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Illustration by Brothers Matias

Illustration by Brothers Matias • A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April
• A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April • B1 To educate


Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April
Pope to canonize
Blessed John XXIII,
John Paul II April
• A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April • B1 To educate
• B1


To educate in the
To educate in the
To educate in the faith, to make it grow

faith, to make it grow

• A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April • B1 To educate


The Cross the Order of the Knights of Columbus A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and
The Cross
the Order of the Knights of Columbus
A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and
Illustration by Brothers Matias • A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April
September 30 - October 13, 2013 Vol. 17 No. 20 Php 20. 00
September 30 - October 13, 2013
Vol. 17 No. 20
Php 20. 00

Nassa launches appeal for Zamboanga aid

THE Catholic Church’s social action arm has launched an appeal for humanitarian assistance to Zamboanga City. The National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) made the fundraising appeal to sup- port its local partner working in evacuation centers.

To date, Nassa has sent P100,000 as initial contribution to the relief efforts of the Arch- diocese of Zamboanga for families displaced

by armed conflict.

Additionally, Manila Auxiliary Bishop

Zamboanga / A6

Passage of FOI key to settle pork barrel issue—bishop

A CATHOLIC bishop echoed calls for the passage of the Free- dom of Information bill (FOI), noting that the truth behind the multi-billion peso pork barrel scandal will only be uncovered once government records are made available for public scru- tiny.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod- erick Pabillo said that contradict- ing statements of certain groups in relation to the pork barrel scan- dal will only be cleared through scrutinizing public records that detail how state funds were used. “This is why the FOI has to be enacted into a law. It guarantees that citizens can put up a close and vigilant watch to the affairs of the state,” he said. Pabillo added that to avoid speculations of putting up a par- tisan investigation, the govern- ment must present all its records to achieve full transparency and accountability in investigating cases of fund misuse involving lawmakers’ Priority Develop - ment Assistance Fund (PDAF). “There might be a possibility for them to hold records. We need the FOI so we can demand all information that is relevant to the investigation,” he added. Fr. Anton C. T. Pascual, ex - ecutive director of Caritas Manila and president of church-run Radio Veritas, echoed Pabillo’s statement and said that once enacted into a law, the FOI bill

will hold officials accountable of

FOI / A6

Melo Acuña
Melo Acuña

View of tents inside a sports complex turned-evacuation center in Zamboanga City where around 70,000 people are struggling against the heat, improper sanitary measures, scarce sources of water and the crowded conditions. Until September 29, 2013 when this photo was taken, the stand-off between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has not been totally resolved; thus the continuing displacement of the local population.

‘Corruption is injustice’

Cardinal Tagle decries individualism, selfish interests

By Jennifer Orillaza

BLASTING corruption as a form of injustice, the archbishop of Ma - nila called on Filipi - nos to counter greed by letting the values of fairness and generosity reign in their lives.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his speech for Caritas Manila’s Generosity Conference on Sept.

28, urged the public to give out

love and justice while being more sensitive to the needs of the poor. “At present, we witness in our society that cheating and cor- ruption is a form of non-giving. Instead of giving what is due to others and to the country, resources are being denied from them. We do not only lack love for others, but we also lack a sense of justice,” Tagle said in the vernacular. “This explains how cheating and injustice are considered

forms of not giving what the people and the nation deserve,” he added. The cardinal gave this remark amid the ongoing investigation in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam that involves the channeling of lawmakers’ Pri- ority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non- government organizations and ghost projects. Quoting verses from the Bible that tackle injustices done against marginalized individu- als, he emphasized the need for

people to give not just for the sake of charity, but for the sake of giving justice to those who are in need. “If we are to base the concept of giving according to what is written in the Old Testament, it pertains to the concept of giving that is just, giving that is based on justice,” Tagle said. “Some people think that the act of giving is only a form of

charity, but what they fail to see is that there is also a need

to fulfill the act of giving that is

according to justice,” he added.

‘Demand of justice’

The cardinal also criticized politicians who plaster their names and faces on govern - ment projects that were funded with taxpayers’ money, noting that they must not gain credit from what the people rightfully

deserve. “It gives me the creeps to see government projects plastered with the names and faces of

government officials who grab

credit for the construction of various infrastructure projects,”

Corruption / A6

Vatican looks forward to Asian faith gathering in PH, Tagle says

WITH only a few weeks left prior to the Philippine Conference on New Evange- lization (PCNE), the highest leader of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church said the Vatican is looking forward to see the contributions of the Philippine Church in propagating the experience of new evangelization to the Catholic faithful. In a statement, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that the


Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

Catholic faith. “It is this broken world which re - mains God’s world that also opens for us opportunities for evangelization. And the challenge was not just to focus on the negative or the shadows found in the world but also to the opportunities for mission,” the cardinal said. He added that through the PCNE, he hopes the delegates would be directed toward the rediscovery and rejuvena- tion of their faith, keeping the church’s mission of new evangelization in synch with the modern times. “There are parts of the world where the faith has become some kind of extra- curricular activity which some even say you can do without,” Tagle said in an earlier press conference on the PCNE. “This drive has a destination, we would like to reach people who have yet to hear about Jesus for this is a constant mission of the church,” he added. According to Tagle, the conference carries a tripartite objective of creating an experience of God in the context of the challenges of the new millennium, strengthening bonds of communion, and providing avenues of inspiration and direction imbued with the spirit of new evangelization. “New evangelization is not just based on mere strategies. They are based on a renewed experience of Jesus. We are

Gathering / A6

Vatican Office of the New Evangelization and the Syn- od of Bishops are eager to know and ex- perience the activities prepared for the upcoming PCNE slated from October 16 to 18 at the University of Santo Tomas. “The eyes of the Vatican are on us,” Tagle said, noting that the Holy See is looking forward to the activities of the PCNE not to pry over it, but to

see how the efforts of the Philippine Church can successfully contribute to the Universal Church’s mission of new evangelization. The cardinal also hinted that there is a

possibility for a Vatican official, whose

name he did not disclose, to attend the

conference to personally experience the activities prepared for the PCNE. Noting that the church in the Philip- pines has always been reminded of its missionary role in Asia, Tagle in- vited Asian churches who do not have enough resources to organize the same conference to join the upcoming PCNE. Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam, Bru- nei, and Myanmar will attend the event, he said.

Countering secularist influences

Tagle said that the Philippine Church is spearheading the Asian gathering to counter the secularist influences hound- ing its conventions, and also to respond to the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to rediscover and deepen one’s

Pope’s comments not breaking Catholic teachings – CBCP

POPE Francis’ recent com- ments are not breaking with traditional doctrine but a challenge to the glob- al Church to bear more witness to love, ranking Catholic archbishops said. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philip - pines (CBCP) said the pope is clear about Catholic teaching on abortion and contraception but wants the Church not to put aside “charity.” “There is no contradic - tion. He is not opposing any doctrine. He is only reminding us that perhaps what the world needs is our witnessing to charity,” Cebu Archbishop Jose Pal- ma, CBCP president, said. The archbishop com -

mented on a 12,000-word interview of Pope Francis with an Italian Jesuit jour- nal where the pope spoke on wide-ranging issues, including abortion, contra- ception and gay marriage. Stressing that the teach- ings of the Church on abor- tion, gay marriage and contraception remain, the pope nonetheless points out the need for the church to have the “ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proxim - ity.” He said the clergy should be “ministers of mercy” in the confessional, and min- isters of the Gospel “who can warm the hearts of people, who walk through

the dark night with them, but without getting lost.” “We cannot insist only on issues related to abor- tion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive meth- ods,” the pope said. “…But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” “We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the pope said, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and heal- ing, even with our preach- ing, every kind of disease and wound.”

The pope’s statement has

prompted flurry of media

reactions with some news reports depicting his com- ments as a major shift in tone from his predecessors. “So I am very happy with what he said and I do not see any opposition to the

existing doctrines of the Church,” Palma said. “We know that the teach- ings are one important aspect of the Church but witnessing to love is also the challenge that people want to see in us,” he said. Archbishop Socrates Vil- legas of Lingayen-Dagu - pan, CBCP vice president, also agreed with Palma’s statement, but the pope’s focus is for everyone to

Comments / A6

Anti-pork rallies, a cry for servant-leadership — priest

Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia
Raymond Bandril / CBCPMedia

Disgusted by pervasive corruption in government, Filipinos are holding a series of anti-pork rallies calling for the abolition of pork barrel and public accountability from government leaders.

ASIDE from public disgust over billions lost to ques - tionable dealings, the pork barrel rallies are also a col- lective cry for true leader-

ship through service, a priest said. “It’s simply telling our leaders, you’ve got to come

Rallies / A7

Disgruntled PAL employees seek Pope Francis’ help

A 3,000-STRONG labor union of the Philippine Air - lines’ ground crew is asking Pope Francis’ intervention to settle their ongo- ing rift with the PAL management. The disgruntled members of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) said they want to seek the pope’s support in their campaign to “re - store justice to the working people.” “Thus we seek the inter- cession of Your Holiness to achieve a just conclusion to the labor dispute,” Ge -

Illustration by Brothers Matias • A3 Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April

rardo Rivera, PA - LEA president, said in a letter to the pontiff. The union believe that an appeal from the pontiff to the stakeholders in the dispute “will exercise “moral suasion and may prove decisive in a settlement fair to the work- ers”.

Employees / A7


World News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

African Catholics stress importance of Bible in faith life

LILONGWE, Malawi, Sept. 28, 2013—Catholic African leaders met in Malawi earlier this week for an assembly dedicated to the Bible and to increasing the place of scripture in the lives of the continent’s faithful. “The Word of God serves as a guide for faith and human activities and gives believers a style of life guided by the Holy Spirit in order to live the mystery of Jesus Christ accord- ing to Christian vocation,” the assembly observed. “The Bible is a source of inspiration and faith in the family, among the youth, reli- gious communities and societies when revitalized through daily prayers.” The thirteenth plenary as - sembly of the Biblical Centre for Africa and Madagascar took place Sept. 17-23 in Malawi at the Archdiocese of Lilongwe’s St. Anthony Major Seminary in Kachebere. The meeting’s theme was “Letting the Bible inspire all pastoral activities.” Dozens of assembly partici - pants from the Episcopal Confer-

ence of Africa and Madagascar gathered, coming from as far as Egypt and South Africa. Many bishops responsible for the bib- lical apostolate joined them, as did representatives of the Asso- ciation of the Panafrican Catho- lic Exegetes and other priests, vowed religious, and laity. Topics at the gathering includ-

ed the Bible as an “action book” for pastoral work, Benedict XVI’s post-synodal apostolic exhorta- tion “Verbum Domini,” how to advance the apostolate amid the diversity of Africa, and biblical interpretation in dialogue with African culture.

One speaker reflected on lay

people’s concerns for democ - racy, good governance and development, while another examined youth formation and the impact of modernity and unemployment among youth. The assembly focused on several goals for “strategic ac - tions,” including an increase in familiarity with the scriptures through lectio divina, Bible shar- ing groups, catechesis, and the liturgy. One speaker stressed the


need to “evangelize the evange- lizers,” while another focused on how to increase the availability of the Bible in translation. The gathering said that the biblical apostolate is an “effec- tive tool” against “the invasion of sects and misinterpretation of the Bible.” However, it la - mented that this apostolate is not fully developed in many parts of Africa. The assembly listed several threats to Christian practices, such as fundamentalism, “po - litical Islam,” and “bad gover- nance.” The meeting pledged to dis- cern the challenges of contem- porary society, especially to respond to the questions and concerns of youth. It resolved

to use modern technology to

teach scripture in a way that will “capture the interest” of youths and to make the Bible available in local languages. Every bishops’conference should promote biblical forma- tion, the assembly recommend- ed. These conferences should set

aside a specific period of time for reflection on the Bible, such

as a special Bible Week or Bible

Month. The assembly thanked sup -

porting organizations, which included Aid to the Church in Need, Missio Aachen, and the

Pontifical Council Cor Unum. It entrusted the meeting’s outcome to the Virgin Mary, “Mother of the Church and Queen of Africa.” (CNA)

Charity must begin at parish level, Caritas head tells Canadian bishops

SAINTE-ADELE, Quebec, Sept. 27, 2013— Charity needs to begin face-to-face, at the local parish level, the president of Caritas Internationalis told Canada’s bishops. “Every Christian community must have a ‘heart which sees’ the miseries which, tragically, persist around it and can attend to them,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Mara- diaga, president of the Vatican’s charitable federation, told the bishops’ plenary meeting Sept. 24. The cardinal, who is archbishop of Tegu- cigalpa, Honduras, told the story of a priest in Brazil who, during the annual Lenten campaign for the poor, wondered how many poor people attended his parish. The priest did a survey and discovered 15 families in extreme poverty. Instead of al- ways asking for money to help the poor, the priest realized something had to be done for the families in his own parish, the cardinal said. The priest gathered parishioners, and one said he could offer work to one of the families. Others stepped forward with offers. “They were organizing and it was beauti- ful,” said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. “We need more organized pastoral reac- tion,” he said, noting this comes from “know- ing the reality” and acting on this. “It’s very important for the work of Cari- tas to start at the local level,” he said. At the same time, bishops must examine how the church exercises charity on a national level through episcopal conferences, and at the universal level through the Holy See.

He warned the church is “living through a time of grave crisis.” “It’s not just an economic crisis, nor is it only a cultural crisis; nor is it a crisis of faith. Today, humankind is in danger. Today, the body of Christ is in danger,” he said. “As Pope Francis said, ‘Our civilization has es- tablished a throwaway culture. If it’s no use, throw it away, into the garbage: children, the elderly and outsiders. This is the crisis we’re living through.’” “The challenges we are facing are real, and sometimes daunting,” the cardinal said. “Dear friends, the mission of Caritas Inter- nationalis is to serve the poor, and even more

the poorest of them first,” he said.

“For many people in need, Caritas is the loving face of Christ who brings relief and comfort, respect and recognition,” he said. “As Caritas we are called to witness his love, and we do it with enthusiasm. We know that God is love and we know and believe that he has created every single person in his image.” “Therefore we can’t afford to lose one single person from our one human family without losing our own destiny. We would lose a brother or a sister in Christ, who made himself equal to all of us,” he said.

The cardinal said among the challenges the church faces is ensuring Caritas is at the heart of the church and not merely a fundraising nongovernmental organization. Many times Caritas is “seen as a source of employment,” he said. People have asked

him, “Now that you are leading this, couldn’t you get me a job?” But Caritas “works mainly with volun- teers,” he said, noting that Spain has one of the best Caritas organizations in the world—62,000 volunteers, organized out of 6,000 parishes. As Spain experiences a crisis of unemployment, with millions of people out of work and austerity measures, Caritas Spain is serving a million food packages a day, he said. Donations keep rising and the agency is “the most respected institution in all Spain.” “When there is a motivation of the people of God, Caritas is growing,” he said. Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of Kings - ton, Ontario, asked the cardinal about the makeup of other Caritas organizations. “In Canada, and perhaps in other parts of the world, while we have local Caritas organizations in each diocese, we don’t re - ally give aid to ourselves,” the archbishop said. Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said part of the problem came from Caritas’ growth “as an external part of the body, and not an internal part of the body.” He said it is im- portant “to develop the local part of Caritas to respond to their own needs.” Otherwise, groups might appeal to big organizations like Caritas Germany for funds rather than look after their own needs if possible. “We cannot think the money will come from somewhere,” the cardinal said. “We are co-responsible for our own poor.” (CNS)

Thousands pay tribute to memory of future blessed Card. Văn Thuận

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Sept. 27, 2013—Waiting for the conclusion of the process of beatification — even amid setbacks opposed by the Hanoi authorities—Vietnamese Catho- lics continue to pay homage to the memory Cardinal Francis

Xavier Nguyen Văn Thun. On September 16, at the Cathedral of Saigon at least 3 thousand faithful attended the memorial Mass for the 11th anniversary of the death of the most charismatic

figures in the recent history of

the Vietnamese Church. Before Mass, participants were shown a series of images from the Car- dinal’s life—who died in Rome, after a long illness, on 16 Septem- ber 2002—that were projected onto the walls of the church. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome, also paid tribute “to Cardinal

Van Thuan, who practiced the Catholic virtues in a heroic way.” During the memorial service, Fr. Augustine Nguyn Văn Dtold some anecdotes concerning the life of the cardinal, especially during his years in Rome, charac- terized by the progression of the

disease. The priest also recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s description of the Vietnamese Cardinal as

“a person full of hope. During his life he was able to instill con-

fidence in all those he met and

thanks to this innate hope; he was

able to overcome the difficulties

especially during the years

... of isolation “in the communist prisons of the country. Cardinal François -Xavier Nguy n Văn Thu n was born April 17, 1928, in the central part of Vietnam, into a family that had among its ancestors the first Viet- namese martyrs of 1698. On June 11, 1953 he was ordained priest and graduated in Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbanianum Uni- versity in Rome. On returning to Vietnam, he was a professor and then rector of the seminary of Hue. On 24 April 1975, Paul VI appointed him coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Saigon. A few months later, on 15 August 1975 he was arrested and imprisoned. He was released on 21 November 1988 after spending more than 13 years in prison. And his being a “source of hope” emerged since his choice

o f m o t t o — ” G a u d i u m e t Spes”—confirm - ing that the time spent in the pris- ons of the regime failed to deprive him of the joy of faith and hope in Christ. An ex- ample that is still valid today, for all Vietnamese Catholics living


in conditions of difficulty and

persecution at the hands of the authorities. Proof of this is found in his deep “optimism” that stemmed from his trust in the providence of God, which never abandoned him even in the com- munist detention centers Vinh Quang and Vinh Phu . Vietnam- ese Catholics have fully grasped the cardinal’s lesson of “hope” as a result of “faith and charity” in anticipation of “eternal life .” Even Pope John Paul II paid tribute to the figure of Viet - namese Cardinal, who “in the depths of suffering,” never ceased to “love others.” And who knew how to die in peace,

without experiencing “resent - ment” for some a witness to the fact that he enjoys “eternal life, where the sun never sets.” One example among many that pay homage to the greatness of man, even before the priest, is contained in this story that dates back to the prison. After six years of isolation, Cardinal Van Thuan receives a letter from one of the guards of the prison, the soldier confesses to having kept the “promise” to go “every morning” to the altar of Our Lady of La Vang — home to a famous Marian shrine — and recite “a prayer for my dear brother Thuan.” (AsiaNews)

Hanoi-styled religious freedom sees Catholic activists on trial, other Christians segregated at home

HANOI, Vietnam, Sept. 26, 2013—The first

hearing in the trial of lawyer and Catholic human rights activist Le Quoc Quan will be held on 2 October at the Hanoi People’s Court. He was arrested on false charges of tax fraud last December. Originally, the trial was scheduled to start on 9 July. The 42-year- old had observed a long period of fasting and prayer to prepare for the trial. However, the court eventually postponed the proceedings because the judge “suddenly” fell ill. Viet- namese authorities have also acted against the wife of a Mennonite clergyman from the central highlands. In prison since April 2011, he was sentenced to 11 years in March 2012. In Vietnam, the government has been involved in a harsh, long term campaign against religious leaders, Catholic activists

and entire communities as was the case in recent weeks in the Diocese of Vinh, where media and government launched a smear campaign and engaged targeted attacks against the local bishop and faithful. The crackdown also affects single indi- viduals, guilty of demanding the right to religious freedom and respect for citizens’ civil rights. One of the foremost cases involves a Cath- olic lawyer. Catholic activists and believers in his home town of Vinh have organized a spiritual retreat and group prayers to win his release. A long-time human rights and pro- democracy advocate, he has also protested against Beijing’s “imperialism” in the South China Sea.

In Vinh, the Justice and Peace Commission has intervened for his release, accusing the authorities of “political repression” against a “peaceful militant.” Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that Vietnamese authorities blocked the en- trance to Rev. Nguyen Cong Chinh’s home,

preventing his wife and five children from

leaving the building. The clergyman, who headed a Mennonite church banned for “undermining unity,” has been in prison for two years. According his wife, police want to keep her at home to prevent any contact between her jailed husband and his family.

“This is repression,” she said. “I did not do anything wrong, yet they trapped me inside and terrorize my children.” (AsiaNews)

Florida Catholics plan prayer vigils, protest death penalty

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 28, 2013—As the scheduled ex - ecution date approaches for a Florida man convicted of mur- der, local Catholics are offering prayers and renewing their call for an end to the practice of the death penalty. “Even those who have com- mitted terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a human dignity that is inherent in all per- sons,” said the Florida Catholic Conference in a Sept. 25 state- ment. “This dignity, instilled by our Creator, is neither earned nor can it be forfeited.” The conference urged Florida Governor Rick Scott to spare the life of Marshall Gore, who is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 1 for the murder of Susan Roark and Robyn Novick. While voicing “profound sad- ness” over the murders and praying that the victims’ “fami- lies are able to realize true peace and healing,” the Florida Catho- lic Conference warned that “Mr. Gore’s execution serves only to further distort society’s under- standing of the sacredness of all human life.” “With this deliberate taking of a life, the State demonstrates that killing is an acceptable manner in which to address harmful and hurtful acts. We believe it is not.” “The State’s responsibility to protect society and punish criminals can be accomplished without resorting to the death penalty,” the conference con - tinued. “A sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole is a severe punishment, which al-

lows for the prospect of conver- sion for the sinner and gives us the opportunity to forgive their wrong doings.” A number of vigils have been planned throughout the state to show solidarity and to pray for victims of violence, people

on death row and an end to the death penalty. In the Diocese of St. Augustine, prayer vigils will be held in front of the Duval County Unified Courthouse, Flagler County Courthouse, and St. Augustine Beach City Hall, as well as across from the Florida State Prison Execution Building. Pensacola-Tallahassee will hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour at 7:00 on the evening of Sept. 30 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Catholic Charities Respect Life Office is co-hosting a 5:30 p.m. prayer service on Oct. 1, followed by a procession and silent vigil at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach. The Diocese of St. Petersburg will host an evening prayer ses- sion on Oct.1on the local radio, which will also be available online. Prayer vigils will also be held in Miami, Orlando and Venice. Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty have orga - nized a community prayer ser- vice in front of the Governor’s Mansion on the evening of Oct.


An interfaith Remembrance Service has also been planned for noon the day after the execution at the Capitol Building. (CNA)

Vatican Briefing

Pope to be invited to address European Parliament

At an Oct. 11 audience with the Pope, European Parliament president Martin Schulz is expected to formally invite Pope Francis to address the legislative body of the European Union.

