Scraps Sex Education in Schools After Catholic Opposition
June 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Filipino government
has backed off from its trial run of sex education on account of
the strong resistance by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines. The government had distributed the program to
two areas of Metro Manila as part of the “pilot stage”
of the Department of Education’s attempt to introduce it to
the whole country.
was testing the reception of integrating the sex-education program
into the general curriculum, including it among such subjects as
health, Filipino, science, and livelihood education. In what the
United Nations Fund for Population Activities called a positive
step, the integration of sex education would have required teachers
to educate about overpopulation and the dangers of pre-marital sex,
including “unwanted pregnancies”.
not tolerating pre-marital sex. We do not even encourage this. What
we are doing is telling them the consequences of such acts and what
should be done,” said the education department’s Acting
Secretary Fe Hidalgo about the sex education program, which would
begin in 5th grade.
that the purpose of including sex education in the country’s
high schools was for educating young adults on “their physical,
mental, and social well-being”, and that the goal of the instruction
of youth in the matters of sex, and the proper use of condoms and
contraceptives was indeed “to discourage rather than encourage
Filipino Bishops have objected that the introduction of sex education
into the public schools would encourage teenagers to try premarital
sex rather than remain abstinent, and emphasized that sex education
is the parents’ responsibility, not the government’s.
On top of that, the sex education program instructs youth in the
use of artificial contraceptives and condoms, which stridently violate
the Church’s solemn teachings on human sexuality.
Aguirre of Human Life International has said the sex education program
is “devoid of full disclosure and truth telling”, pointing
out that the manual fails to inform youth that condoms have will
not protect them 100 percent of the time against sexually transmitted
Secretary] Fe Hidalgo ordered a stop to the distribution of the
modules after getting the feedback. Before we circulate them, we
needed to get feedback. So we’ve been receiving a lot of comments,”
said Vilma Labrador the assistant secretary. The government has
now ceased the program until it meets with representatives of the
Catholic Bishops conference later this week.
City Council reminds Parish Priests to say the Angelus
By Dante M. Fabian
May 31, 2006;
THE City Government of Angeles, through the City Council, recently
moved to request leaders of the Catholic Church to tell again
their parishioners to renew their faith by praying the Angelus
Upon a resolution
authored by Councilor Jay Sangil, the City Council passed a move
to urge parish priests of the Catholic Church to enjoin all parishes
and churches to pray or play the "Angelus" over public
that the observance of the Angelus will help renew and strengthen
the faith of the Catholics and help them as they go about their
"These are the trying times where one's faith is tested through
trials and tribulations. The signs of the times call for a renewal,
restoration and strengthening of faith as even the Bible predicts
that the so-called last days will be marked by hardships and even
apostasy," he said.
renewal, restoration and strengthening of faith can come in the
form of daily reminders to actually pray; and the recitation of
the 'Angelus' could be an effective reminder for the faithful
to pray at an appointed time," Sangil added.
He said that
the strength and unity of the Catholics in prayer may only be
harnessed through the help of the Catholic Church priests, by
sounding off their respective parishioners for the Angelus every
said that almost all 33 barangays in Angeles City have Catholic
churches or chapels.
Ricardo Zalamea said that Sangil's proposal has been adopted into
a resolution of the City Council and its appeal will soon be submitted
to the concerned leaders of the Catholic Church in the city. SUNSTAR
Filipinos Face Potential Two-Child per Family Policy
By Terry Vanderheyden
9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In less than two weeks, one
of the world’s most Catholic countries could face a mandatory
two-child family limit. The Philippines parliament will vote January
16 on a controversial bill proposing the limit.
in clever language, HB 3773 is called “The Responsible Parenting
and Population Control Act of 2005.” Elements of the bill
include preference in education for two child families, free access
to abortifacients, mandatory sex education for children as young
as 10 years old and imprisonment penalties for health care providers
who refuse to perform or provide sterilization services for a
population that is 87% Catholic and 5% Muslim.
the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines called on Congress
to quash 3773 in favour of a proposal by Philippine President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She proposes using United Nations Population
Fund (UNFPA) money to promote church-approved, scientifically-based
natural family planning; she also stressed that population is
not the reason for poverty, as the UN claims.
Philippine constitution that protects human life from the moment
of conception, the anti-life movement is making gains there. In
the declassified 1974 US government document, National Security
Study Memorandum 200, the Philippines was included in a list of
countries whose population growth and consequent growth in prosperity
would threaten US security and overseas economic interests. The
solution recommended was the imposition of radical population
control measures through the United Nations aid programmes.
one-child allowance in communist China has led to widespread infanticide,
forced abortion and sterilization and a looming demographic disaster
as fewer female children have been allowed to live since the policy
was implemented in the 1970s.
Catholic MP Rene Velade called the proposed measure “absurd.”
“The Responsible Parenthood and Population Management Act,
better known as the two-child norm, should be annulled by the
government together with another two laws which are destroying
our nation, 1808 and 3422,” urged Velade, according to an
AsiaNews report. “These laws prevent a good domestic economy
and a patriotic and educated society. I find it simply absurd
that the bill would give families a semblance of choice in planning
but puts a limit on the number of children they want.”
must not lose sight of what is happening in the West, Japan and
Korea,” Velade warned. “In those countries, rich and
industrially well-developed, family planning is resulting in an
aging population, which will destroy their economic achievements.”
countries now face many crises,” Velade continued. “They
do not have young people. So they depend on immigrants for everything.
No one pays social benefits to guarantee support for an ever ageing
population. With less young people, without children, who will
consume products made by the domestic economy? Who will buy national
of us in the Philippines think of these countries as a model to
follow but they do not realise that their experience only highlights
the failure of a birth control policy. Human resources are our
main hope,” Velade concluded. “We must make sure we
give them maximum protection.”
Cosby, Executive Director of the Filipino Family Fund, expressed
outraged over the proposed bill. “Where did this come from?
These are Western ideas, not Filipino, and they do not protect
the dignity of Filipino women. In fact, they pave the way for
the kind of human rights nightmare that is already in China, with
its coercive sterilization and contraception practices,”
she said. “This Philippine version is really just ‘China-light.’
This is not a policy growing from Filipino values, it is social
engineering from the outside being imposed on the Philippine people.”
Family Fund (http://www.FilipinoFamilyFund.org) is mobilizing
a grass-roots effort of pro-life leaders in the U.S. and the Philippines
to build opposition to the social engineering bill. The Fund is
sponsoring an on-line petition drive and education initiatives
in the Philippines from contributions made by Americans who care.
is constantly placed on third world nations by the UN, other international
aid agencies and first world governments offering trade or aid
incentives or threatening economic sanctions against those not
complying with population control targets. This is undoubtedly
what is behind the introduction of such an unlikely measure being
introduced to parliament in strongly Catholic Philippines. China
has been complying for decades, India is now falling in line and
the Phillipines is the obvious next major population target in
the East to be brought in line.
Bishop bans Masons from entering church in Mati
(Mla time) May 02, 2005
By Ferdinand Zuasola
Inquirer News Service
Note: Published on Page A18 of the May 3, 2005 issue of the Philippine
Oriental-Bishop Patricio Alo asked Catholics who are members of
Freemasonry to stay out of the church.
would like to inform our Freemason brothers and sisters that you
are no longer allowed to enter the church because your group contradicts
the teachings of the Catholic Church," Bishop Alo said in
a pastoral message read during masses here.
