Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Novena To The Child Mary

This novena starts on August 30 and ends on September 7
To be recited everyday:
V. O God, come to my assistance
R. O Lord, make haste to help me
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

First Day:
Heavenly Child, lovable Mary, the Eternal Father delights in your birth, for He beholds in your coming into this world one of His creatures who is so perfect that she will become the worthy Mother of His divine Son. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the heavenly Father, the pardon of my sins, and an abiding sorrow for them.

Hail Mary...
Second Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Son of God delights in your birth, for He beholds the one chosen to be His Mother, and oh! such a beloved Mother. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining from your divine Son the grace to be born again spiritually to a holy life, perfectly conformed to yours, so that I may merit to obtain eternal glory.

Hail Mary...

Third Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, lovable Mary, the Eternal Word takes delight in your birth, for He sees the source of His Immaculate Blood. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Word made Flesh, the grace to find in this Divine Blood the eternal happiness of my soul.
Hail Mary...
Fourth Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Redeemer, promised to mankind from the beginning of the world, takes delight in your birth, for He sees the one who is destined to become the Co-redemptress of souls by uniting her tears to the Blood shed on the Cross to save mankind.
Hail Mary...
Fifth Day: Resplendent Lily of Paradise, lovable Mary, the Holy Spirit takes delight in your birth for He sees in you the soul never stained by sin, which would forever be His worthy Temple. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Holy Spirit His divine love and final perseverance.
Hail Mary...

Sixth Day: Most Beautiful Branch of the tree of David, most admirable Mary, whose birth was such a consolation to St. Joachim and St. Anne who were delighted to be the parents of so holy a child, may your birth be the consolation of my soul, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the world and detachment from all the things of this earth.
Hail Mary...

Seventh Day: Resplendent Morning Star, lovable Mary, your birth was the cause of great joy to the angels, for they beheld in you the Mother of the Redeemer of the world, who by His Death would repair the loss sustained by the fall of rebellions angels in paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the infernal enemy, deliverance from all his snares, and the grace to be associated in glory with the angels in heaven.
Hail Mary...

Eighth Day: Brilliant Aurora of Heaven, lovable Mary, your birth brought great consolation to the souls of the saints detained in limbo, for it announced the approach of the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, who would enlighten their darkness and then conduct them to paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, and obtain for me from God, patience in all adversities, a perfect and constant conformity to His most holy will.
Hail Mary...
Ninth Day: Mediatrix between God and mankind, admirable Mary, by your birth you perfected the joy of all the children of Adam, who, through you, have received the Author of Grace, for He has made you the treasurer of all the graces which are imparted to us. May your birth be a special cause of joy to my soul by obtaining for me from God, eternal salvation and all the graces necessary to obtain it.
Hail Mary...

The prayer of each day is ended by the following:

Antiphon: Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing, and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.
V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant to us your servants, we beseech you, O Lord, the gift of Your heavenly grace, that as our salvation was begun in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin, so from this solemn festival of her Nativity may we obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Nihil Obstat: Iacobus P. King, I.C.D. Censor Deputatus. Imprimatur: Bryan Iosephus McEntegart, D.D., LL.D. Episcopus Bruklyniensis.

Monday, August 29, 2011

On Why there is no Feast of God the Father

Our predecessor Innocent XII, absolutely refused the petition of those who desired a special festival in honour of God the Father. For, although the separate mysteries connected with the Incarnate Word are celebrated on certain fixed days, yet there is no special feast on which the Word is honoured according to His Divine Nature alone. And even the Feast of Pentecost was instituted in the earliest times, not simply to honour the Holy Ghost in Himself, but to commemorate His coming, or His external mission. And all this has been wisely ordained, lest from distinguishing the Persons men should be led to distinguish the Divine Essence. Moreover the Church, in order to preserve in her children the purity of faith, instituted the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which John XXII. afterwards extended to the Universal Church. He also permitted altars and churches to be dedicated to the Blessed Trinity, and, with the divine approval, sanctioned the Order for the Ransom of Captives, which is specially devoted to the Blessed Trinity and bears Its name. Many facts confirm its truths. The worship paid to the saints and angels, to the Mother of God, and to Christ Himself, finally redounds to the honour of the Blessed Trinity. In prayers addressed to one Person, there is also mention of the others; in the litanies after the individual Persons have been separately invoked, a common invocation of all is added: all psalms and hymns conclude with the doxology to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; blessings, sacred rites, and sacraments are either accompanied or concluded by the invocation of the Blessed Trinity. This was already foreshadowed by the Apostle in those words: "For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to Him be glory for ever" (Rom. xi., 36), thereby signifying both the Trinity of Persons and the Unity of Nature: for as this is one and the same in each of the Persons, so to each is equally owing supreme glory, as to one and the same God.

Leo XIII, Divinum Illud Munus, 3.

On Secularism and Fundamentalism

The Christian religion and other religions can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions. The Church's social doctrine came into being in order to claim "citizenship status" for the Christian religion. Denying the right to profess one's religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development. The exclusion of religion from the public square - and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism - hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progree of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics takes on a domineering and aggressive character. Human rights risk being ignored either because they are robbed of their transcendent foundation or because personal freedom is not acknowledged. Secularism and fundamentalism exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue and effective cooperation between reason and religious faith. Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enourmous price to human development.

Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 56.