The news of Schulz’ visit is still not official, but it has been

confirmed by a European Union source who spoke to CNA Sept. 24 under condition of anonymity. The source maintained that Schulz’ audience is already scheduled, though “due to unforeseen circumstances these kind of things can change quite late,” and this is probably a reason why the audience has not yet been made official. (CNA)

Rediscover beauty in communication, Pope tells experts

Pope Francis spoke to Church officials and social communications

experts from around the world, encouraging them to focus on leading others to Christ through personal witness of the beauty of faith. “The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and our journey, the beauty of faith and of the encounter with Christ,” the Holy Father said Sept. 21. His statement comes near the close of the annual plenary

assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications that has been meeting in Rome for the last three days. (CNA)

Vatican seminar to explore John Paul II document on women

The Pontifical Council for the Laity is slated to hold a study

seminar on one of Blessed John Paul II’s documents discussing the dignity of women and their role in modern society. Held from Oct. 10-11, the theme of the event is “God entrusts the hu- man being to the Woman,” and is drawn from the late Pope’s apostolic letter “Mulieris dignitatem.” The seminar is organized by the Council’s Women’s Section and coincides with the 25th

anniversary of the document’s publication. JP II wrote “Mulieris Dignitatum” in 1988 in response to the desire of the Synod of Bishops surrounding the participation of the laity in the life of the Church, and in order to study the question of the dignity and vocation of women in the Church and in society. (CNA)

Live your faith, Pope exhorts catechists

Pope Francis met with a group of catechists from around the world on Sept. 17, encouraging them to live a life of witness for the faith rather than simply catechizing as a job. “Be cat- echists, don’t work as catechists,” the Pope said to a group of two thousand gathered in the Paul VI audience hall in Rome on Sept. 27. “Being a catechist is a vocation.” The pontiff stressed the importance of living a life of witness, because as Benedict XVI had noted, the Church does not grow through proselytiz- ing, but through attracting, and that which attracts people is a life that witnesses to the gospel. “People see the gospel in our lives: let them read the gospel,” said Pope Francis. (CNA)

Benedict XVI challenges atheist, says he never hid abuse cases

In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the

logician’s total reliance on scientific facts for meaning. “I never

sought to conceal these things,” the pope said of cases of cleri-

cal abuse, and lamented the scholar depicting the church as

the only place where such “deviation” and “filth” occur. The

pope, who was the first pontiff to meet with abuse victims, had spoken out forcefully against “the filth” in the church, clarified church laws to expedite cases, and mandated bishops’

conferences, put in place stringent norms against abuse, among a number of other initiatives. (CNS)

Pope, in Sardinia, denounces globalization and unemployment

Visiting an Italian region especially hard hit by the European economic crisis, Pope v rancis blamed high unemployment on globalization driven by greed and said those who give chari-

table aid to the poor must treat their beneficiaries with dignity.

“We want a just system, a system that lets all of us get ahead,”

the pope said Sept. 22, in his first address during a full day on

the Italian island of Sardinia. “We don’t want this globalized economic system that does us so much harm. At its center there should be man and woman, as God wants, and not money.” Sardinia has an overall unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent, rising to nearly 50 percent among young adults. (CNS)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

News Features


Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April

VATICAN City, Sept. 30, 2013—Recog- nizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27. The pope made the announcement Sept. 30 at the end of an “ordinary pub- lic consistory,” a gathering of cardinals and promoters of the sainthood causes of the two late popes. The consistory took place in the context of a prayer ser- vice in Latin and included the reading of brief biographies of the two sainthood candidates. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, read the biographies and highlighted the “service to peace” and the impact both popes had “inside and outside the Christian community” at times of great cultural, political and religious transformation. The testimonies of their lives, “com- pletely dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel, shine in the church and re - verberate in the history of the world

as examples of hope and light,” the cardinal said. Blessed John Paul, known as a glo-

betrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005

and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI

on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011.

Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Coun- cil, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Blessed

John Paul beatified him in 2000.

Asked by reporters if retired Pope Benedict would participate in the canonization ceremony, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokes - man, told reporters it was possible, but given the retired pope’s preference for staying out of the public eye, he could not say for sure. The choice of April 27, which will be Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014, was not a complete surprise. Speaking to

reporters traveling with him from Brazil to Rome July 28, Pope Francis said he had been considering Dec. 8, but the possibility of icy roads could make it

difficult for Polish pilgrims who would

travel by bus to Rome for the ceremony. The other option, he said, was Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration instituted

worldwide by Pope John Paul. Since the

beginning of his pontificate in March,

Pope Francis has emphasized God’s mercy and readiness to forgive those who recognize their need for pardon. He told reporters on the flight from Brazil that Pope John Paul’s promotion of Divine Mercy Sunday showed his intuition that a new “age of mercy” was needed in the church and the world. Asked on the plane to describe the two late popes, Pope Francis said Blessed John was “a bit of the ‘country priest,’ a priest who loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; he did this as a bishop and as a nuncio.” He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and, especially by call- ing the Second Vatican Council, was a man of courage, Pope Francis said. “He was a man who let himself be guided by the Lord.” As for Blessed John Paul, Pope Francis told the reporters on the plane, “I think of him as ‘the great missionary of the church,” because he was “a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere.” Pope Francis signed a decree recog- nizing the miracle needed for Blessed

www.thaiyouthmadrid2011.files.wordpress.com | www. en.wikipedia.org
www.thaiyouthmadrid2011.files.wordpress.com | www. en.wikipedia.org

Blessed Pope John Paul II

Blessed Pope John XXIII

John Paul’s canonization July 5; the same day, the Vatican announced that the pope had agreed with members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes that the canonization of Blessed John should go forward even without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.

Except in the case of martyrdom, Vatican rules require one miracle for a candidate’s beatification and a second for his or her canonization as confir- mations that the candidate really is in heaven with God. However, the pope may set aside the rule. (CNS)

Like Benedict, Pope Francis doesn’t want Church of ‘moralists’

VATICAN City, Sept. 26, 2013— While Pope Francis’ mention of the Church’s priorities in a recent interview grabbed worldwide attention, few re - member that Benedict XVI said substantially the same thing seven years ago. Pope Francis’ interview with La Civiltà Cattolica published Sept. 19 led to headlines such as CNN’s “Pope Francis says reli- gion does not have the right to interfere spiritually in the lives of gays and lesbians” and the New York Times’ “Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion.” Among other things, the Ro- man Pontiff had said that the Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of con - traceptive methods … when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.” He continued, “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doc- trines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials,


Pope Benedict XVI at the Wednesday General Audience, October 24, 2012.

on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts

more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus … the proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral

consequences then flow.”

The Pope’s words echoed those of his predecessor, Bene- dict XVI, who had made similar comments to the bishops of

Switzerland on Nov. 9, 2006. At that time, Benedict recalled that when asked for interviews

in the 1980s and ‘90s, he knew the questions in advance, as they “concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abor- tion and other such constantly recurring problems.” “We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details,” he said, “but rather, should always keep our eyes in

the first place on the greatness

of Christianity.” “If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the

Church is then identified with

certain commandments or pro- hibitions,” Benedict said. “We give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convic - tions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith,” adding that we must never be diverted from that highlight. This continuity between Benedict and Pope Francis was noted by Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, in a Sept. 22 essay in National Review Online. He pointed to a misleading “media narra - tive,” in which Pope Francis is portrayed as “a progressive, taking the Catholic Church in a profoundly new direction – uninterested in Church teaching on moral issues.” “Benedict, we are told, is conservative, doctrinaire, and old-fashioned — focused on moral issues,” according to the media narrative. Anderson concluded that “neither narrative is true, be - cause each leaves out half of the story.” (CNA/EWTN News)

‘We leave our convents, seminaries and stand for justice’ – priest

MANILA, Sept. 18, 2013—It is impossible for members of the clergy and religious to stay mum on the issue of corruption, a priest said during a recent mobilization of religious congregations calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel system. “We cannot take things sitting down in the comforts of our convents and watch

our nation fall apart. We need to stand up and make a stand for truth and justice. That is the reason why we are here,” Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF, provincial superior of the Claretian congregation, said in his homily during the “Mass for Truth”, organized by the Association of Major Religious Superi- ors of the Philippines (AMRSP) at the San Agustin Church last Friday. The mass and procession, according to Dalmao is to pressure the Aquino admin- istration to scrap the pork barrel system and all other discretionary funds “in all its forms”. “No matter what form and makeover it takes, it has always been and will always be a breeding ground for corruption, especially

among government officials,” the priest

emphasized, explaining the reason behind the adamant stance. During his homily, Dalmao highlighted two urgent needs, first, “a government [that] takes risks for the people it claims to serve, rather than one that secures its own interest” and second, “an active citizenry

Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia
Roy Lagarde / CBCPMedia

Members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) lead other churchgoers in a Mass to push for the ferreting out of the truth in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel fund scam at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, September 13.

that will take responsibility for the course of the nation’s life, including those of the poor and marginalized.” He explained how “a culture of lying, intimidation and impunity” makes standing for truth and justice dangerous. In the end, according to Dalmao, farmers, lumads, underpaid teachers, and those in the informal sector carry the heaviest bur- den of such a culture. “In other words, the vulnerable, the weak, the defenseless, and the powerless sec - tors of our country bear the brunt of these overwhelming and long standing issues,” he added.

Dalmao explained, the issues of corrup- tion, injustice, failed peace talks and human rights violations are deeply wounding and affecting Filipinos on a massive scale, in terms of resources, quality of life and emo- tional well-being.

“It is because without truth and justice, all of us, our nation and the poor people will continue to suffer. I think we as a nation

are the crossroads. We have very difficult

decisions to make, both as a nation and as an individual,” he added. Speaking to some 2,000 people present, Dalmao said the pork barrel scandal is also a wake-up call for members of the Church hierarchy to break through the “veils of re- ligiosity” that alienate them from the world and the suffering of others.

“Amidst the seemingly insurmount - able issues and lies and corruption, we are not hopeless and helpless. And I believe, that is the point of the gathering today; to choose, to make a choice, the choice to be pro-active,” Dalmao told the crowd composed mostly of nuns, priests and other religious, as well as Catholic students. Despite not being easy, he explained, having a choice to change things is good news in itself. After the mass, the group joined members of other religion in the interfaith service in Luneta. (Jandel Posion)

Sacrifice leads to happiness, fulfillment — Cardinal Rosales

MANILA, Sept. 25, 2013—A high-ranking official of the Cath- olic Church on Saturday empha-

sized the importance of sacrifice

in the life of the faithful, noting

that it is only through living a life suffering that true happiness

and fulfillment may be achieved.

Former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said

that sacrifice combined with self-

renewal is needed to rightfully take up one’s cross and deal with the sufferings and challenges brought by one’s day-to-day living. “No one will be truly happy without suffering, sacrificing, and dying out from evil. Once you have gone through all these, it is only then that you will be led toward a renewed life,” Rosales said in the vernacular during the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary. The failure to follow the path

set forth by Christ is the primary reason why Filipinos remain confounded by the same societal issues and concerns every now and then, Rosales said. “The reason why we do not progress as a nation is because we do not follow the rules given by Jesus. We have never really progressed because we have not fully treaded the path Jesus showed us,” he said. “Do you want a better Philip- pines? I hope our leaders would lead us toward a vision that will make us a better country. And I am also hoping that the media would do the same by focusing on the good news instead of the opposite because that is evan - gelization—there is good news even after your sins and my sins put together,” Rosales said.

‘Die to what is evil’

The 81-year-old prelate also

noted that taking up one’s cross should not be done hastily for one has to go through “the process of suffering, dying to

what is evil, and rising to new life” to successfully follow the path treaded by Christ in saving humanity from sin. “The cross does not end in sacrifice and death. Rather, it leads us to a renewed lifestyle, to a renewed way of life,” Ro- sales said. Noting the hardships people are bound to face for taking up their cross, he urged the faithful to be stronger in fac - ing the odds that might come their way. He also urged the faithful to always believe that Christ accompanies them in every step of the way as they choose to face and carry their burdens in life.

“Sacrifice and endurance are

important. Remember that in the path of goodness, God is always guiding us. In Jesus Christ, we are encouraged to do this. He is always with us, not only to teach us, but to carry us throughout the journey,” he added. Dwelling on the past and lingering to previous mistakes must also be avoided so the faithful may succeed in living a renewed life, Rosales noted. “We do not progress because we are stuck remembering mis- takes and putting the blame to someone,” he said. “Don’t look

at the past. Does Christ want us to be always reminded of our sinful beginnings?” “Let it fall, let it die, let it rot. You have to suffer and endure for if there is no pain, there is also

no gain. Life is not only defined by the meaning of sacrifice, but

of its importance as well,” Ro- sales noted. (Jennifer Orillaza)

Prejudice towards migrants and refugees must end, Pope stresses


Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on April 7, 2013.

VATICAN City, Sept. 24, 2013—In honor of the upcom- ing World Migration Day, Pope Francis said that the improve - ment of society demands the end of common prejudices against migrants and refugees. “In considering the situation of migrants and refugees, I

would point to yet another ele- ment in building a better world, namely, the elimination of preju- dices and presuppositions in the approach to migration.” The message of Pope Francis was read aloud during a Sept. 24 press conference in honor of World Migration Day, which will take place on Jan. 19, 2014. In his address, the Pope em- phasized the need to build a better world through “efforts to provide dignified living condi- tions for everyone, at finding just responses to the needs of individuals and families, and at ensuring that God’s gift of cre- ation is respected, safeguarded and cultivated.” “Our hearts do desire some- thing ‘more.’ Beyond great - er knowledge or possessions, they want to “be” more,” he said. “Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable.” The pontiff noted the impor- tance of fighting the “scandal of poverty,” warning that “Vio- lence, exploitation, discrimina- tion, marginalization, restrictive approaches to fundamental free- doms, whether of individuals or of groups,” are some of the chief elements of poverty which need to be overcome. Amid the necessity for coop- eration among societies in order to create peace, justice and secu- rity, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of deconstructing common stereotypes which are

held against many who flee their

homelands. “Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostil- ity,” he said. “There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase.” It is those in the field of “com- munication media,” he said, who have the greatest responsibility “to break down stereotypes and to offer correct information in reporting the errors of a few as well as the honesty, rectitude

and goodness of the majority.” The Pope likened the migrant to the image of the Holy Fam- ily, who also left their home and faced rejection in a foreign land, saying that “threatened by Herod’s lust for power, they

were forced to take flight and

seek refuge in Egypt.” “But the maternal heart of Mary and the compassionate heart of Joseph, the Protector of the Holy Family, never doubted that God would always be with them. Through their interces - sion, may that same firm cer- tainty dwell in the heart of every migrant and refugee.” The Church, he recalled, who is called to follow Christ’s com-

mandment to “go and make disciples of all nations,” is also called to embrace and proclaim the gospel to all peoples, because

“the face of each person bears the mark of the face of Christ.” “Here we find the deepest foundation of the dignity of the human person, which must always be respected and safe - guarded.” It is being created in God’s image and likeness that grounds personal dignity, said the pon- tiff, rather than external circum- stances such as productivity, social class, ethnic or religious belonging, or “the criteria of


“Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be wel- comed, respected and loved.” The situation of the migrant,

urged the Pope, is for us “an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just so- ciety, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical Christian com- munity.” The Holy Father also ex - pressed that the reality of mi- grants poses the possibility and opportunity for evangelization and for “the growth of a new humanity.” Pope Francis ended his mes- sage speaking directly to mi - grants themselves, encouraging them to “Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your jour- ney you will encounter an out- stretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship.”




CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013




Brewing crisis


THERE is no mistaking this country is at the crossroads of its history.


It is at the vortex of a developing crisis that maybe unprecedented in recent memory. Since August 26 this year, popular rallies are becoming more frequent, and nobody knows when or where this is going to lead. People are getting angrier by the day. They feel cheated or deceived by the very same people they have voted into office; by their very leaders they have invested their trust and high expectations on.

Three years ago, people were mesmerized by a socio-political drama that was cherished and crystallized by a campaign slogan “tuwid na daan” boosted by a popular belief that the standard bearer, Benigno Simeon Aquino, has inherited the relative integrity and heroism of his parents—consequently absolving and confining to oblivion a deficient track record and an inefficient past political performance in his home province. (Columnist Jojo Robles writes that the tagline “tuwid na daan” was a brainchild of a retired advertising executive whose biggest success was in marketing a brand of fast-food fried

chicken—and, therefore, was merely an advertisement, not a serious

center-piece program of governance, like people were led to believe.)

But now big cracks are showing. Since the testimonies of Benhur Luy and the blunder of escorting Napoles from Malacañang to Camp Crame by the president himself who is increasingly being

mocked in social media as a double-faced “king of pork”, until the “bombshell exposé” of Senator Estrada at the senate floor and the half hazard coinage by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Jr., of the high-sounding “Disbursement Acceleration Program” (DAP), the

erstwhile “straight path” popularity of the president is plummeting

despite attempts of social surveys and Malacañang spinners to

resurrect an old image.

While the gargantuan pork barrel anomalies among legislators and the executive department are problem enough, this DAP may actually be a tipping factor in the corruption saga of the Aquino administration; not to mention the Malampaya Funds which is a heavyweight that can bring down the powers that be if only the audit department will not be politicized. Former Senator Arroyo and Senator Santiago have both denounced the Palace for brewing a fund that is illegal since DAP is not authorized by law. To refute the justifications of the DAP by the budget Secretary, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones explained that the use of the savings of other agencies is prohibited, unless they are savings accumulated by the Office of the President itself.


People are now beginning to understand why the Palace was

suddenly not interested with the legislation of the Freedom

of Information Bill. Now people are getting clarified why

Corona was immediately impeached or why the controversial

Reproductive Health Bill was passed into law in a jiffy. Vote- buying is a scourge in Philippine politics. But how does one add up the highest office of the land buying votes and loyalties of the members of both houses of Congress by dangling both the presidential and congressional pork which the Aquino administration has increased to unimaginable proportion? Really, a crisis is brewing.

Women guides on the pilgrimage

IN the Western world, and here in the Philippines as well, there is a profound shift in the consciousness of women. This new sensitivity often clashes with authoritarian, patriarchal patterns which have

influenced many decisions about the orientation, spirituality, and

life lifestyle of the sisters.

The attitude and stance of Jesus towards women was one of


openness and great-heartedness. He made them disciples, thereby educating their faith. He enabled them to witness his crucifixion,

death and resurrection, even which enabled them to announce the

Good News to others.

In a spirit of fidelity, the church must let go of cultural attitudes that prevent the liberating action of Jesus for women. She must


actively promote their participation in her internal structures, convinced that the God-created potentials of women will positively

contribute to the life of the church. She must also inculcate a healthy respect towards women in order that Catholics may not be guilty of that behavior which the Pope has declared as contradictory:

“For whenever man is responsible for offending woman’s dignity

and vocation, he acts contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.”

The history of many religious women is also the story of the strength,

competence, resourcefulness and natural abilities of women. Religious women have the obligation to use these same gifts now for

the advancement of the status of women in our country; to minister

to and with them; to be open to the women’s movement, modeling

for them spiritual leadership in living the Gospel.

Religious women should become more responsive to the Spirit’s

call to develop their latent possibilities and with a greater sense of responsibility, engage themselves in fuller collaboration in the total

work of the church. Thus may the church overcome whatever alienates people one from

another, and more faithfully approximate the image of the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus Christ whereby all women and men are called

to their full stature as children of the one God. (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 488-493)

Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991

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Illustration by Brothers Matias
Illustration by Brothers Matias

Enemies from within and without

Oscar. V. Cruz, DD Views and Points
Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points

IT is so hard to see or find anything really

good, anything truly positive in having en- emies. They are contradictions to one’s own good, present and future. It is already a big predicament and liability when someone is said to be his own enemy—such as by hav- ing insatiable vices, in having no self-control, especially so in losing one’s mind. When one becomes an enemy to himself, then it can be said that he needs no other enemy to be a loser, to suffer defeat. But if in addition to bring one’s own enemy from within, he still has enemies from without, then to be a winner is one huge challenge—if not a moral impossibility. It is sad to take note of the fact that it is common knowledge that our poor country has enemies from within and without. No. This has nothing to do with the criminals that kill, steal, abduct, rape, etc., as a mat- ter of fact, any time of the day, all days of the week. Neither does this has something

to do with many public officials indulging

in gross self-service at pocketing big public funds at the expense of the people who are hungry and sick, poor, and destitute. Much less has this anything to do with amoral acts and practices uploaded in the social media for everybody to watch—men and women, boys and girls alike. Yes, this has something to do with enemies that threaten no less than the national secu- rity and integrity, the peace and develop-

ment of the country. And they are neither a bunch of weaklings who should not be taken seriously, nor a group of jokers who could be simply laughed at. Their mere mention is enough for knowledgeable people to really worry, for the country to be vigilant. Who are these enemies? Can they be named? Are they for real? Are they but do-nothing weaklings simply craving for attention? The answer is neither imaginary, much less funny. From without: CHINA is displeased and in

a fighting mood. TAIPEI is still angry and

wants vengeance. HONG KONG remains unhappy and not yet really pacified. From within: MNLF, ASG, BIFF, NDF, NPA, etc. Such is certainly neither an inspiring reality nor a promising future. This is why more and more foreigners do not buy the slogan

“It’s more fun in the Philippines!” And that is why travel bans to the country every now and then issued by foreign governments, are

not really surprising. Even the optimists find

it difficult to rejoice about the actual Philip- pine situation. But then, some Filipinos are simply be- ing what they are. They love to joke and have fun—probably to enable them to face hard and trying realities, so they say, “call a friend!”—in the spirit of handling a “Play Station.” It is an option that when a player is losing the battle, he calls a friend to help him. This is why—so they say—that a “friend” is coming to the Philippines next month!

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS …and that’s the truth
Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth

Reading the popes

ADDING to the confusion of our country’s already mis - informed (under-catechized) majority is secular media’s per- ception and resulting presenta- tion of the pope and bishops as mere political leaders who are expected to “be involved” by making pronouncements on hottest issues of the day and egging on activists to push their “narrow-minded, outdated” agenda. Catholics or not (judging by their misrepresentation of the Catholic Church), most media people do not know Church his- tory and structure, what Magis- terium means, or for that matter,

even how a man responds to the call to priesthood. Thus, when the pope or a bishop opens his mouth, his voice is heard through a secular megaphone

that distorts or filters out the

meaning of the message.

Case in point: the hoopla generated by headlines like “Church ‘obsessed’ with birth control, abortion and gays,” referring to a recent interview with Pope Francis that came out in an Italian magazine. Whether people read only the headline or the whole second-hand report, it is the headline that will most impact them for it is supposed to carry the gist of the story. To people too busy or uninter- ested to read or analyze the orig- inal interview, it would appear that the pope is going against the teaching of the Church. They would not care that while Pope Francis actually said “We cannot insist only on issued re- lated to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…” he also said: “The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church, but it is not neces-

sary to talk about these issues all the time.” Did he say the Church is “obsessed”? No—it is the media who said it. So, what is Pope Francis re- ally trying to say? Media have painted Pope Francis as a “dif-

ferent pope”, a “reformer” of the Church, and they are but too quick to color his words to suit their taste. Even some Catholics tend to put the pope in a box: a Jesuit box, for instance. Are we not guilty, too, of see- ing the Holy Father as a mere politician? Every pope has his particular contribution to the evolution of the Church. Every pope leaves his fingerprints on the papal chalice, so to speak. Each pope responds to the challenges of the age, as well as adapts to and uti- lizes civilization’s technological advances in meeting the needs

of the flock. Let us take a quick

glance at the three popes our country’s predominantly young population has known. Soon-to-be-saint Blessed John Paul II will be remembered by the faithful for throwing wide open the doors of the Church to the world, becoming the most widely-traveled pope in history. In a world where young people were asserting their indepen - dence from parents, John Paul II discerned the youth’s search for parental authority and affection, some direction in life, and he offered them Jesus. He hugged them, kissed them, dialogued with them, danced with them during the World Youth Day celebrations that have for de - cades attracted countless young people to Christ. Sensing the growing sexual unrest in the modern times, he wrote Theology of the Body to

And That’s The Truth / A7

Appreciating our common ‘Fathers in Faith’

Fr. Roy Cimagala Candidly Speaking
Fr. Roy Cimagala
Candidly Speaking

WE cannot avoid them. We either commit them ourselves or we receive them. We are both their doers and victims. And so we ought to know how to handle them, offenses, that is. When we commit them, for whatever reason, including those offenses that may have been done unintentionally, we should

be quick to ask for forgiveness and to do whatever repair, atonement and restitution is needed. It’s the most human and Christian way to

go about them. It shows refinement of heart and acts quickly to resolve conflicts quickly

and effectively. It defuses tension and facili- tates reconciliation. Obviously, we should try our best to avoid committing these offenses, no matter how slight they are. This should be an ongoing concern that can be effectively attended to if we continue to grow in our sensitivity towards others. The best defence, as they say, is offence, but offence in the good sense of always do-

ing good to the others. If it’s already second

nature to us to be generous in our good acts of service towards others, then we actually minimize the possibility of offending them. It’s when we suffer offenses that we need to learn how to react. Our human condition is such that we are most vulnerable to respond to offenses not only with anger, which is understandable as a spontaneous reaction, but also with hatred, bitterness, resentment and a burning urge for revenge that stay with us for long. We have to be ready for this eventuality which is actually very common, especially nowadays when people are quick to anger and slow to forgive, which is precisely the opposite of how God is with us.

