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Official News Service of the Media Office of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Updated: 5 min 7 sec ago

February 21 2019

2 hours 9 min ago
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 GN 9:1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:
“Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth
and all the birds of the air,
upon all the creatures that move about on the ground
and all the fishes of the sea;
into your power they are delivered.
Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat;
I give them all to you as I did the green plants.
Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.
For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man
I will demand an accounting for human life.

If anyone sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
For in the image of God
has man been made.

Be fertile, then, and multiply;
abound on earth and subdue it.”

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23

R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Chilean whistleblower to meet with bishops, victims ahead of abuse summit

2 hours 40 min ago

Pope Francis meets with the Chilean bishops in the sacristy of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, Jan. 16, 2018. VATICAN MEDIA

By Catholic News Agency

February 20, 2019

VATICAN— Juan Carlos Cruz, a clerical sex abuse whistleblower and a victim of Fr. Fernando Karadima, will meet with bishops and with fellow victims of clergy sexual abuse Wednesday, one day before the start of a Vatican summit on the topic.

“I am very proud that I am entrusted with such a task,” Cruz said, according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

Cruz said he was invited to the meeting by Vatican officials in charge of organizing the abuse summit, which will gather bishops from all over the world for three days in Rome to discuss the importance of handling cases of sexual abuse properly at all levels of the Church’s hierarchy.

The summit is a result of months of revelations of clerical sex abuse scandal in the United States and other countries. One of the most high-profile cases in the United States involved Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, who was publicly accused last year of sexually abusing at least two adolescent boys, and of engaging for decades in coercive sexual behavior toward priests and seminarians.

McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis last weekend, just days before the summit.

Cruz was a key whistleblower in highlighting the extent of clerical sex abuse in Chile. Last year, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, regarded as the Vatican’s top abuse investigator, traveled to the United States and Chile in February to investigate allegations of sex abuse cover-up within Church hierarchy in Chile.

Scicluna’s trip resulted in a 2,300-page report, the laicization of multiple priests and bishops, the en masse proffering of all Chilean bishops’ resignation, and a major “mea culpa” from Pope Francis, who had originally expressed doubts about the allegations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros.

Pope Francis met privately last May with Cruz and fellow whistleblowers and abuse survivors James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo. The pope expressed his apologies and sorrow for having been “part of the problem” and resolved to do better on abuse.

Scicluna was one of the Vatican officials to invite Cruz to the pre-summit meeting, and asked him to give his testimony and to help facilitate much of the meeting.

Cruz told La Tercera that the meeting will be “very important for the Catholic world, for many people. This is a meeting where many people in the world should give their testimony, which is impossible because of the volume.”

Instead, Cruz said, there will be a group of 12 people to give voice to this issue and to impress its seriousness on the leaders of the Church.

“I sincerely hope that the Church will take it for what it is, something very serious…it deserves zero tolerance once and for all,” he added. “These people [the abusers] cannot hide in the institution anymore.”

Cruz also expressed doubts about Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago and president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, who is representing Chile at the meeting.

Cruz told La Tercera that Bishop Ramos “has no empathy with the Chilean victims and I do not know what his contribution can be in this important meeting.”

There will be 190 participants in the Vatican summit, most of whom are presidents of national bishops’ conferences.

Religious superiors admit denial, slowness to act against abuse

2 hours 45 min ago

A Dominican nun and Jesuit priest are pictured in a combination photo. “Pope Francis rightly attacks the culture of clericalism which has hindered our fight against abuse and indeed is one of the root causes,” said a statement Feb. 19 from the women’s International Union of Superiors General and the men’s Union of Superiors General. CNS FILE

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

February 20, 2019

VATICAN— Twisted ideas of power and authority in the Catholic Church have contributed to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, leaders of religious orders said, but sometimes the positive “sense of family” in their own communities also made them slow to act.

“Pope Francis rightly attacks the culture of clericalism which has hindered our fight against abuse and indeed is one of the root causes,” said a statement Feb. 19 from the women’s International Union of Superiors General and the men’s Union of Superiors General.

But, they said, “the strong sense of family in our orders and congregations — something usually so positive — can make it harder to condemn and expose abuse. It resulted in a misplaced loyalty, errors in judgment, slowness to act, denial and at times, cover-up.”

The superiors, who represent a combined total of almost 850,000 women and men religious, stated, “We still need conversion and we want to change.”

“We want to act with humility. We want to see our blind spots. We want to name any abuse of power. We commit to engage in a journey with those we serve, moving forward with transparency and trust, honesty and sincere repentance,” said the statement from the two organizations of superiors general.

The two groups were to send 22 superiors general to the Vatican’s summit Feb. 21-24 on child protection and the abuse crisis.

“The sexual abuse of children and the abuse of power and conscience by those in authority in the church, especially bishops, priests and religious” is “a story stretching back for decades,” the statement said. It is “a narrative of immense pain for those who have suffered this abuse.”

The superiors general said, “We bow our heads in shame at the realization that such abuse has taken place in our congregations and orders and in our church” and that the response of congregational leaders “has not been what it should have been. They failed to see warning signs or failed to take them seriously.”

The religious superiors said they hoped that with the Vatican meeting “important processes and structures of accountability can be started and the ones already in place can be supported.”

Acknowledging an oft-repeated observation that different approaches may be necessary for uncovering and ending abuse in different cultures, the superiors said one thing must be clear: “The abuse of children is wrong anywhere and anytime; this point is not negotiable.”

In the statement, the leaders of Catholic religious orders vowed “to listen better to survivors” and to “implement what is decided at this meeting in terms of the accountability required of those in authority.”

The superiors of men’s and women’s orders also asked Catholic parents, especially mothers, to assist them in responding to the abuse crisis.

“It is fair to say that if women had been asked for their advice and assistance in the evaluation of cases, stronger, faster and more effective action would have been taken,” the statement said. “Our ways of handling allegations would have been different, and victims and their families would have been spared a great deal of suffering.”

This Vatican meeting in February was to focus on protecting children, but the religious superiors acknowledged recent media attention “on the abuse and exploitation of religious sisters, seminarians and candidates in formation houses.”

“This is a matter of grave and shocking concern,” they said. “We pledge ourselves to do all in our power to find an effective response. We want to ensure that those who generously apply to join religious orders or who are trained in seminaries live in places of safety where their vocation is nourished and where their desire to love God and others is helped to grow to maturity.”

The superiors promised to strengthen safeguarding programs in the schools and hospitals they run and to ensure all formation programs have a strong child-protection component.

The superiors also asked that the spirituality and retreat centers their orders run “develop special outreach to any survivor who wishes to find help in their struggles with faith and meaning.”

“Those who have been abused by priests or religious may want to stay far distant from the church and from those who represent the church,” they said. But others may want to attempt a “journey of healing and we will try humbly to journey with them.”

Ozamis prelate backs martial law extension in Mindanao

5 hours 53 min ago

By CBCP News

February 20, 2019

Manila, Philippines

“Mindanao needs martial law.”

Without reservation, Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamis supported the third martial law extension in the southern region.

“This is good for us here. Others may not understand us but if you live in Mindanao then your eyes will be opened why,” he said.

So far, he said that the military rule has helped ensure peace and stability at least in his archdiocese.

The prelate said they continue to trust the government security forces as peacekeepers in Mindanao.

Archbishop Jumoad also expressed hope that everybody, regardless of religion, will work for peace.

“May the people of Mindanao – Muslims, Lumads and Christians – work for peace and harmony,” he added.

“Let us respect one another regardless of faith convictions,” Jumoad also said.

Voting 9-4, the Supreme Court on Feb. 19 upheld the constitutionality of the extension of the martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019.

This is the third time that the SC affirmed the legality of the martial law, dismissing the petitions filed by four different groups.

In 2017, most bishops in the south backed martial law in Mindanao following an attempt by Islamic State-linked rebels to seize Marawi City.

But they said that martial law “must be temporary”, as they vowed to condemn any abuses and “if it goes in the way of evil as in the past”.

Bishop welcomes FDA move, urges gov’t to run after execs in vaccine mess

6 hours 9 min ago

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. CBCP NEWS

By CBCP News

February 20, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop welcomed the ban on selling, distribution and marketing of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine in the country.

The Food and Drug Administration has permanently banned the Dengvaxia vaccine after the French pharmaceutical giant failed to meet its directives.

But Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the move is not enough, urging the government to run after those behind the controversy.

“It is good and right decision of FDA, yet more is to be done especially its after effect,” Santos said.

Those who implemented the Dengvaxia program, according to him, should be made accountable.

“The government must investigate more and prosecute those who introduce and propagate Dengvaxia,” he said.

He also urged health authorities to closely monitor the school-age children who were vaccinated with the controversial anti-dengue vaccine.

The controversy erupted in late 2017 when Sanofi said that the Dengvaxia could worsen the disease in children who had never been exposed to the virus.

This prompted the government to suspend the immunization program where more than 700,000 children had already been vaccinated.

The Dengvaxia mess is also blamed for the deadly measles outbreak as vaccine confidence declined in the country.

“Remember trust is not freely given, it should always be earned,” Santos said.

PPCRV is Comelec’s citizens’ arm in May polls

9 hours 53 min ago

By CBCP News

February 19, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The Commission on Elections granted accreditation to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting as its citizens’ arm for the May 13 midterm polls.

In accrediting the PPCRV, the Comelec en banc cited the group’s reliability in poll watching activities in the past elections.

“We have taken into account the petitioner’s track record particularly its participation in the past electoral exercises and in subsequent similar election-related activities both local and national,” the Comelec said.

As an accredited poll watchdog, the Catholic group is tasked to conduct voters’ education program nationwide.

Its duties also include providing assistance to voters and reporting campaign violations, among others.

“The Commission would accordingly need all the help of all advocates of orderly and honest elections to assist it in the upcoming elections,” the poll body added.

The poll watchdog group is currently headed by Myla Villanueva, a PPCRV trustee since 2010.

Villanueva is considered a pioneer for women in the local and global technology industry.

February 20 2019

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 21:00
Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 GN 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.

R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.

R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Vatican summit: Silence, denial are unacceptable, archbishop says

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 13:22

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta and Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, members of the organizing committee for the Feb. 21-24 Vatican meeting on the protection of minors in the church, attend a press conference to preview the meeting at the Vatican Feb. 18, 2019. Also pictured is Alessandro Gisotti, interim Vatican spokesman. PAUL HARING/CNS

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

February 19, 2019

VATICAN— When presented with an accusation that a priest has sexually abused a child, “whether it’s criminal or malicious complicity and a code of silence or whether it is denial” on a very human level, such reactions are no longer tolerable, said the Vatican’s top investigator of abuse cases.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who handles abuse cases as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was part of a panel of speakers at a news conference Feb. 18 to outline the Vatican’s plans and hopes for the summit meeting on the protection of minors in the church.

The meeting Feb. 21-24 was to bring together almost 190 church leaders: the presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches, superiors of religious orders of men and women, Roman Curia officials and invited experts and guest speakers.

After reciting the Angelus Feb. 17, Pope Francis publicly asked Catholics around the world to pray for the summit, and he repeated the request Feb. 18 in a tweet, saying he wanted the meeting to be “a powerful gesture of pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge.”

At the news conference Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago told reporters, “The Holy Father wants to make very clear to the bishops around the world, not only those participating, that each one of them has to claim responsibility and ownership for this problem and that there is going to be every effort to close whatever loopholes there are.”

Bishops “are going to be held accountable,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Cupich said he expected the meeting to be “a turning point” in the way the Catholic Church handles allegations across the globe and the way it strengthens child protection policies.

However, like the other speakers, he said it would be unreasonable to expect the meeting to mark a sudden and complete end to the clerical sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

“We are going to do everything possible to make sure people are held responsible, accountable, and there’s going to be transparency, because those three elements will keep children safe,” the cardinal said.

