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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On the 14 Ateneo professors, Conscience, Reality and the Truth

On the 14 Ateneo professors, Conscience, Reality, and the Truth
By: Wilfredo Jose
October 25, 2008

I once had an argument with my previous boss over a computerized system that we planned on developing. I needed funding for the planned system that will be designed for on-line monitoring of parts shortages. My proposed system will quickly highlight what components are delaying the production lines.
He asked: ”Why do we want to spend our money and energies tracking those shortages? Why not prevent them in the first place?”
He had a very good point there. Be proactive, strike at the root cause, and not at symptoms of problems. My boss had this effective method of asking a succession of “whys” until we got to the root of the problem.
I suddenly remembered this encounter with my old boss as I read the statements of the 14 Ateneo professors who came out with a position paper supporting HB5043. Among other things, they said that giving women access to other “medically safe, legal, affordable and quality” family planning methods would prevent “unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies, which are the root cause of induced abortions.”
So according to the professors, “unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies” are the root cause of induced abortions. But what is the root cause of “unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies”?
“We are thinking of women who find it impossible to predict their infertile periods...”
Ah, if there is one word that my old boss hates, it is the word “impossible”. Obviously, the professors are referring to NFP and I wonder what are their presumptions by claiming that women find it impossible. I take it that these professors are more steeped than us ordinary mortals in scientific, facts-based analysis that substantiates their statements empirically. Does their studies/references (assuming they cited an NFP study) conclude that it is impossible to predict infertile periods? Is a system designed into nature itself, impossible? A study of NFP in China (check out this link), says otherwise, and in fact concludes: “The BOM (NFP) is simple and easy to comprehend; almost all the women, including the illiterate, can successfully learn the method and identify their own mucus symptoms.”Impossible?
“We are thinking... of couples who see each other on an irregular basis, or women who are trapped in abusive relationships with men who demand sex anytime they want it,”
Please professors, think harder. You are implying that these couples have an irresistible urge to copulate on sight. You said you were speaking for yourselves :-), so please do not make an unfair assumption on all these couples. Furthermore, if women are trapped in abusive relationships, then these women should be counseled and assisted, as no woman deserves to endure those “abusive relationships”, where men “demand sex anytime they want it”. Do you mean we turn a blind eye to the abuse as long as those women are “protected” by contraceptives? You give them contraceptives and the abuse goes on. Is that your idea of women “protection”? Think of the larger abuses of social inequity, of corruption, disrespect for the poor, and general apathy and tolerance of abuses committed at large to society.
“Catholic social teachings recognize the primacy of the well-formed conscience over wooden compliance to directives from political and religious authorities."
The professors seem to imply that their well-formed conscience trumps more than 2,000 years of Church history and teaching tradition. Primacy of conscience does not guarantee rightness and the objective TRUTH in ones subsequent actions. As is usually the case, when one finds himself in conflict with the Church’s teachings, the problem is with the person and not with the teaching, a direct consequence, naturally, of a selective reading(?) of Catholic (social ?) teachings.
While the professors continue to think more along the lines of “well-formed consciences”, they might consider not dragging the Ateneo name the next time they feel an irresistible urge to voice out their personal opinions. It would also do them well to read the Compendium of the Social Doctrines of the Church (all 361 pages, with NOT A SINGLE PAGE of it expounding on the PRIMACY of CONSCIENCE); study NFP first DILIGENTLY, without making “impossible” conclusions; rethink their concept of ROOT CAUSES; ask a succession of “WHYS” on the problems of women at hand; and investigate more deeply the real meaning of “WELL-FORMED CONSCIENCES”.
And if they want a professor to teach them through it all, I will gladly refer my old boss.He also says that some solutions are worse than the problem.

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