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Promoting compulsory sexual education at the UN
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• B1 Promoting compulsory sexual education at the UN • C1 DOCETE Catechesis and Catholic Education
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DOCETE Catechesis and Catholic Education A Catechetical Publication of the Episcopal Commission on
Catechesis and Catholic Education
A Catechetical
Publication of
the Episcopal
Commission on
Couples for Christ •D1 The News Supplement for Ugnayan
Couples for Christ
The News Supplement for

Prelate backs travel warning against RP

A CATHOLIC bishop from war-torn Mindanao has backed foreign governments’ travel alert warning of possible attacks in the Philippines,

saying it is needed to ensure public safety.

While President Aquino wants the travel

warnings lifted, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said foreign governments have duties to ensure the protection and security of their people. He said the United States, United Kingdom,

Travel / A6

November 8 - 21, 2010 Vol. 14 No. 23 Php 20. 00
November 8 - 21, 2010
Vol. 14 No. 23
Php 20. 00

Bishop urges ‘conversion’ among the youth

BORONGAN Bishop Crispin Varquez invited

the young people to undergo moral conversion as the whole Christendom is about to enter the season of Advent. During the Eucharistic celebration to start the 3rd Regional Youth Day in Borongan, Varquez

asked young people reflect on the “reality” that

all mankind are pilgrims walking towards the path of Christ.

“We are also reminded of the necessity of

Conversion / A6

Lay groups up against RH bill

By Melo Acuna

VARIOUS lay organizations are now up in arms to monitor and act against bills that would enact population control measures.

Amid the possible passage of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, various lay groups have banded

together to stand against all “threats”

to human life. In Lipa City, hundreds of people joined a demonstration on Nov. 6 to

show their indignation against artificial

contraception. Posters and other print materials against abortion and the RH bill are also set to be distributed across the country by a group of parents. A prayer vigil is also set to be held on Nov. 20 by a coalition of lay groups in a collective show of resistance against the measure.

Defend the culture of life

During the 17th Asia-Pacific Congress

on Faith, Life and Family in Makati City, a leader of one of the country’s biggest Catholic organizations called on families to defend and uphold the culture of life. Catholics, said Frank Padilla, servant general of the Couples for Christ— Foundation for Family and Life, must work to renew the family as it is threat- ened from all sides by values contrary to church`s teachings. Padilla was one of the speakers to the 500 or so delegates to Congress at the

Dusit Thani Hotel held on Nov. 6 to 8. He noted that modern families are now being destroyed because of di - vorce, separation, living-in and value- less sex education, in vitro fertilization and same-sex marriages. Padilla also said many families are dysfunctional, some with one parent caring for the children while others may be two parents but of the same sex. Under such situations, he said, chil- dren will grow up dysfunctional.

“Pretty soon, they are shooting their

classmates or committing suicides or

just being a menace to society,” he

added. He urged Catholic families to work to defend and uphold the culture of life as

it is “God’s wonderful gift that starts in

Lay/ A6

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales delivers his homily during a Mass on November 8, the culmination
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales delivers his homily during a Mass on November 8, the culmination of the three-day 17th Asia-Pacific
Congress on Faith, Life and Family at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. The cardinal told the participants to mold their children’s conscience as
a key to a healthy society.
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

RH bill supporters are morally ‘lost’—Rosales

THOSE who support the reproduc -

tive health bill are “lost” and do not

have proper formation of conscience, the head of Manila Roman Catholic Church said. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said one of the country’s biggest problems

is the lack of values, which is prevalent

among public officials.

According to him, contraception is- sue wouldn’t be much of an issue had the country elected lawmakers with good conscience.

“There are consciences that are not

well formed. They were not brought up

properly and that is always certain,”

said Rosales.

The cardinal made the statement on Nov. 8 in his homily during the closing Mass of the three-day 17th

Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Life

and Family held at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City. A well-formed Christian conscience, he said, does not permit one to support for a political program or a law which

contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Manila archbishop stressed that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life.

Whatever the decision of the law - makers on the controversial measure, he said, would reflect on how they were brought up by their parents who

are the “first teacher of conscience.”

Healthy conscience formation de - pends on a trusting relation with the

parents, who must also learn how to be such a parent, he pointed out. Rosales said it is great help for par- ents to maintain the good values at home and start teaching kids as early as possible.

“If you fail (in guiding your children

properly), you will reap the kind of people that you have now in most of

Lost / A7

Bishop ‘disappointed’ as gov’t allows mass layoff

MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he is “disappointed” by the govern - ment’s decision to allow the Philippine Airlines’ planned mass layoff of some 3,000 em - ployees. Pabillo said the recent deci- sion of the Department of Labor and Employment will deprive

the workers the just share of the fruits of their labor.

“This clearly shows that the

policy of the present adminis- tration is to favor the capitalists

than the ordinary workers,” he

said. Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa), the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Phil- ippines (CBCP). According to him, it also means that it is a policy of the Aquino administration to continue the labor-only contracting arrange- ments and casualization of labor in the country. The prelate said that the dig-

nity of work comes from the la- borers themselves and not from the capital which is controlled by capitalists.

In line with the thoughts of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Pabillo stressed the

“priority of labor over capital.” “The capital is needed but

labor should have the primacy.

Let’s give more importance to

the workers,” said Pabillo.

“But in the case of the PAL

Employees’ Association (Palea), it seems that profit is more

important for the government

than the dignity of people,” he

lamented. Last week, Labor Secretary

Rosalinda Baldoz, in a written directive, has allowed PAL’s planned retrenchment and con- tractualization.

With the decision, Baldoz also

affirmed the previous order of then acting labor secretary Romeo Lagman giving the green light on PAL’s plan to outsource 3 non-core operations and lay off workers.

Layoff / A6

Pabillo FiLe Photo
FiLe Photo
No worries in Marine pullout in Basilan – prelate THE military leadership has found an ally
No worries in Marine
pullout in Basilan – prelate
THE military leadership has
found an ally in the Catholic
We fully trust in the AFP that
what they are doing is right
Church in its move to pullout
Marines from restive Basilan
Isabela Bishop Martin
Jumoad said he is certain
the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) knows
what it is doing for the
security of the people
in Mindanao.
regardless of who they are go -
ing to deploy here,” Jumoad
The prelate of Basilan prov -
ince, birthplace of the Abu
Sayyaf terrorist group, said
they are much more con -
cerned that the peace situation
will be improved and the law
will be applied.
“We are not afraid.
Marine / A7
FiLe Photo

Tuguegarao prelate appeals of flood aid

NINE people have so far been confirmed dead while thousands need urgent humanitarian assistance in Cagayan Valley as recent heavy rains raved the re - gion recently. Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan called for help on behalf of fami - lies displaced by flooding and landslides caused by the tailend of a cold front

affecting northern Luzon.

“If you could help us, you

can send it to the chancery

of the Archdiocese of Tugue -

garao,” Talamayan said over

Catholic Church-run Radyo Veritas. Talamayan said the weather in the region had recent - ly improved but the heavy downpour submerged several towns. All the fatalities were in

Isabela province. Reports

said that four people were killed due to landslides, and another four drowned, and one died due to hypo - thermia. Local authorities also said that about 40,000 people or around 11,350 families were affected by the typhoon.

“For the past few days

we’ve been distributing

Flood / A7


World News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

Bishop requests historic cathedral no longer be referred to as mosque

CORDOBA, Spain, Nov. 5,

2010—Bishop Demetrio Fernan- dez of Cordoba, Spain has asked that the city’s historic cathedral be referred to as a Catholic

church and not as a “mosque,”

in reference to its past.

In an October column, Bishop

Fernandez wrote, “Cathedral

or mosque? Undoubtedly a ca- thedral. It is the main church of

the Diocese of Cordoba, where the chair of the bishop is located,

thus the name ‘cathedral’.”

The bishop noted that the Cathedral of Cordoba has been a place of Catholic worship for eight centuries. Saint King Ferdi- nand III took over the city with- out bloodshed on June 28, 1236,

and ordered the temple, which had been built as a mosque, to be consecrated, Bishop Fernandez explained. “It was saved from destruc - tion because of the successful negotiations between Ferdinand and the Muslim occupiers of the city, who wanted to destroy it

rather than turning it over. When

the Muslims invaded in 711, it was already a sacred place, as it was the location of the ancient Basilica of Saint Vincent the


The bishop noted that the Muslims destroyed the basilica

“so a mosque could be built instead.”

Bishop Fernandez acknowl - edged the stir caused by his column, telling the Diario de

Cordoba that he wrote it be -

cause “I knew it would be

reported around the world, so that everybody would know that the ancient mosque in Cordoba is today a cathedral.

The ones offended are those who think it’s wrong to call it

a cathedral.” “The cathedral has been a

cathedral for eight centuries … I don’t mind if it is called a former mosque, but what I don’t want

is it to be called just a mosque,”

the bishop said, explaining that he does not want to confuse visi- tors to the city.

“The Catholic Church, and the Bishop of Cordoba, are the first to

treat Muslims with respect and friendliness. I am friends with many in the Muslim world,” he noted, adding he supports inter-religious dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect. “People get upset, but this is for the good of Cordoba,” he stated. (CNA)

Holy Land Church official finds no ‘anti-Zionist’ bias at synod

ROME, Italy, Oct. 28, 2010—Many Chris- tians in the Middle East harbor “anti- Zionist” resentments, but those resent- ments are rooted political injustices and not theology, according to a top Church

official in the Holy Land.

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Piz - zaballa said the tensions were reflected

in the recent Synod for Bishops on the Middle East, but he rejected charges that the synod was biased against Israel.

“I don’t think the Synod Fathers were taken hostage by anyone,” he told the Italian newspaper Il Foglio Oct. 27. Father Pizzaballa is the Vatican-ap - pointed custodian of the ancient Chris- tian holy sites in Israel and Palestine. In an interview with the paper’s Vatican analyst Paolo Rodari, he responded to charges made by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon. Ayalon charged that the synod had become an “important forum for politi-

cal attacks” and was “taken hostage by an anti-Israeli majority.” “That the Arab world might have little sympathy for Israel is evident,” Father

Pizzaballa said, noting that 90 percent of Christians in the Middle East are of Arab

origins. He called it a “normal thing” that this sentiment might surface “in some way”

during the synod’s discussions. But the synod’s final message also in - cluded condemnations of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism and a reminder that Christians

must study both the New and the Old Testa- ments, he said.

It is “not a given,” that the synod fathers

of the Middle Eastern world would write these words, he said. Father Pizzaballa also pointed out that the

synod’s final message condemned all forms of racism and “Islamaphobia,” and called

Jews, Muslims and Christians to greater commitment to dialogue.

While individual bishops might express their opinions on these issues, only the final

message of the synod reflects the official

position of the assembled Church lead- ers, he stressed. The synod’s message, Father Pizza -

balla said, is “not the voice of the Vatican

nor the Church.” It is rather “simply the voice of the synod fathers.” The synod’s final message offered little

new with respect to Israel, he added. The gathering of bishops condemned

Israel’s continued occupation of Pales- tine and any use of God’s name to justify

violence. These are positions “already

expressed in the past” by Church lead- ers, he noted. Accusations that the synod fathers harbor an “anti-Zionist” bias are mis - guided. Zionism, the belief that Israel has the right to a homeland in the territory

promised to the Jews in the Bible, is a

“Western category,” Father Pizzaballa

said. “It is a way with which the West tries to describe a situation.” (CNA/ EWTN News)

Bishops in the Holy Land call for three days of prayer for Iraq

JERUSALEM, Israel, Nov. 11, 2010—“Words of distress, con- demnation and incrimination are no longer enough in the face

of the horror that is taking place repeatedly in Iraq, especially with regard to Christians over the past years and which reached a pinnacle of savage insanity

with the massacre on Sunday” in

Baghdad, the bishops of the Holy Land said in a statement released yesterday in Jerusalem.

We “incline ourselves before

the bodies of these heroic mar-

tyrs, the sufferings of the inno- cent wounded, the pain of the relatives of the victims and the

injured,” the statement said.

“The Church of the Holy Land,

reaching out to her sister in Iraq,

appeals to the conscience of each and every one in authority there, starting with the Iraqi govern- ment, to be vigilant in protecting all her citizens, especially those who have no protection, those who have no weapons and no militias, their only guilt being

that they maintain their faith, in the land of their fathers and

grandfathers.” “This land is their land since

time immemorial; they have sac-

rificed in its service, contributed to its flourishing, and defended

it with everything they have. The time has come for those

who are responsible to own up to their responsibility, to stand

up to those who have lost any sense of humanity, curbing their insatiable thirst for blood and reckoning with and punishing anyone who plans or carries out

such criminal acts.”

The region’s Catholic ordinar- ies also call on the Arab League,

the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations

and the Security Council, “before it is too late”, to be cognizant of

“the danger of those who seek to

exploit religions for the purpose

of a clash of civilizations”.

In order to express their close-

ness to the victims, the bishops

announced three days of solidar- ity with the suffering Church of

Iraq, days of prayer for the souls of Iraqi martyrs, today, tomor- row and Sunday, in every parish church, monastery and convent of the Holy Land.

“Our mission, as it was also

expressed in the Synod for the Middle East two weeks ago, is that we live Communion and

Witness, that we work together,

Christians and Muslims, in the building up and awakening of our countries and our peoples, investing effort together in the establishment of peace and sta- bility, on the basis of mutual

trust”. (AsiaNews)

Carl Anderson dismantles divided America myth in new book

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 4, 2010—New

York Times bestselling author Carl Anderson

is arguing in his latest book that the idea of Americans being divided on moral issues is a myth. In fact, all that is required to move the country forward is courage. “We have a moral consensus on the econ- omy, on the need for ethics in government— and even on issues that seem intractable, like abortion, where 8 in 10 Americans can agree

on certain restrictions,” Anderson says. “What we need now,” he urges, “is for

people in key institutions to act with courage

on these transcendent values.”

Carl A. Anderson, the head of the Knights

of Columbus, makes his case in “Beyond A

House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored

By Washington, Wall Street and the Media,”

which was released on the same day as the

midterm election took place, making its mes-

sage all the more timely. Anderson encourages Americans to view poli-

tics not just as “red” and “blue” states at opposite

ends of the political spectrum. That perspective focuses on the differences and then works to- ward compromise. Instead, Americans should focus on the core moral beliefs that everyone agrees on and then work toward compromise. The book presents hard numbers that debunk the myth of a polarized people and show that what division does exist is actually between certain American institutions and the American people, whose values these institu- tions often don’t share. Anderson shows that the Americans have an opportunity to begin a conversation “where the vast majority of the American people stand” and seek “the common ground already found in the common sense of consensus of the electorate.”(CNA/EWTN News)

A2 World News CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 Bishop requests

Vatican Briefing

Pope appeals for aid to tsunami, flood victims

Indonesia has been rocked by simultaneous catastrophes this week, leaving hundreds dead and many others dis - placed. Pope Benedict XVI appealed on Oct. 27 for inter- national aid to those stricken there and those displaced by flooding in Benin, Africa, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Benedict expressed his

“deepest sympathy to the families of the victims for the loss

of their loved ones” and assured his “closeness in prayer” to all Indonesians. (CNA)

Science leads to truth about God, humanity—Pontiff

In the 21st century must work for the “true good of man,” the Pope told a group of scientists Oct. 28. The “positive outcome” of this century largely depends on it. Noting the

great advances in science in the last century, he said that the field can be neither categorized in the extreme of being able

to answer all questions of man’s existence nor as a source of

fear from the “sobering developments” it has created such as nuclear weapons. (CNA)

Holy Father praying for drug addicts

Benedict XVI has announced his prayer intentions for the month of November, calling for an increased focus on victims of drug and other substance addictions as well as

prayers for the well being of the Church in Latin America.

The pope’s general prayer intention for November is: “That

victims of drugs or of other dependence may, thanks to the

support of the Christian community, find in the power of our saving God strength for a radical life-change.” (CNA)

Pope praises women who give Christian inspiration to their families

Benedict XVI praised the millions of Catholic women in the world who inspire their husbands and children to live truly Christian lives. At his weekly general audience Oct.

27, he said he wanted to recognize “the many women who,

day after day, enlighten their families with their witness of

Christian life.” “May the Spirit of the Lord raise up holy

Christian spouses today to show the world the beauty of marriage lived according to the Gospel values: love, tender- ness, mutual help, fruitfulness in generating and educating children, openness and solidarity with the world, and par- ticipation in the life of the church,” he said. (CNS)

Vatican hopes Iraq does not execute Tariq Aziz

The Vatican hopes the death penalty will not be carried out against former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, 74,

said the Vatican spokesman. “The position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty is known,” the spokesman,

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said Oct. 26, the day the Iraqi high court sentenced Aziz to death by hanging.

“Therefore, it is truly to be hoped that the sentence against

Tariq Aziz will not be carried out, precisely in order to favor reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and

justice in Iraq after the great suffering it has undergone,” he said. (CNS)

Pope says bishops must educate faithful to vote against abortion

Bishops must guide their faithful to use their vote to oppose efforts to legalize abortion and euthanasia, Pope Benedict

XVI told bishops from Brazil. “Dear brother bishops, to

defend life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might

conform us to the world’s way of thinking,” the pope said

Oct. 28 during a meeting with bishops from northeast Brazil. The bishops were making their “ad limina” visits to report on the status of their dioceses. (CNS)

Controversial angel’s order given Vatican OK

The Vatican’s top doctrine office says a once-controversial association that promotes veneration of the angels is now in full conformity with Church teaching. Opus Sanctorum

Angelorum was founded by Gabriele Bitterlich, an Aus - trian woman who claimed to have received visions of the angels, including their names and their functions in Heaven. The Vatican began investigating the movement shortly after her death in 1978, when certain followers, including priests and nuns, began circulating sensational theories of

“spiritual warfare” between angels and demons based on her visions. (CNA)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

News Features


Priestly conversion needed for credible church reform, pope says VATICAN City, Nov. 4, 2010— Charles, who
Priestly conversion needed for credible
church reform, pope says
VATICAN City, Nov. 4, 2010—
Charles, who was archbishop of
Personal conversion and puri -
Milan, was a major influence in
with the pastors” if it was to
have truly beneficial and lasting
fication, especially for priests,
the church’s counter-reformation
are critical steps in the process
of true and credible reform of
the church, Pope Benedict XVI
The church community today
is experiencing “trials and suf-
fering, and it shows the need
At the time, the church com-
munity suffered from major
effects on the people of God, said
Pope Benedict.
At every moment in history,
the most fundamental and ur-
divisions, “doctrinal confusions,
gent task of the church is
faith and customs whose purity
was clouded, and the bad exam-
every member to convert and
get closer to God, he said.
ple of various sacred ministers,”
St. Charles Borromeo is an
for purification and reform,”
he said.
The pope made his remarks
in a written message on the oc-
casion of the 400th anniversary
of the Nov. 1 canonization of St.
Charles Borromeo. A copy of the
message, addressed to Cardinal
Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan,
was released to journalists Nov.
4, the feast of St. Charles.
Pope Benedict recalled how St.
he said.
“St. Charles did not limit him-
self to deploring or condemning”
appropriate example of some -
one who, through personal and
communal conversion, was able
the problems or just hoping for
to “transform hearts” through
others to change, he said. Rather,
he began by reforming his own
life, relinquishing all wealth and
comfort and filling his life with
the power of prayer and pen -
The pope urged all priests and
deacons to turn their lives into
prayer, penance and dedication
“a courageous journey toward
to his flock, said the pope.
sainthood and to not fear the
“He knew that a serious and
credible reform had to begin
exhilaration of Christ’s trusting
love.” (CNS)

Pope Benedict speaks about sex abuse scandals in new book

ROME, Italy, Nov. 3, 2010—The world will have a more com - plete idea of Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on sexual abuse in the Church when his interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald is published in a month.

