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 priests...like 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)