TAGLE: MEANING OF CHRISTMAS FOUND IN SURVIVORS CALAMITIES

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the true meaning of Christmas could best be answered by the survivors of calamities that hit the country this year. “The survivors of recent disasters will teach us how to see the Child promised by God with fresh eyes of faith and hope,” Tagle said in his Christmas message posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website over the weekend. He said he was able to talk to a female survivor of typhoon Yolanda from Palo, Leyte and asked her what would Christmas be like in their hometown with loved ones and material things now gone. Her replied was: “With the ruins around us, this would probably be the first time I would understand and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.”

ALSO:  The Good Shepherd in Pope Francis

And so is his papal motto which is the same as the one he used as bishop: “miserando atque eligendo”, taken from a homily of the Venerable Bede on the call of St. Matthew that runs “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him, ‘follow me.’” This early, this already tells about what route his petrine ministry is going to take. Mary Anastasia O’Grady of Wall Street Journal writes: “The calumny is not new. Former members of terrorist groups like Mr. Verbitsky… have used the same tactics for years to try to destroy their enemies—anyone who doesn’t endorse their brand of authoritarianism. If such should be the case, then we have a strong man in Pope Francis who is not only staunchly pro-poor, pro-environment and pro-life, but a good shepherd who can use his staff to parry the attacks of modern-day wolves.

ALSO: Don’t make Yolanda a forgotten crisis – UN Chief Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday called on donor nations to ramp up aid to typhoon-battered Philippines as it grapples with a funding shortfall on the long road to recovery. Ban issued the statement as he noted that the UN had so far achieved only 30 percent of the $791 million in aid it had appealed for to boost relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda last month.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Meaning of Christmas found in survivors of calamities

MANILA, DECEMBER 23, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Edu Punay - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the true meaning of Christmas could best be answered by the survivors of calamities that hit the country this year.

“The survivors of recent disasters will teach us how to see the Child promised by God with fresh eyes of faith and hope,” Tagle said in his Christmas message posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website over the weekend.

He said he was able to talk to a female survivor of typhoon Yolanda from Palo, Leyte and asked her what would Christmas be like in their hometown with loved ones and material things now gone.

Her replied was: “With the ruins around us, this would probably be the first time I would understand and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.”

The cardinal said such words contained “truth and wisdom.”

“All the Christmas decorations we put up and the celebrations we have must be rooted in and draw their meaning from Jesus, who is the core sign, the humble person of the Son of God who emptied himself to become one of us,” Tagle said.

“Divine glory is seen in a child’s weakness; heavenly radiance is made manifest in humility; and God’s justice is revealed as compassion,” he added.

The cardinal urged the faithful to do acts of solidarity and communion with the victims of calamities.

FROM THE CBCP WEBSITE

The Good Shepherd in Pope Francis Filed under: Editorial |

FROM the time he emerged from the St. Peter’s loggia at the announcement of the “Habemus Papam” up to his inaugural on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Pope Francis has already endeared millions of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

His seeming spontaneity and his brand of simplicity or poverty is so apt with the unprecedented papal nomenclature that he assumed—after St. Francis of Assisi who, in his time, pursued rebuilding the church with evangelical spirituality and radical poverty.

In Argentina where he was once a Jesuit Provincial and, years later, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he simply goes by the name “Fr. Jorge” who is popularly known for taking the bus, cooking his own meals, paying his own bills, spending time with the people in the streets and living in utter simplicity.

Now as Pope Francis he still dons the same austerity. With little modification, he adapts the coat of arms he used as Cardinal Bergoglio.

And so is his papal motto which is the same as the one he used as bishop: “miserando atque eligendo”, taken from a homily of the Venerable Bede on the call of St. Matthew that runs “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him, ‘follow me.’” This early, this already tells about what route his petrine ministry is going to take.

Expectedly, Argentines celebrated when one of their own was chosen as the new pope that, in a few days, has won the admiration and esteem of the whole world. But not the Kirchner government that, through its own newspaper Pagina 12, did not wait a day to launch a smear campaign against the Holy Father.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Horacio Verbitsky, editor of this pro-government paper and a former member of the guerilla group known as Montoneros, has dug up an old issue that associated Bergoglio who was then a Jesuit Provincial with the so-called “Dirty War” of Argentina in the 70s.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady of Wall Street Journal writes: “The calumny is not new. Former members of terrorist groups like Mr. Verbitsky… have used the same tactics for years to try to destroy their enemies—anyone who doesn’t endorse their brand of authoritarianism. In this case they allege that as the Jesuits’ provincial superior in Argentina in the 1970s, then Fr. Bergoglio had links to the military government… What embitters them is that Fr. Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related “liberation theology”) was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s. That put him in the way of those inside the Jesuit order at the time who believed in the revolution.”

If such should be the case, then we have a strong man in Pope Francis who is not only staunchly pro-poor, pro-environment and pro-life, but a good shepherd who can use his staff to parry the attacks of modern-day wolves. Or, like his shepherd Master, who can harness his inner spiritual strength to withstand the lashes, crowns of thorns and the crosses of this generation.

Impact of Secularism on Filipino Faith

A POWERFUL social force, a secularist and materialist spirit, is impacting our faith. Beginning in Europe with the Age of Reason and Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, the secularist and materialist spirit has gradually but decisively taken over the developed world, resulting in the ignoring of God, the loss of faith, the weakening of divine authority and the authority of the Church. Secularism and materialism have created their own values, contradicting and rejecting the universal values of the Gospel as taught by the living tradition of the Church.

The tools of social communication disseminate the secular ideology of developed countries. This has resulted in a type of faith that adheres selectively to some doctrines of the Church but rejects others as incompatible with changing modern times, with democracy and religious pluralism. We see examples of the inroads of secularism and materialism in the setting aside of moral values and rejection of religious authority in the debates that led to the unfortunate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. We also see the influence of the secular spirit in legal attempts to redefine the limits of human freedom, the beginning of human life, and the nature of marriage and family.

In these difficult times we hear and heed the words of the Lord that we are in this world but we are not of this world.(11) Our faith impels us to cherish and defend beliefs and values that are countersigns to those of this world.

The weaknesses of our faith and the challenges facing it summon us to renewed integral evangelization, to new evangelization with new fervor, new methods and new expressions. This is the rationale for integral faith formation. It is a process that seeks and leads to maturity in faith, a faith that is informed and lived, a faith committed to the mission of announcing the Gospel of Jesus, including participation in the work of justice and social transformation.

FROM PHILSTAR

Don’t make Yolanda a forgotten crisis – UN By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 23, 2013 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario shake hands after a press conference in Makati City yesterday. MANNY MARCELO

MANILA, Philippines - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday called on donor nations to ramp up aid to typhoon-battered Philippines as it grapples with a funding shortfall on the long road to recovery.

Ban issued the statement as he noted that the UN had so far achieved only 30 percent of the $791 million in aid it had appealed for to boost relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda last month.

He expressed hope that his visit would inspire the international community to “keep focus on this crisis.”

“We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis,” Ban announced at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Ban said he met with the ambassadors of donor nations yesterday morning and “I urged them to provide, speed up the support.”

Ban visited Tacloban City on Saturday to see the extent of Yolanda’s damage in the area. He departed Manila yesterday.

He said he was deeply moved and inspired by his visit to Tacloban, where despite the many challenges, people are working hard to recover.

“I was very impressed on the strong resilience of the people. The villages are coming slowly to normalcy. People are more motivated. Many people, citizens wearing safety helmet were clearly helping, whatever they could do they would do,” he added.

Ban also said the UN stood firm in its commitment to help the Philippines as it lays out a long-term plan to rebuild typhoon-battered areas.

Ravaging an area the size of Portugal, Yolanda inflicted $12.9 billion in damage and left 4.4 million people homeless. The Philippine government said it would need $8.17 billion over four years for a massive rebuilding effort.

“Therefore, the UN and country teams and all agencies will work very closely to help this long-term recovery and reconstruction plan be realized as soon as possible,” Ban said.

The UN leader also acknowledged some bottlenecks in relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon owing to logistical challenges in reaching remote areas impacted by the typhoon.

He joined the Philippine government in thanking the armed forces of 25 nations that helped overcome logistical hurdles in delivering humanitarian assistance to typhoon-hit areas.

“There has been excellent cooperation between the United Nations and its partners and the Philippines authorities at every level. Aid deliveries have been scaled up significantly,” Ban said.

For his part, Del Rosario said Ban’s visit to the country demonstrated the UN’s firm commitment to help Yolanda victims.

“Throughout this tragedy, the United Nations has been steadfast in its support for the Filipino people in the devastated areas, as demonstrated by the very quick response of the UN and humanitarian country teams in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon and the UN flash appeal,” Del Rosario said.

Three days before Christmas, however, more than 100,000 Yolanda survivors are still staying in evacuation centers and most of them may spend the holiday there.

“A majority of them (evacuees) may still be inside evacuation centers by Christmas. The construction of shelters is not yet completed,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesman Maj. Rey Balido said in a phone interview yesterday.

“But the government is continuously providing them relief. The government is continuously extending assistance to them,” he added.

NDRRMC data released yesterday showed that 101,527 people or 20,924 families are still housed in 381 evacuation centers, while 3,993,753 people or 869,971 families are receiving assistance outside evacuation centers.

The death toll from Yolanda climbed to 6,109 yesterday and the number may still rise as authorities are still conducting retrieval operations. The number of missing persons remains at 1,779. – With Alexis Romero, AP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2013 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE