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A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with


Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception
Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up
‘confusion’ on contraception
A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with
A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with
A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with
A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with

B1 Speak with parrhesia,

A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with

listen with humility

A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with


The News Supplement of Couples for Christ Ugnayan
The News Supplement of
Couples for Christ
A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with
October 13 - 26, 2014 Vol. 18 No. 21 Php 20. 00
October 13 - 26, 2014
Vol. 18 No. 21
Php 20. 00

Bohol, a year after

AT the first anni - versary of the dev- astating earthquake which shook Cen - tral Philippines, Bo- holanons seem to have overcome the crisis and are suc - cessfully rebuilding their lives. Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medro - so, in an interview

with CBCP News,

said the faithful “have high spirits, remained optimis - tic and learned to muster their own strength.” He said the tragic series of events from 8:15 a.m. that fate - ful Tuesday morn - ing on Oct. 15, 2013 made locals more resilient.

Bohol / A7

Yolanda survivors ‘wish’ more time with Pope Francis

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POPE FRANCIS addresses the Synod Fathers at opening of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on October 5, as Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle, one of the three delegate presidents, looks on. In his address the Pope exhorted the synod participants “to speak with parrhesia and to listen with humility.” Salt and light tV

By Roy Lagarde

PEOPLE who sur - vived the fury of typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas wish they will have more time with Pope Francis when he vis- its Leyte early next year.

When reports came out that the pope will only spend at least six hours in Leyte and the rest will be in Manila, many people felt unhappy about the “small” amount of time given to them. The pope will be in the Philippines on January 15 to 19. Details of his visit, however, have not yet been

officially revealed.

But Palo Archbishop John Du already told me-

dia that the pope will visit Tacloban City and the ad- jacent town of Palo, Leyte on Jan. 17. Du said the pope will also share a meal with the poor victims of last year’s calamities. Bishop Leonardo Me - droso of Tagbilaran also

said five survivors of the

7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol in October 2013 will be among the individu- als who will meet and eat

with the pope in Leyte.

Fr. Edu Gariguez of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action said many people are wishing that pope will spend more time with them. “Sana mapakinggan ni pope yung kanilang mga kahilingan,” (I wish the pope will listen to their yearning) Gariguez said. He said aside from Leyte, many typhoon victims in Samar and Palawan are also praying that the pope will visit them. “Sabi nga nung mga taga Samar at Palawan gusto din namin makita ‘yung pope,” (The victims of Samar and Palawan said they also want to see the pope) he said. “Pinaparating ko lang ‘yung mga hinain nila.” (I just want to make their wishes known). “Kaya nga rin ako nag- tataka kasi ang orihinal in- tention ng pope e pumunta dito sa mga nasalanta. Pero bakit isang araw lang ang ititigil niya doon? Dapat mas matagal. Bakit puro Manila?” (I am also won- dering why this is so be - cause the original intention of the pope was to visit the victims. But why is he there only for a day?) he added.

Mercy and compassion

Organizers said they are

Time / A6

Controversy prompts Vatican to clarify Synod midterm

VATICAN CITY, Oct 14, 2014— After a media frenzy and lively internal debate were both raised by the publication of the mid- term relatio of the Synod of Bishops, its secretariat issued a statement clarifying its merely provisional nature. “The General Secretariat of the Synod … reiterates that it is a working document, which summarizes the interventions

and debate of the first week,”

said an Oct. 14 declaration of the

Holy See press office on behalf

of the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The statement was made “in response to reactions and discus- sions following the publication of the Relatio post disceptatio-

Synod / A7

A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with

On October 8, 2013, The Holy Father called for an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014 on topics related to the family and evangelization. Salt and light tV

CBCP-NASSA launches ‘Year of the Poor’, ‘AK40’

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Fr. Edwin Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA executive secretary. File PhOtO

THE Catholic Bishops’ Confer- ence of the Philippines (CBCP), in coordination with its National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), launched on Monday, Oct. 6, the “Year of the Poor” and “Alay Kapwa 40” (AK40) at the St. Joseph Cathedral Diocesan

Shrine in Butuan City. “The Church is constantly challenged to take the side of the poor and the oppressed, par- ticularly in the situation where there is a continuing violation of human rights wherein justice is

AK / A6

Bishops request more ‘inclusive’ Bangsamoro talks

A3 Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception Speak with parrhesia, listen with

Mohagher Iqbal (left) and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chief negotiators of the MILF and GPH, respectively, shake hands while holding a copy of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro during its formal signing on March 28, 2014 in Malacañang. OPaPP

THE Catholic hierarchy believes the government should strive for a more “inclusive” dialogue to try to restore peace and stability in the troubled southern Philip- pines, especially with regard to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Phil - ippines (CBCP) said that discussion on the said leg- islation “must be inclusive as much as possible” to address the root causes

Bangsamoro / A6

CBCP: Shun ‘not in my backyard’ mentality on environment

SAYING that reducing the impacts of climate change is everyone’s duty, Catholic bishops called on the com- munities to avoid the “not in my backyard” mentality. “Unfortunately, we, Fili- pinos, are content to say ‘not in my backyard!’ We keep our home and sur- roundings clean, even if it means dumping our waste in our neighborhood,” the Catholic Bishops’ Confer- ence of the Philippines said in a pastoral exhortation. (See full text in page B5) The bishops believe fight-

ing climate change remains a huge challenge because many communities are not proactive about saving the planet. “Having examined our- selves and our relation to the environment, we are then obligated to ensure that our response is not just on the individual, but also on the community level,” part of the statement read. The statement, signed by CBCP President Arch - bishop Socrates Villegas, stressed how important it is


Tagle shares why he is ‘traumatized’ by airports

AN emotional Filipino churchman related his “traumatic experiences” of airports, associating the place with Overseas

Filipino Workers (OFWs) forced to leave their fami-

lies behind to find greener

pastures abroad. Talking to Catholic News Service (CNS) at the Vatican on Tuesday, Oct. 7, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle shared he has been

a witness to these “heart- breaking” scenes.

Airport goodbyes
Airport goodbyes

“You know the airport has become a traumatic

Tagle / A7


World News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

Vatican Briefing

Sheer ‘barbarism’ against Middle East families must end

The Synod of Bishops on Friday denounced “barbaric” violence in the Middle East, saying the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt offers a sign of hope and reconciliation for all families suffering due to armed conflict. “We join with the Holy Father Francis in emphasizing that no one may use the name of God to commit violence, and that to kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege,” the Oct. 10 message read. The message, addressed to all families who suffer as a consequence of the numerous conflicts the world is currently undergoing, came in the context of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, whose meetings are taking place Oct. 5 to Oct. 19. The message offered specific prayers for the fami - lies of Syria and Iraq, who have been forced to “abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty” due to their membership in a certain religious or ethnic community. (CNA)

Teen Malala’s Nobel prize sparks pride in Pakistani bishop

Malala Yousafzai has received the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 – making her the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious award and prompting local Archbishop Joseph Coutts to laud the “great honor” she’s bestowed on the country. The Pakistani teenager gained global attention

when she was shot in the head by Taliban activists in 2012, at the age of 14, as a punishment for her public campaign for the rights of girls to be educated. She received treatment for her injuries in the United Kingdom, where she continues to reside with her family. Yousafzai has continued to campaign for global access to education. “This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard,” Yousafzai told the press on Oct. 10 following her reception of the reward. “They have the right to receive quality educa- tion. They have the right not to suffer from child labor, not

to suffer from child trafficking. They have the right to live a happy life.” (CNA)

Pope Francis to make apostolic voyage to France in 2015

In their announcement of the Pope’s schedule for his visit to the European Parliament next month, the Vatican also revealed that he intends to return to France in 2015 for a longer visit. “In the context of the publication of the schedule of the Pope to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe that will take place November 25, I can now say now that the Holy Father intends to make an apostolic voyage to France in the coming year 2015,” Vati - can spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said in an Oct. 7 statement. The announcement of Pope Francis’ projected visit to France marks his second international trip set for 2015, the first being a Jan. 12-19 visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. (CNA)

Benedict could attend Paul VI beatification, spokesman reveals

Retired pontiff Benedict XVI may take part to Paul VI’s be-

atification Mass Oct. 19, revealed Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office. Asked if the former Pope

was expected to give his personal contribution to the two-week synod of bishops, Fr. Lombardi said during a press conference that “it is not expected that the Pope emeritus will take part in the synod, which is so committing and long.” “Since his resignation, the Pope emeritus has been living a private life in prayer,” Fr. Lombardi, adding that “everybody hopes to

see him for Paul VI’s beatification.” The beatification Mass

will take place Oct. 19, at the end of the extraordinary synod

on the family—the synod of bishops being an institution the late Pope wanted and promoted. (CNA)

Vatican media reform committee to make first proposals by Easter

Having met for the first time late September, the committee to

reform the Vatican’s media and communications will continue to formulate its proposals, being able to present them by Easter of 2015. In an interview granted to Vatican Radio Sept. 24, Chris Patten, who chairs the committee, emphasized that the Church’s resources must be “spent as effectively as possible” to communicate its unique message of “healing, love, hope and generosity of spirit.” Patten’s words thus disclose that the committee’s first goal is to rationalize the expenses of the Vatican’s media. The committee was established in July, and met Sept. 22-24. It will again meet in November and Decem- ber, making an in-depth analysis of the state and structure of Vatican media. (CNA)

Cardinal Pell’s secretariat continues economic reform at the Vatican

The Secretariat for the Economy is developing a financial

management manual which is to be the basis of budgeting and accounting operations in 2015 for Vatican agencies. “To sup-

port the new budgeting and financial management practices being developed under the supervision of the Council, the Secretariat is preparing a manual of key financial management policies,” read a Sept. 26 internal bulletin from the economy secretariat. “The manual will help all areas meet the Council’s requirement for compliance with inter-national standards.” The Secretariat for the Economy, as well as the Council for the Economy, were established Feb. 24 by the motu proprio Fidelis dispensator et prudens. (CNA)

Church suffers from bishops choosing ill-suited priests, pope says

Many of the problems in the church today come from accepting men who are unsuitable for the priesthood, Pope Francis told the Congregation for Clergy. The vocations crisis and lack of priests have meant that “we bishops are tempted to take in, without discernment, the young men who present themselves. This is bad for the church,” he told those taking part in the congregation’s plenary assembly meeting at the Vatican. “We have to think of the good of the people of God,” which means taking the time to screen and “study” those seeking a voca- tion, he said Oct. 3. The church does need priests and there is a lack of vocations, he said, but the solution cannot come at the expense of the faithful. (CNS)

Pope: People must open hearts to migrants who face closed borders

People need to open their hearts to the many people who are forced to migrate as they face enormous difficulties and sometimes tragedy, Pope Francis said. “I pray for closed hearts that they may open. And everything I have available to me, is available to you,” he told a group of young Eritreans who survived a deadly shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The pope met with 20 survivors and their family members at the Vatican Oct. 1, just a few days shy of the anniversary of the Oct. 3, 2013, disaster. More than 360 people were killed after a boat, reportedly carrying more than 500 migrants from northern Africa, capsized and sank near Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island. Some 155 people survived. (CNS)

Sheer ‘barbarism’ against Middle East families must end

VATICAN CITY, Oct 11, 2014— The Synod of Bishops on Friday denounced “barbaric” violence in the Middle East, saying the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt

offers a sign of hope and recon- ciliation for all families suffering

due to armed conflict.

“We join with the Holy Father Francis in emphasizing that no one may use the name of God to

commit violence, and that to kill in the name of God is a grave sac- rilege,” the Oct. 10 message read. The message, addressed to all families who suffer as a conse-

quence of the numerous conflicts

the world is currently undergo- ing, came in the context of the

Third Extraordinary General As- sembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, whose meetings

are taking place Oct. 5 to Oct. 19.

The message offered specific

prayers for the families of Syria and Iraq, who have been forced to “abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty” due to their membership in a certain religious or ethnic community. The synod fathers also offered their thanks to international organizations and communities for their solidarity and invited “persons of good will to offer the necessary assistance and aid to the innocent victims of the current barbarism.”

A2 World News CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 Vatican Briefing

Syrian Christian refugees. laura Sheahen / CaritaS

“At the same time we implore the international community to act to re-establish peaceful co-existence in Iraq, in Syria, and in all the Middle East,” the statement continued. In addition to the families of Syria and Iraq, the synod fathers offered their condolences and support to families who are “torn apart and suffering in other parts

of the world, and who suffer persistent violence.” “We wish to assure them of our constant prayer that the Lord may convert hearts and bring peace and stability to those who are now in need.” The statement concluded with a petition to the Holy Family of Nazareth, noting they also suf- fered “the painful road of exile” to

make each family “a community of love and reconciliation a source of hope for the whole world.” During the synod, Pope Fran- cis called a special consistory to address the situation of Chris - tians in the Middle East. It will be held at the Vatican on Oct. 20, the day after the conclusion of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. (CNA)

Christian families in Mosul “desperate,” archbishop says


ERBIL, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2014—The solidarity

expressed by Synod currently being held in Rome towards Christian families in the Middle East who are experiencing a period

refugees is becoming more disheartened and

desperate, because they do not see positive signs for a return home” in the near future.

Msgr. Nona was the first to raise the alarm

of great “difficulty”, in particular “Iraq” is

on the danger posed by the advance of the

Christians - have fled in early June to avoid

a “very positive” signal because it is “im-

Islamists after the conquest of Mosul, where

portant to talk about this situation” and “it gives us the strength to go forward”, says

most important city in the country and first

about 500 thousand people - Muslims and

Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean arch- bishop of Mosul, in the north, the second

being forced to convert to extremist Islam and where a caliphate was founded and sharia imposed.

city to fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State. Yesterday, the Synod devoted special at- tention to the Syrian and Iraqi Christians, victims of jihadist violence and the repercus- sions “on the family, disrupted by the death

In these hours, the Iraqi authorities have sounded the alarm, calling for military aid in the western province of Anbar, which could “soon” fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State (IS). Jihadists are attacking the provincial capital, Ramadi, and have

of its members [ young people [


deprived of a future for and for the older people,


captured large portions of land. The eventual fall of Anbar would give the IS possession of a large area between Syria and Iraq, setting up a direct supply line ahead of an assault on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the ultimate goal of the terrorists. The situation of tension and danger of the eventual fall of all Iraq into the hands of the

Islamic state, is accompanied by the increasing difficulties faced by refugees (Christian and non) in the north of the country, particularly among those who have fled Mosul and the Nineveh plain. “Now people are desperate - says Msgr. Nona - and no longer believes in a return home, it is clear that the Islamic State is stronger than the coalition bombs”. The prel- ate said the commitment of the Church and ecclesiastical personalities “to families who still live in tents, in schools, in classrooms and in the parishes”. He adds that the focus is to help them “live in a more humane way,” and we are grateful “for the many donations that come from all over the world.” “We’re looking for houses to rent - says the archbishop of Mosul - but it is impos - sible to find accommodation for all, so we are looking for other solutions.” Msgr. Nona warns of the many risks, many chal - lenges and difficulties experienced by the Iraqi Christian families torn from their land: “How is it possible to stick together - asks the prelate - and lead the everyday life of a family home, when you are in a tent in a public school or sharing an apartment with other families”. Problems are emerg - ing in terms of personal relationships, in the internal relationship of the couple and education of children, all the problems that accompany “serious economic difficulties.” This is why priests “promote activities for children and young people, to help them play to forget, even for a few moments, the drama of war.” Finally, the archbishop of Mosul calls on the Synod in Rome to pay “attention to the difficulties experienced by families,” look- ing at “different situations and different realities” elaborating “that is not a global one for everyone, but respecting the way of thinking and living of families around the world.” (AsiaNews)

Church leads fight against gay discrimination in Nigeria

VATICAN CITY, Oct 11, 2014— The Catholic Church in Nigeria

has been at the forefront in

fighting discrimination towards

persons with same-sex attrac - tion, says Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, who adds that media coverage of the Church has been imbalanced. In one of the strongest state- ments made about homosexual-

ity during the first week of the

Synod on the Family, the Ni - gerian prelate told the press on Oct. 8 that “the Catholic Church respects all human beings, and we believe we are all created in the image and likeness of God.” Archbishop Kaigama said that the people of Africa believe mar- riage is only between a man and

a woman, based on culture, biol- ogy, and religious belief. How- ever, he stressed that this does not translate into support for the “the criminalizing of people with different sexual orientations.” “The Catholic Church is in the forefront of defending them,” he said, “and we would defend any person with a homosexual orien- tation who has been harassed, who has been imprisoned, who has been punished.” The archbishop criticized the media for focusing on the Church’s defense of marriage be- tween a man and a woman, while ignoring the Church’s advocacy against discrimination towards persons with same-sex attraction. “They forgot that we are seri-

ous defenders of human rights. We have our justice and peace department, we go to prisons, we see people who are unjustly im- prisoned, or denied their rights.” The media should have a bal- anced approach, he said, “in the sense that we respect human beings.” Even though homosexual ac- tivity “is not in conformity with our culture and religion,” the archbishop continued, “we do not just throw away the persons. We embrace them in love. We try to share our point of view. We don’t punish them.” The pastoral care of persons with same-sex attraction has received relatively little atten - tion thus far, although it is on

the agenda for the Synod on the Family. At the opening session of the Synod on Oct. 6, Cardi- nal Peter Erdo noted “a broad consensus that people with a homosexual orientation should not be discriminated against.” In an Oct. 10 briefing, Holy See Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi told the press that participants had noted the need for further discussion on issue of same-sex marriage. The difficult and controversial questions “will come,” Arch - bishop Kaigama told the press. “By the grace of God, we’re go- ing to deal with them the best way possible for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls.” (CNA)

PNG and Solomon Islands bishops reveal joint pastoral plan

PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Oct 10, 2014-- At a recent Mass, the bishops of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands revealed a roadmap for pastoral plan - ning to guide the transformation of their societies. “The new evangelization is at the core of the pastoral plan, along with the pastoral care of the family, the poor, the youth, street kids, as well as the media and a wide range of social concerns,” Fr. Giorgio Licini, head of social communications for the bish - ops’ conference, told CNA.

