Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Partial text of the August 29, 2012 statement of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines - a qualified rejection of the RH bill

What is the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines? According to its official website:

CEAP is the national association of Catholic educational institutions in the Philippines. Founded in 1941, it now has 1,252 members, which include universities and colleges offering academic and continuing education programs that are at par with foreign schools in the USA and Europe. Majority, however, of its members numbering around 700 are mission schools offering basic education to the country's poor and the marginalized. 
CEAP is a voluntary organization which operates through regional educational associations located in the 16 regions of the country. It represents the interest of Catholic educational institutions in national and international fora, fosters unity of action with other organizations in educational matters, and assists members, particularly those in mission areas, to achieve common and specific aims.

Therefore, the CEAP represents far more academics and teachers than the "Ateneo 192" plus the pro-RH professors in De La Salle University who are now said to be circulating at least two petitions imitating the Ateneo professors in their rebellion versus the bishops. While I don't make the claim that everyone else who teaches in CEAP-affiliated institutions of higher education is anti-RH bill, the declaration published yesterday (August 29, 2012) by CEAP would not have been possible without a significant number of administrators, professors or teachers in these institutions being actually opposed to the RH bill. As I point out further below, it is equally true that the statement also bears the marks of a strong pro-RH bill lobby.

Although the text as we have it does not explicitly refer to the Ateneo 192, the references to Ex Corde Ecclesiae and to the bishops' desire to 'dialogue' with those who object to the CBCP's stance on the RH bill  (a dialogue that has been offered only to the Ateneo dissenters) make it clear that this statement was written with an eye to the continuing controversy caused by the pro-RH teachers. 

From the blog of Fr. Joel Tabora (CEAP, PH Bishops and the RH Bill):

CEAP supports the bishops in their opposition to any law which contains provisions for abortifacient control of birth. Killing of human life is absolutely proscribed. It is prohibited by the Philippine Constitution which protects life from the moment of conception. It is also prohibited by the Fifth Commandment. It supports the bishops in their opposition to any provisions of law that force any Catholic believer to act against his/her conscience in the discharge of his/her duties as a doctor, health worker, employer or employee. It supports the bishops in their opposition to any provision that usurps the right of parents to take full responsibility for sexual education of their children.

CEAP supports the bishops in their official teaching, binding on all believers, concerning the dignity of the human life, the need to “choose life” and to support a culture of life, the sacredness of sexuality, the unity in principle of the unitive (“for love”) and procreative finalities of acts of sexuality, recognizing God to be the author of life. It supports the bishops in their pointing to the danger of human love being eroded into lust and the danger of “moral corruption” in reducing life’s choices for a meaningful life to choices for superficial pleasure, even though in all of these issues there is ongoing theological reflection (esp. in Catholic Universities and Catholic theological faculties).

Unfortunately, the CEAP statement also gives space to statements that de facto gives cover to those academics in Catholic schools who invoke academic freedom and pluralism in order to support the RH bill. 

CEAP supports the bishops in their dialogue with objectors to this teaching, preserving in their schools “the institutional fidelity of the Catholic Universities to the Christian message…” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 27).

CEAP supports the bishops in contributing to the discussion on the demands of the common good in a plural society on the basis of which legislation and new legislation or revisions of legislation are deemed imperative.

Here one must carefully distinguish between:

The authority of the bishops binding believers to obedience in faith to a Catholic moral order;


The authority of discerning reason within the civil (profane) society, especially in discernment articulating demands of the common good or social justice, binding on reasonable persons based on compelling rationality.

Within a Catholic University “whose privileged task is to unite existentially by intellectual efforts two orders of reality that too infrequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the knowledge of already knowing the font of truth’” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 1), academic freedom is guaranteed by the Church: “The Church, accepting ‘the legitimate autonomy of human culture and especially of the sciences,’ recognizes the academic freedom of scholars in each discipline in accordance with its principles and proper methods and within the confines of the truth and the common good” (ibid 29).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ateneo De Manila University's Memo on the Pro-RH Declaration: Text with Commentary

The following is the memo published by Fr. Jose Ramos "Jet" Villarin, President of ADMU, regarding the pro-RH declaration of 192 members of its faculty. My commentary comes right after this. 


20 August 2012

Memo to: The University Community

Subject: HB 4244 

Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill). As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values.

Now that the period for amendments is about to begin, I enjoin all in the Ateneo community to continue in-depth study of the present bill, and to support amendments to remove provisions that could be ambiguous or inimical from a legal, moral or religious perspective.

In connection with this, I call attention to the 192 members of our faculty who have grappled with the underlying issues in the context of Catholic social teaching, and who have spoken in their own voice in support of the bill. Though the University must differ from their position for the reasons stated above, I appreciate their social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good. As there is a spectrum of views on this ethical and public policy issue, I ask all those who are engaged in the Christian formation of our students to ensure that the Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done.

Should the bill with whatever amendments be passed, we should neither hesitate to bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have nor cease to be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implementation.

If there is no easy answer to the concerns that the proposed bill raises or no facile unanimity among divergent views, this only proves the complexity, depth, and sensitivity of these concerns. Nevertheless, Catholic tradition has always taught that reason and faith are not enemies but allies in the service of God’s truth. From this tradition, we can draw strength and compassion in our often tortuous journey as persons in community toward the greater glory of God and the service of God’s people.

Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ

Now, for my commentary:

This blog is thankful that Fr. Villarin declares that the Ateneo De Manila University "does not support the passage of House Bill 4244." This blog also thanks the Ateneo De Manila University for coming out with this public adhesion to the Catholic stand versus the RH bill, something that too many Catholic colleges and universities have not (yet) done in their own name. Nevertheless, there are also some things in Fr. Villarin's memo that need to be discussed and brought under scrutiny; on these we cannot be silent. 

