Ecology encyclical and “far away” Churches – Commentary, Hector Welgampola 

Ecology encyclical presents collegial wisdom of “far away” Churches

Hector Welgampola

Laudato Si cover

Full text here

 

Quite unsurprisingly, Laudato Si (Praise be to you), has taken the world by storm. Its content and ecclesial nuances have taken a definitive stand for the welfare of all forms of planetary life.  

As the most recent social encyclical, it is a groundbreaker, even though categorized with Rerum Novarum and other seminal documents of Catholic social doctrine. And those documents dealt mostly with issues that concerned the Western hemisphere. Like other encyclicals, they too were addressed to bishops and other Church leaders, although their salutations did often include a mention of “ to all men and women of good will.”  

As instruments of the Church’s teaching authority, they were grounded in the Scriptures and Tradition. An occasional mention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as in Saint John Paul’s Centesimus Annus was an exception. Dante’s Divine Comedy was quoted by the same pope in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater. Apart from following suit quoting Dante, Pope Francis’s Laudato Si also quotes Patriarch Bartholomew and Sufi mystic Ali Al Khawas as well. 

But there is much more to the new encyclical than its content and genre of documentation.While wading through traditional gateways of encyclicaling, Pope Francis new encyclical makes a subtle shift.While inviting all humanity to a dialogue about our shared home, the document engages the wider Church in a new dimension of ecclesial magisterium. That futuristic move once more reiterates the Holy Father’s prophetic streak as an innovator.   

As noted earlier, in response to varied needs and circumstances, encyclicals have grown as instruments of papal teaching. Especially in more recent times, they have tended to articulate the primacy of the Petrine office as supreme teaching authority.It is no surprise that Pope Francis, who prefers collegial consultation to authoritarian imposition, should see a need to broadbase the paradigm of encyclicaling. In a Spirit-led move, the innovative pope has reached out to the people of God worldwide for the wisdom of the “diaspora” Churches. And beyond doubt, the Spirit must hover over him. 

Especially, as a product of Puebla, Medellin and Aparecide, the Holy Father would fail Churches worldwide if this encyclical put a lid on his home Church’s passion for the environment. After all, how could that document ignore the pain of a continent raped and plundered by industrial conglomerates? Apart from reflecting the thinking of Aparecide, the document refers to statements by Bolivian, Brazilian, Dominican, Mexican, Paraguayan and Patagonian bishops.  

These and other agonies of oppressed peoples have been cited from Africa too. In particular, the pope had not forgotten the African outcry against corrupting foreign aid heard at the recent Synod. Asian voices from the FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences) and countries like Japan and the Philippines have been enhanced by echoes from Churches in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United States. 

This encyclical will go down in Church history as a genuine effort to integrate voices and values of the worldwide Church. And as the Spirit discerns, may it help evolve a collegial magisterium that resonates the pastoral wisdom and catholicity animating God’s people at the grassroots worldwide. 

Hector Welgampola

Veteran Asian Church journalist Hector Welgampola from Sri Lanka has retired as Executive Editor of the former Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) based in Hong Kong, then Bangkok. Before UCAN, Hector headed editorial teams of newspapers in Sri Lanka. Since retiring Hector has lived in Australia with his wife, Rita. He authored the resource book Asian Church Glossary and Stylebook.

 

 

Filipinos in Texas pause from teaching, join Good Friday ‘visita iglesia’

Saint Anne Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland

Filipinos teaching in Houston public schools brought family and friends to seven churches for Good Friday ‘visita iglesia’ starting here at Saint Anne church

HOUSTON, Texas – More than a dozen women and men from the Philippines teaching in one of America’s largest cities drove in a convoy on their holiday, Good Friday, to pay a visit to seven churches in keeping with Filipino tradition of visita iglesia.

In the Philippines, the general practice is to visit seven churches on Holy Thursday or Good Friday and make the Stations of the Cross in them.

Where the teachers’ group went and what they found?

1. re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross at Saint Anne church

Saint Anne Houston Jesus NJ Viehland

Actors act out Stations of the Cross at Saint Anne church in Houston. NJ Viehland Photos

2. warm welcome and kind accommodation from parishioners of St. Raphael the Archangel

They had moved the Blessed Sacrament for exposition in a small chapel, covered all statues and locked up the church, but opened it up briefly for the teachers’ visit.

Saint Raphael Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland 2

Saint Raphael church, Houston on Good Friday 2015. NJ Viehland Photos

Saint Raphael Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland

Saint Raphael Houston                              

3. Saint Francis De Sales was busy with some service so the teachers’ group prayed in the hallway before a cross draped with red cloth.

Saint Francis De Sales praying

4. Saint Thomas More Catholic community has built a shrine in memory of aborted babies

Saint Thomas Moore Church Houston aborted babies NJ Viehland

The group also visited St. Michael the Archangel, Holy Ghost and Corpus Christi churches.

Saint Michaels Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland

Filipino teachers and their families visit Saint Michael the Archangel church in Houston on Good Friday, 2015 

Holy Ghost Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland

Holy Ghost church in Houston is run by Redemptorist Fathers. NJ Viehland Photos

Corpus Christi Houston Good Friday NJ Viehland

Blessed Sacrament Fathers (SSS) administer Corpus Christi church in Houston. NJ Viehland photos

The Catholic Church recognizes the great responsibility teachers bear for building a society instilled with values and hope.

Pope Francis, in a recent meeting with educators called teaching a “beautiful profession” noting that it “allows us to see the people who are entrusted to our care grow day after day.”

The pope said only mature and balanced personalities can take on the “serious  commitment” to teach.  A former classroom teacher himself, the pope also reminded educators, “no teacher is ever alone: ​​They always share their work with other colleagues and the entire educational community to which they belong.”

He told members of the Catholic Union of Italian Teachers, Managers, Educators and trainers  (UCIIM) on their group’s 70th anniversary in March that being teacher is “like being parents, at least spiritually.” 

Cardinal Tagle in BBC Hard Talk on Church, development – video clip

AMOR, NJ Viehland Photos

Aspirants from south Asia bring offerings at the opening Mass for the XVIth Asia Oceania Meeting of Religious women (AMOR) officiated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in Tagaytay City, Philippines, in Nov. 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos

Stephen Sackur of BBC’s Hard Talk interviewed the Catholic Church’s most senior cleric in the Philippines, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. Is the Catholic Church helping the nation’s development?

View clips from the 30-minute BBC interview with Cardinal Tagle here

LEAVE THE RABBITS IN PEACE!! – CBCP President on Pope Francis interview

The Pope NEVER made the rather unseemly remark that Catholics breed like rabbits. Everyone is encouraged to read both on print and on social media the transcript of the Papal interview aboard Philippine Airlines that flew the Holy Father back to Rome.

What the Pope DID SAY was that some Catholics mistakenly believe that to be Catholic, we ought to breed like rabbits — and prior to using that simile, he knew that it was harsh and so said “excuse the expression” — but it was apt and it brought home the point. And the point is that the Church has always taught that it is a Catholic obligation to be RESPONSIBLE about parenthood. Births should be planned rationally by both parents who must always remain open to new life, but who must also take into consideration their physical, financial and emotional capacity to raise children. It is not correct for a Catholic to assume the attitude: “Come what may!” This is traditional Church teaching that the Pope was reiterating, and it should be especially relevant to us Filipinos who are grappling with population issues.

It will also be important to go back to the Pope’s words at his meeting with families at MOA. There he said that Blessed Paul VI in his much-maligned Humanae Vitae prophetically understood that nations would be impoverished in the measure that they assume an anti-birth stance. The experience of aging nations with only a handful of youngsters to take on the jobs necessary for a country’s survival and growth has proved Blessed Paul VI right. At the same time, Paul VI urged PASTORS to be sensitive to PARTICULAR CASES, referring to cases that called to carefully balanced, prayerfully calibrated solutions in accordance with a well-formed conscience and in the context of the guidance received from the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

And this is certainly significant teaching for our time.

Let us leave the rabbits in peace!

A Conversation About Life: Points of View on Reproductive Health – Book launch

Conversation about life Poster

Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc. and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in cooperation with the Cebu Theological Forum cordially invite you to:

WHAT: Book Launching of “A Conversation About Life: Points of View on Reproductive Health” by Orlando P. Carvajal, Levy L. Lanaria, Rhoderick John S. Abellanosa, Aurelio C. Joaquin, Leny G. Ocasiones, Milagros A. Chan, Pasquale T. Giordano, SJ, Mitos Serrano-Rivera, IRH, Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ

WHEN: November 25, 2014 (Tuesday), 1:00-5:00PM

WHERE: Theodore Buttenbruch Hall, University of San Carlos Downtown Campus, P. del Rosario St., Cebu City

Philippines called to lead campaign against the death penalty in Asia

Cities for Life rally "No justice without life", Oct. 28, 2014, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Cities for Life rally “No justice without life”, Oct. 28, 2014, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Egidio anti death penalty rally singers NJ Viehland

Hundreds of people who gathered at a public square here for a rally against the death penalty lit candles and joined in singing “Heal the World” to close a historic dialogue on human rights and respect for the dignity of life.

It may have ended months of work for the first Asia Pacific dialogue on the theme “No Justice without Life.” But Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. and other speakers pointed out that much work remains for Filipinos to foster dialogue on the death penalty and ensure that the country’s laws do not again allow executions.

"No justice without life" Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

“No justice without life” Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Mayor Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos, Jr of Mandaluyong on the Global Campaign Cities for Life where his city is member at the anti death penalty rally Oct. 28, 2014 in Greenfields Square / NJ Viehland Photos

Mayor Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr of Mandaluyong on the Global Campaign Cities for Life where his city is member at the anti death penalty rally Oct. 28, 2014 in Greenfields Square / NJ Viehland Photos

Religions and the value of life symposium [l-r] Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, CBCP Committee on Public Affairs Chair, Grace Candol of Sant'Egidio Philippines, Abdulhusin Kashim, Former Dean and lecturer of Islam, Oct. 27, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

Religions and the value of life symposium [l-r] Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, CBCP Committee on Public Affairs Chair, Grace Candol of Sant’Egidio Philippines, Abdulhusin Kashim, Former Dean and lecturer of Islam, Oct. 27, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

Read full report  / Scroll down for photos

Aux. Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Chairman, CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Aux. Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Chairman, CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Religions and the value of life symposium [l-r] Buddhist Monk Ryuji Furukawa of Japan Schweitzer Temple, Chair Sudheendra Kulkarni of observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, India, Oct. 27, 2014, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Religions and the value of life symposium [l-r] Buddhist Monk Ryuji Furukawa of Japan Schweitzer Temple, Chair Sudheendra Kulkarni of observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, India, Oct. 27, 2014, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Global Campaign for Abolition of the Death Penalty, Mario Marazziti, President of Commission for Human Rights of the Italian Parliament and co-founder World Coalition Against Death Penalty, Italy, Oct. 27, 2014, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Global Campaign for Abolition of the Death Penalty, Mario Marazziti, President of Commission for Human Rights of the Italian Parliament and co-founder World Coalition Against Death Penalty, Italy, Oct. 27, 2014, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

A Culture for Life in the Philippines, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

