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April 13 - 26, 2015



Netizens: ChurchState separation

not hindrance to
clergys freedom
of speech
AMID the heated debate over
the move to make divorce
legal in the country, Catholic
lay netizens from across the
Philippines emphasize the fact
that priests have as much right
to voice their dissenting views
on issues affecting them as do
all Filipino citizens.


Pope Francis proclaims

Holy Year of Mercy
By Jennifer M. Orillaza

STRESSING the importance

of mercy in the life of the
Holy Mother Church, Pope
Francis on Saturday officially
proclaimed the dedication
of the upcoming Jubilee celebration to the Holy Year of

Priests and Pinoys

Sorry to say it bluntly. But
it is just downright stupid when
people say priests and bishops
should not speak on political
issues and controversial bills.
So freedom of speech for everyone except for the clergy? E
di wow. Arent they citizens of
Netizens / A6

Pope says Year of Mercy will
be time to heal, to help, to
forgive, A3

Misericordiae Vultus, B1

Vatican City - April 11, 2015. Pope Francis stands in front of the Holy Door at St. Peters Basilica on April 11, 2015 during the Convocation of the Year of Mercy. The Holy
Father publicly proclaimed a Jubilee for Mercy, which will begin Dec. 8 and end in November 2016. LOSSERVATORE ROMANO

In his Apostolic Letter Misericordiae

Vultus (The Face of Mercy), the Supreme
Pontiff reminded the Catholic faithful that
mercy is the wellspring of joy, serenity,
and peace that connects God and man
and opens their hearts to the hope of being
loved forever despite being filled with sin.
Mercy is the very foundation of the
Churchs life. All of her pastoral activity
should be caught up in the tenderness she
makes present to believers; nothing in her
preaching and in her witness to the world
can be lacking in mercy, Pope Francis said.
The Churchs very credibility is seen in
how she shows merciful and compassionate
loveWithout a witness to mercy, life becomes fruitless and sterile, as if sequestered
in a barren desert. The time has come for
the Church to take up the joyful call to
mercy once more, he said.
The Holy Father released the Bull of
Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year
of Mercy last April 11, moments before
presiding over Vespers in St. Peters Basilica
for the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.
It is time to return to the basics and to
bear the weaknesses and struggles of our
brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force
that reawakens us to new life and instills
in us the courage to look to the future with
hope, he added.
Proclaims / A6

Term genocide angers Turkey, while CBCP head: Dont silence

pope says memory leads to healing groups excluded from BBL
C O M M E M O R ATING the 100th anniversary of the Armenian
genocide, Pope Francis
said atrocities from the
past have to be recognized -- not hidden or
denied -- for true reconciliation and healing
to come to the world.
However, Turkeys
top government officials criticized the
popes use of the term
genocideciting a
2001 joint statement by
St. John Paul II and the
head of the Armenian
Apostolic Churchin
reference to the deaths

of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during

their forced evacuation
by Ottoman Turks in
Turkey rejects the
accusation of genocide,
and the government
called its ambassador
to the Holy See back
to Turkey for consultations April 12, the
same day Pope Francis
made his statement.
The government also
summoned Archbishop Antonio Lucibello,
nuncio to Turkey, to
lodge a complaint.
Before concelebrat-

ing the Mass in St. Peters Basilica on Divine

Mercy Sunday, Pope
Francis greeted the
many Armenian faithful who were present,
including Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan.
The pope lamented
the continued forced
expulsions and atrocious killings of Christians in the world saying, Today, too, we
are experiencing a kind
of genocide created by
general and collective
indifference and complicit silence.

Tagle to vain people: Be

human, not cabinets

Humanity has lived

through three massive and unprecedented
tragedies the past century: the first, which
is generally considered
the first genocide of the
20th century, struck
the Armenian people,
he said, quoting a joint
declaration signed in
2001 by St. John Paul
and Catholicos Karekin
II of Etchmiadzin, patriarch of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.
The other two 20thcentury tragedies were
those perpetrated by
Nazism and Stalinism,

while more recently

other mass exterminations have been seen
in Cambodia, Rwanda,
Burundi and Bosnia,
Pope Francis said.
It seems that the
human family refuses to
learn from its mistakes
caused by the law of
terror, so that there are
still today those who try
to eliminate their own
kind with the help of
some and with the complicit silence of others
who act as bystanders,
he said.
Addressing ArmeHealing / A7

Do more young women

prefer veils?

CBCP President Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan FILE PHOTO

THE president of the

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) has called on the
Philippine government not
to silence nor ignore those
groups in Mindanao that
claim they were brushed
aside from the deals leading
to the Bangsamoro Basic

Law (BBL), saying such a

move will not help forge
peace in the region.
The sectors that claim
they were not included in
the deals leading to the
BBL [Bangsamoro Basic
Law] should not be silenced. Neither should
they be ignored. I refer in

particular to the MNLF

[Moro National Liberation
Front] and to indigenous
cultural communities, as
well as to Christian communities in Mindanao. No
agreement that is perceived
to be favorable to one sector alone will ever bring the
BBL / A7

Illustration by Brothers Matias

Solon: RH law is a national problem

Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle FILE PHOTO

NOTING how vanity and

materialism have been the ruin
of many, Manilas chief priest
has raised the alarm on dangers of false beliefs and empty
promises, reminding them to
be human and not cabinets.
Dont believe that your
worth as a person depends on
the number of jewelries you
wear. If thats the case, you cant
be considered a person. You are
a cabinet Be human! Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio
G. Cardinal Tagle shared in a
recent homily.

Singling out the young people in his audience, the prelate

urged them not to allow themselves to be swayed by novel
beliefs and ideologies.
Vain ads
Dont be tricked into patronizing such and such a
product just because an advertisement tells you so, he said.
Dont believe that youll
look human only when you
have smooth and silky hair,
he added.
Cabinets / A6

IS wearing veils to Mass

simply an outdated practice
for an ber conservative,
pre-Vatican II Catholic
Church? Hardly. For many
young Catholic women,
wearing veils is freshly radical or radically fresh, depending on whom you ask.
In an interview with
CBCP News, 26-year old
Vietnamese Victoria Ly,
a health inspector, shared
how veil-wearing is as much
an interior attitude as much
as it as an external sign of
For me, wearing a veil

is kind of a sign point towards God..[Like] look,

this is something so much
greater than us, so much
more beautiful than us,
explained Ly.
Drawn to Christ
Genesis Rigor, a nurse
based in Canada, cited St.
John Chrysostom, who said
wearing the veil is much like
how the woman is drawn
to the man..a woman is
drawn to Christ, to His
side, close to His heart,
under His arm, to be safe.
Veils / A7

Pro-lifers in red march in the early morning streets of Baguio on the day the Supreme Court ruled on the
constitutionality of the RH Law, April 8, 2014. CBCP NEWS

A LAWMAKER known for his pro-life

and pro-family views has alerted the
faithful about what he fears could be the
wide-ranging effects of the hotly-debated
Reproductive Health (RH) Law, not only
on particular groups of people, but on the
whole country.
This [RH Law] is a problem that concerns the entire nation. This is not just
the problem of our group, or some other

[pro-life] groups for that matter, Buhay

Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza told Churchrun Radio Veritas in an interview.
Contraceptive mentality
Once we fail to do our part for life,
those pushing for birth control, as well as
abortion, all over the world would likely
prevail. This kind of mentality will get hold
National / A6


Pope recalls slaughter of Armenians in first genocide of the

20th century

Pope Francis today referred to the mass killing of Armenians

by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as a genocide, prompting
the Turkish government to summon the Vaticans ambassador
for questioning. In the past century our human family has
lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies.
The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of
the twentieth century, struck your own Armenian people,
the first Christian nation, the Pope said April 12. Francis
reference to the genocide was taken from a common declaration signed by both Pope Saint John Paull II and Supreme
Armenian Patriarch Karekin II in 2001. His comments took
place before celebrating Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, which
is a feast instituted by St. John Paul II and celebrated on the
Second Sunday of the Churchs liturgical Easter season. (CNA)

Consecrated men, women denounce persecution of Christians

Consecrated men and women from around the world issued

a message April 10 to urgently denounce the persecution
of Christians and to urge the international community to
implement concrete interventions for peace. The message
was signed by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Institutes of Apostolic Life,
on behalf of the nearly 1,300 Catholic religious gathered for an
international congress in Rome. The participants at the April
7-11 conference represent dozens of religious congregations
and thousands of religious men and women worldwide. We
feel particularly close to those in the world who are suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ and we express our
communion with all consecrated men and women who, in
the various peripheries of the world, suffer because they are
Christian and consecrated, said the message. The religious
thanked their suffering brothers and sisters for their witness of
fidelity to their vocation and mission and for remaining close
to those who suffer, assuring them of their prayers. (CNS)

Sex abuse commission members meet cardinal over

Chilean bishop

Four lay members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met with one of Pope Francis top cardinal
advisers at the Vatican April 12 to voice their concerns about
the appointment of a Chilean bishop, accused of covering up
for an abusive priest. The four said in a written statement the
same day that Cardinal Sean P. OMalley of Boston, who is
also the protection commissions president, agreed to present their concerns to the Holy Father about the nomination
of Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno, Chile. The
bishop had been accused of covering up for a priest who
was known to have committed sexual abuse. Bishop Barros,
however, denied having had knowledge of Father Fernando
Karadimas criminal behavior, prior to news about the abuse
in the press. Commission member Marie Collins from Ireland
expressed her satisfaction with their discussion at the Vatican,
posting on her Twitter feed April 13 that she was heading
home after a good meeting with Cardinal OMalley. (CNS)

Do more to help the poor, pope tells leaders at Summit of

the Americas

With an obligation to lead and protect everyone in their nations, government officials cannot be content to hope that
the poor collect the crumbs that fall from the table of the
rich, Pope Francis said in a message to the Summit of the
Americas. Thirty-five heads of state from North, Central and
South America met April 10-11 in Panama City, Panama, for
discussions under the theme, Prosperity with Equity: The
Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas. Cardinal Pietro
Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, was invited to the meeting
and read a message from Pope Francis to the participants, who
included U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President
Raul Castro. In his message, the pope said he liked the theme
of the gathering and hoped the leaders would find ways not
only to promote economic growth, but also to guarantee the
rights of the poor to the basic needs of land, jobs, shelter,
health care, education, security and a healthy environment
-- things no human being should be excluded from. While
everyone says they want greater equality and justice, the pope
said, unfortunately, it is still far from a reality. There continue
to be unjust inequalities that offend human dignity. (CNS)

Kasper is not the Popes theologian, says leading African cardinal

A top African cardinal says that German cardinal Walter

Kasperwhos stirred controversy over his views promoting Communion for the divorced and remarrieddoes not
necessarily represent Pope Francis theological stance. He also
rejected efforts to claim the Pope for either side of the debate
ahead of the upcoming synod on the family. South Africas
Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier dismissed a news reports label
of Cardinal Walter Kasper as the Popes theologian, saying,
I believe Pope Francis is a theologian in his own right. So
he does not need anyone to be presented as his theologian.
Cardinal Napier, the Archbishop of Durban, told CNA April
9 that the Pope is the head of the Church in general and of
the College of Bishops in particular. It is wrong therefore
for any one group or individual to try to own him or even to
claim him as the adherent to one particular school or another
of theology. (CNA)

Evangelization isnt a synonym for advertising, Pope says

Giving witness to Jesus Christ is more than mere advertising,

Pope Francis said: its the act of courage in proclaiming the
Gospel with frankness even to the point of martyrdom.
Christians do not simply advertise Jesus Christ with the
aim of increasing our numbers, the pontiff noted during his
daily Mass homily on April 13. This is not necessary. What
the Christian does is to announce with courage, and the
proclamation of Jesus Christ causes, through the Holy Spirit,
that astonishment that keeps us going, he said, according to
Vatican Radios translation. (CNA)

Pope Francis: Vocations are about quality, not quantity

Well-formed vocations are more important than numerous

vocations Pope Francis said in an address to religious formators
on Saturday at the Vatican. There is not a vocations crisis
where there are consecrated people able to transmit the beauty
of consecration with their own witness, the pontiff said, according to Vatican Radios translation. Even in the midst of
declining numbers in some religious communities, the Pope
said formationrather than recruitmentshould nonetheless
take priority. It is necessary to be lovingly attentive to the path
of each and to be evangelically demanding in every phase of
the path of formation, he said, beginning with vocational
discernment, so that the eventual crisis of quantity might not
determine the much graver crisis of quality. Pope Francis
spoke to a gathering of some 1,300 formators who were in
Rome Apr. 7-11 for a five-day conference on the theme: Living in Christ according to the way of Life of the Gospel, an
event put on by the Congregation for Consecrated life and
Societies of Apostolic Life. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor

Church in Cuba enters new era with

thaw of US diplomatic relations
HAVANA, Cuba, March 28,
2015As the fifty year economic
embargo and diplomatic isolation
between the U.S. and Cuba comes
to a close, the thaw of their historically icy relationship could have
more than just social and cultural
The renewed affiliation between
the two countries, which began
late last year, could have implications on how the Church operates
in Cuba. In fact, the first Catholic
church since the 1959 Cuban revolution is set to be built in the small
town of Sandino - a promising
start to the renaissance of Catholic
culture within the country. Let
us hope that the future will bring
peace and normality to the relations between the two nations,
Bishop Alfredo Petit Vergel, an
auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese
of St. Christopher of Havana, told
international Catholic charity Aid
to the Church in Need March 25.
The Holy See aided in the restoration in Cuban-US diplomatic
relations, playing a key role behind
the prisoner exchange between the
two countries last December with
hopes that the restored relationship
will improve human rights and religious freedom within Cuba. Some
US politicians and commentators
have argued that the move is a
victory for oppression. Bishop
Petit responded that arguing that
the lifting of the embargo gives a
victory to a government that denies
fundamental rights to its people is
a poor consideration of the Cuban
reality as a whole. Let us wait for
future events to see who is right,
he advised. Under Fidel Castro,
who came to power in 1959, only

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Havana, Cuba. JAMES EMERY/CNA

two years before Bishop Petit was

ordained a priest, the Church was
heavily restricted, with thousands
of priests jailed or exiled. Although some measures of freedom
have been allowed since then, the
Church in Cuba is still monitored.
Bishop Petit said that Among other
obstacles, there has been the lack of
priests and pastoral workers. The
government has always controlled
the number of priests in the countryand it is never enough to do
the pastoral work. That number
has always been capped at 400 in a
country of 11 million people. The

other difficulty for the Church has

been gaining access to the media,
he added, while also noting that
the Cuban government does not
currently have oversight or control over the Churchs initiatives
in the country. The greatest need
of the Church in Cuba is prayers,
Bishop Petit reflected. Then,
we must find ways to address
the lack of priests and pastoral
workers. Also, there is a need for
economic support so that we can
supply medicines and food to the
very poorest people and we need
the means to fulfill all our pastoral

duties and attend to the spiritual

needs of the faithful. He reflected
that the members of the Catholic
Church in Cuba, as in every other
place in the world, are part of the
Cuban people, saying the presence
of the Church in Cuba brings a
transcendent and Christian dimension to everyday life. The Catholic
Church does not look for special
privileges in Cuban society, Bishop
Petit concluded. The Catholic
Church in Cuba, as in every other
country of the world, looks only for
the space to preach the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. (CNA)

Divine Mercys amazing moment with the Armenian people

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April
11, 2015Tomorrows Divine Mercy celebration in
Saint Peters Basilica will be
an amazing moment for Armenians, a moment to commemorate the unspeakable
brutality that was visited
upon them collectively in
the final years of the Ottoman Empire, between 1915
and 1918.
Will Pope Francis say
anything to Karekin II and
Aram, Catholicos of Echmiadzin (Armenia) and Antelias I (Lebanon), Nerses
Bedros XIX, the Patriarch
of Catholic Armenians, and
the Armenians from around
the world who will attend
the Mass the pontiff will
celebrate for them, other
than what the feast of Divine
Mercy says, namely words of
trust, strength and forgiveness? Endorsed by Saint
Faustina Kowalska, a Polish
nun who died in 1938, the
feast day was established
by John Paul II as Gods
response to the tragic times
in which we live. Our age
plunges back into the 19th
century, and manifests itself
today in the disorientation
of the western world, a time
when whole parts of the
Christian presence in the
East are collapsing under the
blows of a new barbarism
that claims to be a return
to the sources of Islam. We


Vatican Briefing

April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

should hear what Emmanuel

Mounier has to say about
the crisis of the West. In
one of the first pages of his
introduction to existentialisms, he described it as the
end of the evangelical age,
like the death of God that
Nietzsche had announced in
the 19th century to the men
who, even after having been
responsible for it, dared not
accept it as a fact. Such a
spiritual night lasted until
the turn of the 21st century
when, following the silent
collapse of the Christian
faith in the West and its
current physical collapse in
the East. In his encyclical
letter Rich in mercy of

1980, John Paul II spoke

more explicitly about mercy,
saying that it is not simply an attribute of God
but its very same name. In
admirable arguments that
deserve further thought, the
pope showed that mercy is
the most perfect incarnation of justice because it
alone is capable of restoring man to himself (14).
Certainly, the memory of
the Armenian Genocide will
never be erased. The same
goes for all other genocides,
historical evidence of what
mans sinful demons may
inflict on his fellow men.
In commemorating the Armenian Genocide in Saint

Peters, on the Sunday of the

Divine Mercy, the unjust
suffering of all the peoples
throughout history will take
centre stage, regardless of religious affiliation or race. Of
course, the order of justice
will not disappear, JeanPaul II said, but the human
city will be built patiently,
laboriously, with the tools
of peace instead of war. It
is in this spirit that Francis
will speak to Armenians in
a language that John Paul
II used in 2001 during his
pastoral visit to Armenia. At
the time, John Paul II chose
his words carefully, clearing
referring to the genocide,
but without blaming Tur-

key, speaking instead of the

terrible violence and big
disaster. Francis might
address a free Armenia
(as John Paul II put it),
not an Armenia captive of
Communism, or an Armenia scattered around
the world; nevertheless, he
will call on its people to
assume their regained freedom. On Thursday, when
he met the patriarch of the
Armenian Catholics in a
private visit, he called for
concrete gestures of reconciliation, in accordance
with the laws of nations and
states rather than resistance
and liberation movements.
Sundays ceremony will have
an ecumenical aspect with
the proclamation of Saint
Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Universal Church.
Unlike the ecumenism of
the martyrs, which Armenians have so painfully but
gloriously experienced, this
ecumenism will be of the
Christian faith from patristic
times. A joint Christological
Declaration signed in Rome
in 1996 by Pope John Paul
II and Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, had
already brought the Armenian Catholic Church and
Armenian Apostolic Church
closer together in their theological understanding of the
mystery of the Incarnation.

India bishop: Christ is working through the tragedy of present-day martyrdom

MIAO, India, April 6, 2015In
his Easter letter released this week,
Bishop George Pallipparambil of
Miao reflected on Christs work
through the tragedies of this life,
noting the ongoing persecution
of Christians and in particular the
martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians
in Libya earlier this year.
The gory sight of the 21 young
men being mercilessly beheaded
recently, because of their faith, the
forgiving attitude of their folks back
home and the thousands of thousands who are being killed, jailed
and tortured in many parts of the
world and their refusal to deny the
Lord is the greatest inner strength
that the Lord gives us, Bishop
Pallipparambil wrote in the letter
released April 5. If Jesus had not
taken our human form, lived like
us avoiding sin, undergoing humiliation and the passion and death, our
life with all its crosses would have
no meaning. He noted recently
that he was asked, in light of such
tragedies, why is Jesus not doing
anything? I was not confused or
shocked, he wrote, recounting that
he replied: the Lord is doing a lot.
He is allowing himself to be crucified, beheaded, persecuted, he is also
weeping with us for his lost brother,
sisters, father, mother, just as his
shameful death led to the glorious
resurrection, these currents events

will lead to a new reign of God.

However, Bishop Pallipparambil
maintained that the response to
the question does not end there,
and we need to go further. He
turned to the importance of family, in light of the upcoming Synod
on the Family, saying, we need to
focus our attention to this most
sacred organ of the mystical body
of Christ. Bishop Pallipparambil
called the family the intimate and
sacred unit of humanity which is
the foundation of the society and
church, where love is experienced,
given and taken at great sacrifice but
without counting the cost, where
values are imbibed without being
taught, where attitudes are cultivated without questions and suspicion and where feeling of belonging
and responsibility are learnt and
taught not through well planned
lessons or demonstrations but by
all the intricacies of plain lives,
lamenting that it is fast becoming
the most affected unit of humanity.
Economic concerns should not push
families to the background, or even
out of mind, he said, urging that
Christians be a light for others. The
bishop asked, Can we make this
Easter a different experience? Not
just for ourselves and our immediate families but for the many
families in our neighborhood that
are struggling to survive. Without

Faithful in Indias Miao diocese pray in a candlelight vigil for persecuted Christians in the
Middle East, March 1, 2015. FR. FELIX ANTHONY/CNA

making deliberate attempts to show

the light, can we be emanating light
as a natural outflow from life? The
families of the young Egyptians
who were beheaded have just
done that. Can their example go
unheeded? Bishop Pallipparambil
concluded, praying that may ours
be homes where God has a place

and he gives meaning. As history

and present age shows convincingly,
any attempt to silence or remove
God from our families will be the
destruction of it. The Risen Lord
who has given us the Holy Spirit
who wants to be ever present with
us. Do we have a place for him?

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Pope says Year of Mercy will be

time to heal, to help, to forgive

Pope Francis during Vespers on Divine Mercy Sunday CNA


2016Mercy is what makes God
perfect and all-powerful, Pope
Francis said in his document officially proclaiming the 2015-2016
extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.
If God limited himself to only
justice, he would cease to be God,
and would instead be like human
beings who ask merely that the
law be respected, the pope wrote
in Misericordiae Vultus, (The
Face of Mercy), which is the bull
of indiction calling a Holy Year to
begin Dec. 8.
Standing in front of the Holy
Door of St. Peters Basilica April
11, Pope Francis handed copies of
the document to the archpriests of
the major basilicas of Rome and
to Vatican officials representing
Catholics around the world.
Portions of the 9,300-word
proclamation were read aloud
before Pope Francis and his aides
processed into St. Peters Basilica to
celebrate the first vespers of Divine
Mercy Sunday.
In his homily at vespers, the

pope said he proclaimed the Year of

Mercy because it is the favorable
time to heal wounds, a time not
to be weary of meeting all those
who are waiting to see and touch
with their hands the signs of the
closeness of God, a time to offer
everyone the way of forgiveness
and reconciliation.
The boundless nature of Gods
mercyhis willingness always
to forgive anythinghas been a
constant subject of Pope Francis
preaching and is explained in detail
in the document, which outlines
some of the specific projects the
pope has in mind for the year.
Pope Francis asked that all dioceses around the world designate a
Door of Mercy at their cathedral
or another special church or shrine,
and that every diocese implement
the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative on the Friday and Saturday
before the fourth week of Lent. In
Rome the last two years, the pope
has opened the celebration with a
penance service in St. Peters Basilica and churches around the city

were open for the next 24 hours

for confessions and Eucharistic
The pope said he will designate
and send out Missionaries of
Mercy to preach about mercy;
they will be given special authority,
he said, to pardon even those sins
reserved to the Holy See. Under
church law, those sins involve: a
man who directly participated in
an abortion and later wants to
enter the priesthood; priests who
have broken the seal of confession;
priests who have offered sacramental absolution to their own sexual
partners; desecrating the Eucharist;
and making an attempt on the life
of the pope. Usually, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court,
handles those cases.
And he urged all Catholics to
spend more time practicing what
traditionally have been called the
corporal and spiritual works of
mercy. The corporal works are:
feeding the hungry, sheltering
the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the

imprisoned, giving drink to the

thirsty and burying the dead. The
spiritual works are: converting
sinners, instructing the ignorant,
advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs
patiently, forgiving injuries and
praying for the living and dead.
The date the pope chose to open
the yearDec. 8is the feast of
the Immaculate Conception and
the 50th anniversary of the closing
of the Second Vatican Council.
Both dates, he wrote, are related
to the Year of Mercy.
Mercy, he said, is the bridge
that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being
loved forever despite our sins. That
bridge was made concrete when
God chose Mary to be the mother
of his son.
Recognizing that they have been
treated with mercy by God, he said,
Christians are obliged to treat others with mercy. In fact, the Gospel
says that Christians will be judged
by the mercy they show others.
(Cindy Wooden/CNS)

Practical help for the

Vatican rolls out new
exorcism course
VATICAN, April 10, 2015This
month the Vatican will gather a
wide range experts in the field of
exorcism with the aim of shedding
light on demonic possession from
both theological and scientific
The annual course, Exorcism
and Prayer of Liberation, is designed for priests and lay persons
interested in learning how to recognize a case of demonic possession
when they see oneand what to
do about it.
This years session will run from
April 13-18 at Romes Regina
Apostolorum University, and will
feature interventions by a wide
range of experts in the field of
exorcism from priestsincluding
practicing exorcistsmedical professionals, psychologists lawyers,
and theologians. Its sponsored
by the Vatican Congregation for
the Clergy and organized by the
Sacerdos Institute.
According to Breitbart News
Network, one of the primary objectives of the course will be to help
priests and lay people distinguish
demonic possession from psychological or medical conditions.
The sessions will also examine
a series of other related issues, in-

cluding occult practices, Satanism,

and nihilism among young people.
Pope Francis has frequently
warned against thinking of the
devil as merely a myth, a figure,
an idea, the idea of evil.
The devil exists and we must
fight against him, the Pope said
in an Oct. 30 homily, adding that
the battle against temptation is not
with small, trivial things, but with
the principalities and ruling forces
of this world, rooted in the devil
and his followers.
In a separate homily, the pontiff
stressed the importance of knowing
how to discern the presence of evil
in our lives.
The International Association of Exorcists (AIE) met for
their 12th annual conference in
Rome last October. According
to AIE spokesperson Dr. Valter
Cascioli, an increasing number
of bishops and cardinals asked
to participate in the conference
due to an increase in demonic
Its becoming a pastoral emergency, Cascioli told CNA. At
the moment the number of disturbances of extraordinary demonic activity is on the rise. (Ann
Schneible/CNA/EWTN News)

Tagle to OFWs: Dont

accept bags, etc.
from strangers

The Vatican considers what does vocational

formation look like in the modern age?
VATICAN, April 9, 2015 -- Religious formators gathered in Rome for a seminar on
fashioning new vocations in contemporary
society a task the Vaticans point man for
consecrated life says is not easy, but still full
of hope.
Consecrated life is rooted in the action
of God, in the Holy Spirit, (who) calls some
people to follow Christ closely, to transmit
the Gospel in a specific way of life, to read
the signs of the times with eyes of faith, to
respond with creativity to the needs of the
Church, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, said
April 8.
Organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life, the April 8-11 seminar was
held during the Year for Consecrated Life
called for by Pope Francis.
The event began with a prayer vigil April 7,
and will close April 11 with a Mass celebrated
by Cardinal Braz de Aviz, prefect of the congregation, in St. Peters Basilica.
Roughly 1200 religious from all over the
world gathered to discuss the fundamental
identity of consecrated life as well as formational needs unique to the contemporary age.
In addition to the scheduled presentations,
there will be more than 50 workshops on current issues that participants can attend. The
seminar will close with a formation forum

Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle FILE PHOTO

vMANILA, April 14, 2015I

have an appeal to make to our
fellow Filipinos who are planning
to work abroad: Do not just accept parcels or bags from people,
especially [from] those you do not
Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle had this
to say as a reminder to future and
current Overseas Filipino Workers
(OFW) to avoid sharing the fate
of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina
sentenced to die by firing squad in
Indonesia for allegedly possessing
2.6 kilos of heroin in 2010.
Drug mules
In an interview over Church-run
Radio Veritas, the prelate advised
OFWs to always be on their
guard and to refuse any persons,
whether casual acquaintances or
total strangers, who request them
to carry something in their stead.
If you have no idea what is
inside that bag, you will be the one
responsible because it is in your
possession. If the content turns out

to be illegal, you might be arrested

for it, Tagle said.
In the same interview, the cardinal addressed narcotics dealers and
other lawless elements involved
in drug trade not to exploit unsuspecting OFWs in their illicit
activities who often end up paying
for the crimes of others.
Due process
Moreover, Tagle pleaded with
the Indonesian government to
give Veloso, a 30-year old single
mother from Cabanatuan, Nueva
Ecija, as well as other OFWs who
have run afoul with the law in their
host countries, the proper hearing
everyone deserves.
I appeal that Mary Jane Veloso
be given due process. While I do
respect the laws of other other
countries. I appeal on behalf of all
people who will be arrested, that
their rights be respected and that
due process be extended to them,
he added. (Raymond A. Sebastin/CBCP News with reports
from Roxanne dela Rosa)

merciful. We who obtained mercy

must also show mercy to others,
he exclaimed.
In his lecture, the lawyer-preacher from Bicol told the audience that
as Jesus Himself extended mercy to
the lost, the last, and the least of
His time, so too are todays faithful
called upon to do the same to their
less fortunate neighbors.

Look at the Gospels. Each

time a person approached Jesus
and exclaims to Him, Lord, have
mercy, has there been a time that
that person was rebuffed? Has there
been a time that Jesus did not show
mercy to someone who is sick, to
someone who is dying, to someone
who is dead, to a widow, to an
orphan? Llasos asked.

they experience it first in others,

the lawyer-preacher challenged the
faithful to be Gods Mercy to them.

Mercy in action
According to him, the Gospels
abound in stories of Christ pitying
the paralytic, the lepers, the lame,
the possessed, the blind, the needy,
the widows and orphans: those
whom Pope Francis calls people
in the peripheries.

To the peripheries
These are the people we must
go to, so that through us they will
experience the Mercy of God, he
Noting that the poor, the outcast, those in the margins cannot
experience the Divine Mercy unless

Religious sisters at the Training Center School of Love in Kkottongnaeon, South Korea CNA

having an interdicasterial vision.

Cardinal Braz de Aviz spoke with the formators at the beginning of the seminar, telling them that the Year for Consecrated Life
is an occasion to establish common points
on their journey, specifically in the area of
formation, which he said is so important.

For all of us the call remains to make fruitful the paths already traveled by many true
disciples of Jesus, the cardinal said, explaining that to bear fruit in this sense involves
looking at the present moment, which is
new, complex and challenging. (Elise Harris/

Be Gods mercy to others preacher

Lawyer-preacher Marwil N. Llasos discusses the Divine Mercy and how people whose
lives have been transformed by it are duty-bound to be merciful to others by following
the example of Jesus, Gods Mercy Incarnate. RAYMOND A. SEBASTIN

MANILA, April 13, 2015Reflecting on what theologians dub

Gods greatest attribute, a Catholic lay speaker has reminded those
whose lives have been touched by
Gods Mercy of their duty to share it
with the underprivileged, especially
in this Year of the Poor.
Let us proclaim the Mercy of
God by showing mercy to others. We must be the image of
the Divine Mercy, said Marwil
N. Llasos during the monthly
recollection of the Company of
St. Dominic (CSD), on Sunday,
Feast of Divine Mercy, held at
Santa Catalina College in Legarda,
Sampaloc, Manila.
God is merciful. We should be

Mercy Incarnate
He described the Son of God
as no less than Mercy Incarnate
Himself from whose Sacred Heart
Blood and Water flow the Divine
Llasos explained that by dying
on the Cross, Jesus showed mankind how merciful God is.
We must take advantage of the
miracle of Gods Mercy. Because
we all know that there is no misery
that could be a match to the Mercy
of God, added. (Raymond A.
Sebastin/CBCP News)


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

CBCP Monitor


YES, the political scene in the country is anything but a reason

to celebrate, a phenomenon to jump for joy. Yes, the political
culture imbibed by the Filipinos in general is certainly neither that
inspiring nor that convincing to proclaim. But yes, signs of hope
are there for politics in the Philippines to be commendable and
wherefore acceptable. While there is no room yet for optimism,
neither is pessimism in order. And this promising eventuality is
anchored on different factors such as the following:
More and more simple people are poised to vote wisely, i.e.,
over and above the wealth and popularity of the candidates. In
addition to this, they are also more conscious of the necessity of
having their votes duly counted through credible means. They feel
that they have had enough of the political gimmickry among the
candidates whose election into office precisely made their already
poor life and simple living even more miserable.
More and more civic-minded Filipinos share their time, talent
and resources through healthy volunteerism in the formation of
organizations and movements primarily intended to inform and
guide the voters on voting wisely by knowing the candidates
better as to their persons and credentials. The truth is that the
voters in general are already aware of what crooked politicians
eventually do to their already difficult lives.
More and more non-traditional politicians are elected into
office in the same way that more and more young and idealistic,
trustworthy and competent candidates for public office are emerging, challenged as they are by the evils brought about by power
and money politics. Together with the Filipinos in general, they
feel that they themselvestheir own families includedhave
already had enough of dirty politics.
The above-cited more positive and inspiring signs of hope in the
eventual transformation of Philippine politics for the common
good and public welfare of Filipinos are neither but dreams nor
mere imaginations. The rallies for a better governmentwhich
is the same as saying the quest for better political officialsare
staged not only in Metro Manila but also in the different regions
of the country.
But just the same, it is good to remember the wise saying: One
step at a time, goes far in a day. In other words, such a huge and
widespread viciousness in Philippine politics can be effectively
counteracted by the salutary pairing of duly-informed and civicminded citizens plus upright, competent and working politicians.
The plain and simple truth is that if the citizens themselves allow
crooked, incompetent and avaricious politicians to govern them,
complain they may not because such an odious political reality
is, in effect, their own making by their social indifference, civic
It is not really hopeless. Philippine politics can still be transformed into what really is politics and what it is really for. The
incumbent politiciansgiven their misdirected interests plus
disabled visionare doing much to awaken the Filipinos to be
politically vigilant.

The common good and peace in society

WE have spoken at length about joy and love, but the word of
God also speaks about the fruit of peace (cf. Gal 5:22).
Peace in society cannot be understood as pacification or the
mere absence of violence resulting from the domination of one
part of society over others. Nor does true peace act as a pretext
for justifying a social structure which silences or appeases the
poor, so that the more affluent can placidly support their lifestyle
while others have to make do as they can. Demands involving the
distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights
cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on
paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity
of the human person and the common good rank higher than the
comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When
these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.
Nor is peace simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after
day towards the establishment of the ordered universe willed by
God, with a more perfect justice among men. In the end, a peace
which is not the result of integral development will be doomed;
it will always spawn new conflicts and various forms of violence.
People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their
lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens, not as a mob
swayed by the powers that be. Let us not forget that responsible
citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral
obligation. Yet becoming a people demands something more. It
is an ongoing process in which every new generation must take
part: a slow and arduous effort calling for a desire for integration
and a willingness to achieve this through the growth of a peaceful
and multifaceted culture of encounter.
Progress in building a people in peace, justice and fraternity
depends on four principles related to constant tensions present in every social reality. These derive from the pillars of the
Churchs social doctrine, which serve as primary and fundamental parameters of reference for interpreting and evaluating
social phenomena. In their light I would now like to set forth
these four specific principles which can guide the development of
life in society and the building of a people where differences are
harmonized within a shared pursuit. I do so out of the conviction
that their application can be a genuine path to peace within each
nation and in the entire world.
--Evangelii Gaudium, #217-221


Illustration by Bladimer Usi

Signs of hope


Views and Points

Oscar V. Cruz, D.D.

The relationship of man with the

world is a constitutive part of his
human dignity. This relationship
is in turn the result of another still
deeper relationship between man and
God. (Compendium of the Social
Doctrine of the Church, Chap. 10,
IV, p. 263 ss)
THE above quotation is but one
composite truth that is both in
the natural order as well as in the
supernal sphere. It consists of
some kind of both a simple yet
also profound triangle of objective
truthsin the following descending order: God-World-Man. The
following questions thus come
to mind: What is the world for
without man and how would man
be without the world? Is man for
the world or is the world for man?
Does the world come from man or

does man come from the world?

If man does not come from the
world and the world does not
come from man, where do the
world and man come from? More
than a mere academic or simple
speculative exercise, the above
questions raised are worth answering in all sincerity and truth.
All the above queries have the
following answersnot only according to the reach of the mind in
line with the understanding as well
as with the feeling of someone who
is realistic and rational, objective
and logical: Man who cannot even
make but himself, could not have
made the world. The world being
devoid of intelligence and feeling
could not have brought man about
considering that the latter has a rational faculty, spirit, emotion, and
other superior qualitative attributes

Living Mission
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM

the world is altogether devoid of.

So is it that if man could not have
come from the world, and the
world could not have come from
man, there is but one objective
truth and sound conclusion in the
light of human reason and in the
sphere of faith: Both the world and
man come from Godor from a
And considering that the world
is for man, man may not but care
for the world, viz., caring for the
world as required by what nature
reveals and dictated by reason and
ethics. In the same way, considering that man comes from God, he
may not but recognize his omnipotence and goodness, his providence
and benevolence. And considering
furthermore that the world likewise
comes from God, it is incumbent
upon man to protect and preserve

its natural integrity and connatural features. The above premises

and conclusions are neither that
profound nor that complex in
their respective meaning and implication such that only those who
have superior intelligence and supernatural faith could understand
and affirm. Honesty and sincerity
are also effective means to know the
truths not only about the world but
also about man and about God.
So is it that just as the world has
man to care for, man cannot but
also care for the worldsimply
for their mutual advantage and
benefit. And as man attends to
and protects the world from being
abused and wasted, so does the
world in turn attend and protect
man from being victimized by a
killer world. God made the world
for man!

In Solidarity with
Jesus and Mary

Year of the Poor Reflections

DURING this time of Holy Week and the
Easter season, it is most fitting to recall the
beautiful and appropriate words of Pope Francis,
spoken in his impromptu homily in Tacloban
on January 17, 2015. Celebrating the Mass
while clothed in his yellow plastic raincoat, the
Pope said: If today all of us are gathered here,
fourteen months after the passage of Typhoon
Yolanda, it is because we are certain that we will
not be disappointed in our faith, for Jesus has
gone before us. In his passion he took upon
himself all of our sorrows.
Let me tell you something personal. When
I witnessed this disaster from Rome, I felt that I
had to be here. That is when I decided to come
here. I wanted to come to be with you. Maybe
you will tell me that I came a little late; that is
true, but here I am!
Jesus, Our Faithful Brother. Pope Francis
continued: I am here to tell you that Jesus is
Lord, that Jesus does not disappoint. Father,
one of you may tell me, he disappointed me
because I lost my house, I lost my family, I lost
everything I had, I am sick. What you say is
true and I respect your feelings, but I see him
there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does

not disappoint us. He was consecrated Lord on

that throne, and there he experienced all the
disasters we experience. Jesus is Lord! And, he
is Lord from the cross, from there he reigned.
So many of you lost everything. I do not
know what to tell you. But, surely he knows
what to tell you! So many of you have lost
members of your family. I can only be silent; I
accompany you silently, with my heart.
Many of you looked to Christ and asked:
Why, Lord? To each of you the Lord responds
from his heart. I have no other words to say to
you. Let us look to Christ: he is the Lord, and
he understands us, for he experienced all the
troubles we experience.
Mary, Mother of the Poor. Pope Francis
continued his meditation by inviting the suffering poor to look to Mary who stood with
Jesus beneath the cross. Let us be still for a
moment; let us look to our Mother, and be
like a little child, let us reach out, cling to her
skirt and say to her in our hearts: Mother. Let
us make this prayer in silence; let everyone say
it whatever way he or she feels.
We are not alone; we have a Mother; we
have Jesus, our older brother. We are not

Order amid
todays clutter

alone. This is all that I feel I have to say to

you. Forgive me if I have no other words. But,
be sure that Jesus does not disappoint us; be sure
that the love and tenderness of our Mother does
not disappoint us.
Prayer of Faith and Gratitude. Pope Francis
noted at the end of the Mass that Jesus, through
his passion, death and resurrection, accompanies us on our journey. Then, Francis paused
to pray with the suffering people: Thank you,
Lord, for being with us here today. Thank you,
Lord, for sharing our sorrows. Thank you, Lord,
for giving us hope. Thank you, Lord, for your
great mercy. Thank you, Lord, because you
wanted to be like one of us. Thank you, Lord,
for giving us hope. Lord, may no one rob us of
hope! Thank you, Lord, because in the darkest
moment of your own life, on the cross, you
thought of us and you left us a mother, your
mother. Thank you, Lord, for not leaving us
Thank you, Lord, for sharing our lives as our
crucified-risen Savior. Thank you, Lord, for
giving us Mary, your own mother, to journey
with us through suffering and death to the joy
of the resurrection.

Candidly Speaking
Fr. Roy Cimagala



Pedro C. Quitorio

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WE cannot deny that todays clutter has grown

a lot more than in the previous generations. It
has gone ballistic and viral, as they say, because
the clutter mentality is highly contagious. It
has become something like an epidemic. There
are just too many things around, small and big,
ordinary and very important. You look around,
and almost always thats what you seeclutter.
This is not only in the field of the material
and the physical. More serious than that is the
mental clutter which can betray an even deeper
disorder. Many of us are so overloaded with
data and pieces of information, with plans and
concerns, often without connection with each
other, that we would not know anymore what
to do with them.
If ever there is some concern for order, it is
often pegged on shallow and highly ephemeral
reasons if not self-serving motives. Todays idea
of order does not go much further than mere
window-dressing or sweeping things under
the rug.
Because of this, we also see a lot of waste
around. Recycling waste helps very little, since
what is recycled goes back to the vicious cycle

of producing too many things that often are

just junk. We need to examine more closely
the wisdom behind recycling, since whatever
economic and ecological benefits recycling can
achieve may already be outweighed by its contribution to the vicious cycle.
Anyway, there are many other bad consequences of clutter and disorder. We would not
know, for example, which task to do first, since
our sense of priority would already have gone
We would be prone to give knee-jerk reactions, and raw, unprocessed responses to things
and events. We would easily be at the mercy
of passing conditionings, fads and trends. We
become forgetful of many things. We can develop the vices of improvisations, shallow and
narrow-minded considerations, precipitated
actions that often show rash judgments and lack
of thoughtfulness.
We need to launch a big campaign to reinstall
the sense of order in everyone. It seems this
virtue has been taken for granted. And people
do not know anymore the value of order, nor
its basis and purpose, and much less the ways

to live it.
Some techniques at keeping order, of course,
are helpful. The habit of acting on things immediately without unnecessary delay is one of
them. Keeping schedules and knowing to put
things in their proper places is another. Making plans or thinking ahead before acting is
still another.
But all these techniques can only go so far.
What is most basic about this whole business
about order is to know where order starts from.
We just should not content ourselves with our
own idea of order. That would often lead to a
certain and subtle form of disorder sooner or
We need to understand that order starts
always with God, and is kept and developed
properly with Him. After all, God is our Creator
and supreme lawgiver, who maintains everything in order, not only physical and worldly
order, but also and more importantly, moral
and spiritual order. Outside of Him, there can
only be disorder that unavoidably causes clutter.
This is a very important consideration because
Candidly Speaking / A5

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Pilgrim at the Periphery

Tessa G. Mangahas

I WAS robbed.
Yes, last week, my kasambahay of four
years, whom we already regarded as family,
claimed that she was convinced by a gang of
budol-budol to make not one, but two trips
to my house, get personal valuables and hand
it over to people who supposedly told her that
she would earn a hefty amount in exchange.
Her incredible story reeked of inconsistencies
and it was clear to me that she fell to the lure
of an easy, sizable sum.
Like a good citizen but with a heavy heart,
I went through the motions of reporting the
incident to the authorities and they apprehended her. However, the authorities were not
unable to arrest the rest of the gang nor were
they able to retrieve any of the stolen valuables.
Like a good citizen, I faced the prosecutor and
relayed the entire story. Like a good citizen, I
allowed the wheels of justice take its course.
But I couldnt prevent my tears and my knees
from weakening when I heard that the case
of qualified theft was non-bailable and the
sentence could range from twenty years to
reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment!
That seemed a little drastic to me but as they
say, the law is harsh, but it is the law.
Today, my daughter and I visited her in
jail. Again, my heart broke and my tears
fell. Our little ate was clutching a rosary and
there were novena booklets strewn around her

small, dingy wretched space. She burst into

tears when she saw me and started relaying
her story once again that is full of loopholes
and left me with even more questions. We
listened. In our hearts, we forgave her for her
betrayal of our trust.
The incident reminded me of the Pope
John Paul II and how he readily forgave his
assailant Ali Agca right after he came out from
the hospital. It reminded me of Jesus and how
He forgave his persecutors from the cross. I
never thought that mercy could be so darn
difficult. I once thought that my random acts
of mercy such as giving alms and visiting prisoners, the elderly and children during parish
outreach activities were more than enough.
They felt good inside. I thought I was being
so merciful to my brothers. But this incident
opened my eyes to the real mercy that the
world needs. Oftentimes, we reel, bewildered
and overwhelmed by the instances of evil and
fear we see in our world every day. When all
sense of fairness lies on the balance, can you
really find it in your heart to forgive and show
mercy? Would you give in to pity at the risk
of letting the real culprits ply the streets once
more and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting?
Our family was confronted by a complex
decision. When do we draw the line between
being a good citizen, letting the law takes its
course and being a good Christian and forgiv-

are able to participate devoutly

in the rites themselves through
the television or radio, will be
able to receive the plenary indulgence according to the norms of
canon law.
The plenary indulgence may
be applied by way of suffrage, to
the souls of the faithful detained
in Purgatory, if they visit the
Cathedral Church of Kalookan
by way of a pilgrimage and they
devoutly attend the determined
jubilee celebrations or would at
least for a significant period of
time offer prayers to God for the
fidelity of the Filipino people to
their Christian vocation and implore sacerdotal and religious state
and for defense of the institution
of the human family, concluding
with the Lords Prayer, the Creed
or invocations to our Blessed Virgin Mary and San Roque.
Fr. Gaudioso Sustento, Rector
of San Roque Cathedral, and Fr.
Benedict Cervantes, Parochial
Vicar, read the decree during the
Mass, in Latin and in Tagalog,
It seems that there is a neverending persecution of Christians
in different parts of the world;
peace is still difficult to attain.
As discussed in our last issue, we
need to pray harder, we have to
appeal to the Lord our God for
understanding among men and
nations, we must give up pride
and vested interests to give peace
a chance, to achieve peace in our
hearts and in our community.
Last Maundy Thursday, the
Somalia-based al-Shabaab militants attacked the Garissa University College which left 148


ing? We were confronted by the question of

justice. We may be personally magnanimous
but should our magnanimity allow us to override the public justice?
We prayed. Hard. We looked to the Risen
Lord who offered His love that pardons,
reconciles and reopens hearts to love and
compassion. We looked to St. John Paul II
who promoted mercy. Do we restrain the
sentiment of severe justice and allow ourselves
to be moved by the wretchedness of the situation? Do we forget four years of togetherness
and act on the basis of the fairness of the
law? Have we really been so driven by impersonal and fair things that we have grown
uneasy to the idea of mercy?
It was extremely agonizing, but our family
has reached a decision. It is a decision that we
pray is based on mercy, good citizenship and
more importantly, a love that may hopefully
convert the heart and give peace to us all.
I realized that we would never escape from
the scourges of wars, misery, discrimination,
human rights violations and hunger if our
own hearts were not changed. Perhaps this is
the mercy and compassion, especially for the
people at the peripheries that Pope Francis
wished for us to have in our hearts. Perhaps
this is the hope that the Risen Lord brings
and the Divine Mercy that St. John Paul II
hoped for us all.

Duc In Altum
Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
young Christian students dead.
The President of the Kenyan
Bishops Conference urged the
Easter worshippers to pray for
peace and security in their country. In his message, Pope Francis condemned the assault by
Somali militants, calling it an
act of senseless brutality. His
Holiness condemns the senseless
brutality and prays for a change
of heart among its perpetrators.
No less than our very own,
His Excellency CBCP President
Archbishop Socrates Villegas also
asked for prayers for victims of
religious persecution. In his Easter Sunday message, Archbishop
Soc enumerated the forms of
corruption in the government
and the Mamasapano case as
among the countrys litany of
frustrations. He said that these
challenges are among the reasons
why many Filipinos are failing to
find joy in the Christian life. The
litany of frustrations includes
Yolanda, Mamasapano, the unsolved problem of government
corruption, the loneliness of our
OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). Archbishop Soc prayed We
ask Jesus, the Victor over death,
to lighten the sufferings of our
many brothers and sisters who
are persecuted for his name, and
of all those who suffer injustice
as a result of ongoing conflicts
and violence.
He implored for peace for
Syria, Iraq, the Holy Land,
Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, Congo. Kenya, Ukraine. He
prayed for those who have been
kidnapped, and for those forced
to abandon their homes and their

dear ones. He prayed for peace

and freedom for the many men
and women subject to old and
new forms of enslavement on
the part of criminal individuals
and groups. Peace and liberty for
the victims of drug dealers; peace
for this world subjected to arms
dealers. He prayed that the marginalized, the imprisoned, the
poor and the migrants who are
so often rejected, maltreated and
discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those
who are victims of violence; all
who today are in mourning, and
all men and women of goodwill,
hear the consoling voice of the
Lord Jesus: Peace to you! (Lk
24:36). Fear not, for I am risen
and I shall always be with you
(cf. Roman Missal, Entrance
Antiphon for Easter Day).
The Parish of San Ildefonso
de Navotas, through its Parish
Priest Fr. Jerome Cruz, invites the
lay faithful to support its SIMBAYANIHAN 2585 Project
(Bayanihan para sa Simbahan
ni San Ildefonso), a fund raising
project of the parish to finance the
construction of its church. Since
the construction of the present
church in 1965, it is only now
that it will be rehabilitated, widened and refurbished. The Project
needs a total fund of Php 30 million; all donations are to be duly
receipted; financial reports are announced during Sunday Masses.
Donations may be remitted to the
parish office at Estrella corner M.
Naval St., Navotas East, Navotas
City. Interested parties may call
up the parish (Nancy or Angel)
at (02) 281-0453.

Touch Me Not

Fr. Francis Ongkingco

ITS called Touch-Me-Not, my father said

when he saw me curiously trying to identify a
thorny weed. The plant had thickly carpeted
green the borders of the path we were trekking upon in one of our casual hikes through
a gulley near our house.
Go ahead, stroke any leaf, he told me.
Dad saw I was a bit hesitant about the thorns.
He knelt down and touched a leaf.
It was an amazing discovery! At the slightest
touch, the plants leaves started to quiver and
close upon itself. I was so intrigued by this
natural wonder that I could not be removed
from the spot as I experimented on the weeds
other possible reactions.
Some years later I was reminded about
this childhood experience during high school
Filipino class when we studied Jose Rizals
writings. Our teacher explained the title of
Rizals famous book, the Noli me tangere. She
said, that it was Spanish for touch me not.
Many more years later, I again encounter
the phrase, but this time in a class on Sacred
Scripture. They were Jesus words to Mary
Magdalene after His Resurrection. I was again
reminded about sprawling thorny weed of my
childhood days.
This time, however, I wondered what
may have prompted our Lord to say such
a thing when it was only natural for Mary
Magdalene a faithful and devoted disciplenot to only touch our Lord, but also
to embrace Him.
Our teacher in Scripture explained,
based on commentaries on the Gospel of

Carolyn Moynihan

San Roque Cathedral

@ 200th Years
MOST Rev. Francisco de Leon,
D.D., Apostolic Administrator
of the Diocese of Kalookan,
together with the clergy and the
laity of San Roque Cathedral
led the solemn celebration of
the 200th Anniversary of the
canonical erection of the Parish
of San Roque, which had been
raised to the status of a cathedral in 2003, when the Diocese
of Kalookan was decreed. The
rites of blessing and opening of
the Jubilee Door of San Roque
Cathedral, preceded the Holy
Mass with Bishop Francis as the
main celebrant and the Kalookan
clergy as concelebrants.
Present during the Eucharistic
Celebration were the officers
of the Parish Pastoral Council
(PPC), church organizations
and the lay faithful of San Roque
Cathedral headed by Ms. Ida
Nocum and Mr. Warren Bularan,
PPC Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively. Mayor Oscar
Malapitan, Vice Mayor Macario
Asistio III and city councilors
also graced the celebration.
To mark the occasion, His
Holiness Pope Francis issued the
decree dated March 06, 2015
granting to Bishop Francisco de
Leon and all the Christian faithful, who are present at the sacred
rites, the Papal Blessing with plenary indulgence under the usual
required conditions (Sacramental
Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer for the intention
of the Holy Father).
The decree further states that
the Christian faithful, who devoutly receive the Papal Blessing
even if by reasonable circumstances are not physically present
at the rites, for as long as they

Treading the thin line of

citizenship and mercy

John, that this was a negative imperative

in Greek, indicating that our Lord was in
fact telling
Mary to release her hold on Him, to let
Him go, since she will have another chance
to see Him before His Ascension into Heaven. (Commentary from the Navarre Bible)
Despite this now clearer explanation about
Jesus enigmatic expression, I believe that we
are quite far from following Marys example
of really touching Jesus. Im referring how our
faith can sometimes be too formal, distant
and dry. Unlike Mary Magdalene, our faith
has not yet engaged us to the point of bearing
fruit to a distinctive expression and personal
encounter with our Lord.
Speaking of the sense of touch, Jacques
Philippe reflects that although it is the first
sense we developed even while in our mothers
womb, it is not as powerful and rich as
the senses of seeing and hearing. However,
Philippe says, touch is the most primordial
sense and the one most essential to life and
communication. And above all, it has one
advantage that the other senses dont have:
reciprocity, meaning that we cannot touch an
object without being touched by it. (Thirsting
for Prayer)
This unique feature of the sense of touch
commits the individual, because he must
necessarily render himself vulnerable to the
touch of the other. Unlike the other senses,
Philippe observes, we can see without being
seen by something or hear without being
heard (Ibid.)

Thus, during our Lords time, there were

countless men and women who saw and heard
Him, but were never touched because they remained at a comfortable distance from Christ.
Like them, we, too, could end up satisfied
with a long-distance relationship with Jesus.
We are cautious, calculating and afraid that
by touching Jesus and truly meeting Him, He
may ask more of us, complicate our lives and
disrupt our comfort settings.
Because of this, we could be, in fact, the
ones telling our Lord, noli me tangere, Lord.
This echoes what Peter proudly exclaimed
impulsively, You [Lord] will not wash my
feet! But afterwards Simon was humbled
and succumbed to the Masters servile gesture
when he realized he had to allow his feet to be
washed if he wanted to have greater intimacy
with Jesus Christ.
We therefore realize that our faith like
all the saints before us, can grow more. By
faith we can touch God and let ourselves be
touched by Him, set up an inner communion
with Him and allow ourselves to be transformed little by little by His grace. (Ibid.)
On the contrary, when we do not allow
God to touch us with His mercy and grace,
we react like the thorny Touch-Me-Not plant.
We close our souls and shy away from Gods
goodness. We prefer to be left where we are,
how we are and as we are. We are momentary
amusements of passersby whose childlike
touches of curiosity fail to even draw us away
from the midst of barren rocks and brambles
that are choking us in this world.

Who will inherit the

earth? Not atheists,
RELIGION, as certain members of the media never fail to remind us at this time of year, seems to be on the decline, and for
disgruntled secularists, the end cannot come quickly enough. But
the death of God, at least in the hearts of most human beings, is
a Western illusion. New demographic projections suggest that its
non-believers who are more likely to languish while the religious
inherit the earth.
Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Demographic Research just
before Easter, Conrad Hackett, of the Pew Research Centre, and
others acknowledge that the number of people who say they are
atheists or agnostics or nothing in particular is growing in regions
such as North America and Europe. But they say the assumption
that the whole world will go the same way ignores the impact of
demographics. Putting it bluntly, religious people have more kids.
For a start, religious women are younger by six years at median
age (28 vs 34). For the period 2010 and 2015 their average fertility
(total fertility rate or TFR) is 2.59 children per woman, compared
with 1.65 children per woman among the religiously unaffiliated,
which is nearly a full childless. High fertility (more than two)
also lends momentum to population growth.
On this basis, and taking into account different religions, the
age structure of populations and patterns of religious switching
(disaffiliation or the reverse) the researchers project the size of
the religious and non-religious population of the world in 2050.
They find that although the number of non-religious people
will continue to increase, that growth will be outpaced by faster
overall population growth driven disproportionately by religious
women. In their main scenario, the researchers foresee a decline
of the religiously unaffiliated share of the population from 16.4
percent in 2010 to 13.2 percent in 2050. Even in a scenario
weighted in favor of disaffiliation, this share would be smaller than
now at 14.3 percent.
These figures show that the world overwhelmingly leans towards
religion, and indicate that it will continue to do so. Even in North
America and Europe, if the projections are anywhere near the truth,
three out of four people will claim religious affiliation in 2050. In
the Middle east, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa between 97
percent and 100 percent of people will remain affiliated.
No room for complacency
However, there is no room for complacency among religious
people. While the outlook is gloomy for atheists, it is not particularly bright for Christians. Another Pew report shows that they
will barely hold their numerical dominance over a more rapidly
increasing Muslim population. Indeed, if it werent for the youth
and vigour of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, Christians globally
would lose their edge. Four out of every 10 Christians in the world
will live in that region by 2010.
In the United States, for example, Christians will decline from
more than three-quarters of the population to two-thirds as younger
people increasingly give up the faith, or at least nominal religious
identity, of their parents. The same is true of many European
countries. Australia and the United Kingdom are among seven
Christian majority countries in which Christians will be less than
half of the population by 2050. In New Zealand, France and the
Netherlands the unaffiliated will be the largest group.
In the Asia-Pacific region, however, the unaffiliated population
will decline along with a general decrease in the worlds share of
population owing to advanced age and low fertility. This region includes China, which currently has 62 percent (700 million people)
of the worlds unaffiliated population, but also India, where both
the Hindu and Muslim populations are younger and more fertile.
Sub-Saharan Africas population will grow more, and faster,
than any other regions. Despite a near doubling of the unaffiliated (from 26 million to 50 million) the religious population will
increase more.
How it matters
What effects would these changes have on countries, regions
and the world at large? Hackett and colleagues point out that
changes in religious identity can have important consequences for
family formation (religious people are more likely to marry and
stay married), educational attainment, civic engagement (church
attendance is a plus for family stability) and health outcomes
(some research links going to church with greater longevity and
better health).
At the societal level, the researchers say, changes in the unaffiliated share of population could influence political elections as
well as how science and religion are taught. (Or perhaps whether
religion can be taught at all.) Communication between increasingly secularized but less fertile Europe and north America on the
one hand, and highly affiliated and rapidly growing African and
Middle-Eastern regions on the other, could become more difficult
and heighten geopolitical tensions.
Of course, none of this is written in stone. What would happen, for example, if China became a democracy with true religious
freedom? Even under heavy controls, and often persecution, tens of
millions of Chinese have become Christians, so there is potential
there to boost religious affiliation enormously.
What difference would further development of emerging economies make? Demographers tend to assume that as people grow
wealthier they will give up religion. But Hackett and colleagues
say that should not be taken for granted: There is currently no
precedent for this sequence in a Muslim-majority country. In
Hindu-majority India, religious affiliation remains almost universal
even as the country is experiencing major social changes. China
also bucks the assumed trend.
One of the great unknowns is whether Christians in Europe
and the Anglo-American world will get off their feather beds and
become counter-cultural. Today, that would involve a greater commitment to marriage and children, without which they will slowly
but surely be eclipsed. Beyond 2050, the projections look even less
favorable. (Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet)

Candidly Speaking / A4

many times our idea of order is

based only on some worldly values
like efficiency, effectiveness, profitability, convenience, aesthetics,
etc. These obviously have their
importance, but if not founded on
God and His laws, these can only
give us a false or incomplete if not
deceptive sense of order.
We have to disabuse ourselves
from the thought that God has
nothing to do with our duty to
keep order and avoid clutter. Or
that God can only get in the way
of our work and pursuits for order.
Or that His requirements and conditions for order are too idealistic
and are undoable.
These have no basis at all. If
theres anyone who is most inter-

ested in order, and knows how to

achieve it, what it involves, who
enables us to live and develop it,
it is God. He even expands our
idea of order to include not only
physical and worldly order but also
spiritual and moral order.
It is an order that would bring
us to our eternal life, and not just
something pragmatic that no matter how useful will only have a shelf
life. A God-inspired sense of order
will always make use of whatever
human, natural and worldly criteria
of order there are, but will purify
and elevate them to the supernatural
level where our destiny is.
We have to be vitally united with
God if we need to live order amid
todays clutter.


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Family of Pinay on
Indonesias death row
getting death threats
THE family of Mary Jane Veloso
who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling is held
hostage by fear.
Velosos mother, Celia, said they
have received death threats after
they started giving media interviews about a person who allegedly
framed her daughter.
They said that are from an international [drug] syndicate. They
told us before not to entertain the
media because they will kill us all,
Celia said.
We believe it now because
after our media interviews, they
have come and gone several times
already. They would ask our neighbors [about us], but would leave
immediately when told where we
live, she said.
Celia alleged that Maria Kristina
Sergio, live-in partner of Mary
Janes god-brother, had earlier
warned them not to speak to anyone about her daughters case.
Sergio allegedly recruited Mary
Jane to Malaysia before deceiving
her to carry a luggage filled with

heroin to Indonesia.
Celia together with her husband,
Cesar, and Mary Janes two children, met with some officials of
the Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Philippines in Manila on
Friday to ask for help.
Gary Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, reiterated his call for the police authorities to arrest Sergio, adding
that it may help the government
in appealing for Mary Janes
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive
secretary of the CBCP Public
Affairs Committee, said he will
immediately forward to the of the
bishops the concerns raised by
Mary Janes family.
Lets see what possible intervention the Catholic Church can do
about the security of the family,
he said.
As of now, the purpose is to discuss this and to listen to the parents
so we could determine what move
we are going to take, Secillano
said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

HIV-AIDS cases linked to

broken homes
AN official of the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) has linked the booming
cases of Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV) Acquired Immunedeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the
country with the less than ideal
domestic setup prevailing in many
Filipino homes today, lamenting
many persons living with HIVAIDs hail from broken families.
Values formation at home
Many young people these
days have a distorted concept of
sexuality due to the lack of what
we call family values formation,
Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino, MI,
executive secretary of CBCPs Episcopal Commission on Health Care
(ECHC), told Church-run Radio
Veritas in an interview.
Because of this, they were
deprived of a deep parent-child
relationship. The familial ties have
been damaged. It is no wonder that
many of our patients would come
from broken families, dysfunctional families, he explained.
Back to basics
Noting how poor parent-child
relationship tends to influence
the rise in HIV-AIDS incidence
in the predominantly Catholic
Philippines, Cancino called on the
faithful to go back to the basics
family values and prayerin order
to combat the further spread of the
lethal global pandemic.

Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino, MI, executive

secretary of CBCPs Episcopal Commission
on Health Care (ECHC) CBCPNews

Lets all go back to the basics:

family values and prayer. Too bad,
many of our people have neglected
their prayer lives. They are only
reminded to pray when they are
suffering from illness. Thats the
time most of them run to the
Lord, he added.
Growing HIV-AIDS population
Based on data from the Department of Health (DOH) National
Epidemiology Center (NEC),
there has been a marked increase
in HIV-AIDS cases nationwide.
In February, DOH-NEC recorded 646 new cases of the contagious disease. (Raymond A.
Sebastin/CBCP News with
reports from Roxanne dela Rosa)

CBCP Monitor

Catholic Church supportive of

BBL MILF negotiator

MILF Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the Catholic Church, as well as other faith-based groups are supportive of the BBL. In a briefing with members of the Foreign
Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Iqbal said there lies a need to go on a massive information campaign for the people and to engage lawmakers as the real battle
is in Congress. To his right is Chief Government Negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. MELO M. ACUA

BACKING from a major institution. This is

how MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher
Iqbal sees the Catholic Churchs support for
the hotly-debated Bangsamoro Basic Law
The Catholic church is supportive of the
BBL, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines, Ateneo de Davao President Joel
Tabora, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G.
Cardinal Tagle, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando
B. Cardinal Quevedo at Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Jr. [support it], Iqbal
told the foreign correspondents and a sprinkling
of diplomats and a couple of officers from the
American Chamber of Commerce recently.
Iqbal said there is also growing support from
other Christian churches such as the Protestant
groups, specifically the Philippine Council of
Evangelical Churches along with civil society organizations and non-government organizations.
Real battle in Congress
There is an overwhelming support from
Moro groups including traditional leaders,
politicians and ordinary people, he added.De-

spite this, however, Iqbal said there is a need to

increase and strengthen the support base for
the BBL pending at both Houses of Congress,
saying the real battle now is in Congress.
Speaking before the Foreign Correspondents
Association of the Philippines Tuesday, Iqbal
said in his opening statement that BBL supporters need to be identified thoroughly and
ways have to be found to strengthen and consolidate partnerships with them.He went on to
describe international support for the BBL as
very strong. Iqbal also shared he looks forward
to further developing close relations with the
business community such as the Makati Business Clun and the Mindanao Business Council.
Pulse of the people
Iqbal said there should be a massive information campaign on the salient provisions of the
proposed BBL and the need for peace in the
country. He added more often than not, the
attitude of politicians are conditioned by the
pulse of their electorates.
We have to rally educational institutions
and academicians behind the BBLs passage,

he stressed. He also mentioned future engagements with 18 surviving members of the 1987
Constitutional Commission.
Iqbal likewise cited the challenge of engaging
those who are against the BBLs passage, including
the majority of media practitioners, especially
after the Mamasapano incident. He said some
politicians and opposition groups are using the
BBL as tool of politics, while majority of the
Filipinos have not read nor studied the draft law.
Strong biases
He bewailed the fact there still lies anti-Moro
biases and prejudices which he described as
very strong in Luzon and the Visayas as there
are hostile opinion-makers, columnists, talk
show hosts and a lot more.
Should the BBL fails to be passed, the MILFs
clout, popularity and effectiveness will sink to
the lowest level as there will no longer be decommissioning of its weapons and combatants and
no Exit Agreement will be signed.
He candidly said the radicals will have
greater say on how the situation develops in
Mindanao. (Melo M. Acua/CBCPNews)

Netizens / A7

this country, too? Anna Cosio said

in a Facebook post.
She asked: And dont they
represent at least 85 percent of
the Filipino population who are
Catholics? In fact, Id very much
appreciate it if they speak on my
behalf as a Filipino Catholic.
Precisely because there is separation
of Church and State, Cosio, a registered nurse and member of Filipinos
for Life, stressed the Church must
speak out if the State tries to interfere
with Her teachings, and when rights
and freedoms are threatened.
Misunderstood principle
Her friend, Joey Boy Apostol,
expressed disappointment that the
principle is misunderstood.

Veneracion Winnie agreed, saying anti-Catholic camps neither

know what Church-State separation means, nor what freedom of
speech entails.
Eric Baena Manalang of Pro-Life
Philippines, also agreed, saying
separation of Church and State actually seeks to protect the Church
from the State, and not the other
way around.
He explained that as Filipinos,
members of the clergy are free to
air their positions on various political matters.
Manalang said priests, as fathers, are duty-bound to tend to
their flock and not be indifferent
nor submissive.
Part of pastoral office

For his part, Mike Gomez noted

priests do not exceed their bounds
when they are vocal about such
things, given that exercising this
freedom is an intrinsic part of their
pastoral office.
It is the ones who cower and sit
on the fence, or become swayed by
erroneous popular opinion who are
to be censured, he said.
Citizens rights
According to Jeff Llagas Rosales,
Catholic clerics as Filipinos share
the same rights with other citizens
of the country.
While everyone can be vocal on
any social issue, he pointed out that
the only difference is priests speak
out based on Church teachings,

morals, and doctrines vis-a-vis

what he referred to as others baseless personal views and opinions.
Divorce bill
The online discussion came as
soon as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
released its official position paper
against the Divorce Bill and
against the Decriminalization of
Adultery and Concubinage.
In the March 25 document,
CBCP president and LingayenDagupan Archbishop Socrates B.
Villegas reiterates the Catholic
opposition to the proposal, giving
several reasons why divorce should
not be supported. (Raymond A.
Sebastin/CBCP News)

Cabinets / A1

According to him, even when

someone scarcely has a strand of hair
left on his head, he is human as long
as he values decency and integrity.
Tagle, moreover, blasted those
who think they affirm their humanity every time they embrace
the latest trend and fashion.
Not a chance. I am not impressed. I will not tremble before
you, he declared.
Ecce Homo
The cardinal stressed he will
tremble only before the Person
Pontius Pilate presented to the
Jewish mob, with the words: Ecce
Homo [This is the Man].
While he might not have realized
it, the Caviteo prelate explained

what the Roman official uttered

ultimately had to do with Gods
saving work.
Jesus was shown half-naked,
with nothing to boast of, defenseless, powerless, helpless He had
no stylish clothes on. He was black
and blue. His hair a mess. His
friends abandoned Him, he said.
Being human
But despite the horror the Lord
had been through, Tagle pointed
out Christ taught people how to
be human.
Let us save our brothers and
sisters from false humanity. Jesus
did that before us. Let us do as
He did, Tagle said. (Raymond A.
Sebastin/CBCP News)

National / A1

of Filipinos, he added.
Noting how the enforcement of RH could
impinge on their civil liberties, Atienza reasserted the need to ensure that the rights of
women and children will be protected in the
face of threats the law poses to the integrity of
the Filipino family.
The former Manila mayor also expressed disappointment over the failure of the government
to issue a clear version of the Implementing
Rules and Regulation of the RH Law which allegedly contain revisions based on the Supreme
Court (SC) ruling.

It laments that Congress passed the RH

Act under what it describes as less than
appropriate and acceptable procedures,
and was signed into law on a largely similar
While in many instances we disagreed with
the way this law was impressed upon the people
as legally legitimate, though morally infirmed,
socially damaging, and fundamentally risky to
vulnerable individuals, we respected the inevitable, it explains.
To read the rest of the manifesto, visit http://

Pro-lifers appeal
Meanwhile, an alliance of pro-life and
pro-family groups led by Pro-Life Philippines
released a manifesto recently calling on the government to heed the judiciarys decision on RH.

Humanae Vitae
The Catholic Church maintains that Natural
Family Planning (NFP) Method is the only
morally acceptable way for couples to determine
the number of children they intend to have.

In the controversial encyclical Humanae

Vitae (Of Human Life) issued in 1968, then
Pope Paul VI reaffirms what the Church has
taught since time immemorial: that life, as well
as the procreative and unitive nature of conjugal
relations, is sacred.
Total love
Parts of the document read: Love is total
that very special form of personal friendship
in which husband and wife generously share
everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own
convenience. Whoever really loves his partner
loves not only for what he receives, but loves
that partner for the partners own sake, content
to be able to enrich the other with the gift of
himself. (Raymond A. Sebastin/CBCP News
with reports from Reyn Letran)

Proclaims / A1

Grant of indulgence
The Extraordinary Jubilee of
Mercy will open on Dec. 8 this
year, during the Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception, to remind the faithful that no one has
penetrated the profound mystery
of the incarnation like Mary and
that her entire life was patterned
after the presence of mercy made
Its opening will also coincide
with the 50th anniversary of the
closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, another monumental phase in Church history
that marked a fresh undertaking
for all Christians to bear witness to
their faith with greater enthusiasm
and conviction.
During the Jubilee Year, the
Holy Doors of the four Papal
Basilicas in Rome will be opened
for the pilgrims to enter and gain
plenary indulgence.
According to the Holy Father,
the gift of indulgence will not
be limited to Rome as a similar
door may be opened in churches,
sanctuaries, and shrines around

the world as a visible sign of the

Churchs universal communion.
On that day, the Holy Door
will become a Door of Mercy
through which anyone who enters
will experience the love of God
who consoles, pardons, and instills
hope, Pope Francis said.
When faced with the gravity
of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always
be greater than any sin, and no
one can place limits on the love of
God who is ever ready to forgive,
he added.
The Jubilee year will close with
the liturgical Solemnity of Christ
the King on Nov. 20, 2016.
As we seal the Holy Door, we
shall be filled, above all, with a
sense of gratitude and thanksgiving
to the Most Holy Trinity for having
granted us an extraordinary time of
grace, the Holy Father said.
Dedication, sacrifice
Pope Francis added that to be
capable of mercy, the faithful
must be dedicated and willing
to sacrifice so they may find the

strength to embrace Gods mercy

and practice being merciful to
He reminded the faithful not
to judge and not to condemn,
noting that if anyone wishes to
avoid Gods judgment, he should
not make himself the judge of his
brother or sister.
To refrain from judgment and
condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept
the good in every person and
to spare him any suffering that
might be caused by our partial
judgment and our presumption
to know everything about him,
he added.
But more than judging others,
it is also important to forgive
and give, particularly to become
instruments of mercy and to be
generous with others as a form of
giving back the blessings one has
received from the Lord, the Holy
Father said.
In this Jubilee Year, Pope Francis
is also calling on the laity to open
their hearts to those who are poor
and sufferingheal their wounds,

bind them with mercy, and cure

them with solidarity and vigilant
Let us not fall into humiliating
indifference or a monotonous routine that prevents us from discovering what is new. Let us ward off
destructive cynicism. Let us open
our eyes and see the misery of the
world, the wounds of our brothers
and sisters who are denied their
dignity, and let us recognize that
we are compelled to heed their cry
for help, he said.
May we reach out to them
and support them so they can
feel the warmth of our presence,
our friendship, and our fraternity. May their cry become our
own, and together may we break
down the barriers of indifference
that too often reign supreme and
mask our hypocrisy and egoism,
he added.
Idolatry of money
Pope Francis called on the faithful not to be blinded by wealth
and riches, and instead focus on
following the Lords will.

Do not fall into the terrible

trap of thinking that life depends
on money and that, in comparison
with money, anything else is devoid
of value or dignity. This is nothing
but an illusion!... Everyone, sooner
or later, will be subject to Gods
judgment, from which no one can
escape, he said.
The Holy Father reiterated the
same call to those who perpetrate
or participate in corruption, adding that corruption prevents us
from looking to the future with
hope, because its tyrannical greed
shatters the plans of the weak and
tramples upon the poorest of the
He urged the people to do corporal and spiritual works of mercy,
noting that these acts are ways to
reawaken our conscience that has
too often grown dull in the face of
He stressed the need to listen
to the Word of God, adding that
through this way, it will be possible for the people to contemplate
Gods mercy and adopt it into their
own lifestyle.

Practicing mercy
Pope Francis called on the faithful to open their hearts and gaze
more attentively on the Lords
mercy so they may adapt the same
in their lives.
Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must
be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there
are Christians, everyone should
find an oasis of mercy, he said.
In this Jubilee Year, let us allow
God to surprise us. He never tires
of throwing open the doors of his
heart and repeats that he loves us
and wants to share his love with
us. The Church feels the urgent
need to proclaim Gods mercy,
he added.
[The Church] knows that her
primary taskis to introduce
everyone to the great mystery of
Gods mercy by contemplating the
face of Christ. The Church is called
above all to be a credible witness to
mercy, professing it and living it as
the core of the revelation of Jesus
Christ, the Pope said.

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Augustinians open
Kalinga mission

Fr. Roy Remulta is one of the three Augustinian missionaries who are currently in
Lubuagan, Kalinga to re-evangelize the area. KINGBERT R. ANCOG

MANILAIn line with the 450th

anniversary of Augustinian presence in the Philippines, three
Augustinian missionaries, starting on April 12, will revisit and
re-evangelize the people of the
congregations former missionary
area in Lubuagan, Kalinga.
Fr. Asis Bajao, Fr. Roy Remulta
and Rev. Dante Sardido will also
oversee the parish of St. Peter in
the apostolic vicariate of Tabuk,
as requested by Bishop Prudencio
According to Fr. Ricky Villar,
OSA their particular mission is
to teach the faithful about justice
and to nurture the local communitys Christian faith.
Solid ties
The communitarian aspect,
the tribal affiliation is solid. In
[the] Christian communitarian
aspect, they have good relations
as a tribe so they could be easily
re-evangelized, solid as they are,
explained the priest.
Bishop Manolo de los Santos
invited the Augustinians to start
another mission by the end of the
year, that is, to be stewards for the
Diocesan Shrine of Holy Cross
of Batalay in Virac, Catanduanes
with the help of three Augustinian friars.
Hopefully, the pilgrim shrine
can become a parish, which is
[now] a small chapel visited by
pilgrims, thus, it is important
to have regular celebration of
the Holy Mass, administer the
sacraments and to take care of

Christian indianos of the place,

Villar said.
Re-evangelization mission
Andaya told them that their
task as Augustinians is to reevangelize, to catechize and to
bring back the faithful to basic catechism, the priest added. The four
friars also took the time to learn
the locals language, Ilokano, as
as well as the different dialects. As
observed, the tribespeople speak
English fluently, despite having
no formal education about the
language, because they had been
exposed to Belgian CICM priests.
From 1600 to 1700, the Augustinian missionaries were sent
to mission in the said area.
The faithful were also evangelized by CICM priests and by
members of the secular clergy.
It was during the 40th jubilee
of the Diocese of Virac, Catanduanes that the bishop announced
the start of the Augustinian reevangelization mission in the said
The first missionary to set foot
in Virac was Fray Diego de Herrera, who was one of the first five
Augustinian missionaries in the
The bishop of the diocese is now
pushing for de Herreras canonization, who baptized the chieftains
son and who was believed to have
been killed or martyred in Catanduanes by natives. (Vanessa M.
Puno/CBCP News)

BBL / A1

sought-after peace for Mindanao,

says CBCP President Archbishop
Socrates B. Villegas of LingayenDagupan in an April 9 letter.

tions in Mindanao be under BBL

like the sultanates which seem to
have been left out of the conversation.

Armed, dangerous
The prelate expresses worry over
what he describes as the BIFF
[Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters] phenomenon, with its
members who are armed and
They have given the nation concrete demonstration of the trouble
they can cause. Shall we negotiate
with them later and hammer another
deal? While the MILF has promised
to keep them in check, it has also been
relevantly pointed out that relatives,
though belonging to different organizations and associations, will not so
easily restrain each other! he notes.
Villegas observes likewise of the
remnants of the Abu Sayaff Group
(ASG), as well as of the Jemmayah
Isalmiyah (JI), which while many
judge to be already a spent force,
its presence or demise in Mindanao
has yet to be ascertained.
The prelate also asks what will
be the future of traditional institu-

Arguments from history

Noting some BBL advocates
invoke historical arguments to
back their claims for the existence of the entity known as the
Bangsamoro, Villegas points out
such arguments from history are
always tricky.
In fact, international law has
rejected this approach altogether
by the doctrine of uti possidetis
in respect to the drawing of boundaries, they stay as they are found,
he explains.
Appealing to history in respect
to claims of political power and
autonomy will only confound issues more. Once upon a time, Soliman ruled over Muslim Manila.
That piece of history is certainly
no sound argument for Sharia in
Manila. I am not against Sharia.
I am only saying that some arguments are helpful, others are only
distracting! he adds. (Raymond A.
Sebastin/CBCP News)

Veils / A1

Ultimately, veiling, she stressed,

is to orient women to be closer to
According to Ly, a CFC Singles
for Christ member, her unexpected
discovery of veil-wearing started
with a spark of interest when a
seminarian friends influence led
her to attend the Mass in the Extraordinary form and to research
more about veiling.
There was just a deep desire
in my heart to glorify the Lord
even more to just proclaim His
greatness that much more. I just
felt that what I was doing wasnt
enough and I just want to bring
Him more glory in any way that I
can and so for me, it was wearing
the veil, she daid.
Adoration experience
Ly shared that it was during a
particular Halloween when her
parish had Vespers along with
Benediction, Confession, and
Adoration that she felt something
quite different.
During Adoration there, I just
felt such a yearning to veil and I
just knew right away that God was
telling me that I should be veiling,

she said.
After learning more and praying
about veiling for quite a while, Ly
found her Eucharistic life intensified and focused by the practice.
Veiled for Christ
For Rigor, who is in her mid-20s,
wearing a veil is a physical cue for
an interior disposition.
I found it so beautiful when
I was researching and watching
videos about how the veil should
be used as a way not to attract
people to ourselves but its for us,
as a woman, to point to Christ. It
teaches me to be more humble,
more modest, she explained.
Though veiling has yet to become
as mainstream as it was before
Vatican II, for young women like Ly
and Rigor, the practice is a devotion
both sweet and compelling.
After researching about it and
knowing the reasons why women
veil, I cant not veil anymore, no
matter what the situation is. Even
if Im at Mass in a shack somewhere
it doesnt matter because its still the
same Lord, its still the same God..
Its our Lord, Ly said. (Nirvaana
Ella Delacruz/CBCP News)

Mercy, compassion inspire

Yolanda survivors trauma care
TACLOBAN CityTwo years
after, houses may be built, but
for some, if not many, the trauma
caused by super typhoon Yolanda
will require psycho-spiritual care,
especially inspired by mercy and
A faith-based research and training group called Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture
(ISACC), which started to provide
psycho-spiritual trauma care to super typhoon Yolanda survivors for
disaster risk reduction and management, practices mercy and compassion in pursuing its mission.
We do not just give gifts but
we have to cultivate compassion
We have to have compassion to our
selves first to be compassionate to
other people, said Dr. Christian
Chan, who is part of ISACC.
Psychological first aid
Dr. Melba Padilla Maggay, president and founder of ISACC, compared what the group does to the
Bible account of Jesus feeding the
five thousand, besides women and
children, with the five loaves and
two fishes given by his disciples.
ISACC, did not have much
funds at that time, she said, to
mount a full-scale post-disaster
response for the survivors as the
disaster happened towards the end
of 2013.
In spite of this, ISACC volun-

Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC) is a faith-based organized involved in development, missiology and crosscultural studies within an Asian context. PHOTO TAKEN WILLIE VILLARAMAS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

teers went to Tacloban at their own

expense. According to Maggay,
with faith that God will multiply
their resources in order to realize
their mission. They traveled to
Tacloban several times to provide
psychological first aid.
According to her, the teams
faith in God and resolve to be
of assistance to those in need of
post-disaster psychological first
aid kept them determined to stay
on and help.

Prayer, faith
Maggay stressed that ISAACs
compassion for the survivors continued to move them 18 months
after Yolanda, even as international
NGOs started packing up after
carrying out relief and rebuilding
Prayer and faith she pointed up
are among the factors that make
aid services succeed.
There is a God who watch us
over to whom we are account-

able after all, Maggay said,

making reference to the Biblical
account on Jesus Parable of the
ISACC now conducts training
to persons who could eventually
replicate the same kind of psychospiritualcare to others. Traumatic
incidents happen unexpectedly, she
explained, because of either manmade or natural causes. (Eileen

Year of the Poor-inspired West Visayas Youth Day set

BACOLOD City Its all green and go
in Bacolod as the city opens her arms to
welcome Regional Youth Day 2015 9th
RYD goes 4G: GO GIVE GOD with
GLADNESS delegates from April 13 to 15.
More than 2,000 young people from the
dioceses of Romblon, Kalibo, San Jose de
Antique, San Carlos, Kabankalan, Bacolod
and the archdioceses of Jaro and Capiz are
expected to congregate in Bacolod City for
the event.
According to Eunice Arnaiz, Secretary of
Bacolods Diocesan Commission on Youth,
the theme of this years RYD was inspired by
the CBCPs Year of the Poor.
Richness of Gods love
The year 2015 is the Year of the Poor in
the CBCPs 9-year spiritual journey towards
the 500th anniversary of the Christianization
of the Philippines.
According to Arnaiz, the events objectives
are to:to help the youth participants to be
aware of what poverty is all about to make
the young people celebrate the richness and

lavishness of Gods loveto inspire them to

opt for and to be in solidarity with the poor
Youth delegates of the RYD will not only
talk about poverty but will have opportunities to be immersed with the poor through
the encounters with representatives of the
sakada (seasonal laborers), fisher-folk,
urban poor, street children and the unemployed, Arnaiz said.
She also considers it very providential
that the RYD in the Year of the Poor was
preceded by the visit of Pope Francis.
The papal visit in January has made the
holding of the 9th RYD more meaningful,
the youth leader said.
Arnaiz admitted that the layout plan of
the RYD was also inspired by the teachings
of Pope Francis.
Arnaiz remembered the Holy Father
saying that we should not make museums
out of young people and for families to
go beyond their homes and to care for our
brothers and sisters who are most in need.

Training for youth ministry

The RYD program will center on the Gospel passage of the Rich young man. From
here, four questions and challenges will be
presented, corresponding to one day of the
youth gathering: What must I do? What
is still lacking?, Go. Sell your possessions.
and Come. Follow me.
Accommodations for the participants will
be very simple. Delegates from other towns
or dioceses outside Bacolod will be hosted
by foster families, she added.
Young people who come from the dioceses
in Western Visayas and Romblon, and who
are between 13-39 years old, are invited
to be part of RYD 2015. This event also
welcomes young people from other settings
or movements within the region, especially
those coming from the grassroots.
The RYD is a venue for the formation
of young people to prepare them to be
youth ministers. It also fosters linkages
and fellowship among the youth and the
youth ministries in the region. (Fr. Mickey

Eucharist best food for soul priest

NAGA CityIn this present age
of super foods and healthy living,
a priest reminds the faithful that
the soul also needs nourishment,
which can be best obtained from
the Eucharist.
Jesus drives home the point that
all men are ultimately dependent
on the bread of life for their salvation from spiritual desolation, said
Caceres Commission on Women
Director Fr. Xavier Amoroso at a
recent recollection.
The priest also reminded that it
is through the Eucharist that man
nourishes best his spiritual hunger.
Beggars before God
When man admits that he is
nothing before God, the priest
said, he acknowledges the Spirit
[and] that [he] is more than material. This brings him to realize that
as a spiritual being, there is need
for spiritual nourishment. Man becomes totally dependent on God,
the only kind of poverty that brings
one to fulfillment, Amoroso added.
[In the presence of ] the Eucharist, all men are beggars, starving

before God, he explained.

