Monday, January 18

Whereto and Whatnow Philippines? (Part 5/Conclusion)



The first half of the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial last January 3 entitled “Sources of Hope” was somewhat parallel to that of the CBCP President’s message for the New Year, thus it started as follows: (emphasis added)

The Latin phrase “annus horribilis” has been in the popular lexicon ever since Queen Elizabeth II used it to describe 1992, a year plagued by misfortune for her property and her family. The same has been said of 2009; it surely qualifies as one of the worst years in living memory.

It comes as no surprise, then, that polled before the year ended, an overwhelming majority of Filipinos from all walks of life (89 percent, according to the Social Weather Stations) expressed hopefulness about this year.

We have dwelt on the disasters and the grim events that hogged the headlines in 2009, the political and economic difficulties that beset a nation battered by natural calamities.

What we wish to do now is point out that even as official irresponsibility and impunity alienated the public, and the economy and nature battered the citizenry, we were able to witness heroism and compassion temper these events, giving hope and providing inspiration to all of us.

Suffice it to say that if we saw our political institutions preferring to live lavishly, lie constantly, exercise impunity with a near-total failure on the part of the citizenry to exact accountability, we saw individuals and even groups demonstrate how to serve humbly, and live lives that bear authentic witness to truth and public service.

While still far less prevalent than we hope, these witnesses to virtue and duty have helped the public to realize that official corruption and indifference have a price; and that the public has the means to change the situation for the better.

Former Prime Minister (and recent convert to Catholicism) Tony Blair’s World View column entitled “A time of tests”, was also all about the tough times that decision makers have to face today. It ended up with the following conclusion:

“So no matter how difficult it is, we should remember what it is we believe in and why.”

“So now is the moment, even among all the uncertainty, for some clarity- and that clarity comes best from a worked-out strategy based on a strong set of convictions.”

TOUCHE! And thank you dear Mr. Blair…

If we combine the first half of the PDI editorial with Tony Blair’s last few lines, surprisingly and providentially we end up with a combined commentary that leads to a very Christian point of view and logical synthesis as well. On second thought, it should not be surprising at all, considering that some 90% of our people are Christians as well as Mr. Blair, most of whom we can safely presume to have acquired a certain level of HOPE which is one of the three Christian theological virtues, from where all human virtues are rooted, e.g. justice and fortitude.

Thus to synthesize: the local examples of “heroism and compassion” triggered by Ondoy and other disasters have truly given “hope and provided inspiration to all of us” and constitute “authentic witness to truth and public service”, even in the face of the government’s penchant for “irresponsibility”, telling lies to the public with “impunity” and the citizenry’s frustrated-efforts to “exact accountability”.

And Tony Blair’s suggested solution to the world’s equally or even more complex, problems of security, global warming and economic meltdown, for the purpose of achieving “clarity” in order to arrive at effective remedies and authentic service for the common good, starts, common-sensically, with what the decision-makers truly believe in -- “a worked-out strategy based on a strong set of convictions”. Indeed, any rational and potentially effective solution to any problem must start with one’s clear idea of what a “GOOD” END RESULT should be, and WHY.

And so I submit that there can be no better and clearer template, for such a set of convictions or beliefs for our predominantly Christian nation than that familiar and acceptable Doxology, the Lord’s Prayer: the “Our Father” which most of us already know! In fact the Catechism of the Catholic Church which the great John Paul II left as one of his most enduring legacies to us Catholics, emphatically states that the Lord’s Prayer “is truly the summary of the whole gospel.” (paragraph 2761), a topic which is discussed in the very last sections of the Catechism.

But for far too long we Filipino Christians have implicitly yet mindlessly accepted the conventional secular notion that it is possible “TRULY to be good” merely for its own ABSTRACT sake. The late Jesuit Father John P. Delaney used to refer sarcastically to this commonly misunderstood tautology about moral goodness or virtue as “it is good to be good”. It is Christianity’s basic belief however, that Christian values are morally “good” because these stem directly from our FAITH in Jesus Christ who gave and LIVED the most authentic examples of all virtues including “heroism and compassion”, in obedience to “Our Father”, thus showing us “the Way, the Truth and the Life” via the Christian and Blair-suggested “set of convictions”. And all these are embodied in the Gospel as God’s Eternal Word, and synthesized by our Lord Himself in the “Our Father” prayer.

Thus for example, for the last 2,000 years the Gospel and the Catholic Church Magisterium have been consistent in teaching the TRUTH about the sacredness and inestimable value of even JUST ONE HUMAN PERSON, whose body, soul and spirit are worth more than “the whole world” (Matthew 16:26). Why? Because ALL PERSONS are created by God in His own image and likeness for the purpose of enjoying eternal life with Him in Heaven. In fact that was one of the first truths about our Catholic Faith that I learned from my Kindergarten teacher, the Benedictine nun Mother Gracia in St. Scholastica in 1940 – that “God made me to know Him, to love Him and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven!”

I am aware that statements like these are JARRING to the sensibilities of people like former President Fidel V. Ramos. He even considers it a violation of the Philippine Constitution and Filipinos’ freedom of conscience, when our Bishops boldly and publicly proclaim the truth of the sacredness of human life by urging us Catholics NOT TO VOTE for candidates who support the Reproductive Health Bill’s provisions which promote the suppression of human life from becoming NASCENT, or even from attaining full maturity in their mothers’ wombs, by suffocation through contraceptives/abortifacients.

