Thursday, February 26, 2009

On fasting and abstinence

A good reminder on fasting and abstinence, published last year in cbcpnews.
Related posts here and here.

Canon lawyer says fast, abstinence on Good Friday is mandatory

DAVAO CITY, March 19, 2008—While other forms of penance are left to the personal choice of the individual, fasting and abstinence is mandatory.

Archdiocese of Davao Oeconomus Fr. Junar de la Victoria said that in the Catholic Church, Catholics are joined together in a certain common practice of penance not simply as a conglomerate of individuals but as a unified body in Christ.

De la Victoria, a Canon lawyer said the practice of abstinence from meat is devoted to repentance and it is mandatory on all Fridays throughout the year except on all solemnities.

A solemnity of the Roman Catholic Church is a principal holy day in the liturgical calendar usually commemorating an event in the life of Jesus, His mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, or other important saints. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast.

In the Philippines , he said, fast and abstinence may be substituted with exercises of piety such as reading the Bible, going to Mass, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Holy Rosary or with acts of charity, such as visiting the sick and prisoners, giving alms to the poor or teaching catechism.

However, the canon lawyer emphasized that all these forms of substitution is not permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) norms.

De la Victoria said the law of abstinence binds those who have reached a sufficient use of reason, and who have completed their 14th year of age.

Meanwhile, De La Victoria said that fasting is a physical process of restricting one’s level of use of such things as food, drink, play and others.

During the season of Lent, he said, fasting is primarily in preparation for the Easter feast, and secondarily, where a reconciliation process is observed, a penitential act.

He also explained that the law on fast means that only one full meal may be taken during the day; two light meals are permitted in accord with local custom as to the amount and kind of food.

“The consumption of solid food between meals is prohibited but liquids may be taken at any time,” de la Victoria added.

The law of fasting binds those who have completed their 18th year of age until the beginning of their 60th year.

“Fasting is also to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but Vatican II also recommends fasting on Holy Saturday or Black Saturday,” added de la Victoria.

The canon lawyer also said that the law of fast and abstinence do not bind the seafarers.

It was also learned that there are official days of penance wherein Catholics are called to prayer; to engage in works of piety and charity; to deny their selves in twofold ways: 1. by fulfilling the obligations in their state of lives more faithfully and 2. by observing the prescribed fast and abstinence.

De la Victoria also is also a columnist of Davao Catholic Herald, the archdiocesan community paper.

(Mark S Ventura)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent –A Call to Moral Renewal

Lenten Message of Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo

Lent is an opportune occasion for profound re-examination of life, for confronting ourselves with the truth of the Gospel, which demands radical moral renewal. Jesus Christ begins his public ministry with the message: “The time of fulfillment has come… Repent (i.e. change your mind and behavior), and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk. 1/15). St. Paul the Apostle gives his rejoinder: “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4/23).

Along this line, the scientist, Albert Einstein, offered a formula for solving the problems and crises that churches, institutions and governments are facing when he said: “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created these problems and crises.” We will not solve our problems – religious, social, economic, political – by insisting on doing the same things that have produced the problems. The call of Lent is for moral renewal. To achieve this we need at least a critical mass of citizens-leaders who are willing to “break out of the box,” to jump on to the beginning of a new wave, to move into a new cycle of development, to operate with a new social consciousness and conscience, not for their individual or group security, but for the good of the greatest number.

We stated, some years ago, at the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal, that “failures in renewal have come from a deeper source: our hardness of heart and resistance to conversion… We, as Church, have to confess responsibility for many of the continuing ills of Philippine society.” In a Pastoral Statement on “Renewing Our Political Life” (January 29, 2006), we said, and we can say it again, that “at the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake of common good and genuine peace.”

The most seriously affected by the crisis of moral values are the poor, the marginalized, oftentimes treated like commodities. Graft and corruption breed widespread poverty. Widespread poverty in turn breeds graft and corruption. There is a concatenation of crisis and corruption that goes down to the barangay level, up and down and up, infecting the whole society, like a contagious cancer.

To cure this social cancer we need a new breed of leaders in our country. The forthcoming national elections must not simply be a changing of hats for the same persons, or change of faces but with unchanged hearts. We must be able to gather a critical mass of citizens-leaders with a genuine passion and obsession for good governance and prophetic leadership. This critical mass will be the training ground of other citizens who will lead our country with the values of honesty and justice, truth and integrity, credibility and accountability, transparency and stewardship. These are the moral values that citizens must use to criticize and measure the present brand of leaders and raise up a new breed of leaders.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Ardent expression

Pope to US Speaker Pelosi: Reject abortion support

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI yesterday told US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life "at all stages of its development." Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the American Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion. The Vatican released the pope's remarks to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church's teaching "on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death." That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion. Benedict said all Catholics — especially legislators, jurists and political leaders — should work to create "a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development." In an e-mail issued by her office, Pelosi did not mention the allusion to abortion. ....

Speaker Pelosi, the self-professed "ardent, practising Catholic" , remains unavailable for reactions to the Pope's lecture. Her office likewise did not release any photo-op of the meeting with the Pope. There was however, an insider who leaked a photo showing Pelosi's expression immediately after she received the Pope's message.

it is.

H/T Curt Jester

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Release Barabbas?

Majority of Manila residents support Reproductive Health bill

MANILA, Philippines - A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that a majority or 86 percent of Manila residents support a law on reproductive health (RH).

...“We do hope that with this latest survey result, our respective legislators in the House of Representatives won’t have any qualms on passing the Reproductive Health bill which would benefit the majority of Filipinos especially couples. The survey is echoing the voice of the true constituency of Congress,” The Forum president Benjamin De Leon said.

De Leon said majority of the respondents agree that there should be a law requiring government to distribute legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs, and pills to people who want to avail, as well as providing of free supplies or services to the poor who wish to use any modern method. The survey also revealed that 92 percent agree that students aged 15 to 24 years old should be given adolescent health education.
In a recent, lively email exchange with a friendly dissenting Catholic, I offered the opinion that the Church suffers from anemic marketing strategies coupled with a bad press. You have a good product but you can't push it to the market (particularly referring to NFP). My response was elicited when he observed that majority of the church body seem at odds with the Magisterium in its stand on contraceptives. This SWS survey perhaps confirms his observations. Now then if my theory is true, it would be just about the right time to revisit what Pope John Paul II means by "New Evangelization". In Redemptoris Missio, the late Pope said:

"Clearly, the ordinary means of pastoral work are not sufficient: what are needed are associations, institutions, special centers and groups, and cultural and social initiatives for young people. This is a field where modern ecclesial movements have ample room for involvement".

It's about time for the Church to seriously consider, think creatively, and act fast on what Pope JP2 said. Sooner than later. Otherwise the crowd may soon be shouting: "Let His blood be on us and on our children!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dad and child at 13

Baby-faced boy Alfie Patten is father at 13

BOY dad Alfie Patten yesterday admitted he does not know how much nappies cost — but said: “I think it’s a lot.”

Well, the 13-year old father has to think a lot more than how much nappies cost.

Daddy Alfie added:

“I didn’t know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it.”

It's good the young (a bit of an understatement) father has declared his commitment to care for the child (come to think of it, he's also a child). I empathize with him. After being a father myself to 4 kids these past 21 years, I could also say I'm still learning on how to be a dad myself. It's a real challenge that we can only pray that the child succeeds, I mean both children - father and son. I hope the time won't come that they will be fighting over toys. I myself have this continuing struggle with my own children on who gets to use our home computer first. Again I can only empathize with the boy-father. That's because I usually lose out to my kids in these types of struggles.

Which brings attention to Britain’s hugely expensive sex education programme in schools. I have this earlier post relating that Britain ponders about intensifying its already intensified sex education program. At this point I guess they really have to improve that sex education program for kids. The best approach now is to include an intensified program to teach young children on how to rear children.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Have gun, will fire

House bill makes gun training mandatory

MANILA, Philippines—Too many gun accidents are caused by ignorance and negligence.

Thus a bill filed in the House of Representatives would make it mandatory for would-be gun owners to undergo training in their safe use, maintenance and storage before being issued a permit to own or carry a firearm.

The measure’s sponsor, Alliance for Rural Concerns party-list Rep. Narciso Santiago, noted that many fatal firearm accidents were caused by people who knew nothing or little about responsible gun ownership.

“The proliferation of handguns has caused untoward incidents involving irresponsible individuals who lack the knowledge and skills for their safe use, maintenance and storage,” Santiago said in a statement.
Untoward incidents, yeah. Well, the proliferation of handguns have also caused murder, homicide, robberies, rage shootings and and general murderous mayhem. I wonder what percentage of deaths or injuries are caused accidentally, anyway. I venture to say most deaths by guns are not accidental at all. Those who are responsible for many killings are those who are well-trained in the use of guns, but sorely lack training in the respect for life. Should we go for a gunless society? People also have the right to defend themselves, especially when people (mostly civilians) cannot be guaranteed with adequate protection by the law enforcement agencies. Adequate protection, hmm.. that should be worth looking into. More effective police protection, less need for guns in civilian hands. Speaking of law enforcers, the report goes on to say:

"Gun accidents, often with fatal results, are not uncommon in the Philippines, with many involving law enforcers."

I hope law enforcers are not the main target of gun-training. That says a lot about police training. What are they supposed to teach them anyway in police academies? Ballroom dancing?
Oh, well...train gun owners if we must, but train them first on respect for life.
Ahm...make that: fear of the Lord. Now that would be a bulls-eye.

Friday, February 13, 2009

On the Magna Carta for Women

(Ms Feny Tatad says it all. H/T sunnyday).
Subject: Anti-Life, Anti Family Agenda in the Proposed Magna Carta of Women

Greetings of Peace!

On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, a Bicameral Conference Committee will begin to work on the final version of the proposed Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women. This committee will try to reconcile disagreeing provisions of the two versions of the bill from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and craft a common version which will be submitted to the two Houses for final approval. Thereafter, the bill goes to the President for her signature.

The two versions of the bill contain numerous provisions that are completely anti-life and anti-family, and thus immoral, unconstitutional, and unacceptable. They need to be expunged from the bill to make it constitutional and acceptable.. We need to pray that the members of the committee will be sufficiently enlightened to see this, and do their duty to the Filipino family as honest legislators. As of today, Feb. 9, 2009, these are the designated members:

For the Senate:
Senator Jamby Madrigal – Chair of the Committee on Women Women
Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Ping Lacson
Senator Pia Cayetano
Senator Allan Cayetano
For the House of Representatives:
Cong. Nanette Castelo-Daza - Chair Committee on Women
Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa
Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar
Majority Leader Arthur Defensor
Cong. Eduardo Zialcita
Cong. Juan Edgardo Angara
Cong. Isabelle Climaco
Cong. Lorna Silverio
Cong. Edcel Lagman
Cong. Liza Masa
Cong. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel
Cong. Luzviminda Ilagan

Most of them are listed as “members” of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), the foreign-funded NGO, which has been one of the most active campaigners of the bill and the still-pending Reproductive Health bill in the House. PLCPD works with CEDAW Watch Philippines (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is the frontline organization for this bill. Some of the most toxic provisions of the RH bill have found their way, in some altered form, into the proposed Magna Carta, with virtually nobody in both Houses noticing before the approval of the two bills on second reading.

You will recall how the simultaneous approval of the bill in both Houses caught everyone by surprise. It was a Pearl Harbor attack against the family and human life just before Christmas. To our greater surprise, an appallingly large number of the members of Congress were not completely aware that the bills had breezed through second reading and that what remained was the pro-forma approval on third reading on the printed version of the bill. The Senate reconsidered its approval on second reading to accommodate new amendments, but some of these amendments merely aggravated the assault on the family and the Constitution. The buzz is that the bill is being fast-tracked to become a centerpiece of the Women’s Day celebration in March this year.

We have not relented in our efforts to purge the final version of the bill of its unconstitutional and anti-life and anti-family provisions, but we need to accompany these efforts with intense and unceasing prayer. And action.

We have learned from highly reliable sources that at a pre-bicam meeting in the House on Feb. 9, Congressman Lagman, the principal author of the RH bill, suggested the removal of proposed provisions that would assure the bill’s conformity to the Constitution and existing laws, and anchor it solely on its adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other international instruments. These instruments contain provisions which are in direct collision with our Constitution and existing laws. Lagman also reportedly suggested the retention of all the unacceptable provisions, objections to which the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life and the CBCP Office on Women have already formally communicated to the two Houses. Please note that majority of the members of the House of Representatives Bicam panel agreed with him, I was told.

Here is a short list of the patently unacceptable provisions:

1. In the Senate version :

In the Declaration of Policy:

a) “No one shall invoke religious beliefs or customary norms as a means of
evading compliance with this Act or preventing another person from exercising her rights (as introduced by Sen. M. Santiago); Provided, That each individual shall make their own decision based on their respective religious, moral and cultural beliefs (as introduced by Sen. Pia Cayetano).

The first part of the sentence is in direct collision with Art. III, Section 5 of the Constitution on religious freedom, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The second part of the sentence is irreconcilable and contradictory with the first part. Art. III, Sec.5 of the Constitution provides:
“No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.” Under the Senate provision, religious belief and practice will now have to bend to the Magna Carta; the State will now decide what religious beliefs the people can practice, which are not in conflict with this proposed Act. This is unconstitutional. The provision must be deleted.

b) “.Consequently, all human rights have equal status and cannot be positioned in a hierarchical order.”

The right to life precedes other human rights, since without life, there is no human being to possess and exercise any other human right. It must be deleted.

c) “Expulsion, non-readmission, prohibiting enrollment, and other related discrimination of women students and faculty due to pregnancy out of marriage shall be outlawed.”

This collides with the constitutional provision on academic freedom, which empowers the schools to decide whom to admit and retain, and who will teach the students, as well as the constitutional mandate that schools shall strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline among students and teachers. The provision suggests that getting pregnant outside of marriage is a woman’s right which everyone must respect. It must be deleted or replaced with something like this:

“No school shall turn out or refuse admission to a female student or faculty member solely on account of her having contracted a pregnancy outside of marriage during her term in school, except after due process as provided for by the appropriate school authorities.”

d) On comprehensive health services:

Item 6 – “Prevention of abortion and management of abortion complications”

Deletion of “and management of abortion complications” had been proposed but disregarded. Since abortion is a criminal offense, the State would be sending conflicting signals with such a clause. Omission of this clause will not deprive women who are victims of accidental abortions of medical care. In fact, it will not deprive women who have contracted abortion willfully from medical care. Judging by the fact that no woman, or even abortionist doctor, appears to have been prosecuted for abortion, the only logical conclusion is that women do get medical care without any hassle after an abortion. This constitutionally untenable language has to be deleted.

Item 3. “Family collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services”

Under the Constitution and moral law, parents have the primary right and duty to educate their children. This is especially so in the matter of sexuality. Parents may seek the assistance of the Church or the State in the exercise of this right and duty, but it would be wrong to let the State assume this primary right, and the parents merely “collaborate.” This has to be deleted.

e) On equal rights relating to Marriage and Family Relations:

“The same rights to enter into and leave partnerships or relationships without prejudice to personal or religious beliefs”

The bill does not define “partnership” or “relationships.” It is a blind alley. Neither the Constitution nor the Family Code recognizes such terms, and a homosexual or even heterosexual “partnership” that claims to have all the rights of marriage cannot have such rights. Art. XV of the Constitution provides: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.” The family, in turn, is the foundation of the nation. The above-quoted provision of the bill must be deleted to protect the family as the Constitution wills it.

2. In the House Version:

a) Gender defined: “Gender refers to the socially differentiated roles, characteristics and expectations attributed by culture to women and men”

A person’s sex has always been determined by nature; a person is either male or female, according to that nature. The new concept of gender, according to United Nations documents and other international instruments, argues that a person’s sexual identity is not limited to male or female, but may be expanded by personal choice and social construction. Thus, one could be either a male or a female heterosexual, a homosexual, a lesbian, a bisexual, or a transgendered individual, depending on one’s sexual preference or orientation. This provision seeks to replace a person’s divinely and nature- ordained identity with a self-constructed gender arising from one’s sexual preference or orientation. This has no place in our laws.

b) On Human Rights of Women

“All rights of women shall include all rights recognized under international instruments duly signed and ratified by the Philippines which are not violative or in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and other existing laws.”

