Should Ateneo de Manila faculty members who choose to continue to teach ‘reproductive health’ be fired?

Seeing all the rah-rahs — even (horrors!) mudslinging — being thrown by one camp of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill “debate” at the other, I just have to take my hat off to the anti-RH Bill advocates who are employing Roman Catholic dogma as the underlying framework of their position. Their argument is pretty well-grounded. They are Catholics and therefore uphold a view on the matter consistent with a religious organisation that they choose to be a member of.

Compare that with the pro-RH Bill camp. A lot of the noisier ones fancy themselves as “Catholics”. So I gotta ask: On what basis?

Perhaps because they go to Church every Sunday. But then so do other weekend Catholics.

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The thing with the Roman Catholic Church — you know, that ancient multinational conglomerate headed by the modern-day Holy Roman Emperor, The Pope — is that it makes its terms of membership quite clear when it comes to human sexuality and procreation…

Similarly excluded [from “lawful means of regulating the number of children”] is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

Think of that for a minute while we consider another one of those “developments” in this little circus that is gripping the chattering classes. I heard that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is now going after 159 faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University on the charge of heresy against Catholic Church Canon law. Says Bishop Leandro Medroso, CBCP chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Canon Law…

“The first principle of Canon law about this matter is that we don’t allow teaching that which 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…”

Who can argue with that? The Ateneo de Manila University, if I may remind my fellow Ateneans, is an institution administered and governed by officers of the Roman Catholic Church. Every officer of said Church from top-echelon cardinals down to ordained priests took a vow of obedience to their Church.

So what are you gonna do now?

It seems “Catholics” who opt to wear the “pro-RH Bill” badge on their sleeve like the latest trendy brand logos Filipinos so cherish have an even more fundamental lifestyle choice to make. You can’t rebel against your parents and still seek to dine at their table.

So what it’s gonna be?

The Roman Catholic Church says “It’s my way or the highway” because it can. It’s got a couple thousand years of homework to back its position. What do Catholic pro-RH Bill “supporters” do but make themselves less credible by, on one hand, going to Catholic mass on Sundays then, on the other, railing against what is essentially a law they’ve been baptised into and had, as 12-year-olds, voluntarily confirmed their assent to.

If Ateneo faculty professors truly believe in what their precious RH Bill stands for, then they should walk the talk and start walking.

Try this experiment in your spare time: Don a black leather jacket, wear leather boots, and ride around in a motorbike then tell the friends that you make while sporting that look and living that lifestyle that you still live with your mother. You’ll just as quickly lose your street creds.

And so we get to that key word: Credibility.

I’ve so far tried to avoid using the old cliché, but it just begs to be used:

You can’t have your cake and eat it.

In my book, Catholic anti-RH Bill advocates, flawed arguments and all from a “secular” perspective, at least have the benefit of consistency and simple coherence to go the whole nine yards in their advocacy. Next time you hear a pro-RH Bill advocate who fancies herself a “Catholic”, lecture you about being “consistent”, try not to roll your eyes to the heavens.

41 Replies to “Should Ateneo de Manila faculty members who choose to continue to teach ‘reproductive health’ be fired?”

  1. Mismo. You took the words out of my mouth. As far as these CAFETERIA or WEEKEND CATHOLICS go, who insists to “practice” their faith according to their own interpretation, there are 21 major religions in the world, with about 15 at least different christian ones (Catholicism included), there is room enough for all of you and your precious beliefs in other religions for your kind. Get out of our Catholic Church.

  2. Wooo. Kunyari pa kayo. Look at what is happening in Europe. Traditional Catholic lands are leaving the Church and now old Benedict is worried. Stop your “take it or leave it” hypocrisy and admit that your church is desperate on preserving its numerical lead. The mere prospect of Ireland leaving the Church pa lang eh, you’re top cardinals are already shitting on their briefs.

