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Easter sacraments can revive relationships, Pope teaches


Urbi et Orbi Easter 2013 Message of Pope Francis


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ


Urban poor stage calvary protest

URBAN poor groups dramatized the plight of thousands of homeless people in Metro Manila by staging their modern depiction of the passion of Christ outside Quiapo Church in Manila. Dubbed as Kalbaryo ng Maralita (Calvary of the Poor), the demonstrators marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Plaza Miranda, led by 40 urban poor people simulating flagellation. With them were members of housing rights groups including Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity,
Protest / A6

By Roy Lagarde

OUTRAGED over the governments handling of the ongoing Sabah standoff, the Sultanate of Sulu turned to the Catholic hierarchy to help resolve the territorial dispute.
Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III met with the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, wherein he raised their concerns over the ongoing crisis. Kiram specifically told Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, of the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Malaysian government against Filipinos in Sabah. He also asked the bishops collegial body to express grave concern over the supposed human rights abuses. Palma first met with Kiram and his party at his office in Intramuros, Manila before leaving for Rome on April 1, to attend the International Eucharistic Congress. The closed-door meeting, which lasted for almost half an hour was arranged by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Gausbaug Coalition for Peace and Humanitarian Resolution of Sabah. Kiram was accompanied by his daughter Princess Jaycel Kiram, the Sultanates spokesperson Abraham
Sultan / A6

Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales

Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III (left) is greeted by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, during their meeting in Manila on April 1. Kiram and Palma discussed the Sabah crisis that affected thousands of Filipino settlers there.

THE new leader of the worlds 1.2 billion Catholics is most likely to visit the Philippines soon, a cardinal said. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said the chances are high that Pope Francis will have his pastoral visit to the country in three years time. One possibility for the papal visit, he said, is for the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which will take place in Cebu City in 2016. I told him Your Holiness, we are going to prepare for your pastoral visit to the Philippines. He then answered Vamos a ver or we are going to see, Rosales said. We have a feeling that he might (visit the Philippines for the IEC), he said. Let us pray for that. We will learn many things from him. The pope earlier told Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle that he had high hopes for the Philippines, asking the Filipinos to strengthen their faith, deepen their devotion to Mary and mission to the poor. The message to me was quite compact but still quite compelling, Tagle said. Now those three are already a whole program as it were for the whole Church in the Philippines. (CBCPNews)

Church, life advocates to gear up for RH oral arguments

FOLLOWING the Supreme Courts issuance of a status quo ante (SQA) order against the Reproductive Health (RH) law, officials of the Catholic Church and life advocates expressed jubilation over this temporary victory and urged the laity to use the given time to prepare for the oral arguments set by the high tribunal on June 18. The SQA order, which resulted from the 10-5 voting of the high courts en banc session, postpones the implementation of the controversial measure for 120 days. In a statement posted in their website, Pro-life Philippines said the cool-off period must be used by life advocates to plan, strategize, mobilize, regroup, and pray in preparation for the upcoming discussion of RH arguments. The supporters of RH will not stop until every letter of the law is implemented and the culture of death reigns in our nation, the statement read. This is a time for thanking God and our Blessed Mother on this feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. This is also a time for praying for all the Supreme Court justices that they may continue to uphold the constitution and that those in power will do their utmost to protect the weak and the poor, it added. Essence of responsible parenthood Pro-Life Philippines added in its statement that the true meaning of responsible parenthood is to follow Gods will, and to educate and take care of your child so that he may imbibe Godly values that will guide him all his life. The group also noted that continuous prayer is needed to advance the cause of life advocates despite the opposition thrown by staunch RH supporters. We pray that our country may continue to step towards the right path, guided by the light of Christ and strengthened by the values handed down to us by our forefathers, the statement read. (Jennifer M. Orillaza / CBCP for Life)

A Church reaching out to people under Pope Francis

A CHURCH reaching out to the masses could be one of Pope Francis unique gifts to the Catholic hierarchy, an archbishop said. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the new pontiff is a type of person that really connects with the people from all walks of life. I think one unique gift that he will bring is personal encounter, which is really important for the Church, Tagle said. The Church in the end is a communion, a relationship in faith. I think thats one thing that will grow strong, he said. The cardinal made the statement during a press conference upon his arrival from Rome at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 Dignitaries Lounge. Tagle arrived in Manila with Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. They were welcomed by Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto and some NAIA officials. Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, meanwhile, took a direct flight from Rome to Cebu City. Tagle was the lone Filipino out of the 115 cardinal electors in the two-day conclave that elected Pope Francis. According to him, he had known the new pope since 2005 when they were both elected as members of the Council of Synod of Bishops. He approached me and said, OK, I have relayed his greetings so that I obeyed Father Catalan, Tagle said, expressing amusement at a pope obeying a priest. So you see? Because we worked together in the past, you could joke with him but now, maybe I have to restrain myself a bit formal and reverential, he added. We returned Cardinal Chito Before the conclave, Tagle was among those considered as strong papal contenders to succeed Pope Benedict XVI who formally resigned last Feb. 28. The 55-year old cardinal was also considered as the netizens top papabile. So were here returning Cardinal Chito, Rosales said drawing laughter in the room. Tagle, for his part, downplayed as speculations from outsiders that he was among the strong papal candidates. It is the product of speculations from different sectors especially social media. I am just happy that they are not the electors, he said in jest. But you know it was very clear to me that the mission of the cardinals is to elect a new pope and not to have yourself elected, said Tagle. (RL / CBCPNews)

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is welcomed by Papal nuncio Giuseppe Pinto upon his arrival at the NAIA from Rome on March 21. Tagle, who joined in the conclave that elected Pope Francis, arrived with Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

In 2008, he said that they also worked together during the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Canada. Tagle also revealed that the then Buenos Aires cardinal used to send him letters before just to congratulate him or highlight things that he said in some media interviews. When he was assigned as Manila archbishop, the new pope also sent him a message but I dont remember anything that answered his letter. You see that kind of person.

He was a cardinal at that time in 2005 and I was still bishop of Imus but he knew how to reach out to people, said Tagle. He does not look at the ranking. He knows how to affirm and encourage people. I experienced that, he stressed. Pope obeying a priest During mealtime with other cardinals after the conclave, Pope Francis approached Tagle just to relay the message of Filipino priest, a Fr. Catalan, working for the Apostolic Nunciature in Argentina.

Easters message of hope helps us face trials, bishops say

EASTERS message of hope could help the faithful face lifes challenges, Catholic Church leaders said. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that turning to God is the most creative approach to problem solving ever imagined. It is time to look to God, the giver of life. Let us welcome the action of God who once raised a crucified Nazarean to life and made Him our hope, our Lord, Tagle said in his Easter message. When brokenness strikes individuals and families, we often experience the need for an infusion of fresh life, the Manila archbishop said. Unfortunately, he said, despite human efforts, we still see in society, tombs of hunger, unemployment, homelessness, violence, discrimination, injustice and corruption There will never be any true resurrection from our individual, familial, societal and environmental tombs if we do not allow God to act. Make room for GodHe will raise us to true life with Jesus, he said. The head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines called on the faithful to integrate their faith with their daily lives, saying that our future resurrection depends on our life of faith today. Our rejoicing and gladness today must therefore be paired with a renewed and gladsome struggle to live our faith in thought, words and deeds every day, said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president. And if ever we sin, let us return to God through the Sacrament of Penance, so that we may continuously experience a foretaste of our future resurrection by rising from the grave of sin to a new life of grace, he said. (CBCPNews)

Bishop cites cultures role in Pinoys practice of folk religiosity

AUXILIARY Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of San Fernando, Pampanga said the Filipinos deep sense of the sacred plays a big role in their practice of folk religiosity that on some occasions border at fanaticism. He was referring to the practice of flagellation and crucifixion, which penitents undergo on Good Friday in Barangay Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Folk / A6

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

Sulu Sultan seeks CBCP help over Sabah row

April 1 - 14, 2013

Vol. 17 No. 07

Php 20.00

Pope Francis likely to visit PH Cardinal

VATICAN City, April 1, 2013 Pope Francis prayed for a political solution in Syria and for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula in his first Easter Sunday message in front of a crowd in St Peters Square. Latin Americas first pontiff also issued an appeal for hostages held by militants in Nigeria and condemned human trafficking as the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century. The pope delivered his Urbi et Orbi blessing to Rome and the world from the same balcony of St Peters Basilica where he made his first appearance after his momentous election to the papacy on March 13. Speaking in front of some 250,000 people from around the world in the Vatican, Francis prayed for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found? he said. As he delivered his message, violence still raged in Syria, where Easter Sunday fighting killed at least 140 people including 56 civilians and engulfing areas in and around Damascus and sparking a mass exodus from a badly hit district in the

World News
northern city of Aleppo, a watchdog group said. On the Korean peninsula, may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow, Francis said, as North Korea vowed to strengthen its nuclear weapons a day after declaring it was in a state of war with South Korea. Francis also prayed for Nigeria, where great numbers of people, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups, an apparent reference to a French family kidnapped in Cameroon and believed held by radical Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram. The pope also toured St Peters Square in his open-top popemobile kissing babies and waving to cheering crowds who waved flags from around the world, including his native Argentina. Easter is the holiest day in the Christian calendar and celebrates the belief in Jesus Christs death and resurrection. It is the culmination of weeks of intense prayer for Christians. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem on Sunday invited the pope and the worlds Christians to visit the Holy City, which he called the birthplace of everything Christian. Our new evangelization, in order to be up-to-date and effective, must start out again from Jerusalem, start out from the first Christian community, Fuad Twal, the senior Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, said in his Easter homily. In his first Easter sermon as archbishop of Canterbury, who leads the worlds 80 million Anglicans, Justin Welby warned against pinning hopes on individuals to solve all of societys problems. A hero leader culture in which all trust was placed in one person only led to false hope, he told worshippers. The 76-year-old Pope Francis,

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

Pope calls for peace in Korea

formerly Buenos Aires archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, has said he wants a poor Church for poor people and has adopted a less formal style than that of his predecessor Benedict XVI. A moderate conservative on Catholic doctrine, he was known in Argentina for his humble lifestyle, his outreach in poor neighborhoods and his strong social advocacy during his homelands devastating economic crisis. But he faces major challenges ranging from reform of the scandal-ridden Vatican bureaucracy to addressing decades of child abuse by pedophile priests. (UCAN/AFP)

Archbishop of Yangon calls for an end to violence between Daejeon, Easter with the elderly and the sick to bring the hope of Christ Buddhists and Muslims
MYANMAR, March 29, 2013Young Burmese Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and Hindus have accepted a call for peace issued a few days ago by the archbishop of Yangon, signing an appeal for an end to violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the central part of country. For days, Myanmar has been the scene of riots that have left so far dozens of people dead and caused the destruction of scores of homes and places of worship. To stem the slide towards extremism, Myanmars president has not ruled out the use of force against those he deems provocateurs, people only interested in sowing disorder and chaos. According to some Burma experts, certain groups close to the army and extremist Buddhist factions are behind the attacks, plotting to overthrow the state and put power back into the hands of a military junta. Msgr. Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon, issued a message of peace and hope that was picked up right away by interfaith youth groups. Love and compassion are central to Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, the prelate said. For this reason, it is quite urgent and important for all religious leaders to come together to listen to each other in order to come to a joint statement and action. Unity and peaceful coexistence can be reached through not only a constitution or an army but also through the law of love, the only one that can bring about the former, said the archbishop, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Burma. In his first public comments on the violence during a televised speech Thursday, Myanmar President Thein Sein warned that he would not hesitate from using force against political opportunists and religious extremists SOUTH KOREA, March 29, 2013The Easter Triduum is the central moment of the life of the Church but also the fulcrum of human hope, this is why I decided to spend time with the elderly and the sick, those who are most in need, the Bishop of Daejeon, Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, tells AsiaNews about his Easter agenda and launches a message: We follow the new Pope to become a poor Church for the poor. The Mass, the Lords Supper was celebrated yesterday by the bishop in the tiny parish of Unsan, on the outskirts of the diocese. Instead today, the Way of the Cross will be held in the cathedral, as well as the Easter Vigil: In the evening we will be in the Daeheung-dong (the central church of the diocese, dedicated to St. Joseph.) Last year, Buddhist monks took part, this year I do not know if they can join us. We try to maintain the best possible relations: Im visit them on the day of Buddhas birthday and they come at Easter and Christmas. Easter Sunday, however, Msgr. You will go to the old and sick, I will try to spend all day in a Home for the Aged of the diocese, to be with them. Nearby is a geriatric hospital and a center for the disabled. We made a qualitative leap since we took up this center, which originally was run by the state: after saying Mass, in fact, I will also bless the new parts of the hospital. The choice is not random: These holidays are the heart of our faith, but above all they are the perennial source of hope for the human being. I think its only right to share this eternal hope with those who need it most, that is, those who suffer and are alone. On the feast of St. Joseph, the diocese has also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the seminary: I celebrated a Mass for the new Pope with my priests and told them that, in the footsteps of Francis, we must commit ourselves to really become a poor Church for the poor. (AsiaNews)

to save life and property. The violence erupted on 20 March in Meikhtila after a trivial argument broke out between a Muslim gold seller and a Buddhist customer. According to the police report following the incident, the altercation sparked riots that left 42 people dead, and caused considerable damage to property, including 37 religious buildings (mostly mosques) and 1,227 homes. As a result, police arrested 68 people in the areas affected by the violence, which had begun in Meikhtila and then spread to 11 others cit-

ies spread across the regions of Bago (Pegu) and Mandalay, in southern and central Myanmar. Local authorities imposed a curfew and banned public gatherings but failed to stop the violence. According to Myanmar state TV, yesterday groups of people attacked homes, shops and religious buildings in two more towns in Bago. The previous day, security forces fired warning shots in the air to fend off more people attacking property belonging to Muslims. (AsiaNews)


DC youth salsa dance for immigrant outreach

WASHINGTON D.C., March 28, 2013 A recent Latin-style party in Washington, D.C., drew hundreds of young adults for a night of music, food and salsa dancing that benefited Catholic outreach to low-income immigrants. We had so many young people there, so many new people. It was a fun night, Monsignor John Enzler, president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, told CNA March 27. There was an excitement there that we hadnt had before, he said. Community was built in a very special way on Friday night. The Msica y Sueos event, which means Music and Dreams, featured a sit-down Latin-inspired dinner buffet and salsa dancing at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building March 22. D.C. salsa dancer Ricardo Loaiza provided dance lessons and a live DJ provided the music. People enjoyed themselves. It was not expensive, Msgr. Enzler said, characterizing the event as an effort to raise new friendships rather than funds. The event benefitted the Catholic Charities-run Spanish Catholic Center, which has been in operation for more than 45 years. With three different locations in the District of Columbia and Maryland, the center served 18,000 clients last year. The center provides medical and dental clinics, food pantries, employment counseling, legal aid and language instruction. Its social services help provide those in need with food, shelter and clothing. Its our goal and our effort to try to

Colorado parish dedicates beautiful new church

DENVER, Colo., March 29, 2013Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish of the Denver Archdiocese, recently dedicated its new church building which local Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has described as beautiful. The beauty of it... speaks to the gift of our faith, and that this is a place where the Lord is truly present and dwells, the archbishop told CNA shortly after the dedication Mass on March 23. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is located in Littleton, a suburb of Denver, and is a personal parish of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a society which celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy as it existed prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. At the beginning of the dedication, the Litany of Saints was prayed and Archbishop Aquila sprinkled the church with holy water. Parish pastor, Father James Jackson then celebrated a Solemn High Mass. It was the first high Mass that Ive been to in the extraordinary form since I was a child, so it was a whole new experience for me, Archbishop Aquila reflected. He said that on entering Our Lady of Mount Carmel, one knows immediately that one is in a Catholic church. The church is built in a Gothic style, and has three altars, which were made in 1903 from Carrara marble. The main altar is 33 feet tall, extending virtually as high as the interior ceiling. The buildings stained glass windows depict the mysteries of the rosary, the practical reasons, he said. Such high altars serve to lift eyes, and in so doing lift minds and hearts to God. The stone used on the exterior conveys a sense of permanence and reminds one of the eternal reality of the Kingdom God. Constructing beautiful churches, he said, is important because there is so much ugliness in the world today. Beauty is one of the four transcendentalgoodness, truth, consistence (unity), and beauty. Those are the ways we come to understand God. By portraying the transcendentals in architecture and the celebration of the liturgy, visitors and parishioners are aided in their relationship with God. The building youre in, the sacred vessels you use, the vestments you wear, the music you sing, the acoustics, everything...should be in harmony with the rite, said Fr. Jackson. Any church, he explained, needs to be in harmony with what youre doing at the altar. Our Lady of Mount Carmel continues to work through its remodeling. In the future, the parish hall and basement will be renovated, and to the church will be added a choir loft, narthex, baptistry, and bell tower. Of course, its not enough (just) to have beauty, reflected Fr. Jackson. You have to speak truth from the pulpit, and give kindness and mercy in the confessional, but beauty really does move the soul of modern man in a marvelous way. (CNA)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila attended the dedication of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Littleton, CO on March 23, 2013.

evangelists, the four Latin Doctors of the Church, and Saint Charles Borromeo. Fr. Jackson told the parish that St. Charles Borromeo was honored because he used the saints writings on sacred architecture in designing the church. The altar is spectacular, reflected Archbishop Aquila. He also emphasized how the choice of depictions for the stained glass, and the beauty of their execution, convey to parishioners the gift of the Catholic faith. Fr. Jackson explained to CNA March 27 that Our Lady of Mount Carmels Gothic design was chosen in part because these older forms of architecture, theyre tried and true, and they really work. The substantial height of the church, he explains, contributes to good acoustics which support the Gregorian chant and polyphony sung during the Mass. There should be no need for a microphone when our church is all completed, he said. The height has theological as well as

meet their needs where they are and make sure we can assist in whatever way we can, Msgr. Enzler said. He noted the growing Latino population in the United States and in the archdiocese. Hispanics make up about 40 percent of the U.S. Catholic population and are expected to reach 50 percent within the decade. The Spanish Catholic Center, he said, is part of a huge and important effort for us to make sure that we are meeting the needs of this burgeoning population. He explained that clients want the services and commitment that the Church provides and also help to grow in their faith. Catholic Charities invited young Latino leaders to the event through social media like Twitter. Msgr. Enzler said about 300 of the 400 attendees were new to Catholic Charities events. A silent movie played during the event to help partygoers learn more about the center. Spanish Catholic Center staff also mingled with the crowd and spoke about their work. The archdioceses Catholic Charities intends to make Msica y Sueos an annual event. People were excited and thrilled and felt they were being asked to participate, but also asked to collaborate. And they did, Msgr. Enzler added. He noted that the event supports Catholic Charities efforts to serve anyone who comes to their doors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. I think we do a great job of making that happen, he said. (CNA)

OLMC Parish

Vatican Briefing
2 books by Pope Francis published in Italian

ND bishop praises new laws protecting unborn life

BISMARCK, N.D., March 28, 2013Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, N.D. praised the North Dakota legislature and governor for passing into law three pro-life bills that place stronger restrictions on abortion. The protection of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death is the primary purpose of government, Bishop Kagan said March 26. All persons, including our elected officials, are obligated to unceasingly seek protection of this basic human right. The bishop said he applauded members of the legislature who bravely supported measures to extend protections to unborn human life and to advance the health of women. The new laws include bans on abortions performed after a fetal heartbeat is detectable and bans on abortions that target the unborn child on the basis of his or her sex or genetic abnormalities. Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the three bills into law on Tuesday. He acknowledged that they could provoke controversies in constitutional law. He said it is uncertain whether the ban on postheartbeat abortions will survive a court challenge. However, he said the bill is a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court has never considered the precise restrictions based on a fetal heartbeat, he noted. The fetal heartbeat is detectable via ultrasound at about 12 weeks into pregnancy. Gov. Dalrymple signed another bill that requires any abortionist in North Dakota to have admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital that allows abortions to take place in its facility. The added requirement that the hospital privileges must include allowing abortions to take place in their facility greatly increases the chances that this measure will face a court challenge, he said. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and new question for the courts regarding a precise restriction on doctors who perform abortions. Backers of the bill baring abortion for sex selection and genetic defects have said they follow American traditions against discrimination on the basis of sex or disability. On March 22, the legislature approved another pro-life initiative that will go before North Dakota voters in 2014: an amendment to the state constitution that says the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and defended. Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, denied that the amendment is a personhood amendment. It would not ban abortion without legislative action, he clarified. Instead, the amendment provides guidance for the courts in interpreting state laws. Bishop Kagan asked all Catholics in North Dakota to join him in prayer for all elected leaders this Holy Week. May the Author of Life grant them wisdom in all their endeavors, said the bishop, who is also apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Fargo. (CNA)

Two books written by Pope Francis while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires were available on March 26. Both texts were written in Spanish in 2006. They are titled Humility, the road towards God, and Recovering from Corruptioncalled Corruption and sin: some thoughts on corruption. Both draw upon Jesuit spirituality, offering solutions for the corruption of society based on the wisdom of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Among the solutions offered by Pope Francis is the need for an ecclesial life characterized by fraternal charity. (CNA)
Spiritual poverty threatens world peace, Pope states

Pope Francis invited the diplomats accredited to the Holy See to join him in fighting material and spiritual poverty, which both contribute to the lack of peace in the world. Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up, Pope Francis said March 22. The Pope met in the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace with representatives from the more than 180 countries, sovereign orders and international organizations that have formal relations with the Vatican. (CNA)
Pope recognizes martyrs from communist, fascist regimes

An Italian priest who died in a Nazi concentration camp and two victims of Soviet-bloc regimes during the Cold War were among those recognized as martyrs by Pope Francis on March 27. The pope authorized decrees stating that Franciscan Father Giuseppe Girotti, an opponent of Italys fascist government who died at Dachau in 1945, was killed in hatred of the faith. Pope Francis likewise recognized the martyrdom of Romanian Father Vladimir Ghika and Hungarian Salesian Brother Stephen Sandor, who were killed by their countrys communist regimes, in 1954 and 1953, respectively. The decrees prepare the way for the martyrs beatification, probably later this year. (CNS)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

News Features
VATICAN City, March 30, 2013Pope Francis called on Christians to let the risen Jesus enter their lives and to welcome him with trust as a friend during the Churchs most holy night of the year. If up until now you have kept him at a distance, step forward...he will receive you with open arms, Pope Francis said at Saint Peters Basilica during the Easter Vigil Mass. If you have been indifferent, take a risk, you wont be disappointed, he told thousands gathered at the Vatican on March 30. At the opening of the liturgy which Pope Francis concelebrated with numerous cardinals candles were lit among the faithful and passed in complete silence, illuminating the church as the Easter candle procession reached the altar. Pope Francis also baptized four people during the service, including a 17-year-old U.S. Citizen of Vietnamese descent, a 30-year-old Albanian, a 30-year-old Russian and a 23-year-old Italian. After the baptisms, a white cloth was placed over each of the four and a flame from the main Easter candle was shared with smaller candles which were given to them to hold. Pope Francis then confirmed them as Catholics, making the sign of the cross on their forehead with oil and kissing them each on the cheek. The four also received their first Holy Communion and Confirmation during the Mass. During his homily, the new Pope said that if following Christ seems difficult, dont be afraid. Trust him, be confident that he is


Easter sacraments can revive relationships, Pope teaches

VATICAN City, April 1, 2013The Pope told a crowd gathered in St. Peters Square for the Regina Coeli that the grace from the sacraments received at Easter can renew relationships. The grace contained in Easter Sacraments has a huge potential for renewal in personal life, family life and social relations, Pope Francis said April 1 to a packed Saint Peters Square. He noted that everything passes through the human heart, and the sacraments allow people to receive the grace of the risen Christ, which gives them the freedom to change those faults that can hurt me and others. The Pope underscored that this allows the victory of Christ to remain in my life and broaden its beneficial action. Without grace we can do nothing, and with the grace of Baptism and Holy Communion, we can become an instrument of Gods mercy, he said. Expressing in life the sacrament we have received here, dear brothers and sisters, is our daily work, but I would say it is also our daily joy, the Holy Father added. Todays Mass liturgy recalls the Apostle Peter preaching on Jesus resurrection to crowds in Jerusalem.

