Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

Life versus abortion

November 23, 2008

Abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community. People are not aware of that. According to te US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Abortion Surveillance Report, 35% of abortions in the United States are performed on African American women, who make up only 12% of the U.S. population.” Beverly Anderson, National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life (The Southern Cross, July 2008)/Immaculate Conception Parish, Astoria, NY 11/23/08 (Photo Credit: Stblogustine.blotspot.com)

In the Philippines, the number of abortions is unknown since the procedure is illegal and often done secretly. In spite of this, about 1/4 of pregnancies is terminated amounting to an estimated 750,000 abortions per year.—www.prolife.org

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The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

November 2, 2008

The Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, New York where I am a parishioner shares the United States bishop’s reflection “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It serves as a primer on how a Catholic must vote in the US election. What is below is an abridged version of the document. The complete text can be read in http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org

The US bishops make clear that they don’t tell Catholics how to vote. They said the responsibility to make political choices rest on the voter. The bishops’ advice is ever more valuable as America charts its future.

Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”

Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?

Catholics need to act on the Church’s moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.

How Does the Church Help Catholics to Address Political and Social Questions?

A Well-Formed Conscience: We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

The Virtue of Prudence: Prudence enables us to” discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public polices are morally sound. A good end does not justify an immoral means.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil: There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always be rejected and never supported. A preeminent example is the intentional taking of human life through abortion. It is always morally wrong to destroy innocent human beings. A legal system that allows the right to life to be violated on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Similarly, direct threats to the dignity of human life such as euthanasia, human cloning, and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil and must be opposed. Other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, may the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified.

The use of death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and the unjust immigration polices are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences. And require us to act.

Making Moral Choices: Difficult political decisions require a well-formed conscience aided by prudence. The exercise of conscience begins with always opposing polices that violate human life or weaken its protection. “Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good (USCCB, Catholics in Political Life).

What does the Church Say about Catholic teaching in the Public Square?
The consistent ethic of life is committed to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens “to see beyond party politics.”

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Human life is sacred. Within our society, life is under direct attack from abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, and destruction of human embryos for research. These intrinsic evils must always be opposed.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The family, based on marriage between man and woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected.

Rights and Responsibility

Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities—to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity.

Solidarity

We are one human family, whatever our national, social, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences.

Caring for God’s Creation

Care for the earth is a duty of our Catholic faith. We are called to be stewards of the environment for now and the future.

Conclusion

In the light of Catholic teaching, as bishops, we repeat our call for renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best tradition of our nation. Source & Photo Credit: http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org =0=

The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

November 2, 2008

The Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, New York where I am a parishioner shares the United States bishop’s reflection “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It serves as a primer on how a Catholic must vote in the US election. What is below is an abridged version of the document. The complete text can be read in http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org

The US bishops make clear that they don’t tell Catholics how to vote. They said the responsibility to make political choices rest on the voter. The bishops’ advice is ever more valuable as America charts its future.

Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”

Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?

Catholics need to act on the Church’s moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.

How Does the Church Help Catholics to Address Political and Social Questions?

A Well-Formed Conscience: We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

The Virtue of Prudence: Prudence enables us to” discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public polices are morally sound. A good end does not justify an immoral means.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil: There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always be rejected and never supported. A preeminent example is the intentional taking of human life through abortion. It is always morally wrong to destroy innocent human beings. A legal system that allows the right to life to be violated on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Similarly, direct threats to the dignity of human life such as euthanasia, human cloning, and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil and must be opposed. Other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, may the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified.

The use of death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and the unjust immigration polices are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences. And require us to act.

Making Moral Choices: Difficult political decisions require a well-formed conscience aided by prudence. The exercise of conscience begins with always opposing polices that violate human life or weaken its protection. “Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good (USCCB, Catholics in Political Life).

What does the Church Say about Catholic teaching in the Public Square?
The consistent ethic of life is committed to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens “to see beyond party politics.”

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Human life is sacred. Within our society, life is under direct attack from abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, and destruction of human embryos for research. These intrinsic evils must always be opposed.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The family, based on marriage between man and woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected.

