IFI Woman Priests Launched Its 20th Ordination Anniversary

Women from various faith traditons: Christians, Muslims, Indigenous Peoples among others had gathered together at Ambassador Hall, Manila Grand Opera Hotel on October 5-6, 2016. They were celebrating, uniting and affirming to continue the struggle for women’s rights, human dignity, equality,  emancipation and just peace. It was one-of-a-kind-interfaith celebration of  about two hundred women around the Philippines.

One of the highlights of Women Celebration for Life and Faith was the launching of the 20th Women Ordination Anniversary of the woman priests of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Some of them who attended took a pose below.  T0 date, the ordination of women and inclusion into the  Sacred Ministry is the IFI contribution to the women’s struggles in the whole world.

ifi-woman-priests

On RH Bill now RH Law, a celebrated issue: Roman Catholic Church (Phils) vs the Government?

This is a forwarded message and a late upload. But this is a reality in the Philippines.  Now that RH is a Law, many Roman Catholic members  who personally support and agree Reproductive Health Law  still coy of exposing their true stance publicly.  Many are still hesitant to admit publicly for fear to be deported especially those non-Filipino sisters here in the Philippines. Though this was printed many years ago, still the Roman Catholic Church remains strong of their anti RH stance.

————————————————————————–

Hi all,

The bishops are getting on my nerves, so I sent this letter to the Inquirer. Ambot lang if they will publish it. (I wonder if the Inquirer will publish it.)

Arnold

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Arnold Vandenbroeck
Date: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 8:54 PM
Subject: Churches/Religions and contraceptives
To: feedback@inquirer.com.ph

Dear Editor,

The Catholic bishops claim that the RH bill is immoral and some bishops even consider it “terroristic”. Can they please stop playing the self-appointed guardians of our morality? All the more since practically all other churches and religions accept artificial family planning as a moral choice.

The United Methodist Church values “family planning programs that improve health care, empower women and protect the global environment and that enable individuals and couples to decide about the number of their children free from violence, coercion and discrimination.” While Catholic bishops in the Philippines tend to be dismissive of the problem of present population growth, the UMC even says that “people have the duty to consider the impact on the total world community of their decision regarding child bearing and should have access to information and appropriate means to limit their fertility, including voluntary sterilization.” Clearly the UMC seems to have a fuller appreciation of what is the greater and common good.

Many Christian churches have standpoints similar to that of the UMC. Moreover, family planning (including contraception) is embraced by religions across the spectrum as a moral good, a responsible choice and a basic human right. Religious support for contraception and family planning is consistent with faith principles that give primacy to well being, including the health of children, families and the community at large. In fact, many religions believe that family planning is a moral duty, a stance echoed by well-known leaders. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians. Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in family planning.” The Dalai Lama said, “Family planning is crucial, especially in the developing world.”

The Episcopal Church first approved of contraception for the purpose of family planning in 1930. In a 1994 resolution, it directed its dioceses and agencies to provide information to all men and women on the full range of affordable, acceptable, safe, and non coercive contraceptive and reproductive health care services.

In 1954, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated that a married couple should plan and govern their sexual relations so that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth. How to do that is up to the couple.

The Presbyterian Church supports full and equal access to contraceptive methods. In a recent resolution endorsing insurance coverage for contraceptives, the church even affirmed that contraceptive services are part of basic health care and cautioned that unintended pregnancies lead to higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and maternal morbidity, and threaten the economic viability of families.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the USA, supports the use of birth control that prevents conception from taking place.

Unitarian Universalists already in 1987 opposed any move to deny or restrict the distribution of government funds as a means of restricting access to contraception in the U.S. or abroad.

Jewish traditions have a long history of support for family planning, dating to the 1929 Reform resolution noting that birth control contributes to social stability. Already in a pioneering 1935 resolution, Women of Reform Judaism expressed support for lifting bans on the dissemination of information about birth control.

For Muslims, the Quran does not make any explicit statements about the morality of contraception. Early Sunni Muslim literature discusses various contraceptive methods, and a recent study concluded that any method that did not produce sterility was acceptable.

Sikhs have no objection to birth control. Whether or not Sikhs use contraception, and the form of contraception used, is a matter for the couple concerned.
The same applies to Hindoes, the same to Buddhists.

The Roman Catholic Church is the only major faith institution to forbid the use of contraception. However, in actual practice most Catholics disagree with the prohibition or don’t pay any attention to it. Not much of a moral problem. For one, they are in the good company of practically all other major religions of the world.

Arnold Vandenbroeck

(same text also in attachment)


Arnold Vandenbroeck
Third St. cor Trinidad Ave.
Trinidad Greenhills Subd., Ma-a,
Davao City, Philippines
Telefax: +63-82-2440090
Mobile: +63-918-5156245
Mail address: P.O.Box 81937
8000 Davao City, Philippines

just feeling happy

Gallery

a cruel joke

I received a text message: “hahaha, tsup not tsug”.  It really struck me what does it meant? I was thinking first it was a misspent.  But with second thoughts, I said to myself, maybe the previous misspelled text was delayed to come.  I waited for fifteen minutes expecting a text following. I deleted messages in my sent items, outbox, drafts and even half of my inbox messages to give more space.  But none came.  I decided to check the sender so I called after twenty minutes past.  I asked the sender who was he texting and replied none.  I told him you misspent the text message. I heard on the other line a laugh then, “Oh it was for you. But I only realized later that the misspelled text message was not sent. Sorry.”  I asked, “Why did you not explain instead of just being silent? Or you texted me to explain or sent the misspelled text message so that I won’t be in doubts and end up questioning?” The sender replied, “Oh, it’s nonsense. I only realized later that it was not sent. Little thing, don’t mind. You are only making it a big deal. Sorry.”

I really wonder, men have no idea how little thing or nonsense for them could hurt a feeling? Do men really do not think nor feel that thing like this is not nonsense? It is a big deal when there was no effort to reach out? My thinking was, it was not really meant for me.  The sender really misspent the text message.  Because when I called, he seemed surprised why I was asking whom he was texting. When I mentioned, he misspent his text message, he began to explain. Because when he realized the misspelled text was not sent, he should: 1) explained or 2) forwarded the misspelled message immediately when he realized it was not sent to avoid misunderstanding and doubts.  But he did not! Why waited my call?  It was not really meant for me.  That was why he never bothered to explain nor text or call.  Should I have not called, then I would not know. The sender claimed that it was for me. How should I know?

If you were in my shoes, how would you react? Just accept the late explanation of the sender? Did I overly react?  For me it was a CRUEL JOKE! Wish to hear some feedbacks from you guys.   Thank you. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Have Mercy To Thy People

(This is an edited version from the original reflection/article written 2 years ago.)

It is funny to think that Jesus was a Palestinian: he grew in Palestine, he lived in Palestine, he walked and crossed the valleys and hills of Palestine and even died in Palestine in the hands of the Jews and the Romans. Christians must know that Jesus was never a Christian. And the Jews do not believe Jesus is God.

Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jericho are located in Palestine and not in Israel or the Modern Israeli State. The Patriarch Abraham’s Tomb is located in the ghost town of Hebron, after it was depopulated less than a decade ago.  You can check the original maps but not the modern maps because you cannot find Palestine.  There is no Map of Palestine today sold in the open market of Jerusalem.  But I was able to have one after searching a small bookstore owned by a Palestinian in Salahedin Street across Herod’s Gate.  Those areas/places in the Map of Israel are the Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories of Palestine!

Take for instance Yatta in South Hebron Hills is populated with 120,000 people but you cannot find it in the Map of Israel. Instead you have Carmel and Susiya (part of the depopulated places) which are now fast growing Israeli Settlements.  Susiya now is within Yatta Municipality under Hebron Governorate, West Bank.  Our placement house is located in Yatta.  We lived there for three-long months but as far as the Israeli State is concerned, Yatta does not exist.  How come? In place of Yatta in the Map of Israel I bought in Jerusalem, I found a picture of a tamed gazelle instead.

The Original Susiya, now part of an Israeli tourist destination was once a thriving Palestinian community, a big village with their ancient heritage traced back to the historical Palestine which was part of the Canaanite civilization as mentioned in the Old Testament.  The original inhabitants, the Susiyans were uprooted through demolition and forced evacuation to give way to land development, tourist spot and settlements. The new Susiya (new place) is  located two kilometers away or less from the original Susiya. For the past years, the relocated Susiya Village was slowly invaded by the settlers as the Susiya Settlement increased. Therefore it needs more land for expansion.  Just two years ago, before my team left in our placement area, Susiya was in danger of total demolition.  Now threats of Susiya Village to completely disappear continue to attract international supports.  Just recently, President Obama of the USA warned Netanyahu Regime to spare Susiya from demolition.

To date, with our biblico-historical data, Palestine is the Promised Land.  It is the land of abundance mentioned in the Old Testament. To quote Exodus 3:7-8, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV):

7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

In other words, Palestine is the biblical Israel which was the land promised by Yahweh to the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt.  Yahweh’s desire to liberate the people from the bondage of slavery and oppression sent Moses to bring the people out from Egypt. The Promised Land is clearly the Palestine.  A country established in 1948, Israel  could  never be the one.

What is happening now in Palestine under the military occupation of Israeli State is similar to the experiences of their ancestors, the Israelites under the hand of the Egyptian Pharaoh.  It really makes one crazy to think about that we are taught and made to believe that Israel is the biblical Israel.  Many people are becoming irrational, ignorant and naive in believing that it is okay for Israeli especially those with guns, military forces and settlers to shoot and kill Palestinians in broad delight. Many of us were praying that God would save Israel from the hands of enemies during Israeli’s war of aggression in Gaza. How could it be when Israeli bombed Gaza and killed thousands especially children?

We need to be objective in reading the situation, the signs of the times, the historical facts, and learning from experiences of the people as well as from those who witnessed the inhuman treatment of the Israelis in the many checkpoints around Palestine controlled areas or the so-called Area C.  Why people of the world especially Christians are made to believe that God bless Israeli’s killing Palestinian Arabs? Not only today but since Israeli invaded Palestinian territories with the aid of internationals like UK and other European countries, Israeli had been slaughtering Palestinian people, occupying more lands, putting them in refugee camps and driven thousand Palestinians out of their homeland scattered in many countries.

No words to describe, how the Palestinians live under the Israeli military occupation. God of heavens and earth and the known and the unknown, HAVE MERCY TO THY PEOPLE! My respect to some genuine Jews in heart who stood firm advocating an end to the occupation, those Jews who sided with the Palestinians who bravely and openly resist their own government. They are the Jews who recognized their roots, they are the Palestinian Jews like Jesus.

August 24, 2016/ 2:36 AM

Wish to see you smile Nanay Moret

Moreta Alegre had already spent five  years in Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines.  Before coming to CIW, she spent five 5 years in provincial jail In Negros Occidental.  She languished in jail for ten years of no clNay Moret 2012ear crime done.  Moreta Alegre who turned 70 on August 20, 2016 is one of the women imprisoned because they fight for their rights. She, together with her husband, Jesus Alegre who is in the National Bilibid Prison and son Salem Alegre fought to protect their land, fifteen hectares claimed by a landlord in their hometown Sagay, Negros Occidental.  They fought against the landgrabber who was wanting to get a title for their land.  The landlord is influential that even there was no clear case against the Alegre’s, he was able to put them in jail. A retaliation to the Alegre’s.

For years women organization especially the Gabriela Women’s Party lobbied the Aquino Government to release Moreta Alegre for humanitarian reason but requests and appeals were  all in vain.  Now she hopes for her release when President Duterte promised to release all political prisoners. But as of late, only twenty-two consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) were released by bail. She is still part of the more than five hundred political prisoners languishing in jails around the country.

Nanay Moret, as she is fondly called always shed tears everytime she remembers her grandchildren.  She used to wisher me, “I really missed my grandchildren and wish to see my family sharing food together in a table as we used to do.” Last April, she told me, “I wish before my birthday, I am already released!”  Hearing Nanay Moret’s wishes made me feel sad because I could not do it.  But she has an already answer to her wishes, “I know, I know it is very difficult but I thank you and your husband visiting me. I am fine with that.” The I could see a faint smile on his lips.

BUT I WANT TO SEE HER SMILE! I just to see Nanay Moret to really smile with teeth exposed.  I made a promise to myself to really make available to visit her on her birthday.  But alas, we were not able to see her because her birthday falls on Saturday and with the CIW prison policy only relatives can visit. We negotiated to only see Nanay Moret and gave our birthday presence only to be told, NO, it is the policy.  I let a lady guard to bring our birthday gift and this birthday card (I printed from my computer before leaving the house). I hope I made her smile. My husband and I decided to be back on the day for friends’ visit. I plan to bring a cake for her with candle on it.  We love you Nanay Moret, very sorry we can not enter but we will comeback! See you the soonest. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

nay moret 3 jpg

past, present and future

looking those  timeworn photos
recounting sad, happy past
worth remembering all the love
sweet and sour memories buried
aching hearts gasping for fresh air
the songs, the prison visits
the exposure in communities
the marches and the rallies
the buddies, all comrades surround
counting 6-10 in line holding each other
the past approaches the present
a real dream like a vision from above
but the present becomes different
as we envisioned in the past
what passes will not be the same
past, present and future are circumstances
both connecting and disconnecting
in life grinding, high to low, flat and ascending
the struggles are unending, lingering
looking back and looking forward
captured political prisoners, released!
but there are still coming in
languishing in dungeon like quagmire
making the past a lesson, a reminder
a challenge to never give up
for today, a brighter tomorrow
keeping the hope, an inspiration
let the past a beautiful memory
keep moving, positive judgments
sweet thoughts for the present
oh my, it is nice to reminisce
listening Joey Ayala’s Sta Felomina, Mortal
Haring Aguila, Walang Hanggang Paalam…
the most requested through the evening
I am, still I am so much in love
with the music of the masses
holding on to the unending struggles
of the heart, of the mind, of the people
of the world, of the environment
and the whole universe in lamentation
hugging and releasing both, breath in and out
the past and the present to hold and keep
a future of total liberation for all those
believers of John Lennon’s IMAGINE
a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a neighborhood
hope and pray, someday we will join together
knitted and sewn like rainbow colors
like patchwork of love and justice as one
past, present and future for all the humans
a generation of new converts , advocates
prophets working for a just humane world
living peacefully, humbly and justly
in total abundance from the earth’s blessing
both a promise and a fruit of intense labor
where everyone dances in harmony
rising together in rhythmic cadence
beneath the rising sun in the east
very grateful, a beautiful world for us all to live

good morning friends 🙂
August 19, 2016 @ 2:37 am
edited August 22, 2016 @12:52 am

Women’s Tears and Courage

For all the women who fight for freedom, this is my salutation for all of you. I want to include all the mothers also who bless their daughters and sons and the wives as well who let their husbands go, all  with tears and courage in their hearts with hope and prayers that those who leave may return alive. BLESS YOU ALL!

Despite of what you face, you can still smile.
Thanks for the courage and bravery you offered
for your people and to the world as well.
Women of faith, you are good examples to all the women.
What you did is both a heritage and a legacy:
women liberate, free the people.
My heartfelt gratitude that I have seen you,
even in pictures only, in my lifetime.
I feel so proud that I am a woman.
May your tribes increase, influence other women
in the whole world to fight for freedom, for rights and
for life so that the next generation may live,
to have a just life, living in peace and harmony.
Thank you for offering your lives.
Long live courageous women of faith.
Please be safe and try to be able to return alive
to your families and love ones, I pray.

Again thanks to all the women  who overcome the pains of leaving,  longings, separation and even death. My heart has full respect for all of you, BRAVE WOMEN!

IFI Is Ready for A Woman Bishop

When the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) or the Philippine Independent Church opens its door for women ordination to Sacred Ministry: diaconal and preysbeter or priesthood in the 1990’s, varying responses coming from the pews. Either a member was  for or not was no longer an issue to debate.  The IFI through the Supreme Council of Bishop (SCB) had already made a mark, women were welcome to the Ordained Ministry.   Though there were a fraction of the IFI membership who refused to recognize that women have an equal place in the altar same with the men, elevating and blessing the host as representative of Christ who is a male.

In May 2004 during its regular meeting, the Supreme Council of Bishop (SCB) approved woman episcopacy. It was  an overwhelming decision which proves IFI’s readiness in identifying women’s equality to the third order of Sacred Ministry.  No doubt the Indiginous Filipino Catholic Church demonstrated a clearer understanding and acceptance of women ministry in the church both of the lay and the ordained. The gift of ordination is no longer the domain for men. The woman priests on the other hand were jubilant and prayed that out tribe may increase.  So with the SCB’s  decision for woman episcopacy, we the IFI woman priests began to look forward that someday we will have a woman striding in the church aisle with a fuchsia vestment.

It is not a question of either IFI is ready or not ready for a woman bishop. My contention is, the Church has already been READY. From 2004 up to the present, the National Search Committe (NSC) is open for women nominees to episcopacy. In our Diocese of Greater Manila (DGM) I was one of the four priests who received the blessing from our fellow clergy to become diocesan nominees to the National Seach Committee (NSC) with the endorsement of the Diocesan Bishop.  However, I still have not done all the requirements to be submitted to the NSC.  But The Reverend Emelyn Dacuycoy processed the requirements, accepted the challenge and braved herself to the many diocesan conventions.  Congratulations to my batchmate SATS (St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary) ’89 who had been elected twice as Diocesan Bishop during the Diocesan Convention in Batac and Dumaguete.  Her being elected twice  ascertain the readiness of the Church to have a woman bishop.  However, the last stop, which is the SCB has the final voting power.  The membership of the SCB changes, decreases and increases as well. My  ardent hope and prayers that opportune decision may not be any longer. In God’s time,  difficult and heavy loads will be made all possible and bearable. This is very promising and put our trust on it.

Let us not stop praying, let us not stop dreaming and let us not stop believing.  The IFI has already walked a hundred miles ahead and it will continue to walk embracing us all. To my fellow strong-spirited woman priests, we are already partakers, participants and partners of this lifelong journey of our faith and commitment to God’s service. Pro Deo et Patria my dearest sisters, keep the  fiery love to serve in our hearts bursting. God bless us all continually.

 

“Just dreaming of a world with positive vibes, but need to be free first and be liberated from our own caves so that we can soar high, struggle hard and continue to dream of a world free from all negatives.” – Rev Erah

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