Battering Rams: Estimating the energy of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed Bohol’s churches

“Little Boy” atomic bomb

According to Philippine Star, Dr. Renato Solidum of Phivolcs reported that “a magnitude 7 earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs”.   I verified his estimate in Earthquake Energy Calculator and constructed the following table:

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit: Battering Rams: Estimating the energy of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed Bohol’s churches

Monk’s Hobbit posts for August 2013

Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit

The Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit is to strengthen the Catholic Faith of Filipinos worldwide. The blog posts are limited to the following labels: Business, Economics, Films, History, Literature, Liturgy, Music, News, Politics, Science, and Theology. These labels appear on the tabs at the top. Click on each tab and all posts with that label will appear. Click on the Monk’s Hobbit Title Banner and you’ll go to the home page to see all articles.

Memories of Mar Girgis Church in Egypt before the Great Burning

About a train ride from Helwan University is Girgis station. It is named after St. George the Dragon Slayer. In this place is the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis which was recently burned by supporters of Muslim Brotherhood. There were already 64 churches burned in Egypt in a single day. Unbelievable. Such wanton hate which reminds me of the burning of Minas Tirith.

Latin Mass at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola on 17 August 2013, 8:30 am

The Ateneo Latin Mass Society cordially invites you to a Latin Mass in Extraordinary Form in honor of St. Hyacinth, confessor with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and st. Lawrence on Saturday, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ shall celebrate the mass.

Ateneo Latin Mass 17 August 2013: Some pictures

Here are some pictures of the Latin Mass that was held today, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. The mass was celebrated in honor of St. Hyacinth with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Lawrence. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ celebrated the mass. The Mass was sponsored by the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Other pictures can be found in my Google Plus album.

Raise the Shire! Hobbits to gather in Luneta against Pork Barrel

There is a new Facebook page: “Million people march to Luneta August 26 sa araw ng mga bayani. Protesta ng bayan!” Below are the aims of the organizers of the march: “We, the taxpayers, want: the pork barrel scrapped, the senators and congressmen in the pork barrel fund scam investigated and charged accordingly, with full media coverage for the people to see.

Janet Napoles and Shelob the Great

Shelob is the giant spider-like creature that lived in Morgul Vale, guarding the secret path to Sauron’s realm in Mordor: “There agelong she had dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, even such as once of old had lived in the Land of the Elves in the West that is now under the Sea, such as Beren fought in the Mountains of Terror in Doriath, and so came to Luthien upon the green sward amid the hemlocks in the moonlight long ago.”

Gandalf and Christ: Setting fire on earth and hearts

In today’s Gospel, Christ said: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12:49). During Pentecost, Christ fulfilled His wish

Ang Kapatiran Party starts signature campaign vs Pork Barrel System in change.org

This 21 August 2012, the National Holiday in commemoration of the death of Ninoy Aquino, Ang Kapatiran Party (Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Kabutihan or The Alliance for the Common Good) is making a signature campaign to abolish the Pork Barrel in Change.org: Pangulong Benigno Aquino III: Wakasan na ang Pork Barrel System/PDAF. Please visit this site and sign the petition as I did. The petition is in Filipino. Here’s my translation.

Birth Control: Always winter, but never Christmas

In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2), a White Witch ruled Narnia for a hundred years, making it “always winter, but never Christmas.” In this post, I would like to reflect on the phrase “always winter, but never Christmas” in the context of the demographic winter and the Birth Control.

Book Review of Ricardo Semler’s “Maverick”: The glory of a company is man fully alive

I finished reading Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. I noticed that the principles that Semler used to run Brazil’s SEMCO are based on Gospel values, though he may not consciously do so. The overarching principle of Semler’s company management that we can deduce from his book is this: The glory of the company is man fully alive.

Vilma Santos’s Extra in Cinemalaya 2013: Mystery of the Face

Extra (The Bit Player) starring Vilma Santos is a movie entry to the Cinemalaya 2013. The extras are the hobbits in the movie industry governed by wizards (movie directors) and powerful lords (producers). Extra is a movie about the life of these little people that makes movies happen. As Loida (Vilma) said, it is the crowd that define the setting, for what is a restaurant without ordinary people eating or a street without people walking by? “I used to be part of the crowd, too, ” Loida told a young girl. “But look at me now, I am a still part of the crowd.” She laughed.

Crowd estimate of Anti-Pork Barrel Rally at Luneta last 26 Aug 2013

A friend in Filipinos for Life asked me to make make a crowd estimate of the Luneta Rally last 26 Aug 2013. She sent me an aerial photograph of the crowd by Architect Paulo Alcazaren in Inquirer, which I used it as the basis of my crowd estimate, assuming there are no other persons outside the picture. There is also another excellent photo by Alcazaren in GMA Network.

SLSSG: Traditional Latin Mass Schedule for September 2013

Societas Liturgiae Sacrae Sancti Gregorii is an apostolate dedicated to the celebration, promotion and propagation of the Traditional Latin Mass of St. Gregory the Great, implementing the Motu Proprio, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM as envisioned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Is the viability of a fertilized ovum a condition for its humanity as claimed by Lagman?

Let’s state Lagman’s definitions, though we may disagree with him. For him, conception is different from fertilization. Fertilization is the meeting of the egg (ovum) and the sperm. Conception is the implantation of this fertilized ovum on the woman’s uterus.

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).

JC de los Reyes and the Ignatian Tradition: Politics as a vocation

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

Meet John Carlos (JC) de los Reyes, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

JC studied in Ateneo de Manila Grade School of the Jesuit Fathers and then in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School of the La Salle Brothers. In college, he took up AB in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  In 1999 he finished his post-graduate studies in Public Administration in University of the Philippines and in 2005 he finished his Law Degree in St. Louis University in Baguio City.

In this article, I shall focus only on JC’s Ignatian roots and his view of politics as a vocation.  (Hopefully, in another article, I shall write on JC’s Lasallian roots and his view on empowerment through entrepreneurship).  I shall frame the article as a response to a series of questions.