We need to look at offenses, when inflicted

upon us, from a theological point of view, with faith purifying and enriching our rea- son and emotions. We have to be clear about not allowing reason and emotions alone to handle the experience of being offended. Our faith tells us that we have to learn to

forgive offenses. Christ tells us that “who- ever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Mt 5,21) When offended, we have to try not to get upset, or to let anger overcome our heart. This obviously requires struggle and train- ing. That’s why it always pays to be meek and humble, for these virtues make forgiving

easy to do. When we find it hard to do, we

have to kneel down and pray, and beg Christ to give us the grace to forgive. We have to remove the obstacles to forgiveness that likely are embedded in our heart. These usually are pride, over- sensitiveness, inordinate attachment to our views and preferences, etc. Obviously,

meditating on the example of the mercy of Christ as he hung on the cross would be most illuminating. What can help us is to realize that offenses

and injuries, even if those who inflict them

on us may be sinning, can do us a lot of

good, since these can serve to purify us, and

Candidly Speaking / A6

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013



Believing and being church in a time of uncertainty

Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD By the Roadside
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
By the Roadside

YOU would think I should not be saying what I am about to say in our present circumstances. But the truth is… Being Filipino and living in the Philippines at the same time is, pardon the expression, the surest formula to living in calamity, er, excuse me, uncertainty (something that,

at least in part, explains to me why there seems a never-ending exodus by our people towards other and greener shores). For one, you always contend with all types of calamity, natural or man-made. If you and your family do not deal with at least thirty three regular typhoons a year, now made even more challenging by climate change-spawned super-abundance of water

eventually creating floods in so many low-

lying areas in the country, then you are con-

fronted by the shocking disrespect for life through random killings and/or political assassinations, unbridled criminality, big- time political scams such the pork-barrel controversy, armed rebellion such as the lat- est Misuari-inspired uprising, demoralizing

poverty of so many while so few trumpet

unprecedented glowing economic figures, a

seemingly unchecked joblessness and a lack of opportunity that seems to grow with each batch of fresh college graduates. We have a very popular president who seems to have moved the economy to unheard-of heights but which ironically has scarcely dented the grip of poverty on the islands. They say ours is already a tiger economy. But if there is some truth to it, then our tiger does not roar; it groans. I really wish I could be more optimistic. Two particular sources of man-made

calamities are Philippine politics and Philippine elections. Now that barangay

elections are in the offing, so again are the

opportunities to buy and sell votes and many other ways to circumvent the people’s choice, such that our elections recurrently put into power many politicians of the kind that the pork-barrel scam has only partially unmasked. I remember a story of how a losing candi- date (a man of integrity) who ran for Mayor

and lost in the elections was being consoled by his closest friend who also lost in his own bid to be Councilor. “Don’t take it so hard,” the friend said, “and remember the saying when Ninoy Aquino died, ‘Hindi ka nag- iisa’ (‘You are not alone’).” The eldest son of the losing mayoralty candidate overheard it and added: “That’s right, Tatay. ‘Hindi ka nag-iisa’ pero naisahan ka…ng kalaban.”

One common feeling shared not only by losing candidates but even by decent Filipino believers especially when they face personal and national tragedies, failures and such other types of calamity is the sense of being alone. Humanly speaking, we say this is anything but abnormal. But for us Filipinos who strive to follow Jesus Christ this is a symptom of a lack of completeness in our life. We should not be feeling alone unless we have no community or sense of community even as we profess to belong to the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, we Catholics are often tempted to feel alone especially in our big churches when we attend liturgical celebrations, such as the Eucharist. This is why the Church encourages us to be active participants

and to be aware that there are brothers and sisters around us who share not only what we believe but also what we live for. This is why the hierarchy continually pushes us on to belong to or help build small ecclesial communities through evangelization. The Holy Father Pope Francis speaks of how Christian believers, by their faith centered on Jesus Christ, become “radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within” (Lumen Fidei, no. 20). Teaching with vigor that because of this “their lives are enlarged and expanded” such that they can say with St. Paul “’It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me’ (Gal 2:20)”(LF 21), the Holy Father declares that this leads to the “ecclesial form of faith”. The love of Jesus Christ that expands and enlarges our lives also expands and enlarges our horizons. It makes us see and appreci- ate our membership in the Church. “In this way, the life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence; a life lived in the Church” (LF 22). I believe there is much to be desired in our Filipino experience of “ecclesial existence” or, to put it simply, our being Church . In fact, it is a mistake we often make to allow the goal of being Church to end up in mere desire. The pope also underlines the teaching of St. Paul “that all who believe in Christ make up one body” (LF 22). The twelfth chapter of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians fo- cuses on this doctrine by a most astounding and unique insight. We could just withdraw for a while from St. Paul and just consider

By The Roadside / A7

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago Duc in Altum
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in Altum

AFTER more than two weeks of battle between the government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, many were killed, hundreds are in - jured including the Red Cross volunteers, thousands were displaced from their residence, several houses and commercial buildings were burnt and de - stroyed. Zamboanga City is a complete havoc, a huge mess.

What a waste of life and destruc- tion to properties. Great damage is caused to infrastructures, houses, schools and other prop- erties worth billions of pesos. Both the government forces and MNLF rebels suffered loss of lives and injuries, not to mention loss and damage to properties. Worst, civilians are the unknow- ing victims, they got killed, they had to leave their houses, they were used as human shields, they were the great victims. Trauma is suffered by young and old; debriefing has to be conducted on them. The government ordered the release of P6.0 Billion to help Zamboanga do the reparation work; give assistance to residents in forms of shelter, livelihood, education to their children; construction of infrastructures which were obliterated during the battle between the military and the rebels. There are truly no winners or

victors in war, in armed conflict.

Everyone is a loser, even the taxpayers because the govern-

ment must fund the destruction in ground zero. Let us just pray

that the conflict in Zamboanga,

and now in Cotabato, will soon end. Again, let us give peace a

chance. Let there be peace. *** Happy Feastday to St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Diocese of Kalookan. It is celebrating its Golden Anniversary. Congratu- lations to its parishioners and parish priest Monsignor Alex V. Amandy, the Vicar General and Moderato Curiae of the Diocese. *** The Diocese of Kalookan

gratefully received the visit of the International Image of Fati- ma on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels. The image will depart on October 1, the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Thanks to the World Apostolate of Fatima President Reynald Andales and companions Boying Mansueto of the Archdiocese of Cebu for facilitating the visit. *** The celebration of the National Laity Week, with the theme

“Taon ng Pananampalataya sa Diwa ni San Pedro Calungsod”

was very successful. We would like to thank the

Bishop of the Apostolic Vicari- ate of Puerto Princesa Most Rev. Pedro Arigo, the parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Puerto Princesa Fr.

Pipes Torrecampo, the officers of

the Council of the Laity of Puerto Princesa headed by its President

F.U.N. (Faith Up Now!):


No winner in armed


Bro. Roland Baldonado and the Parish Pastoral Council Chair- man of the Cathedral Bro. Raul Alarcon for the warm welcome

they extended to the officers and trustees of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas or Laiko. The simultaneous General Assem - bly and Opening Ceremony of the National Laity Week held at Skylight Convention Center last September 21 was a huge success. The parishioners from all parishes attended the Cer- emony, including those coming from Brookespoint which is 200 kilometers away from the venue. Mass Presider was Bishop Arigo. Likewise, we also thank the Archbishop of Lipa His Excellency

Ramon Arguelles, the officers of

the Council of the Laity of Lipa

headed by its President Bro. Lo-

reto “Ito” Guinhawa, for the warm welcome they gave the Laiko of-

ficers and Trustees. The General

Assembly and Closing Ceremony of the National Laity Week held at Batangas Convention Center last September 28. The Mass Presider was His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. The Archdio- cese celebrates the National Laity Month, not just one week. They actually started the celebration last April 2, during the Feast of San Pedro Calungsod, to promote the devotion to the second Filipino saint. Every week since April 2, the image of San Pedro Calungsod is brought to different parishes where talks and devotions are conducted.

In our Diocese of Kalookan, the Council of the Laity did away with its planned recollection; it used to conduct talk, recollec - tions or medical mission during National Laity Week. Instead the Council will donate its budget for the Laity Week to the Arch-

diocese of Zamboanga which is in dire need of cash to feed the evacuees housed in the Cathe- dral. Foods and basic needs had to be delivered to Zamboanga due to limited flight, not to men- tion the more than a week of

flight cancellation, bank closure

and danger involved in access-

ing the area by land and water. The Council requested the parish priests of our Diocese to include in the Prayers of the Faithful in all Anticipated Masses and Sunday Masses in the parish on September 21 and 22 the peace and immediate solution to the

armed conflict in Zamboanga.

They also requested the Apos- tolic Administrator, Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, to donate to the Archdiocese of Zambo - anga a portion of the second col- lection in all Anticipated Masses and Sunday Masses in parishes and sub-parish on September 21 and 22.

*** Happy Birthday to Fr. Chris- topher Tibong, Fr. Ed Guantero and Rona Marie Apellanes; Hap- py 35th Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Gaudioso “Gau” Sustento, Chancellor, all from the Diocese of Kalookan.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco Whatever
Fr. Francis Ongkingco


“Bet you can’t do this!” Karl challenged Bryan. “I can, but my mommy sez that it’s bad to cross your eyes!” Bryan corrected him. “…and why so?” a surprised Karl uncrossed his eyes. “’Coz your eyes might not go back to normal!” Bryan warned him. “Not true!” Karl contested him. “But my mom won’t tell a lie,” Bryan defended himself. “My dad sez it’s cool ‘coz you see more by seeing double!” “You mean your dad crosses his eyes too?” Bryan asked. “Yup! And he jokes with us a lot when he points at our doubles,” Karl giggled. “Then mom must have meant somethin’ else,” Bryan won - dered.

* * * Adult Talk:

A man attentively observed the corpulent priest praying after Holy Mass in the front pew. He saw that there was noth- ing really unique in the way

the priest was praying. But he felt attracted to something more, something about how he con - versed with God. Unable to contain his curios- ity, he approached the priest. “Good morning Fr. Thomas,” he cordially greeted the priest. “Yes, my son, what is it that you wish?” the priest gave him a very reassuring fatherly smile. “Oh, nothing, really…, Father, eh…ah…, I don’t mean to be rude, but I was just wondering… .I hope I’m not interrupting you….” “My son, it’s alright, how may I help you?” the priest offered him to sit down. “Thank you, Father. I have re- cently come back to the Church. I have been trying my best to get closer to God, but I don’t seem to be making much progress.” “…and…?” the priest pa - tiently listened. “Well, I saw… like how you prayed, and I wondered if you could recommend a book I could read. That way, perhaps…, I can learn how to pray as you do,” the man explained.

“My son, you really need not worry too much about that. Each person prays in his own way. What is required is his faith, constancy and sincerity in con- versing with the Lord.” “But Father, if I may say so, you seem to have it so easy.” “Neither was it easy when I started. Back then I was just like you when I began taking my spiritual life seriously.” “Yes, but surely with your years as a priest you would have some useful advice?”

“Ah, if it is advice you seek, then it is advice I will give,” the priest chuckled. Then he reached into through his large weather- beaten habit and pulled out something.

“A crucifix?” the man reacted

both surprised and amazed at

how an almost foot-long crucifix

could be hidden underneath the priest’s vestment. “Why do you seem sur - prised?” the priest asked. “I thought you were going to give me a passage in the Bible or some inspiring book whose ideas could guide and enlighten me.”

“This, my son, is the only and best book you will ever need for prayer.” “But how exactly do I read it?” “Every wound, drop of blood, sweat, and tear… and the many unseen sufferings our Lord bore upon the Cross is an infinite chapter of grace and conver - sion.” “But Father, how exactly do I turn the pages of this ‘unique book’?” “My son, unlike other books where the reader is in control by turning the pages, reading and understanding words, para- graphs and chapters… Well, in this book, the reader must allow the book to control him.” The man was more perplexed but simultaneously intrigued at what he learned. “Let’s just say that you have to learn how to cross your eyes,” the priest said. “Cross my eyes, isn’t that bad?” “I don’t know, but I enjoyed doing it when I was boy,” the priest laughed. “In any case, I

Whatever / A7

Fr. Carmelo O. Diola Spaces of Hope
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola
Spaces of Hope

‘Hell or Heaven?’ (Luke 16: 19-31)

(The homily I gave before the Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel last September 29.)

OUR gospel today is no mere coincidence as to why we are

here. It contains a threat, expresses firm hope, and calls us to

come together for sustained change. My friends, the amounts are mind boggling! P10 billion is not easy to fathom especially for a rich yet impoverished na-

tion like the Philippines. I know of street children who have gone back to school. P200 a week per child is what it takes for their lunch and transport allowances. That’s money for about

150 thousand street children to finish until grade 7! But even

more mind boggling is why people who are in a position to do much good just try to give the appearance of good! Our wounds are deep and healing does not come easy. Ten years ago this month we had a similar gathering to express our collective and prayerful indignation at the unjust impeach- ment. And our voices were heard. Today we have come—individuals, families, groups rep- resenting various sectors, parishes, and others—of different ages, social status, denominations and religions—because something very wrong is happening in our country threaten- ing the very soul of our nation. The stakes are high indeed! To be silent and to do nothing is to condone the wrongs. We join our voices with God who hears the cry of the poor.

The Threat

Today’s gospel talks about a threat that begins in our hearts. The pork barrel is a symptom of a spiritual disease called

avarice. While a selfish person says, “What is mine is mine;

what is your is yours,” avarice goes a step further: “What is

mine is mine; what is yours is mine.” Avarice destroys life and community.

No name is given for the rich man. But the poor man has one. “Lazarus” means “God has helped.” While on earth they lived at the opposite ends of the social spectrum. When they

die—they find their fortunes dramatically reversed! The poor man lives forever in God while the rich man finds himself

reduced to nothing. But just what did the rich man do to merit his fate? After all he seems to have done nothing wrong to the poor man. He does not abuse nor defraud him. But neither does he do anything for him. He had treated Lazarus as if he did not exist! He does not even address Lazarus directly but only speaks with Abraham. He suffers a horrible fate not because he is rich but because he had made a decisive break with God through hardness of heart towards a needy neighbor. God is love—yes—but he does not force his love on us. The goods of this earth are destined for everyone’s good, not just a select few. God puts us in positions of power to do good, especially to the poor. He holds us accountable when we fail to do this through deliberate choices. When we idolize riches we become blind to others. Dis- honest wealth weighs us down, preventing us from reaching heaven. We cut our communion with people and with God. Theologians call this stark condition hell.

The Lucifer Effect

Hell is a slippery slope. In 1971, an experiment was con- ducted in a university in the USA. Student volunteers were randomly grouped into two: one played the role of prisoners; the others, as prison guards. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks but was stopped on the sixth day because normal students who played guards became more brutal. Good people had turned bad, no longer capable of empathy. This is called the Lucifer Effect. The rich man in the gospel no longer had empathy. It can happen to anyone of us.

What About Us?

So we should ask ourselves: What would we have done if

we were in the shoes of the rich man? Would we have helped Lazarus? Really? It is an intriguing question and we cannot take the answer for granted. Power can blind us. What do we do with our God-given powers? As citizens and leaders we exercise this power daily. If we do good, we give birth to our nation. If we do the opposite, nation building becomes stillborn.

How many of us obey traffic rules? How many of us pay our

taxes correctly? How many of us pay just wages? How many of us get involved in barangay affairs? When was the last time

we offered bribes to our officials and justify our actions? If we

had an opportunity to have bundles of money — P10 billion to be exact—would we act differently? Truth is, we are all part of the problem—but the good news is that we can and should be part of the solution!

Pork: Good Intentions Not Enough

I still believe in my heart that the intention to serve is not

absent in people who run for elected posts. But what happens

to this good intention? Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. “Pork barrel” takes its name from the practice of American slave owners giving salted pork in barrels to their slaves. When pork barrel was restored in the Philippines in 1990 it was supposed to provide legislators, who were supposed to know their constituents, access to fund infrastructure and community projects. Pork was intended to serve the poor. Those who have studied corruption point out that there is a formula involved in its slippery slope. Corruption, they say, is the result of Monopoly plus Discretion less Accountability. This is what is happening with the pork barrel system. It gives a select few much discretionary funds with little or no demand for accountability. It has become an occasion of sin, both personal and systemic. But can the pork barrel still be reformed especially since

many poor beneficiaries await? So we ask: is the pork in the

barrel just no longer fresh or is it already rotten? In 2000 the Countryside Development Fund or PDF was renamed PDAF supposedly a reformed version of it. In 2005 the biggest net- work of NGOs came out with a Pork Barrel Watch. In 2008 a congressional duo came out with a report on PDAF with further reforms to safeguard against corruption. Now we have this P10 billion mess which is just the tip of the iceberg. So what else is new? How long do we make excuses and rationalize our moral failures? When will we learn? A growing number of Filipinos think the pork barrel system is beyond redemption like the rich man in our gospel. We agree with them. Giving people great power without over- sight is prescription for disaster. Giving money to a group of people who wield tremendous power made accessible to them through the ballot which, in turn, is made accessible through a vote buying culture is formula for disaster. The pork brings out the worst in us. Instead of aligning strengths so that weaknesses become irrelevant, as one management guru puts it — it aligns our weaknesses and

Spaces of Hope / A7


Local News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

10 years after division, Metro Manila clergy gather for reunion

PRIESTS of the greater Archdio-

cese of Manila will gather for the

first time in a special reunion, ten

years after it was divided into different dioceses. Dubbed as the “First Gathering of the Clergy of the Metropolitan See of Manila, the reunion will be held at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City on October 3, 2013. It was in 2003 when the Manila

archdiocese was divided into five

dioceses: Parañaque, Novaliches, Cubao, Kalookan, and Pasig. The former districts of Manila now comprise the archdiocese. Before the archdiocese was divided, it had 272 parishes, 402 diocesan priests, and almost 11 million Catholics under its care. The archdiocese said the divi- sion was initiated by the late

Jaime Cardinal Sin for pastoral reasons. Today the Metropolitan See of Manila has 631 diocesan and religious priests. The program starts with a Eucharistic adoration and reflec- tion by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco at 9 a.m. Pasig Bishop Hubert Mylo Vergara will also give a talk at 10:30 a.m. This will be followed

by group reflection and sharing among priests. The whole-day activity will conclude with a Mass to be presided by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and reflections at 3 p.m. The gathering will also be a special celebration of the mem- bers of the clergy for the Year of Faith. (CBCPNews)

Leave the ‘selfie’ mindset,

go back to God — bishop

Nirva Dela Cruz
Nirva Dela Cruz

La Sallian brother is new CEAP chief

Novaliches Bishop-emeritus Teodoro Bacani presides a Mass during the visit of the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima at San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco.

DE La Salle Araneta University president Br. Narciso Erguiza Jr., FSC has taken over the helm of the Catholic Educational Associa- tion of the Philippines (CEAP) replacing Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, CM, as the new president of the 72-year old organization of Catholic academic institution nationwide. Bañaga, who is incumbent president of Adamson University Manila, held the post since 2010.

The election of the new set of CEAP na-

tional officers were announced during the

organization’s recent convention held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu city. Also elected were Ateneo de Davao Uni- versity president Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ as the

new CEAP Vice President while University of the Immaculate Conception-Davao presi- dent Sr. Ma. Marissa Viri, RVM as the new CEAP Secretary. University of Sto. Tomas rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, mean- while, was elected the new CEAP Treasurer.

Based on CEAP rules, national officers are

elected annually from among the regional trustees as long as they have not yet reached six years in their regional post or a maximum

stay of two terms of three years each in the CEAP Board. During the CEAP’s annual con - vention, the CEAP Board gathers for an organizational meeting. Since a number of regional trustees have been replaced and the terms of some trustees-at-large have ended, the CEAP Board members elect new ones. All 16 regional trustees plus 5 trustees

at large are eligible to be voted as long as they are still in the board for at least one year. The CEAP is an organization of over 1,400 Catholic schools, universities and colleges nationwide. More than 3,250 Catholic educators representing member-schools gathered in this city for the annual CEAP National Convention. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of

Photo courtesy of CEAP Facebook Page
Photo courtesy of CEAP Facebook Page

Outgoing CEAP President Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, C.M. (center) receives from incoming President Br. Erguiza (right) and Fr. Tabora (left) the plaque of appreciation during the closing ceremonies of the CEAP National Convention at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

Baylon led the closing Mass. During the closing ceremonies of the CEAP convention, Erguiza and Tabora pre-

sented a plaque of appreciation to Bañaga as out-going president of the organization.


the Philippines (CEAP) president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma presided the open- ing Eucharistic celebration of the National Convention while Episcopal Commission on Youth chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel

Corruption / A1

he said. “These projects are funded by the taxes tak- en from the salaries of average workers and from the taxes imposed on every consumer good we buy… Do not say that these projects are built as an act of generosity on your part because that is a demand of justice that you should give as justice demands,” said Tagle. He reminded business owners to be fair to less fortunate individuals by paying them with the amount that is due to the services they rendered.

“Do not make a profit out of what is due

of your workers. Do not withhold their sal- ary and give it when it is due for they have needs to sustain…that is a right that they are entitled to since they rendered their services to sustain their needs,” he added. Tagle then urged the laity to practice a sense of justice that is rooted not merely in equality, but also in compassion. “This is a different sense of justice— not that if someone borrowed 30 from you, he will have to return the same amount. Instead, if someone borrowed 30, you have to see the

greater need of that person and let him have

even what he borrowed. See that his need is greater than what you could gain,” he said. He warned those who take advantage of other people, saying that the Lord will hear the cry of those who seek His name and give justice to those who are marginalized and abused. “When these poor people cry out and seek help from the Lord, be prepared for God will hear and listen to their call…These teachings are set in the time of Moses, but until now we still experience them. When will we ever learn?” Tagle said.

Being just

He chided the mentality of some people

who perceive that the poor are only after money—can be easily bribed and bought,

primarily because of their financial needs.

“What am I? A (material thing)? Since (material things) can be bought, I too, can be bought as well? Do I still have honor?” Tagle said in the vernacular. The persistence of individualism and per- sonal desire to gain are the primary reasons why some people nowadays lack concern for poor individuals, he noted.

“Be just. Do not only think of what you are going to gain. Instead, think that your neigh- bor is also like you, suffering from poverty.

