Thursday, September 12, 2013

Primer on the Pork Barrel System in the Philippines

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Makipot na Pinto

Luke 13:22-30 
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

  ‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”

  ‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

  ‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

Mahirap pumunta sa isang lugar na hindi ka tanggap. Minsan ay pinakiusapan ang isang kura na magbendisyon sa patay sa isang liblib na baryo sa kabilang parokya dahil walang pari duon. Pumunta ang maliit na kura at hinanap niya ang bahay na may telang itim, dahil 'yun lamang ang sinabing tanda ng kanyang sekretarya. Nakita naman niya ito at nang siya ay naruon na sa tapat ng bahay, binati niya ang mga taong naka-umpok. Nanatiling nakatitig lang ang mga tao, at kung makamamatay ang titig, baka namatay na ang kura. Muli siyang nagpakilala, “Magandang umago po, ako po ang pari sa kabilang parokya. Puwede na po tayong magsimula.” Katahimikan muli, at umabante ang isang ginang na nanlilisik ata ang mata. “Hindi ka naming kailangan dito. Umalis ka na. Hindi naming kailangan ng pari!

Ating mababasa sa Ebanghelyo na tinanong si Hesus kung kakaunti lang ba ang masasalba, at hindi diretsong sinagot ni Hesus ito. Ang sinabi niya ay pagsikapan ang makapasok sa makipot na daanan/pintuan, dahil marami ang magnanais makapasok ngunit hindi magagawa. Hindi niya sinabing kakaunti, dahil sa bandang huli, sinabi rin naman na marami ang manggagaling sa silangan, kanluran, hilaga at timog, at sila’y makakapiling ng Diyos sa kanyang kaharian. Mayroong mga ipinagtabuyan dahil sarado na ang pintuan, at hindi sila kilala ng Panginoon, at maaring ang eksena ay katulad ng nangyari sa kura sa kuwento. Mahirap kung hindi ka tanggap.

Isa itong hamon sa atin sa Linggong ito. Malinaw na sinabing magsumikap tayo na makapasok sa maliit na pintuan. Paano ka nga ba papasok sa makipot na pinto? Kailangang wala kang ‘dala’, iiwanan mo ang iyong mga ‘bitbit’, at kung ‘mataba’ ka ay kailangan ‘magpapayat’ ka. Si Hesus ang ‘Pinto’ patungo sa kaharian, at ipinakita ni Hesus na sa pamamagitan ng Kanyang kamatayan sa krus, nabuksan ang daan patungo sa langit. Kung nais nating makarating sa kaharian ng Panginoon, kailangan din sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod kay Hesus sa daan ng ‘krus’. 

Nasusubukan tayo madalas: Kapag malakas ang ulan o baha, nakakatamad magsimba. Minsan ay nasasabi pa natin, ‘Isimba mo ako ha!’ O kaya ay, ‘Sige, kayo na lang ang magsimba, at i-pag-pray niyo na lang ako. Maiintindihan naman ni Lord eh.” Oo, maiintindihan ni Lord, pero inintindi ba natin Siya? Oo, mabait sa atin si Lord, pero naging mabait ba tayo sa Kanya? Nawa ay patuloy tayong magsikap na makapasok sa makipot na pintuan, at idalangin natin na patuloy tayong bigyan ng Panginoon ng lakas upang malabanan natin ang lahat ng uri ng kasamaan. Iwanan natin ang mga nakabibigat at mga nakakahadlang sa ating pagpasok. Patuloy tayong manalig sa Diyos, lalo na kung tayo ay nahaharap sa mga pagsubok, dahil palagi nating kapiling ang Diyos at sapat na ang grasya na binibigay niya upang magawa natin ito.

Siyanga pala, ang kurang maliit ay umalis na lamang at napag-alaman niya na mali pala ang napuntahan niyang patay. Sa kabilang kalsada, may telang itim din at naruon pala ang pupuntahan niya. Tinanggap naman siya ng maluwag at nabendisyunan niya ito.Tinanong niya ang maybahay, kung sino ang patay sa kabila at bakit hindi siya tanggap ng mga tao duon. Hindi na siya nagtaka ng malaman niyang miyembro pala ng Iglesiya ni Kristo ang nasa kabila... 

Magandang araw po sa inyong lahat.

akda ni Paul Cardenas

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tanging Yaman


Shaina: Lola, hindi ho ba Siya nalilito?
Gloria: Uhm, Sino?

Shaina: Ang Diyos po.
Gloria: Nalilito saan?

Shaina: ‘Pag sabay-sabay pong nagdarasal ang mga tao. Tapos, iba-iba pa po ang hinihiling natin. Lahat po ba tayo naririnig N’ya?

Gloria: Kahit ‘yung hindi binibigkas ng ating bibig at ‘yung mga lihim na idinadaing ng ating mga puso, nadidinig Nya ‘yun.

Italian Proverb

"It is not enough to aim; you must hit." Italian Proverb

Monday, February 25, 2013

Papal Conclave: Runners and Riders

Cardinals are cocooned in the Vatican 
during the secret voting process 

Papal conclave: Runners and riders By Mike Wooldridge & Michael Hirst BBC News, London 

Pope Benedict XVI's successor will be chosen by 115 cardinal-electors during a secret election - known as a Conclave - in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. 

Canon Law states that any male who has been baptised is eligible to be elected, but since the late 14th Century the Pope has come from this body of Princes of the Church. 

A post once almost exclusively held by Italians has most recently been filled by a Pole and a German, so the race is open, although the composition of the electors offers clues to who might be a frontrunner for the papacy - or papabile. 

A two-thirds-plus-one vote majority is required, meaning the man elected is likely to be a compromise candidate. Sixty-seven of the electors were appointed by Benedict XVI, and 50 by his predecessor John Paul II. 

About half the cardinal-electors (60) are European - 21 of those being Italian - and many have worked for the administrative body of the Church, the Curia, in Rome. 

Thus, a candidate's credentials will be bolstered if he has Curial experience and affinity with Europe - a working knowledge of Italian is seen as a prerequisite. 

But there is also speculation the new pontiff may come from one of the Church's growth areas - 42% of the world's 1.2bn Catholics come from Latin America, as do a sixth of the electors. 

Here is a selection of the leading papabili.

Angelo Scola, Italy 
Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, is the most prominent Italian candidate and has been referred to by one Catholic newspaper as the "crown prince of Catholicism". 

A cardinal since 2003, he was appointed Archbishop of Milan in 2011. Cardinal Scola is a conservative, who has been close to both John Paul II and Pope Benedict, both personally and theologically. 

In 2010, at the height of sex abuse allegations against the church, he called the media's attacks on the Pope "an iniquitous humiliation". 

Given Pope Benedict's reasons for resigning, however, it is possible his relatively advanced age may stand against him. 

Marc Ouellet, Canada 

Cardinal Ouellet, 68, from Canada, has headed the Congregation for Bishops since 2010 and has strong Curial connections. 

A native French speaker who also speaks fluent Spanish, he has spent much of his life since ordination as a seminary professor and rector, spending 10 years in Colombia and nine in Canada before being appointed to teach at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in 1997. 

A former editor of Communio, an international journal co-founded by Joseph Ratzinger, his thinking is closely linked with that of the resigning Pope. He also has close connections with the Latin American Church. 

After a brief stint as vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, he was named Archbishop of Quebec in 2002 and appointed a cardinal in 2005. Since then, he has stoked controversy by speaking out on moral issues in Canada's largely secular society. 

Christoph Schoenborn, Austria

Cardinal Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, is probably the strongest non-Italian candidate from within Europe. 

The son of a Bohemian count, he was born in 1945 to a family with a long history of high office in the Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire. 

He was made a cardinal in 1998 and, although seen as intellectually conservative, in 2010 he caused controversy by suggesting it was time to re-examine the issue of priestly celibacy. 

Cardinal Schoenborn later issued a clarification, saying he was not "seeking to question the Catholic Church's celibacy rule".
Odilo Scherer, Brazil 

The archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer, 63, is the most prominent Latin American candidate. 

While head of the largest diocese in the world's largest Catholic country, Brazil, Cardinal Scherer has also gained considerable Vatican credentials. 

He obtained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and worked at the Congregation for Bishops there. 

He has been seen as a compromise candidate who could satisfy both European and Latin American congregations. On the other hand, the 63-year-old German-Brazilian has not been able to reverse a marked downward trend in the number of Catholics in Latin America. 

Leonardo Sandri, Argentina 

Cardinal Sandri, 63, was born in Buenos Aires in Argentina to Italian parents. 

He became a papal diplomat after ordination and served as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela and Mexico. 

Between 2000 and 2007 he was third-in-command at the Vatican, serving as its chief of staff. 

Towards the end of John Paul II's papacy, he became the ailing pope's spokesman, and it was Cardinal Sandri who delivered the announcement of the Pope's death in St Peter's Square 2005. 

He now heads the Vatican department for Eastern Churches. 

Peter Turkson, Ghana 

Born in western Ghana in October 1948 to a Methodist mother and a Catholic father, Peter Turkson became the first-ever Ghanaian cardinal in 2003 when he was appointed by Pope John Paul II. 

The 64-year-old is the relator, or general secretary, of the Synod for Africa, making him a strong candidate to become the first African pope of the modern age, taking on a mantle that was held during the 2005 Conclave by Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze. 

The last two Popes both served as relators for a synod of bishops. 

Cardinal Turkson is also the head of Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, which released a document in 2011 calling for radical economic reforms to deal with the global recession. 

The document condemned the "idolatry of the market", and Cardinal Turkson expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. 

Theologically, he is seen as a moderate, signalling openness, for example, to the argument that condoms might be appropriate for couples where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not. 

In a BBC interview on Monday, Cardinal Turkson side-stepped a question about whether he could be the next pontiff. 

Luis Tagle, Philippines 

At 55, Luis Tagle is one of the youngest papabili or potential candidates. 

He is archbishop of the Philippines' capital city, Manila - a 2.8 million-strong archdiocese, and he was made a cardinal only a few months ago, in November 2012. 

Cardinal Tagle has gained a reputation as a man of the people - as bishop, he is once said to have ridden a cheap bicycle to a run-down neighborhood in Manila, to deputise for a sick colleague. 

He's also known for inviting beggars outside his cathedral to share a meal with him. Tagle is one of the more media-savvy cardinals. He is a frequent broadcaster in the Philippines and has a presence on Facebook. 

Joao Braz de Aviz, Brazil 

The 65-year-old from Brazil has had his reputation bolstered since taking over as prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in 2011. 

One of eight children, he was born in Mafra, Santa Catarina, and completed his theological studies at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian and Pontifical Lateran Universities. 

As a young parish priest in Brazil he was caught in the cross-fire of an armed robbery, with bullets perforating his lungs, intestines and an eye: some bullet fragments remain lodged in his body. 

Having been made a bishop in 1994 he was appointed archbishop of Brasilia in 2004 and in May 2010 he organised the XVI National Eucharistic Congress to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the city. 

He has focused on the welfare of the poor as espoused by the Liberation Theology popular in Latin America. But he distances itself from its ideological "excesses", saying it almost caused him to abandon his vocation. 

Timothy Dolan, United States 

Cardinal Dolan, 62, from the United States, is the archbishop of the influential New York archdiocese. 

He has extensive pastoral experience, having headed the Milwaukee diocese before that. 

An affable character who has also ably led the US conference of Catholic bishops, he also has strong theological credentials with a PhD in Church History and spent in Rome both as a student and as rector of the North American College. 

However, the very fact that he is American may stand in his way - cardinals are generally seen as reluctant to promote figures from a perceived super power state. 

Gianfranco Ravasi, Italy 

Cardinal Ravasi, 70, has been the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture - or the Vatican's culture minister - for the past five years and so has strong Curial and academic credentials. 

His biblical scholarship has helped him popularise Scripture studies through Italian television, radio and popular magazines. 

Some might see this as a disadvantage if electors seek to promote a pastor rather than a professor 

Before he moved to Rome he was a professor and director of the Ambrosian Library in his native Milan - a highly-regarded hub of theological scholarship. 

A European intellectual seen as a "moderate" ecclesiologic­ally, he is perhaps seen as lacking global experience.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Do people who commit suicide go to hell?

Do people who commit suicide go to hell?
By William J. Byron, S.J.

What is the Catholic Church’s teaching on suicide? Do people who take their own lives go to hell? My son committed suicide. In the note he left, he said he was going to hell for this, but didn’t know what else to do. He made many mistakes, and I made lots of mistakes raising him. I’m truly sorry.
- D.B., Minnesota

No one can appreciate the unimaginable pain that is the ultimate explanation for such a tragic action. No one, therefore, can judge a person whose choice we cannot fathom, whose life we can remember, but cannot restore, and whose pain we cannot understand. This is how the Church tends to look upon suicide today.

The Church teaches that suicide is wrong; it is contrary to the Fifth Commandment. It is an action that runs counter to the proper love of self, as well as love for God, the giver of life. We are stewards of our lives, not owners. The person who takes his or her own life also wrongs others — those who remain experience loss, bewilderment, and grief. You won’t find anything in that teaching about going to hell.

Pity, not condemnation, is the response of the Church. Prayers are offered for the deceased. Mass is celebrated. Burial with dignity, in consecrated ground, is provided for one who dies this way. Not that long ago, Christian burial was denied to those who took their own lives. There may have been another denial at work in those days, too — denial of our inability to understand the pain. We assumed that those who chose to take their own lives were acting freely and under no psychological distress or illness. Or worse, there may have been a denial of responsibility to try to understand the pain. As your son said in the note he left behind, he just didn’t know what else to do.

So for those of us who remain, the Church encourages paying attention to the pain that produced the action. Then, look forward, not back, to pain within ourselves and pain in others, especially when we see no signs and hear no calls for help.

Why do we avoid speaking to one another about inner pain? Why are we not more sensitive to the pain in others’ hearts, or able to read the pain in others’ eyes? Why do we spend millions for “pain relief ” over the counter or by prescription, but not spend the time it takes to encourage those who may be hurting to open up? This kind of thinking is all now part of the Church’s pastoral response to the tragedy of suicide.

It seems to me that there has to be some mysterious insulation enveloping those who commit suicide. Tragically, their minds cannot be read by those around them, nor can they reach out and ask for help. Again, the unimaginable pain.

The Church teaches through liturgy, and the liturgy on occasions like these stresses divine mercy. Take a look at Psalm 103, and recall the dimensions of God’s mercy — as far as the east is from the west, as high as the skies are above the earth.

The Church still teaches that there is a hell, but leaves it to God to decide who should go there. And divine decisions, in this regard, are filtered through divine mercy. Tragedy at the end of this life is no sure sign of an eternal tragedy in the next.