Rights and Responsibility

Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities—to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity.

Solidarity

We are one human family, whatever our national, social, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences.

Caring for God’s Creation

Care for the earth is a duty of our Catholic faith. We are called to be stewards of the environment for now and the future.

Conclusion

In the light of Catholic teaching, as bishops, we repeat our call for renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best tradition of our nation. Source & Photo Credit: http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org =0=

A. J. Kilmer’s "A poem as lovely as a tree"

October 20, 2008

TREES

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Alfred Joyce Kilmer
A Catholic American poet, writer and lecturer born in New Brunswick, N.J. and educated at Rutgers College and Columbia (B.A., 1908,) Alfred Joyce Kilmer lived from December 6, 1886 to July 30, 1918. His most famous poem “Trees,” was published in Trees and Other Poems (1914.) He served in the military and was deployed in Europe during the World War I.

When the United States involved itself in war, in 1917, Alfred Joyce Kilmer, in an expression of patriotic duty, joined the Seventh Regiment of the New York National Guard. While on a military mission in France, he was killed by a fatal sniper’s bullet at a young age of 31, leaving behind his wife Aline Murray and five children. Posthumously, he was awarded the Coix de Guerre (Cross of War) by the French Republic for his valor.

In North Carolina, a place Kilmer never visited, he was honored with the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a protective reserve of ancient trees, one of the few of its kind in North America. Upon his death, he was interred in the Oise-Aisne Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France. Source: Alfred Joyce Kilmer and His Memorial Forest by Steve Nix (About.com)


There is a bit of nostalgia reading A. J. Kilmer’s poem “Trees.” At this time of the year when autumn progresses in full season, this piece of vintage literature brings a special resonance. The poem with its conservative tone and rhyme seems sentimental and ancient to the reading taste of the present generation, but look at the changing trees mimicking the flowers in the photo. They are the same radiant trees reaching for the sky that a nature-beholder from Brunswick, New Jersey paid tribute to about a century ago. Like a God-believing outdoorsman of this day, he is more relevant now with the environmental movement and the effort to save the plants and trees of the planet. (Photo Credits: dabadoo; USFS; tobi et. al) =0=

Rising executions in Saudi Arabia, RP’s ritzy rich & Filipinos rooting for artificial contraception

October 19, 2008

72

This is the number of government-sanctioned gruesome executions in Saudi Arabia this year according to the count of Associated Press. The Amnesty International (AI,) a human rights watch group however says in 2008, there have been 158 executions, a four-fold increase from last year’s count. Amnesty International (AI) decries the outrageous killings especially among foreigners including those who are underaged. In spite of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s plea to spare OFW Venancio Ladion, he was beheaded this week on charges of murder.

US $3.1 billion

The estimated net worth of Henry Sy, the Philippines’ most rich man according to Forbes Asia 2008. Business wizard Lucio Tan comes second with a net worth of US $1.5billion.

P48.10

Amid fears of worldwide economic recession, the Philippine peso tumbled to a new low of P48.10/dollar and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index fell by 5.18%. Eddie Gobing of the Lucky Securities Inc feels “the worst is not over” for the peso’s downward trend. This comes on the wake of about $521.7 million in investment outflow leaving the country in the first 9 months of this year. The highest net outflow was in September coincident to the economic meltdown in Wall Street.

50,000 OFWs

The Filipino workers who could prematurely return home from jobs abroad in case a US recession occurs and affects the economic stability of other countries.


70%

From the Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) survey on September 24 to 27, 2008, 7 of 10 Filipinos (70%) support a law that will allow the government to dispense condoms, IUD’s, and contraceptive pills to people who request for them. Contrary to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching which advocates for natural family planning method, the public now shows growing support for artificial contraception.

This reflects a shift in favor of the House Bill 5043 (Rep. Edcel Lagman’s Reproductive Health Bill) to institute artificial family planning methods in the country—a long-drawn contentious issue between traditional religious belief and government policy to control population. (Photo Credits: Citizensugar; MsWong-scribbles.blogspot.com)=0=

US Presidential Election and the Catholic Vote

October 15, 2008


“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”—John Quincy Adams

Two weeks from the US presidential election, the economy is still the main issue that drives the choice of voters. With Sen. Barack Obama on the lead, Americans are still angry and confused. Months of explaining, he and Sen. John McCain have not really succeeded in making their platforms fully understood.

The Americans have a mouthful of promises from both candidates, but they aren’t sure. Partly because of the complexity of the issues, they rely on impressions and gut feelings to arrive on a decision. At the third and last presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York, on October 15, 2008, the two candidates will try again. Amid fears of recession and global depression, they will convince the undecided voters who are likely to influence the outcome of this election.

Wall Street greed, Fannie, Freddie, and others have been accused of destroying our economic system. But few are willing to admit that without a firm commitment to restoring the foundations of our country – namely, a dedication to protecting life, faith, and families – no economic bailout will ultimately work. We need something more than money.

The common thread connecting bad loans, greedy bankers, and power hungry politicians is the selfish disregard for our fellow human beings. Our culture has reduced people to objects and playthings, to be selfishly exploited, profited from, and discarded when they are no longer useful.

Politicians who pledge to protect the “right” to kill innocent children are deceiving all of us when they promise to help the innocent unemployed and uninsured. Don’t fall for their lies!

Many people accuse pro-life advocates such as CatholicVote.com of being single-issue voters. The assumption is that we don’t care about the economy, health care, or the poor. But they have it exactly backwards.” CatholicVote.com (10/15/08, Bruch, B)

The Catholics of America comprising about a third of the entire Christians in the United States with whom many Filipinos are affiliated by faith doesn’t have a major sway on the votes.

However, they are encouraged to see issues not only through the contracted prism of the economy, but on the whole culture the United States is heading. Specifically, the American Catholic clergy preaches against abortion which makes the contraceptive debate in the Philippines look puny.

Unlike Filipinos, most of the American public doesn’t think of artificial contraception vs. natural family planning as problem to resolve. Catholics and other Protestant denominations are taught more against killing the unborn, dishonesty, corruption, materialism, stem cell research, gay marriage, exploitation of the poor and helpless—issues which have been sidelined by the urgency of the economic problems.

America is gearing towards the extremes of secular liberalism and it doesn’t augur well for the future of Christianity and its moral tenets. The financial crisis is likely to stay (whoever wins in the presidential election.) It will probably stretch the coping mechanisms of the United States and the rest of the world.

Like those who have been repeatedly put down by the empty promises of Wall Street, the citizens who get carried away by eloquent words without reviewing records of action and credibility will likely be disappointed. With a biased liberal media tipping away from core conservative values, Americans, like the rest of the world, have little to depend on except themselves. They need to understand the small print in the candidate’s resume and platform. With two weeks to go, there is still time to think so one can vote wisely. (Photo Credits: cstein96; http://www.mmpcharity.org) =0=

Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.“—Mother Teresa

Godless world puts Christian identity in peril

October 5, 2008

In a three-week gathering of 250 bishops from America, Europe, Asia, Pacific, and Africa, Pope Benedict XVI in his Sunday October 5, 2008 mass celebration in the Roman Basilica of St. Paul sounded again the perils faith is facing in the increasing secular society.

The 81-year old pope in his homily said, there are those who say that “God is dead and declare themselves to be the only creator of their own fate, the absolute owner of the world.”

He asked, “”When men proclaim themselves absolute owners of themselves and the only masters of creation, are they really going to be able to construct a society where freedom, justice and peace reign? Is it not more likely — as demonstrated by news headlines every day — that the arbitrary rule of power, selfish interests, injustice and exploitation, and violence in all its forms, will extend their grip?” AFP (10/06/08)

“The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” is the theme of the meeting, the second after Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005 into the papacy. The gathering makes the consultations among bishops all over the globe possible. It is attended by Greek Orthodox Church head Bartholomew I, Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen and Protestant and Anglican prelates. The bishops from China who represent 8 to 12 million Christian believers are unable to attend because of restrictions imposed by the communist state.

The pope’s comment against loss of the Christian identity is an expression of the urgent need for moral values to return to the world, in particular, in Europe’s secular affairs where Christianity has been barren for years. The weakened religious faith may be part of the increasing secularism, relativism, selfishness, and injustice that trouble many nations worldwide. (Photo Credits: Totie Mesia)=0=

Miss Sister 2008 courts one of Christianity’s deadliest sins?

August 26, 2008

Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”-Blaise Pascal

Like the movie Sister Act, it’s an amusing tale that comes with the shaking of the head and a smile. As we get serious about organizing beauty contests for nuns, Fr. Antonio Rungi’s idea of an “inner” beauty derby for nuns seems very secular, even raunchy, especially if Christians consider vanity, along with pride, as one of humanity’s deadliest sins.

Fr. Rungi, a theologian and school teacher in Naples, Italy, believes nuns need a boost in visibility and an online voting contest may be the answer.

The “Miss Sister 2008” contest will start in September on a blog run by the Rev. Antonio Rungi and will give nuns from around the world a chance to showcase their work and their image….Nuns will fill out a profile including information about their life and vocation as well as a photograph.

We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits,” Rungi said. “But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn’t hide it.” AP (O8/25/08)

The controversial beauty contest gets mixed reactions. There are those who ask if there’s really a need to improve a nun’s visibility and if it needs a competition to do that. The liberals think the “pageant,” a part of modern life, is just fine, but some suspect it can can lead to a non-religious a business franchise like the Miss Universe contest.

Evil-conscious Christians fear the derby is Satan’s way of wagging its tail into the nunnery’s door. The beauty competition can become a butt of jokes and a topic of wild speculations. Another thinks beauty contests among the religious can be “habit-forming” and may be addicting.

“It’s an initiative that belittles the role of nuns who have dedicated themselves to God,” says president of Association of Catholic Teachers, Alberto Giannino, told Italy’s ANSA news agency on Sunday. AP (08/42/08)

The line separating propriety and vulgarity is thin. Whatever goes on in the minds of Catholics, Fr. Rungi might be subliminally touched by secularism, making him a bit cozy with the world. With Vatican’s traditionally conservative stance many wonder what the late Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI think of his idea. (PhotoCredits: Lovemetwee;Bsidez)=0=

Update: Facing strong pressure from the clergy and lay people against the nun beauty contest, on August 28, 2008, Fr. Rungi decided to stop the plan. Interested in projecting the inner beauty of nuns, he said he didn’t mean to have the nuns do a catwalk, like in a physical beauty pageant. He claimed he was misunderstood. =0=

In the US presidential election, the abortion issue matters

August 18, 2008


In a nation where separation of religion and state is asserted and at the same time politics and faith are brought together in public fora, John McCain and Barack Obama met for the first time in a discussion with Pastor Rick Warren (author of best-seller Purpose Driven Life) in Saddleback Church, a mega evangelical religious group in Lake Forest, California. (Photo Credit: NYTimes/Almeida, M) Listening to both candidates made it clear that it’s increasingly hard for voters to completely agree in all positions with the future president.

Governance covers a wide range of issues that makes disagreement more likely. During the presidential forum both candidates made clear their viewpoints on secular concerns and moral questions like abortion, stem cell research, wealth, evil in the world, etc. That’s why voters focus on the top issues to guide them which candidate they’ll choose.

Less than eighty days before the election, the race between Barack Obama and John McCain is tight. As the young Senator Obama goes with a forward-looking, secular vision of the world, McCain displays his sterling military background and experience as legislator of 25 years. In world realities which McCain knows have pretty limited choices, simple black-and-white options give room for quick answers that are more direct than his rival Obama.

That’s why when McCain was asked when life really starts to elicit his position on abortion, the Arizona senator curtly answered “at the time of conception,”—a view that Christian conservatives and Catholics want to hear. More popular than Obama among the evangelicals and conservatives, McCain was emphatic that he’ll be a pro-life president.

On the other hand, Obama, who is known for his pro-choice liberal view had to make qualifications and show that he hasn’t come to a firm resolution on the issue. Letting the audience know that he’s a Christian, he spoke of a familiar biblical maxim of “doing for the least of my brother,” yet he seemed to struggle with the idea that among the “least” in society must be the defenseless unborn who are killed by abortion that he supports. Obama approved of partial-birth abortion that other people consider as “infanticide.”