Bishop's Homily on Transfer of Assignments

When we first decided on this day, August 29, 2011, as the day for the public announcement of the new assignment, we were all amused when one of the priests said that this day is the memorial of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The amusement seemed to be over the fact that a new assignment was sort of like an execution: “parang pupugutan ng ulo.” Despite the jokes, I think that this feast is a very appropriate time to talk about new assignments.

A few months ago, we had Bishop Ambo David, auxiliary bishop of San Fernando, as our guest in our monthly clergy formation. He gave a commentary on the story of the execution of St. John the Baptist. He said that this was not just the story of the Baptist’s martyrdom. It was not just about John the Baptist being decapitated. It was also about the Johannine community losing John the Baptist as the head of their community. “When (John’s) disciples heard about (the execution of John), they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.” Afterwards, they went to Jesus. Here the words of the Baptist came to be fulfilled: “He must increase; I must decrease.” By his martyrdom, St. John the Baptist delivers his community to Jesus. From this day forth, Jesus will be the head of the community. “He is the head of his body, the Church,” St. Paul would later on teach in his rich theology on the Mystical Body.

In this light we look at the new assignment of our parish priests in the diocese. For many of you, the past six years have been the occasion to forge friendships with your respective parish priests. You benefited from their preaching and guidance. You were blessed by the sacraments they celebrated. But now, your parish priests have to move on to new assignments. You yourselves will have to welcome new pastors. The attachment to the persons of our parish priests might hinder us from recognizing the fact that the Lord Jesus is the head of the Church. The parish is not the parish priest’s flock. Rather, it is part of the flock of Christ. We priests care for our respective parishes without owning them. “God’s flock is in your midst. Give it a shepherd’s care. Watch over it as God would have you do,” said St. Peter.

John the Baptist did not lose his head. He willingly gave it up for the Lord. I find it significant that this is what the promise of obedience really is. When you, my dear priests, were ordained, you made a promise of obedience to your ordinary. You willingly surrendered your individual plans, your dreams, your independence. You are submitting everything that should transform you into self-made men to the will of your bishop. You have so opted to find your self-fulfillment not in your own will but in the will of Christ as expressed in your bishop’s will. Like John the Baptist, you are not losing your head. You, in a sense, gave it up so that you might have the mind of Christ. The promise of obedience might sound good in theology but it is in moments like a transfer of assignments that the promise is put to the test. Understanding our human inclination to hold on to what we have been accustomed to, the exercise of obedience to your bishop is a real experience of self-denial. It is a true martyrdom, an authentic witness to Christ whose food is to do the will of the One who sent him.

And on this second transfer, I am humbled as your bishop by your heroic obedience, my dear priests. I was truly edified by the assurance of your obedience: “I want to glorify God,” so you said. A bishop could not ask for more. Thank you, dear priests. Thank you for your availability. Thank you so much. I am honored by the fact that I am bishop to priests who truly have the mind of Christ.

John the Baptist glorified Christ with his martyrdom. Let us glorify him with the witness of our obedience. In this way, we live out the true identity of the priest as alter Christus – the Christ who glorified the Father by saying: “Not my will but your will be done!”

Christianity as Counter Culture

Last Sunday, the Lord Jesus declared the blessedness of Simon and even called him Peter upon whom he builds his Church. Today, he does the opposite: the Lord rebuked Peter and called him Satan. You might immediately conclude that the Lord is fickle-minded: he says one thing today and then its exact opposite the next day. It is easy to accuse the Lord of such because we forget that the apparent contradiction of the names he used on Simon were his response to Simon’s declarations. Jesus called Simon blessed because he listened to the Father. His declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, was something which can be revealed only “by my Father in heaven.” On the other hand, today, Jesus called Simon “Satan” because “you are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.” Simon found the idea of Jesus having to suffer and die as repulsive to his dignity as Son of the Living God. There seems to be nothing wrong about what Simon Peter said. After all, none of us would ever entertain the idea of a loved one having to suffer and die. We humanly find suffering and death as repulsive and as an evil to avoid. But, as Jesus said, this is how human beings think…not God. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We prefer the path of self-indulgence. But His way is one of self-denial. We pursue a burden-free life. He tells us to carry our cross. We want to do things our own way. He tells us to follow him. We measure profits by gains and accumulations. He measures it by losses: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”

The contradiction is so very obvious and we, Christians, find ourselves constantly pressured to compromise with the world in order to make life easier for ourselves. The world has resorted to name-calling to discredit the Church’s fidelity to the teaching of Christ. It has called us “antiquated”, “medieval”, and “irrelevant.” And oftentimes, the world issues us the threat that unless we swim with the tide and move with the times, the Church will simply disappear in anonymity. But to do this is to abandon the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel. To think as human beings do and to oppose the mind of God is to put a hindrance to the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Church must not adjust to the culture of modern times. Rather, she must present to men a counter-culture. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, admonishes us: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” The Christian way is the way of the Cross. The Cross is the sign of contradiction. Christ is the sign of contradiction. And to follow Jesus along this way of the Cross is to swim against the current. To walk along the path of self-denial is to walk against the flow. When we adjust our doctrines and way of life to the standards of the world, we do the world a disservice because we deprive humanity of that opportunity to know Jesus Christ and his Truth that sets us free. What the world needs now is not a Church that dances to its tune, but one who dares to raise the Cross as the only sign of hope and of salvation. GK Chesterton said: in this day and age we need “not a Church that is right when the world is right, but a Church that is right when the world is wrong.” “Whoever loses his life for my sake,” says the Lord, will find it.” Therefore, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

True artists challenge aesthetics, not attack religion

Ed Castrillo writes on Mideo Cruz' "Politeismo":
true iconoclasts in art are artists who introduce new philosophies, modes, mediums and forms that reflect high aesthetics; they create never-before-seen works.

These radical new ways of creating and thinking inspire other artists to further refine them through time, as in the works of Van Gogh, so that new styles come as unique expressions of their period: Art Nouveau, Expressionism, the Bauhus, Pop Art.

The next generation builds upon the refinements of the previous. The venues of some of these radical breakthroughs in the visual arts have often been biennales.

International biennales welcome all avant-garde artists who exhibit limitless approaches in the visual arts, works that are mind-boggling, hilarious, ridiculous, thought-provoking and savage.

But never in such biennales do you see artworks with forms and themes that insult religious beliefs.

Biennale artists are disciplined enough, possessed of good values. They dedicate their creative quest toward challenging artistic trends or opening new ones.

It is common practice to subject art spaces and even small galleries that sponsor exhibitions, theater presentations, media, and movies that present statements or forms violating human rights or attacking religious freedom to censorship.

Mideo’s art violated respect for religion as it rejected any form of sensitivity toward the majority of Filipinos who are Christians.

Because Mideo’s work was exhibited in a government cultural institution, curatorial censorship for the welfare of the general public should have been done. Would one allow pornography to just be let loose on the TV or the Internet? Worse, why should taxpayer’s money be used in showing a work that disrespects or attacks religion?

True artists challenge aesthetics, not attack religion

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CEAP: ‘AND THEY SPAT AT HIM’ A Statement of CEAP on the Exhibit ‘Politeismo’

Continually striking Jesus on the head with a reed and spitting at him, they genuflected before him and pretended to pay him homage. (Mark 15:19)

This was how the evangelist Mark described Jesus as He was led to his crucifixion. Jesus never retaliated with insult, but voluntarily gave Himself up unto death for the forgiveness of sins.

Last week, we were happy to know of a 12-year old girl named Janella Lelis of Albay who braved the floods during the onslaught of Typhoon Juaning to save the Philippine Flag from ruin. This inspires us. It is a vivid picture of respect, bravery and nationalism. Such an act uplifts the human spirit in the face of calamities. But shortly after this, we were saddened to know about an art exhibit entitled ‘Politeismo’ - a collage of religious icons mixed with phallic symbols put up specifically to provoke, as professed by its creator.

Judging by its expressed purpose, it seemed successful. There were varied reactions; however, most of them were feelings of being appalled, shocked and hurt. Thus, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the group who mounted the exhibit should not even be surprised if they elicited acts of vandalism, emotions of anger and disgust, and incited quarrel. We are saddened by the purported ‘artwork’ that causes not the upliftment of the human spirit, but its debasement.

We are, likewise, deeply saddened that officials of CCP have given their stamp of approval to this exhibit that evidently offended the sensibilities of many Catholics, Christians and well-meaning people. What are the standards employed by CCP? We wonder whether CCP officials would have allowed the exhibit if Jose Rizal, or other national heroes, or icons of other faiths had been the subject of such desecration. Thus, we find it difficult to understand why this exhibit was displayed in what is supposed to be a shrine of Philippine culture and art.

We are confused by the position of some of those who support the exhibit, invoking rationality and freedom, yet do not realize the violence, intolerance and bigotry the exhibit does to believers and their faith. They, while discrediting the importance of faith, veer towards extremism to the point of persecuting believers and destroying what believers hold as sacred. They, while declaring freedom of expression negate the legitimate expressions of Christian faith.

This we hold true: to believe is not against reason. Our faith in the Lord Jesus is not unreasonable.

Our Interpretation of the Work

In our judgment, the exhibit is offensively obscene and blasphemous - a sentiment shared even by well-meaning non-Christians. It hurts us for we cannot even imagine this done to our parents, how much more to Jesus, whom we consider as our Lord and Savior.

The exhibit, while misrepresenting the Catholic faith and praxis, is vulgar. It professes freedom of expression but misunderstands the nature of freedom. It ignores the fact that the exercise of freedom, especially in the public sphere is not limitless. When free expression usurps the freedom of others, it constitutes an offense, thereby an abuse of the very same freedom.

We need not forget that there are limits to freedoms. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29, #2, states: ‘In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare of a democratic society.’

There is no authentic freedom without justice, respect, responsibility and truth.

Our Appeal

We welcome CCP’s decision to close this particular exhibit. We recognize and respect CCP’s desire to ‘continue to act as catalyst for free expression of Filipino artists.’ We, however, urge that CCP should be a guardian and promoter of Filipino art, culture and heritage in a manner that respects the rights and sensibilities of the very people it is supposed to serve.

We call on the person responsible for the exhibit, to re-examine his actions and evaluate the consequences of his work. One may have the right to express oneself, but again it is not a license to impinge on the rights of others.

We appeal to our fellow citizens, Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, believers or non-believers alike, to treat each other with respect. Respect is an indispensable and necessary condition for peace. Let us seek tolerance not by being intolerant. Respect cannot be gained by being disrespectful. Securing freedom is not simply the insistence on one’s right, but also the respect and the defense of the rights of others. Thus, free expression is betrayed by bigotry, insult and malice.

We call on all CEAP schools all over the country to fully understand that we need to take this issue seriously because we must uphold both the Catholic Tradition and our Filipino Heritage which are intrinsically part of our identity as a people. We should take this as an opportunity to strengthen the Catechetical Programs in our schools. Likewise, we encourage all our schools to do acts of penance, reconciliation and reparation for the sacrilege done against the signs and symbols of our Holy Faith, which is an affront against the very image of God.

We commit to continue to lead the Catholic Educational Community in responding creatively to these challenges by intensifying the work we are called to do in our education ministry. Towards this end, CEAP, through its Religious Education Commission, shall prepare a module to educate the young generation and the public at large on the meaning of Christian Sacred Art and Iconography. Through this instructional tool, we hope to teach our Sacred Tradition and continue to uphold the essential elements of the Catholic Heritage.


We are deeply saddened, hurt and insulted. The exhibit is an act of vandalism not simply of the sacred images and icons of our Catholic and Christian heritage. ‘Politeismo’ is a vandalization of our Faith and desecration of our Lord.

Thus, we recall this description by the evangelist Mark: Continually striking Jesus on the head with a reed and spitting at him, they genuflected before him and pretended to pay him homage. (Mark 15:19) And He endured them all and gave up His life on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

As we express our revulsion at this kind of act, whether directed at Christianity or another faith, we remind ourselves of the admonition from the First Letter of Peter: ‘All of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult. Return a blessing instead. This you have been called to do, that you may receive a blessing as your inheritance.’ (1 Peter 4:8-9)

Let us be a blessing to one another.

15 August 2011

CEAP-Press Release: ‘AND THEY SPAT AT HIM’ A Statement of CEAP on the Exhibit ‘Politeismo’

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reparation in the Archdiocese of Manila

His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila issued this letter directing that Penance be made in reparation for the desecration of the images of the Lord in a CCP exhibit. Thank you your Eminence!

15 August 2011
Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary



Dear Monsignori, Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters,

In the past weeks we have witnessed the uproar created by the exhibit of art works by the Cultural Center of the Philippines purportedly on modern art mixed media installations on contemporary themes. Many agree that the work over-reached the boundaries of freedom of expression. Most say it is offensive and a great affront to Catholics and Christians, and to all people who value decency. To them the work is “trash.” And we agree.

For us Catholics and Christians, the offense goes beyond visual senses; it strikes into our souls. The public exhibition of the repulsive work is sacrilege and blasphemy. It is a sin. It has deeply offended the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, and our Church.

Our laypeople have expressed their strong sentiments regarding this work as an affront to decent society, through protests and rallies, and even through the filing of a criminal suit. As Church we will kneel before our loving God to pray and seek reparation for this public sin. We will do this along with this “Prayer of Reparation.”

Let us make this prayer in all Masses from August 21, 2011, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, until August 28, 2011, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. We pray this kneeling down after the post-communion prayer.

We also declare a Day of Penance for the whole Archdiocese of Manila on Friday, August 26, 2011. We suggest that for this day the Mass for the Forgiveness of Sins and purple vestments be used. We also encourage everyone to perform an act of penance or sacrifice on this day, such as fasting or other forms of mortification, as an expression of remorse for the sins committed against God’s majesty.

We pray to Mary, our Queen and Mother, to continue to guide us and show us the way to her Son, Jesus Christ.

God bless you all!

Sincerely yours,

Archbishop of Manila

Prayer of Reparation In the Archdiocese of Manila

(To be prayed kneeling)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,
out of love for us, your sinful creatures,
you became man and sacrificed your life on the cross.
You deserve nothing but gratitude, honor, and praise,
yet there are people, who by a misguided use of freedom,
ridicule your Divine Person and the person of your Mother
by desecrating your sacred images and call their work “art”.
We are profoundly shocked and ashamed, Lord Jesus,
and so we kneel before your Divine Majesty
to beg the pardon of your merciful and forgiving heart
for the mindless blasphemy committed against you.
We are filled with indignation against the perpetrators,
but you have taught us to forgive as you have forgiven us.
Whether they know or know not what they were doing,
we pray for them:
Lord Jesus, grant them the grace of true repentance
and open their minds to what is noble and beautiful,
to what is edifying and respectful of other people’s beliefs.
We also pray for ourselves:
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to live like real Christians,
so that we may become your unblemished images
and living witnesses to your love and forgiveness.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

