Anti RH Law rally before the Supreme Court organized by Filipinos for Life: Chronology of Events

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life led the recitation of the rosary during the Anti RH Law rally with the theme “RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin” last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m., the Filipinos for Life organized an Anti RH Law rally before the gates of the Supreme Court.  As a member of the Filipinos for Life, I was given the task of a marshal.  So I took lots of pictures.  The participants, mostly young students of nearby Catholic schools, lined up along Padre Faura stretching up to the road before the Robinson’s Place Manila.  Anthony Perez, President of Filipinos for Life estimated the crowd to be about 800-1,000.  Meanwhile on the other part of Padre Faura also before the gates of Supreme Court are about 30 pro RH Law advocates in the same purple shirts, same purple umbrellas, and even same purple poster designs.  Someone even posed himself as a cartoon bishop in white and gold.  The sameness of their gears shows that someone bought in bulk and distributed it to the participants.  In contrast, the Anti RH Law crowd came from different groups with different uniforms and different posters–mostly handmade, and practically no umbrellas.  The morning crowd did not get much of the news.  What you see in TV are the Anti RH crowd in Green and the pro RH crowd in purple with roughly the same crowd size.  They are the afternoon crowd; the morning crowd was not covered by mainstream media.  But here are the  links to the pictures in the RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin (Stop RH, Love Life) albums and see for yourself what you don’t see in the TV and newspaper news reports: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

I took some notes of the proceedings of the Anti RH Law rally using my phone, typing as fast as my two thumbs can press the letters while I listen to the talks.  Here’s the chronology of the events:

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up for going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up in front of Robinsons Place Manila before going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up at Robinson’s Place Manila

Walking towards the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists  of St. Paul University-Manila walking towards the Supreme Court

Students carrying Anti RH Law posters

Students carrying hand-drawn Anti RH Law posters

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas.  Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH La crowd in Padre Faura.

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas. Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH Law crowd in Padre Faura.

9:12 a.m.

St. Paul students occupy the pedestrian walk opposite the Supreme Court facade, extending up to the road before Robinson’s Place Manila.

9:18 a.m.

The crowd is now from the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court.  The Pro-Life Philippines Foundation displayed its green banner.  On the desk hangs the flag of the Filipinos for Life, a shield of blue and white.

9:26 a.m.

I see students from San Sebastian and St. Paul’s.  There is also one representative from the Rosary for Life holding a large flag containing the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There are also Don Bosco students with their gray uniforms.  I met Rolly de los Reyes of Courage Philippines.

9:32 a.m.

Mike Mapa and Anna Cosio of Filipinos for Life led the praying of the rosary.

9:41 a.m.

Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate Lito David arrived all in white.

9:49 a.m.  

The crowd began praying the the Joyful Mysteries.

10:00 a.m.

Now the Glorious Mysteries.

10:13 a.m.

Finished the rosary.  Anna and Mike began to lead the crowd in shouting: “Buhay Mahalin, RH Supilin!”  They named the groups who came: St. Paul University-Manila.  Most of the crowd are students from this University.  Don Bosco Mandaluyong.  University of Sto. Tomas. Soldiers of Christ. Rosaries for Life. CBCP FL. Daughters of St. Paul. DMI Circle from Paranaque. San Sebastian Recoletos. CMT is still in the church for the mass.

10:17 a.m.

Mike speaks: “We must celebrate life. In the family we learn values.  I am thankful to be alive.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.  And then I understood many things God has done.”

10:18 a.m.

Mike and Anna enumerated the other participating groups: Holy Family parish from Parang, Marikina.  Sienna College. Citizens Initiative for Alternative Medicine.  Ang Kapatiran Party.  Augustinian Seminary.  Mike continued: “Sometimes we feel in the media that we are alone. No, we are not alone.  This is the happiest day of my life: to find a cause worth dying for.  It is a reason to live, an advocacy.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.   I would like to thank my lovely wife, Cecil.  There are so many attacks against the family. ”

Praying before the Supreme Court

Praying before the Supreme Court

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

10:22 a.m.

Lisa Poblete, a dentist, spoke in Tagalog.  Here’s my translation: “I know Pedro Gil. I lived in Padre Faura.  In the Filipino language, when a person is pregnant, she is ‘nagdadalang-tao’ or ‘bearing a man’. The human being is the beginning.  All of us have navels.  If we have navels, then we came from our mother’s wombs.  Conception starts at fertilization. We have to give all Filipinos in the womb a chance to live.

Mike speaks: “The only persons without navels are Adam and Eve.  I am a Filipinos for Life member.  We would like to welcome the Rogationst seminarians of the Diocese of Paranaque.  Very Pro-Life.  Our next speaker is from Courage Philippines.  This is an organization who helps people with same-sex attraction and live life to the fullest.  Let us welcome Mr. Rolly de los Reyes.”

Rolly de los Reyes speaks: “I am a Bosconian.  Don Bosco through Mary.  In the feast day of Mary we offer flowers.  All of us.  Pregnancy or pagdadalang-tao is not sickness but a gift.  We must thank God for the gift that is our mothers.  There are mothers who died in pregnancy.  But this does not mean that pregnancy is a disease.  Mothers offered their lives for us.  Let us give them a round of applause. Let us also thank our Mother, Mary.  We must fight against pornography, such as FMH.  What we need is not a sex education but a chastity education.  We must teach society about the beauty of virginity.  True love waits. ”

10:31 a.m.

The next speaker is Lito David, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

Lito David speaks in Filipino.  Here’s my translation of what I can catch:  “Praise the Lord!  Why are we here?  Because of our faith in God who loves life.  Let us pray that Supreme Court will not be bought.  We could have won in Congress. There were 116 who are Anti RH.  Afterwards, there were only 69?  They sold their stand?  For 70 million pesos?  Because of the pressure of PNoy?  Let us pray that the Supreme Court will not be bought.”

10:39 a.m.

Anna speaks: “In the Flames of Love, there is an actress together with Dina Bonevie.  She is already a grand mom.  She is known for giving chastity talks in public schools.  Please welcome, Ms. Rica Dayrit.”

Rica Dayrit speaks in Filipino.  Here is my translation: “The youth are here.  Anna said that I am beautiful, a pro-life mother. Why are we beautiful?  What is the will of God?  The priest said that you can be a good Christian if you get married.  We have children entrusted to us to be born.  What is the beauty of being a pro-life mother?  I go to checkups.  I fall in line.  Then I hear the doctor say to other women ahead of me.  ‘Are you taking pills? I see many diseases in your ovary.’  We must take care of life.  In this way there will be many beautiful Filipinos in our country.”

10:43 a.m.

Anna speaks: “Let us welcome the Claretian missionaries.   We would like to welcome the Filipinos for Life and their president, Mr. Anthony  Perez.”

Anthony speaks in Filipino and English: “Let us give each other a round of applause.  What time did you wake up?  The Soldiers for Christ have not yet slept.  But they are here.  We stand to celebrate life.  And we have visitors here.  What is your name?”

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Little Boy: “Angel Liwanag. 5 years old . from Bonifacio.”

Anthony: “Let us give a round of applause to Angel!  Where is your daddy?  I am the speaker.  Story?”

Little Boy: “No.”

Anthony: “There is Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians.  Are you going to become a priest?”

Little Boy: “Yes.”

Anthony: “Are you sure?  Daddy’s message says that you are going to give a poem.  These is the  list of poems.  To my fellow youth.  Heart of Stone. You are my Boss.”

10:48 a.m.

Little Boy reciting in Filipino:  “You are my boss.  That is the word that I spoke.  No counterflow. To help in the cross.  You are my boss. … aspirations.  Face my parents regarding their legacy of democracy.  We can say that we have reached far, the way of the future generations.  Thank you very much.”

10:50 a.m.

Anthony: “These are speeches that were made into poems.”

Meanwhile I walked around to the pro-RH side and checked their props, posters, and crowd size.  There are only a few of them.  Their many umbrellas and large streamers hide their small number.  Their posters say that “I am a Catholic from a family of 8 or 9.”  Then there is that guy posing as Bishop of Cartoon Diocese.  They focus their attacks on the Catholic Church, creating a parody church in the process.  Indeed, they lack imagination.  They cannot truly create but only mock.  As Frodo said of Orcs:

No, they eat and drink, Sam.  The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.  I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.  Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison.” (The Tower of Cirith Ungol, The Lord of the Rings)

Interesting.  When I walked to the other side,  I can’t hear what we in the Anti-RH side are saying.  And vice-versa.  I think this is what the current state of our dialogue on the RH Law right now.

10:54 a.m.

Anthony: “Sienna college is here.  Let us fight for life.  Our youth have talents; they just need the right guidance.  Let us celebrate life.  Thanks to all who came.  We can stay longer if we wish.  I know that many of you have classes.  Thank you very much for making a stand.  Let us think of our loved ones in our lives.  Let us think what if they were not born?  It is happier for men to love before they separate from each other.  So let us join hands and pray the “Our Father””

The crowd sang the Our Father.

Anthony: “Let us sing Happy Birthday To You!”

The crowd sang the song twice.

11:00 a.m.