You are just the same but because of selfish

thinking, we tend not to give,” Tagle said. “I hope that we would learn how to give according to justice—helping others because you see their true value,” he added. Citing bible verses from the book of Prov- erbs, Tagle said, “Those who are just would never be in need of anything. The Lord will take care of all your needs, while those who take advantage of the less fortunate will be cursed.” If his statements will hit those who are guilty of committing injustices against the poor, Tagle said that he is just echoing les- sons of the bible. “If (those who are guilty) will get mad, I will just respond by saying that these are not my words. They may charge Moses or the Word of God because I am just quoting His words. I will not make up a message that is based from my own statements…After all, we are ordained to proclaim His words, not ours,” he added.

Zamboanga / A1

Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chair- man, said some dioceses have also sent truckloads of clothes, mongo beans and rice. However, he said that the needs continue to rise everyday and are expected to be so in the next three to six months. “We call on your help to sustain the Church’s aid and to- gether bring the Christian mes- sage of love and peace to our brothers and sisters in need,” Pabillo said. More than two weeks of skir- mishes between the military and the Moro National Liberation

Front have resulted in “devas- tating impact” to the people in Zamboanga City. The tension, the church agency said, has displaced more than 200,000 people and on Sept. 9, the local public officials have sought the help of the archdio- cese to open its churches to more evacuees. The archdiocese is currently catering to the needs of some 18,736 evacuees in 11 evacu - ation centers. This number is apart from some 40,000 families being served by the govern - ment.

According to the Nassa, the situation in each evacuation center varies. While seven of the evacuation centers have kitchens, four have no provision for cooking and the archdiocese spends some P70,000 daily in preparing hot meals for at least 2,000 people. The archdiocese also distrib- utes some 3,500 food packs daily to meet the evacuees’ daily caloric requirement. “Children, in particular, are getting sick with the unvaried diet since traditional staples like beans and vegetables are

not available in the market,” the Nassa added.

The fighting has also spilled-

over to Basilan province where

thousands of people were also reported displaced from Lami- tan City and other towns. Pabillo said the archdiocese prefers cash donations since they

can already buy food in the city. He said donations may be deposited to the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) via Account Name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. with Account Number 4951-0071-08.


Gathering / A1

hoping that through this three-day confer- ence, we would gain a renewed experience of Jesus,” the prelate said. He also said that the conference aims to keep the mission of new evangelization alive amid changes brought by modernization. “Our mission is to understand our modern

world and look for opportunities to fulfill our

mission. We recognize the fact that there are problems and contradiction, but despite this heaviness, we know that this world remains to be the same one that came from our God,” he said.

‘Grand climax’

Dubbed as the “grand climax” of the Year of Faith celebration in the Archdiocese of Manila, the three-day conference features talks, parallel sessions, workshops, and ac- tivities that tackle modern-day approaches to deepen one’s faith and spirituality. Tagle will lead the opening mass and per-

spective setting to be held on the first day.

Parallel sessions dubbed as “Streams of Encounter with God” will also be held on the

first day, featuring sessions on the following

topics: The Word of God, Paths and Expres- sions of Prayer, Praying for the “Unjust Struc- tures” of Society, “Your Faith Has Made You Well”: Healing Encounters, Encountering God Through the Arts, Downloading God Through the New Media, and Ang Mahal na Birhen at Ang Mga Banal: Kaagapay sa Panalangin. On the second day, renowned theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. will give a talk on “Popular Devotions and the New Evangeli- zation.” Another set of parallel workshops dubbed as “Pathways of Communion and Renewal” will be held on the same day. “Pathways of Communion and Renewal” sessions include Integral Faith Formation, Em- powering the Laity Toward Social Transforma- tion, Active Presence and Participation of the Poor in the Church, The Eucharist and Liturgy as Font and Apex of Christian Life, The Family as Focal Point of Evangelization, The Parish as a Community of Communities, Integral Renewal of the Clergy and the Consecrated, Journeying with the Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, and Animation and Formation for Mission Ad Gentes.

A musical gathering dubbed as the “con-

cert of the millennium” is also slated on the second day. The third day features a talk on the “Mis- sionary Dimension of Evangelization” by Tagle and the last set of parallel sectoral workshops. Sectoral workshops include sessions on Catechists and Catholic Educators, Lay Asso- ciations and Ecclesial Communities, Church of the Poor, Family and Evangelization, Par- ish as Community of Communities, Clergy, Consecrated Persons, Youth, Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto will celebrate the closing Eucharist. A message from the Supreme Pontiff will be shown at the closing of the convention. According to Msgr. Gerardo Santos, vice chairperson of the PCNE organizing commit- tee, only 5,000 participants can be accommo- dated in the conference. Online registration can be made at www.pcne.com.ph. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

Candidly Speaking / A4

purification is what we need a

lot of, no matter how good and clean we think we already are. We should not forget that of - fenses also possess some good effects in us. We also need to realize that if we pardon the offenses of oth- ers, God will also pardon ours, in accord to what Christ himself has said: “If you will forgive men their offenses, your heavenly

Father will forgive you also your offenses.” (Mt 6,14) How beauti- ful it is then to be able to forgive quickly and from the heart. Let’s also remember that by wilfully keeping hatred, resent- ment and bitterness against those who offend us is a sin that separates us from God. Christ himself said so. “If you offer your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has

something against you, leave your offering before the altar,

and go first to be reconciled with

your brother, and then come to offer your gift.” (Mt 5,23-24) Hatred, resentment and bit- terness, no matter how reason- able and fair they may seem to be, have no other effect than to harm us by poisoning our heart and mind. They alienate us from Christ who loved to the point of

assuming our sin on the cross. In this current hue and cry that we have because of this massive and seemingly systemic national rip-off of the pork barrel scandal, we should see to it that we avoid hatred, resentment and bitter - ness even as we seek justice. As St. Paul said: “Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger.” (Eph


AN excess of ‘selfie’ photos may not just be a symptom of selfishness, but may show a need to go back to God, a prel - ate said. “We are selfish, this is what we need to do away with. [It’s all about] I, me, myself [like] those who keep on taking selfie photos,” Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr. said in a homily to some 2,000 people gathered to see the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal. This kind of mindset is re - flected in the social media phe - nomenon of the ‘selfie’ photo, a self-taken picture made pos - sible by front-facing cameras, according to Bishop Bacani.

All taking, no giving

“I joked some people, telling them, ‘You’re all about picture- taking, but never about picture- giving.’ This is the world today, it’s all about taking,” he said. In an intended pun, Bacani said this selfishness is evi - dent even in the halls of po - litical power, saying, “If by any chance, you don’t take pictures yourself, you take from the pork barrel instead.” According to Bacani, this shows an unnatural self-cen - teredness in the “smallest to the most powerful” in society— with 90 million selfie photos posted on Instagram alone, this does not seem hard to believe.

Talking about a topic that seemed to strike a chord with many of the faithful, he said, this phenomenon also reveals a culture that needs God more than ever before. “What God wants to say is, ‘Leave your selfishness.’ This is what you need to leave and live in God instead because in God is true peace,” Bacani said during a 9 a.m. mass at the San Fernando De Dilao Parish, Paco in honor of the visit of the Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal image.

Penance, a return to God

He explained that this return

to God or repentance is part of the message Our Lady gave to three children in Fatima, Por- tugal in 1917. “The original meaning of penance is to return to God,” Bacani said, dispelling widely- held notions that penance is about extreme physical morti - fications like self-inflicted pain. Together with prayer, pen - ance forms a formula of sorts for lasting peace, he explained. The image of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal is on pilgrim - age in the Philippines until December 18, 2013 and is cur- rently in the Diocese of Pasig. For more information about the image’s itinerary in the country, visithttps://www.


pines (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

Comments / A1

have a “personal encounter” with Christ. “Our behavior will follow from that friendship with Christ. Our value system and attitude will follow from know- ing Christ,” Villegas said. “He did not rebuff the strong opposition to contraception, abortion, or homosexual mar- riage. He just set it on proper grounding,” he added. The Church and the govern- ment have been at loggerheads over a birth control law with

several lay Catholic groups shifted their battle to the courts. Palma said they will continue to campaign against the con - troversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, believing that the Church “will never change” its teachings on abortion and contraception. “Pope Francis is telling us to be compassionate but it doesn’t mean that the Church will change its teachings,” he said. “Do not expect that to happen.


FOI / A1

their actions. “They should not be selective in releasing documents. We all know that this is a case of group stealing, the investigation should not only focus on the legislative but also to the executive and judiciary,” Pascual said. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely that is why we need to have a deterrent to corruption. Eternal vigilance is the key—the nation should have a close watch to the affairs of the government. With the approval of the FOI, we can achieve this,” he added.

‘Selective justice’

Pabillo supported claims that the ongoing investigation over the pork barrel issue is selective as it focuses only on opposition lawmakers. “We have long been noticing that the (investigating panels) are only looking after those in the opposition. We also have a big problem in the house but they are focusing too much in the sen- ate. The Commission on Audit (COA) report is also selective as it only focuses from 2007 to 2009. What about those that happened before and after? What happened to those?” he said. “I just hope that this inves - tigation is non-partisan. Let us

first find out the truth for the

improvement of our nation,” Pabillo added. “I wish they would be more patriotic, not that they are only clinging to the incumbent presi- dent or to a reigning political party and its ideology. What we have to consider is the improve- ment of our nation. If we will be united in this thinking, we will reach an attainable solution to this problem,” he said.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in his much-awaited privilege speech delivered before members of

the Senate last week, blasted members of the Congress and the Commission on Audit (COA) for focusing only on opposition lawmakers with “irregularities” in their spending of the PDAF.

Small victory

Despite the re-alignment of the P25.2 billion PDAF in the national budget to key govern- ment department and agencies, Pabillo said the same principle over the use of lump sum al - locations remain the same as lawmakers are still given the opportunity to propose and rec- ommend infrastructure projects following a new menu. “That is just a very small victory. Even if they say that they have already scrapped the pork but they will still propose

projects, the scheme remains the same. That is not the job of a legislator. What they have to do is to legislate and not to propose projects,” he said.

To reach finality over the pork

barrel scandal, Pabillo said that three things must be attained:

imprisonment of those who are involved in the 10-billion pork barrel scam, total abolition of the pork barrel scheme—both congressional and presidential, and the passage of the FOI bill. The prelate called on the laity to be vigilant in watching the af- fairs of the government, noting that mass actions must continu- ously be done to express public outrage over the prevalence of corruption in the government. “Let us all be vigilant. This kind of problem must not be ignored. What we have to do is to continu- ously study the issue and engage in gatherings and assemblies to tell the government that we are

not contented with what is hap- pening in our country,” Pabillo said. (Jennifer Orillaza)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

Diocesan News


2 chapels destroyed in Zambo siege

ZAMBOANGA City—No Catholic

churches were damaged but some com- munity chapels have been destroyed by

the conflict in Zamboanga City.

Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, admin- istrator of the Archdiocese of Zambo- anga, said violence in some villages has caused enormous damaged to at least two community chapels. “Only two community chapels were damaged by fire. Mostly homes are de- stroyed. No parish church damaged,” Manongas said.

As of now, he said they are focused in their relief and rehabilitation opera-

tions for those affected by the fighting

between the security forces and the Moro National Liberation Front. Churches that were destroyed during

the fighting need to be reconsecrated

once reconstructed, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said. He said that a church once rebuilt must be reconsecrated not because it has been desecrated but rather because, in a sense, it is already considered a

“new” church. “There is desecration if somebody got killed in the church but if the structure was physically destroyed it needs only to be reconstructed and reconsecrated,” Cruz said. “It’s reconsecrated because it’s al - ready new but if only a few things need

to be fixed, then there is no need to do

that (reconsecrate),” he added. In the Prelature of Basilan, some churches, like the Sta. Isabel Portugal Cathedral of Isabela, were rededicated when it was destroyed in the past. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said the cathedral was destroyed when it was bombed in 2010. “We did the rite of rededication of the place of worship…we also did it when St. Peter Parish in Lamitan was destroyed in 2001,’ he said. The prelate, however, revealed that

no church in his diocese has been de-

stroyed so far because of the fighting

between the government troops and the MNLF. (CBCPNews)


Cebu forms anti-corruption coalition

CEBU City—In response to the call for the abolition of the pork barrel sys- tem, concerned citizens, civil society organizations, business groups and individuals in Cebu City have joined forces to form the Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System. Convenors said the coalition is a result of the united stand of several multisectoral groups condemning corruption, calling for the scrapping of the pork barrel and for restoring management of public funds for the common good. Those interested to become members of the coalition may contact the secretariat at (032) 406-8079 or 0922-4953975 or email cebucoalitionagainstcorruption@yahoo.com. (Jandel Posion)

Youth ministry organizes run for vocations

ORMOC City—In celebration of Vocation Month, the youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte organized a fun run to campaign for vocations to the priesthood and religious life in this city on Sept. 29. Organized by the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, the event was dubbed as the Run4Vocations:

“Run for the Call; Join. Pray. Run.” Participants were also encouraged to invite their friends and family to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. (Jandel Posion)

Don Bosco Mati gets TESDA Regional Award

MATI City—the Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA) awarded The Don Bosco Training Center (DBTC) in Mati for its service of providing technical-vocational education for the less fortunate but deserving students. Fr. Rey Jude Albarando, SDB, local superior of the Salesian Community in Mati, said that other than its technical-vocational education services, DBTC also provides spiritual transformation, on-the-job training, personal development assistance, and entrepreneurial training. The Tesda awarding coincided with its 19th anniversary celebration last August 25, 2013 in Manila, during which the recognition of awardees and giving out of respective awards was led by Labor and Employment Secre- tary Rosalinda Baldoz and Tesda Director Emmanuel Joel Villanueva. (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)

Rallies / A1

back to what is fundamental to leader- ship which is service, none other than service. It cannot be about money, it cannot be about ambition,” said Fr. Eugene Cañete, MJ during a mass celebrated for the Pious Disciple of Divine Master (PDDM) congregation recently.

Leadership divorced from integrity

According to Fr. Cañete, who has been to the three major mobiliza - tions calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system, the problem of Philippine politics is that leadership has been divorced from integrity, resulting in power that, more often than not, is gained at the expense of the poor. A person of authority’s dignity is more closely linked to his personal integrity, he said, than to his manner of dress. Truly dignified leaders, he ex - plained, do not just dress well for

important occasions like the State of the National Address (SONA) for example, but are people totally com - mitted to serve. “Integrity is one’s wholehearted commitment, one’s wholehearted

response to the office,” Cañete added.

Two examples of breaking the law

He was also quick to note the poten-

tial impact of having the pork barrel system abolished.

If we succeed in eliminating the pork barrel for senators and congress - men, very few people will run for of - fice because they won’t get anything anymore,” Cañete said. Drawing on Jesus’ example in the Gospel, where He brought a dead man back to life, Cañete talked about how Jesus’ leadership is essentially focused on serving. Unlike many politicians who will - ingly circumvent the law to serve themselves, Jesus broke observance of Mosaic law, which prohibited the touching of the dead, to bring a person back to life. “Jesus’ power to heal is really to bring about the total transformation in the one who needs healing, not by politics or by other motivations,” Cañete said. The second major rally against the pork barrel system was held in Rizal Park on September 21, the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)

Spaces of Hope / A5

vulnerabilities and our good intentions become irrelevant. The present system throws pearls before swines.


Yet there is hope! In our gospel, Abra- ham points out that “they have Moses and the prophets.” Our coming here today means that we have not given up on our country and our leaders even if we want the law to take its course on the guilty. We pray for and support those who are trying to respond to the self-

sacrificing call to public service.

Moses represents the law. We insist on the rule of law. But we are also vehemently opposed to any form of foot dragging, passing the buck, and downright denials. We also insist in the balance of powers between the three equal branches of government. We also rely on the power of the Spirit who puts the law of love into our hearts. He makes all things new and transforms our institutions if we allow him to transform our hearts.

Coming Together

But we must act discerningly and decisively. The poor cannot wait. Like Lazarus who rests in the bosom of

Abraham, we need to come together to change ourselves and the Philippines one step at a time. If it corruption in men’s hearts then it takes stout-hearted men and women to reverse this down- ward slide to hell. We shall work with Filipinos in other parts of the country and even those abroad who want real change now! There are already templates on the ground, like development councils to the so-called bottoms-up budgeting. Our barangays beckon us to grassroots good governance work. But we need to get involved and engage in discerning action. As Pope Francis recently said, “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” Politics, accord - ing to him, “is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the com - mon good.” Are we ready to respond to this chal- lenge by the Bishop of Rome? Are we ready to listen to the cry of the poor and go beyond merely pitying them? Are we ready to roll up our sleeves for the long haul, ready to be pleasantly surprised by the God of surprises? The choice is ours.

Freeze assets of Malampaya fund scam suspects, gov’t told

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan—The government must sequester unex - plained wealth and properties of those

linked to the P900-million Malampaya gas fund scam, a Catholic bishop said. Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princ- esa said authorities should act imme- diately before those involved close or transfer their bank deposits to other accounts.

“Bawiin ng gobyerno dahil pera ito ng taong bayan. Ninakaw lang nila ang pera na dapat sana’y napakinabangan ng lahat,” Arigo said on Sept. 23. “Kumilos na dapat kaagad ang gobyerno

para ma-sequester na ang mga properties na yan,” he said. The bishop also called on the Supreme Court to finally resolve a four-year

old petition on the Malampaya fund in light of recent allega- tions that the money was misused through fake organizations. He said the people have waited long enough for the court to stop the corrup -

tion in the profits of

the operation of oil and gas resources in Malampaya off Palawan.

Roy Lagarde
Roy Lagarde

Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo speaks to the media about

the Malampaya scam during a press conference in this file photo.

mambabatas at opisyal ng pamahalaan ang Malampaya fund,” he added.


“Ang masakit sa kawalan ng desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay patuloy na kinu- kurakot at pinagpipiyestahan ng mga

Diocesan BEC Directors, Coordinators hold national assembly

CEBU City—Some 135 dioc- esan BEC directors and coor- dinators from 64 dioceses in the Philippines gathered for a national convention at the Holy Family Retreat House in Cebu City last Sept.16-18. Organized by the Com - mittee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the gathering provided a venue for BEC members to learn from each other’s experiences on how to become evangelizing com- munities. Bishop George Rimando, chairman of the CBCP-BEC Committee and overall facili- tator of the event welcomed

participants on October 16. Fr. Amado Picardal, the CB- CP-BEC executive secretary, gave the background and orientation to the delegates. Keynote speaker was Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who also presided the opening Eucharist. Two other presentations

were given to participants, one by Picardal on “The Na-

tional BEC Profile and Msgr.

Manny Gabriel on “New Evangelization and BECs”. During the open forum, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan shared his own experience of BECs in his diocese. Delegates also shared in

small groups their own ex- perience of how BECs are becoming evangelized and evangelizing communities. They also shared their best practices in forming BECs. On September 18, del - egates gathered by region for planning and brainstorming and came out with answers to the following questions:

(1) their expectations and suggestions for the 2015 BEC National Assembly (theme, process, resource persons, possible venue and dates), (2) how they can enhance their regional networking and cooperation. After reporting of del - egates in the plenary session,

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao shared what hap- pened during the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which he attended, and how BECs was discussed. Fr. Carmelo Diola of Dilaab also was given time to explain the printed mate- rial that he was giving to the delegates for the coming barangay elections. The assembly ended with a Eucharistic celebration pre- sided by Archbishop Valles at 5:15 pm. After an early supper, many of the delegates joined the “Cebu by Night” tour with two airconditioned buses provided by the city Mayor. (CBCPNews)

By the Roadside / A5

our own body. It has many parts: the head, the head having the hair, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears and many other organs inside it; then the neck, the hands, the chest, the abdomen, the hips, the legs, with its toes etc. There are so many parts but there is only one body, one corpus. It is the same with the Church of which we are all members. Just as the eye, the hands etc. cannot say they do not belong to the body because they are not the one or the other, so all of us must recognize that we are one body despite our diversity and differences. So says the pope: “Those who believe come to see themselves in the light of the faith which they profess: Christ is the mirror in which they find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other believers” (LF 22). The sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Matthew has Jesus asking his dis - ciples about people’s evaluation of him and then turns the same question to them. It is Peter who expresses the belief of the group, clearly an expres - sion of the ecclesial form of faith, saying: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). For

Matthew who was Jewish to adhere to this conviction reflects the radical transformation in his understanding of the one God. Jews strictly profess faith in only one God but for Matthew this one God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ also shows himself to be a community of Divine Persons. Indeed, it is the same gospel of Matthew in which Jesus explicitly mentions the three Divine Persons in the context of the mission to proclaim the gospel and baptize those who would receive

it “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Son of the living God opens us to this truth of the faith and its fruit, namely, the sense of community we must live in and by because our God is himself a community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is why it is on this conviction of Peter that Jesus declares the foundation

of his Church. “Blessed are you, Simon, son of John, for it is not flesh and blood that has revealed this to you but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you:

You are Peter (Kephas) and upon this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against

it” (Mt 16:17-18). For Pope Francis being a member of Christ’s Body, the Church, does not mean being “a part of an anonymous whole, a mere cog in a great machine”

but ”the vital union of Christ with believers and of believers among themselves (cf Rom 12:4-5)” (LF 22). It also doesn’t mean that Christians “lose their individuality” but rather that faith “is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers” (ibid.). I once looked intently into a walis tingting (a broom made of coco leaf

midribs) that we use to sweep our homes and streets in the country. It is

very efficient when used well. But one

midrib will not do the job. It has to be a

part of the whole broom. We Christians, especially we Pinoy Catholics, are like that. We are all individuals who profess our faith in Jesus Christ. But Jesus has formed us into one Body so that we can be more effective in proclaiming

his Gospel and manifesting the pres- ence of his kingdom on earth. In the Church hindi tayo nag-iisa and hindi tayo maiisahan (we are not alone and we will not be taken advantage of) all because, being one Body, we really are only one family. Tell me, what family member(s) will remain unmoved when many members are up till now victims of calamities, natural or man-made? We must admit there are those who

fit the description. But certainly not

the likes of you and me?

Whatever / A5

didn’t mean doing it liter- ally.” “Then what?” “I only wished to say it in that way so you won’t forget.” “So what do you want me not to forget?” “That your eyes must al- ways see the Cross in every- thing you do. You have to learn not only to pray this

book of the Cross, but also to

learn how to find it through,

in and with everything you do.”

“…find it with everything

I do…,” the man attentively followed Father Thomas’ advice. “It will be a constant source of light, peace and joy. You will see things in a richer perspective. As when

we cross our eyes we end up seeing double, by seeing everything through the cross we will learn to pass all of life’s realities through richer human and divine dimen - sions.” “…but that’s not easy… especially for beginners like me,” the man complained. “Maybe! But if today, you strive to cross your eyes and

tell yourself that you would try your best to pass every- thing you do through the wounded right hand of Jesus, this would perhaps, begin to open endless possibilities for you in learning how to read this very special book!” “…you mean?” “Yes, learn how to cross everything your eyes see!” “Amen, Father!”

And That’s The Truth / A4

tell us, among other things, about the male and the female in God’s plan for humanity. Seeing the need to remind the faithful of the crucial role women

play in the sanctification of the Church,

he came up with Mulieris Dignitatem. Possessing media savvy, he would revive interest in Pope Paul VI’s Inter Mirifica and add his own The Rapid Development to stress the need for the Church to use mass media in delivering the message of salvation in the “new

culture”. He would reach out to the young through Friendster way before the age of Facebook and Twitter (which his successor Pope Benedict XVI was to use during his time). If his lighthearted approach to evan- gelizing endeared him to the young, his humility in working for peace and unity won for the Church the respect of other religious leaders, particularly when he did something none of his predecessors of 2,000 years had done:

trembling and with slurred speech from Parkinson’s disease he publicly begged God’s forgiveness for the of- fenses of the Catholic church against the Jews, heretics, women, gypsies, and other native peoples. And in the years when his eyesight was dimming, John

Paul II was to open our eyes to the value

of five more light-filled episodes in the Lord’s earthly life—which were to be hailed in due time as the Luminous Mys- teries of the Rosary. (To be continued)

Employees / A1

The letter was received by the office of the CBCP’s Na- tional Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) at its main

office in Intramuros, Manila

on Oct. 1. Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa ex- ecutive secretary, left Manila evening of the same day for a conference at the Vatican and assured PALEA that their let- ter will reach the pope.

