Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Promises of Christ

via CatholicFriends:
by Bill
"Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God

That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ."

How often we have prayed these words! Let us stop and think about what His promises include. What comes to mind? How many are there? Is there a list? Or should we not be too inquisitive about them, and instead fortify our faith that they will be all we could ever want, truly unimaginable?
One of my favorites is:

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is so comforting that Jesus promised to be always with us, through thick and thin, now and forever. Of course it still depends on our free will because Jesus will never force us, we can still stray away. But where do we go? Peter in John 6:68 has the same question and answer at the same time: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.

I have not found a list of Jesus' promises. There must be quite a number, but the really unique thing about Jesus' promises is that - he meant all of them. Jesus is the only one who makes many promises and intends to fulfill them all. The reverse is true for most politicians I know.

We must be careful though in reading the promises. We must keep in mind that in reading Scriptures, there is the literal sense and the spiritual sense, otherwise we are inviting undue confusion. I remember last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus promised the thief on the cross: this day you shall be with me in paradise. That is a literal promise. However, the Sunday before that, he promised his disciples: not a hair on your head will be destroyed. This other one is obviously spiritual-allegorical. I know of many holy men who went bald before their time, so the meaning can't be literal.

"Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Communications Fail

Clergy can't be more popish than the Pope - Palace

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang welcomed yesterday the pronouncement of Pope Benedict XVI that condom use may be allowed to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS, and urged local Church officials to take the same stand because “they cannot be more popish than the Pope.” [what a charitable insult]

“That’s a good step. I think our own clergy should be informed by the views of the Vatican [they're not?] because they’ve always referred to the Vatican when they stated their position, now that the Vatican’s position [what position?] is such then I think that should result in a corresponding flexibility on the part of our Church,” Presidential Communications Development Secretary Ricky Carandang said. [the Vatican's position has a flexibility...where?]

Carandang said the Pope’s statement could “absolutely” boost support for the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. [Boost support? In short, separation of church and state is only applicable when the Church disagrees with you?]

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said a meeting on the RH bill between the Palace and the CBCP has been tentatively scheduled between Dec. 7 and 15.

President Aquino has said he is for responsible parenthood, including educating couples on how to plan their families and providing them assistance with artificial birth control methods such as the use of condoms.

“I don’t want to misquote the Pope. [You just did] I think he was very qualified in what he said [Of course. And you Mr Carandang, is very qualified in what?] but still what you can say [you mean what YOU can say] is the Pope has shown some flexibility [flexibility? Substantiate it then, Mr Theology expert] on an issue that is still controversial here. It’s not controversial in the rest of the world anymore,” [so what?] Carandang said. “I think the Pope’s position should inform the position of the local clergy [you mean they don't?]. Like I said, our clergy cannot be more popish than the pope.

[And like I said, people who can't understand the Pope's communications correctly should just shut up, especially if one is the head of Malacañang's Communications Department. Ironically, Carandang thinks is more capable than the bishops in interpreting the Pope. More popish than the pope eh? Does PNoy agree with your choice of words? Methinks Carandang wants to be more presidential than the president. This is a simple case of a super-lightweight in theology trying to interpret a super-heavyweight's statements on morality, and FAILS...miserably.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Liberals pounce on "first step", trips and falls flat

Vatican Clarification on AIDS and Condoms

The Holy See Press Office has issued a clarification on the Pope’s comments on condoms and AIDS, according to Vatican Radio:

The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has issued a statement clarifying passages of the book Light of the World, in which Pope Benedict discusses AIDS and condom use.

The statement says Pope Benedict states that AIDs cannot be solved only by the distribution of condoms, and, in fact, concentrating on condoms just trivializes sexuality, which loses its meaning as an expression of love and becomes like a drug.

At the same time, the Pope considered an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real risk to the lives of others. In this case, the Pope does not morally justify the exercise of disordered sexuality, but believes that the use of condoms to reduce the risk of infection is a “first step on the road to a more human sexuality”, rather than not to use it and risking the lives of others.

Father Lombardi’s statement clarifies Pope Benedict XVI has not reformed or changed the Church’s teaching, but by putting it in perspective reaffirms the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.

In other words, the Pope, when talking about the "first step", is talking about the first step to conversion. To state the obvious, any stairway has more than one step.

