Monday, December 24, 2012

Christ in our Hearts



And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  May the Eternal Word who is Jesus find a sacred place in our hearts to dwell this Christmas and like Mary may we learn to ponder the Word in our hearts.

Wishing you all a joy-filled Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Contraception is Corruption



A CBCP Pastoral Letter on the latest decision on the Reproductive Health Bill

Contraception is Corruption!

 Seeking Light and Guidance on the RH Bill Issue

“What then should we do?” (Lk. 3, 10)

 As we begin the nine-day Misa de Gallo today, our thoughts turn to John the Baptist, the one who points to Jesus, the Christ Child. People came to him to ask, “What then should we do?” because their hearts were filled with expectation for the Messiah. (Lk. 3,15) They needed reason to hope. St. John the Baptist told them to share what they had, to act with justice, and shun extortion.

Today, our question as a people of God, regarding the controversial RH bill, may be the same. What then should we do?

On behalf of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, I reiterate the collective discernment of the Philippine bishops that the RH Bill if passed into law can harm our nation. Contraception corrupts the soul. The RH Bill is being gift wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care. It is not so. It will lead to greater crimes against women.

The poor are being promised a better life through the RH Bill. It will not be so. The poor can rise from their misery through more accessible education, better hospitals and lesser government corruption. Money for contraceptives can be better used for education and authentic health care.

The youth are being made to believe that sex before marriage is acceptable provided you know how to avoid pregnancy. Is this moral? Those who corrupt the minds of children will invoke divine wrath on themselves.

The Reproductive Health Bill, if passed into law in its present form, will put the moral fibre of our nation at risk. As we your bishops have said in the past, a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality. The wide and free accessibility of contraceptives, even to the youth, will result in the destruction of family life and in greater violence against women.

What then should we do?

We congratulate the one hundred four (104) congressmen and women who voted NO to the RH Bill. You have voted courageously, despite all pressures, to stand up for what is right and true. The Church will remember you as the heroes of our nation, those who have said no to corruption and who care for the true welfare of the people, especially the poor. May you continue to be steadfast and not waiver in your stand against moral corruption.

What then should we do?

We plead with the sixty four (64) congressmen who have not voted, to be enlightened and stand up for the Truth. As St. John the Baptist directed the people to justice, we call on you also to seek justice for the Filipino people. The Church teaches us to follow our conscience, the inner sanctuary where we are alone with God (Gaudium et Spes #16), but such conscience must be formed and informed according to the universal values that are common to all human persons. The truth is that to be pro-child, pro-mother and pro-poor, we must resist all threats against them. This is justice. Stand up for it; defend it; do not be swayed by worldly pressures, and be the champion of the people who voted for you. God knows and sees what you are doing.

What then should we do?

We admonish the Filipino Catholic faithful to share with those who have less this Christmas, but also share in praying that our congressmen and women will be faithful to their call to serve the true interests of the Filipino people. This means upholding life, saying no to contraception which is corruption, and being faithful to the Christ Child who was pro-woman, pro-child and pro-poor.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, December 15, 2012
For the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines currently out of the country,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, D.D.
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan &
Vice-President, CBCP

(Source: CBCP News)
-oOo-

How our Congressmen voted for House Bill 4244, "The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act of 2012" or RH Bill.


"YES" TO RH BILL

1. Abad, Henedina R.
2. Aggabao, Giorgidi B.
3. Aglipay, Emmeline Y.
4. Agyao, Manuel S.
5. Albano, Rodolfo B.
6. Alvarez, Mercedes K.
7. Amante-Matba, Angelica M.
8. Amatong, Rommel C.
9. Angara, Juan Edgardo M.
10. Antonio, Patricio T.
11. Apostol, Sergio F.
12. Arquiza, Godofredo V.
13. Bag-ao, Kaka J.
14. Brawner Baguilat, Teddy Jr.
15. Balindong, Pangalian M.
16. Banal, Jorge 'Bolet'
17. Barzaga, Elpidio Jr. F.
18. Batocabe, Rodel M.
19. Bautista, Franklin P.
20. Bello, Walden F.
21. Belmonte, Feliciano Jr. R.
22. Belmonte, Vicente Jr. F.
23. Benitez, Alfredo 'Albee' B.
24. Biazon, Rodolfo G.
25. Binay, Mar-Len Abigail S.
26. Biron, Ferjenel G.
27. Bulut-Begtang, Eleanor C.
28. Cagas, Marc Douglas IV C.
29. Cajayon, Mary Mitzi L.
30. Calixto-Rubiano, Emi G.
31. Canonigo, Ranulfo P.
32. Casiño, Teddy A.
33. Castelo, Winston 'Winnie'
34. Catamco, Nancy A.
35. Celeste, Jesus 'Boying' F.
36. Cerafica, Arnel M.
37. Chipeco, Justin Marc SB.
38. Cojuangco, Enrique M.
39. Cojuangco, Kimi S.
40. Colmenares, Neri J
41. Cortuna, Julieta R.
42. Cosalan, Ronald M.
43. Cruz-Gonzales, Cinchona
44. Datumanong ,Simeon A.
45. Defensor, Arthur Jr. R.
46. Del Rosario, Anthony G.
47. Del Rosario, Antonio A.
48. Dimaporo, Imelda Quibranza
49. Duavit, Joel Roy
50. Dy, Napoleon S.
51. Ebdane, Jun Omar C.
52. Enverga, Wilfrido Mark M.
53. Eriguel, Eufranio 'Franny' C., M.D.
54. Espina, Rogelio J.,M.D.
55. Estrella, Robert Raymund M. 
56. Evardone, Ben P.
57. Fernandez, Danilo Ramon S.
58. Ferriol, Abigail Faye C.
59. Flores, Florencio Jr. T.
60. Avance-Fuentes, Daisy
61. Garcia-Albano, Mylene J
62. Garin, Janette L.
63. Garin, Sharon S.
64. Gatchalian, Rex
65. Gatchalian, Weslie T.
66. Go, Arnulfo F.
67. Gonzales, Neptali II M.
68. Guanlao, Agapito H.
69. Haresco, Teodorico T.
70. Hataman-Salliman, Jim S.
71. Herrera-Dy, Bernadette R.
72. Ilagan,Luzviminda C.
73. Jalosjos, Cesar G.
74. Jalosjos, Romeo Jr. M.
75. Jalosjos, Seth F. P.
76. Joson, Josefina M.
77. Kho, David L.
78. Lacson-Noel, Josephine Veronique R.
79. Lagdameo, Antonio Jr. F.
80. Lagman, Edcel C.
81. Lapus, Jeci A.
82. Leonen-Pizarro, Catalina G.
83. Limkaichong, Jocelyn S.
84. Loong, Tupay T.
85. Lopez, Carlo V.
86. Lopez, Carol Jayne B.
87. Loyola, Roy M.
88. Magsaysay, Eulogio 'Amang' R.
89. Maliksi, Erineo S.
90. Maranan, Zeny
91. Marcoleta, Rodante D.
92. Mariano, Rafael V.
93. Miraflores, Florencio T.
94. Mirasol, Alejandro Y.
95. Nava, Joaquin Carlos Rahman A.
96. Ocampo, Rosenda Ann
97. Ortega, Francisco Emmanuel III R.
98. Ortega, Victor Francisco C.
99. Padilla, Carlos M.
100.Paez, Cresente C.
101.Palatino, Raymond V.
102.Palmones, Angelo B.
103.Pangandaman, Mohammed Hussein P.
104.Pichay, Philip A.
105.Ponce Enrile, Juan Jr. C.
106.Primicias-Agabas, Marlyn L.
107.Quimbo, Romero Federico 'Miro' S.
108.Sacdalan, Jesus N.
109.Sahidulla, Nur-ana I.
110.Sakaluran, Raden C.
111.Salvacion, Andres Jr. D.
112.Sambar, Mark Aeron H.
113.Sarmiento, Mel Senen S.
114.Sema, Bai Sandra A.
115.Singson, Eric Jr. G.
116.Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria R.
117.Tañada, Lorenzo III R.
118.Teodoro, Marcelino R
119.Tinga, Sigfrido R.
120.Tinio, Antonio L.
121.Tomawis, Acmad M.
122.Treñas, Jerry P.
123.Tugna, Sherwin N.
124.Tupas, Niel Jr. C.
125.Umali, Reynaldo V.
126.Ungab, Isidro T.
127.Vargas-Alfonso, Baby Aline
128.Villar, Mark A.
129.Villarica, Linabelle Ruth R.
130.Yap, Susan
131.Yu, Victor J.
132.Zamora, Ma. Carmen S.
133.Zubiri, Jose III F.


