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A call to be brave

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) goes high-tech to reach out to more of Filipino laity and families, with a call for them to be “brave and be agents for social change.” The CBCP invites lay people to visit its new website, choosetobebrave.org, to air concerns and insights that church leaders could look into in 2014, the “Year of the Laity.” We want to show our love to the laity by listening to them and giving them a voice, the CBCP said.

Bishops call for updates on the situation of Filipino families through the website, to guide them as they prepare for the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family to be held in Rome on October 5-19, 2014. Website visitors could fill up a Vatican survey form and the responses will be transmitted by CBCP to the Vatican.

By choosing the family as topic of the next Synod, Pope Francis has placed importance on pastoral care of the family and how the Church would address the pastoral needs of Catholics who have divorced and remarried. Issues of family and marriage require deeper interpretation in these times, and dedicating a synod to the topic suggests that the Pope wants to unify church teaching about them. The CBCP says in a pastoral exhortation: Christian marriage should be valued not only as a beautiful, solemn ceremony, but as a welcoming of Christ into the life of the couple and their future family. Married couples should see their marriage as a public commissioning by Christ to serve and protect life and married love itself.

The CBCP programs of pastoral action for 2014 are on the website. It asks people from 12 sectors of society – young professionals, families, homeless and jobless, fisherfolk and laborers, friends, government employees, civic organizations, public school teachers, indigenous people, and lay saints – to input suggestions and comments as it vows the laity and families in decision-making. The CBCP calls on laity to be brave and to share stories of bravery, and inspire the world.

The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Officers and Employees, congratulate the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, headed by its President Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas and Vice President Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, for uniting the Catholic Church and lay people by technology and in pastoral undertakings. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

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    This is a brave thing for the CBCP to do. It matters now that the laity choose to be brave and bring their stories to the website, the stories of their aspirations for their marriages, for their families, and for their children. It matters that men and women speak out particularly on issues of the health and welfare of women, the mothers. Tell the bishops of your concerns in how to order the plan their lives so the entire family can thrive, to create an environment of hope for children by having only the number of children the family can care for and raise in hope.

    Tell them of the importance of the health of mothers, who should not bear more children more often than the health of their bodies allows. Women’s lives and health matter – they are the mothers. They can’t be good mothers if their bodies are wasted by too much child bearing, too often.

    Tell them the truth of your lives and hopes.