Statement of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas on House Bill 01, the “Death Penalty Law”

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At present there is an insistent attempt both in Congress and in the Senate to reimpose Death Penalty in our country. Such an attempt is supported by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

In 1987, death penalty was abolished in the Philippines. Its abolition clearly reveals a strong message that it has no place in our society where preservation and respect for human life is of utmost importance.

Based on their in-depth worldwide study on death penalty, Amnesty International itself concludes that Capital punishment does not work. There is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact. “Death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence and not a solution to it”. It is likewise discriminatory because poor and marginalized people have no access to legal resources to defend themselves. Aware of how our legal and justice system works, death penalty will never bring real justice. Further, it breaks essential human rights such as the right to life.

Pope Francis in his message during the recently celebrated Jubilee Mass for Prisoners calls for a Criminal Justice System that gives hope. He specifically calls for an improvement in the condition of life in the prison cells so that human dignity of the detainees is fully respected. He calls for a criminal justice system that is not exclusively punitive but open to the prospect of reinserting the convict in society.

Therefore we, at the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas appeal to our lawmakers to reject and oppose the restoration of Death Penalty. We also call on our God fearing countrymen to work for the respect and protection of human life.

For the Laiko Board of Directors,

ZENAIDA F. CAPISTRANO
National President
Noted by:

+MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
National Director
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity

22 November 2016


You can also download the PDF Format: statement-of-sangguniang-laiko-ng-pilipinas-on-house-bill-01-death-penalty-bill.

Covenant of Partnership Against Human Trafficking

A Covenant for action against human trafficking between the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines(NCCP)

 

The PCEC, CBCP and NCCP are committed to stand against human trafficking in all its diverse forms and to support victims of human trafficking to reclaim their dignity and to seek justice. We are compelled by the biblical truth that every person bears the inherent likeness of God and the dignity that implies (Gen 1:27), the call of Jesus Christ to love one another (John 13:34), and to set the oppressed free and ‘proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord’ (Luke 4:18-19). We also affirm the basic human right that every person bears ‘to life, liberty and security’ and that ‘no one shall be held in slavery or servitude’.1

Human trafficking is about exploitation and forced servitude; it represents the extreme commoditization of human lives, and thus is often viewed as a contemporary form of slavery. The Global Slavery Index 2014 suggests, what appears to be a very conservative estimate, of around 35.8million people globally living in a state of modern day slavery.2 In 2012 the US State Department estimated that as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of what is now often described with the umbrella term “human trafficking.”3

Human trafficking takes many diverse forms for example; sex trafficking and labor trafficking both within the country and across borders, the recruitment of children for labor, sexual exploitation and street begging, the exploitation of people in the sale of human organs, and increasingly the forced coercion of people to acquire sexual images for circulation through the internet.

In September 2013 in a “Declaration of Solidarity Against Human Trafficking” the CBCP, PCEC and the NCCP declared that “we have bonded together to form the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT)”. Over the intervening years we have achieved much together in terms of raising awareness within our churches and with the wider society in regard to the evil of human trafficking.

In this current covenant we affirm our on going support to the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT)and commit together to finding appropriate mechanisms through which we can share our resources in supporting this important movement. We also commit to sharing our experience, learning and knowledge in respect to our work in supporting victims of human trafficking so that we can be of mutual benefit to each other in this important work of compassion and justice.

Human trafficking is an evil that arises out of the greed and lack of compassion of those engaged in trafficking, it corrupts our society through the complicity or intentional inaction of those in positions of authority, and inflicts deep wounds on the bodies, minds and spirits of those who become its victims. Human trafficking is an evil that must be banished from our society, the wounds of those who have been trafficked must be healed, and as national organizations of our respective communions of churches we covenant together to:

* Support our churches to become places of welcome, healing and hospitality for victims and survivors of human trafficking, providing places of sanctuary, legal support, emergency funds, and medical and psychological support;

* Take an active role in educating our local congregations and their local communities on the reality of human trafficking in its many diverse forms;

