Sometimes being right all the time gets boring. What can be so complicated or even “mind boggling” about how Fr Ramon Villarin, President of the Ateneo de Manila University, sides with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Phiippines’s (CBCP) censure of faculty members found to be teaching “inappropriate” matters on reproductive health? The Ateneo, after all, is an institution that describes itself as a Roman Catholic institution of learning that sees its Mission as one characterised by loyalty to the teachings of said church. Don’t take my word for it, check out their Mission Statement here where it says…
As a Catholic University, the Ateneo de Manila seeks to form persons who, following the teachings and example of Christ, will devote their lives to the service of others and, through the promotion of justice, serve especially those who are most in need of help, the poor and the powerless. Loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the University seeks to serve the Faith and to interpret its teachings to modern Philippine society.[NB: Boldface added by author for emphasis.]
And what exactly are these “teachings” pertinent to the issue at hand? Well, I’ve cited the relevant excerpts from Canon law recently in my so-usually prescient articles…
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.
So let me now ask our chattering armchair “activists”: What is it exactly about Fr Villarin’s official statement on the matter of teaching “reproductive health” at the Ateneo that you consider to be out of line?
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.[NB: Boldface added by author for emphasis.]
To summarise in a manner Tarzan could understand:
Roman Catholic Church say: Artificial contraception bad.
Ateneo faculty say: Artificial contraception not bad.
Ateneo PRESIDENT and CATHOLIC PRIEST say: Ateneo faculty out of line.
In its crocodile expression of indignation on the matter, the Inquirer Editor actually had it right in paraphrasing the good Father:
You want to fill your kidsâ€™ minds with the light of learning, send them to UP and the other schools in the university belt. Donâ€™t send them to Ateneo.
Well, um, yeah. That’s exactly what all this ultimately means, dude. You’re either a Catholic or not. And last I heard, the Philippines is a secular country where everyone has a choice to be one or not. You want to be secular? Then exercise that right at its most fundamental level before you go off on some sort of non-Catholic crusade.
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