PHNO EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK: FROM MANILA TIMES

EDITORIAL: WE FILIPINOS MUST HEED POPE FRANCIS


Pope Francis’ speeches and homilies are specific pastoral instructions to us Filipinos.We must heed him. He reminds us to value our celebration of the “fifth centenary of the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on these shores. The Christian message has had an immense influence on Filipino culture. It is my hope that this important anniversary will point to its continuing fruitfulness and its potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and aspirations of the Filipino people.”  He has been impressed by and come to admire “the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others. “Those virtues, rooted not least in the hope and solidarity instilled by Christian faith, gave rise to an outpouring of goodness and generosity, especially on the part of so many of the young. In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbors in need. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

ALSO: I wept and laughed about Pope Francis’ Leyte trip 

MY wife and I watched every moment of Pope Francis’ trip to Leyte, as provided by cable telecasts, for which we are grateful. We placed ourselves in every scene, just as one does (following the advise of St. Josemaria Escriva) when contemplatively reading the Gospels. Be as if you were  another, a minor, character in the scene. My wife reminded me that the televised Mass at the Tacloban airport was a perfectly valid one for us—except that ours would have to be a Spiritual Communion and not a physical one. But it turned out that all of the (I think) three to five thousand faithful in the quadrants also ended up only having Holy Communion Spiritually because Our Lord’s body in the consecrated host was not distributed. The steady rain and the storm winds made it impossible. We wept and laughed, just as many of the faithful who were there must have. I was glad that I could understand the Waray songs and prayers of the faithful, felt a pang of regret that I was only now realizing how very similar Cebuano and Waray are. It cheered me that the locally composed liturgical hymns were more melodious and more appropriately liturgical than many of those that are played at Mass in Metro Manila churches. READ FULL COLUMN...

(ALSO) Thank you, Pope Francis; Goodbye, B.S. Aquino 3rd! 

BY FRANCISCO S. TATAD ---Pope Francis’s impact on the Filipinos defied all our highest expectations. On the other hand, President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s performance as host of the state-portion of the Pope’s four-day apostolic and state visit exceeded our worst fears. The 78-year-old pilgrim Pope renewed our spirits and took our hearts away while Aquino made us puke for his ill-disguised boorishness and lack of state manners. Today, as we thank and say goodbye to the Pope, we also bid Aquino goodbye and good riddance. Worse than any typhoon. Francis came to share the love of Christ with the poor, and the victims of recent calamities. This was dramatized most vividly in his emotion-wrenching meeting with the victims of last year’s super typhoon Haiyan /Yolanda in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte on Saturday. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

EDITORIAL: We Filipinos must heed Pope Francis

MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) January 17, 2015 10:25 pm - Pope Francis’ speeches and homilies are specific pastoral instructions to us Filipinos.

We must heed him.

He reminds us to value our celebration of the “fifth centenary of the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on these shores. The Christian message has had an immense influence on Filipino culture.

It is my hope that this important anniversary will point to its continuing fruitfulness and its potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and aspirations of the Filipino people.”

He has been impressed by and come to admire “the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others.

“Those virtues, rooted not least in the hope and solidarity instilled by Christian faith, gave rise to an outpouring of goodness and generosity, especially on the part of so many of the young. In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbors in need.

“At great sacrifice, they gave of their time and resources, creating networks of mutual help and working for the common good.

“This example of solidarity in the work of rebuilding teaches us an important lesson. Like a family, every society draws on its deepest resources in order to face new challenges.

“Today the Philippines, together with many other countries in Asia, faces the challenge of building on solid foundations a modern society—a society respectful of authentic human values, protective of our God-given human dignity and rights, and ready to confront new and complex political and ethical questions.

Commitment to the common good

“As many voices in your nation have pointed out, it is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good. In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed this country.

“Thus will they be able to marshal the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace.

“Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.

It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.”

Year of the Poor

He has reminded us that “the Bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the ‘Year of the Poor.’“

Pope Francis hopes—which means he wishes—“that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.”

He also has stirring words about the family and the value of our OFWs. We will transmit his messages on these subject in subsequent editorials.


I wept and laughed about Pope Francis’ Leyte trip January 17, 2015 10:24 pm by RENE Q. BAS, PUBLISHER/EDITOR


RENE Q. BAS

MY wife and I watched every moment of Pope Francis’ trip to Leyte, as provided by cable telecasts, for which we are grateful. We placed ourselves in every scene, just as one does (following the advise of St. Josemaria Escriva) when contemplatively reading the Gospels. Be as if you were another, a minor, character in the scene.

My wife reminded me that the televised Mass at the Tacloban airport was a perfectly valid one for us—except that ours would have to be a Spiritual Communion and not a physical one. But it turned out that all of the (I think) three to five thousand faithful in the quadrants also ended up only having Holy Communion Spiritually because Our Lord’s body in the consecrated host was not distributed. The steady rain and the storm winds made it impossible.

We wept and laughed, just as many of the faithful who were there must have. I was glad that I could understand the Waray songs and prayers of the faithful, felt a pang of regret that I was only now realizing how very similar Cebuano and Waray are. It cheered me that the locally composed liturgical hymns were more melodious and more appropriately liturgical than many of those that are played at Mass in Metro Manila churches.

I cried when I watched the faces of the people—lay men and women, nuns and priests—who I could see really love Pope Francis, and therefore the Church, and were being moved by his consoling words and exhortations. It gave me a lump in my throat to think that some of the drenched faithful would fall ill—and some might even die.

As scheduled, Pope Francis blessed the crowds along the route from Tacloban to the adjacent town of Palo. There he had his intimate lunch with the 30 representative calamity survivors at the Archbishop’s Residence. The lunch was a closed door event.

Then he went, without alighting from the popemobile, to bless the brand new humanitarian center that was named after him, the Pope Francis Center for the Poor.
From there he motored quickly to the Palo Cathedral.

In the Palo Cathedral, we also had moments of tearfulness and joy. The enthusiasm of the faithful made me feel a surge of hopefulness that God will—not would— soon raise us ordinary, middle-class and poor Filipinos from our prostrate condition.

Sad news announced

On entering the Palo Cathedral he headed straight to the front of the altar. He motioned for everybody to settle down. Then smiling his warm and beatific smile he announced the terrible news to the assembled faithful (and even the TV anchors and us the TV audience) that his time with them, the people of Tacloban would have to be suddenly cut short.

Storm Amang at Signal No. 1 would soon get stronger. The PAL pilot wanted the Pope and his party to fly out of the city by 1 o’clock—35 minutes away.

I saw a nun who could have been an aunt on my father’s side, and a man who looked so much like my father 30 years ago. Their faces registered a moment of shock and then broke into serene smiles, as the Pope spoke of leaving everything to God and His Mother Mary.

I cried when I imagined that the nun’s cheeks would later be wet with tears.

He asked everyone to pray a quiet Hail Mary with him. The people gave him a sculpture of Our Lady the Immaculate Conception, made from wood from the debris of the Cathedral by that was partly damaged by Yolanda. He, in turn, gave the people of Polo a mosaic of Our Lady of the People.

Pope Francis’ trip to Leyte was a success—despite it being abridged by four hours.
While summing up all my thoughts and feelings about the Holy Father’s Leyte trip, I got suddenly reminded of Robert Frost’s short verse:
“Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.”

It’s a great little poem—that can take away any pain from one’s heart for some moments. Just as the smile that radiates from Pope Francis’ face does to a faithful Catholic.

But it’s not the kind of thinking a faithful Catholic should have. Frost was not a Catholic. His forebears were Puritan. He called himself an “Old Testament Christian.” Biographers say he was always anxious about God’s mercy because He is also justice so that he was always afraid deep in his heart.

A Catholic would lose his anxieties after a thorough examination of conscience, resolving to not sin again, and making one or several very good confessions.

* * *
Here are some excerpts from the translation of the Holy Father’s homily in the Mass at Tacloban airport.

We have a high priest who is capable of symphatizing with our weaknesses but one who is similarly been tested in every way yet without sin. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us. Jesus is the same with us in every respect except sin. Because Jesus was not a sinner.

But to be more like us, He assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself unto sin. This is what Saint Paul tells us. Jesus always goes before us. And when we pass and experience a cross, He passed there before us.

And if today we find ourselves 14 months after, 14 months precisely after the typhoon Yolanda hit, it is because we have the security of knowing that we are not going to weaken in our faith, because Jesus has been there before us. In His passion, He assumed all our pain.

I’d like to tell you something close to my heart.

When I saw from Rome the catastrophe, I felt that I had to be here and on those very days I decided to come here.

I am here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I am here.

I come to tell you that Jesus is Lord and He never lets us down.

Father, you might say to me, I was let down because I have lost so many things, my house, my livelihood. It’s true, if you would say that, and I respect those sentiments, but Jesus there (pointing to the cross), nailed to the cross, and from there, He does not let us down.
He was consecrated as Lord, on that throne and there He experienced all calamities that we experienced. Jesus is Lord and the Lord from the cross is there for you.

* * *
I have no more words to tell you, let us look to Christ, He is the Lord. He understands us because He underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced. And beside the cross was His mother. We are like this little child, just there.

In the moments when we have so much pain, when we no longer understand anything, all we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly. And say, Mom, as a child does to a mother, when he or she feels fear.

It is perhaps the only word we can say in such difficult times, Mother, Mom.

Let us know that we have Mother Mary and our great brother Jesus, we are not alone.

We also have many brothers who in this moment of catastrophe came to help you, and we too, because of this we feel more brothers and sisters, because we helped each other.

This is what comes from my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this: But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down.


Thank you, Pope Francis; Goodbye, B.S. Aquino 3rd!
January 18, 2015 10:21 pm by FRANCISCO S. TATAD


FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Pope Francis’s impact on the Filipinos defied all our highest expectations. On the other hand, President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s performance as host of the state-portion of the Pope’s four-day apostolic and state visit exceeded our worst fears.

The 78-year-old pilgrim Pope renewed our spirits and took our hearts away while Aquino made us puke for his ill-disguised boorishness and lack of state manners. Today, as we thank and say goodbye to the Pope, we also bid Aquino goodbye and good riddance.

Worse than any typhoon

Francis came to share the love of Christ with the poor, and the victims of recent calamities. This was dramatized most vividly in his emotion-wrenching meeting with the victims of last year’s super typhoon Haiyan /Yolanda in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte on Saturday.

The advent of a new typhoon, which brought rains to Eastern Visayas, threatened to ruin the visit. But the real disaster that menaced the whole event was something worse than any typhoon–Aquino himself. He was the real calamity.

Aquino ‘kisses’ the Pope’s ring

Upon the Pope’s arrival, Aquino stunned everyone when he bowed to kiss the Pope’s ring–something which faithful Catholics do as a sign of respect and reverence . The next day, members of the Cabinet all kissed the papal ring during Pope Francis’s call at Malacañang.

As head of state receiving the Pope in his capacity as head of the Vatican city-state, Aquino was expected to simply to shake the Pope’s hand, as protocol requires. But we looked at this hand-kissing gaffe as a “gesture of solidarity” with the Catholic majority who constitute 85 percent of all Filipinos.

Ring-kissing a make-believe

Now, as the Times’ Saturday editorial pointed out, a Reuters video has shown Aquino’s lips some three inches away from the Pope’s fingers when PNoy released Francis’ hand. He did not kiss the papal ring, after all. It was all a lie, meant to deceive the Catholic rabble on the street that PNoy had become one of them. But whatever myth Aquino was trying to create by that bogus act has since collapsed.

Aquino’s speech the real offense

Yet, this was only a minor offense. Aquino’s real and unforgivable offense was his “welcome speech” for the Pope. My knowledge of the English language has not equipped me with the right word to adequately describe that speech. The least one could say is that it was done in very bad taste.

From the Holy Father to the members of the diplomatic corps and of the Cabinet, the expression on everyone’s face was one of disbelief. Nothing as unpresidential has been heard from any Filipino president before. It was offensive beyond measure, and I felt personally violated as I listened to it. I felt as though I were being literally stepped upon in my face as I lay helpless on the pavement.

Putting the Pope on defensive

The speech contained none of the usual amenities, and started off with a pointed statement that was meant to put the Church and the Pope on the defensive. This is what it said:

“Colonialism was brought to our shores, partly by the efforts of the conquistadores, and partly through the efforts of the Church. When the clergy in that period was asked how they justified the injustices committed during the colonization of the Philippines, they responded by saying, the Kingdom of God is not of this earth.”

Four hundred years of colonial history was being caricatured in one short paragraph bereft of any scholarship. True, the Spanish sword accompanied the Cross in Christianizing Filipinos. But who specifically asked “the clergy in that period” to “justify the injustices” committed against the natives? And who in the clergy was asked to do so? Who exactly said, “the Kingdom of God is not of this earth”? How did that alleged response come about when the alleged question had not mentioned the Kingdom of God?

Humbug and more humbug

The paragraph is pure balderdash. But this was Aquino’s opening paragraph. Then he continued: “With Vatican II, however, this changed. Instead of being a pillar of the establishment, the Church began to question the status quo. My understanding of the changes inspired by Vatican II, and of the influence of liberation theology, was the notion that temporal matters affect our spiritual wellbeing and, consequently, cannot be ignored.”

Apparently Aquino has not heard that the radical questioning of the status quo, and the effort to change it, did not begin with Vatican II. It began with Christianity. Christianity abolished the idea of idols and false gods, and proclaimed the Kingdom of the Triune God. Christ, whom Christians worship as the son of God who became man to redeem humanity from sin, instituted the Church to make all things new. Nothing more revolutionary and life-changing has been heard before or since.

It took Aquino a lot of cheek to throw “liberation theology” in the face of the visiting Pope long after the errors of this “theology” have been formally condemned by the Church. He even quoted the Bible, too, forgetting that Beelzebub himself quotes Scripture for his own purposes.

Aquino’s usual cover-up

In his effort to deflect attention from the real conditions of the Filipino poor and victims of various calamities, Aquino tried to play his usual shell-game by talking about Marcos and Martial Law, and the crimes of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This was a tired refrain, which he has used over and over again to cover his own sins and avoid discussing any of his self-inflicted problems.

He likes to refer to his late father, the former Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr., as a victim of martial law who was assassinated in 1983 upon his return from the United States, where Marcos had granted him an indefinite medical furlough after a military court had meted him with the death sentence.

Aquino’s unexamined life

But PNoy has never bothered to ask what role his father had, if any, in bringing together the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, whose armed rebellion had prompted Marcos to declare martial law; and what role he had, if any, in the 1981 bombing of the Plaza Miranda Liberal Party rally, where he alone among the top LP leaders was missing and nearly all his colleagues sustained serious injury.

Without any evidence Ninoy and his colleagues blamed the crime on Marcos, until the communists finally owned it. Former Senate president Jovito Salonga, who lost one eye from that incident, has categorically declared that “Ninoy had something to do with it.”
Nor has PNoy ever bothered to find out who actually ordered his father’s killing, just as his own mother Cory never bothered to find out during her six and a half years as president.

Complaint against the Church

In his “welcome speech,” Aquino praised members of the clergy for opposing Martial Law, but expressed disappointment that “many members of the Church, once advocates of the poor, the marginalized and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses, which we are still trying to rectify to this very day.

“In these attempts at correcting the wrongs of the past, one would think that the Church would be our natural ally,” Aquino said. “In contrast to their previous silence, some members of the clergy now seem to think that the way to be true to their faith means finding something to criticize even to the extent that one prelate admonished me to do something about my hair, as if it were a mortal sin.”

The people’s case vs. Aquino

This was a rather lame attempt on Aquino’s part to trivialize the people’s case against him. This has nothing to do with his falling hairline, or his addiction to cigarette smoking, which pollutes the air which he and those around him breathe. This involves the most grievous crimes against the Filipino people, the Constitution and the State–crimes whose public discussion the conscript media have successfully suppressed.
The first offense

His first most grievous offense is his having been “machine-elected” in an illegitimate and illegal automated election conducted by the Venezuelan private company (Smartmatic), which had no constitutional authority to conduct any election, using the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machine, after it had been divested of all its safety features and accuracy mechanisms in violation of law.

Only the Commission on Elections has the constitutional mandate to conduct any election, but it has to be a clean and honest election.

In 2010, Aquino led his closest rival by five million votes, after he had threatened to organize massive street protests, if he did not get those votes. Since then, he has controlled the rigged electoral process so that in 2013, all of his senatorial candidates won with the statistically improbable results of 60-30-10 in their favor, even in areas where they were hardly known.

The second offense

His second most grievous offense is his having physically corrupted Congress for his own ends. Using the Priority Development Assistance Fund, he bribed members of Congress to force the enactment of the anti-poor and constitutionally infirm Reproductive Health Law over the opposition of the Catholic majority, among others, whose right to privacy and to religious freedom is wantonly violated by the foreign-dictated legislation.

Then using both the PDAF and the much bigger Disbursement Acceleration Program, both of which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional, he bribed members of the Congress to impeach and remove Chief Justice Renato Corona, who had presided over the Court ruling against Aquino’s family interests in the famous Hacienda Luisita case, in favor of the farmers.

The third offense

His third most grievous offense is his refusal to implement the Supreme Court directive for the prosecution of all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of the PDAF and the DAP, which involves hundreds of billions of pesos.

The fourth offense

His fourth most grievous offense is his having reintroduced into his P2.6 trillion 2015 budget all the discretionary lump sums which the Court had outlawed in the 2013 budget, and redefined “savings” to allow himself to play around with any appropriation any time he would like to.

The fifth offense

His fifth most grievous offense is his having destroyed the impeachment process. Because he has committed impeachable crimes in complicity with the members of Congress, who have the exclusive power to impeach and remove the President, he has remained unimpeached. Three impeachment complaints have been thrown out by the House committee on Justice for being insufficient in substance.

The sixth offense

His sixth most grievous offense is that without having to declare Martial Law, he runs the government as if it were under Martial Law. To some people, he is far worse than the worst of Marcos.

The seventh offense

His seventh most grievous offense is his utter lack of heart and humanity in the face of calamity, misfortune, and injustice.

Aquino must have thought that just because no one was asking him about his crimes, he could hide them from the Pope. He has forgotten that the Vatican has the most extensive reporting network in the country. Every parish priest reports to his Bishop and every Bishop reports to the Pope, through the Nuncio or the Curia.

Time for CBCP to act

If there’s any complaint to be made against the Church, it is not that the Bishops and the clergy have taken a common stand against Aquino, but rather that they have not. But after Aquino’s inexcusable conduct before the Pope, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which convenes today, might find it opportune to finally look into his crimes more closely, and bid him goodbye and good riddance.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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