sexual expletive and variations in a non-sexual context. - Infrequent use of scatological slang. - ethno-cultural slurs. drugs and Alcohol: - Infrequent references to drug use. - Tobacco use.

Look for the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope John Paul II, and the Crucifix. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

MAC en COLET Ni Bladimer Usi

Vol. 17 No. 3

CBCP Monitor

February 4 - 17, 2013

C1

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

CFC: Obey and witness in 2013!


By UMC Docu Team
About 14,000 leaders from all over the Philippines and from some countries abroad gathered at the Coliseum on Saturday, January 19, and listened to their marching orders for 2013, taken from Marys words and encapsulated in one single message: Obey and Witness! From the production number that ushered in the talks to the talks themselves, given by CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and Executive Director Melo Villaroman, to the sharings, and the homily of Mass celebrant Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Pampanga, every word and every message echoed the need for the community to truly obey Gods instructions and witness to His great majesty and love for all. This message was echoed in the Evangelization and Missions Conference held the following day, January 20, at the La Consolacion College in Mendiola, Manila. More than 700 top leaders attended this special session, once again begun with the celebration of the Mass by CFC Spiritual Director Msgr. Allen Aganon. The whole day affair featured talks by Ricky Cuenca and Joe Tale and the message Obey and Witness given concrete expression in the workshops that followed the talks. There were four workshops, focused on the following topics: Evangelization and Mission (conducted by Melo Villaroman), Pastoral Formation (by Joe Tale), Family Ministries (by Mannix Ocampo) and Building the Church of the Poor (by Joe Yamamoto). Arnel Santos, lawyer and International Council member, filed a highly personal account of what transpired during the twoday activity (see story below). OBEY AND WITNESS: BEHELD AND PONDERED The annual Leaders Conference of CFC at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was all about beholding and pondering on the Wedding Feast in Cana, especially Marys words: Do whatever He tells you. (John 2:5) There were three (3) special and grace-filed occasions where this beholding and pondering happened. FIRST OCCASION. On Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the Obey and Witness Leaders Conference of Couples for Christ, we were awed and astonished at the sight of Smart Araneta Coliseum filled to the rafters by exuberant CFC leaders. We beheld the inspiring minipondered on Gods words, spoken through Bishop Pablo Virgilio Ambo David; and subsequently, CFC Director Melo Villaroman; CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca; and sharers Fr. Augustine of Myanmar, Makisig Morales of Youth for Christ, Bob Serrrano of West B and 29
Powerful talks, powerful worship, counterclockwise from left: CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca delivering a talk on obedience; Melo Villaroman Jr., CFC Executive Director, gave the talk titled Do Whatever He Tells You; CFC USA National Director Eric Villanueva leading the praisefest. (Photos by Ruel Tenerife)

received the Holy Spirit. We became sons and daughters of God to live a life of the Spirit. This is Christian life a tasteful life, a life of purpose, with meaning, with mission. What good is life without mission? We must be alive! Some people just look alive but they

musicale of the 29 AD Musicionaries, as their heartfelt singing and excellent artistic performances not only prepared us for the talks/sessions, but were in fact integral parts of the talks/sessions themselves. We beheld Gods glory indeed, His mighty and loving presence enveloping us all, as we all together leapt and danced for joy at worship, singing praises to Him who gave us the grace to be there and to witness and taste wine overflowing. And we beheld God at Mass and

AD, Fr. Carlos Macatangga of Canada and two CFC ANCOP scholars. We could not help but feel and identify with what Bishop Ambo David was exhorting and preaching: Tayo ay alak. We became wine at baptism when we

are not alive (!) and so, life for them becomes so cold. The couple at Cana experienced a running out of wine. Every true disciple will experience this crisis. We become bland. No spiritual life. What do we do

when we go through this? Obey and Witness! Do not despair. Make sure you have the most important guests: Mama Mary and son, Jesus. Mary, the whispering woman, whispers compassion which leads to a miracle. This is what we do. We become Mama Mary who whispers the whisper of compassion. In speaking Do whatever He tells you, Mary was not offering a solution; she was just leading everyone to the Son, who will say Fill the jars with water. And so we ask: in our own emptiness what are we to fill up? Jesus says, Whatever it is that remains. If it is just water you have, then fill up with water. Offer what is left to Jesus, and He will take care of the spirit. When there is a lack, fill up! Huwag nang magbutas! Otherwise, whatever is left will disappear. Do not give up on each other; on your brothers and sisters; on one another. Ikaw na sana ang magpuno sa aking pagkukulang. After filling, do not keep it. Serve it again. It is meant to be consumed, as our life is meant to be consumed. And then you will see witnesstaste and see the goodness of the Lord, the sweet Lord, the source of all grace and mercy and compassion. Do not get intimidated by the contagion of evil. Let people see the power of God at work in your life. I was touched and inspired by the talks and the sharings, especially the witnessing of Ricky Cuenca and the insights of Melo Villaroman, Jr, which included these: 1. The Blessed Virgin Mary loves us and is deeply concerned with our needs. She does not want us to be humiliated. 2. She wants us to go to Christ. 3. Only by obeying Christ can the fullness of life and love of Christ be fulfilled in our lives. The SECOND OCCASION was at the Evangelization and Mission Conference held the next day, January 20, 2013, at La Consolacion College in Mendiola,
Obey / C2

EM Conference 2013A Day to Learn, Act and Share

CFC Cana Weekend: Bringing the Taste of Christs Good Wine


By Nirva Delacruz
MANILA Archibishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle kicked off an extraordinary weekend for 2,297 CFC leaders with a personal message for the couples attending the Cana Weekend at Baguio on February 1 to 3. He exhorted them to bring the taste of this good wine [of Christ] to people. True enough, all the talks and sharings during the Cana Weekend, held at the Camp John Hay CAP Convention Center, showed the truly complex yet simple meaning of the wedding at Cana and what it implies for marital life and love. The first talk, titled The Wedding Feast given by Arnel Santos, focused on the basic point that one of the greatest things God has gifted us with is our marriage. Arnel emphasized that marriage is a moment in salvation historya personal turning point for both husband and wife that will eventually end with seeing God face to face at the wedding banquet in heaven. The second session Do Whatever Tells You, given by Jun Uriarte, showed that obedience is crucial to a truly Christian lifein the manner Mary, the servers at Cana and St. Catherine Laboure were obedient. According to Uriarte, this is a far cry from the ordinary believers attitude which is: Pag nagdadasal tayo, halos sabihin na natin sa Panginoon kung ano ang dapat Niyang gawin (When we pray, we tell God what He needs to do). The key lies in following Marys words to obey Jesus, ever hopeful of His mercy. After the session, the participants were exhorted to wear the Miraculous Medal of Mary as a way of entrusting themselves to Mama Mary. Empty Jars, Filled to the Brim, the third talk, revolved around how married life can become tasteless, dry and drained because of serious illness, financial problems, infidelity or childrens personal struggles. Joe Tale, who gave the talk, explained how Jesus uses unworthy vessels to work miracles of abundance like the Cana miracle. After the talk, there was an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hour which the couples spent in prayer, song and silence. Joe Yamamoto gave the last talk for Saturday, From Water to Wine: The Radical Transformation, which also featured powerful and moving testimonies from Raymond Bucu, Shok Ariola and Rhea Santos. In closing, Yamamoto said Jesus can change our water into wine if we par-

By Mai Dones
LAST January 20, 2013, 700 top leaders of CFC came to La Consolacion College in Mendiola to jumpstart another year of mission. The Evangelization and Missions Conference is an annual gathering of members of CFC governance teams of both International and Philippine Missions. What is now dubbed as the EM Conference provides a platform for leaders to share, learn, and re-apply the best practices from the different mission areas. After the celebration of the Holy Mass presided by Msgr. Allen Aganon, CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and Executive Director Melo

Villaroman Jr . delivered directional and inspirational talks. Focused workshops were conducted after lunch divided into four different groups: Pastoral Formation, Evangelization and Mission/Church Integration, Family Ministries and Work with the Poor. The workshops were intended to identify CFCs best practices, as gleaned from the experiences of the leaders on the ground. They also discussed stumbling blocks to the communitys vision of fulfilling and hewing to the CFC Roadmap. At the workshops, the leaders themselves listed down what activities to start, what activities to stop doing because they have been proven to be counterproductive and what activities to continue because

they help the leaders fulfill their roles more effectively. The workshop outputs yielded clues as to what the leaders need to sharpen so that CFCs life and culture may be enhanced. Also, for the first time in many years ,a workshop for the women, facilitated by the wives of the IC members, took place simultaneously with the mens. As the leaders left the venue, they exchanged waves, smiles and wellwishesprayers for yet another year of mission for the Lord who emboldens us to be courageous witnesses, families faithfully heeding His call to proclaim His love to the ends of the earth.

A thousand couples renewed their wedding vows towards the end of Sundays session at the Cana Weekend.

ticipate actively in the work of transformation, in the same way Mary and the servers did. He added, Our actions must help bring about the manifestation of the love and grace of God. To close the session, participants celebrated the Lords Day, drinking wine mixed with water to symbolize the human hope of sharing in Gods divinity. Mannix Ocampo gave the last talk, Witness! Gods Glory Revealed, which discussed the significance of the Cana miracle as a precursor for Jesus works of signs and wonders in his public ministry. In the same way, the Cana miracle in CFC will reveal a renewed vigor for the New Evangelization, as well as individual lives full of the wine of justice, the wine of wisdom and the wine of grace or charity. In ending, Ocampo said, Our lives are our most effective evangelizing tool! The Holy Eucharist concelebrated by CFC spiritual adviser Msgr. Allen Aganon and Fr. Paul Uwemedimo was a fitting ending to the weekend, especially since all the couples present had a unique opportunity to renew their marriage vows.

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Arnel Santos

Ugnayan

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Mag-anak
THERE is a country whose government has learned to accord high regard, respect and value to family life, marriage, and children. When a baby is born, the government grants the qualified family a Baby Bonus of $5,437.00 or roughly P235,000.00. The money is meant to help parents defray the costs and expenses of rearing a newborn baby (or a newly adopted child). For children of school age, there is free public elementary and secondary education. In addition to free laptops given the student, eligible families get School Kids Bonus of $410 each year for primary school and $820 each year for secondary school. There is a Youth Allowance for young people who are studying full-time, undertaking apprenticeship, training, looking for work, or sick. There is also Youth Connections to help young people who have not completed, or are at risk of not completing Year 12 or equivalent qualifications, and have barriers that make it difficult to participate in education, training or employment. Eligible university students can apply for the HECS-HELP, a loan program to help them pay their tuition and university fees. For young people with a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability, there is Youth Disability Supplement to provide them additional financial support. The Career Adjustment Payment is a one-off payment that helps families deal with the increased care needs of a child aged six years or younger who has had a sudden and severe illness or accident. Other benefits include Rent Assistance and Telephone Allowance, to assist those on income support to manage household expenses. There is even the so-called Extra Assistance for Household Expenses, to help with household expenses such as making the change to digital TV, and LPG conversion for vehicles. The most amazing are the simple things: the Family Fun Daya Sunday set aside by the government to encourage families to be together for a fun day. The incentive is unlimited transport use (city bus, train, or ferry boat) for a flat rate of $2.50 per head for a family with a child (anyone under 16 years old). The government also mandates all entities to set aside a day each year for the Family Picnic Day, a company-sponsored picnic for employees and their families. Why do I know these surprising public entitlements? I googled this governments Centrelink website. More importantly, I was there for a 20-day stay with a beautiful family, who graciously hosted my family. They showed us around the country, allowed us to immerse ourselves in their daily lives, and pointed out to us their governments policies which indeed empower them as parents and families. The country is Australia and I was there from December 15, 2012 to January 3, 2013. In this short period of time, I encountered such jargons as Countering Ageing, Couple-ness, Pronatalist inducements and a more scholarly concept of Marital stability. And I was astonished to know that all these provide the very bases of the pro-family legislations and policies in Australia (and other countries as well). I could however note that we also have Filipino equivalents to these jargons. Countering ageing is captured by the word magulang; couple-ness by magkabiyak; pronatalist inducement by the word maganak; and marital stability by tahanan. However modest, we also have counterpart government programs. Our DSWD website lists Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program where qualified beneficiaries receive P6,000 a year or P500 per month per household for health and nutrition expenses; and P3000 for one school year of 10 months or P300/month per child for educational expenses. A maximum of three children per household is allowed. CHED has its Student Financial Assistance Program (StuFAP) which consists of scholarship grants for students according to their general weighted average grades (P15,000/semester for those with of 90%; P7,500.00 for 85-89%; and P6,000 for 8084%). There is OPPAP-CHED SGPRR for former rebels or dependents at P5,000/semester; DND-CHED-PASUC study grant program for dependents of military killed in action at P2,500, and CHED special study grant program for congressional district/senate, also at P2,500/ semester. CHED claims to have served 46,751 students beneficiaries in 2012. Of course, we cannot diminish the importance of the Senior Citizens discounts and how this entitlement honors and uplifts our magulang. While in Canberra, I chanced upon the book of Kevin Andrews, a barrister, a member of the Australian parliament since 1991 who serves as the Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services. He also chaired the Parliamentary Committee that produced the landmark report on marriage and family, To have and to hold strategies to strengthen marriage and relationships. In his book, Maybe I do- modern marriage and pursuit of happiness, (Connor Court Publishing; 2012) Mr. Andrews concluded that: Over four decades of social science research across western nations confirms one clear and unambiguous conclusion: A healthy marriage is the best source of physical and mental health, emotional stability and prosperity for adults and children. It is also the best bet for attaining happiness and fulfillment. He highlighted that if we desire a stable and healthy society, then the intact family remains our best bet with practical support and encouragement, we can build strong nations based on a healthy society with stable married life at its foundation. This reminded me that there is also a country where those same conclusions were known all along, finding expression even in its Constitutionthe Philippines. Marriage is the foundation of the family, and the family is the foundation of our nation. (Art. XV, sections 2 and 1, respectively). This country too has a solid national family policy with its Family Code, signed into law by President Corazon C. Aquino. But this reminded me further that just before I left for Australia, I was at the Batasang Pambansa hearing our lawmakers debate on the RH Bill. And just as I was personally experiencing that it is possible and there are indeed practical waysfor a country to highlight all its learning and lessons on why there must be supreme regard, respect and value for family, marriage, and children, I am now also seeing the present Philippine government starting to intervene in the Filipino family life in a sustained and institutionalized way through the enactment of Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. This law is a very powerful intervention by our government upon marriage and family life. Indeed, [l]aws do more than distribute rights, responsibilities, and punishments. Laws help to shape the public meanings of important institutions, including marriage and family. (The Future of Family Law, Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America 2005) As an authoritative norm, this law will shape social conduct and relationships. In other words, the struggle now is back to square one. There is an imperative for a fresh wave of movements promoting a public and cultural mindset and attitude that elevates the dignity of tahanan, magulang, and mag-anak. The more fundamental question is not how to be able to have a responsible, safe, consensual and satisfying sex life, with the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so, (RA 10354, Sec.4 (p)) but rather how to finally pursue and realize a comprehensive national strategy to promote and strengthen marriage, relationships and family life. It is high time for us to be reminded that when dealing with mag-anakmarriage and family lifewe deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rightsolder than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. (Douglas J in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, No. 496 Argued: March 2930, 1965Decided: June 7, 1965 )

CCF Members Finish Policy Formulation and CFC Co-operatives Federation Holds 8th General Assembly Development Seminar
By Harmony Medina
THE CFC Cooperatives Federation (CCF) held its 8th General Assembly last January 18, 2013 at the Lay Formation Center, San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, Makati City. Representatives of 20 CFC cooperatives and foundationsManila, CFC ANCOP, Camarines Sur, Bulacan, Palawan, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Cebu, Tekton Entreworkers Co-op Cebu, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Iloilo, St. Vincent Ferrer MPC, Antique, Lanao del Norte, EWC Builders Co-op, Zamboanga del Norte, Agusan del Norte, and Zamboanga City attended the event. Newly-appointed Deputy Executive Director of the Cooperative development Authority (CDA) Giovanni Platero graced the affair and gave an overview of current CDA services and plans for 2013. He also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation Agreement between the CCF and the CPA Coop Plus, a cooperative composed of certified public accountants who are accredited practitioners by the CDA. According to the provisions of the MOA, CCF and CPA Plus will provide assistance to CCF member-primaries through lectures/seminars in financial literacy, strengthening internal control, accounting and audit policies and audit services. The CCF also sees this partnership as a venue for evangelization. The General Assembly approved the proposed amendments to the Articles of Coopera-

FORTY individuals, most of them directors and officers of cooperative primaries belonging to the CFC Co-operatives Federation, enlisted in the Policy Formulation and Development Seminar which was held from January 17 to 18, 2013 at the Lay Formation Center, Guadalupe, Makati City. CPA and PUP retired professor Elenita Mantalaba shared her expertise in formulating policies needed to effectively operate cooperatives. Aside from being a venue for learning, the seminar also gave the participants an opportunity to share best practices and challenges in cooperative management. (Harmony Medina)

CFC, ANCOP USA to hold Medical and Surgical Mission in Batangas


CFC National Director Eric Villanueva, ANCOP USA President Roger Santos, and ANCOP USA COO Rollie Balanza made a courtesy call on Dr. Danny Aguilera, Chief of the Batangas Provincial Hospital in Lemery, Batangas where ANCOP USA will hold a Medical and Surgical Mission later this month. The said Medical and Surgical Mission is in partnership with ANCOP HealthGKare of Batangas, headed by Dr. Peng Concepcion.
Obey / C1

tion to include Travel and Tours as one of the cooperatives business thrusts. Said amendment will be the first step to formalize the CCF Travel and Tours business. The General Assembly also discussed and approved the 2013 Thrusts and 5-Year Developmental Plans designed to strengthen the Cooperative Primaries and the Federation so that it can provide more products and services and benefits to its members. Other matters taken up in the assembly include the 2012 Accomplishment report, proposed Training Policy and Accounting Software. Later in the day, the GA elected officers for the following positions: 5 members for the Board of Directors, and 3 members each

for the Audit Committee and Election Committee. Four of the incumbent Directors were re-elected: Leopoldo Pinera of CoFC Quezon; Victor Hizon, CoFC Manila; Jose Mari Bigornia, CoFC Cebu; and Edwin Chavez, TekWork Cebu. Elected as a new BOD member is Rodolfo Lubis, CFC ANCOP Tekton Foundation Inc. The assembly also elected members of the Election Committee (Caloy Subang, CoFC Lanao del Norte; Ted Velasco, CoFC Camarines Sur and Ed Gonzales, CoFC Southern Leyte) and the Audit and Supervisory Committee (Jose de Castro, CoFC Cebu; Ed Diaz, CoFC Northern Samar and Tito Mumpar, CoFC Laguna).

The News Supplement of Couples for Christ


The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial offices at 156 20th Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 23 l Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856

Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight Zenaida Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Alma Alvarez Associate Editor/ Layout Artist Vangie Mecedilla Circulation Staff
www.couplesforchristglobal.org cfcmultimedia@couplesforchristglobal.org

Marivie Dalman Managing Editor

Manila. Again the venue was filled to the brim by brothers and sisters in CFC who continued to be faith-filled, hope-filled and love-filled. At Mass, Monsignor Allen Aganon connected our theme Obey and Witness! with the Feast of Sto. Nino. Quoting the Second Reading (Eph 1:3-6, 15-18) Monsignor Allen emphasized: We obey because we are children of God. Not as servants but as sons and daughters of God. This is our identity. Jesus obeyed the will of the Father. He humbled himself and became man. Humility is connected with obedience. When we mature, we strive to be independent. Jesus never became independent of the Father but was always in relationship with Him. (In contrast, Lucifers declaration of non-serviam meant I will become independent; I will cut my relationship with God.)

Maturity is to realize who we are, especially in relationship with God. When we obey, we are proclaiming who we are, sons and daughters of God. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus. We become real witnesses when we follow the will of the Father. And so the day went on with the CFC leaders from the provinces and abroad, listening to each other, through talks and workshops, and listening intently, in prayer and worship, to God and how He wants us to move this year. The THIRD OCCASION was an amazing discovery. All Catholics all over the world went to mass on Sunday, January 20, the Feast of the Sto. Nino but I was amazed to find that the Gospel Reading for the day was actually the Wedding in Cana! As explained by Msgr. Allen, for the Philippines, the alternative readings were in relation to the Feast of the Sto. Nino. It was not intentional on the part of

the IC to set the annual leaders conference this year on the third Saturday of January (January 19). By tradition, it has always been held on the second Saturday (Jan 12). No one knew, when the date was set, that the theme of 2013, taken from Marys words to the servants at the wedding feast, would coincide with the reading for this day. And so, it dawned on me - that weekend, and on that day, January 20, 2013, while CFC was beholding and pondering on the Wedding Feast in Cana, the rest of Catholic Christiandom was also doing so. In churches all over the world, what was being spoken of was the filling of the jars, water turning into wine, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and what was being asked of everyone was: Do whatever He tells you. All over the world, the message was about Obey and Witness! How great and amazing the Lord is in extending His favor upon His people.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 3
February 4 - 17, 2013

Ugnayan

C3

Joe Yamamoto

The Word Incarnate In Our Midst


AT the very start of the pontificate of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he convened the synods for the Eucharist and the Scriptures. It was considered a timely and proper move because the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life such that celebration of the mass is rightfully a commemoration of its institution at the Last Supper of Jesus. The overarching importance of the Eucharist, the Scriptures and the Sacraments in the lives of the faithful is given more timely emphasis by way of the recently released propositions of the XIII Bishops Synod convened by Pope Benedict XVI for the New Evangelization. The Mass is the center of the liturgical life of the Catholic faithful. We are taught that the Mass is both a memorial and a sacrifice and through it, the paramount importance of the Eucharist is emphasized. The Eucharist assumes a three-fold character as (1) memorial of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, (2) the real presence of Jesus and (3) a holy communion with our Lord. The Mass, which in a big sense is a gathering of Gods people, is properly begun with the priest celebrant making the sign of the cross with the faithful present. When the priest, who is the alter Christus, intones the words, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that simple prayer is meant to initiate the outpouring of tremendous blessings on the lives of the faithful. It is likewise a declaration and announcement of our belongingness to the Triune God. The priest greets the people in the name of Jesus, not in his name. What follows is the exhortation to call to mind ones sins that leads us to call for Gods merciful love. Kyrie eleison reminds us of the blind Bartimaeus who called Lord, have pity on me. Through the Kyrie, the faithful elevate their need for mercy and salvation that can come only from God. The Gloria that follows is considered one of the most magnificent prayers in the liturgy. Its opening line is taken from the very words sung by the angels over the fields of Bethlehem, announcing to the humble shepherds the good news of Christs birth: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:14) Fittingly, the Gloria makes present the mystery of Christmas in every mass where it is recited or sung. Catholic author Edward Sri draws attention to that part of the Gloria that tells the story of Christ - Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Only Son of the Father....you take away the sins of the world...you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. He writes: Similar to a three-act play, the life of Christ is summed up from (1) his coming (Incarnation), to (2) his redeeming death (Paschal Mystery), and finally to (3) triumphant resurrection and ascension into heaven (enthronement in heaven). In the Gloria, gratitude is proclaimed for the salvation in Christ that came through his suffering and death. St. Albert the Great had this to say regarding the relationship of the Kyrie and the Gloria- It is as if God were saying, I will certainly answer your cries and I will send to you in the Sacrament the one whom I sent in the world to your fathers, so that you may partake of him, and be drawn out from your evils and be filled with every good. Telling of the Stories Just before the Liturgy of the Word, the priest, through the prayer of the Collect, gathers the faithfuls intentions. The Church has often used the imagery of two tables to signify the seamless continuity of the two main parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As a people, the faithful are first nourished from the table of the Holy Scripture (Liturgy of the Word) and then are fed with the body of the Lord at the banquet of the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI explains that the two parts are not mere juxtapositions but point to an inner unity as to form one single act of worship: From listening to the word of God, faith is born or strengthened (Rom 10:17); in the Eucharist the Word made flesh gives himself to us as our spiritual food. Thus from the two tables of the Word of God and the Body of Christ, the Church receives and gives to the faithful the bread of life.... consequently it must be constantly kept in mind that the word of God, read and proclaimed by the Church in the liturgy, leads to the Eucharist as to its own connatural end. The faithful reverently sit during the reading of the Word of God, starting with an Old Testament reading, and proceeding to the Responsorial Psalm. On Sundays and holidays of obligation, a New Testament epistle is read before the Gospel reading which is coordinated in its theme with the first reading. The posture of sitting during the readings continues the tradition practiced in the early days of the church, with new converts taking on the proper attitude of apprentices or students. During the Gospel acclamation, the right posture is to receive and welcome the good news while standing. The faithful sit through the homily as preached by the priest who is taking on the person of Christ. The solemn ceremony continues with the recitation of the Creed, which in actuality provides a summary of the salvation history. Presenting The Gifts As the Liturgy of the Word draws to a close, the prayers of the faithful become the bridge to the commencement of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The faithful can observe the rising intensity of the encounter with God in the unfolding liturgy. In every culture, a formal encounter with a revered or divinely-sent person is characterized by two basic things -- conversing and eating. Fr. Barron emphasizes that in the Liturgy of the Word, we listen to God in the Scriptures, and speak back to him through the responses and prayers, in a manner that corresponds to Jewish Synagogue service. The offering of bread and wine in the Mass has strong scriptural foundations. Not only were these offered in Israels sacrificial rites but were prominent in the Passover at the time of Jesus and particularly at the Lords Last Supper. For Israel, bread sustained life and eating bread alluded to eating in general. In the Bible, bread is referred to as a staff because it was needed to support life and for the people, to part with ones bread would have been a personal sacrifice, expressing the giving of oneself to God. Wine is likewise a common part of the ancient Israelite meal, and was an integral part of Jewish religious worship. It was one of the first fruits presented to the Temple as tithe (Neh 10:36-39). Wine was poured out as a libation, a drink offering in Israels thanksgiving and expiatory sacrifices (Ex 29:38-41; Nm 15:2-15) In the mass, the presentation of our gifts of wine and bread is an offering back to God of the gifts of creation and the result of human labors. The rite symbolizes giving our entire lives to God in the offering of bread and wine. Mixing Water And Wine In the mass, diluting wine with a little water has a very deep spiritual meaning that dates back to the early Jewish liturgical practice. Wine is the symbol of the divinity of Christ and water stands for our humanity. The mingling of water and wine points to the Incarnation, the mystery of God becoming man. It likewise emphasizes the Christian call to share in Jesus divine life, i.e. to become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pt1:4). In praying over bread and wine, the priest uses words that have roots in the Jewish tradition, words modeled after the Jewish blessing around the time of Jesus. The prayer of the priest with humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord... - refers to offering of self. It recalls the petition of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three friends of Daniel, thrown into the furnace for standing up to the unlawful order of the Babylonian king. They offered their very lives, the Lord heard their cry, and rescued them. At Mass, the priest makes the similar petition, for our lives bound with the bread and wine are pleasing offerings to God. Washing Of The Hands At the consecration, the priest washes his hands in a practice reminiscent of the priests of the Old Testament who washed their hands in a bronze basin of water before entering the tabernacle. Ritual hand washing symbolizes the internal cleansing of heart required of a person who seeks to draw near to Gods presence in the sanctuary. The handwashing in the mass prepares the priest to stand in a holy place, like the Levitical priests of old. On the altar before which the priest stands, the gifts of bread and wine will be changed into the body and blood of Christ. He will dwell upon the faithful who receives Him in Holy Communion. When the priest intones: Pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father, the my part of the sacrifice represents the sacrifice of Christ which is made present through the priest who acts in persona Christi ( in the person of Christ). The Eucharistic Prayer The Eucharistic prayer has roots in Jewish table prayers recited at every meal. The father of the family would take bread and speak a blessing (barakah) which praised God, saying: Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe, who has brought forth bread from heaven. The bread was then broken and given to the participants, and the people would begin eating the various courses of the meal. In the Passover meal, there also would be a reading of the haggadah, which retells the story of the first Passover in Egypt. When the meal neared its conclusion, the presider would pray a second and longer barakah over a cup of wine. This blessing had three parts: 1) praise of God for his creation 2) thanksgiving for his redemptive work in the past 3) supplication for the future, that Gods saving works would continue in their lives and be brought to their climax in the sending of the Messiah who would restore the Davidic kingdom. The Eucharistic prayer opens up with a short three- part dialog. First, The Lord be with you invokes the going with God as the faithful prepare to enter into the paschal mystery of the mass. The second, Lift up your hearts (sursum corda), acknowledges that all intentions and commitment flow from the heart. It alerts us to the sublimity of what is happening in the eucharistic prayer. And the third, Let us give thanks to the Lord, reiterates thanksgiving as a common biblical response to the immense goodness of God and to his saving works in our lives. In the Jewish tradition, thanksgiving is one thing we can actually offer the Creator that he does not possess already. The Sanctus The prophet Isaiah receives a vision of the heavenly King in his throne room. Before the Almighty was the angelic court adoring him. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of your glory. (Is 6:3 ). The three-fold repetition of holy is the strongest form of the superlative in the Hebrew language. In the new testament, John had an ecstatic vision of the heavenly liturgy as he saw Jesus in radiant glory. The six-winged angelic creatures sing before the throne of God, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. (Rev 4:8 ) So when the faithful say at mass, Holy, holy, holy,Lord God of hosts..., they join their voices with the angels and saints in heaven singing in jubilant praise. Like Isaiah and John caught up in the joy of the heavenly liturgy, the faithful prepare for the encounter with the King of Kings, Jesus who will become present in the altar. The second part of Sanctus repeats the words uttered by the jubilant crowds on Palm Sunday when they welcomed Jesus in his triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Hosanna (Hebrew for save us) and blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord are taken from the Great Hallel of the Jews, Psalm 118, prayers recited by the pilgrims journeying to the Temple. (To be continued)

CFC ANCOP Education Holds ANCOP USA visits Our Lady of Banneux Community Training for Implementing Teams LAST January 17, 2013, leaders of CFC and ANCOP USA
By Efren Tompong
THE Education Program of CFC ANCOP successfully conducted a one-day orientation and training for new and prospective implementers of Education and Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) at Layforce, Guadalupe, Makati, MM. The training activity was scheduled a day ahead of the Jan 19 CFC Global Leaders Conference in Smart Araneta, to take advantage of the presence in Metro Manila of CFC ANCOP provincial leaders. A total of 78 leaders and members of the program implementing teams (PITS) from 18 sectors and provinces completed the training module, which is one of the conditions imposed by CFC ANCOP to qualify for CSP funding. The guidelines and operating procedures of the sponsorship program were discussed and explained lengthily to the participants. A briefing on Cornerstone, the latest addition to the Education Program of Ancop was given by Ethel Balenton, Education Program Director. One of the highlights of the training activity was the workshop on profiling, evaluation and selection of CSP beneficiaries. The participants enjoyed and appreciated the workshop because it allowed them to render a factual and immediate application of the beneficiary selection process, an important component of the CSP. The presence of trained PITs or Program Implementing Teams ensures the delivery of committed benefits and services to sponsored children without delay, fund liquidation accomplished on time, and reportorial requirements complied with dispatch. visited the Our Lady of Banneux Community in San Mateo, Rizal. Residents from OLB, as well as leaders from East A and West B welcomed CFC USA National Director Eric Villanueva and wife Pat, ANCOP USA President Roger Santos, ANCOP USA COO Rollie Balanza and wife Evelyn and ANCOP USA Communications Head Manny Caballero and toured the visiting group around the community. After the tour, everyone trooped to the multi-purpose hut where Mass was celebrated. A moment of fellowship and a brief program was held over a sumptuous brunch. After the fellowship, several houses were turned over to the new residents. The new houses were likewise blessed. Eric Villanueva reiterated the commitment of CFC USA in raising resources in order to complete the houses for the entire community. Likewise, Roger Santos pledged full support in making sure that ANCOP USA will see to the completion of the entire community. OLB Head Steward Warren Isaguirre, in return, expressed gratitude to CFC and ANCOP USA for supporting OLB. As Head Steward, Isaguirre committed to rally the residents and future home partners to make the OLB a model community. Home partners likewise shared how thankful they are for having been gifted with their own homes in a safe environment. The home partners were victims of the Ondoy flooding in 2009.

West B Sector Head Bob Penalosa, Rollie Balanza, Roger Santos, and Eric Villanueva turn over the ceremonial keys to the new home partners in ANCOP OLB; the new houses are blessed before the turnover ceremonies.

SFC B2B City: Sharing Gods Blessings


By CFC Middle East
6. 7. 8.

ANCOP Scholars From Metro Manila North A Thank USA Sponsors


CFC USA National Director Eric Villanuela and wife Pat, together with ANCOP USA President Roger Santos and ANCOP USA COO Rollie Balanza got a thank you treat from the ANCOP scholars from Metro Manila North A when the group visited last January 17, 2013. The scholars danced and sang for the guests to show their gratitude to the leaders of CFC and ANCOP USA who are staunch advocates of the need to raise funds for the sponsorship of the ANCOP scholars. Scholars Sophia Henson and Gilbert Laguerta both shared about how they became scholars of ANCOP and how grateful they are for the opportunity to have been chosen to become ANCOP scholars. Global Pinoy Singing Idol US East Coast champion Leslie Ann Picazo rendered a song for the scholars. DZMM, a partner of ANCOP USA, was also there to interview the USA leaders live on radio to promote ANCOP.

SINGLES for Christ celebrated Gods greatness and generosity in their lives and manifested their gratefulness to Him during the Blessed to Bless City (B2B City) launching at the 14th SFC Middle East Conference. This was a festival of fun and fabulous finds which consisted of various booths focusing on helpful personal information, entertainment and exhibiting some of the blessed to bless moments in Singles for Christ. The booths were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. One Earth featured ways on how to reuse and gave eco-friendly tips Fit Bits dispensed advice on proper diet, posture, ergonomics and lifestyle My Passion, My Fashion jazzed up the same old, shrunken community shirts B2B Store ANCOP backyard festival that sold anything in good, working condition Lighten your Load gave tips on how to travel light and right on missions

Blessed to Witness Mission Exchange exhibition Captured Blessings basic photography ME Time proper grooming and healthy personal habits

Also part of the conference program was the SFC Club Praise. It was a time for the SFCs to party, to mingle and to celebrate the beauty and colors of life with this year s theme, C.O.L.O.R.S (Celebration of Life with Our Redeemer and Savior). High school fair-inspired interactive booths were set up, including a marriage booth, photo booths, jail booth, and more. SFCs enjoyed this time of fellowship as they danced the night away, with unity dance, flash mob and live band courtesy of SFC UAE. All proceeds of the B2B booths and the Club Praise were for the benefit of ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor). The event was able to raise over 11,000 dirhams (or over PHP100,000). SFC Middle East hopes to contribute this to support the different projects of our communitys work with the poor program.

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Ugnayan

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 3

February 4 - 17, 2013

Do Whatever He Tells You: The GTA Leaders Weekend Retreat


Malou Claritos personal story touched the hearts of the participants. Later that afternoon, Jessie Yap, assisted by Digna Aguas as scribe, facilitated the workshop on how wives support their husbands in their service and how husbands support their leaders. Francis explained and cited examples of the five guiding principles: 1) trusting love; 2) leaders conviction; 3) respect and love; 4) transforming prayer; and 5) practical obedience. He reminded the participants to respond to Gods call and to obey what He has called us to do. In the evening, the CFC leaders interpreted their true understanding of the CFC culture through a still frame. They painted a picture of a Christian Life Program, a household prayer meeting and a chapter assembly. Roland Pontiveros reminded the participants of the importance of embracing the CFC culture. Prayer is part of the CFC culture. Rolands wife Felma shared about their transformation as a couple in their journey with Christ. She affirmed that sheprays more consistently and declares the real presence of God and the Virgin Mary in gatherings and in her personal prayer time. Through prayer her personal relationship with Jesus and Mary has been strengthened. Later that evening, more teachings on innovation styles, creativity, types of learning, types of people and personalities were conducted by Sr. Haydee. She made a powerful statement about service, When you no longer serve with joy, you need to pray. How can Jesus help you turn water into wine when you lose your passion for service? Also that evening, Sr. Haydee led the participants to one of the highlights of the retreata solemn prayer, contemplation and reflection in the retreat centres chapel. Participants were asked to meditate on Matthew 20:29-34. This was a time for experiencing the presence and love of God. It was also a time for reflecting on the purpose of being called and the message of God to CFC. The power of the Holy Spirit was not only present in the chapel but it also confirmed the true purpose of being called to mission. Do whatever He tells you. The rain on Sunday morning did not hinder CFC leaders from praising God with joyful songs. Rolands very capable one-man music ministry was enough to stir excitement in the room. The last talk on Commitment was delivered by Francis. Leaders were reminded that God is my judge. In everything we do, we are accountable to God. He cited the prophet Daniel as he explained the symptoms of commitment. Daniel possesses an extraordinary spirit and he affects and infects others with his commitment. The governance team, with the help of Francis, Jessie, Jun, Malou, Roland, Felma and Sr. Haydee did a wonderful job organizing this first-ever leaders weekend retreat. Leaders were encouraged to reflect on how to enrich their covenant in view of the new evangelization.

CFC Northern California Ablaze For Life!

By: Mariel Velasco


THE first-ever Couples for Christ (CFC) Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Leaders Weekend Retreat was held at Mount Mary Immaculate Retreat Centre in Ancaster, Ontario on January 12-13, 2013. Thirty-three participants chapter leaders, cluster leaders, sector leaders and the CFC GTA governance teamspent two days listening to the Word of God, pondering on the role of a servant in relation to this years theme of Obey and Witness and preparing for the work ahead. On a beautiful Saturday morning, Francis Yap, GTA Area Director, led a spirit-filled worship followed by Sr. Anna Haydee Librojo who gave a powerful and insightful presentation on the meaning of CFCs 2013 theme of Obey and Witness taken from the scripture passage Do Whatever He Tells You (John 2:5). The

wedding at Cana in Galilee is our CFC guide to witness in obedience to the Word. Turning water into wine was a recurring theme throughout this weekend retreat. The afternoon session started with ice breakers where each team of men and women arranged themselves quickly according to birthdates, height and weight. This was followed by Jun Claritos inspiring talk on what it means to be called to mission. CFC was likened to sailing ships. Sailing ships are safe in the harbor, but that is not what sailing ships are built for. Jun reiterated that God wants us to explore. God wants us to meet the storms. God wants us to meet other people. We are called to take on this challenge. We must explore to know how far we can go. While serving God is not an easy task, He will provide us with the tools to overcome challenges and help us tackle those hindrances with joy.

By Bobbee Mella
THE chilly winds of San Francisco didnt deter about 50 thousand walkers from shouting out their love for life last Saturday, January 26 in the 9th USA West Coast Walk For Life. The walkers listened to the exhortation of Archbishop Salvatore Cordeleone of San Francisco and the message of inspiration from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, along with various heart-moving sharers before trekking the almost 2-mile route along the major commercial streets of San Francisco, praying and alternately chanting and singing songs, amidst the heckling of the anti-life proponents and casual onlookers. Once more, CFC Northern California and all its family ministries joined this annual event, this time more prominent as the number of CFC participants has more than doubled since CFC organized as a group after the walks launching in 2005. CFC Southern California ably supported by sending about 200 delegates to make CFC visible in the event. The CFC NorCal leadership is now blazing with passion, determined that CFCs participation in the 10th edition will be seen as an evangelization point for CFCs Gift of Life programs.

IC Meets with Cardinal Tagle

Canada Launches ABLAZE Com


By Malou Clarito
WITH much excitement and festivities, the Ablaze Communications ministry was officially launched in different provinces and areas of Canada. The cross-country tour saw Rommel Ancheta, Ablaze Communications President, together with Malou Clarito, Canada National Ablaze Coordinator, leading the promotional tour in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. Even the cold weather and heavy snow did not dampen the successful launching. New and exciting Ablaze products were the centerpiece of each of the fashion shows that accompanied the launching. Rommel introduced and explained the various new concepts and initiatives of Ablaze and rallied the crowd to support all Ablaze products to help further the work of the Lord and carry the name of Jesus wherever we go. Each event was accompanied by a short pastoral teaching, product presentation and workshop given to CFC and Family Ministry members by Rommel. The culmination of this tour was the Liveloud Concert held on December 5, 2012 in Toronto, sponsored by Ablaze Communications. This was the first-ever Liveloud concert held outside the Philippines. The opening number was a fashion show that showcased new lines of Ablaze products. The audience were treated to free Ablaze tote bags and pens. With the launching in the different areas, ABLAZE has set Canada on fire, effectively, a conflagration!

CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman Jr. and wife Nini, Chairman Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma, Joe Yamamoto and Joe Tale and wife Babylou during a courtesy call on His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle last February 1, 2013 at the Archbishops Palace, Manila.

DZMM, CFC ANCOP Further Partnership For World Caravan In 2013


By Efren Tompong
MEDIA giant ABS-CBNs DZMM Tele-Radyo, which spearheads the World Caravan Global Pinoy Singing Idol (GPSI), is looking to further partner with Couples for Christ and CFC ANCOP for this years leg of the 4-year-old talent search. In the initial partnership between DZMM and CFC ANCOP USA for the East Coast leg of the GPSI, CFC ANCOP USA handled the logistical requirements and was mainly responsible in holding the regional finals last December 1, 2012 at the Hylton Chapel Events Center in Woodridge, Virginia. When the partnership was offered by ABS CBN DZMM, ANCOP USA immediately recognized the opportunity to generate funds in hosting the event via corporate and individual sponsorship as well as ticket sales. The show generated a surplus fund of US$ 20,000 which was allocated forANCOPs work with the poor program in the Philippines. The successful partnership between DZMM and ANCOP USA has caught the interest and attention of other ANCOP donor partners abroad. CFC ANCOP UAE in particular,

Toronto Catholic District School Board Sends Volunteers

By Vida Cuares
TEN students and four teachers came to the Philippines from December 28, 2012 to January 7, 2013 courtesy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, to work as volunteers for CFC ANCOP. Dubbed as the ANCOP Volun-tourism Program, this two-yearold activity is a product of the partnership among CFC ANCOP, ANCOP Canada and the Toronto School Board of Canada to bring student leaders and teacher-chaperones to immersion activities in various ANCOP programs. Vida Cuares, CFC ANCOP Coordinator for Canada, planned the following activities for the volunteers: l building of houses at the ANCOP AVANAI Community in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City; l visiting ANCOP scholars at the Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin Orphanage (an ANCOP partner) in Bustos, Bulacan; and l planting trees at the Our Lady of Banneux ANCOP Community in San Mateo, Rizal. Aside from these, the students also spent time getting to know the home partners in the ANCOP Communities. As a parting gift to the home partners, the students donated basketball goals and balls, as well as construction tools to the three communities they visited. (To read more about the kids experience, visit http://catholicstudentleadership.com/.)

CFC USA leaders, together with CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and wife Irma, and CFC ANCOP President Eric delos Reyes and wife Carina with Leslie Ann Picazo (in blue gown) after the concert. Leslie Ann and Divine Aleonar competed in the Global Pinoy Singing Idol at the Market! Market! Mall in Taguig.

under the leadership of Jimmy Ilagan and CFC in the Middle East, is interested to take on and handle the GPSI regional finals in Dubai. Last January 25, 2013, the final competition for the 2012 edition of GPSI was held at the Market! Market! Atrium in Taguig, where Leslie Ann Picazo

and Divine Aleonar, winners from the US East Coast, competed with 5 other contestants from the USA West Coast, Australia, Korea and New Zealand. Jayvee Laguna of New Zealand (champion), Justine Vasquez of Australia (1 st runner-up) and John Mark Enrique of San Francisco, California (2nd runner-up)

were declared the best by judges Monet Silvestre, Alou Almaden and Maestro Gerard Salonga. CFC and CFC ANCOP leaders came to watch the event to support Picazo and Aleonar, as well as get the feel of the competition in preparation for the Middle East, Hawaii and Montreal, Canada legs.