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

How Media distorts Pope Francis's words

How Media distorts Pope Francis’s words

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

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

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The Blessed Virgin Mary and Elbereth Gilthoniel in Lord of the Rings

Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Joachim and St. Anne

Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Joachim and St. Anne

Today is the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And today I shall talk about a female figure in the Lord of the Rings that reminds us of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Elbereth Gilthoniel.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit.

Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

Questions from a Harry Potter Fan (Harry Potter flows in my blood–Facebook page)

This class is boring. Can we learn about astronomy, charms, dark arts, defense against the dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions and transfiguration?

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit

Philippine Coat of Arms: a Catholic Interpretation

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the Philippine coat of arms that describes its evolution from that of a colony of Spain, to that of the US, and finally to its independence as a sovereign nation. The historical interpretations of the the heraldric devices such as the sun, stars, eagle, and lion are well-known. What I shall propose here is a possible reinterpretation of the devices in the light of the Scriptures and the Catholic Faith.

The top icon is Crown of Spain who gave the gift of Christianity to the Philippines; it may also be interpreted as the billowing sails of Magellan’s Spanish galleon whose front hull is shaped like the bottom of the shield. The yellow and white are the colors of Vatican City, the seat of the Catholic Church. The three stars and the sun represent the doctrine of the Trinity–three Divine Persons in one God; they also represent the the wounds of Christ on his hands, head, and heart. The sun represents the radiating Sacred Heart of Jesus pierced by thorns or the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by swords. The blue and red represents the water and blood that flowed from the pierced Heart of Christ, as seen in the Icon of Divine Mercy.  This is reenacted during mass when the water (blue) is mixed with (wine), which becomes the Blood of Christ after consecration.  The sun on a white ellipse may also represent the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ hidden under the appearance of bread in the Sacred Host.

The Eagle icon is the Eagle of the United States of America. The Eagle also traditionally represents St. John the Evangelist because of his lofty description of the pre-existent divinity of Christ as the Logos or the Word of God (Jn 1:1). In the Book of Revelation, the wings of a great eagle was given to the woman pursued by the Red Dragon so that she can escape to the desert (Rev 12:14). The eagle is at the foot of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the man with the the eagle’s wings (angel) representing Juan Diego whose native name was Cuauhtlatoatzin or “The Talking Eagle.” Our Lady of Guadalupe is the second patroness of the Philippine Islands as defined by Pope Pius XI; the primary patroness of the Philippines is still Our Lady under the title of The Immaculate Conception whose colors are blue and white.

Lastly, the Lion icon is the Lion of Spain. The lion represents the Judah, the Lion’s whelp, from whose loins the Messiah, the Son of David, Jesus Christ, shall come:

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise –your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you.9Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.11 (Gen 49:8-11)

The present-day Jews are named after the Tribe of Judah, who survived the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians but was later sent to Babylonian exile.  The Lion of Judah is the municipal emblem of Jerusalem.  The lion also traditionally represents St. Mark the Evangelist because he begins his Gospel with St. John shouting in the desert where the wild beasts like lions live. St. Mark also described Jesus as living in the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the Satan, living with wild beasts, and ministered by angels (Mk 1: 1-13).  St. Peter describes the devil as the roaring lion:

Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. (1 Pet 5:8-9)

Thus, if the sun represents the human person, he would always have his guardian angel (eagle) and a demon (lion) by his side to influence his will whether to obey God or to go against His Holy will.

Why does God allow good people to suffer under the power of demons?

"Job mocked by his wife" by Georges de la Tour

“Job mocked by his wife” by Georges de la Tour

Question:

Post help me my doter has long been suffering wid evil disturbance her facial looks sometimes very innocent then turn to very mabagsik wid fiercing eyes please help us

me and my husband are both in the government service we have 3 children my eldest a registered medtech n nurse working at d hospital n my 2nd doter s  took up nursing but was not able to finish coz of dis unknown ilness. My doter fr s very religious n very prayerful she can memorize all d mysterys including d litany she’s very mabait n very generous to friends n never into any drugs but how come nangyari eto sa kanya. Me n my husband are members in d family apostolate n I was also member recently in d brotherhood of businessmen n professional n initiated ko d praying of d 3′clock prayer in our ofis going d mass everyday novena

Response:

Were you able to contact the office of Fr. Syquia using the contact info I posted in my reply?

If you read the Book of Job in the Bible, you will see that God allows good people to suffer. You may like to meditate on the conversation between Satan and God:

FIRST TRIAL: The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.”9The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? 10 Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land.11e But now put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and surely he will curse you to your face.”12The LORD said to the satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:8-12)

SECOND TRIAL: The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.b He still holds fast to his innocence although you incited me against him to ruin him for nothing.”4 The satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin!* All that a man has he will give for his life.5c But put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh. Then surely he will curse you to your face.”6And the LORD said to the satan, “He is in your power; only spare his life.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.(Job 2:3-7)

Suffering is a mystery that can only be answered by gazing at Christ, the Son of God, crucified on the Cross. Christ shows us the way to suffering–to accept suffering and offer it to God, turning suffering into a path to holiness, in the same way as Christ turned the cross, the symbol of suffering and death, into the symbol of our salvation. Your family is not anymore just praying the Sorrowful Mystery and the Three O’Clock Habit. God allowed you to suffer with Christ on the Cross, so that you may also share in His glory–the Glorious Mysteries.

Here is Job’s prayer:

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,f
and naked shall I go back there.*
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)

Again, I strongly recommend that you contact the office of Fr. Syquia.

Continue praying the rosary, the 3 o’clock habit, and the mass, but more fervently than before. Read the parable of the persistent widow (Mt 18:1-8). As Christ said:

“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” (Lk 18:7-8)

On the nature of homosexuality and Original Sin

Question

Hi Dr. Sugon,

I sent you further inquiries about your thoughts on the nature of homosexuality last May 18, and I was wondering if you have received it. I am very much looking forward to discuss and be enlightened about matters which I still am not aware of, and I think that this conversation wonderfully helps me in doing that. In case you haven’t received it, I’ll be copying my reply here. Again, thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

“Yes, I say that homosexuality is partly a biological phenomenon, however, I did not say that because it is a biological phenomenon that homosexuals do not have a choice on their lifestyle. Homosexuals have the choice to live conservatively, that is not denying their homosexuality, but living in a way which does not scream the essence of stereotypical homosexuality (i.e. cross-dressing, application of excessive make-up). They also have the choice to dress and express their ideas more through clothing and other sociocultural avenues. But, what they don’t have a choice at is their attraction orientation – just as a straight man does not have a choice to get attracted to women and vice versa, unless society affects them to act otherwise. The same thing goes with your example of a murderer. I do not claim that killing is good, but a murderer who was born with schizophrenia or other psychological disorder is not deemed morally responsible for the act of killing, because he technically did not have a choice; his body was programmed to act that way. Therefore, this murderer, instead of being sent to jail, is sent to a psychological facility in which he will serve his term. What I think then is that, generally, homosexuals must not be held responsible for their orientation, and thus be condemned for it, because they don’t have a choice on who to get attracted to. (One particular exception may be a man who was born with the probability of getting attracted to women, but chooses to engage homosexually.)

To clarify, are you suggesting that homosexuals can be “trained”? I disagree with this point, and I will provide sociocultural references that show that such a transformation to becoming a heterosexual is improbable. Although we can try putting homosexuals in psychological facilities, or perhaps have the Church assist in an action to rehabilitate them from their homosexuality, society is not designed to act upon such an action. The case is different from the psychologically impaired, because there is a probability that they hurt themselves or others when they do not get treated. It is improbable that a particular gender is more inclined to doing harm to people than other genders, so it is not necessary to “treat” them. Also, becoming stable and constant in early years, gender is part of one’s identity (Kail, 2010). Therefore, trying to manipulate one’s gender through conditioning entails tainting one’s identity. With that, society deems that a mandate or even to advocate change in gender is unethical. That is why centers for homosexual rehabilitation do not exist.*But, I do not deny that there are still people who try to convert homosexuals, however, because gender is established and constant, these most of these people fail. Stories of fathers drowning their children in a drum of water and physically abusing them seem to attest to this.

Yes, man has free will, but this free will is affected by many factors. Thus, human behavior is not governed by biological instincts alone, but rather affected by it, together with the environment. We do not just punch the person who accidentally stepped on our foot, because we think that he did not mean and know what he did, even if, by our fight-or-flight mechanism, our bodies tell us to punch him or flee the scene. Homosexuality acts in the same way. Since social mores and teachings do not give enough reason to convince homosexuals to constrain their biological instnict to get attracted to the same sex, homosexuals think that they are justified in following their biological instinct.

Moreover, the link you provided me is Vatican’s official statement on the nature of marriage and homosexual unions alone. I am still stumped on what the Church claims about the essence and nature of homosexuality: where did it come from, for example.“-

*I have looked into this matter, and I stand corrected in saying that there are homosexual rehabilitation centers. However, it is highly frowned upon by the society and by the Catholic Church herself, because, again, it’s unethical.

Response:

Dear ____

Yes, I received it a long time ago, but it got buried in my many emails for not responding soon enough.

The short answerto your question on the nature of homosexuality is this: I don’t know.

The long answer is: God created only male and female.  And God blessed them: “Be fruitful and multiply!”  If God only made male and female, how is it possible that some men are attracted to men and women to women?  The answer to this question is related to the more fundamental question: If everything that God created is good (read Genesis 1), why is there evil in the world? Answer: God made the angels good, but He gave them free will to reject or accept his love.  Some angels used their free will to reject God’s love, and they became demons, with all the powers of angels before their fall, but filled with malice and hatred against God.  Their choice is irrevocable.

Now, if God made humans only male and female, why are there lesbians and gays?  Answer: before their Fall, Adam and Eve have perfect control over their passions.  This is called Original Justice.  But Satan, the leader of the fallen angels, is envious of the privilege of Adam and Eve, for they and their descendants shall become children of God if Adam and Eve pass the test.  But misery seeks company.  So Satan tempted Eve to disobey God’s commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree, and she brought his husband Adam with him in her disobedience.  Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve lost their perfect control over their passions.  This is Original Sin.  And this defect of Adam and Eve is passed on to their descendants, together with increase birthpangs, difficulty of tilling the ground, and ultimately, of bodily death.  Thus, homosexuality is a result of Original Sin.  It is very difficult to cure, but the struggle to overcome ones homosexual tendencies is itself a path to sanctity, a cross that a homosexual has to bear in order to reach heaven.  God can provide us with all the graces that we need to overcome temptation.  We only need but ask.  As Christ said: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened….how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Lk 11:9-13).

Let us always pray and fast.  Fasting helps us control our passions.  If a homosexual can learn how to control himself from eating meat on Fridays, he will build up spiritual reserves to combat his hunger for the human flesh during sexual intercourse with a fellow man (or with a fellow woman as in the case of lesbians).  Some passions are difficult to remove; they are like stubborn demons that refuse to get out of a man.  The apostles, too, encountered several cases of demonic possessions that the apostles have difficulty sending out.  The apostles complained to Christ, and Christ said to them: “”But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”  In the same way, homosexuality can also be cured, but it can only be done by prayer and fasting.  The only way to see if this method works is to try it.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sugon