"NO" TO RH BILL


1. Abayon, Daryl Grace J.
2. Alcover, Pastor Jr. M.
3. Almario, Thelma Z.
4. Almonte, Jorge T.
5. Alvarez, Antonio C.
6. Angping, Ma. Zenaida B.
7. Antonino, Rodolfo W.
8. Apacible, Tomas V.
9. Aquino, Jose II S.
10. Arenas, Ma. Rachel J.
11. Arnaiz, George P.
12. Arroyo, Diosdado Macapagal
13. Asilo, Benjamin DR.
14. Bagasina, Catalina C.
15. Bagatsing, Amado S.
16. Bataoil, Leopoldo N.
17. Bichara, Al Francis DC.
18. Bonoan-David, Ma. Theresa
19. Cabaluna, Salvador III P.
20. Cabilao Yambao, Jonathan
21. Calimbas-Villarosa, Ma. Amelita A.
22. Castro, Jane T.
23. Crisologo, Vincent 'Bingbong' P.
24. Cua, Dakila Carlo E.
25. De Venecia, Ma. Georgina P. 
26. Del Mar, Rachel Marguerite B.
27. Dimaporo, Fatima Aliah Q.
28. Durano, Ramon VI H.
29. Ejercito, Joseph Victor G.
30. Ferrer, Antonio A.
31. Fortuno, Salvio B.
32. Fua, Orlando B.
33. Garbin, Alfredo Jr. A.
34. Garcia, Albert Raymond S.
35. Garcia, Pablo P.
36. Golez, Anthony Rolando Jr. T.
37. Gomez, Lucy T.
38. Gullas, Eduardo R.
39. Javier, Paolo S.
40. Labadlabad, Rosendo S.
41. Lico, Isidro Q.
42. Macapagal Arroyo, Juan Miguel
43. Magsaysay, Ma. Milagros H.
44. Malapitan, Oscar G.
45. Mandanas, Hermilando I.
46. Marañon, Alfredo III D.
47. Mendoza, Mark Llandro L.
48. Mercado-Revilla, Lani
49. Noel, Florencio G.
50. Nograles, Karlo Alexei B.
51. Obillo, Reena Concepcion G.
52. Pangandaman, Nasser C.
53. Panotes, Elmer E.
54. Paras, Jesus Emmanuel M.
55. Payuyo, Ponciano D.
56. Piamonte, Mariano Jr. U.
57. Puno, Roberto V.
58. Rivera, Michael Angelo C.
59. Rodriguez, Isidro Jr. S. 
60. Rodriguez, Maximo Jr. B.
61. Rodriguez, Rufus B.
62. Romualdez, Ferdinand Martin G.
63. Romualdo, Pedro P.
64. Romulo, Roman T.
65. Salimbangon, Benhur L.
66. Singson, Ryan Luis V.
67. Socrates, Victorino Dennis M.
68. Suarez, Danilo E.
69. Syjuco, Augusto Boboy, Ph.D.
70. Teves, Pryde Henry A.
71. Tiangco, Tobias 'Toby' M.
72. Ting, Randolph S.
73. Ty, Arnel U.
74. Unabia, Peter 'Sr. Pedro' M.
75. Unico, Renato Jr. J.
76. Valencia, Rodolfo G.
77. Vergara, Bernardo M.
78. Violago, Joseph Gilbert F.
79. Yap, Arthur C.

ABSTENTIONS

1. Briones, Nicanor M
2. Ferrer, Jeffrey P.
3. Golez, Roilo S
4. Gunigundo, Magtanggol T
5. Osmeña, Tomas R
6. Relampagos, Rene L.
7. Remulla, Jesus Crispin C.


How our Senators voted for Senate Bill 2865, "An act providing for a national policy on reproductive health and responsible parenthood" or RH Bill

"YES" TO RH BILL

1. Joker Arroyo
2. Alan Peter Cayetano
3. Pia Cayetano
4. Edgardo Angara
5. Francis Escudero
6. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
7. Ralph Recto
8. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
9. Loren Legarda
10. Teofisto Guingona II
11. Franklin M. Drilon
12. Francis Pangilinan
13. Panfilo Lacson.

"NO" TO RH BILL

1. Juan Ponce-Enrile
2. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
3. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
4. Gringo Honasan
5. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
6. Manuel “Manny” Villar
7. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
8. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV

(Source: catholicvote.ph)


Why am I putting up a list of those who voted for and against the RH Bill? My personal belief is that each vote cast for or against the passing of the controversial bill is highly reflective of their moral integrity as a person. There were reports about solons being pressured by the President to vote in favor of the bill in exchange for some personal gains. I believe there is some truth to this report and what a shame! I am not in a position to judge the "moral integrity" of our elected government officials, but their stand on this issue certainly reveal a lot about the principles and values they stand up for. You can be very sure that I will not vote for those who voted in favor of RH Bill. I will choose future government officials who value the sanctity of life. As to those who voted in favor of the bill, please think twice or thrice before putting their name in your ballot. Think of the future of your children and this nation. Ask yourself whether these are the kind of people who represent your best interests. As for me I won't vote for them.I hope you won't to for the sake of this country.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekly News (Second Week of December 2012)


1. On Awaiting The Coming of The Lord

"Let us Prepare to See, with the Eyes of Faith, Gods Salvation in the Humble Grotto of Bethlehem" [Read More]