Nevertheless it is such transcendental faith-AND-moral issues which our Catholic Bishops are DUTY-BOUND to continue to speak out on, as forcefully and boldly as they may, because that is precisely what and why by solemn and sacred oath they have dedicated themselves to do and LIVE FOR and even DIE FOR! Thus to “Our Father”, these Bishops have pledged “Thy Will be done!”

Thus too, Pope Benedict XVI exhorted his African bishop-colleagues during their recent weeks-long Synod, for them to “deal with reality, but from the perspective of God and His Word”, and that “reconciliation, justice and peace are not possible without a profound purification of the heart, without a renewal of thought, a metanoia (conversion), without a newness that MUST come precisely from the encounter with God.” (emphasis added)

And so just like the PDI editorial, Tony Blair’s World View and William Esposo’s Noy or Never proposition last January 3 of the New Year, certainly NONE of these were “unconstitutional”, nor a violation of anybody’s “freedom of conscience”, obviously because these were not being imposed but merely proposed. And in the case of our Catholic Bishops’ exhortation to our voters, it was given to us Catholics in the context of their sacramentally conferred moral and spiritual authority, albeit with caritas in veritate or charity in truth, to boot! For such is the “heart of the Church’s social doctrine” according to Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, which by implication Fidel V. Ramos would similarly consider as violative of the Philippine Constitution if copies of Caritas in Veritate were to be distributed to us by the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines…

Providentially just like Tony Blair’s column piece, last Sunday’s First Reading for Holy Mass from the prophet Isaiah, and Responsorial Psalm as well, are both fitting reminders to us Catholics and Christians alike including Fidel V. Ramos, and also for me, to cap this last part of my series of articles about our nation whom Providence has gifted to us all in His unlimited Love and Wisdom..

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils.

For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this! (emphasis added)

Psalm 98: (Responsorial Psalm)



Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines
January 18, 2010

Tuesday, January 12

Whereto and Whatnow Philippines? (Part 4)



Recounting basically the same horror stories cited by Patricia Evangelista on events which recently besetted and besotted our nation, former Justice of the Supreme Court, Isagani A. Cruz unlike his half-century-or-more younger Daily Inquirer colleague’s cynical tone, nevertheless concluded his New Year’s first Separate Opinion article, with clear optimism by invoking “the blessing of Almighty God”.

It is Ms. Evangelista’s cloying yet understandable cynicism about our nation’s future, which young Senator Noynoy Aquino and his think-tank supporters such as Philippine Star columnist William M. Esposo, should take note of very seriously.

Yes, it is a highly probable fact that somewhere around at least 40% of our voters, about a third of whom are of the same age-generation as Patricia Evangelista, presently agree with Mr. Esposo that it should be “Noy or Never” on May 11, 2010. That 40% is indeed a significant plurality which even at this early stage of the pre-election period, might be sufficient to propel Senator Aquino to the Philippine presidency this coming May 11, assuming that NP candidate Manny Villar’s recent rally in the latest opinion surveys will not be sustained.

But for those of us of an older generation such as former Justice Isagani A. Cruz, who like me is perhaps also ambivalent about or at least NOT AGAINST a Noynoy Aquino presidency, my concern is NOT about his NOT WINNING on May 11, 2010…

My main concern about Senator Aquino is about AFTER his winning the presidency yet FAILING THEREAFTER to validate the hopes of oft-disappointed young idealists like Patricia Evangelista.

Thus my REAL FEARS of his possible simple FAILURE or even gross BETRAYAL of those hopes and “dreams” of some 40% of our voting population who have presently put their TRUST in Noynoy Aquino’s perceived honesty and integrity, have little to do with his relative lack of hands-on executive experience. For I would have the very same fears if Manuel Villar and even more so if Erap Estrada were ahead in the opinion polls.

In fact Senator Aquino’s campaign for the Presidency thus far has been handled, presumably under his overall leadership, far more competently than his political rivals have expected, despite Aquino’s rejection of BIG MONEY contributions because of the usual strings attached to it. There is apparently a reasonably cohesive working relationship between the old Liberal Party survivors with their recent balimbing recruits, and the various volunteer groups led by simon-pure personalities from civil society, and with all of them submitting themselves to the leadership of the Senator. Albeit it may be only thus far, considering that Senator Aquino is still ostensibly the frontrunner in the surveys.

And so let us suppose that Benigno C. Aquino III is elected President of the Philippines on May 11, 2010. Let us also presume that he will win despite attempts or fears of a) assassination plots by either a breakaway extreme-left group of ideological fanatics or by elements of a right-wing CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY abetted by highranking pro-Lakas Kampi military and civilian stooges in government; and b) a failure of elections CONTRIVED by COMELEC insiders and politicians designed to trigger a coup d’ etat or Martial Law under the latter’s military allies. I truly hope and pray however, that such DEVILTRY will be FRUSTRATED, for otherwise utter chaos and violence will ensue throughout our nation.

But will such an initial and seemingly self-accomplished Noynoy Aquino success in leadership by being elected President continue for another six years in terms of not just a normally effective national GOVERNANCE but a never-before-seen but NECESSARY MORAL LEADERSHIP? Will he be able therefore to gather together and inspire better than did his mother circa 1986 and Fidel V. Ramos circa 1992, an A-TEAM of at least a THOUSAND NEW honest AND competent co-leaders and colleagues in government throughout those next six years, to form a) a cohesive and competent Cabinet, b) allies in the House of Representatives and the Senate to support his legislative agenda, and c) many others in the Civil Service competent and trustworthy enough to clean up and streamline the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Department of Education, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the very start? For the real “dream” about Noynoy Aquino is not merely about his becoming a better President than the present one, which should not be too difficult, but for him to be a GREAT President.

And so above all, how will he accomplish the absolutely necessary radical moral conversion of those abovecited Top 1000 co-leaders and associates including HIMSELF, PLUS at least another one hundred thousand mid-level bureaucrats and frontliners in those key agencies including the COMELEC, the judiciary, the Coast Guard, the DPWH, and the members of BOTH COVENS in Congress (NO PUN untended!), plus hundreds of other agencies which directly dispense justice and other essential services for our people especially to the poor? And where will he get honest and competent replacements for those to be booted out, quick enough and smoothly enough without fanning a nationwide rebellion of the MOST CORRUPT and intransigent government employees who are expected to defend their cash-cow SINECURES perhaps with their very lives?

And lastly, how fast will he acquire the Solomonic wisdom to adjudicate internal controversies on wide ranging and complex matters of law, economics, education, foreign affairs, the environment, job creation, reproductive health, peace and order, as well as the resilience to absorb all the stresses and strains from all the above while burdened by the expected FIERCE infighting for political and financial spoils among his closest allies, friends and relatives, AND, still have the gumption to fend off the political attacks and continuing personal defamation from the various groups among the new opposition? I hasten to add however that neither Manny Villar, nor Erap Estrada would necessarily do any better (to say the least) under those same circumstances, given the usual TRAPO type of leadership they have demonstrated in the past. Not even Cory Aquino herself nor Fidel V. Ramos, much less Ferdinand Marcos and PGMA who all went through their respective post-election gauntlets, were able to prevent the Philippines from SLIDING DOWN and being overtaken, just on ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE and good governance alone, one after the other by Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and now even by Vietnam.

Yes dear Chair Wrecker and your kindred spirits of good will, on those terms I agree with you but with a slight twist: NOY et al or NEVER AGAIN!

Patricia Evangelista therefore, may be justified in her cynicism considering the fact that our corruption blighted nation has to pass like a wounded camel through a needle’s eye just to survive for the next six years, REGARDLESS of who our President may be.

To the twelve apostles who in shock asked for Our Lord’s explanation upon hearing His “camel through the needle’s eye” reply to the rich young man seeking His guidance in reaching heaven (Matthew 19: 20-26), Christ’s answer was that what is impossible to man does NOT apply to God for whom “all things are possible”. Thus Solomon (for a while), Ignatius of Loyola, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and many other true believers, albeit highly exceptional cases, succeeded by God’s grace even beyond their own imagination, in the governance of their respective- institutions and above all, in the moral/spiritual conversion of their own selves, even without any previous executive experience and in the face of seemingly impossible odds…. And so by the same God’s grace with the help of at least tens of thousands of his real friends and supporters, is I believe, the ONLY WAY Benigno C. Aquino III will become a truly great President/Chief Executive of the Philippines despite the daunting tasks he will have to face, EVEN AS OF NOW!

Thus I thank former Justice of the Supreme Court, Isagani A. Cruz for the last phrase in his January 3, 2010 Separate Opinion in the Philippine Daily Inquirer – “under the blessing of Almighty God”. For it leads to the only feasible and realistic solution of the many gargantuan and Aegean stable type of complex problems facing our people, the vast majority of whom are Catholics and/or Christians.

For if God Our Father Almighty and our Christian Faith are irrelevant to our nation’s prospects of rising from the pits the present and previous administrations have brought us to, then there would be NO COMPELLING REASON for objecting to any CPP-NPA scheme to have Joma Sison or Satur Ocampo as our next President anytime soon.

And almost certainly if Noynoy Aquino is elected President this year but FLUNKS thereafter, Mar Roxas would become the next hopelessly sacrificial candidate of the Liberal Party, just like the Gibo Teodoro of today. And the young generation of talented idealists like Patricia Evangelista will have become even more cynical vis-a-vis all political reform possibilities.

And so we could have, if not Joma Sison, a re-invented General Hermogenes Esperon as dictator, or else a President Jinggoy Estrada, or a new CON-ASS generated new Constitution, soon begetting a Prime Minister Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with Matt Defensor or even Danilo Suarez as her puppet ceremonial President, together with Agnes Devanadera or even Mirriam Defensor Santiago as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with all of them acting as Defensores Gloriae. Take your pitiful pick….

And so, would that Senator Noynoy Aquino or whoever is elected as our next President, will re-read and take to heart the Biblical advice which the late Jaime Cardinal Sin caused to be engraved at the EDSA Shrine soon after those historic days in February of 1986. It is the same advice given during a private appearance by God, Yahweh Himself, to Solomon after begging God during the dedication ceremonies for the New Temple in Jerusalem, “to keep the promises” Yahweh made to David his father.