The pastoral plan’s priorities are adapt- ed to the unique challenges facing the population of the two island nations located in Melanesia. In Papua New Guinea, nearly all the population is Christian, and 27 percent is Catholic. Yet many Christians there inte- grate indigenous beliefs and practices into their religious life. Many indigenous Papua New Guin - eans believe in sorcery, and retain such practices as contraception, abortion, and polygamy. In 1945, the nation gained a saint in Blessed Peter To Rot, a catechist

who was martyred following his denun- ciation of polygamy. The pastoral plan is meant to underline the importance and the role of the Gospel in transforming Papua New Guinean society, especially in correcting such tra- ditional practices as polygamy. Archbishop Michael Banach, apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and to the Solomon Islands, at the pastoral plan’s

unveiling that this is “the first time that

Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

has worked out a common pastoral plan”.


CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

News Features


Speakers ask pope, synod to clear up ‘confusion’ on contraception

VATICAN CITY, Oct. 9, 2014—A married couple from Brazil told Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops that the church should stop giving “contradictory ad-

vice” on birth control and help Catholics obey church teaching against contraception. On the same morning, one of the synod’s leaders spoke forcefully against a widespread “contraceptive mentality” that has led many Catholics to think

the use of artificial birth control

is not a sin. Arturo and Hermelinda As

Zamberline, married for 41 years with three children, addressed the synod during the morning session Oct. 9. The designated subject for the session was the “pastoral challenges concerning an openness to life.” “We must admit without fear that many Catholic couples, even those who seek to live their marriage seriously, do not feel obligated to use only the natural methods” of birth control condoned by the church, said the Zamberlines, leaders in their country of an international

Catholic movement, Teams of Our Lady. “We must add that generally they are not ques - tioned by their confessors” on the subject. The Zamberlines, who are participating in the synod as non-voting auditors, said the “rhythm of life” today makes

it difficult to find time to learn

natural methods of family plan- ning, which they said have ac- quired an “unjust reputation of being unreliable,” because they are badly explained and thus badly practiced.

“The great majority of couples do not reject the use of contra- ceptive methods. In general, they do not consider them a moral problem,” the Zamberlines said. The Brazilian couple con - cluded with an appeal to the pope and the synod to help Catholics understand and obey “Humanae Vitae,” the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI that

affirmed church teaching against

contraception. “If couples, as well as clergy,

could at least find illumination

and support, that would already

be a great encouragement! Of- ten, contradictory advice only aggravates their confusion. We ask, may the magisterium hasten to give priests and faithful the major lines of a pastoral teaching program to help people adopt and observe the principles laid out in ‘Humanae Vitae,’” the Zamberlines said. In remarks introducing the couple to the assembly, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, one of three synod presidents ap - pointed by the pope, said Catho- lic couples “often do not believe

that the use of contraceptive

methods is a sin and therefore they tend not to speak of them in confession and so they receive Communion untroubled.” “It is necessary to encour - age a mentality of openness to life to thwart the contraceptive mentality and the spread of an individualist anthropological model that in certain countries has led to a strong demographic drop whose social and human

consequences are not sufficiently considered today,” the cardinal said. (Francis X. Rocca/CNS)

Synod fathers ask: Does the church need to watch its language?

VATICAN CITY, Oct. 10, 2014—In of-

ficial reports of the closed-door talks at

the Synod of Bishops on the family, an emerging theme has been the call for a new kind of language more appropriate for pastoral care today. “Language appeared many, many times,” Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the briefer for English-speaking journal- ists, told reporters Oct.7, the assembly’s second working day. “There’s a great desire that our language has to change in order to meet the very complex situ- ations” the church faces. One bishop, whom Father Rosica did not name in accordance with synod rules, reportedly told fellow partici - pants that “language such as ‘living in sin,’ ‘intrinsically disordered’ or ‘con- traceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the church.” (“Intrinsi- cally disordered” is a term used by the Catechism of the Catholic Church to describe homosexual acts.) Speaking to the synod Oct. 7, Arch- bishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin spoke of the need for new language with which to communicate with mar- ried couples.

“To many, the language of the church appears to be a disincarnated language of telling people what to do, a one-way dialogue,” the archbishop said, accord- ing to excerpts of his remarks published by the Irish bishops’ conference. “The lived experience and struggle of spouses

can help find more effective ways of

expression of the fundamental elements of church teaching.” Following the same session, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa, told Catholic News Service that

“language is something we’ve over- looked for a good while; we’ve used language that is out of touch with the way people speak today.”

“In the past, it was sufficient to say

to people, ‘You are going to hell if you continue this way of life.’ Hell was a reality and it was something they knew and they understood it. But if you talk about hell today, people don’t know what you are talking about,” Cardinal Napier said. “So I think the emphasis is shifting (toward), ‘how can you be in a loving relationship with Jesus, and through Jesus with your brother and sister in the church, if you are living in this condition which separates and alienates you from Jesus?” German Cardinal Walter Kasper, whose controversial proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion has been a major topic of discussion at the synod, told CNS Oct. 1 that a traditional description of such couples as practicing “perpetual adultery” is not acceptable in a pastoral context. “If you tell people who live in this way and they do it in a responsible way, tell them that adultery, permanent adul- tery, I think they would feel insulted and offended. We must be very careful also in our language,” Cardinal Kasper said in English. “Permanent adultery? It seems to me too strong.” Couples living together outside of marriage, using contraception or resorting to in vitro fertilization—all activities prohibited by Catholic moral teaching—”deserve more respect and a more nuanced evaluation than the language of certain church documents appears to prescribe. The mechanisms

of accusation and exclusion they have the potential to activate can only block the way to evangelization,” Bishop Bonny wrote. The synod heard an example of newer language Oct. 6, when two non-voting auditors told Pope Francis and the rest of the assembly that Catholic parishes should welcome same-sex couples. In their remarks, Ron and Mavis Pi- rola used the word “gay,” rather than “homosexual person,” which has been the preferred term in official Vatican discourse. The Pirolas may have taken their cue from the pope, who famously used the word “gay” during an inflight news conference in July 2013. The Pirolas also said much of the church’s teaching is expressed in lan- guage that seems to be from “another planet” and “not terribly relevant to our own experiences.” Not all synod fathers have the same idea of what language the church should adopt or discard. Later that day, Cardinal Vingt-Trois told CNS that, although the church must “find modes of expression and modes of communication that will allow it to announce the good news so that it may be heard,” changing pastoral language does not mean changing the language in which theologians formulate church teaching. “When a physician makes a diagno- sis, he uses terms to designate precisely the disease in question, but these terms, if he tells them to the patient, he will not understand them. Therefore, he must explain the diagnosis with words that are not technical words. In theology, it is the same thing,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said. (Francis X. Rocca/CNS)

PH couple shares ‘abortion story’ with Pope, bishops at Synod

VATICAN City, Oct. 10, 2014—A Filipino couple who had once been faced with the possibility of aborting their own child, shared with the Holy Father and the world’s prelates gathered at the Synod on the Family the decision they made the day they said no to abortion.

Healthy baby girl

“On my fourth pregnan- cy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. We were told that my life would be at risk if I continued the pregnancy and my child had a high probability of being born abnormal,” shared Cynthia Campos, a mission volun - teer of Couples for Christ (CFC), who was with her husband George, CFC ex - ecutive director, and Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle representing the Philippines at Synod 14 on Oct. 8. “We were advised to choose between terminating the pregnancy and taking the risk. It was truly a test of faith and surrender. We decided to have the baby and to abide by the will of God,” she said. “By God’s grace, we both survived and my daughter Christen is now very healthy and full of life,” Campos added. Married in 1987, hus - band-and-wife George and Cynthia Campos have been blessed with four children. As CFC members, they commit themselves to liv - ing as “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of

the Earth” and to a mission of “Building the Church of

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 News Features A3 Speakers ask

George and Cynthia Campos, shown here at a recent Couples for Christ event, shared their life story at the ongoing Synod on the Family in Rome, Italy. Maria aurOra JaPitana

the Home and of the Poor”. But the Camposes’ story is not as simple as it seems.

Serving as a family

Cynthia would have been a nun but was told by a priest she was consulting that a cloistered life was not for her. “I applied to be a nun with the Rosas Hermanas (Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit), a contemplative con-

gregation. I was accepted. However, I was asked to un- dergo a one-on-one directed retreat with a priest. At the end of the retreat the priest said, ‘You are not meant for the religious life. God will give you a husband who will help you rear the chil - dren who will serve Him in the future. Your work is outside’.” George, a former altar server at the convent his future wife was applying to,

had an enviable position in a company he dedicated 25 years of his life to—until God called him. “At age 46, I opted to re- sign. I told the owner that I

have spent the first half of the

prime of my life serving this company and now I want to spend the 2nd half serving the Lord,” he said. Cynthia, at 47, quit her job also, so that the two could serve together as a couple. “We have grown deeper in faith and love for the Lord through our teaching formations and weekly household prayer meet - ings with other couples. This blessed encounter with Jesus led us to be - come fulltime missionary disciples. Our children are following suit. They have joined the CFC Family Ministries beginning with Kids, Youth and Singles

for Christ. We have been in missions together in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia,” George added. In 1998, Cynthia was diag- nosed with breast cancer, and was told by her doctor she had only three to six months left to live. Instead of letting the ill - ness take over their lives, the Campos couple and children stood fast in their service, knowing they are supported by the prayers of their family and their CFC community. Cynthia shared, “My prayer was ‘Lord, with just a flick of your finger you could change my illness.

You just have to will it.’ God heard our prayers, for now I am standing before you cured with a simple medical intervention and a dose of antibiotics,” she said. (Ray- mond A. Sebastián)

‘We need more, younger catechists’ – bishop

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 News Features A3 Speakers ask

The Archdiocese of Jaro launched the National Catechetical Month with the theme “Ikay kag Ako: LAIKO; Ikaw, Kita, KATEKISTA!” on Oct. 6, 2014. Sheila BanderadO

JARO, Iloilo, Oct. 7, 2014 – A new gen- eration of younger catechists is needed, says a bishop during the launching of the National Catechetical Month with the theme “Ikay kag Ako: LAIKO; Ikaw, Kita, KATEKISTA!” in the Archdiocese of Jaro on Oct. 6. “We need more catechists. We need more and younger catechists!” Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagda - meo said both seriously and jok - ingly during the 8:30 a.m. Holy Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles (Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral). He encouraged the faithful to invest in training young people, who, he said,

will serve the Church as dedicated cat- echists for many years. In the homily, Lagdameo also told the

faithful that, while everyone is called to be a saint, to be a catechist entails a spe- cial grace. He explained that it is a grace not only to announce the Word of God

but one that directly identifies a person

with the Word. This is why, he said, recalling a teach- ing of Pope Paul VI in his exhortation on Evangelization, the catechist will only be effective if he is not only a teacher but, above all, a witness. Lagdameo went on to remind his lis- teners of the importance of prayer in the

life of a catechist. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

A ‘teen hero’ and her story

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 News Features A3 Speakers ask

Rodelyn Molina, who risked her life to save a three-year-old from a burning structure in 2011, shares her story during the launch of Children’s Month at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Oct.

5, 2014. BaClaran Multi-Media MiniStry

PARAÑAQUE City, Oct. 8, 2014—Girl. Teenager. Hero—she is all these rolled into one. Barely fifteen, Rodelyn Molina had al- ready done what most grownups won’t even dare doing, even if they could – put her life at risk to save someone else. It’s not in spite of, but because of her scars that so fittingly sums up the es- sence of this year’s Children’s Month, an event celebrated at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the rest of the country each October.

Risked her life

Speaking before a shrine full of Ba- claran devotees on Sunday, Oct. 5—a feat heroic in itself—Molina proved to the world there is more to today’s kids

than gadgets and games. In December 2011, Molina, who was

then 11 years old, risked her life to save a three-year-old child trapped in

an area which caught fire following a

plane crash. Unconscious and burnt beyond rec- ognition, the two were rushed to the hospital, where the younger one died soon after from serious injuries. Learning of the girl’s fate later, Molina

could only be happy for the toddler,

knowing in her heart the child was already in “a place far better than the one she had left behind.” “She now enjoys the Lord’s com - pany,” she said in her speech.

Scars of bravery

Her selfless bravery notwithstanding, the now disfigured Molina often finds

herself putting up with the cruel taunts of small-minded people unaware of what she has been through. Molina says she couldn’t care less, certain it is not for nothing she has earned her scars. Lesser mortals would have been

ashamed of theirs, consigning themselves to seclusion, but not Molina, who seems to wear them as athletes do their medals, yet with all the innocence of youth. She’d rather mind her studies which she was forced to quit during her re- covery. Unfortunately, the girl who, years

before politicians would fight to have a

photo-op with, is practically a “nobody” today, with little prospects in life. She needs our help. Those interested to extend assis - tance to her may contact 09077233421.

(Raymond A. Sebastián)



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014




Speak with parrhesia

THIS was how Pope Francis exhorted the participants of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops during the opening session on October 5. He said: “A basic general condition is this: to speak clearly… It is necessary to say everything that is felt with parrhesia. After the last Consistory (February 2014) in which there was talk of the family, a Cardinal wrote to me saying: too bad that some Cardinals didn’t have the courage to say some things out of respect for the Pope, thinking perhaps, that the Pope thought something different. This is not good; this is not synodality because it is necessary to say everything that in the Lord one feels should be said, with human respect, without fear… Therefore, I ask you, please, for these attitudes of brothers in the Lord: to speak with parrhesia and to listen with humility.”

After the first half of the Synod, the Relator, Cardinal Peter Erdo, presented the “Relatio Post Disceptationem”, a midterm report that

outlined the main questions highlighted at the general congregations from October 6 to 10. According to Vatican reports, the hour-long

presentation of the Relator has caused 41 out of 184 synod fathers to take the floor and comment on the presentation. Some commented

that the midterm report used strikingly conciliatory language toward divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and same-sex

unions which did not reflect the general views of the participants.

The prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature

told the Catholic World Report that the midterm report “advances

position which many synod fathers do not accept and, I would say, as

faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept. Clearly, the response

to the document in the discussion which immediately followed its presentation manifested that a great number of synod fathers fount it objectionable.”

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa, when told about

media reports that the synod midterm report has stirred a new overture among divorced Catholics and homosexuals, said: “That’s one of the reasons why there’s been such an upset among synod fathers, because we’re now working from a position that’s virtually irredeemable. The message has gone out, ‘this is what the synod is saying, this is what the Catholic Church is saying,’ and that’s not what we are saying at all.”

Presumably, the synod fathers heeded the exhortation of the Holy Father

to speak with parrhesia—and liberally at that within the confines of

the synod walls. But when they did, it reportedly stirred controversy, because, aside from the fact that some contents of ‘relatio synodi” (synod’s report) were highly contentious (e.g. the report of the Holy

See press office that some synod fathers complained that the word “sin”

is almost not present in the relatio.), its handling by the media made

it appear that the relatio was final, when in fact it is only a working

document, and, therefore, provisional.

Cardinal Napier is concerned: “My worry is that the message has gone out—and it’s not a true message—that this synod has taken up these positions, and whatever we say hereafter is going to be as if we’re doing some damage control, which is certainly not what is in my mind.”

The economy and the distribution of income

THE need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed,

not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets

and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of

inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.

The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. At times, however, they seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in

order to fill out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans

for true and integral development. How many words prove irksome to this system! It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised, when global solidarity is invoked, when the distribution of goods is mentioned, when reference in made to protecting labor and defending the dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made to a God who demands a commitment to justice.

We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes,

mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution

of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.

  • I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy

can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting

to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to

the ranks of the excluded.

  • I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective

dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots—and not simply the appearances—of the evils in our world! Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. We need to be convinced that charity “is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)”. I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by

the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that

government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work,

education and healthcare. Economy, as the very word indicates, should be the art of achieving

a fitting management of our common home, which is the world as a

whole. Each meaningful economic decision made in one part of the world has repercussions everywhere else; consequently, no government can act without regard for shared responsibility.

--Evangelii Gaudium, #202-206, 2013

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Illustration by Brothers Matias
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Ominous cry for renewal

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

SUCH is the nature of the “THE LIPA DECLARATION: AN URGENT CALL FOR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION 27 AU- GUST A.D. 2014/2 DHU AL QA’DA A.H. 1435”—made by individuals from different professions and occupations, from differ- ent Churches in the Philippines, from the Muslim community, from active and retired

government officials. It is ominous because

there are more and more people who are dis- mayed, if not, in fact, disgusted by the pres- ent government. No. They are not pessimists in spirit but simply realists in perceptions. It is also ominous because it echoes the exasperation and downright anger of more and more groups of people. It is ominous too, whereas, it is well in accord with lesser and lesser approval ratings of the national leader-

ship. That is why although the “Declaration” was made and proclaimed in Lipa, it is slowly but surely making the rounds all over the country and thus making more people know it and thus also become more hopeful. The truth is that while composed and made in Lipa just recently, the sentiments

it proclaims and the options it affirms have

already existed -- for some time now as

aroused in a special way by the dirty and sticky “Pork Barrel” revelation—with special mention of “DAP”, of which the august and illustrious creator does not even know the meaning of “savings”! To this date however, only non-Party mates of Malacañang are suf- fering the consequences—considering that

those affiliated with the latter are all saints.

Three signal questions come to mind:

What is “Transformation”? It does not sim-

ply mean a change but a real changeover, a

transmutation, a transfiguration where what

is existing, usual and customary is renewed, re-made, reformed. When will “Transformation” start? It can only start when precisely the one who is the over-all cause of the national malady and deterioration, is out of the way, divested of power and set aside. Who leads the “Transformation”? It is not simply one or two individuals— no matter how competent or able they are—but a group of such qualified and trust- worthy people acting as a temporary Council until the said “Transformation” is done. Renewal is mandatory for what is odious and deleterious!

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

‘Same-sex synod’ what?

