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Killings must end now, says CBCP head

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:28

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President

MANILA, Feb. 17, 2017— A ranking Catholic prelate has again asked for an end to drug-related violence in the country that has seen more than 7,600 killed since July.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, said summary executions must stop immediately because no civilized country can let such illegal acts to go on unabated.

“They (criminals) ought to be judged by the court of law and never by the extrajudicial means,” Villegas said in his message for the Walk for Life set to be held at the Qurino Grandstand in Manila on Saturday.

The prelate stressed that law offenders ought to be arrested, prosecuted, sentenced and jailed to correct the wrongdoings they committed.

He also scored the political pressure on lawmakers to immediately pass a bill for the restoration of the death penalty and urged the leadership in the lower House to allow “conscience vote.”

“Partisan politics is fleeting. Conscience is the voice of God inside everyone of us. Respect our conscience,” he said.

Villegas reiterated that if only to fight criminalities, the government must reform the criminal justice system instead of reviving the capital punishment.

This include, according to him, by cleansing the ranks of the police, reforming the judiciary and strictly enforcing rules in country’s prisons.

“Execution is murder,’ he said. “We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing those who kill.  It also increases the number of killers.”

Aside from extrajudicial killings and the death penalty, he urged Filipinos to also fight four other “sins against life”, namely abortion, blasphemy, corruption, and illegal drugs.

The prelate also responded to the criticisms that the Church is protecting criminals for criticizing the government’s bloody war on drugs and opposing the death penalty.

The lay-initiated gathering, he said, is neither to defend the criminals or a protest “but a commitment to the sacredness of life given by God.”

“This walk for life is a walk for God,” he said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Interfaith leaders join Catholics at ‘Walk for Life’

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:22

Walk for Life 2017

MANILA, Feb. 17, 2017— Faith leaders, including those from Evangelical Churches, are joining Catholics in calling for an end to the  wave of extrajudicial executions in the country. 

They will meet on Saturday morning, Feb. 18 at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the “Walk for Life” organized by a coalition of lay Catholic movements and national organizations. 

Joseph Jesalva, Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP) executive assistant, said they more faith leaders to come stand up for life. 

“There are some evangelicals, non-Catholics, who called us and signified they were coming,” Jesalva said.

Organizers are expecting around 20,000 people to join the prayer rally coming from different parts of Luzon. 

“We are open to everyone: religious groups, civic groups,” he said. 

In a letter sent to the CBCP, leaders of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church in the Philippines said they are one with the calls for an end to summary killings and in opposing moves to restore the death penalty. 

“We are calling for the protection of life given to us by God. No to killings!” they said. 

Jesalva also among the participants will be coming from the Couples for Christ and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines.

He added that the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, and the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association are also joining the early morning event. 

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on the Laity, is hoping that many people join the prayer rally. 

“We hope to have many people attending the Walk for Life although we don’t know exactly the response so far. This is our first experience of a lay initiative in this regard,” he said. 

“Our appeal to the public is to come and stand up for life. Let us all stand up to be counted to promote life. We defend life of each one,” said Pabillo. (CBCPNews) 

Walk for Life 2017

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 16:43
Message of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas February 18, 2017

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President

Salamat sa Council of the Laity ng Pilipinas na siyang nanawagan para sa Walk for Life. Kaming mga pari at obispo ay kasama ninyong laykong lingkod sa bawat hakbang. Hindi kami mauuna baka hindi kayo makasunod. Hindi kami maglalakad sa likod baka maiwanan ninyo kami. Maglalakad kaming ng mga obispo at pari katabi ninyo. Kaagapay. Kaibigan. Kasama sa paglalakad. Sa Luneta pantay pantay tayo. Sabay sabay.