Both Archbishop Scicluna and Cardinal Cupich insisted that if all church leaders around the world had a full grasp of what is necessary to protect children from clerical sexual abuse, the church also would be in a better position to counter other situations of abuse, including the abuse of vulnerable adults, women religious and seminarians.

While declining to describe if and how he has seen Pope Francis change in response to abuse accusations, Archbishop Scicluna said, “I think that if you are talking about the pope’s experience in Chile,” where he initially insisted allegations against a bishop were slanderous, “I have been impressed by the humility of the Holy Father, his readiness to say, ‘I got that wrong.'”

“That gives us great hope because we leaders need to confront ourselves with prudential judgments that could have been better,” but also need to “move forward,” the archbishop said. “If something has gone wrong, we need to make it right.”

While the summit was not designed to produce a new document, Archbishop Scicluna said a greater awareness of the global reality of the problem and the serious responsibility of every bishop to address it should lead to action around the world.

Participants will share what they learned in Rome with other bishops and religious superiors and begin to take action locally, the archbishop said. “That will need to be audited,” and Pope Francis has asked the meeting’s organizing committee to stay in Rome after the meeting to begin discussing follow-up.

The panel was asked by a correspondent for LifeSiteNews if the summit would address “homosexuality among the clergy” given that so many of the victims of clerical sexual abuse were boys.

Cardinal Cupich said it is clear the majority of clerical abuse cases involve priests abusing boys, but high-level, independent studies, including the John Jay College of Criminal Justice report in the United States and the report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, “indicated that homosexuality itself is not a cause.”

Both studies found that priest abusers had more access to potential male victims and that poor screening of candidates for the priesthood was a greater risk factor for abuse than homosexuality was, he said.

Each of the first three days of the meeting will be devoted to one aspect of the abuse crisis: responsibility, accountability and transparency. Pope Francis and participants will attend a penitential liturgy the evening of Feb. 23 and a Mass Feb. 24, both of which will be livestreamed from the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace.

The main speakers for the meeting’s general assemblies are: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines; Archbishop Scicluna; Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota; Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai; Cardinal Cupich; Linda Ghisoni, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life; Sister Veronica Openibo, superior of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus; German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising; and Valentina Alazraki, a Mexican television journalist.

February 19 2019

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 21:00
Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 GN 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
“I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them.”
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
“Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made.”
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.

As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 29:1A AND 2, 3AC-4, 3B AND 9C-10

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.

R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.

R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.

R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Alleluia JN 14:23

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

Gospel MK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Today's Readings Homilies

Borongan bishop: ‘Distorted values’ destroy elections

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 18:55

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan urged Catholics to shun vote-buying and selling this coming May 13 elections. FILE PHOTO

By Roy Lagarde

February 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has called on his flock to vote responsibly in the upcoming midterm polls to correct “distorted values” that reigned in the past elections.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan said it’s about time people use their votes with visionary leadership and good governance in mind.

“It’s high time to demand for real change. This coming elections, choose good candidates,” he said emphatically in a video message.

The bishop lamented how previous elections in one of the country’s poorest provinces were marred by rampant vote buying and selling.

This “systemic corruption”, he stressed, has undermined the emergence of credible candidates.

“I am disturbed by what is happening in our society today because of the distorted values of many people,” Varquez said.

Echoing the call of the Philippine bishops’ conference, he urged the public to be discerning and elect candidates who have the common good as their top concern.

“If corruption continues, nothing will happen to our country and to the lives of Filipinos,” he added.

He also called on the people to participate actively during the elections and “stand for what is right, no matter how unpopular it may become”.

Get kids vaccinated, Bicol archbishop urges parents

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 18:28


By Melo Acuña

February 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres called on parents to submit their children to vaccination against measles which has recently plagued several parts of the country.

In a pastoral letter read in all Masses in Caceres’ 92 parishes on Sunday, he said the only way to address the problem is to have children vaccinated.

The Department of Health reported that there were more than 20,000 measles cases recorded as of December 2018, a 500 precent increase from 2017.

The outbreak has also caused at least 70 deaths, with majority of the fatalities having no history of vaccination.

In Bicol region, at least 54 new cases of measles were recorded from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, 2019.

“The archdiocese joins the health department in Bicol in appealing to parents to have their children vaccinated by going to the barangay health centers,” Tirona said.

Health officials attributed the low vaccination rate to the scare caused by the Dengvaxia controversy.

“Let not the unfounded fear of the vaccine affect the lives of our children,” Tirona said.

“We are saddened by the many reported deaths of our children, mostly from poor families and communities,” he added.

He also commended efforts by the DOH Bicol in raising public awareness on the growing number of measles cases in the region.

The archdiocese also urged the cooperation of all concerned agencies, NGOs, civil society and churches to work together in response to the measles outbreak.

U.S. bishops react to McCarrick laicization

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 18:19

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addresses the USCCB autumn General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 12, 2018. CNS photo/Bob Roller

Catholic News Agency

February 18, 2019

Washington D.C.

Bishops from across the United States have reacted to the news that Theodore McCarrick has been found guilty of sexual abuse and expelled from the clerical state.

The disgraced former cardinal and archbishop of Washington and Newark was found guilty in a Vatican decision announced Saturday.

A Vatican administrative penal process concluded that McCarrick had solicited sex in the confessional and molested minors and adults, crimes aggravated by his abuse of authority. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handled the canonical process, imposed a penalty of laicization.

“The imposition on former Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of the penalty of his dismissal from the clerical state, thus prohibiting him any type of priestly ministry, underscores the gravity of his actions,” a Saturday statement from the Archdiocese of Washington reads.

McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington from 2001 until his retirement in 2006.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Vatican’s penalty is “a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated.”

“No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church. For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgement will be one small step, among many, toward healing,” Dinardo said.

DiNardo said that his fellow bishops were strengthened in their resolve to be accountable to the Gospel, and that he is grateful for the way Pope Francis has responded to claims of abuse.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of McCarrick’s former diocese of Newark, said in a statement that McCarrick and other clerical abusers had “violated a sacred trust” and “caused incalculable harm” to the lives of victims – young and old.

“To all those abused by clergy, especially the victims of Theodore McCarrick, I continue to express my profound sadness and renew my heartfelt apologies for the life-long suffering you have endured,” Tobin said.

“Despite the reprehensible misconduct and crimes of all who have abused minors, we must challenge ourselves to continue to follow Christ our Redeemer in our Church, where the healing power of God’s love is manifest each day.”

The Archdiocese of Washington expressed hope the Vatican decision will assist survivors with the healing process, and reassure those who have “experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, another of McCarrick’s former diocese, released a statement Saturday in which he reflected on the “range of emotions” those in his diocese were feeling as the news of McCarrick’s laicization continues to sink in.

“Today I am praying particularly for those lay people and priests who are survivors of Theodore McCarrick,” Checchio wrote.

“While the news does not take away the pain these survivors have experienced, it is hopefully a further step in their healing and a statement by the Church that these crimes and sins are certainly not to be tolerated, in any way.”

Checchio noted that McCarrick was in fact the founding bishop of the Metuchen diocese after its creation in 1981.

“Theodore McCarrick will always be associated with the history of our diocese and his legacy has become one of scandal and betrayal,” he wrote.

“However, I was reminded in prayer that our diocese is not founded on Theodore McCarrick, but Christ the Lord, who renews His Church in every age…I am grateful for the leadership of Pope Francis in acting decisively, in expediting this process and coming to this appropriate conclusion.”

Checchio reiterated his support for “all those who have been abused and victimized by members of the clergy” and encouraged victims to come forward.

“Since the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first believers, up and down the ages, the Church has been beset by scandals and divisive betrayals,” he reflected.

“However, those failings do not define our Church, but rather testify to the truth that Christ continues to work through the failures by calling us all to a life of repentance and holiness.”

Since last summer, McCarrick has been in residence at a Kansas friary, living a life of “prayer and penance” at the orders of Pope Francis, pending the outcome of his canonical process.

