Monday, January 25, 2010

Pope to Pinoy Priests: Be holy

MANILA, Jan. 23, 2010— Pope Benedict XVI called on Filipino bishops to work for the sanctification of priests, so that they may be able to fulfill their mission in the church and in modern world. [WHAT?!  Not champions of human rights and protectors of the environment?! Okay, I am being rude.]

In a letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the pontiff said that bishops have a major role to play on how priests would exercise their pastoral functions. [Yeah, like some show it by being on TV most of time speaking about politics and less time with their own the one who just retired or preempted a Vatican "call" to resign early, eh?]

He said a bishop’s role is to sanctify, and in order to do this one must first tend to his own holiness of life. [Hmmm...still nothing about being too active in politics.]

By preaching the Word, offering Eucharistic sacrifice, and administering the sacraments to God’s people, the clergy in your respective dioceses ...may grow in holiness,” Benedict XVI said. [This is precisely the point why the Pope declared the Year of the Priest; to model themselves after the example of the humble priest from Ars.  Not hugging the spotlight, nor spending too much time out of his church.  And some liturgists who have lost their clout after Papa Benny ascension to Peter's Throne are using every opportunity to spread their venom on liturgical innovation.  And I won't be surprised if this topic will be incorporated in the Congress of the Clergy.  But I digress.]

The letter was read by Saturday CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar during the bishops’ 100th plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. [And the word became paper, and left on the shelf.]

The pope’s message was relayed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican’s Secretary of State, to the CBCP.

Bertone said the pope is urging Filipino prelates to continue acting their role as the chief catechists [do we still have catechism in our dioceses and even parish levels?  The last catechism I witnessed sees a nun teaching children to love the environment.  Where is that in the CCC?] of their respective pastoral jurisdictions.

This means, he said, that bishops must be willing always and everywhere to stand up and teach those in need of instruction and for them to “manifest ever more clearly the spirit of God at work in the world.” [which some of the ordained construe as working more for justice and peace and less with the administration of the sacraments.]

In parting, Cardinal Bertone assured the bishops of the pontiff’s “apostolic blessing” while commending their works for the Catholic Church.

Around 90 bishops are currently in attendance on the plenary meeting which will end on Sunday.

The CBCP has a total of 130 prelates, 32 of them are retired.

The Plenary Assembly is the CBCP’s highest decision-making body which meets in regular session twice a year—in January and July.

The pope’s message to the clergy also came in time for the 2nd National Congress of the Clergy which will be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Jan. 25-29.

Around 5,000 priests [imagine the cost of transporting and housing all of them! will the provinces be priest-less for the whole week?  The devil will be at play.] are expected to attend the gathering with the theme “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests,” which the pope has chosen as the official slogan for the celebration of the “Year for Priests” (2009-2010).

The CBCP through its Commission on the Clergy is organizing the retreat-style national congress which will be facilitated by Preacher to the Papal Household, Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. (Roy Lagarde)


  1. Too much is expected of our religious ministers, especially Catholic priests. We have to pray more for them. Our understanding of the context of the sacraments is wider than before Vatican II. For example, the Eucharist is also understood in the context of the environment, and of human rights. (In fact the Eucharist is the foretaste of a creation renewed and redeemed and isn't that the Christian view of saving the environment?) Priests since they celebrate the sacraments will have to be involved in these issues. The papal encyclicals of the last three popes also tell us of this development in theological understanding.

    Priests as chief catechists?! That is the best option but there are so few priests for a growing population. while priests should be catechists, the main burden of catechism falls on Catholic parents, not on nuns and lay religion teachers (even if their work is to be commended), but then again, too much is expected from parents. Parents like priests need more of our prayers. And since you are a parent, I guess we understand what that means.

  2. following your line of thought...

    should parents be the one to take care of medical emergencies of their children?

    first aid, yes.

    but there are experts who should be handling these cases.

    yes, Catholic instruction begins at home. But at a time when Catechism is rarely taught at Catholic schools or even parishes, do we even expect Catholic parents to know their Faith?


    Just do a random survey of your fellow parishioners and ask them what they think about Sacred Tradition. You'll hear answers about fiestas and celebrations.

    I am not joking. Even a graduating seminarian from theology who is preparing for his diaconal ordination gave me that answer.

    What we need is what Pope Benedict XVI is doing. A Hermeneutic of continuity, not of rupture and discontinuity as what happened after Vatican 2.

    V2 is not bad. It was how those who interpreted it were. As if everything before Vatican 2 is bad. Anything old is bad, anything new is good.

    That is how bad the state of religious vocation is. It's not rooted on Catholic identity. That is why you have running priests who run away from their duties as parish priests. No wonder he was petitioned by his own parishioners! He has more time with cause-oriented groups rather than the spiritual welfare of his own people. His own bishop asked him to think over what his real vocation is.

    Ah... can this be the fruit of V2?

    Can only speculate.

  3. That seminarian and those parishioners must have heard that from the INC! The INC thinks our Sacred Tradition are fiestas!

    I agree that we lost that continuity after Vatican II. As an "ex" Anglican (I say "ex" since Anglicanorum Coetibus says we remain as Anglicans in the particular and Catholic in our communion with the Pope), I would say that the Anglican churches managed to hold on to more of that continuity that Catholics ever did. Even the present Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams who agonizes over the gay issue writes

    "In a church that accepts the legitimacy of contraception, the absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous biblical texts, or on a problematic and nonscriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures.’

    Dr Rowan Williams is no Roman Catholic but a liberal Anglo-Catholic. He had it right, much better than any of our Roman theologians ever had after Paul VI's Humanae Vitae.

    The gay issue that affects the Anglican and Catholic churches today stems really from a rejection of the connection of sex and procreation. I'd say that Dr Williams managed in his liberal way, recover a bit of Anglican continuity with that of the Roman.

    How would we parents put the truth that Dr Williams wrote, to our children that an acceptance of homosexuality as a viable lifestyle is somewhat connected to acceptance of abortion and contraception? We need clear thinking deacons, priests and bishops like Dr Williams is to guide us. We have to pray for these vocations.

    So I pray the Anglican Evening Prayer and my Rosary that Dr Williams when he retires from the see of Canterbury asks the Pope for acceptance into the Anglican Ordinariate.