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Week 1
God Created all things, (world and the human persons). They were in “paradise” which
means, there
was harmony, justice, peace, and joy. Despite the very good conditions of life that they were
in, the first human beings (“Adam" and "Eve") still committed sin.
Brief Historical Background of the Church
Sacrament: means channel, representative, visible sign of an invisible reality.
God  Jesus  Church
The Sacrament of God is Jesus and the Sacrament of Jesus is the Church (John
20:21, Acts 1:8)
The Church started as a religious renewal "movement"/group in Jerusalem, Israel by no other
Jesus Christ. Jesus grounded the Church on the foundation of the Apostles and it spread
Jerusalem to the Roman Empire world until throughout all the earth. The first "name" of the
Church was The Way (Acts 9:2), The members of the Church were called Christians in
Antioch (Acts 11:26). The Church was persecuted by the Roman Empire (which was still
pagan) until the Conversion of the Emperor Constantine in 313 AD which paved the way for
Christians to infiltrate Rome until Christianity was declared as the official religion of the
Roman Empire in 380 AD by Emperor Theodosius.
Way back in 45 AD, the first apostle who went to Rome and started the Church there
was no other than
Peter. Later, reflecting on the mission of Jesus which He passed on to the Church, the
Church's official
"name" or title evolved into: One (John 17:21), Holy (Ephesians 1:4,5:27, 1 Peter 2:9),
Catholic (Matthew
28:18-20, Acts 1:8, Gen 12: 3, John 3:16-17) and Apostolic (Ephesians 2:20).
From the Church developed the Hierarchy (Bishops, priests, and deacons - with the Pope as
the overall
head for the sake of division of work and maintaining the unity of the Church while it spreads
Kingdom of God on earth.
From the Church comes the different “kinds” of priests according to spirituality or
mission area.
a. Diocesan is a term use for priests serving their local places;
b. Monks: started in the 3rd century AD in Egypt and in Syria with a life of simplicity or
Monks who are composed of sisters (not priests) only came out later. Example of few
monks in
Cagayan who are sisters are those at the St. Claire monastery in Iguig.
c. Missionaries are group/community of priests who really want to go to serve remote places
not yet evangelize.
Examples of missionaries are the following:
c.1. The Dominicans who were founded by St. Dominic in Prouille, France in 1216. (Dominic
was a Spanish priest).
c.2. The Augustinians which started in 1244 in Italy (group or no specific founder).
c.3. The Jesuits or called Society of Jesus who was founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola,
formerly a Spanish soldier who became priest.
c.4. The CICM and other missionary groups only came out later. The CICM was founded by a
diocesan priest Theophile Verbist in 1862 in Scheut, Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium.
So what is a CICM?
So what is a CICM? It is just one of the missionary groups which is an arm of the Church for
One of the many strategies for missionaries to evangelize people especially the youth to
prepare them to become also evangelizers in their own ways in the future is to establish
schools. With this, obviously, in the missionary schools and even schools established by the
local Church, the core of the curriculum is the Christian Faith Education of the young (children
to college); in a wider sense, the Christian formation of the Community who are running the
school. The CICM established schools for such purpose. Here at the University of Saint Louis,
our motto for us to always remember this is "Mission and Excellence" and among the core
values of our University's Vision-Mission, the first is Christian Living.
Week 2
USL is a global learning community recognized for science and technology across all
disciplines, strong research, and responsive community engagement grounded on the CICM
mission and identity for a distinctive student experience.
USL sustains a Catholic academic community that nurtures persons for community, church
and society anchored on CICM's Missio et Excellentia.
The University of Saint Louis upholds the philosophy that education is for building of self and
persons for the Church and the Society. Wisdom builds. To these ends, the following are
University of Saint Louis's core values integral in the formation of every member of the
Louisian community.
01 Christian Living
We are witnesses to the Gospel values as taught and lived by Christ thus making God's love
known and experienced by all.
02 Excellence
We seek and maintain uncompromising standard of quality in teaching, learning, service, and
stewardship of school resources.
03 Professional Responsibility
We are committed to apply the learned principles, values, and skills efficiently and responsibly
in the chosen field of discipline, taking initiative and command responsibility in one's
professional advancement.
04 Social Awareness and Involvement
We engage ourselves with society by listening to the prevailing issues and concerns in the
society, thereby initiating and participating in constructive and relevant social activities for the
promotion of justice, peace, and integrity of creation and for people's wellness and
development consistent with the CICM charism.
05 Innovation, Creativity and Agility
We keep ourselves relevant and responsive to the changing needs of our stakeholders by
being flexible, solution oriented, and having cutting-edge decisions and practices.
Week 3
The mark of a true CICM is the zeal for missionary work. This means that the charism of the
CICM as a missionary institute is to go out to those who are in most need (ad extra) – to go
into frontier situations, to nations (ad gentes) wherever the Good News was not heard
especially by the poor. "Going out” as a missionary gesture is the availability of oneself
to be sent wherever a CICM presence is needed. Inspired by the CICM charism of mission
ad extra and dedicated to the Incarnate Word and inspired by Mary, Theophile Verbist
animates every CICM missionary to be competent and creative persons in Jesus' name, and
a faithful disciple at the service of the community for the respect and preservation of the
integrity of the whole creation.
A. The Call for New Evangelization
Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the International Congress of Catechists and Religion
Teachers in Rome (12 December 2000) provided the reason why human beings are in need
of a new evangelization today. He pronounces that the "deepest poverty is not physical
poverty but spiritual poverty; it is the inability for joy, the tediousness of a life considered
absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today in varied forms in both the
materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and results to
lack of love; produces jealousy, avarice defects which devastate the life of individuals and of
the world." At this time, people wish to choose the path toward peaceful life and happiness.
New evangelization ushers them to this path – which is the path of Jesus who has come to
evangelize the poor (cf. Lk 4:18).
On October 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI issued a letter to the Catholic faithful
entitled Porta Fidei. The document is a call to celebrate a Year of Faith with the theme, "The
New Evangelization for the Transmission of Faith". The theme was significant since Benedict
XVI sees a crisis of faith in the world, a problem which he considers as the greatest challenge
to the Church today. This crisis of faith is
characterized by what the Pontiff describes as an "eclipsed of God, a kind of amnesia which,
albeit not
an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless, a denial of the treasure of our faith, a
denial that
could lead to the loss of our deepest identity."
Pope John Paul II had also displayed his great ardor for "new evangelization" during his
pontificate. He
envisioned that new evangelization must be applied in a diverse, complex and various
societies where
methods and ways of proclaiming the Gospel should always be updated, in order to meet the
needs and
special demands of special periods. As he spoke to the Episcopal Conference of a Latin
meeting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 9 March 1983, Pope John Paul II emphasizes: "The
of half-a Millennium of evangelization will have its full significance if there is a commitment on
your part
as Bishops, together with your Presbyters and with your Lay Faithful, a commitment not to reevangeliza
tion, but to a new evangelization. It will be new in its ardor, new in its methods and new in its
1. The New Areopagi of Mission
The New Evangelization is the announcement of the Good News of Jesus Christ in the midst
of the post-Christian and post-secularist situation of our time. The "New Areopagi" is a
metaphor John Paul II used in a missionary context, defining them as spaces opened to
mission. There are two kinds of New Areopagi: one that is Christian-ecclesial which
requires an ad intra evangelization, and another that is
mundane or neopagan, addressed by the ad extra evangelization. The New
Evangelization demands both a new personal experience of faith, considered as a free
encounter with Jesus Christ, and also the discovering of the communal aspect of that faith.
From this strong position we might hope for the recovery of the public dimension of
The challenge for mission, hence, is how re-engage western seculariz ed humanity in
the search for meaning - or, rather, to give it fresh focus. One of the advantages for mission in
a post-Christian society is that the phenomenon of "Christianity" has lost the weight of its
baggage of history to a large extent, and along with many of the negative connotations of
"Church" and "Christendom".
"The time is ripe for a new evangelization, speaking with the technology of the digital
age that addresses the search for meaning that surpasses all ages, that respects human
freedom and autonomy that is comfortable with and can dialogue with diversity. And that
witnesses to the Kingdom present amongst us through quiet but persuasive example."
Therefore, the Church at present is challenged to be involved in the new sectors of
evangelization - the new Areopaguses (Areopagi) of mission.
"Mission today is described as crossing boundaries. It is going to the public square. It is
described as going to the new Areopagi of contemporary times (RM 31-37)". The new sectors
of evangelization as: cultural sector, social sector, economic sector, civic life sector, scientific
research and technology sector, communications sector, and religious sector. These new
sectors of evangelization involve new techniques and circumstances whereby the laity are
called to participate. Javier went further saying, "the modern equivalents of the Areopagus,
therefore, define the parameters of the identity and mission of the laity in the contemporary
Today, we are called to give witness to the personal transcendent God. That is, God being
alive and part of human affairs.
Recognizing that the world today is the world of mega-migration, the laity hence are invited to
enter into collegiality (interconnected and interdependent) with other peoples and cultures.
In this age of commodification (everything has tag price/for sale), the laity are called to live the
evangelical idea of poverty (you have nothing hence, you have everything).
In this age of strife, the laity are called to participate in the pursuit for peace, liberation of
people, promotion of the indigenous peoples' rights and the integrity of creation.
There is no doubt that at the present, science, technology and communications have been
making great innovations. They seem to become everything for the human person. However,
the laity are challenged to live their lives in aid of virtual reality and not to defy virtual reality.
Finally, the laity are called to return to religion that promote peace and inter-existence and not
on fundamentalism and violence.
Week 4
The Call for New Evangelization
B. The Call for New Evangelization
"The CICM in the Philippines in their vision for the CICM. Tomorrow accepted the
challenge of re-conceiving their missionary identity adapts the process of reinvention and
revitalization, explores new missionary paradigms and develops new missionary strategies
within the context of the new planetary transformation. One of the many mission paradigms
they had prioritized is the appreciation of lay empowerment. The congregation recognized the
importance of the mission of the laity in new evangelization. Engaging the help of mission lay
partners necessarily brings with it a pronounced recognition of lay participation. Lay
participation in the Church's mission is something that the CICM tomorrow continues to
support with resolute attention and care." – NOVA ET VETERA
This is so, since the Philippines was not spared from the impacts of globalization. The
proliferation of new technology may mean loss of jobs for manual laborers. It means more
money for those who have capital, but it makes life more difficult for those living in the
margins of society. This can be seen in the urban areas as well as the rural areas. Farmers,
for example, are greatly affected with the influx of imported goods and their expensive farm
inputs and high interest of farm loans. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, depletion of natural,
and migration are only few but present the drama of globalization in the Philippines. As they
rise, the crime rate is also rising, and terrorism which is happening in other countries, are
also at our doors. This situation should not be dismissed and ignored. In a situation of
dehumanization and meaninglessness, the CICM-RP is expected to encourage and give hope.
As the CICM claimed in one voice, "Today, the CICM as an international group of
missionaries, will be called upon to support the movement towards the promotion of a global
ethics which is the common quest for a meaningful co-existence that is genuinely fostered by
mutual respect for the world's diverse cultures and religions."
Retracing the historical background of the missionaries of the Congregation of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) does not merely involve recollection of the past but more
so a deepening of insight. The tireless efforts of the CICM missionaries in the Philippines as
well as their continuing efforts to respond to their missionary calling are worth remembering
for posterity. No history of the evangelization of the Northern Philippines would be complete
without including the courageous exploits of the CICM missionaries and their dedicated and
committed lay companions/ collaborators. They braved the dangers of the Philippine
rainforests as well as the hostility of some members of northern tribes. The physical and
psychological challenges inadequate food, the almost total lack of comfort and medical
attention, language, isolation, outright rejection by the native inhabitants did not hinder them
to pursue their missionary calling.