(Dadasaling nakaluhod)
Panginoong Hesukristo, Anak ng Diyos na buhày,
dahil sa labis mong pag-ibig sa aming mga makasalanan,
nagkatawang-tao ka at nag-alay ng iyong buhay sa krus.
Nararapat kang pasalamatan, parangalan, at purihin,
ngunit may mga tao, na dahil sa maling paggamit ng kanilang kalayaan
ay nililibak ang inyong pagka-Diyos at ang karangalan ng iyong Ina
sa ng paglapastangan sa inyong banal na imahen at ituring itong sining.
Lubos kaming nababagabag at nahihiya, Panginoong Hesus,
kaya't kami'y buong pakumbabang lumuluhod
sa harap ng inyong dakilang kamahalan
upang humingi ng kapatawaran
mula sa iyong maawain at mapagpatawad na puso
sa walang pakundangang paglapastangan sa iyong karangalan.
Matindi ang aming pagkamuhi sa mga taong may kagagawan nito,
ngunit tinuruan mo kaming magpatawad tulad ng pagpapatawad mo sa amin.
Alam man nila ang kanilang ginagawa o hindi,
ipinapanalangin namin sila:
Panginoong Hesus, pagkalooban mo sila ng biyaya ng tunay na pagtitika
at imulat mo ang kanilang mga isip kung ano ang marangal at maganda,
kung ano ang nagbibigay ng mabuting halimbawa
at gumagalang sa paniniwala ng iba.
Ipinapanalangin din namin ang aming sarili:
Panginoong Hesus, pagkalooban mo kami ng biyaya
na mamuhay kami bilang mga tunay na Kristiyano
upang kami'y maging mga walang bahid mong kawangis
at mga buhày na saksi ng iyong pag-ibig at pagpapatawad.
Panginoon, kaawaan mo kami.
Kristo, kaawan mo kami.
Panginoon, kaawaan mo kami.

Christ's Divinity makes the difference!

By now you must have heard of the World Youth Day going on now in Madrid, Spain. And you must have heard of the harassment many WYD participants are receiving from protesters who do not welcome the Holy Father into their country. The alibi they use is the alleged expense the Spanish government incurred for the papal visit. But the true reason simply is the widespread anti-Catholic sentiment that afflicts not only Spain but almost all of Europe. The sentiments might be for a lot of reasons but basically it is because the Church presents a counter-culture to the prevailing secularism in Europe today. Plainly put, it is simply the gates of hell attempting to prevail upon the Church established by the Lord Jesus.

Why the hatred of the modern world for the papacy? I think that the issue at hand is more than just an identity crisis for the papacy. Rather, it is more of a crisis of identity for Christ. The gospel shows how the identity of Peter is highly dependent on the identity of the Lord Jesus. The Lord made the solemn declaration that Simon Peter is the Rock upon which He built his Church and to him the Lord entrusted the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven so much so that whatever Peter binds on earth is bound in heaven and whatever he loosens on earth is loosened in heaven. However, let us take note that the Lord’s solemn declaration about Peter’s identity was his response to Peter’s declaration about the identity of Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. It is important to keep this in mind lest we fall into the error of thinking that the pope has appropriated for himself dignity and power through unholy alliances with kings and emperors of old. In our times, many people see the pope as no more than a leader of a religious institution, no different from a CEO of any international corporation. This erroneous impression regarding the pope comes from a denial, or at least, an ignorance of who it is who declared: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And who was it who made such a pronouncement? It is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God. He, the Son of the living God, is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, consubstantial with the Father, begotten, not made. It is the Divinity of Jesus that makes all the difference. The Church is not an ordinary association of like minded people. It is a divinely instituted community of those redeemed by Jesus Christ – it is the family of God. The Pope is not a CEO appointed to such a position by a board of directors. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, appointed by the Lord to shepherd his flock. Using the words of the Lord in the book of the prophet Isaiah: “I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.”

Because the one who appointed the Pope as successor of St. Peter is the Son of God, who himself is God, we ought to honor and obey the Pope. In honoring the Pope, I honor the Son of God who appointed him. In obeying the Pope, I offer Christ the homage of the submission of my will to the Divine Will. If heaven obeys the Pope’s power to lose and to bind, how much more should we, humble earthly creatures that we are. Behind the Pope is the authority of God himself. This is the authority of Him whose judgments are inscrutable and whose ways are unsearchable. “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?...For from him and through him and for him all things are. To him be glory for ever. Amen.” Long live the Pope!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On the devil's hatred for sacred images

Abbot Theodore Aeliotes told of a holy hermit on the Mount of Olives, who was much troubled by the demon of fornication. One day when he was sorely tempted, the old man began to complain bitterly. "When will you let me alone?" he said to the devil "be gone from me! you and I have grown old together." The devil appeared to him, saying, "Swear to me that you will keep what I am about to tell you to yourself, and I will not trouble you any longer." And the old man swore it. Then the devil said to him, "Do not worship this image, and I will not harass you." The image in question represented Our Lady, the holy Mother of God, bearing in her arms our Lord Jesus Christ. You see what those who forbid the worship of images hate in reality, and whose instruments they are. The demon of fornication strove to prevent the worship of Our Lady's image rather than to tempt the old man to impurity. He knew that the former evil was greater than fornication.

St. John Damascene, Apologia against those who decry holy images.

On Profaning Sacred Images

EVERY one must recognise that a man who attempts to dishonour an image which has been set up for the glory and remembrance of Christ, of His holy Mother, or one of his saints, is an enemy of Christ, of His holy Mother, and the saints. It is also set up to shame the devil and his crew, out of love and zeal for God. The man who refuses to give this image due, though not divine, honour, is an upholder of the devil and his demon host, showing by his act grief that God and the saints are honoured and glorified, and the devil put to shame. The image is a canticle and manifestation and monument to the memory of those who have fought bravely and won the victory to the shame and confusion of the vanquished. I have often seen lovers gazing at the loved one's garment, and embracing it with eyes and mouth as if it was himself. We must give his due to every man, St Paul says "Honour to whom honour: to the king as excelling: or to governors as sent by him," (Rom. 13.7) to each according to the measure of his dignity.