Welcome Jesus as a friend, Pope encourages at Easter Vigil

close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do. If people remember what God has done for them, he noted, they will not fear what lies in store for their lives. To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have traveled is what opens our hearts to hope for the future, he said. The Pope observed that newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are afraid of Gods surprises... he always surprises us! he exclaimed. However, Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up. Pope Francis reflected on the resurrection narrative from the Gospel reading where the women were sad and afraid to find the tomb of Jesus opened and empty after his death. Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future, he is the everlasting today of God, he emphasized. Because of this, Pope Francis explained, sadness is the wrong place to look for life. How often does Love have to tell us why do you look for the living among the dead? he asked. Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness, Pope Francis noted. That is where death is and is not the place to look for the one who is alive. Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! (CNA/EWTN News)

He called on the power of the resurrection of Christ to reach everyone, the Pope recalled, especially those who suffer and those in all situations in need of confidence and hope. Christ has conquered evil fully and Pope Francis leads his first Regina Coeli prayer on April 1, 2013. definitively, he said, but it is up to us to welcome At todays gathering, the Pope recited this victory in our lives and in the reali- the prayer and delivered his remarks ties of history and society. in Italian. The Vatican press office director, FaChuckles were heard across St. Peters Square after the Pope concluded the ther Federico Lombardi, said at a March gathering by saying, thank you all and 29 press conference that he thinks Pope Francis does not sing during liturgies have a great lunch. He then waved a final goodbye, while because has a certain amount of tone deafness. the crowd waved back at him. The Regina Coeli is sung or recited in Pope Francis next event will be his place of the Angelus at 12:00 p.m., from second general audience on April 3. Easter Saturday until Pentecost Sunday. (CNA/EWTN News)

Oil of anointing should overflow to people, pope says

MANILA, March 28, 2013 The oil of anointing a priest received on his ordination should overflow to the people whom he is sent to serve and love, Pope Francis said. More than simply lending fragrance to the person, the oil that a priest is anointed with on his ordination is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone, said the Holy Father in his homily during the first Chrism Mass he celebrated as bishop of Rome at St. Peters Basilica. He said that as ordained ministers, priests carry upon their shoulders and in their hearts, the burdens and faces of the people they are called to serve. The redemptive efficacy of the priests anointing can only be experienced by going to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters, he said. When people are anointed with the oil of gladness, they leave the Mass looking as if they heard the good news, the pontiff said. The pope said people like to hear the gospel preached in a way that touches the reality of their lives. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes, he said. He said people are encouraged to ask for prayers and entrust their cares and burdens to priests because they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord, the pope said. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men, the pope said. But priests become mediators only if they go out of themselves and bring the Gospel to others, the pontiff said. He said too much introspection will not lead one to encounter the Lord but in giving oneself and the Gospel to others. A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little, misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart, said the pope. The pope also noted that the threat of the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. He said it is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to put out into the deep, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is

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Bishop urges priests to live simply, humbly

MANILA, March 28, 2013The clergy would be more effective ministers to their flocks if their lives are lived with greater humility and simplicity, a Catholic bishop said. The Church has been hurt a lot because of some priests arrogance and lifestyle that contrasts with their calling as ministers of Christ, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said on Holy Thursday during a Chrism Mass celebrated at St. John Evangelist Cathedral. As ordained ministers, Villegas said, priests act in the person of Christ when they preside the sacraments and offer the Holy Mass. [But] what kind of priests who act in the person of Christ the head must we be? Are we really signs of Christ the head for his body the Church? Villegas asked. As signs of Christ the head, priests must mirror in their lives the love and care Jesus has for his body, the Church. Explaining the analogy of the spiritual headship to that of a physical head, the prelate pointed out that whether bald or hairy, grey or black, all heads need a body, and a head that has no body is dead, in the same way a body that has no head is dead. In other words, the first duty of a good head is to remember that it is only part of a body; that cut off from the body, the head loses life. The head cannot go right while the body goes the other way, the archbishop further explained. He said ears and eyes have been put in the same level on the head to show that the duty of the head is to watch with love and care. According to him, the strength of a good leader lies in his capacity to listen with respect and obedience to those under his care. And this explains why the lips have been put below the eyes and ears, because talking is the least of all our duties, he said. Villegas told his priests to preach through actions more than words since the most important role of headship is watching with care and listening with love. When a priest has lost the capacity to listen patiently and lovingly to his flock, he is like a head without a body, the prelate said. If we have lost the capacity to watch lovingly and listen tenderly, to keep quiet respectfully, to stop senseless murmurings trying to sound funny, and to resist useless chatter, we have in fact beheaded the body, said Villegas. He urged the clergy to think with their hearts as it is only love can save people from sin and only with the heart that we can see rightly. See the sinner in the confessional not with the mind of canon law but with the mercy of the heart of Jesus. See the beggar at the church door not with the eyes of first impression but with love and first intuition, he stressed. He urged the priests to avoid the temptation of egoism by deepening their prayer life and frequenting the sacrament of confession. Recalling the rite of ordination, Villegas said the laying of hands over our heads continues to this day. He said the good priest must always remember that his head is under the hands of the Church, under the hands of the Lord. The head must learn how to kneel. The head must know how to bow. He told them humility is the only crown that the head must wear as it is the crown of all virtues. In the same way, Villegas observed, the bishop wears his miter not a crown but as the roof of Gods power and we are all under it not as bosses but servants. When you renew your priestly promises, promise also to be humble signs of Christ the headalways one with the body, always one with the heart, always under the power of the Lord, the prelate said. The sign cannot be the head itself. We must decrease so that Christ the head may increase. (CBCPNews)

Pope Francis blessed the oils used for anointing during the Chrism Mass held at St. Peters Basilica on Holy Thursday.

unction not function and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus. The pope also exhorted the faithful to care for the priests and offer prayers for them that they may always be shepherds according to Gods heart. (CBCPNews)

Radiate the joy of Christ, pope tells faithful

MANILA, March 24, 2013True joy comes not from amassing worldly possessions but from encountering the person of Christ, the Holy Father said during the Palm Sunday celebration at St. Peters Square. Pope Francis, in his homily on Palm Sunday urged the faithful not to give in to discouragement but instead be men and women of joy. Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our lifes journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! the pope said. Pope Francis ushered the beginning of the Holy Week blessing palm fronds and olive branches on the obelisk in St. Peters Square. The Holy Father dwelt on three important points in his homily: Joy, Cross and Youth. He said the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem amid shouts of joy has awakened great hopes in the hearts of the least and forgotten in society. Jesus understands the sufferings of human beings, the pope said, and he has shown the face of Gods mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this, Pope Francis said. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he humbled himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. Here, he enlightens us on the journey. But even as we accompany and follow Jesus, it is him who first accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders, said the pope. He urged everyone to be steadfast in their hopes and share the joy of the faith to all. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone! Let us not be robbed of hope! The pope said Jesus did not enter Jerusalem to receive honors reserved to earthly kings but to embrace the Cross that lead to Calvary. In embracing the Cross, Jesus has taken upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God, the pontiff said. Reflecting on the presence of evil in the world, the pope noted how greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation, have brought so much destruction on humanity. But by embracing the Cross with love, Jesus had conquered all evil, and this is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne, said the pope, stressing that the Cross when embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! Pope Francis also called on young people to continue living and sharing the faith with the dynamism of youth. You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty, the pontiff said. Announcing that he is also setting out on the same journey his predecessors had been, Pope Francis urged the youth to prepare spiritually for the upcoming world youth day celebration. I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well prepare spiritually above all in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world, the pope said. Palm Sunday has traditionally been celebrated as World Youth Day, since it was first instituted 28 years ago by Blessed John Paul II. But every three years a worldwide celebration is held with a particular country as host venue. In July this year, the World Youth Day will be celebrated at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. (CBCPNews)

Pope Francis meets retired Pope Benedict, says were brothers

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, March 25, 2013With a warm embrace, a helping hand, shared prayer, a long discussion and lunch together, Pope Francis spent several hours with retired Pope Benedict XVI March 23 at the papal summer villa. Pope Francis gave Pope Benedict an icon of Mary and Jesus that the Russian Orthodox delegation to his inauguration had given him just a few days earlier. They told me this was Our Lady of Humility. If I may say, I thought of you, Pope Francis said. Pope Benedict, obviously moved, grasped his successors hands. Pope Francis told Pope Benedict, You gave us so many examples of humility and tenderness. The meeting took place in Castel Gandolfo, where Pope Benedict is staying while a Vatican monastery is being remodeled as a residence for him. The retired pope moved with much greater difficulty than he did a month ago. Walking with a cane, he took smaller and slower steps. When the two went into the chapel of the papal villa to pray, Pope Benedict indicated that Pope Francis should take the front pew, but Pope Francis, reaching out to help his predecessor walk, said, Were brothers, and they knelt side by side. Traveling by helicopter from the Vatican, Pope Francis arrived shortly after noon. While the two have spoken by telephone at least twice, this was their first meeting since Pope Francis Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the two rode in the same car to the villa. Pope Francis sat on the right the spot reserved for the pope and Pope Benedict sat on the left. After their visit to the chapel, the two spent 45 minutes talking alone, Father Lombardi said. He would not release details of the conversation and would not explain what was in the large box and two large envelopes seen on the table between the two. The two had lunch together at Castel Gandolfo, then reportedly went for a short walk. Pope Francis returned to the Vatican about two-and-a-half hours after he arrived. Hundreds of people who were gathered in the main square outside the papal villa were left disappointed. They had hoped the two popes one reigning, one emeritus would come to the balcony together. Father Lombardi told reporters, Remember that the retired pope had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his farewell meeting with the cardinals, Feb. 28, and certainly in this meeting which was a moment of profound and elevated communion he will have had the opportunity to renew this act of reverence and obedience to his successor. He also said, Certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude and that of the whole church for Pope Benedicts ministry during his pontificate. (CNS)
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Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in their first ever face-to-face meeting after Francis election to the papacy.

March 13 election. Pope Benedict, wearing a quilted white jacket over a simple white cassock without a short cape or white sash was driven to the garden heliport to greet his successor.


Living the spirit of Vatican II

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

MORE than 50 years after its occurrence, Vatican II continues to defy the understanding and appreciation of many people. In fact, it is attacked by two opposite sides, from what we may call as the Right and the Left, the Conservative and the Liberal. There are those who think that the ecumenical council betrays the spirit of Christianity, by debunking a big and what they consider as an essential part of tradition. These are the Traditionalists who are uncomfortable with Masses said in the vernacular or a Church very active in human and world affairs. At the other end, there are those who consider Vatican II as not doing enough to cope with the demands of the times and the needs of modern man. They want to delete some Church doctrines that to their mind are now obsolete if not an obstacle to their ministry. But Vatican II is a great watershed in Church life, a true gift of the Holy Spirit to make the Church not only attuned to the dynamics of modern times but also and more importantly, to make Christianity more deeply and widely lived by each one. It was a comprehensive effort participated in by a good number of Cardinals, bishops, other clerics, theologians and other periti (experts), plus some lay faithful and even observers from other Christian denominations who together tried to discern what the Holy Spirit was prompting and continues to prompt the Church to do and to be. For centuries, the Church had slowly and steadily gotten stuck with certain stereotypes that needed to be dismantled. For sure, this process of renewing the Church will always be a work-in-progress. Social, cultural and historical conditionings that actually vary need to be reassessed from time to time. This need for continuing renewal will never end, since not only is the Church a living organism. Vatican II has made some dramatic shifts of attitudes and ways of doing things. Where before the laity were considered secondary citizens and the servants and longa manus of the clerics, now the fundamental equality of all the faithfulclerics, laity and religious while respecting and fostering the legitimate variety among them, is highlighted. The relationship between laity and clerics is now better defined and keyed to the dynamics of mutual generous and all-out serving of one another. Before, this relationship highlighted the more prominent position of the clerics, while the attention given to the laity leaned more to the minimalist direction. The universal call to sanctity is stressed more in Vatican II. Before, sanctity appeared to be reserved only to a few lucky individuals. Vatican II also highlighted the lay spirituality, encouraging the lay faithful to be consistent with their faith and baptismal commitment right in the middle of the world. Thus, more lay people are being encouraged to live out their Christian commitment to carry out personal apostolate with their families, friends and colleagues at work, grounding this effort on their daily pursuit for personal sanctity through prayer, recourse to the sacraments, continuing formation and ascetical struggle, etc. The clerics are encouraged to be generous in giving due care and attention to the laypeople. They should be willing to be servants even to the point of washing the feet of the people as exemplified by Christ himself, and why not, of being crucified. That would indicate that they are really giving their all. Vatican II demands everyone to go beyond simply being nominal Christians and to be active and living members of the Church, each one doing his part to the full in solidarity with everybody else. Besides, Vatican II has a lot to say about liturgy, ecumenism, education, family, etc. Lets live its spirit well!

Pope Francis Mabuhay!

IT can be said that practically the whole worldof every race, color, and creed watched with awe and respect, with interest and fascination if not with but curiosity and inquisitivenessthe recently concluded Papal Conclave which received long and repeated international tri-media coverage. And this is not saying anything about the vast and sustained interest of the social media about the same distinct event. And, needless to say, after the election of Pope Francis, there is still the continuing wonder and admiration about his ingrained simplicityin terms of simple living and simple teaching, simple gestures and simple preferences, inclusive of simple vestments. Among his impressive attributionssuch as his love for the poor without hating the rich for their eventual generosity, his compassion for the helpless without excluding

Oscar. V. Cruz, DD

Views and Points

Question : Who sees to it that simplicity of clerical life is duly observed? The Bishop checks or exercises vigilance over his own clericsdirectly or indirectly through his Episcopal vicars or deputies. The Bishops themselves are regulated or moderated by the Pope himselfcustomarily through his own papal vicars or deputies. Conclusion: Men of God such as Deacons, Priests, and Bishops are dedicated to God teaching, serving, and sanctifying people. But human as they all still remain and who not only can but at times in fact do not live in accord with their chosen vocation. This is why the Church has her own body of normscalled the Code of Canon Law intended not simply to advise but also to oblige them what to do and what to abstain from doing.

the powerful for their ultimate conversion simplicity of life and moderation in living is one of the most noticeable, known and admired qualifying personality features of the lovable Pope Francis. This is why it is so easy to admire and love him. The above observations bring to mind a long standing 1983 Church Law about the simplicity of life that clerics should observe as a general rule. Church Law thus expressly and clearly provides: Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything that smacks of worldliness. (Canon 292 par.1 CIC) Translation: Deacons, Priests, and Bishopswho are all clericsshould live simple lives and should therefore do away with luxurious living through expensive options. To be rich, to act rich, to live richany of these is a betrayal of the nature and import of clerical life.

Gods call to mission in politics

ANY serious believer in God cannot allow the state of our national politics to persist. And in fact there is a duty for the Christian Catholic to transform politics by the Gospel. The Church, Gods people, must evangelize politics. Gods call to the Church is to preach the integral Gospel, the Gospel with all its social dimensions. The Gospel must influence every phase of life, every stratum of society, and restore all things under Christ (Eph. 1:10). Strangely, there are not a few people, even within the Church, who do not believe that to renew politics is part of the Churchs mission. When Church officials praise government policies, government officials welcome such support warmly and are only too happy. But when Church officials criticize and denounce government policies, the same people immediately cry out: Violation of the separation of Church and State! Church meddling in politics! Let the Church stick to religion! They cite the words of Christ: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods (Mt. 22:21). They say that the Church should have nothing to do with politics because Christ said to Pilate: My kingdom is not of this earth! (Jn. 18:36). They therefore conclude that the Church should not say anything about politics and politicians. How wrongly they interpret Scriptures and the doctrine of separation of Church and State! Quite unjustly they selectively level this charge of interference in politics against the Catholic Church, even while some other sects may be loudly intervening in the political process especially during elections. Politics Has a Religious and Moral Dimensionthis is the general principle we start with. Every informed Catholic should be aware of this simple incontrovertible truth: Our Catholic faith is concerned with the religious and moral dimension of life; but every human activity that flows from the normal processes of intellect and will has a religious and moral dimension, since it may either lead to grace or to sin. Or, as we said in the beginning, it may hurt or benefit people, it may upbuild or destroy them. Being a human activity politics has, therefore, a religious and moral dimension which our Catholic faith simply cannot ignore. CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, 1997

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Candidly Speaking
THATS the victory of Easter, the resurrection of Christ when he finally conquered death itself and with it all the malice of sin and evil. Its the victory that recovers our original dignity as image and likeness of God and nothing less than Gods children in Christ, the dignity we lost because of sin. This ultimate victory even enhances that dignity, since it involves God becoming like us so that we can be like him! Its this very sublime exchange and sharing that comprises the supreme good that can happen to us. Some people have considered it a Pyrrhic victory since it involves quite a tremendous cost. Its like saying that the resurrection of Christ has given us only a zero-sum triumph, since what we gain with it is almost the same as what we lose. This is, of course, a very poor understanding of this truth of faith. While its true that this culmination of the redemptive work of Christ on us entailed nothing less than his life, its also true that that death has been converted into a gateway to our salvation with his resurrection. What matters is what happens in the end, with an effect that will be for always. If we believe this truth and live it ourselves, identifying everything in our life with the life and the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, then we too can partake of this ultimate victory. We should not forget that it will involve nothing less than the offering of our life. Before that, it obviously will entail a lot of sufferingthe cross, in other wordswhich Christ already warned us about when he said that if we want to follow him, then we should deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. It would be nice if we can quit wasting time by fussing about

Easter, the ultimate victory

this truth, and simply proceed to live it, acquiring the relevant attitude and skills to put it into practice. Yes, with this truth about our assured ultimate victory in Christ, we ought to have the confidence and serenity in going about the affairs of our life. Plus, a driving sense of responsibility that should push us to do things for others without counting the cost. The other day, someone told me about an advanced management program designed in the likes of those in Harvard and the number 1 European business school, IESE, in Barcelona, Spain. What caught my attention is that this program is offered to the CEOs and owners of big companies in the Philippines and the other countries comprising the ASEAN, because by 2016, there is supposed to be an economic integration of the region that would boost economic activities. What is prominently distinctive of this program is that it infuses a strong Christian spirit into the complex art of managing big companies with global impact. I consider this a very bold move, since it will bring religion at the center of business and economics, a combination that is often considered taboo, at least in the practical sense and not so much in the theoretical. Its about time that God is seriously put into these human activities, so crucial in our lives. Those behind this program reassured everyone that freedom of conscience will always be respected, but that God, faith and religion would be unabashedly talked about in relation to these affairs of ours. I consider this as a kind of having the Easter mentality, the attitude of a confident winner who goes beyond merely monetary and other technical criteria

Candidly Speaking / A6

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Whos breaking with tradition?

A RATHER amusing phenomenon has popped up in both mainstream and social media since the election of the new popewith tongue in cheek I would call it pope-fighting, since it strikes me as a virtual cockfight unwittingly staged by an assortment of so-called Vatican experts, Vatican insiders, reporters, bloggers, popewatchers, religion enthusiasts, and certain SJ fans. It all began when Pope Francis first appeared to the world in plain white papal cassock without the ermine-lined red velvet cape, and asked the people at St. Peters Square to ask God to bless him first so that he could in turn bless them. He has since hit the headlines as one who was going to be different, an image fortified by succeeding untraditional papal gestures: taking the bus with the cardinals instead of the limousine; paying for his hotel bills; delivering off-thecuff homilies; choosing gold-plated silver for his ring and a plain white chair instead of a throne; eschewing the traditional red papal shoes in favor of a black pair;

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

and thats the truth

If Pope Francis pontificate must be labeled a break with tradition, let the fact not be ignored that his predecessor did it first. By stepping down from the barque of Peter, Benedict paved the path of simplicity and humility for his successor to tread. In choosing to further serve the Church through a hidden life of prayer, Benedict deliberately left behind the throne, the gold ring, the red shoes, the velvet cape, the pope mobile, the papal apartment, the glamour and glory of the papacy. So whos breaking with tradition? Despite the apparent differences in their papal styles, the two are one in walking that certain path for the faithful to follow. Neither is breaking with tradition, for both are upholding the Church tradition of following Christs demands. Id like to think that the enthusiasm over Pope Francis break with tradition simply indicates peoples hunger for what he calls shepherds with the odor of the sheep. Perhaps we praise his headline-worthy
And Thats The Truth / A6

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refusing the pope-mobile to ride a jeep; preferring a simpler residence over the usual papal apartmentall suffixed unfairly with unlike his predecessor. And now, the ultimate break with traditionPope Francis including two young women and two Muslims in the twelve prisoners whose feet he would wash on Holy Thursday that could very well lionize the new pope as a cult hero of rebels and non-conformists. While the new popes actions interpreted by media as break with tradition may be laudable, merely seeing the man but missing the message is not serving the truth. Given the publics propensity for hero-worship, adoring the shepherd might even make us forget about the Chief Shepherd he is trying to serve. (Dont we know how many heroes have been elevated to the glory of that status through the flawless dovetailing of propaganda and naivete?) For the sake of truth, we must guard against hasty assumptions, however consoling, for they paint but a caricature of the new pope, often at the expense of his predecessor. This, at the very least, is divisive.

Illustration by Bladimer Usi

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

Rejoice! Christ is risen!
patron saint of the universal Church, marked the installation of Pope Francis. While we were at the Supreme Court on the same day to lend support to Most Rev. Vicente Navarra, Bishop of Bacolod, at the oral argument of the petition of his Diocese and in his personal capacity, on the so-called Team Patay, Team Buhay (Team pro Death, Team pro Life) tarpaulin issue, the highest court of the land issued the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or status quo ante, on the effectivity of RH Law. The oral argument is scheduled on June 18, 2013. There are 11 petitions filed at the Supreme Court seeking the declaration of RH Law as unconstitutional. *** Congratulations to the Dominican Province of the Philippines, especially to Fr. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP, Executive Producer of the very successful 7 Palabras held last Good Friday at Sto. Domingo Church, and aired live at GMA 7 and Veritas 846 Radyo Totoo. Thanks Fr. Jeff for inviting me to be one of the prayer leaders in the 4th Last Word Diyos ko, Diyos ko, bakit mo ako pinabayaan (Lord, why have you forsaken me?) *** In behalf of the members of the Pitong Huling Wika Project of San Ildefonso de Navotas (SIP), which yours truly headed, we would like to thank the guest speakers from the Diocese of Kalookan who gave their reflections Bro. Jun Hio (Program Director of the Radio Ministry and Lay Co-Host of Hello Father 911) on the 1st and 2nd Last Words; Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iiguez, Jr., D.D., Bishop Emeritus, on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Last Words; and Most Rev. Francisco de Leon, D.D., Apostolic Administrator, on the 6th and 7th Last Words. We also thank the benefactors who untiringly support this yearly project, the scripture readers, the choirs, the prayer leaders, the Youth Ministry, the Audio-Visual Ministry and the parishioners who attended the 3-day sessions. In view of the many activities that the parish observed during Good Friday, the reflection on the Seven Last Words of our Lord is held for three consecutive nights on Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday. *** Congratulations to all graduates, most specially to my niece Ria Edeliza S. Imperial who is graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, B.S, in Biology! *** Belated Happy Birthday to my niece Raiza Elmira S. Imperial; also to Paz de Leon of SIP. Belated Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to my parish priest Fr. Jerome Cruz of SIP and Fr. Ronaldo Pedroso of San Exequiel Moreno Parish.

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in Altum
MAY our Risen Christs blessings be with all of us always! We Filipinos are Easter people, because we never lose hope. Once a person loses hope, life for him is nothing. That is why the faith in God of the Filipinos is never ending. In this Year of Faith, more than ever, the faith of the Filipinos is insurmountable. This can be gathered from the lay initiative of many church organizations who wanted not only a clean, honest and credible elections in May, but also to vote only those candidates who support life, preserve the Filipino family and protects the sanctity of marriage. DEATH bills are already filed in Congress. With the passage of RH Bill, the pro RH Senators and Representatives will have another try to pass the DEATH bills; these are the bills which advocate Divorce. Euthanasia or mercy killing, Abortion, Total population control, and Homosexual union or same sex marriage. It is about time that the Catholic should closely watch over what the lawmakers are doing. Enough is enough. This is the time to act. This is the moment for all believers of the Risen Christ to stand firm in the faith, to strengthen the faith, to defend the Church, to preserve the Filipino family, to safeguard the sanctity of marriage and most of all, to protect life. *** Pope Francis celebrated Holy Thursday Mass at a youth prison in Rome. Two young women were among the 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony, two of whom are Muslim inmates. Although the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio included women in the rite while he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, this is the first time a pontiff has included women in the rite and the first time that the service is done outside of St. Peters Basilica or St. John in Lateran. In his homily, the Pope said that everyone, including him, had to be in the service of others and join in their suffering. During the Holy Thursday morning Mass, the Pope urged Catholic priests to devote themselves to helping the poor and suffering instead of worrying about careers as Church managers. Pope Francis celebrated Good Friday service at Colosseum in Rome, where it is believed that Christians were martyred. He prayed for Middle East torn apart by injustice and conflicts. Everyone is awaiting Pope Francis first Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message to a large crowd in St. Peters Square on Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Churchs liturgical calendar. *** Let us count our blessings and pray to our Lord Almighty to continue to pour them on us. On March 19, the Feast of St Joseph,

Spaces of Hope No mere accident

ITS true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church thats sick because its self-referential, I have no doubt about preferring the former. These words of Pope Francis, when he was still Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, quicken my spirit. I recall receiving a text message in early 2012 from an unknown source during the Allen, Northern Samar, leg of a run I did with a good friend of mine. It said: They say the problem with the world today is that many people do not go to church. But I say that the Church must go to the people. How true! Recently, a former politician, who tried to uphold his Christian faith when he was still in office, told me that the Churchs outreach in politics, particularly during elections, is too churchy. Our voters education, for instance, target mainly people who are already in the church. We preach, so to speak, to the choir and we see the same faces in our formation seminars. We reach out from a safe distance and so do not reach very far in our efforts. The fact that the 1997 CBCP statement on politics, with its view that the way we practice our politics is the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development, still remains valid today16 years later!should lead us to rethink our strategy for political engagement. Why not complement the Churchs broad criteria for choosing candidates, voters education, and poll watching with lay-led discernment circles with clear agreed-up criteria so to identify candidates who are worthy? If marriage bans and priesthood ordinations include a component where the publics judgment of worthiness or unworthiness is included, why not do something similar for those who are trying to respond to the call to public service? Why not engage people sectorallymarket vendors, tricycle and jeepney drivers, urban and rural poor, etc.? Yes, why not? After all, in an election culture that has come to accept vote buying and selling as normal, are not voters from various sectors really part of the lost sheep whose dignity is violated by the commercialization of their vote which symbolizes their sacred humanity? *** To go beyond certain mindsets that make us self-referential, or engaging in sociological and theological in-breeding, we need to listen. Last 15 February, His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle of Manila gave a recollection for election stakeholders and candidates in Cebu. His talk was titled, Listening: Key to Genuine and Effective Public Service. After his talk, I shared my own learning curve of trying to listen to Gods will for me. Such listening is a cumulative process of learning. The gathering would have been postponed had it been scheduled a week later. Events in Rome called for a gathering of cardinals for another conclave after a very holy and heroic decision by Benedict XVIthe result of very prayerful listening and surrender to Gods will. Cardinal Chito touched many hearts. He expects no special treatment and tries to be all things to all people. One youthful Dilaab volunteer, observing his keen sense of humor and his ready grin, naively remarked that surely the Archbishop of Manila has no problems. Tuning in more closely to the Cardinals sense of humor, one detects a finely-honed gift of empathy that allows him to enter the world of the person or group he is currently encountering. Such capacity is actually a manifestation of the gift of faith. In his pastoral letter to launch the Year of Faith in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, then Cardinal Bergoglio had this reflection: Crossing the threshold of the faith leads us to forgiving and to know how to break into a smile. It means approaching every person who lives on the edge of existence and to call him by name. The Cebu recollection had two sessions, in the morning for at least 800 election stakeholders and in the afternoon for candidates and companions numbering about 150. Both groups were invited to sign a covenant in the context of the I Vote Good campaign of Dilaab that was also launched by the cardinal. His starting point was that even as we as individuals and groups are irritated when people around us do not listen, we should first recognize our own ways of shutting out others. In a soon-to-be-released book, Bergoglio writes: Factions fighting to impose the hegemony of their own viewpoint and preferences are fairly commonThis occurs when charitable openness to neighbor is replaced by each individuals own ideas. It is no longer the religious family as a whole which the religious defends, but only the part of it that concerns him. People no longer adhere to the unity that contributes to configuring the Body of Christ, but rather to the divisive, distorting, and debilitating conflictOne of the effective attitudes that must acquire substance in the hearts of young religious is that of selfaccusation, for it is in the absence of this practice that the spirit of separation and division is rooted. It is therefore essential first of all to ban every reference, even an unconscious one, and every kind of pharisaic attitude that presents self-accusation as something puerile or characteristic of the cowardly. Self-accusation, rather, presupposes a rare courage in order to open the door to unknown realities and let others see beyond my appearance. It means removing all our make-up so that the truth may shine through. Such self-accusation can only come about when a person gently listens to the voice of God in the depths of his being. Fighting corruption and promoting good governance requires selfknowledge that begins by confronting ones demons. How very seldom do we hear such self-accusations in family squabbles, conflicts within and between groups, and in the avatar-concealed polemics in the digital highway. It is easy to fall into the tyranny of relativism. How many columnists in national dailies, for instance, sound as though they are a magisterium unto themselves? This capacity for self-accusation is something that several public servants I know have in common. They are not virulent in their condemnation of corruption in others even if they do not approve of it knowing that they too have had their share of faults and are still capable of falling where it not for Gods grace. On the other hand, there are those who violently condemn others but when you look more closely into their lives, there is much there that need forgiveness and healing. The I Vote Good campaigns promotion of the LASER test is to be understood to begin with a gentle self accusation even as we ask about the lifestyle, accomplishments, supporters, election conduct, and reputation of our candidates. *** Searching for the lost begins with listening. Cardinal Tagle had a beautiful point about being lost and being found. When one is lost, he said, do not move around precisely because you are lost and may just exacerbate your condition. Wait to be found. We all await to be found by the Good Shepherd whose voice become familiar to us if only we engage in the regular practice of listening to him. This Easter Season is a good opportunity to listen more closely to the voice of the Risen Lord. We have a Pope Francis who, continuing the role of his immediate predecessors and inheriting a solid corpus of teachings from them, is showing us by the power of example how those who are truly listening will reach out to the most powerless and those in the periphery of existence. Yes, just do it. The presence of this Pope of many firsts is no mere accident of history.

