“Consecrate Them In The Truth”-A Pastoral Exhortation Against Fake News

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

A key dimension of Jesus’ mission was to preach the truth, and in His high priestly prayer, He prayed that His disciples might be consecrated in the truth.  We, the Filipino nation, are part of the community of disciples for whom He prayed.  At his trial, the question of truth figured prominently.  “What is truth?” asked a bewildered Pilate, because he failed to recognize in Jesus, THE TRUTH!

So it is that the Christian cannot be part of falsehood, deceit and lies.  A fact is anything that is or that happens.  If one man kills another, it cannot but be a fact that the deed was done, and any “alternative fact” that would have it so that no killing was done is simply false, and, when meant to deceive, a lie!

The duty to speak the truth is so elemental a demand of morality and of good social order that it can hardly be reduced to more elementary precepts.  It is almost as fundamental as the first principle of all morality: “Do good; avoid evil.”  Human life would be impossible in a society where we constantly and habitually deceived each other.

Crucial decisions — personal and social — depend on the accurate grasp of facts.  “Alternative facts” and “fake news” engender faulty decisions many times with disastrous long-term consequences to persons and to communities.  Sadly, we see this happening today.  There are persons who have given themselves to the service of reporting what never happened, concealing what really happened, and distorting what should be presented in a straightforward manner.

The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth.  That is the service to which media is called.  That is why we have schools and colleges and universities.  That is why teaching is a noble profession.  That is why books and magazines, journals and articles are published.

But social media which, initially, promised to democratize expression and free the dissemination of truth from the clutches of moneyed entrepreneurs financing mainstream media has become the unfortunate site of “alternative facts” and “fake news”.  Not only does this offend against the orientation of the human intellect to the truth.  It is, more fundamentally, a sin against charity because it hinders persons from making right and sound decisions and induces them, instead, to make faulty ones!

Our Catholic faith obliges us:

1.  To refrain from patronizing, popularizing and supporting identified sources of “alternative facts” or “fake news”.

2.  To rebut and refute falsehood whenever they are in possession of facts and of data.

3.  To refuse to be themselves purveyors of fake news and to desist from disseminating this whether on social media or by word of mouth or through any other form of public expression.

4.  To identify the sources of fake news so that our brothers and sisters may be duly alerted and may know which media and which sites to shun.

We your bishops join the Lord Jesus in His prayer that we all be consecrated in the truth, because the Word of the Lord is truth!

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, June 21, 2017

(Sgd)+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

President, CBCP

Invitation to the Bishops for the National Marian Congress

7-8 July 2017 at the FR2-5 SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City

09 June 2017

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies and Reverend Administrators:

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

This year is a grace-filled moment in the Church because 2017 marks the centennial anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. In 1917, “the Virgin Mary appeared there and warned that World War II would come, that Russia would spread her errors, that the Church would be persecuted, and that various nations might be annihilated. And yet she promised her triumph in the end.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) joins the tribute, tasking the Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis with three important projects in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. One of which is the National Marian Congress this coming 7-8 July 2017 at the FR2-5 SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

In this connection, we would like to invite you, dear bishop, and your parishioners to attend the said event on 7-8 July 2017. Like the Marian Retreat scheduled on 3-6 July 2017, of which we too are organizers, the congress will also focus on the story of the Fatima apparitions, Our Lady’s message, and the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis invited Ms. Angelyn Dee, Rev. Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and Dr. Peter Howard to give talks on the topics abovementioned. A token donation of five-hundred pesos (Php500) per person will help us pay for the venue expenses.

To confirm your attendance, please contact the Marian Solidarity Secretariat (Gina or Albert) at (02) 632-1001 to 03 / 0922-846-3702 / 0922-846-3703. An online registration will be made available beginning June 12, 2017. You may deposit your donation to: Assisi Development Foundation, Inc. at BPI C/A 2431005126. Please fax a copy of the deposit slip with your name and contact numbers to (02) 6327844 or scan a copy and email to mariansolidarity_twohearts@gmail.com. Entrance tickets will be delivered by special courier if remitted on or before June 22, 2017. After June 22, 2017, Entrance Tickets will be picked-up at the SMX Convention Center, 2nd Level at Marian Congress Registration Table Ticket Reservations.

On behalf of the Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis, it is our hope and prayer that you will accept our humble invitation. Thank you.

Entrusting your concerns to the care of Our Lady and for Saints Francisco and Jacinta to intercede for us, we remain,

Sincerely yours,


+MOST REV. GUILLERMO V. AFABLE, D.D.
Bishop of Digos
Bishop Coordinator for Marian Retreat and Congress

Let Us Love Not With Words But With Deeds

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017

Let us love, not with words but with deeds

1. “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).  These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard.  The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves.  Love has no alibi.  Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor.  The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly.  It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).

Such love cannot go unanswered.  Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins.  Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, his merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbour.  In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.

2. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6).  The Church has always understood the importance of this cry.  We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor.  This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor.  The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).

“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45).  In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians.  The evangelist Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community.  On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need.  The same message is conveyed with similar conviction by the Apostle James.  In his Letter, he spares no words: “Listen, my beloved brethren.  Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonoured the poor man.  Is it not the rich who oppress you, and drag you into court? … What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works?  Can his faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled”, without giving them the things needed for the body; what does it profit?  So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).

3. Yet there have been times when Christians have not fully heeded this appeal, and have assumed a worldly way of thinking.  Yet the Holy Spirit has not failed to call them to keep their gaze fixed on what is essential. He has raised up men and women who, in a variety of ways, have devoted their lives to the service of the poor.  Over these two thousand years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters!

The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by many other holy men and women over the centuries.  He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them.  He saw this meeting as the turning point of his conversion: “When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy.  And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110).  This testimony shows the transformative power of charity and the Christian way of life.

We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience.  However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.  Our prayer and our journey of discipleship and conversion find the confirmation of their evangelic authenticity in precisely such charity and sharing.  This way of life gives rise to joy and peace of soul, because we touch with our own hands the flesh of Christ.  If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist.  The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.  Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: “If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness” (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).

We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.  Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.

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Launching of Laudato Si Pledge

June 12, 2017

Dear Friends and Partners,

Greetings of Peace from Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas.

GCCM-Pilipinas is the official Philippine Chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. It was established during the Laudato Si Week on June 2016 with AMRSP, CBCP-NASSA, PMPI, Columban Missionaries and Franciscans as the lead convenors. Since then, GCCM-Pilipinas has been involved in various activities in promoting Pope Francis encyclical’s Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.

This year 2017, Laudato Si Week which is a special time to commemorate the presentation of the highly anticipated encyclical, will be celebrated on June 11 -18 in partnership with CBCP-NASSA. Central to the Laudato Si Week celebration is the Launching of the Laudato Si Pledge. The Laudato Si Pledge is a global campaign by the Global Catholic Climate Movement and its member organizations to raise awareness about Pope Francis’ powerful, ecological focused message, and encourage the catholic community to take action with the urgency required by the climate crisis. It aims to reach 1% of the 1.2 Billion Catholics around the world.

In this regard we would like to invite your organization/institution to participate in the Launching of Laudato Si Pledge which will be on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 8:00am – 12:00pm at La Consolacion College Manila Auditorium, 8 Mendiola St., San Miguel, ManilaThe launching will begin with a Eucharist. A program will immediately follow with a talk from Tomas Insua, the Founder and Executive Director of GCCM about the campaign and how we as an organization/institution, family, or individual can contribute and bring to life Laudato Si. Highlight of the activity will be the public signing of the Pledge. Those who will sign the pledge will be incorporated in the network of GCCM-Pilipinas/GCCM International and will regularly receive information and updates on practices and events related to the care of our common home.

Please find attached concept note and event poster which you may use if you wish to promote the Laudato Si Pledge. Help us reach the target by signing the I/We Pledge forms, promoting Laudato Si Pledge via social media, setting sign-up desks in your workplace or events, or initiating local launching in your respective communities. You may use and follow the attached ritual for the launching or create a new one. Also, we have attached a prayer card template which you may print and reproduce as give-aways. All sign-up sheets will be collected and information will be stored in our database for monitoring and follow-up.

GCCM-Pilipinas takes its mandate from the call of Pope Francis to care for our common home. In gratitude, we would like to leave with you the message of Pope Francis in his audience with member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement in Rome last February 2017:

“I welcome the delegates from Global Catholic Climate Movement and I thank you for your efforts to care for our common home in these times of severe environmental crisis. I encourage you to continue building networks so that local churches respond with determination to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor”.

Please confirm your participation on or before June 10, 2017. May we ask you also to please share/endorse this invitation to other colleges and departments and/or to anyone who you feel might be interested. For questions, clarifications and/or confirmation, you may contact GCCM-Pilipinas secretariat at telephone number (02) 372-3257 or thru e-mail:gccmpilipinas@gmail.com  or you may contact CBCP-NASSA at telephone number (02) 527-4147 or thru e-mails: jocelynguela@gmail.com or clindanoche@yahoo.com.
Thank you and we look forward to meeting you and your students, colleagues and friends, and to sharing with you this noble task of responding to the call of caring for our common home.

In Christ,

(Sgd.) John Din
National Coordinator, GCCM – Pilipinas

(Sgd.) Fr. John Leydon, MSSC
Chairperson, GCCM-Pilipinas

(Sgd.) Fr. Edwin Gariguez
Executive Secretary, CBCP-NASSA

 

Invitation to National Humanitarian & Solidarity Mission

June 1, 2017

Dear friends and partners,

Our brothers and sisters in Marawi City are besieged with a human-made calamity as firefighting between the government’s armed forces and the Maute group erupted on May 23 and is still continuing until now. The ravages of war have left dozens dead and wounded and caused 12,509 families or 59,665 individuals (as of May 29 DSWD data) so far to flee their homes; some of them opted to stay at the different evacuation centers while most of them seek refuge with their relatives in nearby places.

