Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Shepherd Cries Out

Simple, poignant, and yet direct to the point. Kudos to The Catholic Position on RH Bill blogspot for posting this address of Cardinal Vidal:
May 25, 2011; Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Readings: Acts 15: 1-6; Jn. 15: 1-8

Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu and HLI Foreign Advisor

Your Excellency, Archbishop Jose Palma,
My Brother Bishops,
My Brother Priests,
My dear Dames of the Order of St. Sylvester,
My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has honored us once again with the conferment of the Ecclesiastical award Dame of the Order of St. Sylvester to nine illustrious Cebuanas, distinguished by their works of charity and long service to the Church.

As I congratulate you, Dames Anita Cabinian, Julia Gandionco, Rosa Maria Garcia, Conchita Go, Lourdes Jereza, Lourdes Vilma Lee, Anita Sanchez, Alita Solon and Mariquita Yeung, I also thank you for the work you have done for the Church and for the underprivileged. Through your apostolates, you have given the Church in Cebu a heart that truly cares for the poor.

There are many who profess to take the cudgels for the poor nowadays. They say they empower the poor by giving them control over their lives. Yet, instead of providing them basic medicine, they gave them contraceptive pills that can cause cancer. Instead of curbing corruption so that basic services may reach the poorest of the poor, they focus on pushing a bill that has been rejected so many times before, as if it is the only bill that really matters for all Filipinos.

It is difficult to be Catholic nowadays. To profess the Catholic faith nowadays, in its integral fullness, is to be labeled “medieval”, “outmoded”, “bigoted.” We are the ones given all kinds of names, yet we are also accused of name-calling.

We are challenged to argue our case with sobriety and intelligence, yet, no matter how you explain the matter comprehensively, only sound bites, taken out of context, many times portraying the Church in a bad light, see print or is carried on television. Sometimes one wonders whether the media are deaf, blind or simply biased.

We have said it before, and will say it again, contraception is immoral, and no one has the option to be immoral, whether you are rich or poor. They would argue that contraception is immoral only for Catholics, and many Catholics do not even think it immoral. Reducing morality to a matter of faith or personal opinion is precisely what the Church is warning against. If today they say everyone must be given freedom of choice, and the object of the choice is contraception, tomorrow they will say everyone must be given freedom of choice, but the object of the choice would be abortion, homosexual marriage, divorce or euthanasia. You may say it is far-fetched, that contraception is far less serious a sin than the ones I have mentioned. But the logic by which contraception is pushed is the same logic by which all the others are proposed: the key words are “freedom of choice” and “moral relativism.” The argument goes as follows: because we cannot agree on what is moral or not, we might as well allow everything and anything. After all, everyone must have freedom of choice.

It is true, the RH Bill prohibits abortion today, but the language of the bill already prepares the way for abortion to be legalized. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current US Secretary of State and former First Lady was quoted as saying thus: “… If we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” (end of quote) Do you really think they will stop at contraception?

Morality is the limit of freedom. Or rather, morality is the perfection of freedom. We become more free by moral choices. We become less free by immoral decisions. Some say we Bishops do not listen, that we are narrow-minded and are concerned only of preserving our power at the expense of those who wallow in poverty. I say we listen first and foremost to the Chief Shepherd, for we are not the vine, we are only the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Some say we should listen to what the people say. “Vox populi, vox dei.” I say, if such is the case, then Moses should have listened to the Israelites who wanted to return to slavery in Egypt, and Barabbas should have been hailed Messiah instead of Jesus, for the crowd preferred that rebel over our blessed Lord.

So, after all is said and done, when the dust of this battle settles, will the poor have hope for the future? Let us not use the name of the poor in vain. If you really cared for the poor, you would have crafted laws to bring down the cost of medicine and basic necessities. You would have liberalized restrictions to attract more investments, clamp down on corruption to encourage investors, focused on building homes and schools and infrastructure to shelter and educate and promote development. Instead, the nation’s energy is wasted on a bill that, in its positive aspects, is already in place, but only needs implementation.

Some argue we are just too many, our meager resources are overwhelmed by the sheer number of people to house, to educate, to hire, to feed. They conveniently forget that the Marcos years saw the most aggressive population program in our nation’s history. It did not bring us anywhere, for unless we root out corruption from our system, we will always have meager resources, whether we are only 40 or a hundred million.

I would like to apologize to our awardees if I used this occasion to engage in polemic over an issue that has no bearing on today’s festive occasion. But does it not have any bearing at all? Is not the essence of this award the catholic character of your work?

I chose to speak on this subject today because of its urgency. I chose to speak on this topic on this occasion because as Catholics awarded for loyalty and devotion, you need to understand what you believe, so that in understanding, your faith may grow ever stronger, your devotion ever more fervent, your work to help the poor and support the Church ever more zealous.

May the Lord bless you and your families. May the Lord bless our nation and enlighten our leaders. Amen.

My Black Baby for Sale

Call me heartless but...

After about three years of faithful and loving service, I've decided to let go of my baby.
I'm going to sell this car.
I need the money for my new life as a student.
Anybody interested?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A still more official announcement and some odds and ends

I'ved already moved out of my room today (officially). I guess this post makes it all the more official. From now on I'll have to get used to living without a personal and private internet connection. I'm writing this post with my reliable IPod, which seems to prove itself really
useful to me these days. I've moved to a smaller (and cooler) room on the groundfloor of the College building. It functions as a guest room and was originally intended or the Bishop's use whenever he visited the seminary, and for that reason it was and still is called the Bishop's Room. My successor is due move his things and settle there upstairs in a few days time.

I'll be off in the meantime to the Big City to work further on my travel papers. Ihave the urge to go back to Intramuros and discover it more leisurely. I do hope to be back from Manila before Pentecost.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Bishop warns: RH bill passage may trigger P-Noy oust move
By Dennis Carcamo The Philippine Star Updated May 20, 2011 01:46 PM 314 comments to this post
MANILA, Philippines - The passage of the controversial Reproductive Health bill in Congress could spark moves to oust President Benigno Aquino III, a Church official warned today.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz claimed that at least three groups would move against the present administration if the RH bill would be passed into law.
"Tatlo iyong grupo na yan...'Bagama’t iba-iba ang kanilang hangarin. Iba iba ang kanilang plano pero iisa ang nagdudugtong sa kanila. Ayaw nila sa pamahalaang ito," Cruz said in an interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas.
The groups, according to Cruz, said one of the issues that they will use against the President Aquino is the passage of the contraceptive measure.
"This is not only the issue against him, this is just one of those... So, this is just one of those reasons that disappoint and frustrate people," the prelate said, noting these groups are only waiting for the opportune time to make their move.
President Aquino and Catholic Church officials have been in loggerheads over the issue of the RH bill, with the Chief Executive in full support of its passage.
For his part, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said he does not think much of President Aquino for supporting the RH bill, adding he would not even listen to the State of the Nation Address on July by the Chief Executive.
"Hindi ako nakikinig dun. I'm not supporting him. Naniniwala akong hero ang kaniyang magulang pero siya hindi. I don’t expect much from him," Arguelles said.
President Aquino is the son of democracy icons for Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino, whose presidency was fully supported by the Catholic church.

Some people might be surprised at what I may have to say, but I just kinda slapped my forehead upon coming across this new headline from one of the two leading dailies of the country. It was out of exasperation, really, and frustration. I know I'm not the only one who's doing it. But some people just don't know how to keep their mouths tight shut. Excuse me for my rant, and I don't mean to be disrespectful or in the least divisive nor dissenting, but for once I'm disagreeing with someone from my side.

The RH bill has become the hottest item of contention that has rocked Philippine society in years. I've never seen people so zealously divided, so much so, that I may dare say that we have been pushed into waging a veritable war of words, means and propaganda. This is one war in which both sides are guilty in equal measure for being dirty, due to the mudslinging and rabid name-calling from both ends. The picture is very ugly, and I'm sure that many are already weary of this battle, as I am.

Not that I'm not supportive of life or the teachings of the Church concerning the sanctity of life and the truth of marriage, or that I'm tiring of defending the rights of the family and all that. I'm thinking that this could've been fought in another way. I think that I have reached a point that I have to say that this way--with all the threats of sedition, civil disobedience and  all this name-calling--we have stopped being constructive here. All of these threats, these statements are doing more harm than good to our cause. I think that being courageous and audacious in the face of adversity does include knowing when to keep our mouths shut. I don't mean any disrespect nor is it my aim to cause any scandal among the faithful, but it is my opinion that Archbishop Cruz--and the Catholic heirarchy and the anti-RH bill cause for that matter--would have been better off if he had kept himself from making incendiary threats such as these, and these are serious things that he was talking about. 

