ABS CBN media network pulls out “Pope Francis” shirt after CBCP warning on error

 

papal visit tshirt for sale pull out screen shotABS-CBN media network apologized Monday for offending people with a Papal Visit 2015 commemorative shirt it is selling on its online store and other retail shops.

In its statement, the mixed media network’s spokesman said it would pull out from shops the design that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) criticized.

“ABS-CBN assures the public that there was no intent to deceive or mislead the public through the commemorative shirt that carry statements inspired by Pope Francis’ message of love, openness, and humility,” ABS-CBN spokesman Bong Osorio said.

“We apologize if a particular statement shirt offended anyone. We are pulling out the item from our online shop and all retail partner stores,” he added.

Papal Visit tshirt warning screen shot

The recalled shirts carried the slogan “No race, no religion.” It is one of four designs for commemorative shirts produced and sold by ABS CBN in celebration of Pope Francis’ apostolic and state visit to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19.

CBCP in a statement on Monday warned the public about t-shirts printed with words it said are “misleading” and “erroneous” in suggesting Pope Francis pronounced those words.

CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan urged Catholics not to patronize the shirt with the words: “No race. No religion.”

The other designs include “Ganito Ako. Ganyan Ka (This is how I am. That is how you are. Who Am I To Judge,” “Thank You sa Malasakit (thank you for your compassion). Pope Francis sa Pilipinas (Pope Francis in the Philippines.”

CBCP News reports that Catholics want the “Who am I to judge?” design pulled out also. The report quotes the warning of Catholic lawyer and lay preacher Marwil N. Llasos of the Company of St. Dominic (CSD)  that the design “grossly distorts” Pope Francis’ views on gay people who seek God, and implies that the pope espouses “beliefs and principles that directly violate official Church teachings.”

 

Catholic Bishops’ national body explains why it cannot protect accused scam mastermind

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) explained in a statement today why it cannot grant the request of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet-Lim Napoles to be placed in their protective custody saying the CBCP is not qualified for the role under civil law.

“The CBCP appreciates the trust that Ms. Napoles has in the CBCP,” Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the CBCP said in a statement on the matter.

“We are not sure that under civil law we are qualified for such a role as Ms. Napoles would wish us to assume,” he added.

According to Villegas existing Church laws also do not allow an Episcopal conference to stand as guarantor before civil courts that the accused will not abscond and will be available at every trial date.

In early June, the office of the Ombudsman filed  charges of plunder against businesswoman Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the racket that involved the diversion of billions of pesos worth of livelihood projects and farm inputs intended for poor farmers into ghost NGOs and kickbacks. 

Thirty-seven others, including 3 senators and their staff, have been similarly charged before the anti-graft court.

Napoles had reportedly written a letter to the CBCP asking them to take her into its custody saying she believes she would be safer with clergy.

Following is Villegas’ full statement sent to Catholic in Asia titled, CBCP Reply to the REQUEST of Ms. Napoles for Custody Under CBCP:

The CBCP appreciates the trust that Ms. Napoles has in the CBCP.
 
With regard to her request that the CBCP take her under protective custody, we face obstacles from both Church and State laws.
 
Existing Church laws do not allow an episcopal conference to stand as guarantor before civil courts that the accused will not abscond and will be available at every trial date. Furthermore, we are not sure that under civil law we are qualified for such a role as Ms. Napoles would wish us to assume.
 
Then too there is the important issue of establishing a precedent. Once we allow CBCP’s offices to take recognizance of Ms. Napoles, we must, to be fair, accept similar requests from all other accused. Not only would this strain CBCP’s resources. It would render impossible the discharge of its principal functions.
 
We shall however continue to be vigilant that the rights of Ms. Napoles, as of all accused, are respected and safeguarded; in the same measure that we urge government prosecutors to be resolute and non-selective in the indictment of offenders and in holding them accountable for all their actions.
 
From the CBCP, Manila, July 8, 2014
 
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
   Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Napoles was reported to be close to clergy and supportive of Church projects and programs.

In May retired Manila priest Father Josefino Ramirez also issued the following statement sent to Catholic in Asia about a newspaper report whose headline claimed “priests got pork manna”:

May 22, 2014 

STATEMENT OF MSGR. JOSEFINO S. RAMIREZ ON ARTICLE,  “Priests Got Pork Manna”, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 22, 2014

            This refers to the article written by Nancy C. Carvajal entitled “Priests got pork manna” published on 22 May 2014 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The article alleges that Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles “handed out generous donations to priests and nuns using allocations from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) [as shown by the] digital records of her former finance officer, [Mr. Benhur Luy].”

            The article further states that I received the following from Ms. Napoles:

  1. P2.5M through a Metrobank check (per entry in the records of Benhur Luy for May 10, 2007);
  2. P434,451 for travel to Europe (per entry for October 16, 2008);
  3. P800,000.00 for donations on several occasions;
  4. P310,550 for my birthday party;
  5. P9,000.00 for “guard of Monsi for Jollibee”; and
  6. Stipends totaling P344,000 on several occasions for “priests/nuns, deacons” from 2004 to 2010.

            For clarity, please allow me to state the following:

            a.         The Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation in the service of the Divine Mercy was established by the children of Magdalena Luy Lim in memory of their deceased mother.  During her lifetime, Magdalena Luy Lim, a Chinese, was an ardent devotee of the Divine Mercy. She used to help my charities since 2004, most especially the apostolate for China because this is the only way that she can thank the Lord for the gift of her Catholic faith as a Chinese.

             b.         Before she died, Magalena Luy Lim requested her children to continue helping the apostolate projects of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines and in China, through the Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation.

             c.         Hence, donations were made by the Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation for the various projects of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines and in China.

            d.         As Coordinator for Divine Mercy, Asia, appointed by the Church, I received the donations of the Foundation as well as from other donors with the sole intention of using the same for the projects of the Divine Mercy.The donations were received in utmost good faith and without any knowledge as to the source of the funds.

            Herein below are my comments on the allegations made in the article published by the Inquirer today:

Amounts Received PerInquirer Article Comment
1. P2.5M through a Metrobank check (per entry in the records of Benhur Luy for May 10, 2007); The amount of P2M, not P2.5M, was donated by Mrs. Napoles to the CARITAS SALVE Savings and Livelihood with Values Education Credit, a micro-finance program under Caritas Manila.
2. P434,451 for travel to Europe (per entry for October 16, 2008) The amount was donated for my airplane ticket as the Coordinator of the Divine Mercy for Asia, and the plane tickets of 4 Chinese priests representing China to theWorld Apostolate Congress of Mercy (WACOM) in Rome.
3. P800,000.00 for donations on several occasions The amount was spent for the following expenses incurred by 14 batches of Chinese priests and nuns taking Church renewal courses in the Philippines from Dec 2011 – Aug 2013.a. Food Expenses in  the amount of P57,143.00/month for each batch consisting of 20 priests and nuns;b. Honorarium for Lecturers; andc. Electricity and Water Expenses.
4. P310,550 for my birthday party The Napoles Family hosted a surprised birthday party for me and invited approximately 300 friends and former parishioners as guests. I have no knowledge of the exact amount spent for the said party.
5. P9,000.00 for “guard of Monsi for Jollibee” Food/meals from Jollibee were purchased by the host for the drivers of the guests who attended the party. I have no knowledge of the exact amount spent for the said foods/meals for the drivers.
6. Stipends totaling P344,000 on several occasions for “priests/nuns, deacons” from 2004 to 2010.  Since I met Ms. Napoles only in 2007, I can only attest to the fact that from 2007-2010, stipends were given to priests and nuns invited during special occasions, such as office anniversaries, the funeral Mass of Mrs. Magdalena Luy Lim, her death anniversary and other memorable occasions The priests, who were friends of Napoles family, and nuns were invited from various provinces and congregations. They were given stipends for their Charities and transportation.

 

            I hope that I have clarified the matters stated in the article published by the Inquirer.

            Thank you.

                                                Very truly yours,           

                                                 (SIGNED)      MONSIGNOR JOSEFINO S. RAMIREZ

In May, Villegas, visited  Napoles when she was confined in Ospital ng Makati. “The family of Mrs. Janet Napoles requested for prayers and blessings for fast recovery. As a priest I went there,” Villegas said.

He said he reminded the accused woman that “the blessing [would] only give healing if she [told] the whole truth without being selective.” 

END

In pictures – ‘Nazareth Workshop’ sews together fabric and workers’ lives

There’s more to these albs and clerical shirts than meets the eye.

The Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) specializes in producing clerical shirts, Polo shirts and school uniforms, and helps to sell albs primarily produced in the Cebu City workshop. - NJ Viehland Photos

The Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) specializes in producing clerical shirts, Polo shirts and school uniforms, and helps to sell albs primarily produced in the Cebu City workshop. – NJ Viehland Photos

They are created through a careful and deep process of nuns, with a team of trainers, teaching workers, mostly women, how to sew with their hands and using various kinds of sewing machines…

Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns in Mandaluyong City has 34 single and special machines including some with two needles for sewing garters. Workers, mostly women, are required to wear masks mainly to protect them from inhaling loose fiber and other elements harmful to their lungs. - NJ Viehland Photos

Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns in Mandaluyong City has 34 single and special machines including some with two needles for sewing garters. Workers, mostly women, are required to wear masks mainly to protect them from inhaling loose fiber and other elements harmful to their lungs. – NJ Viehland Photos

how to draw and cut patterns, how to cut fabric …

Master cutter in action at the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret run by Siervas of San Jose nuns that was working to stay on schedule for school uniform production for school year 2014-2015 that starts in June. - NJ Viehland photos

Master cutter in action at the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret run by Siervas of San Jose nuns that was working to stay on schedule for school uniform production for school year 2014-2015 that starts in June. – NJ Viehland photos

 

In the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns, workers are taught to sew a complete garment so that if someone is not around, the job moves ahead, and also to enable them to produce a complete product. Workers who have sewed in garment factors told Catholic In Asia they were trained only to sew parts of a garment, like sleeves or collars to protect the company's business. For these parts of the garment, factories pay them per piece.  Sister Lucy Camiring on April 30 discussed with a leading seamstress the status of their job of sewing school uniforms. - NJ Viehland Photos

In the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) run by Siervas de San Jose nuns, workers are taught to sew a complete garment so that if someone is not around, the job moves ahead, and also to enable them to produce a complete product. Workers who have sewed in garment factors told Catholic In Asia they were trained only to sew parts of a garment, like sleeves or collars to protect the company’s business. For these parts of the garment, factories pay them per piece. Sister Lucy Camiring on April 30 discussed with a leading seamstress the status of their job of sewing school uniforms. – NJ Viehland Photos

 

Project development and planning are among skills that nuns hone to enable workers in Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to stand on their own and collaborate to sustain the workshop. Their production meetings turn out plans and schedules that are written on a whiteboard in the shop. - NJ Viehland Photos

Project development and planning are among skills that nuns hone to enable workers in Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to stand on their own and collaborate to sustain the workshop. Their production meetings turn out plans and schedules that are written on a whiteboard in the shop. – NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Lucy Camiring and fellow Siervas de San Jose nuns and aspirants who take turns in working with the workers in the five Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) in the country. - NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Lucy Camiring and fellow Siervas de San Jose nuns and aspirants who take turns in working with the workers in the five Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) in the country. – NJ Viehland Photos

Some products require washing normally done by hand in the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to be more economical and provide people work. - NJ Viehland Photos

Some products require washing normally done by hand in the Mandaluyong City branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshops) to be more economical and provide people work. – NJ Viehland Photos

Margie Rose Butlig (right) takes charge of production in the Mandaluyong branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshop) run by Siervas de San Jose to where Sister Lucy Camiring (left) has served after returning from 9 years in mission in Papua New Guinea. - NJ Viehland Photos

Margie Rose Butlig (right) takes charge of production in the Mandaluyong branch of Talleres de Nazaret (Nazareth workshop) run by Siervas de San Jose to where Sister Lucy Camiring (left) has served after returning from 9 years in mission in Papua New Guinea. – NJ Viehland Photos

On the eve of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker May 1 Margie Rose reflected on the role of Siervas de San Jose Sisters in her own and her family’s life. “They have been to me like Saint Joseph was to Jesus – only they are nuns,” the worker in charge of production said. To understand why click on ‘Nazareth Workshop’ sews together fabric and workers lives”

Lenten reflection – Malaysian flight disaster by Hector Welgampola

Girls sat at the foot of the altar and joined the packed Paco Church in Manila during the Day of Lament and Hope prayer service led by Cardinal Luis Tagle for the dead, their relatives and all people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013, and the earthquake in Bohol Province and attack on Zamboanga City, southern Philippines just months ahead of the typhoon. NJ Viehland Photo

Girls sat at the foot of the altar and joined the packed Paco Church in Manila during the Day of Lament and Hope prayer service led by Cardinal Luis Tagle for the dead, their relatives and all people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013, and the earthquake in Bohol Province and attack on Zamboanga City, southern Philippines just months ahead of the typhoon. NJ Viehland Photo

A Lenten reflection in the aftermath of the Malaysian Flight disaster

Australia, the land Down Under, has become the locus of search in the biggest air travel mystery in recent times. In a way, the shift of operational focus must have brought some relief to Malaysia.

Almost four weeks after flight ML370s went missing, Malaysian officials have begun to tire of trying to explain the mysterious disappearance of the aircraft. Equally wearied media keep looking for newer angles to avoid putting the story on the backburner. While search operations gather momentum, families and friends of the 239 persons seemingly martyred on an air-borne modern-day cross continue to hang on to fast fading hopes.

A look back at the events unfolding in the aftermath of the March 8 debacle may give some perspective. At first, reports about the missing jet seemed yet another episode in the 24-hour news cycle – one more disaster story. It did not enthuse too many. The unfolding story seemed to be limited more or less to the instinct of alert news media and routine follow-up by Malaysian Airlines.

None in authority seemed to know where the plane has gone. Others seemed less public-spirited as to share information routinely recorded in their machines. Initially, the Malaysian military and aviators of neighboring countries such as China and Thailand hesitated to share available bits of info about the unusual drift of the aircraft. Even Malaysian bureaucrats and airline officials seemed apathetic, until the families of the missing passengers lost patience. That was the turning point.

While some officials reacted poorly to the noisy protests, the heart-wrenching cries of the Chinese families wailing in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur touched the hearts of many worldwide. Such rare outpouring of fellowship elicits the best of the human spirit. Thanks to media, public grief waxed so high as to force lethargic governments to seek ways of assuaging people’s calls for action.

One positive development in this sad saga was the assurance given to passengers’ families by Malaysia’s acting transport minister. As international cooperation began to rally, he assured them that the search-and-rescue operation would continue. “As long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes,” he said. Even though hopes of finding survivors became more and more unlikely, the prospect of recovering the remains of loved ones can sustain bereaved families. In most Asian cultures, such a prospect is essential to bring some form of closure.

Airport by NJ Viehland

No doubt, public outrage was a push factor prompting various other countries to volunteer technical information and backup not offered earlier. People’s growing frustration was later followed up with offers of equipment to search for the missing aircraft. If only such goodwill and technical support had been readily available earlier, the routinely monitored erratic path of the missing plane could have been promptly communicated. More importantly, such prompt communication may have helped save the lives of many passengers and crew.

Almost four weeks after the Malaysian Flight 370 went missing, a frantic search involving many nations is now underway for its black box. Ten airplanes and 11 ships equipped with sophisticated equipment from various countries have begun to scour the southern Indian Ocean for any such trace of the missing plane.

What has now begun is more a technological investigation to find why and how the Boeing aircraft went missing. It is not quite a search for survivors among the missing passengers and crew. According to media reports, even if the wreckage is located, there is little or no hope of their survival. Unless the flight had been hijacked elsewhere, the multi-country search off the western coast of Australia is all, too little, too late. That is tragic.

In an age when science is so advanced as to help humans reach outer space and traverse planets, there is no excuse for being ill-equipped to map and master movements in our own airspace and oceans. It is all the more unforgivable, if petty political point-scoring or regional rivalries inhibit inter-country collaboration essential for the welfare of all humans.

And as in the Tsunami or any past disaster, there is yet another unmistakable lesson here. No amount of technical equipment, no mass of scientific know-how can make up for a lack of humanitarian concern. After all, it is that godly spark called love that missions us as humans.

Hector Welgampola

Veteran Asian Church journalist Hector Welgampola from Sri Lanka has lived in Australia with his wife, Rita, since retiring as Executive Editor of the Bangkok-based Union of Catholic Asian News. Besides decades of leading and mentoring what used to be a wide network of UCAN correspondents and staff around the region and in other continents, Hector had also headed editorial teams of newspapers in Sri Lanka.