Introduction: Jesuit System of Education

Jesuit-run schools are outgrowths of the need to train the next generation of Jesuits.  Since many parents also want their children to receive the same training as the Jesuits, the parents enrolled their children in Jesuit universities, and the Society of Jesus adapted to this new apostolate.  That is why Ateneans in their early years are grounded in the Catechism and the recitation of the Rosary.  Mary is the model and all Ateneans are slowly transformed into soldiers who shall offer their sword–their time, talents, and treasures–to our Lady, as St. Ignatius did at Montserrat in March 1522.  Indeed, the Ateneo’s Alma Mater song is none other but the Song for Mary: “Mary for you!  For your white and blue!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!”

But to be a true soldier of Mary and companion of Christ, an Atenean must be intellectually prepared for such a task.  He must study as St. Ignatius studied in University of Paris–Grammar (Latin), Literature, Philosophy, and Theology.  Thus, an Atenean must be able to write lucid prose, dissect a poem, read original philosophical and theological texts, and discuss a thesis statements in oral exams.  It’s the rigor of thought sharpened by years of training.  Jesuit education is a system of education born out of decades of Jesuit experimentation on educational theory–what works and what doesn’t in the actual classroom with data from all Jesuit schools around the world.  The results of this experiments were distilled into the Ratio Studiorum of 1599, also known in full as the Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum Societatis Iesu (“The Official Plan for Jesuit Education”).  It is a guide for how a Jesuit school is run and how teachers should teach different subjects.  It is a guide that remains in force today, albeit with some modifications, in all Jesuit schools, including the Ateneo de Manila University.

Question 1: Is JC de los Reyes a true Atenean?

He is.  His elementary education in Ateneo de Manila Grade School with the Jesuits suffices.  As the Jesuits would say: “Give me the child for seven years, and I will give you the man.”  So even if JC has not undergone college in Ateneo and trained by the Jesuits to read the classics from Aristotle to Aquinas to Kant, JC has studied the works of these authors more than the average Atenean: JC studied them when he took up his AB in Theology in the Franciscan University of Steubenville, one of the most Orthodox Catholic Universities in the US.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 2: What’s an Atenean like JC de los Reyes doing in a Franciscan University?

Oh, why is our Jesuit Pope named Francis? When St. Ignatius was recuperating after being hit by a cannonball, he read the “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis and the lives of the saints, which made him wish to imitate the heroic lives of saints such as St. Francis of Assisi.  When St. Ignatius reached the Holy Land, hoping to settle there and convert the Muslims, the Franciscans sent him back to Europe.  And from this setback arose the Jesuit mission of Counter-Reformation and the establishment of Jesuit Schools throughout Europe.  By 1739, there were 669 Jesuit schools throughout the world.  The bond between Jesuits and Franciscans is deep.

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

Question 3: There is no doubt that JC de los Reyes would be a good philosopher or theologian.  But politics is a different thing.  To be a man and woman for others, you need competence.  Is JC de los Reyes competent to be a senator?  

For Plato, the ideal ruler is the Philosopher-King as stated in his book, The Republic.  Thus, to be a philosopher suffices to be a senator.  As Socrates said in Plato’s Republic:

Inasmuch as philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not philosophers, I must ask you which of the two classes should be the rulers of our State?

The Philosophers, of course.  And Socrates continued with his proposed definitions on what it is to be a philosopher:

 Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption….And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all true being; there is no part whether greater or less, or more or less honorable, which they are willing to renounce; as we said before of the lover and the man of ambition…. And if they are to be what we were describing, is there not another quality which they should also possess?… Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their minds falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love the truth….He whose desires are drawn toward knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly feel bodily pleasure–I mean, if he be a true philosopher and not a sham one….Such a one is sure to be temperate and the reverse of covetous; for the motives which make another man desirous of having and spending, have no place in his character….Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be considered….Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously toward the true being of everything…. Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, necessary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation of being?…And must not that be a blameless study which he only can pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick to learn–noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance, who are his kindred?…And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and education, and to these only you will entrust the State.

That’s JC de los Reyes: the philosopher who aspires to be a senator.  But JC never contented himself with the study of Philosophy or Theology.  He wishes to be a competent public servant.  That is why he studied Bachelor of Laws in the University of the Philippines and did post-graduate studies in Public Administration at St. Louis University in Baguio City.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 4: Does JC de los Reyes subscribe to Liberation Theology?

Yes, but only within the bounds set by Vatican, as defined by the Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” which was signed by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) when he was the head of the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith.  The Instruction concludes:

The words of Paul VI in his “Profession of Faith”, express with full clarity the faith of the Church, from which one cannot deviate without provoking, besides spiritual disaster, new miseries and new types of slavery. “We profess our faith that the Kingdom of God, begun here below in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing away, and that its own growth cannot be confused with the progress of civilization, of science, and of human technology, but that it consists in knowing ever more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ, to hope ever more strongly in things eternal, to respond ever more ardently to the love of God, to spread ever more widely grace and holiness among men. But it is this very same love which makes the Church constantly concerned for the true temporal good of mankind as well. Never ceasing to recall to her children that they have no lasting dwelling here on earth, she urges them also to contribute, each according to his own vocation and means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited. The intense concern of the Church, the bride of Christ, for the needs of mankind, their joys and their hopes, their pains and their struggles, is nothing other than the great desire to be present to them in order to enlighten them with the light of Christ, and join them all to Him, their only Savior. It can never mean that the Church is conforming to the things of this world, nor that she is lessening the earnestness with which she awaits her Lord and the eternal Kingdom.” (Emphasis mine.)

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates.  From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates. From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Question 5.  Is this passage where Ang Kapatiran Party got its name?

Brotherhood among men.  That’s what the Ang Kapatiran Party is all about: the brotherhood who “lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited.”  That’s why JC de los Reyes joined the Ang Kapatiran Party: in order to serve the poor, not within the framework of class struggle as espoused by the Marxist Left–many of whom are now occupying positions of power in Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration–but within the framework of Catholic Social Doctrine as expressed in papal documents such as “Mater et Magistra,” “Pacem in Terris,” “Populorum progressio,” “Evangelii nuntiandi,” “Octogesima adveniens”, “Redemptor hominis”, “Dives in misericordia”,  “Laborem exercens,” and Second Vatican Council’s “Gaudium et Spes.”

