Cebu clergy relate 7 last words to RH bill, moral challenges

Posted on April 24, 2011

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Leaders of the Cebu Archdiocese related Jesus Christ’s last words on the cross with the Reproductive Health bill debate, moral challenges and the youths’ attachment to the Internet.

At 12 noon of Good Friday, priests led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal elaborated gave individual reflections in the traditional Siete Palabras broadcast live from t he Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.

They urged people to adhere to Christian values, spread the word of God and protect human life.

A crowd lined up in front of a giant cross where the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was later reenacted.

People listened as they held prayer books and sat on benches outside the cathedral where loud speakers were mounted.

This year’s theme was “Siete Palabras ni Jesu Cristo nga mao gihapon kagahapon, karon ug sa wala’y katapusan (Seven last words of Jesus Christ still relevant yesterday, today and forever).”

In opening the activity, the 80-year-old Vidal said Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and message remain as vivid and clear as it was 2,011 years ago.

“The seven last words of Jesus are the summary of his deeds and words of his public life and ministry,” he said

“Listen carefully to the effort of the evangelizers to guide you in your everyday Christian life.”

Looking ahead, he said Cebu marks an important date in 2021 celebrating 490 years since Christianity was brought here with the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521

‘Error of their ways’

The first of Christ’s lines, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”, was seen as a call to action to uphold Christian morality and live a path led by God.

“The laity has the greatest role in the spread of Christianity,” said Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu Julito Cortes.

Cortes called on the faithful to help spread the Church’s moral doctrines to “save the country”. He cited a magazine article which described the Philippines as one of the most corrupt in Asia.

“Where is our righteousness? Why do we continue to do wrong which is against our Christian morality?,” Cortes asked.

He also pointed to “the error” of lawmakers who pursue the Responsible Parenthood bill.

Cortes said the bill is is “threatening the rights of the unborn inside the womb.”

“Pagka-wala’y kasing-kasing nato nga mga igsoon (Our brothers and sisters don’t have a heart),” he said, referring to supporters of the bill.

For the second of Christ’s messages “I tell you this, today you will be with me in Paradise,” Msgr. Renato Beltran, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese, called on the youth to steer clear from the negative distractions of technology and the Internet.

“Modern technology should be used for a good thing. It should not be used as a tool for us to forget our Christian values,” Beltran said.

Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, team moderator of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Capitol, related Christ’s third word–“Woman, behold your Son. Son, behold your mother”–to an appeal to lawmakers to protect women from violence instead of promoting the Reproductive Health bill.

He said the distribution of contraceptives especially to women would just lead to their moral exploitation instead of saving them.

Villarojo said their use provides a false sense of security.

Christ’s fourth words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” should be taken as a call to reinforce the value of family, said Msgr. Sindulfo Iriarte, parish priest of the San Fernando Rey parish in Liloan town.

Iriarte said the Filipino family as a basic unit of society is being threatened with the rising divorce cases, acceptance of civil weddings without church blessing and distributing condoms.

Fulfilling life

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, media liaison officer of the Cebu Archdiocese, talked about the plight of migrant workers in light of Christ’s fifth words “I thirst.”

Dakay noted how low wages have driven Cebuanos to work abroad and that workers need to rely not just on income, but the word of God.

“We don’t just need dollars, we also need morals,” Dakay said.

Msgr. Alfredo Romanillos Jr, rector of the Blessed John XXIII Minor Seminary, explained the importance of spreading Catholic teaching in Christ’s sixth word “It is finished.”

“Catechism will give meaning and life that will live in the heart of the people,” Romanillos said.

Msgr. Roberto Alesna, parish priest of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, said Christ’s last words “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” shows Jesus’s faith in laying His life in His Father’s hands.

Personal needs

Alesna said the faithful should continue to seek God’s words.

“Let us not forget to give time for Christ while we respond to our personal needs,” Alesna said.

Archbishop Palma said the Cebuano flock should thank the Lord for giving the Señor Sto. Nino de Cebu and the Virgin of Guadalupe to them.

“They continue to strengthen our faith and through all this year, we have been together in the name of their love,” Palma said.

Posted in: Beliefs