The PALEA has been em- broiled in the country’s big- gest labor dispute for the past two years. In September 2011, more than 2,600 regular workers were laid off as part of an outsourcing scheme. Nassa and other bishops have been behind the labor union’s campaign for the dig- nity of decent work, regular

jobs and against contractual- ization at PAL. “The support of Church

officials and laity has given

us utmost hope amidst the despair of a protracted dis-

pute. The solidarity of the Church has indeed assisted us in innumerable ways,” said Rivera.

“We were fired with the

intention of being hired as

contract workers doing the same jobs without security of tenure, less wages, longer

hours of work but without

benefits,” Rivera added.

“Our only appeal is to restore justice to the work-

ing people. Unfortunately, the talks have not yet led to a settlement that is fair and just to the workers,” he said.


Daughters of St. Paul

A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September 30 - October 13,

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

Daughters of St. Paul A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September
Daughters of St. Paul A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September

Paulines celebrate 75th year of foundation in Phl

THE Congregation of the Daugh-

ters of St. Paul (FSP) in the Phil- ippines marks a milestone of its existence in the country with the celebration of its 75th anniver- sary on October 13, 2013.

Themed “Celebrating fidelity,

counting blessings, reinvigorat- ing service” the anniversary celebration will be an occasion for the Philippine province to look back with gratitude to God and to the many people who have been part of its life since its foundation in the country in 1938. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, will be the of- ficiating prelate of the jubilee Thanksgiving Mass at 9 a.m. at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary in Pasay City. Other highlights of the day’s events include a video showing of the congregation’s journey in the Philippines for the past 75 years, a Pauline concert, and a telefest.


Noting the popularity of “telenovelas” among Filipi - no audiences, the FSP sisters launched a jubilee initiative dubbed Paulines telefest 2013, to acknowledge and commend the worth-watching “telenovela” and promote the advancement of stimulating and formative broadcasting. “[Our] aim is to encourage our

local scriptwriters and directors to come up with wholesome ‘telenovelas’ which can uplift the moral standards of our Filipino people,” Sr. Cloth de las Llagas, in charge of Mobile Literacy program of FSP’s Paulines Com- munication Center (PCC), said. Two awards—the Jury’s Choice Award and the Paulines Citation Award—will be given to winning “telenovelas” chosen by a group of jurors. To come out with a winner of the most-watched “telenovela”, a survey in a sample population of

3,200 was conducted to find out the

most watched telenovela by adults and children between 10-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-11:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 in 2012-2013. De las Llagas said survey re- sults were discussed, analyzed and evaluated by groups of par- ents and teachers from selected schools in Luzon and group of media educators from the PCC. She said the Paulines Citation Award will be awarded based on Christian values that are present in the “teleserye.” Llagas also said that a Com- mendation Certificate will be given to the Cast and Production Crew of the 3 TV Networks with TV serials that help strengthen family relationships, boost the morale of children, promote search for truth and happiness unoccupied with material pur- suit and TV productions that

are value-laden and faith-en - hancing.

Jubilee projects

Since the opening of the jubi- lee celebration last year, the FSP sisters have launched various projects and intensified other media activities to commemo- rate the occasion. Among the activities are the “Biblia sa Bawat Pamilya” project – biblical animation and diffusion of subsidized Bible to poorest families; reach-out project to street children/juvenile youth offenders/women inmates and poor children of Our Lady of Sor- rows Parish in Pasay area through teaching of catechism and film showing on the bible; media ani- mation to families, professionals and youth; Bible catechism and seminars on personality develop- ment to lay collaborators; and teaching catechism to youth and children, and the elderly of Sta. Rita and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Pasay.

FSP Sisters in the Philippine province

Numbering almost 200 hun- dred sisters and 19 communities in various cities nationwide, in Malaysia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea, the FSP Sisters carry out the work of evangeliza- tion through various initiatives using the means of social com- munications: publishing, media

centers, pas - toral involve- ment, media

a n i m a t i o n and produc - tion of AV, radio and TV programs.

B u t

t h e

congrega - tion is also experiencing a shortage of vocations—a phenomenon that seems

to be afflict -

i n g

m a n y

r e l i g i o u s institutes in the Church today.

“ A t

t h e

Daughters of St. Paul A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September

The Pauline Choir sings during a concert at the launching of the 75th anniversary celebration last year.

challenges stand out for us: first,

to be holy, because God does not need our work, he wants us to be intimate with him and reveal his face as the God of love to our brothers and sisters; second, to use all the forms and means of communication, espe- cially the social media, to bring the Word of God, with special attention to the poor and the ‘far away’, with all the ardour of our being ; third, to open our hearts to humility, simplic- ity and compassion, so that in our evangelization we will not be self-righteous Pharisees but wounded healers who need

ourselves to be saved.” Founded in 1915 in Alba, Italy,

the Daughters of St. Paul is the second of the 5 religious and 5 aggregated institutes founded by Blessed James Alberione that comprise the Pauline Family. These are the Society of St. Paul, Daughters of St. Paul, Sisters Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus the Good Shep- herd (Pastorelle), Institute of Mary Queen of Apostles; Our Lady of the Annunciation; St. Gabriel the Archangel; Jesus the Priest; Holy Family and the As- sociation of Pauline Cooperators.


moment, our Congregation in the Philippines is suffering a demographic win- ter due to the scarcity of voca- tions and the ageing, sickness and death of members,” Sr. Evangelina Canag, a member of the Jubilee executive committee said. “Nevertheless, the apos- tolic passion has not waned, it is still vibrant, even and especially among elder sisters who have borne the heat of the day.” With the media penetrating all aspects of human life, she noted how the congregation’s charism has become ever more relevant today. She said, “For me, three major

Pope’s Twitter manager to talk about social media evangelization in Manila

ECY gives partial result of national youth survey at CEAP Convention

NO less than the manager of the Holy Father’s Twitter account @Pontifex is

flying to Manila to echo Vatican’s call to

bring Christ in the digital world. Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Commu- nications, will give the keynote to the highly anticipated 2nd Catholic Social Media Summit, which will take place at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran

in Manila on November 23 to 24 —two months from now. Touted as the Pope’s social media guru by Business Week, Tighe was be- hind the creation of @Pontifex during

the pontificate of Benedict, who posted his first post in the microblogging site

last December 12. The Twitter account became temporarily inactive after Bene- dict resigned in February 28, and while the Holy See was vacant. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina resumed using the Papal Twitter account and posted his first tweet as Pope Francis last March 17, four days after he was elected as the 266th successor of Peter. Francis’ tweets included hashtags unlike Benedict’s. The Papal tweets are translated in nine languages, including Latin. His English Twitter account has at least 3 million followers as of this posting, Spanish with 3.8 million, and Italian with 1.1 million, to name a few. Tighe told Business Week that the de-

cision to create a Papal Twitter ac- count is the Vati- can’s way to en- courage
cision to create a
Papal Twitter ac-
count is the Vati-
can’s way to en-
courage Church
leaders and the
lay faithful to be
present on social
media networks.
“ A n u m b e r
of figures, from
cardinals and
bishops to indi-
vidual believers,
are quite present
in Twitter. In a
sense, the Pope’s
presence is, ex
post facto, an
endorsement or
Msgr. Paul Tighe
Photo courtesy of http://www.rte.ie

encouragement of them. We have a lot of people who are saying, ‘If the Pope is going in there, maybe it’s time for me,’” Tighe said in an interview before Pope Benedict

posted his first tweet.

Tighe was also instrumental in the an-

nual plenary assembly of the Pontifical

Council for Social Communications last September 19 to 21, where Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the Church must work “with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages.”

Registration to the Catholic Social Media Summit is on-going online. Registration fee is pegged at P1,200 per participant. Visit http://catholicsocial- mediasummit.com to register. Organized by YouthPinoy, the Catho- lic Social Media Summit aims to pro - mote online evangelization, using the internet and social media as pulpit to proclaim the Gospel. YouthPinoy was created under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Media Office and Episcopal Commission on Youth.


Our Lady of Fatima’s pilgrim image visits PHL

ADMINISTRATORS of Catholic schools, colleges and universities na-

tionwide were the first ones to know

about the fruits of the Church’s effort to survey young Catholics nationwide. This as the CBCP Episcopal Com - mission on Youth (ECY) presented the partial results of the National Filipino

Catholic Youth Survey (NFCYS) 2013 at the convention of the Catholic Edu- cators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Cebu City last Sept. 25-27. ECY executive secretary Fr. Cone - gundo Garganta confirmed that the survey administration to respondents from 34 randomly selected dioceses was recently completed. “The survey questionnaires were already collated and are now in the process of statistical treatment as to the quantitative result. The regional research coordinators are at work now preparing a presentation of the quantitative result for the CEAP convention tomorrow,” he said.

Garganta clarified that the survey is

not yet completed, since “there is no qualitative result yet. It is the second phase of the NFCYS 2013.” “The presentation will only cover quantitative result. Questionnaires for the qualitative phase is yet to be designed after the quantitative result presentation,” he added. The NFCYS 2013 is made possible through the collaboration between the ECY and the CEAP. According to the ECY, the survey “aims to gather a sub- stantial set of data concerning Filipino

Catholic youth, leading to a better un- derstanding of these youth which will be important for a relevant and effective ministry among them: in our parishes, schools, youth groups, etc.” The ECY disclosed that the survey had a total of 1,067 respondents, select- ed using proportionate sampling by size based on the Catholic population per ecclesiastical territory as of year 1999. “After a long and careful process of preparation and necessary trainings, the Local Survey Teams (per diocese), com- posed of youth ministers and leaders, conducted a face-to-face oral interview with the respondents, using a structured questionnaire, which lasted from 20 to 30 minutes,” the ECY explained in its website http://cbcp-ecy.ph. Survey participants hail from schools under the randomly selected dioceses that include Holy Angel University, Angeles City; St. Louis University, Baguio City; University of the Assumption, City of San Fernando; Adamson University, Ma- nila; University of Santo Tomas, Manila; De La Salle University, Manila; Divine Word College of Calapan; Divine Word College of Legazpi; Aquinas University of Legazpi; Ateneo de Naga University; University of San Agustin, Iloilo City; University of San Carlos, Cebu City; St. Peter’s College, Ormoc City; Xavier Uni- versity, Cagayan de Oro City; University of the Immaculate Conception, Davao City; Ateneo de Davao University; Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Notre Dame University, Cotabato City. (YouthPinoy)

SINCE its arrival in the Archdiocese of Manila last Sept. 17, thousands of the Filipino faithful have ar - rived in droves to see and venerate the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal.

To love Mary as a model of faith

“The visit of the Inter - national Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima fills us with joy as we draw nearer to the close of the Year of Faith, a period of grace for our Church,” Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in a letter addressed to the archdiocese on the image’s visit. The image of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be visit - ing 41 dioceses all over the Philippines until December 18, 2013, is also a means for the faithful to reflect on and love Mary as “a model of faith and virtue,” Tagle explained. Encouraging the faithful to participate in the visit’s activities, Tagle also hoped that the pilgrim image will move devotees and pilgrims “to recognize her special role in the mystery of sal - vation.”

Timely visit

The timeliness of Our Lady of Fatima’s visit to the Philippines is not lost on some.

Nirva Dela Cruz
Nirva Dela Cruz

The pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, which came directly from Portugal, is visiting 41 dioceses all over the Philippines until December 18, 2013.

According to Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches Teodoro Bacani, who cel - ebrated a holy mass for the vicariates of St. Joseph the Worker, San Felipe Neri and Nuestra Señora De Guia at the San Fernando De Dilao parish, “Our Lady of Fatima is with us at the time when we most need to hear her call for peace.” Enumerating the highly precarious situation of Syria, the ongoing ten - sion between Israel and Palestine, as well as the country’s own territory disputes with China, not to mention rebel uprisings in the South, Bacani said the world needs the Fatima message of peace through

prayer and repentance more than ever. On September 17, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, celebrated a holy mass as part of welcoming ceremonies to greet Our Lady of Fatima also at the San Fernando De Dilao par- ish, the temporary official church of the archdiocese. The image was also taken to several public and pri - vate schools, as well as religious communities and congregations in the Arch - diocese of Manila.

Vicariates in full force

The vicariates of San Fer- nando De Dilao, Holy Fam - ily and Our Lady of Loreto came in full force for the 9 a.m. mass., while another

mass at 6.30 p.m. was cel - ebrated by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez for the vicariates of Espiritu Santo, San Jose De Trozo and Santo Niño. The youth choirs of San Fernando De Dilao parish organized a Marian Con - cert on Sept. 17 to celebrate the coming of Our Lady’s image which arrived di - rectly from the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal. Kalookan Bishop Deogra- cias S. Iñiguez, Jr. celebrat - ed another mass on Sept. 18 at 6.30 p.m. also at San Fernando De Dilao parish, more famously known as Paco Church. Young people had a vigil with the image of Our Lady of Fatima in the form of Taizé prayer at 8 p.m. on Sept. 18 also at the same parish. To close the image’s visit to the archdiocese, Ma - nila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Ro -

sales celebrated a farewell mass for Our Lady on Sep - tember 19, at 7 a.m. before a motorcade brought the image to the Diocese of Parañaque. Additional information on the itinerary and sched - ules of the international pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima can be found at https://www.facebook.


(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)



Markings APPOINTED. Pope Francis has appointed Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes as the new bishop of

APPOINTED. Pope Francis has appointed Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes as the new bishop of Dumaguete on September 28. Cortes will become the fourth ordinary of the

diocese, which has been without a bishop since last May 2012 following Archbishop John Du’s installation as head of the Archdiocese of Palo. The bishop-elect is not new to his new

assignment because he was parish priest for more than five

years in Bacong, Negros Oriental, which is part of Dumaguete diocese. He also served as the diocese’s vicar general for 11 years and later diocesan administrator until Du was installed bishop in July 2001. Cortes was born in Paranaque in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980. After his episcopal ordination in 2002, he has served in a number of pastoral roles:

member of the CBCP Commission on Culture and Commission on Liturgy. At present, Cortes is the chairman of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Cultural Heritage of the Church since 2009. As the new bishop of Dumaguete, he will be serving about 40 parishes with around one million Catholics.

ELECTED. Sr. Shalimar Rubia has been elected as one of the General Councilors of the Daughters of St. Paul during the congregation’s General Chapter last September 12, 2013. True to the Institute’s universal color, the six elected councilors are of various nationalities representative of the different continents of the world: Sr. Anna Caiazza, Italy; Sr. Samuela Gironi, Africa; Sr. Karen Anderson, USA; Sr. Clarice Wisniewski, Brazil; Sr. Lucia Kim, Korea; and Sr. Shalimar Rubia, Philippines. Rubia was Provincial Councilor and Director for the Apostolate of the Philippine province prior to her election as General Councilor. She will be residing in Rome together with the other councilors to assist the General Superior, Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan in her task of governing the congregation during their six-year mandate.

ELECTED. Sr. Shalimar Rubia has been elected as one of the General Councilors of the Daughters

CELEBRATED. Sr. Ma. Ana Burgos, Sr. Ma. Virginia Barcelona, Sr. Ma. Rosalia Faot, Sr. Ma. Marina Insigne, Sr. Ma. Elizabeth Funan, Sr. Ma. Gloria Roa and Sr. Ma. An- gela Nenette Santiago celebrated the 25th year of their religious profession among the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) with a Thanksgiving Mass last August 15, 2013. Held at the Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, the liturgical celebration was presided by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and attended by the RVM Sisters, family members, friends and benefactors.

LAUNCHED. Caceres Archbishop-emeritus Leonardo Legaspi, OP launched his latest book “Living the Episcopacy” last September 30 at the Hall of the Basilica Minore de Penafrancia in Naga City. The book launching was attended by prominent members of society, the religious and lay faithful. Three presenters, according to the book’s target audience, gave practical reviews of the book: Judge Corazon Tordilla, University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) Dean of Faculty-Civil Law, represented the faithful; Caceres Vicar General Msgr. Rodel Cajot, P.C. stood for the Caceres clergy; and Daet Bishop Gilbert Gacera spoke in behalf of the Philippine bishops.

© Sky Ortigas / CBCP Media

Pastoral Concerns B1

Pastoral Concerns

CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September 30 - October 13, 2013
CBCP Monitor
Vol. 17 No. 20
September 30 - October 13, 2013
© Sky Ortigas / CBCP Media Pastoral Concerns B1 CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September
© Sky Ortigas / CBCP Media Pastoral Concerns B1 CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September
© Sky Ortigas / CBCP Media Pastoral Concerns B1 CBCP Monitor Vol. 17 No. 20 September

To educate in the faith, to make it grow

(Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the pilgrimage of Catechists on the occasion of the Year of Faith and of the International Congress on Catechesis, Paul VI Audience Hall, 27 September 2013)

DEAR Catechists, Good evening! I am pleased that this meeting was organized for the Year of Faith. Catechesis is a pillar of faith education and we need good catechists! Thank you for your service to the Church and

in the Church. Even if at times it may be

difficult and require a great deal of work,

and although the results are not always what we hope for, teaching the faith is something beautiful! It is perhaps the best legacy we can pass on: the faith! To educate in the faith, to make it grow. To help children, young people and adults to know and love the Lord more and more is one of the most exciting aspects of education. It builds up the Church! To “be” catechists! Not to “work” as catechists: this will not do. I work as a catechist because I like to teach… But unless you “are” a catechist, it is no good! You will not be successful … you will not bear fruit! Catechesis is a vocation:

“being a catechist”, this is the vocation, not working as a catechist. So keep this in mind: I didn’t say to do the “work” of catechists, but to “be” catechists, because this is something that embraces our whole life. It means leading people to encounter Christ by our words and our lives, by giving witness. Remember what Benedict XVI said: “The Church does not grow by proselytizing; she grows by attracting others”. And what attracts is our witness. Being a catechist means witnessing to the faith, being consistent in our personal life. This is not easy! We help, we lead others to Jesus with our words and our lives, with our witness. I like to recall what Saint Francis of Assisi used to say to his friars: “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words”. Words

come… but witness comes first: people

should see the Gospel, read the Gospel,

in our lives. To “be” a catechist requires

love, an ever stronger love for Christ, a love for his holy people. And this love can’t be bought in stores, even in Rome. This love comes from Christ! It is Christ’s gift! And if it comes from Christ, it also starts with Christ, and we too need to start anew with Christ, from the love he gives us. What does this starting anew from Christ mean for a catechist? For you, but also for me, since I am a catechist too? What does it mean? I am going to speak about three things: one, two, three, the way the old-

fashioned Jesuits did… one, two, three! 1. First of all, to start anew from Christ means being close to him, being close to Jesus Jesus stresses the importance of this with the disciples at the Last Supper, as he prepared to give us his

own greatest gift of love, his sacrifice on

the Cross. Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches and says: Abide in my love, remain attached to me, as the branch is attached to the vine. If we are

joined to him, then we are able to bear fruit. This is what it means to be close to Christ. Abide in Jesus! This means remaining attached to him, in him, with him, talking to him. Abide in Jesus!

The first thing for a disciple is to be

with the Master, to listen to him and to learn from him. This is always true, and it is true at every moment of our lives. I remember, in the diocese, the other

diocese I had first, how I would often see

catechists finish their training courses

and say: “I have the title of catechist!” This means nothing, you have nothing, you took a little journey. What good will it do you? But one thing is true. Being a catechist is not a title, it is an attitude: abiding with him, and it lasts for a lifetime! It means abiding in the Lord’s presence and letting ourselves be led by him. I ask you: How do you

abide in the presence of the Lord? When you visit the Lord, when you look at the tabernacle, what do you do? Without speaking… “But I speak, I talk, I think, I meditate, I listen…” Very good! But do you let yourself be looked at by the Lord? Letting ourselves be gazed upon by the Lord. He looks at us and this is itself a way of praying. Do you yourselves be

gazed upon by the Lord? But how do you do this? You look at the tabernacle and you let yourselves be looked at… it is simple! “It is a bit boring, I fall asleep”. Fall asleep then, sleep! He is still looking at you. But know for sure that he is looking at you! This is much more important than having the title of catechist. It is part of “being” a catechist.

This warms the heart, igniting the fire

of friendship with the Lord, making you feel that he truly sees you, that he is close to you and loves you.

In one of my visits here in Rome, at a Mass, a fairly young man came up to me and said: “Father, it is nice to meet you, but I don’t believe in anything! I don’t have the gift of faith!” He understood that faith is a gift. “I don’t have the gift of faith! What do you have to say to me?” “Don’t be discouraged. God loves you. Let yourself be gazed upon by him! Nothing else”. And this is the same thing I would say to you: Let yourselves be gazed at by the Lord! I understand that for you it is not so easy; especially for those who are married and

have children, it is difficult to find a long period of quiet time. Yet, thanks be to

God, it is not necessary for everyone to do

this in the same way. In the Church, there are a variety of vocations and a variety of spiritualities. What is important is to

find the way best suited for you to be

with the Lord, and this everyone can do; it is possible for every state of life. Now each one of you could ask: how

am I experiencing “being” with Jesus?

This is a question I leave you: “How

do I experience this remaining with

Jesus, abiding in Jesus? Do I find time

to remain in his presence, in silence, to

be looked upon by him? Do I let his fire

warm my heart? If the warmth of God, of his love, of his tenderness is not in our

own hearts, then how can we, who are poor sinners, warm the heart of others? Think about it! 2. The second—two!—element is this: starting anew with Christ means imitating him by leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others. This is a beautiful experience, and yet a paradox. Why? Because when

we put Christ at the centre of our life, we ourselves don’t become the centre! The more that you unite yourself to Christ and he becomes the centre of your life, the more he leads you out of yourself, leads you from making yourself the centre and opens you to others. This is the true dynamism of love, this is the movement of God himself! God is the centre, but he is always self-gift, relationship, love that gives itself away .

and this is what we will become if we

. . remain united to Christ. He will draw us into this dynamism of love. Where there is true life in Christ, there follows an openness to others, and so a going out from oneself to encounter others in the name of Christ. And this is the job of the catechist: constantly to go forth to others out of love, to bear witness to Jesus and to talk about Jesus, to proclaim Jesus. This is important because the Lord does it: it is the Lord himself who impels us to go forth. The heart of a catechist always beats with this systolic and diastolic movement:

union with Christ—encounter with others. Both of these: I am one with Jesus and I go forth to encounter others.