Lets defend traditional marriage

A DUMP Starbucks campaign is circulating in the World Wide Web. The reason? Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, in an annual shareholders meeting, allegedly sent a clear message to anyone who supports traditional marriage over gay marriage: we dont want your business. Reports say that he told a shareholder who supports traditional marriage to sell his shares and invest in some other company. If this is true (and I think the news reporter has no reason to be inventing), then we should also say to Starbucks here in Davao: we dont want your coffee. In the US Supreme Court this week, the legal battle over gay marriage reached its height as the highest court deliberated on two cases thatthe Boston Globe says could dramatically reshape the debate. The same source also noted that public support for gay marriage is at an all-time high with 58% of Americans favoring gay marriage while only 36% opposing it. If the truth could be determined by statistics, then, the true meaning of marriage would eventually be modified.

Fr. Russell A. Bantiles

effects of divorce, parents separation and single parenthood to the growth of children. Can we afford to add the same-sex marriage to this list? In the Philippines, we must sound the alarm! Not a few senatorial candidates maintain an explicit positive stand on same-sex marriage. Others, while not explicit in their opposition, are not really against it. Advocates of gay marriage insist on their rights to marry and form a family. But is it also their rights to modify the long and widely held definition of marriage and deprive others, especially the young generation, of this truth? Our freedom (rights) ends where the freedom (rights) of others begins! In his opposition to the Argentinian governments support for a gay marriage bill, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) said: Lets not be naive: this isnt a simple political fight, its an attempt to destroy Gods plan. In defending traditional marriage from wicked attacks like that of Starbucks, we are actually defending Gods plan!

But no statistics or Supreme Court pronouncement could change the objective truth on marriage. Since time immemorial, civil and religious laws alike are unanimous in holding that marriage, by nature, is between man and woman, even though, at times both laws do not agree on whether marriage should be monogamous or not. In maintaining this truth, these positive laws simply echo the truth on marriage contained in the natural law, which, in turn, is a reflection of the divine law. This is why, man, in trying to modify these positive laws, is simply going against nature, and eventually, is going against the will of God. Without the Creator the creature would disappear When God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible (Gaudium et spes, 36). Gaudium et spes, in this sense, is prophetic. When reference to God and to Gods design for marriage and family is taken away, naturally, human family would become unintelligible. It would very soon disappear. Everybody recognizes the morally, emotionally and psychologically harmful

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

By the Roadside
WHEN Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy, most of the Catholic world, together with large sections of humanity outside Christianity, reacted with shock or disbelief. But when the succeeding papal conclave elected his replacement, Francis, shock and/ or disbelief gave way to surprise. People all over the world were surprised that a pope, accustomed to the rugged ways of poverty and simplicity, could actually be elected. A local writer habituated to writing antiChurch prose exclaimed at such a pass, calling it a resurrection of the Catholic Church. Many asked themselves if the things they were witnessing were for real. Most of us followed with awe each piece of news uncovering the new popes surprising conduct: asking the people to bless him before imparting his first papal blessing, preferring to rejoin the bus with the cardinals who elected him to riding the papal limousine tasked to pick him up, personally paying his hotel bills, kissing babies and the sick before his inauguration, unabashedly laughing and showing other emotions in public; most of all, having a past filled with acts of a simple pastor with an overriding love for the poor, riding public transport instead of a private service vehicle, washing the feet of AIDS patients or those of juvenile delinquents. I mentioned only frequently cited facts. But I think the greater surprise was that the new pope would choose to speak of another surprise in his first Easter Vigil homilythe surprise of the women who saw the stone removed from Jesus tomb, the surprise leading to the greatest surprise of seeing Jesus, once dead, now risen. Newness often makes us fearful, said the Holy Father, the newness which God asks of usWe are afraid of Gods surprises. Dear brothers and sisters, we are afraid of Gods surprises! He always surprises us! The Lord is like that. In fact, priests and bishops have been among the most surprised by the phenomenon called Pope Francis. But Pope Francis is right. We

Gods surprise on mankind

much as by discipleship. Jesus is raised, not because of the most advanced medical technology but because the Father approved of his whole life spent doing his will which, Jesus said, was his food (Jn 4:34). Jesus body and soul, in as much as his human nature and divine nature, were one and indivisible in Jesus own person proclaiming the Kingdom in word and action. It is so tempting to relate Jesus resurrection to the so-called surging Philippine economy. But how can we speak of any connection if only a few really are raised by the economic upturn? And, even if we grant the economic upturn, how can we speak of real progress when Filipinos spiritual health is constantly assailed by the RH Law, unemployment, pornography, poverty, transactional politics, materialism, secularism and hedonism raging through the islands like beasts on the loose? How can we speak of Easter when there seems to be more darkness and death rather than light and life in the Philippines and in the world? Would a Korean Peninsula at war, election violence and cheating or the Sabah stand-off simply be realities Easter has no business addressing? The surprising thing is that Easter addresses all of these and all of our human realities. In Jesus dead and risen, according to Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa in his Good Friday homily, the world has already reached its final destination The new heavens and new Earth have already begun. Despite all the misery, injustice, the monstrosities present on Earth, he has already inaugurated the final order in the world. What we see with our own eyes may suggest otherwise, but in reality evil has been defeated forever. Their sources are dry; the reality is that Jesus is the Lord of the world The new world has already begun. Surprising? All we have to remember is Calvary. All seemed lost with the death of Jesus. Then came the Resurrection. And it has unleashed the wings of Gods never-ending surprises.

should not allow our eyes to be deflected from the greatest surprise of allJesus Resurrection. Not that Jesus himself did not speak on the subject before. He did, in fact, say something we often quote to Martha who thought his coming was welcome but a bit too late for her brother Lazarus who died days before. It was a staggering statement: I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live. And he who lives and believes in me shall never die (Jn 12:2526). Jesus rising from the dead is surprising not because it was unexpected; it is surprising because it reveals the value of the human body in a way no human being has ever imagined. The human body that Plato and the Greeks altogether dismissed as nothing better than the souls jailhouse is not discarded by the Son of God in favor of a pure, immaterial existence we expect heaven to be replete of. The Son of God who is also Word-made-flesh by means of his Incarnation (that is, by his becoming human like us at Christmas) is, instead, given back (through his resurrection) the same body that suffered and died but which is also completely transformed into a new, glorified state beyond corruption and death. Is it not surprising that God who raised Jesus from the dead did not throw away his utterly imperfect, weak, mortal body, preferring instead, in the language of St. Hillary Poitier, to repair what has been shatterednot by mending it with something else but rather, out of the old and very same material of its origin, by imparting to it beauty pleasing to himself? Yes, that means, truly, Jesus resurrection teaches us the dignity of our human body and our humanity. The body, together with the human soul (according to the Greeks) or with the spirit (pneuma) and the soul (psyche) (according to St. Paul in 1 Thes 5:23) is an indispensable co-principle forming the one, whole human person. But that bodys dignity is served not really by plastic surgery or brilliant medical makeovers as

MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the faithful to open up their lives to the Lord and live a renewed life that centers on shunning old and evil ways. This was the call he made as the laity expressed jubilation on Easter Sunday, celebrating the culmination of Christs suffering and death through his resurrection into the Divine life. In his homily during the Easter Sunday mass held at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Tagle said that living a renewed life will only be possible if people will let the Lord touch and change their lives according to His will.

Local News
Walang mangyayaring bagong buhay kung hindi ang Diyos ang kikilos. Kapag hindi binigyan ng puwang, kapag hindi hinayaaang Diyos ang kumilos, walang tunay na pagbabagong buhay. Wag tayong matakot. Ibukas ang buhay, ang mundo, at ang lipunan sa Diyos, he said. According to him, God is the only one truly capable of renewing anyones life since it is He who serves as its original source. Humans, on the other hand, are incapable of changing on their own since they need the intervening power of the Lord. Ang Diyos na nagbibigay buhay at nangangalaga sa buhay, siya ring magbibigay ng bagong buhay. Hindi makakapagbigay ng bagong buhay ang walang akda sa buhay, he said. He noted the great contrast between the act of man and the act of God, with the former causing Christs suffering on earth and the latter bringing Him everlasting life in heaven. Napakaganda po ng ginawa ng Diyossi Jesus ay muling nabuhay, [at ang] buhay niya ay hindi na yung buhay na alam natinmagugutom, matutukso, at mamamatay muli, Tagle said. Si Kristong pinatay ng tao, binuhay ng Diyos. Wala nang kapangyarihan ang kamatayan at kasalanan sa kanya dahil ang buhay niya ay buhay na ng Diyos. Keep baptismal vows In line with the renewal of baptismal vows practiced during Easter, Tagle reminded the Catholic laity to remain faithful to their baptismal promises as doing so will propagate Christs story throughout humanity. Sa pamamagitan ng mga tapat sa binyag[iyong mga] hindi na nabubuhay para lumaganap pa ang kasalanan, ngunit nabubuhay para lumaganap ang buhay ng Diyos at mabago ang mukha ng lupasa atin tutuloy ang kwento ni Jesus, he said. Tagle further added that baptized Catholics have already died with the Lord. The moment they received the

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

Open life to Christ, Tagle urges faithful

sacrament of baptism, the sinful lives of Catholics have already perished and they have been born again with a cleansed life, he said. He urged the lay to live a life centered on Christone that need not be long, but is meaningful and purposeful in itself. Iyan ang responsibilidad ng binyagan. Ituloy sa mundo [ang kwento ni Jesus] sa pamamagitan ng pagpapakita na ang kwento niya ay tunay at ang siyang tutuloy sa ating buhay. Wag nating putulin ang kwento ni Jesus. Ituloy [natin ito] sa pamamagitan ng katapatan sa ipinangako [natin] sa binyag, Tagle said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

Bishop concerned Palace may pressure SC justices

LIPA Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles expressed concern over the possibility that Malacaang might exert pressure on Supreme Court justices after the high court issued a status quo ante (SQA) order stopping for 120 days the implementation of the highly divisive Reproductive Health law. I wont be surprised. They had long prepared for that. I think they enjoyed their congressional victory that they underestimated the wounded judiciary, said Arguelles. During deliberations on House Bill 4244 in December last year, the unusual presence of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, press secretary Ricky Carandang and Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda at the House of Representatives triggered reports that the Palace pressured solons by dangling the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in exchange for their vote for the measure. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, chair of the CBCPs Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), who had attended the proceedings in the last session days, lamented the voting outcome and the apparent intervention of the Palace. Arguelles added that the petitioners against the RH Law must now work double time and team up to prepare for June 18, when oral arguments begin. (CBCP for Life)

Caceres launches voters education program

CACERES Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona called on the faithful to participate in the coming elections enlightened by the teachings of the Church. He said Catholic citizens should take part in the countrys electoral exercise and cast a Catholic vote that is free, informed, and evangelized. On Palm Sunday, the archdiocese jumpstarted its Voters Education Program to form electorates on their duty to vote according to conscience, informed by doctrines of the Catholic faith. The Voters Education Program, according to Tirona, is the archdioceses response to the challenge of our faith. As disciples of Christ, it is impossible for us to follow the path of holiness if we turn a deaf ear to the call for political action. Our Catholic faith calls upon us to bring Jesus to society and society, to Jesus. A Catholic who votes according to the Gospel not only participates in building the nation, but also of Gods kingdom, Tirona said. It is so, because through a Catholic Vote, our faith bears fruit in our public decisions and political choices, he stressed. The prelate said a Catholic Vote is free, when the voter is not influenced by any politicians but solely by the desire to bring God to the world. A Catholic Vote is informed, he said, when electorates vote with a clear understanding of our faith and a vigorous effort to bring a Catholic presence in our society. He also said a Catholic Vote is evangelized when choices are made according to Gospel values. The Gospel is our moral standard and Gods love for all His children is our moral compass, the archbishop added. Explaining why the VEP was launched on Palm Sunday, Tirona said it implies an entry to a transformed society. As Jesus himself, in fulfilling His mission, suffered in the hands of men, we, too, will be met with much difficulty and pain. But the promise on Palm Sunday is not lost on all of us Easter will come, he added. He further called on the people to take action and give their full support for voters education in parishes, schools and organizations. He also urged the youth to make their voice heard and with their energy and idealism [] bring in fresh hope to a generation that has been hurt and frustrated in the struggle for truth and justice. Let a Catholic Vote be the mark of your generation. Demand for a Catholic Vote; your voice, unafraid and untainted, will surely be heard, he said. A Catholic Vote, Tirona said, is faith actualized in love and service of the the poorest, the weakest, [and] the least important in society. (CBCPNews)

Vincentian contest highlights youth activity for founders anniv

YOUNG people of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) will celebrate founders birth anniversary by holding the 2nd Vincentian Idol contest which will showcase the singing talents of the society young members and will help promote engagement, collaboration and raise funds for various apostolates of the organization. As the society celebrates a special year of grace and blessing for the 200th birth anniversary of their founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, the National Council of SSVP through their youth coordinator, Karl Michael Hila, stressed that the contest will also be a night of entertainment as the community recalls the times of their
Sultan / A1

Youth-led senakulo combines catechesis, theater

very dear founder through songs from the famous Les Miserables. The search for the 2nd Vincentian Idol is open to all SSVP Youth members 15-30 years of age, either from institutions, schools, parishes or offices where SSVP conferences or councils are present. Only one contestant per conference/council is allowed to join. Contestants must be amateursnot making a living through singing, and will only render two songs, one in English and in Filipino. The choice of songs must have Christian values infused on the lyrics. They are required to wear Filipiniana attire or any Filipino native dress during the contest.

Criteria for judging will be 35% voice quality, 10% stage presence, 20% rhythm % style, 30% peoples support, and 5% audience impact. The 2nd Vincentian idol winner will take home a cash prize of P15,000 plus trophy; the 1st runner up will receive P10,000 plus trophy and 2nd runner up P5,000 plus trophy. The contest, which is part of the societys National Convention program, will be held on the 200th birth anniversary of Bl. Frederic on April 23, 2013. SSVP Philippines will be holding their National Convention at the Punta Villa Resort, Iloilo City on April 23 and 24. (Jandel Posion)

Nirva Dela Cruz / CBCP Media

Idjirani, Pastor Boy Saycon and lawyer Dante Jimenez. Video of abuses The group said they will provide the CBCP with a video showing how the Malaysian authorities maltreated the Filipinos. We have videos from some deportees from Sabah and well hand this copy to the CBCP on Wednesday through Mr. Jimenez showing the abuses against Filipinos in Sabah before they were killed, Princess Jaycel said. We came here to personally thank the bishop and also to show the Muslim-Christian solidarity in the Philippines there are also Christians in Sabah, she said. Palma assured Kiram that he will bring the matter of the Sabah crisis not just to the CBCP Permanent Council but even to the Vatican. Of course they were hoping that I will be able to find a way as a bishop but I havent promised really much except that I will seek the advice of people who I believe can help in this situation, Palma said. At the moment, I have no particular perFolk / A1

son in mind. I believe there are agencies in Rome that can be of service in this regard, he added. Brothers helping brothers The CBCP leader said the situation in Sabah was not about religion anymore but about the search for peace and harmony. Basically its like brothers going to brothers and say there is a bond between us and thats the bond that unites people who search for peace, said Palma. As we say, there is a Christian and Muslim way of searching for peace especially of course in the situation of Sabah, he added. Jimenez described the archbishops trip to the Vatican as very timely. He is attending a very timely meeting where he promised to bring this matter to any council in Rome especially to the attention of the new pope (Francis), he said. In fact, I didnt know that he is going to Rome. Jaycel here is saying it must have been divine providence intervening now and I agree with that, Jimenez said. Saycon, adviser of the Sulu Sultan, said:

The Lenten stage play produced by the youth is an effective means of catechesis and evangelization.

THEATER of the Word. This was how a senakulo or Lenten play titled Manalig Ka (Believe) can be described, combining catechesis, elements of drama and stage acting. In responseto the call of the re-evangelization, the senakulo could be one of the effective programs for evangelization and catechesis of the local churches, said Dondie Bernardo, who directed the play that was staged during the Holy Week. Basically a youth-led project with its production team and actors mostly coming from youth organizations in the Don Bosco Youth Center, as well as from nearby barangays, the senakulo was performed on March 27, 29 and 31 at the Don Bosco Youth Center Tondo at 7:30 p.m. In an interview, Bernardo cited how catechists and evangelizers in general use communication in the same way it is utilized in the performing arts through
And Thats The Truth / A4

gestures, expressions, songs, and even dance. He described how the senakulos drama is centered on salvation history, its script and screenplay comes from Scripture, and its actors could be anyone. Lens of faith We hope that staff, performers and audiences will be evangelized and catechized, he said, summing up his own hope for Manalig Ka. The main theme of this senakulo is faith, which also uses the Gospel story of the hemorrhaging woman as a lens for the audience to reflect on. The production cast took three months to prepare for the senakulo, with conceptualization and script writing starting in January of this year. Actors line reading and workshops started last February 13, Ash Wednesday. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)

We at least expect a global appeal for peace. The sultanate also wants peace. What it really wants to do is sit down and talk. So why is it so hard for these people to understand that dialogue is better than war. From the very beginning, that is just our appeal that we only want dialogue with them. For both the Malaysian and Philippine government if they really want this issue to be resolved, prove it, said Jaycel. On February 12, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and a group of about 200 people, some of them reportedly armed, holed up at the Lahad Datu district in Sabah in a bid to reclaim what they said rightfully belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu. President Benigno Aquino III has condemned the actions of the Kiram group and has asked that they leave Sabah immediately. The government also warned that they will file charges against Kirams followers for illegal possession of firearms and inciting to war. Malaysian authorities have since conducted a series of attacks, resulting in several deaths among Kirams followers and have charged some of the 100 currently in police custody.

gestures because we miss them in our own local pastors who sometimes act like feudal lords. Perhaps Pope Francis surprising choiceslike the stunning resignation of Pope Benedict XVImay bear greater significance if taken as spurs to our own individual renewal.
Candidly Speaking / A4

Earlier on, in the midst of speculations circling the new pope, the Pope Emeritus once said God has a plan. In the light of faith, I find that easy enough to grasp. Thus, with gratitude and joy I wait and watch as that plan of God unfolds. And thats the truth.

We do understand that folk Catholicism goes with a native culture and spirituality that does not always blend with mainstream theology, faith and morals, the 54-year-old prelate said. The crucifixion event in Brgy. Cutud which started 28 years ago has since become an annual event that attracts thousands of foreign and local tourists. Although the Catholic Church discourages the extreme practice some penitents persist in doing the penance as a way of atoning for personal sins. Asked what could be done,
Protest / A1

David said hed be inclined to follow Pope Francis advocacy for a humble, less controlling, more respectful and compassionate Church that is present not just in the center but also in the periphery. Aware of the need for a deeper spiritual formation among Catholics, the Philippine hierarchy has embarked on a nine-year program of renewed evangelization, which is also in response to the Catholic Churchs universal celebration of the Year of Faith. This year, the program emphasizes integral faith formation among the faithful with special

concern to those who have drifted away from the Christian faith. David noted that Filipinos have had a deep sense of the sacred long before the Spaniards brought Christianity to the country. Folk Catholicism in our country is built on such a culture and native faith, he added. He described such practices as a way of expressing atonement by chanting the passion of Christ (Pasyon) like a dirge and through exaggerated forms of penance and vows, including the panata.

David emphasized he does not think it is right to close our doors to them just because they are more attracted to these folk practices than our Roman liturgy which they may find too foreign or cerebral. He added we are in no position to suppress them because we can only listen and try to know where they are and what these practices are saying about themselves. Sounding optimistic, David concluded by saying perhaps we will know what it takes to bring the Gospel to them. (Melo M. Acua/CBCPNews)

in their business and economic activities. That it is given to the business leaders is also very significant, since that would surely have a great effect on the ethical climate of the regional and global economy. Every time I pass by the IT Park in Cebu where I usually see a lot of young people, I cannot help but think of how to evangelize them. I can already detect certain attitudes and behavior that are actually disturbing, most of

them related to how the virtue of chastity is lived, how time and money are spent, etc. Casual flings seem to be the in-thing among them. They are only interested in the money and the so-called freedom that money can give them. Theres a great need to clarify things and to inculcate the proper values and develop the virtues. We need to have the Easter spirit in dealing with this challenge.

and other organizations from Tondo, Pasig, Quezon City and Laguna Lake. Demonstrators said kalbaryo reminds the people that the suffering of Jesus reflects in the woes imposed on the poor by forced evictions, homelessness, hunger, injustice and unemployment. They also said that the protest seeks to reecho the call of Pope Francis to defend the poor and the weak. We gathered today in a hope that with the call of Pope Francis to defend the poor and the weak, our government would listen to our plea, said Jennylyn David, resident of Manggahan Floodway in Pasig. We plea that the government will stop evictions set on May 15 for the families in Manggahan Floodway and other urban poor

living in danger areas to give way for the flood control-project, she said. David said they fear that the project would lead to displacement of thousands of poor families. We do not oppose the flood control project but we hope the government will understand our sentiments that while it is valuable, it must not come at the expense of displacing thousands of poor families like us already marginalized by society, she added. UPA said that the first three years of the Aquino administration had the highest number of eviction cases compared with the past presidents. This shows President Benigno Aquino III has more to do to fulfill the covenant he signed with the urban poor in March 6,

2010 at the Del Pan Sports Complex, Tondo Manila, it claimed. The group pointed out that the land is the basic problem in resettlement matters as it is in all in-city and near-city housing of the poor. The government should now provide the land as it will be more difficult to do so as the years go by. We ask them to acquire resettlement land before they evict or plan to evict, it said. After the demonstration, Manila Auxiliary Broderick Pabillo led a Mass at the Quiapo Church. In his homily, Pabillo called on the government to address the issues that lies at the root of the housing problems of the poor in the metropolis. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 07
April 1 - 14, 2013

Diocesan News


CA ruling in Ortega slay case dismays bishop

PUERTO PRINCESA City A Catholic bishop expressed dismay with the Court of Appeals decision to clear former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes of murder charges for the killing of a broadcaster in 2011. The court stopped the indictment of Reyes for failure of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to observe due process in investigating Dr. Gerry Ortegas murder. But Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo criticized the decision in favor of Reyes, who has been in hiding since a warrant for his arrest was issued in March 2012, for allegedly masterminding Ortegas murder. We are very saddened and dismayed by the ruling, Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo told Church-run Radyo Veritas. Our group and the Ortega family are only asking to have a day in court, to really have a trial and study the pieces of evidence if they are guilty or not. So this is really frustrating, he said. The bishop believed that there is enough evidence that would link Reyes to the killing of Ortega, also a known environmentalist in Palawan. Last year, the government offered P2 million reward for information that could lead to Reyes arrest and another P2 million for his brother, Mario Reyes, who is also tagged as brain behind the killing of Ortega. (CBCPNews)

Our faith is not just for Good Friday

ANTIPOLO City As millions of Catholics celebrated the Easter vigil mass, a priest reminded the faithful that Catholics faith should go beyond the Passion of Good Friday and extend to the overpowering confidence and triumph of Jesvus on Easter Sunday. Ang lungkot kasi ang panampalataya natin napako na sa Biyernes Santo [Sa totoo lamang,] ang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay ang pinakamataas, pinaka-sentro ng ating pananampalataya (Its sad because our faith is stuck in Good Friday [in fact,] Easter is the Holding lighted candles while being sprinkled with holy water, Catholics renew their baptismal highest and most cen- vows during the Easter vigil mass. tral aspect of our faith) said Fr. Jun Meneses, (We were not saved because parish priest of San Antonio de Jesus died. We were redeemed Padua parish, during his homily because Jesus suffered, died and at an Easter vigil mass. rose again, he explained. Fr. Meneses said, he observed It is Christs resurrection, Fr. how so many people flock to Meneses stressed, that symbolchurch on Holy Thursday and izes sin and deaths knock-out on Good Friday, but inexplicably more than just His suffering disappear during the highlight and death. itself, Easter Sunday. Napawi na ang dilim ng It is probably because Christs kasalanan..[At] ang Pasko ng sufferings on Good Friday are so Pagkabuhay, ang dulot sa atin affinitive to the universal human ay liwanag, pag-asa at pag-ibig, experience. (The darkness of sin has been But Fr. Jun, as his parishioners cast out[And] Easter brings call him, was quick to explain us light, hope and love), he said that there is more to the Chris- in closing. tian faith than the 14 stations of At Easter mass, Catholics rethe Cross. new their baptismal vows, faith Hindi tayo natubos dahil in Jesus and belief in the Holy namatay si Hesus. Natubos tayo Mother Church and reject Satan dahil si Hesus ay nagpakasakit, and his works. (Nirvaana Ella namatay at muling nabuhay, Delacruz)

File photo shows Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo (left) with Mika Ortega, a daughter of slain broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega, during a press conference in Manila.

Barkada ni Pedro theme song launched during Local WYD

CEBU CityOver 2,000 young people attendees of a local activity in the Archdiocese of Cebu witnessed the launching of the official theme song of the Barkada ni Pedro titled Friends of Pedro. Together with young people from the Central and Eastern Visayas Region, the Barkada ni Pedro launched last March 23, during the 28th Local World Youth Day (LWYD)also the feast day of St. Pedro Calungsodthe theme song created by Fr. Vic Amplayo, OSA. The song created in honor of St. Pedro Calungsod was dedicated for the online prayer barkada of the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth of Cebu known as the Barkada ni Pedro (BNP). Youth ministers Deserie Soscano, Jessica Gako, Joemar Paran, Juville Quijov, Kiking Pagente, Nadia Briones and Jun Bolo from Sto. Nio de Cebu Parish in Talisay City performed the song while Nendel Endrina arranged the music. The songs theme revolves around friendship through prayer with St. Pedro Calungsod. Organizers said the message of the theme song will rally both the young ones and once young of all backgrounds during the celebration and beyond the Local World Youth Day. Another project of BNP of COY Cebu, the Friends of Pedro can be searched in Youtube or through the BNP facebook fan page. BNP is an online prayer barkada dedicated in honor of the 2nd Filipino teen saint Pedro Calungsod, where people who need someone to pray for them can meet people who want to pray for others. (Jandel Posion)


St. Pedro Calungsod

Caceres archbishop launches radio program

NAGA CityCaceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona has launched a radio program in partnership with the Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCom) and the Caceres Renewal Communities (CRC). Debuting its first episode last March 3, Kumusta po, Bishop? is a teleradio program shown on PBN TV 5 and heard on 98.3, the Mothers Touch, every Sunday at 7:30 in the morning. Hosted by the archbishop himself, the program features two segments that allow the lay faithful to take a look at the pastoral ministry of the head of the Archdiocese. The segments are Kumusta Parokya, stories on the Parishes visited by the Archbishop within the week, and Isyu, the Archbishops take on the current debates and events of the Roman Catholic Church. For the last two weeks, the show discussed the Conclave and the election of Pope Francis. Set in a homey atmosphere, the 30-minute show is cohosted by Adonis Aguilar, Jr., Tess Baares Delfin (co-host of Simbanwaan) and Rev. Fr. Erwin Blasa (Secretary to the Archbishop). Head writer of the show is Myrna Bermudo. The show invites as guests the heads of Archdiocesan Commissions and Parish Priests. The weekly teleradio program can also be viewed at ustream.com. The Caceres Commission on Communications is currently headed by Rev. Fr. Luisito Occiano while the current President of the Caceres Renewal Communities is Mr. Lorenzo Llorin. Interested sponsors or donors may contact the CCCom office at (054) 472-5665. (Natalie Quimlat)

Barkada ni Pedro Facebook Page

Jaro holds forum to honor diocesan media pioneer

JARO, IloiloThe Archdiocese of Jaro held a Media Memorial Forum themed Responsible Citizenship: The Call of the May 2013 Elections at the Blessed John Paul II Hall last March 13. The forum was organized on the occasion of the death anniversary of Msgr. Jose Pepe Buenaflor, considered the Fulton Sheen of Iloilo. Fulton Sheen was the Bishop of New York during the Second World War who pioneered the use of the mass media in the service of evangelization. Msgr. Buenaflor founded a tri-media apostolate in the archdiocese with the daily radio program Katesismo sa Kahanginan in 1997, a newsletter Ang Katekista in 1998 and a cable television program, Manugsab-og in 1999. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)
Caceres holds Lenten recollection for media practitioners

Jaro archdiocese offers Summer Catechetical Institute

JARO, IloiloThe Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ACCCE) is again offering the Summer Catechetical Institute, a live-in basic formation program that involves five weeks of studies in four main phases. According to Msgr. Ramon Pet, ACCCE Chairman, this was the first attempt, in the 148-year history of the Archdiocese of Jaro, to offer a systematic kind of catechetical formation in a livein style and with a summative week to cap the whole course. Msgr. Pet said the extension of the Summer Catechetical Institute this year is reflective of the Archdiocese of Jaros desire to follow PCP IIs call for a renewed integral evangelization. He said the move was also inspired by the CBCPs 9-year spiritual journey towards the 500th year of Christianization of our islands, which in this year 2013 we embark on Integral Faith Formation. The integral evangelization program is consists of a Renewed Catechesis, Renewed Worship and Renewed Apostolate and designed to address the three areas of renewal of the whole person of the catechist as a thinking, feeling and acting agent of evangelization. Given in a lived-in atmosphere, the program has to be taken up in a fourphase summer course offering that allows a summative week at the end of the course, for reflection and application of the lessons learned in the four previous weeks. The first lived-in Summer Catechetical Institute in the archdiocese was held on April 23 to May 26, 2012, at the St. Joseph Regional Seminary, Barangay Cubay, Jaro, Iloilo City. The Catechetical Commission reported that, out of the 90 parishes and 2 chaplaincies of the archdiocese, 30 parishes, plus 2 schools and a Religious Congregation sent catechists for the first Summer Catechetical Institute. A total of 54 catechists (12 men and 42 women) became the students of the summer lived-in program. The report added that there were also 6 regular sit-in students or observers who attended the lectures. Now open to continuing and new students, the summer institute will be held at the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, Jaro, Iloilo City, on April 14 to May 18, 2013 with two course offerings for beginners and for those who attended the course last year. Msgr. Pet urged parishes to send well-selected catechists who are disposed to participate in two consecutive summers of intensive formation program and subsequent advanced or enrichment updating seminars. To facilitate the enlistment of catechists to the Summer Catechetical Institute, scholarships were offered to those who cannot afford to shoulder the expenses of the program. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

NAGA City, March 22, 2013Some fifty media practitioners attended a Lenten Recollection organized by the Archdiocese of Caceres last March 19. Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona emphasized on the participants the importance of reflection and action. Tirona stressed that media practitioners, called to be witnesses of God, must continue not only to pursue the truth but also to entirely and sincerely love their neighbor. He said that man is bombarded with too much work, leaving him with no time to contemplate on his life. However, routines without inquisition extract impact from ones life, drains oneself of meaning. Quoting the philosopher Socrates, he said, An unexamined life is not worth living. (Natalie Quimlat)
Cabanatuan to host 7th Central Luzon youth pilgrimage

CABANATUAN CityAround 2,000 young faithful from seven archdioceses and dioceses are expected to join the 7th Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage (CLYP) hosted by the Diocese of Cabanatuan. It will coincide with Cabanatuans Golden Jubilee as a diocese. Themed Go and Make Disciples of All Nations (Mt. 28:19), the event is set on April 16-19. The event aims not just to gather all the youth of Central Luzon region but also to share their faith experiences, defend ones faith in the face of many movements against the Catholic Church, and respond to the invitation of Christ. (Jandel Posion)

Nirva Delacruz / CBCP Media


People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 07

April 1 - 14, 2013

OFWs urged to proclaim faith in their lives

Pope to young people: See you in Rio

POPE Francis has announced his attendance to the 14th international World Youth Day celebration set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July this year. Addressing the youth among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims present during the Palm Sunday celebration in St. Peters Square, the pope said he is set to go to Brazil for the World Youth Day celebrations following the footsteps of his two predecessors Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well prepare spiritually above allin your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world, the pope declared. In his homily, the pope lauded the enthusiasm of the young in living their Christian faith, saying adults can learn a lot from their examples. You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty, the pope said. Praising the youths fervor in sharing and living the faith, the pontiff said the young truly understood that only by giving oneself in loving service that one can find true joy. He noted the young peoples devotion in carrying the pilgrim Cross across continents in response to Jesus call to make disciples of all nations. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace, the Holy Father said. Young people have to proclaim the message of the good news of Jesus to all in the world,
Jeffrey Bruno / CNA FILE PHOTO

Data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reveals there are around 9.5 to 12.5 million Filipinos currently working or residing abroad.

WITH their ubiquitous presence in almost every corner of the world, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can be effective evangelizers of the word if they lived faithfully the Catholic tenets, a Catholic prelate said. San Fernando, Pampanga Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto called on overseas Filipino workers to deepen, live and proclaim the faith in a highly secularized world. Noting that Filipinos still practice the faith substantially as manifested in the values among Filipinos like pagmamalasakit para sa kapwa, the senior prelate urged overseas Filipinos to continue living their faith for everyone to see. The 76-year-old prelate said the Holy Week celebration reminded Filipinos of the special season of grace to re-live Jesus

Christs passion, death and resurrection which is not only a historical event. The Lenten season, according to him, gives everyone the opportunity to be involved in the celebration of the Year of the Faith which he added was a legacy left by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. He also paid tribute to parents who have gone abroad for the welfare and better future of their children. Your greatest treasure wherever you are is your faith and continue being faithful and let our Lord remain your strength, he added. He stressed that the OFWs way of living, their sheer dedication to work is one way of evangelizing and proclaiming their faith to everyone. (Melo M. Acua)

In July, youth from all over the world will meet the new pontiff who, on Palm Sunday, confirmed his attendance in the international meeting that will be held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

the pope continued. It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to

come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others! he said. (CBCPNews)

Pope Francis, a model of simplicity and humility for the youngpriest

POPE Francis sets a stunning example of simplicity and humility among young people who couldnt live without their gadgets or forego their lavish lifestyle. While young people of today would always subscribe to the latest trends in technology and fashion as status symbols, Pope Francis has opted to reside in the workers St. Marthas residence inside the Vatican City instead of moving to the Apostolic Palace where the Holy Father usually stays for the duration of his pontificate. When Pope Francis was still Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, he reportedly lived in a small apartment instead of the archbishops palace. The then Bergoglio also reportedly cooked his own food and rode public transportation to his work and appointments. According to Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the news of how simple Pope Francis lives is a big deal among the young, considering that the new generation of Catholics is used to living a fast-paced life. With the new Pope, we are reminded that there is still an option for a simple way of life, he said. In an interview with YouthPinoy, the executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) said Pope Francis simple and ordinary gestures deliver meaningful messages. His simplicity and humility are a big deal. He is setting himself as an example and is inviting us to go back to the more essential things in life, Garganta added. He also predicted that the newsworthiness of Pope Francis will not end after his election to the papacy as he keeps on surprising and even challenging onlookers who already have preconceived notions about the Holy Father and making presumptions and predictions. But as a pastor for youth ministers, Garganta said the young faithful expects the new Pope to be charismatic and dynamic in relating with the youth. Just like the two previous Popes, Pope Francis is also expected to give integral attention to the youth, hopefully beyond the continuing spirit of the World Youth Day, he added. Pope Francis was elected in a conclave last March 14 as the first Latin American to lead the worlds 1.2-billion Catholics. At least 115 cardinals all over the globe participated in his election. (YouthPinoy)

Pinoys urged to consecrate themselves to Mary during Year of Faith

TAPPING into Filipinos special affection for the Blessed Virgin Mary, a bishop encouraged the faithful to make an act of consecration to her, especially during the Year of Faith. In this Year of Faith, we are committed to the renewal of the Filipinos devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary true and total, and integral, said Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, addressing several lay groups, including the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of all race. While interested people can do the short act of consecration to Mary, as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort, Afable recommended making the 33-day preparation for the consecration. The 33 days preparation for true devotion is a welcome contribution to achieve a more meaningful and fruitful consecration, he explained, encouraging the lay religious groups to come out with booklets about the consecration in different dialects. He also suggested collaborating with radio stations to come out with nationwide broadcasts to promote the consecration. I believe Our Lady is opening up for us many doors and windows of opportunity for her Immaculate Heart to triumph in the hearts of Filipinos worldwide, Bp. Afable said. According to Afable, who is also a member-bishop of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Laity, the consecration could also be a simple way to be on the same page as Pope Francis agenda, peace, poverty, creation. (Nirvaana Ella Delacruz)

17 Pinoy youth volunteer for WYD

AT least 17 young Filipinos have volunteered to help the organizers of the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) in Brazil. The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) has met with the group of international volunteers that will be coming from different parts of the Philippines to Rio de Janeiro. The orientation meeting was held last March 10 at the CBCP Conference Room in Intramuros, Manila. In an interview with YouthPinoy, ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said the volunteers will also be paying for their registration and participation costs for the WYD like ordinary pilgrims. (But) these young Filipinos will not join the WYD as a participant but as volunteers who would be given different tasks such as signage-bearers, secretariat staff, runners, liturgy coordinators, in support to the WYD team in Brazil, he added. Garganta said the group of WYD international volunteers from the Philippines will be going to Rio de Janeiro by July 15, pilgrims that joined the ECYPhilippines delegation, the biggest and considered as the official country delegation to the global youth gathering, pales in comparison with the group that attended the previous WYD in Spain. In August 2011, at least 40 subgroups, with more than 1,000 initial applicants that were trimmed down to 400 actual pilgrims, went to Madrid under the ECY-Philippines delegation. Aside from the ECY, other dioceses have separately organized their own WYD delegation. The number of pilgrims under the different delegations outside of the ECY could not be verified as pilgrims going to Brazil for the WYD do not need to secure visa to enter the host country. Details on the venue and schedule of the different events of the WYD and the pilgrims transportation, accommodation, security and meals are on the process of polishing, according to Garganta who attended the second international preparatory meeting with the WYD organizers last November 26 to 29 in the host city. (YouthPinoy)

Young Filipino volunteers to WYD 2013 attended an orientation meeting last March 10 at the CBCP Conference Room.

Spirituality center announces summer program

THE Notre Dame de Vie (NDV) School of Spirituality has announced its program for the summer intended for persons engaged in spiritual formation, education, pastoral work or Christian community building. Aimed to contribute to the ongoing formation of contemplative apostles, the course is based on Sacred Scriptures, Church doctrine, and the teachings of the Carmelite masters: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, and Venerable Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD, founder of NDV Institute. Participants for the course may be diocesan priests, consecrated persons or lay leaders recommended by the local Ordinary, Superior, Rector and/ or Parish Priest (for lay leaders). Delving on the topic The Path that Leads to the Mystery of God (see Porta Fidei #10), the summer program will be held at the NDV Center of Solitude for Asia in Encanto, Angat, Bulacan from May 15 to 29. Aside from lectures and workshops, the program includes liturgical celebrations, personal silent prayer, days of recollection and solitude, exchange, recreations, etc. The summer course has Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma as Program Director and is offered in a two-week stay-in program with sessions held from Monday morning to Saturday noon. Interested participants are expected to contribute a share of PHP13,000 only for the twoweek program. Accepted participants shall be asked to pay a non-refundable reservation fee of PHP3,000 which shall be deducted from the PHP13,000 fee. Financial assistance may be available upon submitting a written request and explaining the reason for the need. Deadline for application is April 20, 2013. For further information, please contact Ms. Glory Reonal by email (gloryreon@ yahoo.com) or call up 0947-3523043. Details and application forms may also be obtained from the Secretariat (ndvsos@yahoo. com). (CBCPNews)

while the WYD international pilgrims go to other dioceses outside of the host diocese for the Missionary Week or formerly called Days in the Diocese. The 27th WYD is slated on July 17 to 28 in Brazil with the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro as the host diocese. Meanwhile, at least 16 subgroups comprising 211 individuals have applied to be part of the ECY-Philippines delegation to

the WYD. But as of press time, the ECY is still accepting applications after deciding to postpone the deadline for submitting their credentials from February 28 to April 15. We have decided to accommodate those who have expressed interest to comply with the requirements, hence the extension, Garganta said. The present number of WYD

Catholic school graduates urged to be evangelizers, agents of change

LIVING a holy life and practicing the faith should not end for students of Catholic schools, colleges or universities when they graduate. In fact, administrators of some 1,345 schools under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) hope to have been successful in their mission to create saints out of their students. We are hoping that our students, after they graduate, will continue to be practicing Catholics by being involved in their parish and to eventually share in the mission to evangelize too, said CEAP president Fr. Gregorio Baaga, C.M. The priest, who is concurrently the president of Adamson University, also reminded graduates to use their education to generate social transformation. Students should be agents of change in the society. Think on how you can cause impact to society by giving back to your community or to your school. This is because who you are today is largely because of your school, he said. Baaga said one of the concrete ways a student can give back to his community is by casting and guarding his vote in the upcoming May 10 elections. Do your share by voting wisely and guard your votes. Create change in the government by not electing corrupt officials in public offices, he added. Finally, Baaga said students must look at graduation more as a commencement of a new journey with a great responsibility in the society at large. (YouthPinoy)

ECY - Philippines

With their solid Catholic education behind them, graduates of Catholic schools are expected by their alma maters to become leavens in the Church and society.

Conference to deepen youth leaders experience of Jesus

A DIOCESAN leaders summer conference for youth is set to bring young leaders to a deeper relationship with Jesus through four days of prayer and faith formation. Organized by the Ministry for Youth Affairs (MYA) of the diocese of Cubao, the conference called 1st Jesu Polis or City of Jesus will be held at the Philips Sanctuary in Antipolo, Rizal from April 3 to 6. According to MYA Cubao, Jesu Polis is a venue where diocesan Catholic youth leaders gather together to praise, worship, pray and celebrate the faith in an environment that is truly Catholic and youthful. The conference will introduce the youth to the four tracks of formation of MYA Cubao (Virtue, Learning, Spirit and Service), heightening their experience of living in the City of Jesusan experience of the local Church, that would bring them to a greater resolve in becoming ambassadors of Jesus in the call for New Evangelization. The stages of formation called BINHI, BUKAL and SIKLAB cater to various ages of participants. Binhi (Biyaya at Hiwaga) is for young people ages 13-16; Bukal (Buhay kay Kristo Alay) for youth ages 17-21; and Siklab (Silakbo ng Kabataan Laan para sa Bayan ng Diyos) for youth ages 22 and above. Organizers are expecting more than 100 youth leaders to attend the summer conference. (Jandel Posion)

Photo courtesy of Kris Bayos

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

Pastoral Concerns


Urbi et Orbi Easter 2013 Message of Pope Francis

DEAR brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter! Happy Easter! What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious! The mercy of God always triumphs! We too, like the women who were Jesus disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means (cf. Lk 24:4). What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom. The love God can do this! This same love for which the Son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end, down to hell - to the abyss of separation from God - this same merciful love has flooded with light the dead body of Jesus, has transfigured it, has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus did not return to his former life, to earthly life, but entered into the glorious life of God and he entered there with our humanity, opening us to a future of hope. This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness. Because God is life, life alone, and we are his glory: the living man (cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, 4,20,5-7). Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all, and for everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passover from slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts, even today, do human beings need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbour, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us. Gods mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christs Resurrection! Let us be renewed by Gods mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish. And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for all the world. Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found? Peace for Africa, still the scene of violent conflicts. In Mali, may unity and stability be restored; in Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great numbers of persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups. Peace in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the Central African Republic, where many have been forced to leave their homes and continue to live in fear. Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow. Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century; human trafficking is the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century! Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation. Dear brothers and sisters, to all of you who are listening to me, from Rome and from all over of the world, I address the invitation of the Psalm: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever. Let Israel say: His steadfast love endures for ever (Ps 117:1-2). Dear brothers and sisters, who have come from all over the world to this Square, the heart of Christianity, and all of you joining us via communications media, I renew my wishes for a Happy Easter! Bring to your families and your nations the message of joy of hope and peace that each year is powerfully renewed on this day. May the Risen Lord, who defeated sin and death, support us all especially the weakest and those most in need. Thank you for your presence and the witness of your faith. A thought and a particular thanks for the gift of these beautiful flowers from the Netherlands. I affectionately repeat to all of you: May the Risen Christ guide you and all humanity on the paths of justice, love and peace!

Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis

DEAR Brothers and Sisters, 1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lords body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: What happened?, What is the meaning of all this? (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesnt the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we dont understand, we dont know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of Gods surprises; we are afraid of Gods surprises! He always surprises us! Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him. 2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesnt tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love going to the tomb has now turned into mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, Saint Luke tells usthey didnt even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee And they remembered his words (Lk 24:6,8). They are asked to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives. On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

down by our sins? Do we think that we wont be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations

an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of

life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf.Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting today of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the

with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you wont be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, dont be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do. 3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: they were terrified and bowed their faced to the ground,

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Christian is his own Passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season. The expression that it should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season would seem to allow for a certain degree of flexibility. For example, a parish with numerous baptisms and funerals during the year might opt to light it only on Sundays and solemnities so that it lasts the whole year long. A religious community with few celebrations outside of Eastertide might prefer to light it for all paschal liturgies. The present norms dont mention anything regarding lighting the Easter candle during exposition. But if we may be guided by the norms applicable to the extraordinary form, these would indicate that in general it would not be done. According to the collection Decreta Authentica of the then Congregation of Rites, the Easter candle could not be lit only for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Decree 3479,3). It would be lit, however, if vespers were celebrated before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, or Benediction followed immediately after vespers
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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following queries:

Q: Quick question on the paschal candle: When in the sanctuary during Eastertide, is it to be lit during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction? As an altar boy some 30 or so years ago I remember the Easter candle being solemnly extinguished at the end of vespers and before adoration and solemn Benediction. Is this still correct liturgical practice? Was it ever? A.B., Palm Beach, Florida A: There is very little in the way of present rules regarding the use of the Easter candle. Of the few precise norms, there is No. 99 of Paschales Solemnitatis, a circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on the Easter celebrations. To wit: The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season, the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of baptism, the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a

Lighting the Easter Candle The Double Alleluia

Q: Please clarify whether the Mass dismissal should have the double Alleluia attached to it throughout the 50 days of the Easter season, e.g., The Mass is ended. Go in peace. Alleluia! Alleluia! or only during the Easter octave and the day of Pentecost. R.L., Cambridge, Massachusetts A: According to the indications of the rubrics and good liturgical guidelines, the double Alleluia is used at every Mass during the Easter octave and on Pentecost Sunday, which concludes the Easter season. The double Alleluia is also used for the dismissal or conclusion of the celebration of Morning Prayer and evening prayer, up to and including the vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday which concludes the Easter octave. On all the other days of Easter season the Alleluia is not added to the dismissal of either Mass or Liturgy of the Hours. In some countries, however,

the missal contains optional formulas for the dismissal, according to the liturgical season. For example: May the Risen Lord be our strength, go in peace. Wherever permitted, such formulas may be used on any day of the Easter season. If used during the octave or Pentecost, the double Alleluia is always added. The use of the double Alleluia, as well as the faculty of using the Easter sequence Victimae Paschali and the special formulas inserted into the Eucharistic Prayers during the days of the octave, are ways of emphasizing the importance of the feast and prolonging its celebration. The use of this double Alleluia is very old, but during the Middle Ages it was dropped for a time from the liturgy in use by the Roman Curia. It returned through the influence of the Franciscan Friars Minor who restored the double Alleluia for their own liturgical books in 1243.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Q: Would you please clarify what is special about Divine Mercy Sunday, and what the faithful and priests have to do in order to obtain the special grace associated with this day? According to the priests that I have spoken to, the same graces can be obtained at reception of holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday as on any other day when Communion is received by a communicant in a state of grace, i.e., a plenary indulgence. So what is different about Divine Mercy Sunday and how should the liturgy be properly celebrated so that the faithful may receive the special graces associated with it? J.C., Ballina, Ireland A: The devotion to the Divine Mercy stems from the revelations made to the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) over a number of years and at several convents, including the one in Krakow where she is buried. There are several elements involved in this devotion. One is the image of the merciful Jesus based on a vision of February 1931. In it Our Lord is pictured in the act of blessing, with two rays, one red and the other pallid (representing blood and water), shining from his heart. The words Jesus, I trust in thee are placed at his feet. Copies of this image are today found in many churches all over the worlda sign of the rapid extension of this devotion. Other elements are the hour of mercy, at 3 in the afternoon, in which the Passion is meditated upon and certain prayers recommended by the revelations are recited. As well as this, there is the chaplet of Divine Mercy with its attendant litany. It is recited using rosary beads but substituting other prayers such as Through your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world on the beads of the Hail Mary. A special request of these visions was that the first Sunday after Easter should be the feast of Divine Mercy and that on this day the Divine Mercy should be proclaimed in a special way. The spirituality of Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and he dedicated his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, to this theme. As archbishop of Krakow he promoted the beatification of Sister Faustina and on the occasion of her canonization in April 2000 announced that henceforth the second Sunday of Easter would be the feast of Divine Mercy. This announcement was followed by two juridical acts by Vatican offices. With the decree Misericors et Miserator (May 5, 2000) the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments stated: And so with provident pastoral sensitivity and in order to impress deeply on the souls of the faithful these precepts and teachings of the Christian faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, Divine Mercy Sunday. The congregation explained that the change consisted in the additional name for this day. The liturgy would suffer no change whatsoever. All the texts and readings would remain those of the Second Sunday of Easter. The second decree was published two years later by the Apostolic Penitentiary. This Vatican tribunal, among other tasks, oversees the granting of indulgences. This decree granted new perpetual indulgences attached to devotions in honor of Divine Mercy. Among other considerations, this text states: The faithful with deep spiritual affection are drawn to commemorate the mysteries of divine pardon and to celebrate them devoutly. They clearly understand the supreme benefit, indeed the duty, that the People of God have to praise Divine Mercy with special prayers and, at the same time, they realize that by gratefully performing the works required and satisfying the necessary conditions, they can obtain spiritual benefits that derive from the Treasury of the Church. The paschal mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man, and through man, in the world (Encyclical Letter Dives in Misericordia, n. 7). Indeed, Divine Mercy knows how to pardon even the most serious sins, and in doing so it moves the faithful to perceive a supernatural, not merely psychological, sorrow for their sins so that, ever with the help of divine grace, they may make a firm resolution not to sin any more. Such spiritual dispositions undeniably follow upon the forgiveness of mortal sin when the faithful fruitfully receive the sacrament of Penance or repent of their sin with an act of perfect charity and perfect contrition, with the resolution to receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as they can. Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the parable of the Prodigal Son that the sinner must confess his misery to God saying: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son (Lk 15,1819), realizing that this is a work of God, for [he] was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found (Lk 15,32). The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during his first public appearance: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you. When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. And then he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (Jn 20,19-23). To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained Gods pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters. Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: Mindful of the words of the Lord: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success. ... It is the Fathers will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective love, in word and in deed (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93). Three conditions for the plenary indulgence And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences: a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!); A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation. For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our
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Nurturing the Faith, from the Barangays to the World

The 21st National Convention of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines
By Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, previous years, however, instead of having a guest lecturer touching JCD
SINCE its foundation in 1993, the Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP) has been holding an Annual National Convention in the second week of Easter. Typically held in dioceses outside Metro Manila, such conventions have provided a venue for Filipino canon lawyers to have a few days of spiritual and bodily regeneration (especially after the hectic days of Lent and Holy Week), priestly camaraderie and exchange of notes, and updating in the canonical science. Every other year, a guest lecturer is invited from the better established centers of canonical researchin Rome, Spain and North Americato share their expertise with the growing roster of Filipino canon lawyers serving the different Philippine dioceses in the tribunal ministry. This year, the CLSP National Convention is being hosted for the third time by the diocese of Bacolod in April 8-11. Unlike on a fresh topic, the Convention will focus on two topics that had been tackled in the last three conventions. One is the matter of a nonterritorial ecclesiastical circumscription for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) , especially those deployed in the Middle East, where the territorial ecclesiastical circumscriptions are either non-existent or thinly constituted. The logic is that since the hierarchy there is sorely undermannedgiven the marked Catholic minorityin relation to the millions of OFWs, it seems just fair that the Philippine Hierarchy itself takes the initiative to provide the personnel to attend to the pastoral needs of the OFWs in those places. Originally tackled in the Vigan Convention of 2011, it was not until the Tacloban Convention in 2010 that the CLSP membership resolved to draft the statutes for a possible personal ecclesiastical circumscription, like a personal prelature or a personal ordinariate, for endorsement to from having proven themselves to be the saviors of the Philippine economy. Between the two topics, and the desired outputs, the theme of this years CLSP National Convention could very well be: Nurturing the faith from the barangays to the world! Lecture 1: Keeping the Faith of Unsung Heroes: Towards a Personal Circumscription for the OFWs by Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, JCD, Secretary of CLSP Lecture 2: Keeping the Faith in the Barangay: Towards a set of Guidelines for Basic Ecclesial Communities. by Msgr. Rey Monsanto, JCD, VP for Mindanao of CLSP. Workshop 1: Drafting Statutes for a Personal Prelature for OFWs Moderator: Msgr. Gary Formoso, JCD, VP for Luzon of CLSP Workshop 2: Drafting the Guidelines for BECs Moderator: Msgr. Rey Monsanto, JCD, VP Mindanao of CLSP

Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

the CBCP, for the latter to possibly propose to the Holy See. Another matter is a proposed Guidelines for Basic Ecclesial Communities, a project which was initiated in the Surigao Convention in 2011, and followed up in the subsequent Palawan Convention in 2012. However, since the CLSP members hardly have time to dedicate to these matters between conventions, this

matter has remained pending. The Year of the Faith provides an opportune setting for the resolution of these projects. Indeed, the BECsas the new way of being Church in the Philippine settingif done properly could really be the adequate way to nurture the faith in the barangay, in the bayanihan waywhich is the Filipino expression of the communio ,

much desired by Vatican II. On the other hand, giving the OFWs the full dose of pastoral carethrough the erection of a non-territorial (i.e., personal) ecclesiastical circumscription for them, regardless of nomenclature (either personal prelature or personal ordinariate)could very well transform these millions of our countrymen into real agents of evangelization, aside

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CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

power, by current predominant ideology or philosophical trends that do not necessarily bring about the common good. In the context of a relativistic society, there is the total denial, if not complete abhorrence, of the existence of what we call as Divine law and objective truths. The accusation that the Church is interfering in the political affairs of the society because Church leaders wanted to amass power for themselves has been a recurring theme among those who are supposedly guardians of the separation of the State and Church. They accused that the Catholic Church is imposing her doctrines on Filipinos. There is the present philosophical trend that promotes the marginalization of Christianity in particular and religion in general, from the life of the polis. This philosophical trend considered religion as subjective and personal which consequently relegates the sphere of religion into the private. This philosophical perspective, however, lies on the assumption that Christianity is irrational that has nothing to do with reason. This does not stand to scrutiny. The Church always holds to the principle that what was revealed by God and adhered to by faith is demonstrable by reason. In fact, John Paul II in Fides et Ratio described faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truthin a word, to know himselfso that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may fertility8. Rejecting contraception and using natural methods for regulating births means choosing to base interpersonal relations between the spouses on mutual respect and total acceptance, with positive consequences also for bringing about a more human order in society. In the light of this principle, it is clear that RH Law that provided for a massive and widespread distribution of the artificial methods of contraception is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. In the midst of a pluralistic society where varieties of religious sentiments and philosophical orientations, one might ask why should the State listen to the Catholic Church when it is only one of the many denominations, albeit the majority of the population, present in the country? This particular objection needs to be clearly sorted out. Without having recourse to doctrines, the objection above can be answered by the fact that since there are plurality of opinions present in the society, for the sake of such plurality, it is imperative to take into consideration the group, i.e. Catholics, whose one of its main teachings is threatened by a law that is clearly contradictory to its beliefs. In the sight of an increasingly secularist and pluralistic society, the Church is virtually becoming a minority. It may be true that in the Philippines, the majority of the population is Catholics yet the Churchs principles and doctrines, from the perspective of the ruling elite and the tertiary bourgeoisie, are considered anachronistic. This lack of respect to the that is independent of the subject, everything becomes relative and subjective. What is true is no longer based on nature and natural laws but rather focused much on the so-called freedom of choice which tends to be stretch by its proponents to be bordering on absolute freedom. The irony, however, is that those who are not for the Churchs teachings wanted that their opinions and beliefs will be respected and accepted but they cannot tolerate or accept the faith and beliefs of those who are against them. It is a clear example of the tyranny of relativism and the intolerance of tolerance. Within this context, it becomes easy to dismiss the stand of the Catholic Church as something that its adherents can subscribe to by their choice but that which cannot be accepted by society at large because it is subjective and personal. This virtually makes the teachings of the Church as irrelevant. The Church Magisterial Role and the Affairs of the Polis It has been argued that the Church should not interfere in what the society or the state is doing. Those people who subscribed to this perspective are actually saying that the Church has got nothing to do with what is happening in the society. The Church, however, teaches that the belief of the person needs to be manifested in their acts and decisions that affect the quality of their lives, their relationship with others and the society. Faith is not confined inside the four walls of the church but has to be brought to the family and society because Church from performing her obligation to protect her flock from that which will endanger their morals and faith. It is not intransigence on the part of the Church rather it is her obligation that she must solicitously perform even if she is listened to or not. At the same time, the Church is obligated to conscientiously protest against any laws that violates in a serious or repeated manner the essential principles of the natural law. In fact, the Compendium claims that resistance to authority is meant to attest to the validity of a different way of looking at things, whether the intent is to achieve partial change, for example, modifying certain laws, or to fight for a radical change in the situation. The Diocese of Bacolod and its Advocacy for Life The Diocese of Bacolod has always been in the forefront of the fight for Social Justice. During the Marcos regime the Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Antonio Y. Fortich, has been one of the most committed in the fight against social injustices. The Bacolod Diocese has also been a dynamic force in the struggle for the rights of workers and sacadas in the Haciendas of Negros. For years, the Diocese under the guidance of Bishop Vicente M. Navarra continues to stand for the truth and for the authentic common good of the people. The Diocese of Bacolod has played a significant role in the protest against the RH Bill, since the Philippine Congress revived its passage into law during the P-Noy administration, through massive

material well-being, with quality of life interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions of existence. Within this culture of death is the inherent contraceptive mentality which is promoted by the RH law. While the proponents are adamant in their stance that the RH Law is not promoting abortion, they missed a significant point. The prevalent use of artificial contraception that the RH law promotes will create a mentality that eventually considers the use of abortifacients and abortion acceptable. This connection was made by John Paul II when he described clearly in Evangelium Vitae that on this point, scientific research itself seems to be almost exclusively preoccupied with developing products which are ever more simple and effective in suppressing life and which at the same time are capable of removing abortion from any kind of control or social responsibility. . . . Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment You shall not kill. But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. . . . The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being (Evangelium Vitae, section 13) In this context the Diocese of Bacolod in its campaign against RH Law perceived it as a fight for the Culture of Life and against the Culture of Death. One of the most controversial moves made by the Diocese of Bacolod was to post a tarpaulin that listed Team Patay and Team Buhay. While the Team Buhay list of candidates did not merit much reaction, the Team Patay drew innumerable reactions both in support for and against the action of the Diocese. Without touching the question on whether the tarpaulin is election propaganda or not since as of the time of writing this article there is a pending petition in the Supreme Court regarding this matter. In my opinion, it is not the intent of the Diocese to malign anyone personally or to engage in partisan politics. The Dioceses intent, in consonance to its advocacy for life and against the RH Law, is to educate and make aware the faithful as to those who voted for and against the passage of the RH Bill into law, regardless of their political parties or affiliation. The list posted by the Diocese merely showed the reality that these senators, representatives and party list voted for the RH Law which the considered Diocese as anti-life. It follows, although simplistically, that those who voted for a bill that is basically anti-life are promoting the culture of death. It is the belief of the Diocese that there is an interdependence between the totality of religious expressions and social, economic, cultural, and political life. Social structures affect religion and the faith of the people and vice versa. (Second Diocesan Synod of Bacolod Act #429). Furthermore, the Diocese of Bacolod believed that the Churchs mission of salvation is integral, that is, it involves the total person, spiritual and temporal, soul and body (Second Diocesan Synod of Bacolod Act #433). The Diocese also affirmed that she has no specific political or economic programs to offer because the Gospel message is a message that can never be identified with any concrete social formula, however just the formula may seem at the moment (Second Diocesan Synod of Bacolod Act # 450). In other words, the Diocese wants to pursue her mission in every area of life including the political sphere, religious truths and moral values by bringing her many resources as a People of God to bear
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The Diocese of Bacolods Fight for Life

By Rev. Fr. Deogracias Aurelio V. Camon, MA
THE passage of the RH bill as a law of the Republic of the Philippines has been and continues to be a crucial and controversial issue in the country. This RH law continues to be a divisive issue even among Catholics, particularly between those who are actively fighting for fidelity to the Churchs Magisterium and among those who considered themselves as Pro-RH since they considered this law as beneficial for women and can alleviate the poverty problem of the country among many other reasons despite their being Catholics. Yet, after years of debates, the question remains. In our evaluation of the RH law can we afford to neglect the moral angle of the issue? Of course, the answer is an obvious No! Before proceeding to the main points of this essay, it is opportune here to distinguish politics in its narrow and wide sense. Michael McCabe in an article titled The Role of the Church in Civil Society: Some Theological Orientations opines that we need to distinguish between politics in the narrow sense as the art of the politician, and politics in the wider sense, involving everything which pertains to the social and economic orders and to the establishment of social justice. All the members of the Church must be involved in politics in this wider sense. The exercise of the politicians art and involvement in political parties and in government is primarily a task for lay persons, not priests or religious. It is from the perspective of this definition of politics in the wider sense that this article will treat the subject matter at hand which is the dioceses involvement in the present controversy with the RH law. The Interrelationship of the Church, Law and Politics From the view of the Catholic Church the common good, which is the goal of the promulgation of laws, must include and safeguard the moral fabric of society. A law which is not moral is never a just law because it does not bring about authentic common good. The decision of the majority does not necessarily translate into a moral choice and the Church believes that there are guidelines that must be necessarily met in order to consider a system truly democratic. The Compendium of the Social Teachings of the Church clearly states that an authentic democracy is not merely the result of a formal observation of a set of rules but is the fruit of a convinced acceptance of the values that inspire democratic procedures: the dignity of every human person, the respect of human rights, commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life. If there is no general consensus on these values, the deepest meaning of democracy is lost and its stability is compromised. This tells us that there is an interlocking connection between the dignity of the human person, values and the democracy; therefore there is a need for a consensus among the people as to role and significance of these values. John Paul II claimed that authentic democracy is possible only in a State ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. It requires that the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and of the subjectivity of society through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility.1 While there are checks and balances in a democratic system of government as an institution, whose independence must be safeguarded and respected, it does not necessarily meant that all laws are automatically moral. Democracy is fundamentally a system and as such is a means and not an end. Its moral value is not automatic, but depends on conformity to the moral law to which it, like every other form of humanbehavior,mustbesubject:in other words, its morality depends on the morality of the ends which it pursues and of the means which it employs.2 John Paul II considered as dangerous to democracy the absence of adherence to ultimate truth that will guide and direct political action since without this, ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power.3 Laws that are not hinged in ultimate truth can easily be manipulated by those who are in

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra (right) arrives at the Supreme Court in Manila to attend the oral arguments on the controversial Team Patay, Team Buhay tarpaulin hung on Bacolod Citys San Sebastian Cathedral, March 19, 2013.

also come to the fullness of truth about themselves. For centuries Christianity always believed in the principle that ours is a faith that seeks reason. It is in this arena of reason, of rationality, that the Church engages with the State since laws are rationes ordinatio (dictate of reason). Ratzinger said that the elaboration and structure of law is... a problem of recta ratio, right reason. Beyond opinions and current of thought, this right reason must try to discern what is just the essence of law in keeping with the internal need of human beings everywhere to distinguish the good from that which is destructive to man. It is the duty of the church and faith to contribute to the sanity of ratio and, through the proper education of man, to preserve his capacity to see and perceive.4 (italics mine) The RH Law and the Catholic Teachings in a Pluralistic Society The Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church clearly stated that sterilization and abortion must be rejected and considered these as horrendous. It also stated that other contraceptive methods must be rejected in their different forms5:this rejection is based on a correct and integral understanding of the person and human sexuality6 and represents a moral call to defend the true development of peoples7. On the other hand, the same reasons of an anthropological order justify recourse to periodic abstinence during times of the womans

beliefs of those who are Catholics lies in fact that the RH Law forces Catholics, directly or indirectly, to commit acts that are not in accordance to their conscience and religious beliefs. In other words, the law forces Catholics to commit sin, one particular instance, is the provision that healthcare providers are forced by the law to implement its program on artificial methods of contraception either by providing such healthcare service directly themselves or by referral. Failure to do so is punishable in the present RH Law. We can find a reason for such an attitude in yet another principle of a post-modern and pluralistic society which is about the so-called new tolerance. Carson in his book The Intolerance of Tolerance clearly expressed that the new tolerance suggests actually accepting anothers position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own. We move from allowing the free expression of contrary opinions to the acceptance of all opinions; we leap from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid. Thus, we find here that there is no attempt to recognize or search for what is true since every belief and claims are to be accepted as equally true. C o n s e q u e n t l y , t h i s perspective as expressed in reality placed the truths being taught by the Church merely as an ecclesiastical teaching, that is, it is just true for those who believe in it. There is no more objective truth

faith is not mere sentimentalism or superstition. It is a dynamic force that is integrally operative in the lives of the people. The principle of the separation of Church and State has been invoked without end during the debate on the RH Bill and even now that it was already passed as law. The common understanding prevalent among those who want to engage or give their opinion on the matter is that the Church should not interfere in whatever manner with what the State is doing. While not claiming any deep understanding of this principle, I believe that this mentality is not correct. One of the reasons for this principle is precisely the safeguarding of the freedom of religion in the sense that the State should not imposed upon the people any state religion and that the religious beliefs of the people must be respected as a human right. It does not in any way involved the gagging of the Church in expressing her opinion regarding certain issues that affects the well being and common good of the people. The purpose of this principle is to protect the Church from the encroachment of the State and not to wall in the Church. Yet, once more there is evidence here that what is actually playing in this issue is the basic relativistic philosophical principle that considered religion as subjective and personal. Consequently, the Church has no right of involvement in the life of the polis where only the objective and public is welcomed. However, it does not stop the

rallies, prayers services, Negros island-wide caravan for life and campaigns for natural planning method. Some of the important efforts of the Diocese are the awareness campaigns and seminars for life that were conducted all over the Diocese with the lay associations and Basic Ecclesial Communities members. These seminars aim to educate the faithful of the Churchs teachings regarding Life, Marriage and Family as well as how the RH Bill/Law affects the lives and beliefs of Catholics. In the process of the Dioceses effort to protest against this law, there were many reactions that vilified the Diocese with its bishop and clergy. Despite these, the Diocese continued to fight and protest against the RH Law, precisely because she believed that this law is immoral and is not for authentic common good. This prophetic stance of the Diocese against the RH Law stemmed from the fact that life is the most fundamental right that must not be compromised or endangered in any way that is not in accord with the will of God and the natural law like the use of artificial contraception. The issue of the RH law as being fought for by the Diocese of Bacolod is not political; it is an issue of morality. It involves a struggle between the culture of life and the culture of death. Mark Hanson of The Center for Ethics at The University of Montana wrote that John Paul II defined the culture of death as one in which the only goal is the pursuit of ones own

Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media



CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

By Fr. Ronald S. Quijano, SThD

Responsible Citizenship: The Call of May 2013 Election

Church is aware of the role of mass media (TV, radio, newspaper, and Internet) as a potent force for evangelization thus various magisterial documents have been issued. The Church, in her messages for the World Communications Sunday, is consistent in her advocacy to call the Catholic faithful to become missionaries in the new digital continent, to announce with renewed enthusiasm the Good News of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save us. Unfortunately, people nowadays are seemingly more interested of listening to a new gospel. They are more inclined to know that Christ did not suffer, did not die, and did not rise from the dead or he may have sexual affair with Mary Magdalene which in the end becomes a billion dollar industry orchestrated by novelists, Hollywood actors and movie producers in the guise of freedom of expression. What is labeled as fictitious is sometimes technology are Gods gifts. These gadgets and facilities are manifestation of mans search for development and should serve the common good. The following questions can help us ponder the value of social communication as a tool for evangelization and responsible citizenship: How can the social communication be of service towards responsible citizenship? What are the areas of social life that we need to saturate with moral values (creative minority through our catholic beliefs and practices) that we can reach a higher level of responsible citizenship? Will the quality of leaders that we choose this coming May 13, 2013 elections be reflective of our moral discernment? Can we choose this time leaders who can uphold Catholic teachings on the sacredness of human life, education of human sexuality, sacramentality of marriage, integrity of the family, being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (CCC, 2270). Be able to explain well the sacredness of life based on divine revelation (Gen. 1:27-28; Gen. 2:7; 1Cor. 6:19), and subsequent magisterial teachings supported by clinical/medical studies. This is also affirmed by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Educate the Youth about the Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality. Sexuality refers, not just to the genitals, but to the whole personhood. The parents themselves, not the school, should be the primary educators of their children about human sexuality. The process of education must be done in a graduated manner: from years of innocence, puberty, adolescence, towards adulthood. Sex outside marriage is immoral (CCC, 2390-91). The children and the young do not need sex education, what they

The Year of Faith and Social Communication The celebration of the Year of Faith is inseparable with the Ministry of Social Communication. The challenge of the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith is not just about the persons being formed or the content of the faith being learned and shared, but also our effective strategic approach in proclaiming the Good News and giving witness to it. Thus, the ministry of social communication plays an important role in transmitting the faith to the hearts of people. The Year of faith commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th Anniversary of the Catholic Catechism of the Church, we wish to experience a new springtime: by entering the Porta Fidei (Acts 14:1ff) who is no other than Jesus Christ himself! Blessed John XXIII coined the Italian word aggiornamento which means bringing up to date to capture his agenda for Vatican Council II: a call for inner transformation (not only external changes) or renewal in Christian life. This endeavor demands another principle called ressourcement, a French word which expresses a return to the sources of faith (Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium), and integrating them into contemporary ecclesiology. Both aggiornamento and ressourcement are two foundational principles that guided all the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The young Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II), was there, and the young German theologian, Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), was also present, contemplating the signs of the times according to the gospels and participating actively in all the deliberations. Creative Minority and Social Communication Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI noted that the Church in the western world is becoming a creative minority, a term borrowed from the British historian Arnold Toynbee. By minority he means that the Church is no longer a culture shaping majority or a dominant institution that can bring huge impact in the society, but rather it is reduced seemingly to a subculture. By creative he means a subculture which is clear about its own identity and passionate on infusing that vision or energy into society. The pastoral strategy of the retired pontiff then for the Catholic faithful is to build a creative minority by fostering first a strong sense of Catholic identity by emphasizing traditional markers of Catholic thought, speech and practice; then by applying this identity to a broader social, cultural, political debates rather than retreating into a ghetto. Filipino Catholics constitute 87 percent of the Philippine population but only around 10 percent of these baptized Catholics attend our Sunday masses or actively involved in our parish activities. We can say that committed Filipino Catholics are becoming creative minority. By strengthening their beliefs and practices with moral values enlightened by faith, they can foster a genuine Catholic identity which will gradually influence the mentality and attitudes of majority in the secular society. The impact may be very subtle but we are assured that both internal and external structures of persons in the society are strengthened. How can the Church, particularly in her ministry on social communication, promote the concept of creative minority in our society? We are all aware that desire for connectedness is obvious among the culture of the young. Through the use of electronic gadgets, they can keep in touch and foster friendship. The

easily believed and disseminated but what is known as revealed truths may be dismissed as obsolete. Secularism and ethical relativism have penetrated our homes, classrooms, market, public offices and even human conscience. A scientific survey of the Filipino youth shows that twenty seven percent of their time is used for internet, video games and text messaging. Most of them have either one or no parents guiding them, either product of broken family or parents are abroad. And the practice of cheating during exams, pre-marital sex, abortion, drug addiction, homosexual relation, alcoholism, and stealing are seemingly acceptable and not morally wrong at all! Young people are well-talented and full of energy. Generally, nothing is wrong with them. They are eager to know the veritas, bonum, pulchrum and unitas by a simple click of a mouse in computer. In fact, they are inclined to enroll in prestigious schools or apply as working students. But one should also observe them carefully, for they may not be interested on listening to classroom lectures but mainly to socialize with friends, boasting their top of the line gadgets, and enjoy Sabado nights. They rather listen more to their peers, favorite movie or sports personalities and not so much on the social institutions such as the family, school, church, market and politics. Sad to say, they are often scandalized by their internal squabbling about power and money. Take note that media and information

defense of the dignity and rights of the poor, and promotion of good and moral governance? Towards Responsible Citizenship The CBCP 2013 Pastoral Statement: Proclaim the Message, in Season and out of Season (2Tim. 4:2) highlights certain social issues affecting our life today considered as litany of stormsbut allow me to focus only on seven pastoral concerns which are relevant in our discernment by identifying the qualities of political candidates deserving of our Catholic vote. These pastoral concerns are also the areas where the media apostolate can have a greater influence in shaping the awareness of people, empowering them for evangelization work. Provide adequate formation for lay people. It is imperative for members of the parish/apostolic and finance councils, catechists, liturgical ministers, ministers of the Word, family life ministers, social communication ministers, PPCRV volunteers, and BEC leaders to avail a scientific/formal training. If possible, to set up a kind of Institute or Lay Formation Center, recommended by their parish priests and commissioned officially by the Bishop to serve their respective communities. Strengthen the Advocacy for the Protection of Human Life. Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception or fertilization and ends in natural death. From the first moment of his existence a human

need is education! Chastity as a form of virtue must be properly introduced to the young that they may fully discern the kind of vocation proper for them. Healthy relationship among teenage boys and girls are highly encouraged. Appreciate deeply the Sacramentality of Marriage. Marriage is a covenantal relationship instituted by God for man and woman, raised by Jesus to the dignity of a Sacrament to give grace. A contract is just a piece of paper, but a covenant entails faith, a kind of fidelity based on partnership/belongingness of man and woman brought by God together in marriage. Marriage has two essential properties: unity and indissolubility. God created marriage as a primordial sacrament. He created it simultaneously when he made the whole universe as a perfect model of his love for humankind. Jesus elevated its dignity to a sacrament to highlight that this is an efficacious visible sign instituted by God himself, which is a perfect channel of his blessing/grace. Marriage has two important aspects: unitive and procreative dimensions. Unitive dimension refers to the good of spouses (bonum conjugum). It answers the question, what is marriage? It speaks of the love of the spouses which is the primary purpose of getting married. Procreative dimension, on the other hand, refers to the good of children (bonum prolis). It answers the question, how is conjugal love transmitted? It speaks of the love of husband and wife, which is reflected in the procreation of children and quality

Christian education provided for them, the second purpose of marriage. The use of contraceptives contradicts the nature of marriage itself for these artificial methods of family planning separate these two essential dimensions (CCC, 2370). Love and responsibility are integral and a sure guarantee to healthy marital relationship. Rediscover the Four Tasks of the Christian Family. 1) To form Community of Persons. The human person, in theology, has dignity and rights for he has been created according to Gods image and likeness. A person, in scholastic philosophy, connotes uniqueness, individuality and relatedness. Thus communion of persons signify a higher level of maturity in terms of free decision, in the exercise of intellect and will, which determines a lifetime commitment; 2) To serve Love and Life. By free consent, man and woman are united in conjugal love. Out of their gift of conjugal love, comes the mission to transmit life by procreation of children. Both love and life, spouses and children are integral to the Christian family; 3) To participate in the Development of Society. Family members are called to become responsible citizens of their society by participating in the activities such as by promoting free, honest, peaceful and clean election, paying their taxes or mangrove tree planting, etc. which are beneficial to the common good; and 4) To Share in the Life and Mission of the Church. By baptism, members of the family share in the three fold function of Christ as priest, prophet and king. The priestly function refers to the familys liturgical life. The prophetic function deals with the familys catechetical life. And the kingly function indicates its involvement in the social apostolate life. The family after all is a Church of the Home where members are considered stakeholders of the faith, which is nurtured through the life of prayer, study of the word, and this is practiced through work of charity and service to the poor. Defend the Dignity and Rights of the Poor. Love for the Poor who in the Gospel reflects Christ himself impels us to work for justice for the poor (CCC, 2447-48; CSDC, 184). The CBCP insists on the promotion of social justice; to provide moral guidance to the better off in our society to be in active solidarity with the poor; and calls on the government to be serious in implementing the asset reform laws for the welfare of the farmers, urban poor, indigenous people, and the fisher folks. Pursue the promotion of Good and Moral Governance. 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 (CSDC, 411). Freedom of information promotes integrity, transparency, and accountability in the political order (CSDC, 414-416). The CBCP insists on immediate passage of Freedom Information Bill into a law and appeals to the COMELEC to do corrective measures surrounding the alleged deficiencies of the present system and technology of automated elections. It supports also the dismantling of the continued existence of family political dynasties. Conclusion We live in a world where we find ourselves at the crossroads of great struggle between the culture of life and the culture of death. We need to remain steadfast in our commitment to proclaim and defend our Catholic faith. By creative minority, we begin to re-discover our identity, our catholic beliefs and practices in the context of our family. Little by little we infuse our moral values and faith to other families until such time when the Gospel penetrates all strata of society. One of the effective means in transmitting the faith is through the media. Let us be mediafriendly by using this gift wisely for the promotion of responsible citizenship and for the building up of Gods community.