St. John Damascene, Apologia against those who decry holy images.

On the legitimacy of Sacred Images

We worship Thy immaculate Image, O Good One, and ask forgiveness of our sins, O Christ God; for of Thy own will Thou wast pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, to deliver from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hadst created. Therefore we thankfully cry to Thee: Thou hast filled all things with joy, O our Saviour, by coming to save the world. (Troparion: Triumph of Orthodoxy, First Sunday of the Great Lent.)

"If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error, but we do nothing of that sort, for we are not in error if we make the image of the Incarnate God, who appeared on earth in the flesh, and who, in his ineffable goodness, lived with human beings and assumed the nature, quantity, shape, and color of the flesh." (St. John Damascene)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Prayer to Maria Assumpta

Our Lady borne in the procession of reparation

O Mary, crowned with stars, who hast the moon for thy footstool and who sittest enthroned above all the choirs of Angels, incline thine eyes toward this vale of tears, and hear the voice of one who puts all his hope and trust in thee.

Now thou dost rejoice in the endless bliss of paradise; but once thous didst endure the miseries of this our exile and thou knowest how bitter are the days of him who eats the bread of sorrow.

On Calvary thou didst hear a voice, well-known to thee, which said: "Woman, behold thy son"; that is to say, "a son in my stead". By these words thou wast appointed the Mother of all believers.

And without thee what life should we have, who are the unhappy children of Adam? Each of us has a sorrow that tries him, a grief that oppresses, a wound that rankles. All men run to thy protection, as to the haven of safety and the fountain of healing. When the waves rise high in the tempest, it is to thee the mariner turns and prays for calm. The orphan flies to thee, for he sees himself as a plant in a thirsty land, defenseless before all the whirlwinds of life. To thee the poor offer their supplications when they are in the want of daily bread. And not even one is left without thy help and consolation.

O Mary, dear Mother, enlighten our minds and warm our hearts; let that pure love which streams forth from thine eyes, spread itself abroad and bring forth those wondrous fruits with thy Son hath purchased for us by the shedding of His Blood, the while thou didst suffer most bitter torments at the foot of His Cross.

The Raccolta, 344

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mass in the Extraordinary Form at CITEM

The pilgrim Virgin was Lucia's gift to the Philippines

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us!

2 hours before the procession of reparation, we had Mass in the extraordinary form at the CITEM parking lot to enable our Latin Massgoers to fulfill their Sunday obligation. I remember vintage pictures of Mass during the World War II.

CCP procession of reparation

The Virgin of Antipolo

The La Naval in procession

Cantors sung the Litany of Saints

The procession reached CCP

The Crucified carried in procession

Rite of reparation held outside CCP

In reparation for the rabbit's ears he placed on Christ the King

The crowd was estimated at 500

In reparation for the wooden penis he stuck on the Crucified's face

Because they profaned your image, we come in reparation.

By the grace of our Lord and our Lady, we were able to push through with the hastily planned procession of reparation around the CCP complex on Sunday, August 14, 2011. The art works of Mideo Cruz which attached a wooden penis on the face of the Crucified Christ, rabbits ears to the head of an image of Christ the King, ink over the eyes of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and condoms on crosses were truly sacrilegious even though the artist justifies it as the free expression of hios view about idolatry in the Church. Due to pressure from the former first lady Imelda Marcos, the founding chairman of the CCP, the CCP board closed to exhibit one week earlier than its sheduled end on the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, 15 August 2011. But even though it was abruptly closed, the exhibit nevertheless dishonored the Lord and so we needed to offer atonement to the Lord.

A private Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite was offered at the secluded portion of the CITEM parking lot 2 hours before the official programme which was scheduled for 4:00 pm. The Mass was attended by our regular Latin Mass goers. Most of the participants of the procession arrived towards the end of the Mass. After the Mass, the procession moved towards and around the CCP building. Images of our Lord, our Lady, and saints were mounted on carrozas, pick-up trucks, carried on shoulders or held by hands. The Father Pior of Sto. Domingo Convent sent the image of the Virgin of the Rosary of La Naval to join the procession. Contingents came from Cavite, Taguig, Rizal, Pasay, Quezon City, Bulacan and other places. Police estimates were at 500 people. The procession concluded with the Rosary and prayers of reparation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An Invitation to Reparation

All are invited to join the PROCESSION OF REPARATION at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex on Sunday, August 14, 2011, the Vigil of the Assumption. We shall all assemble at the CITEM parking lot of the PNB (along Roxas Boulevard). We shall pass through Roxas Blvd., turn left to Vicente Sotto Avenue, turn right to Magdalena Jalandoni Avenue, turn right to Pedro Bukakeng Avenue, turn right to the CCP facade where we shall end with prayers of reparation and disperse afterwards.

This is not a political rally but purely a religious event. There will be no speeches, just prayers of reparation for the sacrilege of the art exhibit put up in the CCP premises which dishonored the images of our Lord. We request the faithful to bring with you your sacred images or icons. Santeros who have processional images in their care are enjoined to come. You may mount processional images on their carozzas or on pick up trucks. It will be like the triumph of Orthodoxy at the end of the 7th ecumenical council!

Let us all make reparation because our Lord is very much offended! Please spread the news!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Act of Reparation

Crucifixion by Joey Velasco

The Cultural Center of the Philippines closed the sacrilegious exhibit referred to in the former post. Now, we need to make reparation for the dishonor to which our Lord and his Blessed Mother were subjected!

