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!

Catholic schools launch nat’l congress on family set on papal visit

Congress on the Filipino Family SMX NJ Viehland

[l-r] Dennis Salvador SMX Convention Director of sales, Dexter Deyto VP/Gen. Manager signing with Miriam’s Rose Bautista, Jose Arellano, OIC Executive Director of CEAP, Maricel Salapantan, MC High School Family Councilpresident. / NJ Viehland Photos

Updated Nov. 19, 2014

Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll College), has teamed up with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) member schools and ABS-CBN media network to convene the National Congress on the Filipino Family.

The national congress is slated on Jan. 16-17 coinciding with Pope Francis’ Jan. 15-19 visit to the Philippines, but is not included in the Pope’s itinerary.

The congress to launched today supports the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that closed in Rome Oct. 19 on the topic, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. “It aims to highlight the voice of the laity in discussion of what actually takes place within the family,” organizers said in their press release. 

Miriam College High School principal Edizon Fermin, Adviser of the Executive Council National Congress on the Filipino Family said organizers hope to be as open and inclusive as possible. The congress will gather a broad range of participants, including same-sex couples who have raised families, “housebands” who have shifted from the traditional roles of household men, career-oriented couples juggling work with parenting, teenaged mothers abandoned by the fathers of their children, separated parents with custody of their children, children orphaned by soldier parents, children growing up in the digital world. These are also topics to be discussed in engaging talks and workshops.

Ed Fermin of Miriam College hands to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle the working document of the Congress on the Filipino Family convened by school family councils, PTA particularly from Catholic Schools - NJ Viehland Photos

Ed Fermin of Miriam College hands to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle the working document of the Congress on the Filipino Family convened by school family councils, PTA particularly from Catholic Schools – NJ Viehland Photos

Fermin presented last September the congress concept paper to Cardinal Tagle which Fermin said was drafted primarily by parents’ associations during the cardinal’s Theological Hour lecture on the 2014 synod at Loyola School of Theology.

Related post

CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas: Random thoughts at the close of the synod 

Synod on the Family: Commentary by Hector Welgampola

 

 

Church, society called to enable new landowners via land reform – CBCP president

coffee farmers' cooperative, Laguna /NJ Viehland Photos

coffee farmers’ cooperative, Laguna /NJ Viehland Photos

AGRARIAN REFORM

AS A CONTINUING PROJECT OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

Not too long ago I issued a statement on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and its implementing law, lauding its achievements as well as candidly pointing out the challenges that still had to be hurdled.  The CBCP is once more being asked about the expanded and enhanced version of the program and whether it remains not only legally but morally justified.

Laguna,NJ Viehland

Laguna / NJ Viehland Photos

Agrarian Reform as Moral Imperative

Unless the expropriation of privately owned property serves the higher cause of social justice, agrarian reform cannot  hardly (be) justified.  When it casts itself off from this moral mooring, land reform merely becomes disguised confiscation by the State of private property.  This also means that the underlying motive as well as the defining criterion for any enhancement, expansion or amendment of the agrarian reform law presently in place must be social justice — and this is exactly what is disturbing because our Legislature that has not seen urgency in other matters of national concern involving social justice cannot credibly enact an enhanced or improved agrarian reform law unless it takes all the demands of social justice in their entirety to heart.

Some Concerns of Law Reform

The present spate of investigations into questionable acquisitions by officials of government of considerable tracts of land — often in scandalous proportions — leaves no doubt that the law has in several ways been circumvented and persons otherwise disqualified from amassing vast tracts of land in contravention of the law have in fact done so.  Genuine law reform and resolute law implementation must address this.

It is also a fact to which many of our pastors throughout the country bear witness that farmer-beneficiaries have, through some subterfuge, successfully alienated their acquisitions, defeating the purpose as well as the intendment of the program.  While on the one hand, this speaks of a downright irresponsibility on the part of farmer-beneficiaries, it also suggests that they needed assistance from government, from the Church, from NGOs to succeed in their new roles as land-owners bad sadly, at least according to their perception, received no such assistance.

Clearly, therefore, the nagging problems of the redistribution of land resources in this country cannot be solved by the mere passage of laws or the amendment of legal provisions.  The Church, for one, is called to that charity that takes the form of empowering new land-owners so that they may truly enjoy the self-determination that characterizes persons as God’s free sons and daughters.

Laguna,NJ Viehland

Laguna / NJ Viehland Photos

Family Fragmentation and the Vacuity of Land Reform

Agrarian reform envisioned the family as an economic unit, endeavoring to give each family that portion of God’s earth on which it labored so that together, having impressed the marks of their personhood — both as individuals and as a family — on the land, it would be truly be theirs.  But this idyllic picture is slowly fading, sliding over into the realm of fiction, for the sad reality is that the Filipino is now very frequently a fragmented family, youngsters setting as their priority migration to some foreign land with the result that continued ownership of the land their parents once lovingly tilled becomes a matter of indifference.

Again, it is clear that the issue goes far beyond legal considerations and touches on the very mission of the family and life apostolate of the Church.  Agrarian reform, the CBCP continues to hope, should be a potent instrument of social cohesion and the flourishing of the family as the domestic church.

THE CBCP THEREFORE requests the Legislature to consider the foregoing points in its project to expanding and enhancing the agrarian reform program, even as it calls on various church groups, lay groups in particular, as well as NGOs, to do their part to see to the meaningful fruition of this program.

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, November 12, 2014

Archbishop Socrates Villegas. - NJ Viehland Photos

Archbishop Socrates Villegas / NJ Viehland Photos

+ SOCRATES VILLEGAS

   Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
   CBCP President

But where was Asia? – Cardinal Tagle post-synod

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle hosted a media briefing on the recently concluded Synod on the Family at Arzobispado, Intramuros, Oct. 30, 2014. - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle hosted a media briefing on the recently concluded Synod on the Family at Arzobispado, Intramuros, Oct. 30, 2014. – NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in his first Philippines media briefing after the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family closed in Rome Oct. 19 spent a few hours with journalists today to report on the synod.

Here’s just one of many concerns, views, emotions and learnings he shared :

As a President Delegate, I attended so many press conferences in the Vatican because daily there was a press briefing and press conference.

On the second press conference that I attended, it just shook me – there was not a single Asian journalist among the hundreds and hundreds of international journalists. Sad to say there was not a single African journalist also.

The Sala Stampa, the press office, was really dominated by the West. So I asked myself, “Who will report on the concerns of Asia? Who will report on the voice of Asia being raised in the Synod hall?

And that is precisely the concern of the Synod – that the various and diverse situations and challenges surface.

So maybe your outfits could assign some of you full-time in the Vatican, so when things happen you don’t just rely on reports of others and you report these. Because the things you are reporting now, if they come from other sources are somewhat filtered already according to their concerns.

That’s why when I was interviewed by the Italian TV2000 and I expressed the concerns of Asia, the interviewer said, we have not heard that. I replied – because Europeans and people of the West are all who are in the press conference.

So I was a bit busy going to the press conferences just to be able to share our concerns in Asia.

I know for a fact that some people thought that the only topic discussed in the synod was divorce and gay union. I assure you, those were discussed. But I also assure you those were not the only concerns.

And for the Filipino media to have a more comprehensive reporting, I will give you the other concerns

[Note : Some words/sentences translated from Tagalog]

More to follow

Prayer for the Filipino family

Last month’s Symposium on the Filipino Family: Catholic and Women’s Perspectives organized by the Theology Department of the Jesuit-owned Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City opened with a moving prayer-slideshow prepared and led by theology instructor Maria Elisa A. Borja.(rightmost in photo).

Speakers and organizers of the Symposium on the Filipino Family: Catholic and Women's Perspectives. Extreme right is Maria Elisa A. Borja - NJ Viehland Photos

– NJ Viehland Photos

The inter-disciplinary event involving women sociologists and theologians was inspired by Pope Francis’ encouragement and the upcoming synod on the family to dialogue about the situation of Filipino families and Church teaching on women and the family, organizers said.

Following is the text of the prayer for all who wish to join in praying for a fruitful Synod on the Family to run in Rome Oct. 5-19.

A Prayer for The Filipino Family by Maria Elisa A. Borja, Ph.D. cand.
(inspired by A Prayer for Children by Ina C. Hughes)

Heavenly Father, we come to you. Listen to our prayer for the Filipino family.

We pray for Filipino families filled with selfless love and joy,
but also for families that are plagued with hatred and selfishness

We pray for Filipino families who live by OHANA…
where “nobody gets left behind or forgotten”
but also for families who leave each other behind,
who alienate and forget one another

We pray for Filipino families who come to church and say their daily rosary together,

Children and relatives of inmates greet priest after Sunday Mass at Maximum Security prison chapel - NJ Viehland Photo

Sunday Mass, maximum security prison chapel,Muntinlupa City           – NJ Viehland Photos

but more so, for families who do not celebrate Sunday mass together,
and those who do not pray at all

We pray for Filipino families who eat together and share stories and laugh,

By Ed Gerlock

– Ed Gerlock Photos

but most especially for families who do not eat together,
who do not share, and who do not laugh

We pray for Filipino families bonded and whole,
but also for families broken and fragmented

broken by separation or divorce
broken by alcoholism or drug abuse
broken by physical, verbal or psychological abuse

We pray for Filipino families who live comfortably
but more so, for those who have nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep,
who cannot work or study
who suffer in poverty

Quezon City, NJ Viehland

We pray for Filipino families whose love sees through
the struggle of caring for a special child or aging parent,
but also those who are tired and feel so burdened by it

We pray for Filipino families who have a father, a mother, children and relatives
and those who have no fathers, no mothers,
whose parents are working far away in another country,
whose mothers mother other children
so they cannot mother their own

Airport by NJ Viehland

Boy at airport                   – NJ Viehland Photos

We pray for two-parent Filipino families,
but most especially, for single parents,
for solo mothers and those who live in dire poverty
because they have to raise a family alone

We pray for families who do outreach
and reach out to the bigger human family,
but more so for those who are exclusive, who separate,
who don’t care about any other family but their own,
who discriminate against those who aren’t part of their family

We pray for Filipino families who build each other up,
but also for families who tear each other down

We pray for Filipino families who have lost their faith in You, Lord,
and lost faith in each other
Filipino families dealing with painful memories that haunt them at night
Filipino families struggling to make it through another day
Filipino families consumed by material goods but empty in spiritual things

We pray for every Filipino family,
with two parents or one
for widows/widowers and orphans

Iriga, NJ Viehland

Fatima Center for Human Development, Iriga City         – NJ Viehland Photos

We pray for stronger fathers
stronger mothers,
greater bonds of love

Man and baby - NJ Viehland Photos

Man and baby       – NJ Viehland Photos

We pray for the bigger Christian family, who is Church,
that all may feel welcome, loved and at home in it,
especially the least, the last and the lost

Listen to our prayer, Lord

May the Holy Family of Nazareth be our strength and our guide,
May the Blessed Mother who is Mother of Jesus
and therefore, mother of us all, intercede for every Filipino family

We ask this in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of us all,
in unity with the Holy Spirit, AMEN.