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fr. bernas answers bishop reyes & the CBCP : points out where the bishop erred on rh bill

September 9, 2012 2 comments

we have been waiting for the answer of fr. bernas on the 3/4 print ad released by the CBCP and bishop reyes of antipolo. we have marked the important points made by fr. bernas. (click to read: CBCP answers fr joaquin bernas on rh bill via print ad at philippine daily inquirer)

we have a few more:

  • fr. bernas is incorrect when he said this: “Third, the Church teaching on contraception is based not only on Faith or revelation but also on natural law.”  in fact the bishop admits its opposition to the rh bill is NOT based on faith or revelation, ” It is also good to point out that the church teaching regarding contraceptives is not based on Faith or revelation, although it is confirmed by our Faith.”
  • fr. bernas being a catholic priest is anti rhbill but he is also a professor of law, a constitutionalist, a pinoy and a human being. he answers the bishop being all of those, each one on 20/20 vision.
  • every time fr. bernas writes about the rh bill, he makes us think and reflect on our positions on the rh bill and from which we either confirm or change our positions. the point is fr. bernas always makes us think and reflect no matter what our position is on the rh bill.

CONVERSATION WITH A BISHOP
Fr. Joaquin Bernas S.J.

A couple of days ago Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo diocese, writing under the stationary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, published an ad in the Inquirer and Philippine Star, expressing his disagreement with the views of an unnamed columnist on the merits and demerits of the RH Bill.  The regular readers of my columns in the Inquirer immediately recognized that the Bishop was referring to me. I too recognized it immediately as referring to me.
Not that I object to the reference to me nor to being quoted.  In fact I welcome the bishop’s ad and take it as an invitation to dialogue.  Dialogue among Christians, high and low, is highly encouraged by the Church today.  “In the modern world, the scandal is not that Vatican officials would engage scientists who disagree with church teaching, but rather that such engagement is regarded as taboo.”
The Bishop takes exception to my statement that “the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious beliefs nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious beliefs.”  The Bishop says that he “would be happy if the (non-abortifacient contraceptives) were banned” but that the Church is only against the state promoting contraceptives and providing free contraceptives to people.
From the bishop’s ad, I gather three points for dialogue. First, the bishop says that now “anyone can buy contraceptives from drugstores or even from ‘convenient stores.’”  Second, (but this is implicit) the state should not use public money to make contraceptives freely available.  Third, the Church teaching on contraception is based not only on Faith or revelation but also on natural law.
Let’s converse about these.
First, on easy availability of contraceptives in drugstores.  The clear implication is that the world is free and anyone can buy these.  This is simply not true.  Only those who have the money can buy them.  Legislators, however, are thinking of the vast majority of poor people who need help to be able to practice responsible parenthood.

CBCP answers fr joaquin bernas on rh bill via print ad at philippine daily inquirer

August 31, 2012 2 comments

this was published as a 3/4 page print ad at today’s philippine daily inquirer on page 11.  it is a direct reaction to the articles that fr. joaquin bernas, a jesuit has been publishing in his column in the same newspaper on the rh bill.

fr. bernas is a prominent filipino jesuit in the country respected and admired by all for being one of the country’s most authoritative on philippine law. fr. bernas teaches law at the ateneo law school and was a member of the constitutional convention that drafted the current constitution of the country. fr. bernas is often called by the courts and other lawyers for his opinion on matters of law.

we have printed here many of the important articles fr. bernas has written on the rh bull. (click here : https://2010presidentiables.wordpress.com/?s=bernas)

this is the first time that the cbcp has directly answered fr. bernas on his views on the rh bill. fr. bernas has been publishing his views on the rh bill for many months now without a reaction from the cbcp. we give an explanation on this “sudden” reply by the cbcp to fr. bernas.

the print ad reply of the cbcp must have been triggered by the recent controversy that is still brewing right now on the ateneo professors’ stand on the rh bill. 192 ateneo professors have recently released a statement saying they support the rh bill and are calling for congress to immediately pass it into law. this is the thrid time that the ateneo professors have released such a statement but this one was different in that a large number, 192 in all have signed on to the statement. the first statement of the ateneo professors only had 60 professors signing up (“catholics can support the th bill in good conscience”)

read relevant articles on the ateneo professors support on the rh bill here: (click to read)

a bigger controversy was sparked when a permanent member bishop of the CBCP called for the ateneo to investigate the ateneo professors for their stand on the rh bill and said that they should be sanctioned, in fact fired from their jobs for their stand. the bishop also said catholic schools that do not teach the stand of the church on the rh bill should lose their “catholic” status.

the very next day the bishop made the threat of removing the “catholic status” of the ateneo and asking for the ateneo to fire the professors from their jobs, fr. jett villarin, president of the ateneo de manila university published an open letter to the ateneo community at the ateneo website.

fr. villarin in his letter did not say the ateneo professors will be given any sanction, will not be fired from their jobs and instead he even appreciated the efforts of the ateneo professors at forwarding their stand on the rh bill. the ateneo president also reiterated that as a catholic school, the ateneo is anti rh bill but respects the individual stand of the professors which was contrary to the university’s stand.

some things on the CBCP statement:

  • we find it strange that the name of fr. bernas is mentioned in this statement posted at the CBCP for Life website but has been deleted in the print ad released at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. we wonder what the reason is for that change.
  • this statement admits the CBCP stand against the rh bill is not based on theology,  “It is also good to point out that the church teaching regarding contraceptives is not based on Faith or revelation”.
  • it confirms our view that the CBCP’s opposition on the rh bill is based on Humanae Vitae, the encyclical pope paul VI released in 1968. (click to read here: Humanae Vitae encyclical – the catholic church’s basis for it’s stand on birth control)
  • it specifically basses its objection on “natural law”
  • humanae vitae and natural law while talke about by the church are not infallible and not dogma. a pope need to declare a church teaching to be infallible or dogma. no such thing has been done for both.
  • infallible encyclicals or dogma need to be followed by all catholics. it is a sin for catholics not to follow them.
  • since humanae vitae and natural law are not infallible and not dogma, catholics can treat these only as guidelines or food for thought. they have the freedom to follow it or not.
  • the above has been the position of fr. bernas and the ateneo professors.

(note : highlights are mine)

Defense of the Stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the House Bill 4244 (Reproductive Health Bill)

Bishop of Antipolo defends the CBCP.

One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, why the Catholic Church is against the House Bill 4244 (Reproductive Health Bill or Responsible Parenthood Bill) is that the bill directs the government to promote contraception and to give free contraceptives to people. According to Father Bernas, SJ (Sounding Board, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 23, 2011), this opposition of the Church is against religious freedom. He says that, because of religious freedom, “the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their beliefs nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief.”

First of all, by opposing the RH Bill, the Catholic Church is not moving for the ban of contraceptives (the non-abortifacient ones), although she would be happy if these contraceptives were banned. At present, in the Philippines, anyone can buy contraceptives from drugstores and even from some “convenience stores”. What the Church is against, I repeat, is that government should promote contraception and provide free contraceptives to people. Therefore it is wrong to say that the Church wants the government to “prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief” and that the Catholic churchmen are compelling “President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious beliefs.” What the church does is to try to convince President Aquino and our senators and congressmen not to enact a law that directs the government to promote contraception and provide free contraceptives to people.

It is also good to point out that the church teaching regarding contraceptives is not based on Faith or revelation, although it is confirmed by our Faith. This church teaching is based on natural law, which we know through natural reason. By studying through correct reasoning the nature of the human person, we arrive at this teaching regarding contraception. All human beings, Catholic or not, are obliged to act according to right reason. By the efforts of the Church to go against the RH Bill, the Church is not imposing her religious beliefs on others. She is trying to stop a bill which is against natural law, a law which all human beings, Catholic or not, should follow. The RH Bill, judged from the principles of natural law, is against the good of the human person and the common good. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in its “Doctrinal Note regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life” tells us that all citizens, including Catholics, have the right “to base their contribution to society and political life – through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy – on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good.” In a democracy, any group of citizens has the right to campaign and lobby so that what they consider to be good for the country are enacted into law and what they deem to be harmful for the country are not enacted into law.

Read more…

Fr. Joaquin Bernas on #rhbill : serves the welfare of the nation and especially of poor women who cannot afford the cost of medical service

May 24, 2011 42 comments

My stand on the RH Bill

By: 

I HAVE been following the debates on the RH Bill not just in the recent House sessions but practically since its start. In the process, because of what I have said and written (where I have not joined the attack dogs against the RH Bill), I have been called a Judas by a high-ranking cleric, I am considered a heretic in a wealthy barangay where some members have urged that I should leave the Church (which is insane), and one of those who regularly hears my Mass in the Ateneo Chapel in Rockwell came to me disturbed by my position. I feel therefore that I owe some explanation to those who listen to me or read my writings.

First, let me start by saying that I adhere to the teaching of the Church on artificial contraception even if I am aware that the teaching on the subject is not considered infallible doctrine by those who know more theology than I do. Moreover, I am still considered a Catholic and Jesuit in good standing by my superiors, critics notwithstanding!

Second (very important for me as a student of the Constitution and of church-state relations), I am very much aware of the fact that we live in a pluralist society where various religious groups have differing beliefs about the morality of artificial contraception. But freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes. Hence, the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief. As the “Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church” says, “Because of its historical and cultural ties to a nation, a religious community might be given special recognition on the part of the State. Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” and “Those responsible for government are required to interpret the common good of their country not only according to the guidelines of the majority but also according to the effective good of all the members of the community, including the minority.”

