Monday, October 6, 2014

The Profession of Christian Purity
A forgotten but perennially valid "confession" promulgated by the CBCP in 1968

During their January-February meeting in 1968, the same meeting during which what was then the "Catholic Welfare Organization" (CWO) became the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Philippine hierarchy promulgated a "Profession of Christian Purity", which it strongly recommended to the faithful. The following text of the Profession can be found in the March 1968 issue of Boletin Eclesiastico de Filipinas

At a time when sexual permissiveness was becoming widespread, the statement represented a counter-blow, a rear-guard action of the hierarchy. What is remarkable about its statement is its strong affirmation -- begun with the words, "I believe" -- that immodesty in female fashion can, in fact, lead men into sin: a statement that would be incendiary and politically incorrect to the highest degree in Filipino society today. Perhaps for that reason, this document has been quickly buried in the collective amnesia of the Catholic Church in the Philippines about much of its past. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14, 2014: National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria

On September 5, 2014 the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Archbishop Socrates Villegas, called for September 14 to be marked as a National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria.

This is in fact the second day of prayer to be called by the CBCP for Iraq; the Philippine bishops had earlier called for all Masses offered on August 18 to be Votive Masses for Peace and Reconciliation in Iraq. (The original CBCP document regarding the Masses for August 18 can be found here.) 

This time around, Syria is included in the prayer intention, and from what I can tell the September 14 day of prayer has found more exposure among Filipinos on social networks. 

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross as National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria

The Gospel of peace, love and brotherhood is under siege in many parts of the world especially in Iraq and Syria. Helpless and defenseless persons are victims of a brutal imposition of a rigid and unforgiving version of faith. Religion is as much a victim, for those who kill and slaughter, wound and maim, destroy and burn in the name of God send the world the awful message that religion divides, that faith is oppressive, that belief can engender so much unkindness!

In the Philippines, we are invited by the same Gospel of brotherhood and peace to respond first and foremost by prayer accompanied by charity and solidarity

At the permanent Council meeting last September 2, it was unanimously resolved to declare September 14, 2014, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria.

We request the Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops to oblige all priests to celebrate all Masses that day for the special intentions of the persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq.

In all our Masses on the feast of the Holy Cross let us unite ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters, commending to the God who is our hope their pains, their shattered lives and dreams, their bereavement and their loss. We pray that even as many of them now see no way out of the misery that has been visited on them, the God who opens paths through the sea and ways in the desert, may make a way for them to the future that can only be His gift!

Secondly, you are requested to call for a charity collection on September 14 for the victims in Iraq and Syria. It is Christ in Iraq and Syria who has been evicted from his home. Places of worship — many of them, thousands of years old — have been razed to the ground by a godless rage with which no genuine religion can ever identify! For many, the food and drink that sustain life are daily issues. They rise from sleep each day to struggle just to keep themselves alive. We must be generous, and the fact that we have our own needs here in the Philippines does not excuse us from the Christian obligation of sharing with our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria from our own need.

The collections must be remitted to the CBCP Secretariat by September 30, 2014. We will immediately transmit the charity aid to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Iraq and Syria.

‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40).

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, September 5, 2014.

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, CBCP

Among the national dailies of the Philippines, Manila Bulletin (one of the Philippines' "big three" newspapers) has dedicated its editorial to this call for prayer:

Today has been declared a National Day of Prayer for Peace in Syria and Iraq by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the CBCP, wrote the nation’s bishops: “In all our Masses on the Feast of the Holy Cross, let us unite ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters, commending to the God who is our hope their pains, their shattered lives and dreams, their bereavement and their loss.”

Recent events in Iraq have occupied the front pages of newspapers around the world, following reports of the invading Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) persecuting religious minorities, including Christians. A British and two American journalists were beheaded, simply because they were Westerners and the United States was opposing the invading ISIS with air strikes.