2. Catholic Agencies Work to Help Philippines Typhoon Victims

Manila, Philippines, Dec 7, 2012 / 02:00 am (CNA).- Catholic relief agencies are working to help the victims of Typhoon Bopha, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year. [Read More]

3. Bishops to Watch RH Bill Voting

MANILA, Dec. 10, 2012— Catholic bishops will troop to the House of Representatives on Wednesday as the House of Representatives will try to put the “reproductive health” bill to a vote. [Read More]

4. Supreme Court Will Hear ‘Gay Marriage’ Cases

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court will take up California's ban on same-sex "marriage," a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether homosexual Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. [Read More]

5. Fascinating Discovery Shows Unborn Baby’s Cells Go to Mom’s Brain

A fascinating new discovery may help explain just how mothers and their unborn children are so interconnected and why the emotional bond between mother and child after birth is so strong. [Read More]

6. Science Confirms Pope Was Right on Contraception/Abortion Link

Hey, remember when Pope Benedict XVI said that contraception usage doesn't lead to lower abortion rates and everyone freaked out on him. Turns out he's right. We knew it all along but a new study is finally showing it. [Read More]

7. The Genuine Sexual Revolution [Read More]

8. A Catholic Couple’s Guide to Infertility

The Infertility Companion for Catholics definitely delivers on what its title promises. The authors, who have both experienced infertility themselves, provide a comprehensive, informative and supportive guide to the increasing number of couples walking this often lonely and confusing journey. [Read More]

9. Mexican Supreme Court Declares Heterosexual Marriage Law “Unconstitutional”

MEXICO CITY, December 7, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The First Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice has ruled unanimously that a law of the state of Oaxaca defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman is “unconstitutional,” claiming that “it offends the auto-determination of people and the right to free development of their personality.” [Read More]

10. Why Aren’t We Calling it The ‘Royal Fetus’?

December 7, 2012 (DennyBurk.com) - As you have probably already heard, Kate Middleton is pregnant. Her offspring will be third in line for the British throne. [Read More]


Monday, December 3, 2012

Homosexuality - Evaluation & Pastoral Approach



Author:  Fr. James McTavish, FMVD

Published:  Boletin Eclesiastico de Filipinas, September-October 2011, p. 511-522.


Homosexuality is an important pastoral theme being variously encountered in apostolate, counselling, spiritual direction and the sacrament of reconciliation. Ignorance about its cause, incidence and aetiology is often coupled with a lack of knowledge of Church teaching. This article will give the reader a broad grounding in the latest scientific research on homosexuality, provide a moral evaluation and finally outline some useful pastoral strategies to assist those ministering to homosexual persons.

Definition

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.”1 It is noteworthy that the sexual attraction needs to be exclusive or predominant not simply a passing or fleeting phase. Also being attracted in a non-sexual way and enjoying the company of male friends does not signify homosexuality as the attraction must be of a sexual nature.

Homosexuality and “Same Sex Attraction” (SSA)

Homosexuality is also known as same sex attraction (SSA).2 The terms will be used inter-changeably here but increasingly the term same-sex attraction is preferred. Cardinal Ratzinger reminds us that “the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.”3 We do not normally call a person “a heterosexual” neither should we label another “a homosexual”. Every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, is first and foremost a child of God and much more than just their sexual orientation.

How Should We Treat People With Homosexuality?

They must be accepted with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity.’4 Respect because they are our brothers, compassion as the homosexual orientation is often a heavy cross to carry and sensitivity because at times they are victims of discrimination, injustice and even violence. For this reason the Catechism states that ‘every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’5 Ridicule is often common and perhaps finding their situation amusing can be a sign of indifference and a lack of real concern for our brothers.

Incidence of Homosexuality

Just how many people are homosexual? The figures are not always readily available and in most countries such as the Philippines no reliable data exists. An educated guess would tend to over-estimate the true incidence. An accepted figure in the United States of America is that 2-3 % of the male population is gay.6

What Is the Cause of Homosexuality?

In many conditions there is the so-called ‘nature or nurture’ debate with nature implying it is in the genes and one is ‘born that way’ and nurture referring to a condition being caused by our nurturing and the situation in which we grew up. Scientific evidence shows that the homosexual person is not born that way. There is no single genetic cause for homosexuality and the elusive “gay gene” has never been found despite many claims to the contrary.7 Such attempts to prove the existence of a gay gene may be politically based because people are more likely to respond positively to demands for changes in the laws and religious teaching when they believe sexual attraction to be genetically determined and unchangeable. If homosexuality was in the genes then we would expect to see monozygotic twins identical in their sexual attraction but this is generally not so. No obvious hormonal cause has been identified. Overall there is no scientific consensus on the cause of the homosexual inclination.

Emotions and life experiences are thought to play a role in the formation of the normal sexual identity although it is not known exactly in what way. Typical experiences of homosexual males may include: 8

1. Sexual abuse by an older homosexual male

2. Poor relationships with fathers and/or mothers

3. Peer labelling during a formative childhood period

Moral Evaluation of Homosexuality

After briefly reviewing the current data on homosexuality it will be helpful to attempt a moral evaluation of homosexuality to enable us to then make suitable pastoral proposals. The evaluation of homosexuality presents a special challenge in our world of today as “there are many forces in our society that promote a view of sexuality in general, and of homosexuality in particular, not in accord with God’s purpose and plan for human sexuality.”9 Even many ‘Catholic’ groups would present that homosexuality is completely harmless if not a good thing, representing a legitimate sexual alternative and that the teaching of the Catholic Church is oppressive and unscientific. Such groups promote the fundamental freedom of the person to live according to their sexual orientation, an orientation ‘they were born with’.10 Joseph Ratzinger, the then Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote that concerning homosexuality the Church’s teaching “does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”11

Church Teaching on Homosexuality

There is a difference between the homosexual orientation and the homosexual act. A person may have the homosexual orientation through no fault of his own and strive to live a chaste life. Here the homosexual orientation or inclination is obviously not in itself sinful. However, the homosexual act is objectively sinful. It is always disordered as it is not open to life, and does not respect the complementarity of the sexes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”12

This distinction between orientation and act is a very helpful one. It should be born in mind in pastoral work. A man may have the homosexual orientation but may be living a chaste life. Alternatively, where a male is pursuing an active homosexual lifestyle it would be useful for them to know the risks inherent in such activities.

Health Risks of Homosexuality

The health risks of gay sex are well documented although scarcely mentioned in the public debate.13 They can be characterised as follows:

 Increased risk of infections- including HIV/AIDS, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Viral Hepatitis B & C, Gonorrhea and Syphilis

 Increased risk of cancer - anal cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and HPV related malignancy.

 Higher incidence of physical injuries – anal trauma, haemorrhoids, anal fissures and retained foreign bodies. Domestic violence.

 Mental health disorders – increased suicidal tendency, depression and anxiety.

 Increased rates of substance abuse including drugs and alcohol.