Third, I am dismayed by preachers telling parishioners that support for the RH Bill ipso facto is a serious sin or merits excommunication! I find this to be irresponsible.

Fourth, I have never held that the RH Bill is perfect. But if we have to have an RH law, I intend to contribute to its improvement as much as I can. Because of this, I and a number of my colleagues have offered ways of improving it and specifying areas that can be the subject of intelligent discussion. (Yes, there are intelligent people in our country.) For that purpose we jointly prepared and I published in my column what we called “talking points” on the bill.

Fifth, specifically I advocate removal of the provision on mandatory sexual education in public schools without the consent of parents. (I assume that those who send their children to Catholic schools accept the program of Catholic schools on the subject.) My reason for requiring the consent of parents is, among others, the constitutional provision which recognizes the sanctity of the human family and “the natural and primary right of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character.” (Article II, Section 12)

Sixth, I am pleased that the bill reiterates the prohibition of abortion as an assault against the right to life. Abortifacient pills and devices, if there are any in the market, should be banned by the Food and Drug Administration. But whether or not there are such is a question of scientific fact of which I am no judge.

Seventh, I hold that there already is abortion any time a fertilized ovum is expelled. The Constitution commands that the life of the unborn be protected “from conception.” For me this means that sacred life begins at fertilization and not at implantation.

Eighth, it has already been pointed out that the obligation of employers with regard to the sexual and reproductive health of employees is already dealt with in the Labor Code. If the provision needs improvement or nuancing, let it be done through an examination of the Labor Code provision.

Ninth, there are many valuable points in the bill’s Declaration of Policy and Guiding Principles which can serve the welfare of the nation and especially of poor women who cannot afford the cost of medical service. There are specific provisions which give substance to these good points. They should be saved.

Tenth, I hold that public money may be spent for the promotion of reproductive health in ways that do not violate the Constitution. Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution.

Eleventh, I leave the debate on population control to sociologists.

Finally, I am happy that the CBCP has disowned the self-destructive views of some clerics.

http://opinion.inquirer.net/5340/my-stand-on-the-rh-bill

bishops withdraw and stop dialogue with malacanang on RH Bill

May 11, 2011 2 comments

we don’t even know why the bishops or malacanang started this dialogue in the first place, but the bishops apparently has decided to no longer attend the discusssions being held in malacanang on the RH Bill.

we are saying they should have not engaged in thei dialogue at all as their positions are irreconcilable and  unmovable. the bishops will not move even a centimeter from church dogma, that is the meaning of church dogma – it cdannot be briken, canot be questioned, can only be followed unless changed. the doigma states the church is against modern methods of contraception, period. the bill and the government looks at modern methods of contraception as acceptable. there is no way will the church change it’s mind on that.

Same agenda

In a press conference Tuesday, Figura announced that the bishops no longer saw any reason to continue a “serious study and dialogue” with the administration on the reproductive health bill.

Reading a statement from the bishops, Figura said HB 4244 and Mr. Aquino’s responsible parenthood agenda were “deemed to be basically the same.”

In the last meeting with Malacañang in March, the CBCP agreed to form a team that would take part in a focus group discussion to study and discuss the RH bill, which the Palace calls the responsible parenthood bill.

Cavite Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, chair of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Doctrine of Faith, Parañaque Bishop Jessie Mercado, chair of the Episcopal Commission on Laity and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes were designated to the CBCP team.

But the three bishops no longer attended the scheduled meeting Tuesday with Malacañang. Figura and Imbong went to the Palace but only to deliver the bishops’ message ending the dialogue..

read in full here: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20110511-335810/Palace-junks-own-RH-bill

understanding  what the bishops are saying here, they are saying they are withdrawing for the discussions as malacanang has not changed it’s position. that says the bishops are blaming malacanang for remaining firm, exatly the way the bishops are. whatr is unsaid here is that the bishops joined the dialogue with the sole purpose of convincing malacanang to change it’s mind, not to seek clarification and find a compromise.   malacanang on the other hand was willing to draft it’s own RH Bill as a result of the dialogue with the church.

it was a dialogue destined to fail as each one side had a pre=concieved position that cannot be changed unless the bible itself has been rewritten.

catholic bishops’ dirty words against RH Bill supporters – unchristian accusations

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

the gloves are off! the catholic bishops are bullying pro-RH Bill supporters with the most unchristian words one can invent. now, a bishop is calling RH Bill supporters as terrorists.  this is not the first time catholic bishops have used dirty words, the most unchristian words to subdue and conquer their opponents on the RH Bill. they have been doing this for a very long time.

the good news is that it seems to point to a strengthening of  the support for the RH BIll. these dirty words are being used by the bishops in panic. they probably feel theirs is a lost cause. and when desperation sets in, they think doing the ways of the unchristian might instill fear among RH Bill supporters and back down.

this reminds me of the friars during the spanish era in philippine history when the friars landed in the country and went on to subdue and conquer the indios. the friars then used everything and anything to conquer the indios, including  the unkind use of threats of burning in hell if the indios did not agree to convert to their ways.

this whole thing feels it is the second coming of the friars.

