The separation between Church and faith

This is the complete essay I submitted. What you read in the papers and the earlier links were the edited.

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 16, 2012 – 12:00am

Illustration by REY RIVERA

MANILA, Philippines – As I write this, the RH bill is being debated in both houses of congress and will soon be put to a final vote. The whole RH issue has been bruising for everyone. Both sides of the issue have galvanized their forces for all-out war where each is claiming moral ascendancy. One may say both sides have been bloodied. And both have, at times, behaved badly.

I have had many discussions with proponents of both camps. I admit I am pro-RH. I also admit that I am for women’s right to choose to be informed so they can plan their families and have more control over their own lives. And yes, I have read the bill.

I still do not understand when bishops claim that the bill is pro-abortion when it clearly states it isn’t. Are they stupid or illiterate? Of course not! So why are they saying this, and so many other absurdities that insult the intelligence of many Filipinos, Catholics and non-Catholics alike?

The answer is simple. They fear that the RH bill is the last stronghold before full secularization takes over this bastion of Catholicism that is the Philippines. They fear that soon it will be followed by divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. They feel they are losing sway over the population. The issue is power.

As many have noticed, the bishops will say anything, do everything — lie, cheat, intimidate, threaten and fool the people to win this war. And they have on their side the politicians who are willing to do cartwheels to nail the so-called Catholic vote. I do not know how this will play out in the end but one thing is becoming clear: more and more Catholics are aghast at the way their Mother Church has handled itself on this issue.

The Church has done more condemning over the RH bill than at any time I can remember. I lived through martial law, the Erap and PGMA eras, and I have not seen a more spirited negative campaign mounted by the Church as this one. In the past, churchmen and women have spoken out and risked their lives in defense of rights and certain moral issues, and I admire them deeply for that. But the Church as an institution never did shout with this level of vehemence as it does now.

In light of this condemnation gap, I wish to ask the bishops this: Is wearing a condom really a bigger sin than the suspension of human rights of an entire nation involving torture, extrajudicial killings and unprecedented levels of corruption?

Many Catholics are shocked at the behavior of some of their leaders. They see them as not only arguing with flawed reasoning but resorting to name-calling and behaving less than scrupulously by condemning everyone who is not on their side of this issue.

Gone is Christian tolerance and compassion in accepting that people who are not on their side may have arrived at their position after much examination of conscience and prayer. Gone is the humility that accepts the possibility that the Church could be on the wrong side of the issues. After all, it has been wrong many times before.

In place of humble discernment and respectful tolerance is an arrogance and dangerous bravado that makes some of them say the most incendiary and idiotic things, the most recent of which is blaming the devastation of Typhoon Pablo on support for the RH bill.

How is it, dear bishop, that God would choose to kill hundreds of poor helpless people, including women and children, because the country is discussing the RH bill? Isn’t He a God of compassion and love? How does mass murder fit into the paradigm of love? Is it not entirely possible and more plausible that the reason for the typhoon is we now live in a new world of climate change where nature is behaving differently and so typhoons like Pablo and Sendong are now more common and frequent? Aren’t you totally out of line, dear bishop?

What is a Catholic to do when confronted with idiocy and vexation from the leaders of the faith? What is a Catholic to do when he/she believes with all his/her heart, soul and conscience that passing the RH bill is an act of compassion that will help the poor and ignorant in our society exercise more control over their bodies and their lives, a stand the Church sneers at? What is a Catholic to do when his/her leaders are silent in the face of ridiculous assertions of anti-RH politicians who defend plagiarism, lie about facts, and kowtow to the church for no other reason than to preserve and promote their political careers?

And what does it profit the Church if it gains in the political and temporal sphere but loses its reason, and conscience, and many of its educated followers?

I have yet to hear the bishops condemn guns, cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, and other vices that are clearly harmful to life. Why is there a fixation on the unborn but a deafening silence on issues affecting the living? Are you really just pro-pregnancy or pro-life in the full sense of the word? I have also yet to understand how the RH bill is worse than genocide, as another bishop asserted.

Many Catholics are trying to find the space where they can still keep their faith while following the dictates of their conscience, which means rejecting all that they see wrong and rotten in the behavior of many of the leaders of the church.

That is the dilemma we face today, and the squeeze is getting tighter. I have met a number of priests who feel this too. They understand, empathize and even quietly support the laity who are in this situation. But they do so quietly through text and private conversations.

Many of my friends have taken the position of simply ignoring the bishops, hoping that they will eventually fade away. Many are hoping that the church gets hit by lightning, the way Saul was, and begin to see the light. I really do not know how else to cope with this situation, short of leaving the church, as many have done.

The RH bill is only one issue. More and more, issues such as gay rights, same-sex marriage, women priests and divorce will have to be faced squarely. If the church does not take a more tolerant, inclusive stance, it may lose many more good people. A positive step it can take is to accept that many conscientious Catholics stay up at night tackling these issues as honestly as they can, and still end up on the other side of Church teaching as it stands today. In my view, they are living honestly, which sadly means, they live the reality of the separation between church and faith.

103 thoughts on “The separation between Church and faith”

    1. Your links Life story, saw a lot of poor people in Korea, therefore it would be better if they did not exist?

      Are you recommending his argument that the Pope is not infallible therefore we should reduce the population?

      Even in the UN (collection of mostly dictators) you could not find a consensus that Global Warming was not associated with increased population, but your convinced without evidence anyway.

      In spite of all of your research, you ask us to believe you based on your belief.

      The poor today have running water, electricity, and a greater knowledge and understanding than just 100 years ago, does that mean our forefathers lives were not worth of living?

      Should we ask which of our brothers or sisters we should give up for a negligibly improved life?

      The world has been warming since the Ice Age, the warmer it gets, the more people it supports, knowledge lost on earth first people.

      1. It is more moral to have a child be born with guaranteed food, education, housing, health care, time, love than mindlessly having them and out out of ignorance at that. That is the point. That has not been addressed by the Bishops. They leave it all to God. Nor do they volunteer to take care of unplanned, unwanted children in a scale that we need.

        The unborn seem more important than the living.

        And when someone disagrees with that– BAM! Hell fire and brimstone fall upon them. They are not given the benefit of arriving at a contrary vioew in good faith. THAT is the point.

        1. I agree with 100%. Come to think of it, we’re the ones pro-life… pro quality of life. I believe everyone deserves to have a choice.

        2. I agree with you 100%. Come to think of it, we’re the ones pro-life… pro quality of life. I believe everyone deserves to have a choice.

        3. It is true that it is more moral to have a child be born with guaranteed food, education, housing, health care, time, love than mindlessly having them and out of ignorance at that. But one ought not to use artificial contraception to that because it is evil. As the argument goes, the end does not justify the means. One cannot do evil to attain a good thing. Perhaps what is not clear is whether artificial contraception is really evil. Do you think Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI have been wrong about this issue? Do you think they decided on their own wisdom without the research of many theologians and moral philosophers? Just like any prudent president of any country, one makes a very careful study on very important issues before making any pronouncement. But more than this prudent researches and studies, they have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The problem besetting us now is that even some Church clergies are not very faithful to the Church and they are spreading their errors among us laity. So people are now confused. If you want to know the reasons why the Church teaches that artificial contraception is evil, you can read Humanae Vitae or do your own research which you can very intelligently do.

          1. Wait a minute.

            Is it evil because it is artificial? Unnatural? If that is the case, let us ban anesthesia, headphones, eye glasses, titanium joints, a lot of medicines, artificial legs, arms, etc. and a lot more. Let us even ban controlling urination and defecation in public because holding it back is unnatural. In short, your argument is misplaced.

            No matter how you deny it the underlying reason for you and the church’s opposition seems to be fear of sex. You have fear of sex, gays, women in the Church, contraception, sex toys, sex education, safe and satisfying sex.. so fearful are you and the church that you want no less than to control it for everyone.

            Sorry. This is my last word with you. You have not presented anything new to enlighten anyone.

            With regards to the end not justifying the means, it is ironic that Mother Church misled, lied to the people and sowed fear and confusion during the entire debate. All for the Glory of God? Fantastic!

          2. “The greatest harm can come from the best intentions.”

            From that quote alone, these priests are giving their best intentions to those who would listen to them by preventing any harm to the unborn and thus give chance for the fetus to develop and soon be brought into this world.

            That seems like a happy, positive way to look at it.

            But what if the child was born to a family with 10 kids? Their parents barely able to afford to feed all of them? The eldest was forced to drop from school and work because their father couldn’t earn enough by himself to support the family.

            Soon the 2nd child followed suit, dropping off school so they could help her mother, than the 3rd and 4th resorted to begging while the 5th and 6th resorted to sorting out garbage thrown out from the restaurants so they could prepare pagpag for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

            Then one of them resorts to thievery because of the law that prevents any minor age to be jailed and instead be put through a stern lecture.

            In the end, you deprive the child’s right to learn, to play, to grow and instead gave them a life of slavery, not able to think beyond begging, child work and sorting through trash for food.

          3. Correct me if I am wrong. I have the impression that you are getting emotional about this issue. I hope my impression is not true because it won’t get us to the truth of the matter. I know you are a patriot and you want to bring the best for our country. I am a patriot too and I love this country very much. This issue has divided the country terribly and both sides have thrown nasty words to one another due to their emotions mostly because they both passionately love our beloved Philippines. But I hope we can discuss this issue calmly and intelligently and perhaps I may come to understand better your point of view.

            Let me start with your argument on the word artificial or unnatural. This is not an easy topic to explain. It s quite complicated. I will try to expound on this briefly here, but for a more detailed explanation, you can visit my and read the topic Sex: Bakit ka nilikha ng Dios.

            Artificial contraception is immoral because it violates the purpose of sex namely pro-creation. Sex was created by God for pro-creation and if you violate it, then it is sinful. You don’t use scissors for paper and use it for rubber or else it will become dull. You don’t use fliers to hammer down a nail. You don’t write with your whiteboard marker with its point covered, you are defeating its purpose to write. You don’t make love with a woman using a condom, you are defeating the purpose of God. It has a great effect on the human psyche which renders sex as a mere pleasurable commodity and not as something sacred. Since human life is sacred, the pro-creation of human life is also sacred. Why is sex made pleasurable by God? So we will do it and bear children, for He said, go and multiply. In the Old Testament, Onas was punished directly by God with death when he committed the sin of withdrawal, a method of contraception (Gen 38: 6-10). Perhaps, a clearer example is “why gluttony is sinful”? Why did God make eating pleasurable? So we will eat and grow healthy, remain strong and alive. Otherwise, we will grow weak, sickly till we die. Why is gluttony sinful? Because it violates the purpose of eating which is to give heath and life to our body. If you eat excessively, you grow fat, become overweight, diabetic and susceptible to many sickness till you die. Why did God make sex pleasurable? So we will do it and pro-create more babies. Now, if there is a serious reason to control pro-creation like having too many children to feed, what can couples do? They can use the natural family planning method. God has created the body of the woman in such a way that she is only fertile for only 12 days during the month. This is the window which God has provided to man so he can control birth if necessary. Why not the artificial method? If you can use medicine to cure sickness of the body why not use medicine to control birth? There is a flaw in this logic. Sickness is a curse of the body while a baby is a blessing from God. A baby is not a disease which you need to cure. What is the difference between artificial from natural contraception since it serves the same purpose? Why is mercy-killing immoral when you already know that your father will surely die soon? So why not give him lethal injection immediately to save him from further suffering?
            I would like to quote the following excerpts from to answer these questions:

            Couples who use natural family planning (NFP) when they have a just reason to avoid pregnancy never render their sexual acts sterile; they never contracept. They track their fertility, abstain when they are fertile and, if they so desire, embrace when they are naturally infertile. Readers unfamiliar with modern NFP methods should note that they are 98-99% effective at avoiding pregnancy when used properly. Furthermore, any woman, regardless of the regularity of her cycles, can use NFP successfully. This is not your grandmother’s “rhythm method.”
            To some people this seems like splitting hairs. “What’s the big difference,” they ask, “between rendering the union sterile yourself and just waiting until it’s naturally infertile? The end result is the same: both couples avoid children.” To which I respond, what’s the big difference between killing Grandma and just waiting until she dies naturally? End result’s the same thing: dead Grandma. Yes, but one is a serious sin called murder, and the other is an act of God.
            If a person can tell the difference between euthanasia and natural death, he can tell the difference between contraception and NFP. It’s the same difference. I’m not equating contraception and murder. That’s not the analogy. Rather, Grandma’s natural death and a woman’s natural period of infertility are both acts of God. But in killing Grandma or in rendering sex sterile, we take the powers of life into our own hands — just like the deceiver originally tempted us to do — and make ourselves like God (see Gn 3:5).
            This is why Pope John Paul II concludes that contraception “is to be judged so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God” (address Oct. 10, 1983).
            If you have resisted the Church’s teaching on contraception, maybe it’s time to give it some more thought.
            [Editor’s note: Please enjoy regular features from this and other enlightening authors discussing Catholic teaching on sexuality in CE’s Theology of the Body channel.]
            end of quote.

            You wrote your adherence to gay-rights, same-sex-marriage and divorce. In Corinthians 6 : 9, St. Paul said fornicators, homosexuals, and adulterers will not enter heaven and in Mark 10 : 2-9, our Lord Jesus Christ explicitly said divorce is against the will of God. If you have a different understanding of these, where do you get your interpretations of the Bible?

  1. Hindi ka lang magaling na singer Mr. Paredes, maliwanag din ang iyong pananaw sa mga bagay na ayaw isipin ng karamihan.
    I can not agree more on your in-depth analysis..

  2. To some extent, I would agree that, out of their zeal, the Church leaders may have lousily made their anti-RH case. But to be fair: Catholic bishops have published more pastoral letters that denounce corruption and extra-judicial killings than those that denounce the RH bill. (Almost every year ata meron.) They also twice facilitated massive assemblies of people to successfully oust past corrupt presidents. Some bishops, like Bishop Pabillo and Bishop Soc, also help provide refuge for whistle blowers. Pastoral letters denouncing election fraud, malversation of funds, and the Maguindanao massacre were released. Prayer rallies were also held. They did not remain silent on important social justice issues, inasmuch as they were not on sexual ethics. The way I see it, the media, both trimedia and social media, do not publicize the social justice advocacy of the Church as much as it did on the anti-RH stance of the Church.