Salomia, spiritual director of the Diocese of Mati, said Bishop
Alo and majority of the priests in the province have also agreed
not to give Holy Communion to Catholics who are members of Freemasonry.
reason given why they are being barred from taking the Holy Communion
was that they are being anti-Christ," Father Salomia said.
however that he and several priests urged Bishop Alo and those
supporting the ban against Freemasons "to reconsider their
decision and to restudy this group."
interviewed many Freemason Catholics here and they all said that
there was no truth to allegation that their society is anti-Christ,"
Oriental Vice Gov. Cirilo Valles, a leader of the Freemasons here,
said they were "very shocked" and "so disappointed."
people are close-minded, so unchristian," Valles said.
Bill 3773: The Catholic Church stands up
against the government in the Philippines
5, 2005 published in many Philippino newspapers
birth control policies promoted by Pope John Paul II were embraced
wholeheartedly by the church in the predominantly Catholic Philippines,
which has one of the highest birth rates in Asia
control did not figure in last year's presidential election campaign
nor was it included in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 10-point
reform program, the controversial issue is now before the nation's
bill, the Responsible Parenthood and Population Act (Bill 3773),
proposes to restrict families to two children, introduce sex education
and enable the distribution of contraceptives.
has so incensed the church that it has threatened not to give
Holy Communion to any government worker promoting the bill.
Jesus Dosado of the Ozamiz diocese on the southern island of Mindanao
was quoted recently saying that any government worker who promotes
what he called ``the bill's anti-life policies'' are ``not worthy
to receive the body of Christ [Holy Communion] and will be refused.
Those who privately support population control measures will not
be denied Communion, but should in good conscience not present
say there is no way such a bill will become law while the church
wields its extensive influence over politicians and policy in
the Philippines. Nor would Arroyo, a devout catholic, dare take
on the might of the church.
spokeswoman for the Commission on Population, said: ``Most catholic
countries today leave the issue of birth control to the elected
government. But here in the Philippines the church still has a
very strong voice on the subject.''
reflects the late pope's conservative view on the issue. How the
church's stand on birth control changes with a new pope remains
to be seen.'' Commission executive director Tomas Osias said recently
the country urgently needs a population policy to stop the worsening
maternal and child deaths brought about by unplanned pregnancies.
the commission is supporting the bill, which has already passed
the House Committee on Health although has not been officially
endorsed by government, because it encourages couples to plan
their family size.
Hernando Coronel, secretary general and spokesman of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that the church would
not support any form of artificial contraception.
Oscar Cruz, archbishop of Ligayen-Dagupan in the northern province
of Pangasinan and an outspoken critic of artificial birth control,
said: ``Contraceptives are a first step towards killing the unborn
and are instruments that favor abortion.''
Church in the Philippines encourages families to have as many
children as they can raise and educate well and approves only
natural family-planning methods.
view would soften if the successor to John Paul II as pope softens
the conservative stance on birth control remains to be seen.
Manila Stardard, April 5, 2005
pope. A pope with a sense of humor and a special fondness for the
young, the “pope of the youth.” The most athletic pope.
The travelingest pope. The youngest pope in so many hundred years.
And now they’re calling him John Paul the Great.
No doubt an
extraordinary pope who enjoyed his work. John Paul II unified the
world and made ecumenism a hallmark of his 26-year reign. Ironically,
as he was praised and honored for reaching out to Jews, Muslims,
Buddhists and other non-Christian faiths, he will also be remembered
by traditionalist Catholics as the pontiff who reduced them to a
minority, a cult, almost a sect, a church within a church.
reign of the Pope who was something of a liberal and something of
a conservative in unequal parts, the process of excommunication
was initiated against a French Archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, founder
of the Society of St. Pius X, for the unauthorized ordination of
a dozen missionary priests during what the archbishop felt was a
critical time that could not wait for Rome’s slow-moving imprimatur.
As the Pope
visited synagogues and mosques, the “new mass” crafted
by Vatican II pushed aside the Latin mass that had been the only
mass for centuries, the mass that produced generations of bishops,
cardinals, popes, saints and martyrs, the Latin mass that Lefebvre
and his SSPX wanted to preserve against the onslaughts of a liturgy
that was hardly recognizable and was beginning to look more and
Catholics — the ones who wear a veil in church, go to confession
before receiving the holy host of communion, and stick to the Latin
rite — would have wanted John Paul to hold them close instead
of abandoning them to the cardinals who were too eager to replace
the old with the new, beginning with the Sunday mass that is the
most elegant prayer of worship, petition and thanksgiving.
While he made
friends with other religious groups, as the traditionalists would
rue, why couldn’t John Paul II keep us in his fold? In the
Philippine experience during the time of Manila Archbishop Jaime
Cardinal Sin, the Society of St. Pius X was treated like a band
of lepers. Letters were circulated warning Catholics against consorting
with them and falling into the trap of believing in a group whose
head had been “excommunicated” even as occasionally
a feeble voice coming out of Rome would say that it was not a sin
to attend the old traditional mass if that was what the faithful
chose — the mass of their children.
of “excommunication” continues to be a sensitive issue
to the missionaries of SSPX and the parishioners who attend mass
in a few SSPX churches and chapels throughout the islands. (In Metro
Manila, the center is Our Lady of Victories church in New Manila,
Quezon City.) For following the priest saying his mass prayers in
Latin and wearing modest clothes — no sleeveless blouses,
no tight jeans, no shorts for the women — in church, the traditionalists
have been the laughingstock of priests as modern as Fr. Sonny Ramirez,
OP, and he is just one example. Short of calling them lunatics,
churchgoers who follow the new mass can’t see any merit in
being old-fashioned when communion in the hand is faster and more
practical, when Latin is a dead language, and what’s wrong
with holding a stranger’s hand while praying the Our Father
because fellowship is just as important as worship?
is that in many respects Pope John Paul II was a traditionalist
more than modernist. He held the line and never lowered the bar.
His moral standards in an increasingly amoral world were unwavering.
No divorce, no condoms, no abortion, no priestesses, no easy way
out of the Ten Commandments, the laws of the Church, and one’s
In the long
history of the Roman Catholic Church, heresies and apostasies and
false prophets have come and gone, and still the gates of hell will
not prevail against it. Nostradamus, according to one translation,
has prophesied that the end of the Church will start to happen after
the reign of the Three Popes — Paul VI, John Paul I, John
Paul II all in one year — even as one other version has it
that John Paul II is “the second to the last pope” before
the Church is destroyed or destroys itself.
Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to him in a dream or trance, a
Marian priest has warned that “the smoke of Satan has entered
In the solemn
period between celebrating the life of a great pope who defined
catholic in its broadest sense and the election of his successor,
the world seems to be standing still, waiting for a sign from heaven.
A reconciliation of the novo ordo (new mass) and the Latin mass?
A miracle from John Paul II? A quick election to produce happy results,
but earth-shaking ones? A successor who will be just like him or
completely different from him, as the times would require, but in
God’s own time?
From his newly
won perch in heaven, John Paul II could always wish that the next
pope would be able to do something to embrace once more the traditionalists
who, despite their alienation from Rome, are praying for the eternal
repose of his soul in special masses today and on Thursday, in English,
Filipino and Latin, across this beautiful land blessed by a God
who understands every language but specially that of the heart.
Bill 3773: It is a massive population control program
(Mla time) Mar 27, 2005
Editor's Note: Published on page A16 of the March 27, 2005 issue
of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Ligaya B. Anacta-Acosta
Inquirer News Service
I WAS an avid promoter of contraceptives when I was with the Department
of Health (DOH). Promoting contraceptives is a very big part of
DOH programs. There was, and still is, a lot of money for family
For a long
time, we have been told that contraceptives prevent conception.
However, during the training I had undergone with Mercedes Arzu-Wilson,
president of the Family of the Americas Foundation (FAF), it became
clear to me that intrauterine devices (IUD) work essentially as
an abortifacient. It does not prevent conception but causes constant
inflammation and infection in the uterus. Thus, the newly conceived
baby cannot implant in that kind of environment. No wonder then
that the most common side effect suffered by IUD users is severe
As our trainer
said emphatically, "that was not ordinary blood, it was the
baby being aborted in what is called micro-abortion." For pills
and Depo-Provera, we learned that they make the endometrial lining
and uterus dry and barren like a desert, thus, the newly conceived
baby cannot implant as well.
After my training
in Manila, I conducted 10 batches of training for more than 300
midwives, nurses, doctors and parish pastoral workers. After watching
the video titled "Natural vs Artificial" produced by the
FAF, participants came one by one to testify (they were sobbing)
that indeed all these things were happening to them and their clients.
I heard very
dramatic testimonies of deaths (particularly due to pills and IUDs),
ailments (most common of which were high blood pressure, ovarian
cysts and cancers due to pills, and pelvic inflammatory diseases
and infections brought about by IUDs), and couples and families
being drawn apart by contraception and sterilization, which caused
depression and reduction in libido. Some women using pills also
reported mood disorders.
even shared, without my asking, the fact that tetanus toxoid immunization
was indeed causing abortions. I was shocked. I remembered that during
the height of the tetanus toxoid controversy, when former health
secretary Juan Flavier first ran for senator, I was constantly on
radio and TV defending it, since I was Flavier's campaign manager
for Region 8 back then.
Today, I hear
a lot of testimonies of women, who are between two to four months
pregnant, losing their baby because they had been injected with
that drug. Also, a lot of single women who had been injected with
it can no longer achieve pregnancy.
gave this feedback to the health secretary and to my regional director
in Region 8 but they didn't seem to care. It seemed that they were
more concerned about our targets than the health of our people.
I discovered that the Philippines received an annual budget of $144
million in the mid-1990s for population control. The money was "used
primarily in media, the House of Representatives and Senate affairs
to help change people's views regarding contraception and family
planning." Today, that amount has even increased.
I kept quiet
for a long time. I knew too well that being an insider, and a spokesperson
for the DOH, I would cause a scandal if I made an expos‚.
The last straw, however, was Ligtas Buntis.
is a masked population control program, targeting men and women
15 years old and above—regardless of marital status. I found
it very unusual that we just had our orientation on Jan. 17 but
the program was ready for implementation by Feb. 1.
I also felt
nauseated with the fact that we were partnering with Marie Stopes,
an agency the DOH did not even accredit in the past, because it
knows too well that the group is into abortion in the guise of menstrual
and fertility regulation. Very deceptively named, Ligtas Buntis
is nothing but the provision of contraceptives and sterilization
services house to house. It is apparent that the DOH now considers
pregnancy a disease like tigdas and polio. When I objected, my director
told me to "separate [my] morality and [my] work."
I never thought
that at my age I would be saying goodbye to government service.
However, I thought I have only one life to live, so if I could offer
this one life to make a difference in this world, so be it.
The DOH tries
so hard in telling people that contraceptives are safe and that
it is not true that these are abortifacients. But I have a copy
of their bible, "The Essentials of Contraceptive Technology:
A Handbook for Clinic Staff" published by the Johns Hopkins
Population Information Program (March 2003), and funded by the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID).
That book details
the possible side effects of each and every contraceptive and sterilization
service. And even if that book makes horrible side effects look
normal in a very deceitful way, on pages 12 to 14 for IUD, it says,
"possibly could prevent egg from implanting in the wall of
uterus." Let us not be deceived. That is synonymous to abortion.
The DOH is
even trying to redefine human life to start from implantation rather
than from conception as very clearly stated in Article II, Section
12 of the Philippine Constitution.
As I told the
health secretary when he called me last January (right after I was
relieved as natural family planning program manager because of my
change of heart regarding contraceptives), I now know exactly why,
despite spending billions of dollars over a period of more than
35 years, we only have a 35 percent contraceptive prevalence rate.
It is because our products are intrinsically defective. However
hard we promote them, people don't buy them because of the horrible
side effects they experience.
Men and women
are forced to resort to sterilization because they are not aware
that it too has a lot of ill effects. In fact, the Matching Grant
Program implemented by the DOH through a grant from the USAID-funded
Management Sciences for Health is massively promoting vasectomy.
vow that they are pro-life. In fact, one of the four principles
of the DOH family planning program is "respect for life."
But when you promote contraception, you can never call yourself
pro-life. That's why it's called contraception. It is against conception
or against the birth of human life.
The DOH also
fondly argues that it is anti-abortion. But I have found in my research
that it is common knowledge around the globe except at the DOH that
many contraceptives are indeed abortifacients. I have also found
that the Church statement that a contraceptive mentality leads to
an abortion mentality is true.
who take contraceptives don't like to have a child, when they get
pregnant (since no contraception is 100-percent effective) it is
very easy for them to go to the next step of having an abortion.
The womb, which should be the safest place on earth, has become
a tomb for countless number of children. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta
puts it, "if we accept that a mother can kill her own child,
how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"
there is a need to revisit and overhaul government priorities, particularly
its continuing effort to promote population control despite overwhelming
evidence that there is no overpopulation.
The roots of
the government's family planning program are deep, with a tangle
of branches entwined in public programs. The intricate complex of
power and money, fed by an annual flow of millions of dollars in
grants, not only supports population programs but also finances
lobbying to sustain the programs.
The claim that
the poor lack access to family planning services is untenable. If
the poor "lack access and want more birth control," why
should government programs like Ligtas Buntis need to exert such
tremendous pressure on them? Why go to the extent of conducting
a house-to-house campaign? And why go to the extent of harassing
health workers like me who choose not to support the program?
I'm not saying
that couples should not plan their families. You must know, however,
that there is a tremendous difference between family planning and
population control. Family planning implies that the decision is
made by the couple, taking into account their own belief and circumstances-financial
or otherwise-regarding the number and spacing of their children.
Population control measures, in contrast, are implemented by governments
and international agencies after they have determined the number
of children per couple.
planning gives couples control over their reproductive behavior.
Population control relinquishes this right to the government and
international agencies. As Mother Teresa puts it, "The way
to plan the family is natural family planning not contraception.
In destroying the power of giving life through contraception, a
husband or wife is doing something to self.
turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love
in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention
to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to
self as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed,
abortion easily follows."
health policy from contraceptives to natural family planning will
considerably bring down the expenses of our cash-strapped government
and will rid us of graft and corruption brought about by the multimillion
dollar grants. Natural family planning will truly promote health
because there are no side effects. It can also be taught and learned
by anyone. More importantly, it will bring back the needed sense
of values and morality not only in government but also between and
among couples and families.
a former information officer of the Department of Health and its
regional program manager for natural family planning for Eastern
Philippine Bishop Opposes Proposed Two-Child Policy
Denies That Numerous Families Cause Poverty
AUG. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Philippine bishop’s
conference said the proposed two-child law presented last week in
parliament is a "coercive system against couples."
appeals to the government to eradicate corruption and poverty before
attacking the sanctity of each family with the control of births,"
said Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao in a statement as reported
two-child law is not necessary, it is prejudicial and it is not
practicable," asserted the archbishop on Friday.
bill, submitted by Congressman Edcel Lagman to the parliament last
week is called the "Reproductive Health Act." The bill
is intended to curb the Philippine’s growth rate of 2.36 percent
per year, the highest in the world.