The rally officially ended.  The Soldiers of Christ took over.  And they sang and prayed I think until 12:00 noon, which is the end of the rally permit.

Life is priceless

Life is priceless

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

God is Pro-Life

God is Pro-Life

RH Bill and the Catholic University

The Varsitarian editorial, RH Bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of Lemons and Cowards, has been criticized because there is no byline. But editorials have no bylines. Check out Inquirer and Philippine Star. This is not an act of cowardice but a journalistic tradition, because editorials are “newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers.” The editorial was also criticized because of some grammatical lapses or its arrogance. But we may be missing out on the true issue here, in the same way as we focus on Sen. Sotto’s plagiarism rather than on his allegations that international pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood are funding the RH Bill lobby. The real issue is this:


There is something universal about a university.  Universitas is a Latin word which may refer to the “whole, total; the universe, the world.”  Originally, universitas refers to the community of scholars and teachers (Universitas magistrorum et scholarium) housed under one roof, so to speak.  And these scholars and teachers study everything there is to know about man and the universe–physical, spiritual, social, political, etc.–all spheres of human existence.

There is also something universal about the word “Catholic.”  The word kataholos in the time of Ignatius of Antioch was already used to distinguish Christians “who believed and practiced according to what body of Christians as a whole did, in contrast to what some particular group thought or did.”  Notice the word whole which is synonymous to all.  This definition reminds us of the Commissioning of the Apostles by Christ just before His Ascension:

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Mt 28:18-20)

All power, all nations, all commandments, always.  Such is the universality of the Catholic Church’s mission.

Now we have two institutions, each claiming a sense of universality: the University and the Catholic Church.  If the two institutions are in harmony, the phrase “Catholic University” stands.  But if the they are in conflict, then the lesser must be absorbed by the greater.  So I propose the following definition:

A Catholic University is a university that puts primacy on Catholic Theology among all fields of knowledge.

Against this statement, the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill enumerate at least four objections:

  1. Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities
  2. The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom
  3. The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience
  4. The key principles of the RH Bill are compatible with Catholic Theology

I shall respond to each of these objections individually.  For the first objection, I shall discuss St. Aquinas’s argument on the nobility of Catholic Theology among all sciences.  For the second objection, I shall discuss Chesterton’s map of the maze of human knowledge and errors.  For the third objection, I shall quote other lines from the Catechism regarding conscience and how it may err in its judgment.  For the fourth objection, I shall discuss Chesterton’s image of the creed as a key.  I shall end the paper with a postcript on obedience to bishops as a test of Catholic orthodoxy by quoting St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Along the way, I shall quote several encyclicals: Humani Generis, Humanae Vitae, and Ex Corde Ecclesiae.  I hope this paper will encourage others to engage in philosophical and theological dialogue regarding the RH Bill and the nature of the Catholic university in a more calm and sober manner with mutual respect.

OBJECTION 1: Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities

Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities. Therefore, Catholic doctrine taught in theology is just one of the many scientific opinions, so that in the case of the RH Bill, for example, if there is conflict between the conclusions of economics and theology regarding the use of contraceptives, a professor in a Catholic university can equally choose to side with the economic argument or with the theological argument, because one argument is equally as good as the other as they are both products of human reason. This means that even if the Church hierarchy (the CBCP) or the Pope declares that contraception is intrinsically wrong and should be condemned, a Catholic professor can dismiss these teachings if he finds what for him are weightier justification for the use and promotion of contraceptives, such as population explosion, too many children to feed, or women’s right over their bodies, etc.


Catholic Theology is indeed a science.  In Science, truth may either be what is known to be true (postulates or axioms or laws) or whatever is deduced from these (theorems). For example, in Physics Kepler’s law that describes the elliptical orbit of the planets around the sun may be thought of as a theorem of a more fundamental law: Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Similarly, in Catholic Theology, doctrines are deduced from two sets of axioms: Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition.  The summary of Catholic doctrines is published in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But the axioms in philosophical sciences–which we have to accept by faith until proven wrong–are not certain.  For example, remove the parallel postulate in Euclidean geometry and you arrive at intersecting parallel lines in spherical or projective geometry.  Also, though Newton’s Law of Gravitation can predict many things, Einstein’s General Relativity can predict more things, such as the precession of Mercury’s perihelion and gravitational lensing.  Scientists are continuously revising theories as they search for the the ultimate Theory of Everything (TOE), the one equation that shall rule them all: the structure of the universe, its beginning, and its end.

Unlike the axioms in philosophical science, the axioms of Catholic Theology are certain, because God has revealed them Who can neither deceive nor intend to deceive.  In this sense, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.  Aquinas has more to say on the nobility of Catholic Theology (Sacred Sciences) in his Summa Theologiae:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others speculative and practical. Now one speculative science is said to be nobler than another, either by reason of its greater certitude, or by reason of the higher worth of its subject-matter. In both these respects this science surpasses other speculative sciences; in point of greater certitude, because other sciences derive their certitude from the natural light of human reason, which can err; whereas this derives its certitude from the light of divine knowledge, which cannot be misled: in point of the higher worth of its subject-matter because this science treats chiefly of those things which by their sublimity transcend human reason; while other sciences consider only those things which are within reason’s grasp. Of the practical sciences, that one is nobler which is ordained to a further purpose, as political science is nobler than military science; for the good of the army is directed to the good of the State. But the purpose of this science, in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.”  (Part 1, Question 1, Article 5)

Unless we can prove that Aquinas made a mistake in his argument, then we have to agree to his conclusion:

From every standpoint, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.

If this statement is true, then we arrive at the following statement:

A Catholic University must uphold the primacy of Catholic Theology among all sciences.

Hence, a Catholic University must be institutionally faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  This is explained in detail in Ex Corde Ecclesiae of John Paul II:

27. …. One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Catholic members of the university community are also called to a personal fidelity to the Church with all that this implies. Non-Catholic members are required to respect the Catholic character of the University, while the University in turn respects their religious liberty(26).

28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”(27).

Thus, for example, if a Biologist will say that man has many ape-like ancestors and that there could be many Adams and Eves, putting the whole plan of salvation and the Sacrifice of Christ to naught, then it is the duty of Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on our first parents as expressed in Humani Generis of Pius XII:

37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Similarly, if Economists propose the promotion of contraception through the RH Bill as a vehicle for economic prosperity, then it is the duty of the Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI:

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

OBJECTION 2: The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom.  Professors should be free to teach whatever truths they have obtained through years of scholarly research.  What does the study of galaxies and viruses have to do with Catholic theology?


Professors in Catholic Universities are free to pursue any field of knowledge in so far as they do not trespass on Catholic doctrine in the same way as school children are free to roam around the school as long as they respect the proper boundaries: they cannot disturb other classes; they must be in their classroms during class hours; they cannot enter faculty rooms without permission; they must be silent at the library or in the chapel; and they must not jump over the fence during school hours.  That is why a school map is useful, because it defines the boundaries of the school and the freedoms associated with each school area.  In a similar way, the Catholic Church also has an amazing map of human knowledge that “looks like a maze but is in fact a guide to the maze”–locating where men are free to engage in idle speculation and where discussion is off-limits.  Chesterton says it best in his essay, Why I am Catholic (1926):

The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.

There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them.

On this map of the mind the errors are marked as exceptions. The greater part of it consists of playgrounds and happy hunting-fields, where the mind may have as much liberty as it likes; not to mention any number of intellectual battle-fields in which the battle is indefinitely open and undecided. But it does definitely take the responsibility of marking certain roads as leading nowhere or leading to destruction, to a blank wall, or a sheer precipice. By this means, it does prevent men from wasting their time or losing their lives upon paths that have been found futile or disastrous again and again in the past, but which might otherwise entrap travelers again and again in the future. The Church does make herself responsible for warning her people against these; and upon these the real issue of the case depends. She does dogmatically defend humanity from its worst foes, those hoary and horrible and devouring monsters of the old mistakes.

In the case of the RH Bill and contraception, the Catholic Church has already mapped out the roads and the cliff awaiting us if such a bill is going to push through: loss of respect for the woman, destruction of the family, and government’s interference in married life.  All these are described in Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae:

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

Humanae Vitae saw with clarity in 1968 the grave consequences of adoption of contraception, especially its elevation by the government into a national policy.  Let us take two countries, for example, USA and Singapore:

  • In the USA, the Birth Control Movement started with  Margaret Sangers in 1914.  The 7th Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion approved birth control in 1930.  Griswold of Planned Parenthood challenged the anti-contraception law of Connecticut which led to US Supreme Court’s declaration of unconstitutionality of the Connecticut law in 1965, citing the right to privacy of couples.  The Griswold v. Connecticut ruling was only for legality of the use of contraceptives by married couples.  In 1972, this ruling was extended in Einstadt v. Baird to unmarried couples as well.  (Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.)  In 2003, the ruling was again extended in Lawrence v. Texas to homosexual unions, thereby repealing the anti-Sodomy law in Texas as unconstitutional. Last Aug 1, 2012, Obamacare mandated inclusion of contraceptives in insurance takes effect.  This contraceptive mandate exempts Churches and Houses of Worship, but not Christian charities, Christian hospitals, and Catholic Universities.
  • In Singapore, family planning was introduced by volunteers in 1949.   In 1966, the Parliament established the National Family Programme which provides clinical services and family planning education.  In 1970 Lee Kuan Yew started the Stop at Two campaign with the legalization of sterilization and abortion.  Parents who did not abide by the two-child limit were penalized with taxes, higher hospital costs, and less opportunities in housing and education.  In 1975, the fertility rate dropped below the replacement rate.  In 1983, Lee noted the seriousness of the problem that women with educational degrees do not become mothers.  In 1984, the government established the Social Development Unit (nicknamed “Fat, Desperate, and Ugly”) that promoted dating among men and women with university degrees. In 1986, the government abolished the Stop at Two program and promoted Three or More (If You Can Afford It). Last Aug 11, 2012 Lee changed his decades-long policy and advocated marriage and more babies for Singaporeans. He said: “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.”