    1. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you on some points. When you count the pastoral letters released that pertain to corruption and extra-judicial killings, you’re speaking in nominal terms. You have to account each instance as a single issue to have a fair comparison. For example, how many pastoral letters/prayer rallies/etc. did the CBCP release after the Maguindano massacre? And how many have they released regarding the RH Bill?

      Neither were they as active as they are posturing to be in the two People Powers we have had here in the Philippines. Let’s not forget that Marcos and Erap were doing all those things for years, and the church kept quiet. They only sided with those who will serve their best interests.

      The same goes for the Vatican. Remember WWII? The Pope even met with Hitler. They remain very, very passive and change sides only when it suits their hold on power. But of course, I’m talking about the Church as an institution. There really are individuals who go out of their way to work for social justice. It’s just that they’re sort of required to do so, in a sense; perhaps that’s why the media does not pay that much attention to them as compared to the issue of the RH Bill.

      1. How many were threatened with excommunication on issues outside the RH bill. Yes, there were people who spoke up,. and yes, the CBCP came out with pastoral letters. I did mention this. But they were not as vehement and solid as they were with RH. That is my point.

          1. I particularly distrust many of our papers. Several times, they have misquoted the bishops and have taken the bishop’s statements out of context. For instance, the statement of Bishop Pabillo on Typhoon Pablo was said in the context of the “theology of the signs of the times” and must be read through that lens but media reported that the bishop was directly linking the typhoon to RH bill.

            Another set of instances: Bishops Medroso and Cruz (who are also canon lawyers) have separately been misquoted as threatening government officials of excommunication. But then, they did not. They were simply responding to a question of whether it is possible to sanction pro-abortion officials with excommunication. They said yes, because Church policy says so. But they also explained that there are strict rules against imposition of excommunication–that it should be last resort, that it should not a blanket imposition but a case-to-case basis, etc. But what did the media report? The bishops are threatening pro-RH officials daw of excommunication. This is unfair to the bishops!

            Much of the discord that the RH bill is bringing about on our nation is really misunderstanding, brought about by rampant misinformation, misinterpretation, and misquoting of both pro- and anti- advocates. It would help if we all read the reports critically.

        1. Back in the day, when you get excommunicated, you get treated like a leper by the community. These days, excommunication is a toothless threat, which is why the Catholic Church doesn’t wave it around like a cudgel. It’s not because the church is now more tolerant of dissenting opinion. It’s just because no one among the Catholic hierarchy wants to reveal how powerless the church has become. But they have a new cudgel, the so-called “Catholic vote”. It doesn’t threaten the common folk, of course, just the politicians. As if there is such a thing as a Catholic vote.

      2. The point is that I am questioning Mr Paredes’s apparent claim that the Church is more vocal and active on sexual ethics issues than on social justice advocacy. To pose this question, I have to point out that, taken as a whole, there have definitely been more social justice advocacy pastoral letters than sexual ethics pastoral letters in the history of the CBCP.

        We all know in the history of the Church that silence is always its first action before speaking and moving. The Church always begins as a “silent foe.” (And it must be so because that is the way of the Gospel.) The RH Bill has been in Congress for decades but the Church never really took to the streets or the media to air its voice. That is because the Church would rather work silently in background before coming out at once. Only when the issue becomes too difficult would the Church speak up with the loudness it demonstrates now. The same is analogously true during the Marcos and Erap eras. The same is also analogously true during the Nazi era. In this case especially, there would be greater more Jews killed had the Church uncalculatingly began speaking. But documents show how the Church silently worked to save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Nazi regime.

        1. In this age of transparency, the church must answer a lot of things. It can’t be silent anymore, especially on pedophilia. It is also not above the law.

          There were some Catholics who helped Jews during the Nazis but the church as a whole did not scream as loud as they did on RH. It was rather mute. But when the topic is sex, as done by other people.. my goodness, they pontificate to high heavens. When they are involved in sex pecadilloes…. oops.. they remain silent as lambs.

    2. my two cents, sir. i wish i could see them unify whenever there are people victimize by senseless violence – massacres, rape of women and youth children in the hands of addicts and lawless people.i wish i could hear them more condemn or even threaten those people of excuminication, the way they threaten the lawmakers or supporters of the RH Bill,they will act as true sheperds that not only guide the sheeps but protect them also.They make a big deal out of contraceptives but they dont make a big deal about guns.i dont get it.until i see their enthusiasm in voicing out their concern over the increasing violence in the country then i will go will Jim, they are only concern about power over the masses, nothing more.

    3. Yes, I recognize all that. It is just that the church was not as united, vociferous and loud on those issues as they are with this one. How many were threatened with excommunication? Were the Marcoses, or corrupt people ever singled out during mass as Risa Hontiveros and others were in a Church in Baguio and other churches? Were the schools forced to comply, or were they given the choice of following your own political beliefs.

      Sadly, no. I do admire though that some stood up and died for various issues.The church though, compared to their RH reaction was seen as hedging, and can be described as even lackadaisical.

      Yun lang.

    4. jimparedes says:
      December 17, 2012 at 1:33 am (Edit)

      Yes, I recognize all that. It is just that the church was not as united, vociferous and loud on those issues as they are with this one. How many were threatened with excommunication? Were the Marcoses, or corrupt people ever singled out during mass as Risa Hontiveros and others were in a Church in Baguio and other churches? Were the schools forced to comply, or were they given the choice of following your own political beliefs.

      Sadly, no. I do admire though that some stood up and died for various issues.The church though, compared to their RH reaction was seen as hedging, and can be described as even lackadaisical.

      Yun lang.

  3. It would help, Mr Paredes, if you cite exactly which bishops and what instances that did he/they “name-calling” and “blaming the devastation of Typhoon Pablo on support for the RH bill.” You might misreading a bishop’s statement, or uncritically taking as true a misquoted statement.

  4. bravo, jim! you have articulated for me all the reasons why i have left the catholic church a long time ago. i quickly passed it on to family and friends.
    thank-you, mabuhay and filipino!

  5. The Church is an arrogant institution hiding behind a veil of ignorance and drunk with power, that they have wielded since the dawn of Christianity.

  6. “The issue is power.”

    The issue isn’t power, but morality. Power is but a red herring in this issue. You’ve read the RH bill and you know that the it seeks to institutionalize a “universal right to a safe and satisfying sex life” which demands from the government (and therefore, every taxpayer) funding for contraceptives for virtually every kind if sexual activity (there are no clear restrictions stated in the bill). Thus, the law presumes as though any kind of sexual activity is valid and acceptable – teenagers engaging in casual sex, homosexual intercourse, extramarital affairs, contraceptive sex – the bill declares that all these should be sponsored by the government. Also dubious is the content of “sex education” it will teach given this moral framework (or lack thereof)

    Yes, not everyone is a Christian. But by the same token, not everyone thinks these are valid choices. They can be seen as immoral choices damaging the moral fabric of society, and thus the common good. Is it thus fair for a law to impose to everyone to recognize morally controversial sexual acts as a “universal right?” Given the way it penalizes public officials who may restrict “RH services” according to a different moral standard, I don’t think the RH bill is truly respectful of a pluralistic society contrary to what its supporters claim.

