Archive

Posts Tagged ‘ateneo professors support RH Bill 5043’

ateneo upholding academic freedom : “The university has its own purposes which cannot be subordinated to other objectives”

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

 

Understanding Catholic universities

by: fr joaquin bernas sj

In discussing Catholic universities one must  begin with Canon 808 of the Code of Canon Law which says: “Even if it really be Catholic, no university may bear the title or name Catholic university without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.” In that technical juridical sense, the Ateneo and almost all other institutions in the Philippines, save one perhaps, which are publicly regarded as Catholic, are not in juridical terms Catholic. But are they Catholic in any other sense?

Even Canon 808 suggests that institutions which do not have the ecclesiastical title of Catholic can in fact be “really Catholic.” The appellation of Catholic can come from various sources. It can come, for instance, from its origins as founded by various religious orders of men and women. That in fact is how most Catholic institutions in the Philippines started. The appellation also comes from what in fact they do. For this reason these institutions are recognized as affiliated with the Church even if not “canonically Catholic.”

It must also be said that a canonical title is not the litmus test for being truly Catholic. Pope John Paul II in fact looks for more in a Catholic university. In a speech before Catholic universities in the United States, both canonically recognized and not, he said:

“A Catholic university or college must make a specific contribution to the Church and to society through high-quality scientific research, in-depth study of problems, and a just sense of history, together with the concern to show the full meaning of the human person regenerated in Christ, thus favoring the complete development of the person. Furthermore, the Catholic university or college must train young men and women of outstanding knowledge who, having made a personal synthesis of faith and culture, are both capable and willing to assume tasks in the service of the community and of society in general, and to bear witness to their faith before the world. And finally, to be what it ought to be, a Catholic college or university must set up, among its faculty and students, a real community which bears witness to a living and operative Christianity, a community where sincere commitment to scientific research and study goes together with a deep commitment to authentic Christian living.

“This is your identity. This is your vocation. . . .  The term ‘Catholic’ will never be a mere label, either added or dropped according to the pressures of varying factors.”

Briefly, a Catholic university is not just an institute for teaching catechism.

Further, in the same speech, John Paul II emphasized the importance of academic freedom:  “As one who for long years have been a university professor, I will never tire of insisting on the eminent role of the university, which is to instruct but also to be a place of scientific research. In both these fields, its activity is deeply related to the deepest and noblest aspiration of the human person: the desire to come to the knowledge of truth. No university can rightfully deserve the esteem of the world of higher learning unless it applies the highest standards of scientific research, constantly updating the methods and working instruments, and unless it excels in seriousness, and therefore in freedom of investigation.”

It is in this context that Fr. Jose “Jett” Villarin has defended what the Ateneo professors have been doing. At the same time, this is the measuring rod according to which Ateneo professors, and other professors of Catholic universities, must examine their individual consciences. Similarly, those who criticize them must meet them in the context of the field of expertise from which they write and not only in the limited context of the Baltimore Catechism.

One might also ask, is Father Jett being faithful to the teachings of the Society of Jesus? We Jesuits tend to disagree among ourselves about almost everything. As an Italian saying goes, Tre Jesuiti, quattro opinioni. Perhaps cinque or even more. But I think if we surveyed the opinion of Jesuits in school work we will find them overwhelmingly in agreement with the words of the superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach in an address titled “The Jesuit University in the Light of Ignatian Charism.” He said: “Far be it from us to try to convert the university into a mere instrument of evangelization or, worse still, for proselytizing. The university has its own purposes which cannot be subordinated to other objectives. It is important to respect institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and to safeguard personal and community rights.” Father Kolvenbach goes on to insist that there is no inherent schizophrenia in the identity of a Jesuit college or university. “In a Catholic university, or one of Christian inspiration, under the responsibility of the Society of Jesus, there does not exist—nor can there exist—incompatibility between the goals proper to the university and the Christian and Ignatian inspiration that should characterize any apostolic institution of the Society of Jesus.”

Father Jett told me at supper that Archbishop Chito Tagle, at the wake for Jesse Robredo, condoled and commiserated with him (probably with a wink!) as he parries the slings and arrows coming his way from “loyal Catholic catechists.”  Jett can take it. He is young and was valedictorian of the same Ateneo college batch as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

ateneo president fr villarin ignores bishop, upholds independent thinking and appreciates ateneo professors efforts on rh bill

August 21, 2012 5 comments

in the long held tradition of the ateneo, fr. villarin, ateneo president not only upholds independent thinking but more importantly appreciates the 192 professors who have released a statement of their support on the rh bill. the latter to me was unexpected.

some weeks ago,  the ateneo professors released a statement where 160 of them stated their support for the rh bill, calling for congress to pass the bill. that caught the attention of the rh bill advocates and was one of the most talked about among groups involved on the bill.

then just a few days ago, the same group of ateneo professors released another statement saying an additional 33 professors signed on to their statement of support for the rh bill.

that once again caught the attention of opposing forces on the rh bill debate and this time  included traditional media. it helped that that was the time that president aquino included the rh bill on his SONA and it was causing excitement in congress. the renewed interest and strong publicity of the statement of the ateneo professors supporting the rh bill also caught the attention of the CBCP and a permanent member of it.

CBCP member bishop medroso has said the ateneo professors who aired their support for the rh bill should be investigated to see if they should be fired for teaching the rh bill at the ateneo. the CBCP opposes the rh bill.

bishop medroso says the ateneo being a catholic school should toe the line of the CBCP on the rh bill. according to him by implication, ateneo can lose its recognition as a catholic school and the professors their jobs if they teach their students their support to the rh bill in the classrooms.

as a reaction to the growing and very loud voices on the ateneo professors’ statements,  this letter was released by  fr. villarin. it was released very quickly, just one day after the threat of the bishop was written up in the press.

the letter states that it recognizes the individual stand of the professors in their support of the rh bill and accepts that there are divergent views on the rh bill and the ateneo professors position is one of them.

the most important part is that he does not sanction the ateneo professors for their stand supporting the rh bill which is contrary to the school’s stand and the CBCP. the CBCP bishop was in less than subtle terms wanted the sanction.

read here:

bishop wants pro rh bill Ateneo professors fired – hahahaha – http://wp.me/pnw03-1DB

fr. villarin even goes on to give the ateneo professors encouragement, saying they should “continue in their discernment of the common good“, appreciating the intent the professors stated in their position paper which was to help the poor, saying “I appreciate their social compassion and intellectual efforts“.

we thought that the last part on the “intellectual efforts” was not just a recognition of the high quality work and thinking the professors put into their statement but also a subtle allusion to the quality, or lack of it, of the discourse from anti rh bill proponents.

Church Of The Gesu At The Ateneo De Manila University

it is very clear that in this letter, fr. villarin:

  1. ignores, rebukes and delivers a slap in the face of the CBCP and the bishop who was calling for the ateneo professors to be fired from their teaching jobs at the ateneo
  2. key here is fr. villarin has stated no sanctions of any sort or censure on the ateneo professors. this is the exact opposite of what the cbcp and the bishop wanted
  3. he sees the action of the ateneo professors in a very different light from what the bishop was trying to say
  4. the ateneo agrees to disagree with the ateneo professors as fr. villarin states that the ateneo as a catholic school opposes the passage of the rh bill
  5. respects the opposing view of the ateneo professors and allows them to pursue their views as the professors see fit
  6. states that the school has been teaching in the classrooms the anti rh bill position of the school and the CBCP. this is important as this establishes the CBCP may not sanction ateneo as it is in fact teaching its position.
  7. that sets up the point that the statement released by the professors are indeed just their individual and personal view on the rh bill and thus cannot be sanctioned by the school or the CBCP. fr. villarin has drawn a differentiation between what the professors teach in the classroom and what they say as individuals. the latter goes to freedom of expression and academic freedom.
  8. although obviously unstated, we think fr. villarin is pro rh bill. he just could not say it being the president of the catholic school ateneo. not saying comes within the territory of his job as president of the catholic school he heads.
  9. rather than calling for the non passage of the rh bill, fr. villarin is calling for amendments to the bill.
  10. he also probably thinks the rh bill will be passed, saying that the community should work for making sure no coercion is done in its implementation allowing for people to exercise free will to decide to avail or not avail any of the components of the rh bill.
  11. the  letter shows a very keen appreciation of the pro-poor and pro-people stance of the ateneo professors in their support of the rh bill. we think it is obvious from here that fr. villarin together with the ateneo professors believe and practice in being “man for others”
  12. upholds the ateneo tradition of encouraging, in fact teaching informed independent thinking, inclusive of whether it agrees or disagrees with its own position. this is a tradition in the school. if the students are taught this, why shouldn’t it allow the professors to exercise the same?
  13. we think this one of the strongest statements in that letter : “Nevertheless, Catholic tradition has always taught that reason and faith are not enemies but allies in the service of God’s truth.” reason here refers to the position paper released by the ateneo professors while faith refers to the position of the CBCP, the bishop and the university. he is saying here that they really should not clash or one cancel the other, and that in fact both can be combined to reach the “service of God’s truth”. he is saying both are right and not one is wrong over the other.
  14. in saying both are right and not one is wrong over the other has the effect of siding with the ateneo professors. the previous and original statement released by the ateneo professors had this as the topic : “catholics in conscience can support the rh bill”. (click here: Catholics Can Support The RH Bill In Good Conscience – Ateneo Professors’ Position Paper RH Bill 5043)

clearly, fr. villarin is a man of high intellect with a genuine gift for communicating and words. it is also obvious he has a full understanding of his role, the ateneo professors and the school and its dynamics and core values.  he has done his job well as president of the ateneo.

this is a proud day for ateneo and ateneans.

