Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
October 9, 2018
ESPECIALLY in our public
discourses regarding ticklish issues, we need to see to it that we
are most aware of a persona-non-grata that is called pride. We
should keep it at bay, exerting appropriate effort to resist its
many strong impulses and urges.
Pride always spoils
dialogue. It feeds on our self-interest to the point of making us
deaf and blind to the points, let alone, the valid points, of the
others. It usually sources its strength more from feelings than from
reason, more from our own estimation of things than from faith that
gives us the full picture of things and leads us to the common good.
Besides, pride usually has
bad manners and employs bad language. It always tries to dominate
the conversation, using bullying tactics. It is more interested in
scoring more points than in earnestly looking for what is true and
fair. Its logic clearly follows the path of selfishness. Charity is
a complete stranger in pride. Suffering and humiliations play no
positive role in pride.
When one, for example, is
accused falsely of something, pride would lead him to react very
badly, and even violently. He cannot stand being misjudged and
mistreated. His pride-stained sense of justice would immediately
give a knee-jerk response along the lines of the tooth-for-a-tooth
law of the wild.
Pride leads one to see
things superficially. There is no depth in its considerations. It
gets entangled in the externals and in the appearances. Besides, it
usually assumes a rigid attitude, unable to be flexible and to adapt
to different circumstances. It makes a person one-track-minded. A
proud person is always closed-minded.
Let’s remember what Christ
said about new wine in new wineskins. It is a lesson about the need
to adapt to different situations without forgetting that we have to
put wine into wineskins, that is, without losing focus on what is
essential and of absolute value. (cfr Lk 5,33-39) There are things
that need to change and things that have to remain unchanged. These
days there is a need to know which is which.
Pride is notorious for its
highly divisive effects. When pride dominates the discussion, it is
possible that both parties can also be both wrong, missing the real
point. They can dirty and destroy each other with no constructive
result in the end.
We have to be extremely
conscious of the workings of pride in us, because it is so embedded
in our systems that we often would not know we are being victimized
by it. A saint once said that pride is so strongly incorporated in
our life that it would only disappear twenty four hours after our
The antidote to pride is,
of course, the virtue of humility. In the context of our
discussions, humility is lived when one is strongly motivated to
find truth under God’s guidance. The search for what is true and
fair in our discourses cannot and should not simply be guided by our
own research and reasoning.
Allowing God to guide us,
always asking for the light of the Holy Spirit, will help us to find
truth and fairness in charity. With God, we would know how to react
to any situation in the course of our dialogues, whether things go
well or not. We would follow closely the example of Christ who is
“the way, the truth and the life.”
With Christ, our motives
will always be pure, and our ways prudent. With Christ, we would
know how to react properly to anything in the course of our
exchanges. We would be willing to suffer, and even to die, for the
truth. The negative things that we can experience in our dialogues
would not dampen our spirit, nor the positive things spoil us.
This kind of humility
should be earnestly pursued and developed to prevent pride from
spoiling our discussions of any issue.
PCID calls for
probe on deaths of 7 youths in Patikul
A statement by Philippine
Center for Islam and Democracy
September 19, 2018
The Philippine Center for
Islam and Democracy, a Muslim think tank based in the University of
the Philippines, is urging the Commission on Human Rights, the
Secretary of National Defense, and the Armed Forces Chief of Staff
to form a committee that would look into the deaths of seven young
men in Sulu and recent bombings in several parts of Mindanao.
PCID is also calling for
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to review the current implementation
of Martial law in Mindanao and investigate reported human rights
violations not just in Sulu but in other parts of Mindanao.
Rasul says government and
stakeholders should act proactively now and establish a national
plan that addresses violent extremism, bearing in mind potential
problems with the implementation of martial law.
Information indicate that
ISIS intends to form a big group composed of remnants of the Maute
Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a
break-away group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) while
taking advantage of situations like the Sulu killings.
PCID is proposing a
gathering of stakeholders with the AFP-SND, to create a plan that
aims to further improve coordination and relationships of assigned
troops in the region and those from the religious and the
Findings show that most
deaths in Mindanao are caused by several factors, among them, the
absence of coordination by the military with community leaders,
miscommunication or lack of information from AFP units operating in
Last Saturday, the AFP
reported the deaths of seven young men in Sulu. Based on reports,
the AFP tagged these teenagers as “terrorists” which run counter
with testimonies of members of the community. Information gathered
show that the youngsters were evacuees from a community in Patikul
who fled the area due to intense military operation against the Abu
Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The priest as
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
September 16, 2018
WE have to understand well
the role of a mediator. He is like a bridge that connects two ends.
A perfect mediator is one where he is both in the one end as in the
other. He just cannot be in one end but not in the other, though he
may orient or dispose himself to the other without reaching it.
Christ is a mediator
between God and man. In fact, he is the sole perfect mediator
because he is both God and man. St. Paul testified to this truth of
our faith. He said, “There is one God and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Tim 2,5)
Christ is the perfect
mediator because he is not only God but is also man. And he is not
only man, but also God. As the Athanasian Creed would put it, Christ
is “perfect God and perfect man.” He is not half God and half man.
The two natures, divine and human, are together in him inseparably
without diluting each other. He is not a ‘mestizo.’
This truth of our faith
is, of course, a mystery. We cannot fully understand it. But we
believe it because Christ said so and this is what the Church now
teaches. “I and the Father are one,” Christ said at one time,
pointing to his divinity. (Jn 10,30)
As to his humanity, St.
Paul said these relevant words: “When the time had fully come, God
sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those
under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Gal
4,4-5) Only a man could be “born under the law.”
This little explanation
about the mediator is important and relevant because we, as human
persons, patterned after Christ, have to learn the ways of a
mediator. Of course, of all men and women, the priests are
especially meant to be mediators, because they are at the forefront
of the task of reconciling men with God.
With the sacrament of Holy
Orders, they are configured to Christ, head of the Church, and
participate in Christ’s task of mediation in a very intimate way.
That is why priests, of all men and women, have to be particularly
adept in this art of mediation.
While they are already
sacramentally configured to Christ as head of the Church, they have
the special, albeit very demanding, duty of truly assuming the mind
and heart of Christ. If everyone is meant to be “another Christ,”
the priests have to be particularly so. They have to lead the way.
This can mean many things.
Their mind and heart should be both on heaven even as they are on
earth. They should exude the fragrance of heaven even as they can
also have the odor of earth, just like what Pope Francis said about
priests as shepherds – they have to have the smell of the sheep
which they tend.
Like Christ, they have to
identify closely both with God and with men. Like Christ, they have
to pray constantly so as to be always in touch with God whose will
and ways they have to follow.
Let’s remember that Christ
said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but to do
the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6,38)
Like Christ, priests have
to mix well with the people, adapting themselves to them all the way
to assuming their sins without committing sin. In this regard, St.
Paul said: “God made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so
that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5,21)
Just imagine what
practical considerations can be made from this ideal of priests as
mediators like Christ!
A reminder on
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
September 5, 2018
BEFORE we get carried away
by the dynamics of our present life, it is good to remind ourselves
that whatever we do or whatever situation we may find ourselves in
any given moment, we are meant for communion with God and with one
another and that we should keep and foster it, and not just tolerate
or suffer it.
Always living in communion
with God and with everybody else is not an option that we are free
to choose or not. It is a necessity for us, although a necessity
that has to be pursued in true freedom. We should live it not
because we are told to live it, but because we just want to live it
(“me da la gana,” in Spanish) and because we are convinced it is
what is essential in our life.
While we will always have
some differences in our life and contend with all kinds of variety
and diversity, we have to remember that all these are not meant to
undermine our communion, but rather to foster it.
differences and conflicts are not meant to be divisive, but rather
to be instrumental in enriching our life as a communion. We just
have to find a way to live and develop that communion amid and even
through these differences and conflicts.
These differences and
conflicts are rich opportunities to mature and purify our love and
care for one another. They can occasion to develop in us the love
that is a reflection and participation of the love that God has for
Obviously, the basis,
source, power and end of communion is God who has also given us all
the means for this communion to be achieved. With God, who reveals
himself in full to us in Christ who in turn is made present in the
world today in the Holy Spirit, we would know how to enter into
communion with everyone including those who for one reason or
another we may consider to be our enemies.
It is only through Christ
that we can manage to love even our enemies. This is the dynamics of
communion. It is to know and to love God and everybody else. It is
to love one another the way Christ has loved us. For this purpose,
like Christ we should be willing to suffer and die in obedience to
God’s will. We have to be ready for suffering which will be
unavoidable in our life.
We have to be wary of our
tendency to react to some issues based on instincts alone, or on our
physical, emotional, psychological, cultural condition alone. We
have to find a way of reacting to things on the basis of our faith
which tells us that whatever we do, we should uphold the ideal of
being in communion with God and with everybody else.
In this regard, it would
be good if we spend some time processing this truth in our prayer,
in our intimate conversation with God from whom we can always ask
for the necessary grace and with whom we can start making the
appropriate strategies to attain the desired ideal.
Indeed, we have to go
through a process of persistent practice until the necessary
attitude and skills are acquired. All the effort needed, to be sure,
will always be worthwhile. In the end, we can see and judge things
better, and make fair decisions that will uphold our need for
communion despite our differences.
We have to remind
ourselves about the need for communion especially nowadays when we
are riven by all sorts of conflicts because of our differences in
political views, ideology and other preferences.
leave OK is PH investment for robust future Filipino workers
ALU Statement on passage
of 100-day Expanded Maternity Leave bill
September 4, 2018
Workers group Associated
Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP)
commends lawmakers for passing today Sept. 4, from third reading a
bill that expands the paid maternity leave from the current 60 and
78 days to 100 days for women workers in private and public sectors
and those working in informal economy regardless of civil status and
legitimacy of child.
ALU-TUCP Vice President
and Women' Committee head Eva Arcos said the passage of the House
Bill 4113 or Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) is a sweet victory for
Filipino women workers who have lobbied and belabored for the
mandatory welfare for more than a decade.
The bill will be
integrated in the bicameral committee meeting with Senate Bill 1305
or the 120-day Expanded Maternity Leave bill sponsored by Sen. Risa
Hontiveros which was passed the Senate third reading on March this
Arcos said the Expanded
Maternity Leave measure is the country's non-cash investment in
producing a healthy, intelligent and well-developed future breed of
Filipino workers without losing the wages and benefits of nursing
moms during maternity period and without sacrificing their health
and well-being, Arcos said.
TUCP Party-list rep.
Raymond Mendoza said the bill gives mothers a minimum of 100 days to
recover from giving birth and at the same time gives time to mother
and child bonding, care and nurture that the child needs to become
fully developed human being.
Arcos said the passage was
made possible after congressmen agreed to limit the maternity leave
benefits to four pregnancies instead of the bill’s initial provision
that the maternity leave benefits afforded to every pregnancy.
of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances: Powerlessness before
A Statement by the Asian
Human Rights Commission
August 30, 2018
Today, the world
commemorates the International Day of the Victims of Enforced
Disappearances. Enforced Disappearances is one of the recurring
tragedies that is happening throughout the world. Many countries,
particularly less-developed countries, now adopt enforced
disappearances as the easiest way of dealing with problems that
Governments find difficult to cope with. The twin evils of enforced
disappearances and extra-judicial killings remain as the two major
problems in several Asian countries.
Bangladesh has recorded
several hundreds of enforced disappearances of political opponents
of the present Ruling Party within the last few months. The matter
has been well publicized. But there have not been any serious
interventions in order to bring an end to this iniquity. Other
countries such as Pakistan, several parts of India, Sri Lanka and
the Philippines are among the countries which are prominent in the
practice of enforced disappearances.
The complexity of dealing
with enforced disappearances is due to the many sections that are
involved in causing enforced disappearances. On the one hand, the
orders for clearance of the policy of resorting to enforced
disappearances involve the topmost layers of governments. Carrying
out its resort goes to the military, police and also para-military
sections. The moment a Policy of Disappearances is approved by a
Government, there begins to develop a secret state within the state.
With Government sanction, the open state comes to a standstill and
the secret state begins to operate.
Entire legal procedures
regarding arrest and detention are virtually suspended. Allowance is
made for secret arrests and secret detentions as well as secret
torture chambers. Basic functions within the State relating to the
judging of guilt and punishment comes to a halt. Judges totally lose
their role in dealing with matters of arrests, detentions, and fair
trial. The place of the Judges is taken over by ordinary Police
Officers, the military and even para-military. Secret decisions are
made about the LIFE of a person, and these decisions are IMMEDIATELY
claim that there will be inquiries into the matter and the guilty
will be prosecuted, this hardly ever happens. It is due to the
complexity of the operations and the many powerful persons who are
associated with these operations. A simple argument that develops at
this point is: the Government has authorized and even ordered us to
carry out such operations. How can they now demand that we should be
punished for carrying out such orders?
prevalent today has also failed to address this important issue.
Somehow a matter of such great importance goes virtually unnoticed.
Any amount of jurisprudential thought on these issues, and
international policy development in dealing with Governments which
are engaged or have been engaging in disappearances, IS NOT VISIBLE
As another year goes by,
there will be many additional victims of Enforced Disappearances.
Will there be an attempt, at both local and international levels, to
put up severe resistance to end this practice? This includes the
restoration of the other factors of: a fair trial and the role of
Judges in this equation. This remains as one of the major issues
that concern Human Rights in our world today. When the lives of so
many people are so blatantly destroyed, how can Human Rights be
spoken of with any kind of significance and importance?
THIS IS THE QUESTION THAT
PEOPLE ARE ASKING.
The fate of Victims of
Enforced Disappearances is one of the urgent concerns voiced today.
Victims should be given more protection. Victims should and need to
be heard by all sectors of society. A genuine response to their
cries for help is what is needed NOW.
honor our parents
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
August 23, 2018
LET’S never forget the
fourth commandment. In fact, with the current temper of the times,
we have to reintensify our observance of this commandment that seems
to be taken for granted nowadays for a number of reasons.
For one, there seems to be
a generalized weakening of family life in the world today. More
parents are getting alienated from their children and vice-versa due
to some developments whose impact on family life is not well
There are some laws that
actually undermine family life, such as the law on abortion, etc.
And there are now many aspects of our social and professional life
that contribute to this weakening of family life.
We have to remind everyone
that the honor, respect, obedience we owe to our parents is due
first of all by the fact that they are our first connection with
God. It was through them that God put us into existence.
We have to remember that
we all come from God, and not only from our parents. When we see our
parents, we have to learn to see God immediately behind them. They
are the first representative of God to us.
Yes, they all have their share of weaknesses, mistakes and sins,
some of them grave, but all these do not and cannot detract from the
fact that they are our procreators who cooperated with the Creator
in bringing us to life.
They may even beget
children through the commission of a crime, like rape. But that
again does not take away the truth that they have been an instrument
of God in putting a person into existence.
A child is not only a
biological being. He has a spiritual soul even while he is still at
the first stage of fertilization and gestation. That is why a
fertilized human egg is not just a matter of cells. He is already a
person with a human spiritual soul.
Parents, of course, should
try their best to realize deeply the dignity and the serious
responsibility they have. They should not play around with their
status as parents.
But as far as the children
are concerned, they are duty-bound to honor and love their parents.
St. Paul already spoke clearly about this duty: “Children, obey your
parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing
to do.” (Eph 6,1) And, “Children, obey your parents in all things,
for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” (Col 3,20)
Children should try their
best to make their parents happy all the time. They should avoid as
much as possible to give them problems, especially the unnecessary
ones. They should be quick to lend a hand in the house chores. They
should prepare themselves for the time when they will have to take
care of their parents in their old age.
Inculcating this duty in
the mind and heart of the children is crucial because this is the
first step that everyone learns how to obey other legitimate
authorities. Let’s remember that we as social beings, let alone
political ones also, always have to be subject to some authority,
and it is important that we know how to be subject to authority.
Everyone should be
reminded that any legitimate authority we have in this life is
always a participation in the authority of God. Consider the
following words of St. Paul:
“Everyone must submit to
governing authorities. For all authority comes from God and those in
positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who
rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has
instituted, and they will be punished…” (Rom 13,1-2)
So, it’s clear that the
commandment of honoring our parents, our first authority on earth,
paves the way to our proper submission to the other authorities in
On the return of the
joint statement by Linganay ng Kalayaan, Kilos na Para sa Makabayang
Edukasyon, and Alliance of Concerned Teachers
August 13, 2018
The Linganay ng Kalayaan
(Bells of Freedom), Kilos na Para sa Makabayang Edukasyon and
Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines welcome the news of the
impending return of the bells of Balangiga as a positive step
towards correcting the centuries-old historical injustice committed
by the United States against the Filipino people. This is a victory
achieved by the Filipino people that should be considered as part of
the long and arduous campaign in the assertion of Philippine
sovereignty and independence.
The Balangiga bells form
part of the large number of war booties that the American occupation
troops stashed away from the Philippines in the long and bloody
Filipino-American War of 1898-1913.
The war resulted in the
deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, the large-scale
burning of villages and the pillaging of communities by American
troops that annexed the archipelago and robbed them of the fruits of
freedom that they already had after the Philippine Revolution
In the pretext of
“Benevolent Assimilation,” the American occupation transformed the
islands into their Asian outpost as part of their colonial design to
create an American Lake in the Pacific region. This they did by
creating a submissive colonial bureaucracy and political system,
institutionalizing a Western-type of American educational system,
and ensuring the continuous economic, political, and military
dependence of the Philippines to the United States even after the
granting of 'independence'.
In the half century of
colonial occupation and in the ensuing long campaign to suppress
Filipino resistance against American imperialism, the military
campaigns of the United States in the archipelago provided the
perfect opportunity for the systematic, organized, and institutional
plunder and pillaging of Filipino cultural and historical artifacts
and objects that were brought to the United States. A great number
of them are now deposited in museums, historical collections,
archives, and government and military installations scattered in
various American territories.
The Balangiga bells was
the most notable of these artifacts that was symbolic of the
tradition of collecting colonial war booty American aggression.
These should be returned to the Filipino communities that
legitimately owned them. The collection of war booties should also
be viewed as part of the historical injustice committed by the
occupation troops and should be acknowledged as such.
The United States should
complete the correction of historical injustice committed against
the Filipino people after the return of the bells, by ensuring that
all the other war booties be properly returned to the Philippines.
Most importantly, historical injustice resulting from the war crimes
committed by the United States in the colonial occupation of the
Philippines must finally be acknowledged by the American government
by way of formally apologizing to the Filipino people.
committed by American colonial institutions continues to this day by
way of the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense
Cooperation Agreement, and the Mutual Defense Treaty that ensures
the persistence of colonial ties between the two countries. These
provide yet another series of institutional mechanisms that make
available the conditions for the continuation of plunder and pillage
of local communities by foreign military troops. The lessons of
history must provide the Filipino people the right path of asserting
Filipino independence and sovereignty the way the people's
resistance in Balangiga heroically showed us. Never again should
another series of colonial wars of aggression be experienced in the
Return the Balangiga Bells
and all the War Booties Now!
Historical Justice for the
No to Another series of US
Wars of Aggression!
August 8, 2018
NOW that Pope Francis has
made it a Church doctrine that the death penalty is inadmissible, we
have to review the basis for the true value of human life.
We cannot exaggerate the
value of human life, since it is a life meant to have an eternal
relation with God, its creator. Even if that life is deformed
physically and morally, God will always love it and will do
everything to save it. That is why abortion and euthanasia or mercy
killing are wrong. They go against the fifth commandment: Thou shalt
And capital punishment,
while approved or at least tolerated in the past, is also wrong,
because no matter how bad or criminal a person is, his life can
still be saved by the infinite mercy of God. From the Book of
Ezekiel, we read: “As I live, said the Lord God, I have no pleasure
in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way
and live.” (33,11)
The reason behind its
approval or tolerance in the past is the protection of the common
good. But this reason does not hold water anymore since there are
many other ways the common good can be protected today without
resorting to the death penalty.
Besides, given the many
imperfections of our legal systems, we cannot risk the loss of life
just because of a guilty sentence of the judicial process. The
abolition of the death penalty would, of course, challenge us to be
more determined in reforming the offender. This may be the area
where many of us are still hesitant to tackle.
Human life is, of course,
not just any other life here in the world. Plants and animals also
have life but they do not have a spiritual soul as their principle
of life. Theirs is a soul that is simply a product of a combination
of earthly elements that would enable them to grow, move, act in
some manner. But it is a soul that disappears with their death.
Human life has a spiritual
soul as its principle, and as such, it can survive death. It is
immortal and is, in fact, meant for eternal life. It is a soul that
comes directly from God and is forever in a relation with God. It is
not a soul that is transmitted by human reproduction.
In some passages of the
Bible, there is a reference to a distinction between soul and
spirit. This is mentioned for example in 1 Thessalonians 5,23: “May
your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
My take in this
distinction between the spirit and the soul is that the spirit
refers to our spiritual soul that needs to be nourished by its union
with God, while the soul refers to those aspects of our soul that
are akin to the soul of the plants and the animals with whom we also
To be sure, we only have
one soul, and it is spiritual, though that soul may be affected and
conditioned by the similarities it shares with the plant and animal
soul. It is this spiritual soul of ours that makes for the basis of
the real value of human life.
Having said that, we can
also say that out of love for God and for all men, human life can be
sacrificed as what happens in the cases of martyrdom and in the
crucifixion of Christ himself. As Christ said, this is the greatest
proof of love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s
life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15,13)
In fact, we have to look
forward to our own death and somehow give our life up little by
little by denying ourselves and carrying the cross to follow Christ