An Act of Reparation

O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God. behold we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy Name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown towards Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who hast said: "If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it to you", we pray and beseech Thee for all the brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; t0 all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy Name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Ghost world without end. Amen.

The Raccolta, 100.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Only the devil can think of this!

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

The board of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on Monday agreed to withdraw an art exhibit that combines religious symbols with phallic objects and which has provoked a heated debate about freedom of expression in the country.

This was disclosed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, widow of strongman Ferdinand Marcos and founder of the CCP 40 years ago, in the plenary of the House of Representatives.

The former first lady spoke after hearing the privilege speech of Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, who condemned the exhibit as sacrilegious and called for the resignation of the CCP board led by its chair, Raul Sunico.

Critics vandalized the art installation last week by removing a wooden penis from a poster depicting Jesus Christ.

Another sculpture showed a penis hanging from a wooden cross while another portrayed Christ as Mickey Mouse.

Mideo Cruz, who crafted the pieces, said the phallic objects were symbols of power.

Marcos said she examined the exhibit of images and figurines of saints and Jesus Christ titled “Kulo” by a group of 30 artists from the University of Sto. Tomas.

She said she went to the CCP in the morning after receiving a letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines expressing shock at the exhibit and seeking her intercession in stopping it.

“It was a shameful exhibit, especially so since it was placed in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. We built that to be the sanctuary of the Filipino soul and a monument to the Filipino spirit,” Marcos said.

She said the flag at the CCP symbolized “KKK”—katotohanan, kabutihan and kagandahan—or “the true, the good and the beautiful.”

“After seeing the exhibit I was really shocked because it was not only ugly, it was not true, it was not at all beautiful because there were statues and pictures of saints and Christ with horns and with his penis up and it was really a desecration of a spiritual symbol for Catholics,” Marcos said.

“In fact, even (former) President Marcos had (been depicted with) several penises. But this is the CCP, the sanctuary of the Filipino spirit and a monument of the Filipino soul. This is not at all right. This is ugly and, above all, a desecration of a sacred symbol,” she said.

Marcos said she immediately called Sunico and asked him to take down the exhibit and also spoke with other board members on the phone to ask them to close the exhibit.

“I think I was able to convince the CCP board. The majority of them had decided that they will withdraw and take out the exhibit. It should never happen again,” Marcos said.

In his speech, Bagatsing said he also went to the CPP on Monday but was not able to see the exhibit as it was closed on Monday.

He said the organizations that bestowed awards on Cruz should reconsider and withdraw the awards.

“Where in the world can you see the images of Jesus Christ with a penis? This is sacrilegious. It’s a very obscene exhibit. I don’t think they can call this art. There is a difference between art and insanity,” Bagatsing said.

“Only a sick mind can do this. Only a devil can think of that,” he said later.

Bagatsing filed a resolution that called on the CCP board to resign for allowing “the distasteful and sacrilegious” exhibit.

CCP shuts down controversial exhibit on Imelda Marcos’s prodding

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pastoral Lessons from St. John Vianney

During the Year for Priests, the Church honored St. John Mary Vianney on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his entrance to heaven. Having meditated on his life, I learned important lessons from him which, to my opinion, should once again be considered in present pastoral practice.

1. St. John Vianney's pastoral program consisted in: offering the Mass, hearing confessions, and teaching catechism. In our times when complicated pastoral programs seem to be fashionable - with the elaborate processes of planning and evaluations, the simplicity of St. John's pastoral program brings us to the essentials of pastoral ministry. In pastoral visits, the bishop is bound to be impressed with so many programs that would prove the pastoral capability of the parish priest. However, seldom does the bishop ask about how the parish priest offers the Mass, or how often does he hear confessions in a week, or if he himself teaches catechism. Blessed John Paul II wrote in Nove Millenio Ineunte: "all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness." (NMI, 30.)The primary objective of the curate is the care of souls. The objective of all pastoral programs is the holiness of the flock.

2. St. John Vianney's ministry in Ars teaches us the value of stability. He took care of one parish until the day of his death. I do not know where the bishops got the idea of changing the priests' assignments every so number of years. They say it is an exercise in detachment and so maybe it really is. But this destroys the essence of the pastorate. "I know my sheep and mine know me," said our Lord. The Lord knows each of us because he can read human hearts. But other pastors like ourselves can't read hearts. It takes time to know the flock...and by the time it happens, the term is almost over. Changing fathers every X number of years destroys the family. Maybe this works for bank managers who get transferred from one branch to another. But parish priests are not managers...they are pastors. I think the mind of the Church is reflected by the fact that bishops are not subject to a term of a determined number of years. We don't change popes after x number of years! We wait for them to die or to resign! There is value in stability because if it were not so, why would Benedictine monks regard this as a fourth vow? I do not question the transfer of priests when needed. But I question the necessity of transferring them after a set number of years.I learned from the late Cardinal Sin the valuable lesson on stability. He used to say: "You do not replace what is not broken."