  Narito tayo para sa Walk for Life alang alang sa mga hindi na makalakad dahil sa kasalanan natin sa kanila. Hindi sila makalakad dahil pinatay at tayo ay natakot makisangkot. Hindi sila makalakad dahil natatakot na baka sila ang isunod na barilin. Hindi makalakad dahil lulong sa droga. Hindi makalakad na pinatay ng mga addict nabulagan ng isip. Hindi makalakad dahil sa ating mga kasalanan dahil sa buhay.   Ang Walk for Life ay para sa kanila. Lalakad tayo at tatayo para sa kanila.   Ang Walk for Life ay hindi para ipagtanggol ang drug addict o ang mga mamamatay tao. Ang kriminal ay dapat arestuhin, kasuhan, hatulan at ikulong upang iwasto ang pagkakamali. Dapat patunayan ang pagkakasala sa korte ng batas hindi sa batas ng bala.   Ang Walk for Life ay hindi protesta kundi paninindigan para sa kabanalan ng buhay ng bawat tao na galing sa Diyos. Ang Walk for Life ay Walk for God.   Bakit madaling araw? Sapagkat sa mga oras na ito natin natutuklasan ang bangkay sa bangketa o malapit sa basurahan. Ang madaling araw na sana ay oras ng bagong simula ay nagiging oras ng luha at takot dahil sa mga pinatay sa magdamag.   Sa mga ganitong oras noong Disyembre 30, 1896 nagsimula maglakad si Dr Jose Rizal simula Fort Santiago patungong Luneta para bitayin ng firing squad.  Ang parusang bitay ay saliwa sa kabanalan ng buhay ng tao. Sa halip na bitay, linisin natin ang kapulisan, ayusin ang husgado at higpitan palakad sa bilangguan. No to death penalty. Yes to the reform of the criminal justice. Nananawgan po kami sa Congress na hayaang bumoto ang Kongresista ayon sa konsensiya. Ang partido politika ay pansamantala. Ang konsensiya ang tinig ng Diyos na nakatanim sa ating kalooban. Igalang ang konsensiya.   Marami pa pong kasalanan sa buhay na dapat natin labanan. ABCDE…   Abortion ay kasalanan sa buhay ng sanggol. Ang sanggol ay taong anak natin. Ang mahinang sanggol ay biyaya ng Diyos. Ang bawat sanggol ipagtanggol! Kapag hindi natin nilabanan ang aborsyon, aabot tayo sa pagpatay sa mga yagit ng lipunan. Ang taong yagit sa tingin ng iba ay taong iniligtas at mahal ng Diyos. Mahal ng Diyos ang mga mahihina at mistulang yagit. Kapatid natin sila.   Blasphemy ay paglapastangan sa ngalan ng Diyos. Kung ang Diyos ay hindi na ginagalang susunod na hindi igagalang ang mga nilikha ng Diyos. Ang lahat ng kasalanan sa Diyos ay nagsisimula sa blasphemy o pagyurak sa karangalan ng Diyos. Kapag lapastangan sa Diyos, sigurado lapastangan din sa Inang Kalikasan, lapastangan sa magulang, lapastangan sa kapwa, lapastangan sa buhay.   Corruption ay nakakamatay ng tao. Ang corruption ay pagnanakaw lalo na sa mga mahihirap. Perang dapat ipampagamot, perang pambili ng bigas, perang pamasahe sa bus, perang pantapal sa bubong na tumutulo, kinukupit ng mandarambong! Ang luha ng mahihirap na pinagnanakawan ng corrupt ay alam ng Diyos. Hindi kayo pwedeng magnakaw habampanahon. Alam ng Diyos ang lahat.   Droga ay laban sa buhay. Pinapatay ng droga ang taong gumagamit pati na ang mga inosenteng biktima nila. Rape dahil sa droga. Nakaw dahil sa droga. Patayan dahil sa droga. Marami ng buhay na winasak ang droga. Ang Walk for Life ay kontra droga. Ang Walk for Life ay hindi pagtatanggol sa drug addict at drug pusher. Masama ang droga. Nakakamatay ang droga.   Execution ay pagpatay. Dating tawag ay bitay, naging salvaging, naging summary execution, naging EJK. Ang pagpatay, ito naman ay gawin ng kriminal o kaya ay ipataw ng gobyerno bilang death penalty, pagpatay pa rin yan. We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing those who kill. It also increases the number of killers.   Malapit ng sumikat ang araw. May pag asa tayo. Huwag matakot sa dilim. Huwag mamuhay sa takot. Kumakalat ang takot at pananakot. Tinatakot tayong papatayin. Tinatakot tayo at nagpapatakot tayo. Walang mananakot kung hindi tayo magpapatakot.   Harapin natin ang nananakot at ipakita natin ang ating lakas ng loob. Humarap tayo sa nagbabanta at ipakita na kasama natin ang Diyos na ating lakas. Hindi nila tayo maaaring takutin dahil mas malakas ang tiwala natin sa Diyos.   Bayang may tiwala sa Diyos. Huwag matakot. Lakad na para sa BUHAY! Walk for Life!​ *** (Free translation from Tagalog by the CBCP Media Office)

Thank you to the Council of the Laity of the Philippines who called for this worthy project known as “Walk for Life.”  We, priests and bishops, are with you in every step you take.  We will not lead because you may not be able to follow.  We will not walk behind you because we may not be able to keep in step.  We, priests and bishops will walk beside you. Companions all throughout.  At the Luneta, we’re all equal.  Side by side, step by step.

We’re here for the Walk for Life in the name of those who cannot walk because of our shortcomings.  They cannot walk because they have been killed at we’re too afraid to get involved.  They cannot walk out of fear they’ll be the next victims.  They cannot walk because they’re hooked on drugs.  They cannot walk because they’ve been killed by people who’s minds have been deranged by addiction.  Those who cannot walk because of our shortcomings.

This Walk for Life is for them.  We will walk and we will stand for them.

This Walk for Life is not to defend the drug addicts or the killers. Criminals ought to be arrested, prosecuted, sentenced and jailed to correct the wrongdoings they committed.  They ought to be judged by the court of law and never by the (barrel of the gun) extrajudicial means.

This Walk for Life is not a protest but a commitment to the sacredness of life given by God.  This Walk for Life is a Walk for God.

Why in the early hours of the day?  This is simply because during this time when victims are found along the road or in garbage heaps.  Dawn is that time of day that augurs well with new beginnings but has turned into time of tears and fear due to killings made the night before.

It was during this time of day in December 30, 1896 when Dr. Jose Rizal walked from Fort Santiago to the Luneta to face the firing squad.  Death penalty is contrary to the sacredness of human life. Instead of restoring the death penalty, cleanse the ranks of the police, reform the judiciary and strictly enforce rules in our penitentiaries.  We say “No to Death penalty!” Yes, to the reforms in the criminal justice (system).  We call on the House of Representatives to allow their members to vote according to their conscience.  Partisan politics is fleeting. Conscience is the voice of God inside everyone of us.  Respect our conscience.

There a number of shortcomings against life that we need to attend to. These are ABCDE…

Abortion is a sin against the life of the unborn.  An unborn child is a gift from God.  Every child needs to be defended.  If we don’t go against abortion, there will come a time when we will kill the poor and downtrodden in society.  Poor as they are they’ve been saved at beloved by God.  God loves the weak and helpless.  They are our siblings.

Blasphemy is disrespect for the name of God.  If God’s no longer respected, there will come a time when we will no longer respect God’s creatures.  All these begins with blasphemy.  When people no longer respects God, for sure we will no longer respect the environment, our parents, our fellowmen and human life.

Corruption kills human life.  Corruption is thievery against the poor.  Money appropriated for medicines, money budgeted for rice, money for transportation expensews, money for basic home repairs yet kept and withheld by corrupt individuals.  The sufferings felt by the poor victims of the corrupt are known to God.  You cannot steal all your life.  God knows everything.

Drugs are anti-life.  Drugs kill people who use them including the innocent victims.  Rape happens due to drugs.  Thefts occur due to drugs.  Killings take place due to drugs. This Walk for Life is not to defend the drug addict and pushers.  Lives have been lost due to drugs.  Getting hooked on drugs is wrong.  Drugs kill.

Execution is murder.  From what was called death penalty, it has turned to salvaging to summary execution and now Extra Judicial Killings (EJK).  Any killing whether made by a criminal or meted by the government as death penalty remains a killing.  We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing those who kill.  It also increases the number of killers.

The sun will soon rise. There will be hope. Never be afraid of darkness. Never live in fear. We are being cowed to fear and we in turn fearful. They will cease casting fear among us because they will know we are not afraid.

Let us face those who attempt to cast fear among the people and show them our courage.  Let’s face the challenge and prove God is on our source of strength.  We will never fear them because we trust God more than anybody else.

People trust God, never fear.  Let’s walk for LIFE!  Walk for Life!

Cardinal Burke sent to Guam to oversee sex abuse trial

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:33

Cardinal Raymond Burke at EWTN studio in Rome during the Canonization of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII. (Steven Driscoll/CNA)

VATICAN, Feb. 16, 2017– The Vatican has sent Cardinal Raymond Burke to Guam to act as presiding judge at the trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was removed from office in June 2016 following allegations of child sex abuse.

Cardinal Burke is a canon lawyer and former prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s highest court. He currently serves as the chaplain of the Knights of Malta, where he has clashed with the Holy See over the removal of the Grand Chancellor of the Knights. He is also one of four cardinals who signed the controversial dubia, a letter asking Pope Francis to clarify parts of his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who leads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), appointed Cardinal Burke to the Guam trial.

Archbishop Apuron has denied the allegations against him and has not been criminally charged. Most of the allegations involve sexual abuse of altar boys in the 1970s.

On Thursday, the AP reported that one of Archbishop Apuron’s accusers refused to appear before the Vatican court, despite a request from Cardinal Burke for testimony.

Attorney David Lujan, representing former altar boy Roland Sondia, told the AP that the proceedings were “worse” than he had expected because he wasn’t allowed to be present to advise his client, who was to have been “questioned by the prosecutor, who is a priest, and Archbishop Apuron’s lawyer, who is a priest, and a presider who is Cardinal Burke, and a notary who is also a priest.”

“We felt it wasn’t in my client’s best interest to be in that position,” he said. He said Sondia may submit a written declaration instead.

Many of the allegations against Archbishop Apuron became public last year, after full-page ads sponsored by Concerned Catholics of Guam encouraged anyone who had been abused by clergy to come forward, according to reports from Pacific Daily News.

Following the new allegations, the Archdiocese created a new Task Force for the Protection of Minors and a new Victims Support group to aid in the counseling and support of victims and their families.

“The Church on Guam has a duty and desire to render pastoral care to all of its faithful, most especially those who have been severely wounded by those holding trusted positions in our Archdiocese. We are strengthening our work in this area and pledge to provide a safe environment for all children and all people entrusted in our care,” the Archdiocese said in a November statement.

In November 2016, Pope Francis appointmented Detroit Bishop Michael Jude Byrnes as coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana. He replaced Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, who was sent to Guam by the Vatican in June to temporarily replace Apuron.

Archbishop Apuron is a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, a group within the Church that has also clashed with other Catholics on the island over the past few years.

Besides sexual allegations, Archbishop Apuron has also been accused of mishandling control over the island’s seminary, reportedly using it as a Neocatechumenal seminary rather than a diocesan seminary, which led to the withdrawal of all Samoan students. Guam’s Carmelite nuns also relocated to California last year over issues with Apuron.

Guam is a U.S. island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific, with a population of 165,124. Approximately 85 percent of the island’s citizens identify as Catholic. (CNA/EWTN News) 

 

In latest round of meetings, papal advisors cover court, bishop selection

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:30

A view of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vaticans Apostolic Palace. (Lauren Cater/CNA)

VATICAN, Feb. 15, 2017-– Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met for the 18th time this week to continue discussion on reforming the Roman Curia, focusing on how new bishops are chosen and the streamlining of several offices, including the Vatican tribunals.

According to a Feb. 15 Vatican communique, after opening their meetings with a declaration of support for Pope Francis and his reform efforts, the cardinals “have begun to examine the ‘Diaconia of Justice,’” and so dedicated a good chunk of this week’s meetings to the three Vatican tribunals.

The tribunals are the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

In a nutshell, the Apostolic Penitentiary is the court in charge of cases involving excommunication and serious sins, including those whose absolution is reserved to the Holy See, while the Signatura, as it’s called, functions as a sort of Supreme Court. The Rota, for its part, is akin to a court of appeals or court of “last instance,” and is also where marriage annulment cases are judged.

In addition to the tribunals, the cardinals also dedicated a portion of the discussion to “the process for selecting candidates for the episcopate,” a topic that’s been on the table for some time.

Each of the nine members of the council were present for the entirety of the Feb. 13-15 round of meetings, with the addition of Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, who gave an update on his dicastery’s work. In keeping with their custom, the cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Pope in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse the first two days of the meeting.

As usual, Pope Francis was present for the majority of the sessions apart from Monday morning, when he met the Costa Rican bishops in Rome for their ad limina visit, and Wednesday morning, during which he participated in the weekly general audience.

The cardinals, in addition to speaking about the tribunals and bishop selection, continued to discuss points brought up during the last round of meetings, including the possible restructuring of the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fides) and Oriental Churches and the Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Cardinal Pell gave a presentation on work of Secretariat for the Economy and the continuing reform of Vatican finances, giving special emphasis to “the formation of personnel and human resources.”

Msgr. Vigano offered his presentation on communications Monday afternoon, focusing at length on the consolidation of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center.

It was noted in the Vatican communique that on this point, several meetings have already taken place with the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for the Economy, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA) and the Labor Office.

Mention was also made of the plan to “restructure radio frequencies” and of a new policy for social how to handle social media. A brief reflection was also given on a project for reforming the Vatican Publishing House.

Before discussion began, however, the cardinals kicked off the first day of meetings by issuing a statement reaffirming their support for Pope Francis and his work after the pontiff received some harsh blowback for his reform in the days preceding the gathering.

On Monday Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga greeted the Pope on behalf of the group at the start of their first session, thanking Francis for his Dec. 22 address to the Roman Curia and acknowledging “his encouragement and direction for the work of the council.”

“In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals expresses its full support of the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support to his person and his Magisterium,” it added.

The statement came out just over a week after posters criticizing the Pope were plastered on walls of the city center of Rome Feb. 4. Days later, a spoof of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano was sent to cardinals and bishops in the Curia claiming the Pope had finally answered the five “dubia” submitted to him by four prelates in September, responding both “yes and no” to each.

In a Feb. 15 briefing with journalists on the winners of the International “Economy and Society” Prize of the Vatican’s Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice foundation, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference and a member of the Pope’s “Council of Nine,” spoke about the issue.

When asked about the reason for issuing the statement, Marx said the intention was not to create a “great drama,” but rather to voice their support.

“It was time to repeat that we are supporting the Pope” and walking beside him, Marx said, adding that the statement seems to have been “well-accepted.”

“We have discussion in the Church, normal discussions, tensions, it will always be like this,” he said, but explained that “at a time like this” when such vocal and public opposition has been voiced, “loyalty to the Pope is substantial” to the Catholic faith.

Established by Pope Francis shortly after his pontificate began in 2013, the council, also called “the Council of Nine,” serves as an advisory body on Church governance and reform, with special emphasis on the reform of Pastor Bonus, the 1988 apostolic constitution of St. John Paul II that regulates the competencies and work of the Roman Curia.

Keywords that have come out of the cardinals’ meetings so far and which have emerged as guiding principles for the ongoing Curial reform are harmonization, simplification, synodality and the Church’s “missionary drive.”

The council of cardinals will conclude its last session Wednesday evening, and is set to meet again April 24-26 to continue discussion on moving forward in reforming curial structures. (Elise Harris/CNA)

Vatican’s top legal aide says divorced-and-remarried may receive Communion

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:26

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, speaks at a Vatican press conference Sept. 8, 2015. (Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

VATICAN, Feb. 14, 2017-– The head of the Vatican office charged with interpreting Church law has said that divorced-and-remarried persons who want to change their situation but cannot, may be admitted to Communion without living in continence.

“The Church could admit to Penance and to the Eucharist faithful who find themselves in an illegitimate union when two essential conditions occur: they want to change the situation, but they are unable to fulfill their desire,” Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, 78, wrote in his booklet Chapter Eight of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhoration Amoris laetitia, published last week.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. His booklet, published by the Vatican Publishing House and presented Feb. 14 at a Vatican press confence, offers his own interpretation of Amoris laetitia. He said it is aimed at “grasping the rich doctrinal and pastoral message” of Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation.

Part of the reason for writing it, he said, is because the exhortation’s eighth chapter has “been judged with either negativity or with a certain reservation.”

In the text, Cardinal Coccopalmerio extensively quotes Amoris laetitia, saying Chapter 8 illustrates both the clear doctrine of the Church on marriage, as well as the conditions in which, due to “serious” repercussions, couples living in irregular unions might be able to receive Communion.

He reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, and stressed that the Church must in no way “renounce to proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its greatness.”

“Any form of relativism, or an excessive respect in the moment of proposing it, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also a lack of love of the Church,” he said.

However, he noted that, as said in Amoris laetitia, there are many complex factors contributing to why marriages fail and irregular unions are so common, such as abandonment by a spouse, cultural stigmas, or other “mitigating factors.”

The cardinal pointed to paragraph 301 of Amoris laetitia, which reads: “it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

By referring to “any irregular situation,” the exhortation, in his opinion, “intends to refer to all those who are married only civilly or only living in a de facto union or are bound by a previous canonical marriage,” the cardinal said.

Further quoting that paragraph, the cardinal said, “a subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values,’ or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin … factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision.”

Offering an example of a situation in which a person might be fully aware of the irregularity of their situation yet faces great difficulty in changing it for fear of falling into greater sin, Cardinal Coccopalmerio pointed to couples in a new union who can’t separate due to “serious reasons” such as the education of their children.

He also used the example of a woman cohabiting with a man and his three children, after they had been abandoned by his first wife.

In the book, the cardinal said the woman had saved the man “from a state of deep despair, probably from the temptation of suicide.” The couple had been together for 10 years, adding another child to the mix, with the woman making considerable sacrifices to help raise the other three.

While the woman in the hypothetical situation “is fully aware of being in an irregular situation” and would “honestly like to change her life, but evidently, she can’t,” the cardinal said, explaining that if she left, “the man would turn back to the previous situation and the children would be left without a mother.”

To leave, then, would mean the woman would fail to carry out her duties toward innocent people, namely, the children. Because of this, Cardinal Coccopalmerio said, “it’s then evident that she couldn’t leave without new sin” occurring.

Speaking on the point of continence, the cardinal pointed to St. John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio.

In the document, St. John Paul II taught that the divorced-and-remarried who for serious reasons cannot satisfy the obligation to separate may receive absolution which would open the way to Communion only if they take on the duty to live in complete continence – to live as brother and sister.

However, for Cardinal Coccopalmerio, while the couples who are able to do this should, for others the temptation of infidelity increases the longer a couple refrains from sexual intimacy, potentially causing greater harm to the children.

He referred to footnote 329 of Amoris laetitia. The footnote is a reference to the quoting of St. John Paul II’s words in Familiaris consortio acknowledging that some of the divorced-and-remarried cannot, for serious reasons, separate. The footnote applies the words of Gaudium et spes that “where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined” – in its context, speaking about married couples – to “the divorced who have entered a new union.”

Cardinal Coccopalmerio stressed that while for him the desire to change one’s situation despite the inability to do so is enough to receive Communion, the conditions must be “carefully and authoritatively discerned” on the part of ecclesial authority, which would typically be the couple’s parish priest, who knows the couple “more directly” and can therefore offer adequate guidance.

For the cardinal, the only instance in which a couple in an irregular situation could be barred from Communion is when, “knowing they are in grave sin and being able to change, they have no sincere desire” to do so.

He also suggested that a diocesan office charged with advising on difficult marital situations could be “necessary, or at least useful.”

Cardinal Coccopalmerio was absent from his book presentation, and it was presented instead by Orazio La Rocca; Fr. Maurizio Gronchi; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, SDB; and Alfonso Cuateruccio.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio is the latest prelate to speak out on the question of Amoris laetitia and admission to Communion for the divorced-and-remarried. The exhortation has been met with a varied reception and intepretation within the Church.

Several bishops, including the bishops’ conferences of Germany and of Malta, have said the divorced-and-remarried may receive Communion.

Yet many have maintained the Church’s traditional discipline, including recently Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur and Bishop Stephen Lopes of the Ordinariate of St. Peter.

And Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has on multiple occasions maintained that Amoris laetitia is in continuity with Church teaching.

In an interview with Il Timone earlier this month, he said that Amoris laetitia “must clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church.” He said that St. John Paul II’s teaching in Familiaris consortio “is not dispensable, because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.”

Confusion on this point, he said, stems from a failure to accept St. John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis splendor.

Cardinal Müller suggested that in order to quell the confusion generated by the differing interpretations of Amoris laetitia, everyone ought to study the Church’s doctrine, beginning with Scripture, “which is very clear on marriage.”

“All of us must understand and accept the doctrine of Christ and of his Church, and at the same time be ready to help others to understand it and put it into practice even in difficult situations,” he stated.

Observing the difference between the statements of Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Dr. Edward Peters, a professor of canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, wrote that “the Church’s arguably two highest-ranking cardinals in the areas of canonical interpretation and the protection of doctrine and morals are in public, plain, and diametric opposition with each other concerning a crucial canonico-sacramental practice. This division cannot stand.” (Elise Harris/CNA/EWTN News)

Statement of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies on EJK

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:03

Our Christian faith has time and again taught us to condemn the sin, and never the sinner. It runs against Christ’s example of mercy and compassion to judge sinners without even giving them the hope for conversion, renewal, and the promise of God’s unconditional mercy. More so, it is utterly unchristian to mercilessly kill sinners, especially the helpless poor, in the obviously confused pretext of eradicating the sin. This is strongly condemnable, yet this characterizes the deplorable condition of our Philippine society.

Thousands have been reportedly killed resulting from the current anti-drug campaign of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. Basing from police records, more than 2,500 drug suspects were killed in legitimate anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2016. In the same period, 53,000 were also arrested. What is more horrifying are the more than 4,000 deaths which the police consider as “under investigation,” although presumed to be barbaric acts of vigilantes and drug syndicates carrying out internal purging. In Central Visayas, a total of 158 were killed in operations, while 5,413 were arrested within the period July 1, 2016 to February 2, 2017. A careful look at the socio-economic background of the victims will reveal the anti-poor character of this drug war. Most of the victims are petty-criminals, not to mention the innocent children deemed as collateral damages of this anti-poor operations.

With the exposition done by the Amnesty International, one can further see the gravity of evil at work even among law enforcers. It was uncovered that police officers get paid in anti-drug operations, and the incentives range from Php 8,000 to Php 15,000 per suspect killed. Our supposedly trusted officials in the bureaucracy are perpetrating a mercenary culture within the ranks of our police officers. This mercenary culture must be strongly condemned for it favors monetary incentives over moral judgments, of death over the affirmation of life and hope. Consequently, it will cloud reasoned judgment and turns police operations into an indiscriminate orgy of mercenaries lusting for monetary rewards. And this culture must be condemned by the police officers themselves as it is a predatory culture operative only through the exploitation of the dire economic conditions of law enforcers eager to raise their living conditions at the cost of killing drug suspects. They must resolutely decry such a culture lest they be labeled hypocrites claiming to be serving and protecting the community while doing otherwise.

The temporary suspension of the said operations neither absolves the perpetrators nor guarantees the safety of the poor and the rest of the community against similar aggressions in the future. What is needed is to render justice to all the victims. Special care and attention should also be given to the orphans and the widows, and provide them with the necessary economic support. Above all, the current administration has to craft an alternative drug campaign that genuinely addresses the problem.

The Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies (COSA) strongly denounces this state-sponsored killings which in reality has failed to provide substantial remedies to the drug problem the country is

facing. In addressing the issue, the government must abandon a militarist strategy but must rather engage the problem with a wholistic, democratic and people-centered approach. First, enough rehabilitation facilities must be constructed by the government. The latter must seriously combat the drug issue by painstakingly persuading individuals involved in the use of drugs to undergo needed interventions for physical, psychological, and spiritual rehabilitation and renewal. Along with this, the government has to employ enough health and social workers, and other needed experts for the smooth and proper conduct of necessary medical and psycho-social interventions, in a nationwide scale. Both the aforementioned measures imply better state-subsidy in the health sector, one of the poorly-funded sectors of the Philippine society. The culture of stigmatizing users and also pushers must also be countered through proper education and a victim-centered model of community involvement. Enlightened sectors of society must be encouraged to combat the illegal business, collectively exposing and opposing known drug centers and syndicates, and waging mass campaigns and advocacies against big bureaucrats backing this illegal drugs trade. The enemies are the big illegal businesses, and not the victims of the businesses.