* Provide forums and venues so that the voice and stories of survivors of trafficking may be heard and their hidden oppression revealed;

* Engage in lobbying through international and national networks of which we are a part to ensure that all forms of human trafficking are addressed by governments and their legal judicial systems;

* Create a network of those members and organizations within our respective councils who are providing direct services to victims of human trafficking so that there might be mutual learning, understanding and referrals of survivors of human trafficking so that they might access the most appropriate services to meet their specific needs;

* Strengthen the response of each council by sharing with each other our experience, learning and knowledge in respect to our responses to human trafficking;

* Continue to support the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT) which has been a significant ecumenical initiative of our three organizations, which underlines the importance we together place on addressing human trafficking, and to establish mutually agreed mechanisms for resource sharing to ensure that there are adequate resources for the ongoing work of PIMAHT; and

* Abide by our Governing Rules and Bylaws.

 

 

Signatories:

Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos, DD
Chairman
Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

Rev. Rex R.B Reyes, Jr.
General Secretary
National Council of Churches of the Philippines

Bishop Noel A. Pantoja
National Director
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches

CBCP Message on the deaths of Missionaries of Charity Sisters

The CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES joins Catholics everywhere in mourning the deaths of the Missionaries of Charity, the sisters, who died the death of martyrs in Yemen.  With the rest of the world, we express our profound regret at this outrage.  The Sisters were defenseless.  They were neither combatants, nor were they acting in behalf of any government.  They were serving God’s people, and were fulfilling the precepts of charity, living the lives of consecrated persons, when they were brutally cut down.
In this respect, the CBCP also calls on all governments to agree on the characterization of the attacks on Christians by extremists as “genocide”.  The assault on Christians is born out of hatred for their religion and is by no means sporadic and isolated.  More than enough Christian blood has been shed in this troubled part of the world to make it clear that the assailants are determined to decimate Christian populations and to make living conditions next to impossible, if not impossible for them.  By all recognized standards of international law, this is genocide, and should be dealt with the governments of the world as genocide.
We your bishops ask all Filipino Catholics to pray for the Sisters of Bl. Teresa’s order, but also to invoke their own prayerful intercession, for our faith teaches us that those who lay down their lives for the faith immediately share in the reward of the just.
+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, CBCP

The Dignity and Vocation of Homosexual Persons

Greetings in our Creator on this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation!
 
We share with you recent documents published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines concerning a reality many of us live with in youth ministry: homosexual persons and ministering to and with them.
 
We trust that with and through these documents, along with the Word of God and teachings of our Church (in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example), we become equipped for the good work of accompanying persons living with homosexual desires and even behavior towards our common and constant call to conversion, faith and holiness.

PIMAHT holds General Assembly

Pimaht

Photo Credits: PIMAHT Facebook Fanpage

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT) held their General Meeting last 23 March 2015 at the Philippine Bible Society, Ermita, Manila.

Representatives from different organizations and member-churches of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) were present during the annual meeting of the members. Atty. Alexandrino Malililin of the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT) presented a short talk about Human Trafficking.

A testimony of actual human trafficking cases was given by Mr. Garry Martinez, Migrante Chairperson. He shared several accounts of human trafficking which he encountered in his work with migrants and told his own experience of being trafficked when he worked abroad, which ignited his passion in the fight against trafficking.

Reviewing the activities they have done in the last three years and looking at the direction the movement is going, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, DD of the CBCP said that the efforts of various groups must be in collaboration with other groups in order to foster a more organized and wide-spread advocacy against human trafficking.

 

~ Nikko Delaine Sebastian
ECY Secretariat Staff

THANK YOU! From the CBCP-ECY

The CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth

conveys its joyful gratitude

to everyone who have helped in the Papal Encounter with the Youth

last January 18 in the University of Santo Tomas, both in

the registration and assistance for Quadrant 3 and in

the animation of the pre-program segment assigned to it.

