Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Are the key principles of RH Bill compatible with Catholic teaching?
October 20, 2012 Leave a comment
OBJECTION 4. The key principles of the RH Bill are compatible with Catholic Theology
“As faculty of a Catholic university, we believe that the key principles of the RH Bill—promotion of reproductive health, subsidizing the health needs of the marginalized and vulnerable, guarantee of the right to information and education of adults and young people alike,respect for the freedom of choice of individuals and couples in planning their families—are compatible with core principles of Catholic social teaching, such as the sanctity of human life,the dignity of the human person, the preferential option for the poor, integral human development, human rights, and the primacy of conscience. Responding to the reproductive health needs of the poor, especially of the women among them, is also in keeping with the Second Vatican Council’s thrust of being a church in solidarity with the “joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men [and women] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted” (Gaudium et Spes 1965, no. 1). It is likewise consistent with the commitment of the Philippine Church to be a “Church of the Poor,” described by the 1991 Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) as “one where the entire community of disciples… will have such a love of preference for the poor as to orient and tilt the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy” (PCP II, no. 134)
A Catholic must accept all official Catholic teachings or he ceases to be Catholic. It is all or nothing. In the olden days, people who accept some but not all Catholic teachings are called heretics. That is why we have the Arian heresy which accepts the humanity of Christ but not his divinity as equal in majesty to the Father. Or the Manichaean heresy which accepts the goodness of the spirit but not of matter. Or the Donatist heresywhich accepts the Sacrament of Baptism but requires the rebaptism of apostates. Or the Protestant heresy which accepts Heaven and Hell but denies Purgatory. Or the Modernist heresy, which accepts the power of reason but placed it in the level of religion itself. Today, nobody talks about heresies anymore and the warnings of excommunication have lost their ancient terror to the soul. Today, we simply call Catholics who accept some but not all Catholic teachings as Cafeteria Catholics or Liberal Catholics, with the latter as the more politically correct term.
The image of a key is important. If you have two keys that look similar in their jaggedness, except that one has a more pointed protrusion here and a deeper dent there, only one of them can open the door. Similarly, if you have an idea that is compatible to some Catholic teachings, but not to others, then such an idea is not compatible to Catholic teaching. As Chesterton in Everlasting Man wrote:
The creed was like a key in three respects; which can be most conveniently summed up under this symbol. First, a key is above all things a thing with a shape. It is a thing that depends entirely upon keeping its shape. The Christian creed is above all things the philosophy of shapes and the enemy of shapelessness. That is where it differs from all that formless infinity, Manichean or Buddhist, which makes a sort of pool of night in the dark heart of Asia; the ideal of uncreating all the creatures. That is where it differs also from the analogous vagueness of mere evolutionism; the idea of creatures constantly losing their shape. A man told that his solitary latchkey had been melted down with a million others into a Buddhistic unity would be annoyed. But a man told that his key was gradually growing and sprouting in his pocket, and branching into new wards or complications, would not be more gratified.
Second, the shape of a key is in itself a rather fantastic shape. A savage who did not know it was a key would have the greatest difficulty in guessing what it could possibly be. And it is fantastic because it is in a sense arbitrary. A key is not a matter of abstractions; in that sense a key is not a matter of argument. It either fits the lock or it does not. It is useless for men to stand disputing over it, considered by itself; or reconstructing it on pure principles of geometry or decorative art. It is senseless for a man to say he would like a simpler key; it would be far more sensible to do his best with a crowbar. And thirdly, as the key is necessarily a thing with a pattern, so this was one having in some ways a rather elaborate pattern. When people complain of the religion being so early complicated with theology and things of the kind, they forget that the world had not only got into a hole, but had got into a whole maze of holes and comers. The problem itself was a complicated problem; it did not in the ordinary sense merely involve anything so simple as sin. It was also full of secrets, of unexplored and unfathomable fallacies, of unconscious mental diseases, of dangers in all directions. If the faith had faced the world only with the platitudes about peace and simplicity some moralists would confine it to, it would not have had the faintest effect on that luxurious and labyrinthine lunatic asylum. What it I did do we must now roughly describe; it is enough to say here that there was undoubtedly much about the key that seemed complex; indeed there was only one thing about it that was simple. It opened the door.
Thus, if the RH Bill is compatible to some principles of Catholic Social Teaching but is incompatible with Catholic Teaching on Contraception as taught by Humanae Vitae, then the RH Bill is incompatible with Catholic Teaching. Because a Catholic embraces all official teachings of the Catholic Church, then to embrace the RH Bill is to cease to be Catholic.