Europe. The book not only presents Pope Benedict’s thoughts on sexual abuse but also gives his answer about whether he thought about resigning over the scandals. The revelations of abuse resulted in some calling for the Pope to resign for

The Holy Father also takes on other complicated questions within the Church today, such as the celibacy of priests, contraception, women priests, same-sex relation- ships and Communion for the divorced and remarried.

With his

book “Light

o f

t h e

World: The

Pope, The

Church and

the Signs of

The Times”

due for re - l e a s e o n Nov. 24, Ig- natius Press has released some of the q u e s t i o n s S e e w a l d posed to the Pope. Seewald

m e t w i t h Pope Bene - d i c t X V I during his s u m m e r vacation at the pontifi - cal villa at Castel Gandolfo the last week in July. Their discussions over the

course of that time are presented in

the volume which “tackles head-on

some of the greatest issues facing

the world of our time,” according

Papal infal - l i b i l i t y , t h e possibility of a Third Vatican Council and the question of whether or n o t g e n u i n e d i a l o g u e i s possible with Islam are also confronted by the Pope in the wide-ranging series of ques - tions that count nothing as ta - boo. I g n a t i u s Press says that all people— believers and unbelievers— will be fasci - nated by the content of the book, which

documents “a lively, fast-paced,

challenging, even entertaining ex-

change” between the two.

This is Seewald’s third book- length interview with Joseph Ratz-

inger, but the first after his election

his supposed inaction in the face of abuse when he served as the prefect of the

his supposed inaction in the face of abuse when he served as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later as Pope. In response, many rose to defend the Pope, including Archbishop Timothy

to the publishing company.

Dolan of New York. He said, “No one

to the papacy. The two previous

One of the most difficult issues

facing the Church this year was the revelation of sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious in

has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sicken-

ing sin than the man we now call Pope

Benedict XVI.”

volumes were “Salt of the Earth,”

published in 1996, and “God and the World,” from 2002. (CNA/ EWTN News)

Malls promote use of reusable bags to protect environment

MANILA, Oct. 30, 2010—In an effort to convince Filipinos to use reusable bags in their purchases and help pro- tect the environment, major retailers in the metropolis will refrain from giving

free plastics bags to clients at least once a week. Obliging to a request made by an en- vironmental network, malls and super- markets in Manila will dedicate every

Wednesday as “Reusable Bag Day”.

To force customers to use eco-friendly reusable bags, retailers won’t provide free plastic bags to clients, instead will charge them for it if they insist on hav- ing one.

Reusable bags are being sold in malls and supermarkets, but many consum- ers, especially those in tight budgets

find them rather costly. Environmental network EcoWaste

Coalition said retailers may have to

slash down the price of reusable bags so consumers would be attracted to use them. Sonia Mendoza of the network’s task force on plastics said the thought of

spending much for a reusable bag could be a reason why consumers seem slow in adapting the idea.

“The cost of procuring reusable bags

may be getting in the way of popular-

izing reusable bags among the majority

of our consumers,” she said. “Budget-conscious consumers, even if they appreciate the ecological benefits

of reusable bags, are put off buying any-

thing expensive,” she observed.

According to a study conducted by the network, reusable bags sold in many retail stores in the metropolis range from P25 to P295.

Mendoza said the group certainly appreciates the efforts of retailers to

introduce eco-friendly bags in the hope of preserving the environment.

But she said unless they are given free or sold at a discounted price, people may not feel inclined to use them. Mendoza has recommended the pro-

duction of “affordable and eco-friendly

bags” that are made from cloth and

other locally-sourced materials. She said “a home-based, job generat- ing industry” of producing eco-friendly

bags can be promoted in the provinces

“with support from the private and public sectors.” Reusable bags will reduce environ- mental and health impacts that plastics generate, the group said. They also urged retailers to provide shoppers who bring their own eco- friendly bags, with freebies, to instill in them the habit of bringing one when- ever they go shopping. (CBCPNews)

Pope calls for study, diffusion of social doctrine

VATICAN City, Nov. 4, 2010—Bene- dict XVI is underlining the need for more centers to study and diffuse the

Church’s social doctrine. The Pope stated this in a message sent to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president

of the Pontifical Council for Justice in

Peace, on the occasion of that dicast- ery’s plenary assembly. The two-day meeting, which is under way in Rome, ends Friday. The Pontiff stated, “In order to global- ize the social doctrine of the Church, it seems opportune to multiply the centers and institutes that are dedicated

to its study, diffusion and realization throughout the world.” He said, “My desire is that the Pon- tifical Council for Justice and Peace continue its work of aid to the ecclesial

community and all its components.”

“The dicastery must therefore contin- ue this work not only in the elaboration of updating the social doctrine of the Church, but also in its experimentation, with that method of discernment that I indicated in ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ accord- ing to which, living in communion with Jesus Christ and among ourselves, we are ‘found’ either by the truth of salva- tion, or by the truth of a world that has not been created by us, but which has been given to us as home to share in

fraternity,” the Holy Father stated. He noted, “In the wake of the prom- ulgation of the Compendium and of the encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ it is natural

that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace dedicates itself to further reflection

on the elements of novelty and, in col-

laboration with other individuals, to the search for the more adequate ways to con-

vey the contents of the social doctrine.”

Benedict XVI encouraged diffusing

the doctrine “not only of the Christian

traditional formative and educational itineraries of every order and degree, but also of the great centers of formation

of world thought — such as the great organs of secular press, the universities and the numerous centers of economic

and social reflection — which in recent

times have developed in every corner

of the world.”

Essential perspectives

The Pope affirmed, “It is by living

‘charity in truth’ that we will be able to offer a more profound look to un- derstand the great social questions and

indicate some essential perspectives for

their solution in a fully human sense.”

“Only with charity sustained by hope

and illumined by the light of faith and

reason, is it possible to achieve objec- tives of man’s integral liberation and

universal justice,” he stated. he Pontiff continued: “The life of

communities and of each of the believ- ers —nourished by assiduous medita-

tion on the Word of God, by regular

participation in the sacraments and by communion with wisdom that comes from above — grows in its capacity of prophecy and renewal of cultures and public institutions.

“The ethos of peoples can thus enjoy a

truly solid foundation, which reinforces social consensus and sustains proce - dural rules.” (Zenit)

Party list solon files genuine agrarian reform bill

MANILA, Oct. 31, 2010—A party list representative has filed a bill in Con- gress seeking to institute a genuine agrarian reform in the country and creating the necessary mechanism for its implementation. Frustrated on the government’s failure to deliver its promise to the country’s farmers, Anakpawis Party List Congressman Rafael Mariano said

he filed House Bill 00374 which asks for

an implementation of a genuine agrar- ian reform program.

He said even with an increase in budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform for 2011, he remains pessimistic the executive will deliver its mandate. He added he joins farmers from Ha- cienda Luisita and others who work in other haciendas in calling for a genuine agrarian reform program. Accompanied by Hacienda Luisita farmer leader Rodel Mesa and Negros- based Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipi- nas spokesperson Greg Ratin, Mariano said the current government should deliver its campaign promise of solving the problems brought about by poverty and injustice. Mesa disclosed that farmers in his

village have reported the “surveys”

being conducted by still unidentified persons on board vehicles with “RP-US Balikatan Exercises.” He said plans were

afoot to build some infrastructures in the village, which includes an evacua-

tion center. The report comes at the heels of ear- lier accounts of a Chinese softdrink giant

Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., Ltd which

reportedly expressed interest in sourcing its sugar from the controversial estate. Ratin and Mesa called on the Su - preme Court to rule with dispatch on the legality of the stock distribution option initiated by the Hacienda Luisita management. Mesa called on President Aquino to lead landowners in the distribution of farm lands to landless tillers because he is a president of all Filipinos and not of the landed gentry alone. The sprawling 6435-hectare is at the heart of Central Luzon and is owned by the Cojuangco family. President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III was earlier quoted as saying he would not involve himself with the is-

sue so as not to be accused of using his

power to influence a favorable decision pending with the Supreme Court. (Melo M. Acuna)

ContRiButed Photo
ContRiButed Photo

Mindanao mining in a fault line

ANTIPOLO City, Nov. 5, 2010—A coalition of environ - mentalists have expressed con- cern that a large mining compa- ny in Mindanao will be digging a hole on a fault line. Environmental alliance, De - fend Patrimony! Alliance and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) feared of a catastrophe in the making when the groups found out that Xtrata Queensland Ltd. And

Indophil Resources’ Tampakan mining project will be excavating on a fault line. Catherine Abon, a geologist from the University of the Phil- ippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) said the proposed area of excavation traverses a fault line and it poses a big risk to the stability of the mine tailing pond that will be built. Based on the studies con -

ducted by NIGS, the Tampakan mining site is traversed by the Philippine Fault and the Cota- bato Fault.

“The deposit lies within the

Cotabato Fault Zone, a west- northwest trending strike slip fault zone said Abon. The pres-

ence of faults in the proposed mine site presents a danger in the facilities that will be constructed for the mine operation such as

tailings pond dam,” said Abon.

Located in the boundaries of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat and Saranggani Province, the Tampakan open- pit mining project is expected to produce at least 13 million tons

of copper and 15 million ounces of gold, annually. It is said that the Tampakan Mining Project, so far, is the biggest mining project in the Philippines at U$5.2 bil- lion worth in investments. (Noel Sales Barcelona)




CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010


Let’s care for our seminarians

POPE Benedict XVI wrote a beautiful letter to seminarians last October 18, and poured out his sentiments and desires for the young men who are preparing themselves for the priesthood.

The priesthood will always be necessary since man will always need God. The Pope reassures us in that letter that precisely because of the growing secularization of the world today, priests, good, holy priests are needed. Instead of becoming irrelevant, they have become more urgently needed.

Thus, those preparing for the priesthood should be given the appropriate attention, considering that the Church after the scandals of clerical sex abuses has to recover from the severe damage she suffered. Hopefully, the future batches of new priests from the present seminarians would be an improvement.

There´s indeed a lot of bright spots in the Church today. But ugly stains and blots, the unwelcome weeds are also present, and they involve the clergy themselves. The letter of the Pope, though couched in tactful language, should be considered under the light of our Lord´s severe reproaches on the leading men in his time whom he accused as hypocrites.

It cannot be denied that even up to now very disturbing cases of priestly anomalies still proliferate. There´s alcoholism, gambling, lack of prayer life, discipline and basic virtues of obedience, poverty and chastity. Some priests even have children, and many people know it except that no action is being done out of a misplaced sense of compassion, etc.

At the height of the priestly scandals, many bishops even went to the

extent of making an appeal to actively gay priests to please get out.

There definitely is a need for some weeding out of bad elements,

obviously with due process. Justice cannot swerve from charity. But the ongoing formation of seminarians and priests should be strengthened, the loopholes plugged. There´s a crying need for a drastic shake-up.

There are reports that in many seminaries, the seminarians are left pretty much to fend for themselves as they are expected to live full freedom in responsibility, but without due guidance from the authorities. It´s a policy that has been twisted beyond recognition.

And so even homosexual practices are tolerated, unorthodox doctrines are taught, a culture of pretension and hypocrisy is promoted, etc. It´s a very painful picture. It´s like the seminary is left to bleed to death. When classes or spiritual exercises are given, there´s a general feeling they are just playing games. Traces of agnosticism and skepticism can even be detected in these activities.

If we have to view these developments from another angle, we can readily say that the devil must be behind all this. We should not be surprised by this, but it would be funny if we don´t do our part to tackle this threat adequately. We have all the means. We just have to put our mind and heart to it.

And that attitude, more or less official, of hiding these things

because of discretion, tact, etc., should be buried. True, we need to be discreet and charitable all the time, but we also need to do some strong action in imitation of Christ. Our time calls for it. The complicating developments we have now literally require it.

In that letter, the Pope mentioned some important points to be given utmost attention. The seminarians should be a true man of God. They should live a deep eucharistic life, and have a great love for the sacrament of penance. They should love popular piety well. They have to study the ecclesiastical sciences thoroughly, and work hard to attain genuine human maturity.

Obviously, these goals need daily administration. They just cannot be left simply as goals. They have to be planned out and worked out, their details adapted to the very concrete personal circumstances of each seminarian. Their spiritual life should

be in good order. Once the first signs of slackening up appear,

appropriate measures should be rushed.

For sure, personal spiritual direction is a must here. But how many priests and seminarians go to it? How many really pray and go to confession with true penance?

Filipino Spirituality

WHY is it of vital importance that we reflect on our spirituality as a

people? It is important because the quality of our spirituality tells us who we are as a people. It confronts us with the question, if we are a people who treasure the values of truth and justice and compassion, have we then succeeded in creating a society that nourishes and promotes these values which are dear to us and which express our true selves? And if we have thus far failed to create a just, humane and peaceful society, where do we draw the strength and inspiration to engage in the arduous task of reform and renewal?

….Our history sadly tells us that we have failed to create a society we can be proud of. The previous 3 CBCP pastoral letters give us a picture of what kind of society we have produced as we enter a new millennium. Our political structures and processes have not matured for lack of transparency and accountability. Our economic policies and programs have failed to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor. Our cultural habits prevent us from nourishing values of compassion and common courtesies that are the foundation of a civilization of love and peace. We can conclude that our very spirituality is in need of reform since in its present state it does not have the maturity and the inner strength to transform our society and build up a new Filipino.

−CBCP Pastoral Letter on Filipino Spirituality, 1999

Pedro C. Quitorio Kris Bayos Features Editor Editor-in-Chief Gloria Fernando Pinky Barrientos, FSP Marketing
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Kris Bayos
Features Editor
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Marketing Supervisor
Associate Editor
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Managing Editor
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News Editor

Marcelita Dominguez


The CBCP Monitor is published fortnightly by the CBCP Communica- tions Development Foundation, Inc., with editorial and business offices at 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. P.O. Box 3601, 1076 MCPO. Editorial: (063) 404-2182. Business: (063)404-1612.; ISSN 1908-2940

Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Illustration by Bladimer Usi
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM Living Mission
Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
Living Mission

Proclaiming a Crucified


TWO brief months ago during

his missionary journey to the United Kingdom, Pope Bene - dict XVI addressed Members of Parliament and a great gathering of men and women in public life from across Britain. The

September 17, 2010 address was

given in Westminster Hall, an

historical location whose walls have echoed with many great events of British history. The trial of Saint Thomas More occurred in that very place; he was condemned to death for refusing to follow the rebellion

of King Henry VIII against papal authority on divorce. Thomas More adhered to God and his personal conscience; his final words on the scaffold were:

“The King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Benedict XVI noted: “The

dilemma which faced More in those difficult times, the peren- nial question of the relationship between what is owed to Caesar

and what is owed to God, allows me the opportunity to reflect

with you briefly on the proper

place of religious belief within

the political process.” Benedict

affirmed the “legitimate role of religion in the public square.”

One can validly assert that Thomas More, in his day, deeply understood that religious faith, personal convictions, freedom of conscience, and commitment to Christ’s values in both personal and public life are all integral aspects of claiming that Christ is truly one’s King. More served as the Lord Chancellor of England, but resigned rather than sign an oath declaring Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon invalid. He was imprisoned in 1534 and

beheaded on July 6, 1535. Sig-

nificantly, his letters from prison

in the Tower of London reveal

a true sense of mission and a deep devotion to the suffering Christ. Indeed, for More, Christ

was King, his suffering-crucified

King. The Gospel for the Feast of Christ the King (Luke 23:35-43) portrays Jesus as a crucified king. Christ’s kingship, in the Christian perspective, is linked

with a “kingly” vision of being a

humble and suffering servant. If asked what movie I have seen most frequently in my whole life,

I would have to reply: A Man for All Seasons. This successful 1960s film was based on a play written

by Robert Bolt. In explaining his choice of Thomas More for the drama, Bolt gave this rationale:

“A man takes an oath only when

he wants to commit himself quite exceptionally to the statement, when he wants to make an iden- tity between the truth of it and

his own virtue; he offers himself as a guarantee.” Bolt believes that

“a clear sense of the self can only crystallize around something

transcendental.” Thus, More becomes “a Christian saint, as a

hero of selfhood,” a man with a

mission. Thomas More explains his radical self-awareness, faith and commitment to his daughter Margaret when she visits him

in prison: “When a man takes

an oath, Meg, he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like

water. And if he opens his fin- gers then—he needn’t hope to find himself again. Some men

aren’t capable of this, but I’d be

loathe to think your father one

of them.”

The feast of Christ the King,

coming in November at the end

of the liturgical year, is a wonder-

ful opportunity for reflection on

our mission, on the depth of our

acceptance of Christ as our King, our Crucified King. Does he truly rule our lives, our thoughts,

our public and private morality, our desires? Has his reign in our lives transformed our values and deepened our relationships? Thomas More answered these questions—with his life. Jesus had truly become his King! In deep faith, More could even say

to his executioner: “Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God.” Each day we Christians are to renew our sense of mission. We say the Our Father; we pray:

Your Kingdom come! And, what kind of kingdom do we work, pray, and suffer for? As stated so

beautifully in the Preface of the Feast of Christ the King, we ask

God to establish “an eternal and

universal kingdom, a kingdom

of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom

of justice, love and peace.” We

commit ourselves to this most challenging mission!

Pilgrims in pursuit of

penance and renewal

Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD By the Roadside
Rev. Euly B. Belizar, SThD
By the Roadside

OUR diocese, the Diocese of Borongan, has just celebrated her Jubilee Year this year.

Although the specific dates of the celebration

(October 21-22) are already past us, there are

truths that remain. Despite the particularity of the ‘Jubilee’ in regard to us, there are also things we share with other local Churches.

We would love to.

Probably the closest and most useful paral- lel is the attitude we take re: our birthday. True, there are a variety of ways by which we Catholics celebrate it. Some organize big parties while others simply go to church to

attend the Eucharist, but there’s no doubting

the importance of that day for us individu- ally and for our families. The fact is that the

Jubilee of our diocese is actually her fiftieth

birthday, the anniversary of her foundation.

We celebrate the fifty years of grace and

blessing in which we have become a local

Church, and grown in our consciousness of ourselves as such: that is, a portion of God’s People in the world, headed by our own

bishop, a successor of the apostles. We may

be poor materially but, believe or not, we

are at par with the Diocese of Rome or the

Archdiocese of Manila. How? We are also,

like them, a local or particular Church with all the marks of the Catholic Church. In other words, in ourselves and in the whole Eastern

Samar the Church is actualized. Do they have a bishop, the clergy, religious and a laity willing and able to support the Church and

the task of evangelization? So do we. Do they celebrate the Eucharist and the sacraments, proclaim the gospel and build up Christian communities? So do we.

The point is clear: We are the Catholic

Church in Eastern Samar just as the Diocese of Rome is the Catholic Church in Rome. This is doubtless a most wonderful gift of God

to us. We agree with Meister Eckhart that

thanksgiving is our best prayerful response

to the superabundance of God’s love. To guide our activities and involvement we chose an over-all theme for our celebra-

tion: Walking in Pilgrimage on the Path of Penance and Renewal (“O house of Jacob,

come, let us walk in the light of the Lord”

[Is 2:5]). I suggest you join us in taking time to reflect on three realities marking our consciousness and life as dioceses, as local/ particular Churches: our identity as a pilgrim people, penance and renewal.


Jose Mari Chan has a love song that also

says something about Christians: “We’re all

just merely passing through, doing what we

can do in a lifetime.” This goes to the heart

of who we are. In life we are pilgrims just

passing through. We are on a journey to a

promised land, the kingdom of God to be

fully realized in heaven. Tracing ourselves to Abraham, our father in faith, we also take to heart God’s command to our spiritual ances-

tor: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk

and from your father’s house to a land that I

will show you” (Gen 12:1)

Jesus himself makes us aware of our pil- grim character as a people because, when he

calls us as his disciples, it is a call to “come

after me” (Mk 1:17), to walk with him on the

way that leads to the Father and salvation,

that is, the way of the cross. “Whoever does

not carry his own cross and come after me

cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27). To come

after someone is to be in movement, either

in a physical or moral-spiritual sense. When

we travel to Sulangan or to Lourdes, France or to any holy place, it’s a reminder of our

journey to God. When we move also from

iniquity to grace, from darkness to light, from being slaves to sin to being free children

of God, we undertake a pilgrimage whose most profound sense is spiritual.


A disciple is like a runner. It is regrettable but a fact of life that a runner can stumble. The same thing can be true to a disciple. Take Peter and the rest of those Jesus called to “come after him”. Despite Peter’s impas- sioned pledge that he was prepared to “go to prison and die” with Jesus (Lk 22:33), Jesus correctly foretold that “before the cock crows

this day, you will deny three times that you

know me” (Lk 22:34). Like Peter the other

disciples also ran away when Jesus was be-

ing arrested and being brought to trial, all except John the beloved.

It’s no different in our time. We, modern

disciples in Eastern Samar and in the Philip- pines who hold the Catholic Church as our

home and mother have stumbled in a lot of

ways. We call ourselves Catholic Christians

but we are among the most corrupt countries of the world. On paper we hold that public

office is a public trust but in point of fact many of our politicians treat public office as

a way to wealth and power for themselves and their families. In our elections we sell or

buy votes and, in so doing, do not choose the right leaders. Of course, there are exceptions

but they don’t count for much. We profess to follow Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and

the Life. But most of the time we follow the ways convenience, comfort, money, power

and prestige. We listen to the truths of the

gospel but believe the lies of the world, such

as that happiness lies in leading a selfish life

of pleasure for which we must have money or power. Jesus is our life, we say, but we have very little respect for the life of the unborn, the sanctity of life itself, the sacred character of sex and marriage, just rights of

the poor and those with different political, social or religious beliefs to whom, many times, we extend extra-judicial killings or character assassinations. In a word, disciples though we are, we are also sinners who at times let sin overtake us.

The fruit of our fall into sin as individu- als and as a nation is visible in our massive poverty, extra-judicial killings, pollution and other acts of environmental depreda- tion, unemployment and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. For these reasons alone we need to heed Jesus’ call:

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom

of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe in

the good news” (Mk 1:15). As Paul reminds us in his discourse at the Areopagus: “God

By the Roadside / A5

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010



Fr. Russell Bantiles Cogito
Fr. Russell Bantiles

Priests still have a future

POPE Benedict XVI, in his Letter to the Seminarians, recounts his experience in December 1941

when he was “drafted for military service, the company commander

asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: ‘Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed’. I knew that this ‘new Germany’ was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever.”

The Pope notes that today, the situation is different. “Many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a ‘job’ for the future, but one that belongs more to the past.” One could often hear

even parents – after being con-

fided by their son that he wanted

to become a priest – would say:

“What can you get from that?”

But I think the Pope’s diagnosis

fits more appropriately in the first

world countries like USA, Spain, Germany, etc. Though there are

particular similar cases in the Phil- ippines, they are not yet so com- mon. Stories like parents putting obstacle on their son’s vocation often end up in the Primetime Drama special of a national TV. Here in Spain, for instance, a young lad’s decision to enter the seminary would raise more

than one eyebrow. “What has happened to that boy?” “Isn’t he doing well with his career?” En- couraging the seminarians, the

Pope says: “You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to

prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing because people will always have need of God.”

Priests still have a future. In a sense, this is what the Pope wants to convey especially to the young people in a highly industrialized world. Oftentimes the vision of a dark future for priests is what prevents young candidates from discovering their priestly voca- tion. One’s personal concept of

success as defined in terms of

good and stable job, big salaries and a comfortable life makes the possibility of serving God through His Church something like a nightmare for some. But the future of priests is not determined by these parameters. Authentically successful life is

more than just having big salaries, a stable job and material comfort. Real success is when you find au- thentic meaning to your existence:

why are you here and where are you going. There is real joy in giv- ing one’s life for the good of others. I think, in this sense, the priests still and will always have a future. The Pope’s reason for affirm- ing that priests still have a future

is decisive. He says, “People will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization: they will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the Universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of

Cogito / A7

Preserving the human body

Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS Lovelife
Sr. Mary Pilar Verzosa, RGS

HAVE you ever heard of the word “Plasti- nation”? The first time I heard of it was last

week. I got a call from GMA 7 asking if they

could interview me for the Jessica Sojo Show

on the topic of “Preservation of the Human Body”. I agreed, thinking it was simply

on preserving the fetus in bottles such as

those displayed in biology laboratories in schools.

When the TV crew arrived, they said

they had just come from a place in The Fort,

Taguig, where an exhibit of dead human bodies was going on. They described how the exhibit was arranged by a group from Korea and will be in the country for six months. Students and the public in general

are invited to see it at P350 entrance fee per person. They vaguely described to me what they were told—how the dead bodies are pre- served in some kind of plastic with their skins peeled off to expose the muscles and bones, the lungs and other internal organs.

The technique is called “plastination” and

they can last for over a hundred years with- out deteriorating.

They then set up their equipment and the researcher-interviewer threw some questions to me. I spoke lengthily on the pro-life values

of respect for the dignity of human life and therefore, each person should be treated with care even after death. And this includes the unborn babies. At present, we have a cam- paign, encouraging schools to bury the fetuses displayed in their laboratories since the stu- dents have many alternative ways of learning through videos, plastic, resin or rubberized models, books and the internet. The cadavers that medical students use in their anatomy dissecting class should bury all the body parts at the end of the semester and not just throw

them along with any garbage. I know that in UST, it is their practice to have a Mass for the Dead before they collect all the body parts from the different tables in preparation for proper

burial. St. Paul University where I finished

my Nursing before I entered the convent, has already buried all the fetuses in their labora- tories. They have a beautiful Memorial for the Dead beside the College Chapel. I watched the Jessica Sojo show last Satur- day with mixed emotions. I was amazed at the technology used to preserve the bodies, a technology invented by a German doctor. They even showed clips of how the process

is done—soaking the dead body in some chemicals for hours, then stripping the skin off the body, then covering it with plastic

chemicals. The exhibit showed the dead persons in various positions—some stand- ing, others crawling or sitting. There were bodies with the abdomen exposed, or the lungs exposed. They showed different stages of development of the fetus. And there was a woman with the abdomen skin open in

order to show a five month old baby inside

the uterus. Dead baby, too, of course. The organizers of the exhibit kept repeat- ing that this was for educational purposes and to help people appreciate the beauty and wonder of the human body. The only state- ment that was taken from my interview was what I said about how unethical it is to make business out of the human bodies, like pros-

titution and pornography. All these years, doctors and nurses have gone through their education without the need of such exhibits. The dead should be laid to rest. The show left me with a feeling of pity for all those dead persons and anger at how science and technology have lost the spirit of compassion and respect for the human person. I do hope that school administrators will not send their students to that exhibit. I wonder why our government allowed it into our country.

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

NOVEMBER, with its liturgical celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemora- tion of All the Faithful Departed, reminds all of us that we are meant to live in communion with one another and with God. This is an essential and defin- ing element of our human nature

and condition. We are not meant

solely to be individual persons, but also to be social beings whose lives are by nature linked with one another not only physi- cally, socially or politically, but

also spiritually. We are meant to

enter into each other´s lives. That´s how it is, and we need to be more aware of this truth and work it out, because, frank- ly, this aspect is often ignored, not understood, and obviously not pursued. We would be ir- reversibly handicapped if the working principle of our life

does not include this truth, or treats it only marginally. As persons, our individuality is not supposed to contradict our sociability and our life of

communion. While distinct from

each other, they are meant to go

together. They can only prosper that way, since one without the other necessarily compromises our life. In short, we would compro-

mise our personhood, and be-

come something else. We would

debase our human dignity, which by our nature cannot be lived passively and automati - cally, but rather actively and deliberatedly. That´s why our Catechism teaches that—

“The human person needs to

live in society. Society is not for

him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature ... A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes

beyond each one of them ” ...


May this doctrine stir us deep- ly and cause us to undertake a lifelong process of completing and perfecting our personhood by assimilating and living well the social and communion aspect of our life! In fact, we are not meant to be

social only in this life, but also in

our definitive, eternal life. This

is where the social nature of our life goes even deeper to reach the level of communion of saints, where we enter into the lives of each one of us by overcoming the barriers of time, space and even death itself. This is made possible only in God. Through his Spirit, we

Communion in the digital age

receive all the good meant for us individually and collectively. That´s why our Catechism again teaches that—

“Since all the faithful form one

body, the good of each is com-

municated to the others



must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in

the Church. But the most impor- tant member is Christ, since he is the head ...

“Therefore, the riches of Christ

are communicated to all mem- bers through the sacraments. As

this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily be-

come a common fund.” (947)

There are many aspects of this communion of saints which we

cannot tackle in this present col- umn. But I invite everyone to study them on his own. There’s “commu- nion in holy things,” “communion among holy persons,” “commu- nion in the faith,” “communion of the sacraments,” etc.

These are no theories, but spiritual and supernatural truths that need to be approached by faith, and not only by reason or the senses. Let’s try use all our human resources to go deep into these realities. Lately, for example, I was amazed to learn new things

regarding the digital culture that can be useful to our social and communion life. It’s well- known that many of us get eas- ily hooked into the computer, internet, Facebook, etc. Someone explained to me that this is because people now fall into a new technology-generated phenomenon, the NIS or the neural inter-active simulation. In layman´s language, people now live in a virtual reality that often absorbs us that getting out from there would require tremendous will-power and effort. Obviously, there is something dangerous in this new develop- ment, but we cannot deny that it also offers us new benefits. The challenge now is how to humanize and Christianize it, so that it can really contribute to our betterment, especially in the area of our social and com- munion life. My opinion as of now is that we really need to help one anoth- er so that we can develop the ap- propriate guidelines and norms of prudence. This is still much of a virgin forest to be explored and made use of. The learning curve will have to be experienced. But we should go on with it because it is a good tool, if used properly, to live communion.

Brian Caulfield Half a World Away
Brian Caulfield
Half a World Away

The hour of our death

“It’s amazing to think that we are looking at someone who in a few hours will see the face of God.”

THIS is a story of a young death, the search for life’s meaning, and the seemingly slight but ultimately real consolation of our Catholic faith. Her name was Cristina, my wife’s cousin, but her friends

called her “Teeny” in the endearing Filipino way of framing

nicknames. She was lively, intelligent, full of fun and always

the first of her friends to take a chance, whether trying some

new cuisine or dating a non-Catholic guy. She had a good job with a big New York company, owned a co-op in Manhattan, which she subleased, and another in

Hoboken, where she lived. Two years ago, she was downsized from her job with a year’s worth of severance pay and took the opportunity to travel before looking for a new job. She also slowed down, got off the fast city track, and volunteered her time to help families and children. In retrospect, it was good that she got to enjoy some innocent earthly adventures in her

final years.

Last May, Teeny was diagnosed with stage four cancer

that had spread to vital organs. Even with aggressive chemo treatments, her chances were slim. Yet she battled each day

of the final five months of her life, and in the process became

more reflective and serious in the practice of her faith. That

was Teeny, always exploring more deeply and squeezing something extra out of the moment. Having just observed the Church’s feasts of All Saints and All Souls, when we focus on the Four Last Things (death, judgment, heaven, hell), I think it appropriate to contemplate one death in the context of what the Church teaches, and what possible good it might do the rest of us. The words quoted at the top of this column were spoken by

the priest who anointed Teeny and recited the Prayers for the Dying at her bedside in the Catholic hospice. He had just of- fered Mass for residents and families in the chapel and came to Teeny’s room, where she was surrounded by family members, including her parents, who had traveled from the Philippines.

We knew these were her last hours. She had been admitted to

the hospice on Thursday and it was now Saturday evening. Her eyes were open but glazed and unfocused. Her breathing was regular but extremely labored. She was bone thin, unable

to move even a finger. Yet we knew she was aware because

whenever someone whispered in her ear, or said something funny, Teeny would change the pattern of her breathing. It sounded almost like laughter, and I believe it was. Even in

extremis, she was enjoying the company of family and friends, who were not afraid to tell funny stories of past times in her presence. Someone brought a big pot of Filipino food into the room and everyone agreed that Teeny would have been the

first to dig in, so we all did.

Still, there were tears, many tears. And helpless looks among

us that said all in one glance: “Why … Not yet … How sad …

So young … She’s in God’s hands.” We all did and said things

in those last hours with only one thought in mind – what would Teeny want?

  • I am blessed to have been present on a few occasions at the

bedside of a dying person when a priest entered the room. It is, quite literally, like no other experience on the face of this earth. All of the priests were different men—different ages and years of priesthood, different shapes and weights, different temperaments and personalities—yet when they entered the room of the dying they were the living image of Jesus Christ among us. There was no mistaking it; no denying it.

Father Larry entered Teeny’s room, greeted in a formal yet kind manner the parents and siblings, and stepped to the head of the bed to perform his duty. First, the Prayers for the Dying, so simple yet true. These are not the words you would ordinar- ily read for consolation, calling to mind death and judgment. But in the context of the absolute, irreversible, incontestable fact of a loved one’s death, they are most consoling, indeed. Although the Church is often accused of failing to get its mes- sage out in an updated idiom to the modern world, when it

comes to life’s final moments, the Church knows exactly what

to say. It has the only words that matter. Father Larry then took out a little round container with

holy oil for anointing. Just a dip of a thumb pad was enough

as he applied the chrism to her forehead. There was a definite

power in the act, a hushed but perceptible rush of healing and strength. This is how the Holy Spirit works among us, I thought – strong and silent, yet perceptible to those with the eyes of faith. Then Father said the words that brought heaven to earth:

“We are looking at someone who in a few hours will see the face of God.”

The somber mood in the room turned to one of hope—even quiet joy. There was a realization that Teeny, whom we would rightly mourn, was actually blessed, and running ahead of

us. She had stepped off the fast track of life for a 44-year-old

single professional woman, and made it to the finish line first.

Everyone there had to think about his or her own direction in

life, and how best to meet death as a gateway to heaven.

  • I am not one to proclaim every departed person a saint, as

we hear too often in the eulogies of funeral Masses these days.

Yet we must trust in the promises of our faith to think that this was, indeed, a holy death. Teeny had gone to Confession while she could speak, received Communion while she could

swallow, and was anointed in her final hours. She was not only

prepared in her heart to meet God, she was made ready by the

sacraments of the Church and the prayers of her loved ones. May we all be so blessed at the hour of our death.

By the Roadside / A4

has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people

repent” (Acts 17:30).

Catholic Catechism teaches that penance means an interior movement

of a “contrite heart” (Ps 51:19). It’s not

purely our act. It’s a response to the ac- tion of grace in our hearts, drawing us to the love of God. Because we are drawn to the splendor of God’s love, we real-

ize the horror of our sins and how the horror is so real in the destruction they bring us. Sin exacts both external and internal destruction. The sin of corrup- tion, for example, destroys justice in our land. It creates massive poverty, home- lessness, joblessness, gross inequality and hopelessness. But it also destroys the inner peace of the person who commits corruption, no matter how successfully he hides it from others. The

person who commits adultery destroys the unity and peace of his/her family, but he also ruins his own peace and damages his/her union with his/her

spouse. The public official who betrays

the public trust by engaging in self- serving transactions and using power

to hide the fact destroys the sanctity of

people’ confidence in their government

leaders and, again, the serenity of his/

her own conscience. Penance to be genuine expresses itself not only in terms of sorrow and abhor- rence of sin. It also leads the disciple to the wisdom and necessity of restoring what he/she damaged or taken away

as well as the firm resolve not to sin

again in the future. Let’s take the bomb analogy. Suppose we are soldiers and we know completely how a bomb can destroy life and property. But in battle

we get careless and a bomb explodes in the vicinity without our taking proper precautions. The result is, we get hit. Fortunately we survive and we vow never again to expose ourselves to

the dangers of a bomb. Sin is the true spiritual bomb. Real penance entails that we not only know its dangers but also that we altogether get rid of sin in our lives so as not to expose ourselves to spiritual death.

However, there’s one caveat. We

don’t get rid of sin by our own efforts alone. Christians are not Pelagians (people who thought that human be-

ings can, by their own power, overcome evil and sin). It is through the Holy Spirit, the fruit of Jesus Christ’s work of redemption, freely given to us who believe, that we are empowered to rise

from sin and fight to win over sin and

its manifestations. That’s God’s grace at work.


Penance cannot stand alone. The

fight against sin and its manifestations

and consequences must have only one outcome—victory. This can only be assured by the action of Jesus the Re- deemer himself. His victory becomes

our own when through the Holy Spirit we renounce sin and undertake a new life powered by his resurrection. St.

Peter, the first pope, reminds us of the

power of Christ’s resurrection to give

us a new birth. “Blessed be the God and

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his mercy gave us a new birth to a living

hope through the resurrection of Jesus

Christ” (1 Pt 1:3).

Our renewal is based on this living

hope born of the resurrection of Jesus. St. Paul distinguishes the point from which we need to depart and the point

to which we need to arrive as far as

renewal is concerned. The first is our

likeness to the first Adam, the latter,

our destination, is the likeness to the second Adam, Jesus Christ risen from

the dead. We must leave Adam who

led us to the fall; on the other hand, we must embrace Jesus Christ, the second

Adam, who brought us victory over sin

and death. “As was the earthly one, so

also the earthly, and as the heavenly one, so also the heavenly. Just as we

have borne the image of the earthly one (Adam), we shall also bear the image

of the heavenly one (Christ)” (1 Cor

15:48-49). In other words, because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can be like

By the Roadside / A7


Local News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

CBCP official cites progress in deaf awareness

Deaf girls use sign language to communicate with other people during the Deaf Awareness Week celebration
Deaf girls use sign language to communicate with other people during the Deaf Awareness Week celebration held at the
Quezon City Circle, Nov. 7, 2010
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

AN official of the Catholic Church’s health care ministry reported dramatic progress has been made in raising awareness and sensitizing about the needs of the handicapped people, es- pecially the deaf. Fr. Luke Moortgat said the campaign and programs of the church and various organiza - tions is having a significant impact, particularly in raising awareness. The country is currently celebrating Deaf Awareness Week aimed at bringing at - tention to deaf people, their language and culture, their contributions to the society and their issues.

The event also serves as an op- portunity to enlighten the public about deaf people and their com- munity, said Moortgat.

“We’ve seen progress, more

people are coming. We have

more deaf in the schools now.

It’s not yet enough but there is

progress,” Moorgat said.

The priest said it’s no secret that the deaf people have been oppressed, marginalized and under-represented. The executive secretary of the Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines added that their sign languages have been oppressed for the use in their education.

“But now, more places already

accept an interpreter to sign for the deaf… it’s not enough but there is progress, and with your

help, we’ll make more progress,”

said Moortgat.

The church official, however,

lamented that the country still

has a long way to go in terms of enlightening the public about the blind and the mentally retarded


“We do not have enough

services for the blind



ridicule them. I’ve seen people who are mentally retarded who

are being ridiculed and are be-

ing rejected form our society,”

he said. For many years, Moortgat devoted his time not just to handicapped but also to those with multiple disabilities, the mentally ill and those dying in the streets. Sadly and so often, he said, they are not cared for properly and many people don’t know how to attend to them.

Moortgat, meanwhile, called on the deaf people to exert more efforts in reframing perceptions of deaf people, and adopting linguistic and cultural model of the community.

“Don’t say you cannot talk…

do your work! Make this an in-

clusive society where everybody respects everybody, where each person respects for others,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Pabillo backs Deles amid quit calls

MANILA Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo has sided with Presidential peace adviser Secretary Teresita Ging Deles amid calls for her resignation.

Pabillo said the motive for her ouster is “political” and

was clearly aimed at disrupting the Palace’s efforts in end - ing insurgency in Mindanao.

“We are hoping that the peace process will be spared from

politicking but the need for peace process in the country,”

said Pabillo who chairs the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Deles are facing ouster calls from some lawmakers after she allegedly insulted Lanao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Fatima Aliah Dimaporo who questioned the agency’s pro - grams in the agency’s budget hearing. In supporting Dimaporo, Davao del Sur 1st District Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas moved to cut the budget of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to one peso from the proposed P235 million in 2011. But Deles said she has no plans of stepping down because after all, she claimed, those against her are not solely coming from the Mindanao block of legislators. Deles said she could easily vacate her post if it was only for her own sake. However, she said, there are many Mus - lim groups, civil society organizations who wanted her to remain in office.

Bishop Pabillo also said he trusts Deles “because she is

working hard to pursue the peace initiative of the Aquino

administration.” (CBCPNews)

Former PAGASA chief leaves gov’t, country

THE familiar face and voice seen and heard on television and radio during inclement weather will no longer be part of weather reports within the next few years, if not forever. The controversial meteorologist, Dr. Frisco Nilo, has left

the country on Nov. 2 for Australia, according to a text message he sent to CBCPNews.

“I have opted for early retirement because the present government did not stop marginalizing me,” the former

PAGASA chief said. It will be recalled Nilo was unceremoniously booted out

of his position for the “wrong forecast” of typhoon Basyang

which caught President Benigno Aquino’s ire. He was replaced by Department of Science and Technol -

ogy’s Research and Development head Graciano P. Yumul, Jr.

Nilo, who holds a PhD in Meteorology from the Univer- sity of the Philippines has been in government service for the past 26 years. The former PAGASA chief joins the ranks of another familiar media figure, Mr. Nathaniel Cruz, who earlier left PAGASA to seek greener pastures, literally and figuratively, in Australia. (CBCPNews)

Prelate clears priest on molestation charges

CACERES Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi has cleared a member of the archdiocesan clergy from charges of molesting a teen-age boy in a local motel.

In a statement sent to CBCP Media Of-

fice, the 74-year old prelate said apparent

attempts to destroy and discredit the church

have been made by some sectors and indi- viduals.

“The accused priest and the Archdiocese

of Caceres vehemently deny the said accusa-

tion,” Legaspi said in his statement. “We are saddened by the fact that this false

and malicious accusation is being made at the time when our priests are having their

annual clergy retreat,” he added as he asked

the faithful for prayers at this time.

The investigation initiated by church

authorities revealed a complaint made with police authorities of an alleged sexual offense committed against the complainant who

identified the alleged perpetrator through

the plate number of a car. As the police performed follow-up inves- tigation, it was learned the plate number belonged to a car owned by one Msgr. Peter Berina. It was Msgr. Berina’s driver who admitted using the car without the priest’s knowledge and permission. The driver said he entered the motel with a female com- panion on the date and time of the alleged incident. The same driver said Msgr. Berina was nowhere near the place of the incident, but

“out of nowhere, the 17-year old boy comes

forward complaining and accusing Msgr.

Berina.” “Apparently, Msgr. Berina is innocent

and the accusation against him is false and

fabricated,” Legaspi said.

He vowed to look into the possibility that

some malicious ploy against the church and its priests has been launched. The prelate further said the Archdiocese of Caceres is prepared to take appropriate legal action against the people behind in what he described as “defamatory accusa-

tions.” He likewise called on the faithful “to be

cautious and discerning, and ultimately take the side of the truth.” (Melo M. Acuna)

Del Castillo must quit out of delicadeza—Archbishop Cruz


SUPREME Court (SC) Justice Mariano Del Castillo should resign for the sake of the insti - tution and its other officials, a retired prelate said. Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Le - gal Office chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Castillo should quit his post to salvage the credibility of the Higher Tribunal. Del Castillo, the prelate said, had been involved in at least two cases of plagiarism which has already tainted the honor and integrity of the SC.

“It is very bad for the honor

and dignity of the SC…For the good of the whole, the sus - pected members should resign.

The SC must be above but mere

suspicion,” said Cruz.

The former CBCP president

also said that if the beleaguered court official is concerned with the SC and his fellow justices, “out of delicadeza,” he must resign. “The resignation is in the spirit of delicadeza,” said Cruz. Del Castillo is currently un - der fire for allegedly plagiariz - ing a portion of the 1976 deci - sion of the European Court of Human Rights in his ponencia in the Ang Ladlad case vs. Comelec, promulgated on April 8, 2010. Attorney Harry Roque’s ac - cusation came on the heels of the controversy hounding Del Castillo’s ruling in the case of Vinuya vs. Executive Secretary, which were also allegedly lifted without attribution to the origi- nal authors. (CBCPNews)

Travel / A1

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have

all the reasons to be wary because of non- stop abduction of foreigners especially in Mindanao.

“Prevention is better than cure! Let us be very vigilant and security conscious,” said

Bagaforo over Church-run Radio Veritas.

“The travel advisory could help the people

to be more vigilant and prepared for any

eventualities,” he added.

The prelate said he also understands the

concern raised by Malacañang to prevent the people from panicking. But according to Bagaforo, it would be bet- ter for the government to coordinate with in- ternational partners in countering terrorism. The said five countries issued travel advisories this week warning against pos- sible terrorist attacks in Manila, and areas frequented by foreigners like malls, airports and even places of worship. The church leader also called on the clergy

and the faithful, especially in Mindanao, to be alert on the possible terrorist attack. Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad, for his part, expressed alarm on the foreign assessment of the threat.

He also called on his flocks to exercise “extra precautionary measure” and report

to the authorities any suspicious activity to

the authorities in support to their efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity.


Layoff / A1

Like Lagman, Baldoz said

that it is PAL’s “management

prerogative” to reorganize its

corporate structure for the vi-

ability of its operations. The decision, however, earned the ire of the Palea members.

Workers who will be affected by

the mass lay off staged a protest

rally in front of DOLE’s main of-

fice in Intramuros, Manila.

The demonstrators also vowed

of more protests to come if the government will not withdraw its decision in favor of the PAL management. (CBCPNews)

Conversion / A1

constant renewal of hearts and minds by walking on the path

of penance and conversion,” said

Varquez. The prelate made the state - ment on Oct. 27 in his homily during a Mass, signaling the start of the 3rd Regional Youth Day in Borongan.

Around 700 youth were in attendance with participants coming from different dioceses in Central and Eastern Samar regions. Varquez said the three-day gathering hopes to continue the journey of the young faithful to grow in faith.

The Diocese of Naval has topped the number of delegates with 42, followed by the Arch- diocese of Cebu with 32 partici- pants. The bishop said that for the youth to realize conversion effectively, the answer lies in the theme of the gathering:

“Young Visayans: Come to - gether, Share the Word, Live the Eucharist.” “Our theme points to us the

reality that it is only Jesus who is the embodiment of all that is ‘true, good, wholesome, and

beautiful,’” he added. “He alone can give us the

great things in life which the world cannot give. That is why we should seek him, seek his

face in his Word and in the Eucharist.”

Several other participants of the event come from Archdio- cese of Palo and the dioceses of Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Maasin,

Calbayog and Catarman. The Borongan diocese had just celebrated its Golden Ju - bilee on October 22 with Pope Benedict XVI’s representative to the country, Archbishop Ed- ward Joseph Adams, and other Filipino bishops in attendance.


Lay / A1

the womb” and the enemy brings death

through abortion, contraception, steriliza- tion and through embryonic stem cells, euthanasia and assisted suicide and life’s degradation through corruption, poverty, and environmental destruction.

Strengthen ‘pro-life’ movement

Padilla called on the participants to recognize the need to be informed and equipped and know the ways of the en- emy and see clearly the need to develop

one’s competencies and strategies. He said one of the weaknesses of the

“pro-life movement” is the disunity and

lack of collaboration. He encouraged the participants to be

“continually renewed in spirit” because “we not only do good works but we develop a vibrancy of faith.”

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, mean-

while, said they will be doing their share to strengthen the campaign against RH bill. In a Nov. 9, forum, Macalintal showed the media some posters of different de- signs which he brought from Vancouver

in Canada where he attended a “pro- life” convention recently.

Macalintal said they will be replicated in the country and will be distributed to different provinces. One poster titled “facts of life” de- picts a 5-day old fetus which looks like

a “dot” but “already has a life and so

that’s why we have to care for it.” “We don’t have the right to kill un- born babies,” said Macalintal, a lector

of the Last Supper of Our Lord Parish in Las Piñas City.

Other posters carry signs like “This is a child, not a choice,” and “Abortion

stops a beating heart.”

Macalintal called on the parents and

those supporting the advocacy against

artificial contraception to act boldly to

stop the passage of the RH bill.

“All pro-lifers should make these kinds

of posters so that we will be able to empha-

size the value of human life,” he said.

The known election lawyer said the people should do their own share and must not just rely on the Catholic hier-

archy in fighting RH bill. “Let’s show them (RH bill supporters) that this is not just a fight of the church but of the lay people,” said Macalintal.

Prayer Vigil

Organized by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, the Nov. 20 prayer vigil

called “Prayers and Reflections on Hu- man Life” will be held at the Manila

Cathedral from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Laiko National president Edgardo Ti- rona said now is the time for the laity to

defend the Catholic faith “against those

who are trying to propagate the culture of death in the guise of alleviating the

lives” of the poor.

“As a Church, we cannot just be com- placent and allow this insidious attempt

to ruin the moral and spiritual fabric of

our society,” Tirona said.

The prayer assembly will also serve as a spiritual prelude to a prayer vigil in

defense of life called by Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 27. The pontiff has earlier called on all

Catholics to join the prayer vigil for “All

Nascent of Human Life” on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent which will be

celebrated in all dioceses and parishes. Tirona urged all lay organizations to

participate in both activities and affirm their “commitment to the sacredness of family and life.”

RH bill mandates the dispensing of

artificial birth control, including poten- tial abortifacients. The bill requires the government to guarantee wide access to reproductive health care services, methods, devices, and supplies to the people. The proposed measure also pushes

the use of “modern” methods of family

planning, including condoms, birth con- trol pills, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), and injectables. In a country where government hospitals have long been dealing with scarce equipment and medicines, the

bill categorizes artificial family planning supplies as “essential medicines.” (with reports from Roy Lagarde)

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

Diocesan News


Prelate sees hope for farmers engaged in sustainable agriculture

AGRI-GOVERNANCE. Mayor Jun Pacalioga of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur stresses on the importance of shifting to
AGRI-GOVERNANCE. Mayor Jun Pacalioga of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur stresses on the importance of shifting to
organic agriculture during the recent Rice-Duck Farming Visitation in his municipality. Many dioceses, like Butuan and Cal-
bayog in partnership with other institutions, are helping farmers shift into organic farming. (Photo by BONG D. FABE)

BUTUAN City—Poor farmers

in Butuan can pin their hopes in sustainable agriculture to augment their livelihood as the diocese embarked on a project to propagate the new concept in farming. Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos said the training on sustainable agriculture provides farmers with newer insights on farming methods, labor- intensive chores but with lesser capital outlays. The 68-year old prelate said while farmers learn newer and more feasible farming tech - niques, their wives also take part

in livelihood programs. With

wives earning additional income

for the family, they are more respected and treated equally by their husbands.

“We are not only concerned

with the augmentation of their income but [also] their family

life,” he emphasized.

The project, which utilizes

organic materials in rice produc- tion, is being funded by Misereor, a development agency under the auspices of the German Catholic Bishops Organization. Pueblos said the Bishops-Busi- nessmen’s Conference through businessman Jose Concepcion, Jr. has expressed interest in training poor farmers get highly- priced premium agriculture programs.

“Farmers ceased to borrow

money from loan sharks as more and more farmers expressed interest in sustainable agricul-

ture,” the prelate said.

A three-hectare sustainable agriculture “laboratory” in Ba- rangay Pigdaulan which con - tinued to attract farmers from various villages and other parts of Mindanao, utilizes organic materials and very feasible tech- nologies in rice production, hog and goat raising, poultry-raising

and the introduction of fresh water culture of a number of

fish species.

The facility hosted some 300

farmers from all over Mindanao some three or four years ago as the National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace assisted by the Department of Agriculture seriously consid - ered introducing sustainable agriculture in various parts of the country. One of the farm’s trusted

“teachers” is Nelson Ordista, a

B.S. Criminology graduate who

finds it more beneficial to work

in the farm than pursue a profes- sional career in government. Asked how he got involved in the demonstration farm run by the Diocese of Butuan, Ordista

said he was first invited in 2005 to take part in the training and began using the technology he acquired in his own family farm. “I learned a lot from the train-

ings I had under Misereor and when I applied the technology to our family-owned farm, I opted to return and acquire more skills

in agriculture,” he said.

He is tasked to oversee the goat, poultry and carabao-raising activities along with fresh-water fish culture and composting uti- lizing vermiculture. Utilizing what Pueblos called “Korean technology,” the pig- gery housing eight heads and some ten piglets does not emit foul odor. The prelate is thankful to Misereor, which hopes the tech- nology they introduced to poor farmers would at least allevi -

ate or help them move out of poverty. “The profit for farmers en - gaged in organic farming will increase because they will no longer be dependent on chemical and commercial fertilizers and

pesticides,” Pueblos explained.

Farmers who have undergone training at the facility are being subjected to follow-up visits by their coordinators and are asked of problems they encounter in their production. The challenged being faced by the sustainable agriculture tech-

nicians is how to survive without further funding from Misereor as the agency has shifted its at- tention to some other projects outside the Philippines. (Melo M. Acuña)

Calbayog diocese, DA forge sustainable agriculture program

CALBAYOG City—The Diocese of Calbayog and the Department of Agriculture have come up with key commitments to promoting sustainable agriculture development. This developed during the recent inauguration of the Social Action Cen- ter Diocesan Demo Farm, which is a recipient of the DA’s P9 million Green House Project. The special grant is expected to en- hance the government program for food security through assisting the needs of

the rural farmers. During the inauguration, Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez formally ac- cepted the partnership program with state-of-the-art facilities for sustainable agriculture. DA Regional Director Leo Cañeda was also present during the turnover ceremony organized by the diocese. In attendance were other DA regional and provincial officials, LGU and ba-

rangay officials, as well as groups of

various local farmers.

The Diocesan Demo Farm is located in Brgy Limarayon, in Oquendo District, few kilometers away from Calbayog City. Cañeda, for his part, lauded the diocese specifically its social action ministry for its component program on sustainable and organic farming.

He mentioned that the Limarayon Green House of the Diocese of Cal - bayog is now the DA’s biggest Green House Farm facility in Region VIII.


Lost / A1

our institutions, including

Congress,” Rosales said

earning applause from the



RH bill proponents are

suppressing vital informa - tion about the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, retired Cebu Archbish- op Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said.

On the sidelines of the conference, Vidal said that aside from pushing the use of contraceptives to control the country’s population, the

bill also seeks to “silence”

those who are against it.

“If it will be passed as a

law, we, bishops, will be

jobless. We cannot preach against it anymore because the church will be silenced due to sanctions,” said Vid- al.

“One sanction stated there

is that if it becomes a law,

anybody who would speak

against it will be fined or put

into prison… I have read the

bill. It’s very clear there.”

A copy of the proposed measure states that among the provisions is penalizing those doing malicious disin- formation of the bill. It further states that the

offenders faces imprison - ment ranging from one to

six months, or a fine ranging

from P10,000 to P50,000, or both. Vidal said RH bill propo- nents are suppressing the truth to paint themselves in the best possible light.

“I don’t like to judge but

that is the fact that they do

not bring to the open,” he

told reporters at the 17th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith and Family in Makati City. Vidal said bishops and priests would be willing to go to jail when the measure is enacted into law.

“What am I going to do?

Do you mean to say I will be silent already? I cannot do that because I have to preach about the 5th commandment

of God: Thou shall not kill,”

said the Cardinal. RH bill author and House Minority Leader Edcel Lag- man, meanwhile, accused the Catholic hierarchy of running a black propaganda against RH bill. The Albay congressman claimed that bishops are

o n l y s e e i n g “ p h a n t o m

jailers” as no one will be

jailed for opposing the RH bill.


The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philip - pines will consult legal and medical experts as it gears for a dialogue with Mala - cañang on its population policy. Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP President, said they

would have to get the assis- tance of lawyers and medical practitioners to seek their opinion on reproductive health.

“We bishops are aware of

our limitations. Since our major line is on morality,

we would be enlisting help from the lay people who would be with us represent-

ing their specific expertise,”

said Odchimar. “This is also a presenta - tion that the majority of the church in the Philippines is composed of lay people… so that would be a concerted

presentation of the position of the church not only by the

CBCP, but in the totality,” he

pointed out. Odchimar told reporters

on Nov. 6, the start of the

three-day 17th Asia-Pacific

Congress on Faith, Life and Family, held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. Asked when the dialogue

would take place, the prel- ate said it has yet to be scheduled and they hope to present the issue of RH on the aspects of demogra- phy, economics, legal and medical. Odchimar admitted that despite their efforts to es - tablish communication lines with Aquino, this does not mean that everything would

be fine. He said the real fight is

at the House Representa - tives and acknowledged that there is an increase in

the number of lawmakers supporting the proposed re - productive health bill which

seeks to promote the use of contraceptives. But he said that whatever the outcome, the Catholic Church would continue

fighting for the protection

of life. “For us it does not mat - ter, whether we win or lose, we still have to preach the gospel (and) preach the position of the Catholic Church so that it might not be said that if the RH bill would pass, it is because the bishops did not do any -

thing, that the bishops did

not speak out” he added.



Capiz clergy holds medical mission

ROXAS City—Hundreds of families here received bundles of joy, free medical consultations and medicines. The medical mission was organized by the clergy of the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral on Oct. 21 to 22 at the 3rd floor of the cathedral rectory. Fr. Job Bolivar, cathedral rector, said at least four volunteer doctors, who are eye, ear, nose and throat (EENT) specialists, came all the way from Metro Manila to Roxas City to help in the medical mission. (Bienvenido P. Cortes)

Lipa holds prayer rally in defense of life

LIPA City—To express their indignation over efforts to introduce arti - ficial methods of contraception and sex education among the country’s young adolescents, the Archdiocese of Lipa held a Marian Prayer Rally for Life on November 6 at the Lipa Youth and Cultural Center attended by the archdiocese’s lay organizations, Catholic schools, the clergy and religious communities. The rally concluded with a Eucharistic Mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral at 3:00 led by Archbishop Ramon Arguelles.

(Melo M. Acuña)

San Jose Diocese to hold first synod

SAN JOSE City—The Diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija is set to hold its first synod to assess the local church’s meaningful accomplishments and chart future plans and programs to ably respond to the changing

times. Dubbed as “Sinodo ng Mabuting Katiwala,” the Synod will be held from March 20-26, 2011 and will be attended by members of the clergy, representatives of religious men and women and selected leaders from the laity. (Melo M. Acuna)

Migrante-ME warns of arbitrary raids in Saudi

QUEZON City—Migrante Middle East has sounded the alarm over arbitrary raids in Saudi, in guise of the Kingdom’s anti-drug campaign, but only to crackdown illegal or undocumented migrant workers staying there. Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Monterona said they have

been receiving several requests for assistance from families of OFWs who

have been arrested for allegations of possession of illegal or regulated drugs. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Bishop scores prayerful lotto bettors

CALOOCAN City— Invoking God to win lotto and other forms of gambling for that matter is a ‘defective’ practice of religiosity, Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said. Gambling, he said, is incompatible with Chris -

tianity and invoking God of good luck is flawed. “It’s sort of not exactly

right because there’s a right way of expressing spirituality and religious sentiments. It’s a defect,” he said. The prelate was reacting to reports that some bettors pray hard inside churches for signs so they could pick the winning combination in the lotto draw. (CBCPNews)

Aquino scored for apathetic stance on peace talks

ANTIPOLO City—An Aglipayan priest scored President Aquino for his alleged arrogance and non-committal stance towards resuming the impending peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front. Fr. Dionito Cabillas of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensiyon at Aresto (Selda) said Aquino’s in - difference is hindering the release of all political prisoners (PPs) in the country. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

By the Roadside / A5

Jesus himself. The image of Jesus the Risen Lord is our hope for real change that truly conquers evil, sin and death that stalk our islands like perpetually menacing shadows.

How can the power of the resurrection of Jesus be relevant to our need for a new Philippines where we are renewed as disciples, as a parish, as a diocese, as a society, as a people? From a Christian point of view the Spirit of the Risen Lord will become the real source of our trans- formation as individuals and as com- munities from people being driven by

selfishness, greed and disunity to God’s

People in whom righteousness reigns.

“For his sake I have accepted the loss of

all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ…not hav- ing any righteousness of my own…but that which comes through faith in Christ,

the righteousness from God, depending

on faith, to know him and the power of

his resurrection…” (Phil 3:8-10).

Righteousness powered by the resur- rection? This is the working principle of individual and social renewal. It simply means that my whole life, my whole self

and my acts are being suffused by light, not by darkness, and that, as a society, we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, not by the spirit of the world. It means, as St. Paul further instructs the Philippian Christians—isn’t it a wonder that ‘Philippian’ and Filipino are from the same root?—that we are

deeply concerned with “whatever is

true, whatever is honorable, whatever

is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything

worthy of praise…” (Phil 4:8).

Cogito / A5

true humanity.”

A priest’s life still has a future because

people will always need God to give meaning to their existence. People will still priests because they will always need God. “Where people no longer per-

ceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough. People then seek escape in euphoria and violence; these are the very things that increasingly threaten young people.”

Lastly, priests still have a future because,

as the Pope rightly observes, “God is alive, and he needs people to serve him and bring him

to others.” Perhaps, this is something that seminarians must reflect every day. God

needs you to bring Him to others. Psy- chologists say that one of man’s deepest needs is the need to be needed. Well, here it is: “It does make sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.”

Marine / A1

“It is okay as long as they follow

the rule of law, they respect every -

body, there will be no sacred cows

and they will uphold the law,” said

Jumoad. The AFP completed over the week - end the pullout of the 1st Marine Brigade in Isabela, Basilan and will be transferred to Central Mindanao, stronghold of the Moro Islamic Lib - eration Front (MILF). The marine brigade will be re - placed in Basilan by the same num - ber of troops from the Special Op - erations Task Force (SOTF) of the Army’s Special Operations Com - mand (Socom). On Nov. 2, a military officer, who refused to be named, warned of pos - sible attacks by Abu Sayyaf bandits and rogue MILF members because of

the marine pullout. He said this move of the AFP might allow the said groups to escape from their containment area and carry out atrocities. (CBCPNews)

Flood / A1

relief goods like canned goods, rice, and canned goods to families who

been flooded out of their homes and

have nothing to eat,” Talamayan

said. The prelate said local the govern -

ment and the Department of Social

Welfare and Development are also

leading the relief operations there. As of Saturday, he said, many fam -

ilies were still sleeping on rooftops because of the high water in some areas in Tuguegarao. (CBCPNews)

© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

A8 People, Facts & Places

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010
CBCP Monitor
Vol. 14 No. 23
November 8 - 21, 2010
© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No.

Philippine bishops to visit Pope

FILIPINO Catholic prelates will

head off to Rome starting next

month for their “ad limina” visit”– during which they must

account for themselves to Vati- can departments and the Pope. Msgr. Juanito Figura, Secre - tary General of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

Pope Benedict XVI is also ex- pected to give his address to the visiting members of the Philip- pine bishops’ collegial body. According to Figura, those who would have the chance to visit the pontiff include all the

  • 98 active CBCP members which

were divided into three groups.

said the visit is a chance for the prelates to report developments and concerns of their respective dioceses.

The first batch, composed of

prelates coming from 30 eccle- siastical jurisdictions in Metro Manila, and Central and North-

“It’s called quinquennial visit ad

limina apostolorum wherein the

bishops will meet the pope and report on the state of their dioceses

or prelatures,” Figura said.

“Aside from that they are

also encouraged to visit the

various dicasteries or offices of

the Roman Curia… the Sacred

Congregations and the Pontifical Councils,” he added.

ern Luzon, is scheduled on Nov.

  • 25 to Dec.6, 2010.

It will be followed on Feb.7 to 19, 2011 by all bishops assigned in the Bicol region, Visayas and the Military Ordinariate. The last batch to visit Rome are bishops from Mindanao including the Archbishop of

Lipa on Feb. 21 to March 5, 2011.


© Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No.

mon commitment to the peace process

in Southern Philippines. At present, he is a member of the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue since 1988. He is

also an Honorary President of the World

Conference on Religion and Peace. His campaign for peace has also

earned him several national awards such as the San Lorenzo Ruiz Award for Peace and Unity in 1991, Public Service Award for Peace from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1998 and the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award for this initiative in 2000.


Archbishop Capalla submits resignation to Pope

FiLe Photo
FiLe Photo

ARCHBISHOP Fernando Capalla of the Archdiocese of Davao announced on Nov. 1 that he already submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. Canon law requires that bishops sub- mit their resignations when they reach their 75th year, the bishop said. As Nov. 1 was his 76th birthday, Capalla said he already sent his letter last year through Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines. However, this doesn’t mean that Capalla will be leaving the bishops’ residence down F. Torres Street from the Cathedral of San Pedro just yet.

celebration at the San Alfonso Maria de Liguori Parish at Greenhills, Buhangin, in Davao City. Archbishop Capalla, who served as CBCP president from 2003 to 2005, is known for his advocacy in promoting interreligious dialogue and attaining peace in war-torn Mindanao. Among his notable achievements was the convening of the Bishops-Ulama Conference, a dialogue forum consist- ing of Mindanao Catholic prelates, Muslim religious leaders and Protestant bishops. In the spirit of interreligious dialogue, the religious leaders affirm their com-

He said such resignation is not auto- matic as there would still be a process

of finding his replacement.

Until the Holy Father assigns another

bishop to the archdiocese, Capalla will

continue to actively fulfill the responsi- bilities of the post as he has been doing for the past 14 years. “The good American monsignor (Ad- ams) clarified that the actual process of

selection would start on the first semes- ter of 2011 so until then I would still be

your bishop,” Capalla said.

The former president of the Catholic

Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines made the statement during his birthday

Manila archdiocese holds Marian exhibit

A MARIAN exhibit showcasing older centers of devotion on the Blessed Virgin within the Arch- diocese of Manila was recently opened at the archdiocesan’s museum.

Titled “Mahal na Birhen: the Veneration of Mary in Manila”,

the exhibit is being held until

Nov. 20 at the main hall of the Museo ng Arkidiyosesis ng May-

nila (MANA) on the 3rd floor of

the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros. According to the archdiocesan website, on display are prints and images of venerated Marian titles located in churches within the archdiocese. The Marian devotions include Nuestra Sra. de Guia in Ermita, Nuestra Sra. de los Desampara- dos in Sta. Ana, Nuestra Sra. de

los Remedios in Malate, Nuestra Sra. de la Consolacion y Correa in Intramuros, Nuestra Sra. de Loreto in Sampaloc and Nuestra Sra. del Pilar in Sta. Cruz. The Marian prints and images, in a limited series of 20, were done by artist-members of the Printmakers Association of the Philippines (PAP) headed by Ms. Victoria Abaño. According to MANA direc - tor Fr. Albert Flores, the exhibit

“presents some aspects of the

veneration of Mary in Manila

that manifests the special close-

ness to our Lady that has marked Philippine Catholic life since the early evangelization by the Spanish missionaries to the pres-

ent time.” The exhibit also aims to “pro- mote devotion to Mary under

these titles”, he further said.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Ber- nardino Cortez formally opened the exhibit assisted by Fr. Flores and Ms. Abaño, with the partici- pating artists in attendance. An added feature to the event was a special performance of the

Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble of the University of Santo Tomas. Rachy Cuna, a designer and

one of the commissioners of the Manila Archdiocesan Commis- sion for the Cultural Heritage of the Church (MACC), helped in putting up the exhibits. PAP president Ms. Abaño said

that “their group’s collaboration

with the MANA on the exhibit shows the role that art has al- ways played in the Church’s pro-

motion of devotion and prayer.”

Markings INAUGURATED. Office of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee for the Cul- tural Heritage of the Church,



INAUGURATED. Office of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee for the Cul- tural Heritage of the Church, October 27, 2010, at the CBCP Compound, Intramuros, Manila. The agency is mandated to superintend all the restora- tion, preservation of all heritage churches in the country and their adjunct structures. PCCHH Executive Secretary Fr. Ted Torralba said the opening of an office is a major milestone for PCCHH, noting that there is an “augmenta- tion” of their work especially with the entry of an accord between the Holy See and the Philippine government on the care for old churches. PCCHH chairman and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julio Cortes led the blessing of their new office located at the second floor inside the CBCP main headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. Among those who graced the simple occasion were CBCP’s secretary general Msgr. Juanito Figura and assistant secretary gen- eral Msgr. Joselito Asis. Ms. Elvira Go, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as auditor of the Synod on the Word of God in Rome and founder of the National Catholic Family Bible Quiz was also in attendance.

INAUGURATED. Office of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee for the Cul- tural Heritage of the Church, October

ELEVATED. St. Jude Thad - deus Archdiocesan Shrine into a National Shrine by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales during a concelebrated Mass held on October 28, 2010. Located at J.P. Laurel Street in San Miguel, Manila, St. Jude Shrine draws devotees from all walks of life, who ask for favors and other graces from the patron saint of impossible cases. The first devotion to St. Jude was in- troduced in 1959 by SVD priests Fr. Peter Tsao and Fr. Peter Yang. The number of devotees grew in number through the years as news of numerous petitions granted by the saint circulated among parishioners.

DIED. Fr. Stephen Baumbusch, 53, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) seminary in Tagaytay City. Fr. Baum- busch was drowned while swimming with a group of seminarians in Lubang island, Mindoro, on October 28, 2010. Although an expert swimmer, the priest was swept away by a strong current and not able to make it to the shore. The seminarians already reached the beach when they realized their rector was not with them. Baumbusch’s lifeless body was found by a fisherman in the morn- ing of October 30. The priest was on holiday with the seminarians and had gone to visit Fr. Gian Carlo Bossi and Fr. Carrara in Lubang Island when the tragic accident happened. Born on December 23, 1956 in Ohio, USA, Fr. Baumbusch entered the PIME seminary in Newark in 1970. He was ordained priest on June 25, 1983 and taught at Newark seminary for 6 years. He was later appointed superior of the Region of the United States, dealing with the formation of seminarians. In 1998, he was assigned in PIME mission post in Mindanao, and later to Paranaque in the parish of Mary Queen of the Apostles. He was appointed rector in Tagaytay in May 2009.

Markings INAUGURATED. Office of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee for the Cul- tural Heritage of the Church,

Capiz hosts regional gathering of seminarians

AROUND 300 college seminar- ians and 29 priest-formators from the ecclesiastical provinces of Jaro, Kalibo, Antique, Bacolod , Kabankalan, San Carlos , and

Capiz are set to gather for the 10th Philosophy Gathering for

Western Visayas on November

18-20, 2010. Hosting the event will be the Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Semi- narium of the Archdiocese of Capiz in Brgy. Cagay, Roxas City. The seminary has prepared several activities that will foster not just vocation to the priest- hood but also academic coopera-

tion among various seminaries in Region VI.

With the theme, “Pilosopiyang Pinoy, Uso Pa Ba?,” this year’s

assembly will be highlighted by a philosophical conference to be conducted by Bro. Romualdo Abulad, S.V.D, Ph.D. Abulad is the chair of the Phi- losophy Department of the Uni- versity of San Carlos, Cebu, and a known proponent of Filipino Philosophy in the country. Capiz Archbishop Onesimo Gordoncillo will be the main presider and preacher at the opening liturgy on November

18 at 6 p.m. to be held at the historic Church of Santa Monica in Panay On November 29, Kabankalan Bishop Patricio Buzon, SDB will preside and preach the Eucharist at the Chapel of Sancta Maria Mater et Regina Seminarium in Cagay, Roxas City; while Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza will lead the closing liturgy on November 20 at 6:30 a.m. at the the seminary chapel in Cagay. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Vicente Hilata, vicar general of Capiz and rec- tor of Colegio dela Purisima

Concepcion is also expected to lead the 6:30 p.m. solemn ves- pers at the seminary chapel on November 19. Panay parish priest Msgr. Benjamin Advincula and Mayor Dante Bermejo will lead the people in welcoming the college seminarians from Region VI on November 18 at 4:30 p.m. The seminarians will also be treated with a short historical tour of Capiz and a mini sportsfest. The parish of Santa Monica will also tender a dinner for all the participants after the Holy Mass. (Fr. Regie Pamposa)

Borongan ‘Catholic TV’ goes on air

“BORONGAN Catholic TV 13” is

the name of a new cable television

channel managed by the Diocese of

Borongan. Over the years, the diocese has been quick to adopt new technologies in its efforts to communicate with the people and the wider community. This included its account over social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which began early this year. In

1991 the diocese has launched a 5KW

AM radio station. On October 21, the diocese, through its Commission on Mass Media and Com- munications, launched its community

cable TV channel which is currently under test broadcast. Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said the project was made to reach Catholics and others searching for Christ.

“Our mission is to reach out to the people

and others who are searching for meaning

in their lives or who have left the Church

because they are confused,” Varquez said.

The broadcasts, hosted by local cable TV company will be aired seven days a week, 18 hours a day from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 mid- night. The community channel will soon feature talk shows and other programs that would inform and bring transformative power of

the Gospel to local viewers.

“The goal is to make good use of the

mass media in order to accomplish the mission of the Church in evangelization,” said Varquez. The prelate added the creation of the community channel was made possible through the help and funding of Ay Borongan Association, a group of Boron- ganons working in the US. The organization was born out of the need of Boronganons residing in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and neighboring states, to coordinate the yearly preparations for the Borongan fiesta. (CBCPNews)

Pro-life Phils to hold seminar on true love, sexual abstinence

A SEMINAR on the meaning of true love and the value of absti- nence aimed at helping young people commit in a relationship free of immorality will be held at the Pope Pius Catholic XII Center on November 20. The seminar is being orga - nized by Pro-Life Philippines

Foundation as part of its educa- tion and training activities.

Themed “True Love Waits…

Uso Pa Ba?”, the half-day semi- nar will discuss means on help-

ing young people enter into a relationship while upholding sexual abstinence. Xavier Padilla, Pro-Life Philip-

pines’ Youth Coordinator and CFC-FFL’s International Coor- dinator for Kids and Life, will give a talk on how to make wise decisions when confronted with

“dilemmas involving love and relationships”.

Expected to attend are young people, students, parents, pa -

rishioners, teachers and guid - ance counsellors. The seminar will be from

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Par - ticipants will be asked to pay a registration fee of P300.00 that would include snack, one seminar kit and a certificate.


CBCP Pastoral Concerns Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 B1


Monitor Pastoral Concerns

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

B1 CBCP Pastoral Concerns Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 B1 Promoting compulsory CBCP Pastoral Concerns Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 B1 Promoting compulsory
Promoting compulsory sexual education at the UN A recent report to the United Nations sought to
Promoting compulsory
sexual education at the UN
A recent report to the United Nations sought to impose a ‘right to sexual education’

By Vincenzina Santoro

IN most people’s minds, the United Nations is associated with promoting peace, fostering development, feeding the hungry, providing peacekeeping troops, and defending human rights. But there are many other activities in the realm of social engineering at the UN that most people never hear about.

One example is that, for some time now, a number of UN documents dealing with social affairs have made references to the “right to sexual and reproductive health” or some variation thereof. Recently there was an aggressive attempt to extend the concept to the area of education. A d o c u m e n t was prepared by a n “ e x p e r t ” o n education, a Costa Rican by the name of Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, who was the appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education over the period July 2004 to July 2010. Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN to investigate, monitor a n d r e c o m m e n d solutions to certain h u m a n r i g h t s problems and are generally expected

to be experts “of high moral character a n d r e c o g n i z e d

competence in the field

of human rights.” Muñoz’s report was titled: Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education - Note by the Secretary G e n e r a l ( U N document A/65/162) and presented to the Third Committee (which deals with social affairs) of the

UN General Assembly

on October 25th. D e s p i t e

i t s

Religious schools, which have

provided high-quality education to

millions of children across the globe for centuries, are censured for providing sexual education tarnished by “undue

ecclesiastical influence.” As a remedy,

the report proposes “comprehensive sexual education from the outset” of schooling, to be continued in the form of lifelong education. It also stresses the “importance of the sexual diversity approach”, rejects abstinence-only programs for failing

to foster “informed and responsible decision-making” and promotes “high-

quality scientific information that is

unprejudiced and age-appropriate”. According to the report, “sexual education should be considered a right in itself”. In subtle ways it also promotes the concept of “the right to pleasure”

Netherlands. Some observers might have taken some comfort from the fact that at least in Portugal the topic “is dealt with in courses on biology, geography, philosophy and religion ” ... Interestingly, the terms “mothers” and “fathers” are used only once each and “parents” three times in ways that are negative: some parents, the report notes, create a “barrier” if they choose to exempt their children from sexual education in schools, but parents are nevertheless expected to “provide appropriate direction and guidance on sexual and reproductive matters” that does not interfere with the “rights of children”. After the report was presented at the Third Committee meeting, 19 delegations spoke, some representing entire regional groups. Indeed, the

states, and unequivocally denounced the report in some of the strongest language ever heard at the UN. The delegate was “alarmed” that the rapporteur went “beyond the scope of his mandate”, that he was “selective” and expressed his own point of view, and that he was “in violation of the code of conduct” that applies to special rapporteurs. He stated that the report was an attempt to create a new human right and pointed out that the rapporteur personally supported the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and inserted his personal opinion into his report in violation of his mandate. He concluded that the African Group “regrets this report.” The next response, from Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), was also strongly negative. It took “umbrage” at the report, stated that the rapporteur had tried to “usurp” the rights of parents, said that he was in “contravention” of his mandate, and had “deprived us of information” that apparently he should have gathered. The report was deemed “unacceptable.” Another strong statement came from Mauretania on behalf of the Arab Group rejecting the report “categorically”. M o r o c c o

  • C. Concept and scope of the human

right to education for sexuality

  • D. The right to sexual education: its

relationship to other rights and the need

for a gender and diversity perspective

The report turned out to be totally focused on sexual education. There was not one sentence relating to education as it is commonly understood. The report promoted a concept of sexual education as certain effete UN elites would want to impose it on the entire global population, rich and poor alike. This 21-page single-spaced report used the words “sexual” and “sexuality” a total of 233 times! This is in line with the elevation of the topic of sex by some UN bodies to the status of sacred cow or golden calf. The report promotes universal sexual

PHOTOS © Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media
PHOTOS © Roy Lagarde / CBCP Media

education with “special attention to diversity”—a euphemism for homosexuality—without any link at all to procreation. It also promotes “a right to family planning education” while denigrating parental rights and religious beliefs.

through sexual activity. As part of a regional survey of sex education, the report states that in Europe there are 19 countries with some form of compulsory sexual education in schools. Programs, it says, start at

age five in Portugal and at 13 in the

spokespersons for the African Group, the Caribbean Community, the League of

Arab States, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) resoundingly denounced the report. The delegate from Malawi spoke

first, representing the African Group of CBCP Pastoral Concerns Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 B1 Promoting compulsory

Kingdom representative


for the

OIC stating that






code of

conduct” and

made an attempt



right to

e d u c a t i o n ,

c o n c l u d i n g that “the OIC cannot accept this report”. After all this emotion, the European






d e l e g a t e i s s u e d a


w a s h y

statement U n i t e d

t h e



attempted to defend the report and oppose the “attackers”. Then, in what must have been the shortest speech ever delivered at the UN, the United States representative took less than a minute to support the right to education, mention that USAID had spent over $1 billion on education, disagree with some of the report’s conclusions and assert that “there is no internationally agreed human right to sexual education.” Despite the overwhelming rejection by a large number of countries, this document on the “right to (sexual) education” will remain in the annals of the UN, perhaps to be quoted in future UN documents by like minded zealots promoting the same non-existent “rights.” The UN clearly isn’t just about promoting peace and development. It is also about advocating sexual deviance in direct violation of human dignity.

(Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations. This is published here on special publication arrangement with MercatorNet)

innocuous sounding title, the document in question proved to be, in the view of many observers, deceptive, devious and disingenuous. Its true nature is made clear in the following points from the introduction to the table of contents:

A. Patriarchalism and control of sexuality B. Sexuality, health and education:

three interdependent rights



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

Rosary during Eucharistic adoration

© Roy Lagarde/CBCPMedia
© Roy Lagarde/CBCPMedia

(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)

Q: In a booklet titled, “Prayers & Devotions for Eucharistic Holy Hour,” Page 13 states: “It is not appropriate to pray the rosary or other devotional prayers to the saints. Benediction and adoration are for the purpose of giving our attention to the worship of Christ the Lord.” The booklet was published by Liguori Publications (in 2000) and has both an imprimatur from the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, as well as an imprimi potest from Richard Thibodeau, C.Ss.R., provincial, Denver Province of the Redemptorists. On the other hand, another publication titled, “Thirty-One Questions on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: A Resource of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy,” published by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, states on Page 12, in answering question No. 27 (i.e., “May the Rosary be prayed during Eucharistic adoration?”), the following:

“Yes. The Rosary, ‘a prayer inspired by the Gospel and centered on the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption,’ ‘should be considered a prayer of deep Christological orientation,’ and may rightly be counted among the prayers designed to ‘direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ

the Lord.’

[T]he recitation of the

... Rosary before the exposed Sacrament should help lead the faithful back ‘to a knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him, finding great encouragement and support in liturgical prayer before the Eucharist.’” Thus, which do you believe is the right and proper form of Eucharistic adoration: with or without the recitation of the rosary?—F.P., Black Eagle, Montana

A: I can only suppose that, although the pamphlet was published in 2000,

it might have simply reprinted earlier material without being updated.

This is because on Jan. 15, 1997, the Congregation for Divine Worship

published an official response to a

doubt (Prot no. 2287/96/L) in which it

clarified that it is permitted to publicly

pray the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. This declaration is the basis of the response of the U.S. bishops’ Liturgy Committee favoring

the practice. Although the statement is dated 1997 the response, along with an explanatory note, was actually published much

later in Notitiae, the official organ of

the Congregation for Divine Worship, and in Spanish (Notitiae [1998] 507- 511). Since this review is not widely disseminated it is understandable that the publishers of the pamphlet might have missed it. Before the Holy See’s intervention, the appropriateness of praying the rosary during exposition was a matter of debate among liturgists. Some, in

good faith, saw it as an inordinate mixing of Marian and Eucharistic devotions. A small number criticized the practice because they approved neither the rosary nor adoration. In January-February 1999 the newsletter of the U.S. bishops’ Liturgy

Committee published an unofficial

translation of the Vatican congregation’s notes explaining the reasoning behind its decision. To wit:

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the Praying of the Rosary I. Origin 1. The conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, number 13, says: “Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord

with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the

Apostolic See

But these devotions

... should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons in such a way as to be in accord with

the sacred liturgy, that they be in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church adds to this citation from Sacrosanctum Concilium: “These expressions are a prolongation of the liturgical life of the Church, but are not substitutes for it.” Eucharistic exposition is a celebration related to the liturgy as understood in the Instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium, number 62, from the Roman Ritual: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass and from the Ceremonial of Bishops which dedicates chapter XXII to this same topic. The Holy Rosary is, without doubt, one of the pious exercises most recommended by ecclesiastical authority. (See also The Catechism of the Catholic Church numbers 971, 1674, 2678, 2708). A Catholic sensitivity never separates Christ from his mother or vice versa. 2. The Apostolic Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, number 18, says:

“Finally, to safeguard the reform and ensure the promotion of the Liturgy it is necessary to take account of popular Christian devotion and its relation to liturgical life. This popular devotion should not be ignored or treated with indifference or contempt, since it is rich in values, and in itself it gives expression to the religious attitude towards God. But it needs to be continually evangelized, so that the faith which it expresses may become an ever more mature and authentic act. Both the pious exercises of the Christian people and also other forms of devotion are welcomed and encouraged provided that they do not replace or intrude into liturgical celebrations. An authentic pastoral promotion of the Liturgy will build upon the riches of popular piety, purifying and directing them

towards the Liturgy as the offering of the peoples.”

II. Relationship Between Eucharistic Exposition and the Holy Rosary One quote from each of the three most important documents follows:

  • 1. “During the exposition everything

should be so arranged that the faithful

can devote themselves attentively in ”

prayer to Christ Lord ...


Eucharisticum Mysterium,number


  • 2. “To encourage a prayerful spirit

there should be readings from Scripture

with a homily or brief exhortations to develop a better understanding of the Eucharistic mystery.” (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, number 95)

  • 3. The Apostolic Exhortation Marialis

Cultus indicates that the rosary “as a prayer inspired by the Gospel and centered on the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption should be considered a prayer of deep

Christological orientation.” (Number


III. At this time it is important to note:

From the Second Vatican Council until the present, the following have been observed:

In the first two decades after the

Council, more or less, there arose within the Catholic Church a tendency to suppress adoration before the exposed Blessed Sacrament within the Christian community. In recent years, prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament has been increasingly appreciated once more. Two phenomena have been observed with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, namely: adoration takes place according to the same style and mentality and with the same prayers as before the Council, or it is celebrated in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Church’s documents. Pastorally, this is an important time

to encourage the prayer of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament according to the spirit of the Church documents. An opportunity to reorient this popular practice should not be wasted. The restoration of the rosary should be promoted in its authentic form, that

is, with its Christological character. At times, the traditional manner of reciting the rosary would seem to be limited to a recitation of the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Currently in some places the stating of the mysteries is

accompanied by a reading of a brief biblical text to assist in meditation. This is very positive. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Cf. 2708) indicated that Christian prayer ought to go further. It should lead to a knowledge

and love of the Lord Jesus, to union

with him, finding great encouragement

and support in liturgical prayer before the Eucharist. One should not expose the Eucharist only to recite the rosary. However, among the prayers that are used during adoration, the recitation of the rosary may certainly be included, emphasizing the Christological aspects with biblical readings relating to the mysteries, and providing time for silent adoration and meditation on them. “During the exposition, the prayers, songs, and readings should be arranged so as to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord. To encourage a prayerful spirit, there should be readings from the Scriptures with a homily or brief exhortations to develop a better understanding of the Eucharistic mystery.” (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, number 95) In the area of popular piety there is still much to be done so that pious exercises will support liturgical life and vice versa. There is a need to educate the Christian community to deepen the understanding of this pious exercise in order to appreciate fully its true worth.

When the Liturgy of the Eucharist is fast

© Noli Yamsuan/RCAM
© Noli Yamsuan/RCAM

(Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, answers the following query:)

Q: Even as young children unable to fully grasp the depth of the Eucharistic Prayer, we were taught it was a very sacred time where we knelt, avoided distraction and focused our attention on the priest and altar. Decades later, I am saddened to

see the solemnity and sacredness of it being lost. In an average Mass

lasting an hour, the first half-

hour goes in the readings and homily. Usually, from the prayer of the faithful to the concluding “Great Amen,” the average time taken in most parishes is about 6 minutes. In some places, the announcements after Mass take more time! What can be done to slow down somewhat this pace that is over “in the wink of an eye”?—L.E., Mumbai, India

A: Our reader broaches an important pastoral point. There is frequently a lack of balance in the celebration of Mass that easily leaves the impression of excess haste in the most sacred moments. This is not an easy question to address. On the one hand, the present structure of the Sunday Mass, with the Gloria, three readings, homily, creed

and prayer of the faithful makes

it inevitable that the first two

parts take up the bulk of the time

available. This is not something new. In his explanation of the Mass addressed to the Roman authorities, St. Justin Martyr (circa A.D. 100-165) explained that Scripture readings and preaching continued as long as the time available allowed. His description of the subsequent Eucharistic rite indicates that it was relatively simple and brief, although lived with an intensity

befitting a persecuted Church.

The question of balance is not, therefore, one of attempting to equalize the amount of time dedicated to the various parts of the Mass (something which is neither possible nor desirable) but of giving due weight to the Eucharistic rites. I believe that

the difficulty can be overcome

with careful liturgical planning in accordance with the solemnity of the occasion. The present liturgy allows for a wide range of choices in the use of music and rites that make it relatively easy to avoid concentrating all effort

at solemnizing the Mass in the Liturgy of the Word.

Briefly, I would suggest some

elements which can be used to increase the faithful’s attention and the sense of sacredness during the Liturgy of the Eucharist:

1) Avoid the use of Eucharistic Prayer II on a Sunday. While

not forbidden on feast days, this

prayer was specifically included

in the missal with daily Mass in mind. Its sheer brevity on a

Sunday effectively makes the Mass appear rushed. 2) Use more music. Singing all or part of the ordinary of the Mass such as the preface, the Sanctus, the consecration, the mystery

of faith, the final doxology with

its great Amen, the Our Father and its embolism, the Lamb of God, etc., adds to the sense of solemnity and underlines the importance of the Eucharistic rites.

3) Use incense and candles. On solemn occasions incense may be used at all foreseen moments. Even if incense is not used for the entrance, Gospel and offertory on a normal Sunday, it may still be used along with candles during the Eucharistic Prayer. This latter use adds nothing to the length of the celebration and is an optimal means of enhancing the sense of the sacred and concentrating attention on the liturgical action. 4) Finally, the priest should strive to overcome the routine that can creep into frequently proclaimed prayers and make each Mass an authentic encounter with God. Pope Pius XI (1922- 1939) once told someone newly ordained that he hoped that

the priest’s first Mass would

be the least fervent of his life. The Holy Father was not thus promoting priestly mediocrity but challenging the young cleric to seek ever increasing fervor in celebrating the inestimable gift of the Eucharist.

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010



Ubicumque et Semper

Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI

establishing the Pontifical Council for promoting the New Evangelization

IT is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of

Jesus Christ. He, the first and supreme

evangelizer, commanded the Apostles on the day of his Ascension to the Father:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of

the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Faithful to this mandate, the Church—a people chosen by God to declare his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)—ever since she received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8), who, by his death and Resurrection,

brought us salvation and fulfilled the

promise made of old. Hence the mission of evangelization, a continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is

“as a result of the frequent situations of dechristianization in our day, also proves equally necessary for innumerable people who have been baptized but who live quite outside Christian life, for simple people who have a certain faith but an imperfect knowledge of the foundations of that faith, for intellectuals who feel the need to know Jesus Christ in a light different from the instruction they received as children, and for many others” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 52). Moreover, having in mind those distant from the faith, he added that the evangelizing action of the Church “must constantly seek the proper means and language for presenting, or representing, to them God’s revelation and faith in Jesus Christ” (ibid., n. 56). The Venerable Servant of God John Paul II made this urgent task a central point of his far-reaching Magisterial teaching, referring to it as the “new evangelization,” which he systematically explored in depth on numerous occasions—a task

inspires and sustains a life lived ‘as if God did not exist’. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life’s very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most

significance, such as, birth, suffering

and death [ ...


“On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a re-evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom.

populations; in other regions, however,

there is a clearly a distancing of society from the faith in every respect, together with a weaker ecclesial fabric, even if not without elements of liveliness that the Spirit never fails to awaken; we also sadly know of some areas that have almost completely abandoned the Christian religion, where the light of the faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities: these lands, which need a

renewed first proclamation of the Gospel,

seem particularly resistant to many aspects of the Christian message. This variety of situations demands careful discernment; to speak of a “new evangelization” does not in fact mean that a single formula should be developed that would hold the same for all circumstances. And yet

it is not difficult to see that what all

the Churches living in traditionally Christian territories need is a renewed missionary impulse, an expression of a new, generous openness to the gift

Art. 1.

§ 1. The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is

established as a Dicastery of the Roman Curia in compliance with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus. § 2. The Council pursues its own

ends both by encouraging reflection on

topics of the new evangelization, and by identifying and promoting suitable ways and means to accomplish it.

Art. 2.

The action of the Council, which is

carried out in collaboration with the other Dicasteries and Organisms of the Roman Curia, with respect for their relative competencies, is at the service of the particular Churches, especially in those territories of Christian tradition where the phenomenon of secularization is more obviously apparent.

Art. 3.

Among the specific tasks of the

necessary for the Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of her very nature. In the course of history, this mission has taken on new forms and employed new strategies according to different places, situations, and historical periods. In our own time, it has been particularly challenged by an abandonment of the faith—a phenomenon progressively more manifest in societies and cultures which for centuries seemed to be permeated by the Gospel. The social changes we have witnessed in recent decades have a long and complex history,

and they have profoundly altered our way of looking at the world. We need only think of the many advances in science and technology, the expanding possibilities with regard to life and individual freedom, the profound changes in the economic sphere, and the mixing of races and cultures caused by global-scale migration and an increasing interdependence of peoples. All of this has not been without consequences on the religious dimension of human life as well. If on the one hand humanity has derived

undeniable benefits from these changes,

and the Church has drawn from them further incentives for bearing witness to the hope that is within her (cf. 1 Pt

3:15), on the other hand there has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as faith in a provident creator God, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the one Savior, and a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect

of his nature and destiny, finds himself

deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things. The Second Vatican Council already included among its central topics the question of the relationship between the Church and the modern world. In view of this conciliar teaching, my

Predecessors reflected further on the need to find adequate ways to help the

people of our time to hear the living and eternal Word of the Lord. With foresight, the Servant of God Paul VI noted that the task of evangelization,

that still bears upon the Church today,

particularly in regions Christianized long ago. Although this task directly concerns the Church’s way of relating ad extra, it

nevertheless presupposes first of all a

constant interior renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from evangelized

to evangelizing. It is enough to recall

what was affirmed in the Post-Synodal

Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici: “Whole countries and nations

where religion and the Christian life

were formerly flourishing and capable

of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery,

“Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for

this to come about what is needed is to

first remake the Christian fabric of the

ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations” (n. 34). Making my own the concerns of my venerable Predecessors, I consider it opportune to offer appropriate responses so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the new evangelization. Above all, this pertains to Churches of ancient origin, which live in different situations and have different needs, and therefore require different types of motivation for evangelization:

in certain territories, in fact, despite the spread of secularization, Christian practice still thrives and shows itself deeply rooted in the soul of entire

of grace. Indeed we cannot forget that

the first task will always be to make

ourselves docile to the freely given action of the Spirit of the Risen One who accompanies all who are heralds of the Gospel and opens the hearts of those who listen. To proclaim fruitfully the Word

of the Gospel one is first asked to have

a profound experience of God.

As I stated in my first Encyclical Deus

Caritas Est: “Being Christian is not the

result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (n. 1). Likewise, at the root of all evangelization lies not a human plan of expansion, but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in his own life.

Therefore, in the light of these reflections,

having examined everything carefully and having elicited the opinions of experts, I establish and decree the following:

Council are particularly the following:

1º. to examine in depth the theological and pastoral meaning of the new evangelization; 2º. to promote and to foster, in close collaboration with the Bishops’ Conferences concerned—which may establish ad hoc organisms—the study, dissemination, and implementation of the Papal Magisterium related to topics connected with the new evangelization; 3º. to make known and to support initiatives linked to the new evangelization that are already being put into practice in various particular Churches, and to promote the realization of new projects by actively involving the resources present in Institutes of Consecrated Life and in Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as in groups of the faithful and in new communities; 4º. to study and to encourage the use of modern forms of communication a s i n s t r u m e n t s f o r t h e n e w evangelization; 5º. to promote the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the people of our time.

Art. 4. § 1. The Council is directed by an Archbishop President, assisted by a Secretary, by an Under-Secretary and by

an appropriate number of Officials, in

accordance with the norms established by the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and by the General Regulations of the Roman Curia. § 2. The Council will have its own Members and may avail itself of its own Consultors.

I order that all that has been established by this Motu Proprio may have full and permanent value, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if it be worthy of particular mention, and I establish that it be promulgated through publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and that it come into force on the day of its promulgation.

Given at Castel Gandolfo on the 21st day of September 2010, the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, the

sixth year of my Pontificate.




CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

Pastoral ministry in the context of the empowerment of the laity

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


When we prepare for Communion as priests presiding over the Eucharist we

first divide the consecrated host into two

parts. The Body of Jesus, we explain this

act, is broken so that it may be shared.

So now, let me divide my reflection into

two parts, so that I may better share with

you my message. The first part would be

on Pastoral Ministry itself. The second part would deal with how we might empower the laity.

Pastoral Ministry

Like it or not, there’s one thing we share with waiters and waitresses in restaurants. We feed people. But the food we serve is for people’s spirits while that by our counterparts in restaurants is for people’s bodies. There’s another sharp difference. Waiters and waitresses are required to

please us with their service. But they are not required to love us. On the other hand, priests are not only required to

serve God’s people by feeding his flock

with his Word and sacraments. They are also required to do so from a pastor’s

love. This is the heart of what we call ‘pastoral ministry’, which essentially is really living out Jesus Christ’s ‘pastoral charity’. That is to say, a priest who is a pastor or shepherd of the Lord’s

flock must, by definition, be a lover of God and his people first. A so-called

People and God’s world. That is why our pastoral ministry must

not only be characterized by charity but

also by humility. When we say we are

configured into Christ the head, we must

understand Christ’s headship correctly. It’s not about lording over others. It’s about being a servant, a footwasher. We are leaders. But we lead by being

servants. “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). Often we are embarrassed by the poverty and insignificance of our country. Add to that too the poverty and smallness of our people, the people that we serve. Add to that even further the poverty and smallness of the way our people see and feel about themselves. But, happily, in the perspective of the Scriptural God,

poverty and insignificance characterize

his favorite people. Figures such as the shepherd David, the prophets, Samson, Gideon, Ruth and others in the Old Testament as well as Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna and

the fishermen apostles, not to say Jesus

himself, were poor, insignificant people

during their time. But God’s majesty and power completely shone in them. Their humility helped them greatly in their faith as well as in their love and service of the poor to whom they proclaimed God’s Word. A Jesuit brother advised a newly- ordained priest: “Forget your dignity. Assume your responsibility.” It’s very instructive how in the history of the Church, when we emphasized the priestly

against the Marcos regime’s excesses, drove out the former strongman and installed peacefully a new government in a democratic way that awed the world. Out of ‘People Power’ came the popularity of the term ‘empowerment’ to mean promoting participation from formerly marginalized groups, such as the urban and rural poor etc. In other words, applying ‘people power’ through the word ‘empowerment’ on our laity appears to be related to encouraging their greater participation in the Church’s life and mission. But let’s make some things clear. We priests do not give any power to our lay faithful. Whatever power they have as children of God comes directly from God himself through the Holy Spirit’s action in the sacrament of Baptism they had received. The Archbishop Emeritus of Palo, Archbishop Pedro R. Dean, once observed, and rightly so, that the term “lay empowerment” could be a “misnomer” because there is no power any human being can give the laity since that power is already theirs by means of their Baptism. In other words, all that we do as their pastors is to recognize and allow the realization of the power given to them to be sons and daughters of the Father (Jn 1:12). How do we do this as their pastors? Let me cite some of the ways.

  • 1. By our Witnessing

Let me illustrate the ‘empowering’ nature of witnessing. A priest was dismayed to see plenty of plastic wrappers scattered indiscriminately on

these questions and not be contented by ‘no’ for an answer.

3. By Enhancing the Poor’s Sense of their

Human and Christian Dignity

We minister to mostly poor people. Even our so-called rich parishes are still populated by the majority who are poor. It is a fact that our poor are also mostly sidelined in church life. Our BECs have wonderfully turned the tide in many places. But a lot more of our poor are not reached by the BEC. For reasons both legitimate and not, there is real hesitation, if not resistance, even among the clergy to go all out with BEC. One reason is the hard work and constant need to follow up on our poor who constitute most BEC clusters. Unlike faith communities that seem to have internally galvanized mostly middle- class lay Catholics into evangelization, mission and proselytizing, the BEC appears to need the steady active role of the clergy to survive and thrive. I submit that one thing we take for granted is the low self-esteem and self-image of our poor. There is no substitute to a good catechesis on the real implications of Baptism to respond to this situation. But catechesis needs the help of priest- encouraged solidarity-building between the poor and better-off parishioners of our communities. Forming faith communities and other mandated

religious groups and organizations in the BEC spirituality and tapping them to participate in evangelizing, forming and building BEC communities in which the better-off interact with our poor as

according to God’s wisdom for the sake of building up his kingdom on earth and Christ’s Body. It is precisely for this reason that we must spot, recognize, appreciate, tap and maximize these gifts and charisms for the sake of the Church and the spread of the gospel. In a concrete parish it’s not hard to see this need. We need parishioners who can be lectors, others who can be commentators, still others who can be altar servers, collectors, ushers/usherettes, song leaders, psalmists, prayer leaders, Communion ministers, caregivers, catechists, preachers, etc. That is to say, no one can be so empowering as a priest who, with the help of his parishioners, recognizes the Holy Spirit’s gifts in the potentials and charisms of people and taps them to the maximum for God’s kingdom. I know a priest who observed that any pastor who does not recognize, appreciate and maximize his lay leaders commits a practical heresy. I asked what he meant by ‘practical heresy’. He answered: “It means that, even if you believe correctly that the Holy Spirit enriches each baptized Christian with his gifts and charisms, once that belief is not put into practice, you become a ‘practical heretic’. The reason is that your practice is the exact opposite of your belief.”

  • 6. By Accepting People’s Weaknesses and

Moving Forward Despite Them

All human beings, including priests, have both strengths and weaknesses. For most of us life goes smoothly as long as our strengths dominate our weaknesses.

© Pinky Barrientos / CBCP Media
© Pinky Barrientos / CBCP Media
© Noli Yamsuan/RCAM
© Noli Yamsuan/RCAM

‘servant-leader” without love is a living

contradiction. He is no better than a waiter. That is why our pastoral ministry is

based on our ‘configuration to Christ

the head’ (Presbyterorum Ordinis, no.

2). It is Jesus who first loved us with the

Father’s love. And the Father is the One

who so “loves the world that he gave us his only Son so that those who believe in him may not perish but may have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). Without this love of the Father, visible in Jesus the Son, our ministry becomes empty, at best technical, at worst mechanical. Suppose I was the best sculptor in the whole of Leyte and Samar. And you asked me to carve out your whole

figure to serve as a statue. Suppose I

perfectly carved out your whole bodily

figure including the measurements, your

face’s warts and all. Still the resulting

perfect figure is not your replacement.

It’s the same thing with us. Ordination

may have configured us into Christ

the head. But we do not replace Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd. It’s not in our mission to do this. Our mission is not to be Christ’s substitutes but to be “signs and instruments of his presence and activity” (PCP II, 516). It’s not our love that we bring but the Father’s love visible in Jesus the Good Shepherd. We need to ask: What does it mean for a ministerial priest to be a ‘sign and instrument’ of Christ’s presence and activity? It is here that Vatican II answers:

“It is Christ himself who through their (priest’s) signal service preaches the Word of God, administers the sacraments, incorporates new members into his body and directs and guides his people on their journey to eternal salvation” (Presbyterorum Ordinis, no. 21). Suppose you write a letter by your pen, paint a face by your brush and stand by the sacristy in your cassock. Suppose further that your pen, your brush and your cassock claim to be you. That will draw the biggest laugh. They are just signs and instruments of your presence and activity. Neither can we ministerial priests therefore claim to be Christ or his replacements. We are just instruments of his presence and activity among God’s

ordination as a reception of “sacred powers”, titles and priestly dignity were

the most prized commodities. But when, as a result of Vatican II and PCP II, we started looking at the priesthood from the point of view of the Scriptures and Jesus’ own words and deeds, ministry, service and responsibility became the buzz words. It has taken us a long complicated process to realize a simple interconnected network of truths. One, that our pastoral ministry is a service, a total giving of self to God and to his people. Two, we cannot truly serve without the love of God in us. Three, we cannot truly love without putting on the humility of the

small and insignificant, the anawim,

Jesus himself being the foremost among them, who are God’s favorites. Now why do we need the humility of the anawim in our pastoral ministry? The answer lies in the nature of our ‘ministerial priesthood’. It is so-called ‘ministerial’ because it is basically a service. Because a servant serves his master, the master realizes his identity as master. In the same way, while “the

common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope and charity,

a life according to the Spirit—the ministerial priest is precisely ministerial because he is a servant of the royal

priesthood that it may fulfill and become

itself, a priestly people called to offer

prayers and gifts to God the Father. For

this is how he becomes truly configured

to Christ the Head” (Lumen Gentium, n.10; PO 2, 6).

How Do We Go About Empowering the Laity?

Before we answer this all-important question, we need to make some clarifications. First, how do we understand ‘empowering the laity’? Does this mean that ministerial priests give the lay faithful any sort or form of power? The Second Plenary Council itself admits that the new-found regularity of the term ‘empowerment’ was an offshoot of our Edsa People Power experience (PCP II 325-326). Millions of Filipinos, by their presence and shared convictions

the white-sand beach at Divinubo Island (still part of Borongan). Without thinking he started picking up the wrappers and putting them into trash cans. At one point, he looked around and was

so surprised to see children and young people suddenly doing what he was

doing. He reflected that just as doing

wrong can be infectious, so is doing right.

When the lay faithful see their priests praying, that can generate their own prayerfulness. When priests are seen as

not too ‘money-conscious’, that edifies

people into doing service that is also less concerned with monetary returns. When priests struggle to be faithful to the Lord in his ministry despite his weaknesses, that is a positive push for parishioners to also strive to be faithful to the Lord in their distinct responsibilities as Christians and as citizens of their country.

  • 2. By a Greater Recognition of the Laity’s

Christian Dignity as Catholics

We cannot deny a fact of history, namely, our laity’s being sidelined for a long time. Partly in reaction to the excesses of the Protestant Reformation, in which, for example, anybody could just read and interpret the Scriptures, lay men and women in the Catholic Church were often found passive. Henry Cardinal Newman once remarked humorously that, during his time, lay Catholics could only do three things:

“to sit up, to pay up and to shut up”. One of the timely reforms of Vatican II was the emphasis on the equality of all the baptized in dignity and their participation in the life and mission of the Church. Unfortunately Vatican II is taking a long, long time being received. Many lay Catholics still remain passive and sidelined. One big factor is their priest. Does he truly recognize their identity and dignity, rooted in their Baptism, in ways that go beyond mere words during homilies, talks and chats? Does he encourage them to live by their identity and dignity by actively and systematically forming them through adult catechesis to be Christian witnesses and missionaries? Let’s all ask ourselves

brothers and sisters in one big family is a step in the right direction.

4. By Cultivating a More Human and Christ-

like Relationship with People

Even unbeknownst to us, our laity looks at us as men of power and privilege. I am struck at how it seems a big thing for people to discover that their priest is “kind” and “considerate”. Priests who are so perceived have the ability to bring people out of their shells. Conversely, priests who are seen as cold and harsh drive even the educated Catholics away from church and church life. A lay parishioner mistreats an ordinary-looking man. To her shock she discovers the man is actually a priest. She apologizes to him but blames him for not wearing a clerical. The priest answers: “Even if I did not wear a clerical, all human beings are entitled to be treated like human beings.” Well-

said, Father. But that doesn’t mean we must abandon the clerical. It means, however, that clerical is a sign that we

priest must be the first to act human

in the way we treat others because we carry the presence of Jesus Christ in our person. Jesus was most human not only because he has shared everything we humans have and are but also (and especially) because he acknowledged the humanity even of the downtrodden, the poor and the outcasts, and treated them as such. It must be very good to be truly human because the Son of God became one and acted like one. St. Irenaeus, in fact, exclaimed that the glory of God is the fully human person. That is what we see in Jesus Christ in which perfect love of God is completely one with perfect love of people. There’s no reason for his priest to be any less.

5. By Recognizing, Appreciating and Maximizing the Laity’s Potentials

Some priests are happy to discover parishioners with various talents and abilities. Other priests feel threatened by them. We must clearly reject the second option as un-Christian and un-priestly. Here’s why: To each human being, especially to each baptized Christian, the Holy Spirit showers gifts and charisms

But in a pastor’s life weaknesses of parishioners or his own could get more attention for one reason or another.

Let’s try to be as concrete as we can. A member of the Parish Pastoral Council has a way of speaking and acting that is annoying. Parishioners keep telling the pastor how his homilies are bookish (another way of saying ‘boring’) and his voice so high-pitched and painful to the ear. A confraternity member is always late for meetings. A group of ladies often backbite other parishioners and the parish priest. A men’s group have a drinking problem, sometimes dragging the parish priest into their sessions. The list could go on. We must distinguish between weaknesses that are destructive of people who have them and the people around them, and weaknesses that are simply distracting or annoying. For

the first we must do our best to give

people who have them the appropriate help. For the second we must simply remember and observe the word of our elders regarding people who have them: “Pasayloon”, that is, deserving our forgiveness. St. Augustine once said that of all the alms we can give, “none is greater than that by which we forgive from our heart…”

  • 7. By Giving Second Chances Sometimes life surprises us with

how doing a simple thing we take for granted in our ministry could have lasting consequences. For example, a priest had a problem with his temper. But he learned to hold it and cultivate patience through an experience with an altar server who habitually makes mistakes at the altar. Every time he is

tempted to flare up over another mistake,

he recalls how the boy’s elder brother joined the born-again group ‘U-Turn for Christ’ because his own father tried to forcefully make him stop coming home late. The priest confessed that perhaps one reason why the younger brother has remained Catholic is the string of ‘second chances’ he extends to him when he overlooks the boy’s mistakes. Of course, these second chances have only been effective because mistakes

Empowerment / B7

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010



A Call to Stop Mining in Eastern Visayas Region

(A Collective Call of the Bishops of Eastern Visayas)

IN 1988, the CBCP in its Pastoral Letter on Ecology, “WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR BEAUTIFUL LAND?” sounded off the alarm about the perilous state of our country’s

natural endowments, that is, “

All the living

... systems on land and in the seas are being ruthlessly exploited. The damage to date (then) is extensive and, sad to say, it is often

irreversible.” We, the bishops called on all Filipinos to recognize the situation at hand

and that such situation shall be responded to

with utmost urgency. “

The task of preserving

... and healing is a daunting one given human greed and the relentless drive of our plundered economy. But we must not lose HOPE. “ Indeed, our collective observations and sentiments, then, were very profound and prophetic. Our observations still very valid and evident to this day, and our call for action remains as urgent as ever. Most parts of the country today are still in perilous state because of too much development aggression, particularly mining and logging. For one, the Eastern Visayas region has lately been the object of high level of

interest by certain sectors, both government and private, to pursue aggressively the development of mining industry in the region. During a mining forum in Tacloban in August this year, the Regional Director of the Mines and Geosciences Board (MGB) even boasted that the region will eventually be the top mining region in the country considering its vast mining potentials. In fact, even prior to the said forum, several mining permits to explore along with mining production sharing agreements (MPSAs) have been issued in many parts of the region extending the three islands—Samar, Leyte and Biliran. Moreover, small islands like Manicani and Homonhon in Eastern Samar and Batag Island in Northern Samar remain threatened by mining operations. In Manicani for instance, NickelAsia Corporation (NAC) has since initiated moves to lift the suspension of mining operations in the island. In Homonhon, an historical island, after a few months respite from massive mining operations again is threatened by the application of a large mining permit

by the Cambayas Mining, and the current small-scale mining operations granted to two permittees by the Local Mining Board. Same is also happening in Batag lsland. The mainland of Samar and Leyte are not spared by the onslaught of mining permits (e.g. exploration permits, MPSAS, permit to extract among others) issued left and right by the Local Mining Board (small-scale) and the MGB (for large-scale).

As shepherds of our flock, it is our collective

sentiments that the continuing drive for development of the Eastern Visayas region

anchored on mining as well as other extractive economic pursuits only reinforce the irreversible trend of permanently damaging nature’s endowments. As a consequence, the many lines of opportunities upon which our people can draw their life sustenance will

definitely be threatened immensely. We ask

ourselves, “Haven’t we learned the lessons of the past?” In our own reckoning, our people have so much to share about the adverse effects of mining to their livelihood, to their

well-being as persons and as families, to the quality of life in their communities and to their very own dignity as people of God. The mining experience in Bagacay is a very clear and compelling example of how bad mining is. After exploiting the area, the mining company left it abandoned and permanently destroyed. The people who had high hopes of being lifted from their sorry state of poverty were left to fend for themselves and grapple with the realities that there are no more fertile grounds to grow their food or natural river systems to catch the

fishes for their day’s meal. The sorry state of

Taft River to this very day is a perfect symbol

of mining’s neglect and abandonment and waste. The struggle of the people in the islands of Manicani, Homonhon and Batag for more than a decade now is another clear testament that mining never lived up to its promise of improving the quality of life of the people. Instead, the islands’ source of livelihood had been systematically destroyed—the forests, farmlands, mangroves, river systems, coral reefs among others. But more telling is the destruction of the islands’ social

fabric—families and communities have been polarized. What pervades has been the situation of unpeace and disharmony. People in the islands have been constantly threatened by another prospect of systematic destruction of the island they call home. Compounding these lessons on the effects

of mining are the misplaced priorities of some of our local leaders who have acted more as

agents of the mining firms rather than agents

of the people. In many instances, highlighting

the benefits of mining and ignoring the “real”

costs are a concrete examples how people are being misled or misinformed about mining.

In many instances still, the financial levers

of mining make their way to the different

levels of the decision flow to get favorable

cognizance or acceptance.

Weighing down the benefits and costs

of mining whether it is economic, social or

environmental; judging on the lessons of the past and prospects of the future generations;

and, reflecting on our role as Stewards of

God’s creation, we, the bishops of Eastern Visayas, call on our responsible leaders in government, in the private sector and all those who harbor intentions of mining our region to listen to the voices of our people, “Bring back the Beautiful Land we had once; STOP MINING IN OUR REGION.”


Archbishop, Archdiocese of Palo


Bishop, Diocese of Catarman


Bishop, Diocese of Borongan


Bishop, Diocese of Maasin


Bishop, Diocese of Calbayog

+FELOMINO G. BACTOL, DD Bishop, Diocese of Naval

October 22, 2010

Our Continuing Stand Against Mining in the Island of Manicani, Guiuan, Eastern Samar

RECENT and upcoming events relative to the mining issue in the island of Manicani have triggered so much anxiety among residents who brought into our attention their apprehensions about the move of Nickel Asia corp. (NAC) towards the lifting of mining operation in the island

apparently to open it to a new round of mineral extraction as the following would indicate, to wit:

The four barangay councils in the island namely Banaag, Buenavista, Hamorawon and San Jose have passed a resolution lifting the suspension of mining operation in the island. At present, the Sangguniang Bayan of Guiuan has been in the process of coming up with a similar resolution endorsing the same. For several months now, NAC has been implementing its program of “Care and Maintenance” in the mined out

areas in Manicani, specifically

the settling ponds, periphery

canals and catchment basins. Moreover, NAC has hired some local residents to work for the program.

NAC had sponsored a field

trip for all the members of the

four barangay councils to Rio Tuba, Palawan, a known mining area. The upcoming Barangay elections on October 25, 2010 could be a major flashpoint among parties advancing their

interests using their financial

muscle. And one major interest is mining. The above-mentioned events reinforced our fears and apprehensions regarding mining in the Diocese of Borongan and have rekindled our long standing resolve that mining should be permanently stopped in the island of Manicani on the following basis:

1. Wanton destruction of the environment in the island:

BFAR-Guiuan Survey (1993); Mangrove Reforestation Project of DENR, Buenavista affected by

siltation (Report of the special team of DENR, 2003); DENR routinary inspection that showed

wastes from HMC contributing factor to the siltation in the area (Report of the special team of DENR, 2003); and Assessment of the Lateritic Stockpile in Manicani lsland, a Research conducted by the UP-Diliman commissioned by the LGU of Guiuan, June 2008 proves the case in point here. 2. Manicani is a small island. Manicani has an area of 1,165.89 hectares with no major water sources. The island depends most of its water needs on rain water. With the impending operation of mining, it is certain that access to potable water will be a problem for the people, one of the basic life sustenance and therefore touches on their basic human right to live. Moreover, Manicani will be certainly unproductive and inhabitable after NAC commences its mining operation because mining really destroys two major livelihoods—

agriculture and fisheries—of the

local communities. What is more basic than any right, more basic

than the right of mining firms, is

the right of the people of Manicani to live safely and peacefully in their own island without the presence of mining which endangers their very lives. 3. Non-compliance with the condition relative to the last Loading of Mineral stockpile. The people of Manicani agreed to the last loading of mineral stockpile (2004-05) on condition “That immediately after the loading of the 150,000 MT nickel ore, all open pit caused by the mining operations shall be rehabilitated” (No. 8 of SB Resolution No. 32 series of 2004). Before any act of endorsement by the SB-Guiuan regarding the lifting of suspension of mining operations, compliance of the above condition should have been made in order to gain the trust of the people. 4. Seeming avoidance of Responsibility by HMC on its

Stand / B7

Diocese of Legazpi

PASTORAL BULLETIN NO. 03, Series of 2010

To: Clergy, Religious, Lay Faithful Re: Corrupting our Minors, Corrupting the Future

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mt 18,16)

REPORTS coming from all over leave no doubt as to the scope and magnitude of corruption and cheating in the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. During our Clergy General Assembly held last Tuesday, every priest present said that vote-buying and selling were rampant in their respective

places of assignment and home towns. Radyo Veritas Legazpi and other local radio stations, as well as our local PPCRV units

also confirmed this widespread terrible state of affairs.

Vote-buying is morally wrong. It is unfair to candidates who have lesser means or who choose the path of principled campaigning. It is unfair to the electorate because it puts undue

influence on their right to vote. It subverts the will of the people.

Vote-buying feeds the vicious cycle of graft and corruption as

politicians and their patrons later find ways to recoup their

election “investments” by stealing from government projects and exacting political favors. Vote-buying is illegal. Article 22, Section 261, of the Omnibus Election Code (R.A. 881) cites vote-buying, vote-selling and conspiracy to sell votes among election offenses punishable by law. Under the Local Government Code (Book 3, Section 384), the barangay is the basic political unit of our society and the primary unit responsible for implementing government policies, programs and projects. It also serves as a forum where the people’s voice may be heard and considered, and where local disputes may be amicably settled. The barangay is where people experience direct democracy in action—a government by the people, of the people, for the people. Sadly, during this recent barangay election a great number of our people have chosen unwisely. They have chosen to set aside Christian values and disrespect the law. Politicians shell out money to buy votes and maintain loyalty. The voters expect—and in many instances, demand—to be bribed into voting for candidates. Even worse, the Sangguniang Kabataan election was not spared from the same sin of corruption and vote-buying. In some places vote-buying for the position of SK Chairman reached as high as P1,500.00. Young people were suspiciously “quartered” in various beach resorts and other places prior to and during election day by political patrons. Most shocking were widespread stories of parents of SK candidates who funded, supported and pushed their children to bribe other youths into voting for them. When the next round of election this time for the SK Federation President on the municipal, city and provincial levels come, another level of vote-buying, “quartering” and corruption of youth leaders would almost certainly arise, involving bigger sums of money and more scandalous forms of bribery. What has happened to us as a people? What have we done to our youth? With leaders like these, what kind of future do

we have in store for our country? And then we hear even from

honest, well-meaning people—perhaps reflecting the common

sentiment nowadays—that we just have to get used to this sad situation that has become a way of life, a culture that has become impossible to change. We, the Bishop and the Clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi, condemn in the strongest terms this culture of vote-buying and cheating that has corrupted our people, especially our youth. It is un-Christian and unlawful for politicians to buy votes and cheat during elections, and for voters to pressure candidates into bribing them. It is un-Christian and unlawful for parents

to push their children to buy the votes of their fellow youth and teach them to disrespect democratic institutions. It is against the values of the Gospel to simply not care and consider the situation hopeless and impossible to change. We are calling on our young people, with the help of our Youth Ministry and others who are involved in youth formation, to gather together in parishes, schools and communities to discuss what has happened during the recent elections, discern where this culture is leading them, and ask guidance from the Spirit on how to win back the youth for Christ. We are calling on our people in the parishes, especially our lay leaders, to gather together in prayerful dialogue and examination of conscience about the conduct of the recent elections and plan ways to counter what has become a trend in

our political culture. Some may even find themselves needing

to take a leave of absence for some time from active ministry or

position of leadership in the parish, if communal or personal discernment calls for it, and to prevent further scandal and facilitate healing in the community. We are calling on concerned government agencies, especially the COMELEC and the PNP, to be more vigilant and effective in enforcing the law. We are renewing our commitment to work with you towards making our elections truly clean, honest and meaningful. We are calling for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan. This

institution may have lofty goals and some positive contributions but has been found generally wanting. It has failed in teaching the young the values of democracy and the skills for good governance. Far from being an empowering presence, it has become a corrupting

influence on our youth. The problem is not with our young people

but in the political structure and culture where the SK operates.

The voices of the young should not be stifled, there is a clear need

for youth representation in governance. The training of the young

should not be stymied, there is a definite need for their political

empowerment. But not in the manner and form of the current

SK. Mere reforms in the SK will not resolve its inherent flaws, its

recidivist nature and its sorry state of affairs. It has to be abolished, only then can we make way for better representation and genuine empowerment of the youth. Finally, we humbly acknowledge that, in more ways than one, we are all carriers of this moral malaise and perpetrators

of these crimes against democracy and the moral fiber of our

communities. Therefore, with humble hearts and contrite

spirits, let us call on the heavens for forgiveness of these our sins. May the Lord of mercy and righteousness help us amend our ways and restore what we have broken so that we shall endeavor with all our might to prevent such transgressions from happening again in future elections. Let us together as one closely monitor, in particular, the conduct of elections of the SK Federation Presidents on the municipal, city and provincial levels. May our Mother of Salvation, our patroness who has strengthened

our hope and provided guidance during difficult times, lead us to

faithfully follow her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Bishop of Legazpi and the Clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi

29 October 2010


Ref lections

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 14 No. 23

November 8 - 21, 2010

Jesus’ leadership as a scathing critique of leadership in churches and in the world

Feast of Christ the King (Luke 23:35-43) November 21, 2010

By Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo, SThD

TWO decades ago or thereabouts, I read a book titled Night, written by a Hungarian Jew—was it a certain Wiesel?—about the execution of three men by the Gestapo in front of thousands of spectators in a Nazi concentration camp (in Auschwitz? Buchenwald?). The three were mounted onto the chairs, and when the nooses were placed on their necks, two of them shouted, “Long live freedom!” while the third, a child, simply kept silent. Then someone from among the crowd commented, “Where is God?” presumably asking why such a cruel fate should befall on the threesome. At a given signal from the head of the camp, the chairs tipped over, and in a jiffy, two of them were dead. The small boy, however, was still alive, and for about an hour, he hung there, suspended between heaven and earth, suffering the agony of dying slowly. Then, the same man from the crowd, who probably could not comprehend why such a child should suffer agony, asked again, “Where is God?” Then in answer to the question, a voice was heard, “Where is God? There he is—hanging on the gallows.” That one sees God in a condemned child hanging on the gallows, that is something concealed from the eyes of many, for one does not normally associated God with defeat, or condemnation in the hands of sinful men. Our image of God is one who is always triumphant, always in control of everything, and ever above human contingency and suffering. The same may be said of Kingship. In our common understanding, a reigning king is always associated with absolute authority and power. A ruling king who acts like a slave, is treated as a slave, who is in fact a slave—that is something beyond imagination. But that precisely what Jesus is: a servant-king. It is therefore understandable that, in today’s Gospel (Luke 35-43), the Jews could not believe

in the kingship of Christ. If anything, he was, in their perception, exactly

the opposite. That is why the leaders mocked him; if he were a king, they thought, God would not have allowed him to die just like that; if he were God’s anointed, he should have saved himself (Luke 22:35). The soldiers, too, mocked him in the same vein, placing an inscription over his head: “King of the Jews” (v 36). And one of the criminals derided him, convinced as he was that Jesus could not have been the Christ for he was powerless; to prove his messiahship, Jesus should have saved himself and the two of them who shared his fate (v 39). But Jesus’ kingship can be perceived only by those who have faith. Only one who has faith can see the kingship of Jesus in powerlessless, weakness, pain and suffering. And precisely because he is a king—a crucified king—Luke is subtly suggesting that rather trying to understanding the kingship of Jesus in terms of what we know from kings who ruled in history, we have to understand what it really means to be a king in terms of the kingship of Jesus. That is to say, the analogue by which we judge what actions are proper to a king is none other than Jesus himself. It is the way Jesus rules that gives us the standard and meaning of kingship.

Kings stand or fall on their conformity or non-conformity with the life of Jesus. Because Jesus is a king, as the inscription

In today’s Gospel (Luke 23:35-43), Luke focuses on the declaration of faith by the good thief. Unlike the bad thief who shared his fate on the cross, but who uttered blasphemous words to Jesus, demanding that the latter should prove his messiahship by saving them from the cross, he looked on Jesus with the eyes of faith. Because of this faith encounter, he was moved to acknowledge his sinfulness, and appealed to the compassion of Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). He could make this appeal because he knew, through the eyes of faith, that Jesus is the real King who could grant him salvation. And his hope was not disappointed:

“Truly I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This recalls the words of Jesus to Zacchaeus, “Today, salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). Both Zacchaeus and the good thief were notorious and lost, but, by their faith and by opening their lives to Jesus, they received salvation. And because he could dispense salvation to those who have faith, Jesus is thus a king. At the same time, Jesus’ comportment is actually a scathing critique of leadership, both secular and ecclesiastical. Luke seems to be saying that now we have a new paradigm of leadership: to be a leader is not to subjugate and dominate people or do them violence, subtle or not; leadership is

B6 Ref lections CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 Jesus’ leadership

over his head itself reads, his kingship from the cross is thus a critique of how secular kings and leaders must comport themselves.

not about the exercise of absolute authority and power: “Earthly kings lord it over their people. Those who exercise authority over them are called their benefactors. Yet, it cannot be that way with you. Let the greater among you be as the junior; the

leader as the servant” (Luke 22:25-26). Leadership is rather about searching for the lost and saving them, like the good thief and Zacchaeus, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, the woman of ill-repute, etc. It is about forgiveness. It is about service in the manner of a slave (Luke 22:26). Far from doing violence, a real leader allows

himself to be derided, or even crucified

for the sake of the lost (Phil 2:11). As can

be gleaned from the 2nd Reading (Col 1:12-20), Jesus is a leader who frees people from the power of darkness and brings salvation to them by his own death, not by absolute power or force: “He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Through him we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14). Understandably enough, the attitude of the Bible toward human kingship or leadership is ambiguous. Although there is a tradition that approves of the institution of kingship over Israel (1 Sam 9:1-10:16; 11), a different strand of tradition altogether rejects it. Precisely because it saw how kingship was exercised by its pagan neighbors, Israel rejected it; in Jotham’s fable, only a useless person would accept it (Jdgs 9:8-20). Historically, of course, Israel had bad leaders (1 Kgs 16:25-28.30- 33), as did Judah (2 Kgs 16:2-5). An example of a despotic monarch who was guilty of apostasy and lawlessness was Manasseh (2 Kgs 21:1-18). That is why some prophets like Samuel were not in favor of its institution (2 Sam 8:101-8), and Jeremiah minced no words in his indictment against Jehoiakim: “Your eyes and hearts are set on nothing except on your own gain, on shedding innocent blood, on practicing oppression and extortion” (Jer 22:11). Of course, Israel

Leadership / B7

B6 Ref lections CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 Jesus’ leadership

Fr. Francis Ongkingco


Typing conversion

“DAD, where you’ve been all morning?” Jake asked. “I was going to ask if you have any special request for your big day tomorrow.” “I just came from Church, Jake,” his father replied. “I thought I needed some spiritual preparation to celebrate the 75 years of my life tomorrow.” “Did you ask Father Bob for a blessing?” “Yeah, that too, but I decided to do a general confession,” his father sighed with relief. “Hey, it’s as if you don’t go regularly,” his son affectionately nudged his father. “Yeah, but I felt I had to do something more to make this one special, since through the years one can feel a little burdened by life’s trials.” “So how did you make this one special?” Jake casually asked. “You want to hear it?” his father was always

moved by his eldest son’s confidence, that

he treated him as a friend to converse about almost anything. “Well, if you’re up to it,” Jake said. “But if you want to keep to yourself, I guess no problem either.”

* * *

“Seventy-five years are quite a lot of years

of grace. I felt that making a general confession would be worth the trip. But I’ve done this kind of confession before, and I told myself that I would not only examine my conscience but type it out so that I wouldn’t forget my sins.” “Whoa! That’s what I’d call a digital confession,” Jake laughed. “As you well know, I’m not too good with the PC.

Word is probably the only application I use.” “Really? Well, I’m wondering who left the Counter Strike game on last night when I went down to leave some milk on the porch for the cats.” “He, he, he, I guess I just clicked the wrong application,” his dad winked at him. “Okay, so what about the digital confession?” “I sort of categorized my sins into groups

like: FAMILY, CHILDREN, SPIRITUAL LIFE, WORK, etc.” “Wow! That’s really the manager in you, dad!” “Since a general confession isn’t about stating all of one’s sins over again in detail—because these have already been forgiven before,--but expressing a purer sorrow for having offended God, I began to pray while I stared at the list:

‘But in all this, Lord, what is one thing that I really have to work on?’” “Hey, that’s cool, Dad,” Jake agreed. “You’ve just made me realize that more important than a list, would be seeing the principal point or points we have to focus and work on. Generalities,--that is, good intentions—really get us nowhere.” “So there… I was trying to figure my conversion point. I resumed typing and all of a sudden, maybe ‘coz I typed some keyboard

combination or something, the word selfish

beside the cursor suddenly became bold and the font enlarged. Even though I know it must have been something I’ve done, I was still so moved because I saw plainly what our Lord

wanted to tell me: I have been selfish all these

years.” “Hey, Dad,” Jake interrupted him, “I beg to disagree. You’ve been a great dad to all

of us these past years, and of course a loving husband to Mom. So how could you call

yourself selfish?”

“Jake, I guess it’s more of realizing that there were some things that I kinda held back—and perhaps, continue to do so—in giving myself God and you guys. You know, like my overtime

on T.V. and on the golf course, my fits of

impatience here and there, my complaints, and…,” “Stop! Stop! I’m not hearing your confession,” Jake joked.

“I’m not making one, ‘coz I’ve already gone. What I’m saying is that God was telling me

never to be satisfied. I could love Him and

everyone more by being generous in the daily ordinary conversions.” “OKAY! Let’s go back to where we were, Dad. Any special request for your big day tomorrow?” “Well…, since you’re asking…, I kinda

figured… that…, well…,”

“Come on, Dad, spit it out!” “Well, what about an iPad, so I can digitally engage myself with the world and God.” “[SIGH!] *FYI: The key combinations that can change your selected text in Word is pressing together [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + < or > (to either decrease or increase font size). [CTRL] + B would make selected text BOLD.

Bo Sanchez


What does it mean to pray according to God’s will?

B6 Ref lections CBCP Monitor Vol. 14 No. 23 November 8 - 21, 2010 Jesus’ leadership

HERE’S another great promise:

The Bible says, we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. (1 John 5:14) But someone told me it wasn’t too great. He asked me, “Bo, why will I bother to pray for God’s Will? If it’s God’s Will, then it’ll happen whether I pray or not, right?” I’ve heard that question many times. It comes from a wrong concept of God’s Will. For many people, God’s Will

is about knowing “Whether to migrate to the US or not,” or “Whether to work in Company A or Company B,” or “Whether to buy Car A or Car B.” Let me clarify this as loud as I can: God’s Will isn’t about details. We think it is. That’s why many Christians get paralyzed. They can’t move. Because they think God’s Will is in the details. They’re afraid of making mistakes. If God wanted to micromanage our lives, He should have created robots. But He didn’t do that. He created us with phenomenal

imagination, creativity, and beautiful intelligence. Stuff He would want us to use! Here’s what I believe: God’s Will isn’t about details but about direction. About vision. About mission. He leaves the details to us. So what is God’s Will? Here’s my answer: In essence, God’s Will is to love like Jesus. This is God’s Will for your life. To be another Jesus in the world. To bring Heaven down on earth. To be God’s embrace to the people in your life.

How will you love like Jesus? God leaves that up to you. Indeed, He gives us so much freedom. Because He trusts us so much.

Let me say it again: Prayer isn’t changing God’s Will. Prayer is changing our will.

Prayer is entering into the flow of God’s Love that’s flowing like

a river around you. Prayer is being that river of God’s Love to