Memo to the University Community from the President

date posted: 2012-08-21 12:30:09

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

President

source: http://www.admu.edu.ph/index.php?p=120&type=2&sec=29&aid=11138

bishop wants pro rh bill Ateneo professors fired – hahahaha

August 20, 2012 6 comments

the rhetoric on the rh bill and the ateneo de manila professors just got raised a few levels up with a bishop medroso saying the ateneo professors who are pro rh bill should be investigated and should be fired from their jobs if they are giving “instructions”  contrary to the catholic church’s teachings, the rh bill in particular. the catholic church is against the rh bill.

good luck to the bishop on that one. the statements of the ateneo professors have been released on the basis of what they say there as their individual and personal view on the rh bill and not of the university nor does it say it is what  they teach in the classrooms of the ateneo. the disclaimer is written on the first few paragraphs of the statement the professors released.

Ateneo De Manila College Administration Building

there are few grey areas on the threat of the bishop.

professors and doctors who teach at the ateneo medical school will need to teach about modern methods of contraception. it is part and parcel of any lesson on reproductive health and obstetrics. all ob-gyn doctors should know this. will the doctor teachers covering the topic be fired from their jobs?

an economics professor for example can cover the topic of population as it relates to economic theories. population and family size is a key component of the rh bill discussion, will these professors be fired too?

when students bring up the topic of rh bill during class discussion, should the teacher refuse to discuss it?

read the statements of the ateneo professors here:

160 Ateneo De Manila University Professors declare support for the RH Bill – http://wp.me/pnw03-1Cy

Catholics Can Support The RH Bill In Good Conscience – Ateneo Professors’ Position Paper RH Bill 5043 – http://wp.me/Pnw03-2q

we think that as long as the professors say in class, to their students that the school as a whole is anti-rh bill, the professor and students can proceed to discuss everything and anything about the rh bill. college education is all about discourse on the two sides of any issue or topic.

the ateneo classroom in particular is known for such discourse. one of the cornerstones of  an ateneo education is informed independent thinking. building independent thinkers is one of the most cherished goals of an ateneo education.

good luck to changing the very core of what the ateneo education is all about.

Catholic Church wants pro-RH bill Ateneo professors sacked
By 10:20 pm | Monday, August 20th, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—It’s not exactly an inquisition but 159 members of the Ateneo de Manila University faculty may face investigation, and sacked if found guilty.

Bishop Leandro Medroso, in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas on Monday, called for an investigation of the Ateneo faculty members who signed a statement declaring support for the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill being pushed by the Aquino administration in Congress.

Medroso, the permanent council member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, said the university should make sure that the teachers who endorsed House Bill No. 4244 have not been teaching concepts against Church laws.

“That has to be investigated. The first principle of Canon law about this matter is that we don’t allow teaching that is against the official teachings of the Church. Now, if there is somebody who is giving instructions against the teachings of the Church, then they have to investigate immediately,” Medroso said.

