Babies are not blessings? A reply to Ana Santos of Rappler

A newborn baby glistening in amniotic fluid (Wikipedia)

A newborn baby glistening in amniotic fluid (Wikipedia)

Ana Santos of Rappler wrote a piece entitled, “Babies are not blessings.” Santos quotes the figures related to having babies as given by Dr. Emma Llanto of UP-PGH and Society of Adolescent Medicine in the Philippines.  The whole article hinges on the definition of a the word “blessing,” so let us examine Santos’ understanding of this word by dissecting her statements one by one.

How Philippine media distorts Pope Francis’s words on contraception, abortion, and homosexual marriage

How Media distorts Pope Francis's words

How Media distorts Pope Francis’s words

Philippine Star and Rappler publishes an article by Agence France-Presse entitled (with slight variations), “Philippine Church ‘right’ despite Pope Francis’ comments”.  This technique used by Agence France-Presse (AFP) is called reframing–putting a different background to a quote to make it appear opposite to its original meaning. In this way, AFP makes it appear that the bishops, because of their opposition to contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, are not in line with the Pope Francis’s thoughts.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit: How Philippine media distorts Pope Francis’s words on contraception, abortion, and homosexual marriage

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.

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).

Connect the dots: Obama, Planned Parenthood, and the RH Law

Obama on protecting children: Gun Control and Planned Parenthood speeches

Obama on protecting children: Gun Control and Planned Parenthood speeches

A Summary of past events:

  • Obama did not support a bill banning partial birth abortion.
  • Obama meets with Aquino and gives development package.
  • Aquino supports the RH Bill.
  • Planned Parenthood lobbied for the passage of the RH Bill.
  • Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the US.
  • Obama speaks at a Planned Parenthood gathering.

Connect the dots.

Planned Parenthood knows what the elite of our country refuses to acknowledge: promote contraception and demand for abortion will rise. If a condom has 1% failure rate then 1 in 100 intercourse will fail and may lead to pregnancy. If intercourse is once a week, then within 100 weeks a condom will fail, which is about 2 years. If intercourse is once a day, then a condom will fail 1 in 100 days which is 3 months and 10 days. Even if you make condoms 0.1% failure rate, 1 in 1,000 intercourse will fail: that’s within 1,000 days or 3 years if you use condoms everyday or within 21 years if once a week. If you don’t want babies in the first place (that’s why you use condoms), then the baby once conceived becomes for you a nuisance that must be removed through abortion. In other words, contraception will ultimately lead to abortion because contraceptives fail. Indeed, as Fr. Hardon, SJ said:

I’m saying much more than meets the ears. What I am saying is that through the widespread, all but universal, practice of contraception, certainly in the once-Christian Western world, the very norms of morality have been changed. Instead of God determining what is right or wrong, it is now each person’s own will which is sovereign! So that, once contraception has been morally justified, and become even laudable and praiseworthy — hear it and weep — there is now no crime, no crime, that the same human mind cannot justify and that the civil laws created by human beings cannot legalize.

This is not difficult to imagine.  After the RH Bill was railroaded in the Congress and the Senate upon the orders of President Noynoy Aquino, the RH Bill supporters became more brazen: they are now openly pushing for divorce and same-sex marriage in mocking defiance of the Catholic Church, confidently saying, “There is no Catholic Vote!”  Once  Pro-RH Bill legislators can destroy the natural family–the family where each baby is welcomed with joy and each old parent is taken cared of until death–as what happened in France, then there is nothing anymore preventing them from passing laws for the legalization of abortion and euthanasia as well.

Planned Parenthood knows the numbers. It has a good business model–by good meaning it churns out profits in millions of dollars. Planned Parenthood knows that if it gets men and women accept contraceptives, then they will soon accept abortion as well, as the experience in US, Europe, and other countries has shown. And for Planned Parenthood, abortion–the killing of the unborn–means money and each pregnant is a potential client. That is why Planned Parenthood is always on the lookout for babies or for countries with many babies, such as the Philippines.  And all these with US Government’s financial support.

Planned Parenthood is like the Aswang of Filipino Folklore. The aswang awaits in the night, sniffing the air for the smell of ripe jackfruit–the smell of a pregnant woman. When it smells one, it becomes giddy with the scent, and flies to the house where the scent comes from. And there perched on the nipa roof, the aswang lowers its syringe-like tongue, sucking the amniotic fluid in the womb until the baby is delivered dead, stillborn–much like what happens in abortion clinics where they use syringe to insert salt solution to the amniotic fluid which burns the baby’s lungs and skin. If abortion fails, the baby can be partially delivered with its head still inside the woman’s body, then the baby’s brains are sucked out through a syringe–a procedure called partial birth abortion that Obama supports. And if by chance it happens that the baby is born alive, since the baby is not wanted, he will just be left to die in cold and hunger. If the abortionist is kind like Gosnell, he can simply break the babies spine by puncturing the neck–something short of decapitation–the form of mercy killing in the days of the Samurai code of honor, though this time it is the woman’s code of honor, with the baby as the badge of dishonor that must be removed from the face of the earth, though not from the memory where there it shall forever haunt until confessed.

So let us rethink again our support for the RH law and why we shall vote the politicians who supported such law. What are our real reasons? Is it because I am a big fan of Noynoy Aquino and he is the face of good governance and anti-corruption, so that whatever he says is good? Is it because my teachers in Ateneo and La Salle say so and I really admire them so I will believe anything they say? Is it because the Catholic Church is against the RH Law and anything that the Catholic Church stands for is what I shall embrace to show my rebellion as a true free thinker unbounded by dogmas of a medieval institution? Is it because Lagman is a Bicolano and I am also a Bicolano, so I must also support the RH law like Lagman? Is it because Risa Hontiveros is pretty and well-educated and she supports the RH law, so that’s why I also want to be like Risa Hontiveros and support the RH law? There are many underlying reasons to our support for the RH law. We have to uncover them, unearth them from our subconscious, and put them under the light of day by writing them down. So I suggest we use the Toyota’s 5 Why process by filling in the blanks:

I support the RH law.  (Why?)

  1. because _______________________. (Why?)
  2. because _______________________. (Why?)
  3. because _______________________. (Why?)
  4. because _______________________. (Why?)
  5. because _______________________.

The last answer is the real reason. Try this exercise. It may be cathartic.

Divorce Bill after the RH Bill: Wake up, sleeping Catholics!

The Seven Sleepers

The Seven Sleepers

See. Just as what we expected. After the RH Bill is the Divorce Bill. For Catholics who supported the RH Bill, I think it is time to wake up.

Wake up, O sleeper, and arise! After their fresh triumph in the RH Bill, the opponents of the Catholic Church are now setting their sites on a bigger kill: the Divorce Bill. What is the RH Bill but the divorce between the sexual act and the openness to life, with the condom as the barrier between the mutual self-giving of the husband and wife? Now the State wishes to separate the husband and the wife themselves, to break the marital bond through the Divorce Bill, even if Christ Himself warned us before: “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19:6). Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s Daang Matuwid is a railroad and the RH Bill is the train that pulls the other D.E.A.T.H. bills forward to their ratification–bills such as euthanasia, abortion, and same-sex marriage–following the pattern of the dying countries of the West who contracepted themselves and their economies to death.

Wake up, O sleeper, and arise! The dust has already settled in the aftermath of the battle against RH Bill. And we now see clearly the RH Bill for what it truly is–stripped of its pretensions, disguises, and double-speak: it is the fast-moving train carrying all the undead to bring life as we know it to an end. Remember The Priest movie. It is a parable for our modern world. If these bills gets passed, it will be the end of the world for Catholicism in the Philippines. Gone will be the Fiestas. Gone will be the Churches. Gone will be the priests. When the State unleashes the forces of fury and hatred against the Church, you will soon see the Pope walking in Manila amidst the bodies of his martyred priests. Remember the French Revolution. Remember the English Reformation. Remember the Mexican Revolution. It happened before. It can happen again–right on our very shores, right beneath our very noses. It can happen next decade. It can happen next year. It can happen next month. It can happen next week. It can happen today. Right now.

Wake up, O Sleeper, and arise! See the Two Standards before you. The Standard of Christ and the Standard of Satan. The Standard of the Church and the Standard of the World. The Standard of Life and the Standard of Death. Choose Christ over Satan. Choose the Church over the World. Choose Life over Death.

May God bless us.

“Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles” movie review

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

For those who wish for a good laugh, watch Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. For those looking to be terrified, watch another movie.  Over-all the movie has good pro-life values, especially the defense of the unborn.  The Filipino aswang mythology is standard, except for some parts. The movie touches on the importance of marriage and family.   The Catholic worldview, however, is absent, because there is no mention holy water, crucifix, blessed palms, and churches.

Characters

The three characters that stand-out are Joey Marquez (Nestor), Janice de Belen (Fely), and Dingdong Dantes (Makoy) in that order. Lovi Poe (Sonia) is weak and so are most of the villains.  Remove Joey Marquez and the movie would fall flat.  Joey’s character is the most dynamic: from docile to  decisive, from sane to lunatic, from  coward to fearless.  And his characterization is believable.  Janice de Belen is static but perfect: her change of character is only when she is being gnawed–not enough time to show off.  Dingdong gives a good characterization of a proud and rich Manila Boy, but I would wish to see a shift to a sober mood, even for a moment, such as when Sonia drops the bomb that he doesn’t have a regular job.  Lovi has a weak characterization of her role, except for two brief shining moments: when she shut the door against Dingdong at the beginning of the story and when her face is focused on the camera during the climax of the battle–she’s a woman to die for.  The human pig is memorable and so is the aswang girl whose two arms were chopped off.  Roi Vinzon as the head aswang community conveys strength and power, but he loses his aura when he turned into a flying monster–that big bird by the way is not canonical in aswang lore, though the chick inside him is.

Plot

The plot is a travel to four separate places: Sonia’s home, the marketplace, the military checkpoint, and the sari-sari store.  There are three waves of assaults: the crazed teenagers at the marketplace stopping a jeep, the attack of the family of the human-turned-pig at Sonia’s home, the race to the checkpoint and back to the home, the assault of the aswang head at Sonia’s home, the slow-mo action at the sari-sari-store, and the last battle at the salt sands.

What could have been done is to divide the story into two movies: 1) the assault of the first family and 2) the assault of the aswang community. In this way, there would be continuity in the story line.  The discovery of the assault the following day would make the aswang community lay low and the villagers would try to guess who the aswangs are.

The movie could have benefited from a lore-master character(s) who shall explain what to avoid being eaten–salt, garlic, stingray’s tail.  These things should have different levels of potency before, during, and after the shape-change.  If all aswangs simply burns to ashes, even with Boy Bawang, it becomes boring.  Aswangs are flesh and blood: they should burn like sprayed with hot lead under salt, they should be hit like a bullet if with a large garlic, and the stingray tail should curl around muscles and bones.  There should be different levels of pain, and this is best exemplified by the classic Herbert Bautista’s aswang in Shake, Rattle, and Roll: the pain of salt is more tolerable than the blessed palm.  The loremaster shall also explain whether a normal human being can be an aswang–saliva, scratch, bite, or transfer of chick.  And the transformation may not be at will but depends on the full moon.  Also, the time span need not be a day and a night.  Some quests have to be involved to acquire salt or garlic or stingray’s tail and each quest must have its own dangers.

The aswangs are one dimensional: they are just there to be killed.  There is no anguish.  No moral decisions to make.  So their deaths do not mean anything.  Rivalry for the love of Sonia could have been exploited for the tension if an aswang was in love with Sonia.   The turning of Makoy into an aswang because of his bite and scratch would could also be a source of tension and healing him requires a quest or a self-sacrifice. Had their family friend turned into an aswang after being bitten, there would be a true dilemma there when his joke on being an aswang becomes a reality.  That could have been the climax and the assault of the entire aswang community should be part of another movie. According to Aristotle in his Poetics, the main actor and the villain must be former friends, family members, or lovers for the climax to unfold.  Otherwise, the plot fails and the movie leaves you with nothing but the sound of a good laugh that soon dies away.

Special Effects

The second part could have benefited from good CGI.  The landscape is good: I barely notice that it is CGI.  The aswang graphics, which has similarity with the vampires in the Priest movie, are not smooth.  Jumping requires knowledge of parabolic motion in physics: you slow down as you reach the highest point and gain speed faster as you go down.  But the jumping dogs in the movie tend to float and the movements of their four legs needs to be properly coordinated.  The landing in the roof should also make a sound and dent on the roof.  There could also be close-ups of the aswang faces.  Not all aswangs should have the same powers.  Even if they are all dog-beasts, some should be weaker and some should be stronger, and they must be clearly distinguishable.  Resident evil, for example, has different classes of creatures with different powers and weaknesses.  In the movie, there is not much distinction.

An aerial view of the house and the neighboring houses (especially the sari-sari store) prior to the assault could have been useful, especially during the attack itself.  It would give the viewers the context of the creeping doom, and whether escape is really possible.  The transfer from Sonia’s house to the sari-sari store is a drama by itself.  Can they really run fast enough while Dingdong is carrying his pregnant wife?  Halfway he could have tripped and their escape could have been discovered.  The aerial view of the houses would provide the basis for the feasibility of the escape.  Or at least a debate among the family members whether such escape is possible: the path to take and the plan to avoid detection.  But the movie cleverly tried to hide it by the characters agreed not to make noises and only one made shouted at last to summon the aswangs to destroy them in a self-sacrifice.  Somewhat believable, but not quite.

Pro-Life and Catholic Reading

The movie has a strong pro-life message: the man must have the courage to defend the woman and the child within her womb.  The most memorable words are when Makoy calls Nestor, “Tatay” or “Father”.  A bond has been formed between Makoy and his father-in-law because a bond has been formed between Makoy and Sonia: a child.  The last image of the movie is a baby falling in the air.  To “fall” in Filipino is “laglag”.  If the baby was aborted, the term is “nalaglag ang bata” or “the baby fell”.  But Sonia was able to catch her falling baby.  Figuratively, she did not abort the child.  This is what the Catechism says regarding abortion:

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

The aswangs, which are drawn to the smell of a pregnant woman and who loves the taste of babies flesh especially just after birth, reminds us of the pro-abortion groups like Likhaan and Akbayan in the Philippines or the Planned Parenthood in the US.  We can even liken Pres. Obama as the head aswang because of his long continuous track record for promoting abortion and Planned Parenthood, even allowing a baby to die in partial-birth abortion, where the baby’s brain is sucked out before the head leaves the womb, even though the baby’s body was already out.

There was a point in the movie when Sonia declared that if her child was killed by the aswangs, it is also fitting that she should also be killed.  But Makoy rebuked her.  Despair, in Catholic Theology, is a sin against the First Commandment:

2091….By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice – for the Lord is faithful to his promises – and to his mercy.

The night may bring out dog-demons, carrion birds, and pig-like orcs,  but each day brings new hope with the breaking of the dawn.