Sunday, January 31, 2010

Responsibility of Legislators

(Isaiah 10)

Legislators need to enact just laws based on nature and God's laws, not on worldly motives of power and money. Hence, if their decrees go against natural law and God's commandments, they do not deserve to be followed, because God is the supreme authority above all, who rewards with heaven or punishes the evildoers with never ending fires of hell.

Similarly when they are prescribing the RH Bill, which is against the first right of man (life) and against God's will for the family and sexual morality, the more they do not deserve to be followed. As the apostles once said: "We will obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). "Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees, who refuse justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan" (Is. 10:1-2). We know that use of contraceptives is for people desiring to indulge in sex without the normal result of engendering new life. Thus it is escaping responsibilities for rearing and educating children. Hence we know the marketability of the contraceptives that cater to human weakness in the inciscriminate use of sex, and therefore would be an incentive to sin. Contraceptives block the normal result of the union of man and woman, that is the reason why it is declared sinful by the Church. If you block the normal union between sperm and ovum, you will eventually exterminate life. So the RH Bill that advocates contraceptives and abortion is most certainly promoting the culture of death.

"You are as unfaithful as adulterous wives; don't you realize that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God's enemy" (James 4:4). The legislators should realize what St. John Baptiste de la Salle had said: "Education is the equalizer." What is needed is not to terminate life but to build it up. Check the statistics at internet-- The ten richest countries in the world are actually densely populated, while the poorest countries are thinly populated. So that overpopulation argument is just a myth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scriptura Sui Ipsius Interpres

(Scripture Clarifying Itself)

THE Catholic position does not accept the Sola Scriptura (“Only Scripture”) tenet which most protestants hold. But the Catholic Biblical scholars hold that there are no contradictions in the Bible as some non-christians assert.

In fact the Bible talks about an Apostolic Church that is the teacher of the nations regarding the one true God and true morality of individuals and nations. The Church firmly regards the Bible as God’s infallible word. So that is what the Latin expression above means to say, that the various parts of the Bible do not contradict one another but rather help clarify, through the teachings and example of the personalities discussed therein. Why I mention example, because the principle always holds that “example or life speaks louder than words”.

Also the facts, miracles and clear signs motivate us towards belief and acceptance of the faith. Why? There’s also the Latin adage that says “Contra factum non valet argumentum” (There are no adequate arguments against facts). When the Church wants to prove the truthfulness of miracles on the intercession of holy persons to be declared saints, all the facts and data are documented and consulted beyond the shadow of any doubt. The truth and miracles of Jesus Christ and the saints are all based on facts of history. One has only to be sincere in his fact-finding search. He will be surprised by truth. Jesus is the truth found by hearts searching for meaning. The Catholic or Christian religion is not just hearsay but rather a religion based on facts and history of the Son of God who shared our humanity to show us the ways of truth and life (cf. Jn. 14:6). The fact that year 1 is when history begins to count the years shows why humanity considers the birth of Jesus as the singular event of the world and man’s existence.
The Bible says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:9). Then if you live his life of love and forgiveness you will experience how true are His words—“I tell you therefore everything you ask for and pray for, believe that you will receive them, and they will come” (Mk. 11:24).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Respect for Life

Respect for life is not just mainly the consideration of the actual life that there is but also the potential or future life that is the normal result of the sexual contact of male and female species. So in the case of man, God's law and the Church's law ask that no obstacles be placed for the normal result of such union of male and female sex which is - human life. That is why the Church proclaims moral values of purity, decency, and morality respecting marriage, family and life. Ultimately this boils down to protection of life.

What will happen if society gives free rein to all contraceptives and abortifacients that prevent the contact of male sperm and female ovum? None will be born anew. Life will be extinct. Maybe, yes, there will be rampant sexual licentiousness or other human abnormalities and enjoyments but these immoralities only invite God's inexorable chastisement as happened in Sodom and Gomorrah.