I'm thinking about this because this will surely boomerang back to us. It's like that scene in the movie Red Cliff wherein the southern warlords in rebellion against the imperial chancellor Cao Cao were able to augment their dwindling supply of arrows by actually letting their boats be rained upon by arrows coming from the enemy camp. If we continue making statements like this (or if we allow the media to wring from our throats statements like this from our lips, since there is a lot of anticlerical bias going on in the newsrooms as well nowadays) we would just be giving ammunition to the other side. It would reinforce and give credence to their claim that the bishops (and the Catholic faithful in general, emphasized so because some clearly aren't) are nothing but a sanctimonious bunch of self-righteous silly nitwits still living in their medieval, incense-reeking sacristies.

I believe it's time we be truly catholic (read: universal, not petty) and magnanimous in facing this issue. No more name-calling and irresponsible slips or statements please, knowing how hungry some of the media are into twisting words no sooner do they come out of our mouths. Let's be civil, shall we? Let them be accused of name-calling but may it not be said of us anymore. Basically what we are called to do, pastors most especially, is to calmly yet passionately proclaim the Truth of our Faith--which some from the other side have termed as "imposing our conscience on the majority". And I believe this doesn't include disparaging remarks or character assassination. That's not what the faithful are expecting to hear from their pastors, I believe. What I believe should be heard is the reason why we keep on fighting to uphold life, an explanation of the rudiments of our faith, an invitation to a deeper evangelical witness of life, not political commentaries about the RH bill. Let our lawmakers engage in the debate in Congress, let our faithful speak out their mind, but let the pastors teach and guide (and prudently so)...


(the last of a six-part series)

The solution to all of this is obvious. We can only contain today’s evil and disorder by teaching people that the following of God’s law, as expressed in Natural Law and as taught by the Church, is the only way to stable families, communities and nations. We cannot maintain a healthy and strong society by simply ignoring Natural Law or virtue or trying to suppress the consequences of man’s disordered actions with technological and even murderous “fixes”—that only serve or increase vice and deepen the degeneration.

Contracepting people offer many rationalizations and defense mechanisms for the unnaturalness of their self-imposed sterility, but the separation of sex from procreation never delivers the so-called “happiness” that is propagandized. Contraception is intrinsically disordered and in conflict with the very essence of what it means to be human: made in the image of God, made to love and be loved in exclusivity, made to love and be open to fruitfulness in fidelity. The truth of the matter is that the contraception mentality entrenches people in selfishness and, as such, contracepting people cannot truly love or attain true happiness. One very interesting and concrete illustration of this is that people who abstain from sex before marriage, and remain faithful and open to fruitfulness after marriage, have a divorce rate of about three to six percent, according to a range of studies; those who are sexually active before marriage and use contraception have a divorce rate of more than fifty percent.

Another sad phenomenon that reflects the natural consequences of the contraception lie is that women who have been on the Pill or similar steroids for many years, and who then finally decide that they are “ready” for a child, discover that they cannot conceive. Every year, thousands of these women are stunned to find that their fertility has been permanently damaged, and they feel compelled to resort to hugely expensive and unreliable (and often immoral) assisted reproductive technologies in pursuit of the children they rejected years before.

God is Love: love gives itself to the beloved and s naturally fruitful; therefore, the human person can only be happy—in this life and in the next—when he can love and be open to fruitfulness, according to his dignity as a human person made in God’s image. Our Lord Jesus established the Catholic Church not to place limits ad restrictions upon us, but to teach us how to live on earth in accordance with our dignity as persons created in the image of God and to thus one day live forever with Him in Heaven.

What is the remedy to this catastrophe?

(This article was actually primarily addressed to priest and future priests; this however does not mean that this cannot be addressed likewise to the lay faithful as well)
As priests, you will have the power to promote God’s plan for a culture of life and love, wherever you are, in any part of the world. This is, in fact, the greatest mission of the Church today. If you preach against contraception, people of good will listen because they naturally thirst for the truth. If they embrace this truth, they can recognize that procreation is good, they can repudiate the “contraceptive mentality” which rejects God’s plan, and they will have the opportunity to learn to love authentically. Marriage and family can begin to flourish; and as children are increasingly welcomed and loved, stable societies can be restored.

But they must hear this from you, the priests. By not preaching against contraception, you will be giving an unspoken approval of it; you will be, in a very real manner, contracepting the truth by acting as a barrier between God’s truth and His people. As Pope St. Felix III so famously proclaimed, “Not to oppose error is to approve it; not to defend the truth is to suppress it”.

By preaching the fullness of the Gospel of Life and refuting all aspects of a contraceptive mentality, not only will your people be much happier and more fully human, but you will be happier as well. you will spend less time in marriage counseling and mediating family conflicts, and much more time in performing baptisms and marriages that last a lifetime. Your parish, and the souls of your people, will be serene.

The Church’s fundamental mission today is to labor for the establishment of a “culture of life”, so encouraged by Bl. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, by “making disciples of all nations”. We cannot do this by simply eliminating something that is evil; we must bring about the restoration of civilization by understanding and embracing what is fundamentally good: in this case, authentic human love. fidelity in marriage, and openness to fruitfulness within the context of committed married love, living thus in accordance with our dignity as persons created in God’s image—the image of love.

Such evangelization is no longer just a great good. It is a necessity if we are to survive.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


i was just itching to shout out one thing





(Part V of a series)

Because of the importance of the contraception issue, before God and man, it often serves as the “keystone issue” for many people when they come to the point of deciding whether or not they will follow other teachings of the Catholic Church. The question of contraception usually very much determines a person’s opinions and attitudes on all of the other life and family issues. When Catholics contracept, they are usually well aware that they are in defiance of Church teachings; and while the first step is always the hardest, they can soon reject Church teachings in other areas of morality as well (That’s why you cannot be Catholic AND support contraception). And once a person, Catholic or non-Catholic, has adopted the aberrant contraceptive mentality, other disordered views and behaviors follow in its wake. 

It is easy to point out some examples of the terrible cascade effect that invariable result after the two essential elements (unitive and procreative) of the marital act are separated. After all, if the procreative aspect can be discarded, why not the unitive? Thus, it is easy to see that high rates of divorce also rapidly follow the widespread acceptance of contraception. Another deadly step in the downward spiral after widespread contraception and abortion is the infanticide of handicapped infants. And euthanasia, also erroneously called “mercy killing”, is not far behind.

And lastly, for our purposes here, we can see also that if the unitive aspect of the marital act can be separated from the procreative, then it matters not who is united with whom. Thus we are seeing an epidemic sexual license and promiscuity among all age groups, and this is now degenerating even more severely such that there is an increasing push, even through the UN on a global scale, for the so-called legitimacy of homosexual “rights” and relationships and even “marriage”—where two men or two women may get legally “married” to each other. Not surprisingly, the acceptance of homosexual “marriage” by several nations has now led to polygamists demanding the same rights. After all, if two men can get married, why not a man and several women—or a women and several men?

the sign says it all

All of these current and serious aberrations have their roots in the contraceptive mentality—which contradicts the Natural Law and which adopts the unnatural and disordered separation between the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act, in the context of a potentially fruitful marriage between one man and one woman. Understandably, it is very difficult for people who are against abortion but for contraception to debate these obvious and vast consequences that result from the acceptance of the single evil of contraception.

Up next, the final apart of the series…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


(Part III of a series)
NOTA BENE: The comments in red and bold are mine.

Attempts to solve difficult ethical problems alone, without the light of God’s truth, will always reap harmful fruits. Contraception is perhaps one of the most vivid examples of this important reality because it actually leads to MORE, not less, abortion. While this seems to be a contradiction since contraception is designed to prevent conception (and theoretically make abortion “unnecessary”), since the use of contraception requires a disordered outlook on human life and sexuality, this contraceptive mentality of selfishness, disregard for the preciousness of human life and the dignity of marriage, always leads to an increasing “need” for abortion. Let us review the two main reasons why contraception actually increases the prevalence of abortion.

