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Tagle urges lay participation in ‘Season of Creation’

MANILA, August 28, 2014 — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Monday has called on the Catholic faithful to be responsible “stewards of creation” by taking part in the annual “Season of Creation” celebration of the Archdiocese of Manila this coming September.

In a statement, Tagle urged the faithful to “reinvigorate the much needed sense of responsibility for environmental ecology as well as for human ecology,” noting that caring for one’s neighbor goes hand-in-hand with nurturing God’s creation.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (Photo: CBCP News)

“This Season is meant to be a [time] when we truly ‘thank God for the many ways He has gifted our land and resolve to cherish and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future generations of Filipinos’,” Tagle said, echoing the words of the 1988 Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Pastoral Letter “What Is Happening to Our Beautiful Land.”

The Season of Creation, which was first celebrated by the Manila Archdiocese in 2013, is a month-long celebration that aims to implement programs that will emphasize the importance of creation as a “priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into his own image and likeness.”

Serving as the Manila Archdiocese’s response to the call made by the CBCP on environmental protection 11 years ago, the ecological campaign aims to recognize and “praise the Lord as the God of Creation.”

Lay participation

This 2014, the Season of Creation will be launched on September 1 through a concelebrated mass to be officiated by Tagle at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church) in Parañaque.

It will run from September 1 (Creation Day) and end on October 4 (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi).

“I ardently encourage you to be part of this event and also to raise awareness among your parishioners, constituents and students, so they, too, may meaningfully take part in it and in all other celebrations during our Season of Creation,” Tagle said.

Different parishes and schools within the Manila archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses are expected to join the celebration, emphasizing the importance of the environment through various liturgical, catechetical, and religious initiatives.

Among the proposed activities for the campaign are the inclusion of creation spirituality in liturgies, multi-media activities, environmental symposia, and essay-writing contest, among others.

Preserving beauty, sacredness

Tagle also urged church leaders to “integrate the theme and spirit of the Season of Creation in our liturgical celebrations” to provide a “prayerful setting for thanksgiving to God for creation.”

“Let us educate and form the faithful in our vocation to be stewards of creation, co-workers of God in developing the goods of the earth for the benefit of all, the promotion of the common good and the stability of future generations,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)




Education for poor, not CCT—bishop

MALAYBALAY City, Bukidnon, August 28, 2014—Amid controversies surrounding the project, a churchman from Bukidnon suggests the money being rolled out for the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program should be redirected to subsidize the education of the Filipino youth instead.

Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan believes the P1,500-P2,000 cash “gift” indigent Filipino families receive monthly will be better off funding the studies of poor but deserving students.

The “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (Four P’s) aims to address extreme poverty and hunger in the country through cash gifts. (Photo: CBCP News)

Cabantan shared over Radyo Veritas that investing in education must be a government priority because it opens enormous opportunities for the underprivileged to improve their lot in life.

Eradicating extreme poverty

The bishop noted CCT, or what beneficiaries more popularly refer to as “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (Four P’s), is one of the ways the Philippine government uses to achieve the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiated by the United Nations (UN).

The UN website explains MDGs are the “world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability”.

“I think this is really in line with MDG 2015. In terms of poverty alleviation through education, I doubt if they have reached the goal,” said he.

According to pantawid.dswd.gov.ph, the goals being targeted by PH are as follows:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

“Culture of dependency”

Cabantan said MDGs promote population control, which the UN and other proponents see as necessary for eventual progress.

In an earlier report, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz criticized the CCT program, saying it breeds a “culture of dependency” among the Filipino poor.

The former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) head emphasized CCT, while it ostensibly “relieves the neediest, actually injures the beneficiaries’ dignity and self-worth, because they are conditioned to believe it is only right to regularly collect money they did not earn.”

Cruz stressed the program teaches people the “wrong values in life” even as it offers “corrupt politicians” a chance to steal and the means to manipulate future voters.

For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, who chairs CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), believes CCT must be given a chance, urging the government to push for an “external evaluation” before it decides on whether to continue or to scrap the much-battered program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (Raymond A. Sebastián)