The reason for limiting sexual union only within legitimate marriage is likewise for the protection of life, stability of the family, the rearing and education of children which are the natural consequence of marital union. The Church's laws, following divine tradition, considers immoral the sexual relations outside of marriage. Why? It is likewise connected to human life, which is sacred. The fifth commandment (thou shall not kill) is closely linked to the 6th commandment (thou shall not commit adultery) (cf. Exodus chapter 20).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid

(Mt. 14:28; Mk. 6:50; Jn. 6:21)

On several occasions Jesus uttered the above phrase to encourage His disciples. This was also the initial salvo of Pope John Paul II at the beginning of his pontificate. I would say, that phrase is important for each and everyone of us, so long as we face situations with firm trust in God. The sad thing that happens is when people are fearful of facing situations, challenges and problems. The problems then get compounded and reinforced.

There was a famous psychologist around the year 1935, Dr. Alexander Cannon, author of the book “Powers That Be,” who compared our fears as if we were facing fierce animals. I might as well quote his exact phrase, though he included too a quotation from the Bible. “Dream of a great future and that future will come to you! For all things are possible to him that believeth (Mk. 9:23). Fear will vanish when you walk up to it and face it like a man. The lion takes its fierceness from your fear: walk up to him and he will run from you; run away and he will run after you. Banish fear and you will also banish evil. Love one another and hate will be no more. Face a situation fearlessly and there is no situation to be faced.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Triumph of Good Sense

There was wonderful cooperation at the last BUC (Bishops Ulama Conference) held January 8, 2010 in Davao City, attended by representatives of government, military, and religious leaders of denominations - Protestant, Islamic and Catholic.

When people honestly get together without malice and earnestly seek for solutions, then we could arrive at important decisions that will bring us peace. After all if ego and pride dominate, these are only preludes to failure and chaos.

Let’s examine what wrong ideas there are and discard them. For example, the ideas of hate and revenge that bring wars and anguish to our people; is there no better alternative? If ideas do rule the world (as the Latin adage says: Idiae regunt mundum), let’s get to the better ideas. Life is sacred. You have only one life and could you ever justly compensate for the value of one life?

To counter those wrong ideas we need to propose and live the right ideas and ideals. For example, Benjamin Franklin had said this: “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” Consider the past wars sacrificing millions of lives, just because pride and hate and ambition were dominating people’s hearts. Could you pay for all that waste of human existence? When will we ever learn?

Last Christmas we heard readings from the prophet Isaiah telling of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in the shadow of death a light has shone” (Is. 9:2). Jesus teaches us by word and example the very opposite of what the world thinks. He teaches humility in place of pride, love instead of hate, generosity in place of greed.

“What will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?” (Mt. 16:26). The Bible, too, is against overdoing the feelings of revenge as St. Paul writes: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another. Do not seek honors, but accept humble duties. Do not hold yourselves as wise. Do not return evil for evil, but try to earn the appreciation of others. Do your best to live in peace with everybody. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but let God be the one who punishes, as Scripture says: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. And it adds: If your enemy is hunger, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him to drink; by doing this you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not let evil defeat you, but conquer evil with goodness” (Rom. 12:14-21).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Position of the Church

Whether actual or potential, human life is sacred. What I mean is that moral law does not allow us to place impediments to the natural origins and course of human life because human life is sacred. As Pope John XIII once recalled: "Human life is sacred, from its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God". In the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI (1968) is written: "The Church calling men to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by her constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act (the Latin text: quilibet matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life" (see paragraph 11). That's the very reason why the Church has ever defended chaste relationships for each one's state of life whether married or single. It does seem that the devil is inserting into people's minds such deceptive permissiveness of unbridled sexual licentiousness and infidelities through the variouscontraceptive devices and birth control mechanisms. It's a wrong kind of tolereance of human weaknesses that only ends in mischief and broken marriages.. They want to escape the resulting responsibilites of bearing children. Let's not forget that among the meassages of the Fatima apparitions (1917) the Virgin Mother was warning us that many souls are lost in Hell because of sins of the flesh.

The following is taken from an address by John Paul II to the bishops of the United States of America:

With the frankness of the Gospel, the compassion of Pastors and with the charity of Christ, you have dealt with the question of the indissolubility of marriage, correctly stating: "The covenant between a man and a woman united in Christian marriage is as indissoluble and irrevocable as is the love of God for his people and the love of Christ for his Church". Exalting the beauty of marriage, you have rightly taken a position against both the theory of contraception and contraceptive practice, as did the encyclical letter Humanae vitae. I myself, today, with the same conviction as Paul VI, ratify the teaching of that encyclical issued by my Predecessor "in virtue of the mandate confided us by Christ".

Describing the sexual union between husband and wife as a special expression of their covenant of love, you have correctly said: "The sexual relationship is a human and moral good only within the sphere of marriage: outside marriage it is immoral".

As men who speak with "words of truth and the power of God" (2Corinthians 6,7), as authentic teachers of the law of God and as compassionate pastors, you have correctly said: Homosexual practice (which is to be distinguished from homosexual orientation) is morally deceitful".

"...Both the Church's teaching, according to its constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have stated without any hesitation that masturbation is a practice grievously and intrinsically disordered" (Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning certain questions of sexual ethics, December 29, 1975, No. 9).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Wrong Angle

As we approach the coming elections, let’s try to avoid past mistakes, especially in the type or character of the candidates we select. Let’s not select those candidates who are fond of propaganda and just talking. We need people of action, sincerity and honesty.

Why do we say so? This is just based on some common sense that’s also based in the gospels (Mt. 6). In that chapter, Jesus the Savior asks us not to do our good deeds to be seen by men but rather do them, even if others do not see, because God our Heavenly Father who sees the good deeds we perform for the sake of the love of God or our neighbor will most certainly reward us, but He will not reward us for deeds we do to be seen and praised by others because we already have the worldly motive for which we did the works. This is also being implied in a German proverb that says: Die Tat ist alles Nichts der Ruhm (translate: The deed is everything, the glory naught)(from Goethe, Faust Pt. ii, act IV, sc.1). The business analyst writer of the book “Up the Organization” (Robert Townsend) also commented about a wrong orientation of business or movements: “Money, like prestige, if sought directly, is almost never gained. It must come as a byproduct of a worthwhile objective or result which is sought and achieved for its own sake.”

No wonder the projects of those politicians or legislators who make money their principal goal or motivating force are bound to fail. Just like projects intended more formaking money through environmental devastation and exploitation rather than consider the common good of humanity.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shadow of Death

The event of the Epiphany augurs for humanity the blessings of peace. Yet that is conditioned by our efforts to spread the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15), versus the prejudices of hate spreading throughout the world.. We must help the pursuit of peace by doing our share in the spread of the lessons of love, forgiveness, justice, humility, and respect, all contained in the code of ethics of the Lord Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

The prophecies of Isaiah can enlighten us on this work for peace. “The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those who live in the land of the shadow of death” (Is. 9:1-2). Why we must do our part of the game is because another prophecy of Isaiah talks of the environment of peace where the knowledge of the Lord is spread as waters covering the sea: “From the stump of Jesse a shoot will come forth; from his roots a branch will grow and bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will rest upon him – a Spirit of counsel and of power, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord – that he may rule in the fear of the Lord. Not by appearances will he judge, nor by what is said must he decide, but with justice he will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek. Like a rod, his word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of his lips slay the wicked. Justice will be the girdle of his waist, truth the girdle of his loins. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will take rest with the kid, the calf and the lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them. Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together. Like cattle, the lion will eat hay. By the cobra’s den the infant will play. Into the viper’s lair the child will put his hand. No one will harm or destroy over my holy mountain, for as water fills the sea the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’ (Is. 11:1-9).

Amid all the anguish and sufferings of our people because of war and conflicts and evacuations, let us give peace a chance by spreading the gospel of peace, love, justice, and care of the Lord Jesus, as our last hope for peace in a beleaguered world.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Track Record vis-à-vis Promises

They say in Spanish: Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho (Between words and deeds there’s a big trench). So we better keep that in mind as we face the crucial elections in the Philippines . Look at the track record of aspirants that can show glimpses of their imbedded character.

We ought to remember history and watch for the signs. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Remember the Stalins or Hitlers or Herods of the past that had no qualms of conscience in sacrificing millions of lives when they got into power just for the ambition of holding on to the power they got. We know they all had all met their tragic and shameful ends and Waterloos. But we must learn the lesson. Those who do not remember history will repeat the mistakes of history. God is the over-all victor of history, the fight between good and evil. Let’s be on God’s side always, a God of justice, purity, truth, and love. Let’s not get entwined by the lies of political campaigners but endeavor to make correct selections, amid all the deceptions.