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Be firm in faith, Villegas urges faithful amid Duterte attacks

Former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged the faithful on Monday to “stay in the truth of our faith,” following President Duterte’s remarks on Christianity.

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Photo courtesy of CBCP News.

Former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged the faithful on Monday to “stay in the truth of our faith,” following President Duterte’s remarks on Christianity.

“Through social media, you have been sadly exposed to the cursing, threats, and shaming by the President of our country. Choose to love him nevertheless, but stay in the truth of our faith. Be firm in faith,” the Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop said in a letter addressed to the youth.

In his speech last June 22, Duterte decried and called God “stupid” for the concept of “original sin.”

Villegas, however, advised to pray for the President as he “could be a victim of a scarred past” but also to rebuke his comments.

“He must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now. If he had been loved much, he would be giving so much of that love, too. He could be a victim of his scarred past and his wounded background,” Villegas said.

He added: “Pray for him with compassion. We pray for his healing and for God’s forgiveness of him but we must rebuke his errors about our Christian faith.”

Villegas explained that the creation story in the Bible is not meant to describe the scientific beginning of the world.

He also said that “original sin” roots from one’s “trust in deceit rather than truth.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defended Duterte’s remarks on Monday, saying the President was expressing a “personal belief” and he is “entitled” to that view as all people are.

The government has formed a three-man committee that will conduct talks with the Catholic Church and other religious groups. The members of the committee are Roque, foreign affairs undersecretary Ernesto Abella and EDSA People Power Commission member Pastor “Boy” Saycon.—H. M. Amoroso

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Help those that have lost their way, UST parish priest says

UST parish priest urged everyone on Wednesday to help out and pull everyone else up, not just the selves.

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UST parish priest urged everyone on Wednesday to help out and pull everyone else up, not just the selves.

“We must pull not only [our own selves] up but everyone else as well,” Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said during the mass in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

“Whenever someone loses his or her way, we need to help and pull that person up,” he added.

This, after sharing that Frassati helped others rise to the top as the Italian Lay Dominican wanted everyone else to be with him.

“For him (Frassati), that place on top, he didn’t like it when he’s the only one there. He wanted others to be there with him so he helped them by pulling them up,” Coronel said in his homily.

Coronel also said Frassati saw every person in need as Jesus.

Meanwhile, Coronel stated that an individual “just exists [and] do not live” when one does not have faith.

Beatified by Pope John Paul II, Frassati was dubbed as the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.” He is also the patron saint of the UST Senior High School and the Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican group.

The feast day mass was organized by the Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican group and the Social Communications Ministry of the UST Santisimo Rosario Parish.—H. M. Amoroso

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Tagle: Respect those who differ from their beliefs

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on Wednesday called for respect despite religious differences, following President Duterte’s “stupid God” remarks.

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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on Wednesday called for respect despite religious differences, following President Duterte’s “stupid God” remarks.

“We respect those who do not believe in God. All people should strive to respect those who differ from their beliefs,” the Manila Archbishop said in a letter to priests.

“We Catholics should respect non-Catholics and their religions,” he added, quoting the Second Vatican Council.

Tagle, who was in Geneva for a UN conference on migrants and refugees, also told the faithful to be calm amid the furor against Duterte’s comments.

“Be at peace. Be calm. Don’t let things disturb your inner peace. Let us read the situation with the eyes of faith,” he said.

In the statement, Tagle stressed that disputes about God and the Bible is not new, saying questions “are always raised and will continue to be raised.”

The archbishop, moreover, reminded Catholics not to be distracted from other pressing concerns confronting the country.

“While these questions are extremely important… let us not be distracted from addressing other pressing concerns with the fervor of faith and love,” Tagle said.

Among the issues he listed are increasing prices of goods, job security, exploitation of women and children, violence in homes and neighborhoods, different types of addictions, crimes, vulnerabilities of overseas Filipino workers, traffic, flooding, reconstruction of destroyed cities, terrorism and corruption.

Tagle urged the devoted to unite and “contribute to positive responses according to each one’s capability” to address these concerns.

Last June 22, Duterte in his speech called God “stupid” for the Bible’s creation story.

The President remained unapologetic on Monday. He stated that it is “a freedom” to choose a God to believe in.

Malacañang also said on Monday that Duterte was only expressing a “personal belief.”

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Dagohoy: Do not prioritize personal ambition over genuine service

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University Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy encouraged the graduating seniors in the annual Baccalaureate Mass to disregard any personal ambitions and be of service to others as they enter the professional world.

Dagohoy told 8,794 graduating Thomasians that they should not forget to take with them the values they learned in the University and become a role model for others to emulate.

“[T]he test of you being Thomasian, also begins. Be proud of your beginning and make your life a legacy for other Thomasians to emulate and to follow,” he said.

He also said that success is not just about one’s self.

“Success is not merely our own making for everything that we do, would never be enough to unleash the power of our dreams unless God touches us by his hand,” Dagohoy said.

The mass was followed by the imposition of the Thomasian Mission crosses, the taking of the Thomasian Pledge, and the candle-lighting ceremony.

The baccalaureate mass ended with a pyromusical show accompanied with songs from “The Greatest Showman.” It was followed by the symbolic exit through the Arch of Centuries, marking the end of a Thomasian’s journey in the University.

The number of candidates for graduation per faculty and college this year is as follows: Accountancy (712), Architecture (274), Arts and Letters (1,187), Canon Law (16), Civil Law (126), Commerce and Business Administration (711), Education (371), Engineering (777), Pharmacy (774), Faculty of Philosophy (22), Fine Arts and Design (547), Graduate School (250), Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (546), Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (143), Medicine and Surgery (479 doctors and 20 clinical audiologists), Music (50), Nursing (361), Rehabilitation Sciences (248), Sacred Theology (58), Science (660), and Tourism and Hospitality Management (462). -Marc Dela Paz & Angelika Ortega

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