Philippine cardinal who fought Marcos’ dictatorship dies

Cardinal Vidal praised by senior Catholics for his humility and willingness to listen reporter, Manila, Philippines   | October 18, 2017

Philippine Cardinal Ricardo Vidal who stood up against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 has passed away in a Cebu hospital aged 86.

The retired archbishop of Cebu died at 7:26 a.m. on Oct. 18 “due to infection leading to septic shock,” said Monsignor Joseph Tan, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Cardinal Vidal had been seriously ill and was admitted to Cebu’s Perpetual Succour Hospital on Oct. 11.

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato described the late prelate as a “true servant-leader rather than a prince.”

“For me, his legacy is his own outstanding character,” said Cardinal Quevedo, recalling Cardinal Vidal’s “humility, low-profile style, simplicity and approachability, (and) ability to listen even to opposing views.”

Cardinal Vidal, the oldest of three Filipino cardinals until his death, in 1986 defended a statement condemning the Marcos dictatorship which led to the People Power Revolution and ended the political strongman’s 20-year reign.

Born on Feb. 6, 1931, in Mogpoc town, Marinduque Province, Cardinal Vidal was ordained a priest in 1956.

Pope John Paul II appointed him as head of Cebu  Archdiocese in 1982. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1985 and retired in 2011.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupann, president of the bishops’ conference, said the cardinal’s legacy will live on. He took part in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

“Cardinal Vidal cannot die. He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die,” said Archbishop Villegas.

“He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind,” added the prelate.

Funeral arrangements for Cardinal Vidal are still being organised.

Lay groups explore role in Philippines’ anti-narcotics war

Church workers look at a photo of a victim of summary execution during a gathering of Basic Ecclesial Communities in Malolos Diocese on Oct. 14. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Christian communities should serve as beacon of hope for people with drug problems

UCAN   October 19, 2017

Basic ecclesial communities in the Philippines are exploring ways to play a role in the government’s anti-narcotics war.

In a gathering of at least a thousand church workers, Father Rolando de Leon said the spate of drug related killings in the country is an issue “not separate from our lives as Catholics.”

The priest who heads the group Promotion of Church People’s Response stressed that Christian communities must “confront” the consequences of the drug war in communities.

“Small lay communities are building blocks of our Church. Like the family, these communities must be responsive to the needs of the brethren affected by brutalities,” said Father De Leon.

Father Teoderico Trinidad, vice director of the Basic Ecclesial Communities in Malolos Diocese, said it is crucial for the faithful to understand their role in putting an end to the killings.

The priest said communities that have been terrorized by the spate of killings are part of basic ecclesial communities.

Father Trinidad said Christian communities “should not just convene to pray” but must attend to “integral human development.”

Nardy Sabino, convenor of the group Rise Up, said Christian communities can be “venues for values formation and rehabilitation programs.”

The lay leader said Christian communities should serve as a “beacon of hope” and “place of refuge” for people with drug problems.

The result of a survey done by pollster Pulse Asia that was released last month noted that more half of the respondents believe the Church should help in the rehabilitation of drug users.

Father De Leon said the result of the survey is a call to the faithful to take part in “extending the roof” for people who have become victims of the drug menace.

The priest, however, said the Catholic Church “is not only the priests and the religious, but most especially the lay faithful.”

“It means that it is not only the clergy who should respond to the call but especially the Catholic lay movement,” said Father De Leon.

Close to 12,000 suspected drug users and peddlers have already been killed in the government’s “all-out war” against illegal drugs.

Students of Jesuit university called on to guard democracy

Father Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Manila University, joins a demonstration outside the university to call for an end to the spate of drug-related killings in the country. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

Democratic institutions in the Philippines are under threat from the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte

Joe Torres,  UCAN  Manila Philippines   |   October 19, 2017

A leading Jesuit university in Manila has counselled students to defend democratic institutions from what it described as “egregious retaliatory actions” by the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Jesuit Father Jose Ramon Villarin, president of Ateneo de Manila University, urged students to stand behind constitutional bodies “in their mission to pursue and attain transparency, accountability, truth, and justice.”

Father Villarin raised concerns over what he described as the Duterte administration’s attempt to “undermine” the country’s Commission on Human Rights, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Allies of Duterte in the Lower House of Congress have initiated impeachment cases against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for alleged corruption and abuse of authority.

The House of Representatives has also moved to defund the Commission on Human Rights, which have been critical of Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign that resulted in the death of thousands of suspected drug users and peddlers.

“Legitimate processes are being exploited to undermine and deter these bodies from merely exercising their mandates,” said Father Villarin in a memorandum to the university community on Oct. 13.

Last year, the university also issued a statement condemning the spate of killings and the Supreme Court decision to allow the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

In September, the university’s cheering squad protested the spate of drug-related killings in the country in the middle of an inter-university basketball competition.
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Invitation to DOCAT Filipino Launch

September 8, 2017
Solemnity on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Celebration of the National Catechetical Month

Your Excellency 

Greetings in the Lord Jesus!

As we joyfully celebrate the National Catechetical Month, it is our great privilege that we cordially invite you and your community to join us in the Launching of DOCAT Filipino Book (the Catechism on the Social Doctrine of the Church for Young People) and the “One Million for the Pope Campaign” on Friday, October 20, 2017 at the Herwin Theater of Ateneo de Manila University from 1:00 – 5:00 in the afternoon.

As a precious gift from His Holiness Pope Francis during the World Youth Day 2016 celebration in Krakow, Poland, DOCAT Filipino aims to help all Filipino youth to fully share and live the social doctrine of the Church in their efforts of evangelization.

The program will be a half-day celebration with Praise and Worship, Pep Talks and DOCAT Study Group Session that will also enable the participants to fully grasp the content and value of the book and become a way of life for young people.

Kindly send the confirmation of your attendance if you are interested to join us in this worthy endeavor through email Should you have any other concerns, please contact our Asst. Director, Randy Fuentes at 09176992631.

With much gratitude for your graciousness in accepting our invitation, we remain

Sincerely in our Lord,

Rev. Fr. Richard P. Lagos
National Director, YOUCAT Philippines

Noted by:

Most. Rev. Roberto Mallari, DD
Bishop-in-Charge, YOUCAT Phillipines 

Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression (CLAMOR) Launch


More than 60 leaders and personalities from different groups and organizations of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples, along with Bishops, church-people and religious, non-government organizations, artists, and other peasant advocates will gather for a Public Launching of a Movement called CLAMOR or a Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression (CLAMOR) on October 19, 2017,Thursday, at 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila.

The activity will highlight the public launching of a movement that tackles the issues and demands of the farmers for free land distribution, genuine agrarian reform and the spate of unrelenting killings of farmers in various regions under the present administration.  Relatives of the victims of extra judicial killing as well as representatives/leaders from other peasant organizations will share their own testimonies and issues.

A unity statement will be presented as one of its highlights to be recited by the convenors of CLAMOR. Questions and Answer portion and Photo ops is available

Media coverage is earnestly requested.

Danilo Ramos
Contact No. 09974182478

Letter from the Episcopal Commission on the Youth

2017 October 06

Your Excellency:

The peace of our Lord!

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops is in the process of gathering and collecting data about young people for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2018, with theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”. His Holiness Pope Francis awaits responses from all the Episcopal Conferences about the youth and the ministry among them today.

Our office, in behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, knocks at your door to seek the valuable help of Your Excellency, specifically through the following:

  1. To instruct your Diocesan Youth Council to take the lead in the participation of your particular church in this effort. Instructions are available in the

attached document,  “Synod 2018 – Philippines“, and

  1. To provide your Diocesan Youth Council the necessary resources and assistance to conduct this data gathering, ensuring that the results will be submitted not later than October

Acknowledging the urgency of this request, for which I beg your kind indulgence, I nonetheless remain confident in your full fraternal support to this project as our collective manifestation of love to the Holy Father and loyalty to Holy Mother Church.

Grateful to you for your support to our Commission and to the youth through your diocesan youth ministry, I remain

Fraternally yours in Christ,


Related Documents also available on the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas Facebook page:

Synod 2018 – Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to Young People

Synod 2018 – Preparatory Document

Synod 2018 – Questionnaire (Philippines)

Synod 2018 – CBCP Endorsement (N. 17-152)

Journey Into Truth Invitation

3 October 2017

His Excellency Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Commission on the Laity CLP Headquarters Bldg.
372 Cabildo Street, Intramuros, 1002 Manila

Dear Bishop Pabillo,

The Institute for Marriage and Family Development (IMFD) of the University of Asia and the Pacific, is cordially inviting the lay diocesan and parish workers, especially those involved with the Episcopal Commissions on Family and Life, Doctrine of the Faith, and Education and Catechesis, including lay teachers of Religion and catechists of parish and diocesan schools to a symposium with Fr. John Flader, entitled,


 scheduled for Tuesday, 17 October, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the PLDT Hall, University of Asia and the Pacific.

Fr. Flader, an American priest based in Australia, talks about the Catholic truth embodied in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the ultimate foundation of family values. He reiterates the danger of humanism that is detached from the whole truth about God and man, especially true among those who are doing social work and those defending family values as a purely human good.

Fr Flader BA (Harvard University), DCL (University of Navarre), was ordained a priest of Opus Dei in 1967 and came to Australia in 1968. He has served as Director of the Catholic Adult Education Centre of the Archdiocese of Sydney (2002-2010) and chaplain of Warrane College at the University of New South Wales (1970-1991), the University of Tasmania (1992-1997) RMIT University (1998-2001), of Montgrove College (2011-2014) and since 2015, Tangara School for Girls in Cherrybrook, Sydney.

He is the presenter of Journey into Truth, a set of DVDs with 24 half-hour talks on the Catholic Faith based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to be shown on EWTN. He has a blog ( on which he posts podcasts of meditations on all aspects of the spiritual life and occasional articles on the faith. Since 2005 he has written a weekly column of questions and answers on the faith in Sydney’s The Catholic Weekly and other Catholic newspapers, leading to the publication of four volumes of Question Time with 600 questions and answers.

The session shall include a summary presentation of the profile of family life and youth lifestyle in the Philippines and a moderated forum with the audience. Admission is free. The DVD series of Father Flader, as well as his book on Journey into Truth will be made available.   Continue reading

Christians and Hindus: Going beyond tolerance

Message for the Feast of Deepavali 2017 From the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Dear Hindu Friends,

On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer cordial greetings to all of you as you celebrate Deepavali on 19 October 2017. May this festival of lights illumine your minds and lives, bring joy to your hearts and homes, and strengthen your families and communities!

We can rightfully acknowledge the many wonderful things that are happening throughout the world, for which we are very grateful. At the same time, we are also mindful of the difficulties which confront our communities and which deeply concern us. The growth of intolerance, spawning violence in many parts of the world, is one such challenge we face today. On this occasion, therefore, we wish to reflect on how Christians and Hindus can together foster mutual respect among people – and go beyond tolerance, in order to usher in a more peaceful and harmonious era for every society.

Tolerance certainly means being open and patient with others, recognizing their presence in our midst. If we are to work for lasting peace and true harmony, however, tolerance is not enough. What is also needed is genuine respect and appreciation for the diversity of cultures and customs within our communities, which in turn contribute to the health and unity of society as a whole. To see pluralism and diversity as a threat to unity leads tragically to intolerance and violence.

Respect for others is an important antidote to intolerance since it entails authentic appreciation for the human person, and his or her inherent dignity. In the light of our responsibility to society, fostering such respect demands showing esteem for different social, cultural and religious customs and practices. It likewise demands the recognition of inalienable rights, such as the right to life and the right to profess and practise the religion of one’s choice.

The path forward for diverse communities is thus one marked by respect. While tolerance merely protects the other, respect goes further: it favours peaceful coexistence and harmony for all. Respect creates space for every person, and nurtures within us a sense of “feeling at home” with others. Rather than dividing and isolating, respect allows us to see our differences as a sign of the diversity and richness of the one human family. In this way, as Pope Francis has pointed out, “diversity is no longer seen as a threat, but as a source of enrichment” (Address at the International Airport of Colombo, 13 January 2015). On yet another occasion, the Pope urged religious leaders and believers to have “the courage to accept differences, because those who are different, either culturally or religiously, should not be seen or treated as enemies, but rather welcomed as fellow-travellers, in the genuine conviction that the good of each resides in the good of all” (Address to the Participants in the International Peace Conference, Al-Azar Conference Centre, Cairo, Egypt, 28 April 2017).

We are challenged then to go beyond the confines of tolerance by showing respect to all individuals and communities, for everyone desires and deserves to be valued according to his or her innate dignity. This calls for the building of a true culture of respect, one capable of promoting conflict resolution, peace- making and harmonious living.

Grounded in our own spiritual traditions and in our shared concern for the unity and welfare of all people, may we Christians and Hindus, together with other believers and people of good will, encourage, in our families and communities, and through our religious teachings and communication media, respect for every person, especially for those in our midst whose cultures and beliefs are different from our own. In this way, we will move beyond tolerance to build a society that is harmonious and peaceful, where all are respected and encouraged to contribute to the unity of the human family by making their own unique contribution.

We wish you once again a joyful celebration of Deepavali!

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ

00120 Vatican City

Tel: +39.06.6988 4321
Fax: +39.06.6988 4494


Philippine rebel leader warns of extremism in southern region

Mohagher Iqbal expressed frustration over stalled law that will create a new autonomous region in Mindanao

Representatives of various sectors, including Moro rebels and the Catholic Church, pose for a photograph on the sideline of a forum on the prospects for peace in Mindanao in Manila on Oct. 5. (Photo by Inday Espina-Varona)

Failure by the Philippine government to pass a law for broader autonomy for Muslims in the southern part of the country will fuel Islamic extremism, a rebel leader has warned.

Mohagher Iqbal of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte’s control over Congress can hasten the passage of a law that will create a new autonomous region in Mindanao.

Iqbal said the failure of the previous administration to pass the promised legislation is partly behind the rise of groups claiming to have links with the so-called Islamic State.

“The reality is there is a lot of frustration, not just among the youth but even among older people,” said Iqbal in a forum in Manila on Oct. 5.

“A law on self-determination is not a cure all, but it can be an antidote to violent Islamism,” said the rebel leader, who is the MILF’s representative to the transition body that oversees the implementation of a 2014 peace deal with the government.

The landmark agreement requires the passage of law that will allow an expanded autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao under a parliamentary system of government.

The deal also sets down a mechanism for a transition body to craft policies on revenue generation and wealth sharing, power sharing with the central national government, end of hostilities and eventual demobilization of armed rebel units.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission, led by the MILF, submitted a proposed basic law to Duterte on July 17. The proposed measure was sent to Congress in August but the president’s allies in the Lower House did not act on it until Sept. 20.

In an interview with, Iqbal said the current political set-up of Congress is a boon for efforts to pass a law on autonomy.
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