Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Aquino claims progress in annual address
Protesters clash with police amid ugly scenes outside of CongressPolice and protesters clash at the end of President Aquino's State of the Nation address (Photo by Jun Mestica)
- Joe Torres and Hernan Melencio, Manila
- July 23, 2012
Amid protests outside the Congress building in Manila and regular applause from inside the chamber, Aquino said an increase in spending on education, health and housing combined with successive upgrades to the countryâ€™s credit rating were the major successes two years into his presidency.
â€śWhat was once the sick man of Asia brims with vitality,â€ť he said.
Aquino called for Congress to pass the controversial reproductive health bill which would see the government team up with the private sector to provide universal access to condoms and other forms of birth control in the predominantly Catholic country.
Reference to the proposed legislation prompted one of the loudest rounds of applause from Congress members.
Aquino has identified the bill as one of his administrationâ€™s priorities as the Philippines looks to curb a rapidly increasing population of close to 100 million people.
Outside the Congress building, police and protesters engaged in a tense confrontation that resulted in stone-throwing, with at least two photojournalists reported injured.
Demonstrators, many of whom were members of the Philippines' numerous militant groups opposing the central government, called on Aquino to address â€śpeopleâ€™s issuesâ€ť including human rights, land reform and the environment.
The leftist group New Patriotic Alliance said Aquino was trying to fool the nation with his speech.
"Many of the so-called achievements of this administration â€¦ are all quite meaningless to the ordinary Filipino facing high prices, landlessness and low wages," said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes.
Environmental party Kalikasan said they were protesting Aquinoâ€™s refusal to "pursue a genuinely clean and green governance," policies that formed the basis for his push for the presidency ahead of the 2010 election.
Aquino needs fewer words, more action