President Obama has now announced that the US will escalate its response to the invading ISIS by sending air strikes to Syria, where the invasion began. This is the same Syria, where 40 Filipino troopers serving with UN Peacekeepers chose to fight in defiance of a UN commander’s order to surrender, probably aware that elsewhere in Syria and Iraq, hostages have been beheaded simply because they were identified as Americans or sympathetic to them.

There is one other disturbing link that connects us to the violence in Syria and Iraq. This is the report that some Filipinos in Mindanao are being recruited to fight with the ISIS. A Canadian Islamic preacher was arrested in Davao last Sunday as a potential threat to national security, while an Australian who had urged the people to join the “jihad” in Iraq and Syria was deported.

On so many fronts, we are today finding ourselves involved in the destruction and death in the Middle East. The Filipino UN Peacekeepers still in the Golan Heights in Syria must remain on guard lest they be sucked one again into the vortex of violence in that region. And our officials in Mindanao must be on alert against foreigners trying to entice our young rebels to fight in Iraq and Syria.

We can all be part of the new front of peaceful and prayerful engagement opened by the CBCP and join in today’s National Day of Prayer for Peace in Syria. Our prayers and the charity collections that the Church hopes to raise today will go a long way in helping the suffering people in that part of the Middle East .

Reviving this blog

I largely abandoned posting on this blog towards the end of 2012, with only desultory posting afterwards. I stopped blogging due to some health problems, and also because I needed to focus more on work. I also felt that blogging had become too great a burden on my free time.

Looking back, it was a very bad time to stop blogging: for 2013 turned out to be one of the most historic years in the history of the Church (both universal and local) in the past 500 years, and now I must forever regret not having been able to "cover" it in my own little way. The papal resignation, the excitement in the Philippine Church over the perceived candidacy of Cardinal Tagle for the papacy, the surprise election of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio SJ to the Papacy under the regnal name of Pope Francis and his unpredictable and astonishing papacy, the earthquakes in Bohol and Cebu and typhoon Yolanda, the beatification of Jose Maria de Manila OFMCap., the end of the Year of Faith, thundered through the year that was. 

Nevertheless, I think I can still redeem this blog. There is still much to chronicle, especially with the upcoming visit of Pope Francis in January next year and the continuing developments in Filipino Catholicism. Hopefully, with today's posts the revival of this blog will be permanent. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pope Francis to visit the Philippines in 2014 or 2015?

Fr. Francis Gustilo SDB is the sole current Filipino member of the International Theological Commission and the third-ever Filipino to have been appointed to that august body (the other two having been Fr. Catalino Arevalo SJ and Fr. Luis Antonio Tagle, who would later on become Bishop of Imus, then Archbishop of Manila and Cardinal.)

He posted the following status on his Facebook page in the morning of the 7th of December, Manila time. As it is now being widely shared on Facebook I believe that the news can be considered to be sufficiently public to be also posted on this and other blogs. 


Two hours ago, all the members of the International Theological Commission {ITC} went to the Apostolic Palace {palazzo apostolic} where the Holy Father has his office. 
Alas dose en punto, there he was with us, smiling, waving, feeling so relaxed. Now here are the real news! 

[1] During his short speech to us, he did not simply read the prepared text but became extemporaneous. {a} the theologian must be pioneer not a soldier staying in the military barracks; he must be at the frontlines! {b} the theologian cannot have beautiful theological lessons with a heart that is dry; theology is not merely the mind speaking but the heart burning; {c} the theologian must teach catechism to the children especially the poor; St Ignatius {"I am not promoting with this my Ignatian roots"} told the Jesuits that they ought to teach catechism to the youth

[2] Each one was given time to kiss his hand and say some word tete-a-tete. When I approached him, he told me: "Oh, the Filipino I met yesterday at Santa Marta!" I replied: "Holy Father, thank you so much for helping my suffering people and specially for praying for them and encouraging others to help our devastated country." And he immediately added: "I will visit your country, it is in my agenda. Only I am not sure whether next year or at the end of 2015. But don't worry I will be with you all". 