Whether Ang Kapatiran Party got its name from this passage of the Instruction is not known.  But the concept of brotherhood of men is as old as Christianity itself.  First, we are all brothers and sisters because our Faith teaches us that we all came from the same parents: Adam and Eve.  Second, all baptized Christians become adopted sons and daughters of God, so that we call Christ as our brother and God as “Abba” or Father.  That is why, during the Mass, we have the courage to pray the “Our Father”.

Question 6. There is a useful concept in Liberation Theology: structures of sin. What for JC de los Reyes and the Ang Kapatiran Party are the structures of sin in Philippine Politics?

As stated in Cardinal Ratzinger’s Instruction:

Structures, whether they are good or bad, are the result of man’s actions and so are consequences more than causes. The root of evil, then, lies in free and responsible persons who have to be converted by the grace of Jesus Christ in order to live and act as new creatures in the love of neighbor and in the effective search for justice, self-control, and the exercise of virtue.

It is the duty of the Church to convert each man to Christ.  For its part, it is the duty of political parties such as the Ang Kapatiran Party to work for the establishment of good structures in government by crafting sound laws and ensure their implementation.  The Ang Kapatiran Party believes that there are many sinful structures that needs to be eradicated: pork barrel system, political dynasties, nontransparency and nonaccountability in governance, proliferation of loose firearms, and the RH law.  Please visit the Ang Kapatiran Party website for more detailed discussions of these issues.

7.  Is not Politics dirty?  How can Politics be a Vocation?

Politics has been perennially associated with the word “dirty,” because it is in politics that one meets  political butterflies, balimbings, rumor-mongers, character assassins, vote-buyers, boot-lickers, mud-slingers, and plastic men.  It is in politics that one crosses paths with druglords, warlords, and church groups crying, “Praise the Lord!”  Politics, indeed, is a dirty world–but a dirty world in need of redemption.  As JC de los Reyes wrote:

Please don’t be too mesmerized with track record and political experience. In Philippine politics, decades in power and experience means political survival, immoral compromise and corruption (jueteng payola). Track record often times is financed by the infamous pork barrel fund. Then they say, “I did this, I did that…” The big question is, what did you do and what will you do to contribute to PRINCIPLED POLITICS, a term that has been gagged side-lined and waylaid by trapos and demagogues.

For JC de los Reyes, politics can be a vocation, a path to holiness, for it is in politics that one can practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy on the scale of the barangay, the city, the province, and the country.  Most of the corporal works of mercy–feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbour the harbourless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, bury the dead–are handled by government and institutions such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).  On the other hand, most of the spiritual works of mercy–instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead–are primarily the duties of the Catholic Church; the instruction of the ignorant is primarily addressed by Catholic Schools and it was only after the Americans took over the Philippine colony that the State intervened in education through the Public School System and the establishment of state universities such as the University of the Philippines.

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

8. What is the end or the ultimate goal of Politics?

The ultimate goal of politics is the salvation of man, because as St. Irenaeus said, “the great glory of God is man fully alive.” And this is not only in the here and now with the Millenium Development Goals and Happiness Index, but also in the life hereafter–heaven.  St. Ignatius tells us in his Spiritual Exercises to always begin with the end in mind.  And for a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes, the end is the Last Judgment.  This would be terrifying thought for a politician who has not exercised his duties to his neighbors during their lives on earth:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ (Mt 25:41-45)

With this end in mind, a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes then performs his duties as demanded by his office, and prays the Prayer for Generosity of St. Ignatius:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen

As JC de los Reyes wrote:

The most profound victory not only for the Philippines but for humanity is if Ang Kapatiran Party can produce politicians or more aptly, political missionaries who have the purest of hearts and intentions, who do things not for votes but intensely out of love and compassion. Those who will ‘decrease, so He might increase,’ those who will ‘not let their right hand know what their left hand is doing,’ those who are ‘not lukewarm but cold or hot,’ those ‘who let their yes mean yes, and no mean no,’ and perhaps, those who will assume a faith journey whose victory is ‘now but not yet.’

That is why for JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party, politics is a vocation.

(Full disclosure: The author, Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University.  He finished his BS Physics (1997), MS Physics (1999), and Ph.D. in Physics (2010)  in Ateneo de Manila University.  Though he is not an official member of the Ang Kapatiran Party, Dr. Sugon campaigns online for the Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidates JC de los Reyes, Lito Yap David, and Marwil Llasos.)

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.

ALMS: Latin Mass on 17 Jan 2013, 6 pm at Ateneo de Manila University

Latin Mass on 17 Jan 2013, Thursday, 6 pm, at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University

Latin Mass on 17 Jan 2013, Thursday, 6 pm, at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University

Resignation of Ateneo theology faculty Rafael Liacco-Dy: the Unclean Spirit is behind the RH Law

Rafael Liacco-Dy

I read in CBCP for Life that Rafael Liacco-Dy, a faculty in the Department of Theology of Ateneo de Manila University, has resigned because of the RH Law:

“The Holy Spirit’s will and that spirit’s will are never the same (cf. CCC 676). It rejects God’s truth (cf. John 8:45). Moreover, when one becomes allied to it, one becomes like it (cf. John 8:44), he said. “Thus here the saying also holds: ‘No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other’ (Matthew 6:24). Because of these realities, I believe that my service to the Church and my service to ADMU no longer coincide, and I believe that I can no longer share the path that ADMU has taken. Therefore I hereby resign both my teaching position and my tenure at ADMU Theology,” he said.

I only knew him as Raffy and our road crossed several times years ago. We sometimes chat along the way. But I never knew he is the same person named Rafael Liacco-Dy. His leaving Ateneo is really a sad news. May his leaving be not in vain. May it spur us to reflect on where Ateneo is heading as Ateneo is redefining its Mission and Identity. Will Ateneo professors continue to insist on a parallel Magisterium contrary to that of the Catholic Church, especially on the issue of contraception and the RH Bill, while at the same time claim Catholicity? According to his resignation letter, the debate on the RH law “has manifested at an unusually high level of ferocity, even hatred. It has manifested in the wholesale denigration of the Church – of her teachings, of her bishops, of her catechists, and of her common lay faithful.” Christ said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.k16l By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.” (Mt 7:15-17)

If the debate on the RH law has resulted to Ateneans badmouthing the Catholic Church, then the Spirit behind the RH Law, which was mentioned by Rafael Liacco-Dy, is not the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul said:

“But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.n
19* Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,o20idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,p21 occasions of envy,* drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,q23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:18-23)

It is clear from this statement by St. Paul that the RH Law is primarily the works of the flesh and its consequences are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, selfishness, sexual orgies.  These are the consequences of the Unclean Spirit. What the Law should have done is to instill discipline to the citizens.  Instead, the RH law gave them more opportunities for immorality, such as safe sex of unmarried couples.  And even if it is between married couples, it is still not moral according to the teachings of the Church.  Sexual intercourse must be a symbol of the the total self-giving of the married couple, and that is why they should be both naked.  There should be nothing getting in the way of their union.  But why is man’s little part still dressed in condom? Or why is a woman covers her uterine walls with chemicals or her ovaries with IUD.  They are not completely naked.  They are withholding something back, and that is their gift of self to the other.

A dead fish goes with the current.  A living fish swims against it.  What the RH law effectively says is that if we can’t stop the young from fornicating and the married from having extramarital affairs, then we might just as well provide them with “protection from pregnancy,” as if pregnancy is a disease that must be protected against through “essential medicines” like contraceptives.  Actually, out-of-wedlock pregnancies are symptoms of the society’s moral disease which contraceptives wants to hide.  The contraceptive cure only worsens the moral disease.

Return of the Unclean Spirit

Let us recall the Parable of the Unclean Spirit.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’25But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.26Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.” (Lk 11:24-26)

The Unclean Spirit behind the RH Bill is not the Holy Spirit behind the Gospel.  In the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in the 1962 Missal, the “from the spirit of uncleanness” is a translation of the Latin “a spiritu fornicationis” (p. 47).  It is a fitting translation, because fornication is the sexual intercourse between unmarried couples–the safe sex promoted by the RH Bill.  If you remove the Spirit behind the Gospels in Philippine Laws, it creates a spiritual vacuum that must be filled with another spirit–the Unclean Spirit behind the RH Bill.

The Catholic Church has already exorcised the Spirit of Uncleanness from the Philippines.  Just read Morga’s “Historical Events of the Philippines, 1609” which was annotated by Dr. Jose P. Rizal and you will learn about all the sexual fetishes of ancient Filipinos –they even prefer not a virgin during honeymoon and would in fact hire someone to have the first intercourse to break the hymen. Now, the RH Law has removed the Church’s influence in sexual morals through the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, which should actually be named as the National Contraceptive Law.    If this Spirit sees that the Philippines is like a house in order–the Bishops saying against the RH law has been put in the sidelines and the government goes full gear in applying the RH law, then this Spirit would invite other spirits much worse than itself–the Spirits of DEATH, which the bishops identify as Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control (or Total Reproductive Health), and Homosexuality.  And the state of the Philippines would be much more worse than it was once in its pagan years.

Since the RH Law has been signed (clandestinely) by PNoy, we must fight this law through all legal means available.  We must educate the the people on the evils of the RH law and preach the Gospel once again. The bishops and priests must treat Filipinos as if they were the same pagans when the Spaniards first came.  This is the Year of Faith.  This is the Year for New Evangelization, the New Conquest of the Philippine Islands for the Catholic Faith.

In summary, Catholics can disobey the RH Law in good conscience and they should do so. Parents with children in schools should withdraw their children from sex education classes, as a non-violent resistance from the evil law.   A catechetical program for parents should be organized by bishops and priests.  The Sermons during the mass should have more doctrinal meat than just the “feel-good” homilies we hear.  The Catholic schools should be strengthened.  The living rosary should be promoted.  Pro RH law professors, government officials, and  public personalities who publicly promote the use of the contraceptive Pill should be given by their bishops the bitter pill of excommunication, and in doing so save the souls of little ones whose faith were shaken by the continued unchecked scandal in the Church.

Emperor Theodosius once went  to Bishop St. Ambrose, and repented of his sins for the massacre in Thessalonica.  As Theodosius said during the period of his excommunication to his servant:

“You are mocking me, Rufinus; you do not comprehend the nature of my trouble. I am lamenting my unhappy lot; the holy Church is open to slaves and beggars, but is shut to me; and heaven is closed to me, for I remember the words of our Lord which distinctly say, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven’.” (cristoraul)

Repentance of public officials such as that of the Roman Emperor happened before.  It can happen again today for Pres. Noynoy Aquino.  But the bishops must be firm.

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

Born February 14, 1970, married to Dunia Valenzuela with four children, Gabriel 14, Santiago 12,Barbara, 10 and Juliana 1.

JC as he is known is owner/proprietor of Legobrick Systems and Designs (www.facebook.com/legobrickphilippines), managing director of Barbara’s Foods, Inc.  and sole proprietor of RJ Marine Allied and General Services, a company engaged in shipping services. He is at present, president of Ang Kapatiran Party, national political party, and President of the Intramuros Tourism Council.

He studied in Ateneo de Manila for his elementary education, and graduated in De la Salle for high school. He finished his B.A. in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. In 1999 he finished his post-graduate studies in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and has a law degree from Saint Louis University, Baguio City.

In 1993 he taught Philosophy in the then Center for Research and Communication, now the University of Asia and the Pacific, and was under the tutelage of Fr. Joseph de Torre, a Spanish priest of the Holy Cross who wrote extensively on the social teachings of the Church. This training led him to work with Fr. Joe Dizon, being lead animator of Solidarity Philippines, a movement to pro-actively advance the Social Teachings of the Church. In 1995, he ran and was elected City Councilor of Olongapo. During his term, he focused on the poor, the youth and cooperatives.

In 1996, JC met Nandy Pacheco in the National Renewal Movement. JC a new politician at age 25 was disappointed with the political party he joined as there was no emphasis on platform and principles. He was then a member of the Nacionalista Party in name but not in heart.

During this time President Ramos’ men were ramming down charter change as his term was to end in 1998. De Venecia’s Rainbow Coalition was the source of patronage and power. Also, that same time was wrought by fear and uncertainty for an Estrada presidency. This was the backdrop under which the National Renewal Movement was organizing.

In 1998, JC did not run for re-election out of disgust for patronage/trapo politics and campaigned for Santi Dumlao and Nandy Pacheco of National Renewal’s Bago Party. Unfortunately, they lost but the fire and zeal obviously did not end there. It was after this, and after intense prayer and discernment that it was a genuine accountable and responsible political party that was seen as the missing link for real reforms in Philippine Politics.

In late 2003, Norman Cabrera for Central Luzon, JC de los Reyes for Northern Luzon and Fr. Leonardo Polinar for the Visayas and Mindanao gathered the needed signatures for the accreditation of Alliance for the Common Good or Ang Kapatiran Party. It was finally accredited by COMELEC on 8 May 2004 or 2 days before the 10 May 2004 elections.

After a decade absent from local politics, JC ran under Kapatiran party in the 2007 elections and, among the party’s 30 local and national candidates, he was Kapatiran’s lone winner.

He campaigned against illegal drugs, rampant violations of worker’s rights at Hanjin and was outspoken against illegal fish cages in Olongapo. More recently, he also led protests against the proposed coal power plant and criticized government’s plan to open more casinos in Subic. He filed numerous cases before the Ombudsman against high ranking government officials where he himself was complainant.

In the 2010 national elections, he was the youngest presidential candidate who led the charge for new politics, together with a vice-president, 8 senatorial and 50 local candidates. Though they lost the election, they won the awareness of the people on issues such as the RH bill, the political dynasties issue, the FOI and the need for platform and principles based politics.

(Note: Thanks to Norman Cabrera of Ang Kapatiran Party for sharing to me this article.)

Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Is academic freedom incompatible with the primacy of Catholic teaching?

From RH Bill and the Catholic University:

OBJECTION 2: The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom.  Professors should be free to teach whatever truths they have obtained through years of scholarly research.  What does the study of galaxies and viruses have to do with Catholic theology?

RESPONSE:

Professors in Catholic Universities are free to pursue any field of knowledge in so far as they do not trespass on Catholic doctrine in the same way as school children are free to roam around the school as long as they respect the proper boundaries: they cannot disturb other classes; they must be in their classroms during class hours; they cannot enter faculty rooms without permission; they must be silent at the library or in the chapel; and they must not jump over the fence during school hours.  That is why a school map is useful, because it defines the boundaries of the school and the freedoms associated with each school area.  In a similar way, the Catholic Church also has an amazing map of human knowledge that “looks like a maze but is in fact a guide to the maze”–locating where men are free to engage in idle speculation and where discussion is off-limits.  Chesterton says it best in his essay, Why I am Catholic (1926):

The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.

There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them.

On this map of the mind the errors are marked as exceptions. The greater part of it consists of playgrounds and happy hunting-fields, where the mind may have as much liberty as it likes; not to mention any number of intellectual battle-fields in which the battle is indefinitely open and undecided. But it does definitely take the responsibility of marking certain roads as leading nowhere or leading to destruction, to a blank wall, or a sheer precipice. By this means, it does prevent men from wasting their time or losing their lives upon paths that have been found futile or disastrous again and again in the past, but which might otherwise entrap travelers again and again in the future. The Church does make herself responsible for warning her people against these; and upon these the real issue of the case depends. She does dogmatically defend humanity from its worst foes, those hoary and horrible and devouring monsters of the old mistakes.

In the case of the RH Bill and contraception, the Catholic Church has already mapped out the roads and the cliff awaiting us if such a bill is going to push through: loss of respect for the woman, destruction of the family, and government’s interference in married life.  All these are described in Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae:

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

Humanae Vitae saw with clarity in 1968 the grave consequences of adoption of contraception, especially its elevation by the government into a national policy.  Let us take two countries, for example, USA and Singapore:

  • In the USA, the Birth Control Movement started with  Margaret Sangers in 1914.  The 7th Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion approved birth control in 1930.  Griswold of Planned Parenthood challenged the anti-contraception law of Connecticut which led to US Supreme Court’s declaration of unconstitutionality of the Connecticut law in 1965, citing the right to privacy of couples.  The Griswold v. Connecticut ruling was only for legality of the use of contraceptives by married couples.  In 1972, this ruling was extended in Einstadt v. Baird to unmarried couples as well.  (Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.)  In 2003, the ruling was again extended in Lawrence v. Texas to homosexual unions, thereby repealing the anti-Sodomy law in Texas as unconstitutional. Last Aug 1, 2012, Obamacare mandated inclusion of contraceptives in insurance takes effect.  This contraceptive mandate exempts Churches and Houses of Worship, but not Christian charities, Christian hospitals, and Catholic Universities.
  • In Singapore, family planning was introduced by volunteers in 1949.   In 1966, the Parliament established the National Family Programme which provides clinical services and family planning education.  In 1970 Lee Kuan Yew started the Stop at Two campaign with the legalization of sterilization and abortion.  Parents who did not abide by the two-child limit were penalized with taxes, higher hospital costs, and less opportunities in housing and education.  In 1975, the fertility rate dropped below the replacement rate.  In 1983, Lee noted the seriousness of the problem that women with educational degrees do not become mothers.  In 1984, the government established the Social Development Unit (nicknamed “Fat, Desperate, and Ugly”) that promoted dating among men and women with university degrees. In 1986, the government abolished the Stop at Two program and promoted Three or More (If You Can Afford It). Last Aug 11, 2012 Lee changed his decades-long policy and advocated marriage and more babies for Singaporeans. He said: “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.”

And now the Philippines wishes to take the same path as US and Singapore by trying to make the Reproductive Health Bill into a law.  The Catholic Church has seen the road that this bill will lead to as guided by her Teaching Authority and the evidence of others who went down on this path, such as USA, Singapore, and many other countries.  And this is why the Catholic Church is against the RH Bill.