For the ecclesiastical territories, youth organizations and other groups which have registered through the ECY, their pilgrims, and especially their Bishops and National Leaders who have shown support as well as their Group Leaders who have served joyfully and selflessly

From the Northern Luzon Region

Diocese of Alaminos: Fr. Alexander Del Castillo

Diocese of Baguio: Ms. Hessalyn Lacba

Diocese of Bangued: Ms. Frances Claire Castañero

Prelature of Batanes: Fr. Rogelio Abadano

Diocese of Bayombong: Fr. Crispin Costales

Diocese of Ilagan: Mr. Jedrick Taguiam

Diocese of Laoag: Mr. Rommell Sagucio

Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan: Sr. Marita Palma, POIC

Diocese of San Fernando: Sr. Shirley Torrente, SGBP

Archdiocese of Tuguegarao: Fr. Kristian Noel Sibbaluca

From the Central Luzon Region

Diocese of Balanga: Mrs. Sheila Salangsang-Gozon

Diocese of Cabanatuan: Mr. Arvie Jay Lapig

Diocese of Iba: Fr. Arwin Ysonza

Diocese of Malolos: Fr. Oscar Christian Duran

Archdiocese of San Fernando: Mr. Gerald Pineda

Diocese of San Jose-Nueva Ecija: Fr. Richard Lagos

Diocese of Tarlac: Mr. Alvin Salmazan

From the Southern Tagalog Region

Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan: Ms. Ma. Cecilia Jasmin

Diocese of Gumaca: Fr. Toni Ryan Del Moro

Prelature of Infanta: Fr.  Ceferino Valenzuela Jr.

Archdiocese of Lipa: Fr. Ephraim Cabrera

Diocese of Lucena: Ms. Ma. Crispina Saludes

Diocese of San Pablo: Ms. Catherine Fay Reyes

From the Bicol Region

Archdiocese of Caceres: Mr. Roni Andrew Dispolon

Diocese of Daet: Fr. Armando Orido

Diocese of Legazpi: Ms. Judith Loria

Diocese of Masbate: Rev. Jiovani Gulmatico

Diocese of Sorsogon: Fr. Raner Lucila

Diocese of Virac: Sr. Arlyn Dogillo, MCST

From the Central-Eastern Visayas Region

Archdiocese of Cebu: Fr. Kit Sestoso

Diocese of Maasin: Fr. Merwin Kangleon

Diocese of Talibon: Sr. Nemesia Paguican, FdCC

From the Western Visayas Region

Diocese of Bacolod: Fr. Rocelo Villarosa

Archdiocese of Capiz: Fr. Anthony Aguason

Archdiocese of Jaro: Fr. Rafael Luis Clavel

Diocese of Kabankalan: Mr. John Jessie Valero

Diocese of Kalibo: Fr. Glenn Magpusao

Diocese of Romblon: Fr. Noel Sixon

Diocese of San Carlos: Ms. Ma. Cathrina Ga

Diocese of San Jose-Antique: Fr. Alfonso Alojipan Jr.

From the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference

Diocese of Butuan: Mr. Neil Beluan

Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro: Sr. Roxan Sarmiento, CM

Diocese of Malaybalay: Sr. Lerma Sotalbo, FdCC

Diocese of Surigao: Fr. Ronan Ravelo

Diocese of Tandag: Ms. Prudenciana Dumagan

Archdiocese of Davao: Fr. Leomel Puerto

Diocese of Digos: Ms. Vanessa Franca

Diocese of Dipolog: Fr. Dembert Castillion

Diocese of Iligan: Mr. Carmelo Pocdol

Archdiocese of Ozamis: Mr. Jaypee Veradio

Diocese of Pagadian: Mr. Alfonso Sucano Jr.

Archdiocese of Cotabato: Ms. Perlita Dohinog

Diocese of Marbel: Fr. Joemer Candido

Diocese of Ipil: Mr. Elvin Esmeralda

Prelature of Isabela: Ms. Shiela May Calixto

Archdiocese of Zamboanga: Mr. Mark Anthony Saavedra

From the Military Ordinariate: Mr. Jonathan Florino

From the Federation of National Youth Organizations

Chiro Youth Movement: Ms. Rozanne Jamaica Vasallo

Christian Life Community of the Philippines: Mr. Nichel Gaba

Christ’s Youth in Action: Br. Peter Jess Legaspi

CFC-Singles for Christ: Mr. Noli Manuel

CFC-Singles for Family and Life: Mr. Jeffrey Meneses

CFC-Youth for Christ: Mr. Mark Zeus Quinto

CFC-Youth for Family and Life: Mr. Julius Eguia

Columbian Squires: Mr. Noel Lacanilao

Elim Youth: Br. Marcelino Catan

Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth: Mr. Ed Christopher Chua

Filipino Youth with a Mission: Ms. Julie Anne Regencia

Franciscan Youth: Ms. Ma. Ruby Hiyasmin Malicdem

Institucion Teresiana-Youth: Ms. Suzzanne Saniel

Mary Help of Christians Crusade: Br. Ferdinand Simon Ma. Bayarong, OATH

Salesian Youth Movement-FMA: Sr. Eustacia Mendoza, FMA

Salesian Youth Movement-SDB: Mr. Richard Roy Tañada

Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Mr. Karl Michael Hila

Student Catholic Action of the Philippines: Mr. Frence Boiser

Youth for Mary and Christ: Fr. Mark Angelo Ruiz Ho, MMHC

From other settings

Diocesan Youth Commission on Hong Kong: Ms. Mok Ching Yee

Emmanuel School of Mission: Fr. Christophe Bouvard

Institute of Formation-Fondacio Asia: Ms. Thi Tuyet An Le

Laura Vicuña Center: Sr. Ma. Victoria Sta. Ana, FMA

St. Scholastica’s College-Westgrove: Ms. Ma. Aira Lagunzad

The Feast Alabang: Ms. Tricia Chavez

YouthPinoy: Ms. Chrixy Paguirican

For kindly accommodating the registration of ecclesiastical territories of the National Capital Region

The youth ministry office of the Archdiocese of Manila, with Fr. Ramon Jade Licuanan as Director

For their dedicated work in the event registration

The Office of the UST Secretary General, Fr. Winston Cabading, OP, with Dr. Imelda Dakis and fellow personnel

For their valuable assistance to registered participants in Quadrant 3 in behalf of the ECY

Mr. Freddie Bernardino (Diocese of Antipolo); Fr. Arnold Deletina(Diocese of Bacolod); Fr. Ricky Montañez, AA (Diocese of Cubao);Ms. Jenica Montemayor (Diocese of Iba); Ms. Niña Orense and Mr. Jerome Ticatic (Archdiocese of Lipa); Ms. Jamila EsmaelMs. Dyna Espinosa and Ms. Aphrodite Organo (Archdiocese of Manila); Ms. Maria Ninia Chara Ollodo (Diocese of Novaliches); Mr. Gerald Nicolas (Diocese of Paranaque); Mrs. Amelea Pactanac-Vergara(Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa); Mr. Allen Mendoza and Ms. Nikko Delaine Sebastian (Archdiocese of San Fernando); Ms. Jessica Calaguing (Salesian Youth Movement); and Mr. Jermer Cruz and Ms. Sabrina Marie Aurea Gasgonia (CFC-Singles for Family and Life)

For their committed service in documentation for the ECY

Mr. Randell Jonathan Aquino (Archdiocese of Manila) and Sem. Tyler Jared Boone (Diocese of Legazpi)

For their significant contribution to the pre-program segment assigned to the ECY

Choral declamation of Matthew 25:31-40

The Regional Youth Coordinating Councils of Northern Luzon (for the Ilocano rendition), Central Luzon (for the Kapampangan), Southern Tagalog (for the Tagalog), Bicol (for the Bicolano), Central-Eastern Visayas (for the Bisaya), Western Visayas (for the Hiligaynon), and the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (for the Chavacano)

Youthful testimonies on mercy and compassion

Ms. Ereeka Gagarin and Ms. Jec Feria of CFC-Youth for Christ andMr. Dominic Pamatmat of the Diocese of Paranaque

Dance interpretation of “Through His Loving Eyes”

Central Luzon Region—Diocese of Cabanatuan: Mr. Reynoel S. Cantor; Diocese of Iba: Mr. Rjay A. Abelon; Diocese of Malolos: Mr. Delo Monterde; Archdiocese of San Fernando: Mr. Geoffrey Arceo; and Diocese of San Jose-Nueva Ecija: Ms. Frances Allana Pobre;

National Capital Region—Diocese of Antipolo: Ms. Jewel Mae Esparagoza and Ms. Fenela Joy Rago; and Diocese of Parañaque: Mr. Timmy Tyrone Pardilla;

Southern Tagalog Region—Archdiocese of Lipa: Ms. Clarissa Mariz A. Laguras; Diocese of Lucena: Mr. Darius P. Pastrana; and Diocese of San Pablo: Mr. Davis Añonuevo and Ms. Katrina Mae Camba;

Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference—Diocese of Butuan: Mr. Lourd Ronald S. Bocboc

Military Ordinariate—Mr. Silver Andrei Abalon (St. Ignatius Cathedral, Camp Aguinaldo), Mr. Richard H. Carizon (Holy Child Chapel, Naval Station, Philippine Navy), Ms. Mary Grace Cocjin (Our Lady of Loreto Church, Villamor Air Base) and Ms. Jessa Mae Manalo(Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, Fernando Air Base);

Federation of National Youth Organizations—Chiro Youth Movement: Ms. Maria Crisol Del Rosario and Ms. Hazel Joy Meneses; CFC-Youth for Christ: Ms. Jane Benemerito; Institucion Teresiana-Youth: Ms. Dorothy Elaine ContinenteMs. Patricia Anne ManabatMs. Suzzanne Saniel and Ms. Angelica Faith Ponce Vasquez; Salesian Youth Movement-FMA: Mr. Charles Kaiser Madrigal and Mr. Robson Tagle; Salesian Youth Movement-SDB: Ms. Larien P. Buya,Mr. Jay Lebert V. MarananMr. David MorenoMr. Emmanuel E. Taip and Mr. Richard Roy Tañada; and Student Catholic Action of the Philippines: Ms. Avigale S. AntonioMs. Beatrice BaldonadoMs. Roselaine Maala and Ms. Nicole Alysa Marie Yambao

For the helpful partnership in preparing for and implementing the pre-program segment, including video editing

Federation of National Youth Organizations through its Coordinating Council

For their heartfelt service in the liturgy

As Cross bearers

Mr. Franklin De Guzman (Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan) of the Northern Luzon Region, Ms. Ermelita Kasilag (Archdiocese of Lipa) of the Southern Tagalog Region, Ms. Pauline Sarah Mancita of the Military Ordinariate and Mr. Wilson Panes (Archdiocese of Capiz) of the Western Visayas Region

As intention readers in the Intercessions

Ms. Denelyn Cempron (Diocese of Tagum) of the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference and Ms. Jolly Ann Datos (Archdiocese of Caceres) of the Bicol Region

Special thanks to the Organizers of the Papal Encounter with the Youth

The Archdiocese of Manila with His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, DD as Archbishop and the University of Santo Tomas with Very Rev. Herminio Dagohoy, OP as Rector

All of us have been richly blessed and deeply moved

by our dear Pope Francis when he visited us last January 15-19!

As we in the ECY thank God for this special grace,

we also thank you for the grace that you are

for your support and collaboration in realizing the tasks

entrusted to us for this event!

Let us carry on our active collaboration in behalf of the Church’s youth ministry.

May we continue to live in the spirit of God’s mercy and compassion.

In behalf of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth:

+ LEOPOLDO C. JAUCIAN, SVD, DD

Bishop of Bangued

Chairman of the CBCP-ECY

unnamed

Message from the CBCP President for the Papal Visit 2015

For the Papal Visit – Philippines 2015, let us listen to Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, DD, CBCP President and the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.

#PapalVisitPH
Video courtesy of TV Maria

CBCP Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking

“For through faith, you are children of God in Christ Jesus… There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male nor female for you are all one in Christ.”

(Gal. 3:26, 28)

CBCP PASTORAL LETTER ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

 

God created man in His own image and redeemed him from sin through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sacred and inviolate, therefore, is his human dignity. Yet, time and again, this dignity has been violated in unspeakable ways. Human trafficking is one such violation that directly assaults such dignity.

 

What is human trafficking?

 

It is a form of modern-day slavery, not less dehumanizing and cruel than any old form of slavery. It is the illegal trade in persons, inhuman organs, in human values, as though these were commercial commodities. Through the use of force, deception, violence, and taking advantage of the vulnerability of victims, men and women are exploited physically, sexually, psychologically, morally, spiritually for the material gain of the traffickers. The victims are our brothers and sisters whom we know and do not know.

 

In today’s “globalized” and “consumeristic” world, the most vulnerable among us are sold as slaves, prostitutes, organ-donors, and pawns in criminal enterprise, armed activities and conflicts. The Holy Father describes human trafficking as an “open wound on the body of contemporary society,” a “scourge upon the body of Christ,” a “crime against humanity,” and a “grave violation of fundamental human rights.”

 

“It is a disgrace,” says Pope Francis that people are treated as “objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned.” But it would be a more terrible disgrace if we who hear or read about the fate of victims could only think of ourselves lucky that we have been spared from such fate, but feel no compulsion to share or mitigate the suffering of the victims or wish to curb it. A Christian should be willing to sleep on the floor if his brother has no roof over his head, and forego his meal if his brother has nothing to eat.

 

Every year about 800,000 children, women and men are trafficked across international borders around the world. Some 30 million people are presently enslaved. About 150,000 of these are said to be Filipinos, most of them children who are physically exploited and sexually abused. Every year, many Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work end up in conditions of involuntary servitude. Happily, this does not characterize the general condition of the Filipino diaspora, which now counts some ten million Filipinos in various parts of the world. But one Filipino victim of human trafficking alone is one victim too many for us as a Christian nation. We should have zero tolerance for this evil.

 

In the middle of their sufferings, the victims often find themselves alone and lost, with no one to turn to but their God, our Lord. There is no greater comfort than to seek solace from our Lord. Especially so when no human relief appears to be on sight. But sometimes their sufferings are compounded by the negligence, indifference and downright abuse of those who are otherwise tasked to provide solace and help. The problem has reached such proportions that in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis could not help but lament:

 

How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen. 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone! This infamous network of crime is now well established

 

in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity. (EG, 211).

 

Seeing how this evil has spread and threatens to scatter the flock, we can only cry with the Good Shepherd, “This cannot go on! It must stop!”

 

As in the times of old, God wishes us all to be free. Even now, God speaks to us as He did to those who suffered under the lash in Egypt: “I saw the affliction of my people and have heard their cries; set my people free!” (Ex 3:7-8).

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Lord came down to die on the Cross in order to set His people free. Free from the bondage of sin, but free also from the evil one that preys upon every human weakness, every vulnerability of the individual and society. “We have been bought at a great price” (cf. 1 Cor 6:20), Scripture reminds us, and we cannot allow anyone to enslave another whom our Lord, by his death and resurrection, has set free.

 

It is, therefore, our Christian duty to do everything we can to prevent anyone in our midst from being trafficked, and to make sure that those who have fallen into the traffickers’ trap are set free and are able to come home and resume their normal lives with their families, friends and community. As serious a duty this is of individual Christians, even more serious is it the duty of the State and society. Beyond that, charity and compassion demand that Christians exert every effort to free human traffickers from the motives and attractions of their illicit trade and to draw them back to genuinely good and beneficial pursuits. To drown evil in an abundance of good, and convert the wrongdoer into a source of good is the ultimate triumph we should aim for in this fight.

 

The worship of creatures and the idolatry of money are the first obstacles the society and the individual must deal with. So long as there are huge profits to be made from human trafficking, this transnational crime will continue to defy national and international laws, and religious and moral strictures and norms. The evil is so pervasive and the perpetrators are so determined that utmost cooperation is needed between Church and State, between the citizens and the instrumentalities of government, to make sure that the will and the forces needed to combat it should never be less strong than those committed to promoting it.

 

There is no substitute for turning to the Gospel as we respond to this scourge. So let us do it. In this Year of the Laity when we commit ourselves anew to the spirit of evangelization of every heart and home, we must never for a moment forget that we are each our brother’s keepers, and that a part of ourselves is trafficked every time a brother or sister of ours is. But not only should we see ourselves in the face of every victim, we must above all see our Lord in every victim’s face. And because we cannot allow to see our Lord trafficked, neither can we allow the least of our brethren to be so exploited. For our Lord has said, “whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did unto me” (cf Mt 25:40).

 

Reposing our hopes and our trust anew in our Blessed Mother, Comforter of the Afflicted and Help of Christians, and invoking the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of the victims of human trafficking, we pray that our nation, by which we mean everyone of its citizens, find the grace and the courage to lead in this fight against human trafficking until it is extinguished from our daily lives. We call upon all the faithful to join hands in every possible endeavor at every level of society, from local to national to international, in the pursuit of this objective.

 

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, December 14, 2014

 

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

FunRun ‘Rising Above Yolanda’

Dear Friends,

Join us in the CBCP Fun Run dubbed “Rising Above Yolanda” at the Quirino Grandstand on 15 November 2014 at 5am

Registration on-site is at 4am. A Eucharistic celebration led by Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona will follow at the end of the run, around 7am.

Bring your families and friends to pray for those affected by Yolanda, revive the spirit of Alay Kapwa and celebrate the resiliency of the Filipino spirit!

Yolanda was strong, but Caritas is stronger!


Invitation to FunRunYolanda
Rising Above Yolanda poster

Singlets&Tshirts

17-21 November 2014 – New Evangelization and the Young Conference

November 17-21, 2014
CICM Maryshore Bukal ng Tipan Mission Center
Talisay City, Negros Occidental

NE New Poster

 

Background

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” has been a remarkable source of inspiration for the Church especially as it fulfills its primary mission of evangelization in the modern world. It is an impetus for the missionary nature of the Church as it challenges complacency at all levels and inspires newness in her approaches to ministries. Evangelii Gaudium draws its source from the Synod on New Evangelization in 2012. The synod itself reminds of the necessity to revive faith, which risks being made obscure in the context of today’s cultures, also faced with the weakening of the faith by many baptized persons”. The Church in the Philippines, specifically the Archdiocese of Manila, initiated a conference last year in response to the challenge of New Evangelization (Philippine Conference on New Evangelization). This year is declared as Year of the Laity by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) highlighting the missionary role of every lay person by virtue of the vocation received in baptism.

In all these happenings in the Church we are challenged to look at the role and the place in the missionary activity of the Church of an important sector of the laity, indeed the majority in number in the church, the young. As we give importance to this sector of the Church as both agent and context of evangelization, we therefore need to articulate the vision of the Pope’s exhortation and the New Evangelization in the situation of the youth today. Drawing from the joy of the Gospel as wellspring of every missionary activity we cannot likewise minimize the importance of a personal encounter with Christ of every missionary or minister in order to be creative, effective and persevering.

It is for this reason that Bukal ng Tipan is coming up with a 5-day conference and workshop entitled “NE and the Young” (New Evangelization and the Young) in order to articulate vision of the Evangelii Gaudium and New Evangelization in the context of the young, and facilitate the sharing of new skills and approaches in doing youth ministry and to provide spaces for youth ministers to encounter Jesus and once again renew their commitment as youth ministers. BELONGING – This will touch on the sense of belonging of the young, the journey from just being clubs or acquaintances to becoming community.