A Culture for Life in the Philippines, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Cambodia Justice Secretary Sotheavy Chan, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Cambodia Justice Secretary Sotheavy Chan, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III, Former Deputy Speaker, Phil. House of Representatives, Oct. 28, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III, Former Deputy Speaker, Phil. House of Representatives, Oct. 28, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Arthur Laffin, founder of Murder Victims' Family for Reconciliation, USA talked about moving on after his brother's murder, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Arthur Laffin, founder of Murder Victims’ Family for Reconciliation, USA talked about moving on after his brother’s murder, Oct. 27, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Alberto Quattrucci [rigtmost] with Sant'Egidio team, 1st Asia Pacific Dialogue on Human Rights and Respect for the Dignity of Life, Oct. 28, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Alberto Quattrucci [rigtmost] with Sant’Egidio team, 1st Asia Pacific Dialogue on Human Rights and Respect for the Dignity of Life, Oct. 28, 2014, Shangri-La Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

JC Mangmang [rightmost] and fellow freshmen of Don Bosco electronic communication / NJ Viehland Photos

JC Mangmang [rightmost] and fellow freshmen of Don Bosco electronic communication / NJ Viehland Photos

Cities for Life rally vs death penalty, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, Oct. 28, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

Cities for Life rally vs death penalty, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, Oct. 28, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Cities of Life rally "no justice without life" Oct. 28, 2014, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Cities of Life rally “no justice without life” Oct. 28, 2014, Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines / NJ Viehland Photos

USA Ridgefield Town Police Commissioner George Kain, Professor, Division of Justice and law Administration at Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines Cities of Life rally vs death penalty, Oct. 28, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

USA Ridgefield Town Police Commissioner George Kain, Professor, Division of Justice and law Administration at Greenfields Square, Mandaluyong City, Philippines Cities of Life rally vs death penalty, Oct. 28, 2014 / NJ Viehland Photos

 

“No justice without life”conference vs death penalty steps outside Italy

 

[l-r] Leonardo Tranggono of Sant'Egidio, Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Massimo Roscigno, Philippines Secretary Leila De Lima, Philippines Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, Administrator Manuel Co of Parole and Probation Administration announce the first "No justice without life" Conference in Asia at the Oct. 23 press conference at the Department of Justice, Manila/ NJ Viehland Photos

[l-r] Leonardo Tranggono of Sant’Egidio, Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Massimo Roscigno, Philippines Secretary Leila De Lima, Philippines Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, Administrator Manuel Co of Parole and Probation Administration announce the first “No justice without life” Conference in Asia at the Oct. 23 press conference at the Department of Justice, Manila/ NJ Viehland Photos

Rome-based international Christian Community of Sant’Egidio and the Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ) welcomed delegates to the October 27-28 conference on the death penalty that will be held in Mandaluyong City, east of Manila.

Philippines Justice Secretary Leila De Lima announced the “Asia-Pacific Congress on human rights, respect of human life, abolition of death penalty,”  and introduced her department’s co-organizers during a press conference conducted Oct. 23 at the DOJ in Manila as delegates arrived. 

On Monday, representatives of Asian governments, activists and witnesses from Asian countries and more than 30 mayors from around the Philippines will gather  there for two days to listen to and dialogue on issues and points tackled in talks concerning human rights, respect for life, abolition of every kind of death penalty in Asia. 

Countries expected to send representatives include India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is also sending representatives from its commission on prison pastoral care.

 Leonardo Tranggono who serves in Sant’Egidio’s international affairs office told Catholic in Asia this is the first time the annual gathering launched in 2005 is being held outside Italy. Asia was selected primarily because majority of governments in the region still impose capital punishment, Tranggono said.

Tranggono and Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Massimo Roscigno thanked De Lima for accepting the invitation to host the “historic” conference and for the Philippine government’s “advocacy” for halting executions of persons. 

President Gloria Arroyo approved in 2006 the law abolishing death penalty in the Philippines.

This week’s conference host, Mandaluyong City, has also declared its opposition to the death penalty, along with more than 2,000 “Cities for Life” in some 50 countries, Tranggono said.

End of Part I