If one of these movements is missing, the heart no longer beats, it can no longer live. The heart of the catechist receives the gift of the kerygma, and in turn offers it to others as a gift. What a little word: “gift”! The catechist is conscious

of having received a gift, the gift of faith, and he or she then gives that gift in turn to others. This is something beautiful. We don’t keep a percentage for ourselves! Whatever we receive, we give! This is not commerce! It is not a business! It is pure gift: a gift received and a gift given. And the catechist is right there, at the centre of this exchange of gifts. That is the nature itself of the kerygma:

it is a gift that generates mission, that compels us to go beyond ourselves. Saint Paul says that “the love of Christ compels us”, but this “compels us” can also be translated as “possesses us”. And so it is: love attracts us and sends us; it draws us in and gives us to others. This tension marks the beating of the heart of the Christian, especially the heart of the catechist. Let us all ask ourselves: Is this what causes my heart to beat as a catechist, union with Christ and encounter with others? With this movement of “systole and diastole”? Are we being fed by our relationship with the Lord, so that we can bring him to others, and not to keep it for ourselves? I’ll tell you, I don’t understand how a catechist can remain stationary, without this movement. I don’t understand! 3. The third element—three!—is along these lines: starting anew with Christ means not being afraid to go with him to the outskirts. Here I think of the story of

Jonah, a really interesting figure, especially

for these times of great change and uncertainty. Jonah is a devout man, with

a tranquil and ordered life, which causes

him to have a clear-cut way of seeing

Faith / B4

The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts

(Homily of Holy Father Francis during the Eucharistic celebration on the occasion of the “Day of Catechists” during the Year of Faith, St. Peter’s Square, 29 September 2013)

1. “Woe to the complacent in Zion, to those who feel secure … lying upon beds of ivory!” ( Am 6:1,4). They eat, they drink, they sing, they play and they care nothing about other people’s troubles. These are harsh words which the prophet Amos speaks, yet they warn us about a danger that all of us face. What is it that this messenger of God denounces; what does he want his contemporaries, and ourselves today, to realize? The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts, of making our well-being the most important thing in our

lives. This was the case of the rich man in the Gospel, who dressed in

fine garments and daily indulged in sumptuous banquets; this was

what was important for him. And the poor man at his doorstep who had nothing to relieve his hunger? That was none of his business, it didn’t concern him. Whenever material things, money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings. Think of it: the rich man in the Gospel has no name, he is simply “a rich man”. Material things, his possessions, are his face; he has nothing else. Let’s try to think: How does

something like this happen? How do some people, perhaps ourselves included, end up becoming self-absorbed and

finding security in material things which ultimately rob us of our face, our human face? This is what happens when we become complacent, when we no longer remember God. “Woe to the complacent in Zion”, says the prophet. If we don’t think about God, everything ends up

flat, everything ends up being

about “me” and my own comfort.

Life, the world, other people, all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having. When we no longer remember

God, we too become unreal, we too become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face! Those who run after nothing become nothing—as another great prophet Jeremiah, observed (cf. Jer 2:5). We are made in God’s image and likeness, not the image and likeness of material objects, of idols! 2. So, as I look out at you, I think: Who are catechists? They are people who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others. This is something beautiful: to remember God, like the Virgin Mary, who sees God’s wondrous works in her life but doesn’t

think about honour, prestige or wealth; she doesn’t become self-absorbed. Instead, after receiving the message of the angel and conceiving the Son of God, what does she do? She

sets out, she goes to assist her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. And the

first thing she does upon meeting

Elizabeth is to recall God’s work,

God’s fidelity, in her own life, in

the history of her people, in our

history: “My soul magnifies the

Lord … For he has looked on

the lowliness of his servant … His mercy is from generation to generation” (Lk 1:46, 48, 50). Mary remembers God. This canticle of Mary also

contains the remembrance of her personal history, God’s history with her, her own experience of faith. And this

is true too for each one of us and for every Christian: faith contains our own memory of God’s history with us, the memory of our encountering God who always takes the

first step, who creates, saves

and transforms us. Faith is remembrance of his word which warms our heart, and

of his saving work which

gives life, purifies us, cares

for and nourishes us. A catechist is a Christian who puts this remembrance at

Danger / B4



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

The Catholic University and Ecclesiastical centers of higher learning

First Friday Devotion to Sacred Heart

(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following


Q: Many Christians have the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is observed on the first Fridays of the month for nine months. Because of another pastoral commitment, when I am not available to offer Mass for them on one of the first Fridays, can I authorize a change of the first Friday to the second Friday of the month? — D.M., Nairobi, Kenya

A: This question relates to the promise of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). Among other

promises he stated:

“I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my Heart, that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments, my Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.” While the devotion to the Sacred Heart gained great popularity after the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, it does not depend on these visions. In some form or other it is rooted in Christianity itself as a particular way of approaching Christ. As St. Augustine says, it is reaching Christ God through Christ the man. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was already implied in many masters of the spiritual life. Blessed Henry Suso, a Dominican religious inspired by St. Augustine, said, “If you desire to attain knowledge of the divinity, it is necessary to ascend gradually through the humanity and the Passion of this humanity as the easiest path.” The devotion was inculcated over the centuries by the meditations on Christ’s wounds and especially the wound to his heart. These reflections were aided by biblical texts such as John 19:34 and Isaiah 53:5. Especially influential was Song of Songs 4:9: “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, you have ravished my heart.” Many writers such as Origen, St. Ambrose and St John Chrysostom applied this text to the Passion. This tradition was later strengthened by the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible which translated the text as “wounded” (vulnerasti) rather than ravished. During the Middle Ages these initial reflections were deepened and broadened with new ideas, especially with more personal and tender elements. Among the writers who influenced this development were St. Bede the Venerable, Haimo of Auxerre, and John of Fécamp, a Benedictine. Their meditations on the Passion inspired numerous imitations. The figure of St. Bernard of Clairvaux dominates his epoch, and his meditations on the Song of Songs gave new impulse to this devotion. His devotion directly influenced many others such as his friend Aelred of Rievaulx and Ekbert of Schönau whose “Stimulus Dilectionis” was incorporated by St. Bonaventure in Nos. 18-31 of his work “Lignum Vitae.” These works also influenced popular piety and devotions as well as the liturgy with many hymns and feasts related to themes of the Passion, such as the feast of the “Transfixation” of Christ’s heart. For example, we offer a rough translation of the 12th-century hymn “Summi Regis Cor Aveto,” composed at the Premonstratensian Abbey of Steinfeld near Cologne.

“Let me sing to you, Heart of my God, and present you a cheerful and cordial greeting. My heart desires to joyfully embrace you. Let me speak to you. What love is it that has forced you? What pain has penetrated you, so that you empty yourself so fully, and, lover, you surrender yourself to us, and thus not even death can overpower us?” In the following centuries other saints influenced the spread of this devotion, such as Matilda and Gertrude the Great, and the Carthusians of St. Barbara of Cologne. Among the disciples of the doctrine propagated by this monastery were the early Jesuits St. Peter Canisius and Peter Fabro. This devotion to the Sacred Heart promoted by the early Jesuits prepared the terrain which years later led fellow Jesuit St. Claude de la Colombiere to understand and accept the visions of his penitent, St. Margaret Mary. It also explains in part the strong impulse and support that this order would give to this devotion in the centuries to come.

With respect to the precise question, I believe there are

two possible solutions to this difficulty regarding the impossibility of fulfilling the First Fridays. First of all, since the promise is united to receiving Communion, and not necessarily to attending Mass, a Communion service could be arranged on the Friday when Mass is impossible. This would appear the safest solution. Second, a few authors point out that the object of this devotion is to inflame our hearts with an ardent love for Jesus and make reparation for the offenses committed against him, above all in the Blessed Sacrament. Since this can be done on a daily basis, these authors suggest that the pious practices tied to the First Fridays are not confined to this particular day. Therefore if someone is legitimately prevented from carrying out the practices on a Friday, he may offer the devotions in the same spirit on any other day. This is a legitimate, but far from universal, opinion based on God’s infinite mercy and knowledge. Most authors make no mention of exceptions, as the grace is tied to a specific promise made in a private revelation. It is clear,

however, that someone who carries out these practices with the proper intention will be duly assisted by divine grace. There does not appear to be any Church law on the subject. In general, except in granting indulgences, the Church refrains from legislating on matters related to private revelations, even if they are officially approved and recommended as this devotion certainly is.

B y

F r .

J a i m e

B l a n c o

Achacoso, J.C.D.

Catholic Universities

The Medieval University . The universities born in Europe during the Middle Ages were simply called such, without any distinction, and were characterized by having the highest level of intellectual work in all the branches of learning— e.g., Philosophy, Theology, Canon Law, Medicine, Natural

Sciences, Law, etc. As was true for everything else in that epoch, the Christian sense pervaded all the areas of knowledge, without any pretense at confessionalism, which only arose later as a

consequence of the Protestant


Catholic vs. Non-sectarian

Universities. Still much later, as a fruit of the laicism characteristic of the French Revolution, the universities were divided into non-sectarian (those run by the State) and Catholic (those run by the Church). This distinction only underlined the two powers that could create universities and

It is interesting to note that the episcopal conferences have been

hard-pressed to come up with

them, because of the difficulty of drafting something in accord with the civil laws on the one hand and acceptable to existing Catholic universities on the other. In the U.S., for example, this got bogged down in debate—in the name of academic freedom— for almost a decade (cf. K.D. Whitehead, Averting a Collision, in Catholic World Report, May 1999). Finally in June 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved and submitted a document for the recognitio of the Holy See.

Kinds of Catholic Universities 1 The use of the adjective Catholic by a university implies a previous consent by the ecclesiastical authority, without which it is not licit to use the term even if in fact they are Catholic (c.808). This means that in fact there are three kinds of Catholic universities, and the canonical norms apply differently to the different kinds:

Institutes or Centers of Higher Studies are not universities,

but deal at the scientific level with some specific disciplines.

The Code deals with them as equivalents of Catholic universities: The prescriptions established for universities are equally applicable to other institutes of higher studies (c.814).

Ecclesiastical Faculties and Universities

The Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae (15.VIII.1990) established a new division between Ecclesiastical universities and Catholic universities. This division does not seem to reflect so much

the difference in the fields of

knowledge or disciplines therein studied, but is rather aimed

at reflecting the relation of the

sacred sciences with the faith and establishing a juridical regulation proper to educational centers dealing with the sacred sciences,

while safeguarding their fidelity

to the ecclesiastical Magisterium.

Ecclesiastical faculties and universities are those which

serve to investigate the sacred

The erection of ecclesiastical universities and faculties is

regulated by canon law in the following terms:

  • a) Actual erection :

Ecclesiastical universities and faculties can be established only

through erection by the Holy See or through its approval (c.816, §1).

  • b) Initiative by bishops:

The conference of bishops and the

diocesan bishop are to provide, wherever possible, for the establishment of higher institutes for the religious sciences, namely institutes in which the theological disciplines and other disciplines pertaining to Christian culture

are taught (c.821; cf. c.814). Nevertheless, as previously stated, the actual erection of the institute as an ecclesiastical faculty or university will depend on the Holy See.

Regulation. The general norms

regulating these institutions are found in the Code and, most especially, in the Constitution Sapientia christiana (15. IV.1979). The following can be cited:

  • a) The Holy See has a


the ideology or spirit informing the education therein imparted,

and not so much the specific

content of the same. In other words, the university institution as such remained one and the same.

The Canonical Regulation of Catholic Universities There are basically three legal sources for the regulation of Catholic universities:

1) The Code of Canon Law. The universal norms in this respect are found in cc.807- 814 comprising Chapter II (Catholic Universities and Other Institutes of Higher Studies) of Title III (Catholic Education) of Book III (The Teaching Office of the Church) of the Code. 2) The Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae (ECE)

issued by John Paul II on 15 August 1990. The result of a long process of consultation

with bishops, officials of Catholic

higher education worldwide and various experts, its second part contains a set of norms in eleven articles which are presented as “based on, and a further development of, the Code of Canon Law and the complementary Church legislation”. 3) Complementary Church legislation . Art.1, §1 of the Ex corde Ecclesiae called for “episcopal conferences to develop Ordinances for its application within their regions.” Pursuant to the ECE provision, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued directives to assist in the formation of those ordinances (Prot. N. 1485/90).

1) Materially Catholic universities : Those with a Catholic ideology and spirit in fact, but without ecclesiastical recognition of such fact—which are therefore not formally denominated as a Catholic university. They depend on ecclesiastical authorities only in the teaching of the theological

sciences: It is necessary that those who teach theological disciplines in any institute of higher studies have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority (c.812). 2) Formally recognized Catholic universities : Those recognized by the ecclesiastical authority as such—which are

therefore allowed to be officially

called Catholic . Aside from the aforementioned mandate for theological disciplines, they depend on ecclesiastical authorities according to the provisions of their statutes and their document of approval as a Catholic university. Thus, they are bound to the Church through a commitment assumed by their authorities 3) Canonically erected Catholic universities : Those which are canonically erected by the Holy See, an Episcopal Conference, a diocesan Bishop or whatever ecclesiastical juridic person—which are also formally denominated Catholic . They are bound to the Church, by a formal constitution or set of statutes. Thus, they depend on ecclesiastical authority according to the provisions of their act of erection and their statutes.

Institutes or Centers of Higher Studies

disciplines or those disciplines related to the sacred, and to instruct

students scientifically in those same disciplines (c.815). 2 In them the munus docendi finds its greatest ally, being centers where the Gospel message is studied and announced in the most

rigorously scientific manner.

Ecclesiastical centers for higher education are basically of three types:

An Athenaeum —has two faculties, normally philosophy and theology. b. A University—has at least three faculties. The Church also directs other institutions of a university nature—e.g., the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies , the Higher Institute of Latin Studies , the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology, and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music (all in Rome). c . N o n - d e g r e e g r a n t i n g institutions . The Vatican has another type of institution that does not grant academic titles, but plays a decisive role in the development of science and humanities in the world— e.g., the Pontifical Academy of Sciences , founded in 1603, which counted Galileo among its members and today has 20 Nobel Prize winners. Other such bodies are the Pantheon Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts, the Pontifical Roman Academy of Archeology , the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Erection and Regulation of Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties

supervisory role with respect to them (c.816, §1).

  • b) Only they can grant

academic degrees with validity

in the Church.

  • c) The Grand Chancellor

represents the Holy See in these

universities and faculties, and is the Ordinary Prelate on whom they depend, unless otherwise established.

  • d) In case the Grand

Chancellor is different from the

Local Ordinary, norms should be established--normally in the statutes--for the mutual

agreement of their missions and competencies.

  • e) All professors in matters

affecting faith and morals must have a mandate from the Grand

Chancellor or his delegate.

  • f) Any Christian faithful--

including lay persons--can study or teach in these institutions,

provided they fulfill the academic requirements similar to those required for civil studies of the

same level. They can also hold whatever position of direction

in such institutions (cf. GS, 62).


  • 1 For a more complete discussion of this

topic, especially as regards the Philip- pine setting, cf. J. M. Tinoko, Nature and

Mission of Catholic Universities in the

Law of the Church, in Philippine Canoni- cal Forum, 1 (1999), 91-110.

  • 2 Cf. G. Galazka, Pontifical Universities

and Roman Athenaeums, Vatican City, the Vatican Press (2000). The book

brings to light the life and history of

university centers like the Pontifical Universities of St. Thomas (the Angeli- cum), the Gregorianum, the Holy Cross, the Urbanianum, Lateran and Salesianum, and the Pontifical Athenaeums, such as the Regina Apostolorum, St. Anselm, Antonianum, etc.

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013



Bringing Christ to the Digital Continent

(Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social

DEAR Brothers and Sisters, good


  • I am pleased to greet you and

to thank you for your work in the important sector of social communications, but after hav- ing heard Monsignor Celli I feel

  • I must remove the word “sec- tor”…and instead refer to an

important “ecclesial dimension”.

  • I wish to thank Archbishop

Claudio Maria Celli for his kind words of greeting extended to me on your behalf. I would like to share some thoughts with you. 1. First: the importance that the Church attaches to the area of communication. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Conciliar Decree Inter Mirifica. This anniversary is more than a commemoration; the Decree expresses the Church’s solici - tude for communication in all its forms, which are important tools in the work of evangelization. There is a difference between these forms, that are functional means of communication, and communication itself which is something else entirely. In the last few decades the various means of communication have evolved significantly, but the Church’s concern remains the same, though it assumes new ways of expression. The world of communications, more and more, has become an “envi - ronment” for many, one in which people communicate with one another, expanding their possibilities for knowledge and relationship (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the 2013 World Communications Day). I wish to underline these positive aspects notwithstanding the limits and

Communications, 21 September 2013)

the harmful factors that also exist

and which we are all aware of.

2. In this context — and this

is the second reflection — we

must ask ourselves: what role

should the Church have in terms of the practical means of com-

munication at her disposal? In every situation, beyond techno- logical considerations, I believe

that the goal is to understand how to enter into dialogue with the men and women of today, to know how to engage this dialogue in order to appreciate their desires, their doubts and their hopes. They are men and women who sometimes feel let down by a Christianity that to them appears sterile and in dif-

ficulty as it tries to communicate

the depth of meaning that comes with the gift of faith. We do in fact witness today, in the age of globalization, a growing sense of disorientation and isolation; we see, increasingly, a loss of mean- ing to life, an inability to connect with a “home” and a struggle to build meaningful relation - ships. It is therefore important to know how to dialogue and, with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a pres- ence that listens, converses and encourages. Allow yourselves, without fear, to be this pres - ence, expressing your Christian identity as you become citizens of this environment. A Church that follows this path learns how to walk with everyone. There is an ancient rule for pilgrims, which Saint Ignatius adopts, and which is why I know it! In one of his rules he says that the person accompanying the pilgrim must

© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media

walk at his or her pace, not go- ing on ahead or falling behind. In other words, I envisage a Church that knows how to walk with men and women along the path. The pilgrim’s rule will help inspire us. 3. The third thought: this is a challenge which we must all face together in this environ - ment of communications where the issues are not principally technological. We must ask ourselves: are we up to the task of bringing Christ into this area, or better still, of bringing others to meet Christ? Can we walk alongside the pilgrim of

today’s world as Jesus walked with those companions to Em- maus, warming their hearts on the way and bringing them to an encounter with the Lord? Are we able to communicate the face of a Church which is “home” to all? We sometimes speak of a Church that has its doors closed, but here we are contemplating much more than a Church with open doors, much more! We must, together, build this “home”, build this Church, make this “home”. A Church with closed doors or open doors; the task is to move forward and help build the Church.

The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social com- munication as well as by per-

sonal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ. Even in this world of communications, the Church must warm the hearts of men and women. Do our presence and plans measure up to this

requirement or do we remain

technicians? We hold a precious treasure that is to be passed on, a treasure that brings light and hope. They are greatly needed. All this, however, means that priests, religious and laity must

have a thorough and adequate

formation. The great digital continent not only involves technology but is made up of real men and women who bring with them their hopes, their suffering, their concerns and their pursuit of what is true, beautiful and good. We need to bring Christ to others, through these joys and hopes, like Mary, who brought Christ to the hearts of men and women; we need to pass through the clouds of indifference without losing our way; we need to descend into the darkest night without being overcome and disorientated; we need to listen to the dreams, without being seduced; we need to share their disappointments, without becoming despondent; to sympathize with those whose lives are falling apart, without losing our own strength and identity (cf. Pope Francis, Ad - dress to the Bishops of Brazil, 27 July 2013, n. 4). This is the path. This is the challenge.

It is important, dear friends, to bring the solicitude and the presence of the Church into the world of communications so as to dialogue with the men and women of today and bring

them to meet Christ, but it is an encounter which is personal. It is not to be manipulated. Today there exists a great temptation in the Church which is a spiritual form of “abuse”: to manipulate the mind; a sort of theological brainwashing which ultimately brings one to a superficial meet- ing with Christ but not to an encounter with the Person of Christ Alive! Within this en - counter, there is the person and there is Christ. There is no room for the spiritual engineer who wishes to manipulate. This is the challenge: to bring the person to Christ. This must be done, however, in complete awareness that we ourselves are means of communication and that the real problem does not

concern the acquisition of the

latest technologies, even if these make a valid presence possible. It is necessary to be absolutely clear that the God in whom we believe, who loves all men and women intensely, wants to re- veal himself through the means at our disposal, however poor they are, because it is he who is at work, he who transforms and saves us. It is our prayer, the prayer of all, that the Lord may make us zealous and sustain us in the engaging mission of bringing him to the world. I ask you for your prayers because I too share this mission and I gladly assure you of my Blessing.

Letter to a Non-believer

(Pope Francis responds to Dr. Eugenio Scalfari, journalist of the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”, From the Vatican, 4 September 2013)

Dear Dr. Scalfari,

  • I wish to respond, even if only in a

general way, to your letter published in

La Repubblica on 7 July last, in which

you offered your personal reflections,

further expounded upon in the 9 August edition. First of all, I thank you for your careful reading of the Encyclical Lumen Fidei, which was conceived and in large measure prepared by my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI. With gratitude I inherited this work,

which seeks not only to confirm in

faith those who already believe in Jesus Christ, but also to bring about a sincere and comprehensive dialogue with those

who, like you, define themselves as “a

non-believer who for many years has been interested in and fascinated by the

preaching of Jesus of Nazareth”. Therefore, it seems very positive, both for us and for the society in which we live, to pause and discuss a reality as

significant as faith, which points us to

the teachings and person of Jesus.

  • I think that there are two circumstances,

in particular, which make this dialogue necessary and valuable today. As is known, one of the principle objectives of the Second Vatican Council was this dialogue, as desired by Blessed John XXIII and successive Popes, each adding his own insight and contribution,

walking the path marked out by the Council.

The first circumstance—recalled at

the beginning of the Encyclical—derives from the fact that, throughout the centuries of modernity, a paradox was witnessed: the Christian faith, whose

newness and influence on humanity

were expressed by the symbol of light, has been often characterized as the darkness of superstition in opposition to the light of reason. Thus, between the Church and Christian inspired culture on the one hand, and modern culture shaped by the Enlightenment on the other, a point was reached where there was no longer any dialogue. The time

has now finally come, ushered in by the

Second Vatican Council, for a dialogue that is open and free of preconceptions, and which reopens the doors to a responsible and fruitful encounter. The second circumstance, for one who

wants to faithfully follow Jesus, derives from the fact that such a dialogue is not

superfluous to the life of the believer, but

rather is its profound and indispensable expression. In this context, allow me to

refer to a quotation from the Encyclical,

which I believe to be very important because it emphasizes the fact that the truth, with the witness of faith, is love:

“clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. One who believes may not be

presumptuous; on the contrary, truth

leads to humility, since believers know

that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us. Far from making us

inflexible, the security of faith sets us

on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all” (n. 34). This is the spirit in which I am writing to you. For me, faith was born of an encounter with Jesus. It was a personal encounter that touched my heart and gave new direction and meaning to my life. At the same time, it was an encounter made possible by the community of faith in which I lived and thanks to which I gained access to understanding Sacred Scripture, to new life in Christ through the Sacraments, to fraternity with all and service to the poor, who are the true image of the Lord. Without the Church—believe me—I would not have been able to encounter Jesus, even with the awareness that the immense gift of

faith is kept in the fragile clay jars of our humanity.

From this personal experience of faith

lived in the Church, I find myself able to listen to your questions and, with you,

to seek the paths along which we may walk together. Please forgive me if I do not address

your arguments step by step as proposed in the 7 July issue. I think it would be more helpful—and it seems to me more appealing—to go to the heart of your thoughts; neither will I follow the methodology of the Encyclical, in which you note the absence of a section

dedicated specifically to the historical

experience of Jesus of Nazareth. I would like to state, from the outset, that such an analysis is not of secondary importance. Following the logic of the Encyclical, it is important to dwell on the meaning of what Jesus said and ultimately, who Jesus was and is for us. The letters of Saint Paul and the Gospel of Saint John, which are referred to especially in the Encyclical, are founded in fact upon the messianic ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, which reaches its culmination in the Pasch of his death and resurrection. It is necessary, therefore, to look at Jesus from the point of view of the actual circumstances of his existence, as narrated by the oldest of the Gospels, Saint Mark. There, the “scandal”

in others, provoked by the words and actions of Jesus, stems from his extraordinary “authority”. This word, present already in the Gospel of Saint Mark, is not easy to translate accurately in Italian. The Greek word is “exousia”, which etymologically refers to that which “comes from being”, from whom one is. It is not something external or imposed, but rather that which comes

from within and is self-evident. Jesus, in fact, impacts us, shocks us, and renews us, and this comes, as he himself says, from his relationship with God, whom he refers to intimately as “Abba”, the

Father, who confers this “authority” upon him so that he may offer it for humanity’s sake. In this way, Jesus preaches “as one who has authority”; he heals, he calls the disciples to follow him, he forgives, all of which are realities that in the Old Testament come only from God. The

question which arises repeatedly in the

Gospel of Mark, “who is this that…?”, concerning the identity of Jesus, arises from the recognition of an authority that is not of this world, one which is not intended to impose itself on others but rather is directed to the service of others, to give them freedom and fullness of life. And this he did even to the extent of risking his own life, of experiencing incomprehension, betrayal, rejection, to the point of being condemned to death, to the point of plummeting into the depths of abandonment on the Cross. Yet Jesus remained faithful to God, to the end.

It is precisely at this moment—as the Roman Centurion exclaims at the foot of the Cross in Saint Mark’s Gospel—that Jesus reveals himself, paradoxically, as the Son of God, the Son of a God who is love and who desires, with his whole being, that all men and women discover themselves and live as his true children.

For the Christian faith, this is confirmed

by the fact that Jesus is risen; not to

bring the weight of his triumph to bear on those who have rejected him, but to show that the love of God is stronger than death, that the forgiveness of God is stronger than any sin and that it is worth giving one’s life to the end in order to bear witness to this immense gift. The Christian faith professes that

Jesus is the Son of God who came to give his life to open the way of love to all people. Thus you are correct, Dr. Scalfari, when you recognize that the Christian faith hinges on the incarnation of the Son of God. Tertullian wrote “caro

cardo salutis”, the flesh (of Christ) is

the fulcrum of salvation. Because the incarnation, the Son of God coming

in our flesh and sharing the joys and

sorrows, the successes and failures of our life, even to crying out on the

Cross, experiencing all things with love

and fidelity to Abba, testifies to the

astonishing love of God for all people, and to the inestimable worth that he sees in them. On account of this, each one of us is called to make Christ’s gaze and love his own, and to enter into his way of being, of thinking and of acting. This is what faith is, with all its expressions as they are accurately

employed in the Encyclical. * * * Returning to the editorial of 7 July, you ask me furthermore how to understand

the unique identity of the Christian

faith in as much as it centers on the

incarnation of the Son of God, with

respect to other faiths which rest on the absolute transcendence of God.

The uniqueness lies, I would say, in

the fact that the faith makes us share, through Jesus, in the relationship he has with God who is Abba, and from this perspective, in the relationship of love which he has with all men and women, enemies included. In other words, the sonship of Jesus, as presented by the Christian faith, is not revealed so as to emphasize an insurmountable separation between Jesus and everyone

else; rather, it is revealed to tell us that in him, we are all called to be children in the one Father and so brothers and

sisters to one another. The uniqueness

of Jesus has to do with communication, not exclusion. Of course, what follows from this— and it is no small thing—is the distinction between the religious sphere and the political sphere which is enshrined in “rendering to God the things that are God’s, and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, declared clearly by Jesus and on which the history of the West, not without struggle, has been built. While the Church is called to introduce the leaven and be the salt of the Gospel,

that is, the love and mercy of God which reach all men and women, and which

point to the heavenly and definitive goal

of our destiny, it falls to civil society and political society to articulate and build a life which is more humane, through

justice, solidarity, law and peace. For those who live their Christian faith,

this does not mean either fleeing from

the world or seeking dominance, but rather it denotes service to the person as a whole and to all peoples, starting with those living on the margins, all the while keeping alive the sense of hope that compels us to work for the good of all, looking to the future.

You also asked me, at the end of your

first article, what should be said to the

Jewish brethren concerning the promise

that God made to them: is that an empty

promise? This question, believe me, is

a radical one for us Christians because with the help of God, especially in the light of the Second Vatican Council, we have rediscovered that the Jewish people remain for us the holy root from which Jesus was born. I too have cultivated many friendships through the years with my Jewish brothers in Argentina and often while in prayer, as my mind turned to the terrible experience of the Shoah, I looked to God. What I can tell

you, with Saint Paul, is that God has never neglected his faithfulness to the covenant with Israel, and that, through the awful trials of these last centuries, the Jews have preserved their faith in God. And for this, we, the Church and the whole human family, can never be

sufficiently grateful to them. Moreover,

persevering with faith in the God of

the Covenant, they remind everyone, including us Christians, that we wait unceasingly as pilgrims for the return of the Lord, and that therefore we

should be open to him and not remain entrenched in our achievements. I now wish to address the three

questions from your article of 7 August. I believe that in the first two questions,

what interests you is to understand the attitude of the Church towards those who do not share faith in Jesus. Above all, you ask if the God of Christians forgives those who do not believe and who do not seek faith. Given the premise, and this is fundamental, that the mercy of God is limitless for those who turn to him with a sincere and contrite heart, the issue for the unbeliever lies in obeying his or her conscience. There is sin, even for those

who have no faith, when conscience is not followed. Listening to and obeying conscience means deciding in the face of what is understood to be good or evil. It is on the basis of this choice that the goodness or evil of our actions is determined. Secondly, you ask me whether it is erroneous or a sin to follow the line of thought which holds that there is no absolute, and therefore no absolute truth, but only a series of relative and subjective truths. To begin with, I would not speak about “absolute” truths, even for believers, in the sense that absolute is that which is disconnected and bereft of all relationship. Truth, according to the Christian faith, is the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, truth is a relationship. As such each one of us receives the truth and expresses it from within, that is to say, according to one’s own circumstances, culture and situation in life, etc. This does not mean that truth is variable and subjective,

quite the contrary. But it does signify

that it comes to us always and only as a

way and a life. Did not Jesus himself say:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life?” In other words, truth, being completely one with love, demands humility and an openness to be sought, received and expressed. Therefore, we must have a correct understanding of the terms and, perhaps, in order to overcome being bogged down by conflicting

absolute positions, we need to redefine

the issues in depth. I believe this is

Non-believer / B5



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

By Carl A. Anderson

IN an interview this week, Pope Francis noted that the Church should focus on mercy and salvation through Jesus Christ rather than “rules.” The headlines that followed suggested that the Church was suddenly charting a new course. One might think this is the first time a pope said something like this. It isn’t. Though it garnered little media attention, Pope Benedict XVI made a similar statement in 2006. Asked why he hadn’t spoken about same-sex mar- riage, abortion, or contraception in a speech, he noted that “Catholicism isn’t a collection of prohibitions; it’s a positive option.” With neither pope has the full story been told. Furthermore, as Francis went to great lengths to point out in his encyclical Lumen Fidei , continuity is a hallmark of the papacy. The first setting in which faith en - lightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and ac - ceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation. But the media’s narrative of Francis is something else. We are told he is a progressive, taking the Catholic Church in a profoundly new direc - tion—uninterested in Church teaching on moral issues. Benedict, we are told, is conserva - tive, doctrinaire, and old-fashioned— focused on moral issues. Neither narrative is true, because each leaves out half of the story. As pope, Benedict wrote three major encyclical letters to the Church—two on charity and one on hope—but these weren’t what got him the most coverage. Benedict once stated that “the Church’s first duty is to approach these people with love and consid - eration, with caring and motherly attention, to proclaim the merciful closeness of God in Jesus Christ.” It

Popes in the News

Photo: Vatican Radio’s Facebook page
Photo: Vatican Radio’s Facebook page

didn’t fit the narrative, so it wasn’t widely reported, but he was talking about those who had had abortions. Earlier this year, Pope Francis left the Vatican to greet participants in Rome’s March for Life. He also in - vited them to “keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the mo - ment of conception.” More recently, he exhorted the Knights of Columbus “to bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality.” Again, neither statement was widely reported, because it didn’t

fit the narrative. And on Friday in Rome, the pope spoke to Catholic gynecologists and other medical professionals about our “throwaway culture” that leads to elimination of the weakest among us. “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesi- tation,” he said. “‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental—the condition for all the others.’” But for those who see the Church running from social issues rather than giving them their proper place in the full constellation of Catholic teaching, this speech doesn’t

fit the narrative either. Pope Francis spoke out against a homosexual “lobby” and then later said that he is not in a position to judge those who are gay “if they are seeking the Lord and have good will.” Media largely neglected to note both the “if” and his concern about the lobbying. His pastoral comments are reported like political comments, and his warn- ings about politicizing the Church are ignored. Missed too was his implicit refer - ence to his predecessor’s document On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, where Benedict wrote: “What, then, are homosexual persons to do who

seek to follow the Lord? Fundamen - tally, they are called to enact the will

of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experi- ence in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.” “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the ob - ject of violent malice in speech or in action,” Benedict stated in that document. “Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.” But few know Benedict said anything like that. It is increasingly apparent that it is the media, more often than Catholics themselves, who place a dispropor - tionate focus on Church teaching about sexuality and abortion. In Francis’s dense 13-page interview re - leased this week he touched on many subjects. But the American media are focusing almost exclusively on the few paragraphs related to abortion and contraception. Ironically, this cover- age comes after the pope said in that same interview that the Church has a broader focus (and discussed that focus in the other twelve pages). Like Francis, many Catholics have been frustrated by the perception

in some quarters that the Church is

concerned about only one or two is - sues. The Knights of Columbus have experienced this firsthand. We are one of the country’s most active charitable organizations, with hundreds of mil - lions of hours and more than a billion dollars given to charitable activity in the past several years. Such good work almost never gets noticed nationally, but when we spend even a fraction of that total amount on social issues, the media take note, often with alarm. Here is what Pope Francis wants Catholics to be thinking about: “I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high choles - terol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.” He has presented a stark and dramatic assessment of our cultural situation, and he is proposing as a

Popes / B5

May They Be One

May They Be One Bible Campaign Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home What a

Bible Campaign

Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home

What a difference the Word makes

WOMAN of many vices—that was what Leny Tuazon of Tondo used to be. She was a mahjongera and an excessive drinker. This mother of three was also into chain smoking,

a habit she enjoyed in the company of her husband. A visitor entering her house would

find himself transported into a cloud of cigarette smoke. Interestingly, despite being

hooked to these vices, Leny was deeply involved in a religious order and was actively seeking a Bible study group where she and her husband could attend. God, seeing beyond the vices into her thirsting heart, brought her to a Bible sharing group led by Bambi Crispino, under the May They Be One Bible campaign in partnership with the San Rafael parish in Balut, Tondo. Reading and studying the MTBO Bible, Leny was convicted of her vices and appropriated the Lord’s power to give the vices up. Many other blessings followed her journey with God’s Word. Leny was set free from a bad

temper that used to bring her a lot of guilt and conflict in her relationships. In place of

anger, God gave her self control. This student of the Word who found peace with God also found peace with nature. Her former indifference to the environment gave way to care and good stewardship. Her little yard now bustles with pots of flower and herbs. Leny practices prudence and good stewardship in the use of electricity at home, training her children to do likewise. Asked for her favorite Bible verse, Leny recited John 3:16 with a voice breaking from a heart overwhelmed by the love and goodness of God:

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life (Good News Translation).

May They Be One Bible Campaign Help Put a Bible in Every Filipino Home What a

Leny Tuazon with her Filipino language May They Be One Bible

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, Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Mr. Albert S. Tanlimco.

To learn more about how you can be part of the Campaign and make

significant change, call Helen at PBS

524-5337, 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 #0251- 021376 (BPI-Tayuman Branch) Fax deposit slip to 527-9386. For credit card payments—go to PBS website (www.bible.org.ph)

• No. of Dioceses par- ticipating in the Bible Campaign – 85 out of

86 Dioceses • Bibles Distributed

(Jan 1, 2013 - Sept. 13,

2013): 174,596 copies

• Bibles Distributed

by Languages - Bicol

(2,473 cps.) Cebuano (34,162 cps.) English TEV (24,458 cps.), Eng- lish NABRE (1,980) Hi- ligaynon (12,699 cps.), Ilocano (4,446 cps.), Pampango (1,035 cps.), Pangasinan (1,556

cps.), Samarenyo (385

cps.), Tagalog (64,289 cps.), Tagalog New Tes- tament (2,786 cps.),

Tagalog Evangelical

(24,327 cps.)

• Parishes/Communi - ties served: 1,381

• Total Bible Distribu - tion: (Jan 2009- Sept.

13, 2013): 983,215 cps.

• Target No. of Bibles for Distribution for

2013: 600,000 cps.

Faith / B1

things and to judge everything and everyone accordingly. He

has it all figured out: this is the

truth! He is rigid! So, when the Lord called him and told him to go and preach to Nineveh, the great pagan city, Jonah doesn’t like it. “Go there? But I have the whole truth here!” He doesn’t like it. Nineveh is outside his comfort zone; it is on the outskirts of his world. So he escapes, he sets off for Spain; he runs away and boards a ship that will take him there. Go and re-read the Book of Jonah! It is short, but it is a very instructive parable, especially for those of us in the Church. What does all this teach us? It teaches us not to be afraid to pass beyond our comfort zone and to follow God, because God is always pushing, pressing forward. But do you know something? God is not afraid! Do you realize this? He isn’t afraid. He is always bigger than our little way of seeing things! God is not afraid of the outskirts. If you go

to the outskirts, you will find

him there. God is always faithful and creative. But, really, is there

such a thing as a catechist who is not creative? Creativity is what sustains us as catechists. God is creative, he is not closed, and so

he is never inflexible. God is not

rigid! He welcomes us; he meets us; he understands us. To be

faithful, to be creative; we need to be able to change. To change! And why must I change? So that I can adapt to the situations in which I must proclaim the Gospel. To stay close to God, we need to know how to set out, we must not be afraid to set out. If a catechist gives in to fear, then he or she is a coward. If a catechist has an easy time of it, he or she will end up being a statue in a museum. We have a lot of these! Please, no more statues in the museum! If a catechist is rigid, he or she will dry up and wither. I ask you: does any of you want to be a coward, a statue in a museum, dried up and withered? Is that what you want to be? [the catechists reply: No!] No? Are you sure? Good! I am now going to say something I have already said many times before, but it comes from the heart. Whenever we Christians are enclosed in our groups, our movements, our parishes, in our little worlds, we remain closed, and the same thing happens to us that happens to anything closed: when a room is closed, it begins to get dank. If a person is closed up in that room, he or she becomes ill! Whenever Christians are enclosed in their groups, parishes, movements, they take ill. If a Christian goes to the streets, or to the outskirts,

he or she may risk the same thing that can happen to anyone out there: an accident. How often have we seen accidents on the road! But I am telling you: I would prefer a thousand times over a bruised Church than an ill Church! A Church, a catechist, with the courage to risk going out, and not a catechist who is studious, knows everything, but is always closed: such a person is not well. And sometimes he is not well in the head…. But careful! Jesus does not

say: Go off and do things on your own. No! That is not what he is saying. Jesus says: Go, for I am with you! This is what is so beautiful for us; it is what guides us. If we go out to bring his Gospel with love, with a true apostolic spirit, with parrhesia, he walks with us, he goes ahead

of us, he gets there first. As we

say in Spanish, primerea. By now you know what I mean by this. It is the same thing that the Bible

tells us. In the Bible, the Lord

says: I am like the flower of the

almond. Why? Because that is

the first flower to blossom in the

spring. He is always the first!

This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Jesus is waiting for us in the

hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded bodies, in their hardships, in their lack of faith. But can I tell you about one of the “outskirts” which breaks my

heart? I saw it in my first diocese.

It is children who don’t even know how to make the sign of the cross. In Buenos Aires there are many children who can’t make

the sign of the cross. This is one of the “outskirts”! And Jesus is there, waiting for you to help that

child to make the sign of the cross.

He’s always there first.

Dear catechists, I have made my three points. Always start anew from Christ! I thank you for everything that you do, but above all, because you are part of the Church, the pilgrim People of God, and you accompany God’s People on that pilgrimage. Let us remain with Christ – abiding in Christ – and let us always try to be one with him. Let us follow him, let us imitate him in his movement of love, in his going forth to meet humanity. Let us go forth and open doors. Let us

have the audacity to mark out new paths for proclaiming the Gospel. May the Lord bless you and the Blessed Mother be always at your side. Thank you! Mary is our Mother, Mary always leads us to Jesus! Let us say a prayers for one another to Our Lady. Thank you very much!

Danger / B1

the service of proclamation, not to seem important, not to talk about himself or herself, but to talk about God, about his love

and his fidelity. To talk about

and to pass down all that God has revealed, his teaching in its totality, neither trimming it down nor adding on to it. Saint Paul recommends one thing in particular to his disciple and co-worker Timothy:

Remember, remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, whom I proclaim and for whom I suffer (cf. 2 Tim 2:8-9). The Apostle can say this because he too remembered Christ, who called him when he was persecuting Christians, who touched him and transformed him by his grace. The catechist, then, is a Christian who is mindful of God, who is guided by the memory of God in his or her entire life and who is able to awaken that memory in the hearts of others. This is not easy! It engages our entire existence! What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory of his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love? Dear catechists, I ask you: Are we in fact the memory of God? Are we really like sentinels who awaken in others

the memory of God which warms the heart? 3. “Woe to the complacent in Zion!”, says the prophet. What must we do in order not to be

“complacent”—people who find

their security in themselves and in material things—but men and woman of the memory of God? In the second reading, Saint Paul, once more writing to Timothy, gives some indications which can also be guideposts for us in our work as catechists: pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,

love, endurance, gentleness (cf. 1 Tim 6:11).

Catechists are men and women of the memory of God if they have a constant, living relationship with him and with their neighbor; if they are men and women of faith who truly trust in God and put their security in him; if they are men and women of charity, love, who see others as brothers and sisters; if they are men and women of “hypomoné”, endurance and perseverance,

able to face difficulties, trials and

failures with serenity and hope in the Lord; if they are gentle, capable of understanding and mercy. Let us ask the Lord that we may all be men and women who keep the memory of God alive in ourselves, and are able to awaken it in the hearts of others. Amen.

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013



A call to nuclear disarmament

(An intervention of the Vatican delivered by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States during the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on nuclear disarmament in New York, September 26, 2013).


MR. PRESIDENT, The General Assembly resolution calling for today’s High-Level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament expressed the common conviction that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is essential to remove the danger of nuclear war, a goal that must have our highest priority. The Holy See, which has long called for the banishment of these weapons of mass destruction, joins in

this concerted effort to give vigorous expression to the cry of humanity to be freed from the specter of nuclear warfare. Under the terms of the Non- Proliferation Treaty, states are enjoined to make “good faith” efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Can we say there is “good faith” when modernization programs of the nuclear weapons states continue

despite their affirmations of eventual

nuclear disarmament? Concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons into other countries ring hollow as long as the nuclear weapons states

hold on to their nuclear weapons. If today’s special meeting is to have any

historic significance, it must result in a

meaningful commitment by the nuclear weapons states to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. Five years ago, the Secretary-General offered a Five-Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament. It is past time for this plan to be given the serious

attention it deserves. The centre- piece is the negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention or a framework of instruments leading directly to a global ban on nuclear weapons. This is a clear-cut goal, fully understandable and supportable by all those who truly want the world to move beyond the dark doctrines of mutual assured destruction.

It is now imperative for us to address in a systematic and coherent manner the

legal, political and technical requisites

for a world free from nuclear arms. For this reason, we should begin as soon as possible preparatory work on the Convention or a framework agreement

for a phased and verifiable elimination

of nuclear arms. The chief obstacle to starting this work is continued adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence. With the end of the Cold War, the time for the acceptance of this doctrine is long passed. The Holy See does not countenance the continuation of nuclear deterrence, since it is evident it is driving the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament. For many years, the world has been told that a number of steps will lead eventually to nuclear disarmament. Such argumentation is belied by the extraordinary nature of today’s meeting, which surely would not have been called if the steps were working. They are not. It is the military doctrine of nuclear

deterrence, politically supported by the nuclear weapons states, that must be addressed in order to break the chain of dependence on deterrence. Starting work on a global approach to providing security without relying on nuclear deterrence is urgent. We cannot justify the continuation of a permanent nuclear deterrence policy,

given the loss of human, financial and

material resources in time of scarcity of funds for health, education and social services around the world and in the face of current threats to human security, such as poverty, climate change, terrorism and transnational crimes. All this should make us consider the ethical dimension and the moral legitimacy of the production, processing, development, accumulation, use and threat of use of nuclear arms. We must emphasize anew that military doctrines based on nuclear arms, as instruments of security and defence of an élite group, in a show of power and supremacy, retard and jeopardize the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, fostering a climate of trust and sincere dialogue, capable of promoting a culture of peace, founded on the primacy of law and the common good, through a coherent and responsible cooperation between all members of the international community. Thank you, Mr. President.

Unity Statement against Corruption

WE, concerned citizens, civil society organizations, business groups, and individuals of goodwill, guided by our respective beliefs and by our love for the Philippines, denounce the pork barrel system which is at the heart of the present corrupt political system. In the pork barrel system, lump sum amounts are placed at the discretion of only one person; which allows him/her to use public funds for patronage politics, political dynasties and personal gain. We are united in condemning this CORRUPTION! As the SOVEREIGN PEOPLE, we, the REAL BOSSES are UNITED in ORDERING our PUBLIC SERVANTS the following:

  • 1. Immediate resignation of public servants

who are formally charged by the Department

of Justice.

  • 2. Punishment of convicted pork barrel

schemers and the return of their loot to the

coffers of the people.

  • 3. Abolition of the pork barrel system

by whatever name or form. We include

the pork barrel of all three branches of government, namely, the executive, legislative, judiciary; and their ancillary departments.

  • 4. Respect for and protection of the people’s

ContrIbuted PHoto
ContrIbuted PHoto

information they need in the interest of transparency, accountability, participation, and co-responsibility.

To turn these demands into a workable reality, civil society organizations, business groups, the academe, the different religions, non-believers, credible representatives from the government, and individuals of goodwill

with relevant competence, will come together

to this worsening social cancer—through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation

when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption.” We, the people, honor the God of our

understanding and one another. We re- confirm our pledge to our country. We honor and respect our laws, regulations and ordinances; and public servants who serve the common good.

sovereign right to reclaim management of

to thresh out the concrete details of this unity

public funds for the benefit of the common



good, such as social services. This is one way

Likewise, we express our contrition for


of eliminating patronage politics.

we are not just victims of a corrupt system.


  • 5. Providing the people with all the

We have all, in one way or another, contributed

September 12, 2013

Letter to the Editor

September 18, 2013

Aquino warned: Heartless government exposed in targeting compassionate foreigners

“LOVING one’s neighbor”

knows no boundary. We denounce the warning of

the Aquino government through

its Bureau of Immigration forbidding foreigners to join rallies against the pork barrel. It seems that this government has lost it senses. Any reasonable human being would naturally be antagonized or angered when she or he sees poverty and hunger in the midst of plunder and looting of the people’s

treasury by government officials.

It is morally wrong to hinder a

person’s desire to express her or his concerns to fellow human

beings. It is immoral to threaten this act of humane solidarity.

We advise Pres. Aquino that

instead of threatening foreigners who are showing compassion to the victims of corruption of “ang di matuwid na daan,” he should expel US Troops who are a bane to peace, human rights and independence of our country.

