Ateneo Guidon: Physics prof draws flak over comments on ‘homosexual’ thesis

A colleague of mine called me up yesterday that he got copies of the recent issue of the Guidon, the official student publication of the Ateneo de Manila University.  He told me that I was featured there, so he asked me sign about 10 copies.  It’s for history’s sake, he said.  The article was entitled, “Physics prof draws flak over comments on ‘homosexual’ thesis.”  The article was about the comments I received in my blogpost:  

Physics prof draws flak over comments on ‘homosexual’ thesis

by Katerina D. Francisco

A theoretical physicist who posted comments about a thesis poster exhibit on homosexuality drew angry comments from students, who called the professor out on his alleged homophobia.

Quirino Sugon Jr., Ph.D., an assistant professor from the physics department, wrote an entry in blog entitled “Ateneo Psychology Department has an undergraduate thesis poster exhibit on homosexuality.” The entry was posted last February 18.

His post contained a notice from the psychology department, which announced a poster exhibit featuring this year’s senior theses.  Two of the featured theses had themes related to homosexuality.

Sugon then commented that the Ateneo was being besieged by “homosexual propaganda,” a remark that drew the ire of one of the thesis groups he had pointed out.

Dark Ages?

The exhibit, held last February 21 to 24 at the MVP basement, showcased theses of senior psychology students presented in poster format.

The notice from the psychology department also contained a list of five nominees for the best undergraduate thesis.  In his comment, Sugon highlighted two of the theses for their topics on homosexuality.

“If Ateneo de Manila University does not defend its Catholic traditions against the siege of homosexual propaganda, Ateneo shall become a Catholic-In-Name-Only just like other Jesuit schools like Georgetown and Fordham who caved-in to homosexual ideology.  The Dark Ages are at hand,” Sugon said.

Such remarks did not sit well with Leia Erika Obias and Paolo Stephen Banaga.  They, along with Joy Albertine Mae Valenton, worked on a thesis entitled, “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It: An Interpretative Phenomenological Study of Filipino Homosexual Men in Mixed Orientation Unions.”

Obias clarified that not all of the theses in the exhibit were about homosexuality.  She also commented that Sugon’s note at the end implied that her group’s thesis was “homosexual propaganda.”

“This is what angered me… the most,” she addressed to Sugon in a reply to the blog post.  “You have made assumptions without first getting the facts.”

“I might not be Catholic and have verses from the Bible at hand to strengthen my point, but I’m sure that there must be something there that tells you not to discriminate against anyone, homosexuals included,” she added.

Obias found out about the entry when she saw a link to the blog site posted on Facebook.  Upon reading the entry, she informed here thesis partners and their adviser, Mendiola Ten-Calleja.  Banaga said the entry quickly gained notoriety in the department.

Obias explained that their thesis was about mixed orientation marriages, or marriages between homosexual men and heterosexual women.  Banaga said they decided to work on this topic because most studies have been devoted to studying unions between homosexuals.

“We wanted to open the eyes of the people that it’s a reality that’s out there.  We wanted to address it.  We wanted to give the views of both spouses [so] people will understand,” Banaga explained.

Asked for comment, Sugon said care must be taken in the things that one chooses to work on or publish.

“They have to [read] it very carefully, [because it is like] a precipice,” Sugon said regarding the student’s thesis. “[Once] you work on [or] study something that the Church calls sin, ultimately you [can be convinced] on the ideas and propositions of the [other ideology].”

“So without the guidance of the Church, it is perilous for an ordinary student to just [work on it] in a carefree way.”

He added that the things that one publishes become support for or against an ideology.

In the wake of the issue, the psychology department released an official statement on the undergraduate students’ research on homosexuality.

“Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes.  As an empirical science, it seeks to describe, understand, and explain human phenomena, as these exist in society.  Homosexuality is one such phenomenon that can be subject matter of social scientific investigation.

With reports by Jam D. Paclibar

Latin Mass at Ateneo High School Chapel postponed to June 2011 due to chapel renovation

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, S.J. celebrating the Ateneo Latin Mass Society's Inaugural Mass at the Ateneo de Manila University High School Chapel last March 3, 2011

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, S.J. celebrating the Ateneo Latin Mass Society's Inaugural Mass at the Ateneo de Manila University High School Chapel last March 3, 2011

25 April 2011
Dear ALMS members and friends,
Happy Easter!
Today I called Ma’m Ditas of the Ateneo High School Campus Ministry to finalize our schedule of May 4 for our Latin Mass.  She said that the renovation of the Ateneo High School Chapel shall start next week; all activities for May at the chapel are canceled.  Our next mass shall be on June 2011.
The Loyola Schools Campus Ministry has agreed to place one of our posters in the College chapel bulletin board.  We need to recruit more people to attend our mass.  I met Fr. Tim yesterday in Novaliches.  He wishes that on our next mass, more will attend.  We shall set the mass at 6 pm at not anymore at 7 pm so that more can come.  Those with mass intentions can send them directly to Fr. Tim before the mass: put your donation on a sealed letter envelope, then write your name (optional) and your intention (birthday, souls in Purgatory, thanksgiving, healing, etc).  Those who wish to help defray the minimum expense for the mass can send their donations to me before or after the mass. The minimum expense for the mass is Php 4,000. Php 2000 goes to Fr. Tim, Php 1,000 goes to the chapel rental, and Php 1,000 goes to the campus ministry staff overtime pay. Place your donation on a sealed letter envelope, write your name (optional), and write “For Latin Mass Expenses”.
We are currently laying the groundwork for the sacristan and choir training in the first semester.  We shall ask experts to train us.  We shall also have tutorials in Latin.  Donations to ALMS can defray the costs of these trainings (because we also need to financially support our priests, religious, and lay experts).  The trainees can opt to divide the cost among themselves–more trainees, lesser cost.  And our donors and experts would be happy to know that what they impart reaches a greater audience for the greater glory of God.  So let us recruit more people to join the sacristan, choir, and Latin language training. Spread the word.  We wish ALMS to set the standard for serving at the altar and singing the Gregorian chants in both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.  After we finish ironing out the kinks in these trainings, I shall post the invitations in the Ateneo Blueboard and in the College Chapel.
By the way, Fr. Tim has trained his altar servers and choir in his parish in Novaliches.  The Easter mass last Sunday (ordinary form) was sung mostly in Latin (Credo, Gloria, Pater Noster, etc), even if it was not Fr. Tim who celebrated the mass.  If Fr. Tim can do it in Novaliches, we can also do it here in Ateneo. 
Sincerely yours,
Monkshobbit: The Latin mass is in the ordinary form (Novus Ordo) of the Roman Rite; our choir and altar servers are not yet trained for the extraordinary form (Tridentine).

Bishop Vicente Navarra of Bacolod heads Negros-wide Caravan for Life vs Reproductive Health Bill

from CathNews>Philippines:

A CHURCH-LED “Island-wide Caravan for Life” of about 80 vehicles kicked off in Bacolod City on Monday.

Bishop Vicente Navarra of the Diocese of Bacolod, who was scheduled to bless the vehicles before they depart, said the five-day caravan is being held to create wider awareness of the Church opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill.

Father Felix Pasquin said the bishop will join the caravan to San Carlos that is expected to be two-and-a-half kilometers long, with 80 vehicles.

More vehicles are expected to join the caravan as it makes various stops around Negros, Father Greg Patiño said….


My sister, Sr. Josephine Sugon, HGS informed me regarding this caravan. Their Facebook page is Caravan:

NEGROS ISLAND WIDE CARAVAN FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HUMAN LIFE is set on April 11-15,2011 with the theme : “PROTECT LIFE! JUNK RH BILL!” – spearheaded by the DIOCESE OF BACOLOD together with the neighboring Dioceses in the Negros Island in cooperation with the CAPH-LIFE (Citizens Alliance for the Protection of Human Life).

1. To raise the awareness of our people on the evils of the Reproductive Health Bill and the Sanctity of Human Life.
2. To manifest our faithful adherence to our prophetic role as a Church in the protection of Human Life.

Please join the Facebook page to show your solidarity to the Caravan for Life.

Dr. David Calhoun on Vagina Monologues in a Jesuit Catholic University

from the Gonzaga Bulletin (courtesy of Insight Scoop):

ark Alfino’s response to Eric Cunningham’s article concerning “The Vagina Monologues” controversy raises a smokescreen that sidesteps the salient issues.  In the first place, Alfino is wrong that the VM controversy is a matter of academic freedom, and secondly, his account implies a conception of mission in which anything is consistent with Gonzaga’s Jesuit Catholic identity.

