Even Saruman the Wise supports on the RH Bill: Ateneo professors and students endorses the bill
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