And now the Philippines wishes to take the same path as US and Singapore by trying to make the Reproductive Health Bill into a law.  The Catholic Church has seen the road that this bill will lead to as guided by her Teaching Authority and the evidence of others who went down on this path, such as USA, Singapore, and many other countries.  And this is why the Catholic Church is against the RH Bill.

Man is like sheep: his vision is limited only to what is immediately in front of him.  Man lives only for a few decades and his experiences does not span all human experiences across all places and times.  So his judgment is limited, even if he were a genius like Einstein.  Like a sheep who cannot see farther ahead–a pool of water, a green pasture, a cliff, or a wolf –man needs a shepherd.  He needs God as his shepherd, because God knows everything and He created the world and man himself.  Only God knows what is good for man.  As David would sing in one of his Psalms:

The LORD is my shepherd;*there is nothing I lack. a2 In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me;3b he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths* for the sake of his name.4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. (Ps 23:1-4)

But Christ is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Christ built His Church on Peter (Rock) with the gift of special revelation from the Father, with indestructibility, and with the power of binding and loosing:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:17-19)

Thus, if the Catholic Church declares contraception as intrinsically wrong, a teaching binding on all the Catholic faithful, then we can bet with our life that the Church does speak the truth and that this teaching is ratified in heaven.

Christ is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:1-6).  And Christ shared his ministry to Peter: feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep as a sign of his total love for Christ (c.f. Jn 21:15-17).  Christ appointed the apostles  to act as Judges of the Church: “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28).  He also appointed 72 disciples as his ambassadors: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Lk 10:16).  Such apostolic ministry is continued to this day by the Pope and the bishops and priests united with him.

OBJECTION 3.  The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience. As the Catechism says:

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Thus, if a Catholic professor claims that he is only following his conscience in supporting the RH Bill, then the Catholic Church cannot judge him that he is wrong, since conscience is the voice of God Himself.


Because the objection quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must also turn to the same Catechism for our response.  Articles 1776 and 1782 constitute only half of the picture.  The other half are as follows:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Thus, the Catechism says that conscience can err.  An Aztec emperor offering human sacrifice to the gods to bring rain to the parched fields is obeying his conscience.  A Nazi officer obeying the commands of Hitler to exterminate all Jews is obeying his conscience.  A woman who aborts her baby because she is still young and cannot afford to raise the child is obeying her conscience.  And the couple who uses condoms and pills because having children are burdensome are obeying their conscience.  If one elevates the voice of what people believe to be their conscience as the standard for truth, then truth becomes relative depending who says so, because  each one defines for himself what is good and what is evil.  Isn’t this what Satan, in the form of a serpent, told Eve in the Garden of Eden?

You certainly will not die!5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil. (Gen 3:4-5)

If men were left alone to their own consciences, the world will never know what is truly good and truly evil.  Let us take the Library as an analogy.  If the librarian does nothing and students get to decide for themselves where the best place for each book should be–on the floor, on the table, or on the shelf–then the library would be in chaos.  The state of disorder of the library can never decrease, and can actually increase, as the Law of Entropy states.  That is why a librarian is needed to put order in the books and impose rules: keep quiet when you are in the library and don’t return the books to the shelf but leave them on your desks.  Only the librarian has the shelving authority to put the books back in their proper places.

In a similar way, the morals of men will become highly disordered if men were left to themselves.  That is why God intervened in history and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  He chose the people of Israel to be His own and gave them the Ten Commandments.  He also established the Levitical priesthood to offer sacrifices in atonement for sin.  God appointed judges to interpret his laws; no one is allowed to hop from one judge to another in search for a favorable ruling.  But Israel rejected God by asking for a King like other nations.  God gave them Saul, but Saul was disobedient.  So God made David a King and promised him an everlasting Kingdom.  But the kings after David worshiped heathen idols, so God sent prophets to remind them of His covenant with  Israel at Sinai: He is their God and they are His people.  But Israel must obey God’s voice.  Yet Israel killed many of the prophets.  So in the fullness of time, God sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  And God Himself became the teacher of Israel.  He healed their infirmities, fed them in the wilderness, and established His Church as the New People of God, opening the doors of the Church not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles.  He gave His Church the Sacraments to sanctify nations and the Teaching Authority to teach in His Name.  And for nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church that Christ founded continued to exist throughout history, a witness to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the conversion of the barbarian nations of Europe, the conquest of Islam, the Age of Discovery, the formation of modern republics, the rise of Communism, the two World Wars, and the present age.   Christ fulfilled His promise that He will always be with His Church and His Church will never fall into error.  And the Church through the Ages has never failed to teach what is truly good and what is truly evil, even if the world does not wish to hear Her message, even as the world does not anymore see Her relevance, as what we have now today.

OBJECTION 4.  The key principles of the RH Bill are compatible with Catholic Theology

“As faculty of a Catholic university, we believe that the key principles of the RH Bill—promotion of reproductive health, subsidizing the health needs of the marginalized and vulnerable, guarantee of the right to information and education of adults and young people alike,respect for the freedom of choice of individuals and couples in planning their families—are compatible with core principles of Catholic social teaching, such as the sanctity of human life,the dignity of the human person, the preferential option for the poor, integral human development, human rights, and the primacy of conscience. Responding to the reproductive health needs of the poor, especially of the women among them, is also in keeping with the Second Vatican Council’s thrust of being a church in solidarity with the “joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men [and women] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted” (Gaudium et Spes 1965, no. 1). It is likewise consistent with the commitment of the Philippine Church to be a “Church of the Poor,” described by the 1991 Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) as “one where the entire community of disciples… will have such a love of preference for the poor as to orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy” (PCP II, no. 134)

Declaration of Support for the House Bill 4244 signed by 192 Faculty members of Ateneo de Manila University last 18 August 2012


A Catholic must accept  all official Catholic teachings or he ceases to be Catholic.  It is all or nothing.  In the olden days, people who accept some but not all Catholic teachings are called heretics.  That is why we have the Arian heresy which accepts the humanity of Christ but not his divinity as equal in majesty to the Father.  Or the Manichaean heresy which accepts the goodness of the spirit but not of matter.  Or the Donatist heresy which accepts the Sacrament of Baptism but requires the rebaptism of apostates.  Or the Protestant heresy  which accepts Heaven and Hell but denies Purgatory.  Or the Modernist heresy, which accepts the power of reason but placed it in the level of religion itself.  Today, nobody talks about heresies anymore and the warnings of excommunication have lost their ancient terror to the soul.  Today, we simply call Catholics who accept some but not all Catholic teachings as Cafeteria Catholics or Liberal Catholics, with the latter as the more politically correct term.

The image of a key is important.  If you have two keys that look similar in their jaggedness, except that one has a more pointed protrusion here and a deeper dent there, only one of them can open the door.  Similarly, if you have an idea that is compatible to some Catholic teachings, but not to others, then such an idea is not compatible to Catholic teaching.  As Chesterton in Everlasting Man wrote:

The creed was like a key in three respects; which can be most conveniently summed up under this symbol. First, a key is above all things a thing with a shape. It is a thing that depends entirely upon keeping its shape. The Christian creed is above all things the philosophy of shapes and the enemy of shapelessness. That is where it differs from all that formless infinity, Manichean or Buddhist, which makes a sort of pool of night in the dark heart of Asia; the ideal of uncreating all the creatures. That is where it differs also from the analogous vagueness of mere evolutionism; the idea of creatures constantly losing their shape. A man told that his solitary latchkey had been melted down with a million others into a Buddhistic unity would be annoyed. But a man told that his key was gradually growing and sprouting in his pocket, and branching into new wards or complications, would not be more gratified.

Second, the shape of a key is in itself a rather fantastic shape. A savage who did not know it was a key would have the greatest difficulty in guessing what it could possibly be. And it is fantastic because it is in a sense arbitrary. A key is not a matter of abstractions; in that sense a key is not a matter of argument. It either fits the lock or it does not. It is useless for men to stand disputing over it, considered by itself; or reconstructing it on pure principles of geometry or decorative art. It is senseless for a man to say he would like a simpler key; it would be far more sensible to do his best with a crowbar. And thirdly, as the key is necessarily a thing with a pattern, so this was one having in some ways a rather elaborate pattern. When people complain of the religion being so early complicated with theology and things of the kind, they forget that the world had not only got into a hole, but had got into a whole maze of holes and comers. The problem itself was a complicated problem; it did not in the ordinary sense merely involve anything so simple as sin. It was also full of secrets, of unexplored and unfathomable fallacies, of unconscious mental diseases, of dangers in all directions. If the faith had faced the world only with the platitudes about peace and simplicity some moralists would confine it to, it would not have had the faintest effect on that luxurious and labyrinthine lunatic asylum. What it I did do we must now roughly describe; it is enough to say here that there was undoubtedly much about the key that seemed complex; indeed there was only one thing about it that was simple. It opened the door.

Thus, if the RH Bill is compatible to some principles of Catholic Social Teaching but is incompatible with Catholic Teaching on Contraception as taught by Humanae Vitae, then the RH Bill is incompatible with Catholic Teaching.  Because a Catholic embraces all official teachings of the Catholic Church, then to embrace the RH Bill is to cease to be Catholic.

POSTCRIPT: Test of Catholic Orthodoxy according to St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Ignatius of Loyola

The first time the phrase “the Catholic Church” appeared in print is in the Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to Smyrneans:

8 Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law. Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop’s approval. You should regard that Eucharist as valid which is celebrated either by the bishop or by someone he authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Without the bishop’s supervision, no baptisms or love feasts are permitted. On the other hand, whatever he approves pleases God as well. In that way everything you do will be on the safe side and valid.

Flee from schisms.  Obey the bishop.  This is the test of Catholic orthodoxy.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the last part of his Spiritual Exercises, wrote something similar in his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church:

The First Rule. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

The Ninth Rule. Lastly, we should praise all the precepts of the Church, while keeping our mind ready to look for reasons for defending them and not for attacking them in any way.

The Thirteenth Rule. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.

Concerning the institutional fidelity of Catholic Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae has laid out general norms for the university community:

Article 4. The University Community

§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49).

§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.

§ 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).

§ 4. Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.

§ 5. The education of students is to combine academic and professional development with formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church; the programme of studies for each of the various professions is to include an appropriate ethical formation in that profession. Courses in Catholic doctrine are to be made available to all students(51).

The Church hierarchy is composed of the Pope, the Bishops, and Priests.  If there is doubt on the teaching of a priest, we can appeal to his bishop.  If there  is doubt on the teaching of a bishop, we can appeal to the Pope and the buck stops here.  If we disagree with Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae regarding contraception or if we disagree with Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae regarding fidelity or respect to the university’s Catholic identity, there is no more higher authority that we can appeal to.   The most distinguished theologian, no matter how brilliant, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church.  The most gifted visionary, no matter how holy, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church.  And so, too, must University Professors: they must also submit to the authority of the Catholic Church by renouncing the RH Bill, for example.  We are either inside the sheepfold or out of it.  We are either with the vine or we wither as a branch. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.  Outside the Church there is no salvation.  Outside the Church there is only wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., the Monk’s Hobbit
Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary
11 October 2012

Fernando Hofilena, MD, Lux-in-Domino Awardee (26 Dec 1919 to 10 Jan 2012)

Fernando P. Hofile?a, M.D. (December 26, 1919 – January 10, 2012)

Fernando “Doc” or “Nanding” Hofile?a, M.D., Ateneo alumnus HS ’37, AA Pre-Med ’39, academician, administrator, pediatrician, child
psychologist, writer and Lux-in-Domino awardee, passed away on Tuesday, 10 January 2012, at the age of 92.

His remains are at the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel, 27 Lacson St., Bacolod City, until 16 January 2012, Monday. Interment will be on 16 January after a 9:00 AM Mass at the Rolling Hills Memorial Park Chapel.

Lux-in-Domino Awardee
15 July 2008
Henry Lee Irwin Theatre, Ateneo de Manila University

Students who have entered the hallow halls of the Ateneo leave with a seed planted in their hearts that contains the possibility of service, generosity and greatness, all for the greater glory of God. St. lgnatius of Loyola recognized that for the seeds to grow into a generous heart, they must be nurtured by God’s grace. There are those who have answered the call to serve so completely that their spirits become pillars of light that shine upon the rest of humanity and make us know that God truly is present in our lives. Today, we honor such a man – a man who has embraced service again and again with courage and trust in God’s love. This man is Dr. Fernando P. Hofile?a.

Dr. Hofile?a was born in Bacolod City on December 26, 1919 to Atty.
Roque Hofile?a and Angeles Puentevella. He was an exemplary student at the Ateneo de Manila, finishing High School in 1937 with First Honors and graduating from his Associate in Arts – Pre Med, summa cum laude in 1939. He pursued his medical degree at the College of Medicine of the University of Sto. Tomas. His studies were interrupted in his third year of medical school when the war broke out in 1941. He set aside his stethoscope and books to fill his politician father’s shoes and became acting mayor of Free Silay when his father was incapacitated by a venomous insect bite. He was only 22 years old. When the war was over he finished medical school and in 1952 was given a Fulbright grant to specialize in Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry in New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Upon his return he shared his expertise in a multitude of ways. Besides opening a private practice, he taught mental hygiene in infants and children in the graduate schools of the Ateneo, UST and La Salle. He also began a child guidance clinic in the outpatient department of the UST hospital. He gladly accepted the offer of the Principal of La Salle Grade School, to begin a consultancy in Child Development in the La Salle Grade School. He wrote the chapter on child psychiatry in the textbook of Pediatrics by Fe del Mundo and wrote a column, “A Page for the Young at Heart” in the Manila Bulletin. ln the 1980s he shared his knowledge and recounted his experiences in his practice in schools, and in various symposia and seminars in and outside Metro Manila through his own weekly column “Child Care” in the Times Journal. At this time he was also a lecturer at Miriam College.

One of his most significant accomplishments is his contribution to the field of special education in the Philippines. Fresh from his studies broad, he chose to serve as pediatrician and clinic head of the special child study center, the first school for special children in the Philippines. Ten years later, the Center developed into the St. Joseph of Cupertino School for Retarded Children, the initial project of the country’s first Foundation for Retarded Children. lt is now known as the Cupertino Center for Special Children.

Dr. Hofile?a’s accounts of the Cupertino School emphasized the generous spirit of his fellow pioneers and the interactions between Cupertinians and Ateneans in arts and crafts. His writings brought attention to the inspired partnership between faculty members and students as they began programs such as music therapy, theatre therapy and therapeutic sports. He also defined a modern concept of volunteerism, set down a profile of the Filipino down syndrome, and developed the first curriculum for trainable retardates, providing researchers, doctors and the general public a window into the world of special education.

Dr. Hofile?a also explored his artistic self. He also took an interest in the cultural growth of medical and nursing students. With the intention of enriching their educational experiences, he wrote and directed four full-length plays about the lives of nurses and doctors. These plays are Vignettes from the Medical World, The Best Words, Curse or Blessing, and Carry the White Lamp.

His delight in performing in plays and operettas as a child in Silay grew into a passion for dramatics and oratory as a student of Ateneo and UST and motivated him to be involved with the publications of the Ateneo Children’s Theatre, Dulaang Sibol and Tanghalang Ateneo. His love affair with the Ateneo Glee Club began in the 1950s when he lent his tenor voice to their ensemble. ln 1978, he accepted their invitation to become their moderator. His presence and support moved the Ateneo Chamber Singers, a choir formed by alumni members of the Ateneo Glee Club, to ask him to be their moderator as well. His love for the arts, commitment to excellence, and faith in the Lord have inspired the members of these groups to be generous themselves.

His artistic spirit constantly finds new ways of expressing itself as when, at the turn of the millennium, he rediscovered his poet’s pen when he saw the exhibit of paintings by a former patient of his, Joven lgnacio.

Dr. Hofile?a took on another role that chronicled the spirit of Atenean service. As part of the Atenean Heroes Memorial Committee, he brought honor not only to Ateneo war heroes but also brought to light those Ateneans whose individual acts of courage are not officially recognized by the nation. ln his 9th year as Chairman of the committee, he had 127 Ateneans recognized for their valor and enshrined in the memorial launched by Fr. Pacifico Ortiz, SJ in 1969. He was finally given due recognition in 2005 at a pre-lndependence Day program hosted by the Ateneo called Sa Piling ng Mga Bayani (Heroes in our Midst) for his courageous leadership and embodiment of lgnatian ideals in World War ll. When he heard that Japanese forces occupied Negros, he returned to his hometown to join his parents and twelve siblings in the resistance movement.

Now in his twilight years, he is still a Eucharistic Minister at the Sta. Maria della Strada parish and continues to find new ways to serve others and continue Cod’s work. He is the founder of the Lector’s Guild at the della Strada parish and has volunteered to train the lectors of the Our Lady of Pentecost parish.

Dr. Hofile?a wrote that although he left Ateneo after graduation, Ateneo never left him. lndeed, the Ateneo is fortunate that no matter what path he takes, he always makes his way back to her halls and classrooms. Many Ateneans recognize him as the dignified elderly gentleman whom they see walking around the campus and up and down Katipunan. lf that is all they will ever know about Dr. Hofile?a, it is enough. For his very presence is enough testimony to his ideals.

To quote Dr. Hofile?a himself, “Nothing is better now than expressing in all sincerity our gratitude, which is never sufficient.”

For his inspired leadership and immense contribution to the fields of Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry and Special Education in the Philippines; for his pioneering spirit in creating medical, educational and spiritual programs and institutions; for his dedication to holistic education by inspiring his students to employ all their talents for the greater glory of God; for shining his light on the acts of heroism and contribution of his fellowman; for constantly answering the call to serve with a resounding ‘yes’; and for embodying the lgnatian spirit of ‘magis’ in the twenty-first century, the Ateneo de Manila University proudly confers on her son, Dr. Fernando P. Hofile?a its Lux-in-Domino Award.

Lux-in-Domino Award

The Lux-in-Domino Award is a special recognition of an extraordinary individual who has incarnated in life, and perhaps even in death, in an exemplary manner, the noblest ideals of the Ateneo de Manila University. Recipients of the award are chosen exclusively from the ranks of alumni or alumnae of the Ateneo de Manila University.

The title of the Award is taken from the motto of the Ateneo which
appears both in the old and new seals. Taken from St. Paul (Ephesians 5:8), the phrase Lux-in-Domino, “light in the Lord”, traces an ideal and sketches a way of life which the Ateneo holds up to her sons and daughters as their path of Christian discipleship. These words illuminate the purposes and aims of the University which point that the Ateneo is FILIPINO, CATHOLIC, and JESUIT:

FILIPINO, in that she seeks service to the nation and the objectives of genuine national development.

CATHOLIC, in that her fundamental charter is the Gospel of Jesus and the beatitudes; that her guidelines are those of the teaching of the Catholic Church. In the contemporary perspective, those guidelines focus on service to the Faith which today includes the Promotion of Justice as a constitutive dimension of the task of evangelization.

JESUIT, in that she seeks to live the Filipino and Catholic marks in the spirit of the magis (the “ever more”): to seek the ever more generous, the ever more “totally given” service; nothing held back, in the spirit of the Ignatian prayer,

to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to seek for rest,
to labour and ask for no reward . . .

To be “light in the Lord”, in all fullness may demand a following of Christ even to the offering of one’s life.


Thank you, Fr. Nebres, members of the Board of Trustees and Mr. Capistrano.

I am in my twilight years but on this occasion I can see the sunrise.

The honor I am receiving today is so great that if I were much younger, I would feel a surge of joy and pride, and I would be euphoric for a long time, but as I’m an Octogenarian I can only say soberly that I feel a mix of contentment, fulfillment and gratitude.

Recalling the title of the Homecoming concert of the Ateneo College Glee Club, the harbinger of the Ateneo Chamber Singers, after the group won a string of 1st Prizes, including the Grand Prix in the European competition in 2001, I now pray to the creator “Non Nobis Domine” – meaning: Not to us, Lord, but to Your name, give the glory. I cannot claim the honor they’re giving, it’s Yours.

I cannot thank You enough, Lord for having gifted me with the talents and other qualities that enabled me to become an Atenean with a passion for excellence in academics and the arts, an ideal stated in The Ratio studiorum as Sapientia, Eloquentia et humanitas.

I am also grateful to my alma mater for the holistic education and the effort to inflame my heart with The Ateneo spirit. We old alumni have always carried this spirit in our private lives. It has morphed into what some of us call “spirit of dedication to a cause”. Not a few have sacrificed their lives for it. I believe this can explain why we tell people that though we have left the Ateneo, the Ateneo has never left us.

It is this spirit intertwined with love of God, devotion to Mother Mary, obedience to St. Ignatius, love of country and fellowman instilled in us by our Jesuit mentors that can explain why 34 Ateneo ROTC cadets defied the order to disband all cadets in the country early in the Pacific War and volunteered to fight in Bataan; and why my brother Cris, also an Atenean, and I led our family in escaping from the Japanese at high noon and trudged for hours until we reached the mountains of Negros and joined the Resistance Movement. It was there that I had to carry out the duties of the Mayor of Silay because my father was incapacitated by the bite of a venomous insect.

Unknown to many is the fact that my desire to serve the Ateneo community has been strengthened by the beauty of nature, the God-given beauty I’ve always loved, the beauty that has made the Ateneo campus in Loyola Heights a paradise, a home away from home.

I will always treasure the awards I receive from my alma mater: summa cum laude in 1939; Irwin award from the Ateneo Children’s Theater two decades ago; and now the Lux-in-Domino, the greatest of all.

* * *

Ateneo de Manila HS ’37, AA ’39

Walking in the Hero’s Footsteps
By Joel Navarro

From the book “To Give and Not to Count the Cost”

“What is a hero without love for mankind.” – Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

We celebrate the sacrifice of many overseas Filipino workers who risk spousal estrangement and dysfunctional family dynamics in order to provide for their struggling families. We are particularly drawn to these ordinary women and men who do extraordinary feats in the name of love. What profoundly humbles me is when I meet extraordinary individuals who choose to divest themselves of recognition and become true servants to minister in such invisible yet incarnate ways. Their acts of heroism are hardly ever noticed by the ordinariness of duty and routine that cloak these acts. We who glimpse these kindnesses are touched and transformed.

When I assumed the mantle of leadership of the Ateneo College Glee Club in June 1979, I was immediately introduced to Dr. Fernando Hofile?a, the choir’s moderator. We struck up a good conversation. He knew I had just begun a second college degree at UP after a self-interrupted career as a mathematics instructor at the Ateneo. He knew I spent some years in Bacolod which became second home to my family. As people in Negros Occidental are wont to do, he would ask if I knew a Gamboa, a Jalandoni, a Lacson, as Ledesma, a Lopez, or a Montelibano. Being a transplanted Manile?o who really had no pedigree, I could only answer that I knew some of them but was not related to any of them. I was nonetheless treated like Ilonggo royalty with his usual charm, kind grace, and elegant demeanor. I’ve always been fascinated with this penchant for genealogies and associations as hyper-typical of our intricate social networking which saves the day for Filipinos when our politics and social services fail. Doc, as we in the glee club fondly called him, was a happy reminder that our connectedness was our salvation as a people.

Doc was always the hero to the glee club batches that I directed. Home after a day’s work at Cupertino, he would often walk to the Loyola Heights campus to hear us rehearse. He was always ready with his encouragement, his gracious smile, and steady prayer. My first years with the glee club were rather tumultuous, given the combination of strong personalities within the choir, my authoritarian demeanor then, the relentless drive to chart musical history, and the existential desire to make meaning out of the meaninglessness that was martial law. He would say the glee club was his therapy. In my view, his presence gave thera-peutic balance and ease to an otherwise tense rehearsal. His selfless love for the choir was a counterweight to our selfish ambitions. His undiminished loyalty to our music making anchored our belief in ourselves and in our missioin of excellence in music and faith.

Always generous with his praise and encouragement, Doc was a dependable friend and guide, I would often be incredulous at his gracious speeches to the choir after what I thought was a concert of disastrous renditions. He often saw the big picture while I sweated and nitpicked on the minutiae. Surely the devil was in the details, but Doc saw the angel in the broader brushstrokes.

During my years with the glee club, I had many days of unuttered
self-doubt and self-loathing, often wondering if I was the right person for the job. He could hear those thoughts clearly. Surely my knitted brow and vacant gaze gave them away. Yet, he never mentioned a word of criticism. As a listener, he completely trusted that things would be resolved by an Unseen Hand, certain that people like me who ranted about our misfortunes would eventually find our way back.

Doc was also hero to many. He gave selflessly in his work with children who had learning challenges, and in his work with patients who had psychological disorders. He loved the Ateneo basketball teams and often watched them practice at the Loyola gym. He gave his support to the choir at Barangka, the plays of Dulaang Sibol, and just about everything Atenean.

When he became the recipient of Ateneo’s Lux-in-Domino Award in 2008, many of us in the glee club were in awe to learn for the first time about his stellar accomplishments as a student, artist, academician, administrator, pediatrician, child psychologist, writer, and lay worker. He never spoke about them. He was, by all accounts, an exceptional human being who chose a life of service so that others may learn the goodness of God. Doc embodied the spirit of giving beyond measure simply because he loved unconditionally.

Conductors can be overrated, this one included. We try to lead by
example only because we have examples whose footsteps we merely follow. Dr. Fernando Hofile?a was one such exemplar. We are who we are only because of the people who shape us – students, colleagues, associates, administrators, parents, and family members who mirror our frail humanity but who remind us of our godly inheritance and heavenly citizenship.

Dr. Fernando Hofile?a’s moderating influence, loyal love, and generosity of spirit will always be remembered as selfless acts of heroism to many he served. He will be ninety years old on December 26, 2009. More than a third of his life has been spent in a love affair with the glee club. Many of us have walked behind this hero’s footsteps and have become better children of the Light. May this honor crown his ninetieth year with a hero’s laurels and a trumpet sound of praise from a grateful chorus who are learning to serve others just as he has served us in fullest measure.

Jose Rizal’s statue of the Sacred Heart: Travel history and other notes

by Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J.While a student at the Ateneo Municipal in Intramuros, Jose Rizal (14) made a small statue of the Sacred Heart, about nine inches in length.  He carved the statuette in baticuling wood with a penknife at the request of his professor Fr Jose Leonardo S.J.  Father intended to take it with him to Spain, but the domestic helper forgot to place it in his trunk.  It was left behind and was taken by Rizal’s fellow students.  It was placed on a shelf above the door of their study hall where it remained for twenty years.

In August 1887, Rizal (26) returned to the Philippines and stayed till early 1888.   Now a liberal in matters political as well as religious, he visited his Jesuit friends at the Ateneo.  On his way out, the Jesuit porter showed him the statuette.  Rizal replied, “Other times, Brother, other times.  I no longer believe in such things.”*

In December 1896, after Rizal (35) was sentenced to death by the Military Tribunal which had tried him for treason, he asked for some Jesuit priests to visit him.  Fr Miguel Saderra Mata, S.J., Rector of the Ateneo Municipal, together with Fr. Luis Viza, S. J., went in haste to Fort Santiago to the cell where Rizal was imprisoned. They were greeted warmly by Rizal.

Rizal asked them if the statuette of the Sacred Heart which he had carved as a boy was still at the Ateneo.  Fr Viza, in reply, took the statuette out of the pocket of his soutane.  He had guessed rightly.  Rizal would remember it at the hour of his death.  Rizal took it and kissed it in his hands and placed it on the table where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.

The statuette remained in the cell.  On the night before his execution, it was to Fr Jose Vilaclara, S.J., his former Physics teacher, that Rizal made his sacramental confession and be reconciled to the Church.

The following day, 30 December, before leaving his cell to go to Bagumbayan, Rizal held the statuette to his lips for the last time.  With two hands holding it close to his heart, he moved slowly to give it back to the Jesuits who were with him to the last day.

When the fire of 1932 engulfed the Ateneo, the principal concern of the Jesuits was the safety of the students.  No one got hurt.  Many valuable irreplaceable collections went up in smoke and presumably the statuette.  The Ateneo resumed operations in Padre Faura.  In 1945 the Ateneo was destroyed completely during the liberation of Manila.

Some time in 1952, when Ateneo was in the Loyola Campus, Q.C., the statue was returned, presumably by the student who saved it from the 1932 fire, and inadvertently from the 1945 fire as well.

Replicas made from ash from the bowels of the earth hurled into the sky by
Mt Pinatubo in 1991 were distributed to friends.

After some twenty three years in the Board of Trustees room, Fr. Bienvenido
Nebres, the President, turned it over to the Ateneo University Archives.  I
wish to thank Miss Carina Samaniego, Archivist, for sending me photos of the
statuette and of the plaques.

NotesRizal was condemned to death for the crime of treason.  He advocated not revolution but evolution.  He wished the Philippines to be independent when it was ready for it.  Up to the time of his death, he thought the time had not come.  For him, independence would happen like a fruit automatically falling from the tree when it was ripe.

He enrolled at the Ateneo in 1872, the year Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were garroted to death for treason.  They were innocent of this crime.  The event so moved Rizal that later he said, “I would have been a Jesuit, but I had vowed to do something about their death.”

Baticuling is a hard wood used in carving, which now is not easily available.  Without carving tools, Rizal carved an excellent statue using just a penknife.

When did Rizal carve this statue?  He enrolled at the Ateneo when he was eleven. He lived at the Ateneo as a boarder.  He got an AB degree at 16 in 1977.  That year, he enrolled at the Ateneo and UST, both in Intramuros and a few blocks from each other.  He left the Ateneo when he was 17, certified by the Ateneo as Agrimensor (Surveyor).  I guess he carved the image when he was about 14.  He still had to study anatomy.


Rizal carved the statue for Fr Leonardo.  Did Fr need one for himself, or did he want Rizal to develop his talent?  Why did he ask Rizal to carve an image of the Sacred Heart and not of someone else, like Our Lady?  Did he specify whose statue he wanted?  Rizal was the Prefect of the Sodality of Our Lady.

What thoughts passed through Rizal’s mind as he carved?  Did he have lectures of the Sacred Heart in mind? Did he research his subject? What did he know of the devotion to the Sacred Heart?  What did his devotion, if any, to the Sacred Heart consist of?  What does the actual statue say?  What was the state of the devotion at the Ateneo?  How did he think of carving a statue with a hole in the chest?

Fr Leonardo’s sorrow on failing to bring the statuette that he could not bring the statue with him resulted in the statuette staying in the Ateneo.

It was painful for the nameless Brother that Rizal refused to even look at his statue.  Would he have a statue if the houseboy had not forgotten? Would Rizal have thought of his statue in his cell if the Brother had not brought the statue as Rizal left?  Did the Brother on his own or had someone asked him to show it to Rizal?  How did Rizal feel when he gently rebuffed the gesture of the Brother?  Did he feel sad?  Was it like meeting a girl friend he had outgrown?

On leaving his death cell, Rizal held to his heart, the statue of Jesus holding his heart against his heart.

*When Rizal received the statuette, he kissed it and placed it on the table
where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.  Sentiments expressed in the
poem are inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus.  Would that I had more
blood to shed, more lives to die.*

Beloved Filipinas.
Gladly now I give to thee this failed life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blood,
Still would I give it, nor count the cost.
There was no rancor or anger.  Only the peace and joy of one who “had run
the course, fought the good fight and had kept the faith”

For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns o’er on high!  *
(From translation by Charles Derbyshire.)

At the incarnation, God emptied himself.  On the cross he emptied his body
of blood.  In the Heart of Jesus, he emptied his body of his heart.  In the
field of Bagong Bayan, Rizal emptied himself to enrich Filipinas.

On leaving his death cell, Rizal pressed the heart of the statuette against
his heart.  By this he expressed his acceptance of the heart of Jesus
graciously offered.  Would it be too much if the Fathers saw that the heart
in the statuette returned to them was gone?

But now, Rizal had no need for an image.  For he had with him the Risen
Jesus, walking with him and at the supreme moment carrying him over the
threshold into life.  Jesus would not desert one who so perfectly made dumb
wood proclaim eloquently the totality of his love by imaging him with an
Emptied Body.

Rizal’s request to be shot facing the firing squad was refused. But with a heroic effort, he turned his body after he was shot and he fell face forward.  To kiss Filipinas, his heart against the land.

Man hears our words.
God hears our thoughts.  Augustine
God bless you.  Victor

God bless you and all your efforts.  Victor Badillo SJ

Traditional Latin Mass music at Intramuros: Book launching of Prof. Maria Alexandra Inigo Chua’s “Kirial de Baclayon ano 1826: Hispanic sacred music in 19th century Bohol, Philippines”

Close to two hundred years after it first existed, the Misa Baclayana
from Bohol’s Baclayon Church will come alive in words and music on
Friday, April 30, 2010, 4pm at the Almacenes Reales, Fort Santiago,
Intramuros, Manila.

The occasion will be the launch of Prof. Maria Alexandra Inigo Chua’s
Administration with the directorship of Ms. Bambi Harper, and the
cooperation of the Filipino Heritage Festival.

Published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press, the book brings to
wider public attention the painstaking research work of musicologist
Alexandra “Sandy” Chua, professor at the University of Santo Tomas,
and highlights the discovery of the complete and intact Baclayana
choir books, expounds on the important role of the Augustinians in the
religious and historical context of Bohol out of which the musical
tradition grew, and delves closely into the musicological properties
of the various Mass compositions that likewise existed during the same period in the 19th century.

The book, published under the Press’s Cultural Heritage Series, comes
with a compact disc of performances of the Loboc Children’s Choir of
the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei of the Misa
Baclayana, conducted by Ms. Alma Taldo with Father Manuel Maramba on the organ, and of the UST Singers of the same parts of the Misa de Sales, conducted by Mr. Fidel Calalang, Jr., also accompanied by Father Maramba on the organ.

The launching on Friday will feature a presentation on the KIRIAL by
Prof. Chua, and commentaries by Father Ted Torralba, Executive
Secretary of the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the
Church of the CBCP, and Father Rene Javellana, Jesuit scholar on the
arts and editor of the AUP’s Cultural Heritage Series.

Also during the launch, the Loboc Children’s Choir will perform
excerpts from the cd and other pieces mentioned in the book,
specifically: the Kyrie of Misa Baclayana from the Kirial de
Baclayon,1826, the Sanctus from the Misa Baclayana, Kirial de
Baclayon,1826, the La Salve Portuguesa from the Misal de Baclayon,
1827, and the Ay Dueno de mi Vida from the Manual-Cantoral de Santa Clara de Manila 1874.

The book and cd edition will be available at a special launch price,
and may be ordered through the Ateneo Press bookshop, other bookstores and special venues.

Thank you, we hope to see you there.

Ateneo de Manila University Press
Bellarmine Hall, AdMU Campus
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights
Tel 02-4265984; 4266001 ext 4613

Five novices accepted to the Jesuit Novitiate on the Feast of the Annunciation 2010

On the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, after morning Mass and breakfast at Arvisu House Jesuit Prenovitiate, the candidates received the results of their application to the Jesuit novitiate.

The following are accepted for the May 30, 2010 Entrance Day:

Jose Ma. Joaquin B. Bunag
22 years old
Pasig City
BS Psychology, 2010
Ateneo de Manila University

Ernesto R. Chua, Jr.
34 years old
Santiago City, Isabela
BSEd Biology, 1997
University of Santo Tomas

Marlon T. Fabros
24 years old
Calamba, Laguna
BS Statistics, 2007
University of the Philippines – Diliman

Ricardo E. Flores, Jr.
25 years old
Mandaue City, Cebu
BSEd Religious Education, 2006
University of San Carlos – Cebu

Mamert B. Manus
33 years old
Cagayan de Oro City
AB Interdisciplinary Studies, 1997
Ateneo de Manila University
Bachelor of Business Administration, 2004
& Master of Business Administration, 2005
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Eight young men have also been accepted to the candidacy program for the next school year as of March 27. They include a college math teacher, a high school chemistry teacher, a former president of the Ateneo Christian Life Community (ACLC), a leader of the Youth for Christ (YFC), an IT professional formerly based in Singapore, a staff member of the NGO Hapinoy, a Proctor& Gamble employee and an MBA graduate of the Asian Insitute of Management.

These candidates will live in community, guided by Jesuit formators, either at Arvisu House in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, or at Haggerty House at Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro.

Twelve more applications to the candidacy program are being processed. These candidates will begin the prenovitiate program this coming May. We ask for your prayers for these young men.

– Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ
National Vocation Director

Vagina Monologues is back in Ateneo de Manila University in 2010 after it was banned by Dr. Anna Miren Intal in 2002

After my 7:30-8:30 p.m. Ps 121 class last Wednesday, my female student told me that the Vagina Monologues will be shown at the Cervini Field at 6 or 6:30 p.m.  that day, just after our Physics long test.  The play is under the direction of Missy Maramara of the Ateneo English Department (see Petrablog).  This is for the culmination of the Ateneo Women’s Week.  She is excited to watch the play.

I told her that Vagina Monologues should be banned in the Ateneo, because Ateneo is a Catholic University.  Why should the play be shown in Ateneo when it glorifies the sexual liberation of a woman by having sex with a lesbian.  Another student of mine told me that that his Theology teacher also believes in the same way as I do.  I should have asked the teacher’s name so that I can send him a note of thanks for teaching rightly.

In the year 2002, the film was banned by Dr. Anna Miren Intal, the Dean of the Loyola Schools.  Here is an account someone in favor of Vagina Monologues in Ateneo which I got from Pinoy Exchange:

Dr. Anna Miren Intal, Ph.D. is the Dean for the entire Loyola Schools. Obviously, Dean Intal is a female. She took her Ph.D. in Princeton, I believe so she supposedly has . She’s the end-all and be-all of the entire college, and she made her powers felt as she
>effectively derailed the project.

In a meeting with Rabbi and a co-Theatre Arts Major (Missy), Dr. Intal expressed her apprehension and objection about the project because (I’m paraphrasing here) “It goes against the thrust and vision of our Jesuit institution.” Furthermore, “It might destroy the moral fabric of the Ateneo…” (Jeez, you should hear me reinact this LIVE for the “lamb-ish” tone she uses!) When asked if she finds the word “Vagina” objectionable, she just laughs and says “That too…” Missy asked her what in the script she finds objectionable, Dr. Intal says, “To tell you the truth, I haven’t really read the script, but I’ve seen a lot of Broadway plays that are more tasteful…” Rabbi and Missy press her to reconsider, so she gives in a little. She says she’d “forward it to the THEOLOGY Department for moral evaluation.”


My friends went to their professors (to name a few, Ma’am Benny Santos, Sol Reyes, Fr. Nic Cruz, Dr. Ricky Abad) to ask for their recommendations for the staging of Vagina. They got it. Rabbi even went further by getting recommendations from FORDHAM Universtiy (another JESUIT institution in New York City), DePaul University, and some other universities abroad. Locally, he was able to get a a recommendation from a nun who happens to have a Ph.D. in Theology and who happens to be the President of St. Scholastica’s College (one of the more conservative colleges in the country). He wrote a letter to Dr. Intal about how universities like the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, the University of Sto. Tomas, and St. Scholastica’s have agreed to stage Vagina in their campuses. Unfortunately, Dr. Intal did not budge.

She said she had to consider the “tens and thousands of students, parents, alumni who also have a stake in the Ateneo,” and that she doesn’t want “to be responsible for the thousands of people who will flock to the Ateneo in PROTEST” of the staging of Vagina. “I have to think like an administrator.” She even said that she doesn’t want the name “Ateneo” to be linked in the project in any way. She said that the administration has the trademark “Ateneo” and that she wouldn’t allow it to be used. She even said she didn’t want the students involved to say that they were Ateneans. (It was then she hinted of a ‘lawsuit’ if they did.)

How lame is that???!!

I don’t know how this Vagina Monologues got permission to be shown again in Ateneo. Missy Maramara who was only a Theatre Arts major in 2002 is now an Ateneo Faculty.   The quote is revealing: it shows how far the Jesuit universities have been stricken by this Vagina Monologues malady. And even the top Catholic Schools in the Philippines as well.  The Vagina Monolgues has seduced the most brilliant minds . Woe to those who call light as darkness and darkness light! As Christ said, if the light in you is darkness, how great must that darkness be!

I admire Dr. Miren Intal. I was able to join her for lunch once in the cafeteria years ago, long after she ceased to be the Dean of the Loyola Schools. She is a soft-spoken lady, yet principled and strong. May there be more faculty and administrators like her who defends Ateneo’s authentic Jesuit and Catholic tradition.

Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J.: “Colegio de San Jose (1601-2001): A Quick Survey of the Turbulent 400-year History of an Educational Institution”

COLEGIO DE SAN JOSE [1601 – 2001]
A Quick Survey of the Turbulent 400-year History of an Educational Institution
taken from the lecture delivered by
Fr. Miguel A. Bernard, S.J.

16th Century

September. The newly arrived Jesuits opened the Colegio de Manila, the first institution of higher learning in the Philippines and the predecessor of Colegio de San Jose. The support to build the College came from a donation by Captain Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa. Latin grammar and “cases of conscience” were taught to priest and candidates for the priesthood.

17th Century

1601. August. A Residential College. Because of the “morally unhealthy” climate in Manila, the Jesuits decided to build a separate residential college for the students of the Colegio de Manila. Fr. Pedro Chirino, rector of the Colegio de Manila, was tasked to organize the proposed Colegio de San Jose. After obtaining civil and ecclesiastical approbation for the new college, Fr. Pedro Chirino gathered an initial batch of thirteen young men to become the pioneering student-boarders. The Colegio de San Jose was opened on August 1st and formally inaugurated on the 25th of August 1601. Fr. Luis Gomes was the first rector.

1604. An Endowment. Doña Juana, daughter of Captain Esteban Rodriguez, was lost at sea. The proviso in Figueroa’s will stated that should his heirs-his wife and daughter die-portions of his wealth should go to the Jesuit for a college. This legacy came to the Jesuits few years later, just in time to bolster the faltering finances of the Colegio de San Jose.

1623. Academic Degrees. There was a great desire on the part of the students, and of others was well, that their studies might be rewarded with academic degrees. Endorsed by the governor, a petition to this effect had been made to the King. On the other hand, it had been opposed by a very influential person, a Dominican bishop, Miguel de Benavides (founder of the University of Santo Tomas). However the Brief issued by Pope Gregory XV (dated July 9, 1622) officially gave Colegio de San Jose the permission to confer academic degrees.

1626. The Colegio de Manila conferred the doctorate for the first time on a scholar of the Colegio de San Jose Jose. San Pedro Tunasan estate was eventually acquired and used to support the Colegio de San Jose. Fr. Juan de Aguirre, SJ, rector at that time, directed the purchase.

1648. A Serious Threat. The Rector of Colegio de San Tomas petitioned the Audiencia to forbid the Jesuit College form granting academic degrees. After a series of compromises, King Philip IV reiterated the right of the Jesuits to grant degrees in Manila on March 12, 1653.

18th Century

1722. A Royal Institution. King Philip V, the King of Spain, conferred upon the Colegio de San Jose the title “royal” (real in Spanish); hence prided itself with the title “El Real Colegio de San Jose”.

1768. The Expulsion. In 1768, the royal orders arrived in Manila, issued the previous year by King Carlos III of Spain, ordering the expulsion of the Jesuits from all Spanish territories and confiscation of their possessions. The Colegio de San Jose continued to function under the secular clergy- many of whom were alumni of the Colegio.

19th Century

1875. The Medical Faculty. The Dominican procurator in Madrid presented a memorial to the King’s Council asking that the building and endowment of the Colegio de San Jose be applied to the University of Santo Tomas to be used by and to support the faculty of medicine and pharmacy. According to the terms of the contract, a certain number of boys were to be supported in their studies for the priesthood out of the Colegio de San Jose Estate.

1898. The San Jose Case. During the American Occupation, the United States inherited from the Spanish Crown all government assets in the islands, including the administration of the Colegio de San Jose estate. The Philippine Commission took up the question of the legal status of the Colegio de San Jose and ended its investigation by enacting a law granting original jurisdiction of the case to the Philippine Supreme Court.

20th Century

1907. Taft-Harty Agreement. In 1907, through the Taft-Harty Agreement, all the parties questioning the legal status of the Colegio de San Jose estate signed an agreement that the estate should fall entirely under church jurisdiction with no claims from the government. Since it was under the jurisdiction of that Holy See, the Supreme Court did not decide on the San Jose Case.

1910. The Holy See’s Decision. By virtue of a Brief of Pope Pius X dated May 3, 1910, to the Most Reverend Ambrose Agius, then Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, the Colegio de San Jose is detached from the University of Santo Tomas and returned to the Jesuits to be used according to the terms of the original endowment.

1910-1915. Five – Year Turmoil. The announcement in May 1910 that the Pope had ordered the restoration of San Jose estate to the Jesuit caused an immediate violent reaction at Santo Tomas. It was not until five years later, in 1915, that the Colegio de San Jose was able to reopen under Jesuit administration. It had to be housed in borrowed quarters, in a large building owned by the Jesuit in Ermita-that building along Padre Faura Street.

1915. At Padre Faura. On June 15, the Colegio de San Jose once more opened as a seminary, an Escuela Apostolica, for the training of the secular clergy in the Philippines under the rectorship of Fr. Jose Alfonso, SJ. In 1928, of those23 boys who entered San Jose in 1915, five became priests: Rev. Frs. Felix David, Pedro Endoso, Jose Pe Benito, Antonio Radovan and Eulogio San Juan. San Jose remained in Padre Faura until 1932.

1932 – Present. Four Locations. In August 1932, the Ateneo in Intramuros burned down. San Jose Seminary was temporarily housed in the Mission House at Intramuros, adjacent to San Ignacio Church. There, it remained for four years until its new building was erected. It was at this time that the name Colegio de San Jose was dropped, and the institution became known as San Jose Seminary.

At Balintawak. In 1936, the Seminary moved to its new building- a fine large and well-equipped structure, built on a parcel of land bought in a newly opened housing subdivision at Balintawak. The seminary remained there for five years, until the outbreak of war in 1941 when the entire seminary community moved into the Ateneo compound on Padre Faura Street, where classes in theology were resumed.

In 1943, the Japanese authorities insisted on the evacuation of the Padre Faura site. The Paules fathers accommodated both Josefinos and Jesuit Scholastics San Marcelino.

At Santa Ana. During the Liberation period from 1945 to about 1950, the seminary reopened at Santa Ana in several rented houses beside the grounds of La Ignaciana.

At Highway 54. In 1951, the seminary moved to its new location on what then officially called MacArthur Boulevard but popularly known as Highway 54, now renamed EDSA. It was a much large building but poorly constructed. It was there that in 1957 the first Filipino rector was appointed, Fr. Antonio Leetai, SJ succeeding the last American rector, Fr. Gaston Duchesneau, SJ.

At Loyola Heights. In 1964, Father Leetai was succeeded by Father Jesus Diaz, SJ who, the following year, presided over the transfer to Loyola Heights. With the creation of Loyola House of Studies and School of Theology and Philosophy in 1965, San Jose Seminary was divided into two separate colleges, each with its own rector. The minor seminary remained at Highway 54 and later moved to Novaliches and was finally dissolved. The Major seminary moved of the Loyola House of Studies building, until the present seminary building was completed. With this relocation to Loyola Heights, San Jose Seminary has reverted to the Original status of the Colegio de San Jose in Intramuros under the Jesuits. It has once again become a residential college where the seminarians live a community life and undergo spiritual and pastoral formation, but they attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila or at the Loyola School of Theology.

As for the Colegio de San Jose as an institution, established in 1601 four hundred years ago, it exists today as San Jose Seminary, celebrating the four hundred anniversary since its foundation.

That in brief is the history of the Colegio de San Jose.

Source: San Jose Seminary website

Mass with Morning Prayers with the Dominican Friars at the Santissimo Rosario Parish Church inside University of Santo Tomas

Last Saturday, my friend invited me to a 6:00 a.m. mass at the Santissimo Rosario Parish Church inside University of Santo Tomas.  It was convenient for her since she mostly lives near UST.  For me, since I live in Makati, it was an adventure.

I woke up at 4:30 a.m.   I took a bus along EDSA to Cubao.  At the end of the EDSA-Aurora intersection, I took an Espana jeep to UST for Php 13.  It is early morning.  There is no traffic.

The UST is a beautiful campus with grand colonial spanish buildings.  I entered the main gate and passed the Arch of the Centuries.  The road is flanked by many trees.  I see joggers everywehere.  I asked one of them where the church is.

“Straight ahead, then turn left,” she replied.

The church is raised a few steps above the ground.  The lighted cylindrical roof appears cloud-white, bright and luminous, and supported by columns topped with ornate leaves.  The style appears classical but subdued by the simplicity of geometrical forms of lines, triangles, and squares.  But on the altar, the roof is hemispherical or polyhedral.

What captured my attention is the larger-than-life statue in the altar wall:  the statue of a crucified Christ framed with a triangular arch.  On the left of the Altar is a statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.  On the right is that of St. Thomas Aquinas.

I looked around.  There were about a hundred parishioners seated.  I saw my friend on the left side of the aisle.  She wore a white T-shirt and a black jogging pants.  I went to her and sat.

The Dominican friars are coming to the altar one by one, sitting at the back of the altar, while facing the people.  This is the first time that I saw these mendicant monks in their white habits.  They were unhooded and their fifteen-mystery rosary is tucked at their sides like swords dangling on their black chastity belts.  If you are a demon, these Dominicans are terrifying to behold.  St. Dominic once placed a rosary around a posessed heretic and he commanded the demons to testify to the power of the rosary and the power of Mary.  After their ordeal, the demons left the man in the form of red hot coals.  If these Dominicans would go out to the world in this war gear and preach the Catholic Faith once again, what a havoc they will wreak to Lucifer’s kingdom.  They have annihilated the Albigensian heresy in centuries past; they can surely annihilate all new heresies of the modern age.  With the rosary.  With Mary.

It is the custom for Dominicans to say the breviary as a community; the Jesuits, being the Catholic Church’s rapid deployment missionary force, are dispensed from this rule.  So after the Angelus was said by a lady, two  Dominican friars went to the lecterns on each side of the altar.  They represent the left and right choirs.  In centuries past, I can imagine these two choirs seated facing each other with no microphones, their voices echoing in the church walls, piercing the very dome of the heavens, shaking the foundations of the world.

It appears that past animosities between Dominicans and Jesuits are gone.  Decades ago, the Dominicans proposed that Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval be the Patron of the Philippine Islands, in commemoration to the victory of the Spanish-Filipino naval forces over Dutch forces.  The Jesuits were in uproar: Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion, the Patron of Ateneo de Manila University, was already the patron of the Philippine Islands, because the United States of America is under Mary’s patronage under this title, and Philippines was at that time a colony of the United States.  Until today, the Jesuits in Ateneo still continue the hallowed tradition of giving out Miraculous Medals with blue ribbons every October.  The Miraculous Medal contains the image of the Immaculate Concepcion.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Counsels to a Student

You have asked me, John, most dear to me in Christ, how you should set about studying in order to build up a rich store of knowledge.  This is the advice I give you on the subject.

  1. Do not plunge straight into the sea, but rather enter it by way of little streams, because it is wise to work upward from the easier to the more difficult.  This, then, is what I would teach you, and you must learn.
  2. I would have you slow to speak.
  3. Cherish purity of conscience.
  4. Never omit your times of prayer.
  5. Love to stay in your own cell if you want to gain admission to God’s wine-cellar.
  6. Show a cheerful face to all.
  7. Never pry into other people’s business.
  8. Do not become over-familiar with anyone, because familiarity breeds contempt and gives a pretext for neglecting serious work.
  9. Take care not to interfere in the words and actions of outsiders.
  10. Do not waste time in useless talking.
  11. Be sure to follow in the footsteps of good and holy men and women.
  12. Do not concentrate on the personality of the speaker, but treasure up in your mind anything profitable he or she may happen to say.
  13. See that you thoroughly grasp whatever you read and hear.
  14. And do your best to hoard up whatever you can in that little book-case of your mind; you wat to fill it as full as possible.
  15. Do not concern yourself with things beyond your competence.

By following this path, you will throw out leaves and bear serviceable fruit in the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts all the days of your life.  If you stick to these counsels, you will reach the goal of your desires.  Farewell.

——St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)


Note:  I copied this from a card I bought for Php 10 from Loyola Schools Bookstore of the the Ateneo de Manila University.  The front cover is the picture of St. Thomas Aquinas holding a book with his left hand and a pen on his right hand.  The backcover is the Arch of the Century of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines.