Filipino youth organisations, including local YCW and YCS leaders, have warned President Rodrigo Duterte not to sabotage the anti-martial law protests or use them as a “pretext” to declare nationwide martial law, GMA Network News reports.
In a statement, the groups led by Anakbayan said that doing so would hasten his “fascist” regime’s downfall.
“By churning out ridiculous gags – from declaring September 21 a ‘national day of protest’ to challenging protesters to ‘occupy EDSA’, Duterte hopes to sabotage protests and discourage people from joining. The Filipino youth and people will prove him wrong,” said Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
“Mr. Duterte, if you think declaring nationwide martial law will make you escape accountability for all your accumulated crimes against the Filipino people and continue your tyranny, then you are dead wrong. It is better if you just step down,” he added.
“Mr. Duterte, we are warning you. Your current rush towards outright fascist rule and threats of using the full force of the police and military apparatus to quell dissent is only bound to fuel more resistance and hasten your downfall.”
Students and youth groups from the country’s biggest universities will participate in the massive collective action set on September 21, the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law in 1972.
Anakbayan said protesters in Metro Manila on Wednesday will march towards the gates of Malacañang Palace and stage a program at 1:00 p.m.
Signatories included Student Catholic Action (Philippines YCS) and Errol Alonzo on behalf of the YCW.
Last week, the Vatican has hosted a seminar on today’s youth in preparation for next year’s Synod of Bishops’ gathering on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment,” La Croix International reports
A group of 21 teens and young adults took part in last week’s invitation-only even, where they joined in discussions and made concrete proposals for the Synod.
Stepping through the doors of the conference room, visitors may have been surprised to find that gray hairs were in the minority at a seminar organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops last week.
Participants did not hesitate to challenge the academic presenters at the event or to raise the stakes by freely expressing their views during the debates.
In fact, they even protested when the presentations of the experts exceeded the time limit and ate into their precious discussion time.They also criticized the Vatican survey addressed to young people which was considered to be too long or poorly translated.
“The pope asked us to ‘make chaos,’ that’s precisely what we’re doing,” said Lucas Barboza with a smile.
“You have galvanized us,” said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, in his concluding remarks.
He graciously welcomed the young people’s critiques, including on the content of the seminar, which failed to address subjects such as personal relationships and sexuality, or the lack of non-European representation among the young people invited (only one representative was from Africa).
One of the sticking points in a proposed new Constitution for Sri Lanka centers on the degree of prominence to be given to Buddhism as the state religion, writes former YCW and Cardijn Community chaplain, Fr Reid Shelton Fernando.
Over the years, there have been 19 amendments to the 1978 Constitution, some enacted in haste. A number of measures perceived to be “draconian” were dropped and independent “commissions” established under a Constitutional Council.
Government coalition parties promised changes to the electoral process, but they did not eventuate before the dissolution of parliament in July, 2015, pending elections.
Why the need for a change?
The most recent amendment that got through was criticized as detrimental to democratic principles. Checks and balances such as the independent commissions were watered down. And the executive role of ‘president’ was given almost absolute power.
In 1977 parliamentary elections, the ruling United National Party (UNP) had a more than two-thirds majority, allowing pursuance of its own agenda. Then Prime Minister J.R. Jayawardene later became the country’s first executive president under an amended Constitution.
This authoritarian template benefited the rich rather than poor workers. The situation was aggravated in 1983 with the outbreak of ethnic conflict with Tamil insurgents that lasted for almost 30 years.
The victors of the presidential elections in January 2015, took the first step towards a new Constitution, appointing a committee of 20 persons to seek a wide range of views.
In the meantime, all members of parliament became members of a Constituent Assembly. A steering committee was also established. One vexed issue centers on Article 9 of the 1978 constitution and the amount of prominence to be given in future to Buddhism. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has taken up this matter up.
After years of ethnic conflict, expectations are high that such strife can be avoided in future and Sri Lanka can become a model of religious amity. In January 2015, during a visit to Sri Lanka, Pope Francis reminded people of the need to work towards unity and justice. He spoke of the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace.
At least 20,000 Centrelink debts were either wiped or reduced in a nine-month period, newly released figures show, The Guardian reports.
The data, tabled in parliament this week, confirms what was already known about extent of problems with the so-called “robo debt” system.
It shows 7,456 debts were reduced to zero and another 12,524 were partially reduced but not wiped entirely, between July last year and March.
For the first time, the data gives a geographic understanding of where debts were issued. It shows high numbers of inaccurate debts in areas of western Sydney, Bundaberg, Mackay, Toowoomba, the New South Wales central coast and around Cranbourne in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringes.
Victoria Legal Aid’s executive director of civil justice, Dan Nicholson, said the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups were less likely to have appealed.
“I think on the face of it, it’s a shocking number of wrong debts to be alleged but in fact the most concerning thing is the very large number of people who would not have challenged their debts, and would now be paying back debts that were wrongly or unlawfully raised against them,” Nicholson said.
“We know those people are most likely to be the most disadvantaged in the community, and therefore the people that it may affect the most.”
The human services minister, Alan Tudge, has insisted the system is capable of calculating debts fairly. He pointed to to the ombudsman’s report earlier this year, which made a string of criticisms of the system but found it was able to accurately raise a debt, so long as it was provided with the proper information.
Criticism of the system began just before Christmas last year. From July last year, the government introduced a new way of clawing back debts from welfare recipients.
Kevin Dynon, one of the first YCW footballers to make the grade as an AFL footballer, died on 8 September 2017.
Recruited from Kensington YCW, Kevin joined North Melbourne VFL (now AFL) side in 1943 at the age of seventeen.
“A former captain, club Hall of Fame member and Victoria representative, Kevin Dynon will be remembered as a true North Melbourne great,” the NMFC website says.
“Tall for a centreman of his time (179cm) and very solid (85kg), Dynon’s dynamic mix of strength and skill was a feature of the North sides that made the finals in 1945, 1949, 1950 and 1954,” an excerpt from The Shinboners book reads.
“After missing three seasons from 1944-46 becaues of the war, Dynon returned to North as skipper in 1947 – “the youngest leader in club history at the time at just 21,” the club says.
“Demoted after winning just four games at the helm, he remained unperturbed and continued to play at a high standard helping North to a preliminary final in 1949 and a Grand Final in 1950,” the NMFC site continues.
In 1952 and 1953 he was re-appointed captain and went on to play 149 games across 12 seasons.
Kevin died on 8 September, which is regarded as the foundation day of the Australian YCW, which was in turn chosen to honour the birthday of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
More than 110,000 young people from around the world have responded to an online survey posted by the Vatican secretariat for the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in 2018.
“In the roughly three months it has been online, more than 110,000 young people have responded to the questionnaire,” says Synod secretary-general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. “It’s a significant number considering the absolute novelty of the initiative, and one that is bound to increase in the coming months.”
The response rate, he said, “demonstrates the great desire of young people to have their say.”
Meanwhile, twenty people under the age of 35, along with 70 theologians, priests and academics are meeting from September 11-15 as part of the preparatory process for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, faith and vocational discernment,” Catholic News Service reports.
Several young people participating in the seminar urged the Vatican and the bishops themselves to be opening to listening to youths talk and ask questions about love, sex and sexuality.
Therese Hargot, who leads sex education programs at Catholic schools in Paris, told the gathering September 13, “it’s surprising we are looking at politics, economics, etc., but not at sexuality and affectivity, which are very important topics for young people.”
Ashleigh Green, an Australian delegate to the seminar, said that going around Australia in preparation for the synod she found that “a lot of young people feel like they cannot talk about issues that matter to them” in most church settings.
However, Cardinal Baldisseri told the seminar that Pope Francis wants the synod in October 2018 to not just be about young people, but with young people, assuring they have a voice.
Although they were sometimes perceived by priests as “Young Christian Wreckers”, the YCW in Australia was “a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes” where it was adopted, writes, Jim Madden in his 2012 book “Eucharistic Blues: Reviewing the Mass Exodus,” published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
“Through the YCW many young people developed a genuine Christian mentality by internalising the beliefs and values of their faith,” Madden writes. “They developed their acceptance of what the Church believed and practiced because it really became what they had convinced themselves that it was what they believed and practiced.
“Their living faith and their association with the clergy made them valuable assets to have around parishes, not just for when they were members of the YCW but for the rest of their lives. Some members tried to further their apostolic endeavours through entering a seminary, monastery or convent and others became faithful spouses and caring parents in loving and fruitful Christian marriages.”
Madden also credits YCW pioneers of the implementation of the decrees and decisions of Vatican II.
YCW leaders “were conspicuous among the people who were willing to undertake many of the new ministries these decrees implied,” he says.
The movement’s doctrine was based on an image of the Church “as the Mystical Body of Christ.”
“This doctrine emphasised the communitarian nature of the Church and the responsibility of everyone to actively engage in the work of spreading the gospel message.
“It carried the message that all members were part of the crew of the good ship ‘Church’ and had a vital role to fulfil”
In particular, “the Church was not like a big bus being driven to heaven by the bishops and priests on which lay people were passengers simply paying their way.”
On the contrary, via Cardijn’s YCW method “young people would be trained to see, judge and act in a Christian manner.”
Nevertheless, a perceived “similarity to Marxist methods” made some bishops and priests “suspicious of the movement and its aims”
Other critics of the movement felt that “by considering the meaning of the gospels and their application to life, (YCW leaders) were making their own religion.”
“This implied that they were forsaking the authority of the Church in religious matters and replacing it with their own authority,” Madden notes.
“Perhaps there was even a sneaking fear that if the movement became widespread and captured the hearts and minds of the majority of young people of the day that the clergy and the hierarchy could become redundant,” he notes.
Nevertheless, “in parishes where the movement was adopted and fostered by clergy, especially younger priests, it became a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes.”
“The primary value of the movement was in the formation of its members,” Madden concludes.