THEY are at it again—those

who have an axe to grind against

the Catholic Church are finding

media morsels to feast upon at the ongoing Synod of Bishops in the Vatican. Further exploiting Pope Francis’ most misconstrued quote “Who am I to judge?”, these people with special in - terests label what is actually a synod on the family as “same- sex synod”, a “novelty”, an oc- casion for “hundreds of celibate men” to display once more their “obsession with sex” colliding head on with their “puritanical idealism”. It is high season for optimistic militant LGBT enti- ties to repackage and resell their pet theories while judging the bishops and the Church as being “outdated” and woefully out of touch with reality.

I follow with mixed amuse - ment and compassion the ways anti-Church advocates—claim- ing “human rights”—manipu- late mainstream and social media to advance their agenda. They start with looking oppressed—as though gays were the most tyr- annized people on planet Earth. But are they, seriously? At least in the Philippines, they are far from oppressed—they are not only accepted, they are loved, adored, and some are even en- vied for their wealth and popu- larity. And their gifts and talents are not just acknowledged by the Church but are welcomed and utilized in its ministry. I have heard of gay boys being rejected by their fathers, but only in the movies. All the gay persons I know have no problem with

Rosary most relevant today

acceptance. The earliest memories I have

of gays are those about the two men in charge of our town’s Flores de Mayo. “Dalawang bakla lang ang gumagawa ng lahat diyan,” my mother would admiringly inform us, referring to the two middle-aged unmar- ried men—with soft wrists and hard core devotion to the Virgin Mary—who would virtually bloom whenever Santacruzan time came around. They recruit- ed sagalas, assigned Reinas their consortes, supervised the make-

up, the flower arrangements, the

carroza decoration—everything! It never occurred to me that they were different—maybe I was too naïve to notice, just as I was too innocent to appreciate the biggest role in the Santacruzan

given to me—Ang Babaeng Samaritana. No, I think the LGBT champi- ons want more than mere accep- tance—they want “gay rights” to be recognized as human rights. They want marriage (just like the straights), they want their

own “family” of adopted kids, and in the process they try to “revolutionize” Church teaching in the name of human rights. What’s sad is they don’t seem

to understand that by fighting

for “gay rights” they are seeking affirmation based on mere sexu- ality. In a sense they are actually asking people to measure their worth by the yardstick of sexual preference, thereby wasting their own potential as human beings. Claiming that the only natural

And That’s The Truth / A7

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

WE have just celebrated the liturgical memo- rial of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7). It’s this celebration that has made the whole month of October the month of the rosary. Let’s hope that we appreciate the true value of this prayer. I still remember my childhood days in the province when we were “forced” or at least “pressured” to say the rosary with Lola and Mama and other siblings who were “caught” at the time of this prayer. We did it kneeling down. Of course, I didn’t quite like it, but neither did I feel mistreated. Filial obedience played a big role in this. Since I could not escape, I just played along, but wondered why this prayer was so important it had to be that way. In a sense, I was both there and not there, my mind alternating between praying and getting distracted. Pretension reigned often. It was only late in my youth, while I was already separated from the family to study in Manila, and therefore quite independent but aware I had to fend for myself, that I realized how important this prayer was. For a start, it gave me a tremendous calming effect. To a person who was extremely excitable and sensitive as I was—though I would also know how to cover these traits—the rosary was most welcome. It gave me time and space to breathe and consider things more calmly. But I soon discovered other more impor- tant aspects of this Marian prayer. I realized

the value of vocal prayers. What I tended to take for granted actually contained precious ideas. I somehow discerned a certain beauty in them, far removed from merely physical beauty and transitory worldly pleasures. And so to prevent me from falling into mere mechanical praying, I would focus on some

phrases of the prayers, one at a time, and try to understand and fathom their meaning and

figure out how they can affect my life.

That’s when I relished the reality of God being a father to me, of what my attitude should be toward Him, what I can expect from Him, what I ought to ask from Him, etc. Also, that Mary is such a wonderful mother who is a most worthy model to follow, the most competent teacher with respect to the virtues I ought to develop. More importantly, the rosary would start to give me a global picture of the redemptive life of Christ which I used to take for granted. Even a cursory meditation of the mysteries of the rosary would elicit all kinds of insights and considerations that I felt were very use- ful to me. I could use the youth-speak of ‘cool’ to describe them. With the rosary, I get the sensation that I am seeing the different parts of the life Christ through the eyes of Mary, the one who un- derstood perfectly the life of Christ and con- formed herself to it is the most intimate way. In other words, the rosary helped me to be a practical contemplative right in the middle of the world, teaching me how to see things

through the eyes of faith and devotion. It inculcated in me a living piety that knows

how to be lived right in the midst of the secular world. This, to me, is the greatest effect of the ro- sary. It is indeed an effective means to instill a supernatural outlook in us, a handy tool to ask for special favors through our Mother’s intercession, a good way to spend time and know more about Christ and about her. If there are pressures to bear, problems to solve, challenges to face, and even special intentions to pray for, the rosary is a good companion. Even when we get visited by insomnia, the rosary helps us go to sleep. Especially these days when we are buf- feted with all kinds of tension-causing predicaments, the rosary is a good antidote. It puts our mind and heart in their proper

place, firmly rooted on Christ and oriented

toward Him. It makes us conscious of our human and Christian duties. The rosary can be done anytime, any -

where. It need not be finished in one sitting.

And with the new technologies which enable us to follow it while listening to its record- ing, it can be done quite easily, even while we are driving. It’s good to spread this devotion as widely

as possible, first in the family, then in the neighborhood, in schools, parishes, offices,

etc. We can also organize pilgrimages to shrines of our Lady. All these can only have good effects on us all.



Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014



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

MY sympathies lie with those who have taken the initiative in trying to shore up enthusiasm for the long-announced-and- much-anticipated coming of Pope Francis to the Philippines. They understand the power of images. The media hype over the life-size cardboard replicas of the Holy Father and such other paraphernalia says a lot about the excitement that has already been stirred up at least among Catholics and admirers of Pope Francis. Everything looks neat. Except for one thing.

And this one thing is too crucial to ignore: Are these efforts not missing the real and essential sig-

nificance of the Holy Father’s visit,

which is to proclaim Jesus Christ and not himself, in our midst and wherever he goes? Would Pope Francis be happy with a huge personality cult around him in the Philippines instead of the contin- ued growth of faith in Jesus Christ,

unwavering hope and both being expressed by love that does justice and compassion among Filipi- nos? If the Holy Father himself is centered on Jesus the Master, shouldn’t we?

  • I know I need not belabor this

point. Being a super typhoon Yolan- da survivor myself, I share in the joy of her victims in both Samar and Leyte as well as in other

Central and Western Visayas provinces, who are anticipating a holy person’s visit. But it is a joy that comes from Him whose presence the Holy Father brings and proclaims. The thought of that presence of Him who caused the infant John the Baptist to “leap for joy” (Lk 1:44) some - how has inspired me to make an ‘unsolicited suggestion’ to those who are distributing the Holy Father’s cardboard replicas.

  • I am not in the habit of making direct suggestions. But this time


One Year Later…

ALMOST one year has passed after typhoon Yolanda, with international name Hiayan, devastated Tacloban and the rest of Central Visayas and part of Southern Luzon. How are the affected families doing?

Fr. Rex Ramirez, Vicar General of the Arch-

diocese of Palo, has confirmed earlier reports

of the local government plan to relocate Yolanda survivors. The 250 affected families living in the Government Center compound in Candahug where they currently stay, will be transferred to the 300 permanent houses being constructed for them. The deadline for the relocation is November. Should the per-

manent houses not be finished as scheduled,

the local government will have to move the residents to the temporary shelters in other parts of Palo. It is disheartening to learn about the plight of these Yolanda-affected families.

A group of concerned citizens appealed to the Church to do something about it. It was reported that local politicians want to gloss

over their inefficiency and incompetence in

the rehabilitation work in their area almost a year after the tragedy by removing the survivors’ bunkhouses along the road which

the Pope is expected to take during his visit to the town. These families are likely to face yet another displacement in the alleged “whitewash” campaign being planned by

local government officials in a bid to rid

their town of “eyesores” ahead of the visit of Pope Francis, who will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015. Ironically, the Pontiff’s apostolic visit is precisely because of the Yolanda survivors whom he wants to visit and comfort. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC), as many as 3.4 million individu- als have been affected by the super typhoon. Pope Francis is the third pope to visit the

Philippines; the first two Popes were soon to be beatified Pope Paul VI and St. John Paul II.

A Christ-centered Papal Visit per pavore, por favor, please!

I am taking exception to that.

Please allow me to do it indirectly. Just days after Yolanda I wit- nessed unforgettable traces of an

incredibly horrific devastation in

Brgy Carmen, Hernani, Eastern

Samar. The residents’ huts and their barangay chapel were either blown away or torn down into skeletal remains by mammoth waves and killer winds. All that was left of the chapel were parts of its walls and a roofless ceil- ing framework. The altar was nowhere in sight. But in its place the residents gathered images of

the Sto. Niño, Mama Mary and the saints on top of a long table or the remnants of their altar niche. Then out of the blue our group saw a figure of a young man slowly walking his way to the

altar. He had the huge crucifix of

the chapel and he was carrying it on his shoulder the way Jesus is

usually portrayed when he car- ries his cross. He wanted to put

it where it belongs: at the center of the bare chapel altar. How, neither my companions nor I could tell. One of us, though, was a professional photographer, and he captured the scene in one gripping moment. That young man’s figure re- minds me of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and what he has

been doing for the Church and for the world. He has been busy pro-

claiming to us the Crucified Jesus

and bearing Him on his shoulder so as to restore Him at the center of our hearts and the heart of every human being by his humility and compassion, the humility of Jesus Christ who “emptied himself and took the form of a slave” (Phil 2:7), the compassion of Jesus who “dined with sinners and outcasts” (Mt 9:10-11). Why not a replica that truly captures who the Holy Father is and what his ministry really means?

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

It was truly a test of faith and surrender. They decided to have the baby and to abide by the will of God. By God’s grace, both mother and child survived and the daughter is very healthy and full of life.” Cynthia was also diagnosed with breast cancer, with 3 to 6 months to live. “Instead of letting go of their service, they continued, supported by the prayers of their family and CFC community. Their prayer was ‘Lord with

just a flick of your finger you could change my

illness. You just have to will it’. God heard their prayers and she is cured with a simple medical intervention and a dose of antibiotics.” *** The clergy of the Diocese of Kalookan will hold the “LaYKo si Pads” Concert on November 14, 2014, Friday, 7:00pm at PICC Plenary Hall, CCP Complex, Roxas Boule- vard, Pasay City. The laity should support

this concert since the proceeds will finance

the health care of the clergy of the Diocese.

Tickets are available in all parishes in the

Diocese, or you may contact the Curia office

at telephone number 288-9035. *** Happy 36th Fiesta to the parishioners and devotees of Nuestra Senora dela Paz y Buen Viaje, the patroness of the chapel in Cadorniga Street, Barangay Navotas West, Navotas City and within the jurisdiction of the Parish of San Ildefonso de Navotas. Known as Birhen Bilanggo, the Blessed Vir- gin has been proven to making miracles and all prayer-petitions are granted. *** I wish my nephews Patrick Robby Santia- go and Michael Gerald Rosales a very Happy Birthday. Michael and Robby are the young- est sons of Ate Violeta Santiago-Rosales and Bobby and Baby Santiago, respectively. Same birthday greetings go to Fr. Gau Sustento. Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary to Fr. Octavio Bartiana and Fr. Martin Guarin, all from the Diocese of Kalookan.

Commentary Sheila Liaugminas
Sheila Liaugminas

“We are saying poverty is not about money”

“ONE can be poor in spirituality, poor in ideas, poor in educa- tion, and in many other ways.” Gems of wisdom. Who is speaking with such bold clarity, and to whom? Nige-

rian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, to a Vatican press briefing

during a break in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. What he said is compelling.

“We are confronted with some issues, and sometimes [they are] quite perplexing. We recently had a big conference on pro-life issues,

and in that conference, we came out very clearly to ascertain the fact that life is sacred, marriage is scared, and the family has dignity. “We get international organizations, countries, and groups which like to entice us to deviate from our cultural practices, traditions, and even our religious beliefs. And this is because of their belief that their views should be our views. Their opinions and their concept of life should be ours. “We say, “No we have come of age.” Most countries in Africa are independent for 50, 60, 100 years. We should be allowed to think

for ourselves. We should be able to define: What is marriage? What makes the family? When does life begin? We should have answers

to those [questions].

The Christian understanding of marriage, which is the understanding of a sacramental covenant between man and woman is “beginning to gain traction in Africa, where it it experienced as”…what?… liberating. Imagine that.

“We are wooed by economic things. We are told, “If you limit your population, we’re going to give you so much.” And we

tell them, “Who tells you that our population is overgrown?”

In the first place, children die—infant mortality—we die in inter-tribal wars, and diseases of all kinds. And yet, you come

with money to say, “Decrease your population; we will give you economic help.” Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give

us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things

we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care. “We have been offered the wrong things, and we are expected to accept simply because they think we are poor. And we are saying poverty is not about money. One can be poor in spirituality, poor

in ideas, poor in education, and in many other ways. “So we are not poor in that sense. We may be poor materially but we are not poor in every sense. So we say no to what we think is wrong. And time has gone when we would just follow without ques- tion. Now, we question. We evaluate. We decide. We ask questions. This is what we do in Africa now.”

Reading that, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Where are we hearing such strong voices of clarity and conviction these days? This is an important voice and message, and we need to pay it respectful attention. Note what Vatican analyst George Weigel said in this piece ahead of the Synod. The collapse of marriage culture throughout the world is indisputable. More and more marriages end in divorce, even as increasing numbers of couples simply ignore marriage, cohabit, and procreate. The effort to redefine “marriage” as what we know it isn’t, and to enforce that redefinition by coercive state power, is well-advanced in the West. The contraceptive mentality has seriously dam - aged the marriage culture, as have well-intentioned but ultimately flawed efforts to make divorce easier. The sexual free-fire zone of the West is a place where young people find it very hard to commit to a lifelong relationship that inevitably involves sacrificing one’s “autonomy.” And just as the Christian understanding of marriage is beginning to gain traction in Africa, where it is experienced as a liberating dimension of the Gospel, European theologians from dying local churches are trying to empty marriage of its covenantal character, reducing it to another form of contract. The Christian understanding of marriage, which is the understanding of a sacramental covenant between man and woman is “beginning to gain traction in Africa, where it it experienced as”…what?…liberating. Imagine that. It’s time the West becomes aware of and comes to terms with what we—through any number of proxies—have been exporting to Africa and other developing countries. This Washington Post interview with Bill Gates is revealing. Ezra Klein: Your letter talks a lot about the myth that aid will just lead to new problems through overpopulation. I was a bit surprised to read you focusing on it. Are fears around overpopulation an impediment in your day-to-day work? Bill Gates: It’s a huge impediment in convincing rich- world donors that they should feel good about these health improvements. Our foundation focused in the 1990s on reproductive health. We weren’t nearly as big then. But we wanted to make contraception available because we thought population growth would make everything so difficult, whether it’s the environment or feeding kids or stability. It was only when we found out about this phenomenal connection between improved health and reduced population growth that we felt:

Great, let’s just make the foundation as big as possible to go after these health problems. Because before then the commonsense thing was more kids would make these problems less tractable. I don’t think people like to say out loud that we want to let these kids die because there are too many of them. But by choosing not to get into health in our early days I was a victim of the myth around overpopulation. And here we are today:

*** In the opening of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis stated that “We are all sinners and can also be tempted to “take over” the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can “thwart” God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.” The Philippines was at center-stage dur- ing the Synod on the Family when President Delegate Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, presided the event. The delegates also heard the witnessing of a Filipino couple, Mr. and Mrs. George Campos. The third General Congregation was entitled: The Gospel of the Family and Natural Law and Family and Vocation of the person in Christ. Mr. and Mrs. Campos are from the Arch- diocese of Manila. George Campos is a full- time pastoral worker, while his wife Cynthia is a mission volunteer in the same pastoral program of Couples for Christ. The couples shared that they “have grown deeper in faith and love for the Lord through the teaching formations and weekly house- hold prayer meetings with other couples. This blessed encounter with Jesus led them to become fulltime missionary disciples. Their children are following suit. They have joined the CFC Family Ministries beginning with Kids, Youth and Singles for Christ. They have been in missions together in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.” During Cynthia’s dangerous pregnancy, they were told that “her life would be at risk if she continued her pregnancy and the child had a high probability of being born abnor- mal. They were advised to choose between terminating the pregnancy or taking the risk.

Fr. Francis Ongkingco Whatever
Fr. Francis Ongkingco

AS we watched the moving

beatification ceremony raising

Bishop Álvaro as one of the

newest blessed of the Catholic Church, the student beside me whispered, “Father, did you ever meet Blessed Álvaro in person?” I nodded a firm and proud


“What was he like?” “Humanly and spiritually attractive…Fatherly…,” I whis- pered back. “Did he say anything unfor- gettable to you?” “Yup…,” “What?” “That is was an empty tea - cup,” I was amused to see the boy’s bewildered reaction. *** “Do you speak Chinese?” Bishop Álvaro asked after he heard my very Chinese family name. “Unfortunately, no, Father,” I replied quite worried that my answer would perhaps disap - point him. But I was surprised that Bishop Álvaro returned this with a very paternal smile. “You are, as we say in Spain, like a teacup without tea!” he jokingly remarked. The other people with us started to laugh and I no longer felt very insecure for not knowing how to speak Chinese. Back then in 1992, this sound- ed like a mere passing comment

by Bishop Álvaro, –or the Father, as we familiarly and fondly call the one who received the sweet burden of becoming the head of the Prelature of Opus Dei– who was lightening up the conversa- tion for his Filipino son who had just arrived in Spain and was obviously and nervously wres- tling with Spanish vocabulary and grammar. It would only be years later, after reading a more recent and detailed biography of Blessed Álvaro, that I would realize how intensely he had set his heart and mind on the expansion of Opus Dei in Asia. Knowledge of either Mandarin or Cantonese was in- dispensable to begin and incorpo- rate oneself in that vast continent thirsty for God. Thus, his passing commentary was something both serious and urgent.

It wasn’t actually my first time

to meet Father Álvaro. I was fortunate enough to greet him personally when he visited the Philippines in 1988. I had just joined Opus Dei then. Listening to him opened many horizons, especially the mission that we, his children in the Philippines, had in the whole of Asia. He also reminded us about our role in the Church: as vital sup- ports for the Pope, the bishops and our other faithful. He shared his personal encounters with John Paul II to help us pray more and ac- company closely the Holy Father.

“A Teacup without Tea”

One striking anecdote was how he observed the Pope ar- riving very tired and dragging his feet. Bishop Álvaro said

with filial concern, “Holy Father,

you are very tired.” John Paul II promptly replied, “If I’m not tired at this hour of the day, then I’m not doing my job.”

This and many other stories from Bishop Álvaro filled us with a richer outlook in our faith and a greater optimism to carry out our apostolic mission. I now return to my story about the empty teacup. Not only be- cause that was perhaps my last encounter with Bishop Álvaro, but because it now affords me with a new lesson. Indeed, it would have been wonderful if my ‘teacup had some tea’ but learning Manda- rin and going to China may not be one of the chapters written for my life. I realized, however, whether one knows Chinese or not, we all have –as Bishop Álvaro had taught and lived all his life– the serious obligation

to fill ourselves to the brim. This

is realized by carrying out the simplest duties at hand where

God expects us to serve him with

our constant love and sacrifice.

*** Mons. Álvaro del Portillo was born in a Christian family in Madrid on 11th March 1914, the third of eight brothers and sis- ters. He held doctorates in Civil

Engineering, in Philosophy and in Canon Law. In 1935, he joined Opus Dei,

which had been founded by St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer on 2nd October 1928. He lived

out with complete fidelity his vocation in Opus Dei through the sanctification of his profes- sional work and the fulfillment

of his ordinary duties, and car- ried out a profound apostolate with his fellow students and his professional colleagues. He soon became the closest aide of St. Josemaría, remaining at his

side for almost forty years. At St. Josemaría’s death on 26th June 1975, Álvaro del Portillo succeeded him as the head of Opus Dei until his death on 23rd March 1994. After his death, thousands of people have sent written testimonies of their memories of his person: his kindness, the warmth of his smile, his humil- ity, his supernatural audacity, the interior peace which his words gave to them. On 28th June 2012, Benedict XVI authorized the Congrega- tion for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree on the heroic virtues of Bishop Álvaro. On 5th July 2013, Pope Francis signed the decree recognizing the miracle attributed to the in- tercession of Álvaro del Portillo.

An African archbishop attending the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops frankly criticized Western attitudes toward his continent Wednesday, lambasting imposition of foreign cultures on African people. Africans “have come of age,” said Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama. “We should be allowed to think for our- selves.” “We are wooed by economic things,” said Kaigama, who heads Nigeria’s Jos archdiocese. “We are told if you limit your population, we’re going to give you so much. And we tell them, ‘Who tells you that our population is overgrown?’” Good question.

Bishop Álvaro was beatified

in Madrid, on 27th of September


Local News

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

Old pics show Mayon church not buried, says historian

MOST Filipinos had been taught it was buried in lahar following Mayon’s 1814 erup- tion, leaving only the belfry, but a few vintage photographs of the Cagsawa Church gives clues that may prove otherwise. While the building is obvi - ously in ruins now, a concerned Bicolano bent on setting histori- cal records straight pointed out that its destruction was gradual, and not so much as caused by the volcano itself as by the people’s reluctance to save it.

Proof in pictures

“The façade and some of the walls fell on the ground over time because the area was abandoned for over 120 years. Today the walls continue to crumble gradually. Why? Because of our inaction,” Abdon M. Balde, Jr. who posted these pictures on social media site Facebook on Sunday, Oct. 11, and have since created a stir.

“There was no significant flow

of lava or lahar. The church’s combustible materials were burned. The bell tower stood because it has a massive base and no combustible materials. The rubbles of the fallen façade is right there beside the bell tower. Nothing to excavate but the church floor,” explained

Balde, a consultant of the Albay provincial government. Despite strong documentary evidence, not everyone was convinced. Jose Briones commented,

“As a tourism officer and now

retired, I never disputed this historical fact as it was written— that it was buried in 1814. Who is more correct, the historians of today or the historians of yester- years? How can this historical ‘fact’ be disproven? This to me is what happened: that Cagsawa was buried in 1814. And no one can change this, not by anyone

who wants to disclaim and push a controversy around it.” Balde answered,”The first workable camera was invented in 1816. The first patented cam- era was by Wolcott in 1840. Eastman patented his camera in 1879—which means these photographs of the ruins were all taken after the 1814 destruction of Cagsawa.” He stressed, “This is a picture of the church in 1928 before it was cleaned in 1936. The church was still standing. The caption says the church was buried, but the picture shows the façade still standing beside the bell tower. Also seen on the left are the façades of the Casa Real.” He added, “These pictures will not tell lies. What better proofs do we need? The evidences

are there for us to see and to measure.”

Wrong information

Others lament local tour guides, as well as the govern - ment marker displayed in the area peddle the wrong informa- tion, and school children learn this in school. “This is what local guides in Cagsawa would tell their guests. I suggest they should be correct- ed at once because they’re the frontliners,” said Dayrit Jelica. “When I was there, the tour guide said the church was buried right there. Maybe we should give them a lecture or work - shop to correct the stories being spread out to the tourists,” Myl- ene Narciso Urriza added. Tessa Espinas blames the error on Filipinos’ fascination with “romance”, often at the expense of historical truth. She said, “We all want the more romantic version. There’s still much more than meets the eye, especially if we take time to remove our rose-colored glasses.”

A6 Local News CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 Old pics

The Cagsawa Church near Mayon volcano shown in an old photo. natiOnal arChiVeS

Bernard Supetran believes lin- guistic blunder was more likely. “I think whoever said that the Cagsawa Church was ‘buried’ by lava had no intention to romanticize or exaggerate the incident. Maybe, in search of a more appropriate word, ‘buried’ was used in the narration,” she said. According to architect Rey - naldo O. Nacional, because of ignorance about the value of old structures, Filipinos had

already lost so much of the built heritage—churches, municipios, plazas—and they are bound to lose more if they do not rethink their development policies. Marne Kilates shared, “In short, what happened, it seems, was that Cagsawa was never buried but simply abandoned after the devastating Mayon eruption of 1814 … That’s where

the historical rectification should

start or come in.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Interfaith group condemns Pikit church bombing

A LARGE alliance of Christian churches on Friday condemned the grenade attack on a Protestant church in South- ern Philippines that killed at least two people and hurt three others. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines said it mourns with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) “at the suffering”

inflicted by the attack on its church in

Pikit, North Cotabato. Reports said that two motorcycle rid-

ing men fired a M203 grenade into the

UCCP church while the congregation

was gathered in prayer. “While motives behind this attack are still unclear, it is yet another suffering inflicted on the UCCP which has al- ready experienced extrajudicial killing, disappearance and illegal detention of many of its members and pastors over the recent years,” said NCCP General Secretary Fr. Rex Reyes. “Our prayers at this time are with those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, we are praying for those who have been injured, for the congregation at Pikit, and the leadership of the UCCP,” he said.

The NCCP criticized those behind the “heinous attack” against its mem- ber church which is known for its strong campaign against human rights abuses. He said the country had enough of the culture of impunity “where the innocent suffer and the guilty go free”. “We call on the responsible authori- ties to conduct a proper and thorough investigation of this atrocity so that those behind it will be brought before the courts and made to give account for this brutal crime,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Time / A1

preparing the faithful to embrace the idea of “mercy and compassion” which is the theme of the papal visit. “’Yung message na mas higit na ang layunin ni pope na makita ‘yung mahihirap na nasalanta pero wala na- man sila sa Manila kundi nasa Leyte and Samar,” (The message says that the pri - mary intention of the pope is to see the poor victims, but they are not in Manila—they are in Leyte and Samar.) Ga- riguez said. “Di ko sinasabi na huwag na pumunta sa Manila. Ang sinasabi ko lang ang kahilin- gan ng mga nasalanta na mas matagal na makapiling si pope.” (I am not saying that he should not go to Manila. All I am saying is that the longing of the survivors is that they should have more time with the pope.) If there are concerns about pope’s accommodation in

typhoon-ravaged areas, the priest believes that is not a

major problem. “Titira ‘yun kahit saan. Handa si pope na tumigil at makipamuhay sa mahihirap.

Di naman kailangan sa five

star hotel,” (He can stay

wherever. The pope is ready to stay and live with the poor.

He does not require a five

star hotel.) said Gariguez.

Survivors’ transfer

A Catholic prelate sees

no reason why Palo officials

should remove Yolanda sur- vivors from their present location in view of the papal visit if it will only mean glossing over their ineffi - ciency in the rehabilitation effort, and keeping Pope Francis from seeing the real situation there. While Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick Pabillo

clarified he is not against any

move that will give survivors

permanent shelters and the means of earning their living, he is uncompromising in his opposition to a “whitewash” campaign to be initiated al- legedly by the Palo LGU that will make the post-Yolanda condition in the area look better than what it really is. “Of course, Yolanda sur- vivors are not supposed to live in bunkhouses forever. They must have something they can permanently call their own. If their leaders’ motive in resettling them somewhere else is to give them all these things, so much the better. But if it is to their own self-interest, it will be wrong for politicians to hide survivors just so the Pope can’t see them still making do with bunkhouses a year after Yolanda,” the prelate said. Pabillo, who also chairs the CBCP Committee on Public Affairs, stresses the

Holy Father’s upcoming visit is mainly about inspiring the people affected by the super typhoon, raising their morale, strengthening their

faith, and not adding to their misery. “It’s disappointing there are people who can even think of exploiting Pope

Francis for their own benefit.

The Holy Father is coming here to help the poor, not to make them poorer,” he added. The prelate reiterated that the Catholic Church, as the “Church of the Poor”, has always stood up and fought

for the rights of the under- privileged. Meanwhile, Pabillo has called on the Archdiocese of Palo to look into this mat- ter further, and to dialogue with Palo leaders on behalf of Yolanda survivors. (With reports from Raymond Se - bastian)

Bangsamoro / A1

ofconflict in Mindanao.

The bishops particularly insist on the participation in the “exchange and debates” on the law of the indigenous communities. “It would violate the tenets of social justice to ignore them under the pretext of going by the desires of the majority,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said in a statement. Citing lessons from the Middle East, he said the law will only succeed if its discussion will be inclusive, and called on all sectors to be allowed to take part in the process. “Let those who have reservations to the proposal, or even those who oppose it, speak their minds freely, coherently and without reserve, and let those who

advocate it argue as strenuously in its defense, for only in the context of intel- ligent — but charitable — discourse can we hope for a reasonable outcome and resolution,” Villegas said. The bishops also pledged support for all initiatives and efforts to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao, saying that peace in the region “has been a com- mon national aspiration for a very long time now”. Villegas also said that the emergence of Bangsamoro should not mean the exclusion of any Filipino from any part of the country by reason of religious belief, ethnicity or language. “Our Muslim brothers and sisters have found their way through vari - ous parts of the archipelago, settling

in many provinces heretofore almost exclusively peopled by Christians,” he said. He added: “As far as we know, they have been welcomed, received and respected. It is our hope that Chris - tians too may receive hospitality in those parts of the one Republic that, by legislation, may be marked out as Bangsamoro”. The House Representatives recently started committee hearings on the proposed BBL, as a series of public hearings are also set in different parts of Mindanao on the BBL that once ap- proved, will create a Bangsamoro core territory that will replace the Autono- mous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


AK / A1

being denied for sectors like farmers, indigenous people,

fisherfolks, labor and even

the victims of calamities. So with this celebration we are called to renew this commit-

ment,” Fr. Edwin Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA executive secretary, said in a statement.

‘Year of the Poor’

Backed by its sister commis- sions, as well as the country’s 85 dioceses, NASSA, CBCP’s

development arm, has been

tasked to spearhead the one- year celebration of the “Year of

the Poor”, which will officially

open on Nov. 23, 2014, ending

the “Year of the Laity”. Inspired by Luke 22:61, which reads “Look at Jesus… And the Lord turned and

looked at Peter”, this upcom-

ing “Year of the Poor” is the third of the nine-year era of New Evangelization set to prepare the Filipino faith -

ful for the fifth centenary of

Christianity in the Philip - pines in 2021. According to Gariguez, it seeks to respond to the challenge posed by the Sec- ond Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) for the Church in the country to be a “Church of the Poor”, which CBCP noted, has become “even more valid as before”. The event also paid tribute to 40 years of Alay Kapwa, the Lenten evangelization program for the poor started in 1974, fosters love for one’s neighbors and God’s creation

through “evangelization and resource mobilization of the local church” while supporting NASSA’s disaster emergency and advocacies toward social transformation and resiliency.


“Forty years as a significant

number in Bible is a com -

mitment to share love and

justice and to help the poor and the needy. Some of the activities of the program is the ‘Friend Raising for the Poor’. This project intends to raise P4 million in forty weeks to support the Self Help Group

(SHEG) microfinance project to empower poor communi- ties,” Gariguez shared. Themed “Social Action Network: Fulfilling its mis-

sion of becoming Church of the Poor”, the launch coincided with the National Social Action General As - sembly (NASAGA) hosted by the Diocese of Butuan, and which gathered together all Diocesan Social Action Centers (DSAC) to discuss

every two years the various social issues confronted by their respective dioceses. Besides NASAGA’s over 200 participants, Cáceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, who chairs CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP); Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos; and the local clergy also graced the occasion.

(Raymond A. Sebastián)

Ecumenical group formed

RECOGNIZING shared avenues for collaboration and dialogue, some 150 religious leaders from the major world faiths and members of civil society formed the Council of Religious Leaders on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple in Pasay City. Calling it the “way forward”, Episcopal Commission on Inter- religious Dialogue (ECID) executive secretary Fr. Carlos Reyes said the Council of Religious Leaders, which gathers representatives from the Catholic Church, Islam, Buddhists, the Hindus, among others, will be a council of various religious denomi- nations that will not just spearhead projects and initiatives based on common values, but will form col- lective statements on socio-political issues like ecology and good gov- ernance on an “institutional” level. Representatives from the different religious denominations participat-

ed at the inter-faith forum on Oct. 11, 2014 at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. (Photo: Masol Santiago) “As religionists, we have a spiritual duty to counter the hijacking of reli- gion…Religion fosters peace, unity, justice and harmony. As religionists, we have a spiritual duty to contribute positively to culture and society, not only what we can do unilaterally but also what we can do united,” Reyes said in his opening message. The proposed structure of the said council will have various commit- tees for good governance, ecology, justice and peace, disaster relief,

and conflict resolution. It will have

a secretariat, which temporarily finds an office in the Asian Confer- ence of Religions for Peace – Philip- pines (ACRP) under the leadership of Dean Lilian Sison, its secretary general. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general Fr. Marvin Mejia, who was present at the event, praised the move as a step towards the pastoral recommendations of Vatican II on ecumenism, which he lamented have largely remained just “paper”, for the Church in the Philippines. “[The experience of inter-religious dialogue] has to go down…1965 was

Vatican II

Fifty years after, it’s still a

.. paper in the sense that communities are not experiencing this dialogue, this sense of harmony,” Meijia said, expressing the hope that people of different faiths can come together even at the grassroots level. The formation of the Council was preceded by an inter-faith forum which focused on “The Positive Role of Religion on Culture and Society.” Dr. Michael Lao of Bud- dha’s Light International Associa- tion gave a short presentation on Buddhism; Dean Julkipli Wadi of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies talked about Islam; and University of Sto. Tomas assistant professor Val

Brillo presented the Catholic faith. Invited to the event as guests were representatives from the apol- ogist group Catholic Faith Defend- ers – Manila, Robertson Poblete, Masol Santiago, Mary Hao, Eric Bernardino and Danilo Lampano.

(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)


for the public to see what climate change means and why there is a need to start making changes. According to him, economic powers are not solely responsible for this but everyone is called to care for the earth, “especially in this time of grave danger for her and for all of us”. In parishes, he said that church-based groups and civic organizations are called to explore ways to protect the environment as well as to propagate “this environmental awareness”. When necessary, he said Filipinos should lobby for legislation and advo-

cate causes that will curb environmental degradation “caused by the excesses of industry”. “…Even as we do our best as in - dividuals and communities to curb climate change, we must realize it is already upon us,” said Villegas, adding that the task of addressing the problem is an “urgent one”. “Integral to this would be knowing the hazards that we face, knowing our environment, knowing our community, and working with our government and civil society organizations to prepare for the future,” he said. (CBCPNews)

Taglet / A1

place for me. Not because of my travels and the dangers, but to see and hear, especially mothers talking to their children at the airport, bidding them goodbye. And you could see how their hearts are broken,” he said. Tagle, who is one of the three “Delegate Presidents” of the ongo - ing Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, was at a loss to describe the plight of these Filipino migrant workers and their families, express - ing hope that these realities could be brought to the attention of his fellow Synod Fathers. “[Then] you wonder what type of strength they need. Then you pray ‘Lord, give them strength’,” he said. Tagle counts poverty—extreme pov- erty—among the “many challenges to families in the Philippines”. The prelate stressed, “In one of our meetings at the Council of the Synod of Bishops, I sort of reminded them that poverty is not just an external context for many of us in the Philippines. It goes right at the heart of the family. It affects the relationship of the members of the immediate family, and even the future.”

Poverty, migration

According to him, one “dramatic effect” of poverty is migration, which causes a temporary, but often prolonged separation in the Filipino family due to economic constraints. “De facto there is a separation of cou- ples, of parents from their children. But

not because they couldn’t stand each other. Not because there’s a breakdown

in communication. Not because of con-

flicts. They get separated because they

love each other. And the best way for

some of them to show concern, and love, and support is to leave,” he explained. “To leave the family and find employ- ment elsewhere. It’s a separation that

definitely creates a wound and leaves

a wound, especially on the children. I

asked, for example, countries that receive Filipino migrants what pastoral program do we have for these individuals so that they could remain faithful to their spouses and remain faithful to their families back home,” the cardinal added. Holding back his tears, Tagle asked,

“What type of emotional first aid—if

you want to put it that way—would

we offer to incoming migrants, most of them confused, lost, lonely?” (Raymond A. Sebastián)



Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

Diocesan News


Church won’t change anti-nuke plant stand

BALANGA, Bataan—Dismissing lobbying from business groups, a Catholic bishop stresses his diocese will not change its stance against the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). Amid a looming energy crisis, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said the diocese will counter plans to use nuclear power to generate electricity in the country. In a recent pastoral letter, he said the Church’s position on the issue was researched and discussed before

a decision was taken. “The Diocese of Balangas has de- cided. And the Diocese of Balanga makes a stand yet again,” Santos said in the vernacular. “The Diocese of Balangan is against this [move]. And this stand will not change.” “The BNPP damages life, liveli - hood and nature. The BNPP is not the answer to the present needs of the people. No one is safe from the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant,” he added. The bishop maintains that the mothballed nuclear power plant

would endanger the lives of the Fili- pino people. Instead of reviving it, the diocese urged the government to focus on other alternatives for power genera- tion that are safe and sustainable. “Because life is so much more valu-

able to us than profit or money to be

gained from cheap electricity or for the selfish needs of the body…We believe that energy can be generated from wind or from water (hydro) or from the sun (solar) that can be studied, tested or harnessed. (CBCP News)

Basilan bishop: governance is Bangsamoro’s problem

ISABELA, Basilan—Despite the official backing of the national government, the Prelature of Isabela de Basi- lan is convinced the real problem with the proposed Bangsamoro Entity is not the funding, but the people who will be chosen to govern it. “Governance is the main issue with Bangsamoro,” Basilan Bishop Martin Ju - moad noted in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veri- tas on October 9.


While he is not against

Malacañang rolling out P35- billion to Bangsamoro as ini- tial fund, the prelate pushes for the accountability of its leaders and transparency in

fiscal matters, citing the al- leged history of graft and cor- ruption in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as reason why this should be the case. “The national government is very supportive of the Bangsamoro as it has been of ARMM. Unfortunately, the people running ARMM have a history of too much graft and corruption which make Christians apprehensive of becoming part of it,” he said. For Malaybalay Bishop José Cabantan, all transactions in- volving the multibillion-peso fund must be made public so that Filipinos, particularly those in Mindanao, will know whether their money is being spent properly.

CBCP Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 Diocesan News A7 Church won’t change

Hundreds of supporters, including women’s groups, converge at the Pikit Municipal Plaza in Cotabato in March 2014 to show their support for the CAB signing in Malacañang. OPaPP

The prelate added that a massive consultation should be conducted, especially among Mindanao’s various Lumad tribes before approv- ing Bangsamoro.

Cabantan hopes the Aqui- no administration is not just using the Bangsamoro issue

to win popular support in the region. (Raymond A. Sebastian)

‘IPs are God’s children too’ – priest

JARO, Iloilo, Oct. 13, 2014 — As the Phil- ippine Church celebrates Indigenous People’s Sunday, a diocesan priest echoes the truth that all are children of God, including indigenous people. “Let us always remember that indig- enous people are no different from us, we are all children of God! We have the same Father in heaven; we are all brothers and sisters, ” Fr. Ricky B. So- riano, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Indigenous People said in his message on Indigenous People’s Sunday, Observing the current situation of the IPs, Soriano lamented, “They are at many times neglected, despised and rejected. Yet still they continue to live, survive and face the future with hope and courage. Their prayer is that, one day, they will be treated with dignity like every human person should be.” According to him, IPs are no dif - ferent from other people in that they also dream of justice; of affording their children the freedom to express them- selves without fear of being ridiculed;

of living in a home free from the fear of demolition jobs. “They pray that people will under- stand their custom and tradition and hope that everyone will see and appre- ciate the beauty of their lives and their goodness,” Soriano added. Following the CBCP’s call to Fili - pino Catholics to be a people of mercy and compassion, the priest said “On this day, we are called to remember the Indigenous People in our prayers and through our concrete acts of char- ity. Indigenous People need us. They need our love, our concern and our respect. They need us to appreciate their goodness and acknowledge and understand them for who and what they are. They need our sensitivity to their feelings and struggles. They need us to be their friend to lean on, to be their brothers and sisters who can listen and not judge them, and as their own family who can protect them.” In his call to action, Soriano chal - lenged the people of his archdiocese to “Act now, not tomorrow, to have the

heart and the courage to express our love and support to the IPs.” On Oct. 21, 2014, the Archdiocese of Jaro will hold a celebration with Indigenous Peoples with the theme “Hugpong Katutubo: Magbalik Tan- aw, Ugatsang Ginsuguran Padulong sa Kauswagan”. On that day the Ati community of Leong will act as the host community for this year’s Indigenous People’s cel- ebration. Different IP communities in Iloilo will gather at the Ati Community, Barangay Leong, Cabatuan, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Indigenous People is appealing to people for their generosity by sending donations for the on-going programs for IPs. Interested parties may con - tact their office at telephone number


“This occasion will be an opportunity for all of us to re-visit and re-appreciate once again indigenous cultures and practices and to strengthen their broth- erhood as one family of God,” Soriano added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

And That’s The Truth / A4

love they know (and the act that accompanies it) is one for and with another person of the same gender, they argue that they have a right to find happiness in love. “Kasalanan ko bang ipinan- ganak akong isang sirena?” (Is it my fault that I was born a mermaid?), a lot of gay men I know have jokingly asked. Like any other person they look for someone to love, be loved by, and when they do, they have sex without babies (to put it bluntly). It’s sex to please oneself and the beloved. Pleasure blinds the indulgent, and this is where

their problem worsens. They drop out of Church, or in any case stop listening to “God talk”—instead they choose listen to “the other side”, and from there it’s a slippery slope to perdition. Somebody has to remind them of their “divine rights”, to convince them that they are—like everybody else, inside or outside the Catholic Church—children of a kind and loving God. As such we have a right to ask for strength from our Father in times of temptation. As His children we all are bound by love to listen to God’s voice,

to seek His will in everything we do—and certainly, wast- ing sexual energy is not one of them. “Who says you have to have sex with your boy - friend to express your love?”

I tell this to my gay friends

who seem to flit from one

fling to another in search of happiness in love. (They keep getting brokenhearted anyway). “Happiness in love is not found in human love alone—perhaps, in ‘making you a sirena’ God wants to be your siyukoy (merman)! But if you keep complaining and marching

in the streets for your gay rights, how can you hear the Father telling you He loves you?” It is said that hope springs eternal in the human breast. And so my gay friends still hope that with such a dy - namic pope as Francis at the helm, the ongoing synod of bishops will maybe allow same-sex marriage. “You see,” I tell them, “you’re just listening to the noise! The Church will continue to love you dearly but it will never bless your same-sex union and call it marriage.” And that’s the truth.

Bohol / A1

“Closer to God”

“From feeling it was the end of the world, the earthquake made them closer to God, that God is with them, accompa- nying them,” the prelate said. He added local residents have begun building homes, churches and lives are starting to go back to normal in communities. Medroso added, while tourism has gone down with the destruction of heritage and age-old churches, the community is back on its feet. From hopelessness, local residents have come to understand life and why tragedies happen. “They have accepted that little by little, slowly opening their eyes to the realities,” he further said. Medroso said Boholanons longed for a decent place for worship and with their churches destroyed “someway, somehow people saw the need for

putting up alternate churches, not necessarily build the centuries-old structures, but places for them to wor- ship on Sundays.” “While the government plans to re- build old churches, it may take years and some may just be declared ruins while others may be converted into auditoriums or schoolhouses,” the bishop added. It is the people’s initiative to rebuild alternate churches through the efforts of generous donors.

Network of friends, benefactors

“They already inaugurated the al - ternate church in Loboc last Sunday,” Medroso said. He said the government also re - sponded to the needs of the earth - quake victims though they have “their own pace” with fund releases

requiring some time as officials would deliberate and discuss how projects would be implemented.

The prelate said for Bohol to fully recover, investments in tourism should be made because it is tourism that drives the island province’s economy aside from agriculture. “We have to bring the tourists back as we rebuild churches, not for the tourists alone, [but also because] Bo- holanons would like to express their faith,” he further explained. As Medroso thanked generous benefactors, he said he prays more donors will continue to support in building churches which may take five to ten years. The Bohol earthquake also strength- ened the network of overseas Filipinos who extended the much-needed help.

(Melo M. Acuna)

PH families to benefit from Synod—bishop

S O R S O G O N City—A Catholic bishop believes

the ongoing Third E x t r a o r d i n a r y General Assem - bly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family is a big step towards shedding light on various issues af- fecting the lives of today’s Catholic families like mar- riage, contracep - tion, poverty, and

CBCP Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014 Diocesan News A7 Church won’t change

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes. CBCP newS

disadvantaged Filipinos by ensuring them of jobs available at home, eliminat-

ing the need to find work abroad.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the number of registered OFWs in 2013 is estimated at 2.2 million. Themed “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evan -

gelization,” the Synod which opened on Oct. 5 at the Vatican, will end on Oct.19 . Its Preparatory Document mentions

that the Synod aims “to define the ‘status quaestionis’ (current situation) and to col- lect the bishops’ experiences and propos- als in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner.” The docuent “Instrumentum Laboris” adds the it “will thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimo- nies and recommendations received from the particular Churches in order to respond to the new challenges of the family.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

others, especially in the Philippines. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes agreed with Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, one of the Synod’s three “Delegate Presidents” that poor Filipino families will benefit greatly from this meeting. Like Tagle, the prelate, who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Com- mission on Mission (ECM), pointed to forced separation due to economic constraints as a leading cause of “broken homes” in the country. Bastes lamented that children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are more likely to engage in premarital sex, and teenage pregnancies are more com- mon among daughters of OFW parents. While the Church is doing everything she can to help, the bishop stressed all the more must the government find ways to improve the lot of economically

Synod / A1

nem, and the fact that often a value has been attributed to the document that does not correspond to its nature.” The relatio’s publication was hailed in the secular media with such headlines as “Synod signals Catholic shift on gays” and “Vatican’s New Views On Gays, Divorced”.

The Holy See press office also noted

that the relatio “is now being offered for discussion by the members of the Synod gathered in the Small Groups, in accordance with the Regulations of the Synod.”\ Among the synod fathers who re - ceived the relatio less than warmly was Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, O.F.M., of Durban, South Africa’s largest port on the Indian Ocean. Cardinal Napier, a moderator of one of the small circles at the synod, openly dismissed the relatio during an Oct. 14 briefing with journalists, saying, “that’s Cardinal Erdo’s text, not the synod text.” The cardinal questioned whether “some expectations of the synod are unrealistic,” and underscored that “the synod is not called to discuss contra- ception, abortion, same-sex marriages. It was convoked to speak about the family.” “How it is written, the relatio conveys that there is an agreement on issues, on which there is not in fact an agreement” the Archbishop of Durban underscored. And he concluded: “I hope the line

of the synod, not that of some group, prevails.” Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and moderator of an Italian small group, recounted to journalists that synod fathers “were surprised

by the first reactions published in the

media, as if the Pope has declared, as if

the synod has decided … it is not true! The relatio is a working document, and every group will relate its points of view and proposals, which will be voted on by the synod fathers.” Notwithstanding the Holy See press

office’s statement, the discussions in

small circles has been called “lively” by

many of the participants. The press office also released an

unofficial summary of the discussion

that followed the issuance of the relatio.

According to this summary, the synod fathers raised many points of concern. The synod fathers stressed that the

relatio should have spoken more widely of families faithful to the Gospel, in or- der to encourage their testimony; they also asked that the synod shed light with clarity on the beautiful and merci- ful indissolubility of marriage—which is often lived out and is indeed possible in our society—rather than focusing on failed family situations. Other synod fathers desired to stress more the importance of women in transmitting life and faith; suggested to at least mention the importance of grandparents; asked for a more spe -

cific mention to the family as ‘domestic

Church”, to the parish as “family of

families,” and to the Holy Family. The Holy See press office also re - ported that synod fathers asked that the

issue of graduality be clarified, since it

can lead to some confusion. “For instance, regarding admission to the sacraments for the divorced and

remarried, it was said that it is difficult

to welcome exceptions without excep-

tions becoming a common rule,” the

Holy See press office recounted.

For what concern homosexuals, synod fathers have highlighted that welcoming them is needed, but this must be done prudently, in order not to give the impression that the Church is positively evaluating homosexual acts. Part of this discussion was also re- vealed during the Oct. 13 press confer- ence. Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-

Budapest and general rapporteur of the synod, said the relatio may not be completely attributed to him. When asked about legislation re - garding homosexual couples, Cardinal Erdo did not respond and instead gave

the floor to Archbishop Bruno Forte of

Chieti-Vasto, saying “who has written the paragraph must respond.” However, after Archbishop Forte’s re-

sponse, Cardinal Erdo wanted to point out that the relatio lacks a mention of “the disorder” of some behavior, even though synod fathers had stressed it. Likewise, some synod fathers—the

Holy See press office said—complained

that the word “sin” is almost not present in the relatio, and reminded that Christ asked that his followers not conform to the mentality of the contemporary world. In an Oct. 13 interview, Cardinal Ray- mond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, told CNA the relatio “is sim-

ply riven with very serious difficulties,

and I’m deeply, deeply concerned and I’m not alone.” And Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki

of Poznan, on behalf of the Polish bish- ops’ conference, told Vatican Radio that “we also need to present the truth,” ac- cording to a translation by Rorate Caeli. It is general opinion that the relatio post disceptationem may be overturned in the final document, the ‘relatio synodi’ (synod’s report). The latter will be a comprehensive document which will contain all the in- puts of the two-week synod of bishops. It will be the first time the synod

issues a final report. Usually, synods

made a list of proposals and sugges-

tions coming from the discussions of the small groups, and the Pope himself was entrusted with summarizing all the concerns and suggestions in a post- synodal apostolic exhortation. According to the new methodology

of the synod, the proposals will be sum- marized by the General Secretary of the Synod, the General Rapporteur, the Spe- cial Secretary, and a group of six prelates called to assist in drafting the document. The group includes: president and deputy of the Commission for the message, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi,

president of the Pontifical Council for

Culture; Archbishop Victor Fernandez, rector of the Catholic University of Argentina; the General Superior of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas; Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla; Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; and Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju. “The appointment of six people to

help in drafting the final report was

normal. Before, there were proposals, and there was no need of help to draft

a comprehensive text. This kind of sum- mary is a hard amount of work for the only General Rapporteur and General Secretary,” said Fr. Federico Lombardi,

director of the Holy See Press Office.

The Pope will decide whether or not to make public the synod’s report. Its conclusions will be the basis for the working document of the 2015 synod of bishops. (CNA/EWTN News)

A8 People, Facts & Places

People, Facts & Places

CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014
CBCP Monitor
Vol. 18 No. 21
October 13 - 26, 2014
A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014

CBCP heads interfaith forum

KC, KCFAPI host skills training for out-of- school youth

A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014

Luzon Deputy and KCFAPI President, Arsenio Isidro G. Yap leads the opening of the Hotel and Restaurant Services Training Program launch, together with KCFAPI Executive Vice President, Ma. Theresa G. Curia, Luzon State officials and representatives of DSW-MLA. yen OCaMPO

THE Knights of Columbus Luzon Jurisdiction together with its insur - ance arm, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philip - pines, Inc (KCFAPI) launched a hotel and restaurant services skills training program on Oct. 7 at the KC Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ Center in Intramuros, Manila. The training, which is organized in coordination with the DSW-Manila Manpower Development Center of the city of Manila, aims to teach the out- of-school youth basic skills for food and beverage services as a livelihood opportunity. Samuel O. Ambayer from DSW-MLA will be the resource speaker of the said

skills training program that will culmi- nate on Nov. 7.

Among the topics to be discussed are basics of table setting that includes napkin-folding and table-skirting; cocktail-mixing; hotel housekeeping;

bartending; and flower arrangement,

among others. To be eligible for the program, partici- pants must be physically and mentally

fit; 18-35 years of age and residing in

Metro Manila. After the course, the attendees of the training program will be given a TESDA accreditation certificate. DSW-MLA is a TESDA accredited training center that as- sists in the implementation of livelihood programs in the city of Manila. (YO)

Baclaran kids star in month-long celebration

A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014

Baclaran children, mostly from depressed areas nearby, perform a doxology as part of the shrine’s “Flores de María” celebration while the famous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help “watches” them from behind.

rayMOnd a. SeBaStián

OCTOBER being the month especially dedicated to children, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church), is set to come out with a host of activities which aims to pay tribute to whom Rizal once called as the “hope of the fatherland”. Queenamor Monserrat, an engineer who donates her free hours catechiz- ing poor children, many of whom are neglected and abandoned by their parents, shared the annual event, which is organized in coordination with its Redemptorist Catechetical Commission, is one that the Baclaran Shrine regularly observes. “This is to emphasize the importance of children in our society, especially the children in the Redemptorist [commu- nity],” she said. Monserrat explained this celebration is also in keeping with the Presidential Proclamation No. 267 [which] declared the month of October of every year as “National Children’s Month”. Themed “Batang Layko, Si Kristo Like (A)ko”, Baclaran Church’s Children’s Month event schedule is as follows:

October 19 (Sunday) 1:30 p.m. – Catechesis 2:30 p.m. – Children’s Mass 3:30 p.m. – Shrine Clean-Up Project

October 26 (Sunday) 1:30 p.m. – Catechesis 2:30 p.m. – Children’s Mass 3:30 p.m. – Final Round “The Voice of RedempKids” & Culmination Program

According to the Council of the

Welfare (CWC) website, the National Children’s Month seeks to “emphasize the importance of the role of the child within the Filipino family and in nation building”. Section 13, Article II of the Philippine Constitution “recognizes the vital role of the youth in the nation building and shall promote and protect their physi- cal, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth, patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs”. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Fatima parishes to hold fundraising ‘devotional concert’

IN what is expected to be the grandest “devotional-concert” of the season, parishes under the Archdiocese of Ma- nila (RCAM) dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima, are set to bring to the faithful a fund-raising musical extravaganza on on Oct. 23, Thursday, 8 p.m. at the El Shaddai International House of Prayer, Amvel, San Dionisio, Parañaque City. Dubbed “Ave Maria: One Lady, One Voice, One Concert,” the event, which aims to raise funds for the Church’s various programs and projects, is slated to feature some of the biggest names in the Filipino entertainment scene with the special participation of RCAM’s Arch- bishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, who is all out in support of the concert. These top performers include FORTEnors, a quartet of young tenor vocalists composed of David Ezra Cruz,

Christian Nagaño, Jenmai De Asis, and Johann Enriquez; Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 winner, Laarni Lo- zada; Bayanihan, the “National Dance Company of the Philippines”, Asia’s Diva, Dulce; and music legend José Mari Chan.

Chan, the genius behind classic Fili- pino love ballads, shared,”I always say that music is its own reward and con- necting with people through my music is the most satisfying of all.” Seats are priced at Php 1000 for VIP, Php 500 for Patron, and Php 300 for Premium. For other inquiries, contact the Our

Lady of Fatima Parish (OLFP) offices:

OLFP Mandaluyong, (02) 532-84-00; OLFP Manila, (02) 713-57-76; OLFP Makati, (02) 751-57-21; or OLFP, Pasay (02) 854-74-50. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014

Some 150 religious leaders from various denominations took part in an interfaith forum on Oct. 11, 2014 at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. MaSOl SantiagO

THE Catholic Bishops’ Con- ference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its Episco- pal Commission on Inter- religious Dialogue (ECID), was at the frontline of an interfaith forum on Oct. 11, Saturday, at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.

According to CBCP-ECID Executive Secretary Fr. Car- los Reyes, the interfaith forum gathered around 150 leaders of the country’s vari- ous religious denominations to discuss the “positive role of religion on culture and society”. Reyes detailed that the meeting zoomed in on

important issues affect - ing the country like cli - mate change, the peace and order situation, good governance, and disaster response. According to the priest, society and culture are “in- debted to religion.” Reyes stressed that reli - gion serves an indispensable

function in helping resolve problems confronting the Philippines. Religion, he explained, provides people with moral precepts that guide them in their actions. Reyes also pointed out that each person has a right

to choose his or her religion.

(Raymond A. Sebastián)

Cotabato’s ‘March of Saints’ to replace Halloween

THE Archdiocese of Cotabato has decided to recapture the essence of “Undas” by encouraging its parishes to organize wholesome activities that will highlight the lives and virtues of Catholic saints, replacing the popular Halloween practices. Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Col- lin Bagaforo told Church-run Radyo Veritas in a recent interview that they will be coming out with a “March of the Saints” shortly before November

1 and 2, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively, when Catholics honor the souls in heaven (Church triumphant), and pray for the souls in purgatory (Church penitent). It is a values-oriented program which, the prelate explained, aims to do away

with the Western-influenced tradition

of scary pranks and bizarre costumes many Filipinos are used to seeing during Halloween with its focus on the “para- normal” and reemphasize the message of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Bagaforo expresses hope that his archdiocese’s lead will be taken up by other episcopal sees. The bishop shared it will inspire the lay faithful, especially the youth, to learn from and emulate the examples

A8 People, Facts & Places CBCP Monitor Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014

Several parishes are promoting the ‘March of Saints’ practice—having children dressed up as saints and martyrs during Halloween—instead of the usual scary costumes. CarlOS Oda

of the Church’s “super heroes” whose sanctity has earned them the privilege

of beatific vision.

According to Bagaforo, this March of the Saints is one way the Cotabato Archdiocese takes part in the celebra- tion of the “Year of the Laity” before it

draws to a close. This Year of the Laity, with its con- stant reminder that Christians are “Called to be Saints and Send Forth As Heroes”, is due to end in November. It will be followed by the “Year of the Poor”. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

Liturgical confab set on Paul VI’s beatification

IN keeping with its mission of promoting and directing the liturgical life of the faith- ful, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Com - mission on Liturgy (ECL) is set to hold the “Venerable Pope Paul VI Pastoral Con- ference I” on Oct. 17, Friday, 3:00 p.m. at the San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, Edsa, Makati City.

‘Pastoral liturgy’

The event, which is orga- nized in coordination with the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM)’s Archdiocesan Li- turgical Commission, the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy, and the San Beda College Graduate School of Liturgy,

is dedicated to Pope Paul VI,

whose beatification is set on

the same day. CBCP-ECL Chair Bishop Julius S. Tonel of the Diocese of Ipil in Zamboanga is slated

for the opening remarks,

while Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardi- nal Rosales will look back to Pope Paul VI’s Pastoral Visit to the Philippines in 1970. Fr. James H. Kroeger of the Loyola School of Theol- ogy will give an overview of Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Nun- tiandi” (Evangelization in the Modern World), which the present pontiff, Francis, described as “The greatest pastoral document written to this day”.

In it, the Pope affirms the

role of every Christian, clergy and laity alike, in proclaiming and spreading the Gospel. Msgr. Ricardo Jesús T. Ser- rano, former president of the University of the Assumption in San Fernando, Pampanga will discuss Pope Paul VI’s “Legacy of Pastoral Liturgy”. Vespers will be said after the talks.

P o p e P a u l V I (1897-1978) P a u l V
P o p e P a u l V I
P a u l V I w a s
born Giovanni Bat-
tista Enrico Anto-
nio Maria Montini
on September 26,
1897 in Concesio,
Italy. He was the
263rd successor to
the See of Peter
from 1963 until his
death in 1978.
Paul VI contin -
ued the Second
Vatican Council
which John XXIII
started in 1962.
In July 1968, he
issued the contro-
versial encyclical
“Humanae Vitae”
(Of Human Life) in
which he reaffirms

the orthodox teach- ing of the Catholic Church on married love, responsible par-

enthood, and contraception. Dubbed the “pilgrim”

pope, he was the first pontiff to fly in an airplane.

He died in 1978 from a heart attack. He was 80.

(Raymond A. Sebastián)

Salt and Light TV

CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 - 26, 2014
Pastoral Concerns
Vol. 18 No. 21
October 13 - 26, 2014
Salt and Light TV CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 -
Salt and Light TV CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 -

Speaking with parrhesia, listening with humility

Salt and Light TV CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 -

(Greeting of Pope Francis to the Synod Fathers during the First General Congregation of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 6 October 2014)

Salt and Light TV CBCP Monitor Pastoral Concerns B1 Vol. 18 No. 21 October 13 -
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Salt and Light TV

Cardinal wrote to me, saying: what a shame that several Cardinals did not have the courage to say certain things

out of respect for the Pope, perhaps believing that the Pope might think

something else. This is not good, this is

not synodality, because it is necessary to say all that, in the Lord, one feels the

need to say: without polite deference,

without hesitation. And, at the same time, one must listen with humility and

welcome, with an open heart, what your

brothers say. Synodality is exercised with

these two approaches.

For this reason I ask of you, please, to employ these approaches as brothers in the Lord: speaking with parrhesia and

listening with humility. And do so with great tranquility

and peace, so that the Synod may

always unfold cum Petro et sub

Petro, and the presence of the Pope

is a guarantee for all and a safeguard

of the faith. Dear brothers, let us all collaborate so that the dynamic of synodality shine forth. Thank you.

Called to work for the Lord’s vineyard

(Homily of Pope Francis at the opening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Vatican Basilica, 5 October 2014)

TODAY the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel employ the image of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord’s vineyard is his “dream”, the plan which he nurtures with all his love, like a farmer who cares for his vineyard. Vines are plants which need much care! God’s “dream” is his people. He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings

forth abundant fruits of justice.

But in both the ancient prophecy and in Jesus’ parable, God’s dream is

thwarted. Isaiah says that the vine which he so loved and nurtured has

yielded “wild grapes” (5:2,4); God “expected justice but saw bloodshed, righteousness, but only a cry of distress” (v. 7). In the Gospel, it is the farmers themselves who ruin the Lord’s plan: they fail to do their job but think only

of their own interests.

In Jesus’ parable, he is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the

people, in other words the “experts”, the managers. To them in a particular way God entrusted his “dream”, his people, for them to nurture, tend and

protect from the animals of the field. This is the job of leaders: to nurture

the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work.

But Jesus tells us that those

farmers took over the vineyard.

Out of greed and pride they want

to do with it as they will, and so

they prevent God from realizing his dream for the people he has


The temptation to greed is ever present. We encounter it also in the great prophecy of Ezekiel on the shepherds (cf. ch. 34), which

Saint Augustine commented

upon in one his celebrated

sermons which we have just

reread in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Greed for money and power. And

to satisfy this greed, evil pastors

lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they

themselves do not lift a finger to move (cf. Mt 23:4) We too, in the Synod of Bishops,

We too, in the Synod of Bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent ...

are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent… They

are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity. We are all sinners and can also be tempted to “take over” the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can

“thwart” God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us

to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity. My Synod brothers, to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard,

our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7). In this way our thoughts and

plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God (cf. Mt 21:43).

YOUR Eminences, Your Beatitudes, Your Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters, I give you my warm welcome to this

meeting and I thank you from my heart

for your caring and qualified presence

and assistance.

On your behalf, I would like to express

my heartfelt thanks to all the people

who have worked with dedication,

with patience and with competence,

for many months, reading, evaluating, and elaborating the themes, texts and studies for this Extraordinary General

Assembly. Allow me to address a special

and warm ‘thank you’ to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General

of the Synod, to Bishop Fabio Fabene,

Undersecretary, and with them to

all the Relators, writers, consultants, translators and to the entire staff of the

Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

They have worked tirelessly, and continue to work, for the successful outcome of this Synod: Thank you so

very much and may the Lord repay you!

  • I likewise thank the Post-Synodal

Council, the Relator and the Special Secretary; the Bishops’ Conferences,

which have worked very hard and with them, I thank the three President Delegates.

Speak honestly. Let no one say: “I cannot say

this, they will think this

or this of me

... It is necessary to say with parrhesia all that one feels.

  • I thank also you, dear Cardinals,

Patriarchs, Bishops, priests, men and

women religious and lay men and

women for your presence and for your participation which enriches this work

and to collegiality and synodality

spirit for the good of the Church and

of the family! I also wanted this spirit

of synodality in the election of the

Relator, the Special Secretary and the

President Delegates. The first two were

elected directly by the Post-Synodal

Council, by participants who attended

the last Synod. However, given that the President Delegates must be chosen

by the Pope, I asked that Post-Synodal Council to propose a few names, and I have appointed those proposed to me.

You bring the voice of the Particular Churches, assembled at the level of

local Churches through the Bishops’

Conferences. The Universal Church and the Particular Churches are divine

institutions; the local Churches are thus understood as human institutions. You will give voice in synodality . It is a great

responsibility: to bring the realities and

problems of the Churches, in order to help them to walk on that path that is the Gospel of the family.

One general and basic condition is

this: speaking honestly. Let no one say:

“I cannot say this, they will think this

or this of me


It is necessary to say

with parrhesia all that one feels. After

the last Consistory (February 2014),

in which the family was discussed, a

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CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

The synod of bishops

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

THE Holy Father, Pope Francis,

has called upon the Synod of Bishops to reflect upon the

situation of the family, decisive and valuable, in its Extraordinary General Assembly of October

2014, a reflection which will

then be pursued in greater depth in the Ordinary General

Assembly scheduled to take

place in October 2015, as well as

during the full intervening year between the two synodal events.

of the world and who meet at stated times to foster a closer unity between

the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsels in safeguarding and increasing faith and morals and in preserving and strengthening ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions concerning the Church’s activity in the world.

Certain quarters have pointed

out that the CIC had avoided the debate on the canonical nature

of the Synod of Bishops by not providing a legal definition of the

synod that might have resolved the question, and instead limited

the Synod with respect to the College of Bishops. The Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the CIC explained this omission by pointing out the equivocal nature of the expression, given that one cannot attribute to the Synod such a representative character—in strict juridical sense—with respect to the Episcopal College. 2 3) It is a special consultative

body in aid of the Primacy — At the positive level, we can affirm that perhaps the best way to

understand the nature of the

synod is to consider it as a special

the synodal conclusions are of the highest level—among consultative bodies—not so much by the formal force of the pronouncement, but by reason of the representative and sacramental qualities of the members of the synod. No less than John Paul II himself had affirmed that the unanimous opinion of the Bishops gathered in a Synod constitutes a pondus Ecclesiae peculiaris generis, quod alicuius voti consultivi rationem simpliciter formalem excedit. 3 b) But neither is it a deliberative body —and should


c) Although hypothetically it can become a deliberative bodywith a power delegated by the Roman Pontiff for specific cases,

in which case he has to ratify its decisions. Some authors have

pointed out that this hypothesis

has not been verified in fact up to the present, and I agree that even from the point of view of

canonical technique, it would be quite clumsy.

c. Types of Synods

In the practical level, the CIC provides for three types of

synods, based on purpose and membership. These are regulated in cc.345-346.

1) General SessionA synod of bishops can meet in a general session, which deals with matters which directly concern the good of the entire Church; such a session is either ordinary or extraordinary (c.345, in principio). These are convoked with a periodicity of

three years.

a) Ordinary General SessionThe membership of a synod of bishops gathered in ordinary general session consists of the following: for the most part, bishops elected to represent their individual groups by the conference of bishops in accord with the special law of the synod; other bishops designated in virtue of this law itself; other bishops directly named by the Roman Pontiff. To this membership are added some members of clerical

religious institutes elected in accord with the norm of the same special law

(c.346, §1). The topics are selected in

advance by the Pope and

discussed by the conferences of

bishops prior to the meeting of

the Synod.

b) Extraordinary General Session A synod of bishops is gathered in extraordinary general session to deal with matters which require a speedy solution; its membership consists of the following: most of them them are bishops designated by the special

which c.346 remits itself, situates

the distinctive criterion in the note of urgency in the matters to be tackled in extraordinary session. 6 Nevertheless, the fact remains that ultimately it is up

to the Roman Pontiff to evaluate

the note of urgency in the matter to be tackled. 2) Special Session The membership of a synod of bishops gathered in special session consists of those who have been especially selected from the regions of which the synod has been convoked, in accord

with the norm of the special law which governs such synod (c.349,


Special sessions are designed

for issues affecting one or more

particular regions. The members are elected by their respective episcopal conferences—from

one to four members according

to the size of the conference (one

delegate for every 25 members of the episcopal conference or fractions thereof). 3) Particular Assembly—This is a fourth type, neither foreseen in

the Code nor in the special law on synods, created by John Paul II and convoked twice in 1980: with the Bishops of the Netherlands and the Ukraine respectively. It is very similar to the special session,

but is differentiated from it in two


  • a) Membership —since it

includes all the members of the

episcopal conference, while the special session only includes a

number of delegates from the same.

  • b) Para-deliberative Power

manifested in the particular

assembly, at least in the two occasions when it has been convoked. In any case, this only shows

the great flexibility of the synodal

institution, while at the same time exhalting the collegial methodology in the exercise of episcopal power in the context of a lived collegiality.

In the face of this great ecclesial

event, perhaps it would be good

to consider once more the notion

of the synod of bishops.

Although the “synodal

principle” is an ancient one in the

Church—a reflection of the reality

of communion as a fundamental

principle—it has been applied

analogously in different settings.

The present Synod of Bishops is

considered as one of the most

important innovations to the

canonical order from Vatican Council II, instituted by Paul VI in the M.P. Sollicitudo comnium

Ecclesiarum (24.VI.1969). Its nature has only been clarified

of late, after an initial period

of doctrinal controversy, or what some author would call a terminological impasse.

The Synod of Bishops

“The convenire in unum around the Bishop of Rome is already

an event of grace, in which

episcopal collegiality is made manifest in a path of spiritual and pastoral discernment”:

thus Pope Francis described the synodal experience, indicating

its tasks in the dual process of

listening to the signs of God and the history of mankind and in the resulting dual and unique fidelity. Nevertheless, in the strict sense of canonical doctrine, such a statement needs some

clarification, as it could lead to a misconception of the canonical nature of the synod of bishops.

a. Canonical Nature of the Synod of Bishops

Can.342—The synod of bishops is that group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions

itself to a description. Nevertheless, to my mind the chapter on The Synod of Bishops (cc.342-348) does give us enough elements—while

conspicuously omitting certain others—to come up with a good

notion of this institution.

1) It is a coetus episcoporum — i.e., an assembly or group of bishops. The terminological choice is

important, because it shows the prevalence of the personal and functional aspect rather than the organic-institutional. This point becomes more obvious when we consider that in the M.P. Apostolica Sollicitudo, the Synod had been defined as a central ecclesiastical institutionhighlighting its structural aspects and its hierarchical position in the ecclesiastical organization. In fact, during the deliberations on text of c.343—which we shall deal with below— it had been suggested that the synod be considered as an organ of government of the universal Church, to which the Commission responded that it is rather a peculiar council of the sacred Bishops, a stable council of bishops, which did not enjoy any legislative or decision-making power, not even vicarious. 1 Thus, the canonical legislator appears

to have wanted to diffuse the

institutional aspects of the Synod, preferring to emphasize

its functional dynamics rather

than its structural form. 2) It is not a representative body of the College of Bishops—Another noteworthy omission—with

respect to earlier documents—

is that of the adverbial clause

taking the part of the whole Catholic Episcopate, which underscored the representative character of

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consultative body which the Pope convenes—at his discretion and for specific questions—in order to help him in the exercise of his power of primacy over the universal Church. This idea is articulated in cc.343-344. In this regard, we need to steer off two extreme positions, and make two clarifications:

a) It is not just any consultative body — Rather, the authority of

not be confused with the only episcopal collegial organ with deliberative power, which is the Ecumenical Council. Paul VI had clarified this point, affirming that the Synod can in no way be considered like an Ecumenical Council, since it lacks the composition, the authority and the finality of such a Council. 4 More recently, John Paul II had reaffirmed this point. 5

law of the synod in virtue of the

office which they hold; others are

bishops directly named by the Roman Pontiff. To this membership are added some members of clerical religious institutes elected in accord

with the same law (c.346, §2). In the absence of a clear criterion in the CIC regarding the difference between the two forms of the general session of

the Synod, the special law, to



Cf. Communicationes, 14 (1982), 180.