The first thing (or rather, the first absence of a thing) that seizes our attention is the lack of any reference to fidelity to Catholic doctrine, and the absence of any allusion to doctrinal investigations, as demanded over this past weekend by Msgr. Leonardo Medroso, Bishop of Tagbilaran. Those who signed the pro-RH declaration are even praised for their "social compassion and intellectual efforts". (May we remind everyone that this is an acknowledgment of intelligence and good intentions that the pro-RH side, for all its self-proclaimed tolerance, has scarcely reciprocated towards the opponents of the RH bill?) While the memo goes on to urge the signatories to "continue in their discernment of the common good", this can mean almost anything; it does not necessarily point to the need to think with the Church. However, the call to think with the Church is precisely what needs to be explicitly heard from the Jesuit Fathers right now. Ateneo, after all, continues to call itself a Catholic university. 

Some might object that at this stage, the dialogue between the leaders of the Church and of the Ateneo and the pro-RH section of its faculty has to be of a purely positive and persuasive nature, without any threats or commands to mar it; the shepherds must not shake their rods at the sheep, but only call to them with soothing words. Perhaps it can be argued that things have gone down so far in the Ateneo de Manila that the most that the voice of Catholic orthodoxy should hope for is to be allowed to have a say -- as but one among many voices -- within its walls. However, this is not a situation that is worthy of any Catholic university worthy of the name, even if it might be the reality in not a few Catholic institutions of higher education worldwide. As for the idea that heterodoxy must be fought with the rod, it is an unpopular and rarely-heard notion even within the Church, but it remains part of the Church's own thinking. As Pope Benedict XVI declared to the priests of the world on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 2010, " The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of loveToday we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us." To ask the Church to cease to exercise any discipline is to tell the Church that it should not protect its own identity. 

Second, the memo's language is insufficient regarding the true nature of the Catholic Church's opposition to the RH bill. While the memo rightly states that the leaders of the Catholic Church do not support the passage of House Bill 4244, and that this bill "contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values", it also calls upon Ateneo faculty to "support amendments to remove provisions that could be ambiguous or inimical from a legal, moral or religious perspective". Here we come upon a briar patch: naturally, an RH law with amendments that will prevent it from impeding the freedom of the Church and the conscience of Filipinos is better than an RH law without such amendments. Nevertheless, it should be made clear that any support for such amendments are of a purely pragmatic character; the stand of the Church continues to be that the RH bill, as it now stands and even with all the amendments currently proposed, remains too poisonous to the Filipino nation to be passed. As for the "positive elements" of the RH bill, these should be enacted into law separately, or be supported through the enforcement of already existing laws.

Last but not the least, the memo pleads that "all those who are engaged in the Christian formation of our students to ensure that the Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done." We confess to being skeptical about the efficacy of this plea. The memo also claims that the Catholic position on the RH bill is being properly taught in Ateneo, but if this true, the overall silence of both Ateneo students and faculty in the struggle against the RH bill (with a very few honorable exceptions) belies it. On the contrary, some of the worst, most anti-clerical, and most insulting language and rhetoric against the pro-life movement and the Catholic Church in this whole debate has come from Ateneo's faculty and students, not to speak of alumni. It is a scandal not only to those who come from other Catholic schools, but also to those pro-lifers who come from secular schools such as the University of the Philippines (which, despite its secularist and anti-religious reputation and its own very large contingent of RH supporters, is also the alma mater and academic home of a disproportionate number of anti-RH and pro-life teachers, speakers, writers and activists, and the home to what is currently the largest student group devoted to fighting the RH bill). What have the Jesuits done about this? Perhaps they have done something about this privately, but given the nature of things they need to be heard publicly about this.

If the situation in Ateneo is such that Fr. Villarin cannot call upon its pro-RH contingent to reverse its support for the bill, could he not at least publicly and openly rebuke the shameful anti-Catholic rhetoric that is coming from some of them? If even this cannot be done, then how could the Ateneo "bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have" about the RH bill, and "be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implementation"?

I have no doubt that there are Ateneans who love the Church, who are faithful to the Magisterium, who will stand by the Church even as it is publicly mocked. Dear Ateneans, please, speak out! We need to hear your voices!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fr. Charles Belmonte reminds us of the politically incorrect fact that to be rightfully called Catholic, one must be... Catholic!

In these days when the most obvious things need to be re-stated again and again and defended, Fr. Charles Belmonte provides us with a simple but comprehensive lesson on who or what exactly has the office of distinguishing something as Catholic as opposed to what is not Catholic. Although the following paper is not directly concerned with the RH bill, it is certainly relevant to the debate raging around that bill because it directly answers those who would declare that one can be Catholic, and use (or rather, abuse) the name "Catholic", and yet openly rebel against the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. 

I am publishing this paper with the blessings of Fr. Belmonte.

Who Should Say What is Catholic? - Fr. Charles Belmonte

An open letter, a petition, a statement of the obvious, an appeal to common sense and a call for fidelity: the first five responses to the latest stunt pulled by pro-RH Ateneo professors

UPDATE 8/21/12 @ 8:00 PM Manila time: I've posted the text of a memo from Fr. Jet Villarin, President of Ateneo De Manila University, regarding this issue. My post includes my commentary on the memo. Ateneo De Manila University's Memo on the Pro-RH Declaration: Text with Commentary

UPDATE 8/21/12 @ 5:00 PM Manila time: Fr. Charles Belmonte has penned a longer follow-up to his original note on what is "Catholic": Fr. Charles Belmonte reminds us of the politically incorrect fact that to be rightfully called Catholic, one must be... Catholic!

UPDATE 8/20/12 @ 1:50 PM Manila time: a FIFTH response, a short note from Dr. Quirino Sugon, has been added to this post. I've inserted it between Ricardo Boncan's petition and the CBCP News article on Archbishop Palma's recent remarks on this matter. 

