Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Conditions for Mortal Sin???

I was able to complete the 9 Simbang Gabi Masses at the Violago Chapel in Q.C. for the year 2009 and always been interested in the different insights various SVD priests would give in their homilies since the Violago chapel is within the spiritual care of the Shrine of the Divine Word. In one of the Masses, Fr.TM SVD was celebrant and I was the commentator. In his homili he started to encourgae people to receive Holy Communion and the only barrier to receiving is when one commits a mortal sin in which confession should be done first. Nothing wrong until he said that people seldom commit mortal sins since the 3 condition given by him are the following 1) Full Knowledge, 2) Full Consent and 3)HATRED OF GOD! I remember in basic catechism that the 3rd condition is Grave of Grievous Offense. Thus he further said that even if one committed pre-marital sex, one should not be hindered in receiving Holy Communion since he just need to do an act of contrition required for venial sins. He suggested that PMS is not mortal since it was done not in hatred of God. I almost walked out of the Mass since he just promoted PMS and encouraged people to do so! Later I consulted another elderly SVD priest friend on mine and he concluded that it was heresy. It is like saying that a murderer can never be guilty of mortal sin since he killed someone he hates but not God. I know that the mere fact that committing a sin with full knowledge and full consent is already an act of defiance against God thus could be equated with hating Him since it goes against His will especially with grave consquences. The eldetly priest told me that he will report the incident to their provincial since he has mislead a lot of the faithful. God save us from priests who do not know their basic Catholic Faith!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Closing Rites

Grand Marian Procession Dec. 6, 2009, Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

Thursday, December 3, 2009

O Purisima!

O Purisima!
Originally uploaded by GIDEON05
Maria Immaculata Macula Non Est In Te!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fr. Joseph Skelton Promotes TLM in the Visayas

During a recent visit of Fr. Joseph Skelton here in Manila where he celebrated Tridentine Masses at the Parish of Our Lord of Divine Mercy in Sikatuna, Q.C., he shared with me over lunch his various activities in promoting the Tridentine Mass in the Visayan region. Of course last year, he went to the USA (his beloved country) to train under the Canon Regulars of St. John Cantius the proper way of celebrating the Extraordinary Roman Rite of the Mass. He has been going around his Diocese of Tagbilaran in the island of Bohol, celebrating the TLM as invited by various groups. Priests in the Visayas seem to be more open and accepting as regards to the TLM since he had already trained some priests in celebrating Solemn High Masses, including servers and a choir using the Mass compositions of Palestrina. He also celebrates daily TLM at his new parish, perfecft for the rite since the setting is a gothic church. Recently, he has been invited by the Conventual Franciscans of Cebu to celebrate a Solemn High Mass in their 3 year-old Church of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace. Here are the beautiful photos of the event as shared by Fr. Joseph.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sister Mary Joseph, a Founding Nun of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Dies at 87

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – Sister Mary Joseph of the Eternal Father, P.C.P.A., one of the founding nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Ala., passed away the afternoon of July 19, only four days after celebrating her 87th birthday.

Sister Mary Joseph traveled with Mother Angelica from Canton, Ohio to Irondale, Ala. in 1962 to establish the world-renowned monastery, out of which EWTN Global Catholic Network would improbably grow.

Born Elizabeth Olson, Sister Mary Joseph “had a serenity and an easy smile that endeared her to the nuns when she crossed the threshold in 1950,” according to “Mother Angelica” Biographer Raymond Arroyo. She truly was “Mother Angelica's first spiritual daughter.”

Visitation is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday, July 24 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL. The funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 25, also at the Shrine.

EWTN requests prayers for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Joseph, for the nuns in her community, and for all who mourn the passing of this beloved nun, who labored for the Lord for 59 years.


The Syro-Malabar Church was known as the Church of the St.Thomas Christians until the 18th century because it was founded by St Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. St.Thomas came to India in 52 A.D. He died as a Martyr in a place called Mylapore near the present town of Chennai (Madras).His tomb is still venerated there.

As a Church that existed outside the Roman Empire, the Church of the St. Thomas Christians had little contact with the Roman or the other Churches within the Empire.At the same time it maintained communion with the Church of Rome through the Church in the Persian Empire,which later came to be known as the East Syrian or Chaldean or Babylonian Church. It is believed that Christianity in Persian Empire was introduced by the disciples of St. Thomas. It seems that the Christians in India had contact with these Christians of the Persian Empire from very early times. Given the commercial relations of India of those days such a contact was possible.

In the middle of the 4th century or later a group of Christians from these communities under the leadership of a merchant called Thomas of Kinayi migrated to the southern parts of India Known as Kerala now. The descendants of this latter group are called Knananites or Southists and the former Northists. Both of them belong the Syro-Malabar Church. Even now they live as two separate communities with their own diocese and parishes.

For some unknown reasons at least from the 8th century until the end of the 16th century the Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church were sent from the East Syrian Church, appointed by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. There is a tradition which says that there were Indian Bishops in the beginning. But written proofs are very few to say anything concrete about them.

Because of the Portuguese colonisation of parts of India in the early 16th century and of the consequent ecclesiastical arrangements, from 1600 onwards European Bishops from the Latin Church were appointed by the Pope to govern the St.Thomas Christians. Their rule ended in 1896 in which year indigenous Bishops from among the St.Thomas Christians were appointed to the Church of St.Thomas Christians. By that time the ancient name "Church of St.Thomas Christians" had given way to the present name "Syro-Malabar Church".

During the period from 1653 to 1887 many divisions took place in the Syro-Malabar Church mainly in the attempt of the Syro-Malabarians to get rid of the rule of the Latin Bishops who often gave little value to the ancient system of administration of the St.Thomas Christians and their Christian heritage. The missionaries seems to have had the impression that the St.Thomas Christians were not Catholics but Nestorians since they accepted Bishops from the East Syrian Church which officially had adopted Nestorianism. As they were living at a time soon after the council of Trent in which decision was taken to deal toughly with heretics, they were all out to "reduce the Syro-Malabarians to the Roman obedience." There were also the commercial interests of the Portuguese behind the appointment of Latin Bishops to rule the Syro-Malabarians. As the last Bishop appointed by the East Syrian Patriarch died in 1597 the Portuguese tightened their hold on the Syro-Malabarians and never permitted any more East Syrian Bishops to enter Malabar. In 1599 the Latin archbishop of Goa convened a synod at Udayamperoor in the present Kerala and made the people accept many customs with which they were not familiar. He also spread the news in Europe that Syro-Malabarians were "reduced to the Roman obedience" and accepted Catholicism as well the authority of the Pope in this Synod. The fact,however, was not so.The Syro-Malabarians had never accepted Nestorianism even though they had contact with the East Syrians and they were not at all involved in any of the Christological controversies. On the contray whenever they got a chance they reiterated their allegiance to the Pope and their communion with the Church of Rome. In any case the rule of the Latin Bishops was never accepted by the Syro-Malabarians and the climax of their protest was what is known in the history as Coonan Cross Oath. The leadership of the St.Thomas Christian community pledged in this oath not to accept any more the rule of the Jesuit missionaries from among whom the Bishops were appointed. It was in 1653. History tells us that the St.Thomas Christians who gathered at Mattancherry near Fort Kochi under the leadership of the archdeacon to receive a Bishop from Persia took the oath touching the cross there that they would not obey any more the Jesuits who were the main European Missionaries in India at that time; Coonan Cross Oath was a revolt against the oppressive rule of the Europeans and not against the Pope or the Holy See. After the Oath 12 priests at the instigation of one of them laid hands on the head of the archdeacon and "ordained him Bishop". There began the division in the Church of the St.Thomas Christians.

There was tension in the Church because the faithful wanted to keep the true faith but not under the Bishop who was appointed by the Portuguese crown. Some remained in schism while others came back to the obedience of the Latin Bishop. Those who remained under the "pseudo Bishop" later accepted the tradition of the Antiochean non-Catholic tradition and were known as the Orthodox Church. Later because of the missionary work of the Protestants there arose other non-Catholic Churches in India, particularly in Kerala.

There were continuous attempts for reestablishing the lost communion. But nothing succeeded mainly because of the opposition from the European missionaries. It was to obtain permission for receiving this group into the Catholic Church that Fr. Joseph Kariattil and Fr. Thomas Paremmakkal, two priests from the Church of St.Thomas Christians, went to Rome in the 18th century. Fr.Kariattil was ordained archbishop of the St.Thomas Christians, and had received a mandate to receive the dissident group with its bishop to the Catholic communion. Unfortunately Bishop Kariattil on his way to Kerala died in Goa in 1786. Finally, in 1930 a group of them under the leadership of their archbishop called Mar Ivanios reestablished their communion with the Catholic Church and the Holy See accepted it as a separate Catholic Church with the name of Syro-Malankara Church.

Those who remained in communion of Pope after the Coonan Cross Oath later came to be known as the Syro-Malabarians. It was a name given by the Roman authorities to refer to the Catholic St.Thomas Christians. The name Syro-Malabar was chosen apparently to avoid confusion with the Malabar rite which existed as a part of the Latin Church in the Coromandel coast of India. Even those who remained in communion were fighting for getting Bishops of their own rite and nation. It became a reality only in 1896 when the Apostolic Vicariates of Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanachery were established and three indigenous priests were appointed as vicars apostolic.