The bill is
written to encourage birth control by giving families financial
incentives if they limit the number of their children to two. The
incentive package includes tax advantages, preference in the granting
of scholarships at the tertiary level and a number of discounts.
Under the bill,
"the state shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive policy
on reproductive health in connection with sustainable human development
and effective population management."
The bill encourages
"the limitation of the number of children to an affordable
level of two children per family ... to attain the desired population
Far from having
its origin in the high number of births—a "simplistic"
thesis—"the reasons for the poverty of so many Filipinos
are others: governmental corruption, lack of quality of educational
and health services, unjust and unbalanced distribution of land
and natural resources, high unemployment and the great burden of
the external debt," said Archbishop Capalla.
is ready to work with the government to combat the roots of poverty
and to ensure the authentic development of the people, and not to
bring down the people for the purpose of development," the
law is a veiled coercive system that destroys the freedom of conscience
and natural right of couples to choose the number of children,"
the prelate specified.
two-child law spreads the mentality of contraception and abortion
that is in opposition to the culture of life."
Imbong, executive secretary of the legal office of the Philippine
bishops’ conference, had said earlier that the bill "defies
the state's constitutional mandate to value and protect the institution
of marriage, strengthen the family and foster its solidarity and
opinion, in addition to being "an offense for the rights of
the family," the proposed bill "violates the spouses'
right to religious belief, which does not only mean the freedom
to believe but also includes the freedom to act on one's belief."
The Philippine has a shortfall of 25,000 priests, a bishop said
as well as materialism have contributed to the decline in the ranks,
with the youth seen as not interested in entering the priesthood,
said Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle.
seeing a decline," Tagle told a news conference on the sidelines
of a "moral renewal seminar" for some 4,000 priests in
environment creates circumstances that makes a person less receptive
to this kind of life," Tagle lamented.
ratio of one priest per 15,000 parishioners is "far from ideal,"
he said, adding that the country needs 25,000 more priests if it
was to serve the people better.
said the Philippines was better off than in the United States and
Europe, where dozens of churches have closed in recent months due
to a spate of scandals or lack of parishioners.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Thursday, July 8, 2004
Philippine Episcopate Opposes Lifting of Death-Penalty Ban
Moratorium Ended in the Wake of Rash of Kidnappings
DEC. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Philippines' Catholic bishops are
opposing the cancellation of the moratorium on the death penalty
and reaffirmed their stance against capital punishment.
was articulated at a public meeting by Archbishop Fernando Capalla
of Davao, president of the bishops' conference, AsiaNews reported.
voiced their view as news arrived of President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo's ending of the moratorium. Only a few months ago Arroyo
was received by the Pope in the Vatican, where she reiterated her
position against capital punishment and promised to abide by moral
not believe it will deter crime unless there is a general breakdown
of law and order," said Archbishop Capalla, in a statement
the freeze on the death penalty last Friday after a recent rise
as I am averse to the taking of human lives, as a matter of principle,
the president must yield to the higher public interest when dictated
by extraordinary circumstances," Arroyo said. She added that
she would not oppose prisoner executions scheduled for January.
Two men face
execution by lethal injection on Jan. 30, said Dionisio Santiago,
warden of the State Bureau of Corrections.
There are 25
criminals on death row, guilty of kidnappings and drug-related crimes,
say officials. The Philippines is said to be the Asia's kidnapping
capital, with an average of one abduction every three days.
This year alone,
158 incidents have been reported. Some cases remain unreported for
fear of retaliation by kidnappers on the victim's families.
Diamante, executive secretary for the bishops' Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care, believes that Arroyo was pressured into lifting the
ban in order to appease the country's Chinese community, whose members
have been gravely affected as victims of kidnapping incidents in
move is purely political while "succumbing to pressure from
a group from which she needs assistance," the monsignor said.
Capalla said that "as citizens of this country, we respect
the president's right and prerogative to protect public order as
well as the right to change her mind."
Yet, he said,
"the Roman Catholic Church must claim and uphold her right
and freedom to speak on moral issues while respecting the rights
and freedom of the state government or of anyone dissenting or disagreeing
on the death penalty
Filipinos continue kissing holy images despite SARS warnings
Philippines (CNS) -- Catholics in the Philippines have continued
to kiss holy images in churches despite warnings from church leaders
to stop because of fears of SARS. At Our Mother of Perpetual Help
National Shrine in Paranaque City, south of Manila, Angelita Casasis
pressed her lips on the image of Christ crucified, just as she has
done for many years, reported UCA News, an Asian church news agency
based in Thailand. "I am unafraid of SARS," said the 37-year-old
mother, now pregnant with her fourth child. Casasis declared that
her faith is stronger than SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome.
By May 21, the pneumonia-like disease had killed nearly 670 people,
including two in the Philippines, but most deaths were in China,
Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Gravely Affects Filipino Families, Says Bishop Arguelles
It is unfortunate that migration of Filipinos is being promoted
by government, Bishop Ramon Arguelles, Chairman of the Episcopal
Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
(ECMI) said in his homily during the celebration of the 17th National
Migrants' Sunday at the EDSA Shrin yesterday. "The Church knows
that the disruption of family life (with the absence of one or two
of the parents) adverse the proper growth of their children and,
sooner or later, the whole Philippines society will awake from the
horrible state of wounded relationships of family life." For
this reason, the Holy Father himself expressed his concern for the
Filipino families. Thus, "he chose our country to be the venue
for the 4th World Meeting of Families," Bishop Arguelles said.
The National Migrants' Sunday, celebrated every first Sunday in
Lent, expresses the Church's concern for the millions of Filipinos,
scattered in more than 190 countries around the world, who have
left their families to look for employment overseas. Around 10 percent
of the country's population are migrants and at least 70 percent
are migrant related. "The Philippine Church recognizes that
the grave risks confront a big part of Filipino Migrants in the
Middle East," says Bishop Arguelles. "Having sacrificed
practically everything to land a job abroad, especially in the Middle
East, not even the threat of widespread conflict does not disturb
them anymore. They have risked everything and are willing to risk
still more." The occasion, Bishop Arguelles added, is also
to bring into mind the internal refugees in Mindanao who have left
their homes, due to the on-going conflict between the government
forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. As earlier stated,
a major concern of the Church is the impact of migration on their
families. For this reason, ECMI and the government's Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration have forged yesterday, a Memorandum of Agreement
enabling "families of overseas workers to maximize the economic
benefits of the sacrifices of the overseas Filipinos and provide
possibility of reentry mechanism for them when they return."