The recent declaration of 192 (and counting) college-level Ateneo faculty members in favor of the RH bill is not surprising to anyone who is remotely familiar with the actual state of  much of 'Catholic' higher education in the Philippines. In too many Filipino Catholic colleges and universities there is open dissent against the Magisterium, ridicule and hatred directed at the very Church that nurtures them, and a refusal to actually try to know what the Church teaches, in favor of an "academic freedom" that one-sidedly favors 'free-thinking' and  often elevates childish propaganda against Catholicism to the level of protected academic speech. I do not deny that there are many good Catholic teachers and students even in the most 'secularized' of 'Catholic' schools, but their presence only makes the existence, and oftentimes the dominance, of theological dissent in Filipino Catholic institutions of higher education all the more glaring. Unfortunately, many Filipino Catholics -- clerics and laypeople alike -- had refused to acknowledge the existence of the problem. With this recent incident, it is no longer possible for Filipino Catholics to pretend that the problem does not exist. 

Meanwhile, I have the honor of presenting the first four public responses by Catholics to the Ateneo professors. I present them in no particular order. 

The first is an open letter by Ed Sorreta, Chairman of Pro-Life Philippines, that is now being circulated as a Facebook note. This is the full text of this letter:

To say out front, I am against the RH bill for reasons that are very real and personal to me.  But I do not intend to delve into these because there has been enough talk on the pros and cons of this bill.  It is now time to make a stand. That is why I respect their opinions, no matter how flawed they are to me.

What is beyond me is how they can group themselves together and make a public statement against the pronouncements of the Church of which their university is a part of.  What model of respect for authority can they impart to their students when they themselves do not live it?  I can be more forgiving with UP, a government university or any other non-sectarian educational academy if they support the RH bill.  But for Ateneo, a recognized Catholic institution, to publicly declare their support is something that is inappropriate and leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Therefore, I challenge these renegade professors to stand their ground and resign from the Ateneo.  If they do not have the decency to do that, I call on the Jesuit community running the Ateneo to mete out sanctions against them.
If the Jesuits refuse to do this out of their principle of intellectual liberalism, I ask them to have the propriety of reclassifying Ateneo from being a Catholic institution to a non-sectarian university.  This is a call not only for the Ateneo but for other Catholic schools who defy the teachings of the Catholic Church.



Pro-Life philippines

The second is an online petition launched by Catholic pro-lifer and blogger, Dr. Ricardo Boncan, who is an alumnus of ADMU. The following is the full version. A shorter version is coming out today (August 20, 2012) on the column of Antonio Montalvan II in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. As of the publication of this blog post (c. 4:00 AM on August 20 in Manila) this petition, less than 2 days old, has garnered 214 signatures. 

Petition published by Ricardo B. Boncan on Aug 18, 2012

Petition Background (Preamble): 
In August 2012, 160 Ateneo faculty members abused their position and misused the name of the Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit-run university with a Catholic mandate, to express their personal stand and agenda in favor of the Reproductive Health Bill. 
The administrators of the Ateneo have not done anything to answer these dissenters nor to defend Catholic teaching on the matter.  
This petition is to precisely ask the Jesuit Fathers for accountability. 
August 15, 2012 
Written on the Solemnity of Our Ladyʼs Assumption
Father Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J
The Jesuit Fathers of the Ateneo de Manila UniversityLoyola Heights, Quezon City
Dear Fr. Villarin and the Jesuit Fathers of the Ateneo de Manila University, 
Over the past 3 years, we, concerned alumni, family and friends of the Ateneo de Manila University have stood idly silent as some Ateneo faculty members abused their position and misused the name of this Catholic university to express their personal stand and agenda in favor of the RH Bill. The memo released against this by then ADMU President Fr. Ben Nebres was one of perfunctory, mild dissociation against the, then only 70 or so, faculty members who signed on. 
While declaring the official Jesuit stand against contraception as being consistent with the Church, Fr. Nebres, defended their actions by defaulting to what he claimed to be, “academic freedom”, that supposedly allowed them to express their personal views as faculty members of this Catholic University. As a result of that token denouncement and “academic freedom” excuse, these faculty members have become emboldened and have come out in bigger numbers to espouse an agenda and political ideology contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, confidently using the good name of our school, a Catholic school, to give credence to their voice. 
Academic Freedom in the proper context of allowing academicians to explore the ethical and moral limits of their chosen field and teach the good that comes out of it, is a praiseworthy principle. But what has happened in this case is clearly not that! Many of these faculty members are using the name of our university, its Catholic mandate, its Catholic ties to their own ends in the disguise of academic freedom. It gives the impression to many of us Catholic alumni, friends and family of the Ateneo that our Jesuit Fathers condone this action and have abandoned their calling to fight for Catholic truths. 
My dear Jesuits, THIS IS NOT FREEDOM, this is ACADEMIC TYRANY. Among those held hostage by these tyrants and dissenters are the many other faculty members who have chosen to be silent for fear of being ostracized by their peers, for holding contrary views on the issue. However, the biggest and greatest casualty here are those who were entrusted to be under your intellectual and spiritual care, the STUDENTS of the Ateneo de Manila University. 
As Catholic priests of a canonically formed order, founded by a great saint, Ignatius of Loyola, we find this unacceptable! These students are being made collateral damage by ideologically driven faculty members who freely “educate” them with things contrary to their Catholic upbringing. We, the parents of these students have spent years bringing them up, espousing love of Christ, His Church and obedience to Catholic teaching, especially in the area of sexual morality and sending them under your care, confident in the thought, that the Ateneo would do the same and even strengthen them. All that effort, only to be undone by these anti-Catholic principles being espoused by faculty members, under your employ, teaching under the name of this great school. 
Calling to mind Blessed John Paul IIʼs encyclical, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (ON CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES), ... 
Article 2, “Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected(46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.” 
Article 4, “The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/ or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. 
The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine.” and lastly, “Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University. 
We therefore; 
1. denounce the continued misuse of the Ateneo de Manila Universityʼs name by these 160 faculty members for their statement and stand for institutionalized contraception as it is contrary to Catholic teaching. 
2. ask our Jesuit Fathers, especially those in the administration, to publicly settle this matter unequivocally and strongly for the benefit of Catholic students under their care. 
3. ask that an explanation to all students of the Ateneo, on the clear and unwavering position of our Catholic school and our Jesuit fathers, on the matter of artificial contraception should also be sent to parents and alumni of the university. 
4. ask that a clear, strong and resolute reprimand be given to those who willfully signed that statement and made use of their position in order to voice their dissent to Catholic teaching. 
Inspired by this and the Ignatian motto “Lux In Domino” we pray that you, our dear Jesuit Fathers, take this letter as a show, of nothing more, than our love and concern for the school that nurtured our growth and made us what we are today, Men For Others. 
“We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides” St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, AMDG