Pres. Aquino would do better

by abrogating the Visiting Force Agreement which is an affront to our sovereignty. We want just peace not unjust wars to which we become a target due to the

presence of US Troops. While welcoming foreign

investments that plunder our nation’s resources and cause irreplaceable damage to nature and lives of the people, he should extend a listening ear to the voices of foreign friends who speaks for the welfare and development of the Filipinos. Our world needs more people who share love and compassion to others. Foreigners, who show greater love to people’s welfare, should be commended, rather than threatened. As President

Aquino remains callous to the

suffering of his fellow Filipino, what more is left to save his credibility? The truth is that

until such a time when Pres.

Aquino speaks on the abolition

of his own pork barrel, the world

has no reason to believe his “daang matuwid.” The world is watching. Being “inhospitable” to those who act in solidarity with the victims of scams and corruption speaks volumes to the heartless kind of government the Philippines truly has.


General Secretary Promotion of Church People’s




Resolutions and Recommendation

3rd National Clergy Gathering of the Order of Franciscan Seculars (OFS)

ON the occasion of the 3rd OFS Clergy gathering held on Sept. 16-19, 2013 at Saranggani Highlands and Resort in General Santos City, South Cotabato with the theme:

“Starting afresh from the perspective of Faith and Gospel towards a faithful Creativity: listening to the Call and living the gift of fraternity as OFS Clergy”, imbued by the gratuitous love of God, we came together to reflect on our lives, our mission and our accountability as OFS Clergy to the people we serve, in the context of our present Philippine and International realities, namely: flooding, mining, illegal

logging, the pork barrel scam and the betrayal of public trust, war and conflict, particularly Basilan, Zamboanga, Syria and the rest of the world. Inspired by the Franciscan tradition, teachings and examples of St. Francis, we realize our connectedness with Creation, as brothers and sisters under the Fatherhood of God, we uphold the honest and upright service for the common interest of people, we recognize the challenge of being harbingers and bearers of peace through active non violence. Thus, motivated by St. Francis as a man of Peace and Patron of Ecology, we strongly resolve to:

1) Uphold the integrity of God’s Creation and desire its healthy balance, thus we beg all the agencies of the government responsible to truly care and respect God’s creation for this will provide us our material needs and the generations to come; 2) Put into practice the preferential option for the poor and live a consistent Franciscan lifestyle as OFS clergy, thus with pork barrel scam pestering our society, we appeal to those responsible for the investigation to bring this to its morally upright, immediate and just solutions; 3) Work, as OFS clergy, both personally and communally, for peace in the war torn Basilan, Zamboanga, Syria and the rest of the world, we pray for peace and harmony based on sincere and peaceful dialogue, we urge all parties involved to

recognize and respect our cultural differences and uniqueness

so as to create harmonious relations and live as one Filipino people. We recommend also, that local fraternities engage in the planning of concrete activities and projects relative to the resolutions above made by the same forum which shall be spearheaded by the prudent judgments of OFS clergy themselves. We formulate these resolutions in view of an individual and social transformation. Such envisioned change shall start from every OFS clergy together with the individual members of the local fraternities. Hence, they shall be the “leaven” of the society. They shall be true witnesses of the Franciscan spirituality—epitome of “the gospel to life” and “from life to the gospel”. Thereby, we shall be the face of Jesus for the

world to see.


O F S C L E R G Y a n d N A T I O N A L S P I R I T U A L


September 19, 2013 Saranggani Highlands and Resort, Gen. Santos City

Non-believer / B3

absolutely necessary in order to initiate that peaceful and constructive dialogue

which I proposed at the beginning of my letter.

In your final question, you ask me

if, when man disappears from the earth, will the capacity to contemplate God disappear? Undoubtedly, the greatness of the human person resides

in the ability to reflect on God, that is

to say, to be able to live in a conscious and responsible relationship with him. But this relationship is between two realities. God—and this is my thinking and experience, shared by many from past and present!—is not an idea even if a lofty one, the fruit of human thought; God is a reality with a capital “R”. Jesus

reveals to us that this reality is a Father of

infinite goodness and mercy, in relation

with whom, he lives. Furthermore, when earthly human existence ends—and for the Christian faith, at any rate, this world as we know it is destined to pass—men and women will not cease to exist and, in a way that we do not understand,

this is also true of the universe created with them. Scripture speaks of a “new heaven and a new earth” and states that

at the end, God will be “all in all”, in a time and in a manner that lie beyond us, but towards which we progress in faith with expectation and desire. Dear Dr. Scalfari, I conclude my

reflections, which are a response to your thoughts and questions. Please receive

them as a preliminary reply, but one

which is sincere and full of hope, along with the invitation to walk this path together. The Church, despite all of the

sluggishness, infidelities, errors and sins

that are committed and are still being committed by her members, has no other meaning or purpose than to live and witness to Jesus: he who has been sent

by Abba, “to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

With fraternal good wishes,


Popes / B4

response a bold, self-sacrificing per- sonal witness. Catholic teaching on moral issues isn’t the totality of the Church’s message. It never has been. And our popes, bishops, priests, and laity have always spent far more time on charity, prayer, and pastoral out - reach than on public-policy issues. If the public doesn’t know that, it’s because the media prefer to cover controversies. But there is a real danger here. Cov - erage warps public perception and misleads when it narrowly focuses on social issues and ignores the rest of what people of faith do on behalf of the common good. Wrongly portrayed

as singularly focused on a narrow set of issues, believers run the risk of be - ing misunderstood and marginalized. Their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion is increasingly seen as unimportant. If the media truly want to embrace Pope Francis’s message, they can begin by heeding his call not to focus too narrowly on just one or two issues in their coverage of faith. Popes, people of faith, and media consumers all deserve better, fuller, and fairer coverage.

(Carl Anderson is CEO of the Knights of Columbus and a New York Times–best-

selling author. This article is printed with

permission by © 2013 National Review,

Inc. )


Ref lections

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

Why does God permit acts of senseless terrorism?

An Exegetical Reflection on the Gospel of the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 17:5-10, October 6, 2013

By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD

IN the United States, the World Trade

Center, a 110-floor twin towers in lower

Manhattan, New York, was symbolic of America’s economic prosperity, while the Pentagon in Washington stands to remind us of her military might. Twelve years ago, on September 11, 2001 to be exact, no sooner had people warmed their seats than two commercial planes, hijacked by terrorists, brought down the twin towers without warning, and another wrecked havoc on the Pentagon. The damage, in terms of lives, not to mention property and their impact on the American psyche, was so enormous

that the death toll was, in the words of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, “more than we can bear.” A political

analyst may look at these horrific attacks

in terms of imperialism and hegemony,

but for a man of religion, they raise

questions about God’s power and his

government of the world. Why does he permit such acts of senseless terrorism? Why does he let injustice and violence run their course?

The first reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4) raises almost the same questions. At

the time of Habakkuk, the Chaldeans have replaced the Assyrians as the masters of the ancient Near East in the early 6th century BC. There was turmoil in both the international scene

and in the land Judah which was rife with confusion, disorder, intrigues and idolatry. Seeing the violation of human rights in the anarchic regime, while God seemed to be unmoved by the disorder,

the prophet questioned the ways of

God, complaining why he, who was supposed to save his people, tolerated the injustices against the innocent:

“How long, O Lord? I cry for help

but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’, but you do not intervene” (Hab 1:2). One is, of course, reminded

of the questions of the skeptic on the

problem of evil in theodicy: Why does God not prevent evil in the world? Is he not capable of it? If he is and he does

not, can he still be a holy and just God? Is he not malevolent? If he is not able to

prevent it and will not, is he powerless and resentful? But if he is and he will, why does he let terrorism and injustice have their way?

Though such questions may make

sense in philosophical gymnastics, they are foreign to the Scriptures. If anything, it would seem that the problem does not lie with God. On the contrary, it

seems to be a question of man’s attitude

toward God in the face of the mystery of evil, and its concrete manifestations in history—as in the assault on the American nation. For a man of religion, one’s attitude toward God in the face of

negative experiences in the world is one of faith. This is the message of both the 1st Reading and the Gospel, although the meaning of the word is not identical in both instances. In the 1st Reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4), in his response to

the questions that the prophet raised,

God said that even in the perilous and confusing times, one must trust and hope

in him, confident the future belongs to

him. And he who is just, because of his

faith, shall live (Hab 2:4). Here faith

means fidelity and steadfastness. In the

Gospel (Luke 17:5-10), the saying about faith is placed in two contexts that have to do with discipleship. On the one hand, there is the larger context which is the journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51),

which would have been difficult for the disciples to comprehend, for a crucified Messiah would have been opaque to their understanding. Consequently, if

in today’s Gospel they asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5), it could signify the lack of commitment on their part to follow the Lord in his journey to the cross. On the other hand, there is the immediate context, namely, scandals and wrongdoings that inevitably arise in the community (Luke 17:1). In Luke’s theology, the community that Jesus intended to establish is one that loves, cares and forgives. Experience shows, however, that in the Church and in our faith communities, there are people who scandalize, are unrepentant and

© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media
© Pinky Barrientos, FSP / CBCP Media

unforgiving. There are some who serve as stumbling blocks to others (Luke 17:1-4). Considering the havoc they create in the community even to the point of engendering factions and divisions, one wonders why God allows such problems and people to be part of his very own community. If Jesus came to defeat the powers of

Satan and to establish the reign in the community, why does he not remove

those community members who stifle

the growth of the Kingdom? Does he not care about what happens to the communities and movements of faith that are, for example, placed in the hands of leaders who set bad examples to others, scandalizing even the most

innocent members? Why does he not place millstone around their necks (cf Luke 17:2)? But it is precisely in the face of such realities within the community that faith is necessary so that Jesus’ followers can grasp the divine wisdom. Faith is the disciples’ response to God’s call to belong to the community of love. In this context, faith means an act of abandonment and trust in God. It means putting everything in the hands of God, knowing that, despite what appears to be human foolishness, the wisdom of God will prevail. If the disciples have this kind of faith—authentic faith—not matter how small, they can certainly achieve great things, and transform

the community into one that cares for the spiritual and material needs of its members. It is in this sense that Jesus used the exaggerated image of the power of faith so his teaching can sink well into the mind of his listeners: such faith can uproot the mulberry tree! In other words, many miracles can happen

in a community whose members have that kind of trust in what God can accomplish. If human wisdom were left to itself, many people would probably think and suggest that those who are unforgiving, those who are trouble makers and those who are scandal- causing members of the Church should be excommunicated and written off! But human wisdom is folly before God. The wisdom of God dictates that forgiveness, tolerance and sufferings are necessary for the transformation of the community. And to believe in that wisdom obviously

requires much faith. Hence the petition

of the disciples: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). With this in mind, a disciple cannot therefore claim that when, for instance, a tragedy strikes the community, as in the despicable assault of the twin

towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington, God has abandoned his people or does not care about them.

One cannot question the ways of God.

What happens to the community may not make sense to human wisdom, and human wisdom may even appear to present better solutions to solve the problems that the community encounters. But as a hearer of the Word, the disciple remains faithful to God and to his Word, even when the Word does appear not to make sense at all. Hence the response to the 1st Reading: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Whatever evil may befall on the community, one’s faith in Jesus assures the disciple that God’s Word will ultimately emerge triumphant, because he knows that God is faithful to those who believe in him, and he cannot be deceived nor can deceive. All that he needs when the going gets tough is to ask the Lord to increase his faith so it could accomplish miracles!

On recognizing that God brings healing and provides experience of salvation

An Exegetical Reflection on the

Gospel of the 28th Sunday in

Ordinary Time, Year, C, Luke 17:11-19, October 13, 2013

By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD

WHEN the two commercial jets that terrorists had hijacked brought down the historic World Trade Center in New York, leaving in its wake thousands of casualties and tons of debris, bringing havoc to the American psyche, a number of people

went to the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral to thank the Lord for having been absent in the vicinity of the twin-tower when the tragedy struck. They attended Mass in gratitude to God who saved them from the disastrous attack. But events of course are not always as mind-boggling as the assault on the World Trade Center. And what is or has become ordinary does not normally make a dint. Understandably enough, when one becomes accustomed to an event, however momentous it may be, it becomes so normal that he misses to see even its

significance, still less perceive the meaning that has yet to be

uncovered in the long run. A sacristan, for example, may tend

to regard the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ to be just an ordinary part of the rite, no different from the making of the sign of the cross at the beginning of

the mass. Indeed, sometimes it takes the inquisitive mind of a little boy, who wishes to have his first communion, to make us realize the profound significance of the ritual. At other times, it requires the touch of God’s finger to make us aware that

what is happening is far from ordinary, as in the miracle of the Eucharist in Lanciano, Italy. And only then are we conscious that the hand of God is behind what is happening before our

very eyes. Today’s Gospel about the healing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) provides us an example of that experience. At the outset, it may be noted that leprosy was a general term in the ancient world to cover a variety of skin anomalies from rashes, acne, boils to actual Hansen’s disease (Lev 13). In instances

of actual Hansen’s disease, the afflicted were ostracized from

villages, although they lived near enough on the outskirts to receive alms. Their isolation, which was regulated by Lev 13:45-46 (see also Num 12:15; 2 Kings 7:3-4), was bridged by warning the people of their approach by shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” Whether the ten lepers in the present story had Hansen’s disease or not, the data do not enable us to determine. At any rate, the episode seems to be a miracle story, in which the lepers called out for pity and mercy, and Jesus answered their plea by healing them while they were on the way to the priests to present themselves for examination (Lev 13:49). One gets the impression that here Luke shows Jesus as a healer who

meets the needs of those who cry for help. He is portrayed as a

liberator who frees the afflicted from the slavery to evil condition

and restores them to the community of Israel. It seems, however, that—as Luke narrates it—this is not the main point of the Gospel story. For one thing, the narrative ends with a pronouncement: “Your faith has been your salvation” (Luke 17:19). Secondly, the Samaritan’s faith is praised,

Recognizing / B7

The faith that works wonders and reveals the ‘invisible’

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C; Start of National Children’s Week; October 6, 2013

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

THE apparent “absence” of God has always been a severe test for all the great souls who have put their trust in Him. Sooner or later all will experience its torturing fits—God seems to “vanish” or to become impotent right when His intervention seems needed most

badly. The prophet Habakkuk experienced it (see Hb 1:2-3); so did Jeremiah (see Jn 20:7-10.14-18) and even Jesus Christ, at the height of his suffering on Calvary. (See Mt 27:46. See also Ps 22:2-3.)

All through the centuries, down to our very days, the “inaction” of

God has been felt bitterly and decried.

In the torments of the tortures

inflicted on innocent people (often

because of their very allegiance to their faith); in the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps or the

Stalinist “Gulags”; in the crying

misery of the conglomeration

of squatter shanties, full of filth,

fumes, mud

. . .

without roads,

electricity and medicare; in

many mental hospitals, in the prostitution dens; in the nations or regions where people are just a “labor force” exploited by the state

or the local magnate

. . .

one asks,

“Where is God here?” and “Why does He not make His presence and justice felt?!”

No human being, with its limited intellectual and moral resources, can answer such questions with certainty and convincingly. Only God Himself

can. He has an answer and will surely give it. But in His own time.

(See Hb 2:3.) For He has His own rhythm, His own ways, His own plans. And so many times, they are different from ours. (See Is 55:8-9.) It is only those who have the gift of faith who can keep

believing in God’s active presence even in the darkest moments of human history and of their lives. It is faith which gives them/

us the unique assurance that

God is present and active even if their/our feeble mind cannot

comprehend or pinpoint where and how.

Often, it is after years that we

begin to understand why God allowed

certain terrible events to happen. It was for a purification, to bring

out a much greater good

. . . .


may also begin to understand how God was present and active in the

compassion that He inspired, in

the generosity and charity that he

instilled in many

. . .

in our very

selves, perhaps. In many cases, we will be able to “understand” these mysteries only in the life to come. Then will we be able to understand that God was present and active even in the saddest

events as He is present in the dark secret under the surface of

the fields where He lets the seed

rot in order to let the sprout burst forth and pierce the hard crust of the soil unto the richness of a new harvest.

God is present and active at all times. Everywhere. He needs to be trusted, for He knows what He is doing. He could do everything by Himself, yet—usually—He gives us the privilege to be the “instruments” of His care, His concern, His power. This has happened so many times in history. It is happening right now everywhere, especially where He

finds people who have the faith

that can transplant sycamores and move mountains, and the

humility to recognize that He is the Power behind it all, while they/ we are just expendable servants. (See Lk 17:10.)

The faith that leads to gratitude

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C; Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday; October 13, 2013

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

THE word “thanks” is just one syllable, but many are unable to pronounce it. This is due not to a speech impediment but to a moral

deficiency which paralyzes their hearts. Some

are fast in asking for favors, but very slow in showing gratitude once they have received what they wanted. The group of nine lepers who were cured by Jesus and walked away unmindful of their benefactor, is just a tiny delegation of the immense throng of ungrateful persons who take everybody, every service, everything for granted. They take people for granted, even when the favor or service received may have cost a lot of sacrifice. They take God for granted His gift of creation, the gift of their very persons, with

all the wonderful qualities of soul and body



. .

They take for granted His grace, the Church,

the sacraments, eternal life!

Ungrateful people are too blind, too deaf, too insensitive, too dull or too proud to say

thanks to anyone, including God. If He could ever be saddened, human ingratitude would surely make Him very sad.

Gratitude is spontaneous for few. For most of us, however, it is a virtue acquired gradually, just like humility, generosity, and honesty, virtues

on which it is based. We have to learn to be attentive and responsive even to the smallest signs of kindness or generosity toward us. We

have to learn to show appreciation for what other people and God do for us. Without our realizing it, such an awareness enriches us immensely as does the awareness that we are loved, or the desire to love in return. Gratitude is indeed a form of love – love returned. A simple way of being great. A great way of being human. There are so many ways of being thankful. It

can be a written note, a frank smile, a sincere

handshake, a delicate caress, a silent tear, a word uttered when it is time to speak it, or a word kept unsaid when grateful love demands that it should not be said. Whatever form it may take, gratitude can never be a momentary formality. When it becomes such, it is hypocrisy. Then it is no better than ingratitude. Real gratitude is rooted deep in the “heart” of a person. It is “utang na loob” that characterizes a person’s life and establishes him/her in a permanent attitude of being a grateful debtor. Such deeply rooted attitude becomes alive whenever the occasion arises. Then life becomes an unceasing “eucharist”—a holy thanksgiving, a joyous giving of self to God and neighbor, in imitation of, and in union with Jesus, the one who taught men the real meaning and the million shades of “utang na loob.”

Bishop Pat Alo


Quest for truth

(Everyone who seeks always finds – Mt. 7:7)

LIKE anything precious in life, we have to search for it, as a man searching for precious pearls or stones. The same thing we have to do in respect to the truth, especially the eternal truths which are connected with our achieving our very final destination and goal in life, which

is life everlasting. Jesus reminds of that when He tells us in Mt. 16:26: “What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life? (Mt. 16:26). Think it over and be sure. Be honest with yourself, it will be

worth enjoying all the advantages and privileges here on earth which is but a temporary life in exchange for an eternal punishment in Hell, just because we dared to violate one important command of God which asks us in His commands to respect all the rights of God and man. And in the cited verse above

from Mt. 16:26, He is referring to life eternal in heaven which is the reward of those who truly keep God’s commandments which ask us ‘to give to everyone his due, namely, to God our total allegiance above all and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (cf. Mt. 7:12; Mt. 22:34-30).

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 17 No. 20

September 30 - October 13, 2013

Social Concerns


A story of one girl’s fight for justice

By Fr. Shay Cullen

HERE is a story that will gladden the hearts of all who care about children, abhor child abuse and are willing to speak out for human rights. It’s a story of a child’s courageous struggle against all odds. People of good conscience who shun evil and wrongdoing will hunger and thirst for justice and someday, if we struggle hard enough together, we have a greater

chance of finding justice than if

we stay silent and do nothing. So it was for 14 year-old Martina, she sought justice. She grew up in an impoverished family in Olongapo City not far from the sex industry where young girls are lured and

trafficked into prostitution and

captured by the bar owners of

many nationalities. It had a bad

influence on her father.

Her mother, Maria, suffered leukemia and her father was unemployed and did part time jobs for a living and got money from relatives. Without a regular job, the family could not pay for health insurance. The medical system is so privatized and medical help is so expensive,

the poor cannot survive even

common diseases. There is no social insurance or a national health care system in the Philippines. Maria wasted away and died and left Martina alone with her father who turned to smoking marijuana and took to visiting the cheaper sex bars. He met young enslaved teenagers there and became addicted to abusing the young girls. The drugs made him aggressive and moody and one night, he attacked and raped Martina, his own daughter. She was shocked, hurt, and traumatized. The corrupt political practice of condoning and allowing a thriving sex industry run mostly by foreigners who prostitute young girls with impunity has eroded the moral values and corrupted family and community life. Most child rapists terrorize their victims with threats of torture and death if they tell anyone. Martina was threatened with death by her father. She endured the abuse in silence and he, believing his terror tactic was working, raped her several more times. Unable to endure it any longer, Martina ran away to her maternal auntie in Taguig, Metro Manila.

FILe PHoto
FILe PHoto

Her auntie noticed her traumatized state and gently asked her what had happened. Martina cried and found the

courage to tell her auntie. She

told the most difficult thing of

all—she was pregnant. Shocked

and angered, the Auntie filed

a criminal complaint against

the father. The police filed the

charges in Olongapo City and the social workers from Taguig

called the Preda children’s home hot-line to refer Martina for counseling, shelter and therapy. She was welcomed into the Preda Home for sexually exploited and abused children and felt at home with the other forty children and the Preda professional staff. The Prosecutor Joy Bayona

quickly acted and resolved the case and filed it in court on 5 May

2011, and when the accused did

not appear to answer the charges, an arrest warrant was issued. He went into hiding, it took many months for Preda paralegal

workers to find him and have

the police arrest him. During this time, Martina, still under care at

Preda, was brought to a special clinic and gave birth to a normal healthy baby boy. By 20 October 2011, five months later, the arraignment was set in the family court, Olongapo City. It was postponed and reset for 3 November 2011, then postponed again; Judge Pamintuan being absent. After two more postponements, the

arrangement was finally set on

25 May 2012; one year after the arrest warrant was issued. The wheels of justice having stopped a few times began to grind again with all the supporters of Martina pushing and shoving. The abusive father pleaded not guilty. The case dragged on and more delays were made. It is a common legal tactic hoping the child would give up and fail to appear as a witness, the case could then be dismissed. Martina would not give into the pressure to give up. She feared that many more children would be abused if he

went free and he might harass or attack her again. There were eight more postponements with months between the settings due to various reasons. Then after some lobbying by Preda Senior staff to the court administrator of the Supreme Court, Judge Bautista was appointed to assist Judge Pamintuan. He took on the case of Martina. The accused was advised by his counsel to plead guilty to a lesser charge and he was found guilty on three charges of rape and was sentenced to ten years for each charge which is

equal to a life sentence. The Preda paralegal officer, Marlyn Capio requested the

judge to consider the plea of Martina to have a barring order issued so that if ever he got out, he could not pursue her. Judge Bautista did so. This week, the case ended a long protracted pursuit of justice and the end of the rampage of a serial child sex offender. Martina is a survivor, healed, supported and empowered by her courage and brave pursuit of justice and truth. Martina is reintegrated to a happy family. The child is healthy and well. [shaycullen@ preda.org; www.preda.org]

The Heat is On. We Must Act!

By Fr. Benny B. Tuazon