Meanwhile, there are also reports of displacements in North Cotabato, Bukidnon and SOCSKSARGEN areas due to aerial bombardments by the AFP. We are gathering data as well on these internal displacements.

Balsa Mindanao, a people’s mobilization for disaster response, has called for a nation-wide relief gathering campaign days after the onset of the Marawi siege. Balsa Mindanao is coordinating with the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (Samin) for this campaign.

The statistics in Lanao del Sur are a cause of concern: 26 barangays have been affected, 15 of which are in Marawi and the 11 are in the neighboring municipalities. The 1,018 families or 4,278 persons are now staying in 14 evacuation centers, while 10,974 families or 54,870 persons are staying outside the evacuation centers with their relatives or friends. .

Given the immense humanitarian crisis as the country faces more challenges and issues as Martial Law has been declared in Mindanao, we call on concerned organizations, concerned citizens, and advocates in the country, overseas and in Mindanao to participate in the HUSTISYA AT KAPAYAPAAN PARA SA MINDANAO: A NATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AND SOLIDARITY MISSION on June13-15, 2017 in three areas: Marawi City, North Cotabato and Davao City.

The National Solidarity Mission aims to:

  1. Provide relief, medical, and trauma counselling to survivors
  2. Express our sympathy and interfaith solidarity with internally displaced persons
  3. Understand and seek ways to push for an inclusive peace in Mindanao
  4. Recommend actions to government agencies and policy makers, other civil society organizations, and the international community

We are therefore inviting you to be part of this Mission, taking note of the following suggested tasks:

  1. Help generate cash (see bank account details) and in-kind donations
  2. Contribute your competencies and skills by volunteering for the Mission committees
  3. For religious leaders, to help organize our interfaith liturgies with the affected communities
  4. Prepare for report-back actions (e.g. forums, local relief campaigns) in order to disseminate the needs and demands of the communities

(see Balsa APPEAL).

We are asking participating organizations to shoulder their participant’s fares (or arrange transportation) and food expenses so that the Mission can focus its resources for the relief operations.

For confirmation, please email us at balsamindanao@gmail.com or contact Cecil 09462413278 or Telefax 082- 2994964.

Through these interfaith efforts towards Muslim-Christian unity, we are all in solidarity with one another in these trying times.

Thank you.

Yours very sincerely,

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Defending Democracy Summit: Isang Pagtitipon at Paninindigan Para sa Demokrasya

8:00AM – 4:30PM, 12 June, 2017 Araw ng Kalayaan 
UP School of Economics, UP Diliman

On May 23, President Duterte declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. The president had been repeatedly indicating in his speeches his intent that he can and will declare martial law as part of his war on drugs. His Mindanao martial law, triggered by the conflict in Marawi, was not warranted according to a many sectors reportedly including the armed forces and the secretary of national defense. The continuation of martial law in Mindanao and the specter of its nationwide implementation pose a direct threat to democracy in the Philippines.

It is in this context that a gathering of freedom-loving citizens is being organized. An informal consortium of academic institutions, think tanks, development CSOs, faith-based organizations, advocacy networks, and a student alliance are gathering as broad a representation of leaders to proactively discuss and discern on the current state of Philippine democracy and to identify strategies and courses of action to defend, protect and uphold democratic norms and freedoms. Workshop Program and Lead Discussants

8:00 – 8:30 Registration
8:30 – 9:00 Opening Plenary: Context and Objectives of the Gathering
9:00 – 10:00 Parallel Sub Plenary Sessions
Sub Plenary 1: Upholding National Security
Jay Batongbacal
Vergel Santos
Sub Plenary 2: Upholding Human Rights and Social Justice
Florin Hilbay*
Raissa Jajurie*
Sub Plenary 3: Upholding Democratic Institutions
Christian Monsod*
Rene Saguisag*
Sub Plenary 4: Upholding Truth
Ramon Jimenez, Jr.
Maria Ressa
10:00 – 12:30 Discussion and Discernment Workshops
Workshop 1 and 2: Upholding National Security
Workshop 3 and 4: Upholding Human Rights and Social Justice
Workshop 5 and 6: Upholding Democratic Institutions
* To be confirmed

The invited audience will be composed of around 200 leaders and representatives from academe,
civic and civil society organizations, business and business foundations, media and media
associations, student groups, faith-based organizations, icons of culture and the arts, civil
libertarians, and political parties. The convenors hope that in bringing these representatives
together, a common understanding of, and discussions about what is happening and what we can
collectively do now and the immediate future will emerge.

Isang Pagtitipon at Paninindigan Para sa Demokrasya is part of a continuing Defend Democracy Series of forums of the broadest possible inclusion to push-back against unchecked power and to uphold Philippine democracy.

Initial convenors:

Ateneo de Manila University
Caucus of Development NGO Networks
De La Salle University
Institute for Leadership, Empowerment and Democracy
International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance
Kaya Natin! Movement
Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka
Peoples Alternative Study Center for Research and Education in Social Development

Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan Alumni
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

The Coordinating Group

University of the Philippines Diliman, Office of the Chancellor

“A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good.” –

Barbara Jordan, civil rights movement leader