(See update at the top of this post.) The third response I am placing here is Dr. Quirino Sugon's short note on the Facebook page of the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. He had signed Dr. Boncan's petition and was explaining his signature:

I signed the petition below in response to the 160 Pro-RH Ateneo professors who signed the petition in support of the RH Bill, in defiance of the Catholic Church teaching on contraception. I hope you and your other Atenean friends will also sign below. This is now a battle of the Two Standards. We need to reclaim the Catholic identity of our beloved university. Fidelity to Mary is fidelity to the Catholic Church. It cannot be otherwise.  
“We stand on a hill between the earth and sky. Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly. Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day. Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way. 
"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! 
"Down from the hill, down to the world go I; rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly. Through joys and tears, through the laughing years, we sing our battle song: Win or lose, it’s the school we choose; this is the place where we belong! 
"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!"
Sincerely yours,
Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.
Ateneo Latin Mass Society

The (fourth) is the following 'statement of the obvious' of the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines regarding Catholic schools that waffle on the RH issue, as reported by CBCP News:

MANILA, August 17, 2012— The Catholic hierarchy may strip a school of its affiliation with the church if they go against its teachings particularly on life issues, a ranking archbishop said. 
Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said this is possible if a Catholic school and other institutions violated ethical and religious directives of the church. 
“If we are a Catholic school, we should not teach anything contrary to the official teaching of the church,” Palma said. 
Amid the debate on a controversial artificial contraception measure, he admitted that there is a clash of beliefs between the church and teachers of some Catholic schools. 
However, the Cebu archbishop said they are trying to solve the problem through a dialogue. 
“In some places, we first talk to them because some teachers may have some misunderstanding of what they think of freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” said Palma. 
“In some of the universities, we say that if you want to teach that idea, do not do it in a Catholic school because we are confusing the students… do it in other universities,” he said. 
The CBCP head stressed that the motive why parents send their children to Catholic schools are for reasons of faith formation. 
“They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation,’ he said. 
“It will be a contradiction if we will bombard them with ideas which are against the official teachings of the Catholic faith,” added Palma. 
Around 160 professors of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) have openly expressed their support for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill opposed by the Church. 
The professors first released this statement in 2008, and reiterated their stand recently as the House entered into the period of amendments on the RH measure. 
They also stated that they are not speaking for the entire Ateneo institution and only expressing their personal position. 
The ADMU, however, as a Jesuit and Catholic university, clarified that it still stands with the CBCP and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. 
Only last month, the Vatican has withdrawn the Catholic identity of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, because some of its policies are “not compatible with the discipline and morals of the church.” 
The Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has also come into question in recent years as the Vatican probed the embryonic stem-cell research conducted at Leuven and its sister institution, Louvain. [RL/CBCPNews]

And, last but not the least, the following little Facebook note from Fr. Charles Belmonte that is now being shared by many pro-lifers, which explains in common-sense terms why an institution that refuses to teach Catholic tenets shouldn't be calling itself Catholic:

If you have a shop which exclusively sells pan de sal, ensaymada and mamon, don't call it "Hairdresser salon" because it is not. No insult. It's just a matter of sincerity and decency. 
If you have a university which hardly teaches the Catholic faith (irrelevant whether this faith is true or false), don't call it "Catholic" or "Pontifical" because it is not true. 
I don't know what is to be a Muslim, but I can tell you what is to be a Catholic: to be baptized, to profess the faith which the entire Catholic Church professes and has professed from the time of the Apostles (as taught by the pope and bishops) and to obey the legitimate pastors (the hierarchy). 
I don't think it is matter of academic freedom, but of sincerity and decency.

Our situation is best summarized with the following quote from George Orwell: We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"We have as much right to expose the dangers and ills of the Bill as those who promote it." -- Abp. Jose Palma on the termination of debates in Congress over the RH Bill

From CBCP News:

CBCP Statement on the recent voting in the House of Representatives ending the debates on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill

It was not supposed to happen. The agreement was to vote on August 7, 2012, when every side would have been ready and prepared to defend its cause as in any democratic setting.

Unfortunately, in a move remarkable in its stealth and swiftness, the ruling group of the House of Representatives, on August 6, 2012, managed to force a vote that terminated the period of debates on the RH Bill. It came a full day too soon, just when “no one was looking”. Except for the cabal of schemers, people were caught off-guard by the suddenness of the execution, especially those who oppose the Bill on faith or principle.

We are dismayed by the display of naked power. We lament the unilateral disregard of prior agreement in the pursuit of selfish goals. We detest the unbridled resort to foul tactics. We denounce the brazen disregard of the basic tenets of fair play and attempt to railroad the passage of the Bill. Not least, we question the surrender of legislative discretion to an intrusive President, reminiscent of the events leading to the impeachment proceedings.

The Catholic Church and those who are similarly minded ask for nothing more than fairness. After all, we have as much right to expose the dangers and ills of the Bill as those who promote it. So much is at stake in this fight for life: protection of women’s health against harmful contraceptives; preservation of parental authority over minor children; protection of the youth against valueless sex education; wrongful discrimination of the poor; wasteful disbursement of billions of pesos for contraceptives while many of the poor die of cancer, tuberculosis, dengue and other ailments without the benefit of medicine; suppression of dissent and civil liberties through threatened imprisonment and gradual annihilation of the Philippine race through systematic reduction of maternal fertility rate.