According to him, man seeks
God and God allows Himself to
be sought through His words, in
the Eucharist and by His unfailing
Amoro stressed the humbling
realization: to die to oneself and
to fully rely on God.
More than the material
Going deeper than material poverty, however, the priest pointed to
the life of Jesus Christ. According
to the speaker, Jesus purposefully
embraced poverty and taught all
his followers to do the same, to
remain detached from material
wealth and worldly possessions.
We are all paupers, he said, in a
life that is only material.
The speaker also spoke of Jesus
invitation to love the poor, especially in the Year of the Poor. Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic
Church, Amoroso said, Jesus
shares the life of the poor, from the
cradle to the cross, He experiences
hunger, thirst and privation. In
humility, poverty and simplicity,

Caceres Commission on Women Director Fr. Xavier Royong Amoroso celebrates the Holy

Jesus invites us to love the poor.

He added, If we are to love and
follow Jesus Christ, we must love
[His] poverty and we must love
those whom [He] loved: the poor.
This was echoed by Caceres
Commission on Communications
Assistant Director Fr. Jay Aguilar in

his homily at the Eucharistic celebration that followed Amorosos

talk. For Aguilar, the passion of
Christ is a story of love between
God and His people, which gives
others the strength and inspiration
to love and serve the poor. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/CBCPNews)

Healing / A1

nian Christians, the pope said that recalling

that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter, which your forebears cruelly
endured, was necessary and indeed a duty
to honor their memory because wherever
memory does not exist, it means that evil still
keeps the wound open.
Concealing or denying evil is like letting
a wound keep bleeding without treating it,
he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
said the pope used inappropriate and onesided language by describing the deaths of
Armenians during World War I as genocide.
He said, Only highlighting one sides suffering during wartime and discriminating the
others pain is not appropriate for the pope,
adding that it would fuel racism and antiTurkey sentiments in Europe.
Turkeys Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a
written statement that Pope Francis references
to events from 1915 as genocide contradict
historical and legal facts and it claimed the
Mass was instrumentalized for political aims.
Turkey says the deaths were due largely to

disease and famine during the relocation

process and that both sides suffered many
casualties during the war.
Meanwhile, Armenian Catholic Patriarch
Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, who concelebrated the Mass with Pope Francis, said the
popes remarks were not a provocation against
Turkey or Muslims, nor was the pope taking
His vision embraces the world; he expresses
the sense of humanity that we all have to share
as caring for one another, he told the Vaticans
Fides news agency.
The pope is concerned about all the oppressed, the poor, the sick of every nation and
religion. He has never separated the sufferings
of Christians from the sufferings of others, as
all of his pronouncements about the conflict
bathing the Middle East in blood have shown,
the patriarch said.
Remembering and condemning the horrors
of the past can serve as an impediment to those
things happening again, he added.
At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis also
handed a signed written message to the Ar-

menian Catholic and Orthodox leaders and

to President Sargsyan asking that the path
of reconciliation between the Armenian and
Turkish people be taken up again. It also
prayed that peace would come to the NagornoKarabakh enclave in Azerbaijan where tensions
have been high since ethnic Armenian residents
proclaimed their independence from Azerbaijan after a conflict in the early 1990s.
Despite conflicts and tensions, Pope
Francis wrote, the people of Armenia, Turkey
and Nagorno-Karabakh have lived long periods of peaceful coexistence and, even in the
whirlwind of violence, they have experienced
instances of solidarity and mutual help.
Living in this spirit of harmony is the only
way sacrifice will become the seeds of justice
and peace and younger generations will have
a better future, the pope wrote.
May this sorrowful anniversary become for
everyone an occasion for humble and sincere
reflection, and for every heart to be open to
forgiveness, which is the source of peace and renewed hope, the popes message said. (Carol
Glatz / Catholic News Service)


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

CBCP Monitor

Workshop for Public invited to Cardinal

catechists set Tagles Easter Recollection


NOT just a time for recreation,

summer is also for learning.
This is why the Daughters
of St. Paul invites the public to
Catechists Seminar Workshop
on April 30, 8:00 a.m. to 12
noon at the Alberione Home
Auditorium, Daughters of St.
Paul House, 2650 F.B. Harrison,
Pasay City.
For Php 50.00, participants get
to listen to Fr. Antonio Baclig,
SDB, who will be the events main
resource person.
Baclig is the author of Flores de
Mayo a Decade a Day, Catechism
in May
The registration is inclusive of a

kit, snacks, Mystery of the Rosary

colorbing book, catechism booklet
for the whole month of May and
a certificate.
For more information, participants may contact Ms. Regine
Areno/Ms Elsie Tabotabo or
Ms. Ghianne Gabi/Mr Ryan
Bo through telephone numbers
(02) 833-29-72, (02) 551-88-00,
(02) 831-17-23; mobile number
0932-7172-334; fax (02) 55153-95; and email mktgpmpt@
Pre-registration is also available
at http://paulines.ph/paulmain/
fax.pdf (CBCPNews)


Celebrated. Frs. Mario C. Combong and Jessie P. Pasquin, members

of the Diocesan Clergy of Cotabato (DCC) marked a milestone in their
lives with the celebration of their silver jubilee as priests on April 8,
2015 at the Notre Dame of Tacurong College, Tacurong City. Cotabato
Archbishop Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, OMI and Cotabato Auxiliary
Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, DD, DCC presided over a Holy Mass
for their intentions.
Combong was ordained priest on April 6, 1990. Aside from holding
several posts in the diocese, Combong, who hails from Bugabungan,
Upi, Maguindanao, recently served as the Head of the Archdiocesan
Pastoral Office. He was then assigned parish priest of the San Vicente
Ferrer Quasi-Parish in Salimbao, Sultan Kudarat from 2009 to 2011,
and as parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in the Notre Dame
Village, Cotabato City from 2011 to 2012. To date, Combong still heads
the Archdiocesan Pastoral Office where he leads his team in helping the
various parishes of the archdiocese organize the Basic Ecclesial Communities and the different pastoral formation programs for parish lay leaders.
Pasquin, who hails from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, was ordained priest on
April 4, 1990 at the Sta. Catalina Parish in Dukay, Esperanza, Sultan
Kudarat by Archbishop Philip F. Smith, OMI, DD. Some of Pasquins
more recent assignments was as parish priest of the Our Lady of the
Holy Rosary Parish, Cotabato City from 2003 to 2004 before taking up
his post-graduate studies at the De La Salle University in Manila from
2005 to 2007. He then became the President of the Notre Dame of Salaman College in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat, and then Director of the Notre
Dame of Kalamansig in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat from 2007 to 2014.
Pasquin then became President of the Notre Dame of Tacurong College
in 2012 until the present.
Celebrated. Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ, Ateneo de Zamboanga Universitys Assistant to the President for Formation, marked twelve years as
a priest on April 12, 2015.
He celebrated his sacerdotal anniversary with a Holy Mass at the Church
of St. Joseph in Nazareth, Israel during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with
Fr. Eli Lumbo, SJ and Fr. Anthony Ireneo of Recoletos and lay Filipinos.

Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle FILE PHOTO

THE Archdiocese of Manila

(RCAM) has teamed up anew
with the Jesuit Communications
(JesCom), inviting the faithful
to this years The Word Exposed
Easter Recollection to be led by
Manila Archbishop Lus Antonio
G. Cardinal Tagle on April 19,

Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the

SMART-Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City.
Entitled Awakening Faith Beyond Fear, the event is open to the
public, but interested parties are
requested to avail of free tickets to
be released starting on April 11, Sat-

urday, at Tanging Yaman stores (Sonolux Building in Ateneo de Manila

University, and 5F of SM Megamall
Building B), and in select St. Pauls
bookstores (SM North EDSA, SM
Manila, and Gateway Mall).
Each person may only get a
maximum of five (5) tickets, and ad-

vanced reservations are not allowed.

For further information, interested
parties may contact the JesCom office at (02) 426.5971 to 72, or receive
updates from https://www.facebook.
(Raymond A. Sebastin/CBCP

Catholic cultural centers confab set

IN line with the Year of the Poor, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP)s Episcopal Commission on Culture
(ECC), partners with the Diocese of Legazpi in
Albay for the Second National Conference of
Catholic Cultural Centers in a bid to make the
event an authentic re-awakening for a Church
for and with the poor.
Themed The Culture of Poverty and the
Poverty of Culture, the conference will be held
at the Bethlehem Pastoral and Retreat Center in
Bacacay, Albay on April 27 to May 1.
Spread nationwide and composed of educational institutes, seminaries, and Diocesan centers, among many others, the Catholic Cultural
Centers (CCCs) will come together to discern
priorities on how their respective institutions
can bring about a more conscious love and service of the poor in all facets, especially as 2015
has been dedicated to those who have less in life.
CBCP-ECC stresses the need for the faithful
to reflect on their identity as a local Church,
bring the Good News to the underprivileged,
and come together to discern priorities so as to
truly become a Church for and with the poor
(CBCP Pastoral Letter, June 2012).
The program is as follows:
Theme 1: Truth The Many Faces of the

Culture of Poverty
The Face of Christ in the Filipino Poor: The
Philippine Church after PCP II Cotabato
Archbishop Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo; The
Face of Poverty in the Scriptures Sorsogon
Bishop Arturo Bastes, The Face of Poverty in
the Overseas Filipino Workers Grace Princesa,
Ambassador to UAE
Theme 2: Way- Richness and Poverty in
Filipino Culture
Richness and Poverty in the Filipino Teleserye
Evangeline Pascual; Richness and Inequality
in the Filipino Health Care System Dr. Mariella Sugue Castillo; Addressing the Indifference
to Poverty Fr. Norman Melchor Pea, SSP
Theme 3: Life Bridging the Gap Culture
of Poverty and the Poverty of Culture, Evangelical Witness to Justice and Peace Caceres
Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona; Leadership
and Livelihood Programs Among Filipinos
Dr. Cristina Liamzon; Empowered in Poverty
Personal Testimonies and Dialogue
Conclusion: Bridging the Gap Culture of
Poverty and the Poverty of Culture Sr. Mercelyn Galicia, DC.
For registration, fees, and other concerns,
interested parties may email culturelegazpi@
gmail.com or cbcpculture@gmail.com, or

Under the first theme, Truth The Many Faces of the

Culture of Poverty, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B.
Cardinal will give the talk on The Face of Christ in the
Filipino Poor: The Philippine Church after PCP II during the
Second National Conference of Catholic Cultural Centers
on April 27 to May 1, 2015 at the Bethlehem Pastoral and
Retreat Center in Bacacay, Albay. FILE PHOTO

call the ECC Secretariat at (0928)-771-1406,

(0917)-842-5030, (0915)-684-3877, or 02527-4138 local 128. (Raymond A. Sebastin/
CBCP News)

Mati Catholic hospital to celebrate 17th year

THE only private hospital run by
a Catholic congregation in this city
is celebrating on April 20 17 years
of providing hospital care for the
people of Davao Oriental.
Headed by Fr. Angel Crisostomo, St. Camillus Hospital of
Mati Foundation, Inc. is run by
the Ministers of the Infirm (MI),
better known as Camillians, MI.
He said the hospital will celebrate 2015 as the Year of Hospital
On April 20, a motorcade will
be held in the main thoroughfares
of Mati City. A Holy Mass will
be celebrated at 5:00 p.m. to be
followed by dinner and a program
in the evening where the Year
of Hospital Personnel will be
On April 15, the hospital will
hold a free consultation in the

St. Camillus Hospital of Mati continues to provide medical and pastoral care for the
sick of Davao.

morning until 12:00 noon.

Crisostomo said the hospital
opened in April 15, 1998 when

the Mati Bishop Emeritus Patricio

Alo invited their congregation to
put up a hospital for the care of the

sick in the Diocese of Mati.

He added what was supposed
to be a small clinic would then
become a hospital that has a 50-bed
capacity and is categorized as Level
1 by the Department of Health.
Crisostomo said the hospital
remains committed to providing
not only medical service but also
pastoral care for the sick and the
poor of Mati and nearby towns.
He added that St. Camillus
Hospital wants to live out the
spirituality of St. Camillus de Lelis,
which says: To see Jesus in the
sick and to be Jesus for the sick, to
be the compassionate Jesus for the
sick while looking at the suffering
Christ in the person of the sick.
St. Camillus de Lelis is the patron saint of hospitals, doctors, and
health care workers. (John Frances
C. Fuentes/CBCP News)

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Misericordiae Vultus
1. JESUS Christ is the face of the Fathers
mercy. These words might well sum up the
mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has
become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The
Father, rich in mercy (Eph 2:4), after
having revealed his name to Moses as a
God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and
faithfulness (Ex34:6), has never ceased
to show, in various ways throughout
history, his divine nature. In the fullness
of time (Gal4:4), when everything had
been arranged according to his plan of
salvation, he sent his only Son into the
world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal
his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever
sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9).
Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his
actions, and his entire person [1]reveals
the mercy of God.
2. We need constantly to contemplate
the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring
of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation
depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals
the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.
Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by
which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the
fundamental law that dwells in the heart
of every person who looks sincerely into
the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the
path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts
to a hope of being loved forever despite
our sinfulness.
3. At times we are called to gaze even
more attentively on mercy so that we may
become a more effective sign of the Fathers action in our lives. For this reason I
have proclaimed anExtraordinary Jubilee
of Mercyas a special time for the Church;
a time when the witness of believers might
grow stronger and more effective.
The Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This liturgical feast day
recalls Gods action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the
sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish
to leave humanity alone in the throes of
evil. So he turned his gaze to Mary, holy
and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4),
choosing her to be the Mother of mans
Redeemer. When faced with the gravity
of sin, God responds with the fullness of
mercy. Mercy will always be greater than
any sin, and no one can place limits on the
love of God who is ever ready to forgive.
I will have the joy of opening the Holy
Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate
Conception. On that day, the Holy Door
will become a Door of Mercy through
which anyone who enters will experience
the love of God who consoles, pardons,
and instils hope.
On the following Sunday, the Third
Sunday of Advent, the Holy Door of the
Cathedral of Romethat is, the Basilica
of Saint John Lateran will be opened.
In the following weeks, the Holy Doors of
the other Papal Basilicas will be opened.
On the same Sunday, I will announce
that in every local Church, at the cathedralthe mother church of the faithful
in any particular area or, alternatively,
at the co-cathedral or another church of
special significance, aDoor of Mercywill
be opened for the duration of the Holy
Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at
any Shrine frequented by large groups of
pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are
so often grace-filled moments, as people
discover a path to conversion. Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly
involved in living out this Holy Year as
an extraordinary moment of grace and
spiritual renewal. Thus the Jubilee will
be celebrated both in Rome and in the
Particular Churches as a visible sign of the
Churchs universal communion.
4. I have chosen the date of 8 December
because of its rich meaning in the recent
history of the Church. In fact, I will open
the Holy Door on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican
Ecumenical Council. The Church feels a
great need to keep this event alive. With
the Council, the Church entered a new
phase of her history. The Council Fathers
strongly perceived, as a true breath of the
Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to
men and women of their time in a more
accessible way. The walls which too long
had made the Church a kind of fortress
were torn down and the time had come to
proclaim the Gospel in a new way. It was
a new phase of the same evangelization
that had existed from the beginning. It
was a fresh undertaking for all Christians
to bear witness to their faith with greater
enthusiasm and conviction. The Church
sensed a responsibility to be a living sign
of the Fathers love in the world.
We recall the poignant words of Saint
John XXIII when, opening the Council,
he indicated the path to follow: Now the
Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine
of mercy rather than taking up arms of
severity The Catholic Church, as she
holds high the torch of Catholic truth at
this Ecumenical Council, wants to show
herself a loving mother to all; patient,
kind, moved by compassion and goodness
toward her separated children.[2]Blessed
Paul VI spoke in a similar vein at the
closing of the Council: We prefer to

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Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Francis, Bishop of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God
To all who read this letter
Grace, mercy and peace

Pope Francis at St. Peters Basilica on April 11, 2015 during the Convocation of the Year of Mercy, where His Holiness publicly proclaimed a Jubilee for Mercy, which will begin Dec. 8 and end in November 2016.

point out how charity has been the

principal religious feature of this Council
the old story of the Good Samaritan
has been the model of the spirituality of
the Council a wave of affection and
admiration flowed from the Council over
the modern world of humanity. Errors
were condemned, indeed, because charity
demanded this no less than did truth, but
for individuals themselves there was only

service of mankind, of every condition, in

every weakness and need.[3]
With these sentiments of gratitude
for everything the Church has received,
and with a sense of responsibility for
the task that lies ahead, we shall cross
the threshold of the Holy Door fully
confident that the strength of the Risen
Lord, who constantly supports us on our
pilgrim way, will sustain us. May the Holy

thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity

for having granted us an extraordinary
time of grace. We will entrust the life of
the Church, all humanity, and the entire
cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking
him to pour out his mercy upon us like
the morning dew, so that everyone may
work together to build a brighter future.
How much I desire that the year to come
will be steeped in mercy, so that we can

The mission Jesus received from the Father was that

of revealing the mystery of divine love in its fullness.
God is love.
admonition, respect and love. Instead
of depressing diagnoses, encouraging
remedies; instead of direful predictions,
messages of trust issued from the Council
to the present-day world. The modern
worlds values were not only respected but
honoured, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed Another
point we must stress is this: all this rich
teaching is channeled in one direction, the

Spirit, who guides the steps of believers

in cooperating with the work of salvation
wrought by Christ, lead the way and support the People of God so that they may
contemplate the face of mercy.[4]
5. The Jubilee year will close with the
liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King
on 20 November 2016. On that day, as
we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled,
above all, with a sense of gratitude and

go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!
May the balm of mercy reach everyone,
both believers and those far away, as a
sign that the Kingdom of God is already
present in our midst!
6. It is proper to God to exercise
mercy, and he manifests his omnipotence
particularly in this way.[5]Saint Thomas
Aquinas words show that Gods mercy,

rather than a sign of weakness, is the

mark of his omnipotence. For this reason
the liturgy, in one of its most ancient
collects, has us pray: O God, who reveal
your power above all in your mercy and
forgiveness[6]Throughout the history
of humanity, God will always be the One
who is present, close, provident, holy,
and merciful.
Patient and merciful. These words
often go together in the Old Testament to
describe Gods nature. His being merciful
is concretely demonstrated in his many
actions throughout the history of salvation
where his goodness prevails over punishment and destruction. In a special way
the Psalms bring to the fore the grandeur
of his merciful action: He forgives all
your iniquity, he heals all your diseases,
he redeems your life from the pit, he
crowns you with steadfast love and mercy
(Ps103:3-4). Another psalm, in an even
more explicit way, attests to the concrete
signs of his mercy: He secures justice for
the oppressed; he gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord
opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts
up those who are bowed down; the Lord
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times seventy times (Mt18:22). He then

goes on to tell the parable of the ruthless servant, who, called by his master to
return a huge amount, begs him on his
knees for mercy. His master cancels his
debt. But he then meets a fellow servant
who owes him a few cents and who in
turn begs on his knees for mercy, but the
first servant refuses his request and throws
him into jail. When the master hears of
the matter, he becomes infuriated and,
summoning the first servant back to him,
says, Should not you have had mercy on
your fellow servant, as I had mercy on
you? (Mt 18:33). Jesus concludes, So
also my heavenly Father will do to every
one of you, if you do not forgive your
brother from your heart (Mt18:35).
This parable contains a profound teaching for all of us. Jesus affirms that mercy
is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his
true children are. In short, we are called to

It is time to return to the basics and to

bear the weaknesses and struggles of our
brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force
that reawakens us to new life and instils
in us the courage to look to the future
with hope.
11. Let us not forget the great teaching
offered by Saint John Paul II in his second
Encyclical,Dives in Misericordia, which
at the time came unexpectedly, its theme
catching many by surprise. There are two
passages in particular to which I would
like to draw attention. First, Saint John
Paul II highlighted the fact that we had
forgotten the theme of mercy in todays
cultural milieu: The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people
in the past, seems opposed to a God of
mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from
life and to remove from the human heart
the very idea of mercy. The word and the
concept of mercy seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous

hearts of all people and inspire them

once more to find the road that leads to
the Father.
The Churchs first truth is the love
of Christ. The Church makes herself
a servant of this love and mediates it
to all people: a love that forgives and
expresses itself in the gift of ones self.
Consequently, wherever the Church is
present, the mercy of the Father must be
evident. In our parishes, communities,
associations and movements, in a word,
wherever there are Christians, everyone
should find an oasis of mercy.
13. We want to live this Jubilee Year in
light of the Lords words:Merciful like the
Father.The Evangelist reminds us of the
teaching of Jesus who says, Be merciful
just as your Father is merciful (Lk6:36).
It is a programme of life as demanding
as it is rich with joy and peace. Jesuss
command is directed to anyone willing to
listen to his voice (cf.Lk6:27). In order

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loves the righteous. The Lord watches over

the sojourners, he upholds the widow and
the fatherless; but the way of the wicked
he brings to ruin (Ps146:7-9). Here are
some other expressions of the Psalmist:
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds
up their wounds The Lord lifts up
the downtrodden, he casts the wicked to
the ground (Ps147:3, 6). In short, the
mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but
a concrete reality through which he reveals
his love as that of a father or a mother,
moved to the very depths out of love for
their child. It is hardly an exaggeration to
say that this is a visceral love. It gushes
forth from the depths naturally, full of
tenderness and compassion, indulgence
and mercy.
7. For his mercy endures forever. This
is the refrain repeated after each verse
in Psalm 136 as it narrates the history
of Gods revelation. By virtue of mercy,
all the events of the Old Testament are
replete with profound salvific import.
Mercy renders Gods history with Israel
a history of salvation. To repeat continually for his mercy endures forever, as
the psalm does, seems to break through
the dimensions of space and time, inserting everything into the eternal mystery
of love. It is as if to say that not only
in history, but for all eternity man will
always be under the merciful gaze of the
Father. It is no accident that the people of
Israel wanted to include this psalm the
GreatHallel, as it is called in its most
important liturgical feast days.
Before his Passion, Jesus prayed with
this psalm of mercy. Matthew attests
to this in his Gospel when he says that,
when they had sung a hymn (26:30),
Jesus and his disciples went out to the
Mount of Olives. While he was instituting
the Eucharist as an everlasting memorial of himself and his paschal sacrifice,
he symbolically placed this supreme act
of revelation in the light of his mercy.
Within the very same context of mercy,
Jesus entered upon his passion and death,
conscious of the great mystery of love
that he would consummate on the cross.
Knowing that Jesus himself prayed this
psalm makes it even more important for
us as Christians, challenging us to take
up the refrain in our daily lives by praying these words of praise: for his mercy
endures forever.
8. With our eyes fixed on Jesus and
his merciful gaze, we experience the love
of the Most Holy Trinity. The mission
Jesus received from the Father was that
of revealing the mystery of divine love in
its fullness. God is love (1 Jn4:8,16),
John affirms for the first and only time
in all of Holy Scripture. This love has
now been made visible and tangible in
Jesus entire life. His person is nothing
but love, a love given gratuitously. The
relationships he forms with the people
who approach him manifest something
entirely unique and unrepeatable. The
signs he works, especially in the face of
sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the
sick, and the suffering, are all meant to
teach mercy. Everything in him speaks
of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of
Jesus, seeing the crowds of people who
followed him, realized that they were
tired and exhausted, lost and without a
guide, and he felt deep compassion for
them (cf.Mt9:36). On the basis of this
compassionate love he healed the sick who
were presented to him (cf. Mt 14:14),
and with just a few loaves of bread and
fish he satisfied the enormous crowd
(cf.Mt15:37). What moved Jesus in all
of these situations was nothing other than
mercy, with which he read the hearts of
those he encountered and responded to
their deepest need. When he came upon
the widow of Naim taking her son out
for burial, he felt great compassion for
the immense suffering of this grieving
mother, and he gave back her son by raising him from the dead (cf.Lk7:15). After
freeing the demoniac in the country of the
Gerasenes, Jesus entrusted him with this
mission: Go home to your friends, and
tell them how much the Lord has done for
you, and how he has had mercy on you
(Mk5:19). The calling of Matthew is also
presented within the context of mercy.
Passing by the tax collectors booth, Jesus
looked intently at Matthew. It was a look
full of mercy that forgave the sins of that
man, a sinner and a tax collector, whom
Jesus chose against the hesitation of the
disciples to become one of the Twelve.
Saint Bede the Venerable, commenting
on this Gospel passage, wrote that Jesus
looked upon Matthew with merciful
love and chose him: miserando atque
eligendo.[7] This expression impressed
me so much that I chose it for my episcopal motto.
9. In the parables devoted to mercy,
Jesus reveals the nature of God as that of
a Father who never gives up until he has
forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy. We
know these parables well, three in particular: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the
father with two sons (cf.Lk15:1-32). In
these parables, God is always presented as
full of joy, especially when he pardons. In
them we find the core of the Gospel and
of our faith, because mercy is presented
as a force that overcomes everything,
filling the heart with love and bringing
consolation through pardon.
From another parable, we cull an important teaching for our Christian lives.
In reply to Peters question about how
many times it is necessary to forgive, Jesus
says: I do not say seven times, but seventy

Vatican City - April 11, 2015. Pope Francis in front of the Holy Door at St. Peters Basilica on April 11, 2015 during the Convocation of the Year of Mercy, where
Pope Francis publicly proclaimed a Jubilee for Mercy, which will begin December 8th and end in November 2016.

show mercy because mercy has first been

shown to us. Pardoning offences becomes
the clearest expression of merciful love,
and for us Christians it is an imperative
from which we cannot excuse ourselves.
At times how hard it seems to forgive!
And yet pardon is the instrument placed
into our fragile hands to attain serenity of
heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence,
and revenge are necessary conditions to
living joyfully. Let us therefore heed the
Apostles exhortation: Do not let the
sun go down on your anger (Eph4:26).
Above all, let us listen to the words of
Jesus who made mercy as an ideal of

development of science and technology,

never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has
subdued and dominated it (cf.Gen1:28).
This dominion over the earth, sometimes
understood in a one-sided and superficial
way, seems to have no room for mercy
And this is why, in the situation of the
Church and the world today, many individuals and groups guided by a lively sense
of faith are turning, I would say almost
spontaneously, to the mercy of God.[9]
Furthermore, Saint John Paul II pushed
for a more urgent proclamation and witness to mercy in the contemporary world:

The Churchs first truth is the love

of Christ. The Church makes herself
a servant of this love and mediates
it to all people
life and a criterion for the credibility of
our faith: Blessed are the merciful, for
they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5:7): the
beatitude to which we should particularly
aspire in this Holy Year.
As we can see in Sacred Scripture,
mercy is a key word that indicates Gods
action towards us. He does not limit
himself merely to affirming his love, but
makes it visible and tangible. Love, after
all, can never be just an abstraction. By
its very nature, it indicates something
concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviours that are shown in daily living. The
mercy of God is his loving concern for
each one of us. He feels responsible; that
is, he desires our wellbeing and he wants
to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful.
This is the path which the merciful love
of Christians must also travel. As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is
merciful, so we are called to be merciful
to each other.
10. Mercy is the very foundation of the
Churchs life. All of her pastoral activity
should be caught up in the tenderness
she makes present to believers; nothing
in her preaching and in her witness to
the world can be lacking in mercy. The
Churchs very credibility is seen in how
she shows merciful and compassionate
love. The Church has an endless desire
to show mercy.[8]Perhaps we have long
since forgotten how to show and live the
way of mercy. The temptation, on the
one hand, to focus exclusively on justice
made us forget that this is only the first,
albeit necessary and indispensable step.
But the Church needs to go beyond and
strive for a higher and more important
goal. On the other hand, sad to say, we
must admit that the practice of mercy
is waning in the wider culture. It some
cases the word seems to have dropped
out of use. However, without a witness to
mercy, life becomes fruitless and sterile,
as if sequestered in a barren desert. The
time has come for the Church to take
up the joyful call to mercy once more.

It is dictated by love for man, for all that

is human and which, according to the
intuitions of many of our contemporaries,
is threatened by an immense danger.
The mystery of Christ obliges me to
proclaim mercy as Gods merciful love,
revealed in that same mystery of Christ.
It likewise obliges me to have recourse
to that mercy and to beg for it at this
difficult, critical phase of the history of
the Church and of the world.[10]This
teaching is more pertinent than ever and
deserves to be taken up once again in this
Holy Year. Let us listen to his words once
more: The Church lives an authentic life
when she professes and proclaims mercy
the most stupendous attribute of the
Creator and of the Redeemer and when

to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must

first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the
Word of God. This means rediscovering
the value of silence in order to meditate
on the Word that comes to us. In this way,
it will be possible to contemplate Gods
mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle.
14. The practice of pilgrimage has a
special place in the Holy Year, because it
represents the journey each of us makes
in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and
the human being is a viator, a pilgrim
travelling along the road, making his way
to the desired destination. Similarly, to
reach the Holy Door in Rome or in any
other place in the world, everyone, each
according to his or her ability, will have to
make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that
mercy is also a goal to reach and requires
dedication and sacrifice. May pilgrimage
be an impetus to conversion: by crossing
the threshold of the Holy Door, we will
find the strength to embrace Gods mercy
and dedicate ourselves to being merciful
with others as the Father has been with us.
The Lord Jesus shows us the steps of
the pilgrimage to attain our goal: Judge
not, and you will not be judged; condemn
not, and you will not be condemned;
forgive, and you will be forgiven; give,
and it will be given to you; good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, running
over, will be put into your lap. For the
measure you give will be the measure
you get back (Lk 6:37-38). The Lord
asks us above all not to judge and not
to condemn. If anyone wishes to avoid
Gods judgment, he should not make
himself the judge of his brother or sister.
Human beings, whenever they judge,
look no farther than the surface, whereas
the Father looks into the very depths
of the soul. How much harm words do
when they are motivated by feelings of
jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others

No one has penetrated the profound

mystery of the incarnation like Mary.
Her entire life was patterned after the
presence of mercy made flesh.
she brings people close to the sources of
the Saviours mercy, of which she is the
trustee and dispenser.[11]
12. The Church is commissioned to
announce the mercy of God, the beating
heart of the Gospel, which in its own
way must penetrate the heart and mind
of every person. The Spouse of Christ
must pattern her behaviour after the
Son of God who went out to everyone
without exception. In the present day,
as the Church is charged with the task
of the new evangelization, the theme of
mercy needs to be proposed again and
again with new enthusiasm and renewed
pastoral action. It is absolutely essential
for the Church and for the credibility of
her message that she herself live and testify
to mercy. Her language and her gestures
must transmit mercy, so as to touch the

puts them in a bad light, undermines

their reputation and leaves them prey
to the whims of gossip. To refrain from
judgment and condemnation means, in
a positive sense, to know how to accept
the good in every person and to spare him
any suffering that might be caused by our
partial judgment and our presumption to
know everything about him. But this is
still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus
asks us also toforgiveand togive.To be
instruments of mercy because it was we
who first received mercy from God. To
be generous with others, knowing that
God showers his goodness upon us with
immense generosity.
Merciful like the Father, therefore, is
the motto of this Holy Year. In mercy,
we find proof of how God loves us. He
gives his entire self, always, freely, ask-

ing nothing in return. He comes to our

aid whenever we call upon him. What a
beautiful thing that the Church begins
her daily prayer with the words, O God,
come to my assistance. O Lord, make
haste to help me (Ps70:2)! The assistance
we ask for is already the first step of Gods
mercy toward us. He comes to assist us
in our weakness. And his help consists
in helping us accept his presence and
closeness to us. Day after day, touched
by his compassion, we also can become
compassionate towards others.
15. In this Holy Year, we look forward
to the experience of opening our hearts
to those living on the outermost fringes
of society: fringes modern society itself
creates. How many uncertain and painful
situations there are in the world today!
How many are the wounds borne by the
flesh of those who have no voice because
their cry is muffled and drowned out
by the indifference of the rich! During
this Jubilee, the Church will be called
even more to heal these wounds, to assuage them with the oil of consolation,
to bind them with mercy and cure them
with solidarity and vigilant care. Let us
not fall into humiliating indifference
or a monotonous routine that prevents
us from discovering what is new! Let us
ward off destructive cynicism! Let us open
our eyes and see the misery of the world,
the wounds of our brothers and sisters
who are denied their dignity, and let us
recognize that we are compelled to heed
their cry for help! May we reach out to
them and support them so they can feel
the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity! May their cry
become our own, and together may we
break down the barriers of indifference
that too often reign supreme and mask
our hypocrisy and egoism!
It is my burning desire that, during
this Jubilee, the Christian people may
reflect on thecorporal and spiritual works
of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken
our conscience, too often grown dull
in the face of poverty. And let us enter
more deeply into the heart of the Gospel
where the poor have a special experience
of Gods mercy. Jesus introduces us to
these works of mercy in his preaching so
that we can know whether or not we are
living as his disciples. Let us rediscover
thesecorporal works of mercy: to feed the
hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe
the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the
sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the
dead. And let us not forget thespiritual
works of mercy:to counsel the doubtful,
instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners,
comfort the afflicted, forgive offences,
bear patiently those who do us ill, and
pray for the living and the dead.
We cannot escape the Lords words
to us, and they will serve as the criteria
upon which we will be judged: whether
we have fed the hungry and given drink
to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and
clothed the naked, or spent time with the
sick and those in prison (cf.Mt25:3145). Moreover, we will be asked if we
have helped others to escape the doubt
that causes them to fall into despair and
which is often a source of loneliness; if we
have helped to overcome the ignorance in
which millions of people live, especially
children deprived of the necessary means
to free them from the bonds of poverty; if
we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have
offended us and have rejected all forms
of anger and hate that lead to violence;
if we have had the kind of patience God
shows, who is so patient with us; and if
we have commended our brothers and
sisters to the Lord in prayer. In each of
these little ones, Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh
of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged,
the malnourished, and the exiled to be
acknowledged, touched, and cared for by
us. Let us not forget the words of Saint
John of the Cross: as we prepare to leave
this life, we will be judged on the basis
of love.[12]
16. In the Gospel of Luke, we find
another important element that will help
us live the Jubilee with faith. Luke writes
that Jesus, on the Sabbath, went back to
Nazareth and, as was his custom, entered
the synagogue. They called upon him to
read the Scripture and to comment on it.
The passage was from the Book of Isaiah
where it is written: The Spirit of the
Lord God is upon me, because the Lord
has anointed me to bring good tidings to
the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up
the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty
to the captives, and freedom to those
in captivity; to proclaim the year of the
Lords favour (Is61:1-2). A year of the
Lords favour or mercy: this is what
the Lord proclaimed and this is what we
wish to live now. This Holy Year will bring
to the fore the richness of Jesus mission
echoed in the words of the prophet: to
bring a word and gesture of consolation
to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those
bound by new forms of slavery in modern
society, to restore sight to those who can
see no more because they are caught up
in themselves, to restore dignity to all
those from whom it has been robbed. The
preaching of Jesus is made visible once
more in the response of faith Christians
are called to offer by their witness. May
the words of the Apostle accompany us:
He who does acts of mercy, let him do
them with cheerfulness (cf.Rom12:8).
17. The season of Lent during this
Jubilee Year should also be lived more
intensely as a privileged moment to
Misericordiae Vultus / B3

CBCP Monitor

Features B3

April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

By Archbishop Socrates B.
I WRITE these thoughts as a Filipino and as a believer in Christ. I
speak neither for the Catholic
hierarchy nor for my people in
Lingayen Dagupan. I speak from
my heart, molded by the five years
of my ministry in Bataan, land
of valor, land of peace. What did
Bataan teach me about peace? What
does Bataan say to me about the
draft Bangsamoro Basic Law?
Principled Peace
All must work for peace in Min-

peace. And warning that we shall

have war unless BBL is passed does
not make for principled peace!
Inalienable Rights
I refer to the people of Mindanao and not only to Muslims,
because Mindanao has many communities that are not Muslim, and
the principled peace we so desire
cannot be attained unless we make
a firm resolve to respect the rights
of all.
Social justice is the name of the
just claim of the people of Mindanao to a share in the prosperity of
the nation and to its resources. It is
not just to beggar Southern Philippines. It is not just that morsels be

autonomy that is consistent with

the right of the Republic to its
integrity and sovereignty. We are
not conceding favors to Mindanao.
We are recognizing the rights of the
people of Mindanao and according
them their due. It is not a matter of
condescension and accommodation

for all to freely believe and freely

practice. It also means that secularism cannot be an imposed ideology
on the entire Republic!
The Constitution
All Filipinos, not only its officials, swear to uphold and defend

more than passing fancy, dangerously cheap compromise and perilous dtente.
It is my position that all suggestions, insinuations or hints that the
Constitution will be amended to
accommodate the provisions of the
BBL cease. The Constitution is not


Bataan Valor, Peacemaking and the Draft BBL

ought to be the juridical sieve
through which the BBL should be
examined. If we pass anything now,
let us enact a document that we
are morally certain will withstand
constitutional challenge before the
Supreme Court.
I have paid close attention to the

danao and throughout the country. This precept is not seriously

disputed at all. What threatens
the prospect of peace most, however, is equating it with the present
BBL and threatening the return of
violence and bloodshed should the
Legislature fail to pass it intact!
A complicated history and complicated issues do not lend themselves to simplistic solutions, and
the more possibilities are restricted,
the less likely truly lasting peace
Our sights should be set not on
a truce, not on some tenuous cessation of hostilities, and for this, principles must be explicated, clearly
discussed and rationally agreed on.
This is what I refer to as principled

thrown in their direction while

imperial Manila lounges in luxury,
fed and pampered by the toil and
industry of the provinces. Social
justice is the just cry that protests
against the disproportion in allotments between the provinces of
Mindanao and those of the rest of
the country.
Self-determination is what gives
them the right to live by their
moral codes, their cultural mores
and their rich traditions. It is the
name of their right to determine
how they ought to live and how
they ought to organize themselves
to be true to their most sacred beliefs and their heritage as a people.
Self-determination is their greatest entitlement to that degree of


From the crucible of history,

we have emerged one nation,
subsisting as a sovereign
State. This, for me, is beyond
negotiation: the singularity
of the State and the singularity
of sovereignty.

Isabela City residents read the handouts about the details of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) during a public forum on the Bangsamoro in May 2014.
Organized by the Catholic Church and local government officials, forum aimed to orient the public on the peace agreement signed in March 2014.

but of justice!
Religious freedom is the reason
that the people of Mindanao should
not be compelled to submit to a
secular regime if they believe they
should be practicing their religion
even in their civil and political lives.
Religious freedom does not only
mean that there should be room

the Constitution. It embodies

the foundational norms of our
organized life, articulates our corevalues as a people, and establishes
the framework for political and civil
life. It has to be that secure point
of reference for all agreements and
negotiations. Otherwise, deals and
covenants would rest on nothing

a document that can be dealt with

in patch-work fashion whenever
we enter into negotiations with any
restive sector of the Philippines.
In this respect, the decision of
the Supreme Court in the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral
Domains (Province of North Cotabato v. GRP Peace Panel, 2008)

arguments of the legal experts summoned by the houses of Congress

to shed light on the Constitutional
issues, and I am convinced that
there are some very crucial points
of constitutional law that ought to
be resolved. Glossing over them
will not be helpful at all, and it is
Bataan / B4

Misericordiae Vultus / B2

celebrate and experience Gods mercy.

How many pages of Sacred Scripture are
appropriate for meditation during the
weeks of Lent to help us rediscover the
merciful face of the Father! We can repeat
the words of the prophet Micah and make
them our own: You, O Lord, are a God
who takes away iniquity and pardons sin,
who does not hold your anger forever, but
are pleased to show mercy. You, Lord,
will return to us and have pity on your
people. You will trample down our sins
and toss them into the depths of the sea
(cf. 7:18-19).
The pages of the prophet Isaiah can
also be meditated upon concretely during this season of prayer, fasting, and
works of charity: Is not this the fast that
I choose: to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to
let the oppressed go free, and to break
every yoke? Is it not to share your bread
with the hungry, and bring the homeless
poor into your house; when you see the
naked, to cover him, and not to hide
yourself from your own flesh? Then shall
your light break forth like the dawn, and
your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear
guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord
will answer; you shall cry, and he will
say, here I am. If you take away from the
midst of you the yoke, the pointing of

the finger, and speaking wickedness, if

you pour yourself out for the hungry and
satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall
your light rise in the darkness and your
gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord
will guide you continually, and satisfy
your desire with good things, and make
your bones strong; and you shall be like
a watered garden, like a spring of water,
whose waters fail not (58:6-11).
The initiative of 24 Hours for the
Lord, to be celebrated on the Friday and
Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of
Lent, should be implemented in every
diocese. So many people, including the
youth, are returning to the Sacrament of
Reconciliation; through this experience
they are rediscovering a path back to the
Lord, living a moment of intense prayer
and finding meaning in their lives. Let us
place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at
the centre once more in such a way that it
will enable people to touch the grandeur
of Gods mercy with their own hands. For
every penitent, it will be a source of true
interior peace.
I will never tire of insisting that confessors be authentic signs of the Fathers
mercy. We do not become good confessors
automatically. We become good confessors when, above all, we allow ourselves to
be penitents in search of his mercy. Let us
never forget that to be confessors means
to participate in the very mission of Jesus

to be a concrete sign of the constancy of

divine love that pardons and saves. We
priests have received the gift of the Holy
Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and
we are responsible for this. None of us
wields power over this Sacrament; rather,
we are faithful servants of Gods mercy
through it. Every confessor must accept
the faithful as the father in the parable
of the prodigal son: a father who runs
out to meet his son despite the fact that
he has squandered away his inheritance.
Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to
express the joy of having him back again.
Let us never tire of also going out to the
other son who stands outside, incapable
of rejoicing, in order to explain to him
that his judgment is severe and unjust
and meaningless in light of the fathers
boundless mercy. May confessors not ask
useless questions, but like the father in
the parable, interrupt the speech prepared
ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that
confessors will learn to accept the plea for
help and mercy gushing from the heart
of every penitent. In short, confessors
are called to be a sign of the primacy of
mercy always, everywhere, and in every
situation, no matter what.
18. During Lent of this Holy Year,
I intend to send out Missionaries of
Mercy.They will be a sign of the Churchs
maternal solicitude for the People of God,

enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to

the faith. There will be priests to whom
I will grant the authority to pardon even
those sins reserved to the Holy See, so
that the breadth of their mandate as
confessors will be even clearer. They will
be, above all, living signs of the Fathers
readiness to welcome those in search of
his pardon. They will be missionaries of
mercy because they will be facilitators
of a truly human encounter, a source of
liberation, rich with responsibility for
overcoming obstacles and taking up the
new life of Baptism again. They will be
led in their mission by the words of the
Apostle: For God has consigned all men
to disobedience, that he may have mercy
upon all (Rom11:32). Everyone, in fact,
without exception, is called to embrace
the call to mercy. May these Missionaries
live this call with the assurance that they
can fix their eyes on Jesus, the merciful
and faithful high priest in the service of
God (Heb2:17).
I ask my brother Bishops to invite and
welcome these Missionaries so that they
can be, above all, persuasive preachers of
mercy. May individual dioceses organize
missions to the people in such a way
that these Missionaries may be heralds
of joy and forgiveness. Bishops are asked
to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with their people so that the time

of grace offered by the Jubilee Year will

make it possible for many of Gods sons
and daughters to take up once again
the journey to the Fathers house. May
pastors, especially during the liturgical
season of Lent, be diligent in calling back
the faithful to the throne of grace, that
we may receive mercy and find grace
19. May the message of mercy reach
everyone, and may no one be indifferent
to the call to experience mercy. I direct
this invitation to conversion even more
fervently to those whose behavior distances them from the grace of God. I particularly have in mind men and women
belonging to criminal organizations of
any kind. For their own good, I beg them
to change their lives. I ask them this in
the name of the Son of God who, though
rejecting sin, never rejected the sinner. Do
not fall into the terrible trap of thinking
that life depends on money and that, in
comparison with money, anything else is
devoid of value or dignity. This is nothing
but an illusion! We cannot take money
with us into the life beyond. Money does
not bring us happiness. Violence inflicted
for the sake of amassing riches soaked in
blood makes one neither powerful nor
immortal. Everyone, sooner or later, will
be subject to Gods judgment, from which
no one can escape.
Misericordiae Vultus / B5


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Pope Francis
Divine Mercy Sunday Homily

Letter of His Holiness Pope

Francis to the President of
the International Commission
against the Death Penalty



President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty

Mr President,
With these words, I would like to convey my greeting to all the
members of the International Commission against the Death Penalty,
to the group of countries that support it and to those who cooperate
with the organization over which you preside. Furthermore, I would
like to express my personal gratitude, and also that of men of good
will, for your commitment to bring about a world free from the
death penalty and for your contribution toward the establishment of
a universal moratorium on executions throughout the world, in order
to abolish capital punishment.
I shared several ideas on this subject in my letter of 30 May 2014
to the International Association of Criminal Law and to the Latin
American Association of Criminal Law and Criminology. In my
address to the five large world associations dedicated to the study of
criminal law, criminology, victimology and issues of imprisonment
on 23 October 2014, I took the opportunity to go deeper into these
issues. On this occasion, I would like to offer you some suggestions by
which the Church may contribute to the Commissions humane effort.
The Magisterium of the Church, beginning from Sacred Scripture
and from the experience of the People of God for millennia, defends
life from conception to natural death, and supports full human dignity
as in the image of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Human life is sacred because
from its beginning, from the first moment of conception, it is the
fruit of the creative action of God (cf. Catechism of the Catholic
Church, n. 2258), and from that moment, man,the only creature ...
that God wanted for his own sake, is the recipient of Gods personal
love(cf.Gaudium et Spes, n. 24).
States can kill by their action when they apply the death penalty,
when they lead their people to war or when they perform extrajudicial
or summary executions. They can also kill by omission, when they
do not guarantee their people access to the basic necessities of life.
Just as the commandment Thou shalt not kill sets a clear limit in
order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say
thou shalt not to an economy of exclusion and inequality (Evangelii
Gaudium, n. 53).
Life, human life above all, belongs to God alone. Not even a
murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to

Vatican City - April 11, 2015. Pope Francis at St. Peters Basilica on April 11, 2015 during the Convocation of the Year of Mercy, where Pope Francis publicly proclaimed a Jubilee
for Mercy, which will begin Dec. 8 and end in November 2016.

guarantee this. As St Ambrose taught, God did not want to punish

Cain with homicide, for He wants the sinner to repent more than to
die (cf.Evangelium Vitae, n. 9).
In certain circumstances, when hostilities are underway, a measured
reaction is necessary in order to prevent the aggressor from causing
harm, and the need to neutralize the aggressor may result in his elimination; it is a case of legitimate defence (cf.Evangelium Vitae, n. 55).
Nevertheless, the prerequisites of legitimate personal defense are not
applicable in the social sphere without the risk of distortion. In fact,
when the death penalty is applied, people are killed not for current
acts of aggression, but for offences committed in the past. Moreover,
it is applied to people whose capacity to cause harm is not current, but
has already been neutralized, and who are deprived of their freedom.
Today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the
condemneds crime may have been. It is an offence to the inviolability
of life and to the dignity of the human person which contradicts Gods
plan for man and for society and his merciful justice, and it fails to
conform to any just purpose of punishment. It does not render justice
to the victims, but rather foments revenge.
For a constitutional state the death penalty represents a failure,
because it obliges the State to kill in the name of justice. Dostoyevsky
wrote: To kill a murderer is a punishment incomparably worse than
the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by a criminal. Justice is never reached by killing
a human being.
The death penalty loses all legitimacy due to the defective selectivity of the criminal justice system and in the face of the possibility of
judicial error. Human justice is imperfect, and the failure to recognize
its fallibility can transform it into a source of injustice. With the application of capital punishment, the person sentenced is denied the
possibility to make amends or to repent of the harm done; the possibility of confession, with which man expresses his inner conversion;
and of contrition, the means of repentance and atonement, in order
to reach the encounter with the merciful and healing love of God.
Furthermore, capital punishment is a frequent practice to which
totalitarian regimes and fanatical groups resort, for the extermination
of political dissidents, minorities, and every individual labeled as
dangerous or who might be perceived as a threat to their power or
to the attainment of their objectives. As in the first centuries and also
in the current one, the Church suffers from the application of this
penalty to her new martyrs.
The death penalty is contrary to the meaning ofhumanitasand
to divine mercy, which must be models for human justice. It entails
cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as is the anguish before the
moment of execution and the terrible suspense between the issuing
of the sentence and the execution of the penalty, a form of torture
which, in the name of correct procedure, tends to last many years, and
which oftentimes leads to illness and insanity on death row.
In some spheres there is debate over the method of execution, as if
it were about finding the best way. In the course of history, various
lethal mechanisms have been defended because they reduced the suffering and agony of the condemned. But there is no humane form of
killing another person.
Today, not only are there means of effectively addressing the crime
without definitively depriving criminals of the chance to reform
(cf.Evangelium Vitae, n. 27), but there is also a heightened moral
sensitivity regarding the value of human life, arousing public opinion in
support of the various provisions aimed at its abolition or at suspending
its application and a growing aversion to the death penalty (cf.ComDeath Penalty / B7

DEAR Brothers and Sisters,

The greeting of the Risen Christ to his disciples on the evening of Easter, Peace be with
you! (Jn 20:19), continues to resound in us
all. Peace, especially during this Easter season,
remains the desire of so many people who suffer unprecedented violence of discrimination
and death simply because they bear the name
Christian. Our prayer is all the more intense
and becomes a cry for
help to the Father, who
is rich in mercy, that he
may sustain the faith of
our many brothers and
sisters who are in pain.
At the same time, we
ask for the grace of the
conversion of our own
hearts so as to move
from indifference to
Saint Paul reminds
us that we have been saved through the mystery
of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
He is the Reconciler, who is alive in our midst
offering the way to reconciliation with God
and with each other. The Apostle recalls that,
notwithstanding the difficulties and the sufferings of life, the hope of salvation which Christ
has sown in our hearts nonetheless continues to

grow. The mercy of God is poured out upon us,

making us just and giving us peace.
Many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee
of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in
this time of great historical change, is called to
offer more evident signs of Gods presence and
closeness. This is not the time to be distracted;
on the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to
reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what

above all, to those who suffer, who are alone and

abandoned, without hope of being pardoned or
feeling the Fathers love. A Holy Year to experience strongly within ourselves the joy of having
been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd who
has come in search of us because we were lost.
A Jubilee to receive the warmth of his love
when he bears us upon his shoulders and
brings us back to the Fathers house. A year in
which to be touched
by the Lord Jesus and
to be transformed by
his mercy, so that we
may become witnesses
to mercy. Here, then,
is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the
time for mercy. It is the
favorable time to heal
wounds, a time not to
be weary of meeting all
those who are waiting
to see and to touch with their hands the signs
of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone
the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.
May the Mother of God open our eyes, so
that we may comprehend the task to which
we have been called; and may she obtain for us
the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as
faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ.

This is a time for the Church to rediscover

the meaning of the mission entrusted to her
by the Lord on the day of Easter:
to be a sign and an instrument of the
Fathers mercy.

File Photo

The death penalty is

contrary to the meaning of
humanitas and to divine
mercy, which must be models
for human justice.

CBCP Monitor

is essential. This is a time for the Church to

rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted
to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be
a sign and an instrument of the Fathers mercy
(cf. Jn20:21-23). For this reason, the Holy
Year must keep alive the desire to know how
to welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world and,

Cause of Co-foundress of
Adoration Sisters opens
IN an official letter dated February 25, 2015, the Holy See
has given the go signal for the
beatification process for Adolfine
Tonnies (Mother Mary Michael)
the Co-foundress and the first
Superior General of the Holy
Spirit Adoration Sisters. On
March 19 the so-called Nihil
Obstat signed by Cardinal Angelus Amato was received. It opens
the way for the beginning of the
beatification process, which first
begins at the diocesan level.
On August 26, 2014, on the
occasion of the centenary celebration of the mother house of the
Sisters in Steyl (Netherlands),
the request together with all the
necessary documents regarding
the opening of the process was
presented to the Bishop of the
Diocese of Roermond, Fans
Adolfine Tonnies was born on
January 7, 1862 in Horst-Emscher
(today Gelsenkirchen-Horst).
Having completed her schooling
and subsequent teacher training
in Muenster, she worked for ten
years as a teacher in the North
German town of Rendsburg.

With her desire to become a

religious, she applied to the German priest Arnold Janssen, who
had founded in 1879 in Steyl a
house for the training of future
In 1891 Arnold Janssen accepted Adolfine Tonnies in the
Congregation of Missionary
Sisters, which he had founded
two years previously. In 1896,
he founded a contemplative
congregation called the Servants
of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual
Adoration. Adolfine Tonnies
was appointed superior and later
Superior General of this contemplative community.
As a Sister she received the
religious name Mary Michael. Although she lived in a cloister, she
was with all her heart a missionary
as well. She worked for the inner
and outer development of her
Congregation and founded new
adoration convents in Germany,
the Netherlands, the USA, the
Philippines and China. She died on
February 25, 1934 in Steyl. Today
there are about 350 Steyl Adoration
Sisters living in 22 convents in various parts of the world.

Bataan / B3

neither my place nor my competence to pass

upon them now.
The sectors that claim they were not included
in the deals leading to the BBL should not be
silenced. Neither should they be ignored. I refer
in particular to the MNLF and to indigenous
cultural communities, as well as to Christian
communities in Mindanao. No agreement that is
perceived to be favorable to one sector alone will
ever bring the sought-after peace for Mindanao.
The BIFF phenomenon is likewise worrisome.
They are armed and dangerous. They have given
the nation concrete demonstration of the trouble
they can cause. Shall we negotiate with them
later and hammer another deal? While the MILF
has promised to keep them in check, it has also
been relevantly pointed out that relatives, though
belonging to different organizations and associations, will not so easily restrain each other! The
same thing must be said of the remnants of the
Abu Sayaff Group. And while some claim that
Jemmayah Isalmiyah is a spent force, I personally
would like to know more about its presence or
its demise in Mindanao.
Finally, there are the traditional institutions
such as the sultanates that seem to have been

left out of the conversation. What is their future

under the BBL?
Arguments from History
Some of the advocates of BBL rest their
claims for the swathe of powers granted the
entity known as Bangsamoro invoke historical
arguments such as the sultanates of the past
and their sway. But arguments from history
are always tricky. In fact, international law has
rejected this approach altogether by the doctrine
of uti possidetisin respect to the drawing of
boundaries, they stay as they are found. Appealing to history in respect to claims of political
power and autonomy will only confound issues
more. Once upon a time, Soliman ruled over
Muslim Manila. That piece of history is certainly
no sound argument for Sharia in Manila. I am
not against Sharia. I am only saying that some
arguments are helpful, other are only distracting!
A Plea Against Tribalization
Ours is a beautiful people precisely because of
our diversity. Our cultural heritage is enviable
precisely because it is rich. But it is precisely the
multi-faceted character of our ethnicities than
can lend itself, unless are vigilant, to a decadent
local version of Balkanization, our own form of
modern-day tribalization.