3. The change in the parish of Ars was tremendous. From a spiritually indifferent community, with three taverns that provided constant entertainment, Ars became a holy parish. From afar, pilgrims came to assist at the Cure's Mass and to make their confessions to him. But more impressive than this is that the Cure became a saint because of this. His fastings and long nights in prayer transformed both the Cure himself and his parish. Although he always thought that the priesthood benefited others and not himself, it sanctified him. It made him a saint. What we need today are holy priests like St. John Vianney. Satan once appeared to him and said that if only there were 3 priests like John Vianney, his kingdom would immediately crumble!

Prayer for Priests

Prayer by the Laity to Obtain the Sanctification of Priests

O Jesus, eternal High Priest, Good Shepherd, Font of Life, who by a special favor of Thy most tender Heart hast given to us our priests in order to accomplish in us those holy ideals with which Thy grace inspires our hearts, let Thy mercy, we beseech Thee, come to the aid of our priests.

Grant them, O Jesus, lively faith in their works, unshakable hope in their trials and fervent charity in their intentions. May Thy word, radiant with eternal Wisdom, become through continual meditation, the never-failing nourishment of their interior life; may the examples of Thy life and Passion be renewed in their conduct and sufferings for our instruction and as a light and consolation in our sorrows.

Grant, O Lord, that our priests, free from all earthly attachments and solicitous for Thy glory alone, may persevere to their last breath in the fulfilment of duty and in purity of conscience. And when in death they deliver into your hands a task well done may they have in Thee, Lord Jesus, their Master on earth, the eternal reward of the crown of justice in the glory of the Saints. Amen.

Pope Pius XII

Pray for Holy Priests on the First Thursday of August, 2011, which is also the Feast of St. John Mary Vianney!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Self-enclosed Society

In "The Spirit of the Liturgy" then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) warned us against being a "self-enclosed society" as expressed by a form of worship wherein clergy and laity faced each other. Fr. Ray Blake's Blog has an entry about the Church becoming a self-enclosed society as reflected in the crisis in the Church in Ireland. The only way out of the crisis is by "breaking the magic circle". I don't know how to create the link with his blog and so I hope he will forgive me for reblogging his article:

It is pretty obvious that the Vatican II experiment has failed! The Council that sought to make the Church truly missionary ended up by making it self serving and introspective. Not the Councils intention but in Europe at least it is the result.
Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Austria once the most faithful of Catholic countries have become deserts. George Wiegel, worth reading, looks at Ireland and suggests that even if the number of dioceses are significantly reduced, it is most probably impossible for Ireland to find good native bishops amongst the homegrown sons of Eirin.

The problem is the Magic Circle syndrome, like selecting like, faithful servants of national Churches appointing their faithful servants. It is indeed a circle, symbolised by the post-Concilliar stance at the liturgy, bishops, priests and people looking at one another celebrating, as if it is worth celebrating, their own community. It is self celebrating, self serving. It lacks the faculty of self criticism and self evaluation. Ultimately it lacks direction and vision and is incapable of redirecting itself. It is by its very nature conservative and illiberal and therefore intolerant of criticism. Like any self perpetuating group it easily becomes totalitarian and ultimately unjust.
This we have seen in Ireland, and elsewhere.

Breaking the Circle seems to be a priority, in Ireland it needs to happen now, as Wiegel says.

Some of the Irish clergy, as much in panic or desperation as anything else are suggesting electing bishops by clergy and laity. The problem with that is the most popular candidate is unlikely to be the best. Mandates given can be taken back. Although election by popular acclamation is an ancient model, it only worked when clergy and laity held the faith, or when the Bishop was expected to be a political figure. In Ireland that will merely perpetuate the problem and eventually lead to a schismatic national church, even more self serving than what exists at the moment.

Wiegel suggests sending in foreign Bishops. In the past the lineage of the Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury was peppered by Greeks and Italians, it was not unusual, perhaps it was easier in a Church with a single language. In Ireland it might be a temporary solution. The Pope's solution for Ireland, set out in his letter was first of all a year of penance, a visitation, then a mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious.

It is well worth thinking of this as a solution for other Churches:
Penance reminds us that the solution for our problems lies in Christ and perhaps it is a way of breaking down the sese of we are okay, the problen lies elsewhere.
Visitation is a way of reconnoitering and evaluating the present Church structures, it presumably is about looking for future bishops.
Mission is a way of changing minds and hearts and underscoring the Catholicity of bishops, priests and religious.

The problem with our present structures is that they are essentially feudal, a Bishop is Lord in his own domain, in reality against him there is no appeal, except to a Roman dicastery which is understaffed, often not very efficient and generally dependant on the Bishop's good will. The Bishop's Conference structure was supposed to be a counter to this feudalism but is actually part of the problem.

Perhaps there needs to be a permanent Visitation of dioceses, a group of proven senior foreign bishops, who have an ongoing interest in the local Church, getting to know the local Church, and therefore offer advice on future bishops, being able to offer critical and supportive advice to the bishop, being able act as a court of appeal if necessary, ensuring proper procedures are followed and being able to offer some gentle fraternal correction to the clergy.
There is a need for accountability.

Again a regular Mission to the bishops, clergy and religious also seems a good idea, actually to break through a self approving theology, that often goes for "ongoing formation". Now, we are perhaps in a situation where such a Mission might actually pass on the Catholic faith, rather than some destructive alternative form.
There is a need for an outside voice.

It is about time that we break the magic circle...I think returning to the worship ad orientem will be a good start. It is time to restore liturgy to its original intent as worship of God. We should break the mutual admiration club meeting that we call the new liturgy!