Archive for August 2012
Senator Sotto has been attacked from all sides because of his opposition to the RH Bill. And the attacks are now more vicious: they focus on his character as the dumb student in Iskul Bukol and they ask him to step down because of plagiarism.
Let us ponder on this: the truth of a statement is never diminished whether it was copied without citation from another person’s work. I can copy and paste the arguments of St. Aquinas without attribution, but the truth of what he wrote remains true. What does the Pro-RH groups fear in Sen. Sotto that they focus on his character and not on the arguments he propose? This is not the mark of reasonable and honorable men. “O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.” (Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2). Pardon me, my heart is in the podium where the good Senator stands and my heart shall stay with him until this persecution lasts.
Pro-RH grops accuse Sen. Sotto of plagiarism but not Sen. Pia Cayetano who also plagiarized. The judgement for Sen. Sotto should also be the judgment for Sen. Cayetano because they are both senators of the land and they committed the same offense. As Christ said, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Mt 7:2).
I think it is high time for media and for all of us to focus on Sen. Sotto’s allegations that local and international pro-abortion groups are behind the Pro-RH Bill lobby: USAID, UN agencies, International Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion provider in the world), Family Planning Organizations of the Philippines, Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, Likhaan (which has a website with instructions on how to do abortions as revealed by Pinoy Templars), and Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines. As one meme says: if the RH Bill is against abortion, then why are pro-abortion groups supporting it? Maybe they know something that many of us don’t: the first step to establish an abortion industry in a country is to establish the contraception industry.
Here’s a parable based on the Boiling Frog Syndrome (it is not really true so I am making a story instead):
Fili the Frog loves cold ponds and hates hot springs. But one day, a farmer caught Fili and placed him in a basin of cold water. Fili swam and enjoyed the cold water. Then the farmer slowly added heat below the basin, one burning charcoal at a time. Fili felt something is wrong, but he shrugged it off from his thoughts. ”I barely noticed anything,” he said. ”It is just as hot as it was a minute ago.” So Fili the Frog stayed in the basin and died.
The moral of the story is this: Filipinos do not support abortion and the abortion lobby knows this. But if the government makes contraceptives freely available through the passage of the RH Bill, then Filipinos will believe that babies are burden and contraceptives lessens the possibility for babies to happen. Filipinos will then see pregnancy as a sign of failure and they will tell the pregnant woman, “hindi ka kasi nag-ingat” or “that’s because you were not careful”. Pregnancy becomes a disease; condoms and contraceptive pills become ”essential medicines” to cure this disease. And as this contraception mentality grows, abortion becomes accepted as a recourse for contraceptive failures. And the abortion lobby becomes happy: it is now back in business. Yet is is still an underground business.
To recoup its investments from its advocacy (propaganda) work, the abortion lobby will then ask congressmen and senators to amend the RH Bill further to include abortion for very special cases like rape and incest. If nobody objects to the bill, all reasons for abortion will be made acceptable, especially if the reason is “reproductive health” as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and cited without attribution in the RH Bill HB 4244: “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Slowly, very slowly, the abortion lobby heats the basin and boils the Filipino frog to death.
Such a catch-all definition for the “reproductive health” does not discriminate (this is a bad word in our politically correct society but I am using it in its proper and original definition of knowing the subtle distinctions between things such as discriminating the wheat from the chaff): reproductive health is mental health is social well-being. It’s a fuzzy logic. This is why women in the Western countries will ask for abortion even for flimsiest emotional excuses, because emotional health is part of reproductive health. A blurred definition results to a blurred mind and the result is moral chaos. The world has turned upside down. Women cannot anymore distinguish their bodies from that of their children in their womb; yet they would raise placards in the streets to protect turtle eggs and baby sharks. This blurring of the mind is also seen in lawmakers: they would insist that abortion is a right even though it is wrong, that fetuses less than 20 weeks old are not yet humans, and that a conception only begins when the fertilized ovum is planted in the uterine walls. That is what we get when we play loose with definitions. Words matter.
Let me end with a quote from Fr. John A Hardon, SJ:
It must seem strange to call anything our “gravest moral responsibility.” There are so many moral problems in the world today. How can any one of them pose our gravest responsibility. But so it is. In my judgment, the contraception mentality is the single deepest issue facing Western society.
I call it the contraception mentality. But we could just as well call it the contraception ideology. It was centuries in the making. It is devastating in its consequences. And it is at the root of the massive assault on the human family. Nothing less is at stake than the survival of Western, and with emphasis, American society.
