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.
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 procreationâ€”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…
â€œThe first principle of Canon law about this matter is that we donâ€™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…â€
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 clichÃ©, 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.
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