“I have heard your prayer. I choose this house to be the place where sacrifices are to be offered to me. When I close the skies and there is no rain, when I command the locust to devour the land, when I send an epidemic among my people, and my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and look for me, and turn from their wicked ways, then I MYSELF YAHWEH will hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:12-14)


Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines


Thursday, January 7

Whereto and Whatnow Philippines? (Part 3)



The recent New Year’s Message of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Nereo P. Odchimar, DD who is the Bishop of Tandag, Surigao del Sur and the recently elected President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), is as follows:

Dear People of God,

“Happy New Year!” This greeting may not just remain a simple wish; its realization is within reach. Now, more than ever, we hold the promise of a happier Philippines, despite the tragedies that happened in the preceding year.

Institutions need change. No less than the late Holy Father, Pope John XXIII of holy memory, said when he convoked the Second Vatican Council: “Ecclesia semper reformanda est”. (The Church must always be in the process of reform). 2010 in our political life is an election year; people through the exercise of their right of suffrage will effect a power shift in the executive and legislative branches of our civil government. We must retain what is good, promote what still needs improvement and discard what is base and corrupt. However, admittedly and sadly, a number of us have remained myopic by focusing our attention only to the satisfaction of the moment, swayed by the glitter of money and promises of patronage, and do not raise our eyes beyond election time to the resultant situation created by our indiscretion. Those who have allowed, much worse abetted, corruption to thrive in our midst, do not have the right to complain.

If we were a part of the problem yesterday, we can also be a part of the solution today. We hold the key to a better tomorrow. We need an informed electorate enlightened through voters’ education, a vigilant citizenry who will guard against the attempts of some to frustrate the genuine will of the people, and steadfast persons who stay undaunted by intimidation of ruthless politicians, in order to put into office reliable leaders who would guide our nation in the coming years.

The poor constitute the greater part of our population. They are remembered and courted by politicians during the campaign period. “Poverty alleviation”, “more jobs” and “upliftment of the masses” are some familiar refrains chanted by candidates and issues incorporated into their attractive platforms. If only there is political will, the economic situation of our people would be far better that it was generations back.

Social transformation starts within ourselves. Election is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. Over and above the factors beyond our capacity, with our great faith in God and in ourselves, we can still make our wish for a happy new year a reality. God bless us all.

Bishop of Tandag
CBCP President
December 30, 2009

With all due respect to His Grace, there is the likely possibility that the message was composed for him by somebody else. Nevertheless the composition will be viewed by most Filipinos as “de cajon”, or worse, naively optimistic about the supposed powers of “political will”. For it is chockfull of what we at the Asian Institute of Management’s Faculty many years ago routinely recognized as mere “motherhood” statements, with which practically nobody will disagree yet most everybody else will have completely forgotten just a few minutes later. If Father John P. Delaney, S.J. our UP Students Catholic Action (UPSCA) chaplain were still alive, he would probably also instantly label those statements as namby-pamby piosities - - his pet peeve.

But my own overall critique of the message itself, which was supposedly given for and in behalf of some 130 active and retired bishops in the CBCP, goes deeper. And so I surmise that the good Bishop of Tandag is NOT exclusively the cause of its insipidity.

Being new on the job as CBCP President, His Grace must have tried hard to come up with a message that would NOT be seriously OBJECTIONABLE to any sizeable number of other bishops. In short, his main priority had to be that of NOT TERRIBLY DISPLEASING anybody. But it also meant that NEITHER would it TRULY PLEASE anybody. And thus the more important question or issue is “Why is it so?”

Again with all due respect to all 130 or so pastors-members of CBCP, I believe that such is the case because they as Catholic bishops have NOT and NEVER have reached any reasonably acceptable level of positive agreement, much less a majority consensus whether in principle or in actual observance, on their own faithful performance of perhaps the most NEGLECTED, yet most important and most difficult duty as Catholic bishops!

Canon 387 of the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, under Book III, Part II, Section II, Title I, Chapter II (BISHOPS) and Article 2 thereof, states (with emphases added) as follows:

“Mindful that he is bound to give an example of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way to promote the holiness of Christ’s faithful according to the special vocation of each. Since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, he is to strive constantly that Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and (thus) may know and live the paschal mystery”.

The iconic Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and future Pope made a similar yet far more trenchant observation while being interviewed by Vittorio Messori in August of 1984, as follows: (vide pages 58 to 62 of the Ratzinger Report)

The decisive new emphasis on the role of the bishops is in reality restrained or actually risks being smothered by the insertion of bishops into episcopal conferences that are more organized, often with burdensome structures. We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have NO THEOLOGICAL BASIS; they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical, concrete function.

The new Code of Canon Law… prescribes the extent of the authority of (such) conferences, which cannot validly act “in the name of all the bishops unless each and every bishop has given his consent, (except if) it concerns cases in which the common law prescribes it or a special mandate of the Apostolic See…. determines it” (CIC, Canon 455, 4 and 1). Thus no episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.

…… It happens that with some bishops there is a certain lack of a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal, lapse into anonymity…. It happens then that the search for agreement between the different tendencies and the effort at mediation often yield flattened documents in which decisive positions (where they might be necessary) are weakened…. Well, the really powerful documents against National Socialism (Hitler’s Nazism) were those that came from individual courageous bishops. The documents of the (German Bishops) Conference, on the contrary, were often rather wan and too weak with respect to what the tragedy called for.

