The miracle that started John Paul’s march to sainthood

Pope John Paul II waving in St. Peter's Square

Perhaps the late Karol Wojtyla was meant to live to become a priest, a Pope, who took the name John Paul II, and a saint.

Even before he was laid to his final resting place, 6 years ago, Pope John Paul II was so loved  and worshipped by the Christian world that when his coffin was carried through St. Peter’s Square people were chanting:  “Santo subito! Santo subito!”

“Sainthood now!”

All around the world a young generation became his avid followers believing in his genuine holiness and secretly reverberating the same chants in their hearts.

The chants became a prophecy, for on May 1, 2011, in Vatican City, John Paul II will be beatified, bringing him one step away from sainthood.

Just weeks after taking over, Pope Benedict XVI – his successor and intimate friend – launched the process waiving the normal five-year waiting period, which essentially put John Paul on a fast track to sainthood.

Benedict knew that John Paul’s character and achievements were gifts of God and were   indisputable.

A condition required for beatification was for a miracle to happen and after a thorough review and investigation they found one in the story of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre who had been praying to John Paul II for cure of her Parkinson’s disease, which she had been suffering for four years, and was healed.

Two months after the pope passed away, the nun said she awoke one morning, to the shock of her doctor, feeling reborn and capable of performing previously difficult tasks, such as walking and writing. This happened on June 2, 2005. It will be noted that John Paul II suffered also from Parkinson’s disease.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints said Vatican-appointed doctors “scrupulously” studied the case and found that the nun’s cure had no scientific explanation.

Benedict declared then that the cure of the French nun was a miracle.

After the beatification ceremony on May 1st, John Paul II will be considered “blessed” and can be publicly honored or venerated in his native country, Poland, only.

Another miracle is needed to declare John Paul II a saint to be venerated around the world.

Let us all pray it won’t be long.


World Bank to finance project for flood control


It is inspiring to know that the World Bank (WB) is earmarking a 1.5-million-dollar grant for a project that intends to design a ‘comprehensive flood management master plan’ to minimize the impacts of heavy rains and to help the people seriously affected cope with the situation.

“We are committed to working with the government… in reducing people’s vulnerability to natural disasters as well as strengthening the country’s resilience to these calamities,” World Bank country director Bert Hofman said.

The grant was a result of a study made by the WB establishing and confirming that Manila and its poverty-stricken suburbs continue to be vulnerable to flooding even after typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana, international name) brought 80 percent of the city underwater in September 2009.

The WB has noted that, since then, not much has been done in protecting the residents from the onslaught of another similar killer storm, like the Ondoy, that cost the lives of over 1000 people and an enormous loss of properties, if it comes again.

With an estimated 20 typhoons visiting the Philippines every year and with most of the country’s impoverished residents still living near or on natural waterways, on slopes, and in low-lying areas making them vulnerable to floods and landslides, the WB grant has come, indeed, at a very opportune time.

For the implementation of the WB’s ‘comprehensive flood management master plan’ to be successful, however, government has to review and ensure that the country’s environmental laws are strictly followed and obeyed.

We can only see the realization of this worthy project once we see government going after the indiscriminate slash and burn practices of conscienceless farmers, jailing the ruthless and corrupt  businessmen, politicians, and military personnel indulging in illegal logging, penalizing the crafty and dishonest citizens throwing their garbage everywhere, and bringing to court those allowing and building their residential or commercial establishments on natural waterways.

Until then, this project, as envisioned by the WB, will remain impracticable.

New nose for mutilated Afghan woman


Remember Ayesha, the 19-year old Afghan woman whose photograph without a nose was featured on the cover of Time magazine and whose story sparked an outpouring of sympathy because it also highlighted the plight of women in Afghanistan?

Not only was Ayesha’s nose chopped of by her husband, but her ears were cut off, too, when she was caught trying to escape from the fiend. This atrocity committed against her made her the poster girl of Taliban oppression.

She related her story then, saying, “When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out…In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose. I opened my eyes and I couldn’t even see because of all the blood.”

Ayesha survived this ordeal and managed to reach her grandfather’s house. She was brought to an American medical facility. From there she was flown later to the US.

Thanks to the Grossman Burn Foundation that paid for her surgery in Los Angeles, Ayesha has now a prosthetic nose and doctors hope to give her a more ‘permanent solution’ that may involve a reconstructive procedure of rebuilding her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from other parts of her body.

Ayesha recently received the Enduring Heart award at a benefit for the Grossman Burn Foundation for her remarkable endurance.

Allow PNoy solitude with Shalani Soledad

Grouch Marx once said that “a woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar a smoke.”

But if PNoy thinks his cigarette is more pleasurable than having the apple of his eyes constantly in his sight, then I really couldn’t blame Shalani from keeping her distance from him.

Does PNoy really feel this way or are there some sectors that are making it hard for both of them to have even a moment of solitude together and feel each others presence?

One only has to empathize with PNoy to comprehend how life can be lonely, despite his exalted position, if there are restrictions made even in his love life.

Perhaps there is never a dull moment in his presidency, what with the various activities and events that keep him busy and moving through out the day. But at the end, when quiet takes over the bustle, wouldn’t PNoy, the 50-year old bachelor, have moments of reflection as to what it could be if he had a nightcap with Shalani before calling it a night?

Is this the price PNoy has to pay for being president and bachelor at that?

Sensing that he seemed to be living an eccentric life when asked about his love life, PNoy snapped back at media and said, “You don’t need to know about my private life.”

And rightly so! Amid rumors wildly circulating that PNoy and Shalani have parted ways, the more that media should be accommodating and compassionate to both of them.

Allow them a space, solitude, privacy, for chrissake!

Let them live a balanced, normal lives though they are both public figures, public property and a natural fair game.

Let PNoy experience again that having a woman of his dream close to him is pleasurable than having a puff of his favorite cigarette and let Shalani continue hearing some more the endearing whispers of PNoy.

As  Woodrow Wyatt said, “A man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears.”

Corona clears self from any indiscretion

Renato Corona as chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC) was not a bad choice after all.

It was not as if he was asking for it, but like a good soldier, he simply accepted it as he was made to assume it. After all the position is the ultimate of any lawyer’s dream and ambition.

Corona has already made history.

If ever there was an indiscretion committed, it was done by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose bull-headedness went against the grain of decency and propriety and proceeded to make a midnight appointment out of the chief justice position.

It would have saved her a lot of negative reactions had she just given the authority to name the next chief justice to incoming president Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

That is, however, water under the bridge now.

Whatever negative opinion Corona must have gotten on his controversial appointment, he seem to have overturned it and did laudable justice to himself in his latest moves as head of the SC.

Corona’s plan to convene the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to allow the next president to name the 15h SC justice before the Aug. 17 deadline is an act of selflessness, greatness and the highest order of morality.

Corona, who is also the JBC chairman said:  “The vacancy occurred last May 17 so the (next) president has until Aug. 17 to make the appointment.”

While there may be changes in composition of their members, he assured, however, that it would not delay the selection process.

To the critics of Corona, this is simply showing them the strength of mind and the probity of the chief justice.

To his peers in the SC, it is a realization that Corona, after all, is fair and just in advocating for a level selection field among justices. He just could not say no to Pres. Arroyo then.

Another move that is endearing Corona to the public, in his short stint, is his project Justice of Wheels which he launched to speed up litigation of cases involving poor families.

It is said to be working exceptionally well.

Bigotry of the Catholic Church

Death of a Freemason

It numbs my mind and can only describe the attitude and action of the Catholic Church, in not according the late Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes, a Freemason, Catholic burial, as the highest order of bigotry.

Gov. Nantes was not only a Freemason, but was also said to be a ‘born-again’ Christian.

My question is: What could be more Catholic and a Christian than one that is born-again and a Freemason at that?

Why persecute Freemasons until now when Freemasonry is an establishment founded on the benevolent intention of extending and conferring mutual happiness upon the best and truest principles of moral life and social virtue?

How could it go counter with the teachings of the Church when this fraternal organization advocates and promotes friendship, morality, and harmony among human associations?

How could it not be religious when this ancient institution was founded on the basic principles of the Brotherhood of Man and the acknowledgment of a Supreme Being?

The typical Freemason is a responsible member of his community, busily engaged with his domestic, social, vocational, and civic obligations. In a nutshell, this was Gov. Nantes.

But, why deny the late governor a Catholic burial “unless some signs of repentance before death had been shown” by the deceased,” a bishop exhorted?

How many people have already died, including, perhaps, those who perished with Nantes, that were not able to confess their sins, much less asked forgiveness from a priest, before an abrupt and unforeseen tragedy ended their lives, yet have received Catholic burial?

Why, singularly, invoke the Canon Law against the late Gov. Nantes? Is being a Freemason a sin?

Admittedly, masonry is not a religion, but it is a brotherhood of man that welcomes all religion and practices religiosity.

For those who wonder what, we, Freemasons, believe in, it is this:

That there is one God, the Father of all men.

The Holy Bible is the Great Light in Masonry

And the Rule and Guide for faith and practice.

Man is immortal.

Character determines destiny.

Love of man is, next to love of God, man’s first duty.

Prayer, communion of man with God, is helpful.

I am sure I will be meeting the same dogmatism  when my time comes, but I’d rather be buried amongst excommunicated, but upright Masons than being amidst holier-than-thou priests and bishops found guilty of child molestation, yet still being covered up by the Church.

Adios, bro.

Being a manicurist can be a rewarding job

But, that is of course if your client happens to be the president of the Philippines and your name is Anita Carpon!

And so it was discovered that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s manicurist or ‘nail technician’ is now a member of the board responsible for lending tens of millions of dollars for the housing needs of government employees.

What a big leap upward and how lucky can one be?

No matter how efficacious Malacañang’s mouthpiece, Gary Olivar, may sound in defending Arroyo’s appointment of Carpon to the board to represent low-paid workers the fund is serving, the truth is that it simply stinks and the fact remains that such kind of presidential action smacks of arrogance of power and the sleaziest degree of political patronage.

What experience and qualification does the president’s stylist have for her to be endorsed in the board of a major government agency and allow her to earn, allegedly, a monthly salary of about 130,000 pesos?

We, Filipinos, are hypersensitive when citizens from other countries cast aspersions on our way of life and the kind of people that we are. Immediately we feel we are being defamed. We protest. We cry foul. We even raise the issue of racism.

But, think about it. It is issues like President Arroyo’s appointment of her manicurist to a high paying position in a government agency that puts us in a bad light that almost always results of us being ridiculed.

We call it bad press. But in reality it is a negative publicity of our own making.

We had been called a nation of servants or maids and this created uproar in the country. But would you deny it? We are and government has made us what we are. Yet, ironically, the domestic helpers, as well as the millions of other OFWs abroad, are what is keeping the country’s economy afloat through their remittances.

Shame on the government, but as they always say, it can only happen in the Philippines!