Man is like sheep: his vision is limited only to what is immediately in front of him.  Man lives only for a few decades and his experiences does not span all human experiences across all places and times.  So his judgment is limited, even if he were a genius like Einstein.  Like a sheep who cannot see farther ahead–a pool of water, a green pasture, a cliff, or a wolf –man needs a shepherd.  He needs God as his shepherd, because God knows everything and He created the world and man himself.  Only God knows what is good for man.  As David would sing in one of his Psalms:

The LORD is my shepherd;*there is nothing I lack. a2 In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me;3b he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths* for the sake of his name.4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. (Ps 23:1-4)

But Christ is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Christ built His Church on Peter (Rock) with the gift of special revelation from the Father, with indestructibility, and with the power of binding and loosing:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:17-19)

Thus, if the Catholic Church declares contraception as intrinsically wrong, a teaching binding on all the Catholic faithful, then we can bet with our life that the Church does speak the truth and that this teaching is ratified in heaven.

Christ is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:1-6).  And Christ shared his ministry to Peter: feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep as a sign of his total love for Christ (c.f. Jn 21:15-17).  Christ appointed the apostles  to act as Judges of the Church: “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28).  He also appointed 72 disciples as his ambassadors: ”Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Lk 10:16).  Such apostolic ministry is continued to this day by the Pope and the bishops and priests united with him.

RH Bill and the Catholic University

The Varsitarian editorial, RH Bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of Lemons and Cowards, has been criticized because there is no byline. But editorials have no bylines. Check out Inquirer and Philippine Star. This is not an act of cowardice but a journalistic tradition, because editorials are “newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers.” The editorial was also criticized because of some grammatical lapses or its arrogance. But we may be missing out on the true issue here, in the same way as we focus on Sen. Sotto’s plagiarism rather than on his allegations that international pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood are funding the RH Bill lobby. The real issue is this:

WHAT IS A CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY?

There is something universal about a university.  Universitas is a Latin word which may refer to the “whole, total; the universe, the world.”  Originally, universitas refers to the community of scholars and teachers (Universitas magistrorum et scholarium) housed under one roof, so to speak.  And these scholars and teachers study everything there is to know about man and the universe–physical, spiritual, social, political, etc.–all spheres of human existence.

There is also something universal about the word “Catholic.”  The word kataholos in the time of Ignatius of Antioch was already used to distinguish Christians “who believed and practiced according to what body of Christians as a whole did, in contrast to what some particular group thought or did.”  Notice the word whole which is synonymous to all.  This definition reminds us of the Commissioning of the Apostles by Christ just before His Ascension:

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Mt 28:18-20)

All power, all nations, all commandments, always.  Such is the universality of the Catholic Church’s mission.

Now we have two institutions, each claiming a sense of universality: the University and the Catholic Church.  If the two institutions are in harmony, the phrase “Catholic University” stands.  But if the they are in conflict, then the lesser must be absorbed by the greater.  So I propose the following definition:

A Catholic University is a university that puts primacy on Catholic Theology among all fields of knowledge.

Against this statement, the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill enumerate at least four objections:

  1. Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities
  2. The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom
  3. The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience
  4. The key principles of the RH Bill are compatible with Catholic Theology

I shall respond to each of these objections individually.  For the first objection, I shall discuss St. Aquinas’s argument on the nobility of Catholic Theology among all sciences.  For the second objection, I shall discuss Chesterton’s map of the maze of human knowledge and errors.  For the third objection, I shall quote other lines from the Catechism regarding conscience and how it may err in its judgment.  For the fourth objection, I shall discuss Chesterton’s image of the creed as a key.  I shall end the paper with a postcript on obedience to bishops as a test of Catholic orthodoxy by quoting St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Along the way, I shall quote several encyclicals: Humani Generis, Humanae Vitae, and Ex Corde Ecclesiae.  I hope this paper will encourage others to engage in philosophical and theological dialogue regarding the RH Bill and the nature of the Catholic university in a more calm and sober manner with mutual respect.

OBJECTION 1: Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities

Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities. Therefore, Catholic doctrine taught in theology is just one of the many scientific opinions, so that in the case of the RH Bill, for example, if there is conflict between the conclusions of economics and theology regarding the use of contraceptives, a professor in a Catholic university can equally choose to side with the economic argument or with the theological argument, because one argument is equally as good as the other as they are both products of human reason. This means that even if the Church hierarchy (the CBCP) or the Pope declares that contraception is intrinsically wrong and should be condemned, a Catholic professor can dismiss these teachings if he finds what for him are weightier justification for the use and promotion of contraceptives, such as population explosion, too many children to feed, or women’s right over their bodies, etc.

RESPONSE:

Catholic Theology is indeed a science.  In Science, truth may either be what is known to be true (postulates or axioms or laws) or whatever is deduced from these (theorems). For example, in Physics Kepler’s law that describes the elliptical orbit of the planets around the sun may be thought of as a theorem of a more fundamental law: Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Similarly, in Catholic Theology, doctrines are deduced from two sets of axioms: Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition.  The summary of Catholic doctrines is published in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But the axioms in philosophical sciences–which we have to accept by faith until proven wrong–are not certain.  For example, remove the parallel postulate in Euclidean geometry and you arrive at intersecting parallel lines in spherical or projective geometry.  Also, though Newton’s Law of Gravitation can predict many things, Einstein’s General Relativity can predict more things, such as the precession of Mercury’s perihelion and gravitational lensing.  Scientists are continuously revising theories as they search for the the ultimate Theory of Everything (TOE), the one equation that shall rule them all: the structure of the universe, its beginning, and its end.

