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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Doctor and former contraceptive user turned pro-life advocate: the edifying example of Dr. Dolores Octaviano

Published by Manila Times on July 1, 2012:


Editor’s note: Every Wednesday (5:30 p.m.), Saturday (10:30 p.m.) and Sunday (10:30 a.m.) the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Global Catholic Network features the program “Catholic Lives Asia.” It is hosted by Chi Chi Robles, who interviews a guest whose inspiring life story is an example of how a Catholic should live.

Spirituality Times offers a retelling of the televised interview story for the printed page. Today’s life story is that of Dr. Dolores “Dolly” Octaviano, an endocrinologist of Iloilo City who is also a champion for life. The show appears in TV stations of the Catholic Media Network.

AN endocrinologist, Dr. Dolores “Dolly” Octaviano holds clinic hours in many hospitals in Iloilo City.

“I am the 9th of 10 children. My mother was a housewife, my father a farmer. If we had the foreign family planning program then, I would not be here, ” Dr. Octaviano shares.

Now parents of four, Dr. Octaviano and her husband, a former seaman, are deeply involved in the prolife movement. 

“Initially I was not really all that prolife. I was a nominal Catholic. I even used the pill and had a ligation. But the grace of God touched me,” Dr. Octaviano confesses, and adds, “God’s grace will touch any life he chooses and he gave me the grace to recognize that being a Catholic is a defense of Jesus, it’s a defense of everything noble in us.”

True identity found

In 2000 she clearly grasped what God wanted her to understand through in the talks of speakers at a conference she attended. Among these were Dr. Rene Fonacier, EWTN’s Fr. Edgar Arellano and others, some of whom were bishops and archbishops.

“Those talks reminded me of my essence: what am I as a Catholic, as a parent, as a doctor, what is my role, what is my identity. That moment made me realize what am I in this world and what my function is. When I reflected back, it dawned on me that it started far back with my parents.”

Dr. Octaviano said that when she was still studying at the University of the Philippines-Visayas she had a crisis of faith. It was her father who reminded her of the importance of her Catholic faith.

“I had stopped going to Mass. I stopped believing in God and the Virgin Mary. It was a terrible feeling and I felt so empty. 

“My father said, ‘Please return to the Church. Other people may lose their faith, that is not you. Please return to the Church.’ 

“He did not scold me, he never nagged me but he just reminded me of my true identity.”

Role as a physician

“When I returned as a consultant to patients with diabetes, thyroid diseases and other endocrine diseases, I realized that I could not be a bystander in this life. I have to stand up and I have to express what I am for — someone who should be telling everyone that all physicians should be for life because in the Hippocratic Oath we took when we graduated we promised to stand up for life,” Dr. Octaviano said.

Interviewer Robles asks why other physicians do not have the same conviction. Dr. Octaviano explains, “I can only answer for my own conscience. But this I would like to surmise. I think as I was blinded before. My other colleagues are also blinded right now because they are forgetting their identity and they forget what they are in this life for, who their true master is. They forget that when one is a physician, you have no other master than God, and this belief must be revealed by your acts to preserve the masterpiece of God, which is life.”

She further explains, “When you are a physician, you are a nurturer of life and you are working for life. You should stand up for life not for anyone, not for any drug company and not for any organization. You should stand up for God, you should stand up for life.”

It has been ten years since her momentous conversion. Dr. Octaviano admits it is not an easy struggle.

“Once my son came home and told me he was being punished because he made noise in the classroom. He explained that one of his classmates was mocking the prayer so he began to correct him. They had a discussion and the teacher caught them and punished them. Then she told her son solemnly that even if he were punished for one month straight, she would stand by him as long as he was defending the faith, defending God.”

Balancing act

Being a wife, a mother to four children, a practicing doctor and a volunteer teaching the ills of contraceptives to far flung areas is a tall order but Dr. Octaviano is certain: “Everything is a grace from God.”

She goes to confession often, attends classes in doctrine, and with the help of spiritual directors is being formed into the firm and faithful Catholic that she hopes to be forever.

Dr. Octaviano and her family face real threats because they uphold their Catholic beliefs.

“There were real threats on my life especially when we really expounded on the evils of contraception and the evils of so-called reproductive health. There were phone calls, vehicles surrounding our house. Sometimes, a stranger tapping our gates and telling our house help to tell me to stop what I am doing or threatening me that they know who drives my car, what time I leave the house and where I am going. In the face of these threats, I told my children that this is not the time to be cowards. If it is God’s will for me to give up my life for Him so be it,” she shares.

Opportunity to give doctrine to her patients

She does everything to treat her patients but she also uses time with them to teach them doctrine and how to deepen their faith and love for God.

She teaches them that “Artificial birth control is evil because it means you just want the pleasure and not the fruit of the pleasure which might be a child,” she explains.

She has persuaded patients not to have ligations.

The fight against the RH bill

For Dr. Octaviano, there are three reasons why we should fight the reproductive health bill.

“The first and foremost reason is because this bill will steal from us our very faith. This bill will steal from us life, not only our lives but also the lives of the future generation of Filipinos. This bill deceives us into believing that this is a bill of good promises but in truth, this bill will promote unrestricted sex.

“The second reason is that approval of this bill will lead to a universal access to all the contraceptive agents, including abortifacents and sterility methods like ligation and vasectomy.”

She also revealed that IUD, pills and depo provera are all abortifacient by themselves, because these contraceptives destroy the lining of the uterus and even if the fertilization takes place the new life will not be able to cling to the uterine wall and die.

“The third reason is that it will allow taxes paid by the Filipino people to finance anti-God, anti-family and anti-life programs. It will grant the whole Filipino nation the privilege to kill itself. We will allow a situation where there will be genocide of the whole Filipino race but the very sad truth is that we will not be killed by other tribes but by the Filipinos themselves and very sadly so, it will be done right at the very womb of a mother who is tasked by God to protect and nurture life.”

Her message:

“We should always remember that God, who is the creator, deserves the obedience of everyone. Everyone is dutybound to worship God.”

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