“Keep the doors
of the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks open”
A Statement of the
Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform on the GRP-NDFP peace talks
November 24, 2017
The Philippine Ecumenical
Peace Platform (PEPP) is saddened over the government’s
“cancellation of all planned meetings” and its pronouncement that
“there will be no peace negotiations” with the National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The official statement by Sec.
Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (OPAPP) states that the decision was “in line with President
Duterte’s directive that there will be no more peace talks with
them”. The reason stated for the cancellation was due to “…recent
tragic and violent incidents” committed by the rebels. The PEPP
believes that this cancellation of peace negotiations is equally
tragic, if not more.
As church people, we find
nothing more tragic than the refusal of warring parties to continue
to open the doors for dialogue that can result to further escalation
of violence. President Rodrigo Duterte stated that he does not want
talk to the NDFP especially after an ambush by the New People’s Army
(NPA) has resulted in the death of an infant. The NDFP on the other
hand have accused the military of attacking communities suspected of
supporting the NPA. The war is intensifying, and it can only get
We have always maintained
that outstanding and delicate issues should be resolved through
principled dialogue over the negotiating table. Both the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP have made
pronouncements that great strides towards peace have been made in
the several formal rounds of talks between the two parties under the
Duterte Administration and facilitated by the Royal Norwegian
Government (RNG). These positive results from the talks should be
pursued and not abandoned. The roots of the armed conflict should be
addressed and this could be achieved through the negotiations.
Furthermore, both parties
have already signed agreements that will address incidents of
violence. The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the supplementary
agreement to revive and strengthen the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC)
is a feasible instrument to use in times like these. Both parties
have also shown a sincere willingness to resolve this conflict that
has been ongoing for close to 50 years through peace talks. There
were already advances in the negotiations for the Comprehensive
Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and a possible
bilateral ceasefire agreement.
We call on both the GRP
and the NDFP to stay the course and resume the peace talks, for a
better “...future awaits those who seek peace” (Psalms 37:37). It is
in this spirit that we also appeal to the government to reconsider
its plan to categorize the NPA as a terrorist organization as this
will incite more violence and virtually close the door to the peace
We enjoin all peace-loving
Filipinos to continually pray and tirelessly work for peace. May the
blessing of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who came into the
world as a vulnerable child, remind us that our calling as
Christians is to pursue peace both in our individual lives and in
the life of the nation.
November 24, 2017
It is a sad reality that
the world is undergoing a very quick moral decadence. The loss of
the sense of sin is probably one of the worst calamities that have
befallen mankind. Urged by some force, man seems eager to return to
the chaos of paganism that was miraculously conquered by Christ.
Somehow connected to this
loss of the sense of sin, there seems to be a popular belief –
whether silently practiced or explicitly professed- that demands God
not to be mentioned, invoked, or remembered, in any place apart from
churches. This aggressive hostility towards God is sadly
accommodated by many baptized catholics. Secularism has been adapted
by numerous Christians who attend mass on Sundays and who seem to
forget the words of the Divine Redeemer, “Whoever is ashamed of me
and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in
his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels ( Lk
This dictatorship of the
enemies of Christ seems to laughably forget that the infinity of God
cannot be confined in the church yard.
There is no human action
from which God can exclude himself. Whether we believe it, like it
or not, God is present in all things; the reign of God encompasses
all things, all of man’s actions.
In this sense, the reign
of Christ our king should dominate all aspects of human life, human
actions- from the greatest of our endeavors, to the slightest use of
a toothpick. The reign of Christ then is totalitarian- not the
totalitarianism of tyranny but the totalitarianism of Love, Justice,
and Mercy. This totalitarian reign does not violently impose itself;
it lovingly invites all men to be subjected to it.
Men who have the privilege
of receiving the sacraments are rightly privileged to be subjected
to the gentle rule of Christ. It is therefore unbecoming of
catholics, soldiers of the Lord of the universe, to think that the
name of their king, Jesus Christ, can only be mentioned in the
Church, to think that God has no place beyond the parish parking
lot, that God cannot be remembered, mentioned, invoked in other
areas of human life. It is then unbecoming for the soldiers of
Christ to laugh at, accommodate, or tolerate blasphemies against
their Lord in any form. It is unacceptable for the sons of God,
soldiers of Christ to be the source of blasphemies, be they blunt or
discreet. It is unthinkable for a Christian to concede to secularism
or to anything that ignores or his hostile to Christ.
Christ cannot be king only
in our hearts- the world is enormous and we only give him this
handful of flesh?!- He has to be king in all aspects of our lives.
All human actions should be undertaken in his honor. All our
endeavors should contribute to the greater glory of God in the
salvation of souls.
Sons of the Church,
soldiers of Christ must then oppose, by all means, secularism. The
sons of Holy Mother Church must then vanquish this weapon, this tool
of the perfidious enemies of Christ who labor to return the world to
the chaos of paganism, to the chaos of sin. “The manifold evils in
the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust
Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no
place either in private affairs or in politics… and as long as
individuals and states refuse to submit to the rule of our Savior,
there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among
nations (Quas Primas, Pius XI, 1925).” Secularism will bring nothing
but confusion and discord. Men of God must oppose this notion even
to the shedding of their blood – as a witness to Christ their King.
The World, all things, all
men must be subjected to the kingship of our Lord and savior for
true order, peace and justice to remain. Christ must reign not only
in our hearts; “He must reign in our minds, which should assent with
perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the
doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey
the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which
should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and
cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our
members,which should serve as instruments for the interior
sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle
Paul, as instruments of justice unto God (Quas Primas, Pius XI,
The malice of the enemy,
of the devil could never be extinguished until the glorious coming.
The sons of the Church must then struggle against them, as long as
the Church stands- she will stand until the end of time-, as long as
the Judge of mankind has not returned to purge this world of evil.
Blessed then are these men for God shall reward them for their
unwavering resolve, they “shall flourish like the palm tree,shall
grow like a cedar of Lebanon” (Ps XCII, 13).
Arise, therefore, men of
God, Sons of the Church! Soldiers of Christ-whose reign will not
end, cuius regni non erit finis-, to arms in the name of your king!
Crush by the power of God, the enemies of Christ who labor to bring
these world to the chaos of sin. Bring this world into the loving
empire of Christ. Let Christ your king conquer, reign, and command-
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!
*Lance Patrick Enad y
Caballero (email@example.com), 18 is a Grade XII seminarian in
Pope John XXIII Seminary of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
The purpose of
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
November 21, 2017
WE really have to know why
the cross is essential and indispensable in our life. And by knowing
the purpose of the cross, we mean that we need to refer everything
in our life to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ where
the cross plays a crucial role.
Yes, that’s right. We need
to refer everything to the cross because that is how everything in
our life, whether good or bad, big or small, spiritual or material,
would find its true and ultimate meaning and purpose.
We need to know the
purpose of the cross because in the first place Christ himself said
that to follow him, we need not only to deny ourselves but also to
carry the cross daily. (cfr Lk 9,23)
Christ, who as the Son of
God and the perfect image that God has of himself, is the pattern of
our humanity since God created us in his image and likeness. As the
Son of God who became man, he is the redeemer and restorer of our
damaged humanity. That’s why he described himself as the way, the
truth and the life for us. (cfr Jn 14,6)
We need to know the
purpose of the cross because the cross, through Christ’s passion,
death and resurrection, is where everything in our life is resolved.
Christ’s passion, death and resurrection is the culmination of
Christ’s redemptive mission on earth.
Yes, Christ preached. He
performed miracles. But in the end, he had to offer his life on the
cross because no matter what he did, our sins are such that they
simply cannot be undone and forgiven through the preaching of the
truths of our faith and the tremendous effects of the miracles.
Christ has to offer his life on the cross!
We might ask, if Christ is
God, why did he have to go through all that suffering and death? Why
not just say, “Everything is now all right, guys.” As God, nothing
is impossible with him. With the movement of his will, with a flick
of his hand, everything would be as it should be.
I must say, it is a good
question to ask. Indeed, nothing is impossible with God. He does not
have to do anything spectacular to repair what was damaged. A word
from him, and everything would be as he wants it to be.
Be that as it may, the
fact is that Christ chose the way the Father wanted it. “Not my
will, but yours be done,” Christ said. (Lk 22,42) And I imagine the
reason behind this is because God respects our human nature as it
is, as it has been created by him, capable of loving and hating, and
also capable of being faithful and unfaithful and faithful again
after some conversion.
The return to fidelity,
given our nature, will unavoidably involve suffering and death which
Christ took to himself shows us the way of how to go about these
consequences of our sins.
That is why, it’s always
recommendable to meditate often on the passion, death and
resurrection of Christ, so we would learn to have some healthy
abhorrence against sin and temptations, as well as to develop the
capacity to suffer calmly with Christ to make up for our unavoidable
This is the purpose of the
cross in our life. It is to instill in us the proper attitude and
virtues with respect to our sin, before it is committed and also
after it is committed.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
November 17, 2017
WE need to learn to
distinguish between the two and to make the proper choice. Nowadays,
with all the noise and constant barrage of ideas, words, views,
opinions, doctrines, etc., we get the impression that we do not know
anymore whether we are being brainwashed or are really fed and
nourished by the truth, and everything that truth brings with it –
charity, fairness, justice, peace, joy, order…
In the social media that
includes not only written words but also videos, we get to see
fierce exchanges from different parties with all sorts of ideologies
and cultures and religions. Of course, we strive to live in a
democratic world where tolerance and diversity are fostered, but we
can wonder if we are actually fed by the truth or are simply
indoctrinated, conditioned and mind-controlled.
I am reminded of what St.
Paul once said. “For the time will come,” he said, “when people will
not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires,
they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what
their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim 4,3)
In other words, many
people nowadays are not anymore interested in really knowing and,
much less, living the objective universal truth about the world and
us. They are more interested in pursuing what they want to the
extent that they now try to impose their ideas and biases on others.
There seems to be a systematic way of brainwashing people.
That is why there is so
much nitpicking and fault-finding, so much casuistic and polemical
argumentation in the discussions. A toxic atmosphere of
contentiousness is generated where intrigues, discord and division
This is not anymore
happening solely in the world of politics and business where a
certain diversity of positions and opinions is legitimate. It is now
also happening in the world of faith and beliefs where truths that
are supposed to be objective and universal are meant to keep us in
unity, though not necessarily in uniformity.
The secret of knowing how
to distinguish and of properly choosing between being brainwashed
and being truth-fed is simply by being truly with God. After all,
God is the Creator of the whole universe. He is the author of
reality in all its aspects, material spiritual, natural and
supernatural, temporal and eternal, etc.
With him we can discern
the truth that always goes together with charity and all its
complementary virtues. Let’s remember that charity is the mother
virtue, the one that gives all the other virtues their true
character as virtues.
The truth in charity is
also the one that will last forever, that will bring us to our
eternal destination with God in heaven. It is what fully satisfies
our dignity as image and likeness of God, children of his.
We need to be in vital
union with God, something that is always possible since God always
makes himself available to us, in order to be in the truth that goes
together with charity. Otherwise, there is no other way but to be
brainwashed by certain false ideologies and unsound doctrine.
As St. Paul would put it,
with God “we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and
carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in
craftiness, after the wiles of error...” (Eph 4,14) We need to
dominate the world of public opinion, not dominated by it. We need
to be its master, not its slave.
development and synergy
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
November 13, 2017
IT’S, of course, good that
our political leaders are talking about inclusive development and
growth. Let’s hope the interest in genuine and is sustained to its
last consequences. We just have to clarify what “inclusive
development” really means, see what ways we can achieve it and what
things it requires.
Inclusive development is
when such development and growth is a product of the work or due
contribution of all the components of a given society. It also means
that the fruits of development are equitably distributed and enjoyed
This is the ideal. The
reality is, of course, always a work in progress with all kinds of
hurdles to overcome. But one thing is clear. All efforts to pursue
this ideal simply cannot be based on some economic, social or
political maneuverings alone, much less, on some systems and
The first requirement is
that all efforts in this regard, be they economic, social or
political in character, should be an offshoot of a genuine spirit of
a universal and inclusive love and concern for the integral
development of everyone.
Without this spirit
clearly motivating all these efforts, things just cannot prosper and
are doomed to collapse sooner or later. There might be some
temporary advantages and benefits, but for sure these cannot last
long and may even be a sweet poison.
And this spirit is none
other than the spirit of Christ who is the pattern of our humanity
in all its aspects, and the redeemer of our damaged human condition
here on earth. This spirit of Christ continues to intervene in our
life, shaping and directing it to its proper end. We need to
correspond to this reality as fully as possible.
When we have this spirit
of Christ, we will realize that inclusive development is a matter of
truly loving everyone as he or she is, and also as he or she ought
to be. It does not treat everyone in the same way, since not
everyone is the same. The distinctions and differences are
acknowledged and are acted upon accordingly.
It’s an ever-dynamic
process, guided by some rules that in themselves also have to be
dynamic, never frozen and static and simply applied blindly or
indiscriminately. These laws and rules have to continually evolve
and refine themselves to better adapt to the conditions on the
Of course, these laws have
to be clear about what are of absolute value that should not
changed, and what are of relative value that can change and
sometimes, should change.
With this Christian
spirit, inclusive development is a matter of creating a synergistic
mechanism where all the components and sectors of a given society
mutually help each other.
This Christian view of
inclusive development is not blind to the fact that there are people
and sectors that can be considered as weak, helpless and
unproductive like children, the old people, those with disabilities
of all kinds – physical, mental, emotional and even moral.
The quality of inclusive
development can somehow be gauged by its efforts to look after the
weak sectors of our society. In other words, more than just
economic, social or political measures, it is the kind of charity
that is involved that would determine the kind of inclusive
development we are pursuing.
This Christian view of
inclusive development certainly requires that each one of us truly
care for one another. Our concern for the others should go all the
way to their spiritual and moral needs, not just their economic
LANCE PATRICK C. ENAD*
November 4, 2017
“If you go to hell, you’ll
be so busy shaking hands with people you know”- so says a satirical
post in social media. This implies that in eternal damnation, one’s
thoughts and perception will be overwhelmed by the multitudes of
acquaintances that ended up in the same fate. Most of the people one
knows would probably end up in hell as much as you would and that
would make hell more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Forget about God then I
wouldn’t exchange hell for anything else! If this were true, then
the suffrage for souls in purgatory we have offered during All
Souls’ Day would prove to be mistaken and futile as we wouldn’t let
the souls of our loved ones go to such a boring place… although it
would be nice to think that our enemies would be eternally bored-
for nothing maddens man more than boredom.
One saint, one who I
couldn’t remember, however, would disagree with this delightful idea
– that hell is enjoyable. He/ she would however agree that the pains
of hell would be overwhelmed by something… something much more worth
This saint who had the
privilege (as if it was something enjoyable) of having a vision of
hell had the chance to ask a soul in eternal damnation. The question
he/ she asked the soul was what their greatest suffering was. The
soul replied that their greatest suffering was the never-to-be
quenched thirst for God. Man, from his creation, was embedded with a
deep nostalgia for God, so says Salvatore Canals in his book ‘Jesus
This nostalgia for God is
not something emerging from a collective human subconscious, as Carl
Jung would argue, but truly from the depths of our hearts. As
children yearn for their parents, so does our hearts long for God.
The ultimate end of man would yield our often ignored nostalgia for
God hence hell would be so horrible because those in it would be
unable to satisfy their natural cravings for God.
It is important, however,
to note that heaven and hell are not physical places but are states.
These supernatural places are last states of being, for man, that
is. This means that heaven wouldn’t be a night club with a bouncer
preventing selected people from admission or that hell would be a
barangay party that’s open to all, general admission. This would
mean that heaven and hell are states of a person and that a person’s
soul would be carrying heaven or hell in them as turtles carry their
It is also important to
note that God does not send anyone to hell. Souls who deliberately
refuse to be united with God in His divine life hurl themselves to
hell. Although this pains God so much, God respects man’s freedom
and is therefore respectfully withdraws himself from souls who
refuse to be with Him out of His Love.
Given the thought that
hell would be the least comfy place, it is important to ask about
heaven. We hear of heaven in the soap operas as a really beautiful
mountain paradise in which everyone would be smiling and wherein
lovers separated by death would live their happy ever after.
Reading the life of
saints, we read that it is a place wherein we worship God endlessly;
that we meet God face to face. This would seem like heaven is a
boring place. Everyone will be singing twenty-four seven. And we’ll
only see the face of God. It would be like an endless church
service. How boring and predictable would heaven be! Everyone’s
vocal chords would be inflamed due to the unending singing and
praising. Better stay away from heaven… how unfortunate would death
This would be what follows
if eternity was, as we perceive it, an endless succession of time.
But such is not a case. Perhaps, God in his eternal wisdom has saved
us too from eternal boredom. However, eternity is not an endless
succession of time; it is an endless and everlasting today.
Hell would be a
never-ending moment of pain and would be terribly inescapable.
Heaven would be a never-ending moment of glory, a never ending
moment of love. Heaven would be the best and most noble moment of
our lives-prolonged but without the influence of face and time.
Boredom wouldn’t be something conceivable in a place uninfluenced by
space and time.
The beatific vision of
heaven would be something inconceivable. Heaven would be a longed
for thing. Given this idea of heaven, what beauty awaits those in
purgatory! How little are our sacrifices to attain Eternal Life! How
little have we done to inherit “What eye has not seen, nor ear has
heard what God prepares for those who serve Him! (1 Corinthians
Patrick Enad y Caballero is a grade XII Seminarian from Pope John
XXIII Seminary of the Archdiocese of Cebu. He will turn eighteen on
the fourteenth of November.
LANCE PATRICK ENAD*
October 31, 2017
Amidst the prevailing
existentialist view of life and the moral-therapeutic deist views of
religion, which even those who go to church every Sunday are guilty
of, it is good to note that there are those who experience phenomena
that are seemingly unexplainable by science.
These experiences could be
beautiful, indifferent, and several times fearsome. This write-up
does not intend to scientifically disprove the existence of what we
call “demonic forces” (for he would most likely flunk science
subjects) or to philosophically prove the existence of these forces
(as the author has not yet attained sufficient philosophical
awesomeness to do so). This write-up intends to spill some useful
knowledge about such fearsome phenomena and perhaps to give
practical guidelines on how to deal with them, well, if you must
know, some catholic guidelines on how to deal with these.
Whether we believe it or
neglect it, evil does exist. This could be interpreted to morally
evil things, figurative evil, or the existence of demonic forces
that influence our world (I hope I don’t sound like a character from
the Harry Potter franchise) in the most discreet to the most
unexplainable ways. I would limit myself to the topic of demonic
It is important to
distinguish that unexplainable occurrences can be classified into
two: supernatural, those things or happenings that are beyond the
laws of nature, and preternatural, those that are beyond what is
normal (not necessarily the laws of nature). Supernatural would be
those things we consider as miracles and are coming from forces that
are not within the bracket of natural law and preternatural would be
those things that are seemingly not normal but are not necessarily
outside natural law.
Filipino tradition would
tell us that there are spirits that reside in nature or in houses or
in regular things. These spirits, could be good, could be evil, or
could be temperamental. There are also beliefs that these spirits
are the souls of our loved ones or are “earth-bound spirits.”
While the author does not
wish to impose catholic doctrine, as a reference, the Catholic
Church teaches that the souls of the dead, after death, proceed
immediately to judgment and to heaven or hell (or purgatory for
those who have a little bit of prelude before heaven) and cannot
remain here on earth. The spirits, therefore, that are considered
“earthbound souls” or the spirits of the dead are not what we
believe them to be.
Furthermore, there are
spirits that are invisible to us, namely, the angels. These Angels,
like us have free will, however, they have no physical bodies. These
heavenly spirits have greater knowledge and intelligence compared to
us. They were created to minister to God and to carry out the orders
On account of their great
knowledge and intelligence, they cannot afford repentance after they
have committed even a single sin. If they have committed a sin, they
are expelled from heaven and are therefore fallen angels, angels
that are eternally damned. Fallen Angels, although, good in their
former state, because of their incapability of repentance after sin,
are no longer capable of doing good. Hence, those seemingly good or
temperamental spirits that reside in nature or in our homes or in
our neighbors are not what they are believed to be. To put it
bluntly, are fallen angels, demons.
It could be asked why is
it that demons are in our world when they are in hell. Well, heaven
and hell are states and supernatural places not physical places. It
is a state of the being. The demons then are carrying hell with
themselves as the turtle carries its shell.
In this sense, the spirits
then that could be residing in our neighbor’s house, in our backyard
tree, or in our basements, the “nuno sa punso”, or the “white lady”
next door, are no other than the demonic spirits that are hostile
and are bent on harming us, whether spiritually, mentally, or even
These demonic spirits
influence men from the smallest temptation to the most fearsome
manifestation. These at first could appear indifferent or even good
but in truth, these spirits are really laboring to make men share in
the sufferings they share in hell and they cannot withstand, out of
selfishness, the thought that man is capable of enjoying the
beatific vision of heaven, the heaven that they once enjoyed.
These thoughts should not
contribute to the greater fear of demons, shrieking at the slightest
sound we hear at night, but should exhort us to love God more
solidly. The only way to battle with these evil spirits is by
building a solid relationship with God, who loves us infinitely.
Practical ways of building a relationship with God is by spending
times of prayer each day, reading the word of God, devotion to our
guardian angels and to the Mother of God, making sacrifices.
In conclusion, in our
efforts to Love God and to build a solid spiritual life, it is
important to remember that the Devil does not appear in a red cape
with a pitchfork; he appears, many times, in the smallest of our
selfish desires. This should lead us to follow our Lord Jesus Christ
more genuinely by denying ourselves and taking up our crosses
*Lance Patrick Enad is a Grade XII Seminarian
in the Archdiocese of Cebu. He will turn eighteen on the fourteenth