Ever since the Syro-Malabar Church grew phenomenally in all aspects. Because of the increased mobility of people many members of the Syro-Malabar Church emigrated to other parts of India and foreign countries. Though they remain members of the Syro-Malabar Church, they had little chance of following their own traditions in their life of faith because only the Latin Church was present in many of the lands they migrated as U.S.A and Canada. As a result of the teaching of the second Vatican council there was an awakening both in the Bishops of this Church as well as the faithful scattered all over the world about their identity and their duty to preserve and promote their tradition. The Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches or the Oriental Canon Law prescribes that these traditions be preserved and fostered. That means that provision must be made for these faithful to practice and grow in their own tradition everywhere in the world.

Various ways are prescribed for providing pastoral care for these migrant Eastern Christians. The first one is to set apart a priest in the Latin Parish for the care of Eastern Christians. If that does not ensure proper care, then vicar general under the local Bishop is to be appointed. If that too becomes ineffective because of any reason, particularly because the number of the faithful to be taken care of is too big,then a diocese should be established for them.

The Knanaya community had their own parishes and in 1911 a separate vicariate apostolic, Kottayam was erected for them. Bishop Kuriakose Kunnacherry is their present bishop. He has jurisdiction over all the Kananaya faithful within the provinces of Ernakulam , Changanacherry, Trichur and Tellicherry. The auxiliary bishop of Kottayam as Syncellus or representative of the Bishop of Kottayam resides at Kannur in Northern Kerala and looks after the needs of the Kananaya faithful in the Northern Kerala.

At the time of the Coonan Cross Oath many of the Kananaya parishes also had accepted the "pseudo bishop" ordained by the twelve priests. In the course of time they too accepted the Antiochean way of worship and customs. When the reestablishment of communion came about in 1930 some of the Kananaya parishes also followed the same. However instead of joining the Syro-Malankara Church they joined the diocese of Kottayam in the Syro-Malabar Church even though they follow the Antiochean liturgy. They have separate parishes and parish priests within the diocese of Kottayam.

The St. Thomas Christians in India were under the rule of the Latin bishops from 1600 to 1896. In 1887 the St. Thomas Christians were given two separate ecclesiastical circumscriptions called Apostolic vicariates. They were Trichur and Kottayam. In 1896 there took place a reorganization as a result three vicariates, namely Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanacherry came into existence. Three Syro - Malabar priests were ordained bishops and put in charge of these units. These indigenous bishops were John Menacherry (Trichur), Louis Pazheparampil (Ernakulam) and Mathew Makeil (Changanacherry) . In 1911 a new vicariate at Kottayam was established for the Knananites and Mar Makeil was transferred to this new vicariate. Later in 1923 the Apostolic Vicariates were made dioceses and the diocese of Ernakulam was made Archdiocese and its bishop archbishop. In the same year the Syro-Malabar hierarchy was established. In 1957 the diocese of Changanacherry was made archdiocese. Having two archbishops with no common head is not customary in the Eastern Churches. So this new provision created an anomalous juridical situation in the Syro - Malabar Church. As the new Oriental Canon Law was promulgated in 1990 this situation could not be continued.

Canon Law foresees only four categories of sui iuris Churches and the Syro-Malabar Church did not fall into any of them. The four categories are the following: Patriarchal, Major Archipepiscopal, Metropolitan and other. So on 16 December 1992 Pope John Paul II declared the Syro- Malabar Church as a Major Archiepiscopal Church and appointed Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the then Archbishop of Ernakulam as the first Major Archbishop. Had such a step not been taken the functioning of the Syro-Malabar Church would have been very difficult. Taking into consideration the particular situation of the Syro - Malabar Church and the poor state of health of Cardinal Antony Padiyara the Pope had appointed also a delegate of him to discharge the duties of the Major Archbishop. He was Archbishop Abraham Kattumana, who was a Vatican Ambassador in African countries. Archbishop Kattumana died unexpectedly during his visit to Rome in April 1995. Since the post was a temporary one none else was appointed to take his place.

In November 1996 Cardinal Padiyara resigned from his office as Major Archbishop. In his place instead of allowing the synod to elect a new Major Archbishop the Pope appointed an Administrator in the person of Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil, C.Ss.R. He was a priest belonging to the Redemptorist Congregation. In December 1998 he was appointed Major Archbishop by the Pope. In February 2001 Archbishop Vithayathil was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

According to the Oriental Canon Law the Major Archbishop is the head of the Syro - Malabar Church immediately under the Pope. However his authority is limited to the dioceses that are the suffragans of the archdioceses of Ernakulam, Changnacherry , Trichur and Tellicherry. The Syro - Malabar dioceses in other parts of India and abroad are directly under the Pope. Even though according to the Oriental Canon Law the Synod of this Church has the right to appoint new bishops, these rights were reserved to the Pope until recently. On 3 January 2004 the Pope restituted this right to the Bishops’ Synod.

The Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church is automatically the archbishop of Ernakulam - Angamaly archdiocese also because it is determined so by the Holy See. So whoever is elected as Major Archbishop or whoever exercises his authority unless otherwise decided by the Holy See will have two offices. As Archbishop of Ernakulam - Angamaly he has his office at Ernakulam. His office as Major Archbishop is at Mount St. Thomas.

Syro-Malabar Eastern Rite Mass in Manila

Last July 4, the local Insdian Catholic community of composed mostly of priests and nuns from Southeen India had a gte together and celebrated Holy Mass(Qurbana) according to the Syro-Malabar Eastern Rite with Fr. Sebastian as main celebrant with Fr. Alex Marrotikkal as assistant together with another Syro-Malabar priest. It was held at around 3pm at Our lady of Fatima Parish in Mandaluyong with authentic vestments and music peculiar to the rite using the Malayalam language. It was our first time to have experienced such a different liturgical celebration, since we come from the Roman-Tridentine orientation. Next Mass in the Syro-Malabar Rite is in August on the occassion of the FABC with Bishops celebrating. Program and details later be annlunced by Fr. Alex Marottikkal.


Fr. Antony Valiyavilayil OIC


On 10 February 2005 the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was raised to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church and its hierarchical head was elevated and appointed as the Major Archbishop by Pope John Paul II of venerable memory, the Supreme head of the Universal Church. Till then the SMCC was a Metropolitan Church headed by a Metropolitan. What did the Church gain with the proclamation of the Pope on 10 February 2005?

The two bulls, Ab ipso sancto Thoma and Cunctis ecclesialibus communitatibus, by which the Church was raised to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church and its head was elevated and appointed as the Major Archbishop respectively, states clearly that the Church and the Major Archbishop have all the rights and obligations as stated in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO). The Code stipulates that each Eastern Church shall be governed by the Code, the Common Law for all the Eastern Churches and by its own Particular Law and legitimate customs. Canons 151 to 154 of the CCEO stipulates that the Major Archbishop does not have the title “Patriarch” but “what is stated in common law concerning patriarchal Churches and patriarchs is understood to be applicable to major archiepiscopal Churches or major archbishops, …” (c 152). According to the Particular Law and customs of the Malankara Church, the proclamation of 10 February 2005 was received with the understanding and acceptance that the head and the father of the Church is Catholicos.

With the canonical empowerment of the Church, the SMCC became a fully autonomous (sui iuris) Church, a Church of its own right and self-governing, in the communion of the Universal Church headed by the Supreme Authority of the Church.

The mission of the Church is the mission of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ established, through his mission of salvation, the Kingdom of God on earth, the Church. The rights and obligations entrusted to the Church is to continue the economy of salvation and to make present the Kingdom of God established by Jesus Christ and to make its fruits available to the People of God. When the ways and means for this is fully present in a Church, a Church becomes autonomous. This is the “power”, the divine power, the Church is empowered with through its present canonical status. It is the action of the Holy Spirit.

The Universal Catholic Church, through the teachings of Vatican II, teaches and sees that the economy of salvation and its fruits are exercised through the three services or offices in the Church – “The Christian faithful are those who incorporated in Christ through baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and royal function in their own manner: they are called, in accordance with the condition proper to each, to exercise the mission God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world” (CCEO c 7). When a Church is empowered fully to exercise the priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ in the Church, it is a Church of its right and self-governing. This is the divine empowerment that is bequeathed in the Church through its new canonical status.

The functional gains of the SMCC

According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Church makes available the priestly, prophetic and kingly functions (dharmangal) to the People of God through the functions or offices of sanctifying, teaching and governing. When viewed from this angle, the SMCC attained perfection in all these three functions of the Church with its elevation to the new status.

The Sanctifying Office

Jesus Christ sanctifies the Church redeemed by him through his priestly ministry. For this, he entrusted his priestly functions to his disciples and it is handed down to their successors through the laying on of hands. The fullness of priesthood is in the Bishop. According to the tradition of the Eastern Church the Synod which is the communion of Bishops united with its Head, by the laying on of hands on the candidates to Episcopacy consecrates Bishops and thus priesthood is perpetuated in the Church. Our Church which is in communion with the Universal Church expresses it in hierarchical communion with the Pope, the Supreme Head of the Universal Church. In communion with the Universal Church, the Holy Synod of our Church elects its Head according to the norms of canons 63-71 and enthrones him in his office. Similarly, the Synod in union with the Major Archbishop-Catholic os, the father and head of the Church, elects the Bishops, the members of the Synod according to the norms of cc 180-189. Thus the office of sanctifying is fully vested in the Church. When our Church was a Metropolitan Church, the powers of the father and head of Church was not vested in the Metropolitan who was the head of the Church. The Church did not have a Synod to exercise the Synodal powers over the Church. The Metropolitan and the Bishops were directly appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The Metropolitan exercised his powers as a representative of the Pope of Rome.

The Teaching Office

From the prophetic function of Christ arises the teaching office of the Church, that is the power to teach the People of God. As Jesus Christ came to preach the Kingdom of God, the Church, exercises the power to teach the People of God and continues the teaching or prophetic function of Christ.

Strengthening the teaching office of the Bishop in his Eparchy, the Head of a sui iuris Church in communion with the entire Universal Church exercises the teaching authority or office on matters of faith and morals. Thus in the father and head of the Malankara Catholic Church, in the Major Archbishop-Catholic os, is vested the authority to teach the entire SMCC through common pastoral letters and encyclicals.

The governing office

The mission to lead the People of God in their pilgrimage towards heaven is fulfilled by the Church sharing the kingly function of the Jesus Christ. This is the source of the power of governance in the Church. Power or function of governance is obtained through Sacred Orders given through the laying on of hands.

The power of governance is distinguished as legislative, executive and judicial. In accordance with the present canonical status of the Church, she has obtained in full all these three dimensions of the power of governance.

1. Legislative power. The legislative power, the power to make laws is vested in the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Church (c 110). Laws are for the order of life of the Church. They are codified in accordance with the sources of canonical discipline of the Church to assist its daily life. Therefore, we are now engaged in the codification of a Code of Particular Law of the SMCC. The codified law will be promulgated by the Major Archbishop-Catholic os.
2. Executive power. The daily life and activities of a Church goes forward through the exercise of executive power. Ordinarily this power is vested in the Major Archbishop-Catholic os. It is exercised by him personally or through persons he delegates.
3. Judicial power. Through the exercise of judicial power, the Church administers justice to the People of God. It is done through the judiciary of the Church. According to CCEO c 1062, within the territorial boundaries of the SMCC, without prejudice to the Apostolic See, the Synod of Bishops exercises the highest judicial authority in the Church. For this the Synod establishes a panel of Bishops as judges of whom one is the President. The contentious cases between Eparchies, Bishops, etc. are reserved to this tribuna.

Besides this, the Major Archbishop-Catholic os establishes the Ordinary Tribunal for the entire Church. This tribunal handles cases in the second and ulterior instances (It can called the Supreme Court of the Church). In a Metropolitan Church this power is vested in the Apostolic See and the Roman Rota is the third and ultimate instance).

The Rights and obligations of the Major Archbishop-Catholic os

The above mentioned rights and obligations are vested in the Major Archbishop-Catholic os. These functions of sanctifying, teaching and governing, as seen in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, can be summarized (though not exhaustively) as follows.

1. The power which the Major Archbishop-Catholic os (MA-C for short) exercises over the Christian Faithful of the SMCC is ordinary and proper, but personal (c 78 § 1).
2. The MA-C represents the Church in all its juridical affairs (c 79).
3. In places where provinces have not been erected, the MA-C exercises metropolitan powers (c 80.1o)
4. The MA-C can supply for the negligence of the Metropolitan according to the norm of law (c 80.2o)
5. When a Metropolitan See is vacant, the MA-C exercises the rights and obligations of a Metropolitan in the entire province (c 80.3o).
6. The MA-C is to warn a Metropolitan who has not appointed a Finance Officer (c 80.3o).
7. The MA-C communicates the acts of the Roman Pontiff to Bishops in case the Apostolic See has not taken measures directly (c 81).
8. The MA-C can issue decrees within the scope of his competence, to determine more precisely the methods to be observed in applying the law or to urge the observance of laws (c 82 § 1.1o).
9. The MA-C can issue instructions and letters to promote the faith and moral teachings of the Church, on the observance of the Rite of the SMCC, etc. (c 82 § 1.2o, 3o).
10. The MA-C can issue orders to Bishops, Clerics and the Religious to have the above read in their Churches and houses (c 82 § 3).
11. The MA-C will not fail to hear the Permanent Synod and the Synod of Bishops, or even the Major Archiepiscopal Assembly on more serious matters (c 82 § 2).
12. The MA-C has the right and obligation to visit canonically an Eparchy without prejudice to the obligations of the Eparchial Bishop at times established by the Particular Law (c 83 § 1).
13. In serious matters, with the consent of the Permanent Synod, the MA-C can visit a church, city or Eparchy either personally or through another Bishop (c 83 § 3).
14. The MA-C is to foster consultations to enhance unity with the Hierarchs of other Churches sui iuris and of the entire Church and also on matters that concern a province or region (c 84).
15. For a serious reason, with the consent of the Synod and after having consulted the Apostolic See, the MA-C can erect Provinces and Eparchies and modify their boundaries and transfer an Eparchial See (c 85 § 1).
16. The MA-C can provide a Co-adjutor Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop to an Eparchial Bishop according to the norms of canons 181 § 1, 182-187, 212 (c 85 § 2)
17. For a serious reason, with the consent of the Synod, the MA-C can transfer a Metropolitan or an Eparchial Bishop or an Auxiliary Bishop to another Metropolitan, Eparchial or Titular See (c 85 § 2.2 o).
18. The MA-C, with the consent of the Permanent Synod can erect, modify and suppress Exarchies (c 85 § 3).
19. The MA-C is competent to give to a Metropolitan or Bishop a Major Archiepiscopal letter of canonical provision (c 86 § 1.1o).
20. The MA-C ordains Metropolitans either personally or, if impeded, through other Bishops, and if Particular Law so provides, also to ordain all Bishops (c 86 § 2.2o).
21. The MA-C enthrones a Metropolitan after Episcopal Ordination (c 86 § 2.3o).
22. By the law itself, the faculty is given to the MA-C to ordain and enthrone Metropolitans and Bishops who have been appointed by the Roman Pontiff outside the territorial boundaries of his Church (c 86 § 2).
23. Episcopal ordination and enthronement should take place within the time limits determined by law; the letter of canonical provision should be issued within ten days of the proclamation of the election. The Apostolic See is to be informed of these as soon as possible (c 86 § 3).
24. The MA-C can appoint Bishops to the curia according to the norms of c 87.
25. The Metropolitans and Bishops of the SMCC must show honour and respect to the MA-C and must render due obedience to him (c 88 § 1).
26. The MA-C is to seek to resolve controversies that perhaps might arise among the Bishops with due regard for the right of deferring them to the Roman Pontiff at any time (c 88 § 2).
27. The MA-C exercises vigilance, according to the norm of law, on all clerics; … (c 89 § 1).
28. According to the norm of c 89 § 2, the MA-C can commit a function that regard the entire SMCC to a cleric.
29. The MA-C can confer titles of his Church to any Cleric according to the norm of c 89 § 3.
30. The MA-C can exempt places from the power of the Eparchial Bishops according to the norm of c 90.
31. The MA-C must be commemorated in Divine Liturgy and in the divine praises after the Roman Pontiff by all Bishops and other clerics according to the norm of the liturgical books (c 91)
32. The MA-C is to manifest hierarchical communion with the Roman Pontiff, commemorate him in the Divine Liturgy and visit him according to the norm of c 92.
33. The MA-C is to reside in his see (c 93)
34. The MA-C is to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the people of the entire SMCC (c 94)
35. The MA-C is to fulfill the obligations of the Eparchial Bishops as stipulated in c 196 (c 95)
36. The MA-C shall have vigilance over the pastoral functions of the Eparchial Bishop according to the norm of c (c 95 § 2).
37. The MA-C is to protect and foster the rite of the SMCC according to the norm of c 96
38. The MA-C exercises vigilance over the administration of the temporal good of the SMCC (c 97)


The Church grew up as individual Churches – the Roman, Antiochene, Alexandrian, Constantinopolitan, Persian, etc. The Church of St. Thomas Christians in India grew and developed and existed in the Universal Church through its relation with the Persian Church. Our forefathers wanted to continue this position of the Church. In the year 1653, the year of the Koonan Cross Oath, this canonical status was lost. In 1932 we attained communion with the Universal Church under the leadership of Archbishop Mar Ivanios. In 1932 a hierarchy headed by a Metropolitan- Archbishop was installed in the Church by the Holy See. On 10 February 2005, the Church attained this status in its fullness. It became an autonomous Church, a Church of its own right and self-governing, in the communion of the Universal Catholic Church.

While we underline the position of our Church as an autonomous or self-governing Church, we assert at the same time, that our Church is in communion with the Universal Church accepting the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. We foster unity of faith, communion in sacraments and live in harmony with the same form of ecclesiastical government.

Pope Prays for Dying Filipino Leader

MAKATI CITY, Philippines, JULY 23, 2009 - Benedict XVI is assuring former Filipino President Corazon "Cory" Aquino of his prayers as she goes through a critical stage of cancer.

Aquino is currently in a serious condition and is under 24-hour surveillance at the Makati Medical Center, after battling colon cancer since March 2008.

The apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Adams, wrote a letter to Aquino, conveying the Pope's message sent through his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The Pontiff affirmed that he is "spiritually close" to the former president in her suffering.

The letter continued: "The Holy Father has asked that you be informed that he is remembering you in his prayers.

"At the same time he invoked upon you the blessing of Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in pledge of healing and comfort."

Archbishop Adams promised the continued prayers of the apostolic nunciature community, affirming that they are saying Masses for her.

The Filipino bishops' conference reported that their chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Henrietta de Villa, personally delivered the letter to Aquino Wednesday.


De Villa, also the country's former ambassador to the Holy See, noted that the former president was "deeply consoled."

Inside the hospital room, a Mass was held with family members, medical staff and friends. She has also received the anointing of the sick.

De Villa stated: "The Mass is her sustaining comfort now.

"It was such a privilege sharing the Eucharist in her presence. Even in her sick bed looking so incredibly weak, she exuded an aura of a peaceful yet powerful presence -- the presence of the simplicity of absolute goodness."

The ambassador added, "Even now there seems to be no sacrifice that is so great that she has not offered to God for our country, that she continues to offer to God."

On Sunday, Aquino's family announced that her condition had deteriorated, but that she had decided to cease chemotherapy.

Born in 1933, Aquino was the first woman to serve as Filipino President from 1986 to 1992. She is known for and has won numerous awards for her support of religion, peace and democracy.

Pope Defrocks Medjugorje Priest

The Pope has defrocked the priest at the centre of claims that the Virgin Mary has been appearing in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje.

The Vatican stripped Father Tomislav Vladic of his priest status after an investigation into growing concerns over the alleged apparitions.

Father Vlasic was named as the 'creator' of the phenomenon by Pavao Zanic, the local bishop at the time the apparitions began in 1981.

Angry: Pope Benedict XVI, who recently broke his wrist after slipping in the bath, has removed Father Tomislav Vlasic from the priesthood

In the midst of a spat with the local bishop and the Vatican, he had earlier made a prophecy that the Virgin Mary would appear in Bosnia.

Months later, six local children said they had seen the Virgin on a nearby hillside. Soon after Father Vlasic announced he was 'spiritual adviser' to the 'visionaries' who now claim that Our Lady has visited them 40,000 times over the last 28 years.
An estimated 30million pilgrims have visited the shrine since 1981, including many from Britain and Ireland.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, issued a ban on pilgrimages to the site but this has been widely ignored.

Father Vlasic was suspended last year by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith amid an inquiry into his conduct after three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims.

The Vatican also began an inquiry into claims he was guilty of sexual immorality after he made a nun pregnant.

The defrocking was secretly signed off by the Pope in March.

Father Vlasic refused to cooperate with the investigation from the outset and he was banished to a monastery in L’Aquila, Italy, where he was forbidden to communicate with anyone, even his lawyers, without the permission of his superior.

It emerged yesterday that he has chosen to leave the priesthood and his order, a move which has brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.

The defrocking of Father Vlasic means he is stripped of his priest status.

This represents a massive blow to millions of Medjugorje followers worldwide who were hoping that the Vatican would one day legitimise the controversial shrine.
The seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims – and so has their town, which has boomed as a result of the ‘Madonna gold rush’.

Some today own smart executive houses with immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates, and one has a tennis court.

They also own expensive cars and have married, one of them, Ivan Dragicevic, to an American former beauty queen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Noted Filipino Jesuit to offer the Tridentine Mass

Fr. Zerrudo announced that this Friday, 31 July 2009, the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, that he invited a noted Jesuit Fr. Timoteo "Tim" Ofrasio, S.J., to celebrate a Traditional Latin low mass at 8am.

Fr. Tim is a professor in theology and an expert in liturgy after Vatican II besides being a composer of liturgical the songs such as “Paghahandog sa sarili,”“Panalangin sa Pagiging Bukas Palad, and many more”

He recently started celebrating the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite this year at around 5am at the Chapel of the Ateneo Jesuit School of Theology every 5am. This will be his 1st publbic celebration of the Traditinoal Mass in years.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The 34th Bamboo Organ Festival

19 February
Sponsor’s Gala

20 February
Three Motets
F. Mendelssohn
Veni Domine op.39 no. 1
Laudate pueri Dominum op. 39 no. 2
Surrexit pastor bonus op. 39 no. 3
Three Eucharistic prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas
A. Consolacion II
Tantum ergo
Pange lingua
O salutaris hostia
Las Pinas Boys Choir
Alejandro Consolacion II, organ
Armando Salarza, conductor
Tiento de medio registro de baxon de sexto tono
F.C. de Arauxo

Three Pieces for a Musical Clock
F.J. Haydn
Menuett – Allegretto
Vivace “Der Kaffeeklatsch”

Toccata V
J.K. Kerll
Christian Iwan, organ
Cordillera Soundscape
K. Benitez

Ambo Hato
A. Espino

Mamayog Akun
F. Obispo
Las Pinas Boys Choir
Armando Salarza, conductor
Great Organ Mass in E-flat Major
F.J. Haydn
Missa solemnis in honorem

Comment on the Guidelines Laid Down by the Archbishop of Manila With Regard to the Extraordinary Form of Mass

Comment on the Guidelines Laid Down by the Archbishop of Manila With Regard to the Extraordinary Form of Mass

by Leo Darroch, Executive President of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce
issued 11th February 2009
In accordance with the norms laid down by the Apostolic Letter, issued motu proprio, of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, We hereby establish the following guidelines and conditions on the celebration of the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962 (Tridentine Mass) in the Archdiocese of Manila:
The regulation of the celebration of this extraordinary form of the Mass belongs to the Archbishop of Manila, through the Minister of the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila.
This form of Mass is to be celebrated only at the Christ the King Chapel of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Manila once a month, but not on Sundays and Solemnities.
The presider at this form of celebration should be a priest duly appointed by the Archbishop of Manila.
To ensure the solemnity and orderliness of the celebration of this form of Mass, the participation of other ministers (i.e., lectors, Master of Ceremonies, servers, choir, etc.) in the liturgy is to be determined and regulated by the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass in this Chapel is open to any individual or group in the Archdiocese of Manila who may have the desire to participate in such celebrations.
Further requests from individuals or groups from the parishes of or who belong to the Archdiocese of Manila to celebrate this form of Mass is to be directed to join the monthly celebration at the Manila Cathedral.
It is highly encouraged that a missal / booklet of the rite in Latin and English be prepared to help the faithful follow the celebration. It is like wise encouraged that those who will participate in this Mass undergo a catechetical orientation before the celebration.
The Archbishop of Manila has jurisdiction over this celebration and, therefore, can decide to limit or discontinue this monthly celebration anytime he judges that this is not consonance with the whole pastoral direction of the Local Church.
Given in Manila, this 8th day of December 2008.
Archbishop of Manila
There is so much in error with these guidelines that even though they mention the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, it is clear that the person who drafted the guidelines cannot possibly have read the Motu Proprio. The writer seems unaware that the previous rigidly-controlled state that existed under the indults of 1988 (Ecclesia Dei adflicta) and 1984 (Quattuor abhinc annos) ended abruptly at midnight on 13th September 2007. Under these indults, people and priests had to obtain permission from their local Ordinary before any celebrations of Mass using the Missal of 1962 could take place. Under Summorum Pontificum, which took effect from midnight on 13th September (i.e. from 14th September 2007), the permission to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of 1962 has been granted by the Supreme Legislator, the Pope, to "each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular," to "use the Roman Missal published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962,…and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations……..the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary." [Summ. Pont. Art 2]. The fact that one does not need the permission of the local ordinary to celebrate or attend Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, does not, in itself, derogate from the right of bishops to regulate liturgical matters in their sees. No doubt the Supreme Pontiff took that right into account when he assumed that no Catholic bishop would dissent from the superseding right of the Successor of Peter to regulate the liturgy for the universal Church.
Therefore, not only has any priest of the Latin rite the freedom to celebrate Mass on any day of the year (excluding the Easter Triduum but NOT excluding Sundays), but the Motu Proprio removes a need to obtain permission from anyone - either from the Holy See or his local bishop [Summ. Pont. Art.2].
To comment specifically on the detail of the guidelines:
 1. Despite what is said in the opening statement these guidelines are NOT in accordance with the norms laid down by the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI.
 2. In Summorum Pontificum, the Supreme Pontiff dispensed local ordinaries from “regulating” the celebration according to the Extraordinary Form when, in his Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio, His Holiness states "The present norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations."
 3. "The presider at this form of celebration should be a priest duly appointed by the Archbishop…." [Guidelines, para.4] There is no 'presider' at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, this is a term introduced with the new order of Mass. In the Extraordinary Form of Mass there is a 'celebrant' who offers up the sacred mysteries acting in persona Christi.
 4. Concerning paragraph 5 of the Guidelines - it is the duty of all Sacred Pastors to ensure the solemnity and orderliness of the celebration of ALL forms of liturgy in their diocese so it needs to be explained why the Extraordinary Form requires special attention? As the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form are "two uses of the same rite" [Summ. Pont. Art. 1], is the participation of other ministers (i.e., lectors, Master of Ceremonies, servers, choir, etc.) in the Ordinary Form also to be determined and regulated by the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila?
 5. It is commendable that a missal / booklet of the rite in Latin and English be prepared to help the faithful follow the celebration but why should those who wish to participate in this Mass have to undergo a catechetical orientation before the celebration? Will this requirement for a catechetical orientation apply equally to those attending the Ordinary Form?
 6. The local Ordinary has jurisdiction over this celebration in the sense that he must ensure that ALL liturgy under his jurisdiction is celebrated in conformity with the laws of the Church. Whatever is decided in relation with the Extraordinary Form of Mass must be decided "in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio" [Letter to Bishops]. It is an abuse of authority, and in disobedience to the law expressed by the Supreme Pontiff, our Holy Father, to interfere in the right granted by the Successor of Peter to any priest in good standing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The Pope, the Supreme Legislator, has issued a DECREE, for the benefit of all priests and faithful of the Roman Rite in the Universal Church and no local bishop can interfere with this law and impose his own conditions in an act of public disobedience to the Vicar of Christ
The way forward for any priest or member of the faithful is clear. In accordance with article 7 of the Motu Proprio they must contact immediately the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for clarification and send a copy of the guidelines that obstruct the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. They should write to:
H.E. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos,
President, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
Palazzo della Congr. per la Dottrina della Fide,
Piazza del Sant Ufficio,
00193 Rome,
Fax: +39 06 69 88 34 12. Email:
Leo Darroch, Executive President - International Federation Una Voce.
11th February 2009.