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NOVEMBER 21 - DECEMBER 4, 2016 VOL. 20 NO. 29




Highlights and legacy of
the Year of Mercy


Be eco online
missionaries, priest tells
young people


Even if the Holy Door

closes, the true door of mercy
always remain wide open

Bishops told not to allow threats to silence them

By Roy Lagarde

BISHOPS, priests, and the

religious should not let hollow threats to muffle them
on socio-political issues
relevant to the countrys
current situation.

Critics told church people to stop

meddling, but the Catholic hierarchy
said recent unpleasant incidences
highlight the need for the church to
talk straight on subjects politicians
shy away from.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas,
Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) President, said
they are aware that many would
rather that we desisted from public
But in these troubled times, he
said, the Church is constituted to be
prophetic and prophets are not
anointed to keep their peace so that
they can be quiet and live undisturbed.
We have a Gospel to preach. We
have the person of Jesus to proclaim.
We will do so, in season and out of
season, Villegas said in a new pastoral
letter. We are enemies to none. We
endeavor to be merciful.
The letter, titled Our country and our
faith, was released on Nov. 22 after the
recent meeting of the CBCP Permanent
Council in Manila. (See full text of the
Statement in page B4)
As a response to the countrys
current socio-political landscape, the

(L-R) Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International Executive President Baron Johannes Heereman, ACN Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr. Martin Barta, former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican
Mercedes Arrastia-Tuason, Syrian Bishop Antoine Chbeir, Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon and ACN Philippines President Archbishop Socrates Villegas present to the media the Religious Freedom
Report at the CBCP conference room in Intramuros, Manila, Nov. 15, 2016. Released every three years, the ACN report provides information on the situations of religious freedom in the world and
is used as a resource material by governments and non-government organizations, including the United Nations. ROY LAGARDE

Prophetic / A6

Continue works of mercy, Tagle tells flock

AS the Year of Mercy draws
to a close, a top Filipino
churchman encouraged all
believers to continue doing
acts of mercy, no matter what
year it is.
Cardinal Luis Antonio
Tagle of Manila said the most
basic way to be merciful is
to practise the corporal and
spiritual works of mercy.
Let us continue our
pilgrimage of mercy and
compassion by encountering
the hungry, thirsty, homeless,
sick, imprisoned, dying,
confused, lost, lonely, and
desperate, said the prelate.
The cardinals message,
who is currently in Rome,
was read after a liturgical
celebration to officially close
the Jubilee Year of Mercy
at the Manila Cathedral on
Saturday, Nov. 12.
With the Jubilee Year of
Mercy officially ended on
Nov. 20, Holy Doors around

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales walks through the Holy Door of the
Manila Cathedral before closing it to end the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Manila
archdiocese. MARIA TAN

the world that have been

opened since Dec. 8, 2015
Over 20 million people
participated in the year-long
celebration at the Vatican
and a billion people may
have participated in churches

Bishop says Marcos

burial dishonorable
A CATHOLIC bishop decried
as dishonorable the burial of
the late President Ferdinand
Marcos at the Libingan ng
mga Bayani in a rite shrouded
in secrecy on Friday.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop
Broderick Pabillo said the
heros burial is a cause for
disgrace because they hid
it from the people in an

apparent move to escape

This burial is dishonorable
because they hide it from
the people for fear of the
people. It is characteristic of
the Marcos rulesecretive,
said Pabillo, who chairs the
CBCPs Commission on the
Burial / A7

across the world.

In Manila, former Manila
Archbishop Gaudencio
Cardinal Rosales presided
over a Mass, along with Papal
nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe
Pinto and visiting Syrian
Bishop Antoine Chbeir and

Pontifical charity ACN opens PH office

Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre

Montfort Stima of Malawi.
Over the past year,
thousands of people have
also made pilgrimages
to designated churches
nationwide and walked
through the Holy Doors.
Tagle said the ritual of
closing the holy door does not
close the heart of God, which
remains open for us as haven
of mercy, consolation, and
new life.
So we should not be
afraid to approach God who
is caring and tender. Let us
also keep our hearts open to
the poor, to those we have
offended and to those who
have hurt us, he said.
Through justice watered by
mercy, the wounds of persons,
families, communities,
nations and the whole of
creation would be healed,
added the cardinal. (Roy

Young online missionaries

launch #ActPH movement
A CATHOLIC youthoriented movement
dedicated to encourage
young people to engage in
social transformation has
been officially launched.
#ActPH, a brainchild
of YouthPinoy(YP),
says it will promote
a vast spectrum of
social concerns from

the protection of the

environment to helping
those in the peripheries.
Its launch event took
place during the 5th
Catholic Social Media
Summit held in Manila on
November 19.
By using the social
media, we have to
Youth / A7

Archbishop Socrates Villegas blesses the new office of the Aid to the Church in Need
(ACN) Philippines at the CBCP headquarters in Manila, Nov. 15, 2016. ROY LAGARDE

A LEADING international
Catholic charity and pontifical
foundation Aid to the Church
in Need (ACN) opens a new
chapter, having inaugurated

its national section in the

Church leaders and guests
gathered yesterday, Nov. 15,
Charity / A6

Church needs to scale up HIV response,

says CBCP official
stressed the need for the
Church to scale up its fight
against HIV/AIDS and
counter discrimination
against those living with the
In the Philippines, where
there has been a big spike
in HIV cases, Dumaguete
Bishop Julito Cortez of the
CBCP Episcopal Commission
on Health Care (ECH),
recognized that more than
words are needed.
In fact, we are impelled
to do something and, for
this reason, we are called to

have a pro-active Catholic

response to the reality of
HIV/AIDS in our country,
said the prelate over Manila
archdiocese-run Radio
As Christians, we are
impelled by our faith to
respond to situations of
suffering like illness and
sickness, so guided by our
faith in Jesus Christ, he said.
Cortez was in Manila for
the 6th Catholic Asia-Pacific
Coalition on HIV and AIDS
Conference from Nov. 13 to 17.
The gathering, which
HIV / A7


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Dont let politicians drive you

crazy, Kenyas bishops advise
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18,
2016Ahead of Kenyas
2017 elections, the countrys
Catholic bishops warned
about the potential for
inflammatory language and
politician-driven ethnic
tensions to add to violence
and endanger the country.
The well-being and
prosperity of our country
depends on all of us, the
bishops said in a Nov. 11
statement. This is the only
Kenya we have and we must
guard our liberties jealously
so that those who come after
us will find a country where
there is peace and harmony.
We should never allow few
individuals to spoil the peace
in Kenya and interfere with
our inheritance.
Together we can build a
country that is just and free
from corruption, a country
that is orderly and respects
the rule of law and a country
where the dignity of every
person is respected and
valued, they added.
The statement, titled For
Love of our country, work for
peace and unity, was signed
by Bishop Philip Anyolo of
Homa Bay, chairman of the
Kenya Conference of Catholic
Bishops, according to the
Catholic News Agency for
The bishops stressed the
need for peaceful elections,
voicing concern about the
resurgence of violence,
confrontational languages

Bishops attending a meeting of religious and clerics with Pope Francis at St. Marys School in Nairobi, Nov. 26, 2015. MARTHA

and hate speeches. They

warned such habits could
return the country to the
period of 2007-2008 when
civil conflict became a real
Kenyans should avoid a
tribalistic mentality where
voters decide to elect one
of our own at the expense
of other communities, they
We wish to caution, again
and again, our politicians
to avoid inflammatory
language, and the tendency
to set one community against
the other, the bishops
continued, asking leaders to
promote harmony and peace.
Politicians are tearing
into one another and making

dangerous statements
capable of whipping up
ethnic tensions, clashes and
violent political rivalry, the
bishops said. Accusations
and counter accusations are
being traded at the expense
of the truth.
The lives of Kenyans are
very precious and anybody
threatening or attacking
them has no place in any
decent and civilized society.
We condemn these acts of
violence in the strongest
terms and we call for the
arrest of any person inflicting
violence and continuous
suffering to others.
Among the topics the
bishops letter addressed was
the issue of politics in church.

The Church is called to be

the conscience of the society.
Consequently those working
in the Church must be seen
to be above party politics,
they said. We call upon the
clergy not to use the Church
or the pulpit to promote any
political candidate.
The bishops would not
allow churches and church
functions to be used as
campaign platforms and
forums of hate speech.
As much as politicians
and those aspiring to elective
positions are free to worship
and pray where they want,
they should not use such
opportunities to make their
campaign statements, said
the bishops. (CNA)

New film shows how mercy can transform your life

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Nov 17, 2016
Personal stories about Gods mercy
at work in the world today will be
the focus of a new Catholic-produced
documentary that will air on ABC
affiliates across the United States.
These testimonies remind us that
Divine Mercy is not just a devotion
or theological conceptit is alive,
it is present, and it is a force that
can transform the world, Knights of
Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said
Nov. 14.
The one-hour film The Face of Mercy
depicts mercy as the antidote to evil even
in great difficulty. Narrated by actor Jim

Caviezel, the film interweaves history,

theology, and testimonials about the
importance of mercy in peoples lives.
Testimonies come from Immacule
Ilibagiza, who forgave those who
murdered her family in the Rwandan
genocide; a New York police officer
who works for peace despite having
been shot and paralyzed from the waist
down; a young widow who forgave the
killer of her husband; a baseball player
who became a priest; and a former NFL
linebacker who now shares Christs
mercy with the homeless.
The film was produced by the Knights
of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order

with 1.9 million members worldwide.

Anderson said the film highlights
the sort of transformations that are
possible in individual lives that embrace
the way of mercy, forgiveness and
Pope Francis declared a Year of Mercy
for the Catholic Church that began on
Dec. 8, 2015. It closes this Sunday,
Nov. 20.
The film is available at Amazon.com,
the Ignatius Press website, and the
Knights of Columbus site Knights Gear.
Broadcast dates and more information
are available at faceofmercyfilm.com.

The Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac in Kuwait: Egyptian Catholics welcome here
2016 The Patriarch Ibrahim
Isaac, the spiritual leader
of the Catholic Copts, the
largest Egyptian Catholic
community, began his first
pastoral visit to Kuwait,
which will end on November
Upon arriving at the airport,
the patriarch said he was very
happy to visit the country for
the first time: Thousands of
different nationalities and
faiths live in this state, known
for its religious tolerance. The
Egyptian community is very
well received in Kuwait. For
many of them, it is a second
home country.
The patriarch was
welcomed by Msgr. Camillo
Balin, apostolic vicar of
Northern Arabia, Fr. Anglus
Massoud, curate of the Coptic

Catholic Church in Kuwait,

the priest of the Maronite
Church, the Protestant
Church and some Coptic
Catholic parishioners.
In his welcome speech,
Fr. Massoud, who joined the
vicariate in 2006, said that
this visit is of particular
importance because Kuwait
is the gulf country that
welcomes most Egyptians,
including the Coptic Catholics
who take full advantage of the
atmosphere of religious and
cultural tolerance .
In addition to his meetings
with the authorities and with
religious leaders
to deepen dialogue
between faithsyesterday
patriarch Isaac chaired a
High Mass in the Cathedral
of the Holy Family, where he
gathered a large number of

faithful. Today he baptized

and confirmed many children
belonging to the Kuwaiti
Fr. Rafic Greiche,
spokesman for the Catholic
Church in Egypt, spoke
to AsiaNews about the
importance of the visit: The
new generations of Egyptians
abroad know little about
their mother Church. For
this reason, His Beatitude
considered it a must to
help the parishioners of
the diaspora. It was in this
context that the patriarch
made two tours in the USA,
one in Australia, and several
in Europe. Now he heads to
the east, towards the Gulf
countries that welcome
millions of Egyptians of all
Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac

asked for a special audience

with the Emir of Kuwait to
thank him for his reception,
and congratulate him for
the tributemade him by UN
Secretary General Ban Kimon, who called the emir
a leader of humanitarian
The Catholic Church
in Kuwait has about 200
thousand faithful mostly
migrants, the majority from
Asia, but also from Arab
countries such as Lebanon,
Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.
This community is part of
the Episcopal Vicariate of
Northern Arabia, which
also includes the Church of
Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi.
The current cathedral of
Kuwait-City was built on
land provided by the Kuwaiti
government in 1957. (UCAN)

How to fix our broken sexual culture, according to Archbishop Chaput

BALTIMORE, Md., Nov 16, 2016
Infidelity, divorce, sexual violence,
pornography, hook-up cultureall
things that have both increased en masse
in society over the last few decades,
and have seared pain into the lives of
individual men and women.
So how do we even begin to address
the problem? By peopleespecially
the youthchoosing to live in true,
authentic and virtuous community with
one another, says Archbishop Chaput.
Were getting a culture thats just
hugely preoccupied with sexuality,
and being restrained sexually is
not considered a virtue anymore,
apparently. I think thats very hurtful
to everyone, Archbishop Charles
Chaput of Philadelphia, who chairs the
U.S. bishops working group on Amoris
laetitia, told CNA on Monday.

The archbishop, who in a lecture in

September noted a marked increase
in the number and kind of sexual
sins he had heard in the confessional
throughout his priesthood, told CNA
that young Catholics need virtuous
relationships to live chastely in the midst
of a promiscuous culture.
I think its really important for us
to encourage young people to form
communities of young people, peers,
who can give them support in the face
of this culture of cheapening human
relationships, he insisted.
Archbishop Chaput spoke with CNA
during the U.S. bishops fall general
assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14. He chairs
the U.S. bishops working group on
Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis apostolic
exhortation on love in the family.
The exhortation was the fruit of two

synods on the family, which sparked

controversy amid speculation over
whether there would be a change in the
Churchs practice that the divorced-andremarried may not receive Communion.
Since Amoris laetitia was published,
some of its vague language has inspired
conflicting interpretations. Some have
seen it as a break with the Churchs
teaching tradition, others as not
changing the Churchs teaching. Still
others consider it a progression toward
a new pastoral praxis, or that it need not
be interpreted at all
For his part, Archbishop Chaput noted
in pastoral guidelines for his archdiocese
that in putting Amoris laetitia into
practice, the Holy Father himself states
clearly that neither Church teaching
nor the canonical discipline concerning
marriage has changed. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor

Vatican Briefing

Pope tells bishops to have compassion on those

with failed marriages
Pope Francis stopped by a formation course for
bishops on the new marriage nullity process, telling
attendees that as bishops, and now as local judges
in annulment cases, they must pursue the truth,
but never exclude those whose marriages have
failed. The Church, who is embodied in the sad
stories and sufferings of the people, bends down
to the poor and to those who are far away from
the ecclesial community or consider themselves
outside of it due to their marital failure, the Pope
said Nov. 18.Despite whatever distance couples
who find themselves in this situation might feel,
they are and remain incorporated in Christ in
virtue of their baptism, Francis said. (Elise
To be corrupt is to follow the devil,
Pope Francis says
Pope Francis warned Catholic business leaders
against the danger of worshipping money, saying
corruption is to follow the lies of the devil, whereas
practices aimed for the common good are always built
around principals of honesty and fraternity.Corruption
is the worst social plague. Its the lie of seeking personal
gain of that of the group itself under the guise of a
service to society, the Pope said Nov. 17.The attitude
of corruption is the crassest selfishness, hidden behind
an apparent generosity, he said, noting that corruption
stems from the worship of money and comes back warp
the worshipper, making them a prisoner of that same
worship. (Elise Harris/CNA)
At next worlds fair, Vatican to promote energy for
the common good
Ahead of the next international exposition, to be
held in Kazakhstan during the summer of 2017, the
Vatican announced Nov. 16 its participation under the
theme Energy for the Common Good: Caring for our
Common Home.The Church is the only religious group
to be formally present at the Expo, participating in its
capacity as a sovereign state, which it has done since
the first worlds fair, known as the Great Exhibition
in London in 1851.The overall theme of Expo 2017,
being held in Astana June 10 - Sept. 10, is Future
Energy: Energy for All. The Vatican gladly accepted
the invitation to participate, Cardinal Turkson said.
(Hannah Brockhaus/CNA)
Vatican goes green, amps up recycling efforts
A year after Pope Francis released his encyclical
on the environment, Laudato si, the Vatican has
stepped up its efforts in the recycling game by creating
a new central waste collection point within Vatican
City. Announced Nov. 14 by the State Governorate
of Vatican City Events Coordination, the new system
builds on recycling practices already in place. With
the implementation of the new, more organized
system, the leaders of the Vaticans State Governorate
said they hope that the small state can in some way
become a good example of a green and non-polluting
state.(Hannah Brockhaus/CNA)
Pope lauds women religious in fight against
Pope Francis met in Rome with a unique group
involved in the fight against human trafficking, where he
noted the particular contributions of women religious,
which often go unnoticed.Your activity in this area
reminds us, the Pope said Nov. 7, of the enormous
and often silent efforts which have been made for many
years by religious congregations, especially womens
congregations, to care for those wounded in their
dignity and scarred by their experiences.The Pope
met with RENATE, a European network of religious
who are committed to work together in the fight against
human trafficking and exploitation. Members consist
of women religious, priests and laypersons who all
have professional training in fields such as psychology,
counselling, law and law enforcement. (Hannah
Vatican prays Trump presidency will promote peace
amid conflict
After Donald Trump pulled off what was for many a
surprising victory in the United States election, Vatican
Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin offered his
prayers that the new president-elect would promote
peace in a world torn by conflict.First of all, we take
note with respect the will of the American people in
this exercise of democracy which they tell me was
characterized by a large turnout. Then we congratulate
the new president, so that his government can be
truly fruitful, Cardinal Parolin told Vatican Radio
Nov. 19.He also assured of his prayers, so that the
Lord illuminate him and sustain him in the service
of his homeland, naturally, but also of the peace and
wellbeing of the world.(Elise Harris/CNA)
Vatican bishop lays out roadmap for dialogue
with Islam
There is a roadmap for dialogue with Islam, and
its three landmarks are peace, justice and education,
says a leading bishop on the subject.Bishop Miguel
Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for
Interreligious Dialogue, explained: on a theological
level, differences still remain, and they are known.
Beyond any theological difference, however, we take
each others hand, to build together the common
good.There is a diverse and rich dialogue with
many Islamic institutions, the bishop told CNA Nov.
4.Bishop Ayuso discussed how the dialogue with
Islamic institutions is progressing. He gave special
mention to the restoration of relations between the
Holy See and the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, which,
along with its companion university, is the most
prominent institution of Sunni Islam. (Andrea

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Pope extends Jubilee mandate

on abortion, SSPX confession
ROME Although the Jubilee of
Mercy has ended, Pope Francis has
decided that some of the novelties
he applied to the Church during the
Holy Year will continue.
He is allowing all priests to absolve
the sin of abortion from here on out,
while SSPX priests will be able to
continue hearing confessions validly.
In addition, he has indefinitely
extended the mandate of the
Missionaries of Mercy and has
decided to institute the World
Day for the Poor, which will take
place each year on the Thirty-Third
Sunday of Ordinary Time.
The Pope announced his
decision in his new Apostolic Letter
Misericordia et Misera, meaning
Mercy with Misery. Published Nov.
21, the letter was signed by the Pope
Nov. 20 during Mass for the close of
the Jubilee of Mercy.
In the letter, Pope Francis said that
the Sacrament of Reconciliation
must regain its central place in the
Christian life.
Given this need, lest any obstacle
arise between the request for
reconciliation and Gods forgiveness,
I henceforth grant to all priests, in
virtue of their ministry, the faculty to
absolve those who have committed
the sin of procured abortion, the
letter read.
The provision made for the
duration of the Extraordinary
Holy Year is hereby extended,
notwithstanding anything to the
Pope Francis firmly stressed that
abortion is a grave sin, since it
puts an end to an innocent life,
but insisted that there is no sin
that Gods mercy cannot reach and
wipe away when it finds a repentant
heart seeking to be reconciled with
the Father.
May every priest, therefore, be
a guide, support and comfort to
penitents on this journey of special
The Pope had initially declared
that all priests could forgive the
sin of abortion in a set of pastoral
guidelines for the Jubilee issues
Sept. 1, 2015, in which he also
granted SSPX priests the faculty to
forgive sins in confession.
A woman who obtains an
abortion automatically incurs a
latae sententiae excommunication,
along with those who assisted her
in the process. Because of this
excommunication, the sin of abortion
can normally only be absolved by a
bishop, or certain priests appointed
by him.
For specific occasions such as
Advent or Lent, some bishops extend
this faculty to all priests within their
diocese. In the U.S., the faculty to
absolve abortion has already been
delegated to all priests.
However, the Popes new
provisions take it to a universal level.
In his new apostolic letter, Pope

Francis also extended his decree

allowing SSPX priests to hear valid
He noted how during the Jubilee,
he allowed that those faithful who,
for various reasons, attend churches
officiated by the priests of the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly
and licitly receive the sacramental
absolution of their sins.
For the pastoral benefit of these
faithful, and trusting in the good
will of their priests to strive with
Gods help for the recovery of full
communion in the Catholic Church,
I have personally decided to extend
this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year,
until further provisions are made,
lest anyone ever be deprived of the
sacramental sign of reconciliation
through the Churchs pardon.
The Society of St. Pius X was
founded by Archbishop Marcel
Lefebvre in 1970 to form priests,
as a response to what he described
as errors that had crept into the
Church following the Second Vatican
Council. Its relations with the Holy
See became strained in 1988 when
Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated
four bishops without the permission
of Pope John Paul II.
The illicit consecration resulted
in the excommunication of the five
bishops; the excommunications
were lifted in 2009 by Benedict
XVI, and since then, negotiations
between the Society and the Vatican
to re-establish full communion have
Pope Francis has taken several
steps to move forward on the path
of full unification with the SSPX
Society, including the offer of a
personal prelature, which is a Church
jurisdiction without geographical
boundaries designed to carry out
particular pastoral initiatives. At
present, the only personal prelature
in the Church is Opus Dei. However,
the Society has so far rejected this
As another sign of his push for
this emphasis on mercy to continue
beyond the Jubilee, Francis also
extended the special faculties given
to the Missionaries of Mercy.
On Ash Wednesday, more than
1,000 priests were sent out around
the world as ambassadors of mercy.
Selected from every continent,
the Missionaries of Mercy placed
a special emphasis on their role as
preachers and confessors.
They were given two special
faculties that are usually unavailable
to the average priest, the first
being that they were not limited
in geographic location in terms of
hearing confessions.
Usually a priest has to ask
permission from the local bishop
before hearing confessions in
a diocese other than their own,
however for the Missionaries of
Mercy that was not the case. (CNA/
EWTN News)

Highlights and legacy of

the Year of Mercy
ROME The Holy Door
in St Peters Basilica
closed on Sunday, Nov.
20 marking the end of the
Jubilee of Mercy.
Over the past year
dioceses around the
world have organized
initiatives and here in
Rome there have been
various Jubilee events
including, the Jubilee for
Prisoners, the disabled
and the homeless.
The Pontifical Council
for the Promotion of the
New Evangelization was
charged with organizing
the Holy Year of Mercy
and its English language
official Fr. Eugene Silva

spoke to Lydia OKane

about some of the
highlights and its legacy.
Fr. Sylva says that as
a priest, one of the most
inspiring things about
this Extraordinary Year
has been, the number of
people whove returned
home to the Sacrament
of Gods mercy, to the
Sacrament of Penance and
Reconciliation. Another
inspiration of this year for
him has been the numbers
of volunteers who have
worked tirelessly to make
the Jubilee a spiritual
journey for pilgrims in
The closing Jubilee

congregations overseas.
There are five million
Catholics in South Korea,
over 10 percent of the
population. They tend
to be above average in
socio-economic status.
The country has a good
reputation around the
world. Its people are
highly educated and its
seminaries train many
priests from other
countries. The countrys
culture, in the form of
music, soap operas,
fashions and films, is
popular in places like
Tensions with North
Korea, of course, cannot
be ignored.
Korean missionary
activity is driven partly
by the desire to share
religious freedom and
partly by the hope of a
world peace that would
lead to reunification with
North Korea, Kim said
in The Catholic Herald.
The Catholic faith
first came to Korea
through lay people, not
missionaries or bishops,
in the late 1700s.
The Korean Church
then survived intense
religious persecution,

of the whole process and

pastoral plan of the New
Evangelization, I think
that this is an important
step that we need to
continue on in the path of
the New Evangelization.
Pope Francis, recalls
Fr Eugene, called this
Jubilee of Mercy because
of the world being riddled
with such violence today,
that in the face of such
violence, we as Christians
need to confront it with
mercy and with love.
The Extraordinary Holy
Year of Mercy culminated
on Nov 20th, the Feast
of Christ the King.
(Vatican Radio)

IFFAsia: 10 years of sending change agents to Asia

MANILA They say the best agent
for change is not a program, a
technique, or even technology. Its
still a person.
This is exactly what the Institute
of Formation Fondacio Asia
(IFFAsia) has been doing for 10
years now since it solidified its
commitment to form young adults,
professionals, and lay leaders from
all backgrounds under its applied
leadership program.
Tugso comes from the mountain
steppes of Mongolia, a distant and
remote land north of mainland
China. Prior to 2011, she had never
seen the ocean nor eaten seafood.
After 3 years in the Philippines, her
life has been turned upside down-in a good way. She shares : I was
surprised that I could succeed in
organizing the women in the remote
towns in my country! Through the
program, they were able to increase
their savings.
Women empowerment in
My bishop is very happy with the
results. Now, we will try to see how
to make it more self-sustainable,
said the young woman about the
women empowerment program she
helps run that provides livelihood
for 24 women.
Lattana, who used to be a shy
young woman from the little country
of Laos, nods her head in agreement
to Tugsos story. After going through
IFFAsias training program, she
returned to her country and quickly
rose up in the ranks to become the
area manager for an international
NGO in Pakse. She now oversees
a staff of 12 people which manage
child care, education, and health
programs in local communities.
For IFFAsia, such stories are
indicative of the bright-eyed

Can South Korean Catholics evangelize Asia?