Alfino claims that performance of “The Vagina Monologues” is a matter of academic freedom.  However, academic freedom is not a blanket principle that mandates or legitimates that anything and everything can or must be done in an academic context.  It is, rather, the policy that specifies that academic life presumes the free inquiry into truth.  Perhaps the most authoritative statement on academic freedom in the United States, the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors, outlines the issue by noting, “Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good. … The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition” ( The free search for truth does not require that every available book be read, that every poem be recited, that every available speaker be invited to campus.  In the present context, genuine academic freedom does not require that every play ever written be performed publicly on a university campus.  The objective is not the airing of every possible form of every possible idea.  Rather, practical judgments of pedagogy and practice are employed all the time by teachers and administrators regarding the best means to critically explore ideas and the arguments that support them.

. . .

Similarly, “The Vagina Monologues,” as a particular expression of ideas, is not necessary to explore questions of violence against women, or indeed of human sexuality and female self-image.  Not only is it not necessary, good arguments can and have been made that it is a poor vehicle for exploring these ideas.  It does not speak univocally against violence against women, insofar as it depicts sympathetically female-on-female sexual abuse of a minor.  Despite Eve Ensler’s brilliant marketing campaign, the play is not even so much about violence against women as it is a celebration of polymorphous sexuality.  Beyond its poor literary quality, the play features unnecessary vulgarities which amount to vicarious live sex demonstrations.

There are further reasons for rejecting “The Vagina Monologues” as an occasion for academic inquiry at a Jesuit, Catholic institution.  The play ignores the multifaceted nature of female experience by eliminating entire ranges of human sexuality from its purview.  It offends against human dignity by reducing human personality to sexuality, and female dignity to sexual activity.  It completely ignores the rich literature and vocabulary of Catholic and Christian sexual teaching.

A Jesuit, Catholic institution can explore the full range of questions — of ideas — of human nature, human biology, human sexuality, and human social relations.  Not all expressions of these ideas are necessary, pedagogically effective or ethically justifiable. “The Vagina Monologues “presents ideas in literarily clumsy, pedagogically inferior, and ethically offensive ways.  If Gonzaga truly cared about academic freedom, we would have an open and honest conversation about these matters.  We will not, however, as the planners of the week of events surrounding the Gonzaga performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” have studiously avoided including dissenting voices.  All we will get is a set of monologues on the Monologues.  That is hardly an ideal embodiment of either academic freedom or the traditions of a Jesuit, Catholic, humanist institution of higher learning.

Monk’s Hobbit:

Replace Gonzaga University by Ateneo de Manila University and you get the picture.

Ateneo Political Science Department seminar: “Church in politics: The Roman Catholic Church and state relations in the Philippines”

The ADMU Department of Political Science presents a seminar- forum entitled

Church in Politics: The Roman Catholic Church and State Relations in the Philippines

on April 18 to 19 (Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday); Whole days
at ADMU Escaler Hall.

May be taken as a 3 unit credit course  (PoS 271).
Interested participants are requested to pay 1,500 Php for the two day
period to cover meals and a seminar packet with materials.

Background and objectives of the forum:

?Church in Politics: The Roman Catholic Church and State Relations in the Philippines? is a seminar that attempts at a critical look at the Philippine institutional and non-institutional Roman Catholic Church  as a normative and discursive actor.  Using Jose Migdal?s state and society relations perspective,  the RCC is viewed as a political actor with the coercive power to exact compliance and mobilize citizen participation and the symbolic and material power to legitimize its existence as a socio-political actor.   It is therefore a co-producer and a competitor of the state in as far as decisions and resource allocation are concerned.

The forum  provides a broad framework for critically analyzing the RCC?s positions in politics including reproductive health.  It situates these positions on the wider discursive fields of church and state separation and church participation in electoral, political and social affairs.     In deepening discussions on reproductive health, the forum examines the church?s perspectives on gender, human sexuality and life issues.

The forum includes speakers from the CBCP, the NASSA, LST, SLB, ADZ, UP, ADMU SA Department, San Carlos Seminary and JJICSI.  A summarizing segment on the influence of the church in terms of power is provided at the last day by Fr Mario Francisco S.J of LST and Dr Fernando Zialcita of the Sociology and Anthropology Department as resource persons.

Forum Program:

April 18, 9-11 AM

Atty. Florin T. Hilbay
Professor, University of the Philippines College of Law

Rev. Fr. Albert Cecilio A. Flores
Director, Manila Archdiocesan Archives

April 18, 12:30-2:30 PM

Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr.
Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches, San Carlos Seminary

Rev. Fr. James H. Kroeger, MM
Professor, Loyola School of Theology (LST)

April 18, 3-5 PM

Bro. Guillrey Anthony M. Andal, SJ
Program Director for Political Affairs, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB)

Rev. Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ
President, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU)

April 19, 9-11 AM

Rev. Fr. Roberto N. Rivera, SJ
Associate Director and Treasurer
John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI)

Rev. Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez
Executive Secretary
National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP)
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP))

April 19, 12:30-2:30 PM

Rev. Fr. John J. Carroll, SJ
Senior Research Associate and Program Head, Church and Family Life Program
John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI)

Atty. Jo Aurea M. Imbong
Legal Officer
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)

April 19, 3-5 PM

Rev. Fr. Jose Mario C. Francisco, SJ
President and Professor
Loyola School of Theology (LST)

Prof. Fernando N. Zialcita, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Ateneo de Manila University

Fr. Luke Moortgat’s proposal for Mass for the Deaf

From the CBCP:

Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM underscored the importance of interpreting at different occasions.

He said the day was also a great opportunity to inform the general public of the presence of deaf in our society who need our help to be accepted and to become productive members of our nation.

Fr. Moortgat discussed the various programs of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care including their ministry for the deaf and other persons with disabilities.

Thirty-six interpreters, teachers of the deaf and others who studied at least the first level of Sign language strongly supported the idea to be among the members of the local Diocesan and Parochial Commissions who are active volunteers for interpreting during Holy Mass, teaching catechism, and other activities.

He believed the commission should be informed if parishioners find the interpreters during Mass as a distraction.

The priest said there is a need to explain the significance of interpreters’ role for the active participation of the disabled during the Holy Mass.

He strongly suggested to have one Holy Mass every Sunday for all the handicapped.

The handicapped can take roles in the celebration, he said, such as a blind taking care of the first reading and intellectually disabled being part of the offertory procession together with those who are wheelchair bound and also the presence of an interpreter for the deaf.

I think putting interpreters during the mass is a distraction.  If the deaf can read, it is better that they follow the mass using their missals.  If they can’t read, then it is better to catechetize them before the mass on the meaning of the mass rituals, especially on the meaning of Transubstatiation and when this occurs during the mass.  Thus, for the sake of the deaf, it is important to strengthen fidelity to established rubrics on the celebration of the mass, because the sense of sight and smell are used by the deaf to know what is going on.  This means proper attire for priests and sacristans, proper furnishings at the altar, and use of incense, candles, and bells.

If the mass is aired in the TV, then the interpreter can be given the lower right corner of the TV screen, but they should not be visible in the mass itself.

I also think that we must not have a separate mass for the handicapped.  There should only be one mass for all–saints and sinners, handicapped or physically capable, old or young.

Translation of Homily of Cardinal Rosales in the March 25 Pro-Life rally against the Reproductive Health Bill

Here is the full text of the homily of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales which he preached at the Quirino Grandstand, during the Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation and the Pro-Life Rally against the RH Bill. The original text is in Filipino courtesy of Pinoy Catholic. Below is my English translation:

Feast of the Annunciation Pro-Life Rally vs. Reproductive Health Bill
by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales

25 March 2011

Cardinal Rosales in 2011 March 25 Reproductive Health Bill Rally

Cardinal Rosales in 2011 March 25 Reproductive Health Bill Rally

The Lord God spoke to Moses and those who believe in Him the following words: “I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” (Dt 30:19)

Let us start our reflection on the principle that life is the greatest gift given by our Lord God to anyone.  This is the fundamental belief and teaching of the Catholic Church that human life, though weak or suffering, remains the greatest gift of God’s goodness (Familaris Consortio, n. 30).

If you do not give value this life in any way or at any point in man’s life (baby, fetus, old age, strong or weak), any man’s life will not be respected–and here if life has no more value or is not given value, there is no one who shall defend it, human life will be cheated, dominated, kidnapped, perjured, and robbed.

That is why how beautiful is the Church’s teaching–take care, defend, and promote life.  Do not put barriers to life through any surgery or artificial contraception.  To debase this human life, whether strong or weak, that we always value is against the Filipino culture’s view on human life (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

Poverty or overpopulation has real solution and the answer to this is also taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.  First, the world’s wealth or the product of man’s labor is enough or more than enough for all.  “Love one another” and be compassionate with each other in the name of love.  Second, there are natural ways designed by God in the human body that must be known or studied in order  to identify the days when sexual intercourse would lead to new human life.  In each sexual intercourse, the married couple cooperates with God in the creation of new human life. (Humanae Vitae, n. 11)

Married life is holy, and because it is holy, God provides joy and happiness in each marital intercourse, because they shall spend their whole life rearing their children to good values, a holy life where there is compassion and respect to others until old age.

There is a natural way to prepare for that important life.  And that is called NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING.  And this is given by God naturally to each man, male or female.  The Almighty God knows that the days are coming when we must strive to study and responsibly undertake the noble preparation for such life.  That is why God naturally placed in man’s body–male or female–the right and sure way and times when the the woman is fertile and ready to give birth to a new human life, which is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27)

In studying the ways to determine these special days when the woman is fertile, anyone can use these information in order to know when not to engage in sexual intercourse.  This is man’s sacrifice.  There are times that discipline is needed.  If there is discipline in bed, then surely there will be discipline in the streets, in the wallet (credit cards).  Here we shall appreciate the “values” that are taught by the Church.

My brothers and sisters, the labor of a married couple is holy, that is why God blesses them with joy and happiness not only in the sexual intercourse, but also in the rearing of their children to good manners and right conduct, and help them grow in holiness.  In this endeavor, God is with the married couple.  And God never abandons a faithful couple.

Married life is holy; sexual intercourse is holy because this is part of giving forth a new life that is from God.  This is not a toy that must be taught to children how to use rubber condoms, in order to prevent the spread of disease?  Why are children taught these kinds of plays?  Is it not what should be taught to children are the good examples of the elders and the importance of life, the holiness in restraining oneself that is called discipline?  Before it was taught that if there is self restraint, there is discipline, respect, and human character.  Now what we now wish to teach our young is this: use the condom, and play!  That is how cheap human life is now.

It is a good thing there is still the Church and there is still the Faith that reminds us (even though there are some lawmakers or elders that have morally depraved minds, who are incapable of teaching the good values and laws that would bring back the slowly vanishing and weakening of the beautiful gem that is our Filipino civilization.

At why should the young be taught elders and lawmakers on how to escape from responsibility, without regard to reason and purity.  (They say that it is in the name of cleanliness and health).  False reasons are what few lawmakers want to teach to our young–that is what will be the future of the Philippines–a nation of false reasons, all knowing only how to bribe.  There is a danger that we are losing the Christian and Filipino values.  What should be taught to the young are purity of the soul, purity of the heart, discipline, self-restraint, and respect for other people’s money.

What kind of proposed law is this RH Bill which when becomes a law, if the Church and its ministers teach or explain things based from the Bible, Faith, and conscience of each Christian on Life and Purity, which are contrary to the RH Bill, shall be asked fined or jailed.  Shall all who follow their conscience and Faith be punished?  This is not the Philippines.  Let us not anymore mention any country, but this is not the Philippines that was loved at offered with the lives of our heroes, three of the ten priests–Padre Mariano Gomez, Padre Jose Burgos, and Padre Jacinto Zamora.  In El Filibusterismo, the first page is offered by Jose Rizal  to these three priests.  (And what others wish to remember is DAMASO who is not even a Filipino!)

This is what the Church stands for:

  1. The compassion for the poor multitude, especially those women who suffer and strive to make their lives better and those who go abroad to achieve it or enter into indecent work.  The Church deeply feels for them.
  2. The Catholic Church is for life and human life must be defended from conception to its natural end.
  3. The Church believes in responsible parenthood though Natural Family Planning.  Here what is needed is strong character that requires sacrifice, discipline, and respect for the dignity of marriage.  Without sacrifice, there is no character.
  4. All men are just caretakers of their bodies.  Our responsibility to our bodies must follow the will of God who speaks to us through our conscience.  If we do not heed God’s voice in our conscience, it is not the mountains the seas will be shaken but own conscience.
  5. We believe that in our choice regarding the RH Bill, our conscience is a sure guide which must be guided by one’s Faith.
  6. We believe that freedom of religion and the right not to do things contrary to the dictates of our conscience.  The penalties and punishments stipulated in the proposed RH Bill is the reason for our disapproval of the Bill. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 Jan 2011).

There is still time to avoid the moral tragedy that would be caused by the RH Bill.

Change that bill, or repudiate it entirely which is the nesting place for irreverence for life, loss of responsibility and discipline which is what is truly needed by our people and nation.

If the children can still be taught by the Church, we also remind our lawmakers.  All of you, today and tomorrow, are part of our prayers.

May God bless you and this Nation of God.  We are all loved by God and cared for by the Mother of Jesus!

+Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales
Prayer Rally
Feast of the Annunciation
25 March 2011