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.)

Advertisements

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 de Manila University officially supports the CBCP’s opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill

ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY

Office of the President

24 March 2011

MEMO TO : THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

FROM : THE PRESIDENT

SUBJECT : STATEMENT ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL 5043

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

There is a recent article in the press that “UP, Ateneo Profs call for passage of RH Bill.” The article also lists the signatories from the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila.

A similar position paper was issued by Ateneo faculty on October 15, 2008 and, on that occasion, I issued a statement to the Ateneo community to clarify the stance of the University. In that memo, I said that the position of the Ateneo de Manila is as follows:

1) We appreciate the efforts of these members of the Ateneo faculty to grapple with serious social issues and to draw from Catholic moral teaching in their study of the bill.

2) We acknowledge their right to express their views as individual Catholics and appreciate their clear statement that their views are their own and not that of the University.

3) However, the Ateneo de Manila University does not agree with their position of supporting the present bill. As I said in my letter of October 2 to Archbishop Aniceto and Bishop Reyes, it is “the considered opinion of our moral theologians that, although there are points wherein the aforesaid bill and the Catholic moral tradition are in agreement, there are certain positions and provisions in the bill which are incompatible with principles and specific positions of moral teaching which the Catholic Church has held and continues to hold.”

We thus have serious objections to the present bill in the light of our Catholic faith.

4) Ateneo de Manila thus stands with our Church leaders in raising questions about and objections to RH Bill 5043.

5) It is also the responsibility of the Ateneo de Manila as a Jesuit and Catholic university to ensure that, in our classes and other fora, we teach Catholic faith and morals in their integrity.

6) At the same time, as I also wrote on October 2, we support continuing efforts on the critical study and discussion of the bill among Church groups including the University and in civil society.

The position of the Ateneo de Manila remains the same. In matters of faith and morals, the Ateneo de Manila as a Jesuit and Catholic university, stands with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. At the same time, we recognize the right of our faculty, as individuals, to express their views and appreciate their clear statement that these views are their own and not that of the University.

BIENVENIDO F. NEBRES, S.J.

President

Alberto Agra: Secretary of Justice and Ateneo de Manila University alumnus

MANILA, Philippines – The spotlight is on Alberto Agra, the acting justice secretary who made a controversial move on the murder case involving the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province.

Who is he?

Agra assumed his post at the Justice Department on March 3, 2010. He replaced former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera who resigned to seek a seat in Congress.

Aside from the post in the Justice Department, Agra is the concurrent Solicitor General, a position he assumed on January 8, 2010.

He currently sits on an interim basis in the 8-man Judicial Bar Council, the body that vets nominees to the courts, representing the Justice Department.

He previously taught at the Ateneo Law School, his alma mater. Since 2003 he taught Law on Public and Government Corporations, Election Law, the 1991 Local Government Code, Administrative Law, and Law on Public Officers

He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. He finished law at the Ateneo de Manila where he graduated in 1990. He passed the bar in 1991.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Vagina Monologues is back in Ateneo de Manila University in 2010 after it was banned by Dr. Anna Miren Intal in 2002

After my 7:30-8:30 p.m. Ps 121 class last Wednesday, my female student told me that the Vagina Monologues will be shown at the Cervini Field at 6 or 6:30 p.m.  that day, just after our Physics long test.  The play is under the direction of Missy Maramara of the Ateneo English Department (see Petrablog).  This is for the culmination of the Ateneo Women’s Week.  She is excited to watch the play.

I told her that Vagina Monologues should be banned in the Ateneo, because Ateneo is a Catholic University.  Why should the play be shown in Ateneo when it glorifies the sexual liberation of a woman by having sex with a lesbian.  Another student of mine told me that that his Theology teacher also believes in the same way as I do.  I should have asked the teacher’s name so that I can send him a note of thanks for teaching rightly.

In the year 2002, the film was banned by Dr. Anna Miren Intal, the Dean of the Loyola Schools.  Here is an account someone in favor of Vagina Monologues in Ateneo which I got from Pinoy Exchange:

Dr. Anna Miren Intal, Ph.D. is the Dean for the entire Loyola Schools. Obviously, Dean Intal is a female. She took her Ph.D. in Princeton, I believe so she supposedly has . She’s the end-all and be-all of the entire college, and she made her powers felt as she
>effectively derailed the project.

In a meeting with Rabbi and a co-Theatre Arts Major (Missy), Dr. Intal expressed her apprehension and objection about the project because (I’m paraphrasing here) “It goes against the thrust and vision of our Jesuit institution.” Furthermore, “It might destroy the moral fabric of the Ateneo…” (Jeez, you should hear me reinact this LIVE for the “lamb-ish” tone she uses!) When asked if she finds the word “Vagina” objectionable, she just laughs and says “That too…” Missy asked her what in the script she finds objectionable, Dr. Intal says, “To tell you the truth, I haven’t really read the script, but I’ve seen a lot of Broadway plays that are more tasteful…” Rabbi and Missy press her to reconsider, so she gives in a little. She says she’d “forward it to the THEOLOGY Department for moral evaluation.”

?!?!?!!!!!

My friends went to their professors (to name a few, Ma’am Benny Santos, Sol Reyes, Fr. Nic Cruz, Dr. Ricky Abad) to ask for their recommendations for the staging of Vagina. They got it. Rabbi even went further by getting recommendations from FORDHAM Universtiy (another JESUIT institution in New York City), DePaul University, and some other universities abroad. Locally, he was able to get a a recommendation from a nun who happens to have a Ph.D. in Theology and who happens to be the President of St. Scholastica’s College (one of the more conservative colleges in the country). He wrote a letter to Dr. Intal about how universities like the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, the University of Sto. Tomas, and St. Scholastica’s have agreed to stage Vagina in their campuses. Unfortunately, Dr. Intal did not budge.

She said she had to consider the “tens and thousands of students, parents, alumni who also have a stake in the Ateneo,” and that she doesn’t want “to be responsible for the thousands of people who will flock to the Ateneo in PROTEST” of the staging of Vagina. “I have to think like an administrator.” She even said that she doesn’t want the name “Ateneo” to be linked in the project in any way. She said that the administration has the trademark “Ateneo” and that she wouldn’t allow it to be used. She even said she didn’t want the students involved to say that they were Ateneans. (It was then she hinted of a ‘lawsuit’ if they did.)

How lame is that???!!

I don’t know how this Vagina Monologues got permission to be shown again in Ateneo. Missy Maramara who was only a Theatre Arts major in 2002 is now an Ateneo Faculty.   The quote is revealing: it shows how far the Jesuit universities have been stricken by this Vagina Monologues malady. And even the top Catholic Schools in the Philippines as well.  The Vagina Monolgues has seduced the most brilliant minds . Woe to those who call light as darkness and darkness light! As Christ said, if the light in you is darkness, how great must that darkness be!

I admire Dr. Miren Intal. I was able to join her for lunch once in the cafeteria years ago, long after she ceased to be the Dean of the Loyola Schools. She is a soft-spoken lady, yet principled and strong. May there be more faculty and administrators like her who defends Ateneo’s authentic Jesuit and Catholic tradition.

Gilbert Teodoro abandons Reproductive Health Bill: the Government should support a moral choice

by TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:25:00 01/27/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Gilbert Teodoro offered no apologies on Wednesday for abandoning the reproductive health bill, and even proposed granting conditional cash transfers to poor couples employing the so-called natural methods of birth control.

The administration standard-bearer found himself defending his and his wife’s decision to withdraw support from the controversial measure before doctors and medical students at a forum at the University of the Philippines in Manila.

At the forum “Make Health Count,” Teodoro explained that the debate over the measure in the House of Representatives had become so “acrimonious” that the stakeholders totally forgot about the problem of population.

“The big debate is whether or not the government can shape a moral choice. And that is the argument of the Church. That the government should not actively advocate for making a moral choice. The debate stopped there,” he said.

Teodoro indicated that he agreed with the Church position, and said that the government should be “neutral” but should support the “moral choice” of every individual with resources.

The Church, for its part, should take it upon itself to shape the “moral choice” by acknowledging the problem of a growing population, he added.

“What should the government do? Instead of being involved in debate, we should support a moral choice,” he said in response to former Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez’s question why he and his wife Tarlac Rep. Nikki Prieto-Teodoro withdrew support from the bill. “I’d rather have resources to support a moral choice rather than fight over a bill.”

Teodoro said there was a need to come to a “mutual and common understanding” on addressing population “whereby the government respects the moral choice and provides resources toward supporting that moral choice.”

If they use the rhythm method, we can have some resources to support that by a conditional cash transfer if they do not have a birth within a year or so for the poorest of the poor,” he said, referring to the government’s program of granting cash to poor families with children enrolled in public schools.

“He has caved in to the Church and and agreed with his President, whose position is the reason why we have a big problem in population,” Romualdez said.

Monk’s Hobbit Notes: Gilbert Teodoro is now positioning himself more on the Pro-Life side in the debate regarding the Reproductive Health Bill.  If he solidifies his position against artificial contraception and campaigns against it and contrasts himself against all the other Presidential candidates who support the Reproductive Health Bill such as Noynoy Aquino, the tide of the Teodoro’s campaign may turn in his favor.  I shall offer my prayers for Teodoro and his wife in this battle against artificial contraception.  I shall ask Our Lord, Our Lady, and the entire celestial court to aid Teodoro in this battle, “for our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12).  The supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill may be Legion, but fear not!  Remember the story of Elisha the Prophet:

When the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. His servant said to him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16He answered, Don’t be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. 17Elisha prayed, and said, Yahweh, Please open his eyes, that he may see. Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 18When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and said, Please smite this people with blindness. He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-18)

I think I can now in conscience put Gilbert Teodoro’s website in my sidebar together with the Kapatiran Party.

Related Articles:

Gibo Teodoro’s presidential campaign: the problem of product positioning

Rep. Nikki Prieto Teodoro, wife of Presidential Candidate Gilbert Teodoro, withdraws support for the Reproductive Health Bill

On the road to Cuneta Astrodome: a dialogue with a Jesuit aspirant who became a “Born-Again” Christian

Last night, I agreed to watch a Worship Concert with Tommy Walker held at the Cuneta Astrodome, featuring  Tom Hughes with special guests Jonalyn Viray and Donita Rose.   My colleague here at the Manila Observatory gave us free tickets; she was one of the organizers of the concert.  I know that this is a Protestant event, something equivalent to a Catholic Eucharistic Congress.  But I agreed to watch anyway, to see how things are done in other ecclesial communities.   Besides, I may get a chance for a dialogue of Faith.

We were suppose to meet at 5:00 p.m. at the Manila Observatory’s Lobby; the concert is at 6:00 p.m.  But Genie Lorenzo, our other friend, is still consulting with her thesis adviser.  Genie is making air pollution samplers and places them along EDSA avenue.   Genie is a Catholic who loves concerts.  We shall be late.

While waiting at the lobby, I met our other companion, a friend of Genie: JM.  He’s a shorter than I but stockier.  JM told me that he studies at the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines.  He knows Loric Bernardo, my fried who also studied there.  But Loric is working on Oceanography; JM is with marine products.

Genie arrived at 6:30 p.m. together with two of her friends.  She apologized. She asked us to board her car.  It would take at least an hour to go to Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.  But considering that Filipinos normally start an hour late, we would still be on time.

Inside the car, JM and I continued our discussion.  The following dialogue is not from an audio recording, but the essence is the same:

Me: Are you Catholic?

JM:  Before.  That was three years ago.  I am now a “Born Again” Christian.

Me: That was very recent.  What made you jump ship?

JM: I was even thinking of joining the Jesuits at that time.  The Jesuits are organizing this Monday group and we meet in a place along Katipunan.  There they talk about vocation.  Our Jesuit mentor asked me, “When was the time that you feel that Jesus loves you?”  I blurted out some answers, but they do not come from the heart.  They are too mechanical.  I was restless.  I searched.  One day I found myself hearing a pastor preach.  His words touched my heart.   At last, I found what I have been seeking.

Me: So if you will hear a very good sermon by an excellent priest, will you go back to being Catholic?

JM: No.  There are also other reasons.  My prayers are being heard by God.  Even simple prayers like, “Lord, I need to be there on time.  I hope there is no traffic.” It is difficult to explain, but my relationship with Jesus now is with the heart, it is as if  He is really my friend.

Me: That is interesting.  It surprises me that your reasons for leaving the Church are subjective.  Usually, people leave the Church because of a particular dogma that they cannot accept.

JM: It is not like that.

JM: All Christians believe that the basis of truth is the bible.

Me: But who made the bible?  How do we know that the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Barnabas should not be in the bible?

JM: I don’t know.  These Gospels have in them that contradict what the four gospels say.

Me: The books in the bible were decided during the Council of Carthage in about the fourth century.  In this council, the bishops in the world gathered to make this decision.

JM: Can the bishops make a mistake?

Me: For Catholics, once the bishops gather for a council (ratified by the pope), what they decided as true is forever true.

JM: Our pastor said that the early Christians are Jews.  That is why in our church we read commentaries on the bible by Jews.

Me: The Talmud?

JM: No.  I cannot still handle that.

Me: But Jews generally do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

JM: That’s right.  But there are messianic Jews who do.

Me: Why not read instead the commentaries of Fathers of Church, the Christians who succeeded the Apostles?

JM: Like St. Auguestine?

Me: Yes, but St. Auguestine is already in the fourth or fifth century.  I am referring to the those who lived in the earlier centuries after the Apostles,  like St. Athanasius and St. Irenaeus.  In this way you will see that the Church was never destroyed from the time of the Apostles up to the present.

JM and I never get to talk at the concert.  It was a rock concert interspersed with preaching by pastors and testimonies of Christians like Donita Rose, the MTV host.  I stand when everyone stands and sit when everyone sits.  I clap at the end of the song, but I could not dance and wave my arms and sing.  This is a protestant worship service and I know the proper way to worship God–through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  But the Catholic Mass is fast becoming similar to that of the Protestant worship service.  I have seen many churches transformed to concert halls–even the Church of the Gesu here in Ateneo de Manila University.  But the wind is now changing, with more conservative clergy getting ordained.  As Fr. Z used to say, “brick by brick, folks!”