And this also holds for the Filipino society. So let us junk the RH bill.
What the Popes say regarding contraception, in case one would think Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae’s condemnation of contraception is a novel idea, an opinion that better theologians can easily brush aside:
Pope Pius XI: “But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.” (Casti Connubii, n. 54)
Pope Pius XII: “Our Predecessor, Pius XI, of happy memory, in his Encyclical Casti Connubii, of December 31, 1930, once again solemnly proclaimed the fundamental law of the conjugal act and conjugal relations: that every attempt of either husband or wife in the performance of the conjugal act or in the development of its natural consequences which aims at depriving it of its inherent force and hinders the procreation of new life is immoral; and that no ‘indication’ or need can convert an act which is intrinsically immoral into a moral and lawful one.” (Address to Midwives)
Pope Paul VI: “Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.” (Humanae Vitae, n. 14)
Pope John Paul II: “This is the reason for the intrinsic unlawfulness of contraception: it introduces a substantial limitation into this reciprocal giving, breaking that ‘inseparable connection’ between the two meanings of the conjugal act, the unitive and the procreative, which, as Pope Paul VI pointed out, are written by God himself into the nature of the human being (n. 12).” (Speeches, 27 Feb. 1998)
Pope John Paul II: “With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches: ‘Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) – in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general’.” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 80; inner quote from Humanae Vitae, n. 14).
The More Common Heresies
If one of the primary issues to be addressed by the RH Bill is maternal and infant mortality, can we really get good data on this and not depend on Guttmacher Institute which was founded by Guttmacher, the president of Planned Parenthood–the largest abortion provider in the world? You already see the research bias of GI. I don’t know what data is available (the more the better), so I’ll just make the following proposal:
1. Get data from each hospital regarding the women who successfully gave birth and those who were not. We need the following data: age, married or not, number of children, ward type (to determine income level), and how long the woman stayed in the ward. We need data on how many died trying to give birth to a child and how many have children who died prior to birth or a week after birth. We need data on what the doctor says is the cause of death of the mother or of the child. Is the woman using artificial contraceptive or not? What type and how frequent (the last two are difficult data to get)2. We need data on hospitals and health centers where the birth or maternal death took place: medical centers, provincial hospitals, etc. We need to know their complete address to know whether they are rural or in the city. We need to know the daily costs per stay in a particular ward. This would help us determine the income bracket of the mother.
3. We can make several correlations and answer several questions: 1. Do more mothers die in rural hospitals than in city hospitals per 100 births? 2. What is the most prevalent cause of maternal mortality? 3. Do poor mothers tend to die more per 100 births than rich mothers? What is the most prevalent cause of infant mortality?
4. We need data at least for one year. If we can get data for more than 1 year, we can normalize our results to the population growth rate.
5. Based on these results we can make recommendations on how to lower maternal and infant mortality rates. Hospital administrators can make policies and legislators can make laws to address these specific problems.
6. We can start with one hospital who can give us data that we need. Write a paper about our research findings. Then add another hospital and improve the methodology, and write another report, and so on. The 11 maternal deaths per day may be true or not true, but we need the reasons why and the actual numbers. We need a real social science to answer the challenge of Sen. Sotto to verify the 11 maternal deaths per day.
If somebody wishes to collaborate on this herculean task, I can help in the research design, data analysis, and paper writing. But I need real data.
The number of professors who endorsed the RH Bill in their position paper now rose from 160 to 192. Even after Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ distanced Ateneo from the faculty endorsers of the bill, another declaration of support for the RH Bill was signed by Ateneans for RH with 1465 from Ateneo de Manila University, 79 from Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan University), and 21 from Ateneo de Zamboanga University. At such news we should rejoice and be glad: the depth and extent of dissent in Ateneo de Manila University on the Catholic teaching on contraception is now laid bare. I hope more students will add their names on the list so that the Catholic Church hierarchy can fully assess whether Ateneo still deserves to be called a Catholic university or not.
What we are seeing is a declaration of open rebellion against the Catholic Church, which began more than 40 years ago when clerics and bishops rebelled against Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae. What was once whispered in seminary halls became taught in the classrooms. And what was taught in the classrooms became preached at the rooftops of cyberspace.