SEOUL, South Korea
Catholics in South Korea
have a unique position to
evangelize, one scholar
Since the 1990s,
the Vatican has been
encouraging the
Korean Church to
take responsibility for
evangelizing the rest of
Asia, Prof. Kirsteen Kim
said. Not only the quality
of its witness but also
practical considerations
lie behind this.
Kim, a professor of
theology and world
Christianity at Leeds
University in the United
Kingdom, profiled the
Church in South Korea
and its missionary
activity in the U.K.
newspaper The Catholic
Herald Nov. 11.
About 200 South
Korean priests are
serving as missionaries
in other countries, while
400 serve overseas
Korean communities.
The Korean Mission
Society, founded in 1975,
has sent more than 70
priests abroad.
Another 700 Koreans,
mostly religious women,
are serving in missionary

events in these last weeks

included the Jubilee
for prisoners, and the
homeless which saw Pope
Francis invite prisoners
and those sleeping rough
into St Peters Basilica
to take part in Holy
Mass. Those last two
events that we have had,
says Fr Eugene, have
resonated all around the
world. He adds that,
these people were able to
serve at the Mass and the
fullness of their dignity
was so evident.
The Year of Mercy
maybe coming to a close
but Fr Sylva says that , if
we place it in the context

Korean Catholics attend a Mass inside a chapel at the countrys capital


with martyrs who have

been raised to the
altars. Pope John Paul
II canonized 103 Korean
Martyrs in 1984, while
Pope Francis beatified
another 124 during his
August 2014 visit to the
Korean Catholic
history includes 35 years
of Japanese occupation
and the Korean War.
According to Kim, this
has given the Church
awareness about the
need to be a poor
Church for the Poor,

in the words of Pope

The Church further
played a large role in civil
rights and democracy
advocacy in the 1980s
and 1990s.
There is a strong
social dimension
to its evangelization,
Kim said. Its martyr
history has given the
Korean Church special
identification with the
poor and suffering
and a willingness for
self-sacrifice. (CNA/
EWTN News)

Alumni from Malaysia and Brunei perform during the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) 10th
year anniversarys cultural night. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGAUX POIRIER

enthusiasm with which their

missionaries help transform their
communities and countries through
socio-pastoral and mission work.
About 80 of these alumni gathered
at Radio Veritas Asia in Quezon City
from Nov. 4 to 7, 2016 to share their
stories of mission on the ground,
affirm one another, and celebrate
the 10th Anniversary of their alma
mater, the Institute of Formation
Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia).
180 youth from 13 countries
The theme of the event was
Building Leaders, Transforming
In his keynote address, IFFAsia
Bishop-chairman Joel Baylon
congratulated the institute, alumni,
and partner organizations for
their contributions. He said, We
give thanks to the Lord for the
past 10 years, for the 180 young

adults He has sent us from 13

countries--Brunei, Cambodia,
China, Japan, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Mongolia, Korea,
Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand,
and Vietnam--for the trust of our
partners and the local Churches,
and for Gods faithful and merciful
IFFAsia, established by Fondacio,
a Catholic lay movement with
Pontifical status. Fondacio promotes
evengelization, leadership, and
human development activity at the
service of the Gospel. IFFAsias
leadership program is designed
to equip young adults and
professionals with competencies
to become initiators and leaders
of projects and missions in Church
or society by harnessing their
potentials to act for the common
good. (Rosabelle Ramirez/

The shenanigans at Mother Angelicas first vows

IRONDALE, Ala. If you picture a
nuns first profession of vows, you
probably picture a serene, peaceful
affair with the sisters singing
harmoniously and everything running
joyfully and smoothly.
But the day of Mother Angelicas first
vows was anything but.
Outside, a blizzard spit snow and
ice, snarling roads and delaying the
guests and the presiding Bishop James
Inside, different storms were
As then-Sister Angelica knelt behind
the grille, trying to pray before taking
her vows, the organist sister and the
choir director, Sr. Mary of the Cross
(with whom Sr. Angelica had sparred
in the past), began arguing about
musical technique, within earshot of
the already-arrived guests.
As the incident is recalled in her
Voices slowly escalated. Suddenly
the two nuns were at each other: the
organist refusing to play, Mary of the
Cross threatening to throw her into the
snow if she didnt.
And Im sitting there trying to recollect myself for my vows, Mother
Angelica recalled. The people must
have thought we were nuts.
Then came the bug, scampering
across the wooden floor in front of
the sisters.
Mary of the Cross rose up, lifted
the kneeler with both hands, and
pounded it on the ground, attempting
to annihilate the insect. Like a

madwoman with a jackhammer,

she repeatedly wielded the priedieu
(kneeler), hurling it and herself at
the crawler. The organist, thinking
the display an underhanded critique
of her playing, pounded the keys all
the harder. Sister Angelica could
not believe what she termed the
shenanigans. Then the bishop walked
Wet and cold from walking several
blocks where he had to leave his stalled
car, Bishop McFadden requested a
fresh pair of socks, which Sr. Mary of
the Cross sent Sister Angelica to get.
When it came time to place the
profession ring on Sr. Angelicas
fingers, the bishop couldnt fit it past
her knuckle--her hand was swollen
from a shower handle in the convent
that had crumbled and cut her hand
several days prior.
With everything going on there,
Im thinking, Oh Jesus doesnt love
me. You know?...I mean, it was a
real spiritual experience! Mother
Angelica said. But thats the way
God works with me. As I look back,
before anything big that was coming,
something happened to me.
Despite the shenanigans of the day,
Sr. Angelica took her vows seriously,
writing in a letter to her mother that
the espoused and royal couple
(herself and Jesus) wished to express
their gratitude to their friend and
member of their personal court...The
spouse has asked the Bridegroom to fill
you with his peace and consolation.
(Mary Rezac/CNA)


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CBCP Monitor


IN a recent pastoral statement issued by the Permanent

Council of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines,
the bishops reiterated for the nth time the Churchs mission
to teach, to be prophetic even in matters of socio-political
We have a Gospel to preach. We have the person of Jesus
to proclaim. We sill do so, in season and out of season, said
the members of the CBCP Permanent Council, which is headed
by Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The backdrop of this is the volley of attacks that some
bishops have been receiving especially from trolls in social
media when they started issuing, as they regularly do, pastoral
statements on the run up to the May 2016 national elections.
The hundreds or so comments in social media may be summed
up in: Bishops stop meddling in politics; take care instead of
your erring priests. Of course, the Permanent Council knows
this, We are aware that many would rather that we desisted
from (issuing) public statements, especially in the wake of
unpleasant incidences in the recent past... Our failings are
always before us. Repeatedly, we have begged for forgiveness
for our shortcomings and sins. But though wounded--and
perhaps, precisely because of our wounds--God entrusts to
us the yoke of the Gospel and commands us to preach it to
all the world.
But come to think of it, perhaps the Church has been too
slow in catechizing the faithful about the centrality of the
social teachings in the life and mission of the Church. For
the past 500 years or so of Christianity in the Philippines,
the Churchs pastoral work has been mostly engaged with
the cultic or the sacramental and seldom with social concern.
Not so many in the Church pews are aware, for instance, that
politics, being a human activity, has a moral dimension. Being
such, it may hurt or benefit people. It can lead to grace or to
sin. Perhaps, its time to keep talking, too, about catechizing
the people about the social teaching of the Church, which,
euphemistically, has been regarded as the best-kept secret
of the Church.

The worst injustice, the best mercy

GIVEN some raging political issues gripping the nation today,
many people are trying to figure out the proper relationship
between the demands of justice and the gratuity of mercy.
Everyone presumes, rightly, that justice and mercy should
go together. There is no mercy without justice, nor justice
without mercy. Many saints, popes, brilliant people, etc.,
through the ages have enunciated that.
We just have to remind ourselves that this ideal of mercy
and justice being together and mutually affecting each
other is precisely an ideal that we all the time should try to
But we should never forget that our approximation can
never be perfect as to be permanent and applicable at all times
and in all cases and situations. A psalm reminds us of this:
Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living
is just before you. (Ps 143,2)
And thats simply because there are many things on
which we base our sense of justice and mercy that we do
not know with finality. Our knowledge of things will always
be perfectible. We are actually surrounded by an ocean of
mysteries, for man himself, despite the many things we know
about him, is a great mystery.
St. Augustine voiced out this truth when he said: Dont you
believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden
even to him in whom it is? He also said: Who can map out
the various forces at play in ones soul? Man is a great depth,
O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than
his feeling, the movements of his heart.
Of course, this obvious truth is no excuse not to try our
best to articulate in some legal system and rule of law the
relationship between justice and mercy. But neither should
we exaggerate such effort as to forget that we have to contend
precisely with an ocean of mysteries. Whatever decision,
resolution, conclusion we make in any given case should
defer to this truth.
What can guide us properly in this common predicament
of ours is to look at the example of Christ. This and no
other should be the source of our light, not some ideology,
philosophy or theology which in the end should also be
inspired by the example of Christ, if they are to be a helpful
guide, since Christ is the way, the truth and the life for us.
In him alone is justice and mercy fused to perfection, never
our own systems.
And what do we see in Christ? Well, he taught us who
we are, how we are supposed to be, to speak, to act, what
commandments and rules we ought to follow, etc. In the
end, he offered his life on the cross. This last he did given the
complicated situation man, whom he came to save, was and
continues to be in.
Thus, the worst injustice was committed. The killing of
Christ who is God made man. There can be no worse injustice
and evil than this. And yet that most horrible injustice
occasioned the best act of mercyour own salvation, our own
reconciliation with our own Creator and Father.



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Must the Church keep silent?


Views and Points

Abp. Oscar V. Cruz

EVERY now and then, the word

Exorcism is heard here and there,
i.e., a relatively rare agendum usually
associated with getting rid of the Devils
Possession of some-one--be this an
adult or a minor. So came to fore the
word Exorcist, viz. , someone who
precisely exorcises an individual or
group of individuals together in order
to drive away or get rid of the evil spirit
possessing or having control over the latter--speaking strangely and strangely
acting as well. It is worth remembering
that an Exorcist can be bogus in the
same way that a devils possession of
this or those persons can also be but an
illusion--if not a downright delusion.
But then, it is but proper and right to
take note of the following more practical
norms and concrete observations in
order to know certain fundamentals
particularly about the one ex-orcised as
well as the one exorcising:
The person said or perceived to be in
need of exorcism, viz., to be released
from the dominion and command of the
evil spirit, should be first established as
altogether free of any of the following
more common factors. The individual
concerned is defi-nitely not but suffering
from any mental disorder or any
psychological disturbance much

less but pretending to be controlled by

the devil in order to get the attention
of others. Furthermore, the noted
verbal and/or behavioral malady is not
curable by mere medical interventions,
be this ordinary or special in nature.
Devils posses-sion wherefore in rightful
need of exorcism is definitely not but
a curiosity, an inter-esting if not an
entertaining event. There is man, there
is demonic spirit and there is the latter
in odious command of the former in
verbal expressions and behavioral
Yes, Exorcism is a recognized practice
in the Church in the same way that there
are duly designated Exorcists therein--to
this date and time. But just as exorcism
is ra-ther rare, so it is that Exorcists-with proper spiritual and specialized
formation for the purpose--are rather
few. The truth is that Christ Himself
had recourse to exor-cism as recorded
by the Evangelist St. Mark, Chapter
8. No wonder then that the Universal
Church Legislative Norms or the Code
of Canon Law itself has a formal and
specific provision on exorcism expressly
mandating the following: No one may
legitimately perform exorcisms upon
the possessed unless he has obtained
special and expressed permission from

A burning faith that

cannot be hidden
RECENT trips showed me
how faith is manifested in
different ways, from the
osten-tatious to the meek.
Europe has majestic churches
that mirror how the Christian
faith evolved through the
years. From Romes St.
Peters Basilica to Paris Notre
Dame Cathedral, my mouth
was agape at the glorious
architecture, the scale of the
edifices and the stunning art
However it was in the little,
unobtrusive churches tucked
in the hills of Japans Kyu-

shu region that I was moved

by the burning faith that
could not be hidden even by
the threat of a terrible death.
For about 250 years, the
so-called Kakure Kirishitan
or Hidden Christians of
Japan were outlawed and
its faithful tortured by the
thou-sands in horrifying
ways. But their artifacts
revealed crucifixes etched
at the back of the image
of the Buddhist Goddess
of Mercy, Maria Kannon,
several images of Jesus,
rosaries and other evidences

Candidly Speaking
Fr. Roy Cimagala

AS school chaplain, I get to talk with

students who are transitioning from one
level to anotherbe it from high school
to college or from college to professional
life, etc. A common problem or difficulty
these students meet in this stage of their
life is that of adjustment.
Most of the time, these students realize
that they have new responsibilities to assume, new challenges and expectations
to meet. Though many of them manage
to cope with the new things, some find
it hard and fall into crisis, sometimes
grave, al-most fatal or suicidal crisis.
These problematic cases often
manifest a common featurethat of
somehow being spoiled by privileges,
entitlements, comfort and carefree
lifestyle that they enjoyed and received
from their parents and peers.
This time though, as they enter a new
phase in their life, they notice that these
perks are ebbing away for a number of
reasons, and they find it hard to go on

the Local Ordinary. The Local Ordinary

is to give this per-mission only to a Priest
who has the piety, knowledge, prudence
and integrity of life. (Canon 1171, pars.
1 and 2, CIC)
As above expressly provided by Canon
Law, one of the key requirements
categori-cally demanded of an officially
designated Exorcist is knowledge.
Translation: It is not enough that the
Priest concerned is pious, prudent,
and holy. It is furthermore expressly
required that he underwent the required
formation in terms of really knowing the
What?, the Why?, and the How?
of the Ministry of Exorcism. So it is
that ignorance and gullibility are big
liabilities in just anybody assuming
the Office of an Exorcist someone
waging a spiritual war precisely against
the evil spirit. So stands the not only
reasonable but also necessary warning:
Let no one a Priest in particular ever
fool around with the evil spirit, with the
devil, with demonic pos-session through
pretentious Exorcism.
Demonic possession happens.
Exorcism is needed. But to fool around
with the Dev-il and/or to play the fool
in driving it away--this is not simply
ridiculous but prepos-terous, not merely
dangerous but taboo as well.

Pilgrim at the periphery

Tessa Mangahas
of Christian worship. In these
small churches and arti-facts,
which are being considered to
be UNESCO Heritage sites,
we are stirred by stories of
a faith preserved against
all odds. It was only after
many years, during a historic
moment at Oura Cathedral,
a church dedicated to the
26 Japanese martyrs, that a
handful of Japanese peasants
showed themselves to a priest
and reunited with their
Western counterparts to
relive the Catholic faith.
We are about to end a

very tumultuous year. Evil

seems to be winning over
good. Atrocities happen
everywhere, but we are too
timid to stand up and fight it.
We wit-ness the persecution
of the weak, but are too scared
to say anything. We are too
busy worrying about personal
interests to stop corruption.
Ironically, we have many
places of worship and dont
need to hide our faith. As
we welcome the birth of the
Christ Child, we ask ourselves
if we have courage to live the
life of a true Christian.

Beware of privileges
and entitlements

without them. While this phenomenon

is quite normal and should be expected,
some of the-se young ones do not know
how to handle it. They are unprepared
for these chang-es, or they simply refuse
to make the necessary adjustments.
They continue to expect the same
things, when circumstances have in fact
changed, sometimes drastically. And so
they get disappointed and frustrated,
and from there more serious problems
can be triggered.
They fail to realize that gospel
indication of Christ: Whoever exalts
himself shall be humbled, and whoever
humbles himself shall be exalted. (Mt
23,12) They fail to match their growth
in their status with the corresponding
growth in their sense of responsibility,
in the tenor of what Christ himself said:
The greatest among you shall be your
servant. (Mt 23,11)
This is where they have to be
remindedwith patience and

reassurance but with clear and strong

admonitionthat they have to know
how to wean themselves from their
previous lifestyle and start to get real
with the objective changes of circumstances in their lives.
Part of this reminder should be the
explanation that all the attention and
affection lavished on them by their
parents and others while they were
growing up was meant for them to grow
toward maturity and not for them to get
Getting spoiled by all the attention,
privileges and entitlements given to
them can happen when they fail to
realize this crucial truth about their life.
They fail to act on what Christ himself
said: From everyone who has been
given much, much will be required; and
to whom they entrusted much, of him
they will ask all the more. (Lk 12,48)
So this is where they have to be taught
Candidly Speaking / A6

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

By the Roadside

A past that lies unburied

Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ

Fr. Eutiquio Euly Belizar, Jr. SThD

Furthermore, you shall select out of
all the people able men who fear God,
men of truth, those who hate dishonest
gainas leaders of thousands, of
hundreds, of fifties and of tens (Exodus
I have sworn upon the altar of God
eternal hostility against every form of
tyranny (Thomas Jefferson)
NOTHING divides the Filipino nation
like the Marcos question. This is glaringly
evident these days not only because the
sneaky burial of the late strongman
has sparked angry protests across the
country but also because it has reopened
old wounds that up until now remain
untreated. This deep-seated division
is clearly obvious even in the local
Church herself. No one fails to notice
how several bishops and priests have
joined the protestors in condemning
the burial of the strongmans remains
at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Heroes
Cemetery). Yet did anyone miss that
prelate who even graced the last rites at
the hallowed ground? He too represents
a not-too-negligible section of the
Church in the Philippines, one that sees
nothing wrong in Marcos, his ilk and his
era. Since the Church is, as Vatican II
teaches us, the sacrament of mankinds
union with God and with fellow human
beings (Lumen Gentium, no. 1), we all
must be deeply concerned over this
continuing saga plaguing the nation.
The Year of the Parish as Communion
of Communities, which the local Church
is launching for the new Church year in
the Philippines, is inevitably confronted
with a sharply stinging rebuke and
How do we address this constantly
recurring reality?
We wish and hanker for answers
but the truth is, they are not easily
First, Filipino Catholics may listen
politely to, but do not necessarily follow,
the hierarchys evaluations and directives

on the question. There are other factors

that come into play more effectively:
parental or ancestral political leanings,
collective cultural biases, school and
peer pressure, social and mass media
exposure, leanings of idols and celebrities,
and so on. The Church must humbly
acknowledge the factual extent of her
reach and influence without giving up on
her prophetic role. She necessarily has to
ask where she needs to improve and how.
Two, open-mindedness on the Marcos
question is pretty tricky. Our old and
well-worn mindsets and attitudes keep
getting in the way. For instance, my
experience as a seminarian of seeing
rigged referenda and elections in the
Marcos era, the underdevelopment
of my beloved Samar Island while
neighboring Leyte (where Imelda is
from) was abundantly blessed, personal
visits to detention cells where activist
friends were confined and tortured
would not easily convince me of socalled golden age that was 1965-1986.
Yet I do struggle to open my mind to
the intellectual brilliance of Marcos, the
boom of infrastructural and agricultural
development in certain places of the
country (again except in my native
Eastern Samar and many others),
Madame Imeldas cultural and social
uplift of the nations capital are too hard
to ignore.
Three, alas the pluses of the Marcos
era came with so many undeniable cases
of torture, repressions of basic human
rights to life and liberty (freedom of
speech and the press were sacrificed
for what the late Cardinal Sin called
Praise Releases), cronyism at its
worst in the name of stopping the
oligarchs. Even Pope St. John Paul II
could not refrain from pointing this out
to the strongman himself, his family
and his cabinet during his 1981 visit to
the Malacanang. He tersely reminded
his hosts that political and economic
development cannot be pursued at the
expense of human rights and human
dignity. The enormity of human rights

The Year of Parishes,

Communion of Communities
WITH the closing of the
Jubilee Year of Mercy, the
Eucharist and the Family, the
Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Philippines (CBCP) will
open the Year 2017 as the Year
of Parishes, Communion of
It is part of the novenayears of the Philippine
Catholic Church in
preparation for the 500th
anniversary as a Catholic
country in 2021. The first
Mass and first Baptisms in
the Philippines happened in
1521. Our motto, Live Christ,
Share Christ!
CBCP President
Archbishop Socrates Villegas
of Lingayen-Dagupan stated
As we open the Year 2017,
we pray that God may
grant us abundant grace
to make it a year of fuller
fulfillment of that motto and
that hope. 2017 has been
programmed to focus on
the parish, a community of

communities. As a center
and fountain of missionary
discipleship and zeal for
renewed evangelization, a
genuine center of constant
missionary outreach. in
Evangelii Gaudium Pope
Francis insists that the parish
is not an outdated institution
and can possess great
flexibility still, depending on
the openness and missionary
creativity of the pastor and
the community.
The Second Plenary
Council provides that the
Basic Ecclesial Communities
(BECs), usually emerging at
the grassroots, consciously
strive to integrate their faith
and their daily life. They are
guided and encouraged by
regular catechesis. Poverty
and their faith urge their
members towards solidarity
with one another, action
for justice, and towards a
vibrant celebration of life in
the liturgy. (PCP II, 139).


abuses during the Marcos regime are

only partially dramatized by their
victims who have been identified and
partly compensated. Ironically till now
the victims themselves have not forgiven
their Tormentor and tormentors. As a
placard put it, How can I forgive when
you did not say, Im sorry? Unless the
injustices wrought on them, their loved
ones and the nation itself are addressed
adequately, the greater irony could be
the Church in the Philippines claiming
to be a Communion in an actually deeply
wounded nation.
Four, the manner in which the
strongman was buried was strongly
reminiscent of the Marcosian style of
what I may call as hide and inflict
strategy. Marial Law was hidden but
suddenly inflicted; his ill health was
well-hidden but inevitably inflicted on
the country in terms of governance
disarray (even recently acknowledged by
President Duterte himself); his colossal
wealth was hidden until its truth was
inflicted by actual millions recovered
and actual billions lost in terms of
national debt. In other words, the
Marcos burial in the way it was carried
out was very true to character. At first
it was hidden, then inflicted in one fell
swoop. This complicates any attempt on
their part to call for unity or, on the part
of the Church, to take their call seriously.
Pope Francis has recently urged
Christian believers as well as everyone
to have recourse to forgiveness precisely
because our world is presently locked
in various forms of hatred and
resentment. There is wisdom there.
The nation cannot forever be stuck in
perpetual un-forgiveness. But forgiving
does not mean letting injustice have
the last say. It only means not allowing
hatred to propel our continuing effort
to rebuild and re-establish Communion
in the Philippine Church on charity
founded upon justice.
If not, despite the sneaky burial, one
starkly dark chapter of our past will stay

Duc in Altum

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

In the Diocese of Kalookan,

the Year of Parishes,
Communion of Communities
will be launched on October
26 at Notre Dame of Greater
Manila in Caloocan City.
The whole day activity will
be attended not only by the
members of the clergy but
also by the members of BECs
and parishioners from the
different parishes in the
The highlight of the
day is the Eucharistic
Celebration to be presided
by Bishop of Kalookan
Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio
David with the Kalookan
clergy. Bishop David will
announce on that day the new
parish assignments of the
incardinated priests in the
Diocese. For 13 years or more,
the parish priests have stayed
in their respective parishes.
This will be first time that
the parish priests will be
transferred to another parish

Collection Box

assignment. We, therefore,

request the readers to please
include in your prayers the
blessing of our Lord on our
Diocese; that the priests
will be able to expand their
evangelization in their new
parish. May the parishioners
welcome their new parish
priest, with whom they can
work together and be in close
collaboration for the good of
their parish, the Diocese, and
the Universal Church.
As Archbishop Soc stated
May Our Lady of Fatima
whom we also invoke as
Mother of the Church pray
for us that every parish truly
become oases and wellsprings
of renewal and mercy!
In less than a week, the
Diocese of Kalookan will
hold its Layko si Pads
Level Up Concert (Habag
at Awa) which will finance
the Dioceses Task Force
Duc in Altum / A7

An honest request
LET me share my private conversations with someone--a
concerned follower of my Facebook postings.
THE REQUEST: Father, please stay away from politics.
Good morning, Father Willy, I just want to voice out
my thoughts and feelings, for it bothers me when I see
your latest posts about politics. You are so blessed with
wisdom. I hope and pray, please stay away from politics.
You cannot serve two masters: God and politics. I was in
EDSA Revolution in 1986. I was one of those who fought
for freedom, but that was already two decades ago. We
are ending the Year of Mercy. We have talked about
forgiveness, but your meddling with political issues is so
confusing. It Christmas season, lets forget about the past
and forgive each other. Im praying for you. Please stay
away from politics. - A concerned Catholic
MY HONEST REPLY: Its not all about politics.
Im so sorry that I disappointed you and some of my
Facebook followers for openly joining the protest against
the burial of former President Marcos in LNMB. As an
ordained priest, it is my moral obligation to express
my thoughts, especially if the issues involved are moral
concerns, the desecration of truth, senseless violence,
evil plots, and injustice. God wants His Church to defend
the truth, uphold Gods moral precepts, and resist wrong
Dont worry, I dont intend to join the world of politics,
nor give unsolicited advice to our leaders on how to run the
country. Its their duty. Not mine. Aside from our countrys
frustrating political issues, I have other things in mind
that deserve my attention. But as vanguard of morality,
it is the Churchs duty to remind our leaders to rule our
country fairly and honestly. Thus, it is my duty to voice out
and remind our leaders not to transgress our moral laws.
Remember prophet Nathan? He personally visited King
David to warn and reprimand him for his grave sin of
taking Batsheba as his wife. Nathan said to David, Why
have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is
evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah with the
sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife. Through
Nathans reprimand, David recognized his grave sin and
quickly repented, I have sinned against the Lord.; (2
Samuel 11 - 12).
Remember John the Baptist? He reprimanded Herod
for taking Herodias, his brothers wife, as his wife. Now
Herod the tetrarch had been rebuked by John because he
had married his brothers wife Herodias and because of
all of the other evil things Herod had done. (Luke 3:19).
In simple words, the role of the Church in our society - is
to be the active voice of God to our leaders and His people,
to be vigilant that no one violates the law of God and the law
of the land. When the Church condemns immoral leaders,
it is not all about politics, it is all about defending morality,
truth, and justice.
When the Church sees immoral acts in the society, Church
leaders cannot simply be silent and pray for the victims of
injustices, senseless violence, summary killings, abuse of
human rights, and lies. Our faith compels us to return to the
streets, speak out, and stand for the truth. Genuine prayer
will disturb our hearts to engage and resist any forms of
evil schemes and injustices.
Forgiveness is not the issue here. God commanded us to
forgive anyone who ask for forgiveness, provided the person
admits his faults and repents. But where is the Marcos
familys humble admittance of their faults? I remember
a story of how Satan complained to God why He forgives
everyone else too quickly and why he wasnt. God answered
him, Did you ask for forgiveness?
I cannot be silent when enemies of the truth attempt
to revise our history, tweak the facts, and disrespect the
truth. The Church cannot allow anyone, who are experts in
distorting the truth and spreading lies, to make immoral
acts correct and justifiable, and then tell us that they
are not accountable for any injustice done in the past.
By burying a non-hero in LNMB, we are allowing them
to tell the present and future generations that the EDSA
Revolution in 1986 was a big mistake, and Martial Law
atrocities were justified.
The Church will not rest until justice is given to the
countless Filipinos who died fighting for truth and freedom.
As for myself, I will keep on writing to educate our young
generations, to remind them of their connections with our
unsung heroes who fought for our country, and to resist
evil schemes in our fragile society.
I will keep on writing, not just to lead people to prayer but
to lead them in fighting against anyone who dares destroy
our Christian and Filipino core values.

Grave but forgivable

Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, MPA

IN an astounding move, Pope Francis

has extended indefinitely the faculty
given to all priests to absolve from
the sin of abortion. As it marked the
end of the Extraordinary Jubilee
of Mercy, the Vatican released
on Nov. 20 an Apostolic Letter
titled Misecordia et Misera, which
contains among others the Popes
explicit permission for all priests to
give absolution, beyond the Year of
Mercy, for the sin of abortion which
is otherwise reserved for the bishop.
Not too many perhaps understand
the importance of the Popes
declaration, but it practically means
enhanced accessibility to Gods
mercy and an easier path towards
reconciliation, especially since
the sin of abortion in the Code
of Canon Law incurs the penalty

latae sententiae excommunication.

(Canon 1398)
Ordinarily, absolution from
abortion is reserved for the Bishop.
This doesnt mean though that
a penitent may not confess to a
priest. There are priests who are
actually given by their bishops the
faculty to absolve this sin either
for a determined period of time
(for example the duration of the
Lenten season) or for a specific
number of cases. It becomes a little
bit complicated though when a
penitent confesses to a priest not
possessing this faculty. The priest
will have to advise the penitent
to confess either to a bishop or to
another priest with the mentioned
Compounding the issue further

is the fact that a person who is

guilty of abortion is automatically
(latae sententiae) excommunicated.
Meaning, the person does not need
to be told, through a formal decree
(an official notice), that he/she
is being sanctioned. The penalty
is in effect the moment the fault
(sin) is committed. If a declaration
is made by the Church, this is
simply to confirm the fact that an
excommunication has taken place.
An excommunication is the most
severe form of punishment (sanction)
that can be incurred by any member
of the Catholic Church. As long as
the individual is excommunicated,
he/she is forbidden to have any
ministerial part in the celebration
of the Eucharist or in any other
ceremonies of public worship; he/

she is prevented from celebrating

and receiving the Sacraments
and sacramental; and he/she is
prohibited from exercising any
ecclesiastical offices, ministries,
functions or acts of governance.
(Canon 1331 1, 1, 2, 3)
Under these circumstances,
what the penitent actually needs
is to be absolved from the sin
itself and for the incurred penalty
of excommunication to be
remitted. Imagine the trouble and
disappointment these create in the
penitent upon realizing that his/her
sin is apparently not easy to forgive
despite his/her deep sorrow for it
and the continuous counsel and
assurance from the church that God
is merciful and forgiving no matter
how grave the sin is.

Although the Code of Canon Law

has remedy for such situations,
the lifting of the censure and the
absolution done by a confessor are
merely temporary and the penitent
is hereby directed within one month
to have recourse to a bishop or to
a priest with the requisite faculty,
otherwise he/she re-incurs the
penalty of excommunication if he/
she fails to do it. (cf. Canon 1357
1, 2)
From the inside looking in, it
would appear that Church laws
on this are not only complicated
but are also not charitable enough
to let the spirit of forgiveness
and reconciliation be earnestly
It must be understood though
Collection Box / A7


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

PH delegation at French
Carmelites beatification
MANILA Philippines
was represented during
the beatification rites of
Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene
of the Child Jesus at the
Parc de Expositions in
Avignon France on Nov.
Infanta Bishop
Bernardino Cortes led the
delegation together with
Daet Bishop Emeritus
Benjamin Almoneda.
Fr. Aldrin Lopez and the
Ladies Branch superior
Juliet Garan led the Notre
Dame de Vie Institute
Representing Pope
Francis, Cardinal Angelo
Amato, Prefect of the
Congregation for the
Causes of Saints, presided
over the beatification rites.
Infanta, Quezon was
one of the places Blessed
Fr. Marie-Eugene visited
in the Philippines.
Established in 1950, the
Roman Catholic Territorial
Prelature of Infanta was
headed by three Carmelite
bishops in succession.
Cortes was once Auxiliary
Bishop of Manila prior to
his appointment as the first
non-Carmelite ordinary of
Blessed Fr. MarieEugene visited Carmelite
convents nationwide

during the 1960s and

presided over the cornerstone laying of what
is known today as the
National Shrine of Our
Lady of Mt. Carmel in
Broadway, Quezon City.
Formerly known as
Henri Grialou, Blessed
Fr. Marie-Eugene wrote
books about Carmelite
saints and the assimilation
of prayer and action into
ordinary life.
He is credited for
founding the Notre Dame
de Vie Institute in 1932
with Marie Pila, which later
grew into a secular institute
of laypersons, priests, and
married couples across five
Before he died in 1967,
now Blessed Fr. MarieEugene was provincial of
the Carmelite monasteries
in Avignon-Aquitaine in
Southern France. Today,
his institute of laypersons
in the Philippines runs
schools and charitable
It was Pope Benedict
XVI who proclaimed him
Venerable in 2011 and
earlier this year, Pope
Francis approved the
inexplicable healing of a
child, which was attributed
to his intercession. (Melo
M. Acua/CBCPNews)

Prophetic / A1

5-page statement discussed

issues on labor, poverty,
pending legislative measures
on family life, and the
governments war on drugs.
Unabated killings
Once again, the bishops
scored the unabated killings
related to the war on drugs of
the Duterte administration
and expressed alarm over the
alleged involvement of top
public officials in the illegal
drug trade.
The investigation must
be thoroughgoing and must
spare none, Villegas said.
He reiterated that
the Church is behind the
government in solving the
problem but said that the
fight against illegal drugs
must come hand-in-hand
with the campaign for human
According to him, they
remain distressed over
the continued incidents of
killings of drug suspects,
some of which were allegedly
killed by the police.
The daily reports of
suspects and detainees shot
by law-enforcers supposedly
because nanlaban sila or
nang-agaw ng baril are
very disturbing and truly
distressing, he said.
There is no way that a
government can credibly
claim that it is waging a
relentless war on drugs to
preserve life--while in the
process abetting, encouraging
or fomenting the destruction
of life thought--wrongly--to
be unworthy, he furthered.
The Network Against
Killings in the Philippines
(NAKPhilippines) said it
is unacceptable that the
number of killings continue
to increase but no charges
against the perpetrators have
been filed so far.
In the first five months of
the Duterte administration,
the killings have only gotten
worse, with nearly 5,000
people killed in its brutal war
on drugs in that short period,
said NAKPhilippines.
While some of these
killings are being investigated
both by the police and the
Commission on Human
Rights, no one has been
charged, signaling what
appears to be complete
impunity, they said.
NAKPhilippines is
composed of 58 individuals
and civil society organizations

including Manila auxiliary

Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
Inclusive growth
The bishops also called
on government leaders to
work for a more inclusive
economic growth and poverty
The country recently
posted the strongest
economic growth in Asia at
7.1 percent, but the CBCP
said poor Filipinos still need
support and implementing
policies to promote poverty
reduction must continue.
Promising corporate
figures must translate into
fuller lives for those who
live in barangays and the
far-flung reaches of our
Archipelago! Villegas said.
Inclusive economic
growth is not only a charming
concept. It is a moral
imperative, he said.
Proof of the continuing
need for inclusive growth,
according to them, is that
many Filipinos are still
leaving the country on a daily
basis to find jobs abroad.
We exhort Filipino
businessmen as well as
foreign investors to make it
possible for every Filipino
to aspire after a fulfilling
future for herself and for her
family in our own land, said
End labor
The bishops commended
the Duterte administrations
resolute to end labor
contractualization, although
it may be lenient to companies
with thousands of employees.
The church leaders are
no aware of the concerns by
the business sector about
the supposed slow-down in
the economy if economy if
contractualization and outsourcing are outlawed.
While admitting that they
do not have the answers for
such complicated issues,
they remain sure: There is
no moral justification for the
exploitation of the working
Filipino, and for denying
the laborer the benefits of
permanent employment.
We urge the President, his
Cabinet and the Legislature to
be resolute in this respect and
to side with those who have
for so long labored under
the exploitative conditions
of contractualization, they

CBCP Monitor

Be eco online missionaries,

priest tells young people
MANILA A Catholic priest has
encouraged the faithful, especially
the youth, to embrace social media to
support environmental campaigns.
CBCP Media Office director Msgr.
Pedro Quitorio said that the social media
is not the arena of battle when it comes
to protecting the environment.
In a country dubbed as the social
capital of the world, the priest said
people can do so much in the internet
to protect our common home.
Im sure all of us are immersed in
social media but lets be immersed with
a mission. Let us be missionaries,
Quitorio said at the 5th Catholic
Social Media Summit (CSMS) on
Nov. 19.

Organized by YouthPinoy, this years

CSMS theme centered on Pope Francis
encyclical on the environment, Laudato
Si, and maximizing the use of social
media to promote it.
YouthPinoy is an alliance of young
online missionaries who bear witness
to their Catholic faith through the
He urged the participants, mostly
composed of young people and parish
workers, to produce contents about the
ecology and join or create a network of
eco-friends who believe in the same
Be a citizen journalist by reporting
both environmental heroes and villains,
said Quitorio. Develop a Laudato Si

spirituality that will make the love

for our common home a part of your
spiritual depth.
A native of Eastern Samar where
typhoon Yolanda made first landfall in
2013, he also recalled the communication
vacuum that occurred after the onslaught
of the storm.
There was a great need for
communication and information. Be
prepared to supply that need, he told
the participants.
Have a voluntary spirit and be ready
to become a crucial communicator
especially in times of disaster, Quitorio
added. Stick to your mission. Stick
to saving the environment. Stick to
Laudato Si. (CBCPNews)

Abandoned PWDs find lifetime home

MANILA Persons with
intellectual disabilities
neglected by family and
relatives finally find shelter
in the welcoming arms of
a religious community in
Quezon City.
Located in Pasong
Tamo, Tandang Sora, the
Guanella Home for Special
Children was built to provide
permanent home for special
persons, said Fr. Charlton
Viray, who is the communitys
The Guanella Home for
Special Children serves as [a]
lifetime home for anyone who

comes, he said. As long as

they are here we will provide
[for] their needs.
Not useless
According to Viray,
donations from charitable
individuals and groups here
and abroad help fund the
center and its needs. The The
Servants of Charity also fund
raise for the Guanella Home
for Special Children through
various events and activities.
The center currently
shelters 20 abandoned
persons with intellectual
disabilities from different

parts of the country.

Disabilities include
autism, Down syndrome,
global development delay,
cerebral palsy, and mental
retardation, Viray said.
According to him, persons
with intellectual disabilities
should be taken care of,
instead of being shunned as
useless people.
Multi-sectoral effort
Depending on the degree
of disability, some of them
can be trained to do house
chores, he said, noting how
some of the centers residents

help clean the house.

The Church, civil society,
and the government could
come together, said Viray,
and look into what they
could do to help improve the
conditions of persons with
intellectual disabilities in the
In a recent reflection,
retired Manila Archbishop
Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales
called on the faithful to
accept and recognize persons
with disabilities as well as
help provide for their special
needs. (Oliver Samson/

Pinoys in Morocco remember Yolanda

Representatives from the Moroccan
Filipino community joined the members
of the Philippine delegation to the 22nd
Conference of Parties (COP22) in a
memorial service for those who were
affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda
three years ago.
After an ecumenical service organized
by the Parish of the Holy Martyrs in
coordination with the Vatican Apostolic
Nunciature in Morocco, represented by
its secretary Msgr. Edward Karaan, a
Filipino himself, Filipinos gathered at a
chapel in the Franciscan church to pray
for the Philippines and the outcome of
the climate talks.
Speaking in behalf of the Philippine
delegation, Undersecretary Gloria
Mercado from the Office of the
Cabinet Secretary highlighted the
strong position of the country in the
climate negotiatons based on climate
Super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
and other forms of disasters brings out
the best in us as persons, as one people
of our countries and as one global
community, she said.
Leading the representatives of the
Moroccan Filipino group, Mary Ann
Bose expressed their solidarity and
prayers for those affected by typhoons
back home.

Representatives from the Moroccan Filipino community joined the members of the Philippine delegation to the 22nd
Conference of Parties (COP22) in a memorial service for those who were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda three

We are hopeful that the ongoing

negotiations happening here in Morocco
will have fair and equitable result,
especially for our country which is one of
the most vulnerable to climate change,
said Bose.
According to Rodne Galicha, national
manager of The Climate Reality Project
Philippines, the memorial service also
aimed to strengthen the resolve of
Filipinos who are currently participating
at COP22 to elevate the Philippines

We see that the Philippines has been

a conscience of the whole negotiations,
our task is also to bring to the negotiating
halls that climate action is both moral
and spiritual obligations, he said.
Pagbangon: pag-alaala at
pagpapaalala, Yolanda matapos
ang tatlong taon, a prayer service,
candle lighting, and sharing was
organized by The Climate Reality
Project Philippines and Aksyon Klima
Pilipinas with Pinoy In Morocco.

Candidly Speaking / A4

how to grow in responsibility,

teaching them to be ever
mindful and thoughtful of the
others, and to realize that our
life, like Christs life, is meant
to serve and not to be served.
In fact, all of us have to
do everything to acquire,
develop and enrich this
attitude in ourselves and
among ourselves, inspiring
and inculcating it in others as
much as we can, for it is what
is truly proper of us all.
With Gods grace, we have
to exert effort to overcome

the understandable awkwardness and tension involved

in blending the natural and the
supernatural aspects of this
affair, as well as the expected
resistance we can give, due to
the effects of our sins.
We can make use of our
daily events to cultivate this
attitude. For example, as
soon as we wake up from
sleep in the morning, perhaps
the first thing we have to do is
address ourselves to God and
say Serviam (I will serve).
Its the most logical thing to

do, given who God is and who

we are in relation to him.
And Serviam is a
beautiful aspiration that can
immediately put us in the
proper frame of mind for the
day. It nullifies Satans Non
serviam and our tendency
to do our own will instead of
Gods, which is what sin, in
essence, is all about.
And as we go through
our day, lets see to it that
everything we do is done
as a ser-vice to God and to
others. Lets not do them

merely out of self-interest or

self-satisfaction. That kind of
attitude is highly poisonous to
us, ruinous to our duty to love.
Sooner or later, we will find
ourselves completely engulfed
by self-centeredness.
For us to be able to do
things as service of love
to God and to others, we
have to con-tinually rectify
our intentions. We should
be quick to react when we
notice that our intentions
and motivations are already
invaded by self-interest.

Charity / A1

for a Mass presided over by LingayenDagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas

at the Manila Cathedral, officially
launching ACN Philippines.
The ACN, which supports persecuted
and needy Christians around the world,
inaugurated its new office located at
the CBCP headquarters in Intramuros,
In his homily, prelate lauded ACNs
work for bringing both spiritual and
material aid to millions of the worlds
poor and raising the profile of persecuted
For years, we have been receiving
Now, we have entered into a new chapter
of being partners in working for the good
of our persecuted brothers and sisters,

he said.
Founded in 1947, ACN has funded
various programs in the country
promoting interreligious dialogue
initiatives in Mindanao, supporting
humanitarian response during disasters,
and other church projects.
The archbishop said ACN is not just
about the Middle East, Africa or the
troubled region of Mindanao. We speak
about ourselves, he said.
ACN is actually aid to ourselves
because the whole Church is a Church
in need, said Villegas, the current CBCP
ACN Philippines, which is also headed
by Villegas, joins 22 other ACN national
fundraising offices all over the world. Its

main headquarters is in Konigstein in

Taunus, Germany.
Among those present during the
inauguration were ACN International
Executive President Baron Johannes
Heereman; ACN Ecclesiastical Assistant
Fr. Martin Barta; and Johannes Klausa,
ACN Korea director.
The occasion also highlighted the
launching of ACNs Religious Freedom
Report (RFR), which is released every
three years.
The report, which provides information
on the status of religious freedom in the
world, is used as a resource material
by governments and non-government
organizations, including the United
Nations. (CBCPNews)

CBCP Monitor

Homeless Sendong survivors

appeal to Duterte
Five years after typhoon
Sendong battered Southern
Philippines, thousands,
who remain homeless after
the storm because of what
locals call government
bureaucracy and a lack
of coordination among
government agencies, called
on President Rodrigo Duterte
to take action.
(W)e are fervently hoping
that you can provide closure
to the survivors of Tropical
Storm Sendong in Cagayan de
Oro that should be relocated
to safer grounds, reads an
An Appeal and Position
Paper of Cagayan de Oro
Typhoon Sendong Survivors
to the New President issued
July 4, 2016.
According to the letter,
some 12,000 families were
rendered homeless by the
typhoon but only 7,536
houses have been built by
both the government and
private sector.
We are currently organized
in several homeowners
associations (HOAs) and
we are languishing in this
situation for almost 5 years,
reads the letter signed by
13 home owner association
presidents in the province.
The letter revealed that since
houses built for the survivors
were not enough for all the
homeless, the remaining
survivors, organized into
14 HOAs, availed of the
Community Mortgage
Program (CMP) managed by
the Social Housing Finance
Corporation (SHFC) with
only 2 having started housing
construction to date.
Outlining the various
reasons for the governments
delayed action, the HOAs
identified the underlying
cause to be the fact that the
existing housing policies of
SHFC are not focused enough
in providing relocation to
disaster victims, ISFs, and the

urban poor.
According to the document,
the hindering factors mostly
originate from SHFC policy
itself. A few of which are
voluminous requirements,
government bureaucracy and
lack of coordination among
government agencies in the
processing of documents and
Unclear and piecemeal
guidelines of SHFC.
Fees and expenses
during documentation and
processing are too many
and were not properly
disseminated to the CMP
Long processing time before
landowners are paid, hence
many landowners withdrew
from the program.
Very low appraisal price by
SHFC vis-a-vis landowners
selling price, requiring equity/
Delay in the conduct of land
evaluation by DENR/MGB as
to the suitability of the chosen
resettlement sites.
Specifically, the HOAs
casked the President to
hasten the release of the
site development and house
construction loans of the
homeowners associations
so that their respective
developers can construct
the houses for the 3,191
families/applicants under
its Community Mortgage
Program (CMP); reform the
SHFCs policies for future
housing projects; and empower
the mobilizers and orginators
of the CMP program to become
members of the SHFC Board
of Directors.
Typhoon Sendong made
landfall over Mindanao on
Dec. 16, 2011, damaging
nearly 40,000 homes, 11,463
of which were destroyed.
Nearly 700,000 people
were affected by the storm.
(Nirvaana Ella Delacruz/

Duterte okays nuke power,

Bataan prelate disappointed
BALANGA City A Catholic
bishop has expressed regret
that President Rodrigo
Duterte changed his mind
and decided to allow the
use of nuclear energy in the
After initially rejecting the
revival of the Bataan Nuclear
Power Plant not so many
days ago, Energy Secretary
Alfonso Cusi said Duterte has
finally given the green light
to reactivate the mothballed
If it is really from the
President, we are saddened
and disappointed, said Bishop
Ruperto Santos of Balanga.
In allowing the conduct of a
study for the possible revival

of the BNPP, Cusi said the

President ordered him to give
utmost focus on the safety
and security aspects of the
But the bishop said they
are firm with their decision
to oppose any move to
rehabilitate the BNPP.
Our beliefs do not change.
BNPP is dangerous and will
bring death and destruction
as it sits on active volcano,
said the prelate.
May our governmentt
officials take into
consideration the life and
future of our people and
environment, not on profit
nor on material convenience,
he said. (CBCPNews)

Burial / A1

Fr. Jerome Secillano,

executive secretary of the
bishops Committee on Public
Affairs, said the heros burial
for the late dictator will not
bury the atrocities committed
under his regime.
He will forever be a
dictator, plunderer and
human rights violator,
Secillano said.
With his burial, the
Marcoses have desecrated
the meaning of honor,
nobility and heroism that are
otherwise associated with the
hallowed ground, he added.
The remains of Marcos,
which was flown secretly
flown Laoag, Ilocos Norte,
arrived at the heroes
cemetery around noon
time and was given military
honors before internment.
The ceremony followed
a decision of the Supreme
Court to allowed the burial of
Marcos, who was ousted in a
1986 people power revolt,
at the Heroes Cemetery.
Marcos died in exile in the
US. His remains have been kept


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

in a refrigerated glass-paneled
crypt displayed in his home city
in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
To fulfill his campaign
promise, President Rodrigo
Duterte earlier gave the gosignal for Marcos to be laid to
rest at the heroes cemetery.
Protests have immediately
erupted in various parts of
Metro Manila to condemn the
heros burial.
Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak
of the Military Ordinariate
of the Philippines said he is
hoping that the situation and
protests will not turn sour.
I just pray that this can be
resolve peacefully. I hope it
will be resolve if the dialogue
is on, he said over Radio
Archbishop Rolando
Tria Tirona also expressed
outrage over Marcos burial
at the LNMB.
Its a total disregard
on all the sufferings and
pains he had cause on the
Filipino People during the
Martial Law times, he said.

Church opposes pending eviction of

3,500 Yolanda families in Tacloban
Catholic Churchs social
action arm is opposing a
government plan to tear
down houses in danger
zones here.
Caritas Philippines is
asking officials of the city
government of Tacloban to
revisit their decision to evict
more thousands of families
from their homes.
According to the Community
of Yolanda Survivors
and Partners (CYSP), the
demolition will lead to the
displacement of families in
at least 15 coastal villages
particularly in Magallanes
and San Jose districts.
The CYSP is a coalition of
163 community organizations
and ten non-government
organizations including
Caritas Philippines, the
Canadian Catholic for
Development and Peace and
the Urban Poor Associates.
We are appealing to stop
imminent plans by the city
government of Tacloban to
forcibly evict 3,500 Yolandaaffected families in Tacloban
Citys so called danger zones,
Caritas said in a statement
Nov. 16.
The plans to begin the
demolition and relocate
the families came after a
marching order by President
Rodrigo Duterte to complete
the shelter reconstruction
of Yolanda survivors by
December this year.
But in a letter sent to

Communities in danger zones like this one in Brgy. Anibong, Tacloban City are set to be demolished and their residents relocated
under the city governments typhoon Yolandas rehabilitation plan. ROY LAGARDE

Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco,

the CYSP said most families
resist the planned transfer
to the northern barangays
because of absence of
livelihood opportunities, and
difficult access to essential
services such as schools,
markets and hospitals.
Unfortunately, this is not
the kind of response that
the Yolanda survivors had
been praying for, that the
administration of President
Duterte review, reform and
improve the rehabilitation
and reconstruction process

under its watch, it said.

They also said that water
and electricity also remain
an uphill challenge in the
relocation sites.
This is another kneejerk reaction that will only
exacerbate the situation of
Yolanda survivors who will
now have to swallow the
bitter pill of living in housing
projects that are without
access to water, electricity
and access to education
facilities, the CYSP added.
The CYSP called on Evasco
to convene an inter-agency

dialogue to address the

situation and clarify key issues
on Yolanda reconstruction.
They lamented that many
important concerns remain
unclear such as the need
f o r e n s u r i n g s u r vi v o r s
participation in the
reconstruction process.
Originally scheduled in
July last year, the plan to
evict the families living along
coastal areas or dangers
zones was deferred after it
faced strong opposition from
the affected communities.

acronym for activate,

connect and transform.
It doesnt have to
be a grand gesture or a
major activity. It could be
a simple act of kindness

or simply choosing to live

responsibly, he said.
Rooted in the belief
that love is a verb and
thus calls for action,
#ActPH advocates vowed

to engage in community
service on issues they
care about.
The movements website
may be viewed at www.
actph.com. (CBCPNews)

Youth / A1

inspire young people to

get involved and act, said
Michael Laxina, president
of YP, an alliance of online
Laxina said ACT is an

aimed to step up the Churchs

involvement in HIV/AIDS mitigation,
prevention, and care programs, was
attended by more than 65 participants
from at least 11 countries.
Fr. Dan Cancino, ECH executive
secretary, said while debates and
discussions are important, they need
to translate into action.
There should be concrete steps,
and we are challenged to take up

these measures, said Cancino, who

is a medical doctor specializing
in public health and infectious
The priest reiterated the Churchs
call for an end to HIV/AIDS stigma and
Lets stop the stigma and
discrimination. They are also humans.
They are also created by God like us.
They also have dignity, said Cancino.

Latest data from the Health

department show a rising trend in
people testing positive for HIV in the
country with more than 800 cases
reported in August.
Health officials said the
consequences of stigma and
discrimination are wide-ranging,
limiting peoples access to HIV
testing, treatment, and other services.
(Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Collection Box / A5

that the canonical provisions

with respect to abortion are
formulated as such in order
to underscore the gravity
of the offense and that
penitents should not treat
it as yet another ordinary
wrongdoing. Also, they are
perhaps aimed at dissuading
people from committing it
since recourse to absolution
and the remission of the
penalty are quite difficult to
By extending the faculty
of all priests, Pope Francis is
not undermining church law
but is in fact reinforcing it.
He said, I wish to restate as

firmly as I can that abortion

is a grave sin, since it puts an
end to an innocent life. In the
same way, however, I can and
must state that there is no
sin that Gods mercy cannot
reach and wipe away when
it finds a repentant heart
seeking to be reconciled with
the Father. (Misericordia et
Misera no. 12)
Sensing perhaps the
widespread cases of abortion,
the Pope has seen the need to
address it firmly through the
sacrament of reconciliation
that easily grants absolution
and the remission of the
penalty incurred. He

declared, Lest any obstacle

arise between the request
for reconciliation and Gods
forgiveness, I henceforth
grant to all priests, in virtue
of their ministry, the faculty
to absolve those who have
committed the sin of procured
abortion. (Misericordia et
Misera no. 12)
Since the persons who
recommended, supported or
were involved in procuring
abortion are also guilty of
the sin and have also been
excommunicated, Abp. Rino
Fisichella, President of the
Pontifical Council for New
Evangelization, clarified,

The sin of abortion is

inclusive. Thus forgiveness
for the sin of abortion is allinclusive and extends to all
those who are participants
in this sin.
Pope Francis emphasis on
mercy has done a lot of good
for the Church. His mercy is
not an empty slogan but a way
of life he wants the church to
consistently embrace. His
latest act on mercy addresses
an issue that is somehow both
canonically and theologically
complicated. He simplifies it
though, and now abortion is
understood clearly as a grave
sin but definitely forgivable.

Duc in Altum / A5

Salubong, the community-based

Rehabilitation Program of the Diocese
for drug dependents or persons
with substance abuse disorder, who
surrendered to the authorities, who
wished to lead a new life that is drugfree. The Diocese will closely coordinate
with the local government units, the
Philippine National Police, the DILG of
the three cities under its jurisdiction-Navotas, Malabon and Caloocan.
The President of the Council of
the Laity of Kalookan, Atty. Aurora
Santiago, stated that the proceeds
of the Concert will go to Task Force
Salubong. The Concert will be held
on November 18, 2016, Friday, 7pm
at PICC Plenary Hall, Pasay City.
The performers will be the Kalookan
Clergy with guest celebrities Ai-ai Delas
Alas, Gerald Santos, Michael Angelo
Lobrin, Dingdong Avanzado, Lawrence
Calderon, Fr. Nilo Resco,MSP, Fr. Jeff
Aytona,OP including Maine Mendoza or
Yaya Dub. Tickets are still available at
the respective Parish Pastoral Councils

of the Diocese or Gigi of Curia - 2880935 or 287-3693.

We would like to congratulate Senator
Manny Pacman Pacquiao for having
won the World Boxing Organization
(WBO) Welterweight Division title
bout against Jessie Vargas of Mexico.
In a unanimous decision, Manny got
the coveted WBO belt. He set a historic
precedent in the world for being the first
senator to win a championship in boxing.
Sen. Pacquiao rushed home to get back
to his work as a member of the Philippine
Senate. Upon his arrival from the Las
Vegas bout, he spoke on the floor of the
Senate: The bruises are still apparent on
my face, but I dont mind it, just to bring
joy to my countrymen and bring honor
to our country. He decided to donate
his title belt to the Senate as a gesture
of gratitude.
As of presstime, the 2016 Metro
Manila Filmfest Committee is screening
several films which were submitted for

qualification. We wish the Committee

will choose the movie Across the
Crescent Moon as one of the 8 official
entries. It is an action/drama movie
written, produced and directed by
multi-awarded Baby Nebrida. It deals
about human trafficking and the rescue
of the victims, a medium to expose the
horror of modern day slavery. It also
highlights the interfaith relationships
and promotes peace and harmony
among Christians and Muslims. It
tackles all persons as one family of
God and we are all Filipinos. There is a
need to respect each others beliefs and
faith and learn to co-exist in peace and
harmony. The movie was shot in the
boondocks of Tanay, Rizal; Subic, San
Felipe and San Antonio in Zambales;
Metro Manila; Bonggao, Tawi-Tawi and
the island of Simunul. The movie stars
Christopher de Leon, Matteo Guidicelli,
Joem Bascon, Dina Bonnevie, Sandy
Andolong, Gabby Concepcion, Alex
Godinez, Leo Martinez, Rezz Cortez,
Jackie Aquino and many others.


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CBCP Monitor

Bo Sanchez named Best
Social Media Influencer
MANILA Evangelist and inspirational
author Bo Sanchez bagged the Best Social
Media Influencer at the Catholic Social Media
Awards (CSMA) 2016.
Now on its second year, the CSMA is
organized by an alliance of young online
missionaries to recognize church-based
media platforms for their contribution to
evangelization through the use of social
Michael Laxina, president of YouthPinoy,
the CSMA is also an avenue to encourage
social communication ministries to use the
new media as a tool for the mission of online
Sanchez, whose Facebook page has more
than 1.8 million followers, is one of the
countrys most famous lay Catholic lay
evangelists today.
He started making daily online videos in
2006. For years, they kept uploading videos
even if very few were watching.
But ten years later, between 150 ,000
to 200,000 netizens already watch their
online videos.
I thank God for this opportunity to serve
people, Sanchez said.
The CSMA also honored the Couples for
Christ (CFC) Singles For Family and Life
for winning the Best Catholic Organization
Website award.
The Archdiocese of Manila bagged the
the Best Diocesan Website award while the
Baclaran Church for winning the Best Parish
Website award.
The Best App went to DoCat, a catechism

for youth of Catholic social doctrine, while the

"Best Blog" award was given to LoveCloud, a
youth-based story-telling site.
Other winners were 100% Katolikong
Pinoy for winning the Best Facebook Page
award , Kabataang Katoliko for winning the
Best Facebook Group award, the Diocese
of Antipolo for winning the Best Diocesan
Instagram award and The Varsitarian for
winning the Best Catholic Organization
Twitter award.
Tatay Eugene by Rommel Lopez was
named "Viral Photo of the Year. The photo
tells a story about Lopezs rare encounter with
a polite taxi driver in Quezon City who dont
receive tip from passengers
The CSMA also recognized The Parenting
Emporium as Best Catholic Organization
Instagram award and Family and Life
Update for winning the Best Online Video
Series award.
The CSMA is also in collaboration with
Areopagus Communications, which is under
the auspices of the Media Office of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
The Catholic Social Media Summit also
followed this years 5th Catholic Social Media
Summit held at the H2O Hotel in Manila.
Last year, the first recipients of the CSMA
were AlDub Kalye-serye stars Alden
Richards, Maine Mendoza, and Wally Bayola.
Organizers said the stars of the Eat Bulaga
noontime show segment were chosen for their
inspiring message about virtues, values,
chivalry, respect for elders, waiting for true
love, among others. (CBCPNews)

Viral Photo of the Year: Tatay Eugene of Rommel Lopez

Best Diocesan Instagram: Diocese of Antipolo

Best Catholic Organization Website: CFC Singles for Family and Life

Best Catholic Organization Instagram: The Parenting

Best Diocesan Website: Archdiocese of

Best Parish Website: Baclaran Church

Best Social Media Influencer: Bo Sanchez


Best Blog: LoveCloud

Best Facebook Page: 100% Katolikong Pinoy

Best App: DOCAT

Best Online Video Series: Family & Life Update


Best Catholic Organization Twitter: The Varsitarian

Best Facebook Group: Kabataan Katoliko

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Pope Francis ends the Jubilee Year of Mercy, closing the Holy Door of St. Peters Basilica at the Vatican, Nov. 20, 2016. CTV/SCREEN GRAB

Even if the Holy Door closes,

the true door of mercy always
remain wide open
Homily of Pope Francis at the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy,
Dec. 8, 2015 Nov. 20, 2016, on the Feast of Christ the King.

THE Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus

Christ, King of the Universe, is the
crown of the liturgical year and this
Holy Year of Mercy. The Gospel in
fact presents the kingship of Jesus as
the culmination of his saving work,
and it does so in a surprising way.
The Christ of God, the Chosen One,
the King (Lk 23:35,37) appears
without power or glory: he is on
the cross, where he seems more to
be conquered than conqueror. His
kingship is paradoxical: his throne
is the cross; his crown is made of
thorns; he has no scepter, but a reed
is put into his hand; he does not have
luxurious clothing, but is stripped of
his tunic; he wears no shiny rings on
his fingers, but his hands are pierced
with nails; he has no treasure, but is
sold for thirty pieces of silver.
Jesus reign is truly not of this
world (cf. Jn 18:36); but for this
reason, Saint Paul tells us in the
Second Reading, we find redemption
and forgiveness (cf. Col 1:13-14). For
the grandeur of his kingdom is not
power as defined by this world, but
the love of God, a love capable of
encountering and healing all things.
Christ lowered himself to us out of
this love, he lived our human misery,
he suffered the lowest point of our
human condition: injustice, betrayal, abandonment; he experienced
death, the tomb, hell. And so our
King went to the ends of the universe
in order to embrace and save every
living being. He did not condemn
us, nor did he conquer us, and he
never disregarded our freedom, but
he paved the way with a humble
love that forgives all things, hopes
all things, sustains all things (cf. 1
Cor13:7). This love alone overcame
and continues to overcome our worst
enemies: sin, death, fear.
Dear brothers and sisters, today
we proclaim this singular victory,
by which Jesus became the King of
every age, the Lord of history: with
the sole power of love, which is the
nature of God, his very life, and
which has no end (cf. 1 Cor 13:8). We
joyfully share the splendor of having
Jesus as our King: his rule of love
transforms sin into grace, death into
resurrection, fear into trust.
It would mean very little, however,
if we believed Jesus was King of the
universe, but did not make him Lord
of our lives: all this is empty if we

do not personally accept Jesus and

if we do not also accept his way of
being King. The people presented
to us in todays Gospel, however,
help us. In addition to Jesus, three
figures appear: the people who are
looking on, those near the cross, and
the criminal crucified next to Jesus.
First, the people: the Gospel says
that the people stood by, watching
(Lk 23:35): no one says a word, no
one draws any closer. The people
keep their distance, just to see what
is happening. They are the same
people who were pressing in on
Jesus when they needed something,
and who now keep their distance.
Given the circumstances of our lives
and our unfulfilled expectations,
we too can be tempted to keep our
distance from Jesus kingship, to not
accept completely the scandal of his
humble love, which unsettles and
disturbs us. We prefer to remain at
the window, to stand apart, rather
than draw near and be with him. A
people who are holy, however, who
have Jesus as their King, are called
to follow his way of tangible love;
they are called to ask themselves,
each one each day: What does love
ask of me, where is it urging me to
go? What answer am I giving Jesus
with my life?
There is a second group, which
includes various individuals: the
leaders of the people, the soldiers
and a criminal. They all mock Jesus.
They provoke him in the same way:
Save yourself! (Lk 23:35,37,39).
This temptation is worse than that
of the people. They tempt Jesus, just
as the devil did at the beginning of
the Gospel (cf. Lk 4:1-13), to give up
reigning as God wills, and instead to
reign according to the worlds ways:
to come down from the cross and
destroy his enemies! If he is God, let
him show his power and superiority!
This temptation is a direct attack on
love: save yourself (vv. 37,39); not
others, but yourself. Claim triumph
for yourself with your power, with
your glory, with your victory. It is
the most terrible temptation, the
first and the last of the Gospel. When
confronted with this attack on his
very way of being, Jesus does not
speak, he does not react. He does
not defend himself, he does not try
to convince them, he does not mount
a defense of his kingship. He con-

tinues rather to love; he forgives, he

lives this moment of trial according
to the Fathers will, certain that love
will bear fruit.
In order to receive the kingship
of Jesus, we are called to struggle
against this temptation, called to
fix our gaze on the Crucified One, to
become ever more faithful to him.
How many times, even among ourselves, do we seek out the comforts
and certainties offered by the world.
How many times are we tempted to
come down from the Cross. The lure
of power and success seem an easy,
quick way to spread the Gospel; we

of Jesus, not in submission to the

precarious regalities and changing
powers of every age.
In the Gospel another person appears, closer to Jesus, the thief who
begs him: Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom
(v. 42). This person, simply looking
at Jesus, believed in his kingdom.
He was not closed in on himself, but
ratherwith his errors, his sins and
his troubleshe turned to Jesus. He
asked to be remembered, and he experienced Gods mercy: Today you
will be with me in paradise (v.43).
As soon as we give God the chance,

God believes in us, infinitely beyond

any merits we have, so too we are
called to instill hope and provide opportunities to others. Because even if
the Holy Door closes, the true door
of mercy which is the heart of Christ
always remains open wide for us.
From the lacerated side of the Risen
One until the very end of time flow
mercy, consolation and hope.
So many pilgrims have crossed
the threshold of the Holy Doors,
and far away from the clamor of
the daily news they have tasted the
great goodness of the Lord. We give
thanks for this, as we recall how we

Thousands of people attend the closing Mass of the Holy Year of Mercy in St. Peters Square at the Vatican, November 20, 2016. CTV/SCREEN GRAB

soon forget how the Kingdom of God

works. This Year of Mercy invites us
to rediscover the core, to return to
what is essential. This time of mercy
calls us to look to the true face of our
King, the one that shines out at Easter, and to rediscover the youthful,
beautiful face of the Church, the face
that is radiant when it is welcoming,
free, faithful, poor in means but rich
in love, on mission. Mercy, which
takes us to the heart of the Gospel, urges us to give up habits and
practices which may be obstacles to
serving the Kingdom of God; mercy
urges us to orient ourselves only in
the perennial and humble kingship

he remembers us. He is ready to

completely and forever cancel our
sin, because his memoryunlike our
owndoes not record evil that has
been done or keep score of injustices
experienced. God has no memory of
sin, but only of us, of each of us, we
who are his beloved children. And
he believes that it is always possible
to start anew, to raise ourselves up.
Let us also ask for the gift of this
open and living memory. Let us ask
for the grace of never closing the
doors of reconciliation and pardon,
but rather of knowing how to go
beyond evil and differences, opening
every possible pathway of hope. As

have received mercy in order to be

merciful, in order that we too may
become instruments of mercy. Let
us go forward on this road together.
May our Blessed Lady accompany
us, she who was also close to the
Cross, she who gave birth to us there
as the tender Mother of the Church,
who desires to gather all under her
mantle. Beneath the Cross, she saw
the good thief receive pardon, and
she took Jesus disciple as her son.
She is Mother of Mercy, to whom we
entrust ourselves: every situation we
are in, every prayer we make, when
lifted up to his merciful eyes, will
find an answer.


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CBCP Monitor

All priests can now absolve sin of procured abortion

Understanding the New Norms of the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera

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

ON 20 November 2016, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus
Christ, King of the Universe,
Pope Francis promulgated his
latest Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et misera (Mercy
and misery), to close the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
andin his wordsto point
out the path that we are called
to follow in the future. It
is a rich pastoral letter with
canonical implications. Specifically, it laid down new
norms regarding sacramental
confession, which the secular
press for the most part had
picked up and reduced to
what is reflected in the title of
this article. The danger with
such a reduction, of course,
is its impoverishment of the
real desire of the Supreme
Legislator in laying down the
new norms.

Main pretension:
Regain centrality of
Sacramental Confession
The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its
central place in the Christian
life. This requires priests capable of putting their lives at
the service of the ministry of
reconciliation (2 Cor5:18),
in such a way that, while no
sincerely repentant sinner is
prevented from drawing near
to the love of the Father who
awaits his return, everyone
is afforded the opportunity
of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness. It
is important to situate the
new norms within this main
pretension of the Supreme
Legislator, who precisely introduces the new norms regarding sacramental confession with this preamble. Thus,
far from being a relaxation
of the moral indictment of
abortion as a grave sin, since
it puts an end to an innocent
life, the new norms can then
be understood precisely as a
way to practically manifest
that there is no sin that Gods
mercy cannot reach and wipe
away when it finds a repentant

heart seeking to be reconciled

with the Father. Thus, the
Holy Father concludes this
all-important number of the
pastoral letter with an earnest
prayer: May every priest,
therefore, be a guide, support
and comfort to penitents on
this journey of special reconciliation (Misericordia et
misera, n.11).
In the previous number
of the pastoral letter, Pope
Francis had addressed himself directly to all priests in
the following terms: I invite
priests once more to prepare
carefully for the ministry of
confession, which is a true
priestly mission. I thank all
of you from the heart for
your ministry, and I ask you
to bewelcomingto all,witnessesof fatherly love whatever the gravity of the sin
involved,attentivein helping
penitents to reflect on the evil
they have done,clearin presenting moral principles,willingto walk patiently beside
the faithful on their penitential journey,far-sightedin
discerning individual cases
andgenerousin dispensing
Gods forgiveness. Just as
Jesus chose to remain silent
in order to save the woman
caught in adultery from the
sentence of death, so every
priest in the confessional
should be open-hearted, since
every penitent is a reminder
that he himself is a sinner,
but also a minister of mercy.

Normative part of the

Apostolic Letter
With the aforementioned
pretension in mindi.e., to
re-establish the centrality of
sacramental confession in
Christian lifethe following
normative dispositions in n.12
of the apostolic letter can then
be understood properly:
1st. Extension to All Priests
of the Faculty to Absolve
the Sin of Procured Abortion. Given this need, lest
any obstacle arise between
the request for reconciliation and Gods forgiveness, I
henceforth grant to all priests,
in virtue of their ministry,

the faculty to absolve those

who have committed the sin
of procured abortion. The
provision I had made in this
regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy
Year, 1 is hereby extended,
notwithstanding anything to
the contrary.
It is important to reiterate
what the Holy Father had repeatedly expressedyet again
in this pastoral letterthat
this disposition should in no

request for reconciliation and

Gods forgivenessi.e., what
is being removed is the obstacle of the automatic excommunication that the person
who has procured abortion
had fallen into, which would
prevent him from validly approaching the sacrament of
2nd. Extension of Faculty to
Hear Confessions to Priests
of the Priestly Fraternity of
St. Pius X. For the Jubilee

of the Priestly Fraternity of

St. Pius Xi.e., as a schismatic groupbut only supplies their priests with the
needed jurisdiction in order
for those Catholic faithful who
attend churches officiated
those priests to validly and
licitly receive the sacramental
absolution of their sins. In
this regard, it is interesting
to note the different tenor in
which this extension of faculty
is given as compared to that

Pope Francis talks with a woman during his general audience in St. Peters Square at the Vatican Nov. 18, 2015. PAUL HARING/CNS

way be taken as a softening

of the moral condemnation of
abortion as a grave sin. Neither
does it relax the penal provision of the Code of Canon Law
that inflicts latae sententiae
(automatically) the censure
of excommunication to those
who in any way actively participate in a successful procured abortion (c.1398). What
it does is to make it easier for
the contrite penitent to be absolved of such a sin, by extending the faculty to remit such
automatic excommunication
to all priestsgranted for the
Extraordinary Jubilee Year but
now extended indefinitelyin
the context of sacramental
Again we have to note the
main pretension: (L)est any
obstacle arises between the

Year I had also granted that

those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches
officiated by the priests of the
Priestly Fraternity of Saint
Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental
absolution of their sins.2 For
the pastoral benefit of these
faithful, and trusting in the
good will of their priests to
strive with Gods help for the
recovery of full communion
in the Catholic Church, I have
personally decided to extend
this faculty beyond the Jubilee
Year, until further provisions
are made, lest anyone ever be
deprived of the sacramental
sign of reconciliation through
the Churchs pardon.
It is also important to note
that this disposition does not
change the canonical status

extended to Catholic priests in

regular status as regards the
absolution of the sin of procured abortion. In the latter
case, the extension is openended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. In the
former case, for the priests
of the Priestly Fraternity of
St.Pius X, the extension of
the faculty to absolve sins of
Catholic faithful is only beyond the Jubilee Year, until
further provisions are made
(italics added).
A further question might
be made whether such priests
could also absolve the sin of
procured abortion. I would
answer in the affirmative, following the general principle
of interpretation of norms
that onerous norms are interpreted strictly (limited to

the expressly stated cases),

while those granting faculties should be interpreted in
a wide sense (extending to
similar cases). In this case,
since the priests of the Priestly
Fraternity of St.Pius X are
priests, and Misericordia et
misera is giving such faculty
to priests without distinction,
then we can assume that
such faculty extends to those
priests as well.

It is worthwhile reiterating that the mens legislatoris
behind all these dispositions
is to facilitate the access of
the Catholic faithful to the
sacrament of reconciliation.
It would therefore be quite
ironic that the failure of the
faithful to be reconciled to
God through sacramental
confession were to be due to
the lack of availability of confessors either because of (1)
lack of regular hours for the
Sacrament of Reconciliation
in the parishes, or (2) inadequate time dedicated to such
By way of example, it is quite
admirable that in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in
Cubao (Quezon City), as soon
as the Bull of Indiction for the
just-concluded Extraordinary
Jubilee was published early
last year, three hours daily
were assigned to Sacramental Confession. At that time,
quite a number of skeptics
expressed their doubt on the
ability of the parish to keep
to that schedule. I am sure
that the Holy Father would be
happy to know that in fact that
schedule had been kept faithfully to the end of the Jubilee
Year of Mercy. My hope now,
given the way Pope Francis
has extended the above-mentioned faculties beyond the
Extraordinary Jubilee, that
this fundamental exercise of
parish pastoral ministry may
likewise be extended, also until
further provisions are made.
Cf.Letter According to Which an Indulgence is Granted to the Faithful on the
Occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee
of Mercy, 1.IX.2015.

Advent as a Liturgical Season

(Father Edward McNamara,
professor of liturgy and dean of
theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)
Q: May you help me on the issue
of Advent season, since we are approaching it? What is its formation
and its theology? D.K., Harare,
A: This is a vast question and it is
not easy to respond briefly. However, we will attempt to give at least
some basic ideas.
Our present system of organizing the liturgical cycle begins with
Advent. This is perfectly logical as
everything in the Church begins
with the coming of Christ.
However, the year was not always
ordered in this way and is not so
organized in all liturgical families.
The earliest traces of a liturgical
cycle followed Jewish customs and
began the year with Easter, whose
date still determines many other
This was also in harmony with
the beginning of the civil year which
at that time began, not in January,
but in March. According to some
Christian traditions the spring
equinox, which fell on March 25,
was the first day of creation, the
day of the Incarnation, and that of
the Crucifixion. As a witness to this
tradition we have the oldest known
lectionary, that of the palimpsest
of Wolfenbttel (composed before
452), which has a cycle of readings
that begins on Easter and finishes
on Holy Saturday the following
As the celebration of the feast
of Christmas became more widespread, along with the fact that
some churches transferred the
celebration of the Annunciation to
before Christmas so as to remove
it from Lent, the idea of begin-

ning the liturgical year around this

time gradually seeped in. This is
reflected in the liturgical books of
the sixth and seventh century which
begin with Christmas. A century or
two later, when Advent is conceived
as a preparation for Christmas, we
find the books beginning with the
first Sunday of Advent, and this use
is common after the ninth century.
It would appear that the liturgical
celebration of Advent originated

ry and still exists in the Ambrosian

rite of Milan.
Under the influence of Spanish
and French liturgical practice the
Roman Advent began to slowly take
on a penitential character with fasting, the use of violet vestments, the
omission of the Te Deum and the
Gloria, the silencing of the organ
and the removal of flowers. The
penitential character, however, did
not enter into the liturgical texts of

carnation (first coming) and at the

end of time (second coming). They
mention the necessary purification
needed to worthily receive him, but
with no trace of fear or sadness.
The current reforms of the calendar and missal, while retaining
some of these elements as required
for the spiritual preparation for
Christmas, have toned down somewhat the penitential aspect, permitting a moderate use of flowers and

Mass and Divine Office which generally express the desire to receive
the Lord who comes.
From a historical point of view
the prayers used during Advent are
taken from the ancient manuscripts
known as the Scroll of Ravenna
(fifth to sixth centuries) and the
Gelasian sacramentary (seventh
century). Their constant theme is
the coming of Christ, both in the in-

a wider use of the organ.

Thus the General Instruction of
the Roman Missal 305 says:
During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked
by a moderation suited to the
character of this season, without
expressing prematurely the full joy
of the Nativity of the Lord.
And GIRM 313:
In Advent the organ and other


in southern France and Spain, at

times with a marked penitential
character. In Rome we find the first
traces of this liturgical celebration
in the sixth century sometimes
with five or six Sundays. The fourSunday Advent might have been
established by Pope Gregory the
Great after the year 546, although
the longer Advent is still found in
some places up until the 11th centu-

musical instruments should be

used with a moderation that is consistent with the seasons character
and does not anticipate the full joy
of the Nativity of the Lord.
Therefore although Advent is
no longer to be considered as a
penitential season, the retention
of some of the earlier elements
such as violet vestments and the
suppression of the Gloria help to
emphasize the contrast the period
of preparation with the festive joy
of Christmas.
With respect to the spirituality of
Advent the general norms for the
liturgical calendar state:
39. Advent has a twofold character: as a season to prepare for
Christmas when Christs first coming to us is remembered; as a season when that remembrance directs
the mind and heart to await Christs
Second Coming at the end of time.
Advent is thus a period for devout
and joyful expectation.
40. Advent begins with evening
prayer I of the Sunday falling on
or closest to 30 November and
ends before evening prayer I of
41. The Sundays of this season
are named the First, Second, Third,
and Fourth Sundays of Advent.
The weekdays from 17 December
to 24 December inclusive serve to
prepare more directly for the Lords
The commentary that accompanied the introduction to the general
norms of the calendar stated:
The liturgical texts of Advent
display a unity demonstrated by
the almost daily reading of the
prophet Isaiah. Nevertheless, two
parts of Advent can be clearly
distinguished, each with its own
significance, as the new prefaces
clearly illustrate. From the first
Sunday of Advent until December
Season / B7

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

phrase used by Saint Augustine in
recounting the story of Jesus meeting with the woman taken in adultery
(cf.Jn8:1-11). It would be difficult to
imagine a more beautiful or apt way
of expressing the mystery of Gods
love when it touches the sinner: the
two of them alone remained:mercy
with misery.[1]What great mercy
and divine justice shine forth in this
narrative! Its teaching serves not
only to throw light on the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee
of Mercy, but also to point out the
path that we are called to follow in
the future.
1. This page of the Gospel could
easily serve as an icon of what we
have celebrated during the Holy Year,
a time rich in mercy, which must

generation, it embraces all those who

trust in him and it changes them, by
bestowing a share in his very life.
3. What great joy welled up in the
heart of these two women. Forgiveness made them feel free at last and
happy as never before. Their tears
of shame and pain turned into the
smile of a person who knows that
he or she is loved. Mercy gives rise
tojoy, because our hearts are opened
to the hope of a new life. The joy of
forgiveness is inexpressible, yet it
radiates all around us whenever we
experience forgiveness. Its source is
in the love with which God comes
to meet us, breaking through walls
of selfishness that surround us, in
order to make us in turn instruments
of mercy.
How meaningful in this regard are

the sins of any, they are forgiven; if

you retain the sins of any, they are
retained (Jn20:22-23).
5. Now, at the conclusion of this
Jubilee, it is time to look to the future and to understand how best to
continue, with joy, fidelity and enthusiasm, experiencing the richness
of Gods mercy. Our communities
can remain alive and active in the
work of the new evangelization in the
measure that the pastoral conversion to which we are called[3]will
be shaped daily by the renewing
force of mercy. Let us not limit its
action; let us not sadden the Spirit,
who constantly points out new paths
to take in bringing to everyone the
Gospel of salvation.
First, we are called tocelebratemercy. What great richness is

through the death and resurrection

of his Son has reconciled the world
to himself and sent the Holy Spirit
among us for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace.
[8]In the second, the formula of
anointing reads: Through this holy
anointing may the Lord in his love
and mercy help you with the grace of
the Holy Spirit.[9]In the Churchs
prayer, then, references to mercy, far
from being merely exhortative, are
highlyperformative, which is to say
that as we invoke mercy with faith, it
is granted to us, and as we confess it
to be vital and real, it transforms us.
This is a fundamental element of our
faith, and we must keep it constantly
in mind. Even before the revelation
of sin, there is the revelation of the

mankind. I greatly desire that Gods

word be increasingly celebrated,
known and disseminated, so that
the mystery of love streaming from
this font of mercy may be ever better
understood. As the Apostle tells us
clearly: All Scripture is inspired by
God and profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim3:16).
It would be beneficial if every
Christian community, on one Sunday
of the liturgical year, could renew its
efforts to make the Sacred Scriptures
better known and more widely diffused. It would be a Sunday given
over entirely to the word of God, so as
to appreciate the inexhaustible riches
contained in that constant dialogue
between the Lord and his people.
Creative initiatives can help make

continue to becelebratedandlived
outin our communities. Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in
the life of the Church; it constitutes
her very existence, through which
the profound truths of the Gospel are
made manifest and tangible. Everything is revealed in mercy; everything
is resolved in the merciful love of the
A woman and Jesus meet. She is an
adulteress and, in the eyes of the Law,
liable to be stoned. Jesus, through his
preaching and the total gift of himself
that would lead him to the Cross, returned the Mosaic Law to its true and
original intent. Here what is central
is not the law or legal justice, but
the love of God, which is capable of
looking into the heart of each person
and seeing the deepest desire hidden
there; Gods love must take primacy
over all else. This Gospel account,
however, is not an encounter of sin
and judgment in the abstract, but of
a sinner and her Savior. Jesus looked
that woman in the eye and read in her
heart a desire to be understood, forgiven and set free. The misery of sin
was clothed with the mercy of love.
Jesus only judgment is one filled
with mercy and compassion for the
condition of this sinner. To those who
wished to judge and condemn her to
death, Jesus replies with a lengthy
silence. His purpose was to let Gods
voice be heard in the conscience
not only of the woman, but also in
those of her accusers, who drop
their stones and one by one leave the
scene (cf.Jn8:9). Jesus then says:
Woman, where are they? Has no
one condemned you? Neither do I
condemn you. Go your way and from
now on do not sin again (vv. 10-11).
Jesus helps the woman to look to
the future with hope and to make a
new start in life. Henceforth, if she
so desires, she can walk in charity
(Eph5:2). Once clothed in mercy,
even if the inclination to sin remains,
it is overcome by the love that makes
it possible for her to look ahead and
to live her life differently.
2. Jesus had taught this clearly
on another occasion, when he had
been invited to dine at the home
of a Pharisee (cf.Lk7:36-50) and
a woman, known by everyone to
be a sinner, approached him. She
poured perfume over his feet, bathed
them with her tears and dried them
with her hair (cf. vv. 37-38). To the
scandalized reaction of the Pharisee,
Jesus replied: Her sins, which are
many, are forgiven, for she loved
much; but he who is forgiven little,
loves little (v. 47).
Forgivenessis the most visible
sign of the Fathers love, which Jesus
sought to reveal by his entire life. Every page of the Gospel is marked by
this imperative of a love that loves to
the point of forgiveness. Even at the
last moment of his earthly life, as he
was being nailed to the cross, Jesus
spoke words of forgiveness: Father,
forgive them; for they know not what
they do (Lk23:34).
Nothing of what a repentant sinner places before Gods mercy can
be excluded from the embrace of his
forgiveness. For this reason, none of
us has the right to make forgiveness
conditional. Mercy is always a gratuitous act of our heavenly Father, an
unconditional and unmerited act of
love. Consequently, we cannot risk
opposing the full freedom of the love
with which God enters into the life of
every person.
Mercy is this concrete action
of love that, by forgiving, transforms and changes our lives. In this
way, the divine mystery of mercy
is made manifest. God is merciful
(cf.Ex34:6); his mercy lasts for
ever (cf.Ps136). From generation to

the words of encouragement found

in an early Christian text: Clothe
yourselves in joy, which always is
agreeable and acceptable to God, and
rejoice in it. For all who are joyful
do what is good, think what is good,
and despise sadness All who put
aside sadness and put on joy will
live in God.[2]The experience of
mercy brings joy. May we never allow
this joy to be robbed from us by our
troubles and concerns. May it remain
rooted in our hearts and enable us to
approach with serenity the events of
our daily lives.
In a culture often dominated by
technology, sadness and loneliness
appear to be on the rise, not least
among young people. The future
seems prey to an uncertainty that
does not make for stability. This often
gives rise to depression, sadness and
boredom, which can gradually lead
to despair. We need witnesses to
hope and true joy if we are to dispel
the illusions that promise quick and
easy happiness through artificial
paradises. The profound sense of
emptiness felt by so many people can

present in the Churchs prayer when

she invokes God as the Father of
mercies! In the liturgy, mercy is not
only repeatedly implored, but is truly
received and experienced. From the
beginning to the end of the Eucharistic celebration, mercy constantly
appears in the dialogue between the
assembly at prayer and the heart of
the Father, who rejoices to bestow
his merciful love. After first pleading
for forgiveness with the invocation
Lord have mercy, we are immediately reassured: May almighty God
have mercy on us, forgive us our
sins, and lead us to everlasting life.
With this confidence, the community
gathers in the presence of the Lord,
particularly on the holy day of the
resurrection. Many of the Collect
prayers are meant to remind us of
the great gift of mercy. In Lent, for
example, we pray: O God, author
of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession
of our lowliness, that we, who are
bowed down by our conscience, may

love by which God created the world

and human beings. Love is the first
act whereby God reveals himself and
turns towards us. So let us open our
hearts and trust in Gods love for
us. His love always precedes us, accompanies us and remains with us,
despite our sin.
6. In this context,hearing the
word of Godtakes on particular
significance. Each Sunday, Gods
word is proclaimed in the Christian
community so that the Lords Day
may be illuminated by the paschal
mystery.[10]In the Eucharistic
celebration, we seem to witness a
true dialogue between God and his
people. In the biblical readings, we
retrace the history of our salvation
through the proclamation of Gods
tireless work of mercy. The Lord
continues to speak to us today as to
friends; he dwells in our midst,[11]in
order to accompany us and show us
the path of life. His word gives a voice
to our inmost needs and worries, and
offers a fruitful response, so that we
can concretely experience his closeness to us. Hence the importance

this an opportunity for the faithful to

become living vessels for the transmission of Gods word. Initiatives of
this sort would certainly include the
practice oflectio divina, so that the
prayerful reading of the sacred text
will help support and strengthen the
spiritual life. Such a reading, centred
on themes relating to mercy, will
enable a personal experience of the
great fruitfulness of the biblical text
read in the light of the Churchs
spiritual tradition and thus give
rise to concrete gestures and works
of charity.[13]
8. The celebration of mercy takes
place in a very particular way in
theSacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Here we feel the embrace
of the Father, who comes forth to
meet us and grant us the grace of
being once more his sons and daughters. We are sinners and we bear the
burden of contradiction between
what we wish to do and what we do
in fact (cf.Rom7:14-21). Yet grace
always precedes us and takes on the
face of the mercy that effects our reconciliation and pardon. God makes
us understand his great love for us
precisely when we recognize that we
are sinners. Grace is stronger than
sin: it overcomes resistance, because
love conquers all (cf.1 Cor13:7).
In the sacrament of Forgiveness
God shows us the way to turn back
to him and invites us to experience
his closeness anew. This pardon
can be obtained by beginning, first
of all, to live in charity. The Apostle
Peter tells us this when he writes that
love covers a multitude of sins (1
Pet4:8). Only God forgives sins, but
he asks that we be ready to forgive
others even as he has forgiven us:
Forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those who trespass against
us (Mt6:12). How sad it is when
our hearts are closed and unable to
forgive! Resentment, anger and revenge gain the upper hand, making
our lives miserable and blocking a
joyful commitment to mercy.
9. An experience of grace lived out
by the Church with great effectiveness in the Jubilee Year has certainly
been the service of theMissionaries
of Mercy. Their pastoral activity
sought to emphasize that God places
no roadblocks in the way of those
who seek him with a contrite heart,
because he goes out to meet everyone
like a father. I have received many
testimonies of joy from those who encountered the Lord once more in the
sacrament of Confession. Let us not
miss the opportunity to live our faith
also as an experience of reconciliation. Today too, the Apostle urges us:
Be reconciled to God (2 Cor5:20),
so that all who believe can discover
the power of love which makes us a
new creation (2 Cor5:17).
I thank every Missionary of Mercy
for this valuable service aimed at
rendering effective the grace of forgiveness. This extraordinary ministry
does not end with the closing of the
Holy Door. I wish it to continue until further notice as a concrete sign
that the grace of the Jubilee remains
alive and effective the world over. As
a direct expression of my concern
and proximity to the Missionaries of
Mercy in this period, the Pontifical
Council for the Promotion of the New
Evangelization will supervise them
and find the most suitable forms for
the exercise of this valuable ministry.
10. I invite priests once more to
prepare carefully for the ministry of
confession, which is a true priestly
mission. I thank all of you from the
heart for your ministry, and I ask you
to bewelcomingto all,witnessesof
fatherly love whatever the gravity of
the sin involved,attentivein helping

Francis: To all who read this Apostolic Letter

Mercy and Peace

Pope Francis signs his apostolic letter on mercy, Misericordia et Misera after Mass Nov. 20 in St. Peters Square. SCREEN GRAB/CTV

be overcome by the hope we bear in

our hearts and by the joy that it gives.
We need to acknowledge the joy that
rises up in a heart touched by mercy.
Let us keep in mind, then, the words
of the Apostle: Rejoice in the Lord
always (Phil4:4; cf.1 Thess5:16)
4. We have celebrated an intense
Jubilee Year in which we have received the grace of mercy in abundance. Like a gusting but wholesome
wind, the Lords goodness and mercy
have swept through the entire world.
Because each of us has experienced
at length this loving gaze of God,
we cannot remain unaffected, for it
changes our lives.
We feel the need above all to thank
the Lord and to tell him: Lord, you
have been favourable to your land
You have forgiven the iniquity of your
people (Ps85:1-2). So it is. God has
subdued our iniquities and cast all
our sins into the depths of the sea
(cf.Mic7:19). He no longer remembers them, since he has cast them
behind his back (cf.Is38:17). As far
as the east is from the west, so far has
he removed our transgressions from
us (cf.Ps103:12).
In this Holy Year, the Church listened attentively and experienced intensely the presence and closeness of
the Father, who with the Holy Spirit
has enabled her to see with greater
clarity the gift and mandate of Jesus
Christ regarding forgiveness. It has
truly been like a new visitation of the
Lord among us. We have felt his lifegiving breath poured out upon the
Church and, once again, his words
have pointed out our mission: Receive the Holy Spirit: if you forgive

always be lifted up by your mercy.

[4]We are immersed in the great Eucharistic Prayer with the Preface that
proclaims: You so loved the world
that in your mercy you sent us the
Redeemer, to live like us in all things
but sin.[5]The Fourth Eucharistic
Prayer is a hymn to Gods mercy:
For you came in mercy to the aid of
all, so that those who seek might find
you. Have mercy on us all[6]is
the insistent plea made by the priest
in the Eucharistic Prayer to implore
a share in eternal life. After theOur
Father, the priest continues by invoking peace and liberation from sin by
the aid of your mercy. And before
the sign of peace, exchanged as an
expression of fraternity and mutual
love in the light of forgiveness received, the priest prays: Look not
upon on our sins but on the faith
of your Church.[7]In these words,
with humble trust we beseech the gift
of unity and peace for Holy Mother
Church. The celebration of divine
mercy culminates in the Eucharistic
Sacrifice, the memorial of Christs
paschal mystery, the source of salvation for every human being, for
history and for the whole world. In a
word, each moment of the Eucharistic celebration refers to Gods mercy.
In the sacramental life, mercy is
granted us in abundance. It is not
without significance that the Church
mentions mercy explicitly in the formulae of the two sacraments of healing, namely, the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
In the first, the formula of absolution
reads: God, the Father of mercies,

of thehomily, in which truth goes

hand in hand with beauty and goodness[12]so that the hearts of believers may thrill before the grandeur
of mercy! I strongly encourage that
great care be given to preparing the
homily and to preaching in general.
A priests preaching will be fruitful to
the extent that he himself has experienced the merciful goodness of the
Lord. Communicating the certainty
that God loves us is not an exercise
in rhetoric, but a condition for the
credibility of ones priesthood. The
personal experience of mercy is the
best way to make it a true message
of consolation and conversion in the
pastoral ministry. Both homiletics
and catechesis need to be sustained
by this pulsing heart of the Christian
7. TheBibleis the great story of the
marvels of Gods mercy. Every one of
its pages is steeped in the love of the
Father who from the moment of creation wished to impress the signs of
his love on the universe. Through the
words of the prophets and the wisdom writings, the Holy Spirit shaped
the history of Israel as a recognition
of Gods closeness and love, despite
the peoples infidelity. Jesus life
and preaching decisively marked the
history of the Christian community,
which has viewed its mission in terms
of Christs command to be a permanent instrument of his mercy and
forgiveness (cf.Jn20:23). Through
Sacred Scripture, kept alive by the
faith of the Church, the Lord continues to speak to his Bride, showing
her the path she must take to enable
the Gospel of salvation to reach all

Francis / B4


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CBCP Monitor

Francis / B3

penitents to reflect on the evil they

have done,clearin presenting moral
principles,willingto walk patiently
beside the faithful on their penitential journey,far-sightedin discerning
individual cases andgenerousin
dispensing Gods forgiveness. Just as
Jesus chose to remain silent in order
to save the woman caught in adultery
from the sentence of death, so every
priest in the confessional should be
open-hearted, since every penitent
is a reminder that he himself is a
sinner, but also a minister of mercy.
11. I would like us all to meditate
upon the words of the Apostle, written towards the end of his life, when
he confesses to Timothy that he was
the greatest of sinners, but for this
reason I received mercy (1 Tim1:16).
Pauls words, powerful as they are,
make us reflect on our lives and
see Gods mercy at work in changing, converting and reforming our
hearts. I thank him who has given
me strength for this, Christ Jesus our
Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service,
though I formerly blasphemed and
persecuted and insulted him. But I
received mercy (1 Tim1:12-13).
Let us recall with renewed pastoral
zeal another saying of the Apostle:
God has reconciled us to himself
through Christ and has entrusted
to us the message of reconciliation
(2 Cor 5:18). We were the first to
be forgiven in view of this ministry,
made witnesses at first hand of the
universality of Gods forgiveness. No
law or precept can prevent God from
once more embracing the son who
returns to him, admitting that he has
done wrong but intending to start his
life anew. Remaining only at the level
of the law is equivalent to thwarting
faith and divine mercy. The law has
a propaedeutic value (cf.Gal3:24)
with charity as its goal (cf.1 Tim1:5).
Nonetheless, Christians are called to
experience the newness of the Gospel, the law of the Spirit of life in
Christ Jesus (Rom8:2). Even in the
most complex cases, where there is a
temptation to apply a justice derived
from rules alone, we must believe in
the power flowing from divine grace.
We confessors have experienced
many conversions that took place
before our very eyes. We feel responsible, then, for actions and words that
can touch the heart of penitents and
enable them to discover the closeness and tenderness of the Father
who forgives. Let us not lose such
occasions by acting in a way that can
contradict the experience of mercy
that the penitent seeks. Rather, let
us help light up the space of personal
conscience with Gods infinite love
(cf.1 Jn3:20).
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
must regain its central place in the
Christian life. This requires priests
capable of putting their lives at the
service of the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor5:18), in such a way that,
while no sincerely repentant sinner
is prevented from drawing near to
the love of the Father who awaits
his return, everyone is afforded the
opportunity of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness.
A favorable occasion for this could
be the24 Hours for the Lord, a
celebration held in proximity to
the Fourth Sunday of Lent. This
initiative, already in place in many
dioceses, has great pastoral value in
encouraging a more fervent experience of the sacrament of Confession.
12. Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for
reconciliation and Gods forgiveness,
I henceforth grant to all priests, in
virtue of their ministry, the faculty
to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.
The provision I had made in this
regard, limited to the duration of
the Extraordinary Holy Year,[14]is
hereby extended, notwithstanding
anything to the contrary. I wish to
restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an
end to an innocent life. In the same
way, however, I can and must state
that there is no sin that Gods mercy
cannot reach and wipe away when
it finds a repentant heart seeking to
be reconciled with the Father. May
every priest, therefore, be a guide,
support and comfort to penitents on
this journey of special reconciliation.
For the Jubilee Year I had also
granted that those faithful who, for
various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly
Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly
and licitly receive the sacramental
absolution of their sins.[15]For the
pastoral benefit of these faithful,
and trusting in the good will of their
priests to strive with Gods help for
the recovery of full communion in the
Catholic Church, I have personally
decided to extend this faculty beyond

the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be
deprived of the sacramental sign of
reconciliation through the Churchs
13. Another face of mercy isconsolation. Comfort, comfort my people
(Is40:1) is the heartfelt plea that the
prophet continues to make today, so
that a word of hope may come to all
those who experience suffering and
pain. Let us never allow ourselves to
be robbed of the hope born of faith
in the Risen Lord. True, we are often
sorely tested, but we must never
lose our certainty of the Lords love
for us. His mercy finds expression
also in the closeness, affection and
support that many of our brothers
and sisters can offer us at times of
sadness and affliction. The drying of
tears is one way to break the vicious

carries the richness and the burdens

of our personal history; this is what
makes us different from everyone
else. Our life, with its joys and sorrows, is something unique and unrepeatable that takes place under the
merciful gaze of God. This demands,
especially of priests, a careful, profound and far-sighted spiritual discernment, so that everyone, none
excluded, can feel accepted by God,
participate actively in the life of the
community and be part of that People
of God which journeys tirelessly towards the fullness of his kingdom of
justice, love, forgiveness and mercy.
15. Here too, we see the particular
importance ofthe moment of death.
The Church has always experienced
this dramatic passage in the light of
Christs resurrection, which opened
the way to the certainty of the life

and still more wonderfully redeemed

Mercyrenews and redeemsbecause it is an encounter between two
hearts: the heart of God who comes
to meet us and a human heart. The
latter is warmed and healed by the
former. Our hearts of stone become
hearts of flesh (cf. Ezek 36:26) capable of love despite our sinfulness.
I come to realize that I am truly a
new creation (Gal6:15): I am loved,
therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown
mercy, therefore I have become a
vessel of mercy.
17. During the Holy Year, especially on theFridays of Mercy, I was
able to experience in a tangible way
the goodness present in our world.
Often it remains hidden, since it is
daily expressed in discreet and quiet

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila receives a copy of the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera from Pope Francis after the closing Mass for the Holy Year
of Mercy at the St. Peters Square at the Vatican, Nov. 20, 2016. The first copies signed by the pope were given to seven dioceses, organizations and sectors.

circle of solitude in which we often

find ourselves trapped.
All of us need consolation because
no one is spared suffering, pain and
misunderstanding. How much pain
can be caused by a spiteful remark
born of envy, jealousy or anger! What
great suffering is caused by the experience of betrayal, violence and abandonment! How much sorrow in the
face of the death of a loved one! And
yet God is never far from us at these
moments of sadness and trouble. A
reassuring word, an embrace that
makes us feel understood, a caress
that makes us feel love, a prayer that
makes us stronger all these things
express Gods closeness through the
consolation offered by our brothers
and sisters.
Sometimes too,silencecan be
helpful, especially when we cannot
find words in response to the questions of those who suffer. A lack of
words, however, can be made up for
by the compassion of a person who
stays at our side, who loves us and
who holds out a hand. It is not true
that silence is an act of surrender;
on the contrary, it is a moment of
strength and love. Silence also belongs to our language of consolation,
because it becomes a concrete way of
sharing in the suffering of a brother
or sister.
14. At a time like our own, marked
by many crises, including that of the
family, it is important to offer a word
of comfort and strength to our families. The gift of matrimony is a great
calling to which spouses, with the
grace of Christ, respond with a love
that is generous, faithful and patient.
The beauty of the family endures unchanged, despite so many problems
and alternative proposals: The joy
of love experienced by families is
also the joy of the Church.[16]The
journey of life that leads a man and a
woman to meet one other, to love one
another and to promise mutual fidelity before God, is often interrupted
by suffering, betrayal and loneliness.
Joy at the gift of children is accompanied by concern about their growth
and education, and their prospects
for happiness and fulfillment in life.
The grace of the sacrament of Marriage not only strengthens the family
to be a privileged place for practicing
mercy, but also commits the Christian community and all its pastoral
activity to uphold the great positive
value of the family. This Jubilee Year
cannot overlook the complexity of
the current realities of family life.
The experience of mercy enables us
to regard all human problems from
the standpoint of Gods love, which
never tires of welcoming and accompanying.[17]
We have to remember each of us

to come. We have a great challenge

to face, especially in contemporary
culture, which often tends to trivialize death to the point of treating it as
an illusion or hiding it from sight. Yet
death must be faced and prepared
for as a painful and inescapable passage, yet one charged with immense
meaning, for it is the ultimate act of
love towards those we leave behind
and towards God whom we go forth
to meet. In all religions, the moment
of death, like that of birth, is accompanied by a religious presence. As
Christians, we celebrate the funeral
liturgy as a hope-filled prayer for
the soul of the deceased and for the
consolation of those who suffer the
loss of a loved one.
I am convinced that our faithfilled pastoral activity should lead
to a direct experience of how the
liturgical signs and our prayers are
an expression of the Lords mercy. It
is the Lord himself who offers words
of hope, since nothing and no one
can ever separate us from his love
(cf.Rom 8:35). The priests sharing
in this moment is an important form
of pastoral care, for it represents the
closeness of the Christian community
at a moment of weakness, solitude,
uncertainty and grief.
16. The Jubilee now ends and
the Holy Door is closed. But the
door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open. We have
learned that God bends down to us
(cf.Hos11:4) so that we may imitate
him in bending down to our brothers
and sisters. The yearning of so many
people to turn back to the house of
the Father, who awaits their return,
has also been awakened by heartfelt
and generous testimonies to Gods
love. The Holy Door that we have
crossed in this Jubilee Year has set us
on thepath of charity, which we are
called to travel daily with fidelity and
joy. It is the road of mercy, on which
we meet so many of our brothers and
sisters who reach out for someone to
take their hand and become a companion on the way.
The desire for closeness to Christ
requires us to draw near to our brothers and sisters, for nothing is more
pleasing to the Father than a true
sign of mercy. By its very nature,
mercy becomes visible and tangible
in specific acts. Once mercy has been
truly experienced, it is impossible to
turn back. It grows constantly and it
changes our lives. It is an authentic
new creation: it brings about a new
heart, capable of loving to the full,
and it purifies our eyes to perceive
hidden needs. How true are the
words of the Churchs prayer at the
Easter Vigil, after the reading of
the creation account: O God, who
wonderfully created human nature

gestures. Even if rarely publicized,

many concrete acts of goodness and
tenderness are shown to the weak
and the vulnerable, to those most
lonely and abandoned. There are
true champions of charity who show
constant solidarity with the poor and
the unhappy. Let us thank the Lord
for these precious gifts that invite us
to discover the joy of drawing near
to human weakness and suffering. I
also think with gratitude of the many
volunteers who daily devote their
time and efforts to showing Gods
presence and closeness. Their service
is a genuine work of mercy, one that
helps many people draw closer to
the Church.
18. Now is the time to unleash
the creativity of mercy, to bring
about new undertakings, the fruit
of grace. The Church today needs
to tell of those many other signs
that Jesus worked, which are not
written (Jn20:30), so that they too
may be an eloquent expression of
the fruitfulness of the love of Christ
and the community that draws its life
from him. Two thousand years have
passed, yet works of mercy continue
to make Gods goodness visible.
In our own day, whole peoples
suffer hunger and thirst, and we are
haunted by pictures of children with
nothing to eat. Throngs of people
continue to migrate from one country
to another in search of food, work,
shelter and peace. Disease in its
various forms is a constant cause of
suffering that cries out for assistance,
comfort and support. Prisons are
often places where confinement is
accompanied by serious hardships
due to inhumane living conditions.
Illiteracy remains widespread, preventing children from developing
their potential and exposing them to
new forms of slavery. The culture of
extreme individualism, especially in
the West, has led to a loss of a sense of
solidarity with and responsibility for
others. Today many people have no
experience of God himself, and this
represents the greatest poverty and
the major obstacle to recognition of
the inviolable dignity of human life.
To conclude, the corporal and
spiritual works of mercy continue in
our own day to be proof of mercys
immense positive influence as asocial value. Mercy impels us to roll up
our sleeves and set about restoring
dignity to millions of people; they are
our brothers and sisters who, with
us, are called to build a city which
is reliable.[19]
19. Many concrete signs of mercy
have been performed during this
Holy Year. Communities, families
and individuals have rediscovered
the joy of sharing and the beauty of
solidarity. But this is not enough.

Our world continues to create new

forms of spiritual and material poverty that assault human dignity. For
this reason, the Church must always
be vigilant and ready to identify new
works of mercy and to practice them
with generosity and enthusiasm.
Let us make every effort, then, to
devise specific and responsible ways
of practicing charity and the works of
mercy. Mercy is inclusive and tends
to expand in a way that knows no
limits. Hence we are called to give
new expression to the traditional
works of mercy. For mercy overflows,
keeps moving forward, bears rich
fruit. It is like the leaven that makes
the dough rise (cf.Mt13:33), or the
mustard seed that grows into a tree
We need but think of one corporal
work of mercy: to clothe the naked
(cf.Mt25:36,38,43,44). This brings
us back to the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve
realize that they are naked and, hearing the Lord approaching, feel shame
and hide themselves (Gen3:7-8). We
know that God punished them, yet he
also made for Adam and for his wife
garments of skins, and clothed them
(Gen3:21). He covered their shame
and restored their dignity.
Let us think too of Jesus on Golgotha. The Son of God hangs naked
on the cross; the soldiers took his
tunic and cast lots for it (cf.Jn19:2324). He has nothing left. The cross is
the extreme revelation of Jesus sharing the lot of those who have lost their
dignity for lack of the necessities of
life. Just as the Church is called to be
the tunic of Christ[20]and to clothe
her Lord once more, so She is committed to solidarity with the naked
of the world, to help them recover
the dignity of which they have been
stripped. Jesus words: I was naked
and you clothed me (Mt25:36),
oblige us not to turn our backs on
the new forms of poverty and marginalization that prevent people from
living a life of dignity.
Being unemployed or not receiving
a sufficient salary; not being able to
have a home or a land in which to
live; experiencing discrimination on
account of ones faith, race or social
status: these are just a few of the
many examples of situations that attack the dignity of the person. In the
face of such attacks, Christian mercy
responds above all with vigilance and
solidarity. How many situations exist
today where we can restore dignity to
individuals and make possible a truly
humane life! Let us think only about
the many children who suffer from
forms of violence that rob them of
the joy of life. I keep thinking of their
sorrowful and bewildered faces. They
are pleading for our help to be set free
from the slavery of the contemporary
world. These children are the young
adults of tomorrow. How are we
preparing them to live with dignity
and responsibility? With what hope
can they face their present or their
Thesocial characterof mercy
demands that we not simply stand
by and do nothing. It requires us to
banish indifference and hypocrisy,
lest our plans and projects remain
a dead letter. May the Holy Spirit
help us to contribute actively and
selflessly to making justice and a
dignified life not simply clichs but a
concrete commitment of those who
seek to bear witness to the presence
of the Kingdom of God.
20. We are called to promote
aculture of mercybased on the rediscovery of encounter with others,
a culture in which no one looks at
another with indifference or turns
away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters.The works of mercy
are handcrafted, in the sense that
none of them is alike. Our hands
can craft them in a thousand different ways, and even though the one
God inspires them, and they are all
fashioned from the same material,
mercy itself, each one takes on a different form.
The works of mercy affect a persons entire life. For this reason,
we can set in motion a real cultural
revolution, beginning with simple
gestures capable of reaching body
and spirit, peoples very lives. This
is a commitment that the Christian
community should take up, in the
knowledge that Gods word constantly calls us to leave behind the temptation to hide behind indifference
and individualism in order to lead a
comfortable life free of problems. Jesus tells his disciples: The poor will
always be with you (Jn12:8). There
is no alibi to justify not engaging with
the poor when Jesus has identified
himself with each of them.
The culture of mercy is shaped in
assiduous prayer, in docility to the
Francis / B7

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Our country and our faith

The Philippine socio-political landscape and our Christian response

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord! (Psalm 33:12)
SINCE we Filipino Catholics
constitute the great majority of
our nation, we hold the primary
responsibility for building a just
Philippine society. Contrary to
the commonly voiced opinion
that politics and public life are
dirty and to be shunned, PCP
II stands on record to urge lay
faithful to participate actively
and lead in renewing politics
in accordance with the values
of the Good News of Jesus.
(Catechism for Filipino Catholics, n. 1193)
This, brothers and sisters, is
the compelling reason for this
letter. We are aware that many
would rather that we desisted
from public statements, especially in the wake of unpleasant
incidences in the recent past!
The Church is constituted to
be prophetic, and prophets are
not anointed to keep their peace
so that they can be quiet and live
undisturbed. In our silence, we
still proclaim. From prayerful

country. Human development

in our country is massive failure.
There are, to be sure, encouraging observations in the
economy.But because there is
a direct relation between economic stability and the strength
(or the weakness) of the Rule of
Law, the picture cannot remain
rosy when there are perceived
fissures in the Rule of Law.
Contemporary society is rulesbased, and when it becomes apparent that the law inadequately
safeguards expectations, the
economy takes a dip and the
poor suffer most.
Any news that the economy
is picking up is good news for
all, and we Catholics must both
felicitate the government and do
our part towards an even more
prosperous state of affairs.
We urge our Filipino businessmen and entrepreneurs to
generate not only wealth, but,
more importantly, well-being
for our people. The concept of


Rights of labor
The President boldly announced that he was putting an
end to the regime of contractualization and to better the lot of
those who, while employed for
a period of less than six months,
find themselves jobless, no matter their diligence and dedication, and must once more go on
the hunt for jobs.
The Church joins the President in this resolve because it is
as concerned about the travails
of those who work under contracts that make use of them for
a time--but guarantee that they
never get to enjoy the benefits of
permanent employment.
We are not unaware that
there have been concerns expressed by the management
sector about the slow-down
in the economy if contractualization and out-sourcing are
outlawed. We do not pretend

These, our priests and religious

can and should provide.
But the daily reports of suspects and detainees shot by
law-enforcers supposedly becausenanlaban silaornangagaw ng barilare very disturbing and truly distressing. There
is no way that a government can
credibly claim that it is waging a relentless war on drugs
to preserve life--while in the
process abetting, encouraging
or fomenting the destruction
of life thought--wrongly--to be
We laud the efforts of the
Commission on Human Rights
for its vigilance, and we assure
them of the support of the
CBCP. We are aware that many
times, the CHR has been the victim of vilification, its endeavors
ridiculed and despised. But it
is doing what the Constitution
has mandated it to do--and we
stand with the Commission on
Human Rights.

day gift to the Church--has

articulated the fundamental
position of the Church: Not in
doctrine alone, but also in its
praxis, the Church must be for
the world the face of mercy--the
true sacrament of Jesus, who is
merciful like the Father who
gazes on all with the same eye
of mercy as the Fathers!
We reiterate our opposition
to the bill to restore the death
penalty.Pope Francis says the
death penalty does not render
justice to victims, but instead
fosters vengeance. Calling opposition to the death penalty
as signs of hope, Pope Francis
loudly saysNowadays the
death penalty is unacceptable,
however grave the crime of the
convicted person. It is an offence to the inviolability of life
and to the dignity of the human
person; it likewise contradicts
Gods plan for individuals and
society, and his merciful justice.

the personal encounter of husband and wife that new human

life emerges--that distinguishes
it from the production of technological objects and thus seals
it with the dignity that sets all
human life apart!
We thank the Supreme Court
for having urged caution and
circumspection in the enforcement of the recently passed
RH Law. The Catholic Church
continues to insist that parents
make responsible choices both
in respect to the number of
children and to the spacing of
births. This has been the constant position of the Church.
But it urges Catholic spouses
to shun the ways of selfishness,
opening their union to new life
and, at all times, avoiding mutual self-degradation by recourse
to means that are inconsistent
with the dignity of the human
person, whether these be means
of artificial contraception (and
worse, abortion) or of artificial

Members of the CBCP Permanent Council pose for group photo with Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during
the bishops 113th Plenary Assembly in Manila, July 9, 2016. ROY LAGARDE

silence, we teach.
We cannot protest to the
Lord and say: In these troubled
times, we do not know how
to speak. We dare not speak,
lest we be shamed, chastised,
ridiculed. The words of the Lord
to Jeremiah are addressed to us
as well:
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver
youSee, I place my words
in your mouth! Today I appoint you over nations and
over kingdoms, to uproot and
to tear down, to destroy and to
demolish, to build and to plant.
(Jer 1, 10)
In all things, however, it will
be the love of Christ that impels
us to speak (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-15):
whether it be in praise or in
admonition, whether it be to
applaud encouraging signs and
signals or to express concern
over disturbing developments.
We wish nothing for ourselves. We plead for no privileges other than what the laws
of the land and the paramount
laws of God guarantee us. We
carry no favors. We seek only to
serve, for that is what we have
been anointed to do!

Poverty and our Catholic

The Presidents heart for
the poor is commendable and
his swift action in addressing
the everyday concerns of the
poor is evident. Poverty and
mass inequality are the major
problems so widespread in our

corporate social responsibility

has been a welcome development in the re-moralization of
business and of the market. It
must be anchored in genuine
solidarity with all, especially
societys weakest and most
Too many Filipinos still leave
the country--and leave their
families and homes--to be able
to assure themselves and their
families of a more promising
future. We exhort Filipino
businessmen as well as foreign
investors to make it possible for
every Filipino to aspire after a
fulfilling future for herself and
for her family in our own land!
There is a dimension of increasing prosperity that we
cannot pass over in silence:
Riches fulfill their function
of service to man when they
are destined to produce benefits
for others and for our society
In the perspective of St. John
Chrysostom, riches belong to
some people so that they can
gain merit by sharing them with
others. Wealth is a good that
comes from God and is to be
used by its owner and made to
circulate so that even the needy
may enjoy it. (Compendium
of the Social Doctrine of the
Church, n. 329)
Inclusive economic growth
is not only a charming concept. It is a moral imperative.
Promising corporate figures
must translate into fuller lives
for those who live in barangays
and the far-flung reaches of our

to have answers for these delicate and complicated issues,

but of one thing, we remain
sure: There is no moral
justification for the exploitation of the working
Filipino, and for denying
the laborer the benefits of
permanent employment.
We urge the President, his
Cabinet and the Legislature to
be resolute in this respect and
to side with those who have
for so long labored under the
exploitative conditions of contractualization.

The war on drugs

We are very disturbed by the
possibility that high-ranking officials could have been involved
in the drug-trade. The investigation must be thoroughgoing
and must spare none.
In this respect, the Church
offers its facilities, even its
churches and rectories, for
the rehabilitation of users and
substance-dependents. We
urge our pastors to involve the
services of qualified guidance
counselors and psychologists
who are active in the service of
the Church.
It is by no means unknown
that youth turn to drugs when
they feel lost, unaccepted, unsure of themselves or despondent. Our priests and religious
should offer their friendship
so that young lives may not be
ruined. Many times, there is
nothing more healing than a
listening ear and an open heart!

The observations of international watchers and monitoring

groups should not be cavalierly dismissed as statements
of those who do not know the
reality on the ground. These
are specialized agencies of an
international stature, and when
they warn that human rights
are egregiously violated, their
warnings ought to be heeded by
any conscientious government.
There can be no opposition
between the campaign against
drugs and the campaign for
human rights. In fact, any opposition renders one or the
other meaningless and fruitless.
We seek the elimination of the
drug trade and an end to the
proliferation of habituating substances because they constitute
a real threat to well-being. But
we cannot be consistent in this
resolve by denying some the
right to their own well-being,
fundamental to which is the
right to life!

Pending legislative measures on family life

We have been asked by various committees of the Legislature to comment on different
pending measures on family
life and related issues. We have
always dutifully complied with
requests and, through instrumentalities of the CBCP, filed
our comments.
Are they however given serious consideration? Are they
Pope Francis--Gods present-

We appeal for concerted police and local government efforts to destroy the web of illegal
gambling in our barangays,
towns and cities. We re-state
our previous statements denouncing illegal gambling in all
its forms and opposing its legalization. We must vigorously
combat the expansion of organized and systemic legal gambling, such as e-bingo, small
town lotteries, and casinos.
We take heart at the proposals for greater respect of
all persons and for an end to
discrimination on the basis of
gender and sexual orientation.
And while we recognize--in
fact, appreciate--the sincere
and constructive relations that
can exist between persons of the
same sex, we sense a threat to
the institution of marriage and
to the family as we have always
known it, proposals that make
same-sex unions analogous to
and treated in the same manner
by the law as marriages!
The disturbing incidences of
teen-age pregnancies, of substance-abuse, of school truancy,
even of suicide by youngsters all
point to dysfunctional families.
The solution, we hold in faith,
is to strengthen the family. We
cannot support then any legislative measure that detracts from
the protection, care and regard
due the traditional family.
We will continue to teach
that marriage is the stable,
sacramental union of man and
woman and that it is through


Final exhortation
We have a Gospel to preach.
We have the person of Jesus to
proclaim. We will do so, in season and out of season. We are
enemies to none. We endeavor
to be merciful.
We, your bishops, acknowledge our own faults. We know
we are sinners. Our failings are
always before us.Repeatedly,
we have begged for forgiveness
for our own shortcomings and
But though wounded--and
perhaps, precisely because of
our wounds--God entrusts to
us the yoke of the Gospel and
commands us to preach it to all
the world.
Bear no grudge against us,
then, for doing what the Lord
commands us to do for He alone
is Lord--long after kings and
sovereigns lose their crowns,
long after governments come
and go, long after powers reign
and long after they wane--Jesus,
the same yesterday, today and

From the Permanent Council

of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines,November 22, 2016
Archbishop of LingayenDagupan
President, Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines


CBCP Monitor

November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Off with the works of darkness

First Sunday of Advent (A), Matthew 24:37-44; November 27, 2016
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
IT is simply amazing to see
how many times we miss the
point and spend time and energies on things that are mere
trifles, while neglecting what
really matters in life. This is
why we seem to be getting
nowhere, and many problems
remain unsolved.
This is particularly true in
our spiritual life. We know
we have very many defects
and shortcomings. We know
we should take action about
this situation, for this is something that only we can do. And
yet we do not come to the
point. Either we fail to identify
the problem, oreven if we do
know what we should dowe
still do not take any decisive
concrete action in the right
And we cannot say that we
lack opportunities to do so.
The Lord talks to us in many
ways. He gives us so many
chances. The liturgical year
is one such series of chances,
starting with Advent. But how
many take advantage of it?
For all of us, Advent
means preparation for
Christmas, and in this we
are right. But for most of
us, this preparation is

reduced to playing/singing Christmas carols,

putting up Christmas
decorations, buying and
sending gifts, preparing
noisy, fun-filled parties,
and planning where to
spend the long Christmas
No wonder if, in the end,
we find ourselves more tired,
more empty than before and
even more dissatisfied with
our spiritual life. All the while,
we have behaved like the guy
whose car has developed a
serious engine trouble, but all
that he does is clean the dashboard and the windshield,
spray perfume on the drivers
seat, or pump a little more air
into the tires
The readings of this
First Sunday of Advent
are meant to give the
right orientation to our
preparation for Christmas. They remind us that
the core of the matter is
that we should become better
Christians. All the things that
we do in Advent should lead
to that, and not divert our attention from it.
The first part of the core of
the matter is for us to climb
the Lords mountain
that He may instruct us
in His way and we may

walk in His paths. That

will enable us to walk in
the light of the Lord. (See
the First Reading.)
Having been instructed
by such a wonderful Teacher, we will realize that we
must cast off all works

of darkness, i. e., all those

actions that darken our lives
and the society in which we
live with the deadly blanket
of sin. In the Second Reading,
St. Paul lists some of them:
orgies, drunkenness, sexual
excesses and lust, quarreling

and jealousy. They are the

tip of the iceberg, some
of the very obvious ones.
Others can be added, such as
acts of pride, aggressiveness,
possessiveness, lack of sensitivity, materialism, vanity,
and so on. Each one should
make a very personalized list of dark spots
in ones life.
But the elimination or curbing of these moral defects is
only the negative part in the
preparation for Christmas.
Necessary as it is, we should
not stop at it. We should proceed to the more positive
aspect which the First and
the Second Readings synthesize with the terms light
and putting on the Lord
Jesus Christ, without
further elaborating.
Isaiah tells us that we
should beat our swords
into plowshares and
our spears into pruning
hooks. (See conclusion
of the First Reading.) In
concrete terms, this means
that we must commit ourselves to works of peace,
reconciliation, and initiatives of human promotion. We need to practice justice and fairness;
to take seriously our
involvement in the pro-

motion of the common

good. We need to widen
our horizons in such a way
as to be always mindful of the
deprivation in which hundreds of millions of human
beings live, while we may be
planning to squander our big
or small financial resources
in a selfish and irresponsible
manner. We need to realize
that, by avoiding unnecessary expenses (making no
provisions for the desires of
the flesh, as St. Paul would
say), we could satisfy the essential and dramatic needs of
so many brothers and sisters
who lack absolutely everything they would need to live
a dignified human life.
Once we have understood
this very important truth and
start acting on it, our preparation for Christmas will become a memorable one. Our
avoiding any deed of darkness will be like clearing our
hearts and our environment
from as many landmines. Our
doing deeds of light will be
like switching on or hanging
up as many colorful lamps
along the way that leads to
the crib where Jesus is to be
born. Our life will become
a feast of lightthe situation where the Son of Man
enjoys to come and stay.

Called to a fruitful and lasting conversion

Second Sunday of Advent (A), Matthew 3:1-12
December 4, 2016

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

MANY people reserve the term conversion to a change of religious affiliation. Others associate conversion
with Lent, but hardly with Advent.
Somehow the relatively festive atmosphere that pervades the air long
before Christmas, brings most of us
to conclude that this season need not
be associated with such a serious and
demanding change in ones lifestyle.
And yet, at the very opening of todays Gospel passage, we hear John
the Baptist proclaim with insistence:
Reform your lives! And the reason for such an appeal is just one: the
Reign of God is at handwhich
was another way of saying that the
Messiah was about to reveal himself.
That is the reason why the moral paths
of those who had gone astray had to be
made straight.

Two thousand years after the coming of the Messiah, the invitation to
reform ones life has lost nothing
of its relevance and urgency. Even
those who, so far, have been doing well,
should realize that they, too, can do
better and, therefore, need to improve.
The invitation to conversion is
addressed to all, though it does
not mean the same thing for all,
for there are, indeed, almost as many
types of conversion as there are people.
But aside from these different types
of conversion which depend on how
far one has drifted away from God and
what pertains to Him, there are also
different types of conversion which are
related to the varying depths, sincerity,
and perseverance in such a process.
There are conversions that are incredibly superficial. They stop at
appearances and refuse to go deep
and discover the root of the evil which
one wants to eliminate. They are like

Bishop Pat Alo


Go and do

THE title is an active reminder and challenge to action,

to get out of ones comfort zone and do the hard work of
helping ones needy neighbor, following the example of
the Good Samaritan, of whom Jesus said, Go and Do the
Same (Lk. 10:37). Go and Do the Works of Mercy now,
as St. Mother Teresa did when she saw a dying per-son
abandoned in the streets of Calcutta. Go and Be a true
disciple, witnessing to the total surrender of the King of
Mercy on the Cross, alert to share ones time-talent-treasure to be a prophet and servant to restore the Kingdom
Values to a rabidly sec-ularized world.
We cannot rest contented and secure that the heavenly
glory is ours if we close our hearts to the suffering of our
brothers and sisters. The verdict will come at the Last
Judgment before the King who will say to those on His
right: Come, blessed of my Father! Take possession of
the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the
world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and
you gave me drinksick and you visited me.Truly, I say
to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are
my brothers and sisters, you did it to me (Mt. 25:34-40).
Working for good and living a witnessing life is what
contributes to ones growth as a human being. Even a
listening ear to one in crisis in the family or community
will help dispel the inner fears and pains, and restore
the confidence within the persons aggrieved heart. For
a Christian, constant prayer and discernment are needed
to nourish the baptismal commitment to Jesus who came
to be born as man to redeem and form humanity into
the Fathers divine family. With child-like trust in the
prov-idence of God, we let go of our anxieties and follow
the Fathers will for us. We bring to prayer the concerns
and realities we encounter, reading and discerning Gods
word and message in our dialogue with people and events
of various socio-cultural contexts. You will reveal the
path of life to me, and at your right hand everlasting
pleasures (Ps. 16:11).

the cancer patients who think they can

eliminate the cancer that is destroying
them by just taking a few tablets prescribed for colds.
Then there are conversions that
we can call reluctant and unstable. Those who undergo it are
on and off. One day, they seem to be
determined to change their lives radically. The day or week after, they have
already decided that things are not so
urgent, after all, and that the changes
already envisaged can be postponed
to better times, since more urgent matters seem to be at hand
Finally, there are conversions that
bear the mark of genuineness: they
go to the root of the trouble, map out an
appropriate strategy, implement their
plans and persevere in the new course
they have given to their existence.
These conversions are solid, perseConversion / B7

Homily on the 1st Sunday of Advent

(Matt 24:37-44) November 27, 2016
By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD
NOT so long ago, America was bullish
about itself.For all the laying-off of
workers in some giant corporations,
Americans enjoyed an unprecedented
prosperity that was probably unmatched
in 20 years or so.The only world power
was confident that it would continue to
dominate the world of politics, business
and economy.No wonder it was complacent, or so it would appear.But like
a balloon, America burst on September
11, 2001. The terrorists, alleged to be part
ofOsama bin Ladens al-Qaeda network
of Islamic radicals, reduced to rubble
theWorld Trade Centertwin-towers in
Manhattan and damaged the Pentagon in
Washington DC, sending the entire country into a state of shock.Stock markets
dipped, shops closed down, schools were
shuttered, buildings evacuated, planes
grounded, and the entire nation was
quite literally paralyzed.It was the day
America cried.No one could have ever
thought that a small but determined band
of terrorists could have inflicted so much
havoc on the symbols of American prosperity and military might, the American
peopleand the American psyche.The
only powerful nation in the world, with
its superiority in military intelligence
and power, had itsAchilles heel, after
all; and the terrorists demolished the
invulnerability of America.When one
considers this particular catastrophe, he
might make a mental note that despite
the sophistication of its defense plan,
there was obviously a failure in Americas
intelligence network.The terrorists
caught them flat-footed.
Advent is a time of vigilance; every

time we celebrate it, the liturgy always

exhorts us to get ready so that we may
not be caught flat-footed when Christs
return in glory.That is why, in this
1stSunday of Advent (Matt 24:37-44), the
themes of the Gospel are:being prepared
for Gods comingin history andliving
accordingly.But what is this object of
expectation, in the first place?Is it like
a terrorist attack that is something to be
feared, and so we always have to stand in
readiness?If we confine ourselves to the
liturgical readings, theDay of the Lordis
not something to be scared of.In a vision
of prophet Isaiah that we come across in
the 1stReading (Isa 2:1-5), all the nations
will converge on Zion, the goal of their
pilgrimage, which Yahweh made into his
place of abode, the place of his special
protection, and from which he will offer
instruction on the right way of living.Of
course, this is a Jewish way of understanding the future, but there we have
the fundamental message of the things
to come: it is the hope that all men and
nations will belong to the renewed Israel,
Gods people.In the vision wherein nations make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
where they would share with the Jews
the same worship and the way of life, the
law, as Gods people, the prophet shows
his conviction that if all the nations
recognize and accept the instruction of
Yahweh as the right way of living, there
will be world peace.Because the sound
judgment of God prevails, there would
be renunciation of warfare; swords will
be beaten into ploughshares. In other
words, the object of our expectation is
world peace among nations and the
brotherhood of all menthat is what will
be established when Christ returns.It is
not, therefore, something to be feared;

quite the contrary, it is one that must

be approached with joyful expectation
both because it always eludes us however
much we try to pursue it, and because it
fulfills our dreams and human longings.
And the Gospel asks us to get ready
for it.To bring home the point, Matthew tells us the parable of the sign of
Noah.In its original version, the story
of Noah emphasizes that the flood was a
punishment for the peoples wickedness
(Gen 6:5-7).In Matthews use of the
story, the warning about the flood does
not point to immoralities committed
by the victims; rather, it simply cautioned them that they were engaged in
their ordinary activities, like eating and
drinking, which were innocent in themselves.If one were to speaking of sin at
all, it is that they never gave a thought
to the impending catastrophe.In utilizing the Noah story, therefore, Matthew
wants to admonish us that to prepare
for the day when theSon of Mancomes,
we cannot imitate the contemporaries of
Noah who went about their daily secular
business and were blind to the imminent
disaster.Considering that we do not
know either the day or the hour (Matt
24:36), when the Son of Man comes,
even as he will appear swiftly and without notice, much like the slamming of
the two commercial planes against the
twin towers of the World Trade Center,
we can only pursue our interest with the
parousia in mind.
Indeed, his coming will be so swift
than we would not ever have time to
prepare for it at all; therefore, now is
the time to get ready so that so we might
not be caught napping, or with our
pants down.To stress this point, MatAdvent / B7

CBCP Monitor


November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

A silence that is consent to abuse

By Fr. Shay Cullen
IN the world today where
violence and the violation of
human rights is marked by
a reluctance to take a stand
against evil, not to report
child abuse, not to oppose
torture and murder is a failure
to confront criminal behavior.
It is an indication that we are
in a culture of silence and
could be complicit in heinous
The silence that is born of
the unwillingness to challenge the abusers and even
the abusive authorities has
to be seriously examined in
individuals and communities.
Why is it that thousands of
children, one in four, according to some estimates, are
sexually abused, beaten, hurt
and violated yet the majority
of the cases go unreported,
authorities are inactive and
justice is frequently denied
the victims?
The worst abuse is when
an amicable settlement is
reached between the child
abuser and the parents or
relatives of the child victim.
For a share of the payoff a
government official will negotiate a settlement. The child
and her suffering are ignored,
justice and healing is denied
her. This Aregulo system must
be stopped.
The silence of the victims in
aftermath of heinous crimes
against them is because of

trauma and fear. The victims

of sexual abuse are, in most
cases, unable to cry out and
seek justice. They are just children, there is pressure from
family members not to shame
a relative or because the child
has been wrongly blamed and
has overwhelming feelings of
imposed guilt. They carry the
secret buried in their hearts
all their lives.
Victims of torture, police
brutality, violence, human
trafficking are frequently silent because they or their
families may be threatened
by the authorities or the goons
of a powerful criminal or
syndicate. Silence in the face
of crimes against the innocent when one should act for
justice and speak out can be
a criminal offence. Not to do
so is morally wrong. This is especially true of duty bearers,
people in authority mandated
to speak out and protect the
community and yet they fail
to do so. Failure to report a
crime is seen by some as complicity or being an indirect
accomplice to the crime.
The reality of mass killings
as in many countries to name
a few:Rwanda, Syria, Kenya,
in Bosnia and Herzegovina
where the Srebrenica massacre happened is a shocking
lesson in the failure to protect
the victims.
Also in the Philippines,
where many suspects are
murdered all people of moral
values and principles must

protest at the inhumanity of

it. They must never applaud
or support a single death. The
victims are only suspects; they
are named, marked and killed
without evidence or due process. We must act to stop such
arbitrary killing and demand
justice. If the rule of law does

such atrocities. Blessed are

those that do so.
Institutions that uphold
moral values such as the right
to life and due process are
obligated to speak out against
abuse and violations of human rights or their credibility
is damaged and possibly will

is at the heart of right and

wrong, good and bad, just
and unjust. The moral values
and principles and dignity of
a nation, as found in its constitution, have to be defended
or the soul of the nation will
be degraded and blemished.
When moral values are

Crime scene investigators inspect an image of Jesus Christ that belonged to a suspected drug pusher who was killed and dumped
along EDSA in Pasay City, November 10, 2016. VINCENT GO

not apply to all it applies to

Where such systematic killing occurs all humans have no
right to remain silent and do
little or nothing. The moral
imperative is to open a dialogue with the forces behind

be lost. They who uphold the

values of life and liberty cannot remain silent and still be
true to their profession, faith
and values.
Failure to take a stand degrades and diminishes the
national moral culture that

confined to the classroom

and do not come to the forefront of a non-violent march,
a peaceful protest, a statement denouncing wrong and
upholding life and human
dignity they are dead. Society
will be living in a graveyard

surrounding by the corpses

of the victims, we ought be
haunted by our guilt, inaction
and silence.
The anniversary on 23 November of the massacre of
many people in Maguindanao, Mindanao in 2009, where
58 people were brutally killed
calls for protest. While many
suspects were brought to
trial yet justice has yet to be
handed down.
This silence in the face of
mass murder is the worst example we can give the youth,
the next generation. This is
how it was during the years of
martial law in the Philippines.
A culture of silence and acquiesce to the horrors that were
being perpetuated pervaded
society for twenty years. Many
welcomed martial law as the
solution to so-called anarchy but then to their dismay
realized the great harm and
evil that it brought upon the
Those brave enough to
speak out and oppose oppression and evil were exiled or
eliminated and killed. Others
did unite and worked underground to expose the evil and
bring down the dictator.
Today we need the same
voices and people of courage
and bravery who can overcome fear and take a stand
for what is just and right and
what is honest and true. What
we cannot abide is the silence
of the grave and those that lie

Francis / B4

working of the Holy Spirit, in knowledge of the lives of the saints and in
being close to the poor. It urges us
not to overlook situations that call
for our involvement. The temptation to theorize about mercy can
be overcome to the extent that our
daily life becomes one of participation and sharing. Nor should we
ever forget what the Apostle tells us
about his meeting with Peter, James
and John after his conversion. His
words highlight an essential aspect of
his own mission and of the Christian
life as a whole: They asked only one
thing, that we remember the poor,
which was actually what I was eager
to do (Gal2:10). We cannot forget
the poor: this is an injunction as
relevant today as ever, and one that
compels by its evangelical warrant.
21. The Jubilee impresses upon
us the words of the Apostle Peter:
Once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy (1

Pet2:10). Let us not hold on jealously

to what we have received, but share
it with our brothers and sisters in
need, so that they can be sustained
by the power of the Fathers mercy.
May our communities reach out to all
who live in their midst, so that Gods
caress may reach everyone through
the witness of believers.
This is the time of mercy. Each
day of our journey is marked by
Gods presence. He guides our steps
with the power of the grace that the
Spirit pours into our hearts to make
them capable of loving.It is the time
of mercyfor each and all, since no
one can think that he or she is cut
off from Gods closeness and the
power of his tender love.It is the
time of mercybecause those who
are weak and vulnerable, distant and
alone, ought to feel the presence of
brothers and sisters who can help
them in their need.It is the time of
mercybecause the poor should feel

Season / B2

that they are regarded with respect

and concern by others who have
overcome indifference and discovered what is essential in life.It is the
time of mercybecause no sinner can
ever tire of asking forgiveness and
all can feel the welcoming embrace
of the Father.
During the Jubilee for Socially
Excluded People, as the Holy Doors
of Mercy were being closed in all the
cathedrals and shrines of the world,
I had the idea that, as yet another
tangible sign of this Extraordinary
Holy Year, the entire Church might
celebrate, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, theWorld Day
of the Poor. This would be the worthiest way to prepare for the celebration
of the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus
Christ, King of the Universe, who
identified with the little ones and the
poor and who will judge us on our
works of mercy (cf.Mt25:31-46). It
would be a day to help communities

and each of the baptized to reflect

on how poverty is at the very heart
of the Gospel and that, as long as
Lazarus lies at the door of our homes
(cf.Lk16:19-21), there can be no
justice or social peace. This Day will
also represent a genuine form of new
evangelization (cf.Mt11:5) which can
renew the face of the Church as She
perseveres in her perennial activity
of pastoral conversion and witness
to mercy.
22. The Holy Mother of God always
looks upon us with her eyes of mercy.
She is the first to show us the way and
to accompany us in our witness of
love. As she is often shown in works
of art, the Mother of Mercy gathers
us all under the protection of her
mantle. Let us trust in her maternal
assistance and follow her perennial
counsel to look to Jesus, the radiant
face of Gods mercy.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peters Basilica, on 20 November, the Solemnity

of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the

Universe, in the year 2016, the fourth
of my Pontificate.
[1]On the Gospel of John, XXXIII, 5.
[2]Shepherd of Hermas, XLII, 1-4.
[3]Cf. Apostolic ExhortationEvangelii Gaudium, 27.
[4]Roman Missal, Opening Prayer for the Third
Sunday of Lent.
[5]Ibid., Preface for Sundays in Ordinary Time VII.
[6]Ibid., Eucharistic Prayer II.
[7]Ibid., Communion Rite.
[8]Rite of Penance, No. 46.
[9]Sacrament of Anointing and Pastoral Care of the
Sick, No. 76.
[10]Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred LiturgySacrosanctum Concilium, 106.
[11]ID., Dogmatic ConstitutionDei Verbum, 2.
[12]Apostolic ExhortationEvangelii Gaudium, 142.
[13]Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic
ExhortationVerbum Domini, 86-87.
[14]Cf.Letter According to Which an Indulgence
is Granted to the Faithful on the Occasion of the
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 1 September 2015.
[15]Cf. ibid.
[16]Post-Synodal Apostolic ExhortationAmoris
Laetitia, 1.
[17]Cf. ibid., 291-300.
[18]Roman Missal, Easter Vigil, Prayer after the
First Reading.
[19]Encyclical LetterLumen Fidei, 50.
[20]Cf. CYPRIAN,On the Unity of the Catholic
Church, 7.

Advent / B6

16 the liturgy expresses the eschatological character of Advent and urges

us to look for the second coming of
Christ. From December 17-24, the
daily propers of the Mass and Office prepare more directly for the
celebration of Christmas.
After the Second Vatican Council
the new lectionary for the Advent
season greater increased the number
of readings. The compilers of the
new lectionary made an exhaustive
study of all the lectionaries of the
Western Church covering a period
of 1,500 years and selected all that
was best and most traditional. The
result is some 75 readings in all.
The first two Sundays announce the
coming of the Lord in judgment, the
third expresses the joy of a coming
already very near, the fourth and last
appears as a Sunday of the fathers
of the Old Testament and the Blessed

Virgin Mary, in anticipation of the

birth of Christ. The weekday readings follow the theology expressed
in the preceding Sunday.
Whereas the extraordinary-form
missal only had proper prayers for
Sunday and December Ember days,
the present Roman Missal has a
proper collect for each day of Advent,
a wider selection of the other Mass
prayers and two proper seasonal
prefaces where none existed before.
Finally, another element that is
characteristic of this season are the
wonderful O Antiphons, attributed
by some authors to Gregory the
Great although introduced into
the liturgy at a later date. They are
used in the Liturgy of the Hours
and in the lectionary in the days
from December 17 through 24 and
proclaim the coming of Christ to
the nations.

thew gives us another brief

parable: the parable of
the prudent householder
(Matt 24:42-44).Here,
Jesus compared the arrival
of the Son of Man to the
digging of a thief through
the house (v 44). One is
of course surprised by the
use of the word digging
but this is because the
typical house at thetime
of Jesuswas made either
entirely or partly of clay
bricks, and the easiest way
to get in is to dig through
the wall.And when a
burglar does so, he does
not of course serve notice
to the owner of the house
that he is coming in, much
like todays bank robbers
who could pull a heist in

five minutes and cart off

millions of pesos.The
approach of the parousia,
in other words, will have
no signs that could be
discerned, and therefore
we who await him must
act like a householder who
watches throughout the
night.If the American military intelligence was always on the alert, theSeptember 11 tragedycould
have been prevented.The
parable therefore is an
exhortation that we have
to we behave as if the Son
of Man is coming at any
moment today.
That means of course
that we are caught up
in an eschatological expectation.In fact, this

is how theearly Christianslived.Convinced that

Christ would be arriving at
any moment, they lived in
joyful expectation.Just
like a householder who is
on the watch lest a thief
breaks through his house
at any time, and therefore
who has with him everything that is necessary to
defend the house from any
burglary, so the Christians
tried anticipate the future
in the present.Thus, in the
2ndReading, Paul gives us
an example of an eschatological exhortation which
insists that we are now
living in theeschaton,in
the end time: It is now the
hour for you to wake from
sleep, for our salvation is

closer than when we first

accepted the faith.The
night is far spent; the day
draws near.Let us cast off
deeds of darkness and put
on the armor of light.Let
us live honorably as in
daylight; not in carousing
and drunkenness, not in
sexual excess and lust, not
in quarreling and jealousy.Rather, put on the Lord
Jesus Christ and make no
provision for the desires
of the flesh (Rom 13:12b14).For Paul, to live in
the eschatonis to live in
and for Christ; but for
Matthew, that life would
be expressed in discipleshiplistening to Christ
and putting his words into

Conversion / B6

vering and far-reaching in

their effects not only for the
person undergoing it, but
oftentimes for many others
as well. They do not come
easy. Persevering in the new
road requires courage, moral stamina, vigilance and
prayer. All this because the
enemy of all good cannot
be pleased with losing his
grip of those souls. He will
do almost anything to bring
those converts to change
their minds.
The history of the Church
is replete with conversions
of this type. It is enough
to think of Paul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo,
Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Camillus de Lellis, Agostino
Gemelli, and so many oth-

ers. Theirs were clamorous

conversions. Not satisfied
with changing their way of
life, they drew ever closer
to the Lord but were not
at peace at seeing that so
many others had not done
so. Afire with zeal for souls,
they labored indefatigably
for the rest of their days to
lead others back to God or
closer to Him.
What conversion do we
need? It is for us to decide
after an honest inventory
of our spiritual condition.
Will it be a lasting, fruitful, contagious conversion? Once again, it is for
us to decide. One thing is
sure: the truthfulness
and fruitfulness of this
coming Christmas will depend on it.


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November 21 - December 4, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Moral Assessment

CBCP Monitor

Buhay San Miguel

Brothers Matias

Lolo Kiko

Bladimer Usi



Technical Assessment

Below average


Above average

PAGKATAPOS ng mala-pantasyang pagkakakilala, ligawan at

kasal nina Ann (Panganiban) at Geoff (Dantes), tila wala nang
katapusan ang kilig at saya ng kanilang pagsasama. Hanggang
magkaroon ng problema si Geoff sa trabaho at nagkataon namang abala si Ann dahil kaka-promote naman niya. Dahil tila
walang mapagsabihan ng sama ng loob ay natukso si Geoff sa
ka-opisinang handang maglaan ng sandalan para sa lalake.
Habang lumalaon ay mararamdaman ni Ann ang pagtabang
ng kanilang pagsasama at susubukang sorpresahin ang asawa
para makabawi. Pero siya ang masosorpresa pagkat mahuhuli
niya sa akto ang pagtataksil ng kabiyak. Magiging lamat ito sa
kanilang relasyon. Mahihirapang magpatawad si Ann samantalang hindi makakapagtiyagang manuyo si Geoff at muli itong
magtataksil. Magiging daan ito upang tuluyang sumuko si Ann
at mabaling ang atensyon sa ibang lalake. Lalong magiging
masalimuot ang sitwasyon para sa dalawa na susubok sa tatag
ng pagmamahal at pagtataya bilang mag-asawa.
Bilang isang melodrama, angat ang The Unmarried Wife sa
karaniwan dahil maganda ang pagkakatahi ng mga eksena,
mahusay ang mga gumanap at may kiliti at kagat ang palitan ng
salita. Hindi bago ang tema at hindi rin kakaiba ang atake pero
nabigyang hustisya naman ito ng malinis na produksyon. Kaya
nga lamang, hindi ito ang tipo ng pelikula na ipaglalaban mo
at pag-aaksayahan ng oras para lamang mapanuod. Magaling
si Panganiban pero ang kanyang atake sa karakter ay nakita na sa mga naunang pelikula niya kung saan isa siyang
api o nilokong asawa. Kapos DIRECTION: Maryo J. delos
ang pagganap ni Dantes saReyes
mantalang mala-tuod naman CAST: Angelica Panganiban,
Dingdong Dantes, Paolo
ang atake ni Avelino. Ang
malaking kakulangan ay galSTORY AND SCREENPLAY:
ing sa malabnaw o sadyang
Keiko Aquino
di pantay na pagkakahubog GENRE: Drama
ng mga tauhan. Halatang LOCATION: Metro Manila
kiling kay Panganiban ang DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema
pagkakasulat ng kwento pero RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
masyado namang nahuli

ang pagbigay ng maayos na

motibasyon sa mga lalake. CINEMA rating: V16
Mabababaw at makikitid ang
utak ng mga bidang lalake na ginagawang dahilan ang sandali
ng kalungkutan o pagkabigo para talikuran ang kasalat pagkatapos ay sa isang sorry lamang ay aasahang maayos na ang
lahat. Nagkaroon na mainit na pagtatalo ang mga ina nina Ann
at Geoff para bigyan ng pagbubuod ang pananaw sa asawang
babaena de-kahon ayon sa mata ng tradisyunal na lipunan.
May magandang mensahe para sa mga mag-asawa ang kwento.
Una, ang panandaliang ligaya sa ibang kandungan ay kumplikado, masakit, at nakaaapekto hindi lamang sa mag-asawa kundi
sa buong pamilya at mga taong nakapaligid sa kanila. Lahat ng
mag-asawa ay nagkakagalit, nagkakabagutan, nagkakaroon ng
kumpitensya, at minsan, nagdedesisyong maghiwalay. Pero ang
lahat ng ito ay nalalagpasan kung ang layunin ng magkabilang
panig ay buuin ang pamilya at patatagin ang pagsasama. Ibig
sabihin, sa mga pagkakataong nagkakaroon ng problema, hindi
na mahalaga kung sino ang mas tama kungdi kung sino ang mas
nagmamahal. At ito ang ikalawang puntona ang pinakapundasyon ng matatag na relasyon ay ang tapat at mapagmahal na
komunikasyon. Sabi nga ni Geoff, kung nag-usap lang sila nuong
simula pa hindi sana sila umabot sa hiwalayan ang kanilang
kasal. Sa kabilang dako, matalino ang pagpili ni Ann na ayusin
muna ang sarili kaysa sa makipagbalikan na lamang kaagad sa
asawa. Kahit papaano naman ay nagkaroon ng hustisya para sa
mga kababaihan na hindi dapat magpabulag sa paglalambing ng
lalake na para bang eto na lamang ang tanging dahilan upang
silay mabuhay.


THE film dramatizes the

tragic events on board Deepwater Horizon oilrig back in
April of 2010. The narrative
is told mostly from the pointof-view of chief electronics
technician Mike Williams
(Mark Wahlberg). He leaves
his loving family behind and
arrives on the rig to find the
drill site executives, Jimmy
(Kurt Russel) and Don (John
Malkovich) on board arguing
as the former wants to take
precautions while the latter
pushes to cut corners in order for them to get back on
schedule. As they are already
43 days behind delivery, Mike
and the rest of the crew are
pressured to proceed with
the drilling in spite of test
results that indicate unfavorable conditions. With that, the
situation goes worse and Mike
finds himself having to brave
the dangers of explosion and
shipwreck in order to rescue
everyone onboard.
Deepwater Horizon succeeds
to be an entertaining piece with
the entire feature impressively
reenacting a significant event
in the oilrig industry. The
chosen thread to tell the story is
focused and easy to follow. One
would not be lost in the films
storytelling technique which
does not really go far from the
familiar ship-of-fools plotline
with a twist of heroism towards
the end. The main character is

Buhay Parokya

Look for the images of Saint John XXIII,

Mother Teresa and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz.
(Illustration by Bladimer Usi)

given enough exposition arcs

family, love, friendship, work,
etc. so the dramatic heroics and
sympathy is very much earned.
Camera techniques and special
effects are well executed and
the audience is really brought
there in the event to experience
real terrors of the dangerous
explosion. However, the film

DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
LEAD CAST: Mark Wahlberg,
Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan
OBrien, Kate Hudson
Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand
GENRE: Action/Thriller/ Drama
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

Cinema Rating: V14
MTRCB Rating: PG

lacks in educating the real outcome of the caseas to whos

really to blame or what could
have been done to avoid such
tragedy from happening again.
Were they pushed by too much
capitalism? Or Greed? Those
were just some angles to the
themes that the film could
have explored but it chose to
stay safe with the Hollywood
conventions of filmmaking.

At the forefront and center

of the film is a man who risked
his own life and safety to save
others. His convictions, aspirations and motivations are
clearly shown from the beginning and are consistent until
the end. His big why in life
is his family his wife and his
daughter. He wants to remain
alive for them. And he believes

everybody onboard is feeling

the samethey all want to live
and survive for their whys in
life. Whats really impressive
about Mark is his selflessness
amidst the danger of his own
life. Human instinct would
always go for self-preservation,
but here is a man whos willing
to endanger his own life for
the safety of others. He is not

driven by anything else than

his genuine concern for others.
The film actually focused on
this part of the story. Instead
of thoroughly investigating into
whos to blame for the tragedy,
it opts to focus on ones act of
heroism. Tragedies such as
Deepwater Horizon could bring
out the best and the worst in
people but this film chose to

focus on the best side of man:

after the heroic rescue, the
survivors huddle together and
pray the Our Father. For some
strong language and heavy
tragic visuals, and given the
highly technical milieu, the
film may be too much for the
very young so CINEMA deems
it as suited only to audiences 14
years old and above.



CBCP Monitor. Vol. 20 No. 29

November 7 - 20, 2016 C1

CFC Seniors Program Play Golf for Elderly and Sick Clergy
By Alma Alvarez
Do not cast me off in t he time of old
age; forsake me not when my strengt h
is spent. ~ Psalm 71:9

Caring for the elderly is an inherent Christian virtue. The story of

Naomi and Ruth is testament to
this. The Bible clearly instructs
all believers to "honor your father
and mother" (Exodus 20:12) and
"Children, obey your parents in
the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1). However, who takes care
of the aging clergy, especially the
diocesan priests, who are not with
their families?

In the Philippines, the Kadiwa sa

Pagkapari Foundation, established by
Msgr. Sabino Vengco, takes care of the
needs of the elderly and sick priests.
The Foundation was established last
1993, after the Second Plenary Council
of the Philippines.
Last October 26, 2016, 84 golfers
trooped to the Ayala Country Club in
Alabang, Muntinlupa for 18 holes of
golf for the benefit of Kadiwa sa Pagkapari Foundation Inc.
Despite the light drizzle at dawn,
golf enthusiasts from Couples for
Christ and their friends took to the
greens and played until about noontime. A flight of lady golfers invited by
Luz Villaroman was among those who
enjoyed the fellowship-for-a-cause.
Msgr. Sabino Vengco came at around
mid-morning to receive the check of
Php 200,000, proceeds from the golf
tournament for the benefit of Kadiwa
sa Pagkapari. According to Rene
Punsalan, Program Head for the CFC
Seniors Program, Aside from turning
over the donation for the benefit of the
elderly priests, the Seniors Program
of CFC is also allocating a separate
amount for their Christmas party.
Andy Lising, a member of the Board
of Elders and also of the CFC Seniors
Program, shared, The parish priest
has always taken care of the spiritual
needs of Couples for Christ. When our
brother Boy Granados proposed this
golf tournament to us, I told him, this
is very, very appropriate. Now, Couples

Early birds all, clockwise from top left: IC member Lito Tayag (third from right) with fellow golf enthusiasts after the ceremonial tee off; Boy Granados, Rene Punsalan and Andy Lising turn over the check to Msgr.
Vengco; lady golfer winning one of the awards up for grabs; sponsors display their merchandise at huge discounts; hole sponsors; Luz Villaroman's lady golfer friends register; eager to hit the greens.

for Christ can help our aging and sick

parish priests.
Like all other senior citizens,
elderly diocesan priests have
medical, dietary and personal
needs that must be supported. But
unlike other senior citizens, the
diocesan clergy have no families

or pensions that can help support

their needs.
Lising added, This initiative by the
CFC Seniors Program is an appropriate response to take care of the aging
priests. Holding the benefit golf tournament in October is likewise fitting as
October is the month for the elderly.

Msgr. Vengco shared, Our dream

for priests, before they return to the
Lord, is to remain in the spirit and joy
of their vocation despite being sick and
retired, for them to grow old in the
odor of sanctity.
While he is grateful that the seniors in CFC are helping raise funds

CFC Metro Manila Central A Pilots

Work with the Poor Weekend Retreat

for the elderly and infirm clergy,

Msgr. Venco also wants to invite the
younger generations of CFC to visit
the retired priests.
Punsalan sees the CFC Seniors Program supporting similar fund-raising
efforts for the benefit of aging priests
as a long term undertaking.

CFC Sponsors Conference on

Amoris Laetitia
The Elders Assembly
of Couples for Christ came
to Manila for a two-day
conference on Amoris
Laetitia (The Joy of Love),
Pope Francis' apostolic
exhortation released last
April 2016. The exhortation reflects the Pope's
prayerful reflection on the
discussions and outcomes
of two synods of bishops
held in Rome: an Extraordinary Synod in 2014
and an Ordinary Synod in
2015, both synods called
to discuss the topic of
marriage and the family.
Amoris Laetitia covers a
wide range of topics on
marriage and family life,

Bishop Gilbert Garcera

CFC's work with the poor is a mission.

Members of the Mission Core of

MM Central A, led by Sector ANCOP Coordinator Lay Laya, piloted
the Work with the Poor Weekend
Retreat last November 11 and 12,
2016 at the Sta. Rafaela House of
Spirituality in Quezon City. The
participants were those who are
currently engaged in any aspect of
service (fund generation, program
heads, regular manpower) in CFCs
work with the poor in Central A.
The participants, all eager to undergo the weekend retreat, arrived
early on Day 1. After the registration
and an opening activity on listening,
Arnel Santos, Head of the Social Development Program, delivered the
first session titled The Church of
the Poor. The session was anchored
on the second commandmentto
love neighbor as one loves himself,
a mandate that CFC strives to fulfill
individually and as a community.

Santos shared that it is the encounter

with Jesus that is the root cause of
ones love for the poor.
CFC Pastoral Office Director
Rouquel Ponte gave the second session on Caring for the Person in
Need, where he illustrated Jesus
oneness with the poor, identified the
cries of the poor, and taught ways
to counter the cries of the poor and
extend care for the person in need.
Ponte exhorted, We appease
the cries of the poor by extending
ourselves through spiritual works of
mercy: to instruct the ignorant, to
counsel the doubtful, to admonish
sinners, to bear wrongs patiently, to
forgive offences willingly, to comfort
the afflicted, and to pray for the living
and the dead.
The third session, titled Sharing
the Common Good, was given by
CFC Chairman Joe Tale. Tale illustrated a clear picture of todays social

ills that destroy humanity and the

Christian response CFC should have
towards poverty. He likewise called
on everyone to manifest mercy to
others through corporal works of
mercy, namely feeding the hungry,
giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick,
visiting the prisoners, burying the
dead, and giving alms to the poor.
In the afternoon, the participants
were divided into groups and were
brought for immersion in different
areas where they were asked to waste
time with families living beside the
creek, those living near the Payatas
dumpsite, those residing in the ANCOP AVANAI community and even
the homeless elderly roaming the
In the morning of Day 2, the participants were asked to share their
experiences and realizations during
their encounter with the poor the preCENTRAL A, C2


MM Mission Core Gathering

and First Fruits Offerings


MCG Members


CFC Leaders Conference


EA Meeting




TUESDAY Teaching Night

MCG Members &
Intl Mission Leaders

All CFC and Family Min members



Elders Assembly


Mission 101

Foreign Deligates


MM Mission
Core Weekend





36th Anniversary Celebration

All CFC and Family Min members


November 7 - 20, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CBCP Monitor

Pluma Holds Thanksgiving Night,

Gears Up for Season 2
was the strong challenge of
Pope Francis in 2014 when
he met with 120 Superiors
General of Mens Religious
Orders. This is the same challenge we need to respond to
as shepherds on mission who
must keep watch over the flock
entrusted to our care.
But how can we wake up
the world if its shepherds are
themselves sleeping? How can
we wake up the world if we
have settled into a routine and
we lack passion and creativity?
How can we wake up the
world if our vision has been
clouded by the urgent and not
what is important for the mission of God? How can we wake
up the world if in pursuit of
our mission we have simply reduced it to a functional activity
rather than sharing Gods love
to every family in the world?
When we examine what our
continuing response to the
Great Commission in Matthew
28:19-20 should be, we discover
that it is first of all to follow
the Roadmap of Discipleship.
When the two disciples of
John wanted to know where
Jesus was staying, he issued the
invitation, Come, and you will
see. (John 1:39) And after giving the mission to the twelve
apostles, Jesus laid down the
conditions of discipleship, If
anyone wishes to come after
me, he must deny himself and
take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
When we embraced our life
as servant leaders (shepherds),
we began the journey of following the Lord. Our task is
to continue following the road
that will lead us to greater maturity and be more effective
missionary disciples.
This is how the pathway to
discipleship may be described:
First, we begin our discipleship journey (John 1:35-37). We
start on our spiritual journey by
beginning to pray regularly. We
want to avoid offending God,
mindful that we are still full of
worldly ambitions and desires.
We begin to draw away from sin
and want to know Jesus more.
Second, we start to grow as a
disciple of Jesus (John 13:35).
We take deliberate, gradual
steps as we begin our vocation
as a follower of Christ. We
start to develop a heart for God
which now motivates most of
our actions. We are now willing to make sacrifices for Jesus
and his mission. There are
now observable changes in the
way we speak and our actions
reflect good witnessing (being
a good parent; co-worker). We
are growing in our interior
life especially in our relationship with God. We journey on
the path to holiness through
the frequent reception of the
Eucharist and regular Confes-

sion. We accept our suffering

and pain which helps us unite
ourselves to God.
Third, the Lord now sends us
as his commissioned disciples
(John 20:21). We have made
a decision to take an active
part in the mission of God
and His Church. We are now
taking decisive action to bring
people to Christ. We become
more involved in Church and
community activities. We are
deepening our spiritual life by
cultivating a more intimate
relationship with Jesus through
contemplative prayer.
Fourth, we now become disciple-makers ourselves. (Joshua
24:15) We make a firm and
total commitment to Jesus
and His mission. We are now
mission-ready in the work of
evangelization. We develop a
heart no longer for ourselves,
but for Gods people especially
the poor. We fully commit
ourselves and our family to
the Lord.
Lastly, we now experience
being a spiritual multiplier (2
Timothy 2:2). We become a major influence in molding other
disciple-makers by being their
mentor and spiritual guide.
We are trained and equipped
to go to mission areas and
remain there as Gods workers
and role-models. We continue
to grow in a life of virtue and
holiness. We have set aside our
earthly priorities in favor of
Gods priorities.
As shepherds, let us learn
some lessons from Pope Francis
for these modern times. Many
of the quotes below, which are
the English translation from
the original Italian, are from
the same meeting of the Holy
Father cited above.
First, let us be faithful to our
prophetic role. Todays religious men and women need to
be prophets, capable of waking
up the world, of showing they
are a special breed who have
something (important) to say
to the world today. They need
to live and behave in a truly
different way, recognizing ones
weakness and sins but acting
with generosity, detachment,
sacrifice, forgetting oneself in
order to take care of others.
They must make the church
attractive. Wake up the world.
Be witness of a different way
of doing things, acting, living,
showing it is possible to live
differently in this world.
Second, there is additional
guidance for shepherds like
us to be formators or spiritual
guides. People working in formation need to understand
and know the people of God
they will come in contact with.
The Holy Father said, Im reminded of those religious who
have a heart as sour as vinegar
they are not made for people.
We must not create administra-

tors and managers but fathers,

brothers and sisters, travel
companions. To think that
formation is completed after
taking studies is hypocrisy.
Shepherds need to grow not
just academically but in their
love for people. Pastoral formation is not simply courses to be
studied but values to be learned
and lived-out. Preparing new
leaders and members is a craft
not a police operation. We must
include the formation of the
hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then
these little monsters mold the
people of God. This really gives
me goose bumps.
Third, let us learn to live
according to our charism. A
charism needs to be lived according to the place, times and
people. The charism is not a
bottle of distilled water. It needs
to be lived with energy, rereading it culturally, too. Inculturating a charism, therefore,
is fundamental and this does
not mean relativizing it. We
must not make charism rigid
and uniform. When we make
our cultures uniform, then we
kill the charism.
And fourth, on evangelizing
the poor and the young people,
the Pope said: Its necessary
to spend time in real contact
with the poor. For me this is
really important: its necessary
to know from experience whats
real, to dedicate time to going to
the periphery to truly know the
situation and the life of people.
Without first hand experience
with peoples lives, then one
runs the risk of being abstract
ideologues or fundamentalists
and this is not healthy. Those
who work with young people
cannot limit themselves to saying things that are too ordered
and structured like a treaty
because these things fly over
their heads. A new language
is needed, a new way of saying
things. Today God calls us to
leave the nest thats holding us
and to be emissaries.
As a final challenge from
Pope Francis WAKE UP THE
Let us be reminded of the
story of the Transfiguration
of Jesus. Luke 9:32, Peter and
his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming
fully awake, they saw his (Jesus)
glory and the two men standing
with him.
As shepherds, we need to be
fully awake to BEHOLD THE
GLORY OF GOD! When we are
fully awakewe are now ready

The first season of Pluma ends but their stories will live forever.

Last October 28, 2016, Couples for Christ

hosted a thanksgiving dinner for the personalities featured in the pilot season, as well as
the people behind the scenes, of Pluma. CFC
Chairman Joe Tale, together with CFC President
George Campos with wife Cynthia, and Metro
Manila Missions Director Manny Garcia and
wife Ditas, led the honoring of the CFC members who selflessly shared their stories in the
first 13 episodes of the television show. The
season finale of Pluma featured the story of
Manny and Ditas Garcia.
The evening was one of reminiscing the behindthe-scene events during the taping of the TV show,
as well as the telling of stories of how each family
featured in Pluma was able to touch the lives of
people within their immediate circles, and even
strangers, after watching the show.
Eduardo Ledesma, a driver/ mechanic at the
CFC Global Mission Center and a chapter head,

shared how a complete stranger expressed his

gratitude after watching Ledesmas inspiring
story. Julie Ann Burio, an ANCOP scholar
who was featured in Episode 6, recounted how
a good Samaritan has been sponsoring her
meals at the university cafeteria after watching Pluma.
Because of Gods victory manifested via
Pluma, Tale announced that the community is
now preparing for Season 2. The Pluma team
is now scouting for stories from CFC members
outside Metro Manila. He likewise announced
that by virtue of the partnership between CFC
and TV Maria, Pluma Season 1 is also being
telecast via Dream Satellite (Channel 1), Destiny
Cable (Channel 96), and Sky Cable (Channel
210)every Sunday at 11:30 AM, with a replay at
5:30 PM. Viewers abroad may also watch Pluma
via http://tvmaria.ph/watch-2/, same time (Philippine Standard Time). (Alma Alvarez)

CFC Seniors Keep the Love Alive

Points for Reflection:

1. Where do I place myself on
the Roadmap of Discipleship?
2. What do I need to do and
even sacrifice to reach my
targeted roadmap?
Kahit maputi (o wala na) ang buhok ko aptly describes how these couples cherish one another.


vious afternoon. After

the sharing, Joe Yamamoto, President of CFC
ANCOP, delivered the
last session titled A
Future Full of Hope,
highlighting ones
response to poverty,
as exhorted by Pope
Francis: The Catholic
understanding of pov-

erty reminds us that it

is divine mercy rather
than justice that truly
save us. (Lent, 2013).
He further shared that
CFCs work with the
poor is a true mission
that must be marked
with humility, lowliness, faith and trust
in Gods providence,

compassion, Christian
hope and love. He further highlighted the
Blessed Mother Mary
as the model of Christian servanthood to
the Poor.
In a nutshell, the
entire weekend may be
summarized in Pope
Francis theology of

poverty, as expressed
in his homily (June
16, 2015): Poverty is
at the very center of
the Gospel: if we remove poverty from the
Gospel, no one would
be able to understand
anything about the
message of Jesus.

(Alma Alvarez)

The News Supplement

of Couples for Christ

Deomar P. Oliveria
Layout Artist

Alma M. Alvarez
Associate Editor
Evangeline C. Mecedilla
Circulation Staff

The Ugnayan News Supplement is published by the Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc., with editorial offices at 156 20th
Avenue, 1109 Cubao, Quezon City. Editorial trunk line: (+63 2) 709-4868 local 31 Direct line : (+63 2) 709-4856


So goes a popular song

by Basil Valdes in the 80s
which sang of the undying
love of a couple. The song
was particularly fitting for
the participants of the 2nd
CFC Central A "Love Alive!"
the Senior Couples Retreat
held at the Layforce, Guada-

lupe last November 19 and

20, 2016.
The retreat had 18 couple
participants. All the speakers
were from Central A, except
for Seniors Program Core
Group members Jess and Emy
Marasigan of South A who
gave the last talk. The team,
headed by Supervising Couple
and Sector Seniors Program
Coordinators Raffy and Maggie Chavez, was ably assisted
by the sector's Mission Support Group.
Tynee and Shonee Anden,
who gave the first talk, set

the tone for the retreat,

exhorting the participants
that marriage continues
long after the celebration
is over. They added, But in
the end, what matters for us
is that our life as a married
couple is an enriching experience in which we see that
God has always been with us,
faithful through the years
in the ups and downs of our
married life.
The retreat was indeed a
Spirit-filled weekend, with
love truly alive throughout the
weekend. (Jorge Asensi)


Michael C. Ariola
IC Oversight
Zenaida A. Gimenez

Ngayon at kailanman
Sumpa ko'y iibigin ka
Ngayon at kailanman
Hindi ka na mag-iisa
Ngayon at kailanman
Sa hirap o ginhawa pa
Asahang may kasama ka, sinta...


with particular emphasis on the family's vocation and mission of love.

The topics in Amoris Laetitia are especially
relevant for CFC and all Catholics at this time,
when attacks against marriages, children and
values seem to be coming from all around. It
is also timely in view of the theme the Holy
Spirit has revealed to Couples for ChristStand
Firm in the Faithanchored on 1 Corinthians
16:13-14. The Lord is calling the community
to be on guard always against matters not of
Him, to take courage and strength from Him
and to remember that more things are wrought
by love than we think possible.
The conference was held on October 20-21,
2016 at the Lay Formation Center, Guada-

lupe, Makati City. It was specially conducted

for CFC by Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera, DD, of
the Diocese of Daet. The seminar was geared
specifically to address the challenges CFC
faces in modern society, particularly those
that pose a danger to the sanctity of marriage
and the family.
As Bishop Garcera emphasized, every
shepherd and pastor must read the document
in its entirety and not just make a cursory
reading of it but reflect on what one can do
to preserve the family. Pope Francis himself
has urged a patient and careful reading of
the document, with the hope that, "in reading this text, all will feel called to love and
cherish family life.

CBCP Monitor


November 7 - 20, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

Come After Me
Mark 1:17
The call of the first disciples is of
such great significance that it is reported in all four Gospels.
In the Gospel of Mark, the earliest
of the gospels to be written, this call
is reported to have happened after
the Baptist had been arrested: After
John had been arrested, Jesus came
to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of
God: This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. As
he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he
saw Simon and his brother Andrew
casting their nets into the sea; they
were fishermen. Jesus said to them,
Come after me, and I will make you
fishers of men. Then they left their
nets and followed him. He walked
along a little farther and saw James,
the son of Zebedee, and his brother
John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the
boat along with the hired men and
followed him. (Mk 1:14-20)
What is surprising is that except
for the account of Matthew (Mt 4:1822), which is almost a copy of Mark,
the accounts in Luke (Lk 5:1-11) and
in John (Jn 1:35-51) are significantly
different. For example, the gathering
of the first disciples in the Gospel of
John is reported to have occurred before John the Baptist was arrested (he
was testifying to Jesus as the Lamb of
God). And the call is reported to have

occurred not by the Sea of Galilee but

in Bethany across the Jordan (Jn
1:28). In addition, Andrew, Simon,
Philip, and Nathaniel are named as
the first disciples rather than Andrew,
Simon, James and John. Furthermore,
the circumstances surrounding the call
are also very different.
In the Gospel of Luke, on the other
hand, the call is reported to have
occurred after the cure of Simons
mother-in-law (Lk 4:38-39) while in
Mark/Matthew the call happened
before the cure (Mk 1:29-31, Mt 8:1415). In addition, the call in Luke is set
within the miracle story of the abundant catch of fish. And Andrew is not
mentioned at all.
So why are these narratives different
from one another? Which narrative is
historical? Can these different narratives be harmonized?
One way of chronologically harmonizing these three different accounts of
the call of the first disciples in Mark/
Matthew, Luke, and John is to postulate three different calls occurring at
different times and locations. Since
the gathering of the first disciples in
the Gospel of John is reported to have
occurred before John the Baptist was
arrested, it is considered as the first
encounter of the disciples with Jesus.
And this occurred in Bethany across the
Jordan. After this first encounter, the
disciples went about their normal lives.
After John the Baptist was arrested

but before the cure of Peters motherin-law, there was a second call by the
Sea of Galilee as reported in Mark/
Matthew. Since they already knew
who Jesus was, it is thus no surprise
that the disciples immediately followed him leaving their nets and
father behind. But being fishermen
by trade, they continued to practice
this trade to earn their livelihood and
support their families while being
disciples of Jesus.
Then after the cure of Peters mother-in-law, there was a third and definitive call as narrated by Luke. They saw
the miracle of the bountiful harvest of
fish. This call resulted in the disciples
decision to follow Jesus on a fulltime
basis, completely abandoning their
source of livelihood as fishermen and
returning to it only after the death
of Jesus (Jn 21:1-14). We will further
reflect more deeply on these three
different narratives in future issues
of Letters.
While it may be possible to harmonize the three different accounts,
we know, however, that the primary
objective of the Gospel writers is not
historical but theological. In the case
of Mark, the account of the call of
the first disciples is shaped by the
writers desire to impart to the reader
the nature of Jesus call and the true
meaning and implication of following Jesus. Mark, like the other Gospel
writers, is not primarily interested in

narrating a historical, biographical or

chronological account of the ministry
of Jesus, but rather, in imparting in the
fullest sense the theological dimension
of Jesus call to discipleship.
Thus Mark narrates two parallel
calls: the call to Simon and Andrew,
and the call to James and John. These
calls are similar to the call of Elisha
by Elijah (1 Kgs 19:19-21), which
demands a break from family and occupation. Mark wants to emphasize
the power of Jesus direct call. It effects
immediate and total response. But the
decisive factor is the person of Jesus
himself. His call leaves one no choice
but to follow without hesitation. Another important message is that one
does not have to be an exceptional
person to be a disciple of Jesus. What
matters is not ones ability or intellect
or status in life but the call of Jesus.
And as the ministry of Jesus unfolds,
joining Jesus in his mission means
embarking on a journey full of lifegiving consolation and overwhelming
power but at the same time difficulties,
suffering and desolation.
Jean and I were called into the
community of Couples for Christ in
1992. During nearly 25 years in the
community, we have been privileged
to participate in establishing new
CFC communities in Myanmar, Lao
PDR and Hungary and in strengthening and growing the communities in Cambodia, Indonesia, and

Thailand. And as in all calls of Jesus

to discipleship, we had our share of
consolations and desolations. We
witnessed how God had molded the
lives of brothers and sisters to commit their time, talent and treasure to
serving God through the community
of Couples for Christ. During our stay
in Indonesia and Thailand, we were
blessed to have brothers and sisters
who joined us on missions using
personal resources for plane fares,
hotel accommodations, and other
expenses for the CLPs (food, bibles,
song books, etc.) and other teachings.
We experienced the joy of mission
in the inconvenience of travel, the
austerity of venues, and the frugality
of accommodations.
Jesus calls us to follow him. His
way leads to the Cross. We need to
remind ourselves that authentic mission means to not repeatedly prefer
places where comfortable hosting and
nice accommodation are available,
but to purposely choose places where
hosting is frugal and accommodation
austere. This is not easy. But Jesus is
in our community. Why look for him
elsewhere? He joins us wherever we
go. Why prefer comfortable missions?
True discipleship means choosing the
more frugal and less pleasant path.
This is the true test of an authentic
call. This is the only way we can be
sure that it is Jesus who calls, Come
after me.


CFC Volunteers Honored by CBCP ECPPC

Sixteen volunteers from Couples for Christ and
Singles for Christ received the Gawad Paglilingkod Award from the CBCP - Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care on the occasion of
the celebration of Prison Awareness Sunday last
October 30, 2016. The honoring happened at
the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in
Mandaluyong City.
Msgr. Alberto G. Salonga, Jr., Rector of the
Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, Fr.
Tabia on behalf of Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak,
Chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on
Prison Pastoral Care, and CBCP-ECPPC Executive
Secretary Rodolfo D. Diamante handed out the
certificates and medals to the honorees.
The volunteers in CFC Isaiah 61:1, CFCs prison
ministry, who were honored for extending much
of their valuable time, talent and efforts to reach
out and share Christ's merciful love to brothers
and sisters in jail, were:
From CFC Singles for Christ:
1. Glaize Ann Y. Ordenes
2. Ruth A. Mangundayao
3. John A. Quilaquil

4. Ma. Jesusa G. Cultura

5. Rico Mayate
6. Rico Taduran
7. Angelo Mesina
8. Cesar Domanico Jr
9. Gaber L. Unaid Jr.
10. Marie Fe Balambam
CFC Isaiah 61:1 of Cavite:
1. Ernesto M. Tabafunda
2. Dionisia Tabafunda
3. Eric E. Sanchez
4. Ma. Leona Sanchez
5. Ponciano Gutierrez Jr.
6. Gemma Gutierrez
Couples for Christ volunteers in the prison
ministry actively serve in the various city jails and
prison facilities, including the National Penitentiary (Bilibid) and the Correctional Institute for
Women (for Handmaids of the Lord). The Singles
for Christ volunteers, on the other hand, serve in
the Molave Youth Center for juvenile offenders
in Quezon City, and the Camp Bagong Diwa Drug
Rehabilitation Center in Bicutan. (Text & photos

by Yvonne Dolorosa & Alma Alvarez)

The extra mile that these couples and individuals are extending to serve the least, the last and the lost is indeed remarkable.

The CFC Migrants Program conducted a two-day CFC Migrants Program Advent
Recollection with Fr Resty Ogsimer, CBCP-ECMI Secretary General and MP Spiritual
Director, plus Planning Session last November 20 at the Abagatan Ti Manila, in Alfonso,
Cavite. The weekend also included a pre-Christmas Fellowship, Emotional First Aid
Seminar and Presentation of New Modules.
CFC Project ReForm was presented to the governing board of Professional Regulation
Commission - Board of Guidance and Counselling. The Commission promised to partner
with CFC in providing training and capability building to ReForm volunteers as part of their
Corporate Social Responsibility. They also committed to advocate that all professions
unite to help in this war on addiction. Board member of Interior Design KT Abao, from
Metro Manila Central A, facilitated the meeting.

The Order of St. Michael, Couples for Christs program for uniformed personnel,
conducted the 2nd OSM Convention last November 23, 2016 at the Shrine of St. Therese
of the Child Jesus, Villamor, Pasay City, gathering 200 CFCs and military chaplains from
all over the Philippines. The convention was held to further enhance the character of the
Filipino soldiers via the Philippine Army Character Enhancement Program (PACEM), which
is implemented all over the country, with the Office of the Army Chief ChaplainService
and Couples for Christ as prime movers.

Director Gloria Aguhar from the DILG Pasay City acknowledged the participation of faithbased organizations including Couples for Christ during the launching and adaptation of
Ugnayan ng Barangay at mga Simbahan (UBAS) and Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya,
Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA-MASID) Program. This was during the
Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week 2016 Kick-Off Ceremony last November 14,
2016 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
DDB Chairman Sec. Benjamin P. Reyes reminded parents of the importance of listening
to children, to their feelings, sentiments and concerns, to sway them from negative
coping mechanisms. This is in elaboration of this year's theme, "Makinig Muna: Ang
Pakikinig sa mga Bata o Kabataan ay Daan Upang Tulungan Silang Lumaki na Malusog
at Ligtas. (Yvonne Dolorosa)

CFC Project ReForm Volunteers underwent training for Emotional First Aid with Leo
Delacruz, resident CFC psycho-spiritual counselor, last October 19, 2016, at the CFC
Global Mission Center in Cubao, Quezon City. This is in line with the continuing education
of the CFC Project ReForm counselors who regularly volunteer in the communitys mission
of healing and counseling drug surrenderers. CFC Project ReForm is under the Social
Development Programs of Couples for Christ. The group has conducted counseling for
drug surrenderers in Quezon City and Rizal.

The CFC Oikos core and volunteers listened to a forum on Laudato Si on the Care of our
Common Home, conducted by Fr. Sean McDounagh, MSSC, an Eco Theologian and one
of the consultants and drafter of the Papal Encyclical. The forum was conducted at the
Espiritu Santo Parochial School, Tayuman, Manila, last October 22, 2016.

Arnel Santos, Head of the Social

Development Programs, spoke of CFC
Project ReForm on Radio Veritas 846
last October 25, 2016. Santos explained
how CFC Project ReForm came about,
what the group has done and is currently
doing, and the programs plans in line
with the call of the Church with regards
to the drug menace. On the other hand,
Michael and Amy Lobrigo of CFC MM
Central C shared about their journey
from substance abuse to transformation
and a life of total surrender and trust
in the Lord. Last November 17, Jojo
Apolo, a leader from CFC Indonesia,
was also interviewed at Veritas to talk
about counseling and healing using
neuro-linguistic programming, and how
it can help drug surrenderers break free
from the drug habit. Apolo developed the
counseling and healing skills training for
CFC Project ReForm.


November 7 - 20, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 29

CFC Negros Occidental Rejoice on its 29th!

We have a bigger responsibility in evangelizing, (and) especially you CFC, because you have a beautiful mission." ~Bishop
Buzon, in his homily during the 29th anniversary of CFC Negros.

About 5,000 members of

Couples for Christ and its family ministries from all over
Negros Occidental and part
of Negros Oriental celebrated
their 29th anniversary at the
Manuel Y. Torres Memorial
Coliseum and Cultural Center,
Bago City on Nov.13.
The theme of the celebration
was Festival! and even during
the parade that kicked off the
day, the sectors came in colorful festival-inspired costumes.
Lito Tayag, member of the
CFC International council,
was the guest speaker. In
his anniversary message, he
reiterated the theme for this
years anniversary, Rejoice.
Pray. Give Thanks. taken
from Philippians 4:4-7, and
reminded the province of
their call to rejoice in the
Lord always. He also enumerated the many accomplishments of CFC over the past
year and the directions the
community must take in the

coming year. He spoke of continuing the years direction

of Strengthening the Core,
which involves intensive formation of both leaders and
members, and of Expanding
the Reach, which calls on
every member to look beyond
to the greater mission not just
in neighboring provinces but
even abroad.
Our call as CFC does not
only lie within our homes and
in our province, it is also important that we expand the reach
of our mission, Tayag added.
Tony Gimenez, Regional
Head of CFC Western Visayas,
in his message, underscored
that By being persevering
leaders, you will be victorious.
It is with perseverance that
we will surely achieve Gods
dreams for CFC Negros.
Gimenez also announced
that Negros Occidental has
received a donation of a piece
of land in Brgy. Granada,
Bacolod City and that this

property will soon house the

new CFC Retreat Center for
Negros Occidental.
He encouraged everyone to
help achieve this dream. As
a start, donation boxes were
set up at the venue where
everyone may drop their
contributions. It was inspiring to see everyone line up
to drop their love offerings,
all of them eager to be part
of the dream.
Edmundo Torres, Provincial Area Director, also reminded the community to
be steadfast and strong in
enabling the mission. Here
in Couples for Christ, it is
important that our hearts
are strong for us to do the
mission, Torres said.
Torres emphasized that love
for God and for one another are
essential in order to have a meaningful life in the community.
Mayor Nicholas Yulo of
Bago City, who is also a member of the CFC and a former

couple coordinator of YFC

Bago, welcomed the leaders
and members to his city and
reminded the community of
Gods promise of eternal life.
The different vibrant presentations further enlivened
the celebration.
Capping the celebration
was the celebration of the
Holy Eucharist by Bishop
Patricio Buzon, SBD. DD.
and a praisefest led by Bong
Calderon, YFC North 3 Couple Coordinator.
In his homily, Bishop Buzon exhorted CFC and its
family ministries: The call
of the Lord for you members
of Couples for Christ is do
not be afraid because God is
with you always.
He further underscored,
We have a bigger responsibility in evangelizing, (and)
especially you CFC, because
you have a beautiful mission.
As we celebrate as one CFC
Negros Occidental, we put
all our hope in the Creator
of family, God Himself, who
assures that He will be with
us through His son and His
Spirit till the end of time.
In the informal gathering after the Mass between
the bishop, the priests who
concelebrated the Mass and
the members of the Negros
Occidental CFC Area Governance Team and other CFC
leaders, the bishop reiterated
his belief that CFC is the
hope of Filipino families.
You, CFC, are a gift that is
proudly Filipino, especially
to the European Church.
His reference to the European
Church was corollary to his
observation that European
churches are now visited
mostly by Filipinos.
The community in Negros Occidental, buoyed by
such inspiring words, now
looks forward to indeed
strengthening its core and
expanding its mission, as
they move towards their
30th year as a people of God.
(Andrelene Veloso)

CBCP Monitor

MM West A Celebrates
with the Clergy
The CFC Metro Manila West A
Sector set aside August 29, 2016
as a special day for the clergy via
Priest Day at the Sapphire Ballroom
of City State Tower Hotel, Malate,
Manila. This is the 6th year that
West A has honored and had fellowship with the parish priests and
the bishops in the areas of Caloocan,
Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and
Tondo, under the Archdiocese of

Manila and the dioceses of Caloocan

and Malolos.
The event was attended by 27
members of the clergy led by Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias
Iiguez and participated by 280 CFC
brethren of West A Sector. West A
Sector Head MikeBukuhan and his
wife Cynthiawere ably supported by
the Sector Church Relations Head
Rolly & Baby Rodriguez.

CFC MM West AOne with the Catholic Church!

CFC Couple Missionary Resource Persons at Zambia Catholic Forum

Missionary couple Rico and Amy Gamogamo share about their faith life as Catholics and as part of a global community that is Couples for Christ.

T he C atholic
Church of Zambia
(1891 2016) celebrated 125 years of
life and mission with
the theme 125 Years of
Gods Love and Mercy.
Though a very young
Church compared to
the Philippines, its dynamism and richness
in history and heritage
makes the country a
very fertile ground for
The two-day National Catholic Forum
(NCF), initiated by
the Catholic Bishops
Conference of Zambia (ZCCB), was also
attended by different lay organizations
from different dioceses
around the country.
NCF, according to
ZCCB, is a consultative body, reflecting
the Family Character
of the Church where all
tribes of the Lord (The
Bishops, The Religious
and The Laity) come
together for dialogue
and pastoral planning.
Couples for Christ,
represented by mis-

Colombia Double Mission Pays Off

Two teams from the US
mainland conducted a back-toback mission to the new towns
of Barbosa and Cisneros in the
Antioquia Department in Colombia last October 21 to 23.
The team visited the parishes
of Parroquia Maria Auxilladora
and Parroquia Nuestra Seora
del Carmen respectively, in the
Diocese of Girardota.
A total of 14 missionaries
served in the mission. Team
1who headed for the mission
in Cisneros, Parroquia Nuestra
Seora Del Carmen, included
Esther Prexl; Glen Santayana;
Sara Villaramin; Juan Carlos Nio; Lenny Claudio and

Weimer Campo, all from CFC

Florida. They were joined by
John Amado from (Parejas Para
Cristo (PPC) from Bogot.
Team 2 proceeded to Parroquia Maria Auxilladora in Barbosa. The team members were
Yamile Rangel of Colombia;
Carlos Bello from USA; Cristina Rangel, Gilberto Sandoval,
Robert, Edurley and Ofelia
from CFC Santander.
Team 1 was assisted by Fr.
Julio Salazar and Fr. Victor
Weimer Gutierrez who delivered Talk #1 of the Christian
Life Program.
At the end of the weekend,
PPC Barbosa welcomed 23

couples 4 Handmaids of the

Lord (HOLD) sisters and 2
Singles for Christ, for a total of
52. Cisneros, on the other hand,
had 11 PPC, 16 HOLD, and 2
Servants of the Lord (SOLD) for
a total of 40 graduates.
In the evening, the newly
appointed Barbosa PPC Leaders came to meet the team.
Together with the USA Team
and Fr. Julio, the missionaries
thanked them for saying yes
to service and commitment to
support the mission. Doing a
back-to-back mission required
immense pre-planning since
coordination was made with
two separate parishes/ priests.

For comments, suggestions, contributions and feedback,

please email globalcommunications@couplesforchristglobal.org.

However, the joy brought about

by this particular mission came
in the form of Barbosa's Fr.
Julio Salazar, Vicar for Family
Life (Diocese of Girardota), who
was looking for a structured
program. He was able to appreciate CFC PPC after sitting
the whole day Saturday in the
CLP, and was convinced about
offering Parejas Para Cristo to
many parishes (if not all) in
the Diocese. As of this writing,
Fr. Julio has already contacted
three parishes willing to receive
the program. 2017 will be a
busy year in the Antioquia
Department.(Glen Santayana,
Sout h America Region Head)

sionary couple Rico

and Amy Gamogamo
were among the resource speakers during the forum who
gave testimonies on
the joy they experience
in their faith. Rico and
Amy were excited to be
invited to the forum
because their initial
intent in taking part in
the activity was simply
to meet a bishop or a
priest who could help
them bring CFC back
to the country. CFC
used to be present in
Zambia but gradually
Amys sharing on being Joyful in my Faith
captured the hearts of
the participants because it spoke of CFC
and its deliberate and
focused formation of
parents so they can be
pastor and teacher to
their children. Considering that the Zambian population is very
young (70% consists of
37 year olds and below),
the participants felt
that such deliberate
formation is needed.

After the conference,

three bishops with
their pastoral coordinator approached Rico
and Amy and arranged
that they make the
same presentation and
testimony and introduce CFC to their respective dioceses. One
priest who is ministering in the Marriage
Encounter inquired
if the couple can also
present to them the
CFC program while
another priest expressed interest in the
communitys program
on rehabilitation of
drug dependents. Another dioceseLusaka
Dioceseis interested
in CFCs Gift of Life
(GOL) program specifically the Natural Family Planning module
and they are willing to
undergo training.
For the missionary couple, the forum
opened up so many
opportunities to open
up the mission area
of Zambia and to once
again make it part of
the CFC global family.