Our information is, Cong. Lagman wants to delete the clause “which are not violative or in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and other existing laws”in the pre-Bicam House meeting. He also reportedly wants to delete the words,“in consonance with Philippine law” in the Senate version on the same subject. The clause must stay.

c) On comprehensive health services:…”following services shall be ensured:

Item 3 – Legal, ethical, medically safe and effective methods of family planning.

Cong. Lagman reportedly wants to strike out the word “ethical” from this provision, obviously to bring it fully in line with his RH bill. Ethical must stay. He also wants “management of abortion complications” to remain in the bill. This must be deleted.

This list is not exhaustive, but it gives you an indication of the many bad things some legislators have succeeded in inflicting upon an otherwise badly needed bill.

We need to reach out with sure purpose and speed to the members of the bicam conference and all members of Congress to persuade them to be faithful to the Constitution and to our Christian culture. To reject fidelity and service to both, for any reason whatsoever, is a serious form of moral and intellectual corruption, which should not come from legislators who are so eager to denounce the economic corruption of other people.

We have to reach out to all our legislators in the next 6 days. It is a Herculean task but with system and efficient distribution of labor it can be done. Visits to the legislators to present concerns are always effective. So let us all move!

Attached is a directory of Congress for your use. It has their office numbers and their email addresses. The Senators can be reached through the Senate trunkline – 02 5526601. You may also check the Philippine Senate Website for their individual office numbers and email addresses.

There is no time to waste. Let us consecrate this effort to our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast day falls on February 11, so that she may help us turn the hearts of all our friends in Congress.

Thanks and God bless!

Very sincerely yours,

Ma. Fenny C. Tatad
Executive Director
Bishops- Legislators Caucus of the Philippines
Thank you Ma'm Feny.
God help us.

There's probably no bus (3)

So start walking down that narrow road, for the road is wide that leads to destruction.
Try the bus slogan generator here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Of inequitable distribution and the rich man

(Received in the mail...)
If the population of the Earth was reduced to that of a small town with 100 people, it would look something like this:

57% Asians, 21% Europeans , 14% Americans (northern and southern) , 8% Africans

52% women, 48% men

70% coloured-skins, 30% caucasians

89% heterosexuals, 11% homosexuals

6 people would own 59% of the whole world wealth and all of them will be from the United States of America

80% would have bad living conditions, 70% would be uneducated, 50% underfed ...

There were corny comments after that last item but I excluded it. It ended with the usual pass this on to blah, blah.

Anyway, it looks like a fair representation of today's 6.8 billion earth inhabitants.
The inequity of it all says that mankind did not understand Gods plan for him to "have dominion over the fish, birds, etc..". It means thoughtful stewardship for everyone. Maybe mankind extended it to mean: have dominion over your fellowmen too. Too bad. That is why we have so much inequity and injustice in this world. People just look after their own selfish interests. That's why we are having this global crisis.

Oh well. The lesson in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man should even it out in the end. The prevailing interpretation says that the rich man's sin was neglecting the plight of Lazarus: it was more a sin of omission when he had the capacity to help. I was reading this book on Moral Theology wherein the Jesuit author proposes that the only sin is the failure to bother to love. Interesting. Speaking further about that parable, there is some discussion in Catholic circles whether or not the rich man really ended up in hell. Whatever, we can be sure that God's justice prevails.

Monday, February 9, 2009

There's probably no bus (2)

Bus ad war heats up....

It all started out with the London bus ads last October which says "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" by the British Humanist Association. Now that the run of those ads are closing out, it's the turn of the other side...

Christians and Atheists Battle in London Bus Wars

The word of God is on the move in London - literally. Beginning Feb. 9, three separate Christian groups will launch advertisements on more than 200 of London's buses to convince pedestrians of God's existence. "It may be unpopular and unpleasant, says David Larlham, the assistant general secretary of London's Trinitarian Bible Society, a group that distributes bibles worldwide, "but there is a whole lot of truth in the bible that people need to get to grips with." His organization has paid $50,000 to display posters on 125 of London's red double-decker buses that quote Psalm 53:

"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

[The Christian Party, a right-wing political party whose policies mostly focus on moral issues, is joining the advert battle by displaying posters on at least 50 buses that says]

"There definitely is a God, So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."