    1. fathNReason,

      Directly addressing your points,

      The fact is teenagers engaging in casual sex, homosexual intercourse, extramarital affairs and contraceptive sex is rampant even without an RH Bill. If the Church is influential enough to stop this, and if the vast majority of people are truly capable of abstinence. then why does the practice persist? People have sex lives whether you choose to admit it or not, and they have a right to a safe and satisfying sex one.

      Essentially, we’ve tried it that way for decades and it hasn’t solved anything. If anything, the problems are getting worse. The rising rate of illegal abortions coupled with women suffering from complications due to them, the astronomical increase of HIV infections and the teenaged pregnancies show that it isn’t working and a more humane alternative is needed. Other than finger wagging, scolding and preaching.

      The Pope himself has said that in special cases, he considers the use of contraceptives as a humane alternative, while in the same breath reminding us that is still considered a sin to do so.

      And that’s the key word here. HUMANE. The RH BIll does NOT claim to strip the right of the Church to speak out against contraceptives but, it does seek to offer those who make mistakes, and those who disagree with the Church alternatives.

      We are essentially debating humane alternatives versus selective moral righteousness. Selective in the sense that it seems to take the high ground and immorally damn those who disagree with it, which is certainly not the Catholic faith I grew up with. Even Christ saw to help those who have sinned but are suffering. Seems today’s flock seem to delight in seeing the sinners suffer as long as they deem themselves spiritually clean.

      The solutions that the Church and the anti-RH proponents offer have failed miserably. If anything, I watched the anti-RH bill solons explain their case, and are you not willing to admit that the bulk of them were merely posturing and condemning the populace, offering neither rational counterpoints, nor proposing better, realistic alternative.

      And yes, it penalizes the Public officials for denying the people the rights included in the RH Bill, but it is in the same way that they are held accountable for other instances when they fail in their duties, and are answerable for basic needs, services, and rights of their constituents.

      As for your argument that not everyone thinks these are valid choices, I agree with you. Christian or not, this issue is not universally accepted. But in the same argument, we live in a democracy. The majority, defined in this framework as the elected officials whom we chose to represent us, will decide. Because a lot of people DO think this is a and w

      We cannot make concessions for, say, people who did not vote for PNoy to not break the law simply because they did not vote for him. Hell, I didn’t vote for him, I voted for Gibo. Does that mean I don’t need to follow Philippine laws he enacts? That is the logic your argument follows.

      The only aspect of the RH Bill which I have is the financial appropriations, which I feel need to be reassessed. Having seen many different government departments compete for scraps of funding, I have no idea where they intend to get the amount they hope to use to enforce the RH Bill.

      Like you, I would also like the scope of sexual education be defined but I see the need for it. A few years ago, TV Patrol ran a feature showing people engaged in the practice reusing condoms by washing them! Obviously, there is a need for better education on proper reproductive health practices. And it should be in the context that in the respective religions of the students might consider abstinence as the ideal option.

      1. Mr. Paredes, i thought you do respect the right of everybody but it seems a contradiction in your statements. why called the church as “DAMN” where you are promoting the humaneness of everybody. i’m about to admire you but it seems you are one-sided and not fair in this matter. ILLOGICAL…

    2. Having sway over sex morality issues is a power issue. Rape is a power issue. When priests do not want to leave it to the conscience of anyone to make decisions on their own sexual practices, and instead force the situation so people have no choice, THAT is a power issue.

      Don’t hide behind so-called morality.

      Gambling, guns, cigarettes, alcohol –all ant-life issues do not seem to bother the church as much as sexual issues. Why is that? In fact, the church even accepts donations from Pagcor.

      In a secular world, people are allowed the pluralism to practice their own morality except for killing, stealing, and a few other stuff all religions and even atheists can agree on. That is what it means to live in a secular democratic world. One must be tolerant. The CBCP and the Church are not democratic institutions but must recognize that it is under a democratic constitution. If anyone wants to live in a Catholic country, they can move to the Vatican.

      While Muslims may not like pork and may find it morally offensive, they too must accept not all are Muslims and that others like it. Ganun yun!

  7. Exactly what I have in mind but can’t quite express it like you did, Mr. Paredes. You always have an in-depth grasp of social issues and I admire you for that. I’m a fan.

  8. The issue isn’t power, but morality. Power is but a red herring in this issue. You’ve read the RH bill and you know that the it seeks to institutionalize a “universal right to a safe and satisfying sex life” which demands from the government (and therefore, every taxpayer) funding for contraceptives for virtually every kind if sexual activity (there are no clear restrictions stated in the bill). Thus, the law presumes as though any kind of sexual activity is valid and acceptable – teenagers engaging in casual sex, homosexual intercourse, extramarital affairs, contraceptive sex – the bill declares that all these should be sponsored by the government. Also dubious is the content of “sex education” it will teach given this moral framework (or lack thereof)

    Yes, not everyone is a Christian. But by the same token, not everyone thinks these are valid choices. They can be seen as immoral choices damaging the moral fabric of society, and thus the common good. Is it thus fair for a law to impose to everyone to recognize morally controversial sexual acts as a “universal right?” Given the way it penalizes public officials who may restrict “RH services” according to a different moral standard, I don’t think the RH bill is truly respectful of a pluralistic society contrary to what its supporters claim.

    1. It is not representative of YOUR belief. But at least you have the option to reject it. No one can ever force a condom or an IUD or a pill on you. The anti RH condemns everyone to lack of choice and education.

      How would you feel if the Muslims told everyone in the Philippines NOT to eat pork because it is offensive to their religion? In effect, that is what the church is doing to everyone.

      1. I commend you, Jim, for such passionate eloquence.

        We may differ in beliefs regarding the existence of a supreme deity. However, we agree on this one. The solution to the problem of reproductive health and the continuing dangers looming upon mothers and children who do not have access to such is simply not that of faith, but of practicality.

        The thing with some theists that I have noticed is that most of the time they forget that not everyone share their beliefs, which are rooted in their religion. Not everyone of them understands secularism and they take it as a personal insult if one does not agree with their beliefs. This is being narrow-minded. And the unfortunate way that they let themselves be let by a bunch of old fools who pretend to know reproductive health when they have made oaths of celibacy is so frustrating.

        I am surprised at how they continue to argue this issue based on their moral framework that is rooted in their specific religion. Should I blame this to the years of theocracy under the Spanish rule?

      2. ^ This!

        As much as possible, I want everything to be natural: from what I eat to what kind of treatment to take. I find Western Medicine to be seriously invasive, even if I have to rely on it sometimes. BUT I do not want to force this kind of thinking on people who may need medical care and will not respond to the kind of alternative methods I employ for myself. This is why I am pro-RH. People should be given the CHOICE. It’s a violation of human rights for this to be stripped away from them. This is what it really means to be pro-life.

        And seriously, I was at a wake for two days and the priest — instead of celebrating the life of the person who died, and emphasizing her unconditional love and steadfast faith in God — pushed his anti-RH agenda into his overly lengthy homily. That was the rudest thing my ears had to endure. I fear that many priests have lost all sensitivity and care that they were willing to desecrate the sanctity of this holy ground just to push their anti-RH stance.

        1. “instead of celebrating the life of the person who died, and emphasizing her unconditional love and steadfast faith in God — pushed his anti-RH agenda into his overly lengthy homily.”

          How unfortunate. That priest has abused his authority. Even if the priest have the right to free speech, still freedom is not absolute. He failed to do his job just so he could push his personal agenda, which, in this case, is the anti-RH stance.

        2. If they did that to anyone close to me, I am going to be one rude parishioner and ask everyone to help me move the deceased elsewhere. Once the priest pushed his anti-RH agenda in the wake, he no longer deserves any respect from that time on. The person’s death has nothing to do with the RH Bill.

      3. In the same vein you can also claim that with the RH bill in place, those who don’t want to pay for the services they aren’t going to use are compelled to pay for it, like compelling Muslims to pay for the pork and eat it too (which we all know is haram to their beliefs). And this time around, with the full force of the law (via taxation, police powers, implementing rules and regulations per department).

        I still wonder why the government HAS to be involved in these private things (that can already be decided by private citizens and private enterprise, and it’s naive to think that people are uninformed or don’t have a choice when the information is all around them), when we all know that giving MORE MONEY to government, effectively making it bigger, DOES NOT solve problems and make it worse. Heck, if you already know that an employee of yours will just be draining your coffers, would you be a fool enough to give him more of your cash… and surrender more rights and subjective yourself to more regulations? Why treat government, which doesn’t have a stellar performance record in delivering health services, and is not a productive agency by any means (the only thing they do get their money is by taxing people) any different?

        1. If I’m going to follow your train of argument, then we might as well stop projects for building roads, houses, and other infrastructures since it can also be a source of corruption.

        2. ‘and it’s naive to think that people are uninformed or don’t have a choice when the information is all around them),’

          Yes the information is around us but how many people do you think have access to those information? And of those people who have the information, how many can act on those information? A three pack condom can cost P50 and how much do the poor earn in a day? Certainly not enough to buy one everyday. Most of them don’t even have stable sources of income. An IUD costs around P9-15k and with that price, even the middle class will find it hard to afford one should they choose.

          FYI, there are Christian sects that believe organ and blood transplant are sins but our government still subsidises these operations. Are we going to stop it just because they don’t want to use it? Are we going to allow the people in Visayas and Mindanao to stop paying taxes used to subsidise the MRT fare, a service they will not be able to use? To pay your taxes is an obligation in and of itself and so long as it is properly used for the benefit of the people, you’d find it hard to argue against its usage.

  9. I hope that we all see that the actions of some Church leaders are not representative of the whole Church, or even of the whole CBCP.

    I would agree that many Church leaders have spoken and acted lousily or overzealously on the RH issue. BUT there are much more bishops who speak more carefully and reasonably than these handful of lousy ones. It’s puzzling me why the media do not really pick them.

    Like many of us, I am also pro-RH (but with anti-abortion, more-NFP-less-AC nuance). But my being pro-RH is not a reason for me to hate the Catholic Church or her leaders.

    1. The media didn’t pick up moderate or pro bishop because there’s none. They are followers of christ and members of the catholic faith and so are many of us who are anti RH bill. we follow the teachings of jesus christ through the guidance of the catholic faith . You cannot simply say that I am a catholic but do not agree with what the church teaches and say you’re a devout catholic. But maybe you’re not a catholic.

  10. Well said Faith&Reason.
    For all the frailty and the many sins of her members, our Holy Mother Church has stood firmly as a beacon of light for humanity. We need only look at what has happened to the USA. Pro-abortion (aka. Pro choice) advocates, used to trumpet to the whole world the argument that propagating a contraceptive mentality and allowing women to legally abort their babies, would, in the end, reduce the rate of abortions since women would be more “educated”. Yet, the opposite has in fact happened. A silent holocaust has been going on for years now in the US where million of unborn children are murdered year after year. I’m sure most of these mothers are too poor to raise a child.
    How we defend the weakest and the voiceless in our midst is a reflection of the kind of society we are.

  11. Thank you, Jim, for emphasizing on power & the bishops’ desperation to cling to it. The RH Bill talks have indeed become messy to the point that i had to filter my Pro-RH Bill facebook posts from my parents. I always view this issue in a very simple manner, with my simple mind, asking questions like, “Who know better, them celibate men who have never had a family (or so we know) & live in luxury with golden trimmings on their robes, or them women in the communities agreeing that yes, they need the knowledge and the utilities?” ; “Do we really know what’s in God’s mind & God’s will?” ; “What would be Jesus’s say on this issue?” & , “with all the information, literature, and opinions expressed and laid out, which ‘side’ has more over-all bearing in terms of research/empirical data & social justice?” …

  12. @ Jim
    No one’s stopping the Muslims from trying. But there’s a big problem if the government buys into it. Blame the State for not recognizing the separation of the Church and State.

    I don’t understand why a lot of Catholics who disagree with the policies of the RCC as represented by the Vatican, the Pope and it’s bishops, can’t just leave the Church altogether. There are hundreds of ecumenical Christian churches este organizations out there that one can join without compromising your “faith” considering you have lost faith in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is not a democracy d-uh!

  13. The fear of ex-communication is just laughable. In fact millions of INC members are laughing at it. Why not join the INC Jim? Now that’s a group of people who take their faith seriously.

  14. The simple fact is, the Philippines is not a Christian nation. It is a Roman Catholic nation, and a pre-Reformation Roman Catholic nation at that.

    The other simple fact is that Roman Catholicism has failed. It does not preach the gospel – its primary mission if it really was a Christian faith (which it is not) – but it sells the indulgences of idol worship, Mary worship and priestly forgiveness while also failing as an institution to deal with sexual abuse by paedophile priests or to stand against the political corruption that continues to weaken this nation.

    Of course, the buying off of bishops with cars funded by the PSCO also shows how corrupt the CBCP is. No wonder they’re capable of actually leading by example: truly it is the blind leading the blind.

    I don’t want the RH Bill passed for two reasons.

    The first is that Aquino wants it. If Aquino wants it there must be something wrong with it. After all, as the worst president in the history of this nation he simply fails any and every test before him. His appointment of Sereno – and failure to pursue the corrupt Puno or the treasonous Trillanes – shows how abysmally poor his judgement is so I can only assume that his imprimatur on this bill means it will be a disaster.

    The second is that no law is going to change the behaviour of Filipinos. Filipinos are world-renowned for making wrong choices. Miriam is right: essentially we are stupid.

    1. I disagree with what you said regarding the Philippines as a Roman Catholic nation. The Philippines is a country that happens to be populated mostly by Roman Catholics. Roman Catholicism is not enshrined in the Philippine Constitution as the state religion.

      1. Same Jim! If you wont go with it simply because you hate the Catholic Church (Catholic Bishops), i won’t believe in you.. LOL.. Merry Christmas!

        1. I do not hate them. I pity them because they are lost. They are behaving badly by lying and being so intolerant. And it does not matter to me whether you follow me or not. I am not moved by such ‘threats’. LOL. Peace to to you.

  15. nice Sir Jim!
    I’m always for accessible health services including reproductive health, it is a right especially for the poor. This reproductive health products were proven safe by health experts (particularly by WHO). As long as using or not using these is RESPECTED base on whatever valid logical reasonings, everything would be fine.
    Pass the RH bill!

  16. WOW! I couldn’t agree more with you, Mr. Paredes. You gained my admiration. As I always tell people who are Anti-RH, why not visit the public maternity wards or Fabella Hospital itself before deciding your stand on the issue. As a nurse, It breaks our hearts when a mother dies of childbirth due to complications of multiple births every year. They didn’t want to have as many children as they do now but they don’t know how to stop getting pregnant. Yes, It is an internet savvy age but these people don’t have time & money to go to internet & know everything about family planning, moreso don’t have the resources to buy contraceptives when they have decided what to use. Ang akin lang, Give them the information they needed, Let them choose & give them access to whatever contraception they want, may it be natural or artificial methods. Natural method is not as effective lalo na sa poor. Can you picture a wife saying “no” to her husband coz Rhythm method says she’s fertile for 3 days? As if naman these Anti-RH doesn’t use artificial contraceptives themselves.

    Thank you for a very intelligent article, Mr Paredes. Mabuhay po kayo.

  17. The only way to settle this argument is to wait. Let the RH bill pass, then let us do a thorough and objective study of the RH bill produced the goals it is is supposed to achieve five years after its approval. Personally, I do not think it will not achieve its goals, partly due to improper implementation of the law (which I believe is bound to happen as a result of incompetence and corruption) or inherent deficiencies in the law.

    I only hope that the dictum “Be careful of what you ask for because you must just get it” does not happen here.

  18. The article truly tells us what’s been happening for a long time. I believe that each and one of us have the right to choose how we live our life.
    A true Christian should be a responsible one. I hope that this article will help us see the other side and help us be enlightened.
    One of the greatest gifts that God gave us is the freedom to choose.But every freedom comes with greater responsibility. It does not mean that when the RH Bill will be approved we can just do anything. The RH Bill gives us the option to choose how we live our life. I hope that this will have a better effect and will also be an eye-opener to all of us.

  19. it is difficult to go to mass without being branded as evil. if i can only start a debate on RH bill during homily, i will, but i can’t, so i did what i have to do. i stopped going to mass and pray to my GOD on my own. The Church has failed all Catholics on this. i don’t believe on priest, or bishops anymore. They are as human as i am so why listen to them.

  20. The RH Bill (Law) has been on the table since 1967. I wonder who has been funding this for the past 45 years. I can only say that their perseverance as well as their deep pockets has finally paid off!

    1. There were financiers but the truth is, people do care about it the way they care for other issues like land reform, human rights, gay rights, environmental issues, etc. The church financed the anti RH rallies. Let’s not kid ourselves.

      YOu can’t be dismissive about it. If people did not care, how could the crusade last this long. And yes, it won with 83% of Filipinos wanting it.

  21. “Many Catholics are trying to find the space where they can still keep their faith while following the dictates of their conscience, which means rejecting all that they see wrong and rotten in the behavior of many of the leaders of the church” , , , ,

    I have always tried to give reason, and therefore acceptance, of the many things I observe about the Catholic Church,but there are just lots of them that really turn off one’s senses, , ,

    , , , explain, , , why do we need to pay for baptismal, wedding, and funeral rites, when the church requires us to go through these rites? And by the way, you either pay regular or special services. Which leads to more questions. Special audience with God when you pay extra?

    And now this RH Bill, , ,so I’m Pro RH Bill, , ,I now go to hell? Destruction from Ondoy, Habagat, Sendong, and now Pablo,, , why do we need ABS-CBN, GMA, and others to raise funds? Don’t the church have enough from it’s collections? Surely through the years that they have done so, they should have more than enough to share. Reason I am stating this is, , I haven’t heard anything from the church of what they will do with all the poor children born in poverty and out of wedlock and unwanted pregnancy. I have yet to hear a clear campaign or program from to stop teenage pregnancy. By the way, , ,where does all those collections go? To what are they used for?

    1. Angel, kindly research on that… you might be on the wrong track of judging… Your name will tell you so…

  22. Obviously, while there are many who support the RH bill, its opponents are just as numerous. Some of the oppositors do so on religious considerations. If the argument is choice, then these oppositors must also be given their right not to take part in something that is offensive to their beliefs.

    Why not provide tax credit/exemption for people who do not want their tax money to finance RH?

    Access to contraceptives is right there at the grocery or botica counter. And a condom is not expensive it’s pretty cheap. Some people don’t like condoms, some do. Essentially, you buy your own. Some just want their tax money to go to education, roads, electricity, etc., not for someone else to have “safe and satisfying sex”. So why not a tax credit?

    1. If I follow your logic, I should get a tax credit for every road, bridge, school built by government which I do not use or did not support building it.

      Should I also get a tax credit because the church does not pay taxes?

      Once something is a law, it becomes a communal thing.

  23. Looks like you guys are getting your RH BIll. Cafeteria Catholics all over the country should be overjoyed during tomorrow morning’s simbang gabi. They got their RH Bill and still get to keep their sentimental religious traditions.

    Okay teenagers, after the dawn Mass you can now go straight to the motels to have protected sex.

    1. I suspect that if you make a survey, you’ll see that most Roman Catholic laypersons (and many of those within the church hierarchy) are Cafeteria Catholics. This is the age of critical thought and information and the free exchange of ideas. People will pick and choose which philosophies are good according to their conscience and will reject those that are against their conscience. As an atheist, I recognize that religion and faith will never die, rather, it will evolve into a more humane and just collection of philosophies. History shows us that human civilization always marches towards justice. Always. It’s human nature. Sure, there are moments when certain groups hijack this journey, such as when the Nazi party lit the fires of war across Europe, but these distractions are always brief. Humanity as a whole desires peace and justice and harmony and equality. If the Roman Catholic refuses to abandon its antiquated beliefs then it will eventually become a tattered shadow.

  24. tumpak ka Jim, clearly the church is afraid that their hold on the faithful will be diminished. This might be the start of an exodus from the Catholic faith. And it will the fault of that CBCP (Council of Brainless Clergy of the Phils). After this, I will the proposed Divorce Bill. Naku, nakikinita ko na naman and matinding pagtutol ng simbahang katoliko at nang ibang relihiyon.

  25. Phil. Daily Inquirer Aug. 5,2012 pageA10:
    ..The church maintains that modern contraceptive methods prevent procreation, which should be the ONLY function of SEX..Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas…

    just to add to the possible “reasons” why the Church Hierarchy is opposed…medieval hmmm…

  26. For the good of all, the lawmakers (both House and Senate) should define in the RH Bill (1) whether abortion includes removal of a newly fertilized egg, and (2) when does ‘life’ begin (e.i. is a fertilized egg considered having ‘life’). The Catholic church teaches that LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION and therefore should not be aborted after it has been fertilized. Once these definitions are well defined, then there will be no more argument whether a newly fertilized egg has been aborted or not. I believe the CBCP should be more active in talking directly to lawmakers who are members of their parishes and agree on the definitions and include these in the Bill. The current House Bill RH Bill 4244 does not define the begining of ‘life’.

    1. It is defined. It is the church that muddled it by insisting that condoms and the like are abortifacients. Even the Pope said at one time that condoms did not prevent AIDS. He has retracted. They wanted confusion so nothing would get resolved.

      1. thank you Mr. Paredes for a very profound idea. very well said. thank you for being brave enough to voice out your stand on the issue. appreciate that

    2. thanks sir.. could you give us the specific contraceptive method which aborts after fertilization… do all contraceptive methods fall under this category? if not .. then that’s the whole point of the bill… CHOICE! and it’s up to your religion/group/affiliation to guide you in what choice is best among those in the menu… no one is imposing anything on anybody..

  27. Well said. The issue is not about population growth or religion. The issue is about power. The church has never been as vocal as they have with this. You could be a dictator. You could steal from government coffers. As long as you do not touch the influence of the church, you will be in their good graces.

    Lastly, I am one of those who have stopped going to church because of exactly what you said. I still consider myself a catholic but after I stopped going to church, i realized that unlike what I was brought up to believe, apparently, the catholic church does not have a monopoly of the truth.

  28. Maraming salamat Sir Jim na isinaletra mo ang saloobin naming mga Pro-RH at mahihirap hingil sa usaping ito. Saludo ako sayo Sir Jim!

  29. Well said. You’ve put in writing exactly everything that I’ve been thinking. On critical issues like these, I continue to see how my personal views and beliefs are so different from the church and it’s leaders. Slowly, but surely, they are losing my trust in the institution and people running it. I continue to pray and visit churches to meditate and speak to my God, but haven’t gone to mass in a while because I fear that the priests will continue to air their sides these issues and completely lose trust.

    More power to you, Jim

  30. Here’s a thought for all of you Pro and Anti RH bill:

    Was Mother Mary given a choice during the Annunciation, where she is informed that she will be the mother of Christ?

      1. Excuse me. Not everyone is Christian so you can’t ask every woman in the Philippines to imitate Mary. You remind me of the US diplomat who called on Jews and Muslims to stop fighting and behave like good Christians.. WRONG!

  31. This will be the very first time i’ll participate in an online public discussion.
    Consider me naive, but in my very simple and limited grasp on this issue, a question nags me…
    Do we really need to go through this political exercise?
    Again, me being naive, do we need the law?
    Contraceptives are already available. If the idea is to just widen the accessibility to it, then a mere distribution supply regimen is required.
    Sex education is something that can easily be mandated.
    Abortion, if desperately and deemed necessary, is something that the patient herself and the doctor can already decide on their own.
    Responsible parenthood is something that can be effectively promoted via decent, constant, and appropriate campaigns.
    And so on.
    I believe the government has its means to make the effects that this law is supposed to create.
    The K-12 for one is enthusiastically adopted by private schools even without the law!!!
    To the dismay of parents!!! But that’s a different issue. But to illustrate, that just used the means already provided for an executive order (or the proper legal name).
    In the dawning of the RH issue, poverty was cited as an inspiration.
    Again, me being naive, i stay that corruption is the bigger, if not the biggest, contributor for the lack of aggressive measures to fight poverty.
    So, do we really need to go through the exercise?
    Because the simpleton in me says that one of the biggest achievement of this event is the illustration that the Catholic Church is a weakening motivation to our country.
    I stay that the measures within the package of the RH bill can be implemented with existing means the government already have.
    If there’s something to rejoice now, it’s the liberation from the claws of the Church.
    Is it worth it?

    1. With all due respect. you are naive. Read up on it some more. The government cannot do this at the present time because it is not mandated to do it with the proper resources and it is blocked by the Catholic Church. This has been a 15 year ongoing debate. Owe it to those who debated about this and studied this to be more educated on the matter.

  32. Wouldn’t one have to be a non-believer of God to be pro-RH? I find it hard to comprehend someone who is God-fearing to advocate against the Catholic church, or their practices.
    Whatever it is that the Catholic church believe in hasn’t changed for thousands of years and the reproductive health issue is clearly against what they believe in. My point is, this shouldn’t be an argument if you’re a Christian and would only be an issue if you’re an atheist or living in a country with the majority of its population being non-believers. Just a thought and happy to be enlightened.

    1. It is not true that the church has not changed its stand on issues for thousands of years.

      1) It tolerated slavery, colonialism at one time.

      2) It even tolerated certain situations for abortion in the 16th century. Look it up.Go to google and type Abortion and the Church. The history is there. It believed at that time that oral sex was worse than abortion.

      3) By pain of Mortal Sin, fasting before communion used to start the night before. Then it became three hours before. Then one hour. Now, wala na. So, anomg nangyari sa mga nag violate nuon? Nasa hell sila?

      4) lastly, read the Bible especially Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and tell me if you will not be considered a mad killer and a totally deranged person if you follow its tenets.

      It is not wrong to change. What is wrong is to militantly deny the truth before you that people are dying of AIDS,and having unplanned, unwanted, unsupported children out of ignorance and must be helped and educated. What would Jesus have done? I know what the Pharisees would have!

      1. I guess what I was trying to say is, until the time when the majority of the population and its leaders have stopped consulting the bible with their decision-making, everyday issues, conversations, the country will remain the way it is – catching up with the rest of the developed world. That’s probably a give away that I’m an Atheist.
        A quote from one of your readers: “Was Mother Mary given a choice during the Annunciation, where she is informed that she will be the mother of Christ?”. No offence, I respect all religion but this is the sort of thing that hinders common sense and progress.

  33. The Church should separate Itself from the Estate. PERIOD. What the Bishops should do is “Pray Unceasingly”. That is the best thing that they can do. They need to just shut up with the Government issues. Why are they even talking of these earthly things when in fact they must be focusing on heavenly things (The Christ’s second coming) and must disregard the things which are not of Christ.

    Yan kasi ang problema sa kanila, akala nila, meron pa rin silang Super Power! and yes, time will come that they can no longer hold the estate at its neck. Problema na nila yan. This problem have started way back the uprising of the Protestants noong unang panahon. Masyado silang gahaman sa kapangyarihan but it is no longer the case. I would give President NoyNoy a thumbs up for this. Even though I am not a constituent but for this I will give him a point.

    Honestly? sila nlang kaya ang magsenador o magkongresman?haha

    Sir Jim, nice article.. if you need help for your website I can give you a hand. Just click on my site 😉

    Kudos! & More Power!

  34. To those quoting the Bible to argue their case, it is useless and even insulting to do that unless you are arguing with people who believe in the Bible 100%. Not everyone is Christian, Catholic, or even see Christ as their savior.

    We live in a secular state. YOU can’t force your religion on everyone. Come out with a position that is respectful of others. The anti-RH show disrespect by NOT allowing people to choose to practice RH or not. The pro-RH show reasonableness by letting people choose what to follow.

    It is a smal faith or wrong interpretation of religion if you do not grant freedom of choice to others who are different from you. In its extreme case, that is called fascism.

    If you want a Catholic state run with purely Catholic-values, you can

    a) start a religious war of conquest like the Church did during the Crusades when they did religious cleansing. While singing ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, you can justify anything including discrimination, hate, or even killing in the name of faith. Don’t laugh. It has happened before.

    b) Or move to the Vatican.

    Otherwise, live and let live. Learn tolerance. If people want to go to hell as you see it, let them do so. God gave us choice. Don’t play God by taking away other people’s choices.

    And NO, sex is not exclusively for procreation. It can be enjoyed as an act of love and pleasure. And we can choose which function we want. If this weren’t so, then we shouldn’t allow couples who can’t have children to stay married.

    Lastly, please lighten up. And now that it is law, humbly accept. YOu gave your best. We respect that but you lost this one. Don’t lose our respect by being fascistic and disrespecting the outcome.

    Merry Christmas.

    1. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! With your permission, I would like to comment on your opinion that sex is not exclusively for pro-creation. You are right, if you read my blog, it is written there that the 2 purposes of sex are for pro-creation and intimacy of spouses. And in my second response to your website, I mentioned that one can use natural family planning(NFP) method to prevent pregnancy if there is a serious reason for it. That means whether the sexual act is temporarily or permanently infertile by nature, the act is moral even if it does not attain the purpose of pro-creation. The point here is that we cannot violate the will of God. If couples cannot have children by nature, then that is the will of God for them and God does not forbid them to get married. NFP is the window provided by God for us to prevent pregnancy if there is grave reason for it and not artificial contraception as was clearly explained in my previous response. This teaching is not just based on Catholic beliefs but based on natural law just like murder, stealing, rape, etc. This teaching therefore is not only for Catholics alone but for all humanity. The problem is the evil of artificial contraception is not as obvious as murder, stealing, etc. to many people. They are not even aware of the devastating effects of contraception to the morality of society which to some people means nothing compared to the miseries our people are suffering today that is because these people embrace the philosophy of moral relativism which I would later clarify. Most Catholics are obviously not well versed in the science of moral philosophy. Many forget their common sense that to determine the moral issue of certain matters, one need the expertise of the people on the know, in the same manner that you consult a doctor if you get sick and not argue with the doctor if he tells that this medicine will do good for you or advise you to stop certain habits because it will harm your health. Your common sense tells you to follow them and not your uneducated intuition. Many think that this moral issue is common sense. Many even believe that the Church is naïve, old-fashioned or in the dark, that they are not aware or worst uncaring of what is happening to the poor pregnant women. I would say that the media has a lot to do with this impression because the Church has been a great enemy of the US propaganda on population control since the 1970’s. The US knows how to orchestrate things to achieve their objectives. Well, all these impressions about the Church are not true. Our bishops are no morons but are highly intellectuals and they are not naïve. Modernity is not a new facet of life. The fast changing world has been there since the 19th century and these intellectuals in the Church have learned their lessons from the problems brought about by these changes.

      Some people embrace moral relativism, which means morality are relative and not objective. Relativistic morality has its limitations and is not absolute. Though it is true that one is obliged to follow one’s conscience, one also has the obligation to properly educate or inform one’s conscience of the objective truths of morality because conscience can be objectively wrong. Moral relativists are accused of inconsistently claiming that there are no universal moral norms while appealing to a principle of tolerance as a universal norm. The reason behind this is that they believe that there is no objective truths to morality and therefore one ought not to interfere with the conscience of other people and should exercise tolerance. If there is no objective truths in morality, we should not actually blame Osama Bin Laden for being a terrorist because he sincerely believes that it is right to annihilate the American culture of immorality, so for him it is justifiable to kill the Americans. I was surprised to discover that one of the pilots of the airplane which crushed on one of the Twin Towers was a decent well behaved intellectual who was studying in the US university. I am reminded of so many young UP students who were recruited to become communist. Just like many young idealistic UP students, this young student was full of idealism to offer his life for that cause. I soon realized that the kind of person who would do such suicidal terrorist attack are not the mentally deranged persons or the unscrupulous mass murderers but people moved by idealism. Unfortunately, this young terrorist had fallen to a wrong doctrine or philosophy. The point here is that there are obviously objective moral norms because there objective truth in morality which ought to be followed and if they are rejected by some, they need to be informed and properly educated and not be tolerated. Though, however, there are cultural factors that come into play which makes it proper to exercise tolerance like the practice of polygamy of the Muslims. This is another complicated topic to discuss but which I don’t intend to expound.

      On the topic of power issue, I don’t think the Church is interested in power. If she is, then the way to do it is to allow RH bill in order to please the popular majority which you said was 83%. That would make the Church more popular and have more following. But if what you mean by power, is the power to dictate the conscience of others, I don’t get it. Are you referring to the arrogance of being able to dictate or sway the conscience of people. What kind of people are they who enter priesthood? These are young people who are moved by idealism to serve God by serving the people. And I would prefer to think that they are really interested in morality than in promoting the cheap arrogance of having the power to dictate the conscience of other people. If you think that this a power issue, perhaps you are overwhelmed by your passionate concern for the poor that you get annoyed by the Church vehement stand against RH bill which you strongly believe is the answer to the problem of the poor. But then it is only you who exactly know your motive.

      There are many issues you raised against the Church. You have mentioned that the Church did change their stand on some moral issues. This is a very complicated topic to discuss. But let me give you a backgrounder. During the time of Abraham God permitted the people to kill, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”. After a thousand years, at the time of Moses, God gave them a new edict “The Ten Commandments” which forbids them to kill. By the time of Jesus Christ, it is not just wrong to kill your enemy, Christ commands to even love your enemy. What do these events tell you? God is teaching us as children who need to slowly progress in morality. You don’t teach grade 1 student algebra, he won’t understand anything. Christ did not condemn slavery at that time because we are not mature yet to comprehend it and other reasons which we may not know in this world but in the next. He left us the Church to guide us and let the process of development run its course so we can better know our human nature and arrive at the right decisions in our life with the guidance of His Church. You also mentioned why the Church is so vociferous about RH bill? Because of its devastating effects on the morality of society which for you may not be so important. You might be overwhelmed by the problem of poverty which inflicts evil to the physical well being of our people, but the Church sees far more evil on the effects of RH bill in the spiritual well being of our people. The soul is more important than the physical body. Another obvious reason for the great outcry of the Church over this issue is because people are confused and really swayed to embrace contraception not unlike the other issues where there was no problem of confusion. The majority knows that the Marcos administration was an evil dictatorship and the Church need not make a loud public outcry of her condemnation to make people aware of it. The problem was people did not have the courage to overthrow the Marcos’ rule. It is easy to judge from our own perspective, but we can be very subjective about our opinion and affected by our passions. During the second reading of the bill, there was just a 9 vote difference. In the third reading, many changed to give their consent to the bill and it won with an overwhelming majority. We cannot judge their motive for doing so. What we know is the action they did. But we don’t know their motive. We know what they did, but we don’t know their reasons. Congressman Golez was a staunch prosecutor of the RH bill but he abstained twice. Some said that their pork barrel would be disapproved so they consented. There could be many underlying considerations why they acted so and we should not judge them because we are not in their position.

      I quoted the bible because the vast majority of our people are Catholics and therefore they need to be enlightened by their faith to decide on this issue of the RH bill . If most of us are mathematicians, and someone is proposing a solution using wrong mathematics, one has to speak up to correct the error because these people care about mathematics to arrive with the right solution. For those who are not interested in mathematics in finding the solution but use other ways to find the answer, let them be. Your website is accessible for public viewing. I just want to inform the vast majority of Catholics the mind of the Church on this issue in your website. I hope you will publish this.

      May the Catholics be more enlightened in their faith in this Year of Faith! God bless!

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