From the crucible of history, we have emerged

one nation, subsisting as a sovereign State. This,
for me, is beyond negotiation: the singularity of
the State and the singularity of sovereignty. I believe that I speak in union with the Magisterium
of the Church on this issue that teaches:
The rights of nations are nothing but
human rights fostered at the specific level of
community life. A nation has a fundamental
right to existence, to its own language and
culture through which a people expresses and
promotesits fundamental spiritual sovereignty, to shape life according to its own
traditions, excluding, of course, every abuse
of basic human rights and in particular the
oppression of minorities, to build its future
by providing an appropriate education for the
younger generation. (Compendium of the
Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 157)
The State has the right to the seamlessness of
its integrity and to its territorial integrity!
I am a Filipino. We are Filipinos hallowed by
the heroism of our Bataan heroes. The Philippines is Gods gift to me. The Philippines is our
blessing from God. We need peace. We need laws
for the preservation of peace, principled peace.
Dagupan City, April 9, 2015

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Celebrating Christian Faith through our

Devotion to the Child Jesus
A Pastoral Letter on Kaplag

Discovery of the Miraculous Image of

the Santo Nio
Our peoples devotion to the Child
Jesus constantly reminds us of the humble
beginning of our faith in God. The small
image of the Santo Nio given as a gift
by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand
Magellan in 1521 to the local queen of
Cebu on the occasion of her, her spouse
and their subjects baptism marked the
start of the Christianization of our people.
The same religious icon was rediscovered in
1565 by one of Miguel Lopez de Legazpis
men (named Juan de Camus) in a small
hut spared from the conflagration that destroyed the village of our forebears dwelling
in Cebu at that time.
A number of historical documents inform us about the events that took place
during Ferdinand Magellans expedition
in 1521 and Miguel Lopez de Legazpis
mission forty-four years later. Of particular
interest to us is the discovery (kaplag)
of the image of the Santo Nio on April
28, 1565. Thus we read in a notarized
statement (dated May 16, 1565) sworn in
before the official notary, Fernando Riquel,
and signed by Legazpi himself: Coming to
a small house, which seemed to have not
been entered into by anyone, he (sc. Juan
de Camus) went into it and upon entering
he found two native boxes tied together.
He opened one and it had nothing inside
except a bowl and a wild pig tusk. The other
one seemed light to him and contained
nothing. He went deeper into the house,
found another box tied with Castilian
sailing thread and Castilian cord made of
hemp and since it seemed heavy to him
and to contain something, he cut the rope
and opened it. Once opened, he found another box made of pine wood and a Child
Jesus in it (AGI Patr 23 r 16 folio 35).
The discovery of the religious icon was
immediately interpreted as a sign of divine
favor. The entire Spanish armada declared
that God had rewarded the devotion that
their leader, Legazpi, had for the Holy
Name of Jesus and the ardent zeal with
which he headed the expedition. For his
part, Legazpi decided, first, to build a
chapel on the very spot where the image
was found, and, second, decreed the annual celebration of the said discovery. This
explains, on the one hand, the prominence

accorded to the present-day Basilica Minore

del Santo Nio de Cebu, which is retained
to correspond to the place where the icon
was discovered, and, on the other hand,
the annual celebration of the Kaplag.
The Augustinian Province that sent the
first missionaries to the Philippines was also
named after the Most Holy Name of Jesus
(Santsimo Nombre de Jess), and a Cofrada
was founded in honor of the Child Jesus.
Augustinian Mission in the Philippines
The first Augustinian missionaries arrived in the Philippines during the Legazpi
expedition in 1565, with the explicit mission to bring the natives of those regions
to knowledge of our holy Catholic faith,
as we read in a document dated September 1, 1564 (published in a collection of
unedited documents entitled De las Islas
Filipinas). While sailing towards our land,
the religious missionaries attended to the

Documents do not attest to the presence of

Spanish colonizers in the Philippines until
1565 notwithstanding other attempts to
claim the Philippine Islands for the Spanish crown (like the 1525 expedition under
Fray Garca Jofre de Loaysa, that of 1526
under Sebastin de Cabot, that of 1527
under Alvaro de Saavedra, and that of 1542
under Gen. Ruy Lpez de Villalobos).
During the forty-four years that transpired
between 1521 and 1565, we are informed
that the people baptized during Magellans
time had apostatized and returned to their
former beliefs.
The arrival of the Augustinians with the
Legazpi expedition marked the resumption
of the Christianization of our people. From
1565 onwards their mission to evangelize the Filipinos was never interrupted.
Looking back at the past 450 years of the
Augustinian presence in the Philippines,
we realize how the early missionaries work

to the Santo Nio

Today the Augustinians continue to
promote the devotion to the Child Jesus
wherever they work, both in the Philippines and abroad. Many representations
of the Santo Nio were later introduced
into our country, giving rise to a very rich
multiplicity of expressions of popular
religiosity. Thus we have, for example, the
Santo Nio de Tondo in Manila, the Santo
Nio de Arevalo in Iloilo, different images
of Santo Nio in the guise of a fisherman,
a farmer, a police man, a wandering boy,
and many others.
The proliferation of the various images of
the Child Jesus among the Filipino people
bears witness to the continuous deepening
and taking root of our faith and devotion
to the Son of God in the form of a Child.
However, the very center of all such devotions remains to be the city of Cebu, where
the very first Santo Nio was brought in

Roy Lagarde

Three-fold Augustinian Celebration

The Archdiocese of Cebu joins the
Augustinian Province of Santo Nio de
Cebu-Philippines in celebrating three
significant events this year 2015namely,
the 450th anniversary of the Augustinian
presence in the Philippines (1565-2015),
the 450th anniversary of the discovery or
finding (kaplag in Cebuano) of the miraculous image of the Child Jesus in Cebu
(1565-2015), and the 50th anniversary of
the elevation of the Santo Nio Church in
Cebu City to the rank of a minor basilica
The above-mentioned three-fold event
is a manifestation of divine grace bestowed
upon our people and an occasion to express
our gratitude and thanksgiving to the
Almighty God for the gift of faith and for
having chosen our country to be a beacon
of light in this part of the world, being a
nation in Asia with predominantly Catholic

spiritual needs of the members of the

entire fleet, confessing them, administering the Holy Communion, giving advice,
and so forth. When the expedition finally
reached the Philippines in February 1565,
aside from fulfilling their religious function, they were always present in all the
negotiations between the natives and the
Spanish colonizers; they set out to learn
the local language; gathered information
concerning their customs, conditions,
mode of life, manner of worship, etc. It
was to them that the miraculous image of
the Santo Nio was entrusted right from
the very beginning.
The initial attempt to Christianize our
country in 1521 was abruptly interrupted
with the death of Ferdinand Magellan
and some of his men during the Battle of
Mactan against the local chieftain LapuLapu and his warriors. The rest of the fleet
had to leave our shores to save their lives.

went well-beyond religious matters. The

legacy they have bequeathed us, indeed,
covered various areas of our culture, like
education, politics, urban planning, foundation of towns and cities, literature, sciences, philology, and so forth. Fr. Martn
de Rada and Fr. Juan de Quionesboth
of the Augustinian Orderwere the first
ones to write in the Bisaya and the Tagalog languages; the Augustinians were the
ones who introduced the printing press to
our country; they wrote grammar books,
dictionaries, religious texts, etc. in many
local languages and dialects; they pioneered
researches in the fields of history and sciences (noteworthy is Fr. Manuel Blancos
Flora de Filipinas published in 1837); at the
outbreak of the 1898 revolution, the Augustinians had under their care 2,320,667
souls, distributed among 231 parishes and
missions in 22 provinces.
Cebu as Center of the Filipino Devotion

1521 and given as a precious gift to our

ancestors. It is in this city where the grandest celebration in honor of the Child Jesus
is held annually every month of January.
Millions of devotees worldwide flock to the
Basilica Minore del Santo Nio de Cebu
for the said occasion.
The church that houses the image of the
Santo Nio de Cebu is a significant part of
our history as a nation and of our faith as a
people. Its importance was duly recognized
on many occasions. In 1941 it was accorded
the title of a national historical landmark.
On April 1, 1965 Pope Paul VI, on the
occasion of the fourth centenary of the
Christianization of the Philippines elevated
it to the rank of a minor basilica with the
Papal Bull Ut clarificetur nomen Domini.
A year before that, the image of the Santo
Nio was canonically crowned in virtue of
the Papal Bull Cunabula religionis (dated
February 27, 1964). Lastly, on August 1,

1973 Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, in virtue of

P.D. 260 (sec. 2), declared both the church
and the Augustinian convent adjacent to it
as national shrines and landmarks.
The giving of the image of the Child
Jesus by Ferdinand Magellan to the local queen of Cebu in 1521, its finding
forty-four years later by a soldier of Miguel
Lopez de Legazpi, the arrival of the early
Augustinian missionaries to our shores, the
honors accorded to the church where the
Santo Nio de Cebu has been venerated
throughout the centuries, are significant
and closely intertwined events in the long
history of the faith of the Filipino people.
By the year 2021 we will be celebrating the
fifth centenary of the arrival of Christianity to our nation. The celebration of the
Kaplag this year 2015 is an occasion for
us to prepare ourselves for that big event

The proliferation
of the various
images of the
Child Jesus
among the
Filipino people
bears witness to
the continuous
deepening and
taking root of our
faith and devotion
to the Son of God
in the form of
a Child.
and, at the same time, an invitation for us to
thank God for the countless blessings that
He unfailingly showered us through our
devotion to His only begotten Son who,
in the fulness of time (cf. Gal 4:4), took
the form of a man, becoming a small child.
May our Lord Jesusthe Way, the
Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6)continue
to bless and guide our people. May He
help us deepen our faith in and love for
the Heavenly Father and teach us to remain
obedient to Him at all times. We ask this
through the motherly intercession of the
Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.
Sincerely yours in the Santo Nio,
Archbishop of Cebu
Thursday of the Lords Supper
2 April 2015

Misericordiae Vultus / B5

The same invitation is extended

to those who either perpetrate or
participate in corruption. This
festering wound is a grave sin
that cries out to heaven for vengeance, because it threatens the
very foundations of personal and
social life. Corruption prevents us
from looking to the future with
hope, because its tyrannical greed
shatters the plans of the weak and
tramples upon the poorest of the
poor. It is an evil that embeds
itself into the actions of everyday
life and spreads, causing great
public scandal. Corruption is a
sinful hardening of the heart that
replaces God with the illusion that
money is a form of power. It is a
work of darkness, fed by suspicion
and intrigue. Corruptio optimi
pessima, Saint Gregory the Great
said with good reason, affirming
that no one can think himself
immune from this temptation.
If we want to drive it out from
personal and social life, we need
prudence, vigilance, loyalty, transparency, together with the courage
to denounce any wrongdoing. If
it is not combated openly, sooner
or later everyone will become an
accomplice to it, and it will end
up destroying our very existence.
This is the opportune moment
to change our lives! This is the
time to allow our hearts to be
touched! When confronted with
evil deeds, even in the face of serious crimes, it is the time to listen
to the cry of innocent people who
are deprived of their property,
their dignity, their feelings, and
even their very lives. To stick to
the way of evil will only leave
one deluded and sad. True life is
something entirely different. God
never tires of reaching out to us.
He is always ready to listen, as I
am too, along with my brother
bishops and priests. All one needs

to do is to accept the invitation to

conversion and submit oneself to
justice during this special time of
mercy offered by the Church.
20. It would not be out of place
at this point to recall the relationship between justice and mercy. These are not two contradictory realities, but two dimensions
of a single reality that unfolds
progressively until it culminates
in the fullness of love. Justice is
a fundamental concept for civil
society, which is meant to be governed by the rule of law. Justice
is also understood as that which
is rightly due to each individual.
In the Bible, there are many references to divine justice and to
God as judge. In these passages,
justice is understood as the full
observance of the Law and the
behaviour of every good Israelite
in conformity with Gods commandments. Such a vision, however, has not infrequently led to
legalism by distorting the original
meaning of justice and obscuring
its profound value. To overcome
this legalistic perspective, we need
to recall that in Sacred Scripture,
justice is conceived essentially
as the faithful abandonment of
oneself to Gods will.
For his part, Jesus speaks several
times of the importance of faith
over and above the observance
of the law. It is in this sense that
we must understand his words
when, reclining at table with Matthew and other tax collectors and
sinners, he says to the Pharisees
raising objections to him, Go
and learn the meaning of I desire
mercy not sacrifice. I have come
not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mt 9:13). Faced with a
vision of justice as the mere observance of the law that judges people
simply by dividing them into two
groups the just and sinners Je-

sus is bent on revealing the great

gift of mercy that searches out sinners and offers them pardon and
salvation. One can see why, on the
basis of such a liberating vision of
mercy as a source of new life, Jesus
was rejected by the Pharisees and
the other teachers of the law. In an
attempt to remain faithful to the
law, they merely placed burdens
on the shoulders of others and
undermined the Fathers mercy.
The appeal to a faithful observance
of the law must not prevent attention from being given to matters
that touch upon the dignity of
the person.
The appeal Jesus makes to the
text from the book of the prophet
I desire love and not sacrifice
(6:6)is important in this regard.
Jesus affirms that, from that time
onward, the rule of life for his disciples must place mercy at the centre, as Jesus himself demonstrated
by sharing meals with sinners.
Mercy, once again, is revealed as
a fundamental aspect of Jesus
mission. This is truly challenging
to his hearers, who would draw
the line at a formal respect for the
law. Jesus, on the other hand, goes
beyond the law; the company he
keeps with those the law considers
sinners makes us realize the depth
of his mercy.
The Apostle Paul makes a similar journey. Prior to meeting
Jesus on the road to Damascus,
he dedicated his life to pursuing
the justice of the law with zeal
(cf. Phil 3:6). His conversion to
Christ led him to turn that vision
upside down, to the point that
he would write to the Galatians:
We have believed in Christ Jesus,
in order to be justified by faith in
Christ, and not by works of the
law, because by works of the law
shall no one be justified (2:16).

Pauls understanding of justice

changes radically. He now places
faith first, not justice. Salvation
comes not through the observance
of the law, but through faith in
Jesus Christ, who in his death
and resurrection brings salvation
together with a mercy that justifies. Gods justice now becomes
the liberating force for those oppressed by slavery to sin and its
consequences. Gods justice is his
mercy (cf.Ps51:11-16).
21. Mercy is not opposed to
justice but rather expresses Gods
way of reaching out to the sinner,
offering him a new chance to look
at himself, convert, and believe.
The experience of the prophet
Hosea can help us see the way in
which mercy surpasses justice. The
era in which the prophet lived was
one of the most dramatic in the
history of the Jewish people. The
kingdom was tottering on the edge
of destruction; the people had not
remained faithful to the covenant;
they had wandered from God and
lost the faith of their forefathers.
According to human logic, it
seems reasonable for God to think
of rejecting an unfaithful people;
they had not observed their pact
with God and therefore deserved
just punishment: in other words,
exile. The prophets words attest to
this: They shall not return to the
land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be
their king, because they have refused to return to me (Hos11:5).
And yet, after this invocation
of justice, the prophet radically
changes his speech and reveals the
true face of God: How can I give
you up, O Ephraim! How can I
hand you over, O Israel! How can
I make you like Admah! How can
I treat you like Zeboiim! My heart
recoils within me, my compassion
grows warm and tender. I will

Misericordiae Vultus / B7

A betrayal to Mindoro

ATM Statement on the

Reinstatement of INTEX ECC

ALYANSA Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of more than a hundred environmental advocates and organizations along with the
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and Alyansa Laban sa
Mina (ALAMIN), a Mindoro-based peoples organization against
mining, express their frustration and utmost disappointment with
the reinstatement of Mindoro Nickel Project of Intex Resources
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
In November 2009, hopes rose for the people of Mindoro when the
DENR temporarily revoked Intexs ECC due to anomalies on how the
company acquired the certificate in question. The people of Mindoro
stood their ground and resisted the entry of the mining company for
more than a decade. However, the Aquino administration opted to
pursue corporate capitalist interest over the threat to peoples lives
and the environment when it reinstated the revoked ECC.
According to ALAMIN, the people of Mindoro are now in rage
because of this very unfortunate event. Intexs ECC reinstatement
is a symbol of the Office of the President and the Depertment
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) undeniable
betrayal of the Mindoreos welfare and trust.
Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina
called on the Office of the President and DENRto revoke the
reinstatement of Intexs ECC as the action taken by the respective
offices has no valid grounding and contrary to the position of the
local government and the affected communities. He further stated
that Malacaang and DENR should be ashamed of themselves
for putting corporate business interest above the best interest of
Mindoreos and the environment.
Mindoreos are one in opposing mining in the province, as this
will destroy our fragile ecosystem. The people of Mindoro does not
deserve this kind of betrayal from the government, the very same that
should be upholding and protecting our rights and our environment.
Said Fr. Edu Gariguez, Executive Director of CBCP-NASSA
We will not let this betrayal extinguish our fire of passion to
protect our lands and mountains against corporate greed, pursued
in collusion with our own government. Intex had long been trying
to start their mining operation, with all their deceptive strategies
and alleged bribery. They will never win. The Mindorenos will
continue to heroically stand their ground to save and protect the
province from outright destruction. Gariguez concluded.
14 April 2015


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

CBCP Monitor

Junior Good Shepherds today

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
BEING mostly a shepherding
people, Israel enjoyed thinking of
the Lord as its divine Shepherd.
The pious Jews expressed their
trust in Gods providential care and
protection by singing:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall
want for nothing . . . .
I shall fear no evil! (Ps 23:1.4)
And the Lord did take care of
His flock in all circumstances. In
most cases, however, He entrusted
the ordinary care of Israel to human
shepherds: the political and religious leaders of His people. These
were expected to be the symbols and
instruments of the fatherly concern
which the Divine Shepherd showed
for His people at all times.
Often, however, the leaders had
turned into bad shepherds who
pastured themselves, while treating
the sheep harshly. (See Ez 34:3-6.)
The Lord threatened to dismiss the
bad shepherds and promised to take
care of His own flock personally. (See
Ez 34:11-16.)
Such a promise was fulfilled in
Jesus Christ, the Son of God-mademan. In his short earthly existence,
through his teaching, his miracles
and his loving kindness, Jesus
showed in innumerable instances
the way a good shepherd should
treat his own flock. Eventually, he
went to the extent of laying down his
life for his sheep, thus living up to the
definition of good shepherd which
he himself had given. (See Jn 10:11.)
After his resurrection, Jesus did not
forget his little flock of disciples.
Knowing that he would not be
visibly present among them any
longer, he entrusted them all to the
care of Peter, the chief shepherd (see
Jn 21:15-17), and of all the other
apostles (see Mt 28:19-20), and their
successors. They were to watch over

the whole flock the Holy Spirit had

entrusted to their care. They were
to shepherd the Church of God
which he has acquired at the price
of his own blood (Acts 20:28).
This task is not easy. It can, actually, be very demanding, indeed,
if one takes ones duty seriously
and does ones best to imitate the
dedication of Christ. The history of
the Church is also the history of numberless junior good shepherds, from
the popes to the humblest priests.
They are the ones who, in every
century and every community of
believers, have carried out Christs
mandate to feed his lambs and tend
his sheep. (See Jn 21:15-17.)
Not all have done so as Christ
himself and his flock expected.
Painful as they are, these dark
smudges are sharp reminders of the
frailty aspect of the Church. But
they also emphasize the witness
of the good junior shepherds who
greatly outnumber those who
let God and us down. Indeed,
over the centuries, the Church
has known wonderful examples of
spiritual shepherds who have given
their life for the good or the defense
of their flock. Bishop Romero of
El Salvador is one of these heroes
in our modern times. Fr. Charlito
Colendres, who died while trying
to save the drowning victims of
the flash floods that hit Southern
Luzon in 2004, is our local hero
Throughout this Year of Consecrated Life, but especially today,
we should pray that the Lord may
send us many more such shepherds
who will prove to all that CHRIST,
the GOOD SHEPHERD, is still
alive and caring. And whenever
they live up to the expectation of
the Divine Shepherd, their little
or large flocks experience once
again the saving presence of the
Risen Lord.

Toby Hudson

4th Sunday of Easter, John 10:11-18 (B) Good Shepherd Sunday; April 26, 2015

Over the centuries, the Church has known wonderful examples

of spiritual shepherds who have given their life for the good
or the defense of their flock.

Gift and challenge: to be one in Christ and with Christ

5th Sunday of Easter, John 15:1-18 (B) Feast of Christ, King of Divine Mercy; May 3, 2015
THE claim, Apart from me, you can
do nothing, would sound empty or offensive and off-putting even on the lips
of the most popular leader. Yet, when it
comes to Jesus, we have to admit that
it is simply true. In our spiritual life, in
fact, we are absolutely dependent on him.
As God, Jesus is the only source of grace; as
a Man, he shares in full our human nature
and thereby becomes the only channel
through which divine grace reaches us. And
just as we have no alternative sources of
life aside from the Creator, so we have
no alternative ways of reaching out to
Him and enjoying the fullness of His
saving love, except through Christ, our
Brother and only Savior. He is the one and
only Mediator of grace. (See 1 Tim 2:5.)
All the other channels of grace
that we know ofthe Church, the
Sacraments, the Bible, prayer . . . are
all secondary channels. They are valid
and effective only because of Christ. They
derive their meaning and effectiveness
from him and are essentially oriented
toward him.
We share in Gods life by being united
with Jesus. Such a life-giving union
started out at baptism, when we became
part of himmembers of his Body,
thereby beginning to enjoy the fruits
of his passion, death, and resurrection.
Jesus union and solidarity with us caused


By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

Our union with Jesus can be broken because

of our weakness. It does get broken or damaged
whenever we sin.

him suffering and death. Our union and

solidarity with him produce in us happiness
and salvation. Such is the vital meaning
of us being branches of the fruitful vine
that Jesus is.
But our union with Jesus can be broken because of our weakness. It does get
broken or damaged whenever we sin.
This should never happen. Instead, we
should steadily aim not only at preserving our union with Jesus, but actually at
increasing it because such a union is not
static, but dynamic, and in this lies its
challenge aspect.
We call this vital union a COMMUNION, for it brings about a mutual
inhabitation: He is in us, and we are
in Him. (See Jn 15:4.) A real communion
is rooted in sincere appreciation and total
mutual acceptance, and is nourished by selfless love. The preservation and growth of
our union with our Lord Jesus Christ can
happen only on one condition: that we
keep his commandments. (See 1 Jn 3:24.)
Then shall we bear the abundant fruits of
the new life inaugurated by Jesus with his
resurrection. These fruits will be especially
peace, and the genuine love of neighbor,
which expresses itself in deeds and truth and
not merely in words (1 Jn 3:18.19). Then
shall we continually experience in ourselves
the reality and the power of Christs Resurrection: (see Phil 3:10), and enjoy the
presence of the Holy Spirit in us, as did
the members of the apostolic community.
(See Acts 9:31, and 1 Jn 3:24).

Bo Sanchez

Bishop Pat Alo


The ways of the Lord

JESUS preached to the poor. He died poor. He suffered for us

the ignominious death on the cross. Yet His was the way that
brought salvation.
And we must do no less because He had said: If anyone
wants to be a follower of
mine, let him renounce
himself, take up his cross
daily and follow me
(Lk. 9:23). This, too, is
the way of all the saints
who hold the palm of
victory, because humbly
they carried their cross
every day of their lives.
Read the lives of saints
and see if you can point
to even one who was just
sitting pretty, doing no
sacrifice at all. Even the
act of true Christian love
is itself sacrifice.
St. Paul describes it as:
Love is humble, patient and forgiving (1 Cor. 13:4). The ideologists say: Be tough, radical and clench-fisted. The Christian:
Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Rom.
12:21). Check it up. Whom has the Lord exalted: the proud
or the humble?

Read the lives of

saints and see
if you can point
to even one who
was just sitting
pretty, doing no
sacrifice at all.


You teach people how to treat you

ONE summer, when I was a
thin, small, pipsqueaky, sixteen year old boy, I placed a
backpack over my shoulder
and rode a plane for Israel. (I
won first prize in a Bible Quiz
in Televisionand this was
the prize.)
It was the first time I traveled
out of the Philippines.
And would you believe?
I went alone.
After moving around Holy
Land for 10 days, I took another
plane for Rome. And from one
train to another, I traveled to
30 more cities in Europe: Assisi,
Padua, Paris, Geneva, Brussels,
Amsterdam, Frankfurt All by
my lonesome self.
When I came back, my classmates asked me what I did last
Naturally, they freaked out
when I told them. They pulled
their hair and screamed, Thats
unfair! Your parents allow you
to travel to Europe alone for a
month? My parents dont even

allow me to go to my friends
house across the street without
a chaperone for two minutes!
My parents are absolutely, completely, totally unfair!
I laughed and never understood how our parents could be
so different.
Today, 30 years wiser, I now

How? I was boringly predictable!

As a young guy, I basically
obeyed them every day. I came
home at the time they wanted me
to come home, I did my assigned
responsibilities, and I loved God
with all my heart! I was so boringly predictable, my parents

Stop blaming others.

Take responsibility.
Now go change your life.
I believe their parents werent
being unfair.
What happened? Phillip
Mcgraw says it powerfully: You
teach people how to treat you.
I realize now that my classmates taught their parents to be
And I taught my parents to
give me all the freedom in the

could predict what I would say if

a friend gave me a cigarette (No,
thank you. I love my lungs.) or
when a stranger would offer me
drugs (No, thank you. I love
my brain.).
Hey, this principle works in
any relationship, so adults, listen
to me.
Do you feel that your boss
in the office is treating you

Has your husband been verbally abusing you for ten years
Do you feel that your friends
totally ignore you?
Let me give you a bitter pill
to swallow: Partly, you created
their response towards you.
You taught them how to treat
About that boss that is unfairly
treating youjust MAYBE, you
showed a negative attitude in the
office and your boss is responding with hostility.
About that verbally abusing
husbandjust MAYBE, you
made your husband think its
acceptable behavior that he maltreat you because you tolerate it
again and again.
About the friends who totally ignore youjust MAYBE,
theyre simply respecting the
w a l l yo uve e re c t e d a ro u n d
Stop blaming others.
Take responsibility.
Now go change your life.

CBCP Monitor


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

The Hell Fires of Climate Change

THE Gates of Hell is how Dan brown

described Manila in a recent novel and
how right he is. The air pollution has grow
excessively with thousands more vehicles
belching black smoke and a thick, sooty
smog swirls over the city. Millions of
Filipinos inhale the death-causing particles
that clog up their lungs and they cough and
puke their sickly way to the hospital or are
carried swiftly to the cemetery. Thousands
of children are gasping for fresh air as they
struggle with asthma. The situation is truly
hell on earth.
The Anti-Pollution law and Clean Air
Act of 1999 are clear and have the strongest
provisions that are to protect the citizens,
give the right to clean air and have a pollution free environment. The law of 1999
expresses the will of the people in granting
these rights:
a) The right to breathe clean air; b)
The right to utilize and enjoy all natural
resources according to the principle of
sustainable development; c) The right to
participate in the formulation, planning,
Implementation and monitoring of environmental policies and programs and in
the decision-making process;
d) The right to participate in the decision-making process concerning development policies, plans and programs projects
or activities that may have adverse impact
on the environment and public health;
e) The right to be informed of the nature
and extent of the potential hazard on any
activity, or project and to be served timely
notice of any significant rise in the level of
pollution and the accidental or deliberate
release into the atmosphere of harmful or
hazardous substances;
f ) The right of access to public records,
which a citizen may need to exercise his
or her rights effectively under this Act;
g) The right to bring action in court or
quasi-judicial bodies to enjoin all activities
in violation of environmental laws and
regulations, to compel the rehabilitation
and cleanup of affected area, and to seek
the imposition of penal sanctions against,
violators of environmental laws.
Not only is this law generally ignored

File Photo

By Fr. Shay Cullen

In a peaceful protest, members of civil society call on First World countries to cut down on their emissions to address global warming.

Millions of Filipinos inhale the death-causing particles that

clog up their lungs and they cough and puke their sickly
way to the hospital or are carried swiftly to the cemetery.
but industries, backed by the judiciary,
actually seem, or create the perception that
they work together in a manner that does
not benefit the people, but only enrich the
elite and provide electric power for their
factories and business. The poor get poorer
and choke on the pollution of from the hell
fires of the coal-fired stations.
That is how many citizens in the Subic

bay Freeport zone and Olongapo City

saw it when the restraining order issued
by the lower court was overturned by the
Supreme Court.
This recent decision was very much in
favor of the energy tycoons making and
spending billions of pesos to build coal-fired
power plants across the country. We hope
and pray the Supreme Court will hear all

the arguments and change their decision.