There you are. What better news can I send than meeting our highest spiritual leader, having a wonderful exchange of kind words and being assured that he has the Filipinos at heart!!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The full text of the Pope's address to the Philippine Congress on the New Evangelization, October 18, 2013

This speech also marks the first time that the Pope has delivered an English-language speech in public.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,
I greet all of you with the peace and joy of Our Lord. The first Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization is a worthy offering to the Year of Faith. For this I thank all of you, my brother Bishops, the priests, religious men and women, seminarians and the lay faithful who organized and are participating in the conference. I am happy to learn that you came to Manila from different parts of the Philippines and Asia. The Holy Spirit is actively at work in you. The Church of Christ is alive!
Through this conference, I hope you would experience again the loving presence of Jesus in your lives, that you would love the Church more and that you would share the Gospel to all people with humility and joy. Don’t get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the young people and families. Let Jesus be known in the world of politics, business, arts, science, technology and social media. Let the Holy Spirit renew the creation and bring forth justice and peace in the Philippines and in the great continent of Asia that is close to my heart.
Please pray for me, I need it. I promise to pray for you, especially to Our Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelization.
Mabúhay ang Pilipínas! Mabúhay ang Asia! Pagpaláin kayó ng Dios!
God bless you in the Name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Three Philippine church organs (two from Bohol) in action

I originally posted this on October 5, 2012 as "Two Philippine church organs in action". In commemoration of the churches lost during the earthquake that devastated Bohol today, October 15, 2013, I am updating this article to include videos of Baclayon organ in action. I hope that the Loay and Baclayon organs were not totally destroyed. CAP. 


In the first video, a Belgian organist plays on the church organ of Espiritu Santo church in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz district, Manila, which was inaugurated in 1968 and restored from 2009 to 2011. The story of its restoration is chronicled in the Espiritu Santo Pipe Organ blog.

The restoration of this organ, and the ongoing restoration of the Sto. Domingo Church pipe organ is part of the gradual recovery of the importance of the pipe organ to Church music in the Philippines. Earlier pipe organ restorations in Metro Manila were that of the "Bamboo Organ" church (St. Joseph) in Las Pinas in the 1970's, that of San Agustin Church in Intramuros in the 1990's, and that of Manila Cathedral, restored as of 2006. 


The sounds of the 19th century church organ of the Holy Trinity parish church in Loay, Bohol:


And, finally, the organ of Baclayon, Bohol in action:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

For the record: Defensores Fidei Foundation's Ninth Annual Apologetics Seminar has begun

Since 2005, Defensores Fidei Foundation has held an annual Apologetics Seminar introducing Filipino Catholics to the whys and hows of Catholic apologetics. Broadly speaking, Catholic apologetics as it is now understood is the art of charitably but firmly defending the Catholic faith in the face of attacks against it. Hundreds of Filipino Catholics have learned the basics of Catholic apologetics through these seminars. It should be noted that H.E. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales endorsed the work of Defensores Fidei while he was Archbishop of Manila. 

This year's Apologetics Seminar consists of 12 sessions, 3 of which will be held in Santuario de San Jose in coordination with the parish. 

Who are the speakers?

1. Rev. Msgr. Carlos Estrada, Ph.D -- Regional Vicar of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Msgr. Estrada has long been a friend of Defensores Fidei and it has been a 'tradition' for him to give the Christology lecture during the annual apologetics seminar. 

2. Rev. Fr. Abe Arganiosa -- One of Defensores Fidei's original lecturers and a passionate apologist and polemicist, he returns for this year's Apologetics Seminar to give the talk on Papacy. He was formerly College Chaplain of Aemilianum College in Sorsogon, and was the host of a religious TV show in that province.

3. Rev. Fr. Winston Cabading OP, Ph.D, ECS -- Secretary General of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Director of UST's Institute of Religion. He is one of the few Filipino priests with the faculty and ability to celebrate liturgical rites according to the Byzantine Rite.

4. Rev. Fr. Jose Quiolongquilong S.J., S.Th.D -- President of Loyola School of Theology (LST), Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU). He is also an Asst. Professor of Spirituality in the same school and an author on prayer. He completed his Licentiate and Doctorate in Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome while working as regional secretary for Asia-Pacific at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome.

5. Rev. Fr. Mark Emman Hao Sese -- A priest of the Diocese of Pasig (of which he is the Vice-Chancellor) ordained only in 2010 and the current Parish Priest of the Quasi-Parish of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Tanyag, Taguig. He studied theology in the University of Navarre in Spain. 

6. Ed "Chief" De Vera -- A Founding Member of Defensores Fidei Foundation, author of two books (Catholic Soul and Mysteries of Salvation History – Promise and Fulfillment in the Holy Rosary) and columnist for Kerygma magazine.

7. Marwil Llasos-- An Associate Member of Defensores Fidei Foundation, lawyer (educated at UP College of Law) and one of the Philippines' leading lay Marian apologists. He was also one of Ang Kapatiran's three senatorial candidates in the 2013 senatorial elections. He is currently preparing a multivolume work on Mariology. 

8. Carlos Antonio Palad -- An Associate Member of Defensores Fidei Foundation, Vice-Chairman of Filipinos for Life and a member of the International Council of Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce. Some of his feature articles have appeared in magazines / papers such as Catholic World Report, Believe, CBCP Monitor and Life Today

The last session of the Seminar will be on November 23 while the "graduation" will take place on December 7, 2013. The "graduation" will be preceded by a talk by Mr. Ed de Vera on "How to do Apologetics", and will be followed by Mass. 

From 2007 to 2010 and again in 2012 the closing Mass of the Defensores Fidei Foundation Apologetics Seminar was in Latin, celebrated ad orientem; from 2007 to 2009 and in 2012 it was celebrated according to the Forma Ordinaria / Novus Ordo and in 2010 it was according to the Extraordinary Form / Traditional Latin Mass. The celebrants were:

2007 - Fr. Abe Arganiosa CRS

2008 - Bishop Angel Hobayan, Emeritus of Catarman, with Fr. Abe Arganiosa concelebrating and with Fr. Carlos Estrada as MC.

2009 - Fr. Abe Arganiosa CRS

2010 - Fr. Rodel Lopez OMI

2012 - Fr. Carlos Estrada

For this year, the plan is to conclude the seminar once more with a Latin Mass, although there is no word yet on which Missal will be used. After the Mass there will be lunch followed by an informal reunion of Filipino Catholic apologists. (UPDATE: On December 7, 2013, a Latin Mass was celebrated ad orientem by Fr. Carlos Estrada according to the 1970 Missal.)

It should be noted that the DFF seminar for this year will be the second to occur entirely within the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013) proclaimed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The 2012 seminar ran from October 13 to December 15, 2012. Thus, Defensores Fidei will have marked the beginning and end of the Year of Faith with Apologetics Seminars. 

In its Note with Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith (Jan. 6, 2012) the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted the need for apologetics:

It would be useful to arrange for the preparation of pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature (cfr. 1 Pt 3:15), which should be done with the help of theologians and authors. Every member of the faithful would then be enabled to respond better to the questions which arise in difficult contexts – whether to do with sects, or the problems related to secularism and relativism, or to questions “arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries,”[26] or to other specific issues. (Recommendations II.8)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!

Belen scene from the "Belenismo" exhibit in Tarlac City in 2009. 

Source for the picture: Dennis Capulong's blog.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Philippines just got a second venerable... did you notice?

Note: Some have asked me why I did not count Ven. Isabel Larranaga Ramirez (1836 - 1899) as the "first" Filipino venerable. Here is my reason: although Ven. Isabel Larranaga Ramirez was born in Manila in 1836 (to a Spanish father and a Peruvian mother), she left the Philippines with her mother shortly after her father died when she was only 2 years old. She never returned. 


On December 20, 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, authorized the Congregation for Causes of Saints to recognize miracles attributed to a group of Beati, two individual Beati and five Venerables; the martyrdom of thirty-five Servants of God; and the heroic virtues of nine individuals (who thereby gained the title "Venerable"). 

Among the nine new Venerables, most media attention has gone to Pope Paul VI. Few -- even among Filipinos -- have paid attention to the fact that one of the new Venerables is a Spanish-born nun who spent most of her religious life in the Philippines, and who co-founded what is now a Filipina religious congregation:  Joaquina Mercedes Barceló y Pagés, known in religious life as Mother Consuelo, who was the co-foundress (along with her blood sister, Mother Rita) of the Philippine-based (and predominantly Filipina) Congregation of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation.

Born in Barcelona in 1857, she died in Manila in 1940. Although she was born in Spain and had purely Spanish blood, the fact that her life in religion and spiritual heritage unfolded mostly in the Philippines and among Filipinos, makes her truly "one of us" as well. 

Ven. Consuelo Barcelo y Pages is the second person from the Catholic Church in the Philippines to receive the title "Venerable". The first was Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, who was recognized as Venerable on July 6, 2007. The two Filipino saints (SS. Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod) were martyrs rather than confessors and so did not have to have to be declared "Venerable" prior to beatification. 

The following biography of the new Venerable is now in Archive.Org (LINK):

Mother Consuelo Barcelo Y Pages, OSA

Joaquina Mercedes Barceló y Pagés was born in Sarriá, Barcelona on July 24, 1857. She was the youngest of the five children of Salvador Barceló and Maria Pagés. In early 1883, she entered the “Beaterio de Mantelatas de San Agustin” in Barcelona, Spain. As a Postulant, she was allowed to join the second group of Spanish Sisters for the Mandaluyong Orphanage (Asilo de Mandaloya). She arrived in Manila on October 6, 1883. She was thus encouraged because her sister Mother Rita had already joined the first group of four (4) Sisters on April 6, 1883. They responded to the invitation of the Spanish Augustinians to take care of children orphaned by cholera epidemic in 1882.

On Dec. 26, 1884, Joaquina Barceló made her profession of vows and was given the name Sor Consuelo. As of 1888, only Mother Rita and Mother Consuelo were left to care for the orphans because the other Spanish Sisters had returned to Barcelona, Spain due to poor health. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 and the Spanish-American War of 1898 led to the separation of Mother Rita and Mother Consuelo from their Filipino Sisters. They were bound by obedience to return to Spain on March 13, 1899 and were both recommended for readmission to the Beaterio in Barcelona by the Augustinian Vicar Provincial in the Philippines.

Upon petition of the Filipino Sisters and also of their Spiritual Director, Fr. Bernabe Jimenez, Sor Consuelo sought permission from her Superiors to return to the Philippines for she was then the Superior of the Beaterio de Barcelona. She returned to Manila on July 1904. It was in the First General Chapter in 1915 that she was elected Superior General and in every succeeding General Chapter elections every six years for four terms.

The small congregation continued to grow and expand its mission in several provinces. Mo. Consuelo’s 25 years of firm and gentle leadership manifested her outstanding virtues: Love of God / Love of Neighbor, Faith, Hope, Human Justice, Humility, Poverty, Prudence, Obedience, Fortitude. She had a special affection for the poor, the sick, the miserable and the unfortunate. She was attentive to everyone in their spiritual and temporal needs. She was always uncomplaining and mortified even in her last days of pain and suffering. Mother Consuelo quietly celebrated her 83rd birthday on July 24, 1940. She died on August 4, 1940, having been called home by God to her eternal rest and reward for having served Him faithfully for 56 years in the religious life.

Photo source: Hagiography Circle

Videos on the history of the Archdiocese of Palo

The Diocese of Palo was erected on November 28, 1937 and raised to an Archdiocese on November 15, 1982. As such, November 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of its founding and the 30th anniversary of its raising to Archdiocesan rank. In belated recognition of these two anniversaries I'm embedding the following videos here in this blog. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Video of Pope Benedict XVI bestowing the ring and red biretta on the six new cardinals (including Cardinal Tagle)

The consistory for the formal elevation to the cardinalate of the Church's six newest Cardinals, including the Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, took place today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Last living Filipino Council Father at Vatican II passes away

January 31, 1920 - November 20, 2012. 

The first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo (Laguna, Philippines) has died. He was 92, and was about to turn 93 in a little more than two months. He was the last living Filipino bishop who had been a Council Father of Vatican II and the last living member of the pre-Vatican II Philippine Catholic hierarchy.

From the website of the Diocese of San Pablo (Laguna, Philippines):

His Excellency MOST REV. PEDRO N. BANTIGUE, JCD, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of San Pablo, was born on the 31st of January, 1920 at Sta. Monica Hagonoy, Bulacan. The son of Marcos Bantigue and Eusebia Natividad.

He was ordained priest in the Archdiocese of Manila on May 31, 1945. On May 29, 1961, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Titular Bishop of Catula. Finally, on July 25 of the same year, he was ordained Bishop by Rufino Jiao Cardinal Santos. 

On April 18, 1967, six years after being lifted to the Episcopate, he was appointed the First Bishop of San Pablo (Laguna) and remained in the same office until July 12, 1995. He retired at the age of 75.

The old website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines notes that Bishop Bantigue was once a member of the Marriage Tribunal, chairman of the CBCP Commissions on Life, Clergy and Prisoners' Welfare. He was Treasurer of the CBCP in 1976.

When the "Year of Faith" marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council was launched on October 11, 2012, Bishop Bantigue was one of 76 living Catholic bishops who had been Council Fathers. (See the list here.)

A photo gallery of the bishop's life and times as priest and bishop can be found at the Catholic Hagonoeño website: Pedro Natividad Bantigue: Obispong Bulakeño, Paring Hagonoeño

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tomorrow in UST: Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy

Tomorrow, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom will be celebrated by a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, the Rt Rev. Mitrat Olexander Kenez, in the UST Central Seminary Chapel at 3:00 PM. 

Fr. Olexander Kenez is the Chancellor / Protosyncellus of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Australia, with its seat in Melbourne. 

I have been told that at least part of the Divine Liturgy will be in Filipino, using a provisional translation. 

There have been occasional Greek Catholic (as opposed to Eastern Orthodox) Divine Liturgies in the Philippines in the past, either by visiting biritual or Greek Catholic Jesuit priests at the Ateneo de Manila or by the late Msgr. Moises Andrade at San Beda, but to my knowledge this is the first one in recent years in the Philippines to be announced and opened to the general public. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Archbishop Socrates Villegas: the separation of Church and State should not be absolute

Consecration of the Philippines to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by President Ramon Magsaysay, December 2, 1956.  Picture scanned from the souvenir album for the Second National Eucharistic Congress of the Philippines, November 28 - December 2, 1956. 

From the article "Church and State Collaboration and Cooperation" on the blog of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan:

...the Archbishop paid attention to what our constitution, and what the Church law state that “there should be inviolable separation of the Church and the State…Hindi dapat pagsamahin ang gobyerno at simbahan. Hindi puwedeng ilipat ang katedral sa kapitolyo, at hindi puwedeng mag-office si governor sa katedral…Mayroong separation of Church and State.”

But he also stressed that that separation is not absolute, because there is no separation between God and citizens, between God and man. When we separate God and man, it is not only immoral, it is also unconstitutional, because in the constitution we all recognize that all of us have a God. Citing the late Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop said that the Church and the State are like railroad tracks parallel all throughout and not too near, not too far from each other so that the train could move forward. The train is our country, our nation.

Then Archbishop Villegas mentioned several areas of collaboration and cooperation between the Church and the State:

The First is Peace. Everyone is longing for peace. It is the responsibility of the State to promote peace, and it is also the mission of the Church to take care of peace. Stating it in Filipino, he said: There will be no peace if the people are fighting against each other; there will be no peace if God is not there. There will be no peace if we do not treat each other as brothers and sisters, and there will be no peace if we destroy our environment and natural resources.

The Second is Progress. As the election campaign progresses, all candidates promise to work for progress. We will not vote for any candidate who does not guarantee progress when he/she is elected. But this progress that the candidates promise to promote, this progress of the people is also the concern of the Church. When people progress, the Church is also happy with the progress. But it is not an absolute progress. It should be a progress with God; it should be a progress walking with God, because the Gospel says: What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his soul. “Anong kuwenta ng progress kung nahiwalay tayo sa Diyos; anong kuwenta ng pag-unlad kung nawala ang Diyos sa ating kaunlaran. Progress of the people is the duty of the government, and the Church supports governments in promoting total human progress."

The Third is People. It is the people that relate the Church and the State. “’Yung taong nagsisimba, ‘yun din ho ang bumuboto; ;yung taong nagpapa-bless, ‘yun din po ang nagbabayad ng buwis. Ang ibig sabihin po, ang ating pagmamalasakit sa tao ay hindi lamang pagmamalasakit ng gobyerno; ang pagmamalasakit sa tao ay pagmamalasakit ng Diyos para sa atin. Thus, there must be proper distance between the Church and the State so that we can serve the people best. There is what we call in the Church “Common Good”, the good of all, of the many. And this is the duty of both the Church and the State.

He concluded by saying that “before the Lord, we are only brothers and sisters. And in the presence of the Lord, let us promise together, government and Church, munisipyo and Kapitolyo, and the Cathedral and the parishes, let us work together, hand in hand, for peace, let us work together hand in hand for true, Godly progress, let us work together keeping in mind the people always. Because it is only in caring for one another that we can show our love for God...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Archbishop of Manila to be elevated to the cardinalate

The Vatican Press Office has just announced the forthcoming elevation, on November 24, 2012, of six prelates to the cardinalate, among them our very own Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

Therefore, on November 24, 2012, the short absence of Filipinos from the ranks of the cardinal-electors since Cardinal Rosales turned 80 on August 10 of this year will come to an end. The same for Colombia, which has had no cardinal-elector since September; the currently reigning Archbishop of Bogotá, Rubén Salazar Gómez, is one of the six prelates who will be created cardinals. At present, the Philippines and Colombia, which respectively have the 3rd and 7th largest Catholic populations in the whole world, are the only ones among the 15 countries in the world with the largest Catholic populations to have no cardinal-elector.

Congratulations to the new Cardinal-elect!

For the record: the full video of the canonization rites in Rome, October 21, 2012

This is the ceremony where St. Pedro Calungsod and six others were canonized. The broadcast is from the US, hence the focus on St. Kateri Tekakwitha, one of the newly-canonized.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Popes on St. Pedro Calungsod

The section of the Pope's homily during the canonization Mass regarding St. Pedro Calungsod:

From the website of Rome Reports comes the following transcript of the Pope's remarks on the second Filipino saint. Emphasis mine:

Pedro Calungsod was born around the year sixteen fifty-four, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. His love for Christ inspired him to train as a catechist with the Jesuit missionaries there. In sixteen sixty-eight, along with other young catechists, he accompanied Father Diego Luís de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands in order to evangelize the Chamorro people. 

Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander. Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechize his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. He died on the second of April, sixteen seventy-two. Witnesses record that Pedro could have fled for safety but chose to stay at Father Diego’s side. The priest was able to give Pedro absolution before he himself was killed. May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!

This echoes the statement of Pope John Paul II twelve years ago, during his homily at the Mass of beatification for Pedro Calungsod and 43 other martyrs (March 5, 2000):

If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven" (Mt 10: 32). From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr Diego, but as a "good soldier of Christ" preferred to die at the missionary's side. Today Bl. Pedro Calungsod intercedes for the young, in particular those of his native Philippines, and he challenges them. Young friends, do not hesitate to follow the example of Pedro, who "pleased God and was loved by him" (Wis 4: 10) and who, having come to perfection in so short a time, lived a full life (cf. ibid., v. 13).

San Pedro Calungsod, ipanalangin mo kami!

(10/22/12 - I've replaced the original picture in this post with the following photo from News.Va)

St. Pedro Calungsod, pray that before long, your fellow Filipino martyrs of the Marianas missions will also be recognized and raised to the honors of the altar...