No. 601 Diocese of Marbel, Philippines 01 January 2011
|1. JANUARY 1, SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD|
Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. Mary’s divine motherhood is the reason why she was exempt from original sin (the privilege of the Immaculate Conception) and the basis for her Assumption into heaven. Mary then, is the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. When we honor Mary, we honor Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.
|2. POPE’S MESSAGE, 44TH WORLD DAY OF PEACE|
“Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace”
Benedict XVI, in his message dated December 8, 2010 greeted everyone with wishes of serenity and peace at the start of the new year. He decried however current persecution, discrimination, violence and religious intolerance (n. 1).
“The right to religious freedom is rooted in the very dignity of the human person…created by God” in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:27) (n. 2).
“Religious freedom is at the origin of moral freedom”. It is “the guarantee of full respect between persons” (n. 3).
“The family, the school of freedom and peace”. “It is the primary training ground for harmonious relations at every level of coexistence” (n. 4).
“Among the fundamental rights and freedoms rooted in the dignity of the person, religious freedom enjoys a special status”. “It is an achievement of a sound political and juridical culture. It is an essential good”. (n. 5).
Public dimension of religion. “The contribution of religious communities to society is undeniable, specially “its ethical contribution in the political sphere”. (n. 6).
Pope Benedict XVI encouraged dialogue between civil and religious institutions as well as interreligious dialogue (nn. 9-11).
“Religious freedom, the path to peace”, is explained by Pope Benedict XVI. “The world needs God. It needs universal, shared ethical and spiritual values, and religion can offer a precious contribution to their pursuit, for the building of a just and peaceful social order at the national and international levels” (n. 15).
|3. PRIESTS’ DECEMBER RECOLLECTION|
Fifty-five (55) priests (43 diocesan, 8 CP, 4 OP) attended the recollection held on December 13-14, 2010 at St. Francis of Assisi Retreat House, Baluan, General Santos City.
Fr. Honorato Castigador, OP, Rector, Colegio de San Juan in Calamba, Laguna, facilitated it.
Topic: “Deepening Our Relationship with the Lord”.
Two ways of deepening: (1) growing in holiness; and (2) always grateful to God.
- Growing in holiness is a big challenge in a desacralized society. Distractions, modern technologies are obstacles unless properly managed.
Holy people are happy people. Christianity is a religion of joy.
St. Philip Neri, they say, is the happiest saint. St. Dominic is the second.
Wealth does not guarantee happiness. Japan, a wealthy nation, has many suicides.
Happiness is the result of holiness.
2. A grateful heart is a happy heart. St. Paul says “what do we have that we have not received?”
Our priesthood is a gift from God. For this we thank God. When we appreciate our priesthood, we appreciate everything that flows from it.
One of the thing that flows from our priesthood is celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom. Celibacy is a gift to be appreciated, treasured and zealously guarded.
Appreciating our priesthood is a continuing endeavor. Such appreciation is nourished by constant communication with the Lord. We are one with the Lord in prayer and holy communion.
Constant prayer and devout reception of the sacraments as well as relating with others, specially the needy, in love are creative powers to deepen our intimacy with God.
|4. POSITION PAPER ON THE RH BILLS|
Faculty, students and alumni of the University of the Philippines came out with a position paper against the Reproductive Health Bills (HB 96 and its related bills)
- Population is not an obstacle to development. Nobel prize winner Simon Kuznet’s research has shown that there is insignificant empirical association between population growth rates and output per capita (economic growth). Similar studies confirmed Kuznet’s findings: US National Research Council (1986), UN Population Fund Consultative Meeting of Economists (1992), Eric Hanushek and Ludger Wößmann (2007), among others.
- Instead, the government has to channel limited funds to job creation and education.
- Fertility rates in the Philippines are progressively decreasing from average rate of 7 in 1960 to 3.1 in 2008. IN 2025 it is expected to reach 2.1., the replacement level – WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.
- Resources should be used to address the leading causes of death: tuberculosis, heart disease, diarrhea.
- Condoms are not wise investments. We have the lowest incidence of HIV cases in the ADB report. Thailand, the model in condom promotion, has the highest.
- Oral Contraceptive Pills are carcinogens, (International Agency for Research on Cancer).
- It is the State’s duty to order society by promoting the well being of its citizens. It is not the State’s job to facilitate access to what is harmful.
DUMP THE CONTENTIOUS AND FLAWED REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILLS. PASS MORE BILLS STRENGTHENING THE FILIPINO FAMILY, PROTECTING ITS CITIZENS AGAINST THE RISKS OF CONTRACEPTION, DEFENDING THE SCIENTIFIC FACT THAT CONTRACEPTION BEGINS AT FERTILIZATION PRODUCING ESSENTIAL MEDICINES FOR THE MAIN CAUSES OF DEATH, MAKING QUALITY EDUCATION MORE ACCESSIBLE AND PROVIDING MORE JOBS.
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