Erroneous report on seminary Covid ‘outbreak’

Published September 26, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

WORD ALIVE

Fr. Bel San Luis

The news, which originated from CNN Philippines last Sept. 21 and circulated through other media outlets, averred that “Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City tested positive for COVID-19, the local government says.” “Twenty-five of the 59 individuals in the Christ the King Mission Seminary contracted the coronavirus,” the QC government added.

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According to the rector of CKMS, Fr. Pablito Tagura, SVD, “The seminary is not infected, but only some retired priests at the Villa Cristo Rey retirement house and some of their caregivers.” The priest who died was a separate incident caused mainly of heart ailment and diabetes. The other houses like the faculty, college seminarians’ buildings, and mission home had no part of the alleged COVID “outbreak.”

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Moreover, the report that “at least 25 priests and staff, out of 59, tested positive” is grossly exaggerated. The retirement house does not have that big number.

Media people should show utmost care in crafting their reports. In the case of Christ the King Seminary, those concerned should have picked their news from reliable, primary sources, like the rector of the house, rather than from secondary, innacurate sources.

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Sunday Reflection: ‘Cutting off a hand’

There’s a story about a man in prison who was generously donating his bodily organs. He donated first one of his kidneys, then his eye, then an arm. The warden became suspicious and snarled: “Hey, you are escaping by installment!”

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In the gospel of this 26th Sunday, Christ talks about bodily mutilation. “If your hand or foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands or feet and go to hell.” (cf. Mark 9:43).

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In some Middle East countries, a robber is punished by the authority with cutting of the finger or hand depending on the kind and gravity of his crime.

Physical mutilation, however, is no guarantee that the wrongdoer will not commit crime again. There are armless people who steal or mastermind a crime.

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Our Lord is saying in a hyperbolic or exaggerated way that the ROOT CAUSE of sin or wrongdoing should be cut or eradicated. For instance, an evil motive or desire should be cut since the mind influences our actions.

The second important lesson our Lord stresses in this Sunday gospel is that nothing is more important than eternal salvation. The value of a hand or a foot is nothing compared to the value of eternal life.

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This may be compared to a man who has a serious infection in the right leg. The doctor tells him that the gangrenous leg has to be amputated. “It’s better for you to lose the leg rather than lose your life,” the doctor wants to say.

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There’s a certain lady who’s been separated from her husband but is carrying on an affair with a married man.

The woman knows deep inside that what she’s doing is morally wrong but it’s hard for her to break away. She’s confused, unhappy, and feels remorse of conscience. Her situation is like the rubber band. If you pull it in opposite directions, you create a tension. Once you let go of one end, there is no longer any tension.

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The question is: What is that thing or person that you should remove or “cut off”? Is it excessive attachment, say, to money, drinking, gambling, or an illicit relation like the above story? One has to honestly admit what it is that’s holding him back from God. Then he must pray for the courage to give it up — even if it is something or someone as precious as a hand, a foot, or an eye — in exchange for eternal salvation.

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Seafarers Sunday. Today, Sept. 26, is National Seafarers Sunday. “Seafarers” is a broad term which refers to people working in ships, active and retired seamen, fishermen, those waiting for maritime employment, including maritime students.

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We pray that the Lord keep our Filipino seafarers safe from all dangers — physical, moral and spiritual. May the bond of love and unity with their families remain strong despite the loneliness of their work, the distance and long separation.

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To paraphrase the Lord: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own FAMILY.”

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. Let’s help our seminarians enrolling for the new school year. Seminarians are very important in the church. Without them, we cannot have priests, missionaries, bishops and popes.

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Donate any amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one school year. For inquiry, e-mail me at: [email protected]

 
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