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August 15, 2018 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mass during the Day

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 21:00
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mass during the Day

Reading 1 RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R. (10bc) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Reading 2 1 COR 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

Today's Readings Homilies

Devotion and obsession

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:38

WE need to be able to distinguish between the two. They notoriously look alike, but one is genuine while the other is fake.

One can truly help in our relation with God and others, while the other tends to harden our self-centeredness. One is usually accompanied by peace and joy despite trials and difficulties, while the other would make us restless and agitated despite the apparent pleasures it can give.

Devotion is a good seed or the wheat sown by God himself in a soul. It is God who takes the initiative. One simply tries to correspond to that divine initiative as fully and as best as possible. It expresses itself sincerely from the heart. It truly makes one holy, and helps him grow in humility and all the other virtues.

A pious, or better said, a pietistic obsession is a weed that can impersonate as a devotion and is sown, if not by man himself, then by the devil. (cfr Mt 13,36-40) It makes one proud and vain. Its motive is mundane, not sacred. It can even be tinged with malice, meant to deceive others. Hypocrisy reigns supreme in it.

True devotion is always respectful of Church doctrine even as it assimilates the traditions and customs of the place and time. It observes the proper decorum and has a good sense of priorities. The pietistic obsession is usually swamped with superstitions and hardly cares for Church doctrine and approved practices. It often is showy and likes to flaunt its religiosity.

It is important that we develop our life of piety to the point of devotion, because that would only show that we are giving everything to God and to everyone else because of our love of God

A good devotion properly involves the emotions and passions in its expression. It makes us think of God and others constantly, ever ready to do things for them, to serve them despite difficulties and sacrifices. When the devotion is true and strong nothing can impede it, whatever may be the cost. In fact, there is a sense of joy and satisfaction in the act of self-giving.

A pietistic obsession only feeds on one’s self-satisfaction. It plays the game of pride and vanity. Whatever marks of sanctity it can have are only apparent and cannot cope with life’s real trials and challenges. Whatever zeal it has in terms of apostolate and helping others is often characterized by bitterness and rigidity. The compassion it seems to show is precisely that—it is only for show. It thrives only on fair weather.

Purifying our devotion of any signs of obsession should be a lifelong concern for all of us. We cannot deny that there are many things in this world today that can easily turn our devotion into an obsession. We need to constantly examine ourselves personally and collectively to see if our religious practices are genuine devotions and not mere obsessions.

We cannot deny that there are widespread anomalies insofar as our religious practices are concerned. On one side, we can have people who are so intellectual and cerebral in their approach to God and others that their relation becomes cold and rigid.

On the other side, there those who get so emotional and passionate in their religious practices without regard to whether they still are on the right path or are already indulging in superstitions.

A continuing process of catechesis and formation is truly a great need. This should start in the family with the bigger entities like the parishes and schools providing subsidiary support. Hopefully, the formation would start with the little children, so that they can grow up with clear ideas and correct practices already in place.

 

Duterte to found a new religion

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:35

DAVAO CITY, August 7, 2018— What had been mere speculation weeks ago is now a reality: President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to found a new religion. Making a surprise appearance today at the ongoing 4th National Catholic Media Convention in Davao where his daughter, Davao City mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio failed to show up to give the Welcome Remarks at the Opening Mass on August 6, the president announced to the 141 Catholic media practitioners from all over the country that he is, indeed, bent on founding a new religion.

Bishop of Pasig and chair of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications Mylo Hubert Vergara, was attending a meeting with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles at the latter’s residence when Duterte popped up at the Mergrande Ocean Resort where the annual convention is being held. To the surprise and delight of the media people present, President Duterte held a no-holds-barred impromptu press conference, and said, “You are in Davao, you are all my guests, so I will be generous.  So fire away!  Ask me anything and I’ll give you scoops I will not give to the stupid Manila media!”

The first question, from Edwin Lopez of EWTN, was “Why are you starting a new religion?” to which Duterte replied, “There is a need for one.  I am not satisfied with the existing religions—they are all useless.  None of them can help the suffering of our people.  Puro sila seremonya, kanta-kanta, bibliya-bibliya!  Makain mo bang bibliya, putang-ina!  The only religious service worth watching is Quiboloy’s—ang gaganda ng mga babae don, nakakalaway!  Dapat yang mga pari, mag-switch na ke Quiboloy, stop being hypocrites!”

A follow up question was: “Would your founding a new religion mean total war against the Catholic Church?  You are always attacking the priests…”  Duterte replied, “Eh sinong gusto mong tirahin ko, mga Mormons? Suminga lang ako, patay na sila!  Siyempre mas malaking challenge na tirahin yang mga Katoliko—may kato na, baliko pa!  They are the powerful ones, and being powerful they can be oppressive toward the people, sa totoo lang!  Look, all the Catholic nations have poverty as a major problem!  Huwag kayong tatanga-tanga, mag-research kayo!  In countries where Catholics are a majority, there is an unbridgeable gap between the rich and the poor!”

A parish pastoral worker from Albay, John Paul Gutierrez, asked, “How do you propose to start your new religion—isn’t it a tedious process?”  His reply:  “I am the President of the Philippines.  If any country boy can start a religion that would become an international sensation, why not a President of a republic?  I can do what I want not only because I have the power to do so, but because I have the passion for it.  Kayo, kahit ang Pope niyo, hindi magawa iyan!”

Follow up question:  “But wouldn’t your founding a religion be a slap in the face of the Iglesia ni Kristo who all voted for you?”  Duterte grinned and said, “Ah, I love the Iglesia ni Kristo—they are not an enemy.  In fact, I intend to make them a sister-religion.  Yung sa akin, Iglesia ni Digong.”  Sr. Everlyn Miramar, a nun from St. Paul, stood up boldly and asked, “Will your new religion also have nuns, sir?”  Duterte snorted and said, “Ay siyempre naman, sister, kung wala, sino na magpunas ng puwet ng mga pari?”  Laughter followed, then Duterte rebounded, “Joke lang Sister, wag mo siryosohin.  Na-kyutan lang ako sa iyo. Hindi ko pa alam kung magkaroon ng mga madre ang relihiyon ko, but I suppose they will be useful for rehabilitating drug addicts, or as caregivers to politicians in the departure area, you know, like Enrile, etc.”

Minni Agdeppa from the Diocese of Novaliches asked, “Mr. President, how do you plan to win decent followers to your new religion when you cannot keep your promise to clean your language?”  Without missing a beat, the president said, “Why are you media people always criticizing my language?  That’s who I am.  That’s how I get things done.  That’s how I got voted into office.  Pero sa totoo lang, walang masama diyan sa akin!  I have foul language because I eat durian for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  What’s so immoral about that?”

Apolinario Samar, who works at the Pasig Diocesan office, politely asked, “What will be the principal teaching of your religion, sir?”  Duterte replied, “You know. I cannot rush these things.  You have to give me time.  I am still waiting for inspiration, maybe in six months it will come.  However, I am sure na sa relihiyon ko, walang bawal-bawal!  You can do anything you want!  Pero dapat meron ding Ten Commandments…”  The crowd speechlessly hung on to the president’s word:  “Siyempre you can’t take that away from me.  I was raised a Catholic—ang nanay ko, rosary yan umaga, tanghali, gabi, para ako bumait.  Sabi niya sa akin nung bata pa ako, hindi pa ako tuli non, ‘Panoorin mo yang Ten Commandments para maniwala ka sa Diyos.’  So pinanood ko sa sine, favorite ko diyan yung nabiyak yung dagat, and the stupid Egyptians drowned. Because the god of the Israelites was a smart god.  Naniwala nga ako sa diyos.  Ok, I have time for one last question, hinintay na ako ni Honeylet, baka isipin non ka-date ko si Mocha Uson.”  A voice from the back row asked, “Sir, may we have your Ten Commandments?”  Duterte snapped, “Of course, I said you are my guests, I’ll tell you everything.  Here they are:

  1. I am the Lodi your god.  Thou shalt not have other Lodis before me.
  2. Thou shalt not speak the name of your Lodi in vain, because I am not a stupid god.
  3. Honor the Sabbath Day—kung wala kang pahinga, mamatay ka maaga.
  4. Honor thy father and thy mother—otherwise hindi ka nila pamanahan.
  5. Thou shalt not kill—puwera lang kung nanlaban.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery—but it’s okay to kiss thy neighbor’s wife.
  7. Thou shalt not steal anything below six million pesos—and don’t get caught, please.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against me—that’s fake news.
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife—kill the husband first to legalize your lust.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods—unless you’re Chinese.”

The media people took selfies with the president on his way out, but they admitted they were reluctant to file stories anywhere, because one never knows when the president is joking or serious.  The encounter, however, became the highlight of the day at the convention whose theme is “Fake News and Journalism for Peace.”

As you may have noticed by now, dear readers, the above news item is fake news.  And that’s the truth.

Consecrated life: a precious gift

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:32

IN this year (2018), which the Philippine Church dedicates to “Clergy and Consecrated Persons,” we are enriched by reflecting on “Consecrated Life” as we employ the insights of Pope Francis in his 2014 letter to all consecrated persons.  Religious themselves should appreciate their unique charism in the Church with deep and profound gratitude.

“Together let us thank the Father, who called us to follow Jesus by fully embracing the Gospel and serving the Church, and poured into our hearts the Holy Spirit, the source of our joy and our witness to God’s love and mercy before the world.”

We “look to the past with gratitude.”  All religious institutes or congregations realize that “at their origins we see the hand of God.”  The Spirit calls “certain individuals to follow Christ more closely, to translate the Gospel into a particular way of life [charism], to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith, and to respond creatively to the needs of the Church.”

Undoubtedly, in genuine gratitude, religious communities of women and men appreciate how their unique charism, their call and mission, has been creatively lived over the years.  Religious life in the Church clearly manifests the living breath of God’s Spirit!

Living God’s gift today.  Pope Francis invites all clergy and religious “to live the present with passion.”  We need to “listen attentively to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today, to implement ever more fully the essential aspects of our consecrated life.”

The Pope asserts that for the various religious founders “the Gospel was the absolute rule … [and] every other rule was meant merely to be an expression of the Gospel and means of living the Gospel to the full.  For them, the ideal was Christ; they sought to be interiorly united to him and thus be able to say with Saint Paul: ‘For to me to live is Christ’ (Phil 1:21).  Their vows were intended as a concrete expression of this passionate love.”

“The question we have to ask ourselves during this special year is if and how we too are open to being challenged by the Gospel; whether the Gospel is truly the ‘manual’ for our daily living and the decisions we are called to make….  Is Jesus really our first and only love…?  If he is, we will be empowered to love.”

Imitating Jesus’ compassion.  The founders and foundresses of religious communities of men and women, as Pope Francis notes, “shared in Jesus’ own compassion when he saw the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd.  Like Jesus, who compassionately spoke his gracious word, healed the sick, gave bread to the hungry, and offered his own life in sacrifice,” various religious leaders “sought in different ways to be at the service of all those to whom the Spirit sent them.”

How did they live out their call and mission?  “They did so by their prayers of intercession, their preaching of the Gospel, their works of catechesis, education, their service to the poor and the infirm.  The creativity of charity is boundless; it is able to find countless new ways of bringing the newness of the Gospel to every culture and every corner of society.”

During this Philippine “Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons” we are challenged to “examine our fidelity to the mission entrusted to us….  Do we have the same passion for our people, are we close to them to the point of sharing their joys and sorrows, thus truly understanding their needs and helping to respond to them?”  Indeed, Pope Francis captures the essence of mission in a succinct expression: “Mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people” (Evangelii Gaudium 268).

Inadmissible

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:27

DEATH PENALTY is now inadmissible under any circumstances.   Pope Francis has approved the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on death penalty saying that “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”  

In his letter to the bishops released August 2, 2018, the prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, explains that Pope Francis, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism, had asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated to “better reflect the development of the doctrine.”   This new formulation of the Catechism, according to Ladaria, expresses “an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.”

In Evangelium vitae, John Paul II pointed out the signs of hope for a new culture of life, including “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defense’ on the part of society, adding that criminals should not be “definitively” denied the change to reform.  This development was upheld by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty.”

Capital punishment, according to Pope Francis “heavily wounds human dignity” and is an “inhuman measure.” Besides, “It is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor.”

It will take time for public discourse and policy to sink deep and finally embrace the inadmissibility of death penalty.  What is good for now is “Roma locuta est.” Rome has finally made it definitive.

Dominicans launch 1st year countdown to golden jubilee

CBCP News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 00:15

The Dominican Province of the Philippines officially opened the first year of its 3-year preparations for its upcoming golden jubilee. DAVY CHIOA FB ACCOUNT

By Mark Joy Guantero Basallajes

Aug. 15, 2018

QUEZON City

The Dominican Province of the Philippines is counting down the first year of its three-year preparation for its golden jubilee.

During the feast of St. Dominic de Guzman, Fr. Napoleon B. Sipalay, Jr., O.P. Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines officially opened on Aug. 8 the first year of the three-year preparation for the golden jubilee, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila in this city.

“I believe nothing happens by incident others call it by synchronization or co-incidence our story today reveals to us that this is providence. … It was on Aug. 8, 1971, the KATALAG general chapter of the order of preacher that the boat was taken for the establishment of the Dominican province of the Philippines,” shared the priest.

Marking this first-year celebration of the Dominicans in the Philippines’ preparations, the prior provincial invited everyone to pray for them.

“We invite everyone here present to join us your brothers in the province to faithfully prepare ourselves for this 3 years. This year we start with rediscovering our roots with the theme: ‘And His mother kept all these things in her heart’ –Lk. 2:51.,” he said.

“As we are providentially entering as a Church in the Philippines on 2021 for the 500 years of our Christianity, we also are celebrating [the] golden anniversary of the Dominican Province of the Philippines with an overarching theme, Predicatio Ad Gentes (Preaching to the Nations),” he added. Predicatio Ad Gentes or “Preaching to the Nations” serves as the overall theme of the golden jubilee celebration.

After the Prior provincial officially opened the first year of the golden anniversary preparations, a video presentation was presented to the congregation to mark the special occasion.

Meanwhile, Fr. Rogelio B. Alarcon, OP the very first prior provincial, holding the post from 1971 to 1980, led the congregation in praying the Jubilee Prayer.

August 14, 2018

CBCP News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 21:00
Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Reading 1 EZ 2:8—3:4

The Lord GOD said to me:
As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you:
be not rebellious like this house of rebellion,
but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.

It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me,
in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me.
It was covered with writing front and back,
and written on it was:
Lamentation and wailing and woe!

He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you;
eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.
So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Son of man, he then said to me,
feed your belly and fill your stomach
with this scroll I am giving you.
I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!

In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

I gasp with open mouth,
in my yearning for your commands.

R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Alleluia MT 11:29AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Caritas, parishes reaches out to flood victims

CBCP News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:09

Nuns distribute relief goods to families displaced by flooding in Quezon City, August 13, 2018. PHOTO FROM FR. BERTO KARMELO

By CBCP News

August 13, 2018

Manila, Philippines

As a weekend flooding displaced thousands of people, various parishes and church organizations are upping its efforts to help.

Caritas Philippines said that all dioceses affected by the flooding that inundated Metro Manila and surrounding provinces have been providing appropriate assistance especially to families in evacuation centers.

“Specifically, Caritas Manila, Antipolo, and Pasig have been providing food relief to at least 1,500 families since August 11, 2018 through the Alay Kapwa fund,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has earlier directed parishes in the archdiocese to open their doors for those that are in need of shelter.

The cardinal said that flood victims may opt to seek shelter in any of the parishes in the archdiocese.

On the other hand, he said that those willing to help those in need may also coordinate with parishes and social action centers.

He said all Church institutions are ready to accept their assistance in behalf of the affected communities.

“Those who want to send their help in any way they can, they can contact our parishes and SACs and they will be willing to accept them,” said Tagle.

Cardinal Tagle also urged the faithful to offer prayers to those adversely affected by flooding.

Torrential rains brought Metro Manila to a standstill, submerging many areas in flood waters while thousands of people fled to emergency centers.

Some already returned as the water was receding, but others stayed away despite the hard conditions in evacuation centers as state weather authorities warned of more rains this week.

In Pangasinan, parishes have pool their resources to help victims of severe flooding as the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan appeals for additional aid to assist more people.

Visayas churches, green groups launch ‘Growing 25,000 Trees for Life and Justice’

CBCP News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:57

By Melvin Pedrosa

August 13, 2018

San Carlos City

A solidarity group composed of church and environmental organizations is leading a tree growing action that encourages dioceses through its parishes, congregations, and organizations to plant and care for at least 25,000 trees in memory of those killed in the government’s war on drugs.

The activity will be launched simultaneously on September 1, the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Creation, and the start of the Season of Creation.

In a pastoral letter, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, head convenor of the initiative, said that “we Christians are urgently called to witness to our faith by taking bold action to preserve the gift of life we share.”

But clearly underling the country’s current situation, he stressed that “side by side with the constant threat of environmental degradation is the growing number of people killed in the war on drugs.”

Bishop Alminaza encouraged the diocesan communities to participate in the “Growing 25,000 Trees for Life and Justice.”

Bro. Tagoy Jakosalem, OAR, co-convenor of the activity, emphasized the objectives of the celebration.

“We are responding to the integral ecology challenge of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, creating a heightened awareness and action on the current social and ecological crisis.”

“And we are contextualizing our integral response to the current violent approach on the war on drugs, integrating our call for justice both on behalf of nature and of people (especially the victims of extra judicial killings),” he said.

In about two years – from July 1, 2016, up to June 11, 2018 – the Philippine National Police have recorded 23,518 Homicide Cases Under Investigation (HCUI), equivalent to an average of 33 people killed a day.

From July 1, 2016 to May 15, 2018, police have tallied 4,279 suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations, or an average of 6 a day. Of all the homicide cases still under probe, 11.34% were found to be drug-related, 45.55% non-drug related, and 43.17% calling for a better scrutiny of motives.

Based only on the said data, there are already 27,797 persons killed in our country in less than two years and the number is still increasing.

“Growing 25,000 Trees for Life and Justice” is encouraging the participating organizations to plant and grow Philippine endangered trees, as well as Philippine fruit trees.

The timeframe of the activity is within one year, starting on September 1, 2018 until September 1, 2019.

Caritas PH to gov’t: Fast-track creation of new disaster response department

CBCP News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:17

Residents walk through floodwaters in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, August 11, 2018. PHOTO FROM SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH

By CBCP News

August 13, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The country’s social action centers has called on the government to fast-track the creation a new disaster management department.

In an appeal made after the 39th National Social Action General Assembly, they stressed the need for better disaster response in the light of massive flooding that inundated Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, said it is imperative and urgent for the government to establish an effective disaster response agency.

“It is very urgent that we have a single government agency in-charge of disaster preparedness, mitigation and response to be able to provide consistent training, craft better policies and act on pressing disaster risk reduction (DRR) concerns,” he said.

During the assembly in Puerto Princesa City last week, at least 61 diocesan social action centers agreed to strengthen DRR organizational capacities to complement the efforts and available resources of the government and other humanitarian organizations.

Fr. Rex Paul Arjona, Diocesan Social Action Director of Legazpi, said that it is imperative for the social action centers to be able respond appropriately and fast during disasters.

“The on-going DRR institutional capacity building initiatives we are having have been very helpful in ensuring we are levelling up our preparedness and response capacities, as manifested during the previous disasters like Marawi crisis and Mayon eruption,” Arjona said.

Gariguez also said that the recent flooding in Metro Manila is also asking concerned agencies to be more conscious in finding innovative solutions to solid waste management in urban settings.

“This also puts us in urgent position to campaign with the government and our communities for proper law enforcement, sustained cooperation and better appreciation of continuing DRR and climate change initiatives,” he added.

The priest said that the social action centers have already carved their way to a more responsive and integrated DRR programming as showcased in the various emergency and development programs Caritas and the dioceses have been implementing.

“We just need to make these efforts more sustainable and spread out across the country,” said Gariguez.

In his third State of the Nation Address last July 23, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his call for Congress to pass into a law creating a Department of Disaster Management.

Once passed by Congress, the enhanced department will abolish the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).

Teens are requesting plastic surgery to look like Snapchat filters

CBCP News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:15

Photo:  Unsplash

By Perry West / Catholic News Agency

August 13, 2018

Boston, Mass.

Social media is increasingly making teens dissatisfied with their appearance and obsessed with achieving a filtered version of “perfection,” even going so far as to pursue plastic surgery, say medical professionals.

Dr. Neelam Vashi, director of Ethnic Skin Center at Boston University’s School of Medicine, published an article analyzing the new trend in Jama Facial Plastic Surgery last week.

“A new phenomenon, dubbed ‘Snapchat dysmorphia,’ has patients seeking out cosmetic surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves…with fuller lips, bigger eyes, or a thinner nose,” she said.

Among Snapchat’s more popular features are its facial filters, which change users’ appearance in a phone camera. New filters are offered regularly. Some change a person’s face to look like animals, superheroes, or inanimate objects. Others create a more subtle, modified version of the users themselves – smoothing their skin, whitening their teeth, narrowing their face, enhancing their lips and eyes.

Before photo-editing was readily available for the public to use, Vashi wrote, people idolized the often-unrealistic beauty of celebrities, who were the only people with easy access to photo-editing technology.

But now that the general public has access to this technology, she said, it has altered their expectations of beauty. Instead of bringing photos of celebrities to plastic surgery consultations, patients are bringing in pictures of themselves, with specific angles or lighting.

“I just see a lot of images that are just really unrealistic, and it sets up unrealistic expectations for patients because they’re trying to look like a fantasized version of themselves,” she told Inverse.

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, more than half of clinicians in 2017 saw patients asking to “look better in their selfies.”

Dr. Laura Cusamano, a postdoctoral fellow at Potomac Behavioral Solutions in Arlington, Va., works with patients struggling with body image and has seen the same trend. She said the idealization of celebrities has morphed into users of social media idealizing altered images of themselves.

“In recent decades, American media has propagated a distorted view of beauty, privileging certain body types, skin tones, hair colors, and facial features. Beauty ideals have come in the form of celebrities, whose ‘perfect’ images are often Photoshopped,” she told CNA.

“With the advent of social media, the ability to alter one’s appearance is literally at one’s fingertips. Applications like Snapchat provide the opportunity for users to discover the ‘perfect’ image of themselves to share with their peers and the world.”

Cusamano voiced concern that Snapchat Dysmorphia may lead young people to compare their bodies not only with digitally altered images of themselves, but also with similar images of family and friends. This could lead to eating disorders, self-esteem problems, and other issues, she said.

She also worries that the new trend may push ill individuals further into Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a condition related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in which individuals suffer from “excessive preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in their physical appearance.”

“They become obsessed with what they consider to be imperfections, and they often spend a great deal of time trying to examine, improve, or mask their supposed flaws,” she said. The disorder is associated with anxiety and depression, as well as shame and low self-esteem.

Cusamano said nearly 75 percent of people with the disorder seek surgery, cosmetic treatment, and dermatological work. She said these individuals may also encounter suicidal ideation.

When asked about how to correct this trend of Snapchat Dysmorphia, she said people should pay attention to how social media is affecting their life, noticing whether they find themselves becoming jealous of other users.

People may need to take a temporary break from social media or follow accounts designed to spread positive messages about the human body, she said.

Cusamano also stressed the importance of recognizing the dignity of the human person.

“Remembering that you are created in the image and likeness of God and asking God to help you see yourself as He sees you is a wonderful way to work on transforming your self-image,” she said.

August 13, 2018

CBCP News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 21:00
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 EZ 1:2-5, 24-28C

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin’s exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE 2 THES 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Fight scandal by giving witness to the Gospel, pope tells young people

CBCP News - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 15:34

Pope Francis holds up two fingers as he talks about marriage between a man and a woman, during an evening meeting with Italian young adults at the Circus Maximus in Rome Aug. 11. PAUL HARING/CNS

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

August 12, 2018

VATICAN— Members of the Catholic Church sin and give scandal, it’s true, Pope Francis said, but it is up to each Catholic to live the faith as authentically as possible and witness to the world the love of Jesus.

“The best way to respond is with witness,” the pope said Aug. 11 in response to a young man who said, “The useless pomp and frequent scandals have made the church barely credible in our eyes.”

Pope Francis spoke about witness, dreams and true love during an evening meeting with some 70,000 young adults, aged 16 to 30, gathered at Rome’s Circus Maximus at the end of a pilgrimage. Most of them had walked at least 50 miles over the previous three or four days. Representatives came from 195 of Italy’s 226 dioceses, and 150 bishops walked at least part of the way with groups from their dioceses.

The young people began congregating at the dusty site of the ancient Roman stadium early in the afternoon when temperatures were already in the 90s. They gathered together on the shady slopes of the field, under the loudspeaker towers and even set up their pup tents seeking relief from the bright sun.

Five young people were chosen to share their stories with the crowd and ask Pope Francis questions. They asked his advice about keeping their dreams alive when the future seems so uncertain, how to prepare to marry and start a family and how to get church leaders to listen to them rather than preach at them.

“He put his finger in the wound,” the pope said in reference to the last question, which was posed by Dario, a 27-year-old hospice nurse. He told the pope, “For young people, commands from on high are no longer enough, we need signs and the sincere witness of a church that accompanies us and listens to the doubts our generation raises each day.”

Dario’s judgment of the church’s pastors is “strong,” the pope said, and it is true that “sometimes we are the ones who betray the Gospel.”

But Pope Francis also told the young people they need to recognize that they, too, are part of the church. Thinking only religious, priests and bishops are the church is “clericalism” and “clericalism is a perversion of the church,” he said.

The best way to respond to a stuffy, lifeless church or to church scandals, the pope told them, “is with witness. If there is no witness, there is no Holy Spirit. The church without witness is just smoke.”

Letizia, 23, told the pope she wanted to be an art historian, but was advised to study economy because it would pay better. Lucamatteo, 20, told the pope dreaming big dreams is frightening, and Martina, 24, said she wants to start preparing for marriage and a family, but everyone seems to think it’s more important to have a career first.

“Dreams are important,” the pope told them. “And the dreams of the young are the most important of all; they are the brightest stars, those that indicate a different path for humanity.”

Of course, he said, dreams must grow, be put to the test and purified. Those worth pursuing — those the Bible would call “great dreams” — always are those that will help others and make the world a better place. “Great dreams include, involve others, reach out, share and generate new life.”

One of the greatest dreams of all, he said, is the dream of finding true love, pledging oneself to another for life and creating a family. It is so important and so holy, he said, that it should never take second place to one’s career.

True love is not simply infatuation, the pope told the young people. It involves giving all of oneself to another; “you have to put all the meat on the grill, as we say in Argentina.”

“To choose, to be able to decide for oneself seems to be the highest expression of freedom,” he said. “And in a certain sense, it is. But the idea of choice we breathe today is that of a freedom without bonds — pay attention to this — without bonds, without commitment and always with some kind of escape route.”

But true joy and happiness come from finding what is most precious, what “is worth saying ‘yes’ to and giving your life to,” the pope said.

The evening ended with a prayer service and the reading of the Gospel story of the apostles running to Jesus’ tomb after Mary Magdalene told them Jesus was no longer there. John arrived first, but waited for Peter before going in, the pope noted in his homily.

Young people should run with the same passion for Jesus, Pope Francis said. “The church needs your enthusiasm, your intuitions, your faith. And when you arrive where we have not yet been, have the patience to wait for us like John waited for Peter before the empty tomb.”

Bukas Palad marks 32 years with concert

CBCP News - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 23:55

Jesuit Music Ministry’s (JMM) Bukas Palad marked more than three decades of timeless, Catholic music at their 32nd anniversary concert entitled “We Are Yours: A Bukas Palad Music Ministry Concert.”

By CBCPNews

Aug. 11, 2018

QUEZON City

Fans of Jesuit Music Ministry’s (JMM) Bukas Palad celebrated more than three decades of timeless, Catholic music at their 32nd anniversary concert entitled “We Are Yours: A Bukas Palad Music Ministry Concert”, on Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University.

“’We Are Yours: A Bukas Palad Music Ministry Concert’, follows Bukas Palad’’s yearly tradition of commemorating its remarkable musical journey that began in 1986 and has since produced several notable albums with JMM of the Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom),” reads a press release from JesCom.

The Catholic musical group’s liturgical and inspirational hits such as “Anima Christi”, “Humayo’t Ihayág”, “I Will Sing Forever” and “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” have “become timeless Eucharistic hymns” that have been performed in concerts across the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, the United States, and Canada.

Among the classic Bukas Palad tunes performed at the thanksgiving and praise concert were “We Are Yours”,from their 2015 album “Let Your Praises be Heard”, as well as “Luwalhati”.

“We Are Yours: A Bukas Palad Music Ministry Concert” also featured the digital release of their remastered cassette tapes entitled “Bukas Palad” (1986) and “Tanging Yaman” (1989). Both albums will be available on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music.

Pentagon chief favors return of Balangiga bells to PH

CBCP News - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 21:50

The parish church of Balangiga in Eastern Samar. CHRISTOPHER C. ZAMORA

By Roy Lagarde

August 11, 2018

Manila, Philippines

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has thrown support for the return of the contested Balangiga bells to the Philippines.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila announced that Mattis signed the documents favoring the return of the bells which were taken by American troops as spoils of war 117 years ago.

Mattis reportedly signed the papers on Aug. 10, as people of Balangiga in Eastern Samar province marked the feast of their town’s patron saint, San Lorenzo de Martir.

The information was relayed to Malacañang by Deputy Press Attache Trude Raizen of the U.S Embassy in Manila on Saturday.

“Secretary of Defense Mattis has notified Congress that the Department intends to return the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines,” the Presidential Communications Group quoted Raizen as saying.

“No specific date has been identified for the return of the Bells. We’ve received assurances that the Bells will be returned to the Catholic Church and treated with the respect and honor they deserve,” Raizen added.

The bells were taken by U.S. forces as a war trophy in the aftermath of the Balangiga Encounter during the Philippine-American War.

One of the bells is in the possession of 9th Infantry Regiment at Camp Red Cloud based in South Korea while two others are at a former base of the 11th Infantry Regiment at F. E. Warren air base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Efforts to return the bells to the Philippines have started in 1957 when Jesuit historian Fr. Horacio de la Costa requested the 13th Air Force in San Francisco, California to repatriate the bells.

Meanwhile, the Balangiga Historical Society through the National Historical Institute and the Department of Foreign Affairs initiated formal government efforts in reacquiring the Bells in 1989.

The Diocese of Borongan, to which the parish of Balangiga belongs, has also stepped up its efforts by organizing a Diocesan Committee on Balangiga Bells composed of Filipino priests and lay people in the Philippines and in the U.S.

In 2005, former bishop of Borongan Leonardo Medroso met with several legislators in US congress in view of lobbying for the return of the bells.

In 2010, current Borongan bishop Crispin Varquez met with the members of the committee in the US who are spearheading the lobby in the US Congress for the return of the bells.

Every September 29, the province commemorate the Balangiga Encounter Day to remember the bravery and courage of the Estehanons.

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

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Charity and unity, not selfishness and relativism, provide the basis for economic stability
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