In the face of a well-funded campaign to have the RH Bill passed as envisioned by foreign institutions, and despite the undeserved attacks it is reaping, the Catholic Church stands firm in its resolve to fight this deadly measure at every turn and no matter the cost ― all for love of God, flock, and country.

We commend the bravery and dedication of legislators who continue to resist the Bill even at the risk of retaliation from the powers-that-be.  To them go our blessing and the gratitude of the faithful. Their courageous and patriotic acts will be remembered long after the last debate had been waged and the final vote had been cast.

Finally, we urge all devoted Catholics to unite against the Bill.  Intensify your prayers and let your voices be heard and your actions seen against this deadly measure. Truth is on our side. Developed countries with dwindling population are beginning to realize the folly of population control, and some, like Singapore, regret having adopted it. Most importantly, the Bill’s anti-life features go against our Constitution, our treasured traditions and the basic teachings of the Catholic Church as enunciated years ago by Pope Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II.

For and in behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

Archbishop of Cebu & President, CBCP
13 August 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Filipinos for Life - Statement of Support for Senator Tito Sotto

Metro Manila is not the Philippines, and MM's overcrowding does not make the Philippines overcrowded too

From the Letters to the Editor section of the PDI:

Philippine Daily Inquirer
Monday, August 13th, 2012

“We are not poor because we are plenty; rather we are plenty because we are poor.”

Women do not beget children on their own. So it is unfortunate that throughout the raging controversy over the Reproductive Health bill, no one seems to be paying attention to Filipino men, especially the poor. Virtually all arguments from both sides seem to focus on the protection of women and children alone. But we must get to the root of the problem. Why do husbands continue to force themselves on their wives despite their inability to support large families?

Based on experience from working with the poor, it is due to our individual and collective greed and lust. Our poor menfolk, whom nature designed to be providers for their families, lose their sense of dignity and turn “predatory” when they are jobless or woefully underpaid. Their depressed condition is exacerbated by the vulgarization of sexuality in all forms of mass media.

The RH bill is therefore not a real and lasting solution because it only addresses the symptom of overpopulation among the poor. The end does not justify the means, especially if it is harmful and immoral. Rather, the true and real solution is to promote morality, specifically the virtues of charity and chastity, the values of caring and sharing to overcome greed, and the values of purity and modesty to overcome lust. The late US President Ronald Reagan said it so eloquently, “Economic growth is the best contraceptive.” Metro Manila is overcrowded, but the Philippines is not overpopulated. This is only because we have failed dismally to develop our agricultural sector and provinces, which could have sustained rural families instead of driving them to become illegal settlers in Metro Manila. They are not poor because they are plenty; rather they are plenty because they are poor. Make our poor rich and they will have less time and energy for irresponsible parenthood. Then our rich will only become wealthier because better-paid workers are more productive workers, and they are also more affluent consumers who possess higher purchasing power to buy products and services sold by the rich.

No to Reproductive Health. Yes to Reproductive Wealth, where wealth begets more wealth because the rich help the poor and the poor help themselves through various forms of profit-sharing—not forcible land reform or mandatory wages. Workers who are part-owners will drive revenues, cut costs and conserve cash on their own. And how can we acquire the virtues of charity and chastity? Through personal discipline and self-control (not birth control), and most of all through prayer and sacrifice, because the virtues of charity and generosity, chastity and self-control are fruits of God the Holy Spirit.

Of course, all this must start with the nation’s top leadership. Enough of self-centered leadership. We demand God-centered leadership because we deserve God-centered leadership. Nothing more. Nothing less. P-Noy says “Kayo ang boss ko,” but let us remind him, “ngunit ang Diyos ang boss nating lahat!”

Marwil Llasos' response to the INC support for the RH bill

From the blog The Knight of Mary - Marwil N. Llasos, O.P. comes the following comprehensive critique of the Iglesia Ni Cristo's support for the RH bill:


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Neither a time for lamentation nor for rejoicing

On August 6, Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, as rain poured down from the heavens and floods raged in the areas surrounding the Batasang Pambansa, the Philippine House of Representatives voted to terminate the debates on the RH bill in order to move on to the period of amendments. 

Many supporters of the RH bill are rejoicing, and many of my fellow pro-lifers are lamenting, as if the bill has already passed. I can't help but think that these reactions are premature. 

First of all, just because some Congressmen voted to terminate the debates does not necessarily mean that they favor the bill and that they want it to pass. While it is true that the termination of the debates was willed and wanted by the President and the pro-RH side, this does not necessarily mean that those who went along with their desire shared the same intentions and the same plan of action. 

Second, many things can still happen during the period of amendments. 

Third, even if the RH bill were to gain the approval of the House of Representatives, this does not mean that the Senate will also capitulate automatically. Senators Sotto and Enrile do not strike me as pushovers, and they are not the only Senators who are inclined to listen to the reasons and arguments of pro-lifers.

And if the Senate approves the RH bill? Are we not already certain that the President will sign it? However, we are not there yet, and in a democratic Republic, not even a President's signature is the final word on the enshrinement of a proposed law.

To the supporters of the RH bill: don't drink your champagne yet! You might want to save it for a better occasion. 

To my fellow pro-lifers: please, don't panic. A step as ambiguous as this should not be an occasion for your tears, and hysterical declarations will not help our cause at all. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

On the eve of voting: the prophecy of Paul VI

From Manila Bulletin:
August 4, 2012, 8:21pm 
FORTY-FOUR years ago, Pope Paul VI prophesied the horrible effects of contraception to marriage, family, the individual, and society. It was a Cassandra prophecy: Fated to be right, but never heeded. 
In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that a contraceptive mentality would lead to the prevalence of divorce, unmitigated premarital sex, the lowering of moral standards among the youth, the phenomenal increase in the number of children born out of wedlock, and rapid decrease of population in countries advocating contraception. He also prophesied that the pervasive use of contraception would diminish our innate sense of responsibility and commitment. Finally, he predicted that contraception would lead to the legalization of abortion. 

Marwil Llasos on why the RH bill is anti-women -- a short and sweet little note

The following note from Atty. Marwil Llasos is currently being shared across Facebook.

The RH Bill is anti-women. Kanino ginagamit ang condom? Sa babae. Sino ang linalagyan ng IUD? Ang babae. Sino ang nila-ligate? Ang babae. Sino ang iniineksiyonan? Ang babae. Sino ang NAGPAPAKASASA sa sarap? Ang LALAKI. Bow.

Ansel Beluso on why he opposes the RH bill

Mr. Ansel Beluso published the following note on Facebook on why he opposes the RH bill. I am publishing this note with his permission.

For more about Mr. Beluso and his life story, please read this: ANSEL BELUSO: From zombading of the worst kind to being zealous for Christ!!!!

Una, ako ay sumasampalataya sa kabanalan ng buhay, na siyang pinakasagradong biyaya ng Diyos. Ako ay nananalig na ang buhay ay nagsisimula sa akto ng pagtatagpo ng punlay ng ama at ng itlog ng ina. Ako ay naniniwalang anumang paraan na humahadlang at sumisira sa pagpapatuloy ng likas na daloy ng buhay mula sa puntong iyon ay labag sa kalooban ng Diyos.
Pangalawa, ako ay tutol sa abortion. Bagama’t ang salitang “abortion” ay hindi matatagpuan sa alinmang pahina ng House Bill No. 4244, marami sa mga contraceptive methods na isinusulong at popondohan nito ay mayroong abortifacient potential, may kakayahang magbunga ng tinatawag na chemical abortion. Ang chemical abortion ay abortion.
Pangatlo, naniniwala akong ang tinatawag na reproductive health education component ng RH Bill ay mapanganib para sa pamilya at sa kabataan na ayon sa Saligang Batas ng ating bansa ay tungkulin ng Estado na itaguyod, kalingain at pagyamanin.
Ang RH Bill ay mapanganib sa pamilya dahil pinahihina nito ang ugnayan ng magulang at anak; at pinanghihimasukan nito ang karapatan at obligasyon ng magulang bilang pangunahing guro at gabay ng mga anak sa usapin ng seksuwalidad.
Ito rin ay mapanganib sa kabataan dahil ituturo nitong isabuhay ng ating mga anak ang kalayaang magbubunga ng ibayong kapusukan at mga maling pagpapahalaga. Ito ay salungat sa aral ni Ama at ni Ina, kumakalaban sa tradisyon at kalinangan nating mga Filipino, at may malaking potensiyal na magdulot ng peligro sa kapakanan ng mga bagong sibol na Filipino. 
Pang-apat, naniniwala akong hindi solusyon ang idudulot ng RH Bill kungdi karagdagan pang problema. Nakikita natin ang masamang bungang idinulot ng batas na ito sa mga kanluraning bansa – contraceptive mentality, secular lifestyle, godless ideology, etc. Ang panukalang ito ay magpapabago sa pananaw at pagpapahalaga ng lipunan sa lahat ng aspeto ng buhay na nauuwi sa kapahamakan ng tao sa pangkalahatan. 
Panglima, hindi ako naniniwalang ang RH Bill ay pangkababaihan. Una, isang katotohanang marami sa mga contraceptive methods na sinasabing “safe” ay hindi “safe” dahil nagpapanipis ng matres, nagpaparupok sa obaryo, sumisira sa natural cycles ng katawan ng babae, at may potensiyal na magbunga ng sakit tulad ng iba’t ibang cancer. Pangalawa, walang contraceptive method na 100 percent safe. Ang mga kontraseptibong itinuturing na 99-percent safe ay naglalagay sa panganib sa 1 percent ng gumagamit nito. Samakatuwid, sa bawat isang milyong kababaihang gumagamit ng 99-percent safe contraceptive methods ay may sampung libong babaeng magkakaroon ng pinsala mula rito.
Pang-anim, hindi ako naniniwalang ang RH Bill ay pangmahirap. Ayon sa aking payak na pang-unawa, ang solusyon sa kahirapan ay hindi yung lipulin natin ang mga mahirap at hadlangan ang kanilang likas na kakayahang magparami. Sa halip, kasama sa mandato ng pamahalaan na mabigyan sila ng mga paraan upang makaahon sa kahirapan sa pamamagitan ng mga basic services na kailangan nila para magkaroon ng parehas na laban sa buhay, umunlad, yumaman at makapag-ambag din sa lalo pang ikasasagana ng bansa. 
Pampito, sumasampalataya ako sa Simbahang Romano Katoliko at Apostoliko; at kusa akong pumapailalim at nagpapasakop sa mga Obispo at kaparian na pinananaligan kong nag-aangkin ng dunong ng tao at pinagdadaluyan ng dunong ng Diyos. Naniniwala akong hindi katigasan ng ulo o bulag na pagtaguyod sa makaluma at sinaunang kaisipan ang nagbubunsod sa Simbahan para tutulan ang RH Bill; naniniwala akong ang panukalang ito ay labag sa kalooban ng Diyos kaya ito, ayon sa kunsensiya ko, ay imoral at makasalanan.
Panginoon, gabayan Mo ang Iyong bayan.

Three Inquirer editorial cartoons versus the RH bill

Even as some of the columnists of the Philippine Daily Inquirer vie with one another in defaming the Church over the issue of the RH bill, the veteran editorial cartoonist of the same newspaper, Mr. Jess Abrera, continues to defy the currents with his editorial cartoons versus the RH bill.

In addition to three cartoons below, Mr. Abrera has made other editorial cartoons against the RH Bill. I've archived another three of them -- as well as this very post -- under the following link: Jess Abrera.

PDI editorial cartoon of August 6 (source):

PDI editorial cartoon of August 5 (source):

For the record, this particular editorial cartoon is now being shared extensively by pro-lifers on social media networks. 
PDI editorial cartoon of August 4 (source):

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No comparison!

From my friend Juan Carlo Argo:

GMA, the Catholic Bishops, and the Amnesia of the Philippine Media

In the course of the debates on the RH bill since the inauguration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, one accusation that the Philippine media has liked to repeat is that the CBCP is and has always been in cahoots with GMA, and that the bishops did not condemn her alleged corruption and never did anything to oppose her. How quickly amnesia kicks in for much of the mainstream media!

By way of response, I would like to post here a part of an essay that I circulated among some Catholic groups on January 2, 2008 regarding the attitudes shown by some of the bishops towards the November 29, 2007 mutiny in Makati. I'm not even including here the more numerous harshly anti-GMA statements made by a number of Catholic bishops from 2005 to 2010. While I do not deny that some bishops supported GMA and that some bishops turned to government agencies for help with programs for their flock, this cannot erase the words and actions of those bishops -- including, at one point, the President of the CBCP -- who were against GMA. 

Regardless of how one views the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and regardless of the soundness of the case for her forcible ouster before the end of her term as President, there can and should be no denying that some bishops were by no means GMA supporters, and went so far as to call for her ouster, either in implicit or explicit terms. By way of contrast, not one bishop has called for President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to be overthrown because of his support for the RH bill. 

Background:  The support of Philippine Catholic bishops for the Peninsula Mutiny

The events at the Manila Peninsula last November 29, 2007 demonstrated, among other things, that there continues to be a section of the Catholic Church in the Philippines that believes in the necessity of an uprising or a revolution in order to remove the current Philippine government and install a revolutionary government to be led (according to Bishop Antonio Tobias of Novaliches) by the Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno. Furthermore, this pro-revolutionary section enjoys the support of some members of the episcopate of the Catholic Church in the Philippines .

Pictures don't lie: the crowds at the August 4, 2012 rally against the RH bill in EDSA

UPDATE 8/5/12 at 2:18 P.M. Manila time: Please see this article for a picture comparing the anti-RH rally in EDSA with the pro-RH rally with the Filipino Freethinkers a few days ago. No Comparison!

UPDATE 8/5/12 at 3:33 A.M. Manila time: Based on the pictures on this blog post as well as other sources, Dr. Quirino Sugon of Manila Observatory, blogger at the Monk's Hobbit, has made an initial estimate of the crowd as having been at 60,000. 


And the pro-RH spin machine goes into high gear!

Manila Bulletin, in what will probably go down as one of the lowest and most shameful points in its history, declared that only 2,500 attended the rally. 

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there were only 7,000 at the rally today...

Manila Standard Today is a bit more generous: 10,000 were there!

As for the Philippine Star, it counted "more than 10,000" at the rally.

However, the pictures tell a different story.

From the UST Varsitarian:

From my friend Anna Cosio:

From Ricardo Boncan:

And from Lenard Berba comes this picture taken earlier in the rally, with a nice view of the streamers on a footbridge:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Prayer Power Rally at the site of People Power

This post, originally published on August 2, will stay as the top post until noon of August 4. Newer posts below. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sayang ang Pera

The RH Bill and the Law, 2: A Response by Atty. Cristina Montes to Prof. Florin Hilbay on "Legal Issues on Reproductive Rights"

Critique by Atty. Cristina A. Montes of the UP Primer on Legal Issues on Reproductive Rights - Constitutio...

The RH Bill and the Law, 1: A Critique by Atty. Marwil Llasos J.D.

The Reproductive Health Bill is Unconstitutional
Atty. Marwil N. Llasos J.D.

The Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill No. 4244) in its entirety is unconstitutional because its very premise is at war with the philosophy embodying the 1987 Constitution, dubbed as the Pro-Life Constitution.

The RH Bill proponents hail it as a solution to poverty in our country. They insist that the RH Bill will spare children, especially those who are unwanted, from a life of poverty. The RH Bill will save mothers from emotional trauma brought about by child bearing. These arguments are not new. They were already discussed and voted on the floor of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. The result is the present Article II, Section 12 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution:

“Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Constitutionalist Rev. Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., in his annotation on the 1987 Philippine Constitution, expresses the sense of Article II, Section 12 that it “denies that the life of the unborn may be sacrificed merely to save the mother from emotional suffering or to spare the child from a life of poverty.”[1] The commonsensical and constitutional solution to the problem was stated by Fr. Bernas, thus: “The emotional trauma of a mother as well as the welfare of the child after birth can be attended through other means such as availing of the resources of welfare agencies.”[2]

What does Article II, Section 12 seek to achieve? Fr. Bernas answers that the provision was intended “primarily to prevent the state from adopting the doctrine in the United States Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade which liberalized abortion at the discretion of the mother any time during the first six months when it can be done without danger to the mother.”[3]

Clearly, the provision constitutionally outlaws abortion. There’s no chance that abortion can ever be legal in this country as long as the 1987 Philippine Constitution stands.


To read more, click HERE.

RH bill: Closing the demographic window of opportunity?

The following was published by Business World Online on July 7, 2012 under the rubric "Popular Economics":

Felipe Salvosa II

IS A LARGE population a boon or a bane?

The debate has been going on for centuries. In the Philippines, it flares up whenever lawmakers take up bills proposing to control population growth.

In recent months, however, the government’s top economic managers — echoed by a number of private-sector analysts — have cited the advantages of the country’s demographic profile, changing the tone of the population debate.

Last March, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. told the Philippine Investment Forum that the Philippines would be the last major economy in Asia to enter the “demographic sweet spot,” and this would happen by 2015. In May, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said a huge working population was expected to accelerate economic growth.

Pro-Life Philippines on the "deluge of misinformation" from the pro-RH side

From the website of Pro-Life Philippines:

Top 5 Pro-RH Fallacies

Repeat a lie often enough, according to Joseph Goebbels, and it becomes a truth. Ironically, during these times, this rings true very often, especially because there has been a deluge of misinformation that has been circulated by RH backers. Here are the top 5 most outrageous fallacies that have made the rounds in forums and in debates.

1. False: The country needs to slow down its population growth rate/lower fertility rate/lessen the number of people because too many people cause poverty.

Truth: The country’s growth rate have been going down since the 60s and according to the NSO, our growth rate is at a measly 1.94%. This is without the benefit of an rh bill. On the other hand, according to the country’s premier economist, Dr. Bernardo Villegas, 200 billion pesos are lost annually due to tax evasion, and another 200 billion lost due to graft and corruption. Given these numbers, should we lessen the number of people, or curb corruption?

Truth: The Malthusian way of thinking – that too many people in a country causes poverty – has been long debunked by people like Simon Kuznets, who was a Nobel Prize winner for Economics. There has never been a clear connection between economic growth and population growth. However, in an article from the Asean Economic Bulletin entitled “The Relationship Between Population and Economic Growth in Asian Economies,” written by Wong Hock Tsen and Fumitaka Furuoka, “For China, Singapore, and the Philippines, population is found to Granger cause (or directly cause) economic growth and not vice versa. “ Similarly, reports coming from HSBC says: ““The Philippines looks set for a multi-decade run of strong growth,” and BSP Governor Amando Tetangco mentions that “the Philippine economy will get additional boost from its citizens by 2015 as it enters the demographic “sweet spot” or average age of Filipinos 22.2 years.” He cited a recent United Nations study which showed that the Philippines is the last major economy in Asia that will benefit from a period wherein bulk of the population is of working age and has the capacity to spend.

2. False: Contraceptives are safe.

Truth: In a test conducted by scientists simulating the sexual act, as much as 29 out of 89 condoms leaked. (

The IARC and the WHO have declared that combined oral contraceptives are group 1 carcinogens – meaning that they are known to cause cancer to humans, and that they, along with other materials like cigarettes and asbestos, are the most cancer-causing. Most pro-RH proponents are quick to either deny or downplay this fact. One common excuse is that even Paracetamol is cancerous (but are not taken off the shelves of pharmacies). That is just a very ignorant way of downplaying the risk. The fact remains: combined oral contraceptives cause cancer, like breast cancer. Besides, you do not take Paracetamol 21 days straight like you do with OCPs.

3. False: There are 11 mothers dying daily because the RH bill hasn’t passed yet.

Truth: Turns out that their rallying cry of 11 mothers dying daily is outdated information. According to this article from

“The issue at hand is the pro-RH lobby’s emotional and exclusive use of “11 maternal deaths a day” to scare lawmakers into spending billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money for its contraception and sterilization agenda.
The pro-RH statistic is clearly outdated as attested by not one, not two, but three sets of data. If RHAN-Likhaan-DSWP cared to look elsewhere, they would have found that we had also cited the September 2010 report of the World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank, which estimated annual maternal deaths in the Philippines at 2,100 in 2008. That is equivalent to 5.75 deaths a day, a completely different level than “11 a day.” This was clearly down from the 2000 level of 4,100, or 11.2 a day, which was published in a report seven years ago by the same international agencies.

We are astounded that the pro-RH lobby had to go to great lengths to justify the excessive and exclusive use of “11 a day.” We wonder why the figure is now attributed to government statistical agencies, when before, credit was given to the UNFPA and other international bodies. Did the lobbyists misrepresent old data as current? There is a word for that: disingenuous.

That is the plain, ugly truth: the RH camp lied, and continues to lie, about their own data. If they can be dishonest with this and appeal to emotions by using bloated numbers, I believe they are capable of more dishonesty. Like the next one.

4. False: The Church is against the RH Bill; ergo the Church is against women’s health.

Truth: You might have heard this before. And a whole lot of other baseless accusations like “the Church is the enemy of progress,” or “the Church is against science.”  I do not know how that applies as an educated comment, because historians would attribute things like the scientific method and the university system to the Catholic Church. Why is the Church against the RH bill? Precisely because it wants to safeguard women. The prophecies of Pope Paul VI about what would happen if the Church’s teaching on contraception were ignored come to mind:

- Infidelity and moral decline

The Pope first noted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.” That there has been a widespread decline in morality, especially sexual morality, in the last 25 years, is very difficult to deny. The increase in the number of divorces, abortion, our-of-wedlock pregnancies, and venereal diseases should convince any skeptic that sexual morality is not the strong suit of our age.

- Lost Respect for Women

The Pope realized that the Church’s teaching on contraception is designed to protect the good of conjugal love. When spouses violate this good, they do not act in accord with their innate dignity and thus they endanger their own happiness. Treating their bodies as mechanical instruments to be manipulated for their own purposes, they risk treating each other as objects of pleasure.

- Abuse of Power

Paul VI also observed that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon… in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.” The history of the family-planning programs in the Third World is a sobering testimony to this reality. Moreover, few people are willing to recognize the growing evidence that many parts of the world face not overpopulation, but underpopulation. It will take years to reverse the “anti-child” mentality now entrenched in many societies.

- Unlimited Dominion

Pope Paul’s final warning was that contraception would lead man to think that he had unlimited dominion over his own body. Sterilization is now the most widely used form of contraception in the U.S.; individuals are so convinced of their rights to control their own bodies that they do not hesitate to alter even their own physical make-up.

5. False: The RH Bill will uplift the lives of the poor.

Truth: The only way to uplift the lives of the poor is through education. People may ask, why not do both – give contraceptives and educate? Because in a world where governments are asking their citizens to bear more children because of the effects of demographic winter, we cannot afford to follow their example.
Truth: We have yet to see someone who became rich because he wore condoms. The poor who use the contraceptives given to them remain poor; the educated child, however, has a real fighting chance to uplift himself and his family from poverty.