Now that McCarrick has been laicized, it is unclear if and for how long he will remain at the friary, or where he will go from there. McCarrick is 88 years old.

Vatican grants indulgence for indigenous church in Ilocos Sur

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 15:52

St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By CBCP News

February 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The Vatican has granted an indigenous church in the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia with one-year plenary indulgence as it celebrates its 25th year as a parish.

The year-long indulgence at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur started last Feb. 11 and will end on the same date next year.

Citing the decree from Apostolic Penitentiary, Nueva Segovia chancellor Fr. Ian Paul Filart said that the normal conditions must be met to attain indulgence.

This means, he said, that Catholics are to make pilgrimages to the church in Sugpon, sacramentally confess their sins, receive communion, and pray for the Pope’s intentions.

The decree also exhorts the faithful to pray for poor souls in purgatory, for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and for the defense of the institutions of human life, concluding it with the Lord’s Prayer.

The Profession of Faith and the invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Anthony of Padua are also to be prayed, Filart added.

Hundreds of pilgrims from the entire archdiocese are expected to flock to Sugpon for the Jubilee Year.

The fifth class municipality is among the interior towns of Ilocos Sur, situated along its boundary with La Union.

With a population of around 4,500, it is among the towns inhabited by indigenous communities who speak Kankanaey and Ilocano.

The town was originally under the care of missionaries from the “Congregatio Immaculatis Cordis Mariae” (CICM) and was handed over to the pastoral care of the diocesan clergy in 1995 following its erection as a parish.

Sugpon parish was also among the parishes established during the incumbency of the then Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, now a retired cardinal, who regarded the indigenous peoples as among his pastoral priorities.

St. Anthony of Padua parish priest Fr. Rosmel Cairel said the decree manifests the love and special place of the people from the peripheries in the heart of Pope Francis.

Cairel added that he is disposed to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, to prepare the people in the reception of the indulgence.

On the jubilee day on June 13, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, another plenary indulgence is to be granted through the blessing of the Mass which will be imparted by Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia, by mandate of the faculty extended by the Apostolic Penitentiary to him.

Pope Francis asks for prayers ahead of Vatican abuse summit

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 14:01

Pope Francis walks in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 12, 2018. MARINA TESTINO/CNA

By Hannah Brockhaus

Catholic News Agency

February 18, 2019

VATICAN— Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for a meeting of the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world, which is slated to take place later this week.

During his weekly Angelus address Feb. 17, the pope invited Catholics to pray for the four-day event, which he said he wanted to hold “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility before an urgent challenge of our time.”

The Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church will focus on the themes of responsibility, accountability, and transparency of bishops. It will also include testimony of victims of abuse, Mass, and a penitential liturgy.

The meeting will take place just days after the announcement of the Vatican’s decision to laicize former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who the CDF found guilty last week of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

Before the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the beatitudes as recounted in the Gospel of Luke. This passage, he said, “invites us to reflect on the profound meaning of having faith, which consists in totally trusting the Lord.”

It is also an invitation to reflect on idols; those things which the world proposes as shortcuts to happiness, “magical solutions to every problem,” making it easy to fall into sins against the first commandment by replacing God with worldly pleasures and comforts, he said.

But Jesus tells us, “blessed the poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the persecuted,” Francis said. And at the same time, he admonishes those who are satisfied and seen well in the eyes of the world, because God alone “can give to our existence that fullness so desired.”

He said: “With these words, strong and incisive, Jesus opens our eyes, shows us with his gaze, beyond appearances, beyond the surface, and teaches us to discern situations with faith.”

It is very important that, like God and with him, people are close to the poor, to the afflicted, he emphasized. “We are happy if we recognize ourselves in need of God.”

Jesus heals the infection of a worldly spirit, helps people to see what really satisfies, gives joy and dignity, meaning and fullness to one’s life, he said.

“May the Virgin Mary help us to listen to this Gospel with open mind and heart, so that it may bear fruit in our lives and become witnesses of happiness that does not disappoint.”

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines


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