The story of the implantation of the Christian Church by the CICM missionaries in
Northern Philippines particularly in the Province of Isabela can never be attributed solely to
the CICM missionaries. In the just concluded celebration of the 100 years of CICM missionary
presence in Isabela with the theme, Remembrance and Thanksgiving, a dominant motif had
surfaced the empowerment of the local church as the CICM missionaries mission partners.
Ever since the embryonic stage of the CICM, the laity have always been partners in their
missionary activities and journeys. These lay mission partners had been displaying their
passion for mission since the first entry of the CICM missionaries in the Philippines. Though
the unfolding of ages created crucial facelifts on the images of the CICM mission partners
from a do-it all volunteer catechists to a paid professional or a next-to-the-rank deputy to a
convinced, dedicated, committed, and educated lay, the lay has always been present in the
portrait of the CICM missions.
The CICM lay mission collaborators are envisioned as: a witnessing and caring community of
committed laypersons dedicated to support, and collaborate in the missionary task of the
CICM. Hence, four dimensions characterize these mission collaborators:
First, they revive or revitalize structural spaces and opportunities for an increased lay
participation. Second, they practice and help foster the CICM mission spirituality in all CICM
institutions and pastoral works and entities. Third, they participate in and promote the
missionary character and work of CICM institutions through mutual interchange and sharing
of experiences, expertise, and resources. Fourth, they initiate programs and activities in
support of the missionary priorities of the CICM.
The next years of the Congregation will certainly be another set of challenging years with
new situations and issues to confront. From 1960 onward, there was already a systematic
decrease in the number of the CICM personnel. Missionary animations were retried, but
results were poor and new approaches in animating the youth were proven to be with little
success. The present global and social challenges in doing mission confronting the Church in
general and CICM in particular, had once more called the partnership of the CICM
missionaries and their lay counterparts to effectively and boldly face these changes while
maintaining the faith and keeping hope in the future of the CICM as it continues to contribute
its share in the building of God's reign in society.
Week 5: Justice & Peace
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)
Since the post-Vatican II years, the acronym JPIC has gained an added meaning. It highlights
the need for action towards structural changes that affirm human dignity, personal
responsibility and universal solidarity. To animate our group in the direction of such action at the personal level as well as a community - is a key challenge. Take for example is the
urgency to promote a change in lifestyle, advocacy and networking to safeguard the Integrity
of Creation. (Carrying on the Mission-100 years of CICM in the Philippines, p. 92)
The vocation to proclaim the Kingdom in the "people's own God-given context" impels a CICM
missionary to confront the environment of blatant inequality that people plough through in
their daily routine. Uneven opportunities to services, self-development, and employment are
often woven in the fabric of societal relations. Respect for fellow humans and equal rights are
sorely lacking in the world today. (Carrying on the Mission-100 years of CICM in the
Philippines, p. 91)
The mission of the CICM missionaries towards Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation targets
its concern to the needs and issues of a community like peace making among societies
(Human Rights and Non-Violent conflict resolutions) and respect for all created things
(ecological issues) and people (prisoners and less fortunate people) in society as they bring
life to the Gospel and the Gospel to life. Like Fr. John Couvreur, he campaigned against illegal
logging in Isabela. Here, it exemplifies that a CICM missionary does not only evangelize the
word of God but also puts these teachings of the Church through action by responding to the
call of just and peaceful world and respect for the environment.
Long before Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation were formally introduced, applying
Christian social teaching was already a constitutive element of each missionary's proclamation
of the Kingdom. A heart in search for the lost and the marginalized treads the less trodden
path when organized groups, communities or parish structures tend to gravitate toward
power, honor and wealth. (Carrying on the Mission, p. 91) It is very true among early CICM
missionaries that even though no education were conducted on JPIC, their actions and active
responses to the needs of the community were already visible in their ministry.
Christians believed that the ultimate Judge of all people is no other else than God alone.
However, some judgments have to be passed on earth for some actions and these are the
duties of our judiciary. But how is justice going on in the world? Do we still have a just world
in terms of our relationship with one another and in terms of our relationship with the
society? Do we receive just grades in our subjects? Do we receive just wages in our
profession? Are the prisoners treated humanely and kept in good conditions? Or do we
receive just and fair judgment in terms of trial? These are some questions we can possibly
raise to measure the condition of justice in our present moment.
Justice is the virtue by which we respect the inherent rights of others and render to them and
to God what is due to them in fairness and uprightness (CCC 1807). Gods' justice is on
expression of God's love for us (Micah
7:8-20). In the same way our justice towards others should be on expression of our love. The
ministry of Christ is a just mission. He never excluded anyone in his ministry of
healing the sick. He treated the ill with compassion and love. He hated inequality and that
made him argued those people who insisted exclusivity. He insisted on forgiveness rather
than persecution. Humans created the most distractive punishment in the history of the world,
which is contrary to will of God. So, when Christ came, he never allowed people to be
persecuted rather he emphasized repentance. Christ's vision of justice is a harmony of the
human heart and social order that gives respect to human dignity, practice of the common
good and constant practice of solidarity. Justice for Christ is giving what is due to the people
and to the society. In the words of
Pope John Paul II, "..all are called to live in Justice and to work for peace. No one can claim
exemption from this responsibility." (1998, Pope John Paul II. World Day of Peace Message)
So, our response to Jesus' Call to Justice is to be a responsible agent in doing a
just act, just decision and just living, to pay respect to the law of God and society, and to
participate in maintaining peace and order of the society.
According to Pope Francis, "peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and
protected. Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence
begets violence." (2013, Pope Francis. Angelus) Justice does not support the "principle of
retaliation". Christ wants us to promote love instead of hatred because that is the true
essence of a peaceful relationship.
Peace is a gift and is not imposed by the way of force or any forms of threat. Peace must
never be pursued though violence, class struggle or hatred. Peace must be sought after as a
means for shared responsibility in building the kingdom of God in our midst. In the final
analysis, our desire and commitment to seek and work for real peace is born out of our loving
relationship with God because He Himself is our peace. (PCP II, 308) There are references in
the Old Testament of the Bible to warfare, it was thought that victory would belong to the
chosen ones. However, Christians looked forward for the coming of their messiah and even
considered him the "Prince of Peace" and his coming would end war and peace would reign
across the world. Jesus is the prince of peace (lsaiah 9:6), and He gives us peace in three
Peace with God
Jesus is our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Due to our sins, we were enemies of God and
were separated from Him (Ephesians 2:13), but Jesus restored our relationship when He took
on our sins and died our death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). He provided a path for
reconciliation with God, and now we are joined to God (Romans 5:10) and can fellowship
with Him (1 John 1:3)
Peace with Others
Jesus is our peace with others. In Him, we have reconciliation with others, live at peace with
them (Colossians 1:19-20), have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:9) and can live with
others in unity and one accord through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3). He empowers us
by His Spirit to be peacemakers with our neighbors, friends, and foes.
Peace with Ourselves
Jesus is our peace within. In Him, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and He is
making us whole and complete like Him (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Peace and Active Non-Violence
Ezekiel 45:9, Thus says the Lord God: Enough, you princes of Israel! Put away violence and
oppression, and do what is right and just! Stop evicting my people! Says the Lord God. Hate
begets hate, love begets love. We are called to purify our thoughts and minds by living a just
and holy life. anger or hate among others. Put no anger or hate among others.
Week 6
Integrity of Creation
According to Pope John Paul l, "world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional
conflicts and the continued injustices among people, but also by the lack of respect for
nature." (1990, Pope John Paul I. Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation)
When God created the world, he made it pretty sure that it would be wonderful and very
good. But mankind little by little neglects the chance to enjoy it due to some irresponsible
actions and decisions that devastate the God's creation. But the challenge to make it still a
better place to live lies into our own human hands.
Our social responsibility is a communal activity driven with passion to initiate our own care
and concern for the world and humanity. Bayanihan goes into the roots of unspoiled Filipino
spirituality to build and uplift the community through cooperation and collaboration. Mutual
assistance takes many forms such as transferring a house, planting and harvesting. cleaning
the neighborho0d, or carrying out a crusade. (2007. Carrying on the Mission: 100 Years of
CICM in the Philippines, p.89).
Human’s as a Steward of God’s Creation
In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.
With these words, Pope Francis begins his momentous letter, "Laudato Si On the Care of Our
Common Home." While a significant teaching for all Catholics on our responsibility to care for
God's creation, the Holy Father addresses the encyclical to "every living person on this
planet" and invites all people of good will to act urgently on behalf of Earth, on behalf of
future generations, and especially on behalf of justice for poor and marginalized people who
are most impacted by the destructive power of climate change and environmental
We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated:
"Everyone's talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human
abuse of God's creation." I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are
shaping the future of our planet. ~Pope Francis
Pope Francis introduces us to the idea of ecological comversion in his encyclical Laudato si',
the fifth anniversary of which we are about to celebrate. John Paul II was the first pope to
call for a global ecological conversion; his predecessor, Paul VI, and his successor, Benedict
XVI, also spoke out against the degradation of nature and the exploitation of the natural
emvironment. More recently, in 2015, Pope Francis devoted an entire encyclical letter to the
ecological crisis: Laudato si'. In the third part of its final chapter, he turns to the notion of
ecological conversion: 'Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not
simply by the sum of individual good deeds.. The ecological conversion needed to bring about
lasting change is also a community conversion.
Pope Francis writes. Rather than "ridiculing expressions of concerm for the environment," he
says, Christians need "an ecological conversion." What is to be understood by ecological
conversion? How would this conversion come about? What would it look like as a community
What is to be understood by ecological conversion? How would this conversion come about?
What would it look like as a community conversion?
Various Catholic groups are answering that call from Laudato Si as they try to help people
close a gap between the spiritual life and ecological awareness. Ecological Conversion means
a lot more than feeling spirtually good about the natural world. It is more than recycling and
lifestyle adjustments, or an accommodation to the green movement. Conversion involves a
radical change in consciousness about how we relate to ourselves, our world, and our God. A
major underlying motivation is to protect creation for the good of all, especially the alienated
poor of the Earth, and future generations.
The Missionary who Planted trees
Growing up in scenic Hooland, Fr. Ben Erkens, CICM brought his passion for plants and trees
to the Philippines when he arrived here as a CiCM missionary in 1995. The lush forests,
gurgling streams, graceful hills and verdant valleys of his youth helped Fr. Ben to develop a
deep affection for plants. He loved them, cared for them and grew them in every available
space. SMU (St. Mary's University) Reforestation Project and Ecological Station is one of the
examples of Fr. Erkens legacy towards the environment as the students continued Fr. Erkens'
tree-planting crusade so that the forest will come to life once more. Fr. Ben's "unusual
scholarship and environment project" relly has gained admirers, like the Inquirer's columnist
David, who has asked readers to support him. The apostolate that gave joy to Fr. Ben in his
ministry is expressed in his love for the environment. CICM missionaries exemplified these
courageous acts of concern towards the environment regardless of any cultural conflict
among areas in the Philippines. Their love for the mission is what God wants them to be. It is
their passion towards their mission that gave them strength to do it.
Week 1
The Indigenous People in the Philippines
At the start of the colonization of the Philippines in 1565, the term indigenous would have
been applicable to all the various cultural and linguistic groups who then inhabited the more
than 7,000 islands that make up the present national territory. Now we call indigenous only
such people who, at the beginning of the twentieth century and the start of the American
regime, were never fully subjugated and Christianized nor Islamized, and who kept their preconquest cultural and religious traditions quite intact, though the Government may have a
different listing of IPs.
A. Different Indigenous People In The Philippines
The Indigenous Peoples represent nearly 14 % of the country's population. They are
among the poorest and the most disadvantaged social group in the country.
Illiteracy. unemployment and incidence of poverty are much higher among them
than the rest of the population. IP settlements are remote, without access to basic
services, and are characterized by a high incidence of morbidity, mortality, and
malnutrition. The indigenous peoples of the Philippines, numbering about 10-15
percent (9 -13.5 million) of the nation's total population of 90 million) belong to
more than 110 ethno-linguistic groups. They are generally categorized as:
Cordillera People:
The IPs (commonly called lgorots) of the six provinces in the Cordillera Mountain
ranges (Ifugao, Bontoc, Kankanaey. Kalinga, lbaloy, Tingguian, Isneg, Yapayao);
Aeta Tribes:
Scattered in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao known by different names (Ata, Ayta,
Agta, Ita, Ati, Dumagat, Remontado, Mamanwa)
Various tribes of North-Eastern, Central, and Southern Luzon, and some islands of
(llongot, Mangyan, Tagbanua, Palaw'an, Batak, Ken-uy, Bukidnon, Tumandok,)
and; Mindanao Lumad-The major tribes found in almost all provinces of Mindanao
(Subanen, Manobo, Bagobo. B’laan, T’boli, Ubo, Higaonon, Talaandig. Mandaya,
Mansaka, Manguangan, Tiduray. Banwaon, Dibabawon. Tagakaolo).
B. Present Situation of Ips
1. Cultural
The IPs view land as life. Sustainable development and intergenerational
responsibilities underlie their use of land and resources. The rich diversities of
their culture, indigenous knowledge systems, spirituality, and practices (IKSSP).
governance and justice systems support a way of life that is genuinely human,
participatory, and communal. However, there are many IP communities that are
fast losing some aspects of their cultural identities due to the encroachment of
non-IPs into their territories. Furthermore, due to the impact of globalization
and the kind of development being introduced by the technocrats, their culture
is considered as a throwback to ancient times and therefore irrelevant and
hence totally disregarded.
2. Economic
Many, if not the majority, of the indigenous peoples are in a survival /mode of
subsistence, such as swidden farming, hunting, and gathering. And for those
who allow themselves into the lowland concept of market-oriented agricultural
production, they face tremendous constraints in production and marketing
because of bad or no roads, poor transportation facilities, and the distance of
market outlets resulting in high costs and low prices for their produce.
3. Political Rights
Indigenous peoples have no real representation in the local, provincial and
national branches of government. Most IP communities do not speak in one
voice and the government hardly hears their grievances. Still, many communities
strive to continue their indigenous leadership and traditional political structure.
The state policy towards lP’s has evolved from that of segregation, then to
assimilation and integration, and currently to that of recognition and
preservation. An important factor for this shift in policy is the more than ten
years involvement of the Church and other support groups since 1986 to lobby
for a law to address the marginalization of the indigenous peoples.
The primary idea that we can take from this passage is that, although Israel is still
Jesus' priority at this point in his ministry, he is willing to make exceptions, especially for a
demonstration of exceptional faith. He is more concerned with matters of the heart than with
ethnic boundaries. Jesus had just engaged the Pharisees in a dispute about handwashing and
ritual cleanliness (Matt. 15:1-20). which also made this point. The condition of one's heart is
far more important than rigid adherence to rules. Now, Jesus demonstrates this by making an
exception to his own rule that he is to reach out only to the lost sheep of Israel.
Writing for a primarily Jewish readership, Matthew emphasizes Jesus' faithfulness to
Israel. What sounds exclusivist from a contemporary Western perspective was, for the
original readers, an affirmation of the Lord's enduring concern for his chosen people.
Matthew is showing that the trajectory of God's redemptive plan is traced first through Israel,
then to all of humankind, where faith is rewarded without regard to ethnicity. Jesus' response
to the Canaanite woman foreshadows God's wider embrace. In a church that was primarily
Jewish, or a mixture of Jews and Gentiles (many of these former God- fearers who attended
the synagogue), this story would serve to help the two communities to understand each
other's histories and to embrace each other as part of a new covenant community.
Today, the church is primarily Gentile, and different lessons can be applied. Christians
can emulate this woman's boldness and persistence. We can also observe her humility and
note that many of us, to0, are Gentiles who certainly should not harbor any sense of
entitlement. We can also learn that the categories or limitations placed on us by| society
need not affect our relationship with God. Just as the woman did not let her status as a
Gentile in a Jewish culture, or as a female in patriarchal ones, keep her from boldly seeking
Jesus, so we should not let factors like age (too young, too old). gender, income level,
education level, and handicapping conditions prevent us from seeking Christ and offering
ourselves to him in service.
Finally, we can take away the knowledge that we serve a God who is both faithful to
his promises and full of surprises. Examples of "great faith" sometimes come from
unexpected places, and a seed that drops from the sower's hand unnoticed indeed may find
fertile soil and flourish. God may choose to make an exception in our lives or churches. May
we respond from the heart to the actions of our creative and Surprising Lord. (Mel, 2009).
From the Gospel story and the article, we are called to be like Christ who went
beyond his borders and crossed the walls of culture and made an example of how we could
be missionaries in our present condition where there exist the reality of multiculturalism/
multi-ethnicity, enculturation, and acculturation. In our highly globalized world where we
encounter people of various cultures, we must learn to dialogue like Jesus did. To be open
and tolerant of our differences like Jesus did and to be of service to others of beyond culture
just as Jesus did.
C. CICM And The Preferential Option for the Poor and Excluded
Since the foundation CICM as a missionary institute, the poor and the
excluded have always been the focus of its commitment. The missionaries pioneered
and dared to go to the geographical and social fringes of society in numerous
countries, contributing to the transformation of the world towards a more just and
humane society. The Reign of God is at hand but humanity has to promote and
protect it.
The CICM Missionaries in the Philippines strive to be faithful to this charism.
In June 2015, the CICMs in a general assembly approved the Philippine-Province
Missionary Project where the seven Priority (Ad-extra) Commitments were affirmed.
Indigenous People - CICM Philippines started with the indigenous
communities in the Cordilleras. The culture, values and rights of these communities
found all the country. have to be promoted and preserved.
Communities in Rural and Urban Periphery Areas (Parishes) - Prophetic
witnessing and dynamic presence among the poor, by forming an animated CICM
parish through active participation in liturgy and social action, organized in basic
ecclesial communities.
Educational Apostolate - Develop schools as important institutions of higher
learning in the service of the local Church and of society. in the light of Christian
vision and CICM mission.
Campus Ministry - To promote the potentials of people especially the youth
through Christian formation and other pastoral programs in the CICM way
Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation - To promote social justice in
the world and respect for the environment.
Sectoral Ministries - To care for the marginalized members of society, in
terms of CICM-inspired social justice.
Inter-Religious Dialogue - New ventures are commitments and forms of
presence adopted by the Province in line with the pioneering characteristic of CICM.
The western part of Mindanao has the greatest concentration of the Muslim
population in the Philippines.
D. Multiculturalism
a. Multiculturalism as a Call - Our vocation as religious missionaries cannot make
sense if we do not experience it as a call from God to collaborate in God's mission of
love to the world. Living together in multicultural communities requires that "we
foster a bond among us that goes beyond all difference" (Cont., 48) This bond arises
from our commitment to Jesus Christ and his mission. "It is the love and call of Christ
which has gathered us together. We experience a deep bond because each of us
loves Christ and is loved by him." (Com. Const. p. 90)
b. Multiculturalism as a Mission - We are called as missionaries Ad Gentes. But, in a
certain sense, we are also missionaries to one another. We preach, not so much by
words, as by the example of our lives. Our multicultural communities strive to give
visible expression to the gospel of love and to Jesus' desire "that all may be one". (In
17:21) What better witness can we offer to the world today than the witness of a
community where there does not exist Jew or Greek, slave or free. but where each
one, out of love, has placed themselves at one another service"? (Gal 3:28)
c. Multiculturalism as a "Kenosis - Kenosis is the 'self-emptying' of Jesus' own will
and becoming entirely receptive to God's divine will. Following Jesus means
following him in his gift of self. Jesus invites us to deny ourselves by giving up what is
most dear for the sake of the Kingdom. Living and working in community with
confreres from other cultures, and integrating ourselves into the culture of the
people to whom we have been sent, are acts of self-emptying. We try to put our
own way of seeing and doing, and try to see and do in new ways that help us to
understand and identify others.
d. Multiculturalism as a Conversion & Reconciliation - Our multicultural
communities are meant to be a sign of God's Kingdom. Conversion and
Reconciliation are the prerequisites of the Kingdom just as they are also
prerequisites of individuals living together in a community. be it a multicultural
community or otherwise. We have each grown up particular culture, a culture that
has its own richness and positive values but also its Own poverty and sinfulness.
Insensitivities, prejudices, and discrimination on the bases of color, tribe,
geographical region, language, sex, education, etc. have been a part of our
upbringing. Many of these negative attitudes can overcome simply by getting to
know one another in a more personal way.
Week 2
Indigenous People
Pope Francis in Laudato SI called all of us to "show special care for indigenous
communities and their cultural traditions" (146) not merely out of defense for
their rights but in recognition of how much indigenous peoples have to teach the
world about the integrated ecology that the Church vigorously proclaims as part
of the Gospel of Creation. For indigenous peoples, the Holy Father declared, "land is not
a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a
sacred space" by which they "maintain their identity and values" and that they
"care for it best" (146). He praised their "greater sense of responsibility, strong sense of
community, readiness to protect others, spirit of creativity and deep love for the land" that
they hope to "leave to their children and grandchildren" (179). They exemplify the wonder
and gratitude for Creation, the value for all creatures, the respect for the common good and
the common destination of goods, the lines of proper ecological conversion and ecological
education that the Holy Father underlines elsewhere in the encyclical.
A. Indigenous People Rights Acts (IPRA)
The IPRA, passed by Congress in October 1997 is a landmark legislation in the history of
IPs' struggle for recognition of their basic human rights and the right to selfdetermination. It promotes the rights of IPs to their ancestral lands and domains through
the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT), self-governance and
empowerment, the right to cultural integrity and their customary laws. It acknowledges
the right of the IPs to give consent to development interventions in their communities
through the process of Certification Precondition/ Free and Prior Informed Consent
The law gave jurisdiction or all ancestral domain claims to the National Commission
on Indigenous previously awarded by the DENR and all future claims that shall be filed.
The new law provided the basis for filing new claims which included the submission of a
valid perimeter map, evidences and proofs, and the accomplishment of an Ancestral
Domain Sustainable Protection Plan (ADSPP). All existing ancestral domain claims
previously recognized through the issuance of CADCs are required to pass through a
process of affirmation for titling.
Christ had so much mercy and compassion for the people who suffer. He
cared for the outcast of His time. As followers of Christ, it is essential that we
care for the least. It is a basic expression of love for our neighbor. In the Gospel of
Matthew (Mt 25: 31-46), Christ explains the basis of the final judgement: "Whatever
you have done to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it to me."
There is nothing in the Bible that would suggest that it is possible to separate love for
God from love for people. Parallel to this is what 1 Jn. 4:20 says: "Whoever claims to love
God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and
sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. "We love
and worship an invisible God. He has forbidden us to make an image of
himself, but he has put his image into mankind. If we would see him and serve
him, we must see and serve our fellow man.
But beyond that, we must see and serve "the least of these" because in this
we can better know that our service is rendered to God for love of him and for
his glory. Serving those who are of worldly importance, especially those who can return
the favor (Lk 14:12), is not wrong, but the motive for such service could always be in
question, especially if the kind of service that Jesus is describing never occurs. The goal
here would be to do all things and render all service to all people for the glory of God and
for the sake of the Gospel.
B. IP Apostolate of the Church
The days are over, thankfully, when catholic missionaries burned and destroyed the
totem poles and carved images of native tribal peoples, and berated them for indulging in
"idolatrous" worship. These zealous missionaries also used to measure their success in
the number of adults and children they baptized, and how many they could convince to
live in the población and exchange their traditional clothing for western clothes. The
evolution of the nomenclature applied to these native peoples reflect the changes in the
attitude of the Church. During the Spanish Period, the predominant labels for them were
infidels, savages, barbarians, and pagans, to name a few.
During the American Period, they were lumped together as non-Christian tribes
(together with Muslim Filipinos) and words like savages and pagans continued to be used
to categorize them. In the later decades of the 20th century, common terms used were
natives, cultural minorities, and tribal Filipinos. Today the official name for them is
Indigenous Peoples.
Some efforts on education emanating from the research community can be seen
from the work of the religious orders who also run small colleges in the city but whose
members are assigned apostolic work in the rural areas. The early mission of the
different churches in the Philippines was not only to make Christians out of the "natives"
but also to acculturate and integrate them into the mainstream. In the past, the churches
used to hold conferences on acculturation to assess their work.
Traditionally, the church was also a source of assistance in terms of food, shelter,
formal education and other basic services. The worsening economic and political situation
in the 70s and 80s was a challenge to the Church to respond effectively to the plight of
the indigenous peoples and take a more proactive position. Many communities were
dislocated as a result of development projects such as dam construction, mining, logging
and plantation agriculture. Communities that resisted their dislocation and destruction of
their lands were militarized. The religious orders, especially those directly dealing with the
people, became staunch advocates.
Current mission studies have coined certain terminologies in order for missionaries to
effectively minister to these peoples. Words like convivence (missionary presence as
being with or living with the poor rather than doing for them), mission-in-reverse
(learning from the poor rather than teaching or doing something for them), among others
are now becoming a part of the missionary parlance. There are other hosts of mission
concepts which are worth exploring about. This is not to make the missionary over and
above others in a ministerial milieu. This is meant rather to make the minister discover a
more sound praxis in ministry with the disenfranchised peoples so that one's missionary
presence and journey with them would indeed be liberative and life- giving rather than
domineering and death-dealing (it can be recalled, for example, that there were instances
in the past in which missionaries had but become unwitting instruments of colonial
designs and domination).
CICM: Compassion for the Least in Society
Ever wonder why almost all the catholic churches in the Cordillera are alike - a box
with a triangular red roof? Well, that is because they have the same builders -- the
Belgian CICM missionaries. When they started their missionary activities in Cordillera, the
CICM confreres followed the order of the Vatican to the letter. One of the objectives of
the mission was to prevent the Americans from converting the "natives" to Protestantism,
and so the CICM's entry point was to put up schools.
The Episcopal Commission for Indigenous Peoples (ECIP)
The Church in the Philippines was challenged to respond to the plight of indigenous
peoples in 1974 during an assembly of the Mindanao- Sulu Pastoral Conference. The felt
need was for a better understanding of the Muslim rebellion that has been a longfestering problem but which was exacerbated by the invasion of foreign and local
business establishments.
Later it was realized that the struggle for survival not only affected the Muslim
communities but also other indigenous or (lumad) communities. Accordingly the Catholic
Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), created an office originally called the SubCommission on non-Christians as its pastoral arm in charge of the IPs. In 1975 this office
was elevated to a full-fledged Episcopal Commission on Cultural Communities. The name
was changed again to Episcopal Commission on Tribal Filipinos in 1977 with full time
secretariat, and finally to Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples in 1995.
These changes manifest the conscious effort on the part of the Church and of the
larger society to avoid prejudiced terms that connote underdevelopment and inferiority,
and instead, to use a name depicting their uniqueness as a people. ECIP is also
responsible for consolidating and coordinating the efforts of forty-five Indigenous Peoples
Apostolates (IPAs), which are directly working with indigenous communities in the
different dioceses in the country.
The CBCP has expressly stated in its Constitution and By-Laws that the ECIP
(Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples), as with other Commissions, "shall
undertake (its) specific programs... in conjunction with, and with the approval of, the
dioceses which have their active Indigenous Peoples' Apostolates."
In this light, therefore, the ECIP, which represents the CBCP in matters related to the
Indigenous Peoples Apostolate on the level of the conference, must coordinate its work
with the dioceses which have their own IPA. In a sense, the ECIP services the needs and
demands of the particular Churches' "service apostolates" to the Indigenous peoples.
The vision of ECIP is Integral Evangelization with the Indigenous Peoples as
witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus, journeying with them in a dialogue of life and faith and
celebrating the riches of each other's values and life-events. Together, we respect human
dignity, uphold the right to ancestral domain and cultural identity and work towards total
human development and integrity of creation.
1. To share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the indigenous peoples in the
Philippines through "a witness of life and humble service" (ECIP Mission Statement, 1984)
among them;
2. To recognize the Good News in the indigenous people's culture;
3. To give and/or to generate assistance to the indigenous in the Philippines in their
concern and struggle for total liberation and the development "of all men [and women]
and all of man [and woman] (Lumen Gentium).
4. To undertake specific programs to achieve the above objectives "in conjunction
with, and with the approval of the dioceses which have their active Indigenous People's
Apostolate." (CBCP-ECIP IP Apostolate Guidebook 2013 Edition)
Week 3
Indigenous People
Today, we have a new vision of mission. This new understanding of mission sees the Trinity
as he source of mission. "For t is from the mission of the Son and he mission of the Holy Spit
that she Church takes her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father (AG 2; RM
1,4,32, 46). For we believe that God sent his Son into the world, to all humanity, so that we
may have fullness of life. The Father and the Son set the Holy Spirt into the world to sanctify
and strengthen, guide, and empower the followers Jesus Christ, mission today is about
persuading people to join the Church or a “soul-saving performance”. Mission is holistic and it
directs our attention beyond the Church to the Kingdom of God. Mission is the responsibility
of the whole Church. Therefore, every Christian to be an evangelizer.
The Church dreams of a “new way of being Church" that is, a dream of becoming a servant
Church that is, servant of God, Servant of Christ, servant of the people, of their hopes,
longings and aspirations, servant of the followers of other religions, cultures, and traditions.
The Church exists to serve and all Christians must commit themselves in living out the Good
News to work on behalf of total human development, and to build a just and peaceful world
"interreligious dialogue is part of the church’s evangelizing mission” (Redemptoris Missio, 56).
This statement of Pope Jon Paul II in his missionary encyclical Redemptoris Missio says it all,
and there would be no need to elaborate further. Yet perhaps tis necessary to unwrap this
statement by examining what is meant by the terms evangelizing mission and interreligious
dialogue and then looking at the relationship between the two.
What is Dialogue?
Dialogue is more than mere conversation between the partners. It is a process, a journey,
and a risk it requires right attitude, openness of mind and heart, of ideas and feelings to
understand each other’s respective views; it includes mutual listening. Itis one of the
elements of Church’s evangelizing mission. Dialogue offers opportunities for witness and also
influences the way the Church perceives and practices mission in the pluralistic world. Yet,
dialogue is not the end but one of the ways of doing mission. Mission integrates and tis done
through dialogue. Among the multiple ways of doing mission, some have particular
importance in the present situation of the Church and the world.
The Purpose of Dialogue
If dialogue is not geared to conversion to Christ, what is its purpose? Perhaps here too one
could speak about something that is multifaceted There is not just one purpose of dialogue
but rather a number of aims. There is first the aim of helping people of different religions to
live together in peace and harmony. This is a task which is ever more urgent in a world
becoming increasingly multicultural and multireligious. It is a task which implies, as we know,
overcoming prejudices, batting against indifference, creating understanding. This fist level of
dialogue should not be lightly dismissed.
Yet dialogue can go still further. A later document, “Dialogue and Proclamation” from 1991,
notes that it may take the form of sharing of spiritual values, a mutual witness to beliefs, an
exploration of the riches of here respective spiritual traditions. In this way Christians and
people of other religious traditions can help one another to deepen their religious
commitment, to respond with greater sincerity to God’s call. (cf. No. 40).
Evangelizing Mission
Evangelization, or evangelizing mission, is a very Catholic concept. Other Christian
denominations will speak more readily about evangelism, by which they mean the direct
preaching of Jesus Christ. The World Council of Churches, for instance, has within its
structures a body called the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. Mission here is
taken in a wide sense and includes many activities of the church in the fields of education
and health, for example, while evangelism refers to bringing about conversion to Christ.
In Catholic circles, as illustrated by the apostolic exhortation of Pope Paul VI Evangelii
Nuntiandi, evangelization can have both a narrow and a broad sense. In general
evangelization means bringing the good news of Jesus Christ into all areas of humanity, thus
transforming it from within (cf. No. 18). This can be done in a variety of ways. One of these
ways is "the clear and unambiguous proclamation of the Lord Jesus" (ibid., 22). "This
proclamation," the same exhortation goes on to say, "occupies such an important place in
evangelization that it has often become synonymous with it, yet it is only one aspect of
evangelization" (ibid.). The Gospel can be brought to different areas of humanity by the life
of the Christian community and by its actions inspired by love.
Evangelization and Inter-Religious Dialogue
"Inter-religious dialogue is part of the church's evangelizing mission" (Redemptoris Missio,
56). Just as inter-religious dialogue is one element in the mission of the Church, the
proclamation of God's saving work in Our Lord Jesus Christ is another... There can be no
question of choosing one and ignoring or rejecting the other.
In fulfilling the mission on evangelization, the Church comes into contact with people of other
religious traditions. Some become disciples of Jesus Christ in his Church, as a result of a
profound conversion and through a free decision of their own. Others are attracted by the
person of Jesus and his message, but for various reasons do not enter the fold. Yet others
seem to have but little or no interest in Jesus. Whatever the case may be, the Church's
mission extends to all.
Also in relation to the religions to which they belong, the Church in dialogue can be seen to
have a prophetic role. Similarly, the Church, in so far as she bears the mark of human
limitations, may find herself challenged. So in promoting these values, in a spirit of emulation
and of respect for the mystery of God, the members of the Church and the followers of other
religions find themselves to be companions on the common path with humanity is called to
tread. At the end of the day of prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage for peace in Assisi, Pope John
Paul Il said: "Let us see in it an anticipation of what God would like the developing history of
humanity to be: a fraternal journey in which we accompany one another towards the
transcendental goal which he sets for us.
We must know that God is the Creator (First Things First). and that is God is Love and that
his compassion motivates us to share the Good News. Becoming an excellent evangelistic
church is not dependent upon “charismatic or non-charismatic, but upon the compassion of
God being released.
Evangelization Through Dialogue
A. Our contact with IPs is preceded by historical circumstances
B. God is present among the IP even before contact with us
C. Guidelines on the work for evangelization
"There Is neither Jew nor Greek; There is neither Slave nor Free; There Is no Male or Female
for you are all alone in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28
The problems surrounding indigenous peoples and access to land in the Philippines ultimately
derive from the following historical circumstance; since the Spanish colonialization of the
Philippines, all forest lands have legally belonged to the state, and most indigenous peoples
have long inhabited the forest. The indigenous people have long faced a sort of "double
battle," both with the state itself, from which they must attempt to wrest some sort of
security of tenure or access, and with often- migrant and usually better-off and more
politically-influential lowland Filipinos, who have also over the years attempted to secure titles
or other kinds of access to public lands, often displacing indigenous peoples in the process.
Through laws, the tribal minority/indigenous communities were deprived of the right to their
ancestral domains. Through so-called "development" activities, they were dispossessed of the
land they till for their livelihood. Their marginalization, dispossession and other forms of
injustices continued long after colonial rule had gone.
Each indigenous community is different. But all indigenous communities struggle for the right
to self-determination and to their ancestral domain. Pursuant to the stipulations of the 1987
Constitution, IPRA undertakes to improve the situation of indigenous peoples. Finally, the
resolution of the problems of the indigenous peoples relates to the elimination of the deep
seated discrimination against them, a task that remains difficult to achieve.
"For whatever reason, God chose to enter God’s own creation in human form to perform the
ceremony of redemption and restoration, through a particular people group, from a particular
land, at a particular time, and that this was for all creation.
Most of the lives of Indigenous people are lived in the soul-crushing reality of being an
"outsider" on their own ancestral lands. The indigenous people lived and worked with the soil.
It was the soil that gave them not only identity and culture but also sustenance. The land is
very complex spiritual component and occupies a very central place in the indigenous
people's worldview. The land is not only sacred but also the co-creator with the Creator.
(The Genesis account also speaks of the earth as the co-creator of God. "Let the
earth bring forth .." Gen. 1:24). It is the land that owns people and gives them an
identity. It is also a temple in and through which people becomes one not only with the
Sacred Power, but also with their ancestors.
The figure of Jesus Christ is extremely important for many indigenous/peoples, even those
who would not formally describe themselves as Christians. Jesus is a figure who suffered at
the hands of oppressors and is someone who can empathize with the plight of indigenous
people. The experience of indigenous peoples demonstrates that in our understanding of the
role of Jesus Christ as Savior we must not separate the physical, material, and spiritual
aspects of salvation.
Week 5
Evangelization is accomplished through dialogue
With the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, the
Second Vatican Council formulated the "Magna Carta" for integral human development. The
Church sees herself as a part of humanity, intimately connected to the "joys and the hopes,
the sadness and the anguish of the human person today" (GS #1). By no means can you
separate "questions about the current trend of the world, about the place and role of man in
the Universe, about the meaning of individual and collective strivings, and about the ultimate
destiny of reality and humanity". The preoccupation with the social development of
humankind is a theme which the Church took up and made her principal concern from her
birth. A reflection of the meaning of authentic human life in history and culture found
expression already in Scriptures and in the writings of the Church Fathers, and are now
taught by the Church's Magisterium as the Church's Social Teachings.
Pope Paul VI introduced the concept of integral development. Integral development is not
limited to mere economic growth. Authentic Integral Development is well-rounded; it fosters
the development of each person and of the whole man. Hence, development is: From the
economic point of view: active participation,on equal terms, in the international economic
process; From the social point of view: evolution into educated societies marked by
solidarity; From the political point of view: consolidation of democratic regimes capable of
ensuring freedom and peace (Civ, 21). Therefore, Development indicates: first and foremost,
to rescue people from danger, hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy.
Though variously expressed, the social concern of the Church is directed towards an
authentic development of man and society, and it seeks to respect and to promote all the
dimensions of the human person. (SRS, 1) True development cannot consist in the simple
accumulation of wealth and in the greater availability of goods and services. Authentic
Development includes the cultural, transcendent and religious dimensions of man and society.
It recognizes the existence of such dimensions and endeavours to direct its goals and
priorities toward the same. (SRS, 46). The development of the whole person and of all
peoples, are also a matter of religion. For it depends, above all, on God. (SRS, 47; CA, 29).
The Development of individuals requires new eyes and a new heart, capable of rising above a
materialistic vision of human events, capable of glimpsing in development the "beyond" that
technology cannot give. By following this path, it is possible to pursue the integral human
development that takes its direction from the driving force of charity in truth. (Civ, 77). Every
authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed to Christ (Civ, 18).
In our time, dialogue can be understood in many ways. At the purely human level, it is
"reciprocal communication, leading to a common goal or, at a deeper level, to
interpersonal communion." In the context of religious plurality, it means not only
discussion, but also constructive relations with individuals and communities of other
religions, which in obedience to truth and respect for freedom, are directed at
mutual understanding. It includes "witness and the exploration of respective religious
convictions". With reference to the initiatives of the Catholic Church to reach out to people of
other religions, dialogue is also understood as "an attitude of respect and friendship"
which permeates or should permeate all those activities constituting the mission of
evangelization in the world.
The necessity of Dialogue is that Catholics need to be involved in dialogue misunderstanding,
mistrust, division, violence, or even war. In a multicultural society such as Philippines,
Catholics in order to prevent must interact respectfully and vigorously with people of all faiths
and cultures. The document Dialogue and Proclamation, identifies four forms of dialogue
helpful to speakers reflecting on the possible modes of cooperation:
a. The dialogue of life, where people strive to live in an open and neighborly spirit, sharing
their joys and sorrows, their human problems and preoccupations;
b. The dialogue of action, in which Christians and others collaborate for the integral
development and liberation of people;
c. The dialogue of theological exchange, where specialists seek to deepen their
understanding of their respective religious heritages, and to appreciate each other's spiritual
values; and
d. The dialogue of religious experience, where persons, rooted in their own religious
traditions, share their spiritual riches, for instance regarding prayer and contemplation, faith
and ways of searching for God.
With regards to those who do not wish to become Christians and prefer to continue with their
traditional religions, the "dialogue must be taken in the ordinary sense of encounter, mutual
understanding, respect, discovery of the seeds of the Word in this religion, and the joint
quest for God's will" ((Cf Dialogue and Proclamation # 2). The process of inter-action that
applies more appropriately with non-Christian communities is the "dialogue of life and
action" by which each side works with one another to promote the total and integral
development of human beings. It is not easy to dialogue and to harmonize the culture of
indigenous peoples with Christian teaching. But authentic dialogue with any culture never
necessarily harms the life of faith but rather "they can stimulate the mind to a deeper and
more accurate understanding of the faith" (GS # 62) both of the Christian and of his nonChristian brother or sister.
Pope Paul VI spoke of people as the "artisans of their own destiny" and Pope Francis goes
even further in his advocacy of an ethics of mutual accompaniment. Speaking broadly,
Catholic social ethics now seeks to work for conditions which the enable marginalized people
to determine the direction of their own lives, to shape their own communities, and to be the
primary protagonists of deep and lasting social change.
"Caritas Christi urget nos" (The love of Christ urges us …. It is the love which
drives us along the Path of Integral Human Development! [Cf. Civ. No.11]
We fully respect the freedom of people. The Church proposes; she imposes nothing" (RM,
39). We are called to encounter people of all religions and convictions, and to establish a
dialogue of life with them. As part of this commitment, we acquire an adequate knowledge of
the language and the culture of the people who welcome us, and make every effort to insert
ourselves in their life situation. Some among us nourish and enrich this common commitment
by engaging in an in-depth interreligious dialogue.
Week 6
Evangelization is accomplish through dialogue
Since the beginning, the church has participated in a gospel transaction between the
particularities of local cultures and the universal message of Christ. This is called
inculturation. At its most basic level incuturation is understood as the "Word becoming flesh"
in and through the life of the local Christian community-the Word becomes living and real in a
particular context, a
particular people and a particular place. This has always been on the heart of the Christian
as an expression of our dialogue with Indigenous People faith communities.
The process of inculturation was first defined by Pope John Paul I1, in paragraph 52 of
Redemptoris Missio, as "the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through
their integration in Christianity and the insertion of Christianity in the various human
cultures." In other words, inculturation is the ongoing process of mutual influence and
transference between one culture and another. At its most basic level, inculturation is
understood as the "Word becoming flesh" in and through the life of the local Christian
community-the Word becomes living and real in a particular context, a particular people and a
particular place. This has always been at the heart of the Christian movement.
Inculturation recognizes that in every culture there are life-giving elements that are a gift from
God. The gospel celebrates these, affirming and strengthening their presence in Christian
identity. Inculturation is rooted in the conviction that each person and community possess
unique wisdom and giftedness and that it entails a long-term process of mutual give and take
wherein each party is as much student as teacher, as much giver as recipient. The ongoing
process presupposes dispositions of love, hospitality and humility, all exercised in a
commitment to know and understand the other. In paragraph 53, Pope John Paul II explained
the process in this way:
"Missionaries... must immerse themselves in the cultural milieu of those to whom they
are sent, moving beyond their own cultural limitations. Hence, they must learn the language of
the place in which they work, become familiar with the most important expressions of the local
culture, and discover its values through direct experience."
Local cultures (Pope John Paul II 1995). In his 1995 statement, "Local Churches have a
Missionary Task," John Paul II wrote, "The Gospel message […] should be presented to
different cultures by fostering the development of the seeds, longings, expectations it could be
said, almost the presentiments of Gospel values already present within them." Inculturation
implies a missionary encounter or dialogue that is mutually, but not equally transformative; the
transformation is presented as the fulfillment of what existed before the missionary encounter.
In John Paul II's words, "It stimulates [the local culture] and encourages it to yield new fruits at
the highest level to which Christ's presence brings it, with the grace of the Holy Spirit and the
light of the Gospel."
Inculturation as one of the tasks of the missions is a difficult and delicate task. What about the
Indigenous Peoples? The main concern is implementing inculturation [13] properly. Within the
Philippine context, "inculturation is an expression of dialogue with indigenous people's faith
communities. Through inculturation, the church makes the gospel incarnate in different
cultures and at the same time introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own
community".[14] In their encounter with Christianity, the indigenous peoples lose nothing of
what is noble, true and good in their culture and their values. The Christian faith welcomes
and affirms all that is genuinely human, while rejecting whatever is sinful. The process of
inculturation engages the Gospel and culture in "a dialogue which includes identifying what is
and what is not of Christ". (Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation: Ecclesia in Oceania, # 16).
We are particularly grateful when people, through the action of the spirit, open their
hearts to the message of the Gospel and express the desire to join the Church. We share with
them the message of joy which transformed our own lives and invite them to share with us
their faith experiences.
We believe the way in which we live and work together is important in fulfilling our
mission. It is our task to foster with the Spirit dynamic community of praying and active
believers. Since we cannot give what we ourselves are not, we lived and work as much
possible in intercultural evangelizing communities which foster values such as mutuality,
interdependence, Simple lifestyle in solidarity with the poor, conscious and respectful
interaction with each other and the culture in which we as lived, common prayer nourished by
and oriented towards our mission.
Commission on Indigenous People
Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP)\
a. Shall work for and with Indigenous Peoples in their effort, first, to secure justice for
themselves, second, to protect their ancestral lands, and third, to preserve their cultural
b. Shall foster among the Christian majority a greater awareness of and appreciation for the
Indigenous Peoples in order to help in lessening, if not totally eradicating, prejudices against
c. Shall undertake specific programs for the realization of the above functions with the
approval of the Bishops concerned and in collaboration with their respective Indigenous
Peoples' Apostolate, inclusive of complying with the directives from the Holy See and
instructions from the Conference.
According to Pope St Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation, "Evangelization in the Modern
World" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975), evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the
Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or have always rejected him. It will always
contain - as the foundation, center, and at the same time the summit of its dynamism - a
clear proclamation that in Jesus Christ, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God's grace
and mercy.
How do we engage in Evangelization?
Accept the Call to Evangelize
“When they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how you are to speak or what
you are to say, for what you are to say will be given you in that hour, for it is not you
who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Mt 10: 19-20).
