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!

In Manila: Filipinos waited to greet Pope Francis

Papal Visit Men Women rush NJ Viehland

Men, women rush to get a spot on an empty truck to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis as he goes from Villamor Airbase to the nunciature in Taft Avenue. NJ Viehland Photos

MANILA, PHILIPPINES Filipinos came in droves to line streets of Manila, where Pope Francis’ motorcade breezed through the 14 miles from Villamor Air Base to the nunciature on Taft Avenue.
The sidewalks beyond the barricades from the corner of Taft near the nuncio’s residence down Roxas Boulevard were teeming with people hours before the expected 5:45 p.m. landing of the plane that carried him from Sri Lanka.

Some people, like Gladys Silvano, told NCR she arrived at 3 a.m. It was her day off as a cashier in a restaurant, and she wanted to make sure she found a spot that would give her clear view.

There were no video screens installed in this part of the motorcade. See what they did in NCR Photo blog: Crowds greet Pope Francis in Manila  N.J. Viehland | Jan. 15, 2015

Quevedo: Dialogue in Asia and Francis’ dialogue

 NJ Viehland Photos

Former officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao greeted Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato at a dinner celebration in Cotabato of his birthday and creation as cardinal. NJ Viehland Photos

It is very encouraging that we are on the right track — that we are not a church apart that thinks differently from the pope, from the universal church – Orlando Quevedo.
Full report Quevedo: Francis’, Asian church’s definitions of dialogue are the same N.J. Viehland  |  Jan. 14, 2015
Asian Family buddhist hindu catholic NJ Viehland

Congress on Asian Family with Buddhist monk, Hindu mother and Catholic evangelist Bo Sanchez. NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Tagle: Christmas Message 2014

By Ed Gerlock

contributed by Ed Gerlock edgerlock@yahoo.com.ph

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, I extend to all of you, especially to your families my prayerful wishes of a Blessed Christmas. For the Church in the Philippines, November 2104 up to November 2015 has been designated as the Year of the Poor. So Christmas 2014 falls within this most important event centered on the poor of the land and of the world.

Jesus, though truly Son of God, emptied himself of his glory and prerogatives and became human, one of us. This is the mystery of Christmas: God becomes poor and lowly so that we could become rich in God’s life. By becoming human, Jesus has identified himself with every human being, especially the poor whose only strength is God. Christmas is never truly Christmas if we do not accept and imitate Jesus’ self-emptying poverty. Christmas is a season to shed off illusions of grandeur, pretensions to self-importance, and the wickedness of self-interest. Christmas is never truly Christmas if we do not practice Jesus’ solidarity with the poor, the weak, and the neglected. Christmas is a season to see our own poverty, to see a companion in every person who suffers and to see Jesus in a needy brother or sister. Christmas frees the poor from inhumanity and degradation. Christmas proclaims the good news that the poor are loved by God, that they possess the dignity that has its source in God, that they could take their rightful place in shaping society as protagonists. May Christmas 2014 give us greater zeal to combat trafficking in human persons, new forms of slavery, neglect and abuse of children and violence against the helpless!

As we also prepare to welcome Pope Francis with his message of mercy and compassion, we pray that the celebration of Jesus’ birth bring much love and peace, especially to the poor of the land.

+ Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle

Archbishop of Manila  

Mobile apps for Papal Visit Philippines 2015 launched

Papal Visit apps launching / NJ Viehland Photos

The Committee for the Papal Visit launched today through Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig the Papal Visit application for Android and IOS.

The software can be downloaded through Google Apps by typing papal visit 2015. When download is completed and the app is installed  the Philippines Papal Visit 2015 logo and Pope Francis’ photo appears on the phone’s screen as the official Papal Visit song and video play. Icons appear in the bottom of the screen which when tapped takes one either to Pontifex, Pope Francis’ Twitter account, the news, the event’s official website and the Papal Visit itinerary. The app can be used for a Tablet also.