Cf. Communicationes, 14 (1981), 93.


John Paul II, Discurso (20.IV.1983),

in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 1

(1983), 1101.


Paul VI, Allocuzione (30.IX.1967), in

AAS, 59 (1967), 560.

John Paul II, Discurso (30.IV.1983), in AAS, 75 (1983), 650.



Cf. Ordo Synodi Episcoporum celebran-

dae promulgatur a Summo Pontifice appro- batus, 8.XII.1966, in AAS, 59 (1967) 91-103.

When to Wear a Dalmatic

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

Q: I never assist in Mass wearing just the alb and the stole. I insist in wearing the ordinary vestment for a deacon, my dalmatic. In case of Communion services, should I or shouldn’t I wear a dalmatic? Is this a vestment reserved only in case of a sacrament, such as the Eucharist? Also, may a deacon wear a dalmatic

when celebrating a baptism or presiding the sacrament of holy matrimony? -- J.M., Tampa, Florida

A: The proper vestment for a deacon

at Mass is an alb (with an amice if

required), cincture, stole worn in

the diaconal manner, and dalmatic.

The stole and dalmatic should be of the

corresponding liturgical color.

This vestment is a knee-length, sleeved garment. It was originally

developed in Dalmatia, modern-day Croatia, and was imported into Rome

during the second century. At first the dalmatic, which was

originally longer, reaching the heels,

and more ample than today, was not

well received, being seen as somewhat effeminate. Later, however, it became

popular among Roman senators and imperial officials as a substitute for

the toga and was even used as the

proper garb for the consecration of the emperor. From this it became a habit proper

to the pope and to bishops. Finally it

was introduced as a vestment for the

deacons of Rome by Pope Sylvester I

in the fourth century and gradually

became their proper vestment. For a time, especially during the ninth to

14th centuries, bishops and even priests

would sometimes wear the dalmatic

under the chasuble. This use persists

Just as a priest would not use the chasuble for a Communion service, the deacon would not use a dalmatic.

today, but only for bishops, who may

vest a light dalmatic underneath the chasuble in solemn celebrations,

especially ordinations. According to current practice, priests

celebrating according to the ordinary form never use the dalmatic. In the extraordinary form there are certain

solemn celebrations in which a priest

substitutes for a deacon and is vested

accordingly. Likewise on exceptional

occasions cardinal deacons serve the

pope dressed in dalmatic. With respect to its habitual use, we

may say that the dalmatic is to the

deacon what the chasuble is to the priest.

Therefore, in most cases the deacon may

use the dalmatic only when the priest

would use the chasuble.

An exception to this rule is when a

deacon accompanies a bishop or priest who wears a cope in a solemn celebration

of the Liturgy of the Hours or for Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. As far as I have been able to ascertain, there are no ritual situations in which a deacon would use the dalmatic on his

own. It would seem that it is only used when carrying out his functions

accompanying a bishop or priest. Therefore, just as a priest would not

use the chasuble for a Communion service, the deacon would not use a dalmatic. The same can be said of other celebrations of sacraments and sacramentals, such as funeral services, outside of Mass.

The proper vestment for celebrations such as baptisms,

weddings, funerals and the like

outside of Mass is alb (or surplice over a cassock), stole, and cope of the

appropriate liturgical color. In most cases the appropriate color will be

white, although violet may be used for funerals. These vestments may

be used by both priests and deacons

with the only difference being the manner of wearing the stole.



Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

Year of the Laity


Synod Update

Relatio Post Disceptationem

The Midterm Report of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops


DURING the prayer vigil held in St Peter’s Square on 4 October 2014 in preparation for the Synod on the family, Pope Francis evoked the centrality of the experience of family in all lives, in a simple and concrete manner: “Evening

falls on our assembly. It is the hour at

which one willingly returns home to

meet at the same table, in the depth

of affection, of the good that has been done and received, of the encounters which warm the heart and make it grow, good wine which hastens the

unending feast in the days of man. It is also the weightiest hour for one

who finds himself face to face with his

own loneliness, in the bitter twilight

of shattered dreams and broken plans; how many people trudge through the

day in the blind alley of resignation, of

abandonment, even resentment: in how many homes the wine of joy has been

less plentiful, and therefore, also the

zest—the very wisdom—for life […].

Let us make our prayer heard for one another this evening, a prayer for all”.

The source of joys and trials, of deep

affections and relations—at times wounded—the family is truly a “school of humanity” (“Familia schola quaedam uberioris humanitatis est”, Vatican Council II, Constitution on the Church in the

Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 52), of which we are in great need. Despite

the many signs of crisis in the institution

of the family in various contexts of the “global village”, the desire for family

remains alive, especially among the

young, and is at the root of the Church’s

need to proclaim tirelessly and with profound conviction the “Gospel of

the family” entrusted to her with the

revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ. The Bishop of Rome called upon

the Synod of Bishops to reflect upon

the situation of the family, decisive and valuable, in its Extraordinary

General Assembly of October 2014, a reflection which will then be pursued in greater depth in the Ordinary General Assembly scheduled to take place in October 2015, as well as during the

full intervening year between the two synodal events. “The convenire in unum

around the Bishop of Rome is already an event of grace, in which episcopal collegiality is made manifest in a path of spiritual and pastoral discernment”:

thus Pope Francis described the synodal experience, indicating its tasks in the

dual process of listening to the signs of

God and the history of mankind and in

the resulting dual and unique fidelity.

In the light of the same discourse we

have gathered together the results of

our reflections and our dialogues in the

following three parts: listening, to look

at the situation of the family today, in

the complexity of its light and shade; looking, our gaze fixed on Christ, to

re-evaluate with renewed freshness and enthusiasm what the revelation transmitted in the faith of the Church tells us about the beauty and dignity of the family; and discussion in the light

of the Lord Jesus to discern the ways in

which the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family.

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(The General Rapporteur, Cardinal Peter Erdo, presented the midterm report outlining the main questions highlighted at the General Congregations from October 6 to 10, 2014 that in the following days will be examined by the bishops, fraternal delegates, auditors and experts in the “minor circles” or small working groups.)


Listening: the context and challenges to the family

The socio-cultural context

ANTHROPOLOGICAL and cultural change today influences all aspects of life and requires an analytic and diversified approach, able to discern the positive forms of individual

freedom. It is necessary to be aware of the growing danger

represented by an exasperated individualism that distorts family bonds and ends up considering each component of

the family as an isolated unit, leading in some cases to the

prevalence of an idea of the subject formed according to his

or her own wishes, which are assumed as absolute.

The most difficult test for families in our time is often

solitude, which destroys and gives rise to a general sensation of

impotence in relation to the socio-economic situation that often ends up crushing them. This is due to growing precariousness

in the workplace that is often experienced as a nightmare, or

due to heavy taxation that certainly does not encourage young

people to marriage. Some cultural and religious contexts pose particular challenges. In African societies the practice of polygamy

remains, along with, in some traditional contexts, the custom of

“marriage in stages”. In other contexts the practice of “arranged marriages” persists. In countries in which Catholicism is a

minority religion, there are many mixed marriages with all

the difficulties that these may lead to in terms of legal form,

the education of children and mutual respect from the point of view of religious freedom, but also with the great potential that

The condition of women still needs to be defended and promoted, as situations of violence within the family are not rare. Children are frequently the object of contention between parents, and are the true victims of family breakdown.

derives from the encounter between the differences in faith that

these stories of family life present. In many contexts, and not

only in the West, the practice of cohabitation before marriage,

or indeed cohabitation not orientated towards assuming the

form of an institutional bond, is increasingly widespread. Many children are born outside marriage, especially in certain countries, and there are many who subsequently grow up with

just one of their parents or in an enlarged or reconstituted family

context. The number of divorces is growing and it is not rare to encounter cases in which decisions are taken solely on the basis of economic factors. The condition of women still needs

to be defended and promoted, as situations of violence within

the family are not rare. Children are frequently the object of

contention between parents, and are the true victims of family

breakdown. Societies riven by violence due to war, terrorism

or the presence of organized crime experience deteriorating family situations. Furthermore, migration is another sign of

the times, to be faced and understood in terms of the burden of consequences for family life.

The relevance of emotional life

Faced with the social framework outlined above, a greater

need is encountered among individuals to take care of themselves, to know their inner being, and to live in greater harmony with their emotions and sentiments, seeking a

relational quality in emotional life. In the same way, it is possible

to encounter a widespread desire for family accompanied by

the search for oneself. But how can this attention to the care for oneself be cultivated and maintained, alongside this desire for family? This is a great challenge for the Church too. The

danger of individualism and the risk of living selfishly are

Part I / B7


The gaze upon Christ: the Gospel of the Family The gaze upon Jesus and gradualness in the history of salvation

I N order to “walk among

contemporary challenges, the

decisive condition is to maintain a

fixed gaze on Jesus Christ, to pause in contemplation and in adoration

of His

Face. ...

Indeed, every time

we return to the source of the

Christian experience, new paths and undreamed of possibilities open up” (Pope Francis, Address of 4 October 2014). Jesus looked

upon the women and the men

he met with love and tenderness,

accompanying their steps with patience and mercy, in

proclaiming the demands of the

Kingdom of God.

From the moment that the

order of creation is determined

by orientation towards Christ, it becomes necessary to distinguish

without separating the various

levels through which God communicates the grace of the covenant to humanity. Through the law of gradualness (cf.

Familiaris Consortio, 34), typical of divine pedagogy, this means interpreting the nuptial covenant

in terms of continuity and novelty,

in the order of creation and in that

of redemption. Jesus Himself, referring to the primordial plan for the human couple, reaffirms the

indissoluble union between man and woman, while understanding

that “Moses permitted you to

divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning”

(Mt 19,8). In this way, He shows

how divine condescension

always accompanies the path of

humanity, directing it towards

its new beginning, not without

passing through the cross.

The family in God’s salvific plan

Since, by their commitment

to mutual acceptance and with

the grace of Christ couples promise fidelity to one another and openness to life, they

acknowledge as constitutive elements of marriage the gifts

God offers them, taking their

mutual responsibility seriously, in

His name and before the Church.

Now, in faith it is possible to

assume the goods of marriage as commitments best maintained

with the help of the grace of the

sacrament. God consecrates love

between spouses and confirms its indissolubility, offering them help in living in fidelity and openness

to life. Therefore, the gaze of the Church turns not only to the

couple, but to the family.

We are able to distinguish three fundamental phases in the

divine plan for the family: the

family of origins, when God the

creator instituted the primordial

marriage between Adam and

Eve, as a solid foundation for the family: he created them male

and female (cg. Gn 1,24-31; 2,4b);

the historic family, wounded

by sin (cf. Gn 3) and the family

redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph

5,21-32), in the image of the Holy

Trinity, the mystery from which

every true love springs. The

sponsal covenant, inaugurated

in creation and revealed in the

history of God and Israel, reaches

its fullest expression with Christ

in the Church.

The discernment of values present in wounded families and in irregular situations

In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of

their marriage, or rather how it

is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of

the Church. In this respect, a

significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of

Part III

Vatican Council II, which, while

it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and

of truth are found outside of its

visible structure

these elements,

... as gifts belonging to the Church

of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen

Gentium, 8). In this light, the value and consistency of natural marriage

must first be emphasized. Some ask

whether the sacramental fullness

of marriage does not exclude the

possibility of recognizing positive elements even the imperfect forms

that may be found outside this

nuptial situation, which are in any

case ordered in relation to it. The doctrine of levels of communion, formulated by Vatican Council II,

confirms the vision of a structured way of participating in the Mysterium Ecclesiae by baptized persons. In the same, perspective, that

we may consider inclusive, the Council opens up the horizon for appreciating the positive elements present in other religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2) and cultures, despite their limits and their insufficiencies (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 55). Indeed, looking at

Part II / B7

The discussion: pastoral perspectives Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today, in various contexts

THE Synod dialog has allowed an agreement

on some of the more urgent pastoral needs to

be entrusted to being made concrete in the individual local Churches, in communion cum Petro et sub Petro.

The announcement of the Gospel of

the family is an urgent issue for the new

evangelization. The Church has to carry this out with the tenderness of a mother and the

clarity of a teacher (cf. Eph 4, 15), in fidelity

to the merciful kenosi of Christ. The truth is incarnated in human fragility not to condemn it, but to cure it.

Evangelizing is the shared responsibility of all God’s people, each according to his or her own ministry and charism. Without the joyous testimony of spouses and families, the announcement, even if correct, risks being misunderstood or submerged by the ocean of words that is a characteristic of our society (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 50). On various occasions the Synodal Fathers underlined that Catholic families are called upon themselves

to be the active subjects of all the pastoral of

the family.

It will be decisive to highlight the primacy of grace, and therefore of the possibilities that the Spirit gives in the sacrament. This is about letting it be known that the Gospel of the family

is a joy that “fills the hearts and lives”, because

in Christ we are “set free from sin, sorrow,

inner emptiness, and loneliness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1). In the light of the parable of the sower (cf. Mt 13,3), our task is to cooperate in

the sowing: the rest is God’s work. We must not forget that the Church that preaches about

the family is a sign of contradiction.

For this reason, what is required is a

missionary conversion: it is necessary not

to stop at an announcement that is merely theoretical and has nothing to do with people’s real problems. It must not be forgotten that the

crisis of faith has led to a crisis in matrimony and the family and, as a result, the transmission

of faith from parents to children has often been interrupted. Confronted by a strong faith, the imposition of certain cultural perspectives that weaken the family is of no importance.

Conversion has, above all, to be that of

language so that this might prove to be

effectively meaningful. The announcement

is about letting it be experienced that the

Gospel of the family is the response to the deepest expectations of a person: to his or her dignity and its full realization in reciprocity

and communion. This is not merely about

presenting a set of regulations but about putting forward values, responding to the

need of those who find themselves today even

in the most secularized countries.

The indispensable biblical-theological study is to be accompanied by dialog, at all levels. Many insisted on a more positive approach

to the riches contained in diverse religious

experiences, while not being blind to the difficulties. In the diverse cultural realities

the possibilities should first be grasped and in

the light of them the limits and radicalizations

should be rejected. Christian marriage cannot only be considered as a cultural tradition or social obligation, but

has to be a vocational decision taken with the

proper preparation in an itinerary of faith,

with mature discernment. This is not about

creating difficulties and complicating the cycles of formation, but of going deeply into

the issue and not being content with theoretical

meetings or general orientations. The need was jointly referred to for a

conversion of all pastoral practices from the perspective of the family, overcoming the individualistic points of view that still

characterize it. This is why there was a

repeated insistence on renewing in this light the training of presbyters and other pastoral operators, through a greater involvement of

the families themselves. In the same way, the necessity was underlined for an evangelization that denounces clearly the cultural, social and

economic factors, for example, the excessive room given to market logic, that prevents an

authentic family life, leading to discrimination,

poverty, exclusion, and violence. For this reason a dialog and cooperation has to be developed with the social structures, and lay people who are involved in cultural and socio-political fields should be encouraged.

Guiding couples on the path in preparation for marriage

Part III / B7



CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

End People’s Indifference!

A FEW months ago, at the Pope’s Angelus at St. Peter’s Square, inspired by the day’s
A FEW months ago, at the Pope’s Angelus
at St. Peter’s Square, inspired by the day’s
Gospel, our Holy Father Pope Francis
deplored the poor conditions people
Vendors’ stalls in a market got burned
by a huge fire; then city and barangay
officials did not allow the more than 300
vendors to rebuild their stalls, depriving
around the world have to live with.
them of livelihood.
“Jesus calls to them and says: ‘Come
to me,’ and he promises them relief and
rest. This invitation from Jesus extends
to the present day, reaching the many
Farmers in hinterland barangays are
being driven away from the land they
brothers and sisters weighed down by
are tilling, to pave way for reforestation
Fisherfolks are being displaced from
poor living conditions, by difficult life
their livelihood due to reclamation
situations and sometimes by a lack of
projects which damage the marine
valid points of reference.”
Pope Francis reminded pilgrims that
in the poorest countries, there are people
Pork barrel in the budget
“who are suffering and even to the point
of exhaustion due to the unbearable
weight they bear of abandonment and
More Filipinos are getting poorer and
hungry. Why can’t there be programs for
the upliftment of the poor from poverty?
Trillions of pesos in the National
One factory worker shared that while working,
his hand got eaten up by the machine.
His hand was amputated. After which,
he was terminated from work.
Government Budget in the past and
The Pope talked about the damage
until today have not been used for the
that indifference makes.
“Indifference. Human indifference
genuine development of the Philippine
hurts those in most need! And worse
So, the CALL for us in the Church
even, is that from Christians. On the
margins of society, there are many men
economy, for the lifting of the poor out
of poverty.
We also know that there are billions
of pesos proposed in the 2015 National
Budget to become part of the discretionary
Despite Supreme Court decisions
declaring congressional pork barrel
and the practices in the Disbursement
Acceleration Program (DAP) as
unconstitutional, pork barrel funds are
still being used and proposed. Pork
different sectors of civil society, and
different religions. The labor sector was
people-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) is
the following:
and women worn down by poverty, but
Get a copy of the NATIONAL
also by dissatisfaction and frustration in
life. So many are forced to emigrate from
their homeland, risking their own lives.
Many others, every day bear the burden
funds of the Executive.
also represented.
The People’s Congress approved the
proposed legislation against all kinds
of pork barrel. The said legislation
also includes appropriate sanctions/
punishments against violators. The
The proposed 2015 National Budget
contains discretionary lump sum funds
barrel funds are evil since these have
Get a copy from the NATIONAL
such as follows:
been sources of corruption and are used
of an economic system that exploits man,
imposes an unbearable yoke, which the
• Off-BudgetAccounts
for patronage politics.
People’s Congress ended with the initial
PIAP of all the materials needed to run
a signature campaign.
privileged few prefer not to carry.”
In Philippine society, we see so much
indifference from the rich and powerful
against the poor workers, informal
settlers, vendors, farmers and fisherfolk.
• Special Purpose Funds
People’s initiative
It is time to break the INDIFFERENCE
the Plaza Independencia, just nearby.
The signature campaign strives to
gather at least 10% of the registered
voters per congressional district. Then,
Mobilize all our CWS members to
work hard for the gathering of signatures.
• Unprogrammed Funds
• Automatic Appropriations
In Cebu, one factory worker shared
that while working, his hand got
in most of our people!
One step is knowing, understanding
and participating actively in the
People’s Initiative to Abolish the
a referendum would be called in order
May St. Joseph the Worker, His Son the
Carpenter and Mama Mary be with us.
to pass the proposed legislation into
• Regular Departmental Budget
254,613,000 ,000
Pork Barrel (PIAP). Last 23 August
2014, the PIAP held its NATIONAL
law. No branch of government may veto
eaten up by the machine. His hand
Diocese of San Carlos
was amputated. After which, he was
• Total
PORK; only another People’s Initiative
terminated from work.
It was attended by representatives from
can do it.
Church people Workers Solidarity (CWS)

The prison ministry today

By Rodolfo D. Diamante

INSTITUTIONAL imprisonment is not meant only to punish the offender. It is also supposed to correct him/her, that is, to prepare him/

her to rejoin society after serving sentence.

It is likewise meant to temporarily detain an accused pending the resolution of his/her case, if his/her alleged crime is non-bailable, or if he/she cannot afford the bail. Correction as part of the criminal justice system is both complex and crucial. It is essential to the maintenance of peace and

order in society and of the human dignity

exercise of authority is abused to the extent

of degrading the dignity of prisoners and

detainees to include maltreatment, sexual harassment, extortion, and other inhumane treatment.

Moreover, the struggle for supremacy, in

prison/detention cells often results in inmates exploiting or abusing other inmates and detainees for personal gains, further creating

problems and issues particularly in the use of prison labor. Furthermore, the appropriate provisions

for youth offenders, women offenders, the elderly and the mentally-challenged in

prisons and political prisoners are inadequate

first consists of the national penitentiaries under the Bureau of Correction (BUCOR) of the Department of Justice, for offenders

sentenced to more than three years of

imprisonment. The second level is composed of the provincial jails under the office of the

governor and city and district jails under the

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) of the Department of Interior and

Local Government for offenders whose sentences are from seven months to three

years. Finally, at the third level are the municipal jails under the BJMP, for offenders

sentenced to not more than six months of


of its straying members. U n f o r t u n a t e l y ,

correction is least seen and known by the

public. Society is eager

to recognize the duty of

the state to punish the

offender, but reluctant to

see its equally important

role to “correct” the offender, little realizing that injustice and

There are seven

p e n i t e n t i a r i e s

strategically located all

over the Philippines

and these are under the

administrative control

and supervision of the

Bureau of Corrections

( B U C O R ) o f t h e

Department of Justice.

Two of them are in Metro

Manila, two in Luzon, one is in the Visayas, and

Society is eager to recognize the duty of the state to punish the offender, but reluctant to see its equally important role to “correct” the offender, little realizing that injustice and other societal factors contribute to the making of an offender.

for their protection.

As of March 2014, the population in jails

and prisons, under the supervision of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Correction reached 114,

  • 368. Only 35% of this number were actually

found guilty of crimes and are serving their

sentences. The remaining 65% are only charged but not yet proven guilty. They are

detained because their alleged crimes are not

bailable or they can’t afford to pay the bail. In the Philippines, there are three levels in our institutional approach to correction. The

other societal factors contribute to the making of an offender. The objective of transforming the

correctional process into an educating and humanizing experience for offenders has been dampened by the insufficient provision

of the inmates’ basic needs. The overcrowded

conditions and the grossly deficient facilities in national prisons and various jails give rise

to sub-human living and health conditions of

prisoners. This is aggravated by insufficient budget for the basic needs of the prisoners. There are also reports of incidents where the

two are in Mindanao.

As of April 2014, these penitentiaries had a total of 39, 127 inmates. More than half of them (or 22, 826) are at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. They are distributed

in three different compounds - Maximum Security Compound (14, 541); Camp Sampaguita, inclusive of Medium Security Compound, Reception and Diagnostic Center, Metro Jail and Youth Rehabilitation Center (7,926); and the Minimum Security Compound (359). The other penal institution

Prison / B7

A plea to His Excellency

Benigno Aquino III to be

merciful and compassionate to VISO prisoners on the occasion of the 27th Prison

Awareness Week

THE CBCP- Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care

wishes to bring before His Excellency, the case of the VISO—

visitor-less, indigent, sick and old—prisoners in our seven (7) national prisons under the Bureau of Corrections. The VISO prisoners have spent several years in our jails and prisons. They and their families have been enduring the effect of incarceration for several years, especially those who have been sick and are presently confined at the hospital.

Their families have exhausted all the resources available to

them to finance their medical bills. The CBCP-ECPPC and its volunteers in prison group with its limited resources have provided support for their needs. More than this problem, the VISO prisoners are longing to

be free. They have sought our help on this matter. We understand that the Board of Pardons and Parole had forwarded to Your Excellency the records of these prisoners

and that after careful study they have recommended the

granting of Executive clemency to these prisoners In this regard, we would like to appeal to His Excellency to grant their plea for EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY. Their release will be a humanitarian act on the part of the office of the President especially during the celebration of the 27th Prison Awareness Week which coincides with the observance of National Correctional Consciousness Week from October 20-26, 2014.



Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014



all creation… bless the Lord! (daniel 3:57)

A CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on Climate Change

A ChALLENGE from the Past.

In 1988 our predecessors in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued the landmark letter “What is Happening to Our Beautiful

Land?” The statement lamented

the destruction of our forests, the ravaging of our soil and the

pollution of our seas. It also

decried the manner in which this environmental degradation

has been justified in the name of

industrial progress. Now, more

than a quarter century after

that forceful exhortation, we

are prompted to ask the same

question in more global, universal

terms. “What is happening to our beautiful world?” We ask

the question, calling to mind the same, largely unaddressed

concerns raised by our bishops in

  • 1988. But now we are forced to

view all these concerns through

the prism of global warming

and climate change. Drawing

from the lessons of Scripture and

the teachings of the Church, we discern anew how we as Catholics

and as Filipinos are called to address the challenges posed

by global warming and climate change for our country and the whole world.

A Warmer, Wetter World . For some time now, climate

change and global warming have been contentious ideas. Certain

quarters argue that they are simply

part of the natural cycles of nature.

Others maintain that these are global realities being aggravated

by human irresponsibility. In

recent years, however, there has been a growing consensus

within the scientific community

and even among industrialized nations (most notably the United

States) that climate change and

global warming are man-made

realities that have to be addressed urgently. This consensus can be

summarized in several important points. First, there has been a

definite pattern of rising global temperatures since the dawn of

the industrial age.

Next, these rising temperatures

are being caused, or at least

accelerated, by carbon emissions

and other pollutants--collectively

known as “greenhouse gases”-- from industry. Third, these rising global

temperatures have an adverse

effect on nature, on sea water

levels, and possibly on weather patterns. It has been pointed

out, for instance, that a two

degree centigrade rise of global

temperatures from pre-industrial

levels will submerge many island

countries and coastal cities. The four degree centigrade rise in

global temperatures predicted by the year 2100 will simply be

disastrous for all. Blame for the inexorable

warming of our world and the rising of our seas falls squarely

on the industrialized powers and

Called to Care for Creation. From the very beginning God

ordained that all creation be at

the service of humanity. At the conclusion of His creative work, God enjoined humanity to have “dominion” over creation. This is not to be construed, however, as

blanket permission for the wanton

destruction of the environment.

In the same creation account we are told that “God looked at everything he had made, and

found it very good” (Genesis 1:

26-31). The intrinsic goodness of

is groaning in labor pains even until now” (Romans 8: 22-3)

as it awaits, together with us, the salvation won for us by Christ our Savior. Thus we are called to utilize creation as a means towards this salvation, to which all the universe is moving forward.

Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

describes this idea beautifully a s t h e “ O m e g a P o i n t , ” where creation and human consciousness evolve towards

perfection, in unity with Christ.

identifies care for the environment

with our Christian vocation when

he exhorts, “Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!”

Reflecting on our Response.

Clearly then it is incumbent

upon us Filipino Catholics to

care for the environment, and most urgently, to address the

problems of global warming and climate change. This process

begins on the personal level,


their fossil fuel driven economies,

a number of whom are not

complying with international

agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. The unabated burning

of oil and coal has resulted in record amounts of carbon

dumped into the atmosphere,

leading to the destruction of

the ozone layer and the rise in

global temperatures. Methane

emissions from factory farms

further exacerbate this problem.

However, the economic

powers are not solely responsible

for this. All of us as Catholic Christians are called to care for

our earth, especially in this time

of grave danger for her and for all of us.

the earth represents a sacred trust

for us to care for and use wisely

the goodness God has gifted to us. Israel recognized this sacred

trust and praised God with the

immortal words “Send forth your

spirit, they are created and you

renew the face of the earth” (Psalm

104: 30). By caring and using the

gifts of creation, we participate in

the renewal of the earth.

We as Christians are called to this renewal in a privileged manner, cognizant that Jesus Christ himself is “the first born

of all creation” in whom “were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible

….” (Colossians 1: 15-6).

St. Paul tells us that “all creation

The crucial role of created nature not only for human flourishing but for our own

salvation has been emphasized by our Holy Pontiffs. Pope John

Paul II has emphasized that “It is

the Creator’s will that man should treat nature not as a ruthless

exploiter but as an intelligent and responsible administrator.” Pope Benedict XVI links this responsibility to the environment

with our larger obligations to

the human community: “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we

have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations

and towards humanity as a whole.”

Most forcefully, Pope Francis

where all of us should examine what we have done to contribute

to these problems. Rampant consumerism compels industry

to produce more and more goods, which end up polluting the atmosphere.

In what ways have we

been excessive in our own

consumption patterns, buying superfluous items, or patronizing

goods that are harmful to the environment? Do we carefully observe regulations that are

meant to protect nature, such

as waste segregation, reducing harmful emissions from vehicles,

and the use of biodegradable

products? Global warming

and climate change are world-

wide problems, but addressing

them begins with each person

undertaking an “environmental

examination of conscience” to reduce our “individual carbon


Having examined ourselves and our relation to the environment, we are then obligated to ensure

that our response is not just on

the individual, but also on the community level. Unfortunately,

we Filipinos are content to say “not in my backyard!” We keep

our home and surroundings

clean, even if it means dumping

our waste in our neighborhood.

In our parishes, basic ecclesial

communities, Church based

groups, as well as in our work

and civic organizations, we are

called to explore ways to protect

our environment as well as to

propagate this environmental awareness. When necessary we

should lobby our government for

legislation and advocate causes

that will help curb environmental

degradation caused by the excesses of industry.

Finally, even as we do our best

as individuals and communities to curb climate change, we must

realize it is already upon us. In

government and civic circles the

prevailing paradigm is one of “Climate Change Adaptation

and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management” (CCA-

DRRM). With climate change,

our risk to disasters increases as

the probability of extreme events increases. As Filipino Catholics,

we ask ourselves, how do we help

build this inherent awareness of our

risk to disasters and to the impacts

of climate change? Do we talk

about disasters and prepare for

them accordingly in our families

and communities? Integral to this

would be knowing the hazards that we face, knowing our environment, knowing our community, and working with our government and civil society organizations to

prepare for the future.

Conclusion: a Challenge for

the Present and Future. More than twenty five years ago our

elders in the CBCP warned in no uncertain terms that for our environment “It is already late in

the day and so much damage has been done.” Similarly, scientists

have dubbed our epoch the “Anthropocene,” an age where

our human interventions are

having profound and possibly

Creation / B7

Statement on the Death Penalty on the Occasion

of the 27th Prison Awareness Week on October 20-26

THE CBCP-ECPPC strongly opposed the

call of some legislators and some sectors in

our society to revive the death penalty. The

CBCP-ECPPC considers this effort to be an

unenlightened, counter-productive, and counter-progressive move.

Some two thousand years ago, a man

was sentenced to death and crucified on the

cross. Two millennium years later, states and societies have not learned their lesson. They

still impose the ultimate punishment on those

whom they deem have violated their laws,

despite the fact that some of those that they

have sent to death are innocent, like Christ, the man who died on the Cross. Others, like Dismas and Hestas and those who followed after them were guilty, but their fate—whether on the cross, at the gallows,

in the gas chamber, on the electric chair, or

through any contraption of society’s extreme

cruelty to its erring members—failed to deter others from committing even the most “heinous” of crimes.

Indeed, then as now, the imposition of capital punishment is deemed by some as the

quickest, most efficient solution to its biggest penal-administration problem—disposing

of a subject who has transgressed its



The stance against the death penalty is in

no way a posture to let criminal offenders

go scot-free. The CBCP-ECPPC believes in

Justice and it is ranked high in its hierarchy

of values. Those who have transgressed the

laws of the land should be held answerable and accountable after a fair trial; otherwise, they become effective endorsers of crime

and criminal actions, and strong parody for the ethical adage that “crime does not pay.”

But taking away the life of someone, whom we have condemned, immobilized

and rendered helpless with contraptions

of death is a horrible lesson to teach our

children, that human life is as disposable as any contraptions and trimmings of postmodern life. The CBCP-ECPPC firmly believes in the capacity of the human being to transform and reform its behavior, especially with the

help of society which, in the first place, has

much to do in creating an environment for the commission of crime, intended or not. Each

Death Penalty / B7


Message on the occasion of the 27th Prison Awareness Sunday

LOVE of God and love of neighbor is the most important commandment Christ gave us. A commandment he simply did not preach, but a way of life he lived. Because of the love Christ has shown, sinners repented, the lonely jumped with joy, the weak became strong and the hopeless were filled with hope. This is what love can do.

God’s longing is that we give each other love. This is also

why each of us yearns to be loved. It is love that gives us hope. Today as we celebrate the 27th Prison Awareness Week, the church urges us to look at the prisoners as our neighbors. We are challenge to show them mercy and love them so that they may become whole again. Let us pray that we may say

YES to this challenge.

Let us come before God and pray that we may always be filled with the grace to respond to His call of love for our

brothers and sisters, especially those imprisoned. Today let us make a plea to our compassionate God to teach us to love the least, the last and the lost—the prisoners. We urge the faithful to pray:

• That the Church through her fidelity to the gospel values continue to give hope to the world embattled with selfishness and the absence of love; • That the leaders of our country may learn to follow

Christ’s life of love and service;

• That through the understanding, love and forgiveness

of their families and friends, prisoners may continue to hope

for a new and better life;

• That those who are actively involved in the Prison

Ministry may continue to give hope to the prisoners through

their life of love and service;

• That God may continue to renew and transform us into loving persons through our constant and active participation

in the celebration of the Eucharist.



Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care


Ref lections

CBCP Monitor

Vol. 18 No. 21

October 13 - 26, 2014

Builders of a better world

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mt 22:15-21 (A) World Mission Sunday, October 19, 2014


By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

FOR centuries Christians have concentrated mostly on “rendering to God what belongs

to God.” Religious observances were top priority on their

agenda, as well as in their examination of conscience. They offered the criterion to decide

whether one was a “practicing

Catholic” or not. “Render to Caesar what is due to Caesar” was generally

understood as paying one’s

taxes and obeying the laws

of the country promulgated by the legitimate authority. Contributive justice and obedience to the legitimate authority are just two aspects of our civil duties. Important

and hard as these may be, there are also other ways in which

we are expected to make our contribution to the building up

of a better, more humane, more just society.

The list is long: love of country and its cultural values, honesty, good example, solidarity, contribution of ideas and even

constructive criticism, respect

for the environment, avoidance of waste, hard work, considering

the whole nation as one’s

“greater family”


These are

just some of the ways through which we “give to Caesar what

is due to Caesar” – some aspects

of what it means to be a “good

citizen” today. But today it is not enough to

focus on our own “geographical and historical country.” We have

to be aware that we are “citizens

of the world.” The entire planet

is our homeland. Hence, even the term “good citizen” must have, for us, a wider meaning

now than it had in the past. It must mean to be an active and responsible member of the family of nations that make up mankind – one that takes to heart the hopes, aspirations

and difficulties of every human

being and society. We must learn to leave the ghetto of a short-sighted and selfish “nationalism” and acquire a “global and participative mentality.” We must learn to feel responsible for the world in all its aspects

because this is our world – the world God has entrusted to our

stewardship in order that we

make it “the blueprint of the

Kingdom.” Vatican II and subsequent

pronouncements of the Church’s

teaching authority have not only confirmed this “new orientation,” but have also

spelled it out in greater detail. They have also proclaimed

clearly that it is the specific duty of the Catholic laity to

get involved – and actually to take the lead – in the building of a better world. This is their mission. It is in accomplishing

such a “mission to the world” that they will be contributing to the coming of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and thereby bring

about their own sanctification.

Today, one cannot be a “good

Christian” if one does not endeavor to be a good member

of the “family of nations.” We must be fully involved. We owe

it to ourselves, to society, to the Church. It is only by “giving to Caesar what is due to Caesar” that we begin to “give to God what is due to God.”

God’s commandments:

the road map to his Kingdom

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mt 22:34-40 (A) Prison Awareness Sunday, October 26, 2014

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

LOVE of God and neighbor was the soul of the Covenant which the Lord had made with His Chosen People. Failure to love in practice was a betrayal of the Covenant and resulted in the creation of victims in the various sectors of society (see the First Reading). All the prophets kept reminding the people about it. The synthesis of the two loves is also the soul of the New Covenant established by Christ and sealed in his blood. It embodies all the

These two loves are prioritized

but also complementary – none of the two is perfect without the

other. Love of God is number one. It grounds and gives meaning to

the love of neighbor. It keeps all the

elements of the construction together.

But love for God finds its necessary

and most challenging manifestation

in the love for neighbor, as Jesus