Archive for June 2011
The Department of Philosophy
School of Humanities
is inviting everyone to
RENDER UNTO CAESAR: A PANEL SESSION ON RELIGION AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE
What is the role of religion in the public sphere? Does religion
impede the rationality of public debate? Or do we threaten religious
liberty when we seek to push religion into the private realm? This
panel session will explore some philosophical responses to the
apparent tensions between religious expression and liberal secularism,
the Church and the State, religious belief and public life.
27 June 2011
Dr. Mark Calano
Mr. Eduardo Calasanz
Dr. Agustin Rodriguez
Ateneo de Manila University
From the Philippine Daily Star’s Second Wind by Barbara C. Gonzales, June 18, 2011:
Rizal was an amazing thinker. It’s a pity not all of us can get our hands on books about him and read his words. He wrote in his second letter to Pastells:
When I see so many diverse beliefs and persuasions, when I listen to followers of diverse sects holding in contempt each other’s beliefs; when I hear of marvels, miracles, testimonies with which each religion claims to prove its divinity or at least its divine origin; when I see people – intelligent, distinguished, studious; born and bred in the same climate, society, and customs; possessing the same desire to perfect and save themselves — when I see them profess diverse religious beliefs; I recall a certain comparison which I shall put down here so you understand the way I think.
People in pursuit of truth I imagine to be like art students gathered around a statue, which they try to draw. Some are near the statue; others far from it; some look at the statue from above; others see it from below. Each one sees the statue from a different angle. The harder they try to be faithful to the original, the more the sketches differ from one another. Those who copy directly from the statue are the original thinkers or the founders of schools of thought who differ from each other by their different fundamental principles. A good many — because they are so far away or can’t see well or are not so skillful or are just plain lazy or for some other reason — are satisfied with a sketch of a sketch of the sketch nearest the statue. If they have goodwill, they copy the sketch that they think is best.
These copyists are the active followers and supporters of an idea. Others lazier still dare not draw a single line for fear of committing a blunder and buy a ready-made copy. . . and they are satisfied with that. These are the passive followers, those who believe anything because they do not think.
Then who can pass judgment on the sketches?…He would have to place himself at the very same spot and judge from the very same point of view as the other person. . . He would have to place his eyes at exactly the same angle as the other. He would have to have the same curvature in the retina of his eye and possess the same artisitic sense as the other…
One cannot appeal to precise measurements because of the contraction of the figure in perspective. And if in the world of space it is extremely difficult to place oneself at the same point of vision as another, how much more difficult it is to do so in the world of moral values where things are so mysterious and complex!
For me that is a beautiful metaphor for organized religion. In other words, how dare one religion judge other religion’s beliefs? How dare we question? How dare one religion claim to save lives better than any other religions can? We should just leave each other alone to follow our beliefs.
Even though there are many perspectives in viewing a statue, it does not mean that the actual dimensions of the statue cannot be known. This is a problem in projective geometry and computer vision, and algorithms are now being developed to solve this problem. Similar methods are used in 3D or 4D imaging of babies in the womb using ultrasound images from different perspectives.
Like the 3D dimensions of a statue or a fetus, natural law is an invariant: though people come from different cultures, it is still possible to deduce moral law through natural law. One can do this through philosophical analysis as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had done. The other way is the most unthinkable: God Himself intervened in human history and defined His Laws through the Ten Commandments and spoke His commandment of love through His Everlasting Word, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
From Mind Talk:
DEVICES OF DEATH
Representative, Davao City, 1st District
(Privileged Speech delivered during the RH Bill Hearing, June 8, 2011)
Madam Speaker, Majority Leader, dear colleagues, good day.
I rise today on a subject that demands this august Chamber’s gravest concern: the dismal failure of a major government agency to discharge its mandated function in law to protect and promote the health of Filipino mothers, shield and protect motherhood from peril, and safeguard their maternal functions.The regulation of providers of drugs and medicines is reposed bylaw, R.A. No. 3720, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in the Food and Drug Administration or FDA, a regulatory agency under the Department of Health. It is mandated to ensure the safety, efficacy and good quality of all food and drug products being made available to the general public pursuant to Section 2 which provides: “It is hereby declared the policy of the State to insure safe and good quality supply of food, drug and cosmetic, and to regulate the production, sale, and traffic of the same to protect the health of the people.”
On April 19, 1992, the Consumer Act of the Philippines, R.A. No. 7394, went into effect. According to Article II, “It is the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumer, promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry. Towards this end, the State shall implement measures to achieve the following objectives: a) Protection against hazards to health and safety.”
After all, there is a clear and express constitutional mandate that: “The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products,” Article XVI, Section 9 of our Constitution.
Pursuant to Article VI of the Consumer Act, it is the Department of Health, through the Food and Drug Administration, that is responsible to the public with respect to drugs, devices and substances.
Section 4 of the Consumer Act defines “drugs” to mean articles recognized in the current official United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary, official Homeophatic Pharmacopeia of the United States, official National Drug Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; and number two, articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man or other animals.
Among the drugs, Madam Speaker, that fall under this definition are the oral contraceptives administered to women and mothers, the injectible contraceptive Depo Provera and the so-called “morning-after pill”.
The same section defines a “device” as an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including any component, part or accessory which is recognized in the official United States Pharmacopeia National Formulary or any supplement to them; two, intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other condition or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man or other animals.
Among the devices administered to women and mothers as contraceptives are the Intra-Uterine Device or IUD, and in recent times, the suction device known as the Manual Vacuum Aspirator or MVA.Both are allowed to be used and actually form part of the family planning devices used by the Department of Health.
We shall now see, Madam Speaker, in what manner these contraceptive drugs, substances and devices are supposed to cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease in women and mothers.
First, the oral contraceptives. The so-called high-dose contraceptive pills bring about changes in the environment of the endometrium, that is the uterine lining of the woman, making implantation more difficult. When the high-dose pill functions via this last mechanism, it is an abortifacient if the woman experienced a “breakthrough” ovulation.
These pills have, for the most part, been pulled from the United States market due to their dangerous side effects. Naturally, they are still dumped relentlessly on poor women in developing countries.
The low-dose biphasic and triphasic pills on the other hand function in essentially the same manner as the high-dose pill. However, a much higher percentage of ovulation occurs in women who use the low-dose pills. This means that women who use these pills frequently conceive,and that low-dose pills prevent implantation of the new human individual, thereby acting more often as true abortifacients.
The Mini-Combination Pill functions by inhibiting ovulation and causing changes in the cervical mucus. However, their primary mode of operation is abortifacient, because they prevent implantation by causing changes in the endometrium.
Then, of course, there is the Mini-Pill. The primary mechanism of these pills have not been pinpointed, although women who use them almost always ovulate. Therefore, these pills function primarily as abortifacients.It is known that pills which contain only progestin alter the cervical mucus. They also interfere with implantation by affecting the endometrium and suppressing ovulation in some patients by reducing the presence of follicle-stimulating hormone(FSH).
This mechanism, Madam Speaker, is confirmed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which stated that “Progestin-only contraceptives are known to alter the cervical mucus, exert a progestinal effect on the endometrium, interfering with implantation, and, in some patients, suppress ovulation.”
The manufacturers of the minipills also acknowledge this mode of action. For example, Syntex Laboratory spokesman, Rush Wilks, announced that “its progestin-only pill “… did not interfere with ovulation… It seems to affect the endometrium so that a fertilized egg cannot be implanted.”
In other words, Madam Speaker, the pill is now truly “birth control” not conception control, as was originally intended.
According to United States Federal courts, the birth control pill has been classified as “unavoidably unsafe.” This means that, implicit in a woman’s consent to use the pill, even if she is not entirely informed of its dangers, is an acknowledgment of physical risk.
This legal classification means that women damaged by the pill have a much harder time recovering damages. Dr. John Hildebrand, an expert in the field, estimates that more than 500 women die every year because of pill-induced effects. This startling number is confirmed by figures provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and one of the foremost abortionists in the United States, Warren Hern.
It is ironic, Madam Speaker, that the same pill pushed so hard as part of the supposed solution to “excessive illegal abortion deaths” now kills five times as many women per year as illegal abortions themselves did before Roe v Wade.
The most dangerous and well-documented side effects commonly associated with the pill are heart attacks and strokes. The eight-year Nurse’s Health Study at Harvard Medical School found that pill users are 250% as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who do not use the pill because the pill excessively increases blood clotting ability.
Now, let us talk about breast cancer. The Fertility and Maternal Health Drugs Advisory Committee is a panel of medical experts that meet to advise the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The committee evaluated a study by Dr. Clifford R. Kay of the Royal College of General Practitioners of Manchester, England. Kay studied 46,000 women,half of which were pill users and half of which were non-users. He found that pill users were more than three times more likely to develop breast cancer than non-users between the ages of 30 and 34.
A second study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania and New York’s Memorial Sloan- KetteringCancer Center completed in 1988, showed that the longer women took the pill, the greater their chances of contracting breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer was found to be twice as great by age 45 for women who had used the pill for less than 10 years and four times as great for women who had used the pill for more than 10 years.
Now, another type of drug, Madam Speaker, is themorning-after pill or emergency contraception. Postinor Levonorgestrel believed to act to prevent ovulation, fertilization and implantation. This was approved for sale and distribution in the Philippines by the Bureau of Food and Drugs as an emergency contraceptive. By reason of its abortifacient action, Abay Pamilya Foundation asked the Department of Health on May 8, 2001 to cancel its product registration.The public hearings conducted by the DOH revealed the following uncontroverted data about the morning-after pill, Postinor:
1. Levonorgestrel has a high pre-implantation emergency abortifacient action. According to authorities cited by the petitioners in DOH and based on learned medical treatises, the Levonorgestrel approach clearly has an anti-developmental impact on the endometrium of the woman.Work by Kubba, et. al.(1986), specifically referred to Levonorgestrel noting itsability to change the nature of the hormonal receptors within the endometrium.
Dr. Rabone (1990), reported that Levonorgestrel caused a reduction on the number of estrogen and progesterone receptors within the endometrium. The concentration of these receptors is critical for the normal development of endometrium to a stage that will support implantation.
Simon and co-workers have also reported that altered estradiol/ progesterone ratios or E2/P which will occur with high doses of Levonorgestrel are associated with the impairment of endometrial receptivity.
2. Inhibition of implantation. The administration of relatively large doses of estrogen or “morning-after” pills for several days beginning shortly after unprotected sexual intercourse usually does not prevent fertilization but often prevents implantation of the blastocyst. Postconception administration of hormones prevent implantation of the blastocyst and is sometimes use in cases of sexual assault or leakage of acondom.
3. The abortifacient action of Levonorgestrel was not denied by its Philippine importer. The drugs inserts submitted by the importer-distributor, Euro-Generics International, Philippines, reads: Clinical Pharmacology, Levonorgestrel is believed to act to prevent ovulation,fertilization and prevent implantation.
4. Gedeon Ritcher Ltd., the drugs manufacturer, was aware of the moral and ethical implications of Levonorgestrel. The 2001 petition in the DOH, citing Thaler Gy, stated, “Gy. Thaler of Gedeon Richter, Limited, the manufacturer of Postinor (Levonorgestrel 0.75 milligrams), has unwittingly acknowledged the seriousness of this debate by noting that the promotion and use of the morning-after pill involves ethical and moral questions.”
Thus, the morning-after pill, Levonorgestrel, whether marketed as Postinor or some other brand, and any estrogen or progesterone with an abortifacient action is not registrable under Philippine law.
However, Madam Speaker, Levonorgestrel Mirena, as an IUD or intra- uterine device, can be ordered by an OB-gynecologist through the medrep. And Levonorgestrel is also available in several other names here in the Philippines, namely: Logynon, Nordet, Charlize, the Trust pill and Lady.These are all available in your local drugstore.
Now, Republic Act No. 5921, or an Act Regulating the Practice of Pharmacy and Setting Standards of Pharmaceutical Education in the Philippines, provides in Section 37 that “No drug or chemical product or device capable of provoking abortion or preventing conception as classified by the Food and Drug Administration shall be delivered or sold to any person without a proper prescription by a duly licensed physician.”
The reality, however, the reality, however, Madam Speaker, is this—contraceptive pills can be purchased by any person regardless of age, sex or civil status over the counter. I have personal experience purchasing contraceptive pills myself without prescription, Madam Speaker, when I purchased several birth control pills on May 25, 2011 and again on June 2, 2011 just to prove how easy it is to purchase these pills.
More dangerously, Madam Speaker, in the May 30, 2011 Senate committee hearing, last week, that discussed three Senate bills protecting the unborn, former DOH Secretary Alberto Romualdez stated, under oath, that contraceptive pills can also be ingested as emergency contraception by altering the dosage. Let me just say this, Madam Speaker, birth control pills, purchased very easily without prescription, can be used for abortion by just doubling the dosage for a period of five days.
Let me go to another drug, the Depo-Provera injectible. Depo-Provera was banned as a contraceptive in the US in 1978. While this is so, it is endorsed by agencies such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the World Health Organization for use in the Third World. But our Consumer Act, our Consumer Act states in Article XXXIII that “Banned or severely restricted drugs for health and safety reasons in their country of origin shall be banned and confiscated, or its uses severely restricted, whichever is appropriate, by the Department. The Department shall monitor the presence in the market of such drugs and cause the maintenance and regular publications of an updated consolidated list thereof.”
Madam Speaker, Depo-Provera is imported, available and administered widely in the Philippines.
But warnings on its safety are not unknown to the Department of Health: Loss of bone mineral density, thromboembolic disorders, cancer risks, ectopic pregnancy, anaphylaxis and anaphylactod reaction, convulsions, bleeding irregularities, excessive weight gain, fluid retention—these are among the drug’s dangerous effects. Banned in the United States, Depo-Provera can be purchased in your favorite drugstore for P117.00. And it goes by the names, Depotrust, Lyndavel, and Provestin.
Apart from the drugs, let’s now talk about devices; namely, the intrauterine device and the manual vacuum aspirator.
First, the IUD. What is an intrauterine device? The intrauterine device is a foreign body made of a non-reactive plastic such as polyehtylene inserted in the uterus of the woman to prevent implantation of the developing human being. Some IUDs include active chemicals such as progesterone or copper which slowly diffuse into the uterus for an enhanced abortifacient effect. How do IUDs work?The different IUDs have different modes of action.They prevent sperm from fertilizing ova, release ions, primarily copper, that interfere with fertilization.They thicken the cervical mucus and inhibits sperm capabilities. These are all contraceptive effects. But IUDs also irritate the endometrium or the lining of the uterus of the woman and make it inhospitable for the blastocyst or the very early developing human being. Thus, an abortifacient effect. There is some disagreement among medical authorities over the contraceptive effects of IUDs, but these experts do agree that IUDs prevent implantation.
The American Medical Association’s Committee on Human Reproduction has said that, “The action of IUDs would seem to be a simple local phenomenon. That these devices prevent implantation of an already fertilized ovum has been accepted as the most likely mechanism of action.”The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, which studies birth control methods before releasing them to the market, has observed that “IUDs seem to interfere in some manner with the implantation of the fertilized egg in the lining of the uterine cavity. The IUD does not prevent ovulation.”
The other device as I mentioned, is the manual vacuum aspirator,known more popularly as the MVA. This is a device for uterine evacuation.Meaning, suction of the contents of the womb. The MVA uses an aspirator with a cylinder, a plunger, and a bulb attached to the cannula with one or two apertures. According to literature describing and marketing the device, the indications for uterine aspiration using this device are : number 1, endometrial biopsy; number 2, treatment of incomplete abortion; and number 3, Madam Speaker, first-trimester abortion.
If the device is an instrument to procure an abortion, then it falls under the definition of an imminently hazardous product defined in Section 4 of the Consumer Act Section 4 of the Consumer Act, to wit, and I quote: “Imminently hazardous product means a consumer product which presents an unreasonable risk of death, serious illness or severe personal injury.”
A device of death, the MVA is purchased by local DOH agencies in some local government units.
In a case study in the Philippines entitled: Planning for a Sustainable Supply of Manual Vacuum Aspiration Instruments, a Guide for Program Managers, it appears that in this country, the key partners in the importation and use on the abortive device MVA are the DOH, Pangasinan Province, the NGO EngenderHealth, the local commercial distributor, the Packcard Foundation, and U.L.S. A.I.D. The local direct contractor of the MVA in the Philippines is BDM Enterprises.
I therefore ask, Madam Speaker, do these oral contraceptives, the morning-after pill, depo-provera, the IUD and the manual vacuum aspirator, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease? Are they safe for women and mothers?
Madam Speaker, no government can bargain away the public health. The people themselves cannot do it, much less their servants. And as public officers, our health officials can only execute the law, not disobey it. How can our government officers, whose sworn duty is to protect and preserve the health of our countrymen, allow such hazardous drugs and devices, abortifacients and carcinogens to be openly sold and distributed in our country?
I therefore call on this House to initiate an immediate investigation on the serious failure of our health agencies in exercising its strict mandate to defend and safeguard the health of Filipinos, particularly our women, in accordance with the letter, spirit and intent of our laws.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thank you, dear colleague.
Missa Cantata on June 19 at the Shrine of St. Thererese of the Child Jesus in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City
We invite you to participate with us in a Missa Cantata in the Traditional Latin Roman Rite on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 9:00am at the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (across NAIA3 in Villamor Airbase) in celebration of the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
The priest celebrant is Fr. Dominic Maria Lim, OFM Conv., Rector of St. Maximilian Kolbe Seminary. He will be assisted at the Altar by the servers of Societas LSSG. Our Schola Cantorum will be the seminarians of St. Maximilian
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 22:06:10 +0800
The Ateneo Latin Mass Society (ALMS) is an organization of faculty, students, staff, and alumni of Ateneo de Manila University for the promotion of the Latin Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but with a preferential option for the extraordinary form, in the Ignatian tradition of magis or “more”. Starting this July 2011, ALMS shall sponsor Latin masses at the Ateneo High School once a month. The priest celebrant will be Fr. Timoteo “Tim” Ofrasio, SJ, a professor of Liturgy at the Loyola House of Studies and parish priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Novaliches.
Also, starting this June 2011, ALMS shall sponsor trainings for the sacristan and choir:
- Sacristan training is four Sundays, 9-12 am. Possible venue is Nativity of Our Lady Parish, Maj. Dizon St., Industrial Village, Marikina City. The training shall cover the following topics: (a) history of altar servers, (b) Holy Mass as the highest form of worship,(c) liturgical year, (d) altar vestments and vessels, (e) ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, (f) ordinary form of the Roman Rite, (g) extraordinary form of the Roman rite, (h) practicum, and (i) commissioning. The training is organized by ALMS and by the Commission on Liturgy of the Diocese of Cubao.
- Choir training is at least an hour a week for the whole year. The training shall cover the following topics: (a) ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, (b) Gregorian neumes (square notes), (b) ictus and breathing marks, (c) chanting of mass responses, (d) chants for Ordinary Feasts (Missa de Angelis), (e) chants for Feasts of Blessed Virgin (cum Jubilo), (f) chants for Sundays throughout the year, (g) chants for Sundays and Ferias of Advent and Lent, (h) Credo, Pater Noster, and Salve Regina, (i) and chants for Benediction (Tantum Ergo, Te Deum, Anima Christi, O Salutaris Hostia, Pange Lingua, Panis Angelicus). The Gregorian chant trainor will be Mr. Carlos Babiano of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish, Quezon City. The choir training will be held within or close to Ateneo.
The aim of ALMS is to give greater glory to God by making the Latin mass in both ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite available to many, as envisioned by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium:
- Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (Art. 36.1)
- The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. (Art 116)
If you wish to know more about the ALMS-sponsored activities, follow us in Facebook: Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Click the “Like” button, so that you can post your comments.
Those interested to join the sacristan and choir training may wish to directly contact the ALMS Coordinator:
Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.
Space Environment Research Center (SERC) Subcenter
Ionosphere Research Building
Tel. No. 426-6001 local 4850
Stand Up for Life: A Pro-Life Symposium on the RH Bill
Saturday, 18 June 2011, 1:00-6:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Academy of Caloocan City, Mother Ignacia Avenue (formerly 12th Avenue), Grace Park, Caloocan City. Organized by Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of Grace Parish Family and Life Ministry, in cooperation with Filipinos for Life, Diocese of Caloocan Ministry on Family and Life, and St. Mary’s Academy–Caloocan City.
Posted by Raymond St Cyr Sr on June 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm
The Pope is human and all humans are fallible. It wasn’t until the First Vatican Council held in 1870 that the Pope was declared by proclamation to be infallible in matters of Church teaching and morality. The fact that the Vatican Council made this decree does not make it so, or make it true. To claim that the Holy Spirit directed a group of fallible men to have the power to bestow infallibility upon another man is not a matter of faith but a decree to amplify the pope’s authority in matters of the faith in the eye’s of the faithful.
Posted by Quirino M. Sugon Jr on June 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm
Raymond St. Cyr Sr,
All humans are fallible. Christ is true man. Is Christ fallible? Of course not, because Christ is also true God. Every rule always has an exception. Now, Christ promised Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat,32 but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Lk 2:31-32). Apostleship is an office. When Judas died, Matthias took his place (c.f. Acts 1:25). Now,since the Pope is the Successor of Peter, then the Pope is guaranteed by Christ that his faith may not also fail. So in matters of faith and morals, we are assured by Christ that the Pope’s faith may not fail. That is, he cannot teach error. This is the essence of Papal Infallibility. Vatican I’s definition of Papal Infallibility by the college of bishops is only an affirmation of what Christ promised to Peter.
Since you are also human, I guess your critique of papal infallibility is fallible.
Posted by benjie on June 9, 2011 at 11:56 am
RH Bill does not only benefit the pharmaceutical companies. It also benefits the priests who are sex perverts and maniacs. Are you sure your priests don’t use condoms and contraceptives?
Posted by Quirino M. Sugon Jr on June 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm
Good argument. RH bill would benefit both Catholic and INC ministers who are sex perverts and maniacs. If we do not allow RH Bill to become a law, illicit sexual intercourse can be more easily known because the woman will get pregnant or acquire sexually transmitted diseases. So why does the INC support the RH bill and why does the Catholic Bishops don’t? Is it because majority of the INC ministers are sex perverts and majority of Catholic Bishops are celibates?