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Prison ministry marks 13 years without death penalty

CBCP News - 1 hour 59 min ago

By CBCP News

June 20, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Thirteen years after the scrapping of death penalty, the Church’s prison ministry has marked the anniversary on Thursday with “disappointment” over calls to bring it back.

The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) expressed dismay over the renewed push for capital punishment in the next Congress.

“This is disturbing because it is strongly implies that the current set of elected leaders believe in killing as a ‘solution’ to the nation’s peace and order problems,” said Mr. Rodolfo Diamante, ECPPC Executive Secretary.

He said that they know from the Philippine experience that death penalty is not a deterrent to crime.

“We argue that there are other more deeply-rooted reasons for the lack of peace and order in our society that our leaders have failed to appreciate and acknowledge,” he said.

Rather than reviving the death penalty, he said that the Church wants to explore alternatives to mete out justice.

Diamante called it a shift in the paradigm of justice “from litigation to mediation; prosecution to healing; punishment to reform and rehabilitation; from retribution to restoration”.

The Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP) particularly lashed out at newly elected lawmakers who are openly pro-death penalty.

“While we believe that we should resolve and fight crimes, one wonders about the wisdom of meting out the extreme penalty of death,” said Jesuit Fr. Silvino Borres, CADP President.

“We appeal to our legislators and policy makers to affirm the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life, the foundation of a moral vision for society,” he said.

The Philippines abolished capital punishment in 2006 but the Duterte administration wants to revive it citing a runaway crime rate.

June 20 2019

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 21:00
Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 COR 11:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts may be corrupted
from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.
For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles.”
Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge;
in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge?
I plundered other churches by accepting from them
in order to minister to you.
And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone,
for the brothers who came from Macedonia
supplied my needs.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
By the truth of Christ in me,
this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia.
And why? Because I do not love you?
God knows I do!

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 7-8

R.(7a) Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.

R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.

R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.

R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia ROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’

“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit unites the Church, despite sin and scandal

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 20:53

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square June 19, 2019. DANIEL IBAÑEZ/CNA

By Courtney Grogan

Catholic News Agency

June 19, 2019

VATICAN— Pope Francis said Wednesday that the Holy Spirit unites and grows the Church despite human limitations, sins and scandal.

“The Holy Spirit is the creator of communion, the artist of reconciliation … He builds the community of believers by harmonizing the unity of the body and the multiplicity of its members,” Pope Francis said June 19 in St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Spirit “makes the Church grow by helping it to go beyond human limits, sins and any scandal,” he said.

Dedicating his Wednesday catechesis to the Acts of the Apostles’ account of the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Pope Francis reflected on how the Holy Spirit transformed and strengthened St. Peter.

“On the feast of Pentecost, it is Peter who speaks, the rock on which Christ chose to build his Church,” he said. “His word, weak and even capable of denying the Lord, when crossed by the fire of the Spirit gains strength and becomes capable of piercing hearts and moving to conversion.”

“God in fact chooses what is weak in the world to confound the strong,” Pope Francis said, quoting St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

“The Church is thus born of the fire of love — of a ‘fire’ that flares up at Pentecost, which manifests the strength of the Word of the Risen One imbued with the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Pope Francis explained that this fire symbolically expresses God’s work of warming, illuminating, and testing hearts, and His care in purifying and revitalizing human works.

“The Spirit of God moves hearts to welcome the salvation that passes through a person, Jesus Christ, the One whom men nailed to the wood of the cross and whom God raised from the dead,” the pope said.

“As Benedict XVI said, ‘This is Pentecost: Jesus, and through Him, God himself, comes to us and draws us into himself,” he added.

“Let us ask the Lord to let us experience a new Pentecost, which expands our hearts and tunes our feelings with those of Christ, so that we proudly proclaim His transforming word and bear witness to the power of love that calls to life all that it encounters,” Pope Francis said.

Supreme Court gives second chance to Oregon cake bakers who declined same-sex wedding

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:45

June 19, 2019

Portland, Ore.

An Oregon bakery whose owners declined to make a cake celebrating a same-sex commitment ceremony will get another chance in court, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 17 ruling ordered lower courts to reconsider a massive fine and other penalties in light of a similar Colorado case.

“The Constitution protects speech, popular or not, from condemnation by the government,” Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO and chief counsel of the legal group First Liberty, said June 17. “The message from the court is clear, government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated.”

“This is a victory for Aaron and Melissa Klein and for religious liberty for all Americans,” added Shackleford.

The Kleins, who are practicing Christians, owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in the Portland suburb of Gresham, Ore. In January 2013, the couple declined to bake a cake for a same-sex commitment ceremony, citing their religious views. They then lost an effort to fight a lawsuit charging they had illegally discriminated.

First Liberty, a non-profit legal firm based in Plano, Texas, focuses on religious freedom cases with a nationwide scope. It is representing the Kleins as are two attorneys from its network: C. Boyden Gray, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union; and Adam Gustafson, both of Boyden Gray & Associates.

Boyden Gray said the Supreme Court should decide whether its 2015 ruling that mandated legal recognition of same-sex marriage “can be wielded as a shield in defense of same-sex unions but also — as in this case — a sword to attack others for adhering to traditional religious beliefs about marriage,” NBC News reports.

The women who had attempted to commission the cake from the Klein’s bakery filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation. The mother of Rachel Cryer, the woman who tried to order the cake, had asked Aaron Klein to reconsider, but he declined.

While the legal complaint was pending, Aaron Klein posted the first page of the couple’s complaint, which contained their names and contact information, on the Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook page. The women said they received death threats as a result of the posting, which was taken down after one day.

The State of Oregon in its filing with the Supreme Court had argued that the lower courts had ruled correctly. “Baking is conduct, not speech,” its filing said. “A bakery open to the public has no right to discriminate against customers on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

Requiring equal treatment for customers regardless of sexual orientation does not compel support for same-sex marriage “any more than the law compels support for religion by requiring equal treatment for all faiths,” said the state filings, according to NBC News.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa closed in September 2013, a decision that the owners described as a “devastating loss.”

In April 2015, the Oregon labor bureau ordered the Kleins to pay damages to the plaintiffs, ruling that by declining to design and make the cake, they had violated Oregon law barring discrimination in public accommodations. The labor bureau ordered them to pay a $135,000 penalty for emotional damages and issued a gag order that prevented them from “even talking about their beliefs,” First Liberty said June 17.

The Kleins initially attempted to raise the cost of the fine on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, but their effort was taken down by the site, which cited a violation of their terms of service.

In their appeals, the Kleins claimed that their First Amendment right to free speech was violated by the state’s decision.

Their prior appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court was rejected in June 2018. This left in place the decision of the Oregon Court of Appeals, which rejected claims that a cake is a work of art. That court said “even when custom-designed for a ceremonial occasion, they are still cakes made to be eaten.” Those who attend a wedding might consider the cake to be an expression of the views of the couple who undergo the ceremony, not the views of the baker, the court said.

That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, owner of the bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The court found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not respected Phillips’ sincerely-held religious beliefs when it ordered him to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple.

Cardinal Tagle asks students not to bully

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:29

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle presides over the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Manila Cathedral June 19. COURTESY OF ROMAIN GARY LAZARO/CBCPNEWS

By CBCP News

June 19, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has asked the students to never bully others or allow bullying to happen in their schools or anywhere near them.

In his homily during the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Manila Cathedral Wednesday, he noted the growing phenomenon of bullying, especially online.

“Gossiping, vulgarity, to underestimate others, spreading fake news, and bullying are not the works of the Holy Spirit,” an article posted on Radio Veritas’ website quoted Tagle as saying.

Instead, he called on students to tap modern communication to spread the Gospel.

“Don’t be shy to proclaim Jesus,” he said.