Every Christian must accept that God is calling him/her to evangelize. We have to
get over the "not me, I am not prepared" mentality. No one is perfectly prepared to
do God's Will but He will give you the grace to do it.
2. Be Holy
An individual called to evangelize must grow in holiness. Our Lord has given us the
means to grow in holiness though His Body the Church and especially thought the
Sacraments. Remember, you cannot give what you don't have. You cannot proclaim
the Gospel if you are not trying to live it. Going to mass, pray each day, read the
sacred scriptures, etc.
Converse from the Heart
You must share your love for Jesus and faith in Him from your heart. It is really a
matter of "Heart to Heart" (Cor ad Cor). Be authentic, be real. It is not necessary that
you know everything. It is necessary that you believe in what Jesus Christ teaches
through His Church and that you grow in knowledge and love of Him who is the
Truth. He will give you what you need.
Dedicate Yourself to Holy Relationships
You are called to form good and holy relationships with others in your parish, where
you work, where you go to school, in your neighborhood, in your community. Ask
God to bless these relationships and encourage these friends of yours to share the
Faith, their relationship with Christ with others. It's God's arithmetic!
Entreat our Lady
You must place all of your efforts in the hands of Our Immaculate Mother Mary. Pope
Francis has asked us to invoke "Mary, Mother of Evangelization." May she who said
her "yes" to God at the Annunciation and became the Mother of the Savior help us to
say our "yes”
There is no one fool-proof, guaranteed process, or system, or program for
evangelization. That would be focusing on the method rather than on the person of
Jesus Christ. That is not to say that there are not effective ways to proclaim the
Gospel. But in the end, evangelization depends on personal relationship - first, a
personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and second, our personal
relationship one to the other. That is what is most effective.
Week 13
Incorporation of IPs into the Ecclesial Community of the Church
Christianity has influenced Aboriginal spirituality in many ways, and many Aboriginal people
are Christians. Aboriginal and Christian spirituality can sometimes peacefully coexist in the
same person's belief system, and churches open up to this change.
In his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania several years later in 2001, Pope John Paul
II continued to recognize that the Church had a task to help indigenous cultures preserve their
identity and maintain their traditions. (para 28)
Pope John Paul Il recognized that the relationship of the Church to the Indigenous people
remains vital but that it is also difficult because of past and present injustices and cultural
differences. (Ecclesia in Oceania, 6) Ecclesia in Oceania also recognized that Churches
should more thoroughly study indigenous cultures and communicate the faith in a legitimate
way appropriate to indigenous cultures.
A. Incorporation of IPs into the Ecclesial Community of the Church
Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), basic also called Christian communities, or,
small communities, is a Christian movement. Some contend that the movement has Christian
its origin and inspiration from liberation theology in Latin America. The communities are
considered as a new way of "being the Church"- the Church at the grassroots, in the
neighborhood and villages. The earliest communities emerged in Brazil and in the Philippines
in the late 1960s.
The local Church in the Philippines, gathered in its Second Plenary Council (PCP 11)
in 1991, declared itself as a "Church of the Poor," which means, among others, a local
Church that will give "preferential option for the poor" in all its pastoral priorities, programs,
and "way of being Church." It also meant that the poor, which are traditionally marginalized
and powerless in Philippine society, and which are in the long history of the local Church were
just passive recipients of catechism and social welfare programs, would from then on be
deemed as capable of working for their own development, emancipation, and empowerment.
In a sense, the "poor" would from then on become not just objects but agents already
of their own development. Since then, various sectors in the Church, eg. clergy, religious, and
laity, have embarked on social development programs that aim to alleviate poverty and to
assist the poor community members to work for their own development. Fundamental and
continuing task is to develop BECs where their faith "may increase and grow stronger."
B. It is absolutely forbidden to use force or proselytism.
The Church strictly forbids that anyone should be forced to accept the faith, or be
induced or enticed by unworthy devices, as it likewise strongy defends the right that no one
should be frightened away from the faith by unjust persecutions. (AGD #13) "Imposing the
faith" can take the form of forcible conversion or proselytizing. Brute force during the Spanish
times was generally frowned upon by the authorities, but in effect forcible conversions
happened when native peoples who refused conversion and baptism were banished from the
Proselytizing is done when missionaries take advantage of the poverty or weakness
of a person and offer conversion as a way out of his miserable situation. Catholic missionaries
nowadays, we might say, are assiduously avoiding doing this.
IPs who freely ask for membership in the Church, who are deemed ready to be
incorporated into the ecclesial community, and voluntarily ask to be baptized should not
be turned away, their reception of the initiation sacraments should not needlessly be
postponed, nor should they be discouraged from doing so.
In accord with the Church's ancient custom the motives for conversion should be
examined and, if necessary, purified. (AGD #13) .
Membership in the Church is a gift and invitation which they can receive and respond to
freely in their own way, in their own time, and in their own milieu.
Nobody should be baptized without proper and adequate catechesis. Like everybody
else, IP communities' value a clear understanding of the sacraments.
The person to be baptized must belong to a basic ecclesial community to welcome and
nourish the faith of the newly baptized.
The candidate, through listening, sharing and praying with the basic ecclesial community,
slowly gets to know what the Good News is all about.
A Particular CICM Contribution
CICM is a religious missionary institute. Vatican Il and the recent synod on
Consecrated Life view religious life as a gift of God to his church. CICM is a particular gift, it is
a sign of an essential dimension of the mission the Lord and trusted to His Church: to bear
witness to Jesus Christ among those who do not believe in Him or who do not even know
Him. We CICM missionaries commit ourselves to this task not on our own personal initiative
but on behalf of the Church. We are a gift of God to his Church a gift she cannot keep for
herself but which must be shared with the followers of other religions and with those who are
indifferent towards God or who even deny his existence. Our life and action make it clear that
the Gospel is addressed to all in that the church is at the service of all.
Our vocation is the most challenging one: to offer to all the opportunity to encounter
disciples of Jesus Christ. He invites us and every human being to become the friends of those
whom we might naturally consider outsiders or even opponents. We are a sign of the kingdom
of God at hand and we try to build it up by sharing our own treasure, Jesus Christ with
We affirm that it is the specific charism of CICM to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ
wherever it is most needed, in frontier e.g situations such as geographic areas where the
gospel is not known or lived isolated areas where people feel abandoned trauma large cities
where the feeling of anonymity prevails, marginalized groups, refugees, and displaced
persons, people who live in extreme poverty, young people who feel there is no future for
Week 14
Oneness in spirit and Heart/religious- others as co-missionaries
Christianity has influenced Aboriginal spirituality in many ways, and many Aboriginal
people are Christians. Aboriginal and Christian spirituality can sometimes peacefully coexist in
the same person's belief system, and churches open up to this change.
ln his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania several years later in 2001 Pope John
Paul II continued to recognize that the Church had a task to help indigenous cultures
preserve their identity and maintain their traditions. (para 28)
Pope John Paul II recognized that the relationship of the Church to the lndigenous people
remains vital but that it is also difficult because of past and present injustices and cultural
differences. (Ecclesia in Oceania, 6) Ecclesia in
Oceania also recognized that Churches should more thoroughly study indigenous cultures and
communicate the faith in a legitimate way appropriate to indigenous cultures.
Oneness in spirit and Heart/religious-others as co-missionaries)
The twenty first century is a fascinating period. It has ushered in "a renewed
of religions." Such prominence is caused by the religious issues and conflicts that continue to
attract public opinion with the help of vigorous marketing or commodification of religion
the information storage facilities such as the internet. Indeed, this century is an
stimulating time in which to talk, think, and write about the world religions. The
medicatization of
the world is breaking the cultural, racial, linguistic and geographical boundaries that the world
has not previously experienced
There are serious issues facing the fact that there are different religions with
contrasting claims. Today more than ever, encounters between and among religions are
taking place constantly and at a very fast pace. Because of the advancement of technology
especially in the areas of travel and communication we realize that the world has
considerably shrunk before our eyes. We are now living in a global community where
everybody rubs elbows with everybody else. Religion has been globalized: as people have
become more mobile and connected by fast means of communication, religions have crossed
traditional boundaries and established their homes with others beyond their borders. The
meeting of different religions in a global community poses the problem
It is more than 50 years since Nostra Aetate, Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation
of the Church to Non -Christian Religions was published and transformed positively the
Church’s attitude to believers from other religions. Since this time further teaching documents
have been published and statements have been made which encourage dialogue between
Catholics and people of Non-Christian religions
According to Cardinal Arinze, Meeting Other Believers (1997). Interreligious dialogue
is a meeting of people of differing religions, in an atmosphere of freedom and openness, in
order to listen to the other, to try to understand that person's religion, and hopefully to seek
possibilities of collaboration. lt is hoped that the other partner will reciprocate, because
dialogue should be marked by a two-way and not a one-way movement
Hence, the term 'Interfaith Dialogue' refers to the positive and cooperative interaction
between people of different religions, faiths or spiritual beliefs, with the aim of promoting
understanding between different religions to increase acceptance and tolerance. It is an
expression of the participants' lived faith lives, and therefore interfaith encounters form
communities of awareness. Constructing dialogue between followers of different religions
means understanding, through cooperation, the different religious principles and teachings
that should benefit all of humanity through the promotion of mutual respect and tolerance. It
means coming together and sharing aspects of their respective faiths and striving to
understand that which is foreign.
Religious pluralism is the state of being where every individual in a religiously diverse
society has the rights, freedoms, and safety to worship, or not, according to their conscience.
Reality is plural. At least this is how we experience it. But this experience of multiplicity has
spawned problems in many aspects of human life. lt is in the area of faith that this experience
can be most problematic. Due to the pressing problems brought by the phenomenon of
religious pluralism, one is moved to a realization
that the "pluralist mindset is important in understanding the theology of religious pluralism."
The pluralist approach brings a great challenge that is, in our missio ad extra a tremendous
paradigm shift is needed. We are challenged to reach out sto the other religious not as going
to them (pagans and non-Christians) and convert them (missio ad gentes) but to reach out
with them - to live with and among them (missio inter gentes).
There are serious issues facing the fact that there are different religions with
contrasting claims. Today more than ever, encounters between and among religions are
taking place constantly and at a very fast pace. Because of the advance of technology
especially in the areas of travel and communication, we realize that the world has
considerably shrunk before our eyes. We are now living in a global community where
everybody rubs elbows with everybody else. Religion has been globalized:
as people have become more mobile and connected by fast means of communication,
religions have crossed traditional boundaries and established their homes with others beyond
their borders. The meeting of different religions in a global community poses the problem of
how the various traditions are to relate with one another
Christ's Example of an encounter with the other
Read the story Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman" (John 4:2-24)
Notice Jesus and We Samaritan woman. When We disciples came and saw that Jesus
had been talking with her, the text says they were astonished but they didn't ask any
questions- Jesus listened to the woman of Samaria, heard her questions, took them seriously.
He didn't ridicule them¡ he didn't talk down to her. He listened to her, and in listening he
helped her know herself better Wan she ever had beforeThe disciples wouldn't even ask the Samaritan woman a question- They wouldn't
dialogue with her. They didn't think she was important enough for that. But Jesus engaged in
a conversation with a woman who was an outcast in her culture. He saw her for what she
really was. ln The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "When Jesus calls a man
He bids him come and die." I wonder what Jesus bids a woman do when he calls her?
There's a world out there, a world full of hurting, needy, lost and lonely people, and
the ministry of women is part of God's answer to at hurting world. So when Jesus calls a
woman, he calls her to come and die as well: to take up
her cross, to follow, to serve. When the church truly follows Jesus, it will call women to the
fullness of what God has called them to all the diversity, to all the possibilities of service that
are there.
This story has significance for four key reasons:
First, it shows Jesus' love for the world. The fact that the woman at the well was of such
low standing - gender? race and marital status - yet they talked so directly; almost as equal
conversational partners? shows Jesus' heart for all people not just some. Just as we see in
other stories? such as when He welcomes children (Luke 18:15-17) or heals the demonpossessed daughter of a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28) Jesus accepts all. All are
welcome in the kingdom of God.
Second, it reminds us that only Jesus can offer salvation. Jesus offers living water - eternal
life. This water is not like regular water but rather comes from God Almighty and lasts forever.
Third, it shows the importance of offering our testimony. When the woman believed she
immediately ran off to tell others. Her words made an impact. As Scripture tells us? 'Many of
the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony" (v. 39).
Fourth, it underscores how Jesus is the Messiah. He says He’s the Messiah. and the
woman and the
Towns people believed Him. As the Samaritans told the woman at the end of the story. `.We
know that this nan really is the Savior of the world'' (v. 42b).
This story has significance for four key reasons…
The story of We woman at the well is a rich example of love, truth, redemption, and
acceptance. And best of all, not only does Jesus accepted her, but He accepts us, too. He
wants us all in His holy kingdom – if only we, too, believe. lt reminds us that no matter who
you are or where you come from, there is Good News through Jesus Christ that is available to
all of mankind.
But we have to understand that this redemption and acceptance only transpired
because of the dialogue that happened between the woman and Jesus. Had there been no
dialogue had the woman kept a close mind and a hardened heart? the proclamation of the
Good News and the offer of salvation would have been futile. Had Jesus also maintained His
own religious and cultural prejudices, he would not have also convinced the woman to have
an encounter with him. When Jesus said to her? Woman? believe me? the hour comes, when
you shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem? worship the Father Christ did not say
that either Samaritans or Jews were exclusively right in their preference for one local shrine or
place of sacrificial worship but he declared the sublime truth that the worship of the Father
would soon prove itself to be independent of both alike and of all the limitations of place and
ceremony. Jesus did not claim that his being a Jew makes him better or higher that the
woman. He did not even attempt to impose to the woman his teachings. He only
acknowledged that he may be different from her and that she too is different from him but they
were both human persons with dignity to uphold. The same is true in the essence of lnterreligious dialogue when we would no longer talk of whose religion is true or was the first or is
best. Rather with this dialogue! we are called to acknowledge that there is only the same
Father who cared for us all and thus we should be brothers and sisters to one another. We
are called to dialogue not our religious preferences and practices but to have a dialogue of life
and love for one another.
The genius and insight of pluralist mindset poses a great challenge of re-creating the
Christian tradition not only as an option but an imperative. This is not only because of the
external demands for transformation exerted on Christian communities by history and culture.
These constitute a large part of the reason for Christianity's transformation through the years,
from its inception to the present. And this is our response to Jesus' words, "read the signs of
the times." But there is something inherent in Christianity that necessitates this constant
process of change - the incarnational nature of the Christian faith. Pluralism arises from this
Religious pluralism is a historical situation Wat characterizes our world today. lt is a
neutral paradigm for Christian theology. As a new paradigm, it leads us to experience a
theological turning point. We are in a new historical situation" one that is no longer dominated
as in We last century, by religious indifference and secularization but by the plurality of
religious faiths. This is also the result of a real doctrinal revolution ushered in by Vatican II in
its pronouncement of a positive judgment on non-Christian religions. The seeds of truth and
holiness in other religious traditions are now recognized. (Vatican II Nostra Aetate). Vatican
II's well known statement opened me door to relationships with other faiths. The statement of
the magisterium went beyond domination and conversion. Religions have something positive
to offer to one another, which are not just functionally or dynamically equivalent- What the
religions are offering and saying is not the same Wing, in different forms, but unique and
irreplaceable ways of salvation.
Crossing boundaries leads us into the diversity of truth conditions of other cultural
and religious traditions. Truth lies also elsewhere, outside the walls of Christianity and the
Church (Hebrews 13:14). Since Vatican II, crossing frontiers has become a central concept in
pastoral efforts to open out a dialogue with the world and all its cultures and traditions
(Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes). The world which is becoming increasingly secular, must be
infused with faith (lumen), joy (gaudium) and hope (spes). Crossing frontiers leads us to the
world of the new generation that emphasizes religious freedom, self-emancipation, and group
solidarity. It also leads us to the issue raised by feminism and ecology as well as
fundamentalism and secularism. Two social forces are distinctively responsible for the
emergence of these issues: modernization and secularization. Modernity is the outcome of
There is a great need to address the challenge to enlarge the space for interreligious
intercultural communication" and interfaith witness. This is inevitable. We have to
acknowledge that all religious traditions are the products of historical and political processes.
Their distinctiveness is constructed upon these processes and events. Pluralism serves as a
powerful reminder of the 'constructive-ness of religion. Hence, acknowledgment of the fragility
and limited nature of all human discourse about the divine is significant Christian theology
tells us that God is the foundation of all knowledge and makes dialogue between the world
and religions and between believers and non-believers possible. Differences are not only to
be tolerated. They must also be celebrated. Diversity is to be valued to transform the world
into a better place to live in- Hence, openness to the religious-other would uncover
potentialities for approaching the plural mystery of God and the riches of Gods infinite
Due to this pressing problem of religious diversity and We dream for collaboration
with the "religious others", it is imperative to discuss the conditions of the possibility of
interfaith dialogue. But to have a lucid and thorough understanding of We said dialogue, it is
important to have a glance once more on the reality of interfaith dialogue. lnterfaith dialogue is
the exchange of experience and understanding between two or more partners with the
intention that all partners grow in experience. This definition implies that dialogue is not a
mere gathering of persons. Dialogue is rather a meeting of two or more participants with the
intention of communicating and sharing their experiences. The goals of dialogue range from
simply fostering mutual understanding and tolerance, to promoting collaboration and
friendship, to serving the purpose of mutual transformation and growth.
Week 15
Pope Francis as the head of the Catholic Church fosters a spirit of dialogue that is held
important in the whole of Catholic Tradition. He promotes a dialogue based on the teachings
and practices clearly defined in the encyclical "Nostra The Declaration on Nostra Aetate" —
"The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions" proclaimed by St.
Pope Paul VI in 1965.
Nostra Aetate (NA) is main document on other religions of Vatican II but it was seminal and
not fully developed. Notra Aetate (NA) is the main Vatican II document on other religions.
Two important themes of Notra Aetate are:
1. The necessity of interreligious dialogue.
2. The discernment of the "rays of truth" in other religious traditions.
Nostra Aetate gives us three fundamental reasons why dialogue is essential in the life
of the Church.
First is the conviction that We All belong to One Human Family — a principle widely
by religions all over the world. Dialogue is imperative in understanding the various spiritual
and faith traditions. We must seek the common ground of shared values among diverse faiths
to show that despite diversity we are one human family with the same fundamental
aspirations for mutual respect, for acceptance and for living in peace.
The second reason — We are all Gifted with a sense of Spirituality. Every human
being has a spiritual sense, a sense of the divine — expressed in different ways according to
different faith traditions. Even Non-believers are gifted with this sense as evidenced by recent
advances in neural and cognitive science which support the idea that the spiritual or the
sacred is fundamental to human experience and flourishing. Spirituality is the entry point of
dialogue and through interreligious dialogue, we could share stories on how our experiences
on divine love, our spirituality, promotes attitudes that move us to action towards the
attainment of shared values such as justice and lasting peace.
The third reason for Interreligious Dialogue is based on the universal principle that
We have a Shared Responsibility for the Common Good. Pope Francis believes that our
capacity to work together for the common good can come only through compassion and
mercy and the ability to empathize with one another, especially those who are in need. So,
we ask ourselves, what have we done for the hungry and the poor; for the refugees and
those internally displaced by conflict? What have we done for peace in the World; for Mother
Earth, our common home? We can see that there are plenty of activities where believers of
different faiths can work together towards common goals, promote a different way of life and
make a positive change in this world.
Redemptoris Missio was issued by Pope John Paul II on December 7, 1990 on the occasion of
the 25th anniversary of the Conciliar Decree AD GENTES.
Chapter Five of Redemptoris Missio; the Paths of Mission emphasized interreligious dialogue.
It contains the following:
# 55 "Interreligious is part of the Church's evangelizing mission."
# 56 Dialogue does not originate from tactical concerns or self-interest, but is an activity with
its own guiding principles, requirements and dignity. It is demanded by deep respect for
everything that has been brought about in human beings by the Spirit who blows where He
wills. Through dialogue, the Church seeks to uncover the "seeds of the Word," a "ray of that
truth which enlightens all men"; there are found in individuals and in the religious traditions
of mankind. Dialogue is based on hope and love, and will bear fruit in the Spirit. Other
religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church; they stimulate her both to discover
and acknowledge the signs of Christ's presence and of the working of the Spirit, as well as to
examine more deeply her own identity and to bear witness to the fullness of Revelation which
she has received for the good of all."
# 56 A vast field lies open to dialogue, which can assume many forms and expressions: from
exchanges between experts in religious traditions or official representatives of those
traditions to cooperation for integral development and the safeguarding of religious values;
and from a sharing of their respective spiritual experiences to the so-called "dialogue of life,"
through which believers of different religions bear witness before each other in daily life to
their own human and spiritual values, and help each other to live according to those values in
order to build a more just and fraternal society.
Week 16
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one
another. John 13:34
The Love Command
The new commandment in this text — to love one another — is arguably one of the
more famous statements in the biblical text (verses 34-35). Even folks who are not active
participants in the institutional church know this commandment or ones similar to it. But is it
new? Hardly. Loving one another is part of Jewish tradition is present in the Greco-Roman
world around them, and is seen in other religious traditions as well.
Loving those with whom we agree or are partial to is the easy part. Loving the rest of
the folks we come in contact with is a much harder proposition. But this will not be news to
those sitting in the pews of your church or next to you in Bible Study. It is a part of the
human condition to love and to want to be loved. Reality is it's easier to love those who are
more loving and lovable. It is said that John, in his old age, would remind those around him
to love one another. When questioned why he told them this so very often, his reply would
be, "Because it is what our Lord commanded. If it is all you do, then it is enough."
This text focuses on love but the justice piece for many is that all of Jesus' disciples
will be known by their love Of others (verses 34-35). For Jesus, love did not mean a sweet
sentimental feeling. It meant action. It meant actively loving — putting one's love into real
world activities. This new commandment comes as part of a farewell address by Jesus to his
followers. And he does this with a sense of tenderness and mercy.
The address to "children" is only used here (verse 33). It is a touching reminder that
the end of Jesus' time on earth will soon come, but he does this fully aware of the dismay it
will cause. He even acknowledges that the immediate impact of his glorification through
death and resurrection will mean his absence from them. And into this reality he leaves them
this command and tells them they will only have him for a little while longer (verse 33). The
way Jesus talks about loving each other is a precursor of the spread of Christianity. As he
loved and that love spread within his inner circle, so too will love spread after he is gone
when love is done in his name.
This act, to love others, is a distinguishing mark of the followers of Christ then and
will continue to be (verses 34-35). Some would say that one of the weaknesses of the church
today is the way many Christians do not embody this commandment — or the others —
commanding his followers to love their neighbor. Jesus makes plain his call to the disciples.
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love
one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see
the love you have for each other" (verses 34-35).
Jesus was bold and clear then. How much clearer do we need Jesus to be for our
own lives of discipleship now?
The Specific Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue Program
The foundation of interfaith dialogue is the recognition that in order to achieve
sustainable change in the ideas and actions of a religiously identified community, religious
actors and institutions must genuinely support that change. Mutual tolerance is essential for
conflict prevention and resolution, and interfaith programs are designed to increase tolerance
between participants through encounters with one another in an atmosphere of relative
security and mutual respect. These programs foster empathy, and help participants form real
relationships and develop a more complex and sophisticated understanding of each other.
Although peacebuilding projects emerging from faith-based organizations closely resemble
secular peacebuilding efforts, in most cases the religious orientations of the organizations and
individuals involved shape the peacebuilding they undertake. For example, religious
mediators often make very explicit use of religious language and texts, such as prayer, when
addressing conflict. This spiritual element encourages looking beyond one's personal interests
toward a greater good. Most religions are committed to working for justice and peace, and
have long-standing and well-established structures or processes for doing so. They may also
have religion-specific approaches to conflict resolution, such as guidelines for resolving
conflict or rituals for reconciling relationships that have potential application across religious
boundaries. Interfaith programs between conflicted groups can mobilize these and other
religious elements in the service of increasing mutual tolerance—a process that begins with
the ability to interact without fear or aggression, and progresses, through empathy and
understanding, to mutual respect.
The Language of Interfaith Conversation
Mindful interfaith language expresses our common humanity, builds relationships of respect
and trust, and pursues peace.
The journey into interfaith conversation is not unlike a journey around the world.
Instantly we are connected with diverse cultures, customs and concepts. Just as when
visiting distant lands we may pick up a phrase book to learn how to facilitate basic
communication, a simple phrase book for interfaith conversation may be helpful. The
following is not so much a Glossary of Interfaith Words but rather possible chapter headings
if such a book actually existed.
 Mindful Vocabulary
One parlance of interfaith language is Mindful Vocabulary. A church is not a
synagogue. A is not a masjid ('mosque). A masjid is not a gurdwara (Sikh house of
worship). using the correct term indicates that you have taken the time to become at
least basically aware of the conversation partner's faith tradition. But interfaith language
can be very confusing. Perhaps instead of faith specific terms, faith-neutral terms may
serve better. For example, "house of worship" is a term that fits most traditions and
communicates what you intend to say without calling an apple an orange. Because some
traditions such as Native spirituality or Baha'i do not necessarily have a traditional
"house" of worship, the term "place of worship" may be even more suitable. Developing a
type of informal, all-purpose Interfaith Glossary is a helpful exercise that heightens an
awareness of the words we use and dissolves the presumption that "everyone is just like
me. "
 Mindful Respect
A second suggestion for interfaith conversation is the language of Mindful Respect.
Learning simple greetings is an expression of respect and honour for another's tradition
and culture. Examples include Namaste (Hinduism), Shalom (Judaism), Asalaam Alaikum
(Islam), Sat Sri Akaal (Sikhism). You'll find diverse greetings interesting to learn and fun
to use. Mindful respect in interfaith conversation is not only about what you might want
to say but also what you might not want to say. Avoiding offensive or judgmental terms
requires the language of mindful respect. Instead of referring to a particular ritual or
event as "strange" or "weird," use terms like "unfamiliar to me" or "different than I have
seen before." Using the language of mindful respect communicates a sense of dignity and
worth toward the dialogue partner.
 Insider-Outsider Language
A third suggestion for interfaith conversation is Mindful Use of Insider/Outsider
Language. Every faith tradition has its own lexicon. Sikhs know well what is meant by
kangha, Muslims know wudu, Buddhists know tanha, and Jews know aliyah. However,
each faith tradition may be unfamiliar with the language of the others. In order to be
understood in interfaith conversations, it helps to be mindful that you are speaking to an
"outsider" who may not know your faith's vocabulary. using straightforward outsider
definitions: "small wooden comb" (kangha), "ritual washing" (wudu), "selfish 7 craving"
(tanha), "going up to read the Torah" (aliyah) insures that you will more likely
understand as well as be understood.
 Gentle Commitment
A fourth suggestion for interfaith language is Mindful Gentle Commitment. Interfaith
conversation does not mean hiding or temporizing one's own strongly held beliefs.
Indeed the best interfaith conversation is between faithful commitments. It is often
through the shared commitments of dialogue partners that beliefs are mutually enhanced
and enriched. Such sharing can be done — indeed, must be done — in the language of
gentleness that is not exclusive, arrogant or patronizing. When a Jew proclaims that the
messiah has not yet come, a Christian will disagree; when a Christian proclaims that
Jesus is the Christ, a Muslim will disagree; when a Muslim proclaims that Mohammed is
the seal of the prophets, a Mormon will disagree; and on and on.
The language of interfaith conversation calls us to be mindful that our commitments
are just that, our commitments, and not the commitments of others. We share
commitments so that we may understand one another, not that we may convince or
convert one another. Perhaps two helpful words to add to our interfaith phrase book are
"for me." The messiah has not yet come, for me. Jesus is the Christ, for me. Mohammed
is the seal of the prophet, for me. The language of gentle commitment in interfaith
sharing clarifies other people's beliefs as well as our own.
Interfaith language, like any other language, includes both speaking and understanding.
A more mindful language is just one of many tools to make this possible. As you engage
in interfaith conversation you will no doubt think of many other chapter headings for a
phrase book of mindful interfaith language. Such language expresses our common
humanity, promotes civility and builds relationships of mutual respect and trust. Such
language pursues peace.
The Frameworks for Interfaith Conversations: Guidelines
Dialogue, Not Debate
While engaging friendly (or unfriendly, as the case might be) debate has its place, it
doesn't tend to be in the realm of interfaith conversations. This is not to say that we
don't want folks to stand up for particular perspectives and deeply-held beliefs —
absolutely do so! However, don't do so merely for the sake of argument.
 Use “I” Statements
While it's easy to slip into speaking in generalizations (e.g. "Catholics believe that,"
"atheists think that," etc.), it's always good practice to keep statements anchored in
concrete personal experience so we don't accidentally say something that might very well
be untrue of others' personal experiences.
 Step-up/Step-Back
Ever have a conversation among a group where the same few people speak up while
the same few people sit quietly? Its good practice to be aware of this and to empower
people to "step up" if they haven't shared their own perspective, as well as to encourage
folks to "step back" if they've had many opportunities to share.
 Oops/Ouch
Even though all of the frameworks provided for interfaith conversation avoid the
possibility for anyone to feel hurt or personally offended, it happens! When it does, folks
should feel free to say so (ouch), and the other party can have the opportunity to clarify
meaning (oops).
 Assume Good Intentions
In the spirit of guideline #4, it's possible that someone might feel offended by what
another person says when engaging interfaith conversation. Even so, it helps to assume
good intentions. If someone chooses to attend an interfaith conversation with their free
time, odds are it's not because they have it out for anybody. Keeping this in mind brings
an air of understanding to the conversation that will keep things civil and productive.
 Controversy with Civility
Think of this as a response to the common saying "agree to disagree." When we agree to
disagree, difference is not engaged and is instead dismissed—therefore, no learning
actually occurs. Allowing controversy with civility means that opposing viewpoints can be
engaged respectfully as means to learning from one another.
 Own your Intentions and your Impact
While we do expect people to assume good intentions, that doesn't mean we should
disregard the fact that what we say has an impact. For example, if a cisgender person
honestly shares that they don't understand how anyone can be transgender, this remark
would indeed have an impact on a transgender person. Own the good intention, and own
the impact it will still have on others.
 Examine Challenge by Choice
"Challenge by choice" is the idea that participants can choose if, and to what extent,
they will participate in a given activity. That's a good idea! However, we don't think the
reasons someone might choose to abstain from a particular conversation should go
unnoticed. If there's an interfaith conversation on, say, the #blacklivesmatter movement
and you find yourself sitting quietly—why do you think that is? Think about how you can
learn from these types of moments.
 Examine be Respectful
This whole "examination" thing is pretty hip. In this case, we still want folks to be
respectful of one another (of course, right?). "Respect," though, can mean different
things to different people! Let's not just glaze over the command to be respectful, but
take a moment to ask ourselves what that actually looks like. Ask participants, "When
people are being respectful of one another, what is happening specifically?"
 Offer Reminders during Moments of Challenge
If and when tensions do get high and it feels like the conversation is taking a turn,
remind participants of the space that was agreed upon before the conversation began.
There's no shame in saying, "Let's hit the pause button for a moment and take some
time to remind ourselves of the guidelines." In a make-or-break moment of conversation,
doing this allows the room to take a breath and forge ahead with both bravery and
Week 17
Reflection of the texts of Redemptoris Mission cited above:
Understanding Dialogue
In our time, dialogue can be understood in many ways. At the purely human level, it
is "reciprocal communication, leading to a common goal or, at a deeper - level, to
interpersonal communion." In the context of religious plurality, it means not only discussion,
but also constructive relations with individuals and communities of other religions, which, in
obedience to truth and respect for freedom, are directed at mutual understanding. It includes
"witness and the exploration of respective religious convictions". With reference to the
initiatives of the Catholic Church to reach out to people of other religions, dialogue is also
understood as "an attitude of respect and friendship" which permeates or should permeate all
those activities constituting the mission of evangelization in the world.
Interfaith dialogue describes exchanges among religious practitioners and
communities on matters of doctrine and issues of mutual concern in culture and politics.
Explore the engagement of the world’s religious traditions around theological questions and in
their efforts to collaborate on questions of peace, human rights, and economic and social
1. Dialogue does not mean giving up one’s religion or changing it
Right from the start it is important to remember that when we come to dialogue the
purpose is neither to give up our religion, to compromise nor to change it.
2. Dialogue aims at making our religion and culture intelligible to others.
The world of religions is replete with misunderstandings and prejudices perhaps more
so today than earlier due to the speed with which news in the electronic media travels.
Just think of the uproar in the Muslim world on the comment of Pope Emeritus Benedict
WI in a speech he delivered two years ago where he quoted an ancient author. Dialogue
can clear up misunderstandings and remove prejudices. Dialogue promotes and deepens
understanding between the religions. The goal is to understand other religions as they
understand themselves. This step aims at facilitating communication between people of
different faith- traditions.
3. Information and understanding of culture and religion
The core of the communication process in Inter-religious Dialogue is understanding
the culture and religion. There is a great difference between information and
understanding. I may know of the facts about your religion but the real challenge is to
understand your religion, your practices, and your beliefs.
4. Pre-understanding and understanding
Let us go back to die phenome-von of understanding. Understanding takes place —
for all of us — as influenced by our own background or preconditioning/pre-orientation.
This background is also called cosmovision of our understanding. Cosmovision is
etymologically defines as Cosmo which means universe and vision as the way we look;
hence cosmovision can simply be "the way we look at the universe". Each of us are
influenced by our own cosmovision. This is the reason why each one of us understands
the universe differently.
Pre-conditioning is not an understanding prior to understanding as the suffix "pre"
might erroneously suggest. Rather, pre-conditioning/pre- orientation is shaped both by
our CULTURAL COMMUNITY and our PERSOIAL HISTORY. The pre-conditioning of our
culture and each one's uniqueness shape our understanding of reality.
Our cosmovision affects our understanding about other's culture, religions, beliefs,
and traditions and because we have these cosmovision, it influences how we see
ourselves, other people, the world and even God. When one's mind is closed in
understanding the beliefs, religions, cultures of other people, then Dialogue becomes
impossible to happen. Or if does happen, it will be useless and meaningless as it defeats
its purpose of communicating our experiences in order to create a common ground of
understanding and eventually of living in this multi-faceted world.