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 th...
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 If responsible parenthood is th...
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 feels being used by the other. I...
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 their rights and duties within...
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 various natural family plan...
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 The dialogue group...
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 2) It belongs to the bis...
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 Bishops’ Consensus on NFP and SD...
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 This decision or ruling has nev...
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 adopt SDM as an
 NFP met...
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 intimate relationship wi...
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  1. 1. pastoral companion Page 1 of 17 SEARCH BLOG FLAG BLOG Next Blog» Create Blog | Sign In PASTORAL COMPANION AN T O N IO J. L E D E S MA , THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2009 SJ Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP C AG A Y A N D E O R O C IT Y , MIS A MIS Promotion OR I EN T A L , By Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J. P HIL IP P IN E S This blog is being maintained by NATURAL Family Planning has paradoxically been described as the Media Office of the Catholic the “second best kept secret” of the Catholic Church (after its Bishops' Conference of the Social Teachings). In contrast to government programs that offer a Philippines through CBCPWorld. value-neutral approach to all methods of family planning, the V IEW M Y C O M PL ET E P R O F IL E Catholic Church has consistently articulated its moral principles in advocating for Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning. Based on actual results, however, NFP has remained the BLOG ARCHIVE untried option. According to the latest surveys, less than one ▼  2009 (6) percent of Filipino couples are adopting modern NFP methods! On the other hand, the pastoral experience of many priests and ▼  04/26 - 05/03 (1) family life workers indicate that a growing number of couples Pastoral Guidelines and Core Values in NFP Promoti... today have three felt needs: (1) They want to plan their families in terms of family size and spacing of births; (2) They prefer natural ►  02/15 - 02/22 (2) family planning, if they are given adequate information on fertility ►  01/18 - 01/25 (2) awareness and NFP methods; and (3) They want to choose among NFP methods according to their own circumstances and ►  01/04 - 01/11 (1) preference. It is in this light that church communities, as well as ►  2008 (5) government entities, are challenged to promote all recognized ►  2007 (13) natural family planning methods today. ►  2006 (9) Before discussing the various NFP methods, however it would be ►  2005 (3) good to examine the core values that underpin the Church’s advocacy for natural family planning—values that touch on the sacredness of human life, marriage, and the family. Four pastoral LINKS guidelines for All-NFP provide the framework for the local church’s Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro values formation and the parameters for critical engagement with Cagayan de Oro City government and other groups. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines I. We are Pro-Life We uphold the dignity of human life from the moment of CBCP Monitor CBCPNews Service http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  2. 2. pastoral companion Page 2 of 17 conception. We condemn abortion which is also proscribed by the CBCPWorld Philippine Constitution. All-NFP is a proactive program that helps Impact Magazine prevent the tragedy of unwanted pregnancies and recourse to Searsolin abortion. It also provides an alternative to contraceptive methods Vatican that are considered as abortifacients. Youth Pinoy The dignity of human life is directly linked to the dignity of the human person. SLIDESHOW 1) The human person is created in the image of God. “God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). The biblical perspective states that man and woman have the same dignity and are of equal value. God’s creative act takes place from the moment of conception: “You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. When my bones were being formed, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there – you saw me before I was born” (Psalm 139: 13,15,16). CBCP NEWS SERVICE 2) The human person is created by God in unity of body and soul. Aquino family overwhelmed by The spiritual faculties of reason and free will are linked with all popular support the bodily and sense faculties. The spiritual and immortal soul is the principle of unity of the human being, whereby it exists as a UST ends Week of Prayer for Priests with a challenge person. Man is an embodied spirit. “It is because of its spiritual soul that IPs hold “Hulagway sa among the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and Kinabuhi” exhibit; emphasizes on struggles, aspirations matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature” (CCC, 365). Bishop hits Arroyo’s lavish dinner in 3) The human person is open to transcendence: he is open to the US infinite and to all created beings. Through his spiritual faculties of DOJ: Church-State partnership intellect and will, the human person reaches out to know the truth needed in solving crimes and to love and choose the good and the beautiful. NEWS LINKS Despite his limitation in attaining his finite ends in this life, man tends towards total truth and the absolute good—i.e., union with Pinoys abroad to hold Mass, festival God, or the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and for Cory the Life. What Christian philosophers call the Summum Bonum or GMA news.tv the Beatific Vision is premised on the promise of the resurrection An article on the Catholic Bishops' and eternal life. Pope John Paul II sums this up: “Human life is Conference of the Philippines precious because it is a gift of God—and when God gives life, it is (CBCP) website forever.” (www.cbcpnews.com) said the mass is scheduled at 12:30 am 4) The human person is endowed with a moral conscience that Friday (Manila ... enables him to recognize the truth concerning good and evil. Man’s http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  3. 3. pastoral companion Page 3 of 17 exercise of freedom and responsibility implies a reference to the Related Articles » natural moral law, of an objective and universal character, which Palace: Just simple dinner is the foundation for all rights and duties. “Living a moral life Inquirer.net bears witness to the dignity of the person” (CCC, 1706). ... it is a total and brazen disregard The dignity of the moral conscience as man’s “most secret core of what we are experiencing right and sanctuary” enables the person to acknowledge that inner law now during this crisis,” Iñiguez said which is fulfilled in the love of God and of one’s neighbor (GS, 16). in remarks posted on the CBCP Love of neighbor, in the language of the modern world, can be news website. ... interpreted in terms of promoting and defending human rights. Fig. Thousands Bid Farewell to Cory at 2 locates the context of human rights and duties, understood as Funeral access to the means that enable a person to attain his natural and Voxbikol.com - Herald of Truth and supernatural ends. In this light, human rights can be understood as Justice moral claims, and duties as moral responsibilities. The remains of Mrs Aquino was 5) The human person is essentially a social and relational being. buried beside her husband, Ninoy, He is a being—with others in the world. He is a person among other at the Manila Memorial Park in persons, among equals—in the family, in the small community or in Paranaque after an around 8-hour the larger society. funeral procession. (cbcpnews) He is also a being-through-others in the world. He is born from the Papal envoy arrives, lauds Cory for union of parents and grows up within the widening circle of contribution to democracy relatives, teachers, and friends. He too is a being-for-others in the GMA news.tv world, available in service to others, capable of loving others and ... around the world to deliver a being loved in return. He is called to enter into communion with message," he said in an article others, and to forge bonds of solidarity for the common good. posted on the Catholic Bishops' In the web of relationships that surround him, the person learns to Conference of the Philippines interact “horizontally” with other persons and society at large. He website (www.cbcpnews.com). ... also deepens his “vertical” relationships with God as his Creator powered by and Father as well as with the world of nature. In the process, he also relates to himself as a self-project with an immensity of possibilities. He remains a subject, an “I” capable of VIDEO BAR self-understanding and self-determination. In this sense, as a center of consciousness and freedom, he exists as a unique and unrepeatable being (CSDC, 131). 6) The Christian view of the human person balances the mystery of sin with the universality of salvation in Jesus Christ. The tragedy of original sin as well as personal and social sin has brought about the consequences of alienation of man from God, from his true self, from other persons, and from the world around him. Indeed, “Christian realism sees the abysses of sin, but in the light of hope, greater than any evil, given by Jesus Christ’s act of redemption, in which sin and death are destroyed” (CSDC, 121). In this light, man is a being-unto-death-and-beyond, ultimately a http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  4. 4. pastoral companion Page 4 of 17 being-unto-God. Life becomes a pilgrimage and death a graduation to eternal life. II. We are for Responsible Parenthood This is our goal: to enable parents to be aware of their rights as powered by well as their duties in the procreation and education of their children. Planning one’s family in order to adequately care for every child that comes into the world is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly by parents. THE 2ND NATIONAL RURAL CONGRESS Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter on the regulation of birth, Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), describes responsible parenthood The year 2007 is the fortieth in terms of the parents’ deliberate decision in planning the size of anniversary of the National Rural the family: Congress of 1967. It was at this In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social Congress that the participants, conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised, either by the most of them diocesan and parish deliberate and generous decision to raise a numerous family, or by social action workers, came to the crucial conclusion that the Church the decision, made for grave motives and with due respect for the must go to the barrios. The reason moral law, to avoid for the time being, or even for an was the heavy realization that the indeterminate period, a new birth (HV, 10). rural parts of the country were the most neglected by both the The Second Plenary Council of the Catholic Bishops of the government's development Philippines explicitates further this meaning of responsible programs and the Church's pastoral parenthood: care. Christian parents must exercise responsible parenthood. While nurturing a generous attitude towards bringing new human life into To commemorate that crucial the world, they should strive to beget only those children whom event in our life as a Church--and they can raise up in a truly human and Christian way. Towards this to make us meet in true Gospel end, they need to plan their families according to the moral norms fidelity our present social concerns- taught by the Church (PCP II, 583). -we propose that we revive the memory of that Congress by holding Planning one’s family highlights the central value of the family in one again this year. human society. In particular, we can reflect on the role of the Christian family in the modern world, in terms of four tasks But this time our farmers must do elaborated in Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II’s apostolic that speaking by themselves, the exhortation: discerning, the proposing of their own ideas, the planning of how we 1) Forming a community of persons. As an “intimate community of must as a people come together to life and love” (GS, 48), the family reflects and is “a real sharing in work for the common good of the God’s love for humanity” (FC, 17). It is based on the indissolubility country and of ourselves. Doing so, of marriage and conjugal communion. It fosters the dignity and they will be effectively asserting vocation of all the persons in the family – husband and wife, the dignity that for so long has children, relatives. It underlines the equal dignity of women with been denied them. And the rest of men, the rights of children, as well as care for the elderly. Indeed, us, participating with them in their http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  5. 5. pastoral companion Page 5 of 17 this communion of persons makes the family “a school of deeper reflections and deliberations, we humanity” (GS, 52). will be honoring their inborn 2) Serving life. The fundamental task of the family is to serve life – dignity as children of the same i.e., “transmitting by procreation the divine image from person to Father in Heaven. person” (FC, 28). Fecundity is seen as the fruit and the sign of conjugal love. The Church stands for life and stresses that “love FOLLOWERS between husband and wife must be fully human, exclusive and open to new life” (HV, 11).   Follow Educating children in the essential values of human life is an with Google Friend Connect integral part of serving life. These values include a sense of true Followers (2) justice, of true love, and of service to others. Parents are “the first and foremost educators of their children,” while the family itself is “the first and fundamental school of social living” (FC, 36- 37). Education for chastity as well as education in the religious faith of the parents, are other essential values that must be Already a member?Sign in respected and supported by the state. 3) Participating in the development of society. As the “first and vital cell of society,” and the “first school of the social virtues,” the family is “by nature and vocation open to other families and to society” (FC, 42). Hence, the family also plays a social and political role. Its members in their various capacities are called to contribute to the development of the wider community. Christian families should strive to live out the values of truth, freedom, justice and love—the pillars for building peace on earth, envisioned in Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris. 4) Sharing in the life and mission of the Church. The family is seen as the “domestic church” (FC, 49). In this light, it partakes in the threefold role of Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. The family is seen as (a) a believing and evangelizing community, (b) a community in dialogue with God, and (c) a community at the service of man (FC, 50). Christian marriage itself is seen as a “profession of faith” and it is this journey of faith that continues throughout the life cycle of the family. The Christian family educates the children for life that enables them to discover the image of God in every brother and sister. In sum, responsible parenthood gives birth to a Christian family that is a community of love and is at the threefold service of nurturing life, developing society, and continuing the mission of the Church. III. We are for Natural Family Planning http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  6. 6. pastoral companion Page 6 of 17 If responsible parenthood is the goal for married couples, natural family planning is the means deemed morally acceptable by the Church. Pope John Paul II underlines “the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle” (FC, 32). It is in this light that we can discuss the nature of natural family planning and ten reasons for its adoption. a) What is Natural Family Planning? Natural family planning is an approach for regulating births by identifying the fertile and infertile periods of a woman’s cycle. As an educational process and a way of life, there are four elements: It involves the observation of a naturally occurring body sign or signs • in order to identify the woman’s fertile and infertile periods. • It involves the timing of intercourse • to avoid or achieve pregnancy. In contrast to artificial contraceptives, NFP means No DIDO − i.e., no Drugs, Injections, Devices, or Operations at any time. It also means no withdrawal. b) Why Natural Family Planning? 1. Normal intercourse is preserved. Couples can plan the size of their families and space births the natural way. They do not resort to artificial means. 2. NFP is morally acceptable to people of all religions and cultures. It does not separate the love-giving and life-giving dimensions of the marriage act. The unitive and procreative ends of marriage are kept whole. 3. There are no inherent health risks in NFP methods. No pills, drugs, injections, devices or operations are used. A healthy body does not need this kind of “medical” treatment. 4. Modern NFP methods are effective and reliable. They are based on scientific studies and are time-tested. Simplified methods are easy to learn. Some NFP methods may be combined to reinforce each other. 5. There is no cost involved once the method has been learned. Couples are empowered not to rely on health centers, donor agencies, or drugstores. NFP is pro-poor, and not for profit of outside companies. 6. NFP becomes sustainable from generation to generation. Mothers can readily pass on the practice of NFP to their daughters. 7. NFP involves a joint decision by the couple. Neither partner http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  7. 7. pastoral companion Page 7 of 17 feels being used by the other. It is an ideal way of exercising shared parenthood. A “contraceptive mentality” is avoided. 8. NFP engenders sexual discipline for the spouses through periodic abstinence. The practice of NFP manifests a conscious familiarity with the natural rhythm of the human body, mutual caring between the spouses, and the development of self-control that is carried over in the upbringing of the children. 9. Couples who use NFP seldom or never resort to abortion. They manifest an innate respect for human life. They welcome every child as a gift from God – even in the eventuality of an unexpected pregnancy. 10. Couples who use NFP seldom or never end up in separation or divorce. NFP enhances communication between spouses and promotes a wholesome family life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the nature and rationale of NFP: Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom (CCC, 2370). IV. We are for enabling couples to make an Informed and Morally Responsible Choice, according to the dictates of a Right Conscience “The education of an authentic freedom” constitutes our fourth pastoral guideline. Within the context of a pluralistic society, the government’s focus is to refrain from coercion and to provide information on all family planning methods that it deems necessary for couples to make an informed choice. On the other hand, the Church’s focus should be to provide information on all NFP methods and to help couples form a right conscience so that they are able to make not only an informed but also a morally responsible choice. Three kinds of freedom are implied in this pastoral guideline. There is first the ontological freedom of every human person, endowed with reason and free will. Innate in his human dignity is the person’s freedom to choose good or evil—even to say “no” to his Creator, or to go against his very nature by doing what would be considered inhuman acts. From the societal perspective, governments promote the civic and political freedoms of their citizens by safeguarding the exercise of http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  8. 8. pastoral companion Page 8 of 17 their rights and duties within the bounds of public order. Thus the freedoms of speech, of assembly, of religion, of economic enterprise, of responsible parenthood itself, etc. are hallmarks of a democratic society. A dictatorial government, on the other hand, suppresses by superior force the basic freedoms of its citizens. A third kind of freedom is what we call authentic freedom—i.e., the freedom to do what ought to be done. “Man’s dignity,” according to the Vatican II Council Fathers, “demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within…” (GS, 17). This inner prompting is what we mean by conscience which calls man to acknowledge the natural moral law given by God. “For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God,” cite the Council Fathers. “His dignity lies in observing this law, and by it he will be judged… By conscience in a wonderful way, that law is made known…” (GS, 16). Thus the individual assumes personal responsibility for all his human acts that are knowingly and willingly done, heeding the dictates of his conscience. However, conscience itself needs to be formed and guided by the objective norms of moral conduct. Ignorance or sinful habits pose as obstacles to the formation of a right conscience. It is in this light that values formation is an integral part of our All-NFP program − to enable parents as well as their children to acquire “a truly responsible freedom” (FC, 21). This includes providing information on all scientifically-based NFP methods as a pastoral imperative. Corollary to this would be presenting the positive motivations for NFP and its integral attractiveness, instead of simply attacking the agencies promoting contraceptives. “Proclamation is always more important than denunciation,” notes Pope John Paul II, “and the latter cannot ignore the former, which gives it true solidity and the force of higher motivation” (SRS, 41). In summary, these four pastoral guidelines provide the core values for our All-NFP ministry. Couples, indeed, have to consider several crucial factors: the good of their children already born or yet to come, their own situation at the material and spiritual level, and the over-all good of their family, of society, and of the Church. “It is the married couple themselves,” note the Council Fathers, “who must in the last analysis arrive at these judgments before God” (GS, 50). For its part, the local church can carry out its servant role by reaching out to as many couples as possible with the good news of http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  9. 9. pastoral companion Page 9 of 17 various natural family planning methods today that are proven to be safe, reliable, practicable and adaptable to the various circumstances of family life. Instead of resorting to condemnation or confrontation, we find that for concerned couples, authentic values can best be formed with charity, compassion, and the formation of conscience. References: CCC - Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, 1994. CSDC - Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004. FC - Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), Pope John Paul II, 1981. GS - Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 1965. HV - Humanae Vitae (Of Human life), Pope Paul VI, 1968. PCP II - Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 1991. SRS - Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (The Social Concern of the Church), Pope John Paul II, 1987. PO S T ED B Y AN T O N IO J. L ED ES M A, S J AT 5 : 1 4 P M 1 COMMENTS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2009 Bishops’ Consensus on NFP and SDM LAST January 21, 2009, at the end of the bishops’ seminar on peace- building at Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President, convened a dialogue meeting on Natural Family Planning and the Standard Days Method. The dialogue was opened to all the bishops. Twenty-nine bishops attended or roughly half of all those who had just finished the peace-building seminar. These included Archbishop Lagdameo and bishop members of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the Commission on the Laity facilitated the http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  10. 10. pastoral companion Page 10 of 17 dialogue. The dialogue group first listened to the impressions of bishops whose dioceses were already including SDM in their NFP program – i.e., Cagayan de Oro, Ipil, Isabela (Basilan), Jolo, Digos, and Cotabato. In general, the bishops did not find anything objectionable with SDM being included as an added option in the local church’s NFP program, except that there may be need for more training and monitoring. The group then listened to objections and reservations brought up against SDM as an NFP method – e.g., that it was not natural and appeared too mechanical with the use of beads; that the information on the internet included the use of back-up contraceptives; that it was as ineffective as the old calendar rhythm method. The third part of the dialogue consisted of a general discussion and clarifications that led towards the formulation of the consensus statement. At the CBCP Plenary Assembly three days later on Jan. 24, the consensus statement was included in the report of Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, ECFL Chairman. The consensus statement was drafted and read by Bishop Reyes. This was distributed to all the bishops. The full statement reads: According to the Analytical Index of CBCP Pronouncements (87th Bishops’ Plenary Assembly, July 2003, page 25), “The Body gave an affirmative indication on the issue whether or not the Standard Days Method (SDM) without any of the contraceptive component and without collaboration with government could be used by a diocese in its program of Natural Family Planning.” This decision or ruling has never been abrogated. Basing themselves on this CBCP decision, the bishops during the above-mentioned dialogue, agreed on the following: 1) The Standard Days Method, provided it is not mixed with contraceptives, is a natural family planning method and is consistent with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. The bishop should inform the priest or lay faithful who thinks otherwise and should stop him from spreading his error. http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  11. 11. pastoral companion Page 11 of 17 2) It belongs to the bishop to decide whether his diocese will promote or not the SDM, in accordance with his pastoral discernment. 3) The bishop may not prohibit any couple in his diocese from using SDM as their method of natural family planning. The bishops strongly reminded themselves of the saying: “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.” After some discussion on the floor of the plenary assembly, this consensus statement was affirmed and left unchanged by the body. This is now part of the minutes of the CBCP Plenary Assembly. As I review the consensus statement, three salient points can be noted: 1) Recalling their earlier consensus vote in July 2003, the bishops merely explicitated their view that SDM in itself, without mixing with contraceptives, is consistent with the moral teaching of the Church. 2) The statement asserts the responsibility of each bishop to decide whether or not to include SDM in his diocese’s pastoral program at the present time. 3) On the other hand, it also asserts the right of any couple to adopt SDM as an NFP method in any diocese. Pope John XXIII’s statement aptly describes the spirit of the bishops’ dialogue and consensus statement: “In whatever is necessary, unity; in whatever is doubtful, liberty; in everything, charity.” PO S T ED B Y AN T O N IO J. L ED ES M A, S J AT 1 2 : 1 1 P M 0 COMMENTS   http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  12. 12. pastoral companion Page 12 of 17 Bishops’ Consensus on NFP and SDM LAST January 21, 2009, at the end of the bishops’ seminar on peace- building at Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President, convened a dialogue meeting on Natural Family Planning and the Standard Days Method. The dialogue was opened to all the bishops. Twenty-nine bishops attended or roughly half of all those who had just finished the peace-building seminar. These included Archbishop Lagdameo and bishop members of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the Commission on the Laity facilitated the dialogue. The dialogue group first listened to the impressions of bishops whose dioceses were already including SDM in their NFP program – i.e., Cagayan de Oro, Ipil, Isabela (Basilan), Jolo, Digos, and Cotabato. In general, the bishops did not find anything objectionable with SDM being included as an added option in the local church’s NFP program, except that there may be need for more training and monitoring. The group then listened to objections and reservations brought up against SDM as an NFP method – e.g., that it was not natural and appeared too mechanical with the use of beads; that the information on the internet included the use of back-up contraceptives; that it was as ineffective as the old calendar rhythm method. The third part of the dialogue consisted of a general discussion and clarifications that led towards the formulation of the consensus statement. At the CBCP Plenary Assembly three days later on Jan. 24, the consensus statement was included in the report of Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, ECFL Chairman. The consensus statement was drafted and read by Bishop Reyes. This was distributed to all the bishops. The full statement reads: According to the Analytical Index of CBCP Pronouncements (87th Bishops’ Plenary Assembly, July 2003, page 25), “The Body gave an affirmative indication on the issue whether or not the Standard Days Method (SDM) without any of the contraceptive component and without collaboration with government could be used by a diocese in its program of Natural Family Planning.” http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  13. 13. pastoral companion Page 13 of 17 This decision or ruling has never been abrogated. Basing themselves on this CBCP decision, the bishops during the above-mentioned dialogue, agreed on the following: 1) The Standard Days Method, provided it is not mixed with contraceptives, is a natural family planning method and is consistent with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. The bishop should inform the priest or lay faithful who thinks otherwise and should stop him from spreading his error. 2) It belongs to the bishop to decide whether his diocese will promote or not the SDM, in accordance with his pastoral discernment. 3) The bishop may not prohibit any couple in his diocese from using SDM as their method of natural family planning. The bishops strongly reminded themselves of the saying: “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.” After some discussion on the floor of the plenary assembly, this consensus statement was affirmed and left unchanged by the body. This is now part of the minutes of the CBCP Plenary Assembly. As I review the consensus statement, three salient points can be noted: 1) Recalling their earlier consensus vote in July 2003, the bishops merely explicitated their view that SDM in itself, without mixing with contraceptives, is consistent with the moral teaching of the Church. 2) The statement asserts the responsibility of each bishop to decide whether or not to include SDM in his diocese’s pastoral program at the present time. 3) On the other hand, it also asserts the right of any couple to http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  14. 14. pastoral companion Page 14 of 17 adopt SDM as an NFP method in any diocese. Pope John XXIII’s statement aptly describes the spirit of the bishops’ dialogue and consensus statement: “In whatever is necessary, unity; in whatever is doubtful, liberty; in everything, charity.” PO S T ED B Y AN T O N IO J. L ED ES M A, S J AT 1 2 : 1 1 P M 0 COMMENTS THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2009 Catechetics and the NNCDP DURING the clergy meeting on January 12 in Cagayan de Oro, we discussed the summary of the Catechetical Review and Strategic Planning started by a core group earlier. We then recommended that the process of reviewing and planning our catechetical program should be continued and brought down to the parish level. In this regard, each priest/deacon received a copy of the New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines 2007. We suggested that the district priests discuss the contents of this book during their monthly meeting over the next six months. They could discuss one chapter at a time—e.g., for one hour, like a BEC session. The priests could take turns in facilitating the discussion. A written summary would be presented at the next clergy meeting for consolidation with the other reports. There were five reasons why we invited everyone to read and reflect on the NNCDP together. 1. This is a concrete follow-up of our Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly held last December 12-13. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (1991) considered catechesis as the most fundamental area of renewal. The National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (2001) affirmed this by making “Integral Faith Formation”—through catechesis—as the first of its nine pastoral priorities. 2. The NNCDP incorporates and integrates all our ad intra ministries—i.e., Catechetics, BEC formation, Liturgy, Bible Apostolate, Family Life, Youth, etc. It also points out their http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  15. 15. pastoral companion Page 15 of 17 intimate relationship with our ad extra ministries—i.e., the social apostolate and works of charity. 3. Parish priests are the primary “educators in the faith” and “the key source for the parish catechetical ministry” (NNCDP, nos. 441- 442). Without the support of the parish priest, the catechetical program in the parish will be hobbled and may become moribund. 4. Concretely, the NNCDP gives us a comprehensive framework for evaluating our current catechetical program – as we approach the end of the school year, and prepare for the coming school year. 5. For the individual priest, the NNCDP can serve as a pastorally- oriented synthesis of our theology courses in the seminary. For instance, the threefold pattern of Christian Faith indicated in No. 213—in terms of Creed, Code, and Cult; or Jesus as the Truth, the Way, and the Life—can give us a manner of envisioning the interconnection among our various parish ministries. To start off the discussions on Chapter One of the NNCDP at their next district meeting, three guide questions were proposed to the priests: 1. What are the expressions of religiosity (devotions) in your parish today? 2. What are the core values behind these expressions of religiosity (devotions)? 3. How do you include these core values in your catechesis? They were of course free to focus on other matters of relevance to your local communities. In due time, members of the catechetical core group would be suggesting guide questions for the other chapters. We proposed that this collective effort at catechetical renewal would be our way of starting off the next 75 years of the archdiocese after our jubilee celebrations last year. PO S T ED B Y AN T O N IO J. L ED ES M A, S J AT 1 0 : 5 9 A M 0 COMMENTS MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2009 http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  16. 16. pastoral companion Page 16 of 17 A pastoral call for environmental protection To our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro: During this period of calamity I would first like to express my solidarity and prayers for all those families who have been displaced by the sudden floods. These first occurred on January 3 with the swelling of the Cagayan de Oro river. Then on January 11 until now flash floods have taken place more extensively throughout various parts of the city and several municipalities in Misamis Oriental. As of the latest reports more than 75,000 persons have been displaced and 44 barangays in the city have been affected. In visiting some of the displaced families that have been forced to seek shelter in chapels or formation centers of the church or community centers in the barangays, I see the faces of children with their mothers waiting patiently for some assistance. On the other hand, I am also heartened to see many parish communities mobilizing to distribute relief goods among those displaced communities. Many individuals, companies and organizations have also sent their assistance in goods or in cash to the Bishop’s House or directly to the parishes affected by the floods. These are indeed signs of solidarity and brotherhood regardless of religious or cultural differences. Even as we attend to the immediate needs of displaced families, we must not lose sight of the long term factors that have aggravated the effects of natural calamities. Among these man- made factors are: • Continued logging operations in the upstream areas of the city; these include the more remote areas of the city and watershed areas in the ARMM region and Bukidnon • Hydraulic flush mining that have caused the heavy siltation of Iponan river and its tributaries • Small scale and large scale mining in other upland areas of the http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009
  17. 17. pastoral companion Page 17 of 17 city • Lack of solid waste management that has led to clogging of the city’s drainage canals • Similarly housing developments that have obstructed the natural flow of water These and many other factors have to be reviewed carefully by public officials with the participation of civil society groups. The church and other parish communities are ready to join and support all these efforts for a safer, cleaner and brighter Cagayan de Oro and surrounding areas. PO S T ED B Y AN T O N IO J. L ED ES M A, S J AT 3 : 2 8 P M 0 COMMENTS Older Posts Subscribe to: Posts (Atom) http://archbishopledesma.blogspot.com/ 8/10/2009

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