Janet Smith explains basically what the Pope is saying, and the extent of what he is saying (h/t Jimmy Akin):

If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it. It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets. Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

Funny. Those people who never bother read and understand the Pope's voluminous encyclicals and other official Magisterial acts now give a lot of weight
and attention (and their own twisted interpretations) to tiny tidbits of what the Pope said in a non-Magisterial interview.
(excerpt of Pope's interview here)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Odds and Ends 11/19/10

Lawmakers defend Noy's 'lightweight' Cabinet appointees

MANILA, Philippines - Administration lawmakers rushed yesterday to the defense of President Aquino’s “lightweight” Cabinet officials, whose confirmation in the Commission on Appointments (CA) remains uncertain. The House members were reacting to threats from Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a member of the CA, to “massacre” at least six Cabinet officials of the Aquino administration for their supposed arrogance and incompetence. She had called the unnamed officials “smug, self-satisfied, non-elected appointees” and “lightweights.” The President dismissed Santiago’s threat, saying “she’s entitled to her own opinion.”

Actually, I would tend to agree with Senator Santiago's position to remove the 'lightweights' in President Aquino’s appointed Cabinet officials, PROVIDED we also remove the 'super-lightweights' in the Senate and Lower House.
Joker renews call on Holy See to correct number of Pinoy cardinals

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Joker Arroyo reiterated yesterday his call on Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to reply to the Senate’s call to increase the number of Filipino cardinals in the country.

In a privilege speech last Wednesday, Arroyo expressed the need for the Senate to reiterate anew its “sense” before Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic hierarchy over the “grossly disproportionate” number of Filipino cardinals to the huge Catholic population of the Philippines. Arroyo noted that the Senate adopted a resolution on the matter on Nov. 7, 2007 but the Senate has not gotten any response from the Holy See until now.


Aahhh. That feels so gooood to turn the tables around, once in a while. I guess the Holy See should respond by issuing a doctrinal note that demands that the Philippine legislative chambers get populated by authentic, practising Catholics, not of the cafeteria kind. After all, the Philippines is the second country in the world with the biggest number of Catholics but is ironically lacking in PRACTISING Catholic Senators and Congressmen.

'Phl could get poorer due to ballooning population'

MANILA, Philippines - A US-based population and health expert yesterday warned that the Philippines could be as impoverished as Somalia because of its ballooning population. Dr. Malcolm Potts, professor at the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, said the growing population is the most important issue in the country.

He said the Philippines’ population could hit 160 million in the next 40 years if the government would not implement an effective reproductive health policy. “Unless a reproductive health bill goes through, unless you are able to offer the poorest economic quintile living on P5 a day the choices that they deserve, then people will be poorer, you will be importing food, you will (be) more like Somalia than like Thailand,” Potts said in a forum organized by the Asia Society Philippine Foundation, Inc... nauseam, ad nauseam...

Now repeat after me:

PNoy: Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.
Pro RH-Bill: Kung walang mahirap, walang mahirap!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Odds and Ends 11/17/10

Sen. Santiago ‘threatens’ ex-Aquino girlfriend with firecracker

MANILA, Philippines – If Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had her way, she would throw a firecracker at the former girlfriend of President Benigno Aquino III so that she would become more “animated.”

“I like her as a personality but she's so demure,” Santiago said of Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad.

“Sometimes, I kid my husband, I should go to the studio and throw a firecracker at her so that she will be a little more animated but I like her,” said Santiago who, to the surprise of Senate reporters, gave her opinion about the local official who broke up recently with the President...

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has a point. I have watched brief glimpses of the variety show "Willing Willie" where Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad co-hosted. She indeed appeared demure, reserved, and so "mahinhin" which is quite unusual for a host of a prime-time variety entertainment show. I guess Willie Revillame provides a balanced counterpoint as the main host. I also think that a "demure" is a somewhat relative term, compared to lets say..Senator Santiago. If a dose of firecrackers can indeed make Councilor Shalani much more animated, I guess Senator Santiago has been through a lot of rocket fire bombardment.
Santiago vows to ‘massacre’ Aquino’s ‘lightweight’ Cabinet execs

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago vowed Wednesday to “massacre” at least half a dozen “very lightweight” and “smug, self-satisfied, non-elected appointees” in President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet..

"Yung mga [Those] smug, self-satisfied, non-elected appointees. This is a very light weight Cabinet. Boy, they are so light-weight, they are liable to float off on their own delusions of grandeur. Akala nila kung sino sila [Who do they think they are]. Dumaan muna sa halalan [They should go through elections] because the power of government is exercised by the people, by the electorate, in an election”..

Santiago said Section 20 could be invoked if an appointee has low intelligence quotient as this would be a crime against Philippine government and society.

“Mga low IQ lang sila tapos ang tatapang nila [They have low IQ and yet they’re so arrogant],” she further said...

Plebiscite last resort for RH bill

MANILA, Philippines - A co-author of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill yesterday said Congress could resort to a plebiscite if it fails to pass the measure that is strongly contested by the Catholic Church.

“Let the people decide. Let us give the decision to the people if they really want or not the RH Bill or not,” Bukidnon Rep. Jose Ma. Zubiri said in a news forum in Quezon City...

Did I read you right, Senator Zubiri? "...Congress could resort to a plebiscite if it fails to pass the measure that is strongly contested by the Catholic Church." What the ..? Now why on earth would Congress deliberate on the bill, reject it in due process, and then move for a plebiscite on a bill which it rejects in the first place? Pray tell us the rationale behind your thinking, Senator. Otherwise, you might be "massacred" by Senator Santiago. Methinks your honor suffered a rather strong firecracker blast.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The 'sincere' Congressman

Bill Clinton, speaking here recently on “the challenge of globalization” makes a comment on the Philippine population, practically saying that more babies are a boon to the Filipinos:

“you [Filipinos] have a huge population, which is [something] positive, and you have massive natural resources.”

This raised the hackles of main RH-bill sponsor/advocate Congressman Edcel Lagman.

Lagman chides Clinton for comment on Phl population

Clinton’s population growth idea nonsense, says Lagman

Lagman said that Clinton's stament should not be taken “hook, line and sinker as it is a careless commentary, not a sincere compliment.”

He adds: “Clinton’s passing statement may be typical of patronizing platitudes heaped by Americans on Third World countries,”

To counter former US President Bill Clinton's statement, Lagman pointed out that Clinton’s wife, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is an ardent advocate of family planning and reproductive health.

He quoted Secretary [Hillary] Clinton as telling a US congressional hearing in April 2009:

“I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship. We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health.“.

While Lagman is correct in saying that State Secretary Clinton advocates family planning, he conveniently omits that Secretary Clinton also advocates abortion in equal measure.

At the G8 summit in Canada this year, Hillary Clinton famously said:

“I’m not going to speak for what Canada decides, but I will say that I’ve worked in this area for many years. And if we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

We know of course that Lagman has repeatedly and emphatically said that he is against abortion,
so it is quite crafty for him to cherry-pick US State Secretary Clinton's quotes when it suits him, ignore her other famous quotes on the same subject when it disfavors him, while hysterically denigrating her husband Bill Clinton's recent statements as "careless, patronizing, nonsense, and insincere".

Insincere. Take that.

Everything is because of God - Manny Pacquiao

Judges score: 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110

Pacquiao cements his place among pantheon of all-time boxing greats

Flyweight. Junior featherweight. Featherweight. Junior lightweight. Lightweight. Junior welterweight. Welte
rweight. And now, super welterweight.

A.J. Liebling wrote, "The span between the top limit of one weight class and the next represents the margin that history has proved is almost impossible to overcome." Eight times Pacquiao has cheated this conventional wisdom, racing up the scales like nobody else in boxing history. Eight titles, eight divisions. And yet, fistic shorthand has never felt so hollow. The myth of the Pambansang Kamao -- or National Fist -- means so much more.

“Without the people, I’m not here,” he stated, matter-of-factly.

“Everything is because of God for giving me the strength and the support of the people.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RH bill: 'Name-calling' repartee

Cardinal Rosales: "If you (parents) fail (in guiding your children properly in the formation of conscience), you will reap the kind of people that you have now in most of our institutions, including Congress"

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte: “Let’s not stoop to name-calling”

Iloilo Representative Janette Garin: "Hypocrisy in your institution is pulling you down..we object to the imposition brought about by stone-age beliefs not intended for the good of the many...”

Gabriela party-list Representative Luz Ilagan: "Think of the scandals or morality the church has been accused of. Let he who is not without sin cast the first stone."

Me: "Yes, pro-RH solons do not have well-formed consciences, at least those that still claim to be Catholics. I guess that makes me a name-calling, hypocritical, stone-age Pharisee."

Obama cherry-picks Gandhi

Obama credits Gandhi with helping him to presidency

NEW DELHI—US President Barack Obama paid fulsome tribute Monday to Mahatma Gandhi and said studying the legacy of India's independence icon had helped propel him to the White House.

In an address to the Indian parliament as he wrapped up a three-day visit, Obama described the personal impact of Gandhi's teachings of non-violence and equality on his political career.

"Throughout my life, including my work as a young man on behalf of the urban poor, I have always found inspiration in the life of Gandhi and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world," he said...

Change, right. Too bad President Obama ignored the pro-life stand of Mahatma Gandhi.

"..It is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth-control by artificial methods. As it is, man has sufficiently degraded her for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her. I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love…Birth control to me is a dismal abyss..."

"No word seems to be more abused to-day than the word ‘Natural”… Indeed, if we were to put man in the same category as the brute, many things could be proved to come under the description ‘natural’. But if they belong to two different species, not everything that is natural to the brute is natural to man…Man does not live by bread alone, as the brute does. He uses his reason to worship God and to know Him, and regards the attainment of that knowledge as summum bonum of life. The brute, if he can be said to worship God, does so involuntarily. The desire to worship God is inconceivable in the brute, while man can voluntarily worship even Satan. It must, therefore, be, and is, man’s nature to know and find God. When he worships Satan, he acts contrary to his nature..."

"..The earth has not suffered from the weight of over-population through its age of countless millions. How can it be that the truth has suddenly dawned upon some people that it is in danger of perishing of shortage of food unless the birthrate is checked through the use of contraceptives?"

Friday, November 5, 2010

The greatest price, evah

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Mt. 13:45-46)

Grand Lotto jackpot reaches P311.9M with no winner yet

I wonder what I can do with the P 311.9 Million Grand Lotto prize, assuming I win the grand lottery. Maybe I will give one million each to my close friends and relatives, donate a few million to charity, buy some grand vacation mansions, flashy cars, then go jet-setting around the world and buy anything I fancy. Imagine...P 311.9 million! The thing is, I don't buy lotto tickets, so how on earth can I win without buying a ticket.

Maybe I will buy one ticket for Saturday's draw just for the fun of imagining things. Maybe 'imagining' is a proper word, for the probability of winning the Grand Lotto is quite daunting. The odds of winning is one in 28,989,675. That is equivalent to being hit by a lightning eight times in a lifetime, assuming the first lightning hit does not end your life. The odds are even greater than the possibility of being canonized into sainthood, which stands at 1 in 20 million!

Still, many bettors are hopeful, prayerful even. It is reported that many lotto bettors wipe their tickets to images of saints inside churches as they pray for good fortune. This prompted Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez to say that invoking God to win lotto is a ‘defective’ practice of religiosity, and that gambling is incompatible with Christianity. Certainly in any form of gambling, when one wins, another person loses. So those who are praying of winning are also praying that other people lose.

I wish those who wish on winning the lotto has an even greater wish to win the "pearl of great price" that St Matthew speaks of in Mt. 13:45-46. After all, everyone sincerely seeking it gets to win a priceless and eternal jackpot. The best thing is that everyone who sincerely seeks, wins. God desires no losers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blame it on the stupid economy

Obama blames election rout on economy

WASHINGTON—US President Barack Obama would not concede Wednesday that a Republican election rout marked a massive repudiation of his agenda, but did shoulder the blame for deep voter frustration over the economy.

Hours after Republicans captured the House of Representatives and slashed the Democratic majority in the Senate, a subdued Obama said in a White House news conference that voters were mostly preoccupied with the slow recovery.

"I think that there is no doubt that people's number one concern is the economy," Obama said. "And what they were expressing great frustration about is the fact that we haven't made enough progress on the economy."

After two years of "hope" and "change", the US economic recovery remained sluggish and unemployment is pegged at a stubborn 9.6 percent. The voter's discontent just materialized with stunning clarity.

Yes, the economy is to blame. And then of course -- someone's got to be blamed for the economy.

Don't blame it on the sunshine
Don't blame it on the moonlight
Don't blame it on the good times...

I doubt if the Obama camp is in any mood to dance.
The pro-life camp however, appears poised to rock and roll.
CatholicVote says virtually every so-called “pro-life” legislator that voted for Obamacare went down to defeat last night.

Blame it on the boogie