Unlike the axioms in philosophical science, the axioms of Catholic Theology are certain, because God has revealed them Who can neither deceive nor intend to deceive.  In this sense, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.  Aquinas has more to say on the nobility of Catholic Theology (Sacred Sciences) in his Summa Theologiae:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others speculative and practical. Now one speculative science is said to be nobler than another, either by reason of its greater certitude, or by reason of the higher worth of its subject-matter. In both these respects this science surpasses other speculative sciences; in point of greater certitude, because other sciences derive their certitude from the natural light of human reason, which can err; whereas this derives its certitude from the light of divine knowledge, which cannot be misled: in point of the higher worth of its subject-matter because this science treats chiefly of those things which by their sublimity transcend human reason; while other sciences consider only those things which are within reason’s grasp. Of the practical sciences, that one is nobler which is ordained to a further purpose, as political science is nobler than military science; for the good of the army is directed to the good of the State. But the purpose of this science, in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.”  (Part 1, Question 1, Article 5)

Unless we can prove that Aquinas made a mistake in his argument, then we have to agree to his conclusion:

From every standpoint, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.

If this statement is true, then we arrive at the following statement:

A Catholic University must uphold the primacy of Catholic Theology among all sciences.

Hence, a Catholic University must be institutionally faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  This is explained in detail in Ex Corde Ecclesiae of John Paul II:

27. …. One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Catholic members of the university community are also called to a personal fidelity to the Church with all that this implies. Non-Catholic members are required to respect the Catholic character of the University, while the University in turn respects their religious liberty(26).

28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”(27).

Thus, for example, if a Biologist will say that man has many ape-like ancestors and that there could be many Adams and Eves, putting the whole plan of salvation and the Sacrifice of Christ to naught, then it is the duty of Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on our first parents as expressed in Humani Generis of Pius XII:

37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Similarly, if Economists propose the promotion of contraception through the RH Bill as a vehicle for economic prosperity, then it is the duty of the Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI:

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.

OBJECTION 2: The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with academic freedom.  Professors should be free to teach whatever truths they have obtained through years of scholarly research.  What does the study of galaxies and viruses have to do with Catholic theology?

RESPONSE:

Professors in Catholic Universities are free to pursue any field of knowledge in so far as they do not trespass on Catholic doctrine in the same way as school children are free to roam around the school as long as they respect the proper boundaries: they cannot disturb other classes; they must be in their classroms during class hours; they cannot enter faculty rooms without permission; they must be silent at the library or in the chapel; and they must not jump over the fence during school hours.  That is why a school map is useful, because it defines the boundaries of the school and the freedoms associated with each school area.  In a similar way, the Catholic Church also has an amazing map of human knowledge that “looks like a maze but is in fact a guide to the maze”–locating where men are free to engage in idle speculation and where discussion is off-limits.  Chesterton says it best in his essay, Why I am Catholic (1926):

The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.

There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them.

On this map of the mind the errors are marked as exceptions. The greater part of it consists of playgrounds and happy hunting-fields, where the mind may have as much liberty as it likes; not to mention any number of intellectual battle-fields in which the battle is indefinitely open and undecided. But it does definitely take the responsibility of marking certain roads as leading nowhere or leading to destruction, to a blank wall, or a sheer precipice. By this means, it does prevent men from wasting their time or losing their lives upon paths that have been found futile or disastrous again and again in the past, but which might otherwise entrap travelers again and again in the future. The Church does make herself responsible for warning her people against these; and upon these the real issue of the case depends. She does dogmatically defend humanity from its worst foes, those hoary and horrible and devouring monsters of the old mistakes.

In the case of the RH Bill and contraception, the Catholic Church has already mapped out the roads and the cliff awaiting us if such a bill is going to push through: loss of respect for the woman, destruction of the family, and government’s interference in married life.  All these are described in Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae:

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

Humanae Vitae saw with clarity in 1968 the grave consequences of adoption of contraception, especially its elevation by the government into a national policy.  Let us take two countries, for example, USA and Singapore:

  • In the USA, the Birth Control Movement started with  Margaret Sangers in 1914.  The 7th Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion approved birth control in 1930.  Griswold of Planned Parenthood challenged the anti-contraception law of Connecticut which led to US Supreme Court’s declaration of unconstitutionality of the Connecticut law in 1965, citing the right to privacy of couples.  The Griswold v. Connecticut ruling was only for legality of the use of contraceptives by married couples.  In 1972, this ruling was extended in Einstadt v. Baird to unmarried couples as well.  (Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.)  In 2003, the ruling was again extended in Lawrence v. Texas to homosexual unions, thereby repealing the anti-Sodomy law in Texas as unconstitutional. Last Aug 1, 2012, Obamacare mandated inclusion of contraceptives in insurance takes effect.  This contraceptive mandate exempts Churches and Houses of Worship, but not Christian charities, Christian hospitals, and Catholic Universities.
  • In Singapore, family planning was introduced by volunteers in 1949.   In 1966, the Parliament established the National Family Programme which provides clinical services and family planning education.  In 1970 Lee Kuan Yew started the Stop at Two campaign with the legalization of sterilization and abortion.  Parents who did not abide by the two-child limit were penalized with taxes, higher hospital costs, and less opportunities in housing and education.  In 1975, the fertility rate dropped below the replacement rate.  In 1983, Lee noted the seriousness of the problem that women with educational degrees do not become mothers.  In 1984, the government established the Social Development Unit (nicknamed “Fat, Desperate, and Ugly”) that promoted dating among men and women with university degrees. In 1986, the government abolished the Stop at Two program and promoted Three or More (If You Can Afford It). Last Aug 11, 2012 Lee changed his decades-long policy and advocated marriage and more babies for Singaporeans. He said: “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.”

And now the Philippines wishes to take the same path as US and Singapore by trying to make the Reproductive Health Bill into a law.  The Catholic Church has seen the road that this bill will lead to as guided by her Teaching Authority and the evidence of others who went down on this path, such as USA, Singapore, and many other countries.  And this is why the Catholic Church is against the RH Bill.