Furthermore, COSA strongly believes that while the socio-economic roots for the proliferation of illegal drug businesses continue to proliferate, and the decadent culture of escapism lingers, the drug menace will continue to wreak havoc despite of heightened militarist approach. The said socio-economic conditions characterized by urban and rural poverty, contractual work, low wages, commercialized education, and inaccessible social services condition Filipinos, especially the youth, to be more vulnerable to and eventually engage in the illegal drugs trade. Drug business preys on the vulnerabilities of the poor, and so it is but justice to the poor if this illegal drugs trade is eradicated through the elimination of socio- economic problems of Philippine society in general.

COSA has steadfastly stood its position for the resumption of the peace talks of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines), as the second item of the substantive agenda aims at eradicating socio-economic maladies that have long enslaved the poor Filipinos. There is a direct connection between the success of the peace talks and the eradication of the drug menace. COSA, along with all peace loving Filipinos, strongly urge the Duterte government to resume the peace talks, eradicate the existing socio-economic maladies, and pave a better future for the Filipinos, especially the youth.

COSA will continue to speak against the killings. It also supports the “Walk for Life” of the CBCP this February 18, 2017. In standing firm to its commitment for life, justice, and peace, COSA, in the near future, will convene with other cause-oriented groups in order to make a collective advocacy against the rampant killings, support the families of the victims, and help organizing anti-drug campaigns. COSA is certain that the fullness of life can only be realized through a peace based on social justice.

 

Fr. Nazario “Ace” Vocales
Vicar/Executive Director
Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies Archdiocese of Cebu

Capital punishment: ‘Those without capital get punished’

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:08

MANILA, Feb. 17, 2017 – A lay leader from the Diocese of Novaliches says the push to reinstate the death penalty is nothing more but punishment for those who are penniless and is, therefore, anti-poor.

“Those who have capital (money) and connections could bail themselves out of punishment, even if guilty. But the poor easily suffer the full brunt of the law, even those actually not guilty,” said Diocese of Novaliches Family and Life Commission (FLC Nova) Lay Coordinator Wayne Belizar in an interview during their preparations for the upcoming Walk For Life on Feb. 18, this Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand.

To emphasize this point on the issue, Belizar coined the tagline, “CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Those without the capital are punished”, for use by their Commission to represent its and the diocese’s stand against the death penalty. FLC Nova has, in fact, printed this tagline on tarpaulins they will be bringing to the walk.

Bribes and more

According to Belizar, the country’s justice system is plagued with corruption issues involving everyone from law enforcers to prosecutors and even justices who can be bribed by the rich to let criminals go scot-free.

He highlighted the fact that in the Philippines “only rich people could afford getting top lawyers to defend them” when it comes to court cases, such that “the poor are left to the heavily-loaded and – most of the time – inadequately equipped public attorney”.

“This situation, therefore, spawns injustice and aggravates poverty. The death penalty, then, is anti-poor,” Belizar stressed. “The revival of capital punishment could only magnify social injustice with the present ‘defective’ justice system.”

Not just Catholics

Belizar said they have initiated the mobilization of people from the Diocese of Novaliches to join the Walk For Life, which he perceives as a call for solidarity among peace-loving defenders of life, including non-Catholics.

“A good sign of a mature person, family, and community, regardless of religion, is the protection, promotion, development, and care for human life. Joining the Walk for Life is actually everybody’s concern but is only more pronounced to Catholics, especially its leaders, who ought to defend and promote the sanctity of human life,” he ended.

Currently, Belizar and his team are tallying the number of Walk For Life participants, which is expected to reach at least 100 persons from parishes, commissions, ministries, mandated organizations, as well as religious of the diocese. (Minnie Agdeppa / CBCPNews)

Is Death Penalty the answer?

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:00

 Atty. Aurora A. Santiago

Duc in altum

During its Plenary Session last January, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued Pastoral Statement on Death Penalty. “The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the Gospel of Life. When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process. Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty. We urge the government to champion life for all!”

Let us support our Bishops. Let us join the Walk for Life being called by The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO), the implementing arm of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity (ECLA). LAIKO President Mrs. Zenaida Capistrano and ECLA Chairman Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo invite all Diocesan Councils of the Laity, Parish Pastoral Councils, Diocesan and National Organizations, Renewal Movements, Transparochial Organizations and Catholic Schools to participate in the Walk for Life to be held from 4:30a.m. to 7:00 a.m. of February 18, 2017, Saturday, at the Parade Grounds of Quirino Grandstand.

In its Position Paper, LAIKO stated that the Walk for Life is our campaign appeal to our lawmakers both at the Senate and the House of Representatives to reject the re-imposition of Death Penalty. The abolition of death penalty in 1987 is a strong message that it has no place in our society where preservation and respect for human life is of utmost importance. Mostly the poor and the marginalized people are victims since they do not have access to legal resources to defend themselves. “Death penalty will never bring real justice. Further, it breaks essential human rights such as the right to life. “MAHALAGA ANG BUHAY…HINDI SAGOT ANG PAGPATAY!” (Life is important… the Answer is not death)

Catholic Organizations who wish to join the Walk for Life may wear their respective Organizational or Walk for Life T-Shirts, however, for security purposes, they are requested to call LAIKO for the Stickers and registration arrangements. To defray costs, donations are accepted. The amount of P250.00 includes Walk for Life t-shirt which is an entry pass for the event. For registration requirements, please call up LAIKO Mobilization Hotline at 527-5388 and look for Joseph or Kate.

***

We support CBCP’s position not to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old. Children of that age may only be in his grade 3, still innocent, young and vulnerable. A child that age do not think of criminal intent in whatever he is doing. Just imagine a child of such tender age, apprehended by the authorities and detained in the same place as the hardened and matured offenders. These youngsters will just be bullied and abused by the adult offenders and instead of reforming these children, they will grow to be hardened criminals too. What our lawmakers must do is to slap stiffer punishment on syndicate which uses children to commit crimes. Parents should likewise be vigilant in monitoring what their children are doing.

***

Congratulations to the new Parish Priests and Parochial Vicar of the different parishes in the Diocese of Kalookan. After 13 years, rotation and new assignments were implemented by the Bishop. Scheduled Installation Ceremony from the second week of February, to be presided by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David: Fr. Elpidio Erlano and Fr. James del Rosario & Fr. Nestor Estanislao, parish priest and parochial vicars, respectively, of San Bartolome; Fr. Ildefonso de Guzman of Sagrada Familia; Fr. Gaudencio Salise and Fr. Ofero Balana, parish priest and parochial vicars, respectively of San Exequiel Moreno; Fr. Rufino Yabut and Fr. Leo Pepito, parish priest and guest priest, respectively of San Jose de Navotas; Fr. Rey Amante of Sts. Peter and John; Fr. Romeo Tuazon of Sta. Cruz; Fr. Benedict Cervantes of San Antonio de Padua; Fr. Gaudioso Sustento and Fr. Noi Paciente parish priest and guest priest, respectively, of Sacred Heart of Jesus Morning Breeze; Fr. Leandro Magnait and Fr. Kennedy Neral, parish priest and parochial vicar, respectively, of St. Gabriel the Archangel; Fr. Ruben Maybuena of Hearts of Jesus and Mary; Fr. Martin Guarin of Sto. Rosario Parish; Fr. Ronaldo Pedroso of Mary Help of Christian; Fr. Larry Toledo of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Special Olympics set for special people

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 08:44

MANILA, Feb. 17, 2017 – A sports competition for persons with special needs is scheduled on March 25 in Kapitolyo in Pasig.

According to Fr. Charlton Viray, superior of the Servants of Charity, competitions in the Special Olympics may include basketball (shooting), board games and other indoor games, as well as track and field events like running.

Participating in the Special Olympics are some 20 residents from the Guanella Home for Special Children, a center for abandoned and less fortunate, intellectually disabled persons, ran by the Servants of Charity in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Not alone

These include persons with Down syndrome, mental retardation, autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and global development delay, explained Viray.

The Special Olympics, which are annual fun games, provides special people with joyful opportunities to interact with their fellows from other communities, he said.

“They are not alone,” Viray said in Filipino.
Families who have special person members, he added, should continue to hope in God.

Committed for life

Viray also advised families with special persons to seek out and get involved in support groups and communities dedicated to providing shelter and care for special persons like the Guanella Home for Special Children, for persons with intellectual disabilities.

The Guanella Home for Special Children is an all-male home to 20 abandoned and less fortunate individuals with intellectual disabilities from across the Philippines.

The center is committed to providing its residents with a “lifetime home”, Viray said.

“We are committed to them as long as they live,” he said.

Coincidentally, in the coming summer, some residents of Guanella Home for Special Children will graduate from a special education course, Viray shared. (Oliver Samson / CBCP News)

Resilient after ‘Yolanda’

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 20:11

Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona visits an indigenous community in Coron, Palawan (Tagbanua) to see a housing project, which is part of the Resiliency Program of the NASSA – Caritas Philippines created after super typhoon Yolanda. Tirona (fourth from left) is director of NASSA – Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. (Photo: Fr. Eric Bobis)

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 19:59

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11, was celebrated in Iriga City with Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona. (Photo: Fr. Eric Bobis)

All set for ‘Walk for Life’ in Manila

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 19:49

MANILA, Feb. 16, 2017— A sea of white will descend on Manila’s Quirino Grandstand to demand an end to extrajudicial killings and to oppose the revival of the death penalty.

Organizers said the simple gathering on Feb. 18 will have people walking around the grandstand to “fill the streets with prayers”.

“We call on our God-fearing countrymen to work for the respect and protection of human life,” said Zenaida Capistrano, president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP).

In the name of life

Capistrano said those planning to attend should wear white t-shirts and bring white flaglets and ribbons to echo their call for the protection of life.

The CLP is an organization focused on uplifting lay involvement in the Church activities. It is also composed of diocesan councils of the laity, Church movements, and Church-based groups across the country.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo is hoping President Rodrigo Duterte will listen to the voice of Catholics joining this Saturday’s “Walk for Life” in Manila and in other provinces.

He said the prayer rally is a strong manifestation of the lay people’s stance on the increasing number of killings of drug suspects in the country and other pro-life issues.

“This is his (Duterte) constituency. It’s a big group. These are people who come from different parishes who want to speak,” said the prelate.

People at the grassroots

“His mandate was not only during the elections. He should be mindful of the lay people, these are the people from the grassroots,” he added.

The three-hour prayer rally will be held in Manila from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. Similar activities will also be held in Dagupan City in Pangasinan and in Cebu City.

In Iloilo City, members of CFC – Singles for Christ will gather for an international conference and will also offer prayers and Mass on Friday evening in solidarity with the Walk for Life in Manila.

Participants of the Walk for Life in Manila are expected to come from as far as Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Cabanatuan, Batangas, Laguna, and other provinces in Luzon.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has earlier called on the faithful to join the prayer rally and “fill the streets with prayers and not with blood.”

“We hope that there will be more people who would be disturbed every time one human person is killed, because one brother or sister killed is already too much,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president.

“And we should not allow this to keep on increasing,” he added. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews) 

More areas to adopt V-Day candy-giving

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 19:39

MANILA, Feb. 16, 2017 – The annual candy-condom face-off won’t be limited to just the Dangwa flower market by next year as more areas vow to replicate the pro-life initiative in their parishes and areas.

Pro-life volunteers from various organizations distributed candy packs with messages on true love and chastity on Valentine’s Day in the vicinity of the Dangwa Flower Market in Sampaloc, Manila, Feb. 14, 2017. (Photo: Ryan Borja Capitulo)

“The replication of candy-giving, it’s a good ripple effect to bring back the real essence of Valentine’s day,” said LoveLife Philippines vice president for internal affairs Paul Guimary, who volunteered to distribute candy in Dangwa on Feb. 14.

After this year’s candy-giving near the University of Sto. Tomas in the Dangwa flower market, the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga and a member of the Light of Jesus community in Puerto Princesa committed to bring the initiative to their area.

Guimary added: “You can see that there’s really a good effect and we’re sending a good message that love triumphs. People would prefer celebrating the essence of Valentine’s which is love and not just about lust. The thing is, the impression on Valentine’s day is all sex, motels but this time, no.”

According to AJ Perez, project head for this year’s candy-giving, some 20 volunteers gave away 15,000 candy packs to mostly young people buying flowers for their special someone on the day of hearts.

Aside from Dangwa, pro-life volunteers from St. Paul’s College Manila, Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Bicutan, the Diocese of Pasig youth, and private individuals in San Pedro, Laguna also gave away candies in their areas.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to bring back the essence of real love. Candy symbolizes that love is sweet and that is what we should celebrate and not lust,” added Guimary, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Prolife Philippines.

A join project of Prolife Philippines, Filipinos for Life, LoveLife Philippines, and YouthPinoy, the candy-giving project this year mobilized volunteers from Student Catholic Action – UP Diliman chapter and the Social Service Faith in Action of Payatas, Quezon City. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)

CFC to lawmakers: As servants, be the first to protect life

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:31

MANILA, Feb. 16, 2017— A Catholic family-oriented group called on legislators to use their power to protect human life and oppose the revival of the death penalty.

The Couples for Christ, a global Catholic lay ecclesial movement, reminded lawmakers what should really matter them: common good.

“Our legislators are where they are because they have been blessed with the gift of life. We ask that they, as servants of the people, be the first to protect life,” it said.

Instead of restoring the capital punishment, the group said lawmakers should instead protect the country’s most vulnerable people, calling upon them to banish poverty, fight corruption and reform the justice system.

“We believe that there are more effective ways to stop criminality such as the fair and efficient administration of justice, poverty alleviation and implementation of programs to nurture families and strengthen moral values,” the CFC said.

“We pledge to support government in efforts to achieve the common goal of peace and order in our land,” it added. “Stop the restoration of the death penalty!”

The CFC, with nearly a million members, has earlier expressed concerned over the unabated extrajudicial killings of suspected drug pushers and users.

The CFC leadership said said efforts to combat the drug menace must adhere to legal and principles.

They called on the public to be concerned on the rising number of killings which has now reached around 7,600 since President Rodrigo Duterte took office.

The CFC will be among those joining the lay-initiated “Work for Life” at the Quirino Grandstand on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition against death penalty and the spate of summary killings. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

Church urges vigilance vs death penalty bill

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:41

MANILA, Feb. 15, 2017— As the Lower House sets the death penalty vote to next month, a prison ministry official encouraged advocates against the measure to be vigilant.

Prison volunteers attend Mass at the CBCP Chapel in Manila before going to the House of Representatives to monitor the plenary debates on the death penalty bill. (CBCPNews)

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said there’s more reason to believe that the House leadership is determined to push the proposed bill.

The bishops earlier called on the clergy, the religious, and the laity to attend congressional hearings on the death penalty to ensure that due process is observed.

Presence, prayers

“Let’s monitor and show to them that we are standing against death penalty,” Diamante said.

He said the faithful must not stop campaigning against the legislative measure until it’s totally junked.

“Our presence is important. We can also offer prayers,” said Diamante.

“And when they see in the gallery that are lots of people, especially priests and nuns, they might not force the voting,” he said.

The House of Representatives will reportedly insist on putting the death penalty bill to a vote before Congress adjourns for the summer break next month.

Talk to your congressmen

The House leadership wants to put the measure to a vote on second reading on March 8, and a vote on third and final reading by March 15.

On Wednesday, Diamante and dozens of prison volunteers trooped to the Lower House to monitor the plenary debates on the death penalty bill.

He also called on lay people to talk to their respective congressmen to vote against the measure. (CBCPNews)

February 20, 2017 – MK 9:14-29

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:46

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 SIR 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Responsorial Psalm PS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Alleluia 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

February 19, 2017 – MT 5:38-48

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:45

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 LV 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2 1 COR 3:16-23

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Alleluia 1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“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.”

February 18, 2017 – MK 9:2-13

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:44

Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 HEB 11:1-7

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,
so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous,
God bearing witness to his gifts,
and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was found no more because God had taken him.
Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,
for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen,
with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household.
Through this, he condemned the world
and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (see 1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Alleluia MK 9:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”

February 17, 2017 – MK 8:34—9:1

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:43

Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 GN 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east,
they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
They said to one another,
“Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”
They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the sky,
and so make a name for ourselves;
otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower
that they had built.
Then the LORD said: “If now, while they are one people,
all speaking the same language,
they have started to do this,
nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.
Let us then go down and there confuse their language,
so that one will not understand what another says.”
Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth,
and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world.
It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia JN 15:15B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 8:34—9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

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