Does the RH law force Catholics to use contraceptives?

Atty. Jemy Gatdula wrote in his blog that the religious freedom argument would not work because religious freedom works via exemption:

Religious freedom arguments are by nature working on the idea of exemption. Take for example the Flag salute case of Ebranilag or the live-in arrangement in Estrada, what is sought is not to render the laws subject of those cases unconstitutional but to ask that an exemption from its application be made with regard to those religions adversely affected by it.

Hence, what a petitioner in a religious freedom argument is saying is not that the law is unjust but only in that the law is unjust insofar as it hinders in the free exercise of their religion.
Furthermore, it also leads to other, even more complicated, questions. Because, if for example an exemption is indeed granted, how then would such exemption be applied? In the Ebranilag and Estrada cases, detailed conditions were laid out by the Supreme Court that must be complied with. However, in the case of the RH Law, how can such exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives. And this within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives. If the religious freedom argument were used only in relation to government health workers, then the same could easily be cured by the use of the separability clause.
Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI

Response:

I am not a lawyer, so I have no expertise regarding the constitution and its interpretation.  Atty. Gatdula may have a point here regarding the constitutional weakness of the religious freedom argument.  But I shall only comment on two of his statements from a religious point of view:
1.  How can exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives?
2.  And this is within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives.
I shall discuss these issues individually.
1.  How can exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives?

An object, such as a rock, may be pushed in two ways.  One way is to push it with your bare hands.  The other way is to use a lever such as a stick.  Both have the same results: the rock is moved.

The RH law does not indeed force Catholics to use contraceptives.  But since the RH law uses the taxation power of the State to fund the law, and taxes are paid by Catholics who constitute more than 80 percent of the population, then Catholics effectively pay for the use of contraceptives by other people, even if these would be freely given by the State.

Now, the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is sinful.  This is an unchanging teaching of the Church.  Pope Paul VI wrote:

Unlawful Birth Control Methods

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. 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 (18)—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. 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)

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI

And before this, Pope Pius XI wrote:

56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: “They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.[46] (Casti Connubii)

Thus, if the State, through the RH Law, taxes Catholics to pay for purchase of contraceptives whose use is a grave sin, then the State forces Catholics to sin by being accomplice to sin.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines four ways in which a person becomes an accomplice to sin:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

– by protecting evil-doers.

Participating directly in the procurement of contraceptives by paying taxes that will fund the RH law is to be an accomplice to sin.  This is the first way, though our sin may be lessened or we may be dispensed from this if we are unwilling accomplices, because amortal sin requires three things: grave matter, full knowledge, and complete consent.

The third way is also relevant: if we Catholics do not disclose or hinder the passage of the RH Law when we have the obligation to do so, then we are guilty of being accomplices to the RH Law, and by doing so we sin.  This is the sin of omission.  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (attributed to Edmund Burke).  But if we lose the fight and the RH Law gets passed, then our conscience is clear even if we pay our taxes to the State who shall fund the RH Law: because we tried with all our might to hinder its passage, but was defeated.  As stated in the Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

2.  And this is within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives.

Individual Catholics do not define Church doctrine: it is the hierarchical Church who does so headed by the Pope.  Even if majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives, this does not change the fact that the use of contraceptives is a grave sin.  Thus, it is the duty of the Bishops of the Philippines to make sure that the RH Law would not be passed, in order to spare ordinary Catholics from sinning by being accomplices to sin.

Thus, it is impossible for the State to exempt Catholics from using contraceptives yet at the same time force Catholics to pay taxes that would be used to purchase contraceptives.  The better option is not to ratify the RH Law and make the State buy contraceptives in behalf of the people; rather, the State should only at most make the contraceptives available in the market as what we have now, and let individuals who need them buy them as their consciences allow.

UPDATE 7/21/2013

From Atty Jemy Gatdula:

hi dr. sugon. just to let you know i agree with both your points. the article was just to let law students, laymen see the difficulties in translating such points into a cohesive argument for the court. and, by the way, i belong to the only group of petitioners that actually used the tax argument and addressed all (hopefully) the concerns regarding such argument.

Response:

Hi Jemy,

Thanks for the clarification. It is only now that I read your group’s petition to the Supreme Court regarding the RH Law. In this petition, your group have shown that contraception is against Natural Law and that Natural Law is not just a Christian idea but dates back to the Ancient Greeks and which form the basis of modern jurisprudence. In the second part starting at article 120, you discussed how the government’s promotion of contraceptives is against religious freedom, because contraception is not just a discipline such as fasting, but a grave sin. And you used much more exhaustive references than I have shown in my blog post. You also showed that the implementation of the RH Law makes Catholics accomplices to sin through the payment of taxes. The third part starting at article 200 is more on how the RH Law is against the pro-family character of the Philippine constitution. I shall promote your petition in my blog and FB pages. Thank you very much.

Advertisements

Anna Cosio of Filipinos for Life: Her pro-life conversion story and mission

My name is Anna Cosio. I am a nurse by profession and a pro-life advocate  by vocation.  One of the many responsibilities of a nurse is to provide health teaching to her clients. But I never thought that I would be doing that on larger scale. But ever since I attended a talk of Dr. Ligaya Acosta, a pro-life activist herself with an amazing conversion story, it just became impossible for me to just keep the truth to myself.  In barely an hour, she exposed the grave effects of contraceptive mentality to society, especially to women and children. And how it never fails to lead to the acceptance of abortion and eventually to the destruction of marriages and families. So at that time, what she shared was just so overwhelming.  It was like truth overload.  And I wanted to share it with every woman possible.  I wanted to share with them the truth that contraceptives do not empower us at all. In fact, they do the opposite: they make us sick and turn us into nothing more than mere objects. Not only that, they can also cause harm or even death to a newly conceived life. And I just felt that I have to share that truth with everyone, but hopefully not just to my Facebook friends or to my very few blog followers. So I prayed to God.  I asked Him to use me as His instrument despite my unworthiness. It didn’t take too long before my prayer was answered.  Soon I found myself in a pro-life Facebook group called Filipinos for Life, also known as F4L. F4L gave me an opportunity to reach a greater audience.  In less than two years, we were able to share the pro-life message to so many schools, parishes, and communities–I have already lost count. But somehow, I feel like I still have not done  much at all. Well, maybe until I have reached every woman possible to help her realize her truth worth and her God-given dignity, and until everyone gets the pro-life message that the unborn is a human person who has value and deserves to be protected, then I will always have a reason to live. I am Anna Cosio and I have reason to live.

On the nature of a Catholic University: Land o’ Lakes statement vs Ex Corde Ecclesiae

Don Bosco's Vision of the Two Pillars

Don Bosco’s Vision of the Two Pillars

Last 16 July 2013, the Philippine Supreme Court indefinitely placed the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law on hold until further notice.  The RH Law was supported by many faculty members and students in Ateneo de Manila University with the claim that it is possible to support the RH Law in good conscience.  This claim  was also supported by professors and students from De La Salle University.  The roots of this claim run deep and can be traced back to the Land o’ Lakes Statement of 1967 which was signed by several administrators of US Catholic Universities, headed by Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who was also the president of University of Notre Dame.  The Land o’ Lakes spread like wildfire and eventually reached the Philippine shores.  In response to the wake of destruction of Catholic Universities caused by the Land o’ Lakes Statement, Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical Ex Corde Ecclesiae in 1990 to stem the tide and provide a pillar of support for for administrators of Catholic Universities who cannot anymore find their sense of direction in the sea of battle. (Note: In Don Bosco’s Vision of the Two Pillars, the weapons of the enemy ships against the Barque of Peter include “books and pamphlets.”)

What’s the connection of the Land o’ Lakes Statement to the RH Law?  In 1960 the pill was invented and dissenting theologians pressed the papacy to reconsider the ban on contraceptives.  In 1963, Pope John XXIII established the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control which proposed in its 1966 official report to Pope Paul VI that artificial contraceptives are not intrinsically evil and that Catholic couples may use them.  However, the Commission’s minority report led by the Jesuit John Ford argued as follows:

“If it should be declared that contraception is not evil in itself, then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit had been on the side of the Protestant churches in 1930 [when Casti Connubii was promulgated) and in 1951.

“It should likewise have to be admitted that for a half a century the Spirit failed to protect Pius XI, Pius XII, and a large part of the Catholic hierarchy from a very serious error. This would mean that the leaders of the Church, acting with extreme imprudence, had condemned thousands of innocent human acts, forbidding, under pain of eternal damnation, a practice which would now be sanctioned. The fact can neither be denied nor ignored that these same acts would now be declared licit on the grounds of principles cited by the Protestants, which Popes and Bishops have either condemned, or at least not approved.”[7]

(You may read Ford’s lengthy biography here which narrates in detail the actions of the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control.) These reports were leaked to the press in Spring of 1967.  Pope Paul VI, hearing of the possible press releases, made a preemptive announcement in Oct 29, 1966, saying:

It seems to me, cannot be considered definitive, because they have serious implications with respect to not a few weighty questions—questions of a doctrinal, pastoral and social order—which cannot be isolated and put to the side, but require a logical consideration in the context of the issues under study.

On July 23, 1967 the Land o’ Lakes Statement came out, proclaiming the autonomy of Catholic universities from the Church hierarchy, including the papacy.  Because of the proximity of the events, one can say that the Land o’ Lakes Statement is for the support of the use of the Pill as stated in the Majority report of the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control, but which is contrary to the mind of Pope Paul VI.  A year later, in July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI published his encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” which described contraception as “intrinsically wrong” that cannot be justified in the normal relations in the whole of married life.  In December 2012, the President Noynoy Aquino ratified the RH Law promotes the use of contraceptives.  And now, the Philippine Supreme Court still has to decide on the law’s constitutionality.

In this article, what I propose to do is to present the controversial excerpts in Land o’ Lakes Statement in bold font and comment on them in normal font.  Specifically, I shall show how each statement contradicts with those of Ex Corde Ecclesiae and other Papal Encyclicals.

1.  Land o’ Lakes: “To perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.”

With this statement, the Catholic University becomes independent of the Church hierarchy, particularly the bishops of the diocese where the university belongs.   This contradicts with Article 5 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae:

Every Catholic University is to maintain communion with the universal Church and the Holy See; it is to be in close communion with the local Church and in particular with the diocesan Bishops of the region or nation in which it is located. In ways consistent with its nature as a University, a Catholic University will contribute to the Church’s work of evangelization.

Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise conceming this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures(52) and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

2. Land o’ Lakes: “The theological faculty must engage directly in exploring the depths of Christian tradition and the total religious heritage of the world, in order to come to the best possible intellectual understanding of religion and revelation, of man in all his varied relationships to God. Particularly important today is the theological exploration of all human relations and the elaboration of a Christian anthropology. Furthermore, theological investigation today must serve the ecumenical goals of collaboration and unity.”

This statement makes Catholic theology just one of the many ways to interpret religion and revelation.  Furthermore, the statement makes ecumenical collaboration with non-Catholic and even non-Christian faith systems the goal of theological investigation, which goes against the primacy of the teaching of Catholic doctrine.  As stated in Article 4 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae:

All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.

In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).

Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. In order not to endanger the Catholic identity of the University or Institute of Higher Studies, the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.

Don Bosco's Vision of the Two Columns: The Attack of the Enemy Ships on the Barque of Peter

Don Bosco’s Vision of the Two Columns: The Attack of the Enemy Ships on the Barque of Peter

3.  Land o’ Lakes: “In a Catholic university all recognized university areas of study are frankly and fully accepted and their internal autonomy affirmed and guaranteed. There must be no theological or philosophical imperialism; all scientific and disciplinary methods, and methodologies, must be given due honor and respect. However, there will necessarily result from the interdisciplinary discussions an awareness that there is a philosophical and theological dimension to most intellectual subjects when they are pursued far enough. Hence, in a Catholic university there will be a special interest in interdisciplinary problems and relationships.”

This is similar to the previous point, but this time extended from Theological Disciplines to all areas of study of the university.  So we can use the same response as that in point 2.  We can also add a statement from Article 2 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae:

Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected(46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.

The “theological and philosophical imperialism” alluded to in the Land o’ Lakes statement  may refer to Catholic theology and philosophy in general, and to St. Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae in particular.  As stated in Pope Leo XIII’s Aeterni Patris:

17. Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because “he most venerated the ancient doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all.”(34) The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith. With his spirit at once humble and swift, his memory ready and tenacious, his life spotless throughout, a lover of truth for its own sake, richly endowed with human and divine science, like the sun he heated the world with the warmth of his virtues and filled it with the splendor of his teaching. Philosophy has no part which he did not touch finely at once and thoroughly; on the laws of reasoning, on God and incorporeal substances, on man and other sensible things, on human actions and their principles, he reasoned in such a manner that in him there is wanting neither a full array of questions, nor an apt disposal of the various parts, nor the best method of proceeding, nor soundness of principles or strength of argument, nor clearness and elegance of style, nor a facility for explaining what is abstruse.

18. Moreover, the Angelic Doctor pushed his philosophic inquiry into the reasons and principles of things, which because they are most comprehensive and contain in their bosom, so to say, the seeds of almost infinite truths, were to be unfolded in good time by later masters and with a goodly yield. And as he also used this philosophic method in the refutation of error, he won this title to distinction for himself: that, single-handed, he victoriously combated the errors of former times, and supplied invincible arms to put those to rout which might in after-times spring up. Again, clearly distinguishing, as is fitting, reason from faith, while happily associating the one with the other, he both preserved the rights and had regard for the dignity of each; so much so, indeed, that reason, borne on the wings of Thomas to its human height, can scarcely rise higher, while faith could scarcely expect more or stronger aids from reason than those which she has already obtained through Thomas.

31. While, therefore, We hold that every word of wisdom, every useful thing by whomsoever discovered or planned, ought to be received with a willing and grateful mind, We exhort you, venerable brethren, in all earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences. The wisdom of St. Thomas, We say; for if anything is taken up with too great subtlety by the Scholastic doctors, or too carelessly stated-if there be anything that ill agrees with the discoveries of a later age, or, in a word, improbable in whatever way-it does not enter Our mind to propose that for imitation to Our age. Let carefully selected teachers endeavor to implant the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas in the minds of students, and set forth clearly his solidity and excellence over others. Let the universities already founded or to be founded by you illustrate and defend this doctrine, and use it for the refutation of prevailing errors. But, lest the false for the true or the corrupt for the pure be drunk in, be ye watchful that the doctrine of Thomas be drawn from his own fountains, or at least from those rivulets which, derived from the very fount, have thus far flowed, according to the established agreement of learned men, pure and clear; be careful to guard the minds of youth from those which are said to flow thence, but in reality are gathered from strange and unwholesome streams.

The “scientific, disciplinary, and methodologies” alluded to in the Land o’ Lakes statement that must be given “honor and respect” can apply even to Modernist errors enumerated in Lamentabile Sane of Pope Pius X:

WITH TRULY LAMENTABLE RESULTS, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research, (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful’s minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Congregation.

4. Land o’ Lakes: “Every university, Catholic or not, serves as the critical reflective intelligence of its society. In keeping with this general function, the Catholic university has the added obligation of performing this same service for the Church. Hence, the university should carry on a continual examination of all aspects and all activities of the Church and should objectively evaluate them. The Church would thus have the benefit of continual counsel from Catholic universities. Catholic universities in the recent past have hardly played this role at all. It may well be one of the most important functions of the Catholic university of the future.”

This is a one-sided statement: the university can counsel the Church, but not the other way around.  But Article 5 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae says that it is the Bishop who shall evaluate the Catholic character of Catholic universities.  In fact, Catholic Universities are required to report to the Bishop about their activities:

Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise conceming this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures(52) and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

Periodically, each Catholic University, to which Artide 3, 1 and 2 refers, is to communicate relevant information about the University and its activities to the competent ecclesiastical Authority. Other Catholic Universities are to communicate this information to the Bishop of the diocese in which the principal seat of the Institution is located.

5. Land o’ Lakes: “With regard to the undergraduate — the university should endeavor to present a collegiate education that is truly geared to modern society. The student must come to a basic understanding of the actual world in which he lives today. This means that the intellectual campus of a Catholic university has no boundaries and no barriers. It draws knowledge and understanding from all the traditions of mankind; it explores the insights and achievements of the great men of every age; it looks to the current frontiers of advancing knowledge and brings all the results to bear relevantly on man’s life today. The whole world of knowledge and ideas must be open to the student; there must be no outlawed books or subjects. Thus the student will be able to develop his own capabilities and to fulfill himself by using the intellectual resources presented to him.

“Along with this and integrated into it should be a competent presentation of relevant, living, Catholic thought.”

The last sentence is almost an afterthought, after laying out the idea that all sources of knowledge are equal.  This Land o’ Lakes statement does not say explicitly state the primacy of Catholic doctrine; rather, Catholic doctrine just one of the doctrines that may be integrated into the teaching of the courses if this doctrine is relevant enough.  Otherwise, it can simply tossed away.  In contrast to this Land o’ Lakes statement, this is what the Article 4 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae states:

5. The education of students is to combine academic and professional development with formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church; the programme of studies for each of the various professions is to include an appropriate ethical formation in that profession. Courses in Catholic doctrine are to be made available to all students(51).

 6. Land o’ Lakes: “Within the university community the student should be able not simply to study theology and Christianity, but should find himself in a social situation in which he can express his Christianity in a variety of ways and live it experientially and experimentally. The students and faculty can explore together new forms of Christian living, of Christian witness, and of Christian service.