….. Thus, in many episcopal conferences, the group spirit and perhaps even the wish for a quiet, peaceful life or conformism lead the majority to accept the positions of active minorities bent upon pursuing clear goals….

….. It seems very nice always to decide together. This way however, entails the risk of losing thescandaland thefollyof the Gospel, thatsaltand thatleaven(which) today are more indispensable than ever for a Christian (above all when he is a bishop, hence invested with precise responsibility for the faithful) in the face of the gravity of the crisis. (emphases added)

And so if it is true that our Catholic Bishops have never achieved any real consensus as to what they ESSENTIALLY OUGHT TO BE, day-in and day-out, as truly thus “HOLY” Catholic Bishops, therefore it should not be a surprise to us that their collective message on New Year’s Day or on any important issue for that matter, will be as UNCONTROVERSIAL, as possible.

In contrast, the very caption “Working and Praying in 2010” of the January 3, 2010 column piece of Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, immediately captured the full flavor and essence of applicable Catholic Church teachings on how Pinoy People of God must live their lives throughout this year. Ora et labora! And like Fr. Manoling V. Francisco, S.J. whose main theme in the Philippine Star (God’s Word Today) was “Mary, the Star of Bethlehem”, a controversial yet most fundamental Catholic Marian dogma of Mary being the true Mother of God, was quietly yet boldly presented. Fr. Orbos too, though not as a surprise at all to those who know him well, similarly albeit briefly acknowledged Our Lady’s being the Theotokos.

Incidentally, Jesuit Father Manoling Francisco is a prime albeit rare proof of Jesuit exemplar Father Reuter’s assurances to me that not all Jesuits of today have junked our Blessed Mother as part of neo-Jesuitry’s so-called New Theology now being taught by Jesuit theologians at the Ateneo de Manila at all levels including its Grade School. For in his wellknown sacred music and its lyrics, as well as in his theology, Father Manoling like Father Jim Reuter have kept the faith and charism of their founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, including OBEDIENCE to the Pope….. Thus we learned from the likes of other real Jesuits such as John Delaney, Horacio de la Costa, William L. Hayes, Lorenzo Ma. Guerrero when public veneration and filial devotion for Our Lady was a true-blue Ateneo tradition, that the surest way to our Lord Jesus was through Mary. Ad Jesum per Mariam!

But the most pleasant surprise was reading the Postscript piece of veteran newspaperman and regular columnist of the Philippine Star, Federico D. Pascual, Jr. For I thought for a while that his caption “Ít’s still the same bad world out there” would have the same cynical point of view as that of Patricia Evangelista’s Method To Madness in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Instead however, more than 80% of his column space was devoted to Papa Bene’s message on January 1, 2010 on the occasion of the annual celebration of the World Day of Peace. Thus in contrast to that of the CBCP President, the Pope’s homily for that occasion was given prominence by Mr. Pascual. And like Frs. Orbos and Francisco he also found relevance for his readers and significance for the occasion in bringing the Blessed Virgin Mary into the picture as the Mother of God by using the Pope’s easily understandable yet poignant presentation. And thanks too to Mr. Federico D. Pascual Jr. whom I suspect has NOT been blessed with nor perhaps even considered any formal priestly vocation other than the common priesthood we Catholics share in Baptism and as the “priest of the basic Church” as padre de familia to our own kith and kin, a prominent Catholic layman-professional Journalist has unabashedly given public personal testimony on his Catholic Faith. Rara avis! Nowadays, a rare bird indeed…

And so in solidarity with Fathers Orbos and Francisco, and with my fellow “priest of the basic Church” Federico Pascual, I shall repeat what I wrote in one of the paragraphs of my December 8, 2009 LIGHT A FIRE blog.

“But more importantly I dare say: our Catholic bishops will ultimately be able to arrive consistently at a comprehensively Catholic yet credible even if controversial, PUBLIC declaration on the faith and moral aspects of any TRULY IMPORTANT national issue, ONLY for as long as a clear and cohesive MAJORITY among THEMSELVES are personally and habitually attuned to the same basic theological, ecclesial and philosophical MOORINGS, coupled with a truly PRAYER-FILLED MARIAN spirituality, in solidarity with their first-among-equal brother, the Bishop of Rome, Peter’s Successor!”

And so I submit that it will NOT be any of our current Presidential candidates who will lead us to the Promised Land. For I believe it will and SHOULD BE such Catholic Bishops and priests who will inspire and will lead PINOY People of God, BY THEIR HABITUAL EXAMPLE as Christ’s faithful shepherds of His flock and by His grace through the Holy Sacraments especially the Eucharist and by His Divine Providence, back to moral righteousness in our politics, governance and citizenship.

The wise authors of Canon Law 387 were surely aware of the simple yet fundamental fact that the ultimate opposite alternative to the habitual “HOLINESS” its provisions demanded from our Bishops, was and still is, SINFULNESS or betrayal of Jesus Christ! Since the heydays of the Greek philosophers Aristotle, Plato, Socrates followed by their Roman counterparts such as Galen and Virgil – they all gave the highest moral value to virtues such as justice, honesty and fidelity to vows. More importantly, they themselves practiced what they preached!

Let me close this article by revisiting just four samples of recent and most genuine contemporary private supernatural revelations wherein our Blessed Mother and Jesus Christ Himself have been issuing dire warnings to Catholic bishops and pastors who have been unfaithful to their sacred duties such as those mentioned in Canon Law 387 and who have rejected related dogmas of the Church.

  1. From the Rev. Father Steffano Gobbi’s To The Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, a Blue Book compilation of the 604 messages Our Lady had been giving over a period of 25 years to Fr. Gobbi until December 31, 1997, which has been granted an IMPRIMATUR by some 200 or more different Bishops and Cardinals (including Cardinal Sin circa 1990) since 1973 when the earliest messages were first published by the Marian Movement of Priests, a worldwide apostolate with more than 200,000 priest-members.

Message No. 420, given in Sao Paolo, Brazil on March 13, 1990

When the Son of Man Returns

a "You read in the Gospel: 'When the Son of Man returns, will He still find faith on earth?' (Luke 18:8)

b Today I want to invite you to meditate on these words, ut­tered by my Son Jesus. They are grave words, which cause one to reflect and which succeed in making you understand the times through which you are living. First of all, you can ask why Jesus has uttered them: to prepare you for his second coming and to describe for you a circumstance which will be indicative of the proximity of his glorious return.

c This circumstance is the loss of faith.

d Also, in another part of holy scripture, in the letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians, it is clearly announced that, before the glorious return of Christ, a great apostasy must take place. The loss of the faith is a true apostasy. The spread of the apostasy is therefore the sign which indicates that the second coming of Christ is, as of now, close at hand.

e At Fatima, I have foretold to you that a time would come when the true faith would be lost. These are the times. Your days are marked by this painful and significant situation, which as foretold to you in holy scripture: the true faith is in the process of disappearing in an ever increasingly greater number of my children.

f The causes of the loss of faith are:

(1) the spread of errors which are being propagated, and are often taught by professors of theology in Catholic seminaries and in Catholic schools and which thus acquire a certain character of credibili­ty and legitimacy;

(2) the open ,and public rebellion against the authentic Magisterium of the Church, especially against that of the Pope, who has from Christ the duty of preserving the whole Church in the truth of the Catholic faith;

(3) the bad example given by those Pastors (Bishops!), who have allowed themselves to be completely possessed by the spirit of the world and who become propagators of political and sociological ideologies, rather than messengers of Christ and of his Gospel, thus forgetting the mandate received from Him: 'Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.'

g Thus, in these days of yours, apostasy on the part of many of my poor children is inundating you more and more.

h When the Son of Man returns ...

i If indeed his return is close at hand, then my motherly action becomes more concerned and vigorous, in order to assist all my children to remain ever in the truth of the faith. This is why I have asked you to consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart. This is why, in these times of yours, I have spread everywhere my Marian Movement of Priests: to form the little flock, reunited in the prayer of the cenacles and watchful in expectation - the flock gathered together and formed by me to ever preserve the true faith.

j Thus, when the Son of Man returns, He will still find the faith on earth in all those who will have consecrated themselves to me, allowing themselves to be gathered together in the heavenly garden of my Immaculate Heart."


2. And from the Lord Jesus Himself as was dictated to Maria Valtorta (Q43:514) on October 30, 1943, referring to abortion as the “crime of crimes” in section 45, page 70 of the book The End Times as revealed to Maria Valtorta, as published by Editions Paulines, Centro Editoriale Valtortiano SRL, translated from Italian to English by Paul T.Y. Atworth.

Jesus says:

“I am the Merciful One. I am indulgent and I forgive. There is so much that I forgive. I forgive what I see you do out of human weakness, not what is done out of deliberate human self-interest. I will never be as severe a judge as with those who, with their thinking sold to Satan, commit more crimes than outlaws, lead others to commit crimes, and above all commit the crime of crimes, thus leading souls to mistrust God.

“Nowadays this crime of homicide and deicide is not the monopoly of a few. They kill bodies and souls and kill the idea of God in souls, making them blind like empty eye-sockets.

“The crowds make it out (realize it) too late. But I see, at the instant you think and act. And all of you, ungodly of flesh and spirit, will be judged with an extremely severe judgment.”

  1. From Volume One Chapter 8, pages 144-145 (with emphasis supplied) of Direction for Our Times, given through Anne an Irish-American who was invited by both Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales and Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in November 2006 to speak to several large audiences of priests, nuns and lay people in Metro Manila and in Iloilo City.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Blessed Mother:

”Do you hear My Son’s voice? He is calling His children with authority. Dear little ones, He does this in an effort to save them. The Voice of my Son bears authority and that is why He says His children will know that it is He, their God, who calls out to them. My little ones must make a choice now. And they must choose God and all that is good.

Priests and religious, holy men and women, console my heart in extraordinary fashion right now and I am maximizing the tremendous graces I receive from these righteous souls. Religious in the world are under attack. Be brave, religious souls. Your mother defends you as her own and you will be raised up to your rightful place soon. Instead of being honoured by the world, you are reviled and slandered. This will not endure.

I want to say that there are those religious who have disappointed my Son and turned to the Evil One. Do not think, oh souls of Satan, that you will escape divine justice. And for you who have damaged innocent souls? All of heaven quakes with the retribution that will be yours. I say this to you with a special gravity. Repent! Admit your sins and become cleansed. Only in this way will you enter into the Kingdom of God.”

  1. From the booklet written by Father Edward Carter, S.J. entitled “Tell My People”, published by the Office of Media Affairs, CBCP under Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J. on page 61 thereof:


“My beloved friend, remind My people that the Church was born from My Heart, pierced with the soldier’s lance on Calvary. From My pierced Heart the Church with her sacraments was born. Two of these sacraments, the Eucharist and Baptism, were symbolized by the Blood and Water which flowed forth from My pierced side.

“I am Lord and Master. I request that all My people listen to My words and respond to them. I love My people with a tremendous love, and in this great love I give them this message!”

“My church is experiencing critical and very difficult times. There are many divisions. There are many false teachings - including some put forth by certain theologians. These false teachings occur because those responsible are not in proper union with My vicar, the Pope, and the Church Magisterium. I want all My children to pray daily for the cure of many and serious ills of the Church. With increased prayer and sacrifices for the health of the Church, that day will soon come when the Church will be purified and revitalized. When that day comes, the Church will be a light to all nations as never before. When that day comes, the renewed Church will be characterized by the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. Thus the message of Fatima will have reached fulfillment.”


1045 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City

Tuesday, January 5

Whereto and Whatnow Philippines? (Part 2)



Part 1 of this forthcoming series of articles was written more than a year ago. It is re-printed at the tailend of this article as Part 1 thereof. Several recent noteworthy events and circumstances led me this New Year to decide on writing an extended commentary in relation to those events.

My last blog on December 8 last year was triggered by a Franciscan priest-friend of mine. He had been extremely bothered by the frontpage news about a diocesan priest in Lubao, Pampanga who had elevated PGMA’s sufferings from the intense media criticism of her electoral aspirations to the House Speakership, up to the same level of self-sacrifice as those of Our Lord Jesus Christ during His crucifixion. Incidentally, I suspect that many more of our Catholic priests and bishops may have had similar if not even more agitated reactions to such a gross comparison.

At the end of the previous year, the newly elected President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, His Excellency the Most Reverend Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar came out with a press release urging our voters to make use of the coming national elections as a rare opportunity to boot out our current coven of corrupt politicians. Incidentally too, the spoken-for spokesperson of Malacañang soon after complimented the good Bishop for his reminder and added the more significant spin that allegedly PGMA had not felt alluded to by the Bishop’s pre-election message as perhaps the most obvious political croc in this corrupt caboodle.

And so last Sunday, the last day of the Christmas Season, I decided to take this renewed re-entry into our fast heating-up cauldron of political commentaries, soon after having read the column pieces of a) Federico D. Pascual Jr. of Postscript (“It’s still the same bad world out there”); b) William M. Esposo in As I Wreck This Chair (“Why for over 40% of voters 2010 is Its NOY or Never”); c) Fr. Manoling M. Francisco, S.J. in God’s Word Today (“Mary, the Star of Bethlehem”); d) The PDI Editorial (Sources of Hope); e) former Supreme Court Justice Isagani A. Cruz in his Separate Opinion; f) Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD (Working and praying in 2010); g) Patricia Evangelista’s Method to Madness, and lastly h) former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s World View (“A Time of Tests”).

If I still had some indecisiveness in tackling as a single topic such a vast and complicated array of political matters with moral/religious ramifications, it must have dissipated like the firecrackers’ smoke of the New Year’s Eve after I tediously had to listen to the rambling Sunday homily of a religious priest (not a Franciscan nor a Jesuit). He started off, supposedly as an alter Christus, by repeating a TV advertisement’s joke about three other “Kings” who came with the Magi to greet the newborn child Jesus, namely Chowking, Tapaking and some other kinky King my ears and the sound system mercifully failed to register.

And while listening that evening to ANC’s Maria Ressa skillfully guiding a most interesting discussion on TV (Numbers Game) among a very distinguished and surprisingly sober panel of political partisan spinmasters and political survey professionals, I was also led to choose the unifying theme for my own series of articles.

Thus let me introduce that binding thread by recalling, imperfectly I’m afraid, the following elocution piece chosen for me during my Freshman high school days by my Jesuit Scholastic mentor, the future martyr in Mindanao, Fr. Godofredo Alingal, S.J. – a piece written by his fellow Jesuit and the future founder-organizer of our Christian Third Force’s Light a Fire enterprise against martial law.

Jewels of the Pauper

(by Horacio de la Costa, S.J.)

There is a thought that comes to me sometimes as I sit by my window in the evening, listening to the young men’s guitars, and watching the shadows deepen on the long hills, the hills of my native land.

You know, we are a remarkably poor people; poor not only in material goods, but even in the riches of the spirit. I doubt we can claim to possess a truly national literature. No Shakespeare, no Cervantes has yet been born among us to touch with immortality that which in our landscape, in our customs, and in our history, is most original, most ourselves. If we must need give currency to our thoughts, we are forced to mint them in the coinage of a foreign tongue. For we do not even have a common language.

But poor as we are, yet we have something. This pauper among the nations of the earth hides two jewels in her rags. One of them is our music. We are sundered one from another by eighty-seven dialects; but we are one people when we sing! The kundimans of Bulacan awaken an answering chord in the lutes of Leyte. Somewhere in the rugged north, a peasant woman croons her child to sleep; and the Visayan listening, remembers the cane fields of his childhood, and his mother singing the self-same song.

We are again one people when we pray! This is our other treasure, our Faith. It gives somehow, to our little uneventful days, a kind of splendor as though they have been touched by a king. And have you ever noticed how they are always mingling our religion and our music? All the basic rites of human life – the harvest and the seedtime, the wedding, birth and death – are among us, drenched with the fragrance of incense and the coolness of music.

These are the bonds that bind us together. This is our soul that makes us one. And as long as there remains in these islands one mother to sing Nena’s Lullaby, one boat to put out to sea with the immortal rowing song, one priest to stand at the altar and offer God to God, this nation may be conquered, trampled upon, enslaved, BUT IT CANNOT PERISH! Like the sun that dies every evening, it will rise again from the dead…

-- o --

Somewhere up there Horacio Dela Costa may be sheepishly grimacing over that so prophetic last line of his piece written circa 1940. For just about a year later, Japanese troops inexorably invaded our shores to wreak havoc on our people and to subjugate our nation. The damage inflicted by them to our nation’s Christian soul became apparent in 1945, when in turn we were just as cruel and barbaric in our vengeance on helpless captured Japanese soldiers.

And so some 65 years later, too many among the present generation such as Patricia Evangelista are now the young-turned-cynical too soon. They are eloquent proof of the continuing havoc, both moral and physical, being inflicted on our people but with FAR MORE SERIOUS DAMAGE, than during the Japanese invasion. And the saddest part of it all is the UNDENIABLE FACT that this moral and physical strangulation of our people almost to the point of asphyxiation, has gone on and on under the governance of our leaders 99.9% of whom are our fellow Filipino Christians including many PROMINENT CATHOLICS who have long been nurtured in the Roman Catholic Faith at the Ateneo, La Salle, San Beda, U.S.T., Letran and Assumption College too… among others.

Thus on April 30, 2008 I wrote the following piece, (slightly re-edited) now Part 1 (by hindsight) of this series.



Whereto and Whatnow Philippines? (Part 1)

I must confess that for sometime now I have refrained from filling up this blogspace.

It was not so much because of time and duty constraints. It was more out of a feeling of near hopelessness about the deeply rooted malaise and crises of all sorts gripping our nation. For it looked like practically everything had gone from very bad to much worse particularly during the last few months.

But hope I must, regardless of how bleak and frightening are the economic, political, moral AND religious crises confronting our people. Most distressing is the fact that consistently all the most credible Opinion Surveys indicate that almost two out of three of our citizens, whether rich or poor, in the cities or the countryside, emphatically blame the top national executives of the government for such a terrible and still worsening state of our nation.

Consider that all this obviously widespread national condemnation of our benighted leaders, have been confirmed repeatedly by our National Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as by practically all major and credible newspaper and other media editorials, opinion writers and bloggers. And yet a substantial number of our most prominent Catholic bishops still habitually and publicly exalt a top government official who, by COMMON SENSE, by universal democratic principles, and by established management rules of governance, must be held accountable, nay CULPABLE, for allowing our nation to become such a near hopeless basket case.

Furthermore, in addition to gracing such widely publicized photo-ops officially as Catholic bishops in their full episcopal regalia while praising that official so extravagantly for supposed excellent moral qualities and good governance, these bishops also blithely dismiss even the most credible, persistent and documented accusations of corruption and mismanagement against this official, her relatives and associates. WHY, for heaven’s sake? Simply because impeachment attempts, Senate investigations and judicial proceedings even in our Supreme Court have been shamelessly sabotaged and/or immorally stymied by subservient and similarly corrupted political allies, appointees and underlings in government.

In short, the national consensus is that there is a pandemic crisis of truth vis-à-vis mind-boggling corruption all the way up to the highest levels of our government!

Providentially, last April 17 in Washington, D.C. Pope Benedict XVI recently explained to leaders of U.S. Catholic institutions that a true understanding of the real roots of any “crisis of truth”, must point to its underlying crisis of faith. Thus Papa Bene re-affirmed the Gospel by inferring that LOGICALLY and historically especially for Christians, a BETRAYAL of their Christian FAITH must be the real and primary factor underlying the habitual lies, the enormous thieveries or the shocking immoralities of those who have solemnly sworn to uphold the TRUTH but instead do exactly the opposite with shameless impunity.

And so these betrayers of the public trust must have been for some length of time, without real Faith in God. Thus MAMON and his demons inevitably lure them into enslaving their own selves under their personal idolatries and addiction to endless political power and illicitly enormous wealth, rank selfishness and inordinate pride as well, such that for them no lie is ever too obvious, no “hypocriSHE” ever too shameless.

Thus I recommend that our Catholic leaders such as Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her crony government officials and favorite bishops read the editorial piece in the April issue of The Catholic World Report (CWR) written by its Editor George Neumayr, which succinctly submits that moral disorders and many other institutional disasters inevitably follow in the wake of mendacity and falsehood, because “drawing back from truth does not attract people but alienates them.


1045 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City

NOTE: Part 3 should follow soon, God willing. It will dwell on Bishop Odchimar’s message to our voters, and in relation to the Postscript article of Fr.(?) Federico Pascual, Jr., and those of Fathers Jerry Orbos, SVD and Manoling Francisco, S.J. And Part 4 will be in relation to the opinion articles of William M. Esposo and Justice Isagani A. Cruz vis-à-vis Senator Noynoy Aquino and PGMA. I shall tackle the PDI editorial and Tony Blair last in Part 5.