Likewise, the Church declared March 2003 to March 2004 as the Year
of Overseas Filipino Workers' Families. In a related issue, Father
Robert Reyes, a known human rights activist and parish priest of
the University of the Philippines, asked the government to review
its guidelines in sending out entertainers, particularly women,
the performers are screened by a government agency before they are
given an "artist's record book" (a requirement in applying
for a visa in Japan), the screening committee requires them to dress
in short dresses. They are also asked to sing though they cannot
sing," the priest to church-based reported today. The women,
as young as 18 years old or younger because their birth certificates
are falsified, are sent to Japan and eventually end into forced
prostitution. The criteria for passing the test is more on showing
their bodies, rather than their talent in the arts. Father Reyes,
together with several "survivors" (women who survived
sexual maltreatment in Japan) rallied at the Department of Labor
this morning, to protest the sending of so-called performers to
Japan. Such a practice is legitimizing sex-trafficking of our women,
says Father Reyes. (by Sonny Evangelista)
Corazon Aquino tells Fides Service: "praying the rosary we
become better people"
(Fides Service) - "I want to promote the Holy Rosary prayer.
I hope the students will learn to pray it regularly. Since 1972
when martial law was declared and many problems began for our country,
I have prayed the Rosary every day. I firmly believe that I have
survived and become a better person thanks to the Holy Rosary. Soon
I will celebrate 30 years of daily rosary." Fides Service was
told this by former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Ms Aquino
is leading Philippine Catholic youth in prayer rallies in several
churches in Metro Manila as well as in the nearby provinces as part
of a Prayer Power Campaign 2002 for peace among the families and
the nation, in preparation for the 4th World Meeting of Families
in Manila in January 2003.
rally began on June 19 and it will continue until December. It has
the full support of Manila archdiocese. "When I launched the
campaign - the former Philippines President told Fides Service -
I called on the over 3,000 students present to pray for our families,
for peace in our country, peace in the world. The purpose of the
Campaign is to consecrate at least one million families to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in January 2003,
when we hope Pope John Paul II will come to the Philippines for
the World Meeting of Families." "We also aim to promote
devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the main patroness of the Philippines
- Ms Aquino concludes - invoking her special protection for the
families of the Philippines and for all unborn children".
Attack Philippines St. Joseph Festival
1, 02 (CWNews.com) - Three people were killed and almost 100 injured
when suspected Muslim militants threw grenades into a celebration
of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on Wednesday in the southern
the attack occurred in the village of Notre Dame near Cotabato City
in a region of the country where Muslim rebels are waging terrorism
to win a separate homeland. "There are three confirmed dead
and there are many wounded," regional police chief Colonel
Bartoleme Baluyout said. "I suspect this was done by Muslim
A series of
bomb blasts 10 days ago in General Santos city, south of Cotabato,
killed 15 people and wounded dozens more. The attack was claimed
by a man who said he was a spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas,
a group which has been linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Quaeda terrorist
Groups Sue "Catholics" For A Free Choice, Charging Media
Campaign Funded by U.S. Foundations is Challenged
(c-Fam/LSN.ca) - The latest media campaign of "Catholics"
for a Free Choice (CFFC) has finally garnered attention, but it
may not be the attention CFFC desired -- CFFC is being sued for
deceptive advertising. For the past few months, CFFC has purchased
billboards and newspaper advertisement in cities worldwide, which
claim that Catholic bishops "ban" condoms, and that the
Church is responsible for the deaths of millions of people due to
HIV/AIDS. In response, a group of pro-life and pro-family advocates
in the Philippines has lodged a court complaint against CFFC, stating
that CFFC's campaign breaches the country's code of ethics in advertising.
the complaint, the CFFC advertisements are guilty of two separate
infractions, "dishonest advertising" and "open and
direct disparagement" of religious beliefs. The complainants
allege that the campaign is dishonest for a number of reasons, including
the simple fact that CFFC "is not Roman Catholic." In
their charges, they ask, "Can a movement be called Catholic,
that openly rejects and distorts Catholic teachings, especially
respect and protection of defenseless unborn human life?" Referring
to CFFC's unsuccessful "See Change" campaign at the United
Nations, they ask, "Can a movement be called Catholic, that
masterminds, promotes, and wages a relentless agenda using all means
necessary to expel the Holy See from the United Nations?"
also cite Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the [U.S.] National
Conference of Catholic Bishops, who has stated, "CFFC is not
a Catholic organization.CFFC is, practically speaking, an arm of
the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world."
Jo Imbong, a member of Catholics in Law, a Philippine nongovernmental
organization involved in the suit, the CFFC media campaign "was
just too much. We want to get the message across: not on our shores."
He also hopes that, through this suit, people "in other countries
where similar campaigns are waged will be inspired to stem this
insidious affront to our religion."
Pierantoni: "My Captors Always Claimed To Be Members Of Abu
8 Apr 2002
(MISNA); "My captors always claimed to be members of the Islamic
extremist Abu Sayyaf group and lead me to believe that we were on
Basilan Island". This was the revelation made in a telephone
interview with MISNA by Fr. Giuseppe Pierantoni, the 45 year-old
Italian missionary freed today after 172 days in captivity in the
southern Philippines, explaining that he had just discovered that
many of the facts were not exactly as his kidnappers had lead him
to believe. In regard to their identity the missionary was only
able to say that they were "ordinary people responding to the
commands of a leadership that I was not able to individuate. However
- explained the missionary - I managed to open dialogue with them
regarding political and religious problems on the Island of Mindanao.
They claimed to be very religious and that the observance of the
law of God is the means to the resolution of all problems".
The missionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (known as Dehonians)
was however not able to effectively say whether his captors were
in reality members of the Abu Sayyaf (small radical group linked
to the Al-Qaida terrorist network of Osama Bin Laden) or, as believed
by the Philippine authorities, former rebels of the MILF (Moro Islamic
Liberation Front), an extremist movement currently engaged in peace
negotiations with Manila. "I am starting to have some doubts
and suspect that my captors kept many things from me", commented
the priest. He however reiterated his "gratitude to the Lord
for the privilege" he was conceded of living the experience
of the abduction, though frankly admitting: "I do not think
I would do it again". The Dehonian missionary confirmed his
excellent physical condition and stated that he never suffered from
amoebic dysentery during his captivity. "I had it years ago:
when I was abducted I had a simple cold, which degenerated into
a light form of bronchitis, nothing more". He also denied having
lived off lizards and snakes, as claimed by some press sources,
but having eaten iguana meat, which he commented was particularly
tasty. Fr. Pierantoni said that he does not know if a ransom was
paid for his liberation. Philippine authorities claim that nothing
was paid, while reliable sources say that 10-million pesos (around
$20-thousand) were paid. In conclusion, in answer to the question
why you?, the priest responded: "being a foreigner their intent
was to cause international embarrassment to the Philippine government
and because I was an easy target, given that the Dimataling parish
is poor and therefore without army or police protection". The
Dehonian missionary will return to Italy for a week and then return
to Mindanao. "I want to return to the Philippines - he stated
- due also to the fact that statistics are on my side: it is improbable
that they kidnap the same priest twice". (CO)
BILL CALLED IMMORAL
Like a solid
married couple in total agreement, President Macapagal-Arroyo and
Jaime Cardinal Sin on Friday spoke with one voice to blast a divorce
bill presented to Congress, attacking it as un-Filipino, immoral
and unconstitutional. Despite the failure of previous divorce bills,
Sen. Rodolfo Biazon filed the new one earlier this week as a way
out for married individuals who have been mentally or physically
abused by their spouses. But Ms Macapagal described divorce as a
plague visited on children of divorcees and its effects on children
as ugly as a nightmare. And Sin, the influential archbishop of Manila,
said in a statement: Divorce is immoral. It is un-Filipino. It is
absurd. I trust that we have enough sensible and intelligent legislators
to fight this insane proposal.
bills in Congress have failed because of the strength of the Roman
Catholic lobby. An estimated 82 percent of the population is Catholic.
TRY TO CONVERT" SAYS VATICAN HIGH OFFICIAL
Tauran, secretary of state of the Vatican for relations with the
other countries, stated on June 4th, at a meeting with the leaders
of other religions, in the apostolic nunciature of Manila: "The
two elements, i.e. harmony between peoples and justice within society,
are principles that guide our relations with all religions... It
would be a mistake to consider the faithful of other religions as
someone to convert. He is rather a person that it is necessary to
understand, while letting to God the role of illuminating his conscience.
Religions must not enter in competition one with another, but must
rather be like brothers and sisters who walk hand in hand in order
to construct havens of fraternity, while building a beautiful world
in which it is possible to live and to work". Here, at the
editor board of RU news service, we are simply appalled. Already
cardinal Cassidy stated in 1999 at Augsburg, at the time of the
common declaration with the Protestants, that Rome doesn't aim any
more at the other Christians to return to the Catholic Church. Do
we no more need to work for conversions? We start to drain to the
dregs the cup of "religious liberty" invented at the council
Vatican II. We dare to ask: St Paul, apostle of all missionaries,
would he have been completely mistaken? Saint-Louis, would he have
been wrong? Would Saint-Francis Xavier have left towards Asia for
nothing? Would Saint-Theresa of Lisieux have sacrificed herself
for the missions in vain? And the Benedictine Fr. Michel Pascal
who left France at the age of 70 in April 2001 for becoming missionary
in Cameroon "in order to announce the gospel", would he
lack intelligence ? We don't dare to imagine what Msgr Tauran may
think about O.L. Jesus Christ who ordered: "Go all over the
world and teach all peoples, and baptize them in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Saint Spirit !" Someones in Rome are
getting delirious ! - (ru; cf. ZEN June 6)
CLONING CONDEMNED BY BISHOPS
bishops in both Germany and the Philippines have condemned all forms
of human cloning, either for reproductive or so-called therapeutic
purposes. In a document approved at the end of their plenary assembly
last week, the German bishops stressed that so-called therapeutic
cloning "degrades the human embryos turning them into simple
biological material for other human beings. Alternatives must be
found." The bishops of the Philippines also condemned human
cloning, stressing that it could never be justified in any
circumstances. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Neuva Caseras, chairman
of the bioethics office of his country's bishops' conference, listed
six reasons why human cloning was inadmissible. These included the
points that it went against nature, involved the destruction and
manipulation of human beings, and reduced the human person to an
object. [Zenit news agency, 11 March; EWTN News, 10 March]
PRESIDENT'S POPULATION POLICIES
The new president
of the Philippines has signalled her intention to pursue population
policies in line with her Catholic faith. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
said: "We will push for responsible parenthood and a population
policy that is in keeping with our culture ... I do not think there
should be a specific budget for contraception." It was reported
that workers for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund
in Manila were outraged by the president's refusal to promote abortifacient
birth control or condoms. [LifeSite and Financial Times, 2 February]
DIOCESE OFFERS SHELTER TO MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS
(Fides) Kidapawan diocese
is in middle of the civil war on Mindanao Island. It comprises 11
towns in Cotabato province, 3 in Maguindanao Province, one in Sultan
Kudarat. The places most affected by the fighting are Carmen and
Kabacan in Cotabato; Pagalungan and Datu Palas in Maguindanao.
diocese has opened refugee centres in each of these towns for Christian
and Muslim families forced to flee their homes. The first were opened
in November 1999. Fighting at present is "chaotic and confused;
a series of attacks, killings, destruction at random" the local
Bishop Romulo Valles told Fides. The situation has been like
this since July 9, 2000 when Salamat Hashim the leader of the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front ordered his men to undertake a Jihad
May this year the diocese was assisting 1,670 displaced families,
11,000 people in all. But as violence increased the number grew
to 85,000. The centres have makeshift shelters with roofs of bamboo
and banana leaves. There is urgent need of food and building material.
Working with Kidapawan diocese is NGO Tabang Mindanao which
sends food supplies, provides some medical assistance and runs a
programme of reconstruction. (22/12/2000)
PEACE, DEVELOPMENT: CHALLENGES FOR MIINDANAO
(Fides) Refugees, peace process,
economic development, transparency in government, dialogue and culture
of peace: There are the crucial points for Mindanao, listed by Fr
Eliseo Mercado, Oblate missionary of Mary Immaculate, director of
the Notre Dame University in Cotabato. In a report sent to Fides,
Fr Mercado identifies the main problems to be solved to put an end
to the conflict in the southern Philippines.
first problem that of refugees. These people - NGOs speak
of 600,000 while the government says they are 350,000 - are not
numbers: they each have a name, a family, and before the conflict
they had a home and a piece of land to cultivate. "These people
must be resettled" says Fr Mercado.
process: It is hardly possible to
speak of a peace process in the political climate of total war adopted
by the government and applied since April 28, 2000. The Moro
Islamic Liberation Front MILF replied with a Jihad Holy War
and the army's "strong arm" resulted in a nightmare, Fr
Mercado reports. The army offensive against the MILF caused displacement
of whole populations, increased the polarization of Mindanao society
in a confessional sense, plunged the region into economic disaster
and crushed peoples confidence in the peace process. The conflicting
parties set different conditions for resuming negotiations: the
government wants the MILF to renounce all idea of independence;
stop all terrorist acts, hand over their arms, in other words an
unconditioned surrender. For its part the MILF, since the police
issued warrants for its leaders, demands negotiations outside Filipino
territory, and talks to include forms of autonomy. The MILF, Fr
Mercado says, seems to be flexible and the idea of an independent
Muslim state would appear to be more a slogan than a real request.
In fact it is not listed among the points for discussion. "A
formula for a just peace must be reached" the missionary says.
and devolution of power: Conflict
in Mindanao has aggravated poverty and underdevelopment, largely
through the destruction of infrastructures and consequent economic
paralysis. The central government approved a "Plan for the
reconstruction of Mindanao" (June 2000), set up a Council of
Coordination for Mindanao and an Executive Presidential Force for
Central Mindano. Fr Mercado says these "super bodies"
are useless and harmful: "they all have the same function and
only complicate the situation. They were set up by the central government
without any participation on the part of the people of Mindanao
and are simply the result of an internal struggle for power. "Development
plans must give power to the local people" Fr Mercado says
"Like peace, development cannot be imposed".
and transparency. What is needed
is good government with good projects, working in transparency.
Local leaders of the Autonomous region of Mindanao are subject to
economic lobbies. Development funds are exchanged for votes. Corruption
paralyses any possibility of economic growth. Service of the public
and transparency are attitudes quite foreign to the owner-client
relationship existing between the autonomous region governor and
local government officials. The context is a semi-feudal or semi-colonial
climate, aggravated by a sort of "imperial Manila", relationship
with the capital.
it is urgent to encourage dialogue and a culture of peace,
Mindanao has always been a place of peaceful encounter of cultures.