The first reason is that contracepting couples have espoused an attitude and behavior that adopts a purely unnatural or technological “solution” to the “problem” of preventing pregnancy. When the contraceptive method fails, the couple easily feels automatically entitled to another unnatural and technological solution—abortion. The whole dynamic of life-giving love, in the context of the covenant of marriage, becomes degraded, mechanized, de-personalized, and trivialized. When there is an “unplanned” pregnancy, the couple feels failed by their artificial “system”, views the baby not as a gift from God, but as an unwelcome intruder, and so they seek another mechanical, degrading “solution” for this “system failure”—who is a human being.

Auswitz: where people were thought of as problems needing a "Final Solution", one which was supplied by Hitler and the Nazis....

This is the “contraceptive mentality” in its frighteningly stark and destructive reality. Here we can see clearly that contraception promotes the evil attitude that children are merely “objects” or commodities for someone’s “wanting” or “not wanting”, subject to the tyranny of their parent’s whims, “choices”, “lifestyles” or convenience, and that the unborn “intruder” may even be eliminated (that is, killed), if so desired. It is easy to see how such deep-seated selfishness and utilitarianism that are always present with contraception-minded people—frequently unto murderous abortion—are a grave threat to all authentic human love, marriage and society. The contraceptive mentality poses a significant threat to the future peace, harmony and sustainability on all levels of any society where it takes root.

The second reason that contraception leads to more abortion is that it simply does not work. It is documented in the United States, for example, that well over half of all women seeking abortion were using contraception when they became pregnant. There are two million contraceptive failures (a large number of which become “aborted realities”) each year in the USA, primarily among teenagers.

Every one of the more than one hundred nations that have abortion-on-demand began by legalizing contraception (I do hope and pray that the Philippines learns this lesson well before it is too late). Since contraception fails so often, it automatically leads to a demand for abortion, even if it is illegal. Enormously funded and agenda-driven population-control groups, with the assistance of native pro-abortionists, then step in. They manufacture powerful propaganda about the pitiful (and false) stories of hundreds and even so-called thousands of women who are all allegedly dying because of back-alley or illegal abortions (this is very familiar here in the PH, most especially in the RH Bill battle, with the pro-RHers decrying the daily 11 maternal deaths that take place so long as the RH bill is not passed). And these death peddlers then demand that abortion be legalized. Of course, the same people who were doing abortions before it was legal then do them when it is legal.

Malcolm Potts, former medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, accurately predicted four decades ago that “as people turn to contraception, there will be a RISE, NOT a FALL, in the abortion rate”.

Up next: (Part IV) The Contraceptive Mentality Also Leads to Other Evils…

CAtholic Church Teaching on Contraception

(Part II of a series)

In the face of the omnipresence of the contraceptive mentality, it is important to understand what contraception is and how it is so harmful and ultimately destructive. 

The marital act has two important purposes: unitive and procreative (Humanae Vitae 12), which we may also call "bonding and babies". If either the unitive or procreative aspect of the marital act is discarded, the other is seriously damaged; the very purpose of both the marital act and the marriage itself will remain unfulfilled. This is a serious disorder that is thereby inflicted in the heart of marriage, in the most intimate aspects of human love, and in society, therefore, as a whole.

Prevention of children has reached a high level of technological expertise in our day. Sexual sterilization of the man or the woman (which, as a form of mutilation deprives a person of the generative faculty, is immoral) is fairly easily achieved through surgery. Additionally, there are two general classes of artificial and immoral means of birth prevention (also erroneously known as "birth control"---which promotes neither birth nor control): those that are contraceptive in nature and those that are abortifacient (meaning "abortion producing").

Contraceptive devices place a barrier between the sperm and the egg. These include the condom, the cervical cap, and the contraceptive sponge. Abortifacients cause abortions by means of chemicals that work in several ways, including preventing the blastocyst (often improperly called the "fertilized egg", but which is actually already a tiny human being) from implanting in the uterus. Abortifacients include the birth control pill, the Norplant and Jadelle insertables, the Depo-Provera shot, and the Intrauterine device, or IUD.

Because any form of contraception involves the willful crippling of one one of the body's natural functions---that is, procreation---the Catholic Church teaches that this is intrinsically disordered. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthiands 6:19), and any mutilation of its functions is gravely sinful, the same as putting out an eye or cