ECMR -  Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (between Bishops and Religious)


ECMR - Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (between Bishops and Religious)


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CBCP, Immigration bureau renew ties

Posted by cbcp_ecmr_amrsp on July 5, 2018 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (239)

ECMR Chair Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Deputy Immigration Commissioner Tobias Javier sign a Memorandum of Agreement for collaboration in the presence of CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP Vice President. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

(By Melo Acuña, July 5, 2018, Manila, Philippines)

After 21 years, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Bureau of Immigration have renewed cooperation in assisting foreign missionaries in the country.

A memorandum of agreement was signed by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (ECMR) and Deputy Immigration Commissioner Tobias Javier in a ceremony held in Manila July 2.

Both parties recognize that foreign Catholic missionaries have contributed “immensely to the moral and human development of the citizenry, particularly the poor, the youth, the handicapped and the less privileged of society.”

They also acknowledged missionaries’ dedication by devoting their lives and resources in the performance of their vocation for the moral and spiritual uplift of Filipinos in various communities.

The agreement came about after missionaries expressed concern on various issues affecting the issuance of missionary visas and extension “which create some difficulties in the pursuit of their mission.”

The ECMR handles the CBCP Visa Desk which has been set up to assist and endorse Catholic foreign missionaries, religious and lay for their visa application and official dealings with the BI.

Among those present in the MOA signing were CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP Vice President.

The first agreement was signed by then BI Commissioner Edgar Mendonza and Bishop Carlito Cenzon on November 10, 1997.

Established in 1968, the ECMR is also tasked to coordinate and unite the purposes and programs of the bishops and the religious superiors in the Philippines. (


Posted by cbcp_ecmr_amrsp on June 18, 2018 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Bureau of Immigration

June 18, 2018


MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) has nullified the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) Visa Forfeiture Order on the Missionary Visa of Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox.

In a ten-page order granting the Motion for Reconsideration to the Department of Justice filed by Fox’s counsel, Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra stated that the April 23 and May 17 Orders by the BI forfeiting Fox’s visa is declared “null and void for having been issued without legal basis”.

The Order stated that Visa Forfeiture is not in BI’s Omnibus Rules of Procedure 2015, and orders for the proper disposition of the case.

“We received the resolution on Sister Fox’s Motion for Reconsideration, and we submit to the directive from the DOJ on the disposition of her case,” said BI Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval.

Sandoval bared that the Visa Forfeiture would have downgraded Sister Fox’s visa from a Missionary Visa to a Temporary Visitor’s Visa, and would require her to leave the country within thirty days. The DOJ, noted, however, that Visa Cancellation procedure would have the same effect and is the one written in BI’s Omnibus Rules.

“The DOJ saw that the proceedings initiated by the Bureau may fall under visa cancellation, and not visa forfeiture,” said Sandoval. “Cases of visa cancellation, according to Section 5 of the BI Omnibus Rules, may also be based on allegations of deportable offenses,” she added, referring to reports of Fox’s involvement in partisan political activities.

Sandoval mentioned that BI will be reinstating Fox’s visa and reactivating her ACR I-Card, and she is free to remain in the country and continue her missionary work pending the result of the deportation charge and/or visa cancellation case against her.

Fox is subject of a separate deportation charge for her alleged involvement in political activities.


"Let Me Be the Bearer" by Fr. Nino Andrade, OSA

Posted by cbcp_ecmr_amrsp on December 11, 2017 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (9)

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Rev. Fr. Niño T. Andrade, OSA (second from left, winner in song composition for 2018 Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons) with Rev. Msgr. Bernardo Pantin - Asst. General Secretary of CBCP, Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, Sj, DD - Chaiman of ECMR and Sr. Joy Carmel Jumawan, Carm. O.L., ECMR, Executive Secretary of ECMR (left to right)

Directory of Institute of Consecrated Life in the Phillipines

Posted by cbcp_ecmr_amrsp on July 20, 2017 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Published 2015 by Pauline Publishing House in coordination with the Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations (ECMR) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

All data contained in this Directory came from the updated information sent to the publisher not later than July 31, 2015 by duly-authorized members of the religious congregations that have joined in this endeavor and the publisher assumes no responsibility for any error or omission arising from failure correction to the drafts sent prior to publication.

Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders

Posted by cbcp_ecmr_amrsp on January 3, 2014 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said he has ordered a revision of what he called outdated Vatican norms on the relations between religious orders and local bishops, in order to promote greater appreciation of the orders' distinctive missions.

The pope's words were published Jan. 3 in the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica. He made the comments Nov. 29 at a closed-door meeting with 120 superiors general of religious orders from around the world.

Pope Francis referred to "Mutuae Relationes," a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their "right to autonomy" should never be considered as independence from the local church.

"That document was useful at the time but is now outdated," the pope said. "The charisms of the various institutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses."

The pope, who until his election in March 2013 served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and formerly served as a Jesuit provincial, said he knew "by experience the problems that can arise between a bishop and religious communities." For example, he said, "If the religious decide one day to withdraw from one of their works due to a lack of manpower, the bishop often finds himself suddenly left with a hot potato in his hand."

"I also know that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious," he said. "We bishops need to understand that consecrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.

"The involvement of religious communities in dioceses is important," the pope said. "Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments."

At the Nov. 29 meeting, the pope also asked the heads of the Congregation for Religious to finish a pending document on male religious who are not priests. He acknowledged a "vocational crisis" among such men, but said he believed they still had a role in religious life.

The 15-page article by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, quoted extensively from the pope's remarks at the three-hour meeting, which Father Spadaro attended.

Father Spadaro's wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis, published in the same magazine in September 2013, included the pope's controversial statement that the church "cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods."

During the meeting with religious superiors, Pope Francis preferred "neither to give a talk nor to listen to their prepared remarks: He wished to have a frank and free conversation consisting of questions and answers," Father Spadaro wrote.

Noting the growth of religious orders in Africa and Asia, the pope acknowledged challenges to evangelization there, including correct adaptation of Catholic teaching to local cultures, as well as a temptation to exploit poorer societies as sources of vocations.

The pope recalled that Filipino bishops had complained of foreign religious orders running a "novice trade" in their country. "We need to keep our eyes open for such situations," he told the superiors.

Pope Francis said that sensitivity is needed not only for crossing geographical boundaries but social and cultural frontiers as well.

"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," he said, noting that Catholic teachers must be prepared to "welcome children in an educational context, little boys and girls, young adults who live in complex situations, especially family ones."

The pope offered an example of such a situation from his experience in Buenos Aires: "I remember the case of a very sad little girl who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: 'my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me.'"

Seminary directors, too, must be sensitive to the needs of religious novices, encouraging them to engage in sincere and fearless dialogue with their instructors, he said.

"Formation is a work of art, not a police action," the pope said. "We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps."

"Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: They are not made for the people," the pope said. "In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, traveling companions."

Pope Francis praised efforts by Pope Benedict to stop sex abuse of minors by clergy and religious and stressed the importance of vetting candidates for religious orders, in order to weed out those with incorrigible failings.

"We are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt," the pope said. "Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt."