Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Are Sabahans breeding like rabbits?

Wed, Nov 25, 2009


Sabah’s population growth rate is almost twice higher than the national average of about 3.2%. Why is this so? EDWIN BOSI of DAP enlightens us.

WHEN Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya merged to form Malaysia, Sabah contributed about a third of the land mass.

Census reports put the population of Sabah in 1947 at 320,500. In 2000, this figure was 2,449,389. The average national growth rate is about 3.2%.

In Sabah, there are spikes in the population growth rate that merit attention. These growth rates which were of interest are 1971–1975 (6.3%), 1976–1980 (4.4%), 1980–1991 (5.69%), 1986–1988 (3.4%), 1988–1995 (3.4%) and 1991–1995 (5.5%).

It is therefore interesting to analyse the “breeding” pattern of Sabahans.

Armed Conflict in southern Philippines

During the USNO era (1963–1975), there was a surge in “breeding” activity especially between 1971-1975. The growth rate then was reported a staggering 6.3%.

It was during this time there was armed conflict in the southern Philippines. The influx of refugees into Sabah may be the reason behind the sharp upward spike.

The Berjaya era came from 1976–1985. Again there was a huge population growth, above 4%. The conflict in southern Philippines continued and more refugees streamed into Sabah.

The PBS era from 1985–1995 marked a growth rate of about 3.4%. However, in the 1991-1995 period, the growth rate was registered at 5.5% — but there was no more armed conflict in the southern Philippines.

So what was a plausible explanation? There was a huge increase in the number of Indonesians working in the oil palm plantations and this could be attributed for the massive jump in the population of Sabah.

Special Identification Papers

In 1931, the Sarawak population was about 600,000 and in 2000, about 2 million. On the other hand, Sabah’s registered 270,233 population in 1931, shot up to 2.4 million in 2000. Furthermore, in 2003, Sabah’s population stood at about 2.8 million — an increase of about 400,000 within three years!

Sabah’s population growth rate is about twice higher than the national average. But why do population surveys indicate Sabahans are multiplying like rabbits?
Today's Inspirational Quote:

"It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us

-- Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

On New Territories for Evangelizing

"Go On Speaking, and Do Not Be Silent"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2009 ( Here is a translation of a message Benedict XVI sent to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on the occasion of that dicastery's plenary assembly.

The assembly began today and is under way through Wednesday on the topic "St. Paul and the New Areopagi."

* * *

To the Venerable Brother, Lord Cardinal Ivan Dias,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

On the occasion of the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I wish to express to you, Lord Cardinal, my cordial greeting, which I happily extend to the archbishops, bishops and all those taking part in this assembly. I also greet the secretary, the assistant secretary, the under-secretary and all the collaborators of this dicastery. I add the expression of my sentiments of appreciation and gratitude for the service you render the Church in the area of the mission ad gentes.

The topic you are addressing in this meeting, "St. Paul and the New Areopagi" -- also in light of the Pauline Year concluded a short while ago -- assists in reliving an experience of the Apostle to the Gentiles while in Athens. After having preached in many places, he addressed the Areopagus and there proclaimed the Gospel using a language that today we could describe as "inculturated" (cf. Acts 17:22-31).

That Areopagus, which at the time represented the center of culture for the refined Athenian people, today -- as my venerated predecessor John Paul II would say -- "can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed" (Redemptoris Missio, 37). In fact, the reference to that event is an urgent invitation to know how to value the "Areopagi" of today, where the great challenges of evangelization are addressed.

You wish to analyze this topic with realism, taking into account the many social changes that have occurred: a realism supported by the spirit of faith, which sees history in the light of the Gospel, and with the certainty that Paul had of the presence of the Risen Christ. Resonating and comforting for us also are the words that Jesus addressed to him in Corinth: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you," (Acts 18:9-10).

In an effective way, the Servant of God Paul VI said that it is not just a question of preaching the Gospel, but of "affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation" (Insegnamenti XIII, [1975], 1448).

It is necessary to look at the "new Areopagi" with this spirit; some of these [areas], with present globalization, have become common, whereas others continue to be specific to certain continents, as was seen recently in the special assembly for Africa of the synod of bishops. Therefore, the missionary activity of the Church must be directed to the vital centers of the society of the third millennium.

Not to be underestimated is the influence of a widespread relativistic culture, more often than not lacking in values, which enters the sanctuary of the family, infiltrates the realm of education and other realms of society and contaminates them, manipulating consciences, especially those of the young. At the same time, however, despite these snares, the Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always acting. New doors, in fact, are opened to the Gospel, and spreading in the world is the longing for authentic spiritual and apostolic renewal. As in other periods of change, the pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ, lord of history and sole redeemer of man.

This demands that every Christian community and the Church as a whole offer a testimony of fidelity to Christ, patiently building that unity desired by him and invoked by all his disciples. The unity of Christians will, in fact, facilitate evangelization and confrontation with the cultural, social and religious challenges of our time.

In this missionary enterprise we can look to the Apostle Paul, imitate his "style" of life and his apostolic "spirit" itself, centered totally on Christ. With this complete adherence to the Lord, Christians will more easily be able to transmit to future generations the heritage of faith, capable of transforming difficulties into possibilities of evangelization.

In the recent encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," I wished to emphasize that the economic and social development of contemporary society needs to renew attention to the spiritual life and "a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. Christians long for the entire human family to call upon God as 'Our Father!'" (No. 79).

Lord Cardinal, while thanking you for the service that this dicastery renders to the cause of the Gospel, I invoke upon you and upon all those taking part in the present plenary assembly the help of God and the protection of the Virgin Mary, star of evangelization, while I send my heartfelt apostolic blessing to all.

From the Vatican, Nov. 13, 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm
spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset."

-- Saint Francis de Sales

Monday, 16 November 2009

Benedict XVI: Entire Universe Will Pass Away

Says Christians Are Not of This World

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 15, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is reminding Christians that creation is finite and passing, but that God's word remains forever and raises us to eternal life as well.

The Pope stated this today before praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Reflecting on today's liturgy, and the forthcoming end of the liturgical year, he gave thanks to God "who has enabled us to carry out, yet again, this journey of faith -- old and always new -- in the great spiritual family of the Church."

The Word of God is a "seed of eternity that transforms this world from within and opens it to the Heavenly Kingdom," the Pontiff affirmed.

He reflected on Jesus' words in the Gospel, that the "whole universe, the entire cosmos" will pass away.

"The whole of creation is marked by finiteness," the Holy Father stated, even those "elements divinized by ancient mythologies."

In this sense, he added, there is a clear distinction between creation and the Creator, because God's words are eternal and "will not pass."

Benedict XVI explained that all those who hear the Word of God, "receive it and bear fruit" are "part of the Kingdom of God, that is, they live under his lordship; they remain in the world, but are no longer of the world."

He continued, "In them is a seed of eternity, a principle of transformation that already now is manifested in a good life, animated by charity, and in the end will produce the resurrection of the flesh."

This is the "power of the Word of Christ," the Pope pointed out.

He concluded by highlighting the example of the Virgin Mary who "received with full disposition the Word of God," and lived her entire life "transformed according to the image of the Son."

In prayer, the Pontiff said, let us imitate her by "following Christ on the way of the Cross," so that "we might also be able to come to the glory of the Resurrection."

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Captive Irish Priest Released in Philippines

Muslim Leaders Pressured Kidnappers to Relent

MANILA, Philippines, NOV. 12, 2009 ( Columban Father Michael Sinnott, who was abducted Oct. 11 from his home in the Philippines, was released early today by the intervention of a Muslim group.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group, answered an appeal for help from the Filipino government, with which it had been locked in violent conflict resulting in hundreds of deaths only months ago.

Leaders from the group found the kidnappers and pressured them to release the missionary priest, who was being held for a ransom that was set at $2 million. The captors did not receive any money, and authorities are working to verify their identities.

The 79-year-old priest, who came from Ireland to serve in the Philippines 40 years ago, has been frail and in need of medication since an open heart surgery he underwent in July.

Despite this experience, Father Sinnott is stating that he wants to remain working in the Philippines.

Father Patrick O'Donoghue, regional director of the Columban missionaries, expressed his "great joy and gratitude to God" for the release of his confrere.

In an article published by the Filipino bishops' conference, Father O'Donoghue affirmed his congregation's appreciation for the efforts of the Muslim leaders.

The bishops' conference president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, echoed this appreciation, and expressed the desire for continued peaceful collaboration between the government and the Islamic group.

The prelate affirmed: "We are also hoping that a similar situation will not happen again. We have to treasure and be grateful to the missionaries working with the people in Mindanao."

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Celibacy as a Rule Still in Force for Anglicans

Ordination of Married Men to Come Case by Case

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2009 ( Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution establishing personal ordinariates for Anglicans in communion with Rome does not alter the discipline of clerical celibacy nor the esteem the Church has for this practice, the Vatican clarified.

This clarification was given today in a statement from the Vatican announcing "Anglicanorum Coetibus," Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution for Anglicans who want to enter the Catholic Church. Complementary norms and an official commentary were also published.

The constitution states: "Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church.

"In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI 'Sacerdotalis coelibatus,' n. 4215 and in the Statement 'In June' are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1."

This practice is nothing new and has already been in use for Anglican priests who have come into communion with Rome on an individual basis.

The question nevertheless arose after last month's announcement of the constitution whether married seminarians would be able to become priests.

The document clarifies: "The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See."

Monday, 9 November 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"It is more important to know where you are going than to get
there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement."

-- Mabel Newcomber

Pope Recalls Paul VI's Marian Devotion

Proclaimed Mary as Mother of Church

BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 8, 2009 ( Pope Paul VI's priesthood was under the protection of Mary and devotion to her accompanied him for his whole life, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke of his predecessor today before praying the midday Angelus with crowds who attended a Mass the Holy Father celebrated in Brescia, where Giovanni Montini was born. Benedict XVI made a one-day trip to Paul VI's birthplace today.

With a brief discourse, the German Pontiff highlighted a particular contribution Paul VI made to marian devotion.

"[H]is Nov. 21, 1964, address at the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council is memorable," the Pope said. "During that session of the council the Constitution on the Church, 'Lumen Gentium,' was promulgated. The document had, as Paul VI noted, 'an entire chapter dedicated to the Madonna as its apex and crown.'

"[Paul VI] noted that it contained the largest synthesis of marian doctrine ever elaborated by an ecumenical council, with the purpose of 'manifesting the countenance of the Church to which Mary is intimately joined.'"

It was in this context that Paul VI proclaimed Mary Most Holy Mother of the Church, Benedict XVI recalled, "underscoring with lively ecumenical sensitivity that 'devotion to Mary … is a means essentially ordained to orient souls to Christ and thus join them to the Father, in the love of the Holy Spirit.'"

"Echoing the words of Paul VI," the Holy Father concluded, "we too today pray: O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to you we commend this Church of Brescia and all the people of this region. Remember all your children; bring their prayers before God; keep their faith firm; strengthen their hope; make their charity grow. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary."

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Friday, 6 November 2009

Malaysia withholds 'Allah Bibles'

By Robert Pigott
BBC News, Religious affairs correspondent

Muslims take part in Friday prayer at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur
About two-thirds of Malaysia's population is Muslim

The Malaysian government has refused to release 10,000 Bibles which it seized because they contained the word Allah to refer to God.

The government, which is dominated by Muslim Malays, claims that the word Allah is Islamic and that its use in Bibles could upset Muslims.

The Roman Catholic Church is challenging the ban in court.

Religion has become highly sensitive in Malaysia, where about two-thirds of the population is Muslim.

Religious minorities have accused the government of undermining their rights.

The government has impounded Bibles before, intercepting 5,000 in March as they were imported from Indonesia.

Church officials say that although the word Allah originated in Arabic, Malays have used it for centuries to refer generally to God, and Arabic-speaking Christians used it before Islam was founded.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia said the religious freedom guaranteed by the Malaysian constitution was meaningless if people were denied Bibles which used their own language.

Loreto Grants Citizenship to Focolare Leader

Founder Received 1st Inspiration in Mary

ROME, NOV. 5, 2009 ( The president of the Focolare movement is now an honorary citizen of the city where the Blessed Virgin's house sits -- in honor of the fact that Chiara Lubich received her first inspiration to found the group within the walls of that holy house.

"This is a great moment for the city of Loreto," but also "for all those who share the plan that Chiara Lubich had in her heart: to unite institutions and politics to spirituality," said Moreno Pieroni, mayor of the Italian city.

On Oct. 25, he opened the ceremony to grant distinguished citizenship in memory of the founder of the Focolare, to Maria Voce, the current president of the movement.

The mayor mentioned the timeliness and depth of the "spiritual, cultural and operative message" of Lubich.

He also spoke of "her work based on the ideal of fraternity, the impetus she gave to the renewal of politics, the economy, pedagogy and many realms of society, and to the dialogue she established with humanity, overcoming differences of race, religions and cultures."

May she be an "example above all for those who work in the political world," he said.


The honor coincides with the 70th anniversary of Lubich's visit to the holy house of Loreto, where she had "the first intuition of a new way in the Church," a statement from the movement explained.

Voce said Lubich's intuition shows "an intervention of God," beyond "rational explanations."

"When the Divine invades history, it does not have the sound of trumpets, but [does so] submissively as in Nazareth," the president reflected.

She said Lubich's experience is set in history and "unites simple and holy faithful who within those walls have had the revelation of God's plan for their life and there have pronounced their 'Let it be done unto me.'"

Archbishop Giovanni Tonucci of Loreto also noted the parallel between Lubich and the Blessed Mother: "Among those stones, which witnessed the incarnation of the Son of God, that intuition was born in Chiara from which infinite horizons would open, which hope to be enlarged and realized by all who have received her legacy."

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Vatican "Regrets" European Court Ruling on Crucifix
Spokesman Defends Symbol of Italian Culture, Identity

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2009 ( The Vatican expressed "astonishment" and "regret" at Tuesday's decision from the European Court of Human Rights that crucifixes in public school classrooms are a violation of freedom.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, gave a brief statement today to Vatican Radio in response to the decision.

"The crucifix has always been a sign of God's offer of love, of union and of welcome for the whole of humanity," the spokesman said. "It is to be regretted that it has come to be considered as a sign of division, of exclusion and of limitation of liberty. It is not this, and it is not so in the common feeling of our people."

The Italian government protested the ruling, having contended that crucifixes -- often hung in Italian public schools -- are national symbol of culture and history.

Father Lombardi echoed this idea.

He called particularly grave "the desire to set aside from the educational world a fundamental sign of the importance of religious values in Italian history and culture."

The Jesuit added that "religion makes a precious contribution to a person's formation and moral growth, and is an essential component of our civilization. It is mistaken and myopic to want to exclude it from the educational realm."

"It is astonishing then that a European court should intervene weightily in a matter profoundly linked to the historical, cultural and spiritual identity of the Italian people," the Vatican spokesman stated.

Father Lombardi said decisions like this one do not make a person "attracted to love and share ever more the European idea, which as Italian Catholics we have strongly supported since its origins."

"It seems," he suggested, "that there is a desire to ignore the role of Christianity in the formation of European identity, which instead has been and remains essential."

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Monday, 2 November 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock
long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake
up somebody."
2/11/2009. All Souls day- A reflection

My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, whenever we remember the departed brothers and sisters, especially the person that very close to us, perhaps the thing that remember most is his death, we remember how the person died, or we will remember the date when that person died. In my own memory, when I recall how my father passed away 6 years ago, one thing that I remember most was the day of his funeral. After the funeral by 3pm, I rushed back to the parish where I was for another big celebration, the Mass on Christmas eve. So, I have only few hours to adjust myself, from painful to joyful event. That was part of the memory. There are lots of thing to remember for those person who have died. For today, as we commemorate the departed brothers and sister, I would like to mention three important points.

1. First and fore most, All souls day is a day of faith. We express our faith and hope for the resurrection. Not just for the sake of the memory itself on how the person departed, but celebrating our hope for them that their soul may rest in peace. “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.” This is what we profess in the Apostolic creed. The word “Amen” here is our commitment that we really believe and hope for the life to come.
The three readings of today emphasized the faith and hope for resurrection of the dead: Isaiah 25: 6-9-The Lord will destroy Death for ever. It is the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. Roman 5:5-11, St. Paul tells us that we have confidence, we have hope through Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation. The gospel of Mark demonstrates the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a summary of our faith: Christ has died, risen, and will come again. No one can explain exactly how he rose from the dead, and now one can explain on how will he come again. These are belongs to faith. So, we renew our union with Christ, our faith and hope in him.

2. Today is a day of memory. We remember the departed brothers and sisters. We recall these people whose lives have deeply affected us, people who have traveled a part of Life’s journey with us. We remember them not as perfect being but as human persons with limitation much like we have. We express our closeness with them. We pray for them ask our concern and solidarity with them, to show that we are one family with the living and the death. Death is not final. It is the will of the Father, as mentioned by Jesus, that he will raise us up on the last day. We ask God to strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in his resurrection

3. Today is to remind ourselves that one day we will depart. Can I imagine how will be my own death? Nowadays, people seemed to think less about death. If someone died in the family, for example, they prefer to stay away and let the funeral care-taker to take care for the burial. Some people would give the best decoration and setting for the grave as if there is no more pain. No matter how, we cannot avoid the grave. We cannot escape from death. But then, in the other hand, there are also people that eager to die soon. Some priest that I know they have already book their own grave. Yesterday, I went to the grave yard and I saw there are few empty tomb, next to Fr. Pang who died recently. These must be reserved for the priest, or bishop. There was one time, when a priest asked the Archbishop to reserve one for him and the Archbishop replied, “No booking, first come first serve”.

But how do we prepare for our departure? We must die with Christ if we wish to live with him. St. Paul says: “For me, to live is Christ and die is gain”. We are not ready “to die” if we are not ready “to live”. Thus, we need to live the best we can in every moment of our life, and let tomorrow take care itself. We are only to live day by day in faith with good works, with love and with hope.