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Demand justice for slain Cagayan priest despite impunity, Manila auxiliary bishop urges

“We are calling for justice at nakaka-discourage ngayon magtawag ng justice na hindi tumatalim,” Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.

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Photo by Alecsandra Go/TomasinoWeb.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo urged Thomasians to demand justice for slain Cagayan priest and UST Philosophy alumnus Mark Anthony Ventura during a mass for clergy and religious people killed by violence at the Santissimo Rosario Parish last Friday, May 4.

“We are calling for justice at nakaka-discourage ngayon magtawag ng justice na hindi tumatalim,” Pabillo said during his homily.

In the same homily, he lauded Ventura as “a man who suffered because of his work for the kingdom of God.”

“Somehow Father Mark Anthony has fulfilled what Jesus said that no slave is greater than his master. If they persecuted them, the Lord who is our master, we can expect, if we are true to our mission, that we also would suffer persecution,” Pabillo stated further.

Nonetheless, he urged Thomasians to not keep silent in the face of violence and impunity.

“So whatever it is, we cannot keep silent. Gamitin natin ngayon ang mga instrument na nasa kamay natin at wala nang makakasabi na ‘wala ako magawa kasi wala akong boses,’” Pabillo called.

 

‘Culture of impunity’ killed Ventura

Pabillo lamented Ventura’s death as a product of “the culture of impunity,” continuing in his homily that “pati na yung alagad ng batas ay kasama sa paggawa ng krimen.”

Ventura, 37, was shot dead by unidentified assailants right after Sunday Mass last April 29, at Gattaran, Cagayan while he was blessing children.

A priest for almost seven years, Ventura was also known for his staunch stance against mining and for helping indigenous peoples in Cagayan. His death follows the killing of activist-priest Marcelito Paez December last year.

Commenting on the recent cases of clergy killings as well as the shooting of Dumaguete broadcaster Edmund Sestoso last April 30, Pabillo told TomasinoWeb that “Ang problema natin diyan ay yung impunity nga na walang pananagutan at walang nananagot. Hindi nila mapanagot. Kaya, either napakahina nila o kaya complicit sila, kasama sila.”

Pabillo also said that he believes the murder of Ventura is economically and politically motivated.

“Wala ka namang papatayin na pari kung walang interes ‘yan, political o economic interests. Ibig sabihin, may tinatamaan diyan that they have to kill somebody to do that,” he stated.

Embattled Australian nun Patricia Fox, who was also present during the mass, urged an end to impunity.

“Siyempre, every life is sacred. Walang karapatang agawin ang buhay. No one has the right take someone else’s life and we have to start bringing people to justice. Impunity has to stop,” Fox told TomasinoWeb.

Fox joined Pabillo as he led a candle lighting vigil at the Martyr’s Carillion for Ventura right after the mass. Progressive groups also led a separate candle lighting protest for Fox and Ventura at the Gate 2 of the University following the vigil.–H.M. Amoroso, P. Jamilla

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Tagle: Spread the good news, put a stop to fake news

“Let us put a stop to fake news. We are not called and consecrated to bring fake news [but] only good news,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged during the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday.

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Photo courtesy of CBCP News.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged faithful on Thursday to halt the spread of fake news and disinformation in the country and instead called on people to evangelize with the good news.

“Let us put a stop to fake news. We are not called and consecrated to bring fake news [but] only good news, especially through the integrity of our lives,” Tagle said during his homily at the Chrism Mass at the Manila Cathedral.

Tagle also stressed how fake news proliferates through manipulation and disrespect of the truth.

“True communication happens in the context of a covenant relationship. Manipulation thrives in the context of disrespect. That’s why fake news proliferates,” Tagle said.

According to Tagle, spreading disformation contradicts God’s call of evangelization, which is about sharing good news.

“‘I can deliberately deceive people because I have no covenant relationship with them. I don’t care. I only want to manipulate the truth so I get what I ought.’ That is not evangelization,” he said.

He added: “Evangelization is a fact of daily life, we always communicate with good news. We cannot contain it. Good news begs to be shared. And good news begs for hearers of the good news.”

Tagle, moreover, reminded the clergy to listen and be attentive of God through the poor.

“It also requires attentiveness to the human condition – attentiveness to the poor, to the captives, to the blind, to the prisoners, those who are shackled, those who cannot breathe. We need to silently listen to them, and listening to their stories, we are reduced to further silence,” he said.

The Manila Archibishop has repeatedly slammed the rise of disinformation for political propaganda. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also released a pastoral letter against fake news last year, reminding Filipinos to “preach the truth,” avoid and eradicate fake news.

Last year, the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media have started the probe on the spread of misinformation, especially on social media. The committee held its second hearing on fake news last Jan. 30.

Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, meanwhile, has filed Senate Bill No. 1680, which seeks to penalize public officials that will peddle fake news reports. Sen. Joel Villanueva also filed Senate Bill No. 1492 that proposes to sanction false news.

The Chrism Mass, which is celebrated every Maundy Thursday, is a religious service in the Catholic Church where bishops bless oils to be used for the sacraments for the liturgical year, and where priests gather in their respective dioceses to renew their vows.—H. M. Amoroso

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

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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

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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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