Man is like sheep: his vision is limited only to what is immediately in front of him.  Man lives only for a few decades and his experiences does not span all human experiences across all places and times.  So his judgment is limited, even if he were a genius like Einstein.  Like a sheep who cannot see farther ahead–a pool of water, a green pasture, a cliff, or a wolf –man needs a shepherd.  He needs God as his shepherd, because God knows everything and He created the world and man himself.  Only God knows what is good for man.  As David would sing in one of his Psalms:

The LORD is my shepherd;*there is nothing I lack. a2 In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me;3b he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths* for the sake of his name.4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. (Ps 23:1-4)

But Christ is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Christ built His Church on Peter (Rock) with the gift of special revelation from the Father, with indestructibility, and with the power of binding and loosing:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:17-19)

Thus, if the Catholic Church declares contraception as intrinsically wrong, a teaching binding on all the Catholic faithful, then we can bet with our life that the Church does speak the truth and that this teaching is ratified in heaven.

Christ is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:1-6).  And Christ shared his ministry to Peter: feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep as a sign of his total love for Christ (c.f. Jn 21:15-17).  Christ appointed the apostles  to act as Judges of the Church: “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28).  He also appointed 72 disciples as his ambassadors: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Lk 10:16).  Such apostolic ministry is continued to this day by the Pope and the bishops and priests united with him.

OBJECTION 3.  The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience. As the Catechism says:

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Thus, if a Catholic professor claims that he is only following his conscience in supporting the RH Bill, then the Catholic Church cannot judge him that he is wrong, since conscience is the voice of God Himself.

RESPONSE:

Because the objection quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must also turn to the same Catechism for our response.  Articles 1776 and 1782 constitute only half of the picture.  The other half are as follows:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Thus, the Catechism says that conscience can err.  An Aztec emperor offering human sacrifice to the gods to bring rain to the parched fields is obeying his conscience.  A Nazi officer obeying the commands of Hitler to exterminate all Jews is obeying his conscience.  A woman who aborts her baby because she is still young and cannot afford to raise the child is obeying her conscience.  And the couple who uses condoms and pills because having children are burdensome are obeying their conscience.  If one elevates the voice of what people believe to be their conscience as the standard for truth, then truth becomes relative depending who says so, because  each one defines for himself what is good and what is evil.  Isn’t this what Satan, in the form of a serpent, told Eve in the Garden of Eden?

You certainly will not die!5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil. (Gen 3:4-5)

If men were left alone to their own consciences, the world will never know what is truly good and truly evil.  Let us take the Library as an analogy.  If the librarian does nothing and students get to decide for themselves where the best place for each book should be–on the floor, on the table, or on the shelf–then the library would be in chaos.  The state of disorder of the library can never decrease, and can actually increase, as the Law of Entropy states.  That is why a librarian is needed to put order in the books and impose rules: keep quiet when you are in the library and don’t return the books to the shelf but leave them on your desks.  Only the librarian has the shelving authority to put the books back in their proper places.

In a similar way, the morals of men will become highly disordered if men were left to themselves.  That is why God intervened in history and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  He chose the people of Israel to be His own and gave them the Ten Commandments.  He also established the Levitical priesthood to offer sacrifices in atonement for sin.  God appointed judges to interpret his laws; no one is allowed to hop from one judge to another in search for a favorable ruling.  But Israel rejected God by asking for a King like other nations.  God gave them Saul, but Saul was disobedient.  So God made David a King and promised him an everlasting Kingdom.  But the kings after David worshiped heathen idols, so God sent prophets to remind them of His covenant with  Israel at Sinai: He is their God and they are His people.  But Israel must obey God’s voice.  Yet Israel killed many of the prophets.  So in the fullness of time, God sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  And God Himself became the teacher of Israel.  He healed their infirmities, fed them in the wilderness, and established His Church as the New People of God, opening the doors of the Church not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles.  He gave His Church the Sacraments to sanctify nations and the Teaching Authority to teach in His Name.  And for nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church that Christ founded continued to exist throughout history, a witness to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the conversion of the barbarian nations of Europe, the conquest of Islam, the Age of Discovery, the formation of modern republics, the rise of Communism, the two World Wars, and the present age.   Christ fulfilled His promise that He will always be with His Church and His Church will never fall into error.  And the Church through the Ages has never failed to teach what is truly good and what is truly evil, even if the world does not wish to hear Her message, even as the world does not anymore see Her relevance, as what we have now today.

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)

Declaration of Support for the House Bill 4244 signed by 192 Faculty members of Ateneo de Manila University last 18 August 2012

RESPONSE:

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 heresy which 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.

POSTCRIPT: Test of Catholic Orthodoxy according to St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Ignatius of Loyola

The first time the phrase “the Catholic Church” appeared in print is in the Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to Smyrneans:

8 Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law. Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop’s approval. You should regard that Eucharist as valid which is celebrated either by the bishop or by someone he authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Without the bishop’s supervision, no baptisms or love feasts are permitted. On the other hand, whatever he approves pleases God as well. In that way everything you do will be on the safe side and valid.

Flee from schisms.  Obey the bishop.  This is the test of Catholic orthodoxy.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the last part of his Spiritual Exercises, wrote something similar in his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church:

The First Rule. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

The Ninth Rule. Lastly, we should praise all the precepts of the Church, while keeping our mind ready to look for reasons for defending them and not for attacking them in any way.

The Thirteenth Rule. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.

Concerning the institutional fidelity of Catholic Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae has laid out general norms for the university community:

Article 4. The University Community

§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49).

§ 2. 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.

§ 3. 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).

§ 4. 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.

§ 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).

The Church hierarchy is composed of the Pope, the Bishops, and Priests.  If there is doubt on the teaching of a priest, we can appeal to his bishop.  If there  is doubt on the teaching of a bishop, we can appeal to the Pope and the buck stops here.  If we disagree with Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae regarding contraception or if we disagree with Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae regarding fidelity or respect to the university’s Catholic identity, there is no more higher authority that we can appeal to.   The most distinguished theologian, no matter how brilliant, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church.  The most gifted visionary, no matter how holy, must still submit to the authority of the Catholic Church.  And so, too, must University Professors: they must also submit to the authority of the Catholic Church by renouncing the RH Bill, for example.  We are either inside the sheepfold or out of it.  We are either with the vine or we wither as a branch. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.  Outside the Church there is no salvation.  Outside the Church there is only wailing and gnashing of teeth.

by:

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., the Monk’s Hobbit
Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary
11 October 2012