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 ( 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 ( – 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, ( – 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:

-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

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.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly News (First Week of October 2012)

1. Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful

Apostolic Penitentiary Issues Decree on Occasion of the Year of Faith

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2012 ( In a decree signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Penitentiary Major and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Holy Father has granted the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the occasion of the Year of Faith. The indulgence will last the entire Year of Faith, from October 11th, 2012 to November 24th, 2013. [Read More]

2. Sto. Domingo Church Declared National Cultural Treasure

QUEZON CITY, Oct 5, 2012―The Sto. Domingo Church, one of the tallest and largest churches in the country, was declared on October 4 a national cultural treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. [Read More]

3. Catholic Group Flunks Obama on Religious Liberty

Washington D.C., Oct 5, 2012 / 08:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious liberty advocacy group the Catholic Association released a voter guide on Oct. 4 that gives a failing grade to President Obama on seven key religious freedom issues. [Read More]

4. Scalia Says Abortion, Gay Rights Are Easy Cases

Justice Antonin Scalia says his method of interpreting the Constitution makes some of the most hotly disputed issues that come before the Supreme Court among the easiest to resolve. [Read More]

5. United Nations Recognizes Massive Underpopulation, Does Nothing

A recent major study by the United Nations admitted that ageing is now a worldwide “megatrend” in both developed and developing nations. Demographic Winter is arriving at breakneck speed. Within ten years, there will be over 1 billion elderly persons on the planet, and this will double to 2 billion by 2050 even as global population numbers start to decline. [Read More]

6. Number of Gay Characters on TV at All Time High: ‘Glee,’ ‘True Blood’ Have The Most

HOLLYWOOD, October 5, 2012, ( – Never before have there been so many homosexual characters portrayed on broadcast and cable television, according to the latest report from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). [Read More]

7. Childless by Choice - A Decision You May Live to Regret

October 1, 2012 ( - When it comes to major life decisions, who in his right mind wouldn’t choose what sounded like more fun and less work? This, according to one observer, is the rationale behind a new trend in Canada: childlessness. Says Joe O’Connor in a recent National Post op-ed. [Read More]

8. Should Mentally Handicapped People and Children be Baptized? [Read More]

9. The Happy Priest: The Unitive and Procreative Dimensions of the Marital Act

By being a total gift of themselves, married spouses, through the marital embrace, make visible the invisible reality of God who is love and God who loves us unconditionally. [Read More]

10. Fr. Barron on the “Seven Great Qualities of a New Evangelist”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brothers of Mercy

If there is a group of people who suffers a great deal of neglect and indifference from our society, it's got to be the people with mental disabilities. We fear to come near them because we do not know what is running in their heads. They can be violent and out of control. They can be quiet and solitary. Most of them talk just plain nonsense and that makes caring for them particularly challenging.

Last Sunday we had the opportunity to visit a place in Bocaue, Bulacan that cares for these people and they call themselves Brothers of Mercy, which is a religious institution founded by St. John of God whose picture you can see above carrying Christ. We spent half of our day there amongst the psychiatric patients and I saw how miserable and difficult their situation is. But thanks be to God there are a few good men who unselfishly devote themselves in looking after them. Compared to the "taong grasa" and mentally handicapped vagrants you occasionally encounter in the streets, here at least they have their medicines and basic necessities covered.

Closer to home, I too experience the daily struggle of caring for a person who is mentally unstable. My father who is in his late 60s is already showing signs of mental deterioration, probably a form of early dementia, and it is no joke caring for people with this disability. My dad is totally dependent on us for his needs and he cannot be left all alone by himself without someone nearby. Oftentimes he would throw tantrums like a little kid, can be very noisy and scandalous, etc. My mom is his primary caregiver and I see how physically and emotionally draining this can be. It really takes a lot of sacrifice, love, and patience on her part to do this thankless job. In many instances her patience is stretched to the limits, even to the point of giving up, because he can be very moody, temperamental, and uncooperative. It is hard for me to deal with him as well because I have father wounds, and even after some time I still find myself resenting the idea of having to take care of my father, who being the head of the family should be the one supporting us and caring for us. I still adamantly cling to my irrational thinking that parents should not become a burden to their children in their old age because we their children have our own busy lives to take care of. It's certainly driving me nuts at times.

Who are the Brothers of Mercy?

The Brothers of Mercy are consecrated to God in adoration, love, and praise. Companions of Jesus in His poverty, chastity, and obedience, especially in His mercy to the poor and the infirm. The rich young man of the Gospel wished to be a Companion of Jesus - and Jesus loved him - but he would not leave his possessions so he went away sad. "Will you also go away?"

Unlike other congregations with similar charism to the poor such as Missionaries of Charity whose numbers are in the hundreds or even thousands, you can count the number of consecrated brothers in their community in your bare hands. They are only aided by a handful of volunteers and a few benefactors in their work.

A Brother?

From the beginnings of the Church, countless men have dedicated themselves to God as priests, for the administration of the sacraments to the faithful.

And many laymen have become monks and religious, serving God in the quiet of their monasteries and religious houses, without neglecting the needs of the poor and sick. These monks and religious are called "Brothers".

Today, the 'Brothers of Mercy of Saint John of God' are consecrated to God in the service of the sick-poor, the infirm in mind and body, homeless and abandoned, to those in prisons, to the deaf.

If you feel called by God in this particular ministry, I urge you to pay them a visit and see if this is where God wants you to answer His call. You can contact them at the following:

The Vocation Director
Brothers of Mercy of Saint John of God
Igulot, Bocaue, Bulacan 3018
Contact Numbers:  (0917) 8401989; (0916) 9252804

Take a peek at what they do in this YouTube video below:

"I saw them so poor and ill-cared for that they broke my heart." - St. John of God