Homosexual activity can endanger a person life, not only their own but also that of others as often homosexual behaviour is associated with promiscuity. One study involving 1,500 gay men and women concluded that 45 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having 1,000 or more sex partners.14 The medical data shows that the active homosexual lifestyle is a dangerous one. Being aware of the real dangers helps us to understand why the Church labours to save homosexuals from “a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.”15


PASTORAL APPROACH TO HOMOSEXUALITY

We have attempted to understand the condition of homosexuality as a first step in our pastoral approach. Misunderstanding the condition or being ignorant about it would undermine any pastoral strategy no matter how well intentioned. With a firm base, it can be a platform on which to build our approach. The question is now addressed “what can be a suitable pastoral approach to homosexuality?” It should be born in mind that we are dealing with a broad spectrum of cases such that the help given in the case of a male who desires assistance to live a chaste life will be largely different from the approach to an actively homosexual male who is closed to advice. Despite the plethora of possibilities some pastoral proposals may still be offered.

Chaste Friendships

There is a celebrated song by the British band called the Beatles. One line goes “I get by with a little help from my friends.” We all need friends and we all need a helping hand in life especially when we fall down on the way. Friendship is a great good and one benefit of healthy friendships is that they help one to live chastity well. It is not wise for a person who is confused about their homosexuality and searching for their true sexual identity to only have friends with the same homosexual inclination. Many older homosexual males will offer friendship to a younger homosexual but with sexual intentions. As ministers to homosexual persons a healthy, ‘disinterested’ friendship can be offered which helps the homosexual come to know themselves and to know Christ more. The overwhelming majority of men experiencing same-sex attraction report a poor relationship with their fathers – so part of our pastoral help as priests can be to be a good father figure to them.

Support Groups

No man is an island and the homosexual male will be greatly assisted through joining a support group. Various organizations exist such as Courage, Gentlemen of the Lord (GOLD), Aftercall, and Ichthus.16

The Five Goals of Courage are:

1. Chastity - Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality.17

2. Prayer and Dedication - Dedicate one’s life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.

3. Fellowship - Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone.

4. Support - Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them.

5. Good Example - Live lives that may serve as good examples to others.

The spiritual means are emphasized as all of us need to pray and need the help of the prayers of others. A strong sacramental life will help the person live a life of grace and the sacrament of reconciliation can help when one falls. A good spiritual guide and confessor can give valuable assistance on life’s rocky road. Often teenagers can find themselves confused about their evolving sexual identity and can greatly benefit from wise counsel to help channel and focus their sexual energies in the correct way.

Involvement in parish work and the mission of the Church can help. Fr John Harvey comments “the actual performance of apostolic and charitable works is an element of proven worth. In view of the frustration of homosexual liaisons, some means of serving God must be found which will prove to the person with same-sex attractions that he or she is making a contribution to life. Everyone needs that sense of achievement.”18

Therapy

Re-orientation therapy may be an option to help the man re-orient his sexual desires. Dr. Robert L. Spitzer reports that “many patients, provided with informed consent about the possibility that they will be disappointed if the therapy does not succeed, can make a rational choice to work toward developing their heterosexual potential and minimizing their unwanted homosexual attractions."19

Considering therapy, prevention is always better than cure and it is important for growing boys to be allowed to be boys. In pastoral work one may encounter families where the father or father-figure is absent for work-related or financial reasons, perhaps working overseas. The growing boy actually needs to be able to identify with his father (or a significant father-figure like a relative) to discover his masculine identity. The mother should also avoid over-mothering or smothering the child and not try to over-protect him from the rough and tumble of play and life. In the apostolate of the Church one overall aim is to work for the promotion of families as “very few persons with SSA come from homes where the parents, by mutual love, have created an atmosphere of caring for each child.”20

In adolescents where the sexual identity is still evolving, care should be taken not to stereotype or permanently label the young man as ‘a homosexual.’ It may be that with correct help and guidance he may be able to re-orient his sexual desires.

Correct Formation of Conscience

The sound formation of conscience is part of the mission of the Church. It is important to be correctly informed on the issue of homosexuality. There are many good web resources such as the NARTH website (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) as well as helpful documents such as “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care” produced by the United States Bishops Conference. An excellent resource is a book called “Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice” by a renowned expert in the field, Fr John Harvey, whose work is variously cited in this article. A correct formation of conscience is necessary especially for those involved in expounding Church teaching. The Catholic Medical Association of the United States comments on the role of teachers in Catholic institutions that they have a “duty to defend the teachings of the Church on sexual morality, to counter false information on same-sex attraction, and to inform at-risk or homosexually involved adolescents that help is available.”21

Conclusion

In ministering to homosexual persons we should remember first and foremost that they are always our brothers. The homosexual condition is usually a cross for the person and they will need much help and support to live a chaste life. A correct pastoral approach relies on a sound evaluation of the condition. As Cardinal Ratzinger stated “departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.”22 Same-sex attraction represents a special pastoral challenge. Most priests will not have this as an exclusive ministry but will still encounter various homosexual persons in their apostolic work as the priest may be approached by the homosexual person asking for advice and counseling. It should never be assumed a priori that a homosexual person is actually sexually active as they may be living a chaste life. In accompanying the homosexual person a solid, chaste friendship can be an invaluable help as well as the support of a community or support group. The possibility of reorientation therapy should be borne in mind although not all will have access to such a service.

The priest himself can provide invaluable help to the homosexual person, listening to him, perhaps also advising him when appropriate. They should never exclude homosexuals from the believing community but instead should welcome all those who feel rejected or on the margins. Sacramental confession can provide a grace-filled opportunity for the penitent to experience God’s mercy and love. This may be the only moment when the homosexual person has a chance to open up, to share his difficulties, perhaps his shame and guilt and hurtful experiences from the past. Many homosexual men report a poor relationship with their father, and the priest as a father figure can help to heal the person and direct them towards the mercy of God the Father. The priest is to be pastorally sensitive but also firm, imitating as always the compassionate Jesus who healed and forgave but also guided the wayward “Go and do not commit this sin again.” (John 8:11).

The catechetical role of the priest is also important as he can be instrumental in educating others, particularly the young, about the beauty of human sexuality and in the promotion of chastity. Church ministers are advised to learn more about homosexuality and church teaching so that their preaching, teaching, and counseling will be informed and effective.23 Obviously the recent scandals have dinted the perception and perceived power of the priest’s role in this regard and many would ask that we practice what we preach. Nonetheless the duty to share the Good news is a Divine one and part of the mission of the Church. Let us implore the Lord’s grace for all those involved in pastoral ministry to the homosexual person, that we will not be overawed by their shortcomings or the challenges ahead but inspired by the love of Christ who loved us and gave his life for us (Cf. Galatians 2,20). May Christ, the Good Shepherd, teach us how to seek out and save those who are most in need. Amen.


RESOURCE MATERIALS

Support groups

Courage:  www.couragerc.net, www.couragephilippines.blogspot.com

Aftercall:  www.aftercall.webs.com
 
Ichthus:  www.ichthuscommunity.blogspot.com

Useful websites

www.narth.com (North American Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality)

Articles

“Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” Document of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 14 Nov 2006. Available at www.usccb.org/doctrine/Ministry.pdf

“Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice,” Fr John Harvey, O.S.F.S., available at http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/cis/cis385.pdf

Books

“Same-Sex attraction: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church” by Fr John Harvey. This book is promoted by the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the CBCP. For more information contact Rev. Fr. David J. Clay (Columban missionary), Asst. Exec. Secretary of the ECFL at “frdaveclay@yahoo.com”


-oOo-

Footnotes:

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2357. (Henceforth cited as ‘CCC’). Homosexuality is usually recognizable by three signs: “(1) a persistent erotic tendency to persons of the same sex [a temporary or transient attraction is also possible—but SSA and the term homosexual are usually used of an enduring attraction]; (2) an insensitivity to persons of the other sex as far as physical attraction is concerned [sometimes the insensitivity extends to the broader psychological order]; (3) a positive distaste for physical relations with persons of the other sex.” Fr John Harvey, O.S.F.S., Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice, General Editor Father Gabriel B. O’Donnell, O.P., Director of the Catholic Information Service, Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, 2007.

2 This article will focus on male same-sex attraction. Same-sex attraction in females, commonly termed “lesbianism” is another important pastoral theme but is sufficiently distinct to merit a separate appraisal.

3 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of homosexual persons”, 1 Oct 1986, n. 16. Henceforth cited as ‘CDF letter 1986’

4 CCC, n. 2358.

5 Ibid.

6 See website of ‘North American Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality’ (NARTH), at www.narth.com.

7 Catholic Medical Association, “Homosexuality and Hope”, Considerations I, 1. Hereafter ‘CMA, “Homosexuality...”’ Available at www.cathmed.org/publications/ homosexuality.html. In its correspondence to the American Medical Association, the NARTH group reported that “there is no recognized researcher in this field who claims that homosexuality is simply inborn” (See www.narth.com/docs/correctionletter3.html).

8 NARTH database, www.narth.com

9 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care”, 14 Nov 2006, Introduction. Henceforth ‘USCCB Guidelines 2006’

10 CDF letter 1986, n.9.

11 CDF letter 1986, n.7.

12 CCC, n.2357.

13 Dr. J. Diggs, Jr., "The Health Risks Of Gay Sex," Corporate Resource Council publication, www.narth.com

14 A.P. Bell, M.S Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, (Simon and Schuster, New York 1978,) 308.

15 CDF letter 1986, n.12

16 There is also a support group for parents and loved ones of those with SSA known as Encourage.

17 Chastity is concerned “with integrating our sexual and affective loves and pleasures into our person with the loving and intelligent ordering of our sexual desires and longings, of our need to touch and to be touched” William E. May, The Nature and Meaning of Chastity, (Franciscan Herald Press Synthesis Series, Chicago, 1976,) 36.

18 Fr John Harvey, O.S.F.S., ‘Same Sex Attraction...’

19 “Spitzer Study Published: Evidence Found for Effectiveness of Reorientation Therapy” in NARTH website, http://www.narth.com/docs/evidencefound.html. We note that as there is no consensus about the cause there can be no consensus about the therapy either. Interestingly Dr. Robert Spitzer was once an ardent supporter of gay activism and successfully campaigned for the removal of homosexuality from the psychiatric manual of disorders in the early 1970’s. Later he changed his views when in his research he encountered men who following therapy had experienced a marked change towards heterosexual attraction.

20 Fr John Harvey, O.S.F.S., ‘Same Sex Attraction...’

21 CMA, “Homosexuality...,” Part II, n.4.

22 CDF letter 1986, n.15.

23 Cf. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers” (10 September 1997).

Friday, November 30, 2012

RH Bill Alert


To all Pro-Lifers,

Please share this important message forwarded by Doc. Resty Monzon, a pro-lifer.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly News (Fourth Week of November 2012)


1. Pope Warns Gaza Conflict Could Spread to Middle East

Vatican City, Nov 21, 2012 / 11:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI is warning violence could spread through the region, after Israel continued bombing Gaza and a suicide bomb rocked Tel Aviv. [Read More]

2. Cardinal Tagle Receives Red Hat

MANILA, Nov. 24, 2012— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle received the red hat and ring, symbols of his membership in the College of Cardinals from Pope Benedict XVI during a solemn consistory held St. Peter’s Basilica on November 24. [Read More]

3. Behavior Change, Not Condoms, Key to HIV-AIDS Prevention

MANILA, Nov. 24, 2012—No amount of condom can prevent the spread of AIDS unless a person adopts a responsible sexual behavior. [Read More]

4. Critics Find UN Contraception Push Harmful to Women

New York City, N.Y., Nov 23, 2012 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A United Nations population report calling for global contraceptive access has drawn fire from doctors and pro-life advocates who say the funding would better spent preventing maternal deaths. [Read More]

5. Sex: A Gift From God - Not a 'Free-For-All'

Dr. Tony Evans, author of Sacred Sex, says people have wandered so far from God's intention for sex. He hopes to help people get back to it "so that we don't have this free-for-all that's tearing our culture apart." [Read More]

6. 4th Straight Year: Obama Thanksgiving Resolution Doesn’t Thank God

For the fourth straight year, the Thanksgiving resolution from President Barack Obama fails to actually thank God — which is the fundamental reason why Thanksgiving is observed. [Read More]

7. Transhumanism: Taking the Place of Our Creator

There is a dangerous philosophy emerging in our fast-paced, technology-driven world of which most people are totally unaware. And yet, when Francis Fukuyama, economist at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was asked what idea posed the "greatest threat to the welfare of humanity," his answer was this philosophy. [Read More]

8. Porn One of the Greatest Threats to Christianity: Christian Apologist

November 21, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - Pornography is out there, and it’s not going away any time soon. So to help your kids guard against it, you have to prepare them. [Read More]

9. Alberta School Boards Association Rejects ‘Sexual Orientation’ Policy

EDMONTON, Alberta, 23 November, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Alberta parents who support traditional values are breathing a sigh of relief after the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) rejected a proposal calling for policies to deal with an alleged “pervasive school-wide culture of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism”. [Read More]

10. Rekindling The Fire of Holiness

PHILADELPHIA, NOV. 23, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Church has many good reasons why people should believe in God, believe in Jesus Christ and believe in the beauty and urgency of her own mission.  But she has only one irrefutable argument for the truth of what she teaches – the personal example of her saints. [Read More]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

StarVEbucks 2012


Forwarded invite from the Bagong Pagasa Ministry


Greetings from Bagong Pag-asa Ministry!

Many of today’s young men and women are confused with their gender identity. One of the reasons is that they grew up without meaningful involvement from the same-sex parent. Because of this confusion, they become easy prey to society’s permissive mores like the use of sex to obtain love. Sadly, many will go where love is, even if it is a counterfeit love. The reality which most people are not aware about is that many have walked out from homosexuality and have pursued change.

We at Bagong Pagasa exist to help people embrace their masculinity and femininity as their true identity in JESUS CHRIST. 

This November 24, 2012, we are staging our 4th StarVEbucks, a comedy/musical show aimed at reaching out in love to the homosexual struggler, their family, friends and loved ones. Come and hear real-life stories and reality-based skits about extraordinary men journeying with an extraordinary God.

StarVEbucks 2012 will be shown at 4F Asian Center for Christian Ministries (ASCM) Building, 102 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City (near RCBC Plaza and Cityland 10).  Tickets for the 3pm and 7pm shows are still available at P200/each. Please contact our office numbers below for reservations, purchase or inquiries about the event.

We look forward to seeing you on November 24! Please spread the word by forwarding this email to people who might be interested.  Thank you.


Bagong Pag-asa

Unit 10M, Burgundy Corporate Tower

252 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City

Telefax: (+632) 886-4441

Mobile nos.: +63927-5788373 (Globe) ; +63923-6191381 (Sun)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kerygma Conference 2012 - Champions, Arise!


The biggest Catholic inspirational and learning event of the year is just two weeks away. I'm so excited to be blessed in this two-day event that will happen on November 24-25, 2012, at SMX Convention Center and SM MOA Arena. Below is an outline of the events and lineup of speakers for each stream. If you've got nothing important to do on those dates, you can still buy your tickets or go to the Feast nearest you. You can also buy your tickets online. Visit www.kerygmaconference.com for more details.


Day 1
Opening Ceremony
Mall of Asia Arena
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 nn



More than a band, emmanuelworship is the worship ministry of the Emmanuel Community, a Catholic mission community in Australia whose vision is to be a force for renewal in the Church and the world. This is where they stem from, where they draw their life and find their mission to renew the Church through the incredible power of music and worship.


 Roselle Ambubuyog - Special Guest Speaker

Roselle is the first visually impaired Filipina to become summa cum laude at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in 2001. She was able to achieve academic excellence despite her handicap and has inspired people with her life story of triumph over the odds.

Main Talk by Bro. Bo Sanchez

Plus special entertainment numbers by surprise guests!


STREAMS
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
SMX Convention Center


PRAYER STREAM

Talk 1:  Foundation: How to Pray Boldly & Effectively - Mike Joseph, Servant, Ligaya ng Panginoon

Talk 2:  Progression: Turbo Charge Your Prayer Life - Bert Miranda, Full-Time Servant, Elim Communities

Talk 3:  Repetition: Making the World Your Chapel - Alvin Barcelona, Feast Builder, Marilao & PICC 3rd Session

EDUCATION STREAM

Talk 1:  Inspire: Light a Fire in Your Student's Heart

Talk 2:  Innovate: Discover and Develop New Ways of Educating - Alvin Barcelona, President, Barcelona Academy

Talk 3:  Illuminate: Be a Beacon Towards a Brighter Future - Msgr. Gerry Santos, President, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines


HEALTH STREAM

Talk 1:  Go! Form the Habit of Exercise - Cory Quirino, TV & Radio Host

Talk 2:  Grow! Live a Healthy Lifestyle - Raffy Blasco, Servant, Couples for Christ

Talk 3:  Glow! Have the Right Disposition - Cito Beltran, TV & Radio Host and Columnist


CAREER STREAM

Talk 1:  The Starting Position:  Is Your Path Your Purpose? - Benedict Hernandez, President & CEO, Business Processing Association of the Philippines

Talk 2:  The Finish Line: Being Happy @ Work - Jon Escoto, President & CEO, Leadlife, Inc.

Talk 3:  Find Your Second Wind: Overcoming Challenges in the Workplace - Chinkee Tan, Motivational Speaker & Author

WORSHIP STREAM

Talk 1:  Immerse: Deepen Your Understanding of Worship - Pat Keady, Director, emmanuelworship

Talk 2:  Synchronize: Tighten Your Teamwork as a Ministry - George Gabriel, Worship Director, The Feast

Talk 3:  Emerge: True Worship Results in Social Justice - Gigi De Jesus, Musical Director, The Feast


BUSINESS STREAM

Talk 1:  Take The Heed: Find the Right Business For You - Pax Lapid, Dean, Entrepreneur School of Asia

Talk 2:  Niche-Hitter: Maximize Your Target Market

Talk 3:  Home Run! Share Your Profits, Multiply the Blessing - Edward Lee, Chairman, COL Financial Philippines

CATHOLIC FAITH

Talk 1:  Wrestling With Your Faith: Ask the Tough Questions - Obet Cabrillas, Feast Builder, Manila & Pasig & Pinky Marquez, International Singer & Stage Performer

Talk 2:  Muscle Training: Strengthen Your Conviction - Fr. John Paul Del Rosario, Administrator, Madonna Del Divino Quasi-Parish

Talk 3:  Fight The Good Fight: Championing Your Faith - Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, Society of St. Paul


Day 2
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., SMX


SOLO PARENTS STREAM

 Talk 1:  All-Around Player: Being Your Family's Champion - Fr. Dennis Paez, Counseling Ministry Head, St. John Bosco Parish

Talk 2:  Huddle Up! (Merged Talk): Let's Talk to Our Kids - Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, Professor, Columnist & Author

Talk 3:  Slam Dunk! (Merged Talk): Rise Above the Challenges - Allan & Maribel Dionisio, Founds, LOVE Institute

SINGLES STREAM

 Talk 1:  Plan of Attack: Discern for Your Career, Finances and State of Life - Ardy Abello, President, Business Works, Inc.

Talk 2:  Know The King: Deepening Your Spirituality - Mike Joseph, Servant, Ligaya ng Panginoon

Talk 3:  Check, Mate! Finding the Right Partner


SINGLE BLESSEDNESS STREAM

Talk 1:  Ace: Choosing to Go Solo - Vita Monforte, Founder, Beaconlight Development Center

Talk 2:  Serve! Available For a Lifetime - Adrian Panganiban, Feast Builder, Sucat

Talk 3:  Love: Always a Winner - Dr. Ryan Capitulo, Operations Head, Feast Manila


INNER HEALING STREAM

Talk 1:  Against The Ropes: Crisis Shapes Character - Fr. Peter Coching, Society of the Divine Word

Talk 2:  Your Pain, Your Gain: Healing the Child Within - Vins Santiago, Minister and Counselor

Talk 3:  Raise Your Gloves! The Victory in Forgiveness - Eng Si, Feast Builder, Quezon City & Valenzuela


FAMILY STREAM

Talk 1:  Match-Up: It's More Fun When You're a Couple

Talk 2:  Huddle Up! (Merged Talk) Let's Talk to Our Kids - Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, Professor, Columnist & Author

Talk 3:  Slam Dunk! (Merged Talk): Rise Above the Challenges - Allan & Maribel Dionisio, Founds, LOVE Institute

YOUTH STREAM

Talk 1:  Swag: Exuding Confidence and Individuality - Bam Aquino, Former Chairperson, National Youth Commission

Talk 2:  Stoked: Pumped Up for the World - Obet Cabrillas, Spiritual Director, Light of Jesus Youth Missions

LEADERSHIP STREAM

Talk 1:  The Game Changer: Transformational Leadership - Boris Joaquin, Master Trainer, Lead Like Jesus

Talk 2:  All Heart: What Makes a Champion - Carl Fontanilla, Elder, Light of Jesus Family

Talk 3:  Touchdown! Leading Your Team to Victory - Bo Sanchez, Founder, Light of Jesus Family    
 

Grand Feast
SMX Convention Center
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
(Free Admission!)


Holy Mass by Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, DD

Bishop Ongioco is currently the Diocesan Bishop of Cubao & Spiritual Advisor of the Light of Jesus Family. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 8, 1972 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in San Fernando, Pampanga.



Talk by Bro. Bo Sanchez

Bro. Bo Sanchez founded what was to become the Light of Jesus Family which he led to establish the Feast, a prayer gathering throughout the country and abroad.  Bo founded Shepherd's Voice Publications Inc., Shepherd's Voice Radio and Television Foundation, both of which produce inspirational materials through different media. Bo also founded Anawim, a home for abandoned elderly, and has supported various mercy organizations which are now the beneficiary partners of Kerygma Conference.


Plus special entertainment numbers, worship and healing session!

See you all at KCON 2012!
   

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly News (Second Week of November 2012)



1. Pope Calls Faith, Reason Dialogue Essential to Human Freedom

.- Pope Benedict XVI said cooperation between science and faith is necessary for world peace and man's destiny, as he addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences this morning. [Read More]

2. Pro-Life Leaders to Speak at a National Congress For Life in Cebu

MANILA, Nov. 10, 2012—Cebu City plays host to another big gathering of luminaries and workers in the pro-life movement as the National “Philippines for Life” Congress 2012, organized by Human Life International (HLI) Pilipinas happens on November 16-17. [Read More]

3. Re-Election of Pro-Abortion US President Impetus for PH Pro-Lifers to Intensify Advocacy

MANILA, Nov. 7, 2012—The re-election of the most pro-abortion president in US history, while a major disappointment to conservatives in that nation as well as to life and family advocates in the Philippines, may just be the motivation needed to galvanize the pro-life movement and work double tides to get pro-life candidates into public office in the 2013 elections. [Read More]

4. Washingston State Leads Same-Sex "Marriage" Sweep

Voters in the state of Washington voted to allow same-sex "marriage" Tuesday night, winning 52 to 48 percent, reflecting the blue tide that swept across the nation. [Read More]

5. Gay ‘Marriage Equality’ = Unequal Treatment for Heterosexuals

The homosexual push for “equal marriage,” otherwise known as genderless marriage, can only lead to a ban on heterosexual rights. [Read More]

6. Obama Won, But the Pro-Life Movement is Still Winning [Read More]

7. A Person is More than His Body, and Love is More than Sex

Amidst the hype of the newly “discovered” – and forged – Papyrus scroll that seemingly serves as evidence that Jesus had a wife, it is highly interesting and noteworthy that NBC news chose the following title for one of its articles on the topic: “Too Holy for Sex: The Problem of a Married Jesus.” [Read More]

8. 50 Shades of Pornography Addiction

October 30, 2012 (PornHarms.com) - Men and women view the world differently. That’s no secret. And it’s also no secret the majority of pornography is marketed toward men and it typically objectifies women as highly sexualized beings willing to cater to every whim. [Read More]

9. The Effects of Media Violence

ROME, Nov. 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The long-running debate over the effects of violence in the media has received new impetus from some recent studies. [Read More]

10. Christians Must Start Talking Openly About Porn: Creators of ‘Shamed’

LOS ANGELES, November 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Every minute Americans spend more than $3,000 on pornography. The average age of exposure to porn is now 11 years old. An estimated 25 percent of all internet searches are for porn. Every second, more than 28,000 people are looking at porn. And more than half of all divorces cite porn as a contributing factor to the breakdown of the marriage. [Read More]


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Treatise on Purgatory


Here is an excerpt from Treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa. You'll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of what Purgatory is all about after reading this.


CHAPTER VIII

Of the necessity of Purgatory. How terrible it is.

When I look at God, I see no gate to Paradise, and yet because God is all mercy he who wills enters there. God stands before us with open arms to receive us into His glory. But well I see the divine essence to be of such purity, greater far than can be imagined, that the soul in which there is even the least note of imperfection would rather cast itself into a thousand Hells than find itself thus stained in the presence of the Divine Majesty. Therefore the soul, understanding that Purgatory has been ordained to take away those stains, casts itself therein, and seems to itself to have found great mercy in that it can rid itself there of the impediment which is the stain of sin.

No tongue can tell nor explain, no mind understand, the grievousness of Purgatory. But I, though I see that there is in Purgatory as much pain as in Hell, yet see the soul which has the least stain of imperfection accepting Purgatory, as I have said, as though it were a mercy, and holding its pains of no account as compared with the least stain which hinders a soul in its love. I seem to see that the pain which souls in Purgatory endure because of whatever in them displeases God, that is what they have willfully done against His so great goodness, is greater than any other pain they feel in Purgatory. And this is because, being in grace, they see the truth and the grievousness of the hindrance which stays them from drawing near to God.



CHAPTER XV

Reproaches which the souls in Purgatory make to people in the world.

And so that blessed soul, seeing the aforesaid things by the divine light, said: "I would fain send up a cry so loud that it would put fear in all men on the earth. I would say to them: 'Wretches, why do you let yourselves be thus blinded by the world, you whose need is so great and grievous, as you will know at the moment of death, and who make no provision for it whatsoever?'

"You have all taken shelter beneath hope in God's mercy, which is, you say, very great, but you see not that this great goodness of God will judge you for having gone against the will of so good a Lord. His goodness should constrain you to do all His will, not give you hope in ill-doing, for His justice cannot fail but in one way or another must needs be fully satisfied.

"Cease to hug yourselves, saying: 'I will confess my sins and then receive plenary indulgence, and at that moment I shall be purged of all my sins and thus shall be saved.' Think of the confession and the contrition needed for that plenary indulgence, so hardly come by that, if you knew, you would tremble in great fear, more sure you would never win it than that you ever could."



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly News (Third Week of October 2012)


1. On The Nature of Faith

"Faith is a gift of God, but it is also a profoundly free and human act"

VATICAN, OCTOBER 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today in St. Peter’s Square. Today the Holy Father continued his new series of catecheses on faith. [Read More]

2.  Cardinal-Designate Tagle Humbled by New Appointment

ROME, Italy, Oct. 26, 2012 – The recent appointment of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle may seem like another cause for pride for the Philippines, but for Tagle himself, the new position, if anything, humbles him. [Read More]

3. Catholics United Urges 'Gay Marriage' Surrender

.- The group Catholics United, which until now has avoided directly contradicting Catholic teaching in its defense of Democratic political causes, has now denounced Catholic efforts to defend traditional marriage as a “far right-wing” social issue. [Read More]

4. Bishop Hits UN Proposal to Legalize Prostitution in PH

MANILA, Oct. 25, 2012—A Catholic bishop has added his voice to the growing criticism over a United Nations (UN) report recommending that sex-related jobs be legalized in the country. [Read More]

5.  Letter to Obama: Stop Attack on Ministries to Ex-'Gays'

On behalf of the Christian ministry Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), the United States Justice Foundation submitted a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), calling for President Barack Obama's administration to put an end to its promotion of websites attacking Christian ministries that reach out to individuals departing from homosexual lifestyles. [Read More]

6.  Does Abortion Really Reduce Crime? Another Look at Freakonomics

Throughout the Twentieth Century, eugenicists promoted abortion and birth control, claiming that if the “lower classes” would only have fewer children, crime would also decline. [Read More]

7.  Gays Against the Gay Agenda (G.A.G.A.) Says Homosexuals 'Are Being Used to Further an Agenda [Read More]

8. Batman Actor Christian Bale Condemns Forced Abortion in China, Honors Blind Activist Chen Guangcheng

NEW YORK, October 26,  2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Actor Christian Bale presented blind forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng with an award last night at the annual gala of Human Rights First.  [Read More]

9.  Purgatory: An Objection Answered

In Catholic theology, Purgatory is a state (or a process, not necessarily a place) to which one’s soul travels if one has died in a state of grace, but nevertheless retains unremitted venial sins and certain ingrained bad habits and dispositions. [Read More]

10. Traditional Values Pay: Chick-Fil-A Makes Record-Breaking Profits After Marriage Controversy

ATLANTA, October 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Chick-fil-A has learned upholding traditional values is not just good for the soul; it’s also good for business. [Read More]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

St. Pedro Calungsod, Martyr, Pray For Us


A special music video tribute to the life and martyrdom of the second Filipino saint, Blessed Pedro Calungsod, on the joyful occasion of his canonization today by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, Italy.


Monday, October 15, 2012

On Homosexuality in the Philippines


Join Mr. Raul Nidoy who holds a doctorate degree in theology and our very own Mr. Rolando delos Reyes II, president of Courage Philippines, together with main host Atty. Jemy Gatdula and co-host Mr. David Rosario as they engage in a lively discussion on the topic of homosexuality in the Philippine setting. This episode was aired over TV Maria on the program Naturang Batas, Likas na Tama, a talk show about connecting social issues to the natural law.


Part 1



Part 2



Part 3


Thursday, October 11, 2012

HIV/AIDS Facts and Support


I was at UP-PGH Manila yesterday to attend a talk on HIV/AIDS and I want to share with my blog readers here the facts they need to know about HIV. The epidemic of HIV/AIDS in this country is getting worse by the day. After I arrived home and switched on the television, I was greeted with a news headline on, guess what, HIV/AIDS! According to that news report there were 270+ new cases recorded in the month of August of this year. Furthermore, the rate of infection nowadays is one new infection every three hours whereas before it used to be one new infection every three days - a very alarming statistics indeed.

The Facts

  • HIV weakens the body's immune system.
  • AIDS has no cure...up to now.
  • TB, pneumonia, hepatitis, etc. are opportunistic infections that can cause death of people with AIDS.
  • People with HIV can look healthy and feel healthy.
  • Often, people with HIV don't even know they have the virus.
  • Everybody is at risk of getting HIV.
  • Discrimination and poverty are associated with HIV/AIDS.

How is HIV/AIDS Transmitted?

  • Promiscuous sexual intercourse.
  • Receiving infected blood and blood products in a transfusion or organ transplant.
  • Sharing needles in drug use and other injecting and skin-piercing instruments.
  • From HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding.

How Can We Prevent HIV/AIDS Transmission?

A. Practice abstinence before marriage.

95% of reported HIV/AIDS cases are transmitted through sex.


The absolute way to protect yourself is to abstain from sex.



Say NO to pre-marital sex!

Sex is a gift from God to be celebrated, enjoyed and treated responsibly within the sanctity of marriage. Do not squander it!

B. Practice Monogamy. Be Faithful to One Uninfected Partner

If you are married, maintain a long-term, mutual, faithful relationship with that partner. Monogamy is part of the vocation to marriage. While it can be difficult, God, through the Sacrament of Marriage, will provide the grace necessary to face the challenges.

Remember that having many partners increases your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS!

Say NO to extra-marital sex!

C. Treat sexually transmitted disease as promptly as possible.

STIs increase the person's susceptibility to HIV infection. Always consult your doctor for treatment.


D. Go for voluntary counseling and HIV testing.

The only way to know if you have HIV is thru HIV test.


Early detection is the best cure for HIV & AIDS and it prevents transmission of the virus.

Pregnant women with HIV must seeking medical treatment to protect their baby from HIV.

E. Safe sex through condom use is not really safe.

"There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the US-funded Demographic Health Surveys, between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV infection rates." -- Edward C. Green, Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the US Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (March 2009)


This is because the so-called benefit offered by condom makes the person take greater chances, and thus, greater risk of exposure to the virus, a phenomenon called risk compensation.

Authentic sexual values and respect for the human person protect YOU and your family from HIV AIDS!

F. Make sure that the blood you need is screened for HIV.


Refuse to be transfused with unscreened blood. Get blood only from reputable blood banks accredited by the Department of Health.


G. Ask for Information.


Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn more about voluntary confidential counseling & HIV testing. HIV test is free in DOH-accredited treatment hubs. You can also visit my blog post on HIV Testing Centers in the Philippines to locate the nearest social hygiene clinic or treatment center in your place. Here are additional hotlines that you can call:


Faith-Based Organizations:


CBCP
-Caritas Filipinas (02) 527-4147

Daughters of Charity (02) 523-1460; (02) 838-3961; CP# 0919-7938255
Camillus Pastoral Healthcare Center (02) 926-3147
Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) (02) 735-6021 loc 201; (02) 734-4703

Government Treatment Hubs:


Philippine General Hospital, Manila  (02) 567-3394

San Lazaro Hospital (02) 743-8301 loc 6000
Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (02) 566-8807; (02) 807-2628 loc 208
Philippine National AIDS Council (02) 743-8301 loc 2550

Support Groups


Pinoy
Plus, Manila  (02) 743-7293

Positive Action Foundation of the Philippines (PAFP)  (02) 567-3506


HIV/AIDS is NOT transmitted through:



  • Hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing food/drinking utensils.
  • Mosquitoes and other insect bites.
  • Swimming in a pool or sharing of toilet seats.

What can you do to eliminate HIV-related stigma in your community?

Stigma usually stems from ignorance and fear. Now that you know the facts about HIV/AIDS, share your knowledge to your family and friends.



0% Fear | 100% Love

AIDS is not a punishment from God. It rather calls every Christian to follow Christ in His ministry of healing, mercy, and love.

As a community of faith, reflect on the CBCP Pastoral Letters on AIDS released in 1993 and 2011.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can be prevented with behavioral change and strong faith life. It is your personal choice. Only YOU can prevent it!


"The problem of HIV/AIDS cannot be overcome with mere slogans. If the soul is lacking...the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms...The solution can only come through a two-fold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship above all with the suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to stand by those who suffer." - Pope Benedict XVI


(Compiled by:  CBCP-NASSA, Caritas Filipinas, DOH)

Support the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Philippine Catholic HIV & AIDS Network (PhilCHAN) campaign:  Getting to Zero. Be true. Stay true.