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MANILA, Philippines—Advocates of the reproductive health (RH) bill are no better than terrorists because the measure could lead to the death of innocents, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Tuesday.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP vice president, said condoms and abortion were tantamount to killing the innocent.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20110427-333172/Its-come-to-this-Bishop-calls-RH-backers-terrorists

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http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20110420-332158/Clerics-bash-President-as-anti-Christian-not-like-Cory

weakness of NFP (natural family planning) is man’s weakness, that of priests, too

April 13, 2011 2 comments

anti-RH Bill proponents say abstinence and discipline  for sexual partners is the way to go for avoiding unwanted pregnancies.  and that is very much needed when couples decide to use NFP  (natural family planning).  one needs to be aware and strictly follow a woman’s “safe periods” . making sure engaging in sex only during these times. that will take a lot of fiscipline and control for both partners, specially for the male partner.

and that is where the problem lie for the practice of NFP – discipline and self-control.  “special” humans like priests are supposed to be stronger. they are more disciplined and has more control than regular humans like us. theirs is founded on strong faith and belief and and many years of study and indoctrination as to what is right or wrong 24/7 while regular humans like us are just founded on a few hours of religion class in school and once a week sunday masses.

but as this report from the US shows, the clergy, catholic priests themselves lose it too with the discovery of new sex abuses by the clergy and their numbers soaring.  these numbers should are just the tip of the iceberg as most sex abuses by priests are normally hidden intentionally or unintentionally. many victims of sex abuse by priests are too traumatized to reveal them or intentionally push them  deep down into the subconscious that sometimes it takes years for the them to surface out to the conscious or never.

if priests who are supposed the masters of what is right or wrong, whose lives are dedicated to these pursuits 24/7 unable to control their urges and engage in sex apparently uncontrollably ,  how much more (or less) would regular humans like us exercise control and discipline that is needed in the use of NFP?

 

Clergy sex allegations soar in the US—study
By Karin Zeitvogel

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:34:00 04/12/2011

WASHINGTON—Allegations of sexual abuse involving the Roman Catholic clergy in the United States rose sharply last year to nearly 700 from around 400 in 2009, according to a church report Monday.

The vast majority of the allegations, 653, involved alleged abuse that occurred decades ago but whose “victims/survivors are just now finding the courage to report” them, the study said.

Thirty accusations were made by current minors, but only eight were deemed credible, said the US church’s annual report on implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The number of victims was up sharply from 2009, when there were some 400 new allegations of clergy sex abuse in the United States.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20110412-330662/Clergy-sex-allegations-soar-in-the-USstudy

catholic churches nationwide read CBCP statement on RH Bill in today’s homily

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

we are posting here the pastoral letter read by priests all over the country during the homily in today’s mass.

———–

Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill
(A Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines)

Our Filipino Brothers and Sisters:

The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights (Art. II, Section 11). 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 (Art. II, Section 12).

Background

We begin by citing the Philippine Constitution. We do so because we intend to write you on the basis of the fundamental ideals and aspirations of the Filipino people and not on the basis of specifically Catholic religious teachings.

We are at a crossroads as a nation. Before us are several versions of a proposed bill, the Reproductive Health bill or sanitized as a Responsible Parenthood bill. This proposed bill in all its versions calls us to make a moral choice: to choose life or to choose death.

At the outset we thank the government for affording us an opportunity to express our views in friendly dialogue. Sadly our dialogue has simply revealed how far apart our respective positions are. Therefore, instead of building false hopes, we wish at the present time to draw up clearly what we object to and what we stand for.

Moral Choices at the Crossroads — at EDSA I and Now

Twenty five years ago in 1986 we Catholic Bishops made a prophetic moral judgment on political leadership. With this prophetic declaration we believe that we somehow significantly helped open the door for EDSA I and a window of political integrity.

Today we come to a new national crossroads and we now have to make a similar moral choice. Our President rallied the country with the election cry, “Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap.” As religious leaders we believe that there is a greater form of corruption, namely, moral corruption which is really the root of all corruption. On the present issue, it would be morally corrupt to disregard the moral implications of the RH bill.

This is our unanimous collective moral judgment: We strongly reject the RH bill.

Commonly Shared Human and Cultural Values – Two Fundamental Principles

Far from being simply a Catholic issue, the RH bill is a major attack on authentic human values and on Filipino cultural values regarding human life that all of us have cherished since time immemorial.

Read more…

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