    And please, no one, even the Catholic hierarchy, could dictate who are Catholics and who are not. Well, why, 100 years ago, most Catholics of today would not even be considered Catholics if they believe that non-Catholics could go to heaven. Surely, that’s heresy. Don’t believe me? Just read about Pope St. Pius X.

  3. Please, we live in a pluralistic society and no religion can have the say on what the people needs to do and what the people needs to know. Besides, there are more than 4,000 known religions in the world – how can one be sure that theirs is right and the others are not? Simply put, the Catholic dogma of a thousand years is the same religion that said that the sun is the center of the universe and anyone who doesn’t believe in it is considered heretic.

    1. Thing is, nobody is putting a gun to the heads of “Catholics” to remain within the faith. So if there is a rule within the faith that disagrees with said members (and/or vice versa), why can’t said members just vote with their feet?

      1. Benign0: Right, although the Church (like any other recognized religion) would love to welcome new members; no one, however, is compelled to be a Catholic, and no Catholic is ever compelled to practice and follow its teachings. Hence, Catholics who disagree with what the Church teaches are free to leave anytime. In fact, by their disagreement, they may have virtually left the Church already.

        Anyway, once they learn that they are suffering from, say, terminal cancer, they can always opt to go back and repent aware, of course, that the Church would gladly welcome them home.

        More importantly, take careful note that the Church addresses its concerns ONLY to its members and to no other. It certainly has no intention to impose the moral and religious views of the Roman Catholic Church on NON-Catholics, not even to Catholics-by-name-only. Besides, the Church, as we wll know, is bereft of any power to impose or enforce what they teach or preach.

        The Ateneo de Manila, in its Vision-Mission Statement, is a “Jesuit University” and a “Catholic University” — “Loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

        The CBCP statement of August 17th, “Schools defying Church teachings may lose Catholic status,” was clearly in response to the published and publicized stand taken by “some 160 professors of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) [who] expressed their support for the passage of the RH bill.”

        This official CBCP statement is evidently in line with Ex Corde Ecclesiae (“From the Heart of the Church”) — the Apostolic Constitution Pope John Paul II penned in 1990 on Catholic colleges and universities.

        Note that “An apostolic constitution is the highest level of decree issued by the Pope … By their nature, apostolic constitutions are addressed to the public … on solemn matters of the church, such as the promulgation of laws or definitive teachings. The forms dogmatic constitution and pastoral constitution are titles sometimes used to be more descriptive as to the document’s purpose.”

        Wiki notes, too, that “The apostolic constitution was viewed as a rebuttal to the Land O’Lakes Statement, a 1967 position paper adopted by the participants of a seminar sponsored by University of Notre Dame on the role of Catholic universities.”

        Article 5 (The Catholic University within the Church) in Part II (General Norms) of Ex Corde Ecclesiae declares that:

        “2. Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character …”

        So, it is, after all, the RIGHT and DUTY of each Bishop, and among the relevant provisions in Article 4 (The University Community) in the same Part II (General Norms) of Ex Corde Ecclesiae are:

        1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself … The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law.

        2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity …

        3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular …

        4. Those university teachers and administrators who belong to other Churches, ecclesial communities, or religions, as well as those who profess no religious belief, and also all students, are to recognize and respect the distinctive Catholic identity of the University …

        In short, it is the diocesan bishop, and no other, who is bestowed the right and duty to determine the “identity” of a university that claims to be “Catholic,” ADMU included.

        1. no one, however, is compelled to be a Catholic, and no Catholic is ever compelled to practice and follow its teachings. – Aromg

          I don’t know about that. All I know is, everyday, infants are being indoctrinated into Catholicism without their consent. How more compelling would that be?

        2. Well now, there you go. Clarity around the matter is also in the mission statement of the Ateneo…

          The Ateneo de Manila, in its Vision-Mission Statement, is a “Jesuit University” and a “Catholic University” — “Loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

          Seems there is no option to be Catholic-when-convenient in its charter..

        3. Jona-S

          So, infants are indoctrinated without their consent; but what is the legal age of consent for INFANTS?

        4. Jonas-s

          Take careful note that, prior to the age of majority, the child is still under parental authority. Sec. 12, Art. II restates this reality, declaring that “the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character” is the “natural and primary right and duty of parents.”

          And so, how can such constitutionally-recognized NATURAL and PRIMARY right and duty of parents (and NOT the State, mind you) to teach their children good manners and right conduct–imbuing them with the religious beliefs of their forebears–constitute indoctrination, in the sense of manipulative brainwashing?

        5. Arong, No question, rearing of the youth and the molding their character falls within the ambit of parental authority. But dismally, such authority includes compelling the youth to be indoctrinated on something that should have been left on their own volition and consent.

          Surely, if we’ll follow what you just stated, there shouldn’t be any law requiring the age of majority to be able for one to exercise his/her right to suffrage for the parents will just dictate to them their choices.

          I guess, that is one of the contradictories in life. When politics and religion collides you can expect discrepancy in theory and philosophy be it legal or spiritual.

        6. Jonas s

          So, how do you plan to rear your children up, if parental authority is now to be regarded as tantamount to, in your words, “compelling the youth to be indoctrinated on something that should have been left on their own volition and consent”?

          BTW, I always refer to the act of voting during elections, not as the exercise of the “right of suffrage” but as the exercise of the “Electoral Power” — the power the sovereign retains to choose those who would wield the sovereign powers delegated to government

        7. What I said, in response to your ‘no compelling’ theory, was true. You get to choose your leaders by election but you cannot choose your religion because of childhood indoctrination.

        8. jona-s

          Frankly, I don’t quite understand what you mean, since children who have not yet reached the age of majority are not qualified to vote; and since children are unable to vote, how can they be regarded as having been afforded the opportunity to choose their — and allow me to use your own words — “leaders by election”?

          In fact, aside from age, there is also the residency requirement and the need to register in order to become a qualified elector in a local government unit, entitled to cast a vote during every scheduled electoral exercise in that particular jurisdiction.

          In other words, in the very same way that the youth who have not yet reached the voting age are disqualified from choosing their leaders, children who are still under parental care may have to follow the religion of the forebears they were born in.

          And it is only when they reach the age of majority would these children be afforded the opportunity to choose their leaders, to choose their religion and, more importantly, to change their leaders, to change their religion to the leaders and the religion of their choice.

        9. “…since children who have not yet reached the age of majority are not qualified to vote; and since children are unable to vote, how can they be regarded as having been afforded the opportunity to choose…? – Arong

          What I mean is, the law requires you to reach the age of majority to be able to vote. While on the other hand, the same does not apply when choosing your religion. You do not choose your religion. You are indoctrinated into it without your consent And the law is silent as to whether you should reach the majority to be able to choose the religion you want to belong to.

        10. Jonas-s

          Well, OK, but are you now suggesting then that your parents (well-intentioned as they presumably were) should be blamed for indoctrinating you into a religion without your consent?

          Children, of course, cannot choose their parents — parents who never asked the permission of their children if they wanted to be born at all before conceiving them and allowing them to be baptized to become a member of a religion the children despise.

        11. I’m not suggesting my parents should be blamed. Far from it. What I said was very clear: that your statement that nobody is compelled to be a Catholic nor practice its teachings is not accurate. Not true. And to prove my point, I raised the issue of childhood indoctrination.

          Of course, the parents are the visible component of such exercise but it is not their invention. They are just instruments. Instruments to compel their babies to become members of their religion.

        12. Jonas-s

          At least you now admit that your parents were the “visible components,” the “instruments to compel their babies to become members of their religion.”

          So, that’s your background. In my case, no parental compulsion was definitely involved. And that’s perhaps the reason behind why the youngest in our family of five brothers is an avid atheist and the eldest, for more than half a century now, a Roman Catholic priest.

        13. In my case, no parental compulsion was definitely involved. – Arong

          What do you mean, Did you convert?

        14. Jonas-s

          The verb, compel, means to “force somebody to do something.”

          If you feel that the natural and primary right and duty of parents in inculcating their religious belief to their own children is tantamount to compulsion; then, you are free to maintain that view. Let’s just agree to disagree.

        15. “The verb, compel, means to “force somebody to do something.” – Arong

          Or to influence which I think is the proper term to use for no force is necessary get the consent of an infant or a child.

          Anyway, I’ll go with your proposition to agree to disagree.

  4. Any time people use contraception during sex, they are going against Church teachings. That’s a truth every Catholic must come to terms with. Now if the Roman Catholic Church would like to exclude everybody who is consistently using condoms or birth control pills, I say good luck to them in staying relevant and replenishing its adherents.

    As for the Ateneo controversy. Really, what does the statement “teaching concepts against Church laws” actually mean? If some subject examine, say Buddhist or Muslim dogma, is that “teaching concepts against Church laws”

  5. Personally, I’m waiting for fishball to pounce with his “kasalanan ni Gloria lahat ito”. I’m interested in how he’ll manage to pull that off.

    1. D.N. (Doomed Nation) , yesterday or Sunday Fishball sunk to a new low (hard enough even for her) . By perverting a prayer. Reminded me a bit of Howard Stern in the ultra hilarious movie Private Parts praying for the misery of Pig Vomit. At least Howard Stern was trying to be funny. Fishball trying to sway minds.

      1. Unfortunately for fishball, his/her prayer only made it harder for him/her to win any arguments against GRP. His/her prayer only made him/her a bigger retard than usual.

    2. Knowing fishball, he/she is bound to blame EVERYTHING on the previous administration.
      Hell, Im also expecting that yellow idiot to blame robredo’s death on GMA even though she has NOTHING to do with it.

  6. It is a very contentious and debatable issue. Would you bring children into this world, that you cannot provide for their needs? Or to, just follow what has been commanded: “Go and multiply and fill the Earth…” I have no easy answer. The Earth is full of people. Food production is not increasing much. Food riots may be on the way…

  7. I dont think they should be fired. But if I were in their shoes, I would resign and leave Ateneo to its medieval beliefs.

    Perhaps, in time, the Ateneo leaders, with much discernment and reflection, be able to see the light behind this bill.

    This circumstance made we rethink what the word “Catholic” really means…

  8. Nako, “Catholicity” is really difficult business. But as far as I know, in Catholic doctrine, as long as you’re baptized (and not baptized in another religion), you’re Catholic.

  9. So CBCP says “You all!! Follow VATICAN beliefs on ReproductiveHealth!!” I suppose that is also what VATICAN said about Galileo’s crazy The cafeteria approach the earth is NOT the cfenter of the Universe. Maybe in 50 years, VATICAN words about condoms etcetera will change. Again…. like VATICAN dogma on Galileo’s stuff.

    CAFETERIA approach makes sense and CBCP also does this — choosing some but not all of what to implement is probably why CBCP does not impose with firmness and vigor the VATICAN view of homosexuality.

  10. This is a baffling proposal being put forth in the congress..the RH bill.the country cannot afford to put so much money it needs elsewhere into teaching kids to wear a condom.AND you hve the church telling EVERYONE what to do.the separation of church and state should put them in their place,in church behind the pulpit not in the mainstream media BUT it does not.
    one strange set of circumstances.
    SECULARIZE THE NATIONAL AGENDA.If you are a Filipino you go wih the rules of the law as set forth by the GOVERNMENT,not a religion.This goes for all the religions!!! not just Catholics.setting up a separate locale for religious believers to ‘rule’ themselves,WHAT???your a filipino or your not,if your not…find the door,you will not lock you in.
    Yet it happens!

  11. Just cut the tongues and hands of the CBCP. Then they will be unable to write or speak about their bullshit outdated beliefs. SCIENCE RULES ALL!

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