Read more…

joint statement of ateneo and UP professors : Pass The RH Bill Now

March 25, 2011 4 comments

PASS THE RH BILL NOW
Statement of individual faculty
of the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University
in support of HB 4244,“
An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood,
Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and for Other Purposes”
We, the undersigned faculty of the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University, in our individual capacities as educators and scholars from various academic disciplines,declare our strong support for the consolidated reproductive health bill (House Bill 4244) and urge its immediate passage in Congress. We issue this statement because we see the need for our active engagement in social issues, believing as we do that the academe has a distinct role to play in achieving social justice and national development.
We have read House Bill 4244 on “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development” currently filed in the House of Representatives and have kept abreast of the on going debates. Many of us have been working on reproductive health and its related issues, some of us for decades. We have undertaken our own studies (literature reviews and analysis, policy studies, empirical researches, etc.) on reproductive health. Many of us have also participated in legislative processes such as public hearings and technical working groups.
Our studied and collective opinion is that House Bill 4244 is a vital piece of legislation. Its passage will mandate policies which will save women’s and men’s lives, improve infant survival, enhance young people’s health and well-being, and enable couples and individuals to make responsible decisions in planning their families. We also endorse this bill as a necessary element to achieve the goals of social equity, poverty reduction, and national development. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that these goals can be achieved without resorting to population control. Our reading of HB 4244 is that it is not a population control bill, nor does it violate any other rights and freedoms. HB 4244 in fact promotes the sexual and reproductive rights, the right to health, and the right to informed decision making of all Filipinos but especially the poor, in fulfillment of the provisions of our Constitution and our obligations under international covenants. The passage of a national and comprehensive law will also guarantee budgetary support from the national government for reproductive health initiatives and ensure their implementation by local government units, regardless of the vagaries of national and local leadership.
We are issuing this statement because we wish to support those legislators who rely on scientific evidence when they craft legislative proposals or decide how to vote. Their endorsement of HB 4244 is an encouraging example of progressive legislation that is necessary to national development.
In this light, we feel the need to comment on the way science has been misused by those who oppose this bill. We have seen the misrepresentation of easily verifiable information, such as the actual text of the proposed bill. We have witnessed the misuse of outdated studies, data that have already been disproven, or studies that cannot be replicated to support what are merely ideological positions. One example that is particularly dangerous is the lie that condoms do not protect against sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. There have also been those who misrepresent extremist positions as the prevailing consensus of the scientific community. This evidence-based consensus, however, does support the provision of reproductive health services that include contraceptive access and sexuality education.It also supports the services for adolescents and children that HB 4244 mandates.

We are concerned over reports that teachers offer incentives, such as bonus points, for students to make anti-RH statements or engage in anti-RH activities. We welcome disparate opinions as necessary to the vitality of any scholarly community.

Thus, we believe that it is an abuse of our role as value formators to dictate the political actions of our students in this way. We denounce any such violations of our duties to inculcate critical thinking and respect our students’ right to their own opinions.We denounce this, regardless of whether the teacher is for or against the RH Bill.

We caution our people to be more critical of the data and opinions presented to them and find out the truth for themselves. We are heartened by polls that show that most Filipinos know of the bill and support it, and in so doing have shown their capacity for enlightened citizenship.

Together with the legislators who have proven themselves worthy of their mandate by their support for the bill, we reiterate our full and unequivocal endorsement of HB 4244 and call for its immediate enactment into law.

Read more…

Categories: reproductive health, RH Bill 5043 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

philippine catholic church’s arguments against modern methods of contraception

January 6, 2009 1 comment

i had collapsed the title of this thread to the core of the philippine catholic church’s stand against RH Bil 5043 – the church’s objection to the use of modern methods of contraception like the pill, condoms and IUD. the church advocates the only for the use of natural methods like the calendar method.

i have read and heard of how they have argued against the RH Bill and it is shocking, specially coming from the the catholic church and catholic groups who are supposed to uphold truth and honesty.

most of the arguments they have used against the RH Bill can be characterized by these: blatant lies, hokey economic theories, undocumented and non-sensical scare tactics about mayhem and hell that will occur in the future, distorted facts and figures and just plain stupidity.

we will be enumerating them in this blog over time.

one glaring fact — the catholic church and catholic groups are not arguing against the RH Bill on the basis of church dogma or doctrine. the basis for the church’s stand against birth control is based on an encyclical that was released in 1968 by pope paul VI called “Humanae Vitae”.

Humanae Vitae or HV is one of the most controversial encyclicals released by the catholic church during the modern times. it got widespread and immediate dissent from almost everyone – vatican and church experts and scholars, bishops and specially catholics themselves almost on day 1 it was released to the press and the world. it has divided the church then and continue to divide it now.

the philippine catholic church, however, is not using HV as an argument against HV. the reason probably is becuase they know HV is not an infallible document. but what they do is they use the ideas and teachings from HV on the basis of it being “prophetic”, HV’s ability to predict what will happen in the world.

a commission was put up by the pope before paul VI to look into the matter of modern methods of contraception. the pill was just introduced in the early 1960’s and that pope wanted the church to have a stand on the pill. HV contained thoughts and ideas that said what will happen if contraception like the pill will be used widely. in that sense, HV is being used now, 40 years after it was released on it being prophetic.

here is one sample on how catholic groups are arguing against the RH Bill from the Couples For Christ:

print ad

print ad

read more about this print ad here: http://the-wawam-file.blogspot.com/search/label/couples%20for%20christ

we will update this post to publish more on how the catholic church and catholic groups have argued against the RH Bill.

%d bloggers like this: