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Thomasians urged to end apathy on persecution of Christians

According to a study by Center for New Religions, over 90,000 Christians were murdered in 2016.



In line with the global campaign, several buildings and places in the campus were lit up in red lights. Photo by Mark Darius Sulit/TomasinoWeb.

A director of a pontifical foundation encouraged Thomasians to be more sensitive to the persecution of Christians in different parts of the world as the University celebrated “Red Wednesday.”

Jonathan Luciano, national director of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), said in a forum last Nov. 22 that people who are apathetic to their fellow persecuted Christians were contributing to their suffering.

“Through this Red Wednesday campaign, we would not only like to be in solidarity with Christians who were persecuted, but we also would like this opportunity to look into ourselves. We’re also somehow part of the persecution because of our indifference…That is not the attitude of a Christian,” Luciano said.

Red Wednesday is ACN’s global public awareness campaign which started last year in the United Kingdom. It aims to inform Christian communities and the general public that Christians are being persecuted around the world.

According to a study by Center for New Religions, over 90,000 Christians were murdered in 2016.

Luciano also reminded the students to support and help them through prayer, information dissemination and concrete action.

“It is our duty now to keep the world informed and with this information, comes awareness. When awareness comes, then we can do something about it,” he told student reporters on the sideline.

A mass at the Santissimo Rosario Chapel followed the forum which was presided by Asst. to the Vice-Rector Rev. Fr. Roberto Luanzon O.P.

“We are one with them [persecuted Christians] by celebrating this solidarity with them. Even though we don’t experience what they experience of being persecuted… is for us to continue to manifest and show our faith, our love to God in everything that we do,” he reminded the Thomasian community.

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Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo Tiong O.P. led the candle lighting ceremony for Christian martyrs.

In line with the campaign, the Thomasian community were also encouraged to wear red and several buildings and places in the campus were lit up with red light at night. — B. Laforga



The promise of change can save a ‘fallen’ relationship, Rector says



Photo by Abbie Vinluan/TomasinoWeb

UST Rector Fr. Hermino Dagohoy, O.P. said the promise of change can save a fallen relationship during the Ash Wednesday Mass, which concurred with the Valentine’s Day.

“Kung tayo ay nasasawi sa pag-ibig, the best way we can actually return and save the fallen relationship is to promise to our loved one that we are going to change,” he said during the University mass held at Plaza Mayor.

Dagohoy reminded Thomasians that Ash Wednesday is not just a day to remind us of our mortality but a day that we proclaim that we belong to God.

“As we remember our love ones, today, by giving them roses, chocolates, or balloons, today God imposes on us the sign of his cross as a sign of the greatest love ever told.”

Moreover, Dagohoy said the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live although there is “no human reality that scares us the most.”

“Ang kamatayan daw ay hindi ang pinaka malaking kawalan sa tao, ang pinaka malaking kawalan ay ang pagkamatay ng ating loob hanbang tayo’y nabubuhay. Kaya yung mga tao na namamatayan ng kalooban ay mukha nang patay kahit sila ay buhay,” he said.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent season, a 40-day period of fasting, abstinence from meat, giving alms, and penance as to recall Jesus’ being taunted by the Devil in the desert for 40 days. – H.M. Amoroso 


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UST vice rector: Partial truth must find its place



Since the truth will not contradict itself, even partial truth must find its place in this age of fake news, said the University vice rector on Friday, Jan. 26.

“Pope Francis has this to say: education for truth is important. It would help people discern, evaluate, and understand, the news. Personally, I believe the truth is a form of charity,” said Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P during the Eucharistic celebration for the feast of the University’s patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Ang reminded that today’s digital age could negatively affect everybody as unverified information easily proliferates nowadays.

“This is an era when fake news and propaganda proliferate in cyber thoughts, which may cause irreparable damage to someone’s self-esteem and reputation,” he said in his homily.

“It helps to see the bigger picture, it pays to scope a hole”, he added. “St. Thomas Aquinas was in a constant search for truth because it [also] was a constant search for God.”

UST will celebrate St. Thomas’ feast day on Jan. 28, with the theme, “Non Nise Te, Domine (Nothing but Thyself, Lord): Celebrating with St. Thomas Aquinas the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.”

by Heather Marian Amoroso


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Tagle says free speech is Church’s conviction

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle stressed the promotion of upright social communication in evangelization, truthful information dissemination and social development through the help of technology.



Screen grabbed from TV Maria Facebook live of the forum "Catholic Media in Challenging Times."

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle emphasized the Church’s “conviction” that freedom of speech is significant amid concerns over the cancellation of online news organization Rappler’s license.

Tagle cited the Vatican II in stating that while people are entitled to freedom of sharing and receiving information, the press is likewise part of that right, during the forum “Catholic Media in Challenging Times” on Friday, Jan. 19.

“Walang question dun ‘no… hindi na ito opinion,  it is our conviction that there should be freedom of people to share information and the right of people to receive,” he said, answering the question of a reporter on his take on the current issue of Rappler.

While firm on their stand on the freedom of speech, both Tagle and Mylo Hubert Vergara, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Commission on Social Communications head, refused to answer the question directly, stating that facts, implications and further understanding of the issue is still needed for them to respond appropriately.

“Ito aaminin ko na po sa inyo, kasi minsan hindi ko nasusundan lahat pati detalye. Ako ay ayokong basta magbigay ng opinion sa isang bagay na hindi ko napag-aralan kasi pag nasabi na, hirap namang bawiin,” Tagle said.

The decision of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler’s license to operate on January 11 was due to the news agency’s “deceptive” violation of the Foreign Equity Restriction of the Philippine Constitution mandating 100-percent Filipino control and ownership of local mass media entities.

Rappler accepted over $1 million from foreign investor Omidyar Network Fund LLC through Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR) in 2015 which secured two-thirds of all the PDR holders on corporate matters.

PDRs are derivative instruments that permits foreign bodies to purchase into private agencies for financial returns but don’t grant ownership or any control in the company.

Also, Tagle mentioned points in the Vatican II, an ecuminical council in 1960s which tackled relations of the Church and the modern world.

He stressed the promotion of upright social communication in evangelization, truthful information dissemination and social development through the help of technology.

“Since public opinion is at stake through information and more seriously the involvement of human being in societal development, each person must be given the opportunity to be formed in the use of social communications,” Tagle added.  

Tagle also warned of the arising threats of the means of communication specifically the new form of “noise”, evasiveness, quest for stimulation and exploitation.

“Some people are proposing the digital detox, detoxification… through silence, a return to reflection and prayer life. At a time where we have multiplied the means of social communication, people are looking for silence,” he said.

SEC’s ruling has raised concerns from local and international groups, as well as from some politicians, stating that the move is an attack on press freedom, whereas the government has denied the accusations (READ: Media groups protest attacks on press freedom).

The news agency currently continues to operate since the decision of SEC was not yet final and executory.—B. Laforga


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