Bread from Heaven

ONE would hardly believe what Mrs. Nene Garcia was like in the past. According to the 57-year old housewife and teacher, she used to be lazy, uncaring and negligent of her responsibilities. Her main concern was to make sure she had food to eat. As a school teacher, Nene had her own brand of temper easily flaring up, generous with expletives and throwing things at talkative students. One time, she was even called to the Guidance Counselors office for hitting a student. But Nene gradually became a changed person when she began reading and studying the May They Be One (MTBO) Bible she received during distribution at her parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Marikina under Fr. Emanuele Borelli. She came to peace terms with herself, thus becoming more patient and gentle in her responses and dealings. It became a natural outflow for her to be a peacemaker, helping people in conflict to reconcile their differences. Her compassion and concern for others grew. Now she takes time to help people who have gone wayward and see the need to change and go back to God. Knowing and experiencing personally that Gods Word satisfies an inner hunger that no physical food can fill, she committed herself to spreading His Word to others. I am the Bread of Life, Jesus told them, Those who come to Me will never be hunger; those who believe in Me will never be thirsty. John 6:35.

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, 2013 - Mar 6, 2013): 52,966 copies Bibles Distributed by Languages - Bicol (502 cps.) Cebuano (10, 279 cps.) English TEV (6,076 cps.), English NABRE (1,070), Hiligaynon (5,640 cps.), Ilocano (1,461 cps.), Pampango (601 cps.), Parishes/Communities served: 1,353 Total Bible Distribution: (Jan 2009- Mar. 6, 2013): 861,585 cps. Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for 2013: 600,000 cps.

Bible Campaign

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 the thousands of people who joined the Bible Run on March 9 in a show of unity for the Bible Cause. Praise God for good weather and for a beautiful and encouraging program. Pray that more people in the business and corporate world will participate in the May They Be One Bible campaign to bring the Word of God to every poor Filipino home. 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 #3903-0649-34 (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 payments go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)

Photo courtesy of CBCP for Life

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013



The Risen Lord, source of our future resurrection

OUR Lord Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead! Alleluia! Let us rejoice and be glad! My dear brothers and sisters, we should rejoice and be glad because the resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross. (CCC 638) We should rejoice and be glad because the Resurrection constitutes the confirmation of all Christs works and teachings. (CCC 651) We have a sure foundation of our religion. We should rejoice and be glad because Christs Resurrection and the risen Christ himselfis the principle and source of our future resurrection. (CCC 655) We shall not die forever. We shall rise on the last day. Yet, our future resurrection depends on our life of faith today; for those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will rise and be condemned

The Risen Lord is Our Hope

BELOVED brothers and sisters, In the name of the Christian faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila, I greet you a Blessed Easter! We rejoice with the whole of humanity and creation in the Risen Lord who is our hope. I n an early discourse on Easter, St. Peter declared, They put him (Jesus) to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day (Acts 10:39-40). The raising of the crucified Jesus is the action of God. The resurrection, while happening on earth and in time, is a Divine action. God alone, who is the author of life, sustains and restores life. Only the Giver of life can lead us to fullness of life in His presence. I am inviting everyone to behold the great mystery of the Resurrection: Jesus, who was put to death by human beings, was raised by God. In our brokenness as individuals and families, we often experience the need for an infusion of fresh life. Unfortunately, despite human efforts, we still see in society, tombs of hunger, unemployment, homelessness, violence, discrimination, injustice and corruption. It is time to look to God, the giver of life. Let us welcome the action of God who once raised a crucified Nazarean to life and made Him our hope, our Lord. There will never be any true resurrection from our individual, familial, societal and environmental tombs if we do not allow God to act. Make room for GodHe will raise us to true life with Jesus! May the Easter blessings of forgiveness and peace be with you always! +LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE Archbishop of Manila 31 March 2013 G.

(John 5:29). Our rejoicing and gladness today must therefore be paired with a renewed and gladsome struggle to live our faith in thought, words and deeds every day. And if ever we sin, let is return to God through

the Sacrament of Penance, so that we may continuously experience a foretaste of our future resurrection by rising from the grave of sin to a new life of grace. G iving each of you my

paternal blessing, I remain Yours in the Risen Lord, +JOSE S. PALMA, DD Archbishop of Cebu CBCP President March 31, 2013

Position Paper for the Senate Hearing of Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, on the Issue of Philex Mine Waste Spill
MINING or extractive industry can be destructive to the environment. Our experiences of environmental tragedies and incidents with the mining transnational corporations belie all assurances of sustainable and responsible mining that the governmentisclaiming.Increasing number of mining affected communities, Christians and nonChristians alike, are subjected to human rights violations and economic deprivations. We see no relief in sight (CBCP, A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns, January 29, 2006). The Church challenges the government policy on mining and categorically declares that: the Mining Act destroys life. The right to life of people is inseparable from their right to sources of food and livelihood. Allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over peoples right to these sources amounts to violating their right to life. Furthermore, mining threatens peoples health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas (CBCP, A Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns, January 29, 2006). We pursue our advocacy for a sustainable ecology because it is part of our Christian responsibility. With the late Pope John Paul II, we believe that Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith (The Ecological Crisis No. 15, Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebration of the World Day of Peace). The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines also emphasized the issue of human accountability due to neglect of the ecology: Because the integrity of Gods creation is violated, our people suffer the destruction brought about by droughts and floods.
Mercy / B2

Noli Yamsuan / RCAM

Those disasters cannot be traced merely to uncontrollable powers of nature, but also to human greed for short term economic gain . . . (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Acts 323). The recent tailing spill in Philex is another tragedy in the mining industry that illustrates how mining activity can irreversibly damage the livelihood of affected communities and the river ecosystem. After months of recurring leakages, the Philex mine spill in Benguet has become the biggest mining disaster in the Philippines in terms of volume. Some 20 million metric tons of sediments have flowed into water channels from the Philex tailings pond in Itogon since its drainage tunnel was breached last August 2012. This is ten times more than the volume of mine tailings that spilled out of the Marcopper mine in 1996 in Marinduque, which dumped some two million metric tons of waste into the Boac River and is still considered the worst mining disaster in terms of toxicity. The Philex spill incident invites us to see the need to go beyond the myopic monetary valuation of our natural resources to give weightier consideration to the demand for ecological protection, promotion of environmental justice and the common good. We recognize the flaw is in the governments framework which regards the natural resources as something to be exploited rather than a crucial reserve to be sustained and protected in order to preserve the ecological balance and to ensure sustainability for allboth for the human community and the threatened ecosystems. Premises considered, we reiterate our positions and pastoral statements calling for policy reform in the mining industry: 1. The country faces more and more environmental problems

because of the governments liberal policies on extractive operations. The Mining Act of 1995, which lays down the policy for the governments near-fanatical campaign to attract investors to invest in the mining distorts the goal of genuine development. By single-mindedly pursuing the economic benefits or financial gain, it failed to weigh the greater consideration in the equation - the human and ecosystems wellbeing, the human rights of the indigenous peoples and the local communities, the food security and ecological integrity of our country. Therefore, the Church together with the civil society advocates, call for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of an alternative law on mining and environment protection. The Church has thrown its full weight on the campaign for the passage of the alternative Minerals Resources Act, which offers a far more sustainable approach to utilization and protection of our
Bacolod / B3

countrys natural resources. 2. The CBCP-NASSA submits to this Honorable Committee the major recommendations that we enumerated in the Fact-Finding Report that we submitted to government offices for appropriate action, and in this case, for legislative consideration. a) There is a need for an immediate and impartial investigation on the impacts of the spill to the watershed, the people and the impact communities: Technical assessment on the structural safety of the TP3 given its terminal life span and vulnerabilities to climate change and geo-hazards. The status of TP1 and TP2 should also be reviewed for strong compliance to rehabilitation of its environment; Regular and continuing laboratory testing for water, fish and environment quality and for heavy metals contamination of the TP3, Balog River, Agno River and the San Roque Dam (SRD). Bathymetric survey on the collapsed TP3 and the SRD needs

to be immediately undertaken; and Conduct impact studies on rice farms, irrigation system and the downstream communities where the mine tailings flow from San Roque Dam to Agno River and to the provinces of Pangasinan and Tarlac b) Compliance with environment standards and to local government clearances and payment of due taxes to Itogon and Tuba municipalities should be ensured. c) Clean up and rehabilitation of the entire impact and watershed area should be undertaken. The Church joins the local communities and the civil society in calling for a mining moratorium to put a stop to the plunder of our natural resources by the large-scale mining companies. The mining operations, under the guise of development, promise to bring the muchneeded investment but to the detriment of the environment and the welfare of our people.

We believe that environment should never be sacrificed that an economy respectful of the environment will not have the maximization of profit as its only objective, because environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations . . . The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces. (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 40: AAS 83 (1991), 843). We reiterate our objection to the prevailing neo-liberal pitch that there is no other path to development except through further economic liberalization, especially in mining industry. Recent empirical researches show otherwise Mining has the highest poverty incidence (48.7%) of any sector in the country. It is the only sector where poverty incidence increased between 1988 to 2009. Therefore, we also demand for a cost-benefit analysis of the mining industry vis--vis its impact to ecology and food security. As our experience on the ground confirms: the adverse social impact on affected communities, especially our indigenous brothers and sisters far outweigh the gains promised by large-scale mining corporations. Our people living in the mountains and along the affected shorelines can no longer avail of the bounty of nature. Rice fields are devastated and bays rich with sea foods become health hazards (A Statement of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995, February 28, 1998). For the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) FR. EDWIN A. GARIGUEZ Executive Secretary March 19, 2013

Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you). If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence. Duty of priests: inform parishioners, hear confessions, lead prayers Priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests, should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Churchs salutary provision. They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions. On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass or Vespers, or during devotions in honor of Divine Mercy, with the dignity that is in accord with the rite, they should lead the recitation of the

prayers that have been given above. Finally, since Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5,7), when they instruct their people, priests should gently encourage the faithful to practice works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the example of, and in obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ, as is listed for the second general concession of indulgence in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum. This Decree has perpetual force, any provision to the contrary notwithstanding. In conclusion, it must be mentioned that our correspondent was misinformed when she was told that Communion on this or any other Sunday granted a plenary indulgence. This is not the case. For more on indulgences in general, see our columns of Feb. 15 and March 1, 2005. Finally, because of the special liturgical nature of this Sunday, all devotions must be made outside of Mass and no change may be made in the liturgical texts or readings. Mention of the theme of Divine Mercy may be made, however, during the homily, commentaries and during the general intercessions.

upon the situation. Describing herself as a mother the Church listens to the cry of the poor, as teacher she preaches moral and religious truths, and as a prophet she should be a critical conscience of society who as a witness she professes to follow Jesus. It has been said that the Diocese focused only on one issue to the neglect of other issues. While it may be true, the principle behind this decision is that life is a paramount right and that all other rights proceed from it. It has been the prevalent opinion of those who are against the RH law that it is a Pandoras Box that will open the way for the use of abortifacients and will eventually lead to the legalization of abortion in the future. Therefore, there is no point to claim that one is concerned with the well-being and common good of the people if there is already a systematic destruction of life and the erosion of the moral fabrics of family and society through the RH law, which is, feared to be promoting the culture of death. The democratic process of election is a significant exercise of the citizens right to choose their leaders. Election is the time that elected officials are made accountable for their actions and decisions.

The Compendium stated that in the democratic system, political authority is accountable to the people. Representative bodies must be subjected to effective social control. This control can be carried out above all in free elections which allow the selection and change of representatives. The obligation on the part of those elected to give an accounting of their workwhich is guaranteed by respecting electoral termsis a constitutive element of democratic representation. Election is a significant time that the Church cannot afford to be quiet. Certainly, the clergy are prohibited from being involved in partisan politics. Yet, this does not prohibit them from guiding their flock as regards to the qualities of the candidates that are worthy of the peoples precious votes. The Church cannot afford to neglect those issues which are profoundly affecting the people. It is an operative element of charity and justice that the shepherds of Christs flock must be solicitous for the authentic welfare and common good of the people. And it is because of this that the fight against the RH Law continues. (This article is a personal reflection of the

author and does not in any way pretend to represent the official stand of the Diocese of Bacolod.)
(Endnotes) 1 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 46: AAS 83 (1991), 850. 2 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 70: AAS 87 (1995), 482. 3 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 46: AAS 83 (1991), 850. 4 Joseph Ratzinger, Crises of Law, the Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches, Harper San Francisco, 2007. 5 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 51: AAS 58 (1966), 1072-1073; Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, 14: AAS 60 (1968), 490-491; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 32: AAS 74 (1982), 118-120; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2370; Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii (31 December 1930): AAS 22 (1930), 559-561. 6 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, 7: AAS 60 (1968), 485; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 32: AAS 74 (1982), 118-120. 7 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, 17: AAS 60 (1968), 493-494. 8 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, 16: AAS 60 (1968), 491-492; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 32: AAS 74 (1982), 118-120; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2370.

Photo Courtesy of CBCP-NASSA


Ref lections

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

What really matters in the Church is life in the Spirit of Jesus

An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C, John 20:19-31; April 7, 2013
evoke the giving of the Law at Sinai, as Luke does in Acts. It is instructive that in describing the giving of the Holy Spirit, John uses the words breathed on them (John 20:22). Since the term to breathe on or to blow in popularly lined with Gen 2:7, there is no doubt that he harked back to the creation narrative when God breathed into the nostril of Adam who became a living being. That is to say, just as God gave life to Adam by blowing into his nostrils, so Jesus was giving a new life to the community of believers by giving them life. A similar view is held in wisdom literature; the one who fashioned him, and breathed into him a quickening soul, and infused a vital spirit (Wisd 15:11). At the same time, he alludes to Ezek 39:9-10 where, in the vision of the prophet, the dry bones came to life after the wind breathed into them. Since this text has reference to the gathering of Israel from the land of exile, it is clear therefore that John has in mind the reconstitution of Gods people as a new creation. John seems to be saying that with the death and resurrection of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit, God recreates his people by letting them share in the life of the Risen One. Jesus possesses this new life, but at Pentecost he shared it with the community of believers. In other words, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, those who are given this new life become members of a newly created people. When the Holy Spirit descends on a people to re-create them, what happens to them? As the attribute holy indicates, the people are cleansed from their sins. The idea of outpouring of the Holy Spirit is linked with the cleansing from sins: I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees (Ezek 36:25-27). No wonder that the early Church linked the sacrament of baptism, in which the Christian receives the Holy Spirit and becomes part of the new creation, with forgiveness of sins: Now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11). B ut if we strictly follow Johns theology, we notice that into this recreated people, the unity of the Father and the Son is communicated, and they become one people living in one divine life. As the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus in the Father, so the community is in Jesus and the Father (John 17:21). The members are bound into a corporate
Spirit / B7

By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD

SOME might wonder if we have to talk about a Johannine Pentecost. Is this something different from what we used to knownamely, the 50th day after Easter, which we celebrate in the liturgy after the feast of the Ascension? If by Pentecost we mean the bestowal of the Spirit upon all believers, then we have much ground for saying that the Gospel today is Johns version of Pentecost. We have to understand that for theological reasons, Luke, who wrote the Pentecost account in Acts 2:1-13, separated the Christological moments of redemption. In his account, there is a day for the resurrection of Jesus, another for his ascension, and still another for Pentecost. John, however, has a different way of looking at these moments. For him, Jesus resurrection is bound up with his exaltation and the giving of the Holy Spirit. When he rose from the dead, Jesus at the same time was exalted and bestowed the Spirit on the gathered believers. It is not surprising, therefore, that when Jesus appeared to his disciples, he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). But how does John describe the Pentecost? In depicting the event, John does not use words and images that

Bishop Pat Alo


How will Church leaders accomplish the mission to preserve unity?

An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Easter Year C, John 21:1-19; April 14, 2013
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
THE resurrection of Jesus is yearly celebrated at Easter, which is the oldest and most solemn Christian feast and considered the center of the Liturgical Year. But what is the meaning of the raising of Jesus from the dead? Admittedly, every New Testament writer has his own distinctive understanding of what the Resurrection of Jesus is all about, but in John, one of its meanings is mission. In Johns story of the Lords appearance on the shore of Tiberias (John 21:1-19), that significance derives, as in Luke 5:10, from the symbolism of the fishing scene. It may be recalled that before he was raised, Jesus promised that he would draw all women and men to himself (John 12:32). Since he has been lifted up, he could now fulfill his promise. If the Matthean Christ commanded the Eleven to make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:19), that account has an equivalent in John in the instruction to throw the net. And the meaning of the symbolism of throwing the net is made clearer in another metaphor: the commissioning of Peter to feed the lambs/ sheep (John 21:15-17). Of course, the mission remains the risen Lords. The disciples are simply his instruments. Christ takes the initiative and sustains it. For this reason, the success of the mission does not depend on the quality and effort of the disciples. A doctorate degree, a high IQ, ones being honed at Harvard Divinity School, the ability to attract huge crowdall this does not guarantee automatic success. Rather, it rests entirely on their obedience to the word of the listen Lord. By their own effort the disciples could not catch fish (21:6). Which reminds us of Jesus saying that without me you can do nothing (15:5). One may work in the mission with much effort, but without the presence of the Lord, that mission would be fruitless. No wonder then that the disciples were able to experience a miraculous catchthe Lord called them to throw their nets and they obediently did so: they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish (21:6). But what is the purpose of throwing the nets? If Jesus promised to draw all to himself, if he asked his disciples to cast the nets, the object was to form one community, one people coming from all nations. In this narrative, the net images the Church, and the fishermen stand for its leaders. The 350 kinds of fish represent all the races of men and therefore universalism. (In his commentary on Ezek 47:912, St. Jerome says that according to the ancient naturalists there were 153 species of fish.) Thus, the mission of the Church is universal salvation. Which reminds us of Jesus words: I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also must I lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd (10:16). His plan to gather all into one is reflected in the prophecy of Caiaphas,
Unity / B7

Mystery of iniquity
GOD did not create sin or evil in the world. Man has the free faculty to choose either good or evil. Evil is like the absence of good, that is, something negative. In the Bible, the last book talks about the eternal conflict between good and evil. Thats because the devil, from envy, desires to bring more and more people to hell. You will find the story there in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. War broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him. The dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey Gods commandments and bear witness to Jesus (Rev. 12:7-17). It would be good to determine to always say and live the truth. Why? Because the devil is a murderer and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). You dont want to be the devils disciple, do you?

Bo Sanchez


Feast of Christ, King of Divine Mercy; April 7, 2013

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
WHO could blame Thomas for his refusal to believe what his co-disciples were saying about the apparition of the risen Jesus? He was a concrete, positive man. To believe what his friends were saying about Jesus was like believing that the sun had risen at midnight! He was ready to grant that, during the three years he had been with Jesus, he had witnessed quite a number of happenings which seemed as incredible as a midnight sunrise: lepers cured instantly; paralytics who walked home carrying the mats on which they had been lying for years; thousands fed with just a few loaves and fish; and even dead people coming back to life!. . . He believed in the reality of their occurrence because he had seen them happen with his own eyes. But Jesus, the reportedly risen Jesus, where was he? If he could just see and touch his body, then Thomas also would say, Amen! Since he was not around when Jesus had appeared to the whole group, what Thomas was asking was no less than a personal apparition of the Risen Christ to him. And Thomas got it all, thanks to Jesus loving condescension. He saw Jesus and was able to put his fingers on the holes bored by the nails and the spear. And he exploded in that confession of faith for which he will be remembered till the end of time. (See Jn 20:28.) Thomas is a contemporary of every generation. Even today many refuse to believe in the reality of the Resurrection until they see some proof of it. Especially in our days, the only valid proof of the Resurrection people are prepared to consider is our life our Christian witness. It is through our lives, more than our words, that we can show that Jesus is really risen from death and is now alive. An existence characterized by charity and service to the needy is undoubtedly a strong sign that, after the death of Christ, a new powerful stream of life has entered the marshes of human history and human nature. Such lifegiving reality has quickened to a superior level of existence the whole of mankind, thanks to the resurrection of Christ. No human being could constantly overcome the temptation and natural inclination to be self-centered if Christ did not rise from death. A life totally spent in the service of others is a sign of the Life that has conquered death in Christs resurrection. Another decisive sign of the reality of the Resurrection is the forgiveness that we grant to those who have wronged us. Every offense that we suffer opens painful wounds in our sensitivity. They are the marks of the emotional agony, and even of our death, which human cruelty, unfairness, dishonesty, treachery, . . . have inflicted on us. But if and when we are able to be good to the persons who have hurt us so deeply, to do good to them, to speak well of them, to smile at them in other words, to forgive them from the heart, then even the hardest unbeliever is faced with a very strong proof (the strongest one, perhaps) of the reality and lifegiving effects of the Resurrection. Perfect forgiveness which overcomes all inclination to hate back is a firstclass miracle indeed. And the Holy Spirit, whom the Risen Christ gave to his disciples on Easter Sunday, has a lot to do with it.

The signs that arouse faith

How to have a hundredfold harvest in your life

WHEN I was 12 years old, I gave my life to God. In fact, I gave up all my teenage years to God. One day, after a Feast (thats what we call our prayer meetings today), a woman asked me, Bo, you gave your life to God too early. Dont you regret NOT experiencing the world first? I mean, you didnt have much fun. Did you ever smoke a cigarette? Nope, I smiled. Ever got drunk? Never, I said, Im allergic to alcohol. My breathing pipe constricts. Ever attended any parties? I never did, I said. She reminded me of my former classmate Felipe In High School, Felipe liked bragging about all the worldly fun he was having. One day, he told me, Last night, I attended a wild party that lasted till midnight. (To kids today who start their parties at midnight, his boast may sound silly. But during my time, a party that ends at midnight was already a crime. We were coming from Martial Law days were there was a curfew!) But I would counter-brag and say, I attend not one, not two, but three parties each week. And all of them last till midnight. His eyes bulged. Of course, I didnt tell him that those parties were really prayer meetings. But they were so much fun, they looked like wild partieswith people raising their hands, jumping up and down, and being slain in the Spirit. Felipe would then brag to me, Every Saturday, I go dancing in the Disco. I ask him, Saturdays only? I go dancing Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday! Of course, I didnt tell
Soulfood / B7

3rd Sunday of Easter; April 14, 2013

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
AFTER the Resurrection, Jesus external appearance must have been quite altered if no one could recognize him at first sight . . . But what had not undergone any change in him was his love for his disciples, in spite of their many shortcomings. He made it a point to prove this even in his apparition in Galilee. His interest in their fruitless toil, his suggesting what to do in order to make a big catch, the fish freshly broiled, the bread just baked . . . (see Jn 21:414) were all signs of his loving care for them. But that early spring morning Jesus had more than fish and bread to offer them. Feed my lambs . . . Tend my sheep, he said to Simon Peter in the presence of the other apostles, his gaze piercing gently the misty eyes of the fisherman from Bethsaida. (See Jn 21:15-17.) The meaning of Jesus words was clear, in spite of the figurative language usedthe risen Christ had made Peter the head-shepherd of the Church! The first Habemus Papam in historya proclamation done by Jesus himself on the quiet lakeshore near Capernaum, close to the place where everything had begun three years earlier. Quite a gift for Peter and for all
Love / B7

Love rooted in faith



CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

Social Concerns

At this point we can answer the infamous question: are Catholics forced to vote for a corrupt pro-life politician? This is where the second level criteria come in. Catholics may or may not apply another set of criteria to those candidates who passed the first level criteria. This second level criteria concerns temporal matters such as corruption, political dynasties, mining, gun ban, etc. Due to the temporal nature of these matters Catholics can and should exercise a great degree of freedom and exercise their good judgment keeping in mind the common good. The great thing that the diocese of Bacolod did with their Team Buhay/ Team Patay tarpaulin was to come up with the best branding the Catholic vote could ever have. I think that it was no less than the Holy Spirit that blessed the collective effort of the Diocese to discern how they could best express their dissent to RA 10354. Team Buhay expresses so graphically and succinctly the culture of life.These two words accomplish what could only be done through difficult and long catechesis making it so accessible to the grassroots. We can put this branding to good use by simply asking each politician: Are you Team Buhay or Team Patay? However, politicians being what they are, we cant afford to put too much value on their word this close to election time.We need to give more value to what they have done in the past rather than their promises of the future.We have to use our vote against these balimbing turn-coat politicians.
[1]Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. This designation would be the Ecclesiastical equivalent of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in civil society. [2]The Teachings of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Keynote Address, National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D. C., May 8, 2009 [3]Encyclical, Deus caritas est, no. 28, Pope Benedict XVI [4]For example, all human beings, regardless of religious persuasion, believe that it is wrong to lie, to steal and to kill. [5]Address of his holiness Benedict XVI to the members of the Europeans Peoples Party on the occasion of the Study Days on Europe, March 30, 2006. These non-negotiable ethical principles can be traced back to the Charter of the Family drawn by Blessed John Paul II. [6]The Teachings of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Keynote Address, National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D. C., May 8, 2009

What is the Catholic Vote?

By Linda Valenzona
MANY people, even Catholics, will liken Catholic Vote to the bloc vote of the INK and for which reason they are courted by many politicians during election time. To explain the Catholic vote one had best start with stating what it is not. The Catholic vote is not a bloc vote according to the dictates of the clergy. It would not be acceptable for the Bishops and priests to dictate from the pulpit the Catholic vote. All this would be so alien to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholics are united in what the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, teaches regarding faith and morals.Hence since politics is most of the time concerned with temporal mattersday to day running of worldly mattersCatholics are free to use their own criteria in choosing the best solution to a specific problem keeping in mind what is required for the common good. We could say that the true mark of Catholicity is this unity in matters of faith and morals combined with great respect for freedom and responsibility in temporal matters. This would imply that the decision process is two tieredthe top tier will be the decision criteria for matters that have to do with faith and morals and the lower tier will concern temporal areas. It therefore stands to reason that before RA 10354 there was never any need for the Catholic votelegislation was exclusively concerned with policy making on temporal matters regulating civil life.The situation changed completely with the introduction of the RH billsa policy that impinged on the sacredness of human life and the sanctity of marriage. One should note however, that the anti-RH debate that ensued was far from a religious one. The demographic, scientific, medical and legal arguments originating mostly from the Catholic laity was an indication that what were at stake were matters of natural law applicable to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.This was the first attempt to bring religion to the public forum for in the words of Cardinal Raymond Burke[1] the common good depends on the active engagement of the religious faith in the public forum.[2] This means that we cant leave our faith at home, as though it were a purely private matter.
Soulfood / B6

The protracted struggle against RA 10354 but Catholic vote was born in our hearts when we helplessly listened to the politicians we elected cast their votes in favor of RA 10354. Political candidates hurt by the TeamPatay, Team Buhay tarpaulins of the Diocese of Bacolod are crying foul.They claim that this violates the separation of Church and State principle defined in our Constitution.We have time and again clarified that this Constitutional provision is more concerned with ensuring that the State does not violate the citizens freedom of worship.In any case Pope Benedict XVI reminds us: When the Church addresses her social teaching to issues of the common good, she has no intention of giving the Church power over the State or to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith.[3] Moreover, since the natural moral law is written on the heart of every human being (whether Catholic, Muslim or INK), they are not based on any confessional belief or practice that is peculiar only to Catholics.[4] This naturally leads to our starting point to operationalize the Church doctrine on the Catholic vote. It is Pope Benedict XVI who provides us the criteria in his speech during the Audience of European Parliamentarians on March 30, 2006. Let me quote from it verbatim: As far as the Catholic Church
Spirit / B6

is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today: - protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; - recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role; - the protection of the right of parents to educate their children. These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Churchs action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have.[5] This then is the first criteria for assessing the candidates on matters

related to faith and moralsthree non-negotiable ethical principles that politicians have to defend in policy making: (1) the sacredness of life, (2) the sanctity of marriage and (3) the right and duty of parents to educate their childrenin order to qualify for the Catholic vote. This is not single issue voting since the criteria embraces three issues; but they all belong to the same category of natural law. Let me now touch on the moral issue of the principles regarding cooperation in evil, especially by the act of voting. Let me do that by quoting this provocative statement from Cardinal Burke: there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage.[6] By this statement we gain a clearer understanding how the three non-negotiable ethical principles belong to a higher and more sublime categorydivine natural law, hence their compelling force to blacklist any candidate who violates them. Catholics who will otherwise vote for them will be cooperating in evil.The origin of these non-negotiable ethical principles from divine moral law also means we cant put them in the same footing as other criteria of a temporal nature.

Photo courtesy of CBCP for Life

Candle / B2

him that I danced to the tune of, Ang buhay ng Kristiyano ay masayang tunay Felipe boasted, Last weekend, my friends and I went to Tagaytay, drank, smoked weed, and got really high! I told him, Hey, what a coincidence! My friends and I went to Tagaytay and got really high too! What did you smoke? I finally told him, The Holy Spirit. It was true. We were giving a Life in the Spirit seminar, got people baptized, and everyone spoke in tongues. Shalalalalala. Yep, we got high alright. I gave up my youth to God. And God multiplied my youth and gave it back to me a HUNDREDFOLD. Today, twenty-five years later, Felipe doesnt go to parties anymore, doesnt smoke weed anymore, doesnt go dancing anymore. Why? Because hes got diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol problems Me? I still go to wild parties, still go dancing, and still get high everyday! (In fact, I just dont only go to wild parties, I BUILD wild parties around the world. Theyre called Feasts. Weve built 123 of them so far!) And heres what Felipe never
Love / B6

experienced: I started preaching at 13, started a spiritual community at 14 (that has spread all over the world), lived in a slum area at 14 to do mission work, travelled to the Holy Land at 16, preached to 20,000 people in Araneta Coliseum at 16, wrote a book at 20, published a magazine at 24, lived with orphans and abandoned elderly for three whole years in the boondocks at 27 I could go on and on and on. Sometimes, I pinch myself. Why do I live such a charmed, exciting, and out-of-this-world life? When I followed God as a teenager, I left my home, my parents, and my family to do mission work. Today, I now have a HUNDRED fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and houses all over the world! I can go to any country in the world and Ive got friends there who would open their homes to me. Im surrounded by an ocean of lovethe most wonderful friends on the planet. I can only think of one reason: As a young boy, I gave my life to God, planted my seed in the good soil of His Heartand He gave my life back to me, multiplied a Hundredfold. Start planting. Start harvesting.

unity, but each one is known by their shepherd (10:3-4) who lays down his life for them (10:17). They imitate him by serving one another in humility (13:15). What holds the community is its spiritual relationship with Christ. As disciples to whom divine life is communicated, the members are sustained by Christ himself, who is united with them and remain in them (15:1-5). What does this mean to us? It means many things, but we can point out one. To be a Church, the life its members live is of paramount importance. That life must be one that our Lord
Unity / B6

communicates to us at baptism and shared in the community of believers. It is just dismaying to know that when we talk about the Church, most of us look at it in terms of secular standards. We tend to forget this inner life, and we regard the parish as good if, for example, the parish church is well constructed, the celebrations well attended, the church organizations are in place, the parish councils have plenty of projects, and the parish has much money in the bank. In the light of Johannine Pentecost, however, all these are secondary. Money, projects

and infrastructures are never an indication that the community flourishes. The proper questions to ask are: do the members of the parish know each other? Do they love one another? Is their love expressed in helping those in need? Do they form one community? Does their love grow? Are they more forgiving than before? The parish may have the best infrastructures, but if it is lacking in love, forgiveness, unity, and mutual concern, it is no different from a secular body that has no soul. In the end, what really matters is life in the Spirit of Jesus.

(Decree 4383,1-2). The principle behind these decrees would appear to be that lighting the Easter candle is reserved for liturgical acts celebrated with some degree of solemnity. All the same, it is not incompatible with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament if a liturgical celebration is held during adoration. Likewise, although the earlier decrees spoke only of vespers, the present norms include lauds and could perhaps be extended to other hours of the Liturgy of the Hours if celebrated with some solemnity.

believers, too! That appointment was the fulfillment of the promise which Jesus himself had made to Peter at Caesarea Philippi many months earlier in response to the disciples profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. (See Mt 16:18-19.) The disciple had done nothing to deserve such a promise. Jesus said that Peters answer had been the Fathers doing! (See Mt 16:17.) He had actually done quite a bit to lose any claim to its fulfillment, for he had deserted and disowned his Master, in spite of all his boastful assurances. (See Mk 14:29-31.) In that painful process, Peter had lost almost all his dignity, but not his faith in Jesus and his love for him. He had also learned to be humble. And that, for Jesus, was enough. The question, Do you love me? asked three times was not meant to embarrass the repentant disciple, but to bring him to realize that love and humility are indispensable virtues for one who is

called to represent the humble and loving Master. Once again, as he had already done at Caesarea Philippi, Peter gave the right answer, Lord, you know that I love you! The whole Church rejoices in it, for a strong and humble love for Jesus is the basic condition for Peter to be the visible leader of the new People of God a leader according to the heart of Christ. The role of Peter in the Church, intended to be handed on to his successors, is one of the most precious gifts of the risen Christ to the other Apostles and to all his followers throughout the centuries. In Peter and his successors, in fact, we find the indispensable visible point of reference and unity, and the leadership that presides in charity and guides all the believers in being faithful to the common Lord. In this frail head-shepherd we see a proof of Christs love for the Church and sign of his unfailing presence in it.

the high priest, that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God (11:32). (It goes without saying that to say that salvation is only for those who know the Bible, or who are born again or who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior is to misread John.) It is interesting to note that although the fish were numerous, the net was not broken (21:11). For John, this symbolizes the unity of diverse believers that is to be preserved by the leaders of the Church. And how will the Church leaders accomplish the mission? If a shift in image may be permitted, it may be said that they will fulfill their mission by shepherding (Ps 80:2; Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10) in love of Jesus. This is precisely the reason why Jesus asked Peter thrice: Simon, son of John, do you love me? For without such love, the pastoral efforts of the shepherds or ministers of the Church (1 Pet 5:2-4; Act 20:28) will be in vain. As Paul

puts it, If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Cor 13:2-3). This implies that the exercise of power proper to secular society or to the military has no place in the Christian community. That Jesus repeatedly asked Peter the question about lovethis was meant to show that he had a devoted love for Jesus (see Matt 26:33). Here, of course, Peter, far from declaring it, merely appealed to Jesus intimate knowledge: Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you (John 21:17). With this, John would have understood that freeing love for the sheep is the essence of shepherding. A priest who does not freely love his parishioners is scarcely worthy of his pastoral office. Peters love for the Lord

was to be manifested in the taking care of the latters flock. Moreover, he also would shepherd them with love because he was a disciple who loved (John 13:37). Out of his love for Jesus, Peter would have to deny his very self. In contrast to the shepherds who, following their wicked inclination, did not pasture the sheep with integrity (Ezek 34; Jer 3:15), he would not demand that they serve him. On the contrary, he would have to lay down his life for them: A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11). As Jesus was concerned with the good of the flock (John 10:3-4.14.2730), so would Peter who must feed and shepherd Jesus sheep. That is why Peter could go where the unexpected awaited him (John 21:18). In the end, he proved his love by dying a martyrs death under Nero. Such is the call of every ministers of the Lord: To testify to the mission of salvation by dying for it and for the sheep in love.


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Moral Assessment

Technical Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 7

April 1 - 14, 2013

Abhorrent Disturbing Acceptable Wholesome Exemplary

Poor Below average Average Above average E xcellent TITLE: Silver Linings Playbook CAST: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rober de Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher DIRECTOR: David O Russell GENRE: Romantic ComedyDrama CINEMATOGRAPHER: Masanobu Takayanagi RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Weinstein Company LOCATION: United States Technical Assessment: Moral Assessment: CINEMA rating: V 14 MTRCB rating: R 13

Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is released from a Baltimore psychiatric hospital on the insistence of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) who does not like him getting used to the hospitals routine life. He was committed by court order to the mental hospital after he beat up a man he had caught in the shower with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee), a teacher at a local high school. Pat moves in with his parents, to the delight of his father Pat Sr. (Robert de Niro) who takes it as an opportunity to bond with his son. Stubbornly refusing medication, Pat resolves to rebuild himself by getting in tip top physical shape and enriching his mind by reading all the books Nikki assigns to her students. He is determined to win her back despite a retraining order barring him from coming within 500 feet of Nikki. Pat soon meets another psychiatric case, young widow Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who volunteers to deliver Pats letters to Nikki if Pat would be her partner in a local dance contest. Two things make a major push for Silver Linings Playbook: the story and the actors. All else are there in support of these two. The story is part factual, part fantasy, but is told in a way that makes the film bitingly real. The story

needs no eye candy, no CGI, just the flesh and blood realism of a middleclass neighborhood in Philadelphia, acted out like the actors were born and raised in that milieu and were in fact telling their true story. Brad Cooper is a revelation here, playing a character so remote from his usual roles and giving it incredible depth. Jennifer Lawrencewell, the Oscar speaks of the promise the 22-year old holds as a major talent. (Somehow her face is perfect for the intense characters shes given, remember Hunger Games). Here her character is so fierce she can steal the thunder from de Niro, who, by the way, delivers classic de Niro as Pat Sr. Silver Linings Playbook gives hope, as the proverbial silver lining behind the dark clouds. Its an optimistic movie that treats mental illness with respect, and demonstrates how persons with neuroses may rise above their situation. The keyword is Excelsior (Latin for ever upward) which subtly permeates thedaytodaylifeofordinarypeople in an ordinary neighborhood. Not overtly religious, the characters nonetheless hope and believePat himself, a bi-polar patient, says There is a reason for everything that happens. The Solitano home

offers clues to the inhabitants Christian faith but the father engages in ritualssomething like a home-brewed feng shuithats supposed to bring him luck at betting on the Philadelphia Eagles. In the end, one may indeed wonder how relevant medicine is when people who sincerely work for what they want, do not get what they want, but get something better instead. Then you realize, the silver lining is but a proof of the presence behind the clouds of a light-giving, life-giving Sun.

The Croods CAST: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Randy Thom DIRECTION, STORY AND SCREENPLAY: Kirk de Micco, Chris Sanders PRODUCERS: Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell PRODUCTION: Dreamworks Animation GENRES: Adventure, Comedy, Family RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Technical Assessment:

The Croods are a prehistoric cave-dwelling family composed of parents Grug (voice by Nicholas Cage) and Ugga (voice by Catherine Keener), teen daughter Eep (voice by Emma Stone), Eeps little brother Thunk (voice by Clarke Duke), baby sister Sandy (voice by Randy Thom) grandmother Gran (voice by Cloris Leachman). Their only rule to live by is: Dont try anything new. Anything new is badto be feared, and so dad Grugs perennial word of caution is Never not be afraid because fear keeps us alive. When an earthquake occurs and their world of rock begins to crumble, the Croods are forced to desert their Moral Assessment: cave. They wander into a strange CINEMA rating: GP new world, and meet Guy (voice MTRCB rating: GP of Ryan Reynolds), a resourceful orphan of Eeps age. In vivid 3D, The Croods has been the most natural, wholesome, and memorable family film that has happened since Up, offering entertainment with a heart and an uplifting break from revenge themes, gory horror and terror in our cinemas as well as the news. It strikes a happy medium between outright fantasy (out-of-this-world creatures) and next-door reality (Neanderthal family management so like ours?). But of course, nothing is impossible with animation, and in The Croods it is put to very effective use in highlighting emotional responses supposedly of humans clad in animal skins but which might as well be our own in the 21st century. Obviously caught up in the Croods adventure, viewers of all ages on the day CINEMA watched The Croods couldnt stop reacting to it cheering, laughing, shrieking, clucking with gleewhich only goes to prove its tremendous appeal to a general audience. And why not? The Croods are like anyones family that has its share of fights (and even jabs at mothers-in-law) but is united in moments that challenge their survival. And there are no villains to speak of here; the only baddies to confront are those within oneselfinflexibility and resistance to change, unwillingness to accept new ideas, the habit of wanting to be always in control, etc. The Croods shows that even in animation, catharsis is possible, as each character evolves in the familys journey into a new way of living.


Ni Bladimer Usi

Buhay Parokya

Look for the image of the Pope Francis, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, and Blessed John Paul II. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

CBCP Monitor


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ

Cardinal Tagle sends off 130 CFC Lay Missionaries

be a true missionary, we need, first, to be anointed by the spirit of God and not the spirit of the world; second to have humility as a servant of God, and finally, to be ready to bear anything even hardshipsfor the sake of the missions. During the Mission Sending ceremony, Fr. Alex introduced the various groups and individually presented the missionaries. The CFC lay missionaries were led by CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman, International Council member Arnel Santos, and Church Integration Office Coordinator Rouquel Ponte. Couple-missionaries from CFC as well as missionaries from the different Family Ministries - Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ and Handmaids of the Lord were all presented. Other groups presented were religious missionaries, the Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society and the Mission Society of the Philippines. After the introduction of missionaries, Cardinal Tagle blessed the crosses, symbol of salvation for the world, which were handed out to each missionary. The ceremony ended with the Prayer for Missionaries. Right after the holy Mass, Fr. Alex gave his message of thanksgiving and encouraged all to pray for the missionaries and to support the missions. And as a fitting way to close the spirit-filled afternoon, Cardinal Tagle issued an empowering challenge for all missionaries: I will believe. I will be ready to be sent. The activity is indeed a great reminder for all missionaries that true mission leads to faith and that mission is a call that should lead every one to a deeper commitment to Christ.

By Samantha Catabas Manuel

OVER 130 missionaries of Couples for Christ and its ministries will remember Holy Monday, March 25, 2013 for many years to come. On this day, they took part in the Mission Sending Ceremony held at the San Fernando De Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila and organized by the Archdiocesan Commission on Mission led by Fr. Alex Justiani Abiera of the Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society.

His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle celebrated the solemn Mass and facilitated the symbolic blessing of the missionaries. In his homily, Cardinal Tagle highlighted the significance of committing to mission work most especially in this Year of Faith. According to him, there is an intimate connection between faith and the missions that faith is a calling to mission. He further added that, we are called by Christ as a disciple in faith to witness to Him. Cardinal Tagle emphasized that to

CFC Missionaries being presented during the Mission Sending Ceremony

Receiving the cross symbolizing our salvation

Hallelujah, Christ is Risen!

May the resurrection of Christ be a reminder for us to experience renewed faith and hope, and live full lives in Him. Below is an easter message from cfc Executive Director Melo Villaroman, Jr.

CFC Cana Echo-Conferences: Do whatever He tells you

It was during the powerful and empowering Mission Core Weekend in Baguio City last February 2013 where the message, Do whatever He tells you, inspired by the Wedding at Cana, first enlightened and touched over 1000 couples who attended the conference. These past months, various CFC provinces all over the country and international areas held their respective CANA Weekend Echo Conferences. Many stories of marriages strengthened and lives renewed were once again witnessed as CFC couples worldwide gathered as a community, consecrating their marriage and family life to Jesus Christ through Mary. This years CANA Weekend highlighted the significance of the very first miracle of Christ when he turned water into wine and the importance of Marys role in our lives through this miracle. Here are a few highlights of some of the echo-conferences held recently:

CFC MM West C Governance team pose for posterity, Teachers Camp, Baguio City, March 8, 2013 Attended by more than a thousand members from all over the UAE, Couples for Christ Dubai hosted the annual National Conference last 22nd of February. IC members Ricky Cuenca, Jun Uriarte and Joe Tale, together with CFC Middle East coordinator Jimmy Ilagan and CFC ME fulltime missionary Bads Ellica, were the resource speakers. Their wives gave powerful testimonies of transformation and spiritual insights.

n the CFC Kuwait Cana Conference, members were overjoyed at the presence of four members of the International Council and their wives, a first for Kuwait.

The CFC Bicol Governance Team lead the Lords Day celebration during the echo conference held on the weekend of March 8.

Cana / C3

Joe Yamamoto


CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013

Bread of the Real Presence

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John is one of the most important chapters as it relates to the Theology of the Eucharist. It begins with the account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the subsequent feeding of the multitude. This is the second of the three Passover miracles outlined in the gospel of John, the first being the transformation of water into wine at Cana, and the third performed at the Last Supper, i.e. the institution of the Eucharist. The Wait For The New Moses John begins the chapter with the multiplication of the loaves (John 1-15) for the miraculous feeding of five thousand people. In response to the miracle,the Jews did two things. First, they recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Second, the people saw in Jesus the new Moses, (prophet like Moses, as foretold in the book of Deuteronomy). The people saw the connection of the multiplication of the loaves with the miracle of manna in the desert. The day after the miracle, the remaining crowd looked for Jesus in the hope that the next sign he will do for them was to restore the manna from heaven.This was the occasion for Jesus to give the bread of life discourse, Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal. To see if their expectation of him as the new Moses would happen,they asked him to give them manna not just for forty years like in the time of the desert wanderings but for always. A Hornets Nest Is Stirred Jesus begins the sermon by using manna to reveal his heavenly origin and emphasize the utmost importance of believing in him (John 6:48-51)I am the bread of life.Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. That pronouncement stirred a hornets nest. To understand the consternation and objections of the people, it is important to see this statement from the viewpoint of the Old Testament. There were explicit prohibitions against the eating of an animals flesh with its blood- But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for blood is life, and you shall not consume this seat of life with the flesh. (Deuteronomy 12:23) Rather than soften his teaching, Jesus intensifies his instruction by saying to them, Amen, amen, I say to you , unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life , and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:53-59) Then many of his disciples who were listening said, This saying is hard; who can accept it? Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. (John 6:60-63). Jesus added: ...No one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father. The Words Of Eternal Life The mass defection that ensued from among the followers of Jesus was bad enough. Worse still was the fact that those who left went to the extent of going back to their former way of life. To the twelve, Jesus asked, Do you also want to leave? The response proved to be a defining moment for the apostles. Simon Peter answered him, Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:67-68). To the faithful disciples, Jesus presented two keys to help them understand the meaning of the difficult words(1) the mystery of his divine identity; and (2) the mystery of his bodily resurrection and ascension, through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Brant Pitre). The divine identity of Jesus was revealed in many Gospel occasions, such as - (1) at Baptism, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.; (2) Jn 6:62- What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?; (3) the healing of the paralytic in Capernaum, My son, your sins are forgiven you. To the objections of the scribes, Jesus responded, the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-10). He made the paralytic walk and thereby, demonstrated the divine prerogative as his own; (4) on the occasion when he and his disciples were doing something during Sabbath that to the minds of the Pharisees was not permissible, Jesus spoke strongly to his critics, Something greater than the Temple is here and The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus pronouncements are all the more astonishing because from the perspective of the Jews, the Temple is the dwelling place of God on earth and to be the Lord of the Sabbath is a role accorded to the Creator. Therefore Jesus was speaking about his divine identity ; (5) the gospel of John relates the following Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM. During the feast of the Hanukkah, while in the Temple grounds, Jesus stated, I and the Father are One. (John 10:30). The very words of Jesus attest to his being the Incarnate Son, the Word of God. The bread of life discourse that points ultimately to the Eucharist can be understood first and foremost by grasping the divine identity of Jesus.It is only through the mystery of the divine identity of Jesus and his divine power that he can give to his disciples his body and blood under the form of real food and real drink. (John 6:55). The second key to understanding the bread of life discourse is to see it from the mystery of the Resurrection and the Ascension. CCC 994 states, ...Jesus links faith in the Resurrection to his own personI am the Resurrection and the life. It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. To be a witness to Christ is to be a witness to his Resurrection, to have (eaten and drunk) with him after he has risen from the dead. Encounters with the Risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him. ( CCC 995). By the mystery of the Resurrection, the bread of life discourse becomes even clearer by partaking of the real food and real drink of his resurrected body, which was raised to life by the Spirit.After the Resurrection and the Ascension, his glorified body would no longer be bound by space or time. He would be able to appear when he willed, and where he willed, and under whatever form he willed. Raymond Brown, another prominent New Testament scholar, puts the context that by referring to his bodily ascension, Jesus is saying that it is not the dead body or flesh of Christ which will be of benefit in the Eucharist, but his resurrected body full of the Spirit of life. Nothing Except You, My Lord For the last two millenia, the doctrine of the real presence has been held and defended by the teachings of the successors of Peter and the apostles. St. Thomas Aquinas remains as one of the staunchest and most passionate defenders of the real presence. Everytime he celebrated mass, he was moved to tears. When confronted with thorny doctrinal and intellectual difficulties, St. Thomas would go to the tabernacle, rest his head on it and beg for inspiration to resolve the issue at hand. One such important item is the real presence analyzed under the rubric of transubstantiation. His forceful arguments were that at consecration, the substance of the bread is changed into the substance of the body of Jesus, and that the substance of the wine is changed into the substance of the blood of Jesus, even as the accidents of bread and wine remain unchanged. The divine identity and authority of Jesus make the bread of life the bread of the real presence. Jesus is the Incarnate Word, the Word by which the universe is created. Let there be light,says the Lord, and there was light. Isaiah wrote of Gods word that says: For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful... So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11). Jesus brought Lazarus and the young girl back to life by his command. He forgave sins, healed the sick and the handicapped and tamed the powers of nature by the power of his word. Such is the power of the words of Jesus that on the night before he died, he took bread and said, This is my body, which will be given for you (Luke 22:19). After the meal, he took the cup of wine and said, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. (Luke 22:20) His words are not merely descriptive but transformative. It creates, sustains and changes reality at the most fundamental level. (Fr. Robert Barron) Toward the end of his life, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica and a prominent part of the work is a treatise on the Eucharist. Despite the hard work and inspiration he placed into his lifes work, Thomas remained unconvinced that he had done justice for the beautiful sacrament of the Eucharist. He laid the treatise at the foot of the crucifix in the Dominican chapel in Naples and he prayed earnestly. From the cross came a voice: Bene scripsiste de me, Thoma. (You have written well of Me, Thomas). Then the voice of Jesus asked him, What would you have as a reward? Thomas humbly answered, Nil nisi te (Nothing except you). Epilogue The Catechism of the Catholic Church called the Eucharist as the source and summit of our Christian life. Through it, we partake of the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. It is the Paschal mystery relived over and over again. The confession of Peter that Jesus has the words of eternal life and is the Holy One of God carries our hopes and aspirations for salvation. Doubting Thomas, when confronted with the glorified resurrected Jesus, knelt before him and declared: My Lord and My God. To partake of the real food and to drink the real drink is to give glory to the resurrected Jesus. St. Thomas Aquinas said it best: Nothing except you Lord (References: Catholicism series, Fr. Robert Barron; Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper ,Brant Pitre; Scriptural quotations, New American Bible, Revised Catholic Version.)

CFC GMC holds Lenten Recollection

Compassion is the key to a good organization This was the focal message during the Lenten Recollection organized for the Couples for Christ Global Mission Center employees last March 12, 2013. The spirit-filled afternoon began with an empowering worship led by Goi Villegas, a CFC fulltime missionary. Fr. Armand Robleza of the Salesian Society, Don Bosco Makati was the guest speaker for the afternoons recollection. Inspiring and enlightening insights on our posture as Catholics were presented during the recollection. Fr. Armand discussed how we Catholics should fully embrace life, for a life fully lived provides a glimpse of God. He also shared relevant anecdotes to support this important message. The recollection gave the workers of GMC a fresh perspective on lifes golden rule to care for other people as we would care for God. It was indeed a good opportunity for everyone to set their hearts and minds into the right perspective for Holy Week. The recollection was followed by a Holy Mass, officiated by Fr. Armand himself, to formally end the afternoons empowering gathering.

Our obedience, our salvation:

The CFC Kenya Evangelization Rally


The GTA Leaders Assembly and Evangelization Rally
By Mariel Velasco
February 2013 was the focus of two major events blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit as Couples for Christ Ontario held its annual Leaders Assembly and Evangelization Rally. More than 450 leaders of CFC, Singles for Christ (SFC), Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD), Servants of the Lord (SOLD) and full-time pastoral workers packed the gymnasium of St. Brother Andre Catholic High School in Markham, Ontario on Saturday, February 2, 2013. Francis Yap, Area Director for CFC Toronto, encouraged all leaders to relive the first miracle of Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana. Pastoral Formation Office head for Ontario Roland Pontiveros led the leaders to a series of teachings and workshops focusing on the CFC Culture. The event was graced by the presence of Rev. Father Russell Asch, Associate Pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Markham, Ontario, who celebrated the Holy Mass. Three weeks after this event, or on Saturday, February 23, more than 900 members crowded the two floors of the Anapilis Christian Community Centre to attend the annual Evangelization Rally in Mississauga, Ontario. Rev Father Carlos Macatangga, SVD, Pastor of Cristo Rei Parish celebrated the Holy Mass. Father Carlos was also a keynote speaker who interacted with the crowd with his inspiring and thought-provoking talk focused on this years theme of Obey and Witness (John 2:5). It was indeed a festive affair of praise, worship, singing, and presentations as CFC and all its ministries cheered and chanted the CFC 2013 evangelization rally chant. - Obey and Witness! Jun Clarito, Easter Canada Region Head and Family Ministry National Head, captured the attention of the audience with his talk on Obey and Witness. Sharers from the different ministries came up on stage to affirm how they have obeyed the Lord and witnessed His great blessings while experiencing many difficult challenges and tribulations. Jun capped the evangelization rally with his prayer for empowerment for CFC GTA as it faces challenges ahead while moving forward with Gods call to obey and witness. Francis Yap who led the praisefest summed up the evangelization rally best when he stated, The coming together of everyone is clearly an example of Romans 8: All things work together for good to those who love God.

By Lissa Untalan
The call to Obey and Witness was first heard by a young, devout Jewish girl from Nazareth. Her openness to follow the God she knew so well led to the salvation of many souls, including hers. This was the same invitation and encouragement of this years first Evangelization Rally in Nairobi, Kenya held last February 23, 2013 at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church Hall in Kileleshwa. Onnel Tolentino, CFC Kenya Fulltime Pastoral Worker, led afternoon worship with an inspiring introduction on the purpose of rallying for the work of evangelization. He further excited the crowd by showcasing the victories and fruits of last years mission efforts, especially the outreach work with Remand, and the blessing of a new pastoral worker, Tinah Muia. The first session, Obey,given by Nic Escalona, CFC East Africa Regional Director, was a walk- through of the wedding at Cana, and its valuable lessons, highlighting the obedience of Mary, of Christ, and of the servants. This was very real for Abraham Munene and his family in their journey towards Christ. His recent appointment to serve in the National Council for Mission Support further opened his eyes to the blessings of doing Gods will, especially when the challenges of family life and work make serving difficult. In session two, Witness, David Makonnen, CFC Kenya National Director, affirmed the call of obedience as a call to witness. To do what Jesus says is to be a martyr, to proclaim Christ in how we live. Emmanuel Mutua, SFC Kenya Fulltime Pastoral Worker and CFC Family Ministries Head, shared how he was witnessed to, first by the community, and now by his own children. This is the legacy of witness he is called to impart as a Catholic, as a father, and as a missionary. A Holy Mass was a fitting close to this half-day affair, with Rt. Rev. David Kamau, Auxilliary Bishop of Nairobi, as the main celebrant. Bishop Kamau reminded all that obedience is for our salvation. To not obey is to lose heaven, for we are meant for a special joy. He said that heaven is here on earth, experienced everyday despite suffering or pain. To obey and witness is to proclaim Christs death and resurrection. To cap the day, His Excellency prayed a special blessing upon the new CFC National Council of Kenya.

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 www.couplesforchristglobal.org l cfcmultimedia@couplesforchristglobal.org

Melo Villaroman, Jr. IC Oversight Zenaida Gimenez Editor-in-Chief Samantha Manuel Associate Editor Alma Alvarez Layout Artist Marivie Dalman Managing Editor Vangie Mecedilla Circulation Staff

For more CFC stories, news and videos, scan the QR Code using your mobile device or go to http://couplesforchristglobal.org/home.

CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 7
April 1 - 14, 2013



CFC Archdiocese of Lipa launches Cfc Pampanga Mission BCOP in weekend Congress Center Breaks Ground
CFC ANCOPs advocacy programs include Education (CSP and Cornerstone), Health (GKare), Community Development, Shelter, and Livelihood. BCOP Social Developments advocacy programs include Prison (Isaiah 61), Men and Women In Uniform (Sword of Gideon), Government (STMA), Corporate/Business (Tekton), and Migrants. The afternoon was allotted for panel discussion where participants were given the privilege to ask questions addressed to the guest speaker, Shok Ariola and Jess Ferrer, Mito Tayag, and Ethel Balenton from the Migrants, Cornerstone, and Education Programs, respectively, together with Rev. Fr. Jason Jazz Siapco, a director of the Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission (LASAC). After the discussion, Rev. Fr. Jazz shared his pastoral view on BCOPs mission of bringing Christs transforming love to the poor. He also discussed the Churchs work with the poor and social development programs and how similar they are to that of BCOPs. The conference was capped by a song number from 105 elementary, secondary, and college ANCOP scholars from the province of Batangas and the celebration of Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Jazz.

By Joseph Alfred N. Zabala

In line with Couples for Christs twofold mission, Building the Church of the Home and Building the Church of the Poor, the first ever BCOP Congress was held in Batangas City on March 3, 2013. The Building the Church Of the Poor (BCOP) Congress aims to provide information about Couples for Christs Work With the Poor Program in relation to our evangelization work. It was attended by 700 participants, mostly members of Cou-

ples for Christ, its Family Ministries, and scholars from the Archdiocese of Lipa, packing the Provincial Capitols auditorium. CFC ANCOP and BCOP Social Development and the different advocacies under these two were discussed in great detail by a team of BCOP workers and pioneers from Manila headed by Shok Ariola. Sharers from Manila spoke of what their particular advocacy program does, what they have accomplished, and how these advocacy programs have touched their own lives.

By Marvin Banting
March 19, 2013 was a significant day for CFC Pampanga. Top CFC leaders of Pampanga attended a mass held at the chapel of the Villa Victoria Subdivision in Barangay Dolores, City of San Fernando to celebrate and offer thanksgiving to the Almighty for the 375-square meter lot that will be the future site of CFC-Pampangas very own mission center. Twenty years ago, CFC Pampanga established its first mission center at the residence of Rey Mangio (now Provincial Music Ministry Coordinator). At present, CFC Pampanga rents two ground floor stalls in Quebiawan, San Fernando City. Attending the groundbreaking were the AGT members of CFC Pam-

CFC ANCOP pledges support to DZMM Takbo Para Sa Karunungan

Para sa Karunungan next year, Temi Pangilinan, ANCOP Canada President, shared how ANCOP Canada is sponsoring 2000 scholars from elementary to college and built at least 500 houses through the help and generosity of our fellow kababayans living in Canada. Babao expressed that DZMM and ANCOP have the same advocacy when it comes to helping poor students especially in typhoon-hit provinces. He was also happy and impressed with how our kababayans extended help to our poor countrymen. Pangilinan also shared how ANCOP Canada forged partnerships with the different parishes in the country and also in other countries like India, Nigeria and Kenya to help the poor. Meanwhile, Yamamoto explained how Couples for Christ and ANCOP are helping the poor in terms of education, health, shelter and livelihood. He also expounded on the various surgical missions regularly conducted by CFC ANCOP in the country, including that which will be conducted soon in the typhoon Pablo-hit area of Davao Oriental.

panga: Ric Miranda (PAD) and wife Titat, Mon Acosta and wife Fe, Odie Ibaez and wife Tess, Willie Ganzon and wife Dinah and Florian David and wife Lane. Also present during this momentous occasion was Lito Legaspi, Provincial Area Head. Likewise, sector leaders, cluster leaders and provincial ministry coordinators were on hand to witness the joyous event. Rig ht a ft er t he Ma ss p r esided by Fr. Rading David, the assembly walked to the site of the future mission center for the ground-breaking ceremony highlighted by Fr. Rading burying the time capsule which contained the building plan of the future mission center and the blessing of the site.

By Romy Medina
CFC International Council member and ANCOP Chairman Joe Yamamoto, ANCOP Canada President Temi Pangilinan and ANCOP Education Program Director Ethelyn Balenton guested in Julius Babao and Kaye Dacers tele-radyo program, Aksyon Ngayon at DZMM. The guesting was in-line with this years DZMM Takbo Para Sa Karunungan which is now on its 3rd year. This is the second year that CFC ANCOP has partnered with this program. The annual fun run benefits poor public elementary students from Metro Manila and typhoon-hit areas of the country. Last year, CFC ANCOP and DZMM awarded scholarships to 25 grade school Sendong victims of Pagatpat Elementary School, Cagayan de Oro City. According to Ethel Balenton, CFC ANCOP will renew the scholarship of these 25 children this year. CFC ANCOP guests were introduced by DZMM Manila Radio Divisions Special Projects Manager and DZMM Anchor, May Valle-Ceniza who also explained the meaning of ANCOP and CFC ANCOPs relationship with Couples For Christ (CFC). Pledging to support Takbo
Cana / C1

Two hundred and twenty individuals representing CFC ANCOP trooped to the Quirino Grandstand at 4:30 AM last March 23, 2013 to join some 3,000 runners for the DZMM Takbo Para sa Karunungan. Among the 220 runners were scholars from Metro Manila North A and Metro Manila South B. The scholars were chaperoned by the Sector Coordinators and Project Implementing Teams (PIT). This is the second year that CFC ANCOP is participating in the fun run. Beginning last year, CFC ANCOP, through the sponsorship from ANCOP Australia, has been sponsoring the education of 25 children from Cagayan de Oro City. These children were among those affected by Typhoon Sendong. And for 2 years in a row, CFC ANCOP was awarded the biggest delegation from an NGO. ANCOP Education Program Head Ethel Balenton headed this years delegation. For next year, ANCOP Canada has pledged to suppport the marathonfor-a-cause in order to send more children to school.

Scholars run for scholars at the DZMM Takbo Para sa Karunungan

Qatar: The Cana weekend was held at the Seraphic Hall, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Doha, Qatar with 164 couples renewing their marriage vows during the Weekend. Bahrain: The CFC Bahrain National Conference was held on a lovely Friday, 1st March 2013 at Our Lady of Arabia Auditorium in Sacred Heart Church, Manama, Bahrain. More than 130 individuals attended, including our brethren from CFC Saudi Arabia.

CFC ANCOP, Montalban LGU sign MOA

used to be considered as kawawa or pitiful. Now, he believes that this initiative will change the image of Montalban and it will bring in more tourists. Also sharing his thoughts was CFC Metro Manila East B Sector Head Eric Santiago who will be overseeing the implementation of the values formation, tutorial and health care programs in Pamitinan. He added that this initiative will bring the progress that the country is experiencing to the grassroots level. Afterwards, CFC ANCOP President Eric de los Reyes gave a rousing speech to motivate the home partners to unite and attain their dreams through this God-given community. He also added that Couples for Christ ANCOP will not only build new houses but will also build new lives with strong values. The program then proceeded with the MOA signing by Mayor Hernandez, Vice Mayor Cruz, De Los Reyes and Santiago, followed by the ground breaking ceremony where a copy of the MOA was placed in a capsule that was buried under ground. The sites construction will be partly funded by a World Bank grant which is coursed through the Laguna Lake Development Authority. The rest of the funds will come from various CFC ANCOP partners. The values formation and tutorial programs will be implemented by the team led by CFC Metro Manila East B2 Cluster Head Abe Antonio and CFC Montalban Chapter Head Arnie Supleo.

TThe Mindanao echo conference was attended by 3368 participants from the different provinces of Mindanao. Resource speakers were CFC Executive Director Melo Villaroman, SFC International Coordinator Michael Shok Ariola, CFC Evangelization and Mission Coordinator Kirby Llaban and Ablaze President Rommel Ancheta.

By Lance Fernandez
A number of locals and historians claim that Montalban was the real location where Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros tore their cedulas to start the 1896 Philippine Revolution. More than a century has gone by but a new revolution starts here again. This time, it is not a revolution of arms. Rather, it is a revolution in the lives of about 140 home partners that will be blessed by CFC ANCOP and the local government of Rodriguez, Rizal. The roadmap to a better future for some 300 families started on March 11, 2013 with the Memorandum of Agreement signing and the ground breaking ceremony at the Pamitinan CFC ANCOP Community between the two aforementioned parties. Most of the families that will be transferred here used to reside in the land surrounding the Wawa Dam. This five-hectare land will be developed into an eco-

About 112 brothers and sisters in Oman spent the first weekend of March at the Ghala Hall of the Holy Spirit Church in Muscat for the echo conference.

CFC Pampangas service team for the Central Luzon Cana Weekend, March 9 & 10, Baguio Convention Center

tourism haven and as a model community for future housing projects. The day started with a prayer followed by the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. The welcome remarks were given by Mrs. Luchie AlvarezJayme, head of the municipalitys Information Office. She revealed that they donated the land where the site will be developed in hopes of improving the lives of more people. Vice Mayor Jonas Cruz shared that the project is a long time coming and they could not ask for a better partner in CFC ANCOP. Then, it was Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Cecilio CFC Metro Manila East B Sector Head Eric Santiago, CFC ANCOP President Eric de C. Hernandez turn los Reyes, Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Cecilio C. Hernandez and Vice Mayor Jonas Cruz to share a short mes- sign the MOA for the CFC ANCOP Pamitinan site as CFC East Bs Dennis Pedron and sage. He highlighted Willie Ureta, Rodriguez Tourism Office Head Luchie Alvarez-Jayme and members that Wawa residents of the Sangguniang Bayan witness the signing.



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 7

April 1 - 14, 2013

CFC Singapore goes on mission to Timor Leste

dese (Obey) chant by transitioning young couple and CFC MV Alberto Correia. The participants were then split into three (3) groups to attend the following simultaneous workshops: Pastoral Formation Office (PFO) workshop conducted by Karen Dela Cerna and attended by Governance Team (GT) members, unit heads, and chapter heads Family Ministry workshop conducted by former local CFC full-time worker Francisco da Costa and attended by coordinators and household heads (where Pau shared his experience as a YFC Couple Coordinator) Evangelization and Mission workshop - conducted by GT member Manuel Alves and attended by the general membership with the objective of igniting the missionary spirit of the CFC leaders to be part of mission ready teams. After the workshops, the leaders were regrouped and a directional talk was given by CFC TL Area Director Fernando da Costa to keep everyone aligned on the communitys vision. Fernando reiterated the plan to build Timor Lestes own CFC centre in five (5) years time and the importance of everyones commitment in making this dream a reality. The day ended with an exhortation talk by Manuel Alves and praisefest led by GT member Orlando Magno.

New York Cardinal Grants Recognition to Couples for Christ

By Manny Caballero
NEW YORK CITY As Archbishop of New York, I grant recognition to the presence and activities ofCouples for Christin the Archdiocese of New York, said Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, in part, in a letter addressed to Roger Santos, CFCUSA National Council member. The Cardinals letter was dated February 26, 2013. The recognition was hailed by CFC USA leaders. CFC representative to the USA, George Campos, said in an email, A wonderful gift and affirmation for our beloved community. Following is the letter of Cardinal Dolan:

By Pau Canlas
In response to an invitation by Couples for Christ (CFC) International Missionary to TimorLeste (TL) Emmanuel Asunto, a couple of CFC Singapore mission volunteers (MVs) embarked on a weekend Trail Blazer mission trip to Timor-Leste. Trail Blazer is a CFC Global Mission program where short-term missionaries are sent to other countries to give pastoral support and strengthen the missionary spirit in the community to encourage members to go on missions as well. CFC and SFC leaders Pau Canlas and Gibert Hamera went to Dili on March 10 to speak before the local communitys Leaders Conference. With the theme Obedese & Fo Sasin (Obey & Witness), the full-day conference held at Salaun Canosa, Becora, Dili saw an overwhelming attendance of 169 Timorese CFC leaders from Kotalama, Ainaru, Buruma, Fatumaca, Laga, Remixiu, Ermera, and Dili districts. The day kicked off with a Holy Mass celebrated by CFC TL Spiritual Director Rev. Fr. Ferdie Resuena. The first talk about obedience was delivered by Gilbert Hamera in English with former TL International Missionary Karen Dela Cerna translating the talk in the native language Tetum. The second talk about witnessing was delivered by Pau Canlas. The morning session wrapped up with a reflection song and prayer by Fr. Ferdie Resuena. After lunch, the afternoon session resumed with a powerful praise and worship as well as the teaching of the Obe-

Egypt Revisited Cfc Vietnam as we have never seen it before!

By Bads Ellica
It was indeed a great honor that God opened the gate of evangelization to Couples for Christ (CFC) in Egypt, a nation deemed as the cradle of ancient architecture, medicine and arts; that bears a deep biblical significance in the history of salvation. There are about 12 million Christians in Egypt, representing 10% of the nations population. The majority belong to the Local National Egyptian Church, Coptic Orthodox, Coptic Catholics, and major protestant churches. The Roman Catholics (Latin Rites) number only about 10,000, including foreigners with Egyptian descent and expatriates. The mission team to Egypt was composed of CFC Chairman Ricky Cuenca and his wife, Irma and Bads and Agnes Ellica, CFC Middle East fulltime missionaries. The mission focused on establishing a community in Cairo with the English-speaking and Latin Rites Parish of the Holy Family Church and the revival of the CFC in the Coptic Catholic community in Ismailia. After a brief discussion and presentation of the CFC to the parish priest, CFC was warmly welcomed and invited to conduct a Christian Life Program using the facilities of the parish. Ricky Cuenca gave the Orientation talk to two groups - first on Mar 8, 2013 with majority of the participants being Filipinos in a private house and second to another group composed mostly of Nigerians on Mar 9, 2013 at the Church premises. While in Cairo, Ricky and I made an overnight visit to Ismailia to talk with Bishop Makarios of the Coptic Catholics who has been an unrelenting supporter of CFC. We slept in the Bishops house in a room stored with CFC items: stickers, copies of expanded outlines of CLP, CO, and other talks. In the same

room, there was a cabinet that contained items that belong to CFC missionaries who previously visited. Ricky met with about a dozen old members of CFC and talked to them on the essentials of being and becoming members of the ministry, zeroing in on the need to meet weekly for a household prayer meeting. As these were not carried out for quite some time already, Ricky suggested organizing a new CLP. The visiting missionaries reported the plan to the parish priest and requested the use of a venue which he readily provided. Jojo Sarmiento, a new migrant from CFC-Dubai will lead the CLP team with the assistance of Dee Capili, a resident migrant worker from CFC-HOLD Arizona. I was tasked to coordinate securing support for both missionaries and logistics from UAE, initially and rightfully from KSA being assigned to look after the mission in Egypt. It was suggested that a new CLP will be conducted then the new members will be immersed in the culture of the ministry which is centered on spiritual nourishment through the regular household prayer meeting. The visiting missionaries left Egypt filled with new hopes and affirmations springing from the many opportunities presented and the welcoming reception of the community and church leaders. Indeed, the revival of CFC-Egypt is already at hand!

By Aldy Katigbak
Ho Chi Minh is undoubtedly the center of CFC in Vietnam as all the key leaders are based in this historic city. It is the second home as well to over 100 Filipino expats who are part of the CFC community and who have toiled in this beautiful country. First order of our mission agenda was the CFC Leaders Conference. In attendance were about 70 members including a dozen local participants. For the first time ever, we had two sets of powerpoint presentations, one in English and the other one in Vietnamese. Even the sharings had translations flashed on screen. Obey and Witness became the buzzword for the participants. We did not have much time to rest as we were set to go to Buon Me Thout, the capital of Daklak Province, a good 250 km from Ho Chi Minh. Joining the mission team, aside from my wife Joy and me, were Ghamay Pepito, a fulltime worker for YFC and Kat Viacrucis, a YFC mission volunteer, Fr. Christian Lumbaring, formerly a YFC, and now a Filipino priest based in Vietnam, and three local leaders: Joachim, John the Baptist, and Cosma. We arrived at the Cathedral in Ban Me Thout at around 4:30 am. By 5:00 AM, we attended a Vietnamese mass where our very own Fr. Christian was asked to concelebrate. Most of the mass was sung in a chant-like fashion that was both hypnotic and solemn. I could not understand a word that was said, but yet I felt God clearly speaking to all of those inside the church.

We spent the rest of the day visiting the houses of our CFC leaders and members in the area. Then we, together with the local CFC leaders, had an audience with Monsignor Dominic Kham, the Vicar General. The objective of the meeting was to secure the endorsement of the Monsignor for CFC, and which would pave the way to be able to use the Cathedral facilities for our activities. An endorsement will jump start our evangelization work in the area. What transpired was an impromptu sharing of victories with each member sharing their conversion story. We received the endorsement! In the afternoon, we went to another parish called Chu Sn, this time covering some of the ethnic people of Vietnam. Unknown to us, Vietnam was also home to the Edes, an ethnic people of Malay and Polynesian descent. Some ten minutes from the city proper was nestled a community of Edes. Fr. Joseph, the assistant parish priest, brought us to the houses of these people to briefly interact with them. His challenge was clear, if CFC wants to help Vietnam, we can do so by helping the Edes, among the poorest of the

poor in the area. The last activity for the night was the general assembly for the CFCs. The Filipinos were mere spectators as our local brothers from the mission team led the activities. Our CFC songs were all sung in Vietnamese aided by a Vietnamese version of the Glory songbook which was distributed to our eager members. The prayer session ended with one big feast complete with more songs and games. In our local Vietnamese brethren, I saw the CFC culture I grew up with. The following day, we had an audience, this time with Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Ban of the Diocese of Ban M Thut. It was a very short meeting but we got the support of the Bishop as well. The remainder of the day was spent for rest and recreation with our CFC brethren, capped by a trip to Mother Mary of Giang Son where we were enamored by the giant statue of our Virgin Mother nestled on top of a mountain. There is a special reason why God brought the Filipino expats to Vietnam. They will initially support the growth of the local CFCs. But Vietnam is truly for the Vietnamese people and the only way for CFC Vietnam to really grow is to evangelize the locals. As a final point, I am reminded of a prophecy of one of our Vietnamese brothers in the 14th Anniversary celebration of CFC Vietnam last year. He said that there will come a time when the halls where we hold our anniversaries celebrations will be filled to the brim. I may have missed out this important point, but what I think he failed to add was that the halls will be filled with Vietnamese people.
Clockwise from below: with Msgr. Dominic Kham and CFCs from Ban Me Thuot; the mission team with Bishop Vincent Nguyen (center, in black jacket) and CFC leaders from Ban Me Thuot; in the home of the head of the Ede tribe (standing at center, in striped shirt) and Fr. Joseph (rightmost).