After the RH Bill: The Age of Catacombs

Procession in the catacombs

Procession in the catacombs

Welcome to the Age of Catacombs. The Secular State is now against the Catholic Church in the Philippines. We need to prepare for a long protracted warfare for souls. This is the Year of Faith. This is my proposed battle plan:

For Priests

1. Increase devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass. Organized groups to make Holy Hours at least once a week or once a month. Encourage proper dress at mass, especially for priests. Encourage kneeling to receive communion and discourage communion in the hand. Use the Nicene Creed and kneel at the mention of Incarnation.

2. Encourage priests and seminarians to wear their cassock as a habit inside and outside the Church. If they don’t believe the idea, they can at least try it for a month and compare the reactions of people to their presence.

3. Revise the seminary formation. A priest should have read all of Summa Theologica before ordination. He must also know how to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in both ordinary and extraordinary forms. He must also be able to speak, write, and read in Latin.

For the Laity

1. Form confraternities of the holy rosary in every school and parish. UST and the Dominican schools can lead here. The Dominicans wiped out the Albigensian heresy before. They can do so again with the same tried and true method: the rosary. The members promise to say the rosary everyday, as a group if possible.

2. Revise the Religion curriculum taught in Catholic schools for K-12. The curriculum must make sure that at Grade 12, each student should have read all books of the Bible and all articles of the Catechism. They should be able to know whether a statement conforms to the teachings of the Catholic Church or not and answer True or False accordingly. Or better yet, they should be able to cite the actual passage of the Catechism.

3. Form Catholic apologetics groups in every college. A Chesterton Society used to exist in Ateneo de Manila. Debating for the sake of debating is useless unless it is done with charity, and with the purpose of conversion to the Catholic Faith.

4. Encourage more women to spend more time at home, so that they become the primary educators of their children. The formation of children should not be relinquished to house helpers. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”–William Rose Wallace.

5. Encourage religious orders to analyze their histories. They should ask the following questions: “When was our order at the peak of its numbers and spiritual strength? What did we do then? When was our order at the lowest in numbers and spiritual strength? What did we do then?” By this simple exercise, the religious orders would know in a very scientific manner substantiated by history how to increase their numbers and spiritual strength.

6. Read more Papal Encyclicals and less newspapers. Read more about the history of the Catholic Church. Read the lives of Saints instead that of movie stars.

7. Read St. Ignatius’s Guide for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church.

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

9 Responses to After the RH Bill: The Age of Catacombs

  1. Angelo Perez says:

    Hi Sir! These are laudable plans. I agree with them all. But due to a general to the Church and those against the RH bill, these proposals might not reach fruition. I’m thinking especially in the context and setting of our own school. These might be seen, as with the common view of the Catholic Church, as very conservative, backward and antiquated.

    These plans are are good ends. However the means on how to achieve them need to be scrutinized and delivered effectively and with charity. I am disturbed for the fact that many “dissenters” of the Church (for instance, on the RH bill issue) come from Catholic schools. ADMU and DLSU are Catholic universities, yet there are position papers in support for the measure. Students should study the Catechism and the Bible with heart and faith as the motivation and the end. They should not be “forced” and fearful (at first perhaps because these will appear as requirements, but I hope they will love the teachings of our Church along the way).

    I’m curious as to researching if these plans have already been done in some areas, and why they are not reaching us, our school, and our immediate environment/setting.

    On papal encyclicals, I myself am starting to read some. But they are not for easy reading. I prefer to buy encyclicals with study aids (such as those published by Word and Life Publications), rather than raw texts from the Vatican website. I am antiquated with Theology, but I still feel I’m not up for reading papal encyclicals like reading fiction. I believe a look on such documents should be accompanied by formal and accompanied study, which I think is happening (many theology courses are developed on the magisterium’s say on several issues, such as on the Church’s social teachings).

  2. it is a good read..my only problem here is it gives me the feel that increase in numbers are important rather than increase of strength in faith…and Im not sure correct me if i am wrong but how i saw it is jesus didn’t tried to convert people into a religion but rather convert them to have a good heart :)

  3. Perhaps #3 for Priest should be Revised to Speak,Write and Read in Latin

  4. Wants to Be Anonymous says:

    My friend,

    A blessed Advent! and should we not correspond before the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, I pray that you will have a blessed, happy, and merry Christmas as well!

    Now, on more serious matters:

    Let me begin by sharing with your pain and disappointment regarding the religious, spiritual, and social-cultural implications of the RH bill.

    Now, regarding your plan, there are good points, and there are points which I think could be made better; I strongly suggest that you discuss them with the proper authorities and not just vent them here so that they can be better formulated and discussed, and if you get to be blessed, presented to the conference of catholic bishops, even the vatican for consideration.

    But let us look at them, at times I will have to rebuke you as Paul the Apostle rebuked his fellow, Peter, yet both of them were called to order by James, we should learn to listen to the holy spirit who speaks through the servants of God:

    1) Regarding the liturgy of the hours/divine office, you should be more specific — as far as I know, all priests and religious say the liturgy of the hours as a daily part of their vocation. As far as having communities of the priests and the religious say the liturgy of the hours as a community and invite the faithful, lay Christians to pray with them; this is most certainly a good idea. Are you doing it in your community?

    As for your comments which relate to strict codes of dress, rubrics, preference in posture/gesture during communion — you sound not unlike your blog link friend the one who claims to be a filipino at heart catholic; i sincerely hope he is not a member of the good knights of columbus as he claims; as for you, as far as I know, right now, only God can tell if you are already well-formed in your faith but I think you are truly Catholic. You may even be observant, pious, and devout. While I will agree with statements which remind us that all catholics should learn to appreciate and have at least a basic understanding of the theological importance of parts the mass, your statements, in light of some you have said before, does not seem to be in line with the second vatican council, unless the pope or the magisterium infallibly declares it otherwise. And going back to the sacraments, as the recent synod of bishops discussed, atONEment, penance, confession should be revived and revitalized; I think that is more meaningful than having a preference for acceptable postures/gestures during communion. ANd have you considered the people who cannot receive the species of the bread? Should they just open their mouths and have the minister pour from the cup of the new covenant directly into their open mouths? You should be careful where you go with these ideas…

    About the Creed, have you been so used to googling that you have not opened a physical copy of the catechism of the catholic churh? I hope you noticed that the first part of the catechism was structured around the apostles creed… yes, the Nicene Creed is important, and we give it more importance on those special days when it is used (with the appropriate rubrics/posture/gestures) in the celebration of the mass. There was a time when I wanted the Nicene Creed to be used in every mass, and I even discussed it with a priest and he gently reminded me that, the mass it not just for me.

    As for revising the seminary formation, if you can get at least three jesuit priests in the ateneo to support you with your statements verbatim, I will not argue with you on that point, otherwise, you have to remember that part of catholicism’s beauty is in our diversity and the diversity of the religious communities. Instead of the summa theologica, fluency in latin and the extraordinary form, for lack of a better word, the “minimums” that I would propose will include the catechism of the catholic church (and the compendium) and the dogmatic constitutions of the second vatican council; a solid understanding of the old testament, especially the psalms and the book of job is always admirable. We should always remember that every priest is different and has different qualities which every one of us values differently, but more importantly we are called to remember in the Catechism that:

    “In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis”

    “It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).”

    “Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.”

    While the summa theologica is an excellent piece of work, as I have challenged you previously, we need a new expression of the truths written in it, and preferably something that would be useful not just for the priests belonging to the religious orders but also to diocesan priests and religious, because, where do most of the lay, Christian faithful listen to on matters of faith? I would be most supportive if you will undertake the challenge of bringing this modern expression of the summa theologica in light of recent advances in science, technology, and more importantly, scholastic work on the Bible.

    Regarding the holy rosary, I am for the praying of the holy rosary, it is my hope, as I have heard some servants of God say, that there is a need to reflect upon, remember and perhaps understand (on some level I suppose, of body, mind, heart, soul) the mysteries of the life, death, and resurrection of christ seen through the eyes of her mother so that we are once again directed towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, from what I have experienced, there are among the lay, Christian faithful who may not have the faculties for this deeper understanding of the holy rosary… only recently have I come to accept, once more, that even then, the Holy Mother of God would always intercede on behalf of the faithful because she is a parent, she is a mother, she is our parent in Christ, she is our parent through Christ.

    As for the religious education, again, one should call to mind diversity, and for lack of a better word, “the basics/the minimum”. Rather than promoting rote learning, we should encourage a deeper understanding of our faith, enough to know that we are saved by grace BOTH through faith AND working in love; a deeper understanding enough to develop well formed faith and a well formed conscience.

    I encourage you to start an apologetics group in your community. I am trying to contribute in mine.

    As for the formation of children, it should be the duty of BOTH living parents, and actually it should be more the duty of the father as he is the visible head of the domestic church. Granted, mothers have a different approach, and both are needed.

    While I agree that the lay, Christian faithful should be more aware of correspondences from the servants of God (and not just from the servant of the servants of God), and of the saints and the religious I have come to appreciate once more that there is faith in culture and we should strive to build communities with more faith in our cultures.

    It is hard to comment regarding your request to religious orders… again I mention that there is a diversity in Catholicism, even though there are more important things which bind us.

    While I am thankful to St. Ignatius and the fruits of the religious order he founded with friends, including St. Francis Xavier, Priest, again, what you mention may not be for every priest and personally, I think there are more important things that certain priests, especially diocesan priests should be more in tune to… remember it’s not just about you.

    So, why don’t you discuss your points with Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, I am sure he would like to hear from a fellow blue eagle. You should ask him about Adam and Eve and what are the articles of faith that we are called to believe regarding that event. Have you asked other priests in the Ateneo? You always criticize saruman, but if you are always in your ivory tower, aren’t you like saruman? I hope you would not become a Saruman.

    non sequitur: if you have a friend who is actually a member of the good knights of columbus, kindly ask him to look into that website of that web link friend of yours… it is for the most part, very disturbing.

    I leave you with prayers:

    Mara na Tha! Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

    Praise be Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now, and forever!

  5. Lay plan no. 1 and no. 3? Absolutely! :)

  6. leah lou catunga-maldo says:

    Amen to this.
    I admit even I myself haven’t read all the books of the holy Bible..
    I also must pray the rosary..
    Oh God pls help me to practice doing these..

  7. Jun Viray says:

    We used to have the Student Catholic Action in College, and was also a member of the Legion of Mary. I wonder if our young people are aware of these organizations.Parish organizations must now go out of their comfort zones and mingle with the people on the ground. Go back to basics on catechism. Start right now and the parish priest ought to start the ball rolling.

  8. jj says:

    I agree that In receiving the holy host Should be done kneeling and not by hand and priest should show grate reverence to the holly Eucharist. it seems that some priest in our parish don’t huhuhuhuhuhuhu

  9. Hazed says:

    That #3 for the priest made me laugh, also an impossible thing to do for the current age, lol.

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