“We want as best as we can to make sure that the information that we provide day by day and weekly updates are given to the public, especially those who are mobile,” said Bishop Vergara, who chairs the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

He thanked people who “made sure these apps would come out a month before the visit of the Holy Father.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Manila from Sri Lanka for his apostolic visit Jan. 15-19, 2015.

Sri Lanka Commentary: Blessed Joseph Vaz canonization

Joseph Vaz devotion card

Contributed photo

Denigrating the holiest event Lankan Catholics awaited for 303 years

Sri Lanka has decided to hold a presidential election on Jan. 8 – just one week before Pope Francis visits the country. Such advancing of an election, not due for another two years, has deeply hurt the country’s Catholics.

Catholics invited the pope to canonize Blessed Joseph Vaz, the country’s first saint, not for a State visit. The event was set alongside the saint’s Jan. 17 death anniversary. Catholics wished it to be a religious event, with minimal State involvement just for routine protocol. With deep frustration, they now watch the political Trojan horse invade the sanctuary.

The spiritual upbuild for the canonization by groups such as the Joseph Vaz National Secretariat was first distracted with Church-State-planned pageantry for the papal visit. Thereafter political posters made it a tool for election propaganda. Election-related discord and violence may soon overshadow the event. Church leaders little realize the faith erosion caused by letting politics ruin the holiest event Catholics eagerly awaited for 303 years.

Much public distress about the event’s politicization has been expressed via social media and other public exchanges. Many Catholics have urged that the canonization be postponed. Others even say it could be held in Rome like the recent canonization of Indian Saints Chavara and Alphonsa. Some prefer such moves to political denigration of the name of Father Vaz who eschewed politics, and ministered to victims of political conflict.

Sri Lanka Papal visit FB screenshot

The Indian priest had arrived in the country in 1687 dressed as a beggar to avoid Dutch colonizers’ ban on entry of Catholic priests. For 10 years he was the only priest serving the entire country until confreres joined him. During his 24-year apostolate, he searched for Sinhala or Tamil Catholics living in hiding in the aftermath of political conflict between Portuguese and Dutch colonizers. Buddhists and Hindus valued his ascetic witness of treating king and commoner with equanimity.

Saint John Paul II, who beatified Father Vaz in 1995, once described him as the greatest missioner in Asia next to Saint Francis Xavier. It was an affirmation of Lankans’ acclaim of this holy missioner’s sanctity.

Since the missioner’s death in 1711, about 50 books on his life and service have been published in English, French, Italian, Konkani, Sinhalese and Tamil. Devotion to this Apostle of Sri Lanka has spread locally as well as in his Indian homeland. Since his beatification, 10 venues in four Sri Lankan dioceses hold novena devotions to Blessed Vaz. Nine dioceses have dedicated 23 churches and chapels in his honor.

Apart from such public veneration, the aura of his mission still survives in the pastoral field. Trincomalee and Kurunegala dioceses have named their minor seminaries after him. Colombo, Galle and Kurunegala dioceses have opened lay theologates to promote his pioneer mission of indigenization.

Amid such evidence of his living memory, Catholics countrywide have eagerly awaited the peak moment of the preparatory work by the Joseph Vaz National Secretariat, headed by Bishop Vianney Fernando of Kandy. But the spiritual benefit of these efforts will be lost if election-related rivalry and recrimination invade its final stage. Church leaders should make alternate arrangements if they cannot ensure Catholics a prayerful atmosphere to celebrate their first saint without being hassled by election unrest or militarized restrictions.

Hector Welgampola

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.


Cardinal Tagle announces Papal Visit 2015 itinerary

Papal Visit itinerary press con NJ Viehlandjpg

(left to right) Philippines Ambassador to the Holy See Marciano Paynor, state Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. , Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Chair of CBCP Commission on Social Communication, Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle announced at a press conference today the itinerary of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to the Philippines Jan. 15-19 next year.

Cardinal Tagle said Pope Francis will bring his message of “Mercy and Compassion” to 11 different venues in the Archdioceses of Manila and Palo during his Apostolic Visit to the Philippines.

The cardinal said Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila from Sri Lanka (the first leg of his Asian trip) by plane…

Read full report: Philippines is ready for “Pope of Surprises”

NJ Viehland Photos

“I would say on the government’s part, 95% of its preparations is all about security,” Philippines Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. told the Nov. 14 press con on the itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in 2015. Ochoa declined to discuss details of security concerns and plans for the papal visit. / NJ Viehland Photos

Papal Visit presscon Paynor NJ Viehland

Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Marciano Paynor at the Nov. 14 press con on Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to the Philippines responded to reports saying typhoon survivors in Tacloban would be evicted from temporary homes to make way for the Pope Francis’ visit. Paynor said: “Very early when we were making preparations for the visit in Tacloban, we had already been requested not to unnecessarily move people around. But even before the pope’s visit was announced or even before we knew about the pope’s visit, there had already been movements in the area because of typhoon Haiyan. So any kind of movement now is part of that. In fact , actually it had slowed down and we’ve had to alter some of our plans to respect that particular request that as few numbers of people as possible should be dislocated on account of the pope’s visit. So whatever movements there are now are movements which were planned way before and it’s part of the rehabilitation plan of the government. / NJ Viehland Photos

Scroll down for photos or click to view complete itinerary

Papal Visit itinerary Tagle Giuseppe Pinto NJ Viehland

Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto: Pope Francis dreams of “a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” [EG27] / NJ Viehland Photos 

Papal visit press con Pantin NJ Viehland

Fr. Pantin reads the message from Archbishop John Du of Palo, Leyte / NJ Viehland Photos

Papal Visit itinerary Fr Marvin Mejia NJ Viehland

“When the Pope sees us Filipinos, may he see the living god in us” – Fr. Marvin Mejia reads the message of CBCP President Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan / NJ Viehland Photos

Related posts

CBCP Pastoral Letter to Prepare for 2015 Papal Visit

Manila’s street children to Pope Francis : We’re waiting for you


Last Sunday, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle left Manila for Rome.

He will hand over to Pope Francis around a thousand letters from children of Tulay ng Kabataan (TNK, bridge of the youth), and a video made by TNK Foundation, a media release from the foundation reported.

What is this  foundation and what is it inviting people to do in the run-up to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in January? Find out  on the foundation’s website.

Click Dear Holy Father photo to watch their video.

Eagerness grows over papal visits to Asia

Updated May 29 11:15 a.m.

MANILA – Reports of Pope Francis’ inflight announcement of plans to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January spread quickly in media here Tuesday, but Catholics are not the only Asian people excited for a visit from the pope.

Read full report here Eagerness grows over Pope Francis’ visits to Asia

The official website of the Archdiocese of Colombo also reported that Pope Francis’ announcement of the January 2015 visit has been received with delight in the south Asian country.  

Cardinal Ranjith, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka invited Pope Francis to visit his country during the Ad Limina visit of the Bishops’ Conference this month.

Eye Sri Lanka earlier this month had quoted Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Manna as saying that the papal visit to Sri Lanka “is scheduled for 13-15 January 2015.” 

Bishop Joseph was one of 13 Sri Lankan bishops who were in Rome May 2-3 for their ad limina visit. He reportedly told Asia News that Pope Francis in addressing the bishops of Sri Lanka encouraged the Church in its efforts towards national reconciliation. The pope reportedly said even though the nearly 26 year-old war ended in 2009, much needs to be done towards reconciliation, respect for human rights and true peace. 

Click here to read the full report Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka in January 2015?

Related posts:

What can Asia expect of upcoming papal visits?

Papal visit to Korea motto and logo released

New Philippines bishops’ head: Church marches to the beat of Pope Francis

 Ruki Fernando out of detention – is he free?

Other voices:

Sri Lanka monks occupy ministry building – Buddhist nationalist group Ravana Balaya stages sit-in at religious affairs ministry against religious police unit.