Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Truth Brings Peace

A Latin proverb somehow meant the equivalent of the above title. Robur pacis veritas (translated: True peace is stable when founded on truth). Reproductive Health bills are presently stirring hot controversies. Why so? Let’s face the barrage of questions relevant thereto.

Is it pro or against life? Well, if it is open to abortifacients and abortion, it will lead to a decline in population. Why is it that well funded international agencies lend support to controlling Philippine population? Is that not an inalienable private right of concerned couples regarding the number of children they are to have? Is it really promoting the health of mothers? We must keep in mind God’s law that says: “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:12). How come therefore the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization has stated the following: “IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy are Carcinogenic (cancer inducing) to Humans” (quoted in the book Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, page 107, under the sub-title—‘The Truth and Half-Truths About Reproductive Health’. The foreword of the book, dated September 8, 2008, is signed by Catholic Bishops representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to wit: Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D., Archbishop of Jaro and President, CBCP; Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, D.D., Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life; Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu; Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rasales, D.D., Archbishop of Manila.

Finally, in conscience we ought to ask ourselves: What is to love our Filipino people? Should we not rather follow the infallible truth of God’s word that beckons us: “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it’ (Gen. 1:28).” Let’s be pro-life! Yes, it’s true, there’s so much pride, confusion, self-interest in our world. But in our quest for the truth we have to keep on. Jesus has assured us without fail: “The one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Mt. 7:7). We can have success in our quest for truth in the present discussion, if we persevere and have faith, love, humility and openness to accept whatever is really true..

Friday, September 16, 2011

Robur Pacis Veritas

The Latin proverb above, translates thus: “The strength of peace derives from the truth.” For example, if the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of peace (cf. Eph. 6:15) it must certainly contain basic teachings that are a source of strength inside and outside our persons. To us, our relationship of love and prayer to Jesus Christ becomes a source of peace, if only we follow His ways.

Now the ways of Jesus (cf. Jn. 4:34) basically follow God’s will, in a life of love, consideration, respect for the neighbor’s rights, obedience to the Church, following the commandments and a life of truthfulness, that is, a transparency able to face the world. “On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God” (Jn. 3:19-21). Though, of course, human as we are, God’s voice keeps calling us to conversion and a change of heart.

That is the desire of the heart of Jesus as reflected in those three parables of Divine Mercy in Luke chapter 15—(the lost sheep, the lost drachma, the prodigal and the dutiful son). His message is: “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance” (Lk. 15:7). Jesus even implored God’s forgiveness on those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bible Does Not Lie

(cf. Jn. 5:39)

One of the important campaigns that we have is for a Bible in every home. It is because the Bible or Holy Scripture basically contains God’s word as officially approved by the Church. Jesus had clearly said this: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). Many versions of the complete Bible have already translations in the vernacular or local dialects. And the prices have been put as low as fifty (50) pesos. So it’s really possible to obtain a copy if we sincerely desire so. Maybe contacting our Bible apostolate group in the Diocese or the priest in the Parish. Remember there is truth in the proverb that states: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” This is based on God’s infallible word in the Bible that states the following: “To those who believe everything is possible” (Mk. 9:24).

We quote the Bible verse because many are already interested in God’s word and where to find it in the Bible in order to refer to it and be inspired or motivated thereby. Maybe this other text can also encourage you: “Whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you will receive it and it shall come” (Mk. 11:24). It shall come if you really believe and if it really is for your own good or humanity’s good, and you do your part to deserve it. Jesus really emphasized the importance of faith. When Jesus chided Peter who was drowning because he began to doubt upon seeing the strong winds and the waves of the sea, He told Peter, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:31. You can see therefore why it is so important to obtain a Bible for our guidance and spiritual growth. It is God’s inspired word. Or have we forgotten that simple text in the Bible that means so much to us all and refers to effective prayer---“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Mt. 7:7). It’s just a simple text from the Bible, God’s own word that can’t lie or ever be mistaken.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Sex Education Issues

We see how the RH Bill issue is also being joined by the sex education issue, I guess, to add more flames or support to the present controversies. But it would be good to be on the right track by referring to reputed and recognized leaders of people and nations as Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi, India’s “Great Soul,” often spoke on sexual morality, and frequently emphasized the importance of sex education. He defined the fundamental difference between comprehensive sex education and chastity education as follows:

“Sexual science is of two kinds, that which is used for controlling or over-coming the sexual passion, and that which is used to stimulate and feed it. Instruction in the former is as necessary a part of a child’s education, as the latter is harmful and dangerous, and fit, therefore, only to be shunned. The sex education that I stand for must have for its object the conquest and sublimation of the sex passion. Such education should automatically serve to bring home to children the essential distinction between man and brute, to make them realize that it is man’s special privilege and pride to be gifted with the faculties of head and heart both, that he is a thinking no less than feeling animal, and to renounce the sovereignty of reason over the blind instincts is, therefore, to renounce a man’s estate. In man, reason quickens and guides the feeling; in brutes, the soul lies ever dormant.” (from A.S. Antonisamy. Wisdom for All Times: Mahatma Gandhi and Pope Paul VI on Birth Regulation. Family Life Service Center, Archbishop’s House, Pondicherry 605001 India, June 1978.)

So let’s be true to ourselves and one another. We must respect the life of the unborn, not just veer away and make use of sex education issues to distract us from the main issue of respect for life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why Not ?

(RH Bill )

The answer could be argued both ways, positive or negative, regarding the controversial RH Bill which some legislators desire to be promulgated and approved. The question is why is the Church against it? We must therefore in all sincerity and conscience seek always where truth really is.

Since it intends to facilitate the sale of artificial means of controlling the birth rate, most of which contraceptives are abortifacients, i.e. destructive of life, that’s the major reason for the Church’s opposition. The teaching of the Church has not changed. On November 12, 1988, Pope John Paul II addressed the final session of a three-day meeting of 300 Catholic moral theologians at the Pontifical Lateran University to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Humanae Vitae (1968) encyclical. There, he summarized the Church’s teaching against birth control in a single sentence: “No personal or social circumstances have ever or can ever justify such an [contraceptive] act.”

Even the world-famous leader and great thinker from India, Mahatma Gandhi, whose country has been a population control battleground for decades, struck at the heart of the matter when he pointed out to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger: “If it is contended that birth control is necessary for the nation because of over population, I dispute the proposition. It has never been proved. In my opinion, by a proper land system, better agriculture, and a supplementary industry, this country [India] is capable of supporting twice as many people as there are in it today.”

“I am totally opposed to artificial means of controlling the birthrate, and it is not possible for me to congratulate you [Sanger] or your co-workers on having brought into being a league whose activities, if successful, can only do great moral injury to the people. I wish I could convince you and your co-workers to disband the league and devote your energy to a better purpose. You will pardon me for giving my opinion in a decisive manner.”

In the very first book and chapter of the Bible which is God’s revealed word you can read the infallible voice of God: “God blessed them [the first man and woman] saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it’” (Gen. 1:28). During that Nov. 12, 1988 address to 300 Catholic moral theologians, the Pope firmly stated that the ban on contraceptives “cannot be questioned by the Catholic theologian,” much to the consternation of dissenting theologians in the Western world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Ban on Contraceptives

The RH Bill contains provisions that allow or encourage use of contraceptives for purposes of population control. However, the Catholic Church considers that contrary to the prime end of marriage which is a union designed for the preservation of the human race through the procreation and education of children.

Since for Christians the voice of the Holy Father is crucial because it guides towards truth and right, let us listen to some official words of the Holy Father because, being successor of the first Pope, he enjoys the support from heaven above. To St. Peter, the first Pope, Jesus said: “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:17-20).

Since the Popes have succeeded Peter, they also enjoy the assistance of the Holy Spirit in official pronouncements since this is what Jesus promised. Pope Pius XI in the encyclical Casti Connubii [VII] states: “Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with guilt of a grave sin.”

The teaching of the Church has not changed. On 12 November 1988, Pope John Paul II (already now beatified as Blessed John Paul II) addressed the final session of a three-day meeting of 300 Catholic moral theologians at the Pontifical Lateran University to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. There, he summarized the Church’s teaching against birth control in a single sentence: “No personal or social circumstances have ever or can ever justify such an [contraceptive] act.” During this talk, the Pope also firmly stated that the ban on contraception “cannot be questioned by the Catholic theologian,” much to the consternation of dissenting theologians in the Western world. I dare ask therefore to anyone who dares: Who are you to dare dissent from the official stand of the Popes when this alone enjoys the assistance of heaven above and the guarantee of truth. Presupposing our human weakness and limitations, let us at least be open in the quest for the truth. After all, Jesus had assured us—“everyone who seeks always finds” (Mt. 7:8).

At least, be sincere to God, yourself and others in the laborious and honest quest for the truth.