“The students will be able to participate in and contribute to a variety of liturgical functions, at best, creatively contemporary and experimental. They will find the meaning of the sacraments for themselves by joining theoretical understanding to the lived experience of them. Thus the students will find and indeed create extraordinary opportunities for a full, meaningful liturgical and sacramental life.”

Note the following phrases to describe expressions of Christianity: “variety of ways”, “experientially”, and “experimentally”.  Note also the similar phrases used for describing liturgical functions: “variety”, “creatively contemporary”, “experimental”, and something students do not only “participate in” but also “contribute to”.  These are code words for tinkering with the words and rubrics of the Holy Mass and the administration of the Sacraments.  That is why one sometimes if not many times hear masses which require lots of experimental and experiential tinkerings: priests changing the words and gestures, masses held outside of churches in stole over ordinary clothes with people sitting down on the grass, the Body of Christ picked up and eaten like potato chips, and earth liturgies which are more for Mother Earth worship and not for the Triune God.

7.  Conclusion

The Land o’ Lakes statement is a statement against the primacy of Catholic doctrine and worship.  And the errors of this statement has infected many Catholic universities, not only those in the US but also those in the Philippines, such as Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University whose professors have espoused positions in support of the RH Bill (now a law), contrary to explicit teachings of the Catholic Church regarding contraception, as stated in Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and taught by Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.  As stated in Article 4 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae:

 In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).

Anti RH Law rally before the Supreme Court organized by Filipinos for Life: Chronology of Events

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life led the recitation of the rosary during the Anti RH Law rally with the theme “RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin” last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m., the Filipinos for Life organized an Anti RH Law rally before the gates of the Supreme Court.  As a member of the Filipinos for Life, I was given the task of a marshal.  So I took lots of pictures.  The participants, mostly young students of nearby Catholic schools, lined up along Padre Faura stretching up to the road before the Robinson’s Place Manila.  Anthony Perez, President of Filipinos for Life estimated the crowd to be about 800-1,000.  Meanwhile on the other part of Padre Faura also before the gates of Supreme Court are about 30 pro RH Law advocates in the same purple shirts, same purple umbrellas, and even same purple poster designs.  Someone even posed himself as a cartoon bishop in white and gold.  The sameness of their gears shows that someone bought in bulk and distributed it to the participants.  In contrast, the Anti RH Law crowd came from different groups with different uniforms and different posters–mostly handmade, and practically no umbrellas.  The morning crowd did not get much of the news.  What you see in TV are the Anti RH crowd in Green and the pro RH crowd in purple with roughly the same crowd size.  They are the afternoon crowd; the morning crowd was not covered by mainstream media.  But here are the  links to the pictures in the RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin (Stop RH, Love Life) albums and see for yourself what you don’t see in the TV and newspaper news reports: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

I took some notes of the proceedings of the Anti RH Law rally using my phone, typing as fast as my two thumbs can press the letters while I listen to the talks.  Here’s the chronology of the events:

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up for going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up in front of Robinsons Place Manila before going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up at Robinson’s Place Manila

Walking towards the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists  of St. Paul University-Manila walking towards the Supreme Court

Students carrying Anti RH Law posters

Students carrying hand-drawn Anti RH Law posters

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas.  Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH La crowd in Padre Faura.

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas. Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH Law crowd in Padre Faura.

9:12 a.m.

St. Paul students occupy the pedestrian walk opposite the Supreme Court facade, extending up to the road before Robinson’s Place Manila.

9:18 a.m.

The crowd is now from the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court.  The Pro-Life Philippines Foundation displayed its green banner.  On the desk hangs the flag of the Filipinos for Life, a shield of blue and white.

9:26 a.m.

I see students from San Sebastian and St. Paul’s.  There is also one representative from the Rosary for Life holding a large flag containing the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There are also Don Bosco students with their gray uniforms.  I met Rolly de los Reyes of Courage Philippines.

9:32 a.m.

Mike Mapa and Anna Cosio of Filipinos for Life led the praying of the rosary.

9:41 a.m.

Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate Lito David arrived all in white.

9:49 a.m.  

The crowd began praying the the Joyful Mysteries.

10:00 a.m.

Now the Glorious Mysteries.

10:13 a.m.

Finished the rosary.  Anna and Mike began to lead the crowd in shouting: “Buhay Mahalin, RH Supilin!”  They named the groups who came: St. Paul University-Manila.  Most of the crowd are students from this University.  Don Bosco Mandaluyong.  University of Sto. Tomas. Soldiers of Christ. Rosaries for Life. CBCP FL. Daughters of St. Paul. DMI Circle from Paranaque. San Sebastian Recoletos. CMT is still in the church for the mass.

10:17 a.m.

Mike speaks: “We must celebrate life. In the family we learn values.  I am thankful to be alive.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.  And then I understood many things God has done.”

10:18 a.m.

Mike and Anna enumerated the other participating groups: Holy Family parish from Parang, Marikina.  Sienna College. Citizens Initiative for Alternative Medicine.  Ang Kapatiran Party.  Augustinian Seminary.  Mike continued: “Sometimes we feel in the media that we are alone. No, we are not alone.  This is the happiest day of my life: to find a cause worth dying for.  It is a reason to live, an advocacy.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.   I would like to thank my lovely wife, Cecil.  There are so many attacks against the family. ”

Praying before the Supreme Court

Praying before the Supreme Court

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

10:22 a.m.

Lisa Poblete, a dentist, spoke in Tagalog.  Here’s my translation: “I know Pedro Gil. I lived in Padre Faura.  In the Filipino language, when a person is pregnant, she is ‘nagdadalang-tao’ or ‘bearing a man’. The human being is the beginning.  All of us have navels.  If we have navels, then we came from our mother’s wombs.  Conception starts at fertilization. We have to give all Filipinos in the womb a chance to live.

Mike speaks: “The only persons without navels are Adam and Eve.  I am a Filipinos for Life member.  We would like to welcome the Rogationst seminarians of the Diocese of Paranaque.  Very Pro-Life.  Our next speaker is from Courage Philippines.  This is an organization who helps people with same-sex attraction and live life to the fullest.  Let us welcome Mr. Rolly de los Reyes.”

Rolly de los Reyes speaks: “I am a Bosconian.  Don Bosco through Mary.  In the feast day of Mary we offer flowers.  All of us.  Pregnancy or pagdadalang-tao is not sickness but a gift.  We must thank God for the gift that is our mothers.  There are mothers who died in pregnancy.  But this does not mean that pregnancy is a disease.  Mothers offered their lives for us.  Let us give them a round of applause. Let us also thank our Mother, Mary.  We must fight against pornography, such as FMH.  What we need is not a sex education but a chastity education.  We must teach society about the beauty of virginity.  True love waits. ”

10:31 a.m.

The next speaker is Lito David, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

Lito David speaks in Filipino.  Here’s my translation of what I can catch:  “Praise the Lord!  Why are we here?  Because of our faith in God who loves life.  Let us pray that Supreme Court will not be bought.  We could have won in Congress. There were 116 who are Anti RH.  Afterwards, there were only 69?  They sold their stand?  For 70 million pesos?  Because of the pressure of PNoy?  Let us pray that the Supreme Court will not be bought.”

10:39 a.m.

Anna speaks: “In the Flames of Love, there is an actress together with Dina Bonevie.  She is already a grand mom.  She is known for giving chastity talks in public schools.  Please welcome, Ms. Rica Dayrit.”

Rica Dayrit speaks in Filipino.  Here is my translation: “The youth are here.  Anna said that I am beautiful, a pro-life mother. Why are we beautiful?  What is the will of God?  The priest said that you can be a good Christian if you get married.  We have children entrusted to us to be born.  What is the beauty of being a pro-life mother?  I go to checkups.  I fall in line.  Then I hear the doctor say to other women ahead of me.  ‘Are you taking pills? I see many diseases in your ovary.’  We must take care of life.  In this way there will be many beautiful Filipinos in our country.”

10:43 a.m.

Anna speaks: “Let us welcome the Claretian missionaries.   We would like to welcome the Filipinos for Life and their president, Mr. Anthony  Perez.”

Anthony speaks in Filipino and English: “Let us give each other a round of applause.  What time did you wake up?  The Soldiers for Christ have not yet slept.  But they are here.  We stand to celebrate life.  And we have visitors here.  What is your name?”

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Little Boy: “Angel Liwanag. 5 years old . from Bonifacio.”

Anthony: “Let us give a round of applause to Angel!  Where is your daddy?  I am the speaker.  Story?”

Little Boy: “No.”

Anthony: “There is Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians.  Are you going to become a priest?”

Little Boy: “Yes.”

Anthony: “Are you sure?  Daddy’s message says that you are going to give a poem.  These is the  list of poems.  To my fellow youth.  Heart of Stone. You are my Boss.”

10:48 a.m.

Little Boy reciting in Filipino:  “You are my boss.  That is the word that I spoke.  No counterflow. To help in the cross.  You are my boss. … aspirations.  Face my parents regarding their legacy of democracy.  We can say that we have reached far, the way of the future generations.  Thank you very much.”

10:50 a.m.

Anthony: “These are speeches that were made into poems.”

Meanwhile I walked around to the pro-RH side and checked their props, posters, and crowd size.  There are only a few of them.  Their many umbrellas and large streamers hide their small number.  Their posters say that “I am a Catholic from a family of 8 or 9.”  Then there is that guy posing as Bishop of Cartoon Diocese.  They focus their attacks on the Catholic Church, creating a parody church in the process.  Indeed, they lack imagination.  They cannot truly create but only mock.  As Frodo said of Orcs:

No, they eat and drink, Sam.  The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.  I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.  Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison.” (The Tower of Cirith Ungol, The Lord of the Rings)

Interesting.  When I walked to the other side,  I can’t hear what we in the Anti-RH side are saying.  And vice-versa.  I think this is what the current state of our dialogue on the RH Law right now.

10:54 a.m.

Anthony: “Sienna college is here.  Let us fight for life.  Our youth have talents; they just need the right guidance.  Let us celebrate life.  Thanks to all who came.  We can stay longer if we wish.  I know that many of you have classes.  Thank you very much for making a stand.  Let us think of our loved ones in our lives.  Let us think what if they were not born?  It is happier for men to love before they separate from each other.  So let us join hands and pray the “Our Father””

The crowd sang the Our Father.

Anthony: “Let us sing Happy Birthday To You!”

The crowd sang the song twice.

11:00 a.m.

The rally officially ended.  The Soldiers of Christ took over.  And they sang and prayed I think until 12:00 noon, which is the end of the rally permit.

Life is priceless

Life is priceless

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

God is Pro-Life

God is Pro-Life

Encyclical review: Lumen Fidei by Pope Francis

It is always refreshing to read encyclicals of popes. And the  encyclical Lumen Fidei is essentially that of Pope Benedict XVI with a few additions by Pope Francis, though we cannot distinguish them anymore, as Elves like Lindir cannot dissect the poem on Earendil made by two mortals Bilbo and Aragorn, and determine who wrote what.  As Pope Francis wrote in the Encyclical:

7. These considerations on faith — in continuity with all that the Church’s magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue — are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith. For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own. The Successor of Peter, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is always called to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the priceless treasure of that faith which God has given as a light for humanity’s path.

What I like about the Encyclical is that it is easy to read. It is a retelling of the important points of the Christian Faith understandable in the level of a Freshmen college student: Salvation history, Ten Commandments, Our Father, Christ and the Church, the Sacraments, etc. Indeed, this year is the year of Faith and the Encyclical has affirmed what many of us already take for granted or have not studied really well: why we are Catholic. For the encyclical to go to the level of the basics, it simply means one thing: many have lost the Catholic Faith–even entire countries and continents such as Europe. As Our Lady of Fatima said, “In Portugal the Faith will always be preserved….” And from this we can deduce the most terrifying corollary: “Outside of Portugal, the Faith will not be preserved.”

The encyclical quotes many Philosophers like St. Augustine,  Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche. It seems I can see the hand of Pope Benedict XVI here. If Chesterton uses the statements and histories of heretics and paradoxically turn these on their heads to argue for the truth of the Catholic Faith–the testimony of the heretics technique, Benedict XVI, on the other hand, usually quotes Atheists as a backdrops or launching pads for discussing the Catholic Faith–the testimony of the atheists technique. The technique is akin to Kenshin Himura’s Hiten Mitsurugi Sou-ryu-sen (Paired Dragon Flash): to attack the opponent not by the first stroke of the katana sword, but by the second stroke using the sheath. Indeed, one cannot dialogue with atheists using the Word of God as a sword, even though “the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. (Heb 4:12)” So instead, Benedict XVI uses Philosophy–the handmaiden of Theology–as a sheath for the second stroke.

If you are teaching Theology in college, I strongly recommend this encyclical as an assigned reading for the students. There is something for everyone here, especially for lovers:

27. The explanation of the connection between faith and certainty put forward by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is well known. For Wittgenstein, believing can be compared to the experience of falling in love: it is something subjective which cannot be proposed as a truth valid for everyone.[19] Indeed, most people nowadays would not consider love as related in any way to truth. Love is seen as an experience associated with the world of fleeting emotions, no longer with truth.
But is this an adequate description of love? Love cannot be reduced to an ephemeral emotion. True, it engages our affectivity, but in order to open it to the beloved and thus to blaze a trail leading away from self-centredness and towards another person, in order to build a lasting relationship; love aims at union with the beloved. Here we begin to see how love requires truth. Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey. If love is not tied to truth, it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time. True love, on the other hand, unifies all the elements of our person and becomes a new light pointing the way to a great and fulfilled life. Without truth, love is incapable of establishing a firm bond; it cannot liberate our isolated ego or redeem it from the fleeting moment in order to create life and bear fruit.

And also for scientists:

34. Nor is the light of faith, joined to the truth of love, extraneous to the material world, for love is always lived out in body and spirit; the light of faith is an incarnate light radiating from the luminous life of Jesus. It also illumines the material world, trusts its inherent order and knows that it calls us to an ever widening path of harmony and understanding. The gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulae and helps it to realize that nature is always greater. By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation.

Read on and enjoy!

What did Jesus say about homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and progressive taxes?

What does Jesus say about homosexuality, birth control, abortion, and progressive tax rates?

Question from Being Liberal (FB Page):

The only time the Bible tells us Jesus every got angry was when he chased the money-changers out of the temple.  That’s right; the one thing that really pissed off Jesus was greed.

There are literally hundreds of passages in the Bible where Jesus tells us to help the poor, the sick, and the elderly.  There are zero passages in the Bible where Jesus condemned homosexuality, birth control, abortion, or progressive tax rates.

Today, conservatives invoke Jesus’ name in condemning gay marriage, birth control, abortion and taxes, while they stridently oppose anything that helps the poor, the sick, and the elderly.

D’ya think conservatives are thinking of some other Jesus?

Answer:

When He chased money-changers out of the temple, Jesus was not simply angry because of the greed of the money-changers.  This is what Jesus said: “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.”  The Temple is the Father’s House.  And Jesus, being the Son, has the authority to cleanse the House and restore it to its original purpose.  The second layer of meaning is as follows: the cleansing of the temple based on animal sacrifices would soon be gone and replaced by the most perfect sacrifice of the most holy Victim:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. 7Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” (Heb 10:5-7)

Jesus may not have explicitly condemned gay marriage, birth control, abortion and taxes, but his actions speak that he is for the traditional marriage, fecundity, and payment of taxes.

At the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus and His Mother were there, and even changed water into wine to give joy to the worried bride and groom (Jn 2:1-11).  No, this is not a marriage of Adam and Steve or of Amy and Eve, but a real marriage of a man and a woman:

Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife],8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.9 Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mk 10:5-9)

Notice that Jesus says that there are only two sexes: male and female.  Nothing else.  And Jesus teaches the indissolubility of marriage.

If Jesus approved of abortion, he would have asked Angel Gabriel to tell His Mother, Mary, to abort Him after conception or to use  contraceptive so that she won’t be pregnant even if the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, thereby making  fruitless all efforts of God to save mankind through the Savior who shall be born by her.  Also, welcomes and loves children:

Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Mt 19:14)

Regarding taxes, Jesus does not prohibit paying taxes.  This is what he said when posed with a question whether to pay taxes to the emperor or not: “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Mt 22:21).  Also, when Jesus was with Peter, he also asked Peter to pay the temple tax for Peter himself and for him:

“What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”26 When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. 27 But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” (Mt 17:25-27)

There are still many things that Jesus did and taught that is not recorded in the Bible but were heard by his apostles:

“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25)

Jesus knows that he will soon be gone from the world.  What will happen to His teachings?  How shall He ensure that the apostles and their spiritual descendants the priests and bishops united in Charity would still teach the truth of Christ?  Jesus did not leave his apostles orphan: He sent to them the Holy Spirit.  As Jesus said:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,17the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you….The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. (Jn 14:15-26)

During the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit indeed came as Jesus promised, the Spirit who will teach the Church everything Jesus taught and remind the Church everything that Jesus did.  It is the Holy Spirit which guided the Church during the Apostolic Age.  The Holy Spirit chose Paul and Barnabas as one of those who are sent:

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. 3Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3)

The Holy Spirit continues to guide the Catholic Church down to the present day, providing the Church the teaching authority or Magisterium to definitively teach truth from error in matters and questions that were not yet posed before during the time of Christ and the apostles–questions such as on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and taxation.  The Catholic Church has extensively taught on these issues; the ones summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church are but the tip of the iceberg.  And I doubt if liberals has sifted through these issues in their fine details more than the Catholic Church as done.  As Gandalf said to the Mouth of Sauron:

“Indeed, I know them all and all their history, and despite your scorn, foul Mouth of Sauron, you cannot say as much.” (The Black Gate Opens, The Return of the King, LOTR).