[The Russian Orthodox Church for its part, will to place ads on 25 buses with the message ]

"There is God. Don't Worry. Enjoy your life!".

[The Time report goes on]

While the Humanist Association defends the right of Christians to air their views, many of its members object to the Christians' choice of words. Richard Dawkins, the eminent Oxford biologist and author of the bestselling book The God Delusion, takes issue with a slogan that calls non-believers fools. "That's a particularly obnoxious quote from one of the Psalms," he says. "Ours was extremely gentle and respectful by comparison." The use of the word "probably" in the atheist slogan, he says, does not imply any sort of dogma, but merely encourages free thinking.

The use of the word "fools" is certainly unflattering, to put it mildly. Dawkins on the other hand, clearly implies that Christians do not encourage "free thinking". To better appreciate the context of Psalm 53, let us look at verses 2 to 7 of NAB:

"Fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.' Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt; not one does what is right. God looks down from heaven upon the human race, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is right, not even one. Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread; they do not call upon God. They have good reason to fear, though now they do not fear. For God will certainly scatter the bones of the godless. They will surely be put to shame, for God has rejected them."

[Those verses not only calls the unbelievers fools, but also evildoers, perverse people whose deeds are loathsome and corrupt. Scriptures have a way for being brutally frank. To avoid offending their atheist friends, maybe the Christian ads should have put it mildly. They should start looking for a diplomatic, tactful term for the word fools]

Dawkins goes on to say -
"If more people think for themselves, we'll have fewer religious people."

But then again, G.K. Chesterton also says -
"If everybody would just sit down, be quiet and think, the whole world would become Catholic."

Some bus passengers in London probably would start to get thinking one way or the other, assuming those ads hit their marks. Some would probably just chuckle and move on. Some would simply ignore it. I wonder what it all achieves. So far, the money spent exceeds a quarter of a million dollars, and counting. One could easily start a foundation for the needy with that much money, specially in these hard times..

If there is anyone who is clearly winning this bus ad wars, it is the bus companies.

The gift of life is nurtured in the family

That is the theme of our Parish Fiesta this year. The celebrations culminated yesterday by a high mass officiated by his Excellency Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Cubao Diocese. The parish offered novena masses during the week-long celebrations wherein each Ministry was asked to send a representative to give a brief sharing/reflection at each Novena Mass after the communion. My eldest son Migo was requested to speak in behalf of the Youth Ministry. What follows is the full text of his message.

Magandang Gabi po sa inyong lahat. Ako po si Miguel Jose. Ako po ay kasapi sa Knights of the Altar at Youth For Christ dito sa ating parokya. Ang Topic ko po ay "The children is the gift of life. They are nurtured by their fathers and mothers. What then is the role of sons and daughters in the family?" Ako po ay magbibigay ng response in behalf of the Knights of the Altar.

Ano nga po ba ang role o ang dapat gampanan naming mga anak sa aming pamilya?

Ang pamilya daw po ang domestic church o munting simbahan. Ang mga magulang ay may dapat gampanan sa munting simbahan. Kaming mga anak ay may dapat ding gampanan sa munting simbahan, Ang pinakaimportante dito ay Honor thy Father and thy Mother . Ang pag honor ng mga magulang ay hindi lamang sa pagsunod sa utos nila. Kailangan mag-paka Kristiyano kami sa aming pamumuhay o pang araw-araw na gawain.

Ino-honor ko po ang mga magulang sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng mabuti, pagseserve sa simbahan, pagtulong sa kapwa, pag-iwas sa masasamang barkada, pagpili ng tamang kaibigan, pag-tulong sa bahay, pagdarasal araw-araw, pag-bigay ng pasaasalamat sa Panginoong Diyos at pagsunod sa payo ng aking mga magulang.

Ang pagiging Kristiyano sa isip at sa gawa ay ang pinakamagandang paraan ng pag-honor sa ating mga magulang. Si Hesu Kristo po ay nag honor sa kanyang mga magulang na si St. Joseph at Mama Mary. Kaya si Hesu Kristo ang aming modelo sa Holy Family. Pag na-honor naming ang aming mga magulang sa aming gawain, naparangalan din po namin ang ating Panginoon.

Paparangalan din po naming ang lahat ng mga magulang sa inyo. Tinitingala po naming kayo upang maging gabay para sa aming mga bata. Ipagdasal niyo po kami at laging gabayan. Kaming mga anak ay magiging magulang din sa darating na panahon. Nawa ay magampanan namin ang pagiging mabutin Kristiyanong anak. Magandang gabi po muli at Happy Fiesta sa inyong lahat!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Hermeneutic of Continuity

There is a brief yet very informative article by Dr. Jeff Mirus in the on the subject: "Benedict's Hermeneutic of Continuity".


- Hermeneutics is the branch of theology which deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

- When interpreting Scripture, one text cannot be preferred to another or played off against another. Since everything the Holy Spirit intends to teach in Scripture is true, all texts which relate to a given problem must be examined for what they say about it, and the correct understanding will necessarily be an understanding which permits every text to retain its full force

- Because the Magisterium of the Church teaches with the same authority as Sacred Scripture (after all, the same Holy Spirit inspires and guarantees both), a Catholic can properly understand a Christian teaching only if he takes into account everything that both Scripture and the Magisterium have said on a subject.

- Any understanding which fastens on what Scripture says to the exclusion of the Magisterium (as Protestants typically do) or which fastens on this or that statement of the Magisterium in preference to others (as Traditionalists typically do) is doomed to be incorrect. The proper interpretation will always be the one which allows for the truth of all the relevant Scriptural and Magisterial texts.

- Any new development in Catholic teaching, Catholic devotion, Catholic discipline and Catholic worship must be understood as a development which corroborates and confirms what has come before, even as it proposes a new and deeper insight, a more precise formulation, or an important emphasis that has either been overlooked or has special relevance to our current situation.

- This is the "hermeneutic of continuity". It must give rise to a culture of continuity among Catholics which will bear fruit everywhere in the Church.

- Benedict has been at pains to argue that everyone who has been guilty of a "hermeneutic of rupture" must rethink and reevaluate everything according to a "hermeneutic of continuity". This applies particularly to the project of recovering the true purpose of the Council, and it applies to all those who teach and act as if the Second Vatican Council (and all the reforms since that time) are a decisive break with the past, invalidating most of what came before.

- May Benedict succeed in restoring a hermeneutic of continuity within the Church, on all sides, and in all directions.
Amen. Read the entire piece here.

It is in this light that the lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX Bishops is best understood.

Also, here is a site devoted to the topic.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Of the devil departing

Sunday, Feb 1, 2009
4th Sunday in ordinary time
Mark 1:21-28

...In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are-the Holy One of God!"
Jesus rebuked him and said,
"Quiet! Come out of him!"
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
In this narrative, the devil mingles with the faithful in the synagogue by taking possession of one among them. It sure is scary to think that the evil one is so cleverly deceptive enough to mingle among the faithful, but at the same time it gives us comfort that the power of Jesus easily overwhelms the evil spirit. And so we are told that when two or more are gathered in Jesus name, there He is in their midst. That is why at the beginning of our prayer meetings, we always include an invocation of the powerful presence of Holy Spirit to cast out any evil that might be lurking.

Exorcism is serious business. In fact even the disciples who were given power to drive out evil spirits have failed on occasion (Mat 17:19). There was also this biblical narrative of the seven non-Christians who attempted an exorcism on a possessed man (Acts 19:13). The devil saw through their pretensions and said: "Jesus I recognize and Peter I know, but who are you?", upon which the devil proceeded to whip them so badly that their clothes were torn off and they had to run away naked. Lucky for them for it could have been a lot worse. Today, the Vatican formalizes the rites of exorcism to be administered only by ordained Catholic priests who have been specifically trained and authorized. It is a complicated ritual, but in essence it is still by the merits of Jesus Christ that an exorcism is performed by a priest who is expressly authorized by the local Ordinary. Of course we can not completely rule out an exorcism done by a grace-empowered lay Christian under extraordinary circumstances. However this is highly exceptional and under these circumstances there is a prescribed exorcism prayer. Let us beware. It is said that satan's greatest victory is convincing people he doesn't exist.

Finally, here is the official teaching on exorcism:
CCC 1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.