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PASTORAL APPEAL TO OUR LAW ENFORCERS

PASTORAL APPEAL TO OUR LAW ENFORCERS

Appeal to Reason and Humanity. Seek peace and pursue it (Ps.34:14)

Brothers and sisters enforcers of the law:

Peace be with you!

We commend you, our law enforcers, on your new-found earnestness in enforcing the law and in apprehending malefactors, but we are disturbed by an increasing number of reports that suspected drug-peddlers, pushers and others about whom reports of criminal activity have been received, have been shot, supposedly because they resist arrest.

It is equally disturbing that vigilantism seems to be on the rise.  Media has carried reports of bodies, apparently of homicide or murder victims, showing up on whom placards announcing their supposed crimes are writ large!

Appeal to Humanity in Us

As your bishops, we offer the following guidelines:

1.   One can “shoot to kill” solely on the ground of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others.  Law and jurisprudence have sufficiently spelled out the elements of self-defense, and for purposes of Catholic morality, it is necessary to emphasize that you, as law enforcers, can “shoot to kill” only first, when there is unjust provocation; second, when there is a real, not only conjectural, threat to your life or to the lives and safety of others; third, when there is due proportion between the threat posed and your own use of a firearm aimed at the threatening subject.

2.   To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified.  Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the ground of certainty.

3.   When the arrest of a suspect is attempted, and the suspect endeavors to flee or to escape from the scene, every attempt by non-lethal means should be made to stop the suspect from fleeing and if shot at, every attempt should be made to spare the fleeing suspect from death, unless the escape of such a victim clearly and immediately puts others in harm’s way.

4.   It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another.  When bounty-hunting takes the form of seeking out suspects of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror of the reward, one is hardly any different from a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected offender.

5.   It is the moral duty of every Catholic, every Christian, in fact, to report all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge.  For greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any participation and any form of cooperation with vigilantes and vigilante movements.

We Must Fight Criminality But…

The impunity with which offenders of the law carry on with their criminal activity also points out flaws in our criminal justice system but remembering that the community is as much a pillar of this system as are all other components, members of the Community — Christians especially — should not be too quick to point accusing fingers at law-enforcers, prosecutors and judges.  We must all ask ourselves whether or not by our silence, our indifference, or worse, our acts, we may have contributed to the proliferation of crime and the increase in criminal activity.

We understand the difficulties that law-enforcers face, the daily risk to life and limb, but not only civil society but also the Church counts on them for the flourishing of a society where all enjoy the blessings of a regime under laws that are just and institutions that are fair.

We beg our prosecutors and judges to remain firm in their consecration to justice, for there can be no greater insult to the Creator than to use the gifts of intelligence, discernment and one’s success at legal studies for ends contrary to builds the Body of Christ and contributes the building of the Kingdom of God.  “To all to whom much has been given, much will be expected.”

Do Not Set God Aside

God never gave up on us.  We have no right giving up on ourselves or on our brothers and sisters.  Jesus came to restore the harmony of Paradise.  Let no one ever raise his hand against his brother or sister, for the blood that is shed — even if it be the blood of one we suspect of crime — cries to heaven for justice!

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Intramuros, Manila, June 20, 2016

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan President, CBCP

 

UNDERSTANDING SILENCE….

Are we still at ease with silence? Has the noise of violence and terror drowned the voice of quiet conscience? Do we always interpret silence as fear of the cowards; the destiny imposed on the unwilling mute; the refuge of the guilty?

It is not always so.

There is nobility in silence like the silence of the lambs brought to slaughter in the temple to atone for sins. There is the silence of the desert mystics that pierced the hidden secrets of the heart of God. There is the silence of the woman who treasured all those things in her heart. Silence indeed is the language of God and only those who speak silence will be able to grasp Him.

Mine is the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate. Mine is the silence of the tears from mourning trying to fathom the mystery of death. Mine is the silence of prayer contemplating the divine mysteries. Mine is the silence of the bud blooming quietly without calling attention to itself. Mine is the silence of a hopeful mother waiting to give birth to her infant. Mine is the language of peace that refuses the dark magic of revenge. Mine is the silence of the vigilant waiting for destiny to unfold. Mine is the silence of respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold.

There is virtue in silence. There is virtue in speech. Wisdom is knowing when it is time for silence and when is the timing for speech.

You can understand my speech if you speak the language of silence. You can understand my silence if you know how to love like Him who was born one silent night.

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

 

Circular 2016-19: Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

June 1, 2016

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr

Circular 2016-19

RE: Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen Dagupan

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor ELMER MANGALINAO titular bishop of Urusi and auxiliary bishop of Lingayen Dagupan. His appointment is a blessing for us in our archdiocese.  Prior to his appointment, he was a priest of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.

As we await his episcopal ordination and the day of his arrival in our archdiocese, liturgical norms prescribe that we include his name in the Eucharistic Prayer.

In the English form, after mentioning Pope Francis, the presider says “Socrates our bishop, Elmer his assistant bishop and all the clergy”.

In the Pangasinan form, the liturgical text will be “tan si Socrates ya Obispo mi, si Elmer a katulongan to, tan amin a clero.”

In the succeeding weeks, we shall receive more information about his ordination and his liturgical reception among us. He will certainly reside and hold office at the Cathedral of Saint John in Dagupan City.

Please pray for him and pray for me. I assure you of my prayers too.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

 

GET UP, LET US GO! (Matthew 26:46) CBCP Post Election Statement

GET UP, LET US GO! (Matthew 26:46)

CBCP Post Election Statement

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Mt. 28:18)

This is the Lord Jesus’ ultimate claim to universal kingship and dominion.  These are the words of the Ascended One, gloriously sitting at the right hand of the Father.

We wrote to you before the elections.  We write to you once more now that the elections are done.

Several critical, even spiteful, voices have asked us to desist from “interfering” in politics.  We cannot.  We do not aspire after office and we have sought none.  We do not even impose upon the Catholic faithful a set of anointed candidates.  But it would be a denial of Christ’s universal lordship were we to desist from reminding his disciples of what fidelity to him — in all things, including political life — demands.

The votes have been cast and are now being counted.

To those who have been voted to office, we assure them of our prayers, principally for wisdom, that they may discern God’s will for his people and courageously do as he bids.  God’s hand is to be recognized in the events of history.  Credit then your victory, neither to fame nor popularity, but to God who calls you to service and to care for the weakest and the most distressed in our midst.  Children need care that cannot be postponed.  And many women still find themselves in situations of exploitation.  Indigenous peoples remain marginalized and the vaunted growth in the economy still has to mean something significant for Filipinos living outside urban areas.

To those who did not succeed, you, as persons, as sons and daughters of God, are infinitely so much more than the positions after which you aspired.  Rather than becoming despondent and discouraged, you should challenge yourselves by asking how it is that the Risen Lord sends you “to make disciples of all nations“.  Surely there are so many other ways to contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God.  It is for you to discover your paths, in faith and in docility to God’s spirit.

The greatest promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant collaboration, and that offer, we make now.  We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all, and we shall continue to be vigilant so that ever so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to admonish and to correct — for this is our vocation.

Get up now let us go…

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, May 9, 2016

+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

President, CBCP

 

On the QUESTION of Kneeling or Standing After the Consecration Until After the GREAT AMEN During the Eucharistic Celebration

March 19, 2016

Your Eminences and Excellencies,

During the January 2016 112thCBCP Plenary Assembly in Cebu, there was a discussion on the issue of standing or kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. The discussion included a question on why we do not continue kneeling after the consecration until after the Amen. After a short discussion, the Permanent Council of the CBCP was tasked to look into this issue.

So, at the March 15, 2016 meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council one of the issues discussed was this issue on the posture of standing after the consecration and to keep standing or of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer. This is the reason for this letter.

Before the 1990s, we can still recall that we had the established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

In the 1990s the practice of standing after the consecration was begun. This change in the established practice was based on the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist which were approved by the CBCP in January 1990. Number 3 of the 1990 Guidelines states: “The people should kneel from the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer…. If the acclamation after the consecration is sung, the people may stand for it and keep standing.” However, in reality the practice became always standing after the consecration until the Amen.

In January 2003 at the 86th CBCP Plenary Assembly, one of the proposals that the CBCP approved to include among the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002was:“Proposed Philippine Adaptation: ‘In the Philippines, the people kneel after the Sanctus, rise for the memorial acclamation, and kneel after the Lamb of God.’”

In both instances, the 1990 Guidelines for the Eucharist and the proposed Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002, no recognitio was ever received from Rome.

Specifically for the Philippine Adaptations to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal 2002 that were submitted to Rome, no answer was ever received. Archbishop Romulo Valles, during an ad limina visit in September 2003,made a follow up at the office of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the status the Philippine proposed adaptations.After that, until up to now we have not received a formal written reply.

In February 2016, Bishop Julius Tonel, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy, made a query with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments about this specific proposed adaptation. In reply to his query, it was confirmed that a formal reply or recognitio had never been given.

With the above information, we sought the advice of some of our bishops knowledgeable in the Code of Canon Law. They have responded that no answer or silence from Rome means that the recognitio has not been given. Without the recognitio the CBCP does not have the authority to make or implement any such adaptation. This being the case, we have to revert to the established practice before the request.

Based on the above documented information, the Permanent Council came to the decision that we must ABANDON the practice of standing after the consecration until the Amen as we do not have the authority to make such an adaptation nor do we have the authority to implement it. We must go back to the previously established practice of kneeling after the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

To go back to our established practice is very much in keeping with our current General Instructions of the Roman Missal, approved by the CBCP and given the needed recognitio from Rome, published in the Philippine Edition of the Roman Missal of 2011. Number 43 states: “Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer …, it is laudable for this practice to be retained.”

Another way of saying this is that we go back our established practice where the people kneel beginning after the Sanctus and remain kneeling until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer knowing that this is in harmony with the present GIRM.

You are kindly requested to inform our clergy and Catholic faithful about this re statement of position and lead them, through liturgical catechesis, to deepen our reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament. The spirit of the law is to observe greater reverence for the Real Presence.

We remind you of some lines contained in our Pastoral Exhortation to Open the 2016 Year of the Eucharist and the Family:

Kneeling is part of our Christian culture. We cannot abandon or set aside the culture of kneeling in favor of the culture that says as freemen we must face God on our feet. Bending the knee before the tabernacle in genuflection, kneeling down at the celebration of the Eucharist, kneeling down to adore the exposed Blessed Sacrament—these are little but sublime acts of adoration that we must preserve and protect.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

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