The abortion issue is just among the many concerns Americans want to settle with their presidential candidates. There are still many who can’t decide which of the candidates can deliver best for the Americans and the world on issues like the economy, healthcare, social security, international relations, homeland security, taxation, education, stem-cell research, immigration, among others. As the days close in for the Republicans and Democrats to choose their respective vice-presidential candidates, more realignments of voter are expected to follow.=0=

Excommunication, discipline in the marital bed & the controversies of contraception

August 2, 2008

The wagons of confrontation have circled many times between the opposing camps of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill (RHB.) The former supports natural family planning while the latter aims to make artificial contraception available to the poor. Arguments roil between the two sides with little hint of resolution.

The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which identifies itself as protector of the unborn (pro-life) and defender of morals is pushing for sex education, restraint in the marital bed, and responsible parenthood. The Church teaches that proper distribution of wealth, not abortion and artificial birth control, is the answer to over-population and poverty.

Opposing the Church’s doctrine seems to diminish RCC’s influence, but proponents of the RHB face moral censure. They run the risk of being refused holy wafer and sacred wine during masses. They are under threat of excommunication by the Church.

For political expediency and fear of retribution in the afterlife, the Catholic majority and its leaders struggle to abide with the Church teachings. In the name of faith and fidelity, many pander on CBCP’s advices which strongly oppose artificial contraception (pills, intraunterine devices (IUDs), bilateral tubal ligation (BTLs), vasectomies, spermicides, morning after pills, barrier methods such as condoms etc.)

On the other hand, defenders of RHB want to give women the right to decide. Backed by population advisers of other countries, the United Nations (UN,) Asian Development Bank (ADB,) and the World Health Organization (WHO,) they believe the bill is a practical solution to reduce the high incidence of maternal and infant mortality, a way of curbing population explosion. They question the correctness and infallibility of RCC’s teachings on birth control, bringing back the old debates on morals and the separation of the church and the state.

RHB supporters assert artificial contraception is a basic human right. They believe lack of access to contraceptives leads to unwanted pregnancies and drives poor women to seek illegal and unsafe abortions which run up to about 500,000 a year, 79,000 of which are hospitalized for complications and about 800 die.

The CBCP counters by saying the pro-choice supporters’ position isn’t morally sound. Catholic bishops reject the legislative measure as anti-family and anti-life. Airing their position, Msgr. Oscar Cruz, Archbishop of Ligayen-Dagupan asserts artificial contraception is a pathway towards “killing the unborn” and are “instruments that favor abortion.” Brian Clowes, research manager for Human Life International agrees, saying that RHB had traces of “influence” from England and the United States, linking the issue with foreign intervention.

Yet Filipinos expect the government to uphold their rights independently from the Church. RHB proponents like Reps. Edcel Lagman (Albay,), Mark Leandro Mendoza (Batangas,) Janette Garin (Iloilo,) and mayors Sherwin Gatchalian (Valenzuela) and Tomas Osmena (Cebu) want the RCC to reconsider its Vatican-backed anti-contraceptive stance. Because the Church is unlikely to change its position, they go ahead working for the bill’s passage which they believe will benefit the country.

Pia Cayetano, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demographics, said she welcomes the views of all sectors on the controversial issue, but she can’t give weight on views solely from one religious doctrine. Social Welfare Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral who supports artificial contraception debates the issue with Environmental Sec. Lito Atienza, instrumental in foiling birth control from the services offered by the government.

Too many babies, worsening poverty, and pervasive hunger are real problems that can’t be ignored. Sooner or later, Filipinos have to make a choice on an issue whose decision is long overdue. The bill proposes the state to launch a nationwide information campaign on all methods of family planning and then have the people decide which method to use. The Church calls for discipline in marital bed, responsible parenthood, and natural family planning. Many Catholics however dodge the controversy by quietly deciding for themselves. Not all of them however follow the teachings of the Church. =0=