The original native people here were Lumad highland villagers and
thirteen different groups of Bangsamoro tribals with particular
customs. In the mid nineteenth century Christian groups from the
islands of Luzon and Visayas began to arrive and today they are
the majority. Cultural and religious differences have required a
constant effort to develop tolerance. "Today prejudice and
cultural stereo-types dominate and this leads to hostility and animosity,
particularly in relationships between Christians and Muslims"
Fr Mercado explains. Widespread presence of Geographical Unit
of the Citizens Armed Forces paramilitary, increases religious
fundamentalism and anti-Muslim hatred. Fr Mercado concludes: "Ours
is not a path of war, it is a path of dialogue and united efforts
build a culture of peace." (22/12/2000)
Thirty years war escalates
(Fides) The second half of
2000 saw an escalation of violence in Mindanao (see Fides
21, July 2000, and 6, October 2000). But the present conflict has
deep roots, which can be traced to disputes between Muslims and
Christians under Spanish colonial rule (1565-1898) that failed to
subside during American administration (1898-1946) or with the advent
of the Republican government. At the beginning of the 1970s the
Muslim minority on Mindanao re-launches the struggle for Bangsamoro,
that is, an independent Islamic State. This movement comes mainly
from the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanano
and a few towns in the bordering provinces of North Cotabato, South
Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat at the centre of the Island. The regime,
led by dictator Ferdinand Marcos, responds with force, sending the
army to put down the rebels.
an agreement signed in Tripoli December 23, 1976, which includes
partial autonomy, in 1978 fighting resumes. But the Muslim front
is divided: the initial group, the Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) claiming more autonomy, splits and a more radical secessionist
wing is formed, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
years of guerilla warfare, in 1989, Corazon Aquinos government
offers administrative autonomy to the 13 provinces but only 4 accept,
Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and bordering archipelagos Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
In September 1996 the MNLF reaches an accord with the Fidel Ramos
government for a Mindanao Autonomous Muslim Region, which
includes the four autonomous provinces. Many rebel militia are absorbed
by the army or police forces and Nur Misuari, MNLF leader, becomes
governor of the Autonomous Region.
the 15,000 men strong MILF rejects the accord, refusing to hand
over its weapons. It starts a new recruitment campaign, forming
mujaheddin in guerilla training-camps, and launches terrorist
attacks, massacres, kidnapping, extortion involving civilians, including
a number of missionaries. In July 2000 Philippine President Estrada
opts for strong arm tactics against the MILF launching a massive
army offensive causing an escalation of violence and a wave of new
refugees (more than 300,000).
the conflict in Mindanao the Catholic Church has worked to promote
Christian-Muslim dialogue. In 1996 Christian and Muslim leaders
formed the Bishops-Ulama Forum to mediate difficult situations.
Since 1986 a Catholic run Institute, started by the Silsilah movement,
has offered courses in interreligious dialogue and peace-making
for laity and religious, Christians and Muslims.
island has a population of about 14,500,000, Muslims are 25%. However
Muslims are a majority in the Autonomous Muslim Region which has
a population of 2 million, although there are also sizeable Christian
communities. Government sources estimate that in a conflict lasting
almost thirty years at least 120,000 have been killed. (22/12/2000)
CASE DISTRACTS ATTENTION FROM MINDANAO'S TROUBLES
(Fides) All eyes are on the
political case of President Estrada and war-torn Mindanao is forgotten.
As media and pubic opinion concentrate on the Presidents trial
for corruption, the conflict on the largest island of the archipelago
has disappeared from the newspapers, although it has not diminished
in violence and intensity. This protest was sent to Fides
by Bishop Romulo Valles of Kidapawan diocese, at the centre of the
a report to the Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop Valles
says an increasing number of families have been displaced. "We
have at least 15,000 families sheltering in camps opened by the
diocese. About 8000 came after clashes between the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front guerillas and the army troops at the beginning
of November at Columbio", Bishop Valles writes in his report
entitled "The never ending war".
Columbio, a town in the centre of the diocese Geronimo Eleccion,
the head of a Basic Christian Community and five members of his
family were killed on November 12 by a group of ten armed men. Fides
sources report that the parish priest of Columbio, American Fr Steve
Baumbusch, member of the PIME Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions,
has also been threatened by fundamental Muslim, more precisely by
the Norberto Manero paramilitary group (which murdered another PIME
missionary Tulio Favali, in 1985). Several times gangs of armed
men were seen searching for the priest at his residence. Bishop
Valles, who urged Fr Baumbusch to leave Columbio, launches a call
for peace: "We are all children of the same God. Let us unite
our voices and work for peace".
July, when President Estrada launched his "total war"
tactic against the MILF in Mindanao, in a few weeks Kidapawan diocese
registered more than 11,000 evacuated families. When a cease-fire
seemed near in August, about 200 families returned home. New violence
and killings in the successive months forced the families to go
back to the refugee-centres where they feel more protected. (22/12/2000)
PRAYER TO RECALL THE UNITY REACHED ON "JUSTIFICATION"
(Fides) Catholic and Lutheran Philippine Bishops prayed together
at the residence of Cardinal Jaime Sin in Manila, on October 31,
to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the "Joint
Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification".
the high officials of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines, Cardinal
Sin said: "In a gathering like this I can feel the intense
presence of Jesus Christ our Lord who on the night before his passion
prayed to his Father for the unity of his followers, that they
may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you". "The
Declaration," the Cardinal added, "Is the natural climax
of the burning desire of our hearts to come to unity and understanding,
to acceptance and forgiveness to love and service."
Sin concluded echoing Pope John Paul II, asking forgiveness "for
the part which the Catholics of Manila have played in fomenting
disunity and distrust between Catholics and Protestants. Unity among
Christians, which is a gift of Jesus Christ, can only be attained
if our hearts are free from prejudice, hatred and pride", he
"Joint Declaration" was signed in Augsburg, Germany on
October 31, 1999, by Cardinal Edward Cassidy representing the Catholic
Church and Bishop Christian Krause, President of the World Lutheran
Federation. (S. E.) (10/11/2000)
MAYOR VOWS HE WOULD SEIZE RU-486 SHIPMENTS
Calls It "Do-It-Yourself
OCT. 8, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- The mayor of Manila warned of arrests
and warehouse raids if anyone tries to ship the abortion pill RU-486
into the city.
Mayor Lito Atienza, president of Prolife Philippines, said last
week he will arrest any government official and raid any importer's
warehouses if they should bring in RU-486.
the abortion bill the "do-it-yourself murder kit."
that as chief executive of Manila, he is sworn to uphold the constitution
and the laws of the country.
Since the Philippine
Constitution explicitly states that it is the duty of the state
to protect the unborn from the point of conception, any attempt
by any government official to use the drug on pregnant women is
"a lame attempt at legalizing abortion on demand," he said.
referring to the announcement made by the Philippine secretary of
health who said he would authorize RU-486 for victims of rape and
Senate Majority Leader Francisco Tatad urged the Department of Health
to ban the abortion pill, which recently won U.S. government approval
for sale in the United States. ZE00100824
BISHOPS SAY ABORTION EXCOMMUNICATION APPLIES TO RU-486
5, 00 (CWNews.com/LSN.ca) - The Philippines, the mostly Catholic
Asian country where protection for the unborn is enshrined in the
constitution, may legalize the abortion drug RU-486.
Daily Inquirer reported that "Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez
was quoted earlier as saying that RU-486 is not an abortive drug."
The paper also said, "He was reported as saying that if the drug's
manufacturer filed for registration with the Bureau of Food and
Drugs, the application would be treated like any other and would
not be blocked."
claim has sparked massive reaction in the country. The Philippine
Bishops' Conference noted that all those who take RU-486 are automatically
excommunicated. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, spokesman for the bishops'
conference, corrected Romualdez, noting that RU-486 is not only
an abortifacient, but is abortion itself. "Ipso facto excommunication.
It does not have to be announced anymore. It is automatic," Msgr.
Quitorio said in a news briefing.
Philippine Senate Majority Leader Francisco Tatad urged the Department
of Health to ban RU-486. "RU-486 is the equivalent of a miniature
chemical bomb detonated inside a mother's womb," he said. He told
the Senate that the US FDA approval of the drug allows American
women to wage chemical warfare against unborn children "in the name
of the so-called right to choose and the right to privacy." Romualdez
admitted to the press that the country's Department of Health had
recently registered levonorgestrel, an abortifacient "morning-after"
TERRORISTS COULD TARGET BISHOP
(CWNews.com/Fides) - The life of Catholic Bishop Romulo De La Cruz
of Isabela in Basilan province, is in serious danger, according
to the Vatican news service Fides.
The Abu Sayyaf
terrorist group could target the Catholic member of the Crisis Unit
set up by the government to find a solution to the April 23 kidnapping
in which a number hostages are still detained on Jolo island. The
alarm was raised by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, president of the
Philippine bishops' conference.
after an August 16 pastoral letter in which Bishop De la Cruz called
on the military forces to "remain vigilant and alert to continue
to flush out the Abu Sayyaf so that they will never again wreak
havoc on Basilan." Misinterpreted by a major newspaper, the statement
was reported as saying that the bishop wants the group "wiped out"
or killed, causing angry reactions and threats from the Muslim extremist
group of kidnappers.
Quevedo said that Bishop De la Cruz based his pastoral statement
on moral condemnation of all kinds of crime and banditry, similar
to previous bishops' conference statements that condemned syndicates
in gambling, kidnapping, drugs, smuggling, among others. "Bishop
de La Cruz has applied that moral condemnation to the Abu Sayyaf
group considering the experience of the people of Basilan, both
Muslims and Christians," Archbishop Quevedo said.
The Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) has likewise condemned the action of Abu
Sayyaf as "barbarous and un-Islamic." The bishops of Mindanao, Protestant
leaders, and Muslim Ulama in the Bishops-Ulama Forum have made a
clear distinction between the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf. "Bishop de
La Cruz expressed his own moral stand and a courageous one, but
his pastoral pronouncement has placed his life in even more danger
than before," said Archbishop Quevedo.
OF VIOLENCE IN MINDANO
(Fides) – The situation is ever more critical. The escalation of
violence denounced by the Catholics Bishops (cfr Fides July 21,
2000) has intensified in the last three months. "Innocent people
continue to die, many are children but no one speaks about it, not
even the media" Bishop Romulo Valles, of Kidapawan, in Mindanao,
a diocese in the midst of the conflict, was speaking to Fides.
of violence we pointed out earlier, is real, brutal and evil" the
Bishop continues. "Time seems to have stood still in favour of war
and violence. Quiet, fearsome violence. Violence whose sounds are
muted by angry grieving and utter helplessness. The continuing violence
comes in varied forms of stealthy massacres, perpetrated at times
least expected and among unsuspecting civilians. Even the media
seems to be muted. As muted as our sensitivities?" the Bishop asks.
The list of
unpunished massacres is unending. Mgr Valles recalls only the worst
episodes. On September 26 grenades were thrown at a cluster of makeshift
homes at an evacuation centre in Kabagan, Cotabato. A grenade instantly
killed two children, a three-year-old boy and his five-year-old
sisters. The father died later in hospital while the mother is seriously
wounded. The day before a bomb exploded at the university of Southern
Mindanao where five students were killed and eleven seriously wounded.
18 armed men in military uniform fired at the people inside houses
in Palanggalam town, Carmen area. Seven persons were killed. Immediately
1,300 families of the town departed to nearby evacuation centres.
But even these centres are insecure. On September 11, three homes
at the Tawantawan Centre in Carmen were strafed, killing two and
wounding eight residents. On the same day another strafing took
place in Tungnolen town, Carmen area, killing three including a
14-year-old girl and her mother.
here is very far from being normal" - Bishop Valles said. Death
and violence seem to be just anywhere near, ready to strike at any
moment. One wonders if we truly understand the grim and extreme
fear that countless civilians in our area are living."
the nearby island of Jolo, news black-out, imposed by the government
after the launching of the army’s September 16 attack, has remained
with the banning of media personnel. However some telephone lines
were opened and Oblate Bishop Angelito Lampon of Jolo was able to
report to Archbishop Orlando Quevedo the happenings in his city.
"It is clear from reports from our own church people in Jolo, that
what we as Bishops feared is taking place: summary executions of
suspected Abu Sayyaf men, bodes mutilated, mosques raided and sacked
by the army in search of Muslim extremists".
Quevedo, who said he was against the news black-out, suspecting
it was to cover up illegal acts (cfr Fides August 29, 2000), reiterated
the Church’s call to lift the new ban and he appealed to both the
military forces and the Abu Sayyaf group "to religiously respect
the rights, properties and lives of non-combatants, including the
hostages". He appealed to the government to ensure that food and
medicines be allowed to reach the people of Jolo. Likewise he called
for "cooperation between the government, Church groups and NGOs
for a massive relief of the thousands of evacuees displaced by the
war". (S. E. )
YOUTH SACRIFICED HIS LIFE EVANGELIZING
Pope Will Beatify
3 (ZENIT.org-FIDES).- "Pedro Calungsod is a model for the youth
of Visayas. The youth of the region need examples. They turn to
consumerism, they are attracted by worldly culture and tend to neglect
the traditional values of devotion and religiosity, values held
in contempt by a secularized style of life," Fr. Vidal Gornes
said to the Vatican agency "Fides." Pedro Calungsod is
in the group to be beatified this Sunday.
Pedro is the second Filipino who will be raised to the altars, following
Lorenzo Ruiz, canonized about a decade ago. But young Pedro touches
the heart of Philippine people even more. "In the first place,
because he has a really Philippine name. His surname, Calungsod,
indicates his origin: the city of Cebu. A person with such a surname
can only be a native of the Visayas region, so that we consider
him as something of our own. We feel a kind of interior pride, because
this Blessed comes from my own people and I can easily identify
with him," the priest said.
Last January 30, when concluding a Marian congress in Manila, Cardinal
Jaime Sin announced to the faithful: "I have splendid news
for the Philippine Church: the Pope has opened the way for the beatification
of Pedro Calungsod." About 2 years ago, Cardinal Sin had entrusted
Jesuit Fr. Catalino Arevalo with the writing of the history of Pedro
Calungsod for the diocesan faithful. The history narrates the life
of this boy who, in the 17th century, helped Jesuit Fr. Diego Luis
de San Vitores in the task of evangelizing the Marianas Islands,
which at the time were under Cebu's jurisdiction.
Pedro Calungsod was born in the region of Visayas. There are no
certain documents on his birth. It is know that he worked as a catechist
from 1668 to 1672. His name is mentioned in the cause of the martyrdom
Jesuit missionary Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores. Pedro was martyred
at the age of 14 with the Jesuit, and their bodies were thrown into
the ocean. Both were evangelizing the natives of the village of
Juan Island, present day Guam. Two aborigines attacked them and
killed them with spears. Pedro tried to defend the priest. The Church
remembers his martyrdom on April 2, 1672. Fr. de San Vitores was
beatified on October 6, 1985. He was the first apostle and founder
of the Catholic community of the Marianas Islands.