The pro-RH camp is now emboldened. They have Ateneo professors and students supporting their cause–the elite thinkers of the country with more than 150 years of intellectual history. The Jesuits, the Church’s shock troopers and loyal soldiers in the bygone years, appear weak and helpless in the face of the mounting opposition. And even they themselves are divided. There is no more a Padre Pastells who will debate with Rizal on the truth of the Catholic Faith or a Padre Faura who will scold Rizal for his heretical views. The pro-RH groups are already at the Gate 2 and they demand that the Church surrender to the modern world by embracing contraception and the RH Bill.
Saruman the Wise says it best:
And listen, Gandalf, my old friend and helper!… I said we, for we it may be, if you will join with me. A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Numenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means. (Fellowship of the Ring, p. 291)
What does the RH Bill promise us? It is the great Ring of Power: it will reduce poverty, promote responsible parenthood, and lead to good governance–the high and ultimate purpose that our country has striven hard to accomplish only to be derailed by the Catholic Church and the Anti-RH groups. The RH Bill promises us a “choice”–to order our married life as we will. We can bide our time until we are financially and emotionally ready to have children. We can justify to ourselves that we are obeying our conscience whenever we use the condom or the pill, and ignore many things that pester our thoughts, such as the possibility of getting pregnant, because the unwanted child that can easily be disposed by morning-after pills or abortion. Each child should be a child we want to have and not a child by accident. And as we use the pills more and more through the help of RH Bill, our power over our bodies will also grow, and we shall be like the gods who define what is good and what is evil through three criteria–me, myself, and I. We can forget about what the Catholic Church says–it’s a Medieval institution out of touch of the modern-day Filipinos. Mortal sin? There is no sense of talking about ”a sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” These are scholastic definitions and modern man has no need for such rubbish. And if the government passes the RH Bill, millions of dollars from UN and US will pour into the Philippines. The poor shall be no more. There will be a high quality of life for all. By embracing the RH Bill, we remain as Pro-Life as ever. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.
Wonderful words befitting of Saruman the Wise. But his voice has already lost its charm: the end does not justify the means.
For my students, friends, and colleagues in Ateneo who support the RH Bill, let me end with the words of Gandalf to Saruman:
What have you to say that you did not say at our last meeting? Or perhaps you have things to unsay? (Two Towers, p. 205)
The Monk’s Hobbit
Dear ALMS members who are faculty, staff, students, or alumni of Ateneo de Manila University:
I signed the petition (Re-claim the Catholic Identity of Ateneo de Manila written by Ricardo B. Boncan on Aug 18) in response to the 160 Pro-RH Ateneo professors who signed the petition in support of the RH Bill, in defiance of the Catholic Church teaching on contraception. I hope you and your other Atenean friends will also sign below. This is now a battle of the Two Standards. We need to reclaim the Catholic identity of our beloved university. Fidelity to Mary is fidelity to the Catholic Church. It cannot be otherwise.
“Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!
“Down from the hill, down to the world go I; rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly. Through joys and tears, through the laughing years, we sing our battle song: Win or lose, it’s the school we choose; this is the place where we belong!
“Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!
Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.
Ateneo Latin Mass Society
Red Tani wrote an article entitled Sotto’s Pseudoscientific Source: Who is Natasha Campbell-McBride?:
I don’t think so. As far as Sotto’s credibility goes, citing Dr. Natasha was even worse than plagiarizing Pope. Because Dr. Natasha is a quack. She is most known for inventing the idea that autism — and many other symptoms and diseases — is caused by bacteria in our gut, a condition she calls “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” or GAPS — because “gut bacteria” just doesn’t sound as scientific.
Since Ryan “Red” Tani, President of the Filipino Freethinkers, calls Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride a pseudo-scientific quack which Senator Sotto cited, may we know what are the medical and scientific qualifications of Red Tani for making such statements? For Dr. McBride, her qualifications are clear from her website, Doctor Natasha:
“Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride is a medical doctor with two postgraduate degrees: Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition.
She graduated as a medical doctor in Russia. After practising for five years as a Neurologist and three years as a Neurosurgeon she started a family and moved to the UK, where she got her second postgraduate degree in Human Nutrition.”
A simple check of Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride’s publications in Google Scholar shows that she is not a quack, otherwise reputable medical journals would not publish her writings. I also tried to check Ryan Tani’s publication in Google Scholar, but I could not find any.
From Ateneo Guidon:
DESPITE THE heavy rains, students in favor of House Bill No. 4244, commonly known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, gathered at Gate 2.5 to participate in the Pro-RH Bill noise barrage and prayer vigil last Monday, August 6.
Students chanted “Pass that bill!” and “Reproductive Health Bill, oras na ipasa!” while prompting passing vehicles to honk their horns in support of the measure.
Moses Albiento, one of the organizers of the prayer vigil and noise barrage, said that the mobilization was a response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) own prayer vigil….
Now this interesting: the Jesuits of Loyola House of Studies led by Fr. Quilongquilong and seminarians of San Jose Seminary who went to the Anti-RH Bill on Aug. 8 did not make it to the Guidon news. Here is the note from the LHS website:
Loyola School of Theology, through the Social Involvement and Advocacy Committee of the LST Student Council, is inviting its students to attend the Prayer Power Rally Against the RH Bill this Saturday, 4 August 2012, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the EDSA Shrine.
Religious communities and lay students joining the LST delegation are requested to bring their own vehicles. Assembly will be at 12:30 pm at the lobby of Loyola House of Studies. The delegation will depart in convoy for the EDSA Shrine at 1:00 pm. All participants are requested to wear red. Priests and seminarians should please bring also their soutane/habit. A Holy Mass will be offered at 5:00 pm.
I can’t see the overall extent of the crowd at Ateneo Gate 2.5, because the pictures are too close to the faces. My best guess is that it is about 20 people. In my estimate, the crowd in the EDSA Anti-RH Bill prayer rally is about 45,000-60,000.
August 6 or 8/6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration when Our Lord was transfigured before Peter James and John, showing his divinity as God the Son. And after His Transfiguration, Jesus walked down the hill with his apostles to suffer and die. So let us commemorate Aug 6, if we survive this great calamity, as the Great Flood of Philippine Transfiguration.
Read Genesis 8:6-14 Noah releases the Raven and the Dove
“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Read Genesis 8:15-22 Going out of the Ark
Read Genesis 9:1-7 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Read Genesis 9:8-17 Rainbow as the Sign of Covenant
The Catholic Church does not fear women. Of all creatures, Mary is Full of Grace. Our model should be Mary and not babaylans and aswangs. The aswangs are the first abortionists in Filipino folk tradition, because for them pregnant women smells like delicious jackfruit, and so on the roof of the pregnant women, the aswangs would lower their tube-like tongues, pass it under the woman’s skirt, insert their tongues in the woman’s vagina, and suck the amniotic fluid. And the baby would be delivered shriveled, dead.
Sounds and looks familiar? Long before there were the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, there was already the aswang in the Philippines. The hero in Filipino folk tradition is always the husband who will grab the aswang’s tongue and cut it off with a bolo. In the Filipino tradition, the man should defend his pregnant wife and his child. Otherwise, he is a coward: he is not a man enough–like modern men who get women pregnant and leave as if nothing happened.
Unlike the aswangs, Mary is a midwife: Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months, because Elizabeth is old and she is carrying John in her womb. It was Mary who delivered John alive, who became St. John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan.
If the Catholic Church is lying, then she is one liar that tells the same story again and again. Or maybe she is telling the truth and teaches what the truth is again and again. The church is less concerned about her waning influence; rather, she is more concerned about how to answer the question posed to her by Christ: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8).
In her 2000 years of existence, the Church has outlived empires, kingdoms and republics. As the Body of Christ, the Church proposes to all people of goodwill the truths about God and about man. She does not change her mind. What was taught by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968 remains true today: the evils of contraception, abortion, and sterilization–these would result to a general lowering of moral standards, marital infidelity, the reduction of women to instruments of sexual gratification, and the danger of government imposition of contraception and abortion.
The Church does not change her mind even if the rest of the world does. If the Church does change her mind and calls wrong what she teaches as right before or calls right what she teaches as wrong before, then the Church cannot be trusted to tell the truth, cannot be a strong rock where the society can build upon. Instead, the Church becomes a loose sand that any society that builds on her foundations will collapse due to the changing tides of public opinion.
The Church is like a monarchy with the Pope as its Head as the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter. He is guaranteed by Christ to be incapable of teaching error once he exercises his teaching authority. And Pope Paul VI exercised his veto powers when, despite the recommendations of majority of theologians about the morality of contraceptive pills, he chose to condemn it and write his encyclical. But the Church is also like a democracy, but it includes among its voters the opinions of those who already passed out of this world–it is a democracy of the dead. Thus, the Church cannot change its mind about contraception, because it is condemned by faithful Christians from centuries past. Isn’t it wonderful to have a guide and teacher that never changes her mind about truth and falsehood, good and evil, right and wrong? Like a North Star, the Church points in the same direction, and those who wishes to be guided by her will never get lost.