Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, O.P., a former UST vice rector and Varsitarian associate editor, presides over a Mass offered for the Varsitarian’s 96th anniversary at the Santo Domingo Chapel located at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center on Tuesday, Jan. 16. (Photo by Patrice Jerica A. Beltran/ The Varsitarian)

TO BECOME “true Christian writers,” Varsitarian (“V”) staffers must delve deeper into contentious issues and avoid drawing conclusions based solely on external factors, former UST vice rector Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, O.P. said during the Mass for the publication’s 96th anniversary at the St. Dominic Chapel of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Ojoy, a former “V” associate editor, cautioned staffers against being swayed by mere appearances, citing the swift condemnation by some bishops of the recent Vatican declaration, “Fiducia Supplicans,” which permits the blessing of same-sex and other irregular couples.

“My fellow Varsitarian staffers and alumni, today, Jesus is inviting us to enter into the heart of every man and woman every time we look at them,” Ojoy said. “Only by looking beyond appearances and seeing the heart of each one can we metamorphose into becoming true Christian writers.”

“Fiducia Supplicans” has become a divisive issue inside the Catholic Church, as some prelates have called it “blasphemous,” while others saw it as a significant step toward becoming a more inclusive Church.

“When we are legalistic and self-righteous, we tend to judge by appearances. We cannot look into the heart and see what God sees. All we see is a behavior that does not conform to our standards that has been kept for centuries but which may be in dire need of being reevaluated,” said Ojoy, who is the chaplain of the Graduate School of the Dominican-run Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

The “V” was founded on Jan. 16, 1928, by a group of students led by Jose Villa Panganiban, who eventually became a lexicographer and the first director of the National Language Institute (precursor of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino).

The publication was established so students could have “something to write on,” according to its first editorial. It is now the country’s oldest Catholic campus paper and the most influential student publication in the Philippines.

Throughout the years, the pages of the “V” have been graced by sterling names in the fields of journalism and arts and letters, including National Artists for Literature F. Sionil José, Bienvenido Lumbera and Cirilo Bautista; National Artist for the Visual Arts J. Elizalde Navarro; press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr.; columnists Teodoro Valencia, Joe Guevarra and Neal Cruz; sports journalist Antonio Siddayao; and fictionists Paz Latorena, Norma Miraflor, Rogelio Sikat and Eric Gamalinda.

Former “V” staffers also distinguished themselves in public and ecclesiastical services, including Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez; Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson; Sorsogon Governor Juan Frivaldo; Philippine Medical Association president Dr. Vicente Rosales Sr.; Makati Medical Center director Saturnino Javier; Jaro Archbishop Artemio Casas; Sister Delia Coronel, ICM, Mindanao scholar and the first nun to be kidnapped by the Muslim secessionists in the 1970s; and Sister Regina Kuizon, former superior of the Religious of the Good Shepherd Province of the Philippines and Japan.


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