Addressing the teachers, the cardinal urged them to expand not only their students’ intellectual dimension, but also the human heart.

Catholics schools are called to lead their students to Jesus, according to him.

“Whatever is the subject matter, make sure that what you are teaching are ideas and concepts that lead the students to God,” Tagle added.

The cardinal also stressed the importance of imparting the value of word of honor and by being truthful.

“When you said something, do it and make sure that it’s based on truth,” he said.

Hundreds of students and teachers in Manila’s Catholic schools attended the Holy Spirit Mass, a tradition among many Catholic educational institutions to mark the start of the academic year.

Bishop urges gov’t to stop premium hikes for OFWs

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 12:21

By CBCP News

June 19, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Instead of adding burdens to overseas Filipino workers, the government should freeze all premium hikes to be collected from them, a church official said.

“There should be a moratorium on the said increase of contributions,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos, who heads the CBCP’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

The prelate made the statement amid the scheduled increases in OFW contributions to the Social Security System and Philhealth.

“It is added financial burden and will cause more difficulties to our OFWs,” he said. “Our OFWs should be assisted, helped and promoted not to be burdened.”

The bishop warned that the new increased rates are “unfair” and impaired the existing employment contracts of the migrants workers.

He also opposed certain provisions in the new social security law that would tie-up OFW collections with the issuance of an overseas employment certificate.

The new law requires newly hired OFWS to pay in advance the P960 per month SSS premium while returning workers will pay a three-month advance contribution amounting to P2,880 or they will not be issued the mandatory working permits.

“This will discourage foreign employers of hiring OFWs,” said Santos, adding that memberships should be “voluntary and encouraged”.

A non-government organization (NGO) on labor migration earlier warned that the increases in contributions would likely push more workers away from existing legal deployment channels.

“The outlook for our overseas workers is not at its brightest, with tensions rising throughout the Middle East and ongoing protests in Hong Kong over a hotly contested legislation, among other challenges,” said Susan Ople, former labor undersecretary and head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, adding that the salaries of Filipino domestic workers abroad have been stagnant for more than a decade.

“Asking them to pay that much considering that they will be away from the country for at least two years, would cause undue burden given their vulnerable status and work conditions,” Ople said.

Vatican quashes rumors of Benedict XVI stroke

CBCP News - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 07:44

Pope Francis visits Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the eve of his 92nd birthday at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery on April 15, 2019. VATICAN MEDIA

By Catholic News Agency

June 19, 2019

VATICAN— Pope Benedict XVI is not dead and did not recently suffer a stroke, the Vatican confirmed on Tuesday.

On Monday, rumors circulated on Twitter and other social media platforms that the Pope Emeritus had suffered a “mild ischemia” – a kind of stroke.

“The rumours are false,” Alessandro Gisotti, director ad interim of the Press Office of the Holy See, confirmed to the Catholic Herald on Tuesday.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, called the rumors “fake news,” Edward Pentin reported on Twitter.

On multiple occasions over the past several years, Vatican officials have had to quash similar rumors that the small, white-haired nonagenarian is close to death.

Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy in 2013, citing advanced age and declining strength that made it difficult to carry out his ministry. He was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

Ai-ai Delas Alas to lead church fundraising concert

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 21:15

By Minnie Agdeppa

June 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Celebrity Ai-ai Delas Alas and the clergy of the Novaliches diocese will stage a concert benefiting the construction of a new parish church.

The concert is their farewell thank-you gift to Bishop Antonio Tobias in appreciation of his 16 years service to the diocese.

Pope Francis has earlier accepted the retirement of Bishop Tobias and appointed Fr. Roberto Gaa as his successor.

Dubbed as “Ai HEART RCBN”, the concert will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on June 24.

The event will also highlight the 30th anniversary in the showbiz industry of Delas Alas.

In 2016, the seasoned comedian and actress was awarded the Pro Eccelesia et Pontifice after Pope Francis acknowledged her “distinguished service to the church”.

Fr. Aristeo De Leon, the event’s lead organizer, said proceeds will go to the ongoing construction of the Kristong Hari Parish Church.

Located along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, the parish is envisioned as the diocese’s “future shrine of the youth”.

Organizers said the concert will feature performances from some religious and lay organizations.

Some celebrities such as Alden Richards are also expected to grace the occasion.

Pope to Filipino bishops: Love, pray for persecutors

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 21:08

Pope Francis meets with bishops from Luzon at the Vatican on May 20, 2019. VATICAN MEDIA

By CBCP News

June 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Pope Francis reminded the Philippine bishops that they are called to imitate Christ by loving their enemies and praying for those who persecute them.

The pope assured the bishops, who recently went on pilgrimage to Rome, that he is aware of the Philippine situation and the issues the local Church is facing.

In spite of these, he said that the bishops are called to be pastors, even to politicians who are in conflict with the Church.

The bishops’ encounter with the pope was shared by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to Manila’s clergy during their monthly recollection and meeting at the San Carlos Seminary on Tuesday.

In an article posted at the archdiocese’s website, it said that the gathering started with a Mass presided over by the cardinal.

In his homily, he drew inspiration from the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus teaches that love must be universal, so as to be “perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect”.

“Politicians who give us trouble might be wounded people and their behavior might be a cry for help… Can we empty ourselves and be the pastor’s love towards the enemy?” Cardinal Tagle said.

He also encouraged the clergy to continually work and minister to the youth and the poor who remain “underserved” in the archdiocese because of their sheer number despite the church’s anti-poverty programs.

June 19 2019

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 21:00
Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 COR 9:6-11

Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9

R.(1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Stand with Pinoy fishermen, bishops urge gov’t

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 20:58

The 22 Filipino fishermen in the Recto Bank collision aboard a ship en route to Mindoro, June 14, 2019. PHOTO FROM DA SEC. MANNY PIÑOL’S FACEBOOK PAGE

By Roy Lagarde

June 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Catholic bishops challenged the government to stand with Filipino fishermen whose boat was rammed and sunk by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the government cannot leave the fishermen in lurch as it is obliged to intervene to protect their interest.

“The government has a duty to protect its citizens and its territory. It should not allow itself to be bullied and let its people suffer,” Pabillo said.

The bishop was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that seemed to downplay the June 9 incident in the West Philippine Sea.

Breaking his silence on the issue, Duterte on Monday appealed for calm over what he called a “little maritime incident”.

In a speech during the Philippine Navy’s 121st anniversary celebration in Sangley Point, he said that tension should not be allowed between two countries just because of a collision of two boats.

“Maritime incident is a maritime incident. It is best investigated. And I do not now issue statement because there is no investigation and there is no result,” Duterte said.

“The only thing we can do is to wait and give the other party the right to be heard. That’s important,” he added.

Bishop Pabillo urged the government to use its diplomatic channels to hold accountable the Chinese crew involved in the incident.

“The government should send the message that this is a serious matter that should be resolved and not be treated only as a mere incident,” he said.

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said the government’s treatment on the issue shows its bias for China.

“Duterte is selective in dispensing justice,” Bastes said. “This is a sign that his judgement cannot be relied upon on serious moral and social issues.”

Blood donation to mark Cardinal Tagle’s 62nd birthday

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 19:37

By CBCP News

June 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The Archdiocese of Manila is taking blood donations to celebrate Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s 62nd birthday and to save lives.

The archdiocese will open the bloodletting drive as a “gift” to the cardinal at the Arzobispado building in Intramuros on Friday, June 21.

The project, which will be held from 8:30am to 3:00pm, is in coordination with the Philippine National Red Cross.

The bloodletting was started in 2007, and has since became a part of Manila archbishop’s birthday celebration.

For inquiries, interested donors may may call the archdiocese at telephone numbers 527-3956/527-6254 and look for Mr. Joel Madronio or Mr. Jomel Clarito.

Polish priest ordained after cancer diagnosis dies

CBCP News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 06:55

Fr. Michel Los was ordained in a Warsaw hospital a few weeks before his death. COURTESY OF ORIONINE FATHERS

By Catholic News Agency

June 18, 2019

Warsaw, Poland— A young Polish priest who was ordained last month following a terminal cancer diagnosis has died, his community announced Monday.

Fr. Michal Los, FDP, died June 17 in the morning, the Congregation of the Orionine Fathers said in a Facebook post.

“We believe that he met with the Risen Christ whom he so desperately wanted to serve as a priest. Thank you for all your prayers and support,” the congregation said.

On May 24, Los was ordained a priest in his Warsaw hospital bed.

He had been diagnosed with cancer about a month prior. At the time of his ordination, he was in critical condition.

Pope Francis granted a dispensation allowing Los to be ordained both a deacon and a priest in the same Mass. The pope sent a letter to the director general of the congregation, Fr. Tarcisio Vieira, granting permission.

Los was ordained by Bishop Marek Solarczyk of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga.

The day before his ordination, Los made perpetual vows in his religious community, the Congregation of the Orionine Fathers.

On May 25, he celebrated his first Mass, also from his hospital bed. In a video posted on social media that day, he thanked Catholics who were praying for him, and asked for their continued prayers.

Paris archbishop celebrates first Mass in Notre Dame since fire

CBCP News - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:32

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris celebrates Mass in the Chapel of the Virgin inside Notre Dame Cathedral June 15, 2019. It was the first Mass since a huge blaze devastated the landmark building in April. PHOTO FROM THE CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS FACEBOOK PAGE

By Catholic News Service

June 17, 2019

PARIS— The archbishop of Paris wore a hard hat as he celebrated the first Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral since a huge blaze devastated the landmark building in April.

The Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of the Virgin June 15 by Archbishop Michel Aupetit to mark the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral’s altar, an event that usually takes place June 16 each year.

About 30 invited guests — mostly clergy, cathedral employees and building contractors — wore protective headgear because of dangers of falling masonry, although the Virgin chapel, situated behind the choir, had been designated as safe.

In his homily, Archbishop Aupetit did not mention the fire but stressed the purpose of Notre Dame as a place of Christian worship, and not an ornament of the secular state.

He said the building could never be reduced to a cultural or “patrimonial good” and warned the congregation that if Jesus was removed as the cornerstone, it would collapse in a spiritual rather than a physical sense.

The cathedral would simply be an “empty shell, a jewelry box without riches, a skeleton without life, a body without a soul,” the archbishop said.

“The cathedral is born of the faith of our ancestors,” he said during the Mass, which was broadcast by KTO, a French Catholic TV channel.

“This cathedral is born of the Christian hope, which perceives well beyond a small self-centered personal life to enter a magnificent project at the service of all, projecting well beyond a single generation.”

“It is also born of charity since, open to all, it is the refuge of the poor and the excluded who found there their protection,” he added. “Are we ashamed of the faith of our ancestors? Are we ashamed of Christ?”

The cathedral was most significantly a mirror of “the living stones” of the members of the church who worship there, he said.

“Can ignorance or ideology really separate culture from worship?” asked Archbishop Aupetit. “Let me put this bluntly — culture without worship becomes a negative culture.

“You only have to look at the abysmal religious ignorance of our contemporaries because of the exclusion of any divine notion and the very name of God in the public sphere by invoking a secularism that excludes any visible spiritual dimension,” he said.

The cathedral has been closed since April 15, when it was engulfed by fire that destroyed its spire and much of its vaulted ceiling.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants the cathedral rebuilt in five years, but Culture Minister Franck Riester told French radio June 14 that so far just 80 million euros of the 850 million euros pledged has been received, with most of it coming from small donations.

He said the cathedral, originally built in the 12th and 13th centuries, remained in a “fragile state,” with unsecured sections of the vaulted roof still in danger of collapse.

Synod document raises possibility of married priests, roles for women

CBCP News - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:24

A woman reads the Bible during a workshop in St. Ignatius, Guyana, April 5, 2019. The workshop was to help laypeople improve their reading of the Sunday Scriptures in their own languages, so they can better lead liturgies in their own indigenous communities. The Vatican was to release the working document for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon June 17. PAUL JEFFREY/CNS

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service

June 17, 2019

VATICAN— The Catholic Church must find ways to reach indigenous Catholics deprived of the sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, and that may include ordaining married elders, said the working document for the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon.

“Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the church, in order to ensure the sacraments for the most remote areas of the region, we are asked to study the possibility of priestly ordination for elders — preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by the community — even though they have an established and stable family,” said the document.

Published by the Vatican June 17, the document also said the church should consider “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”

The document, drafted after input from bishops’ conferences and local communities, acknowledged that in the church “the feminine presence in communities isn’t always valued.”

Those responding to a synod questionnaire asked that women’s “gifts and talents” be recognized and that the church “guarantee women leadership as well as increasingly broad and relevant space in the field of formation: theology, catechesis, liturgy and schools of faith and politics,” the 45-page document said.

The synod gathering in October 2019 will reflect on the theme “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.”

When he announced the synod in 2017, Pope Francis said it would seek to identify new paths of evangelization, especially for indigenous people who are “often forgotten and left without the prospect of a peaceful future, including because of the crisis of the Amazon forest,” which plays a vital role in the environmental health of the entire planet.

The Amazon rainforest includes territory spread across Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana and French Guiana and is the largest rainforest in the world, covering more than 2.1 million square miles in South America.

While rich in biodiversity, natural resources and cultures, the Amazon rainforest has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity.

“This synod revolves around life: the life of the Amazonian territory and its people, the life of the church (and) the life of the planet,” the document said.

Divided into three main parts, the synod document first laid out the importance of the Amazonian region as well as the environmental threats facing it and its indigenous populations.

“Currently, climate change and the increase in human intervention — deforestation, fires and changes in the use of land — are driving the Amazon to a point of no return with high rates of deforestation, forced population displacement and pollution, putting its ecosystems at risk and exerting pressure on local cultures,” it said.

To respond to the needs and challenges facing the Amazon and its indigenous populations, it added, the church must have a “new sense of mission” that “opens new spaces” for finding ways to minister with and to the region’s people.

“This is the moment to listen to the voice of the Amazon and to respond as a prophetic and Samaritan church,” the working document said.

The document’s second part highlighted the dangers facing the region and its people who are threatened by those “guided by an economic model linked to production, commercialization and consumption, where the maximizing of profit is prioritized over human and environmental needs.”

Drug and arms trafficking, corruption, violence against women, forced migration and the exploitation of indigenous people and their territories, particularly those in “voluntary isolation,” are among the other challenges that the church must confront.

Among the suggestions proposed in the working document’s third part was the formation of indigenous laity so they can take on a greater role, especially in remote areas lacking the presence of priests and religious men and women.

However, those who are preparing for ordained ministry in the region must also receive adequate formation in the church’s “philosophical-theological culture,” although in a way adapted to Amazonian cultures.

The document also proposed “the reform of the structures of the seminaries to encourage the integration of candidates to the priesthood in the communities.”

Liturgy also plays an important role in expressing the church’s closeness to indigenous people in the Amazon, the document said.

Citing the Second Vatican Council document on the sacred liturgy and Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” the document highlighted “the enculturation of the liturgy among the indigenous peoples,” adding that cultural diversity poses no threat “to the unity of the church but rather expresses its genuine Catholicity by showing the ‘the beauty of her varied face.'”

“The sacraments must be a source of life and healing that is accessible to all, especially to the poor,” the document said. “We are asked to overcome the rigidity of a discipline that excludes and alienates” and instead offer “a pastoral sensitivity that accompanies and integrates.”

In order to help communities that find it difficult to celebrate the Eucharist due to lack of priests, it added, the church is asked to “change the criteria for selecting and preparing authorized ministers to celebrate it” and to work toward a “ministry of presence” and not simply the itinerant visits of a priest passing through.

The synod working document said that the church is called to play “a prophetic role” in the Amazon, and its evangelizing mission in the region implies “a commitment to promote the rights of the indigenous people.”

“The Spirit is in the voice of the poor; that is why the church must listen to them, they are a theological place,” it said. “In listening to their pain, silence is necessary in order to hear the voice of the Spirit of God. The prophetic voice implies a new contemplative look capable of mercy and commitment.”

The commitment to caring for the earth and defending the human rights of its inhabitants can be dangerous, the document said. “The number of martyrs in the Amazon is alarming.”

The church must support those who risk their lives for others “and remember its martyrs, among whom are women leaders like Sister Dorothy Stang,” a U.S.-born Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, who defended the land rights of the poor and was assassinated in Brazil in 2005.

Bishop urges BECs to promote human dignity

CBCP News - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:10

Bishop Victor Bendico of Baguio. PHOTO FROM THE DIOCESE OF BAGUIO FACEBOOK PAGE

By CBCP News

June 17, 2019

Baguio City

A Catholic bishop has encouraged Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) to continue to be instruments of evangelization and promotion of human dignity.

In a pastoral letter for the BEC Sunday, Bishop Victor Bendico of Baguio said that reaching out to the margins of society is the direction BECs should take.

“People in our parishes, gimongs, barrios and sitios— they need to belong, they need to be recognized, to be welcomed, to be respected, to be accorded with their dignity, to be forgiven and given a chance, to be helped,” Bendico said.

The bishop also committed the diocese’s journey in the coming years through its vision and mission for a “caring Church” and by strengthening its BECs.

For many years now, the diocese has made BEC the foundation of its pastoral programs.

“We believe that we can become better Christians when we live as small communities of faith,” Bendico said.

“We urgently need to strengthen our BECs along the path our vision-mission directs us; we need to support our parish priests, catechists, lay leaders and ministers,” he added.

The Church observed the first BEC Sunday for the first time on June 16, coinciding with the commemoration of Trinity Sunday.

The bishops during its plenary assembly in July 2018 approved that the Trinity Sunday every year will be celebrated as BEC Sunday throughout the country.

June 18 2019

CBCP News - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:00
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 COR 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A

R.(1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Davao Catholic school deplores wrongful arrest of former staff

CBCP News - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 19:17

By CBCP News

June 17, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Davao City-based Catholic school urged the government to take stern action against those involved in the wrongful arrest and detention of a former faculty member.

The Assumption College of Davao has lamented the arrest of Fedelina Margarita Valle, who was mistaken for a fugitive.

The school called on the authorities to take right actions to prevent such case from happening again.

It said that such “scandalous error” and “grave blunder” must “be dealt with, truthfully and accordingly,” the school said in a statement released today.

Valle, who is also a journalist, was arrested by cops and soldiers in Cagayan de Oro City on June 9 and was released after being held for almost 12 hours.

While the police hierarchy has already apologized, it said “there is more than enough reason for us to sound the alarm as the arrest clearly violated Valle’s rights”.

“If it was indeed a case of mistaken identity, such a failure of intelligence endangers the life of anyone apprehended on mere suspicion,” the school said.

Valle, 61, used to be ACD’s senior high school Parents-Teachers Association head and secretary to the school president.

As a faculty member, she taught social sciences and women studies in ACD’s college department and was its consultant for research and community engagement programs.

Valle said she will file a lawsuit claiming that police arrested and detained her illegally.

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Articles from Columbia - Thu, 11/17/2011 - 03:16

A Shield for Families

Articles from Columbia - Thu, 11/17/2011 - 03:16
by Tom Tracy
The Order's fraternal benefits help families find security for themselves and future generations
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Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines

 

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