These plants belch billowing fumes tons
of deadly particles of chemicals that will
create a choking, smoke-filled environment
in the now pristine Subic rain forest. The
fumes and smoke will blow across the bay
and more of it will be absorbed by the
waters of Subic Bay .It will become one
acidic pond killing off fish and their food

sources. The fumes have mercury content,

which will make swimming and water
sport hazardous.
So after a year of belching smoke stacks,
the fresh air of Subic bay and the rain forest
will be a smog of killer fumes and particles.
Coal-fired plants are the most deadly
producers of CO2, the green house gas
that blocks the escape of the earths heat
and which is causing global warming and
climate change at an ever increasing rate.
The planet is being driven toward the
point of no return. If the earth will heat up
another 2 degrees there is no reversing the
trend. The scientists have recoded 2014 as
the hottest year ever recorded.
As this trend continues, crops will fail,
more devastating droughts and forest fires
will devastate nations. Gigantic storms are
the other extreme causing more extensive
floods and disasters everywhere.
With a warmer climate, the ocean currents will change direction and there will
be more monster storms and typhoons like
Yolanda (Haiyan) that wiped out Tacloban
and dozens of Philippine towns on Nov.
8, 2013.
The poor will be the most affected as
they live along the coasts and with sea levels
are rising as the polar ice melts. They can
barely survive and a slight climate variation can mean crop failure and death. Its
all because of our greed and materialistic
demands for economic growth and the
power and wealth that it brings to the few.
A few hundred billionaires together have
more money than entire nations.
They profit most by the life-threatening,
hellish coal-burning power stations. The
tycoons ignore the renewable sources of
power generation like wind farms, solar
power and geo-terminal power plants.
Pope Francis said human kind has given
nature a slap in the face, Soon his encyclical
on climate will challenge the conscience of
the world leaders to act decisively to reduce
global warming by curbing the burning of
coal and other fossil fuels. The law says we
can protest and demand justice and so we
should act powerfully without backing down.
Climate justice is what the people want and
the courts should recognize that and rule in
favor of the people not the tycoons. (Email
comments to shaycullen@gmail.com)

Misericordiae Vultus / B5

not execute my fierce anger, I will

not again destroy Ephraim; for I
am God and not man, the Holy
One in your midst, and I will
not come to destroy (11:8-9).
Saint Augustine, almost as if he
were commenting on these words
of the prophet, says: It is easier
for God to hold back anger than
mercy.[13] And so it is. Gods
anger lasts but a moment, his
mercy forever.
If God limited himself to only
justice, he would cease to be God,
and would instead be like human
beings who ask merely that the
law be respected. But mere justice
is not enough. Experience shows
that an appeal to justice alone will
result in its destruction. This is
why God goes beyond justice with
his mercy and forgiveness. Yet this
does not mean that justice should
be devalued or rendered superfluous. On the contrary: anyone who
makes a mistake must pay the
price. However, this is just the beginning of conversion, not its end,
because one begins to feel the tenderness and mercy of God. God
does not deny justice. He rather
envelopes it and surpasses it with
an even greater event in which we
experience love as the foundation
of true justice. We must pay close
attention to what Saint Paul says if
we want to avoid making the same
mistake for which he reproaches
the Jews of his time: For, being
ignorant of the righteousness that
comes from God, and seeking to
establish their own, they did not
submit to Gods righteousness. For
Christ is the end of the law, that
everyone who has faith may be justified (Rom10:3-4). Gods justice
is his mercy given to everyone as
a grace that flows from the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thus the Cross of Christ is Gods
judgement on all of us and on the

whole world, because through it

he offers us the certitude of love
and new life.
22. A Jubilee also entails the
granting of indulgences. This
practice will acquire an even more
important meaning in the Holy
Year of Mercy. Gods forgiveness
knows no bounds. In the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
God makes even more evident his
love and its power to destroy all
human sin. Reconciliation with
God is made possible through
the paschal mystery and the
mediation of the Church. Thus
God is always ready to forgive,
and he never tires of forgiving
in ways that are continually new
and surprising. Nevertheless, all
of us know well the experience of
sin. We know that we are called
to perfection (cf. Mt 5:48), yet
we feel the heavy burden of sin.
Though we feel the transforming
power of grace, we also feel the
effects of sin typical of our fallen
state. Despite being forgiven, the
conflicting consequences of our
sins remain. In the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, God forgives our
sins, which he truly blots out;
and yet sin leaves a negative effect on the way we think and act.
But the mercy of God is stronger
than even this. It becomesindulgence on the part of the Father
who, through the Bride of Christ,
his Church, reaches the pardoned
sinner and frees him from every
residue left by the consequences
of sin, enabling him to act with
charity, to grow in love rather than
to fall back into sin.
The Church lives within the
communion of the saints. In
the Eucharist, this communion,
which is a gift from God, becomes a spiritual union binding
us to the saints and blessed ones
whose number is beyond counting

(cf.Rev7:4). Their holiness comes

to the aid of our weakness in a
way that enables the Church, with
her maternal prayers and her way
of life, to fortify the weakness of
some with the strength of others.
Hence, to live the indulgence of
the Holy Year means to approach
the Fathers mercy with the certainty that his forgiveness extends
to the entire life of the believer. To
gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church,
who bestows upon all the fruits of
Christs redemption, so that Gods
love and forgiveness may extend
everywhere. Let us live this Jubilee
intensely, begging the Father to
forgive our sins and to bathe us in
His merciful indulgence.
23. There is an aspect of mercy
that goes beyond the confines of
the Church. It relates us to Judaism and Islam, both of which
consider mercy to be one of Gods
most important attributes. Israel
was the first to receive this revelation which continues in history
as the source of an inexhaustible
richness meant to be shared with
all mankind. As we have seen, the
pages of the Old Testament are
steeped in mercy, because they
narrate the works that the Lord
performed in favour of his people
at the most trying moments of
their history. Among the privileged names that Islam attributes
to the Creator are Merciful and
Kind. This invocation is often
on the lips of faithful Muslims
who feel themselves accompanied
and sustained by mercy in their
daily weakness. They too believe
that no one can place a limit on
divine mercy because its doors are
always open.
I trust that this Jubilee year
celebrating the mercy of God will
foster an encounter with these
religions and with other noble

religious traditions; may it open

us to even more fervent dialogue
so that we might know and understand one another better; may
it eliminate every form of closedmindedness and disrespect, and
drive out every form of violence
and discrimination.
24. My thoughts now turn to
the Mother of Mercy. May the
sweetness of her countenance
watch over us in this Holy Year,
so that all of us may rediscover the
joy of Gods tenderness. No one
has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary.
Her entire life was patterned after
the presence of mercy made flesh.
The Mother of the Crucified and
Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because
she participated intimately in the
mystery of his love.
Chosen to be the Mother of
the Son of God, Mary, from
the outset, was prepared by the
love of God to be theArk of the
Covenantbetween God and man.
She treasured divine mercy in her
heart in perfect harmony with her
Son Jesus. Her hymn of praise,
sung at the threshold of the home
of Elizabeth, was dedicated to
the mercy of God which extends
from generation to generation
(Lk1:50). We too were included
in those prophetic words of the
Virgin Mary. This will be a source
of comfort and strength to us as
we cross the threshold of the Holy
Year to experience the fruits of
divine mercy.
At the foot of the cross, Mary,
together with John, the disciple
of love, witnessed the words of
forgiveness spoken by Jesus. This
supreme expression of mercy
towards those who crucified him
show us the point to which the
mercy of God can reach. Mary
attests that the mercy of the Son

of God knows no bounds and

extends to everyone, without
exception. Let us address her in
the words of theSalve Regina, a
prayer ever ancient and new, so
that she may never tire of turning
her merciful eyes towards us, and
make us worthy to contemplate
the face of mercy, her Son Jesus.
Our prayer also extends to
the saints and blessed ones who
made divine mercy their mission
in life. I am especially thinking of
the great apostle of mercy, Saint
Faustina Kowalska. May she, who
was called to enter the depths of
divine mercy, intercede for us and
obtain for us the grace of living
and walking always according to
the mercy of God and with an
unwavering trust in his love.
25. I present, therefore, this
Extraordinary Jubilee Year dedicated to living out in our daily
lives the mercy which the Father
constantly extends to all of us. In
this Jubilee Year, let us allow God
to surprise us. He never tires of
throwing open the doors of his
heart and repeats that he loves us
and wants to share his love with
us. The Church feels the urgent
need to proclaim Gods mercy.
Her life is authentic and credible
only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy. She knows
that her primary task, especially
at a moment full of great hopes
and signs of contradiction, is to
introduce everyone to the great
mystery of Gods mercy by contemplating the face of Christ. The
Church is called above all to be a
credible witness to mercy, professing it and living it as the core
of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
From the heart of the Trinity, from
the depths of the mystery of God,
the great river of mercy wells up
and overflows unceasingly. It is a
spring that will never run dry, no

matter how many people approach

it. Every time someone is in need,
he or she can approach it, because
the mercy of God never ends.
The profundity of the mystery
surrounding it is as inexhaustible
as the richness which springs up
from it.
In this Jubilee Year, may the
Church echo the word of God
that resounds strong and clear as
a message and a sign of pardon,
strength, aid, and love. May she
never tire of extending mercy,
and be ever patient in offering
compassion and comfort. May the
Church become the voice of every
man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: Be mindful
of your mercy, O Lord, and your
steadfast love, for they have been
from of old (Ps25:6).
Given in Rome, at Saint Peters,
on 11 April, the Vigil of the Second
Sunday of Easter, or Sunday of Divine Mercy, in the year of our Lord
2015, the third of my Pontificate.

[1]Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council, Dogmatic Constitution on
Divine RevelationDei Verbum,4.
[2]Opening Address of the Second
Vatican Ecumenical Council,Gaudet
Mater Ecclesia,11 October 1962, 2-3.
[3]Speech at the Final Public Session
of the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council, 7 December 1965.
[4]Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the
ChurchLumen Gentium,16: Pastoral
Constitution on the Church in the Modern WorldGaudium et Spes, 15.
[5]Saint Thomas Aquinas,Summa
Theologiae, II-II, q. 30, a. 4.
[6]XXVI Sunday in Ordinary Time. This
Collect already appears in the eighth
century among the euchological texts of
the Gelasian Sacramentary (1198).
[7]Cf.Homily 22:CCL, 122, 149-151.
[8]Apostolic ExhortationEvangelii
Gaudium, 24.
[9]No. 2.
[10]Saint John Paul II, Encyclical
LetterDives in Misericordia, 15.
[11]Ibid., 13.
[12]Words of Light and Love, 57.
[13]Homilies on the Psalms,76, 11.

Death Penalty / B4

pendium of the Social Doctrine of the

Church, n. 405).
On the other hand, life imprisonment, as well as those sentences
which, due to their duration, render
it impossible for the condemned to
plan a future in freedom, may be
considered hidden death sentences,
because with them the guilty party is
not only deprived of his/her freedom,
but insidiously deprived of hope.
But, even though the criminal justice
system may appropriate the guilty
parties time, it must never take away
their hope.
As I said in my address last 23
October, the death penalty directly
concerns the denial of the love for
enemies preached by the Gospel. All
Christians and men of good will are
thus called today to fight not only
for the abolition of the death penalty,
whether legal or illegal, and in all its
forms, but also in order to improve
prison conditions, with respect for
the human dignity of the people
deprived of their freedom.
Dear friends, I encourage you
to continue with the work you are

doing, because the world needs witnesses of the mercy and the tenderness of God.
I take my leave while entrusting
you to the Lord Jesus who, in the
days of his earthly life, did not want
his persecutors to be harmed in his
defense: Put your sword back into
its place (Mt 26:52), was captured
and unjustly condemned to death,
and who identified withall prisoners, whether guilty or not: I was in
prison and you came to me (Mt
25:36). May He, who before the
adulterous woman did not question
her guilt, but invited the accusers
to examine their own consciences
before throwing a stone at her (cf.
Jn 8:1-11), grant you the gift of
wisdom, in order that the action you
undertake in favor of the abolition
of this cruel punishment, may be
appropriate and fruitful.
I ask you to pray for me.
From the Vatican, 20 March 2015


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Brooklyn mobster and hitman Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) and his underworld boss
Shawn Mcguire (Ed Harris) are
long time best friends. Shawns son
Danny (Boyd Holbrook) doublecrosses some drug dealers and
kills them. Jimmys estranged son
Mike (Joel Kinnaman) witnesses
the crime. Danny hunts down
Mike, catches him at home, and
when about to shoot him is shot
dead insteadby Jimmy himself.
Jimmy confesses to Shawn that he
has killed Danny to save Mikes
life. Burning with vengeance,
Shawn deploys his gang and expert
assassin (Common) to kill Jimmy
and Mike. Father and son run all
night for their lives and those of
Mikes family.
Run All Night is heavily charged
with dramatic plotlines that delve
deep into the very core of the
main characters motivations.
Much of the revelations are done
through expository dialogue but
the actors strength of delivery
and proven caliber deliver those
verbose sequences with compelling ease. The story is plotty but
not complicated and the audience
could easily follow the journey of
the characters. However, the heavy
plot could sometimes turn away
the story from its main focus. The
film shines through in the scenes
where there is minimal action. In
fact, the action sequences seem to
be out of place sometimes and the
inclusion of an expert assassin feels
a little off. But then, the impeccable acting and characterization

April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Run all night

DIRECTOR: Jaume ColletSerra
LEAD CAST: Liam Neeson,
Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris,
Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent DOnoprio, Common
GENRE: Crime, Drama, Mystery Thriller
LOCATION: United States
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes

Moral Assessment:
CINEMA rating: V 14

of principal actors pull everything

off and make the film interesting
and enjoyable to watch.
There are plenty of interesting relationships at play in the film and it
is very interesting to dissect the values that cut-through in this crimedrama feature. It starts off with the
valued friendship between Jimmy
and Shawn. Their loyalty to one
another is time-tested, although
the foundation of their friendship (which is primarily crime)
is another story. Their friendship
ended when Jimmy chose to save
his son over Shawns. And there, the
conflict arises. One major realization audiences can ponder on is
the significance of the foundation
of friendship. Jimmy and Shawn
are best friends and partners in
crime. From the beginning, the

friendship is tainted because it is

founded on something evil. Friendship is good but crime is evil. The
friendship does not make crime
any less evil. Here it is clearly seen
that evil is eviland it recognizes
no friendship. Jimmy is a broken
person and seems to have suffered
the consequences of his actions, the
heaviest of which is his estranged
relationship with his son. When
he found opportunity and purpose
to be a father to his son, it is quite
too late. But then, love reigns in all
situationsthe actions of Jimmy
may be evil but he is not. Jimmy
is still capable of loving. He is a
sinner yet as the Church has always
been telling the peoplehate the
sin, not the sinner. Jimmy found
purpose in life and that is to make
amends with his son. His son could
not accept him at first. But Jimmy
demonstrated unconditional love
so his son eventually melted. If
time could not heal the wounds,
love will. Jimmys actions towards
the end of his life brought him
redemption. But then, it does not
make his previous actions right, but
his sincere contrition and remorse
clearly show that it is never too late
for somebody to change ways, and
to change heart. Jimmy may have
been trapped in a world he never
really desiredand this is clearly
seen in the film as he tries as far
as possible to prevent his son from
pulling even a single triggersuch
consistency depicted in the story
make the film moral despite and
in spite of the heaviness of crime
being tackled in the movie.

Moral Assessment




Buhay San Miguel

Buhay Parokya
In the dystopian society of post-war Chicago, society is divided into five
factions according to their most dominant personality trait and are tasked
to uphold a specific quality: Dauntless for bravery, Erudite for knowledge, Candor for truth, Amity for peace and Abnegation for selflessness.
Those who belong to more than one faction are called Divergents and
are considered a threat to human existence. Tris Prior (Woodley), former
Abnegation and trained in Dauntless was discovered to be a divergent
in the previous movie while ambitious Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews
(Winslet) spearheaded the attack on the entire Abnegation faction in order
to gain control of the system. Insurgent begins where Divergent ends. We
see the surviving Abnegation and Dauntless members hiding in Amity
and Candor as Jeanine hunts down remaining Divergents in order to
unlock a box that supposedly contains data from the citys founders and
eventually end the Divergent problem. Meanwhile, Tris, Four (James) and
the remaining Dauntless seek refuge with the Factionless whose leader,
Evelyn Eaton (Watts), is also Fours mother who wishes to join forces
and overthrow Jeanine and the entire faction system.
One needs to be familiar with
the series to be able to appreciate the film. But even with its
literary counterpart to provide DIRECTOR: Robert Schwentke
the needed depth and texture, LEAD CAST: Shailene Woodit is difficult to sympathize with
ley, Ansel Elgort, Theo
them as they barely transcend the
James, Kate Winslet
cardboard like characters. The sets SCREENWRITER: Brian
Duffield, Akiva Goldsman,
and production design are able
Mark Bomback based on
to give layers in the characters
Veronica Roths novel
more than the performances and
dialogues. The storyline is a little GENRE: Adventure, Sci-Fi,
more cohesive but still fails to
deliver a convincing argument DISTRIBUTOR: Summit Entertainment
about the faction system and LOCATION:
the divergent and why and how RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes
it works. As an action film, the Technical Assessment:
movie delivers breathtaking chase

scenes and dazzling visual effects.

But scrap all of these off the plate,

you are left with a very thin plot CINEMA rating: V14
that forces audience to believe
the protagonist has valid issues to overcome and the antagonist is a
real threat to the world. Even the concept of simulation, serums and
making a single choice to define ones person is a little weak (both
in the film and in the novel). On the technical side, the production
design and scoring successfully interprets Roths idea of faction system
and action events.
Does the greater good justify trampling over the rights and humanity
of the few? We have heard this line from leaders who sought to rationalize
their violence and cruelty. And we always hear this as an excuse for the
so many inconveniences we suffer everyday. Jeanine Matthews defends
her decision to slaughter an entire faction or force a group to kill each
other or jump to their death for in order to ensure that society remains
intact. So did one dictator when he had opposition leaders rounded up
and incarcerated. So did Caiaphas when he insisted on having Pilate
crucify Jesus. But whose good are they really referring to? We have to
examine our choices. It one thing to exercise tough love in order to serve
a greater purpose but that purpose should always have as an end result
love, respect and selflessness.
Further, the exercise of one virtue does not mean neglecting all othersbravery does not mean violence and aversion to peace, truth does
not mean tactlessness and being inconsiderate. While virtues are nonnegotiables, they do not exist in black and white. That is why human
beings are virtuous because it takes discernment and conscience as well.
The film successfully underlines that Divergents (those with two or more
dominant traits/virtues) are the instruments for society to survive and
humanity to flourish.


CBCP Monitor
Technical Assessment

Below average


Above average

Brothers Matias

Look for the images of the late Jaime

Cardinal Sin, Priestly Sash and Holy
Dove. (Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

The Cross

A Supplement Publication of KCFAPI and the Order of the Knights of Columbus

CBCP Monitor. Vol. 19. No. 8

April 13 - 26, 2015

To protect life is to preserve life

Knights of Columbus in the Philippines
The Luzon Deputy of the Knights
of Columbus in the Philippines
and President of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the
Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI), Bro.
Arsenio Isidro G. Yap encouraged
the public during the Annual Walk
for Life held last March 21, 2015
to remain aggressive in fighting the
Reproductive Health Law. Gusto
ko sanang ipaalala ng paulit-ulit
na ang unang adhikain ng Knights
of Columbus, the largest Catholic
Fraternal organization in the world
is to protect and to preserve life in
all its stages. Lahat ng batas na sisira
sa pamilya ay tututulan natin tulad
ng RH law. Kahit ito ay naisabatas
na, ito po ay patuloy nating tututulan, said Yap.Yap condemned the
government by saying that they
only hear the minority and not
the sentiments of the 85% majority of Catholics in the country. He
also explained the disadvantage of
contraceptives, divorce, abortion,
same sex marriage and euthanasia
and other things that damage and
destroy the family life.Hundreds
of members of the Knights of
Columbus in the Philippines gathered for the Annual Walk for Life,
which started from Intramuros to
San Andres Gym in Manila. The
walk, which was organized by the
Luzon Jurisdiction was participated
in by the different councils of the
Order of the Knights of Columbus,
the Daughters of Mary Immaculate
(DMI), the Columbian Squires,
KCFAPI and other concerned
associations.The activity seeks to
manifest the organizations prolife stand particularly against the
Reproductive Health (RH) Law.
(KC News)

Knights of Columbus Visayas

Jurisdiction stands to uphold LIFE

Most Rev. Bishop Vicente M. Navarra together with some brother Knights releasing white balloons before the end of the March for Life held in Bacolod City.

The Knights of Columbus Visayas Jurisdiction held March for Life rallies in the
Provinces of Bacolod and Iloilo last March
6 and March 15, 2015, respectively. The
two events would have not been successful
without the support of the various councils
in the aforementioned cities.
The March for Life in Bacolod City
was spearheaded by Provincial Deputy
Norlo Gonzales and actively supported
and participated in by Most Rev. Bishop
Vicente M. Navarra, D.D. Bishop of the
Archdiocese of Bacolod. Moved by his
passion and excitement, Bishop Navarra
issued a Pastoral Letter, encouraging

the faithful to join the March for Life

sponsored by the Knights of Columbus
to express their pro-life stand.
In Iloilo City, the March was well
attended by Brother Knights from various councils in the Province along with
the members of some religious groups
and other concerned individuals. The
participants walked from Plaza Libertad
passing through the major streets of
Iloilo City and culminated at the Sta.
Teresita Parish.
Visayas Deputy Rodrigo N. Sorongon
acknowledged and thanked all participants
of the March for Life during the program.

Other speakers invited by State Pro-life

Director, Bro. Edmund Pama were Rev.
Fr. Evaristo Ablona, Parish Priest of Sta.
Teresita, Iloilo City, whos also a member
of the Knights of Columbus, Rev. Fr. Esperidion Celis, Parish Priest of St. Ann, Molo,
Iloilo City, whose father is a member of the
Order of the Knights of Columbus, Dr.
Rene Josef Bullecer, National Chairman of
the Sanguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas and is
concurrently the private physician of Most
Reverend Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the
Archdiocese of Cebu and Dra. Dolores N.
Octaviano, an active practicing Doctor in
Iloilo City. (Anthony Nazario/VizNews)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Seminar. A seminar on Setting the Foundation for ISO: 9001:2015 was conducted for the quality
auditors, officers and staff of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) last March 27 to 28, 2015 at the KCFAPI Social
Hall in Intramuros, Manila. The seminar was spearheaded by Ms. Rosario Charit H. Quintos and Ms. Ma. Cecilia M. Fabian of the ROSEHALL Management
Consultants, Inc. (KCFAPI NEWS)

Youth leader to adults: Lets junk

RH Law garbage together!
A youth leader reminded his elders of their moral duty to alert
young Filipinos on the culture
the Reproductive Health (RH)
Law promotes, stressing the
importance of having everyone
work together to ensure that
the society is protected from
the dangers of what he called
Addressing participants of
the Walk for Life, organized
by the Order of the Knights
of Columbus last March 21 at
the San Andres Gym in Manila
was Rae Vincent Evangelista,
Luzon Chief Squire, who cited
that the controversial RH Law
disregards the moral well-being
of all, especially the youth.
Yes, theres much we can
do. Older people must guide
us, show us RH Law for what
it really is: a piece of garbage,
he said.
Luzon Chief Squire Rae Vincent Evangelista speaks about the
According to him, the law deception of the Reproductive Health Law during the Annual
exposes them to sex at a young Walk for Life held last March 21, 2015 at the San Andres Gym
age by teaching them how to in Manila. YEN OCAMPO
use condoms, pills and other
What we need are food that nourishes
Does it mean that it is totally okay for our bodies and education that will prepare
us to have sex as long as we consume these us for future employment so that we can
things? he asked.
help provide for our families, and conWhile he is confident his values are in tribute to the nations growth, he added.
place, 17-year old Evangelista feared more
According to him, the Columbian Squires
for fellow youth who lack the formation and the Knights of Columbus, in keeping
on the sanctity of life and marriage, which with the Catholic teaching, maintain that
Columbian Squires members like him RH Law has no place in society, and should
regularly undergo.
not have been passed in the first place.
Citing the article Contraception: The
Rejecting claims by RH proponents that
Gateway to Moral Decay, he explained overpopulation allegedly causes massive
that besides promoting promiscuity, hunger, Evangelista said, nothing could
contraceptives reduce sex to a merely be more simplistic and far from the truth.
physical act, divorcing it from its origi- Backed by studies, he explained hunger
nal, Divine end which is procreation, can be blamed on different factors such
as disasters, war, low technology, waste,
the gift of life.
He pointed out that part of this con- greed, corruption, and uneven distribution
traception deception would have Filipinos of resources, among other things.
While it is true that global population is
believe RH Law prevents HIV, AIDS, and
STD cases from increasing, particularly increasing, Evangelista stressed this should
not be taken to mean a bleaker, lower living
among young people.
This is so not true, Evangelista declared. standard for all in the near future.
The population boom, he said, is due
My fellow youth, RH Law is not the
answer to our problems. What we need is not to more humans being born each
the proper guidance of our elders. They day, but to less of them dying, thanks to
must constantly instill in us the truth that technological advances, with growth rate
sex is too sacred an act which only married steadily decreasing in the process.
To prove his point, Evangelista said
couples can engage in, he added.
women in the 1960s gave birth to six
babies on the average, while their 2002
RH Law means more taxpayers money counterpart gave birth to just 3 babies on
has to go into it. As a youth leader, I the average, adding the growth rate was
declare: We dont need RH, Evangelista, down to 1.2 percent from 2.1 percent.
(Raymond A. Sebastin/CBCP News)


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

Alonso L. Tan

Ma. Theresa G. Curia

Chairmans Message

Curia Settings

The Cross

A Continuous Call for Valor

This month of April we commemorate
Araw ng Kagitingan where the valor of
our countrymen, particularly in Bataan
and Corregidor, was historically demonstrated against the Japanese invaders
during World War II. The surrender of
Bataan, highlighted by the infamous
Death March, indeed hastened the fall
of Corregidor. However, without the gallant stand of our Filipino and American
soldiers there, the Japanese might have quickly overrun all of the US
bases in the Pacific. Bataan, therefore, strategically forced the Japanese
to slow down, giving the allies valuable time to prepare for conflicts
such as the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, which
followed closely thereafter. This paved the way for American and
Filipino liberation forces to eventually retake the Bataan peninsula
on February 8, 1945.
Recently, the Knights of Columbus thru the K of C Luzon Jurisdiction successfully held the traditional Walk for Life. An estimated
ten thousand participants from different K of C Councils and other
organizations including the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the
Columbian Squires joined this annual Pro-Life activity that started
from the KCFAPI premises along General Luna St. in Intramuros
extending up to the San Andres Gym in Malate as an explicit display
of the Orders full support for the protection and preservation of
life and the family. This was capped by the celebration of the Holy
Eucharist. Similar Walk for Life activities were likewise successfully
conducted by the K of C Visayas Jurisdiction in Bacolod and Iloilo
and the K of C Mindanao Jurisdiction in General Santos City as well
as in Butuan City.
Like our gallant countrymen who braved the torturous Death
March just to fight for their lives and for their country, our brother
Knights similarly championed the fight for Life, especially of the
Unborn when they all joined in the Walk for Life to bring awareness
to the importance of this modern-day concern.
Like our forefathers in the Fall of Bataan and the Death March of
1942, today we face a herculean challenge to defend against many
different kinds of modern-day oppressors who thrive in corruption,
abusive power, deceit, discrimination, violence and immorality.
They exploit others ignorance, poverty, misfortune, complacency
and even kindness and trust in order to grab and claim whatever
they want even if these do not rightfully belong to them. By not
following their widespread malpractices and by living our own lives
as true and faithful practicing Catholics, we protect and preserve
our personal integrity. Our situation may not be as life-threatening
or dramatic as our ancestors, but the consistency of our good moral
character may be what is needed to establish and act on the reforms
everyone is clamoring for.
Lastly, with the start of the month of April, we likewise observed
Holy Week which represents the culmination of the forty days of
the Passion of our Lord, Jesus who quietly endured His painful Way
of the Cross up till His death on the same Cross in order to save us
in eternal life.
Let this months celebration of the Araw ng Kagitingan remind
us of the valor of all those who have sacrificed a lot, especially their
lives, in order for others like us to enjoy our own freedom and life.

Arsenio Isidro G. Yap

Presidents Message
The Walk for Life organized by the
Luzon Jurisdiction last March 21, 2015
was another resounding success. Attendance was estimated roughly at around
8,000 to 10,000 delegates, others claim
it was even more. It was participated in
mainly by brother knights with their
families from the dioceses of Antipolo,
Cubao, Kalookan, Imus, Malolos, Manila, Novaliches, Pasig, Paraaque and
San Pablo. A small delegation from
Laoag also joined by walking from Laoag to Manila for fourteen
days. How we wish this noble feat could be emulated elsewhere.
The Walk for Life is normally being held on a Saturday
closest to March 25, the Feast Day of the Annunciation and also
known as the International Day for the Unborn which started
in Argentina in 1999. This years edition is already on its seventh
staging since 2009 and was primarily conceptualized to oppose
the enactment into law of the then proposed Reproductive
Health Bill. After several years of opposing the RH bill by different pro-lifers and anti-RH Bill advocates, it was hastily passed
into law in 2012. Within one week from its second reading last
Dec. 12, followed by its third reading on December 17, the RH
Bill was enacted into law by President Benigno Aquino III on
December 19. Noting how fast the RH Bill was processed, the
President in all probability was not able to read the entire law
nor was he able to weigh its consequences and negative impact
to society more particularly to the Filipino family.
Other than the members of the knights families, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate International (DMII) mainly from
the diocese of Malolos together with their junior counterpart,
the Squirettes of Mary also joined in the Walk for Life. The
Columbian Squires, the junior Order of the Knights of Columbus likewise participated as well as several units of the Catholic
Youth Organization (CYO) and about 500 high school students
from Manila High School. There were also around 40 Honor
Guards in full regalia who joined the annual walk.
The participants assembled in front of the KCFAPI Headquarters at Gen. Luna St. in Intramuros, Manila where the
Luzon Jurisdiction Office is housed. The walk started at around
6 in the morning and culminated at the San Andres Gym in
Malate, Manila. The first batch of participants arrived at the San
Andres Gym at around 7:30 am and the last batch at around
9:00 am which filled the gym to its maximum capacity. It was
noted however, that a good number of participants were not
able to enter the gym for lack of space.
The event started with a concelebrated Mass with Luzon
State Chaplain, Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao
as main celebrant and Assistant State Chaplain Msgr. Pedro
Quitorio III and Fr. William Araa as co-celebrators. A short
program immediately followed which started with the Welcome
Remarks and reading of Supreme Knight Carl A. Andersons
message by KC Luzon State Secretary, Bro. Raoul A. Villanueva.
The program likewise included some entertainment from KCFAPI employees and the Squirettes of Mary as well as speeches
from State Chief Squire, Mr. Rae Vincent B. Evangelista, KC
Luzon State Jurisdictions Asst. State Chaplain, Msgr. Pedro
C. Quitorio III and yours truly KC Luzon Jurisdiction Luzon
Deputy and KCFAPI President, Bro. Arsenio Isidro G. Yap.
The program ended at around 11:00 am with the group singing of Habang May Buhay led by KCFAPI employees. The
song was chosen as the theme song for the event since it was first
staged in 2009. The song promises to fight till the end of time,
to offer oneself to protect a loved one for as long as blood flows
in our veins. It is in this similar context that we, the members
of the Order of the Knights of Columbus will be fighting for
the rights of the unborn, to protect and preserve the sanctity of
life, marriage and the family and to oppose any law that would
be contrary to our number ONE advocacy, The Right to Life.

[When I was told that the next issue of The Cross will be about the
Lenten Season, I thought about
writing on this topic : Recollection. This is because the action
is not time-bound and the depth
and effect depend on the degree of
relationship with our Creator.]
Once In a while, I go through a
Day of Recollection. Some people,
however, make their annual and
even monthly Recollection. These
are people who usually take their
spiritual growth seriously. I would
like to admit that I am not faithful to
this task. Perhaps I should consider
doing this activity regularly as well.
So I ask myself: why do I make
the Recollection? The prefix RE
means to repeat, to do again; therefore, to make a Recollection, I am
supposed to collect again and again
my awareness of my activities,
attitudes, graces, favours received
and even my weaknesses and
shortcomings. A day of recollection, is indeed a time of gathering,
collecting repeatedly, the different
areas of our life, and looking into
how our relationship with God is.
Why again and again? Because
we are not faithful; we change; we
are not consistent with our good
intentions. Because we know that
our good God understands our
frail spirits and that He is a God of

second and many chances. He is a

God who knows that at the core of
our being we like to be good. Nais
nating bumait ngunit mahirap,
matagal ang proseso. And we need
to connect and reconnect with our
God who accompanies us in this
difficult process of transformation.
It is supposed to be repeated,
because as time passes, we occasionally fail in our relationship
with God. We need to pause, and
go back to the original pact we
made with God and renew, improve, carry to a higher level our
intimacy with the Divine.
On these days it is good to ask
oneself these or similar questions
and more:
- What do you want me to do,
O Lord?
- How can I serve you better in
the people that surround me?
- What do you want to tell me
through the events and the people
I meet?
- Which areas of my life do you
want to heal, redeem, enrich?
When I do this, I become conscious and aware of how God has
been acting in my life. I become
grateful that He has made His
Presence felt through the events
that happen in my personal history. Reflecting on the way He
made me experience His presence,

I truly am filled with joy that I am

never alone. Somebody knows me;
and He never loses hope in me.
This leads me to acknowledge
that many times I have taken his
interventions for granted. I have
not appreciated enough that He
has messages of love and challenges
that inspire me to improve my very
personal life.
As a professional, as a wife, a
mother, a daughter, and as a sister
to my siblings, there are many areas
and relationships that I also need
to reflect on. On a day of Recollection, I pray for all their needs
and I acknowledge how I have
failed them in many ways. There
are grey areas, areas of conflicts that
unknowingly, I can pay attention
to through a day of Recollection
Without the day of Recollection, my life will move from year
to year without me realizing that
days pass so fast and if I do not
pause and reflect, I will not be
able to recognize the significance
of the events that happened to
me. During the day of prayer and
reflection, I am invited to look at
my life with the eyes of faith.
The more we gather the different areas of our life, the more we
become whole. The more we see
our weaknesses, the more open
we become to moving towards our

strength. During the Recollection,

we stand naked before God, and
the Spirit of God helps us to rebuild ourselves in our brokenness.
Prayer and silence make us hear
the voice of the Spirit speaking to
us from the depths of our being. If
we do not give ourselves this time
of silence and prayer, there is a danger that we cannot see how to rise
up above our ordinariness or our
incompleteness, our mediocrity.
Most important of all, if we
hear Gods voice, how can we not
respond? This is the only voice that
we hear, not with our ears, but with
our heart and eyes. A voice that we
hear in silence and in stillness grasps
us. A voice, that whispers to us that
we are deeply loved. We hear a call
that we can never deny, neglect,
take for granted.
Indeed the day of Recollection
gives us the opportunity to be still
and listen. But silence is a gift. Even
if we know its importance, and even
if we like to be silent and to be still,
it is not always easy to experience it,
unless it is given to us.
If we arrive at a moment of inner
silence and stillness, then we know
that in itself, it is an experience of
God in us. It is an experience of
being known and loved, forgiven
and renewed. It is an experience
that God is very close to us.

Michael P. Cabra

My Brothers Keeper

Golden Eggs with KCFAPI

Eggs, in general, are a traditional symbol of
rebirth. In Christianity, they symbolize the
empty tomb of Jesus. Though an egg appears
to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches
from it with life. Similarly, the Easter Egg, for
us Catholics, is a reminder that Jesus rose from
the grave, and that those who believe will also
experience eternal life.
We at KCFAPI feel the same way for every
benefit certificate delivered to our fellow
Brother Knights and family members. We
believe that in each benefit certificate we
deliver, a new life will soon benefit from it.
The period of insurance contribution may
appear like a 40 day Lenten Season for some,
but maturities and Family Benefit are indeed
like a Golden Egg found during the hunt on
Easter Sunday.

Allow me to share to you two of the many

Golden Eggs of KCFAPI.
One of my most recommended Golden
Egg is KC Assurance plan. This is a solution
for the need of income or estate protection.
A forty year old Brother Knight who gets a
P1Million insurance coverage will only have
to save about P80,350 every year, which is
equivalent to P220.00 per day for the next 6
years. He would have contributed only a total
of P482,100 for a P1Million insurance coverage
which increases every year until it doubles to
P2Million starting on the ninth year. No other
company can offer this much of a guaranteed
protection. Indeed a Golden Egg for the future
of the family members that will be left behind.
My other favorite Golden Egg is KC Retire
Plus. This is a solution for the need of retire-

ment at age 60 and 65. A forty year old Brother

Knight who gets a P1Million insurance coverage will only have to save about P75,700 every
year for the next ten (10) years. He is protected
for an amount of P2Million immediately in his
first year of protection. At age 60, he will receive
his retirement benefit of P500,000 and another
P500,000 at age 65. From age 66 to 100 he is
still protected for another P500,000. He would
have contributed a total of PhP757,000 for a
total retirement and protection benefit of P1.5
Million. Indeed a Golden Egg for Retirement
at age 60 and 65 as well as life protection up
to age 100.
These two Golden Eggs are only available up
to April 30, 2015. So contact your Fraternal
Counselors now or see us at KCFAPI Home
Office in Intramuros. Happy Easter everyone!

Roberto T. Cruz

Touching Base with the Foundations

The Relevance of Araw ng Kagitingan

Every day, we all look for heroes
who will transform our world
into a much better environment.
We each have our own concept
of what a hero should be. How
should that hero look like and
what can he/she do for us? But to
complete our idea of what type of
a hero we want to have, we usually refer to books - history books
and even comic books to identify
those men and women who have
been labelled as heroes. Add to
this list those people who weve
looked up to during our lifetime.
This month, we talk of heroes as
we celebrate Araw ng Kagitingan.
For me, Araw ng Kagitingan
has been synonymous to Death
March and whenever I hear of
the Death March, I cant avoid
remembering my own father who
luckily but barely survived that
97-kilometer hellish gauntlet
where thousands died in pain and
misery. He himself almost died
of sickness and dehydration. If I
remember right, Dad revealed that
his health had deteriorated as they
had not eaten for so many days
and that they forced themselves
to eat rats, insects and various

plants and shrubs just to have

enough strength to go on. Luckily,
he survived and I am now able to
write this. For Catholics, we have
just observed the recent passing
of Holy Week. We might say that
we were reminded about a much
worse historical Death March
that which our Lord, Jesus Christ
went through. He purposely gave
up His earthly life via His very
painful and degrading Passion just
to save mankind.
This Araw ng Kagitingan, I
must admit my bias in remembering my favorite hero, my one and
only Dad who was among all the
Filipino, American and Chinese
heroes in Bataan and Corregidor
whose collective bravery against
insurmountable odds gave our
countrys independence a chance
to come back and stay alive. It is
my Dad together with my Mom
to whom I owe my life. For
Catholics like ourselves, we must
not forget and we should not
disregard the greatest Hero for
all mankind Jesus Christ who
saved us all from Original Sin
and opened the gates of eternal
life to us. Jesus is that unique

kind of Hero and He is the only

One who can be rightfully called
our Saviour.
At the start, I said that a hero is
one who we believe will transform
our world into a better environment. At this point, I ask you to
also give recognition to a different
kind of hero - those generous
donors who unselfishly give funds
for scholarship grants for the
poor and underprivileged youth
and diocesan religious thru our
two Foundations, the KC Philippines Foundation, Inc. and the
Knights of Columbus Fr. George
J. Willmann Charities, Inc. These
benefactors have significantly
and more often, permanently
improved the lives of those chosen
scholars - students, seminarians
and even priests - by creating new
opportunities for their professional
growth, personal enhancement
and religious vocation.
From a different perspective,
many consider our OFWs of today
as modern-day heroes because they
endure being alone and lonely
abroad just to earn more and remit
money to their families here. For
the Foundation donors, though

they may not match the social

and psychological sacrifices given
by the OFWs, in terms of helping
others, the Foundation donors
can also be called heroes who
indirectly provide assistance to a
wider range of people - not just to
their family members and relatives,
but even to total strangers,.
This Araw ng Kagitingan, let
us remember the many kinds of
heroes past, present and future
and let us appreciate the good they
have done and will do for all of us.
In ending, may I offer some
Food for Thought. Let me ask you,
our reader, to list down ten names
of your own heroes. Next, for each
one of them, please analyze what
trait/s qualified them to be included in your list of heroes. Finally,
we end this exercise by honestly
asking ourselves if we can personally imitate their heroic traits so
that sometime in the future, in
a similar celebration of Araw ng
Kagitingan, someone else might
include our own names in his/her
list of those who he can look up
to and appreciate as a deserving
part of the celebration of Araw
ng Kagitingan.

Concha Luz Angeles

Bataan has fallen...

We all want to win in whatever competition we join. Yes we do, so stop pretending
and be honest for that is nobler. Even if the
battle seems impossible we still have that tad
of hope and faith that well be victorious in
the end. And if we did win, how will we feel,
then? Elated, excited, or youll be in a ohhere-comes-the-prize mood! Such an easy and
satisfying feeling, isnt it? But arent we forgetting the other competitors? Yes it may be our

moment and we can shake their hands saying,

That was a great game! You did well. Yeah,
it was easy for you to say that, on your part
particularly. Were we sensitive enough to know
how theyre feeling? We can say, Its not the
end of the world, this is just the beginning.
Hear ye, clich! We all have to admit that weve
all been losers sometime in our lives. Go ahead
and ask yourself, How did I actually feel when
I lost? It was embarrassing, disappointing,

with the I-hate-them mantra or you have this

belief called they-cheated-its-unfair. Was that
the right way to feel? We know its not. Hey,
it is naturally human to be in that moment of
self-pity and pride, but we can improve on that
right? Its all about perspective. How? Read on.
Another holiday in our country is anticipated in the month of April, aside from
Holy Week theres the Day of Valor or more
Bataan Has Fallen / C3

The Cross


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

An Exceptional Missionary
By SK Carl A. Anderson
CATHOLICS committed to St.
John Paul IIs vision of the common spiritual heritage of the Western
Hemisphere, outlined in his apostolic
exhortation Ecclesia in America, joyfully welcomed the announcement
that Pope Francis will soon canonize
Blessed Junpero Serra.
The founder of the first nine of
21 missions along the California
coast during the 18th century,
Father Serra was described by a
contemporary as zealous, chaste,
humble, poor and obedient, having all these virtues equally in the
highest degree. [At his death] no
words could express the grief of the
Indians of that mission who called
our venerable father a holy man, an
angel sent by God for their relief.
Only recently has Blessed
Junpero Serra become controversial, because some allege that his
treatment of the native people was

oppressive. However, several facts

remain incontrovertible.
First, as author Gregory Orfalea
has explained, native people accounted for half the population in
Spanish America after 200 years
of colonization, while east of the
Mississippi, in English-speaking
territory, only 6 percent of the population remained Native American.
And according to historian Steven
Hackel, in the period following
the Spanish missionaries, nothing
could prepare the native people of
California for the brutality of the
Anglo-Americans who descended
on the region in the 1840s and
1850s. By 1854, after the gold rush
and the establishment of American
rule in California, the Indian population of the state stood at around
50,000, reduced from the 310,000
who lived in California in 1769.
Junpero Serra cannot be held
responsible for this result. The
colonization of California was
inevitable; the contribution to that

process by Father Serra was providential. Elsewhere in this issue of

Columbia, we suggest why this is
so, why Father Serra is better understood as a defender and protector of the native people, and why it
is right that Pope Francis canonize
this great missionary.
As we approach the canonization of Blessed Junpero Serra in
September, we should keep in
mind two other historical realities.
First, as Hackel further observed,
Serra, although he stands out as
exceptional among his Franciscan
peers, in his practice of Catholicism was typical of the thousands
of Catholic missionaries who came
to the Americas during the early
modern period.
Therefore, attempts to denigrate
the accomplishments and sanctity
of this great missionary also call
into question similar Catholic
missionary efforts in Mexico, the
southwestern United States and
even the Philippines.

It is also important that we

recognize a longstanding cultural
prejudice: what historians today
call the Black Legend. In his
book Tree of Hate, Professor Philip
Wayne Powell wrote, The basic
premise of the Black Legend is that
Spaniards have shown themselves,
historically, to be uniquely cruel,
bigoted, tyrannical, obscurantist,
lazy, fanatical, greedy, and treacherous; that is, that they differ so
much from other peoples in these
traits that Spaniards and Spanish
history must be viewed and understood in terms not ordinarily
used in describing and interpreting
other peoples.
Although we cannot adequately
discuss here the various dimensions
of the Black Legend, one example
offered by Professor Powell suggests
how this bias works: The killing
of Indians by Spaniards became
atrocities, or ruthless extermination; but when Englishmen ran
Irishmen to death by the thousands

in their own bogs, or slaughtered

them after surrender, this was
called the Irish problem.
There is much at stake in the
upcoming canonization of Blessed
Junpero Serra that will affect the
future of Catholicism not only

in the United States, but also

throughout the Western Hemisphere. Perhaps this is why Pope
Francis, the first pope from our
hemisphere, has taken this courageous initiative.
Vivat Jesus!

The Gentle Warrior

By James B. Reuter, SJ
Part XVIII of Chapter One of The Gentle Warrior series


THE blacks had to ride in the back seats of

the bus, and in the back seats of the trolley
car. Some restaurants were for whites only.

And in the parish church, there were three

pews, in the back, for the blacks. They
had to receive Holy Communion after the
whites. One winters day on Sunday, the
whites went to communion first, kneeling
at the altar rail. A black girl wanted to receive. She waited until all the whites were
kneeling at the altar rail. Then she went up
to the railing, and knelt. Suddenly a group
of white children came into the church.
They had been delayed by the snow. They
hesitated, then plowed down the center
aisle and knelt to the left of the black girl.
The priest gave Communion to the white
adults, but when he came to the black
girl and saw more white children, after her,
at the altar rail he passed the black girl,
gave Communion to the white children,
and then came back to give Communion
to the black.
George grieved over this. His heart went
out to the underprivileged. His heart went
out to the poor. He felt that all men are
created equal, that the black girl was just
as valuable before God and maybe even
more valuable than the whites. So he be-

ey sailed into Manila Bay the Americans

took over the revolution. The Filipinos lost
more men against the Americans than they
did against the Spaniards! The article said:
The fight above the clouds at Triad Pass
was in many respects the crowning
achievement of the War. It was a last
stand, the only fight which can be
compared, in character of fighting
ground and desperation of resistance,
to Thermopylae. How stubbornly
contested the position was may be seen
from the fact that a small force of insurgents held back the whole American
Army for a full day! And how loyal and
devoted the Filipinos were is told
by the grim record that they left behind
them. They were sixty men, picked
from Aguinaldos own bodyguards,
selected because of their devotion to
their leader and for their marksmanship. The General entrusted with the
command was Gregorio del Pilar,
Aguinaldos best friend. The General
built his barricades high in the rocky

ledges of the trail to guard the slender

path that wound up the precipitous
mountainside. It was an admirable
position for defense.
As Company G reached the base of the
rail and started upward there was no
evidence of alarm on the part of the
We could see them slowly and deliberately loading and firing on the men
below. Even when the American response was sharpest these statuesque
figures on the rock exhibited no signs
of alarm. Even with a company of our
troops one hundred feet farther point
there was not the slightest indication
that they had any idea of fleeing or of
giving up. It was an exhibition of cool
deliberate nerve that was new to us
All sixty men were down.
General del Pilar was the last man
to fall.
(To be continued on the next issue.)

Adrian K. Jimenez

Bataan Has Fallen / C2

commonly known as the Araw ng

Kagitingan. First off, did you know
that this day is a commemoration of
not a victorious battle but the fall of
two allied strongholds in Southeast
Asia during the Second World War?
The Fall of Bataan and the Fall of Corregidor. Prior to the known name it
was actually called Bataan Day and/or
Bataan and Corregidor Day. There you
may notice the word fall. Sadly, yes we
lost. It was said that the surrender at
Bataan was the largest, about 75,000
soldiers, in American and Filipino
military histories. Yet it wasnt remembered as the Day of Disappointment
or Araw na Dinaya Tayo. No, but we
commemorate it as a greatly heroic
event. Why is that, then?
Let us put on our combat shoes
and our fatigues and travel back
to 9th of April, 1942. After more
than three months of a bloody and
exhausting battle with the Imperial
Japanese Army as we fight alongside
with the American forces, alas, Bataan
was completely invaded. Bataan
has fallen. As it was announced at
a radio broadcast called the Voice
of Freedom heard at the Malinta
Tunnel in Corregidor. Our expected
reinforcements did not come due
to the unforeseen bombing of the
US naval base at Pearl Harbor. We
were forced to surrender and as their
prisoners, we marched to death for 97
kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan to
Pampanga for almost a week. We were
denied of food, water, and proper
rest. Weve been passing different
kinds of diseases to one another. We
passed by numerous kinds of trees but
we cant pick their fruits. We crossed
streams and rivers but a dared sip of
their quenchable water would have
taken our heads off. We were tortured
in such nightmarish barbaric ways
under the mocking and scorching
heat of the sun. They said the weak
ones, our fellow soldiers who fell
down or stopped for a bit, do not
deserve to be treated as humans for
they have no honor and thus swift
strikes of their swords finish their
agonies. Some of our friends die on
the way and we carry some of them
for we leave no man behind. A few
managed to escape, bless them and we
hoped against hope that theyll come
back for us with good news. Most of
us marched on and we were not hopeless. For if we were, how and why did
we continue to march head on and

gan to think, again, of the missions. Only

this time it was not the Chinese babies,
abandoned by their mothers in the trash
can. Now it was the Philippines. Because
the sign was already on the bulletin board
of the Philosophers! The Province of
Maryland-New York would be sending Jesuits to the Philippines even Scholastics!
The Provincial was asking for volunteers
volunteers to go to the Philippines for
regency, after third year philosophy!
George had read many military stories
about the Spanish-American War. The
battles in Cuba. The battles in the Philippines. He went to the library, to research
on this new mission territory.
He found it! It was an old magazine,
which was describing the American campaign in the Philippines. Among other
things, he found an article that had been
written by a war correspondent named
John McCutcheon. It was printed in the
New York Herald. It told the story of a
battle that was fought in the mountains,
somewhere north of Manila. The Filipinos
had revolted against Spain, but when Dew-

know that we shall suffer the worse at

our prison camp in Tarlac? Yes, even if
our death march has ended the battle
is not yet over. Some of our comrades
in arms died at the Camp ODonnell
and was later dubbed the Battling
Bastards of Bataan in honor of their
incomparable valor. As the war correspondent, Frank Hewlett, puts it in
a poem Were the Battling Bastards
of Bataan, no Mama, no Papa, no
Uncle Sam, no aunts, no uncles, no
cousins, no nieces, no pills, no planes,
no artillery pieces, and nobody gives a
damn! We did not march because we
succumbed to our adversaries power.
No, because we marched for our nations
liberty. Despite defeat, we marched with
our heads held up high, with a strong
will at heart, and with an unbreakable
faith. It wasnt the end but just the beginning. Here you are again, clich! Besides,
before we surrendered, the last stand
we made delayed the imperial army
costing them valuable time and giving
us a greater possibility of instantaneous
victory! And like what Donald Trump
said, Sometimes by losing a battle you
find a new way to win the war.
You see, The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without
losing heart. Exactly the right words
to describe it Mr. Robert Green Ingersoll. And thats one of the most
celebrated valor that the hundreds
of thousands of soldiers have shown
in the Battle and Fall of Bataan. Our
enemies might have been victorious
but tell me, who is more victorious?
The one who battled to gain or to
take over? Or the one who battled to
death and faced defeat to defend what
is being forced to be taken? We have
countless unsung heroes who fought
for what we are enjoying today: freedom, dignity and pride. And Bataan is
one of its greatest witnesses to it. Lets
try and value this place in a different
way. Not just a getaway with beautiful
beaches to take selfies while munching on their delectable delicacies.
April 9 or Bataan Day or Araw ng
Kagitingan is not just a holiday, but
a momentous day that every Filipino
can be proud of. Next time we lose
let us remember, we made it through
Bataan, how bad can it get?
Bataan has fallen, but the spirit
that made it standa beacon to all the
liberty-loving peoples of the world
cannot fall! Voice of Freedom radio
broadcast, 9 April 1942. (Concha Luz
F. Angeles)

Visita Iglesia: Popular Filipino Piety

Holy Week is the time for prayer, repentance,
and reflection of the passion, suffering, and
death of Jesus Christ. As for the million Filipino Catholics, the week is not just simply
completed with those three Rs without
doing penitence. One of the most common
traditions is the Visita Iglesia during Maundy
Thursday; along with it are several confusion
and arguments with regard to what to do, is
it to visit the Altar of the Repose? Or is it to
conduct the Stations of the Cross?
The practice of Visita Iglesia usually starts
after the Celebration of the Mass of the
Lords Supper when the Blessed Sacrament
is already reserved at the Altar of the Repose
for adoration of the faithful until midnight.
Visita Iglesia is usually and practically done
in cities or urban places that have many
churches. This practice, along with the
Catholic Faith, was also introduced during
the Spanish Period and was later on propagated by the Augustinian Friars. It traces its
biblical origin on the first sorrowful mystery,
which is the Agony in the Garden, wherein

Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray. He asked

His apostles to remain and keep vigil with
Him but they fell asleep thrice. In like manner, Jesus ask the faithfuls to keep vigil and
accompany Him in the Blessed Sacrament
reserved at the Altar of the Repose.
The practice is not liturgical in nature,
hence it is considered as a popular piety.
There are actually no prescribed prayers for
the Visita Iglesia, suggested prayers are only
to recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary,
and one Glory Be and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. Also popular is the
praying of the Via Crucis or the Stations
of the Cross, a tradition first taught by the
Franciscans. Another form is the praying of
the Holy Rosary.
There is also no prescribed number of
churches to be visited either. It is traditionally done with seven churches because the
number seven signifies completeness and
perfection. Some devout Catholics who used
to pray the Stations of the Cross double the
number into fourteen, translated into one

station in every church. Still, the number of

churches to be visited does not matter because the main purpose and the importance
of this tradition is that the faithful would
focus and pray intently.
There are also other means of doing the
Visita Iglesia instead of the traditional norm
of visiting churches. During these past few
years, there had been websites like visitaiglesia.net which was launched by the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) that offers online Visita Iglesia for
Overseas Filipino Workers and the sick or
differently abled persons who cannot physically participate in the traditional way. However, the church reminds everyone that this
is not a substitute for the actual church visit.
This practice has become a tradition and
had been passed on from one generation to
another by millions of Filipino Catholics.
Its not just a way for families or friends to
develop a strong bond but develop in each
other the significance of prayer, repentance,
and reflection.

LENTEN RECOLLECTION. The Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) held their Lenten recollection last March 20 at the Fr. Willmann
Bldg inside the KCFAPI compound in Intramuros, Manila with the theme Make Your Hearts Firm (James 5:8). The said recollection was facilitated by Fr. Jason Laguerta
of the Parish of the Holy Cross in Makati. (KC NEWS)


April 13 - 26, 2015 Vol. 19 No. 8

The Cross

Promotions for the Cause of

Fr. Willmann continues
The massive campaign on the Cause of Fr.
George J. Willmann, SJ, continues this
year 2015. Led by the National Executive
Committee (NEC) headed by Msgr. Pedro
Quitorio III, Assistant State Chaplain of
the Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction and Director of the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
Media Office, the campaign, which was
prepared for right after the Papal visit
in the Philippines last January, resumed
in March.
Forty parishes and more than ten
communities across Metro Manila have
already been visited as of March 31. The
campaign, which started last June 2014
aims to cover the following six major
areas to help in the effective awareness
and promotion of the life and works of Fr.
Willmann: Media, Knights of Columbus,
Schools, General Public, Organizations
and Parishes.
The NEC would like to thank the
people, organizations and associations
who continuously support the various
promotional activities for the Cause of the
Father of the Knights of Columbus in the
Philippines, Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ.
Last year, from June to December 2014,
various publications about Fr. Willmann
and his heroic virtues have already been
released both locally and internationally
through the following media groups: GMA
Network, ucanews, mabuhay.catholic.org,
asianews and Philippines cbcpnews.com,
among others. The NEC also conducted
several awareness campaigns in more than
20 events within the Order of the Knights
of Columbus.
More than 20 schools have likewise

been visited (from a target of 10 schools

only) including Emilio Aguinaldo College, Manila Times College, College of
the Holy Spirit, Paco Catholic School,
University of Sto. Tomas, Adamson
University, Letran, Mapua, Lyceum,
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Sta.
Rosa College, among others.
Similarly, tarpaulins of Fr. Willmann
were distributed to pedicab drivers, kalesa
drivers and owners of stores inside Intramuros area to help in the promotion.
Various organizations and volunteer
groups like YouthPinoy, Catholic Youth
Organization in the Philippines, Daughters of Mary Immaculate and Youth
Militia Immaculata have expressed their
support for the Cause of Fr. Willmann.
Thirty five (35) Parishes/Churches
likewise welcomed the promotion on the
Cause of Fr. Willmann (from a target of
20 Parishes only). These are San Agustin
Church, Manila Cathedral, Quiapo
Church, San Roque De Manila Parish,
Sta. Monica Parish, among others.
The NEC likewise took part in some
major activities of the Catholic Church
like Yolanda Commemorative Run and
Marian Conferences as well.
Ultimately, the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Memorial Building, which
is located within the compound of the
Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) in
Intramuros, Manila became the official
General Headquarters of the Media &
Information Committee for the 2015
Popes Visit. This opportunity helped
boost the promotional campaign for the
Cause of Fr. Willmann. (KC News)

Forty parishes and more than ten communities across Metro Manila have already been visited as of March 31, 2015 to promote the Cause of Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ.

Reunion of Luzon State Circle Officers. Columbian Squires, past State Circle Officers and Luzon State Officials during the reunion and recognition night
held at the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ building in Intramuros, Manila.

The Columbian Squires of the Knights

of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction recently
held a reunion and recognition night for
their past State Circle Officers at the Fr.
George J. Willmann, SJ building in Intramuros, Manila.
Included in the program were the
awarding for the official delegation
of the Knights of Columbus Squires

Youth Encounter with the Pope (during his visit in the Philippines last
January) and special citations to Bro.
Ivan V. Parayno of Council 10291
who placed 5th placer on the National
Engineering Board Examination and
to Bro. Matthew Harvey T. Peralta
of Council 11990, 8th placer in the
recently concluded National Civil

Engineering Licensure Examination.

Luzon State Officials who graced the
program were Luzon Deputy and KCFAPI
President Arsenio Isidro G. Yap, State
Warden Pascual C. Carbero, Technical
Assistant to the State Officers Ramon C.
Sanchez and State Columbian Squires
Chairman Jose F. Cuaresma. (Luzon

MEDICAL AND DENTAL MISSION IN GENERAL SANTOS. The Knights of Columbus Council 4639 of Mindanao Jurisdiction conducted a medical and
dental mission at the General Santos City in coordination with the PNP12-Health Services last March 18, 2015. More than 90 students and teachers
benefited from the said Medical and Dental Mission. (MindaNews)

PRODUCERS FORUM. Updates on the new insurance plans and rates were discussed by the Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal
Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) led by its Vice President for FBG Gari San Sebastian and Fraternal Benefits Services Manager Michael Cabra last
March 30, 2015. The participants were fraternal counselors from various areas in the Philippines who visited the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Museum after their
one-day forum. (FBG NEWS)

Registration for the National Convention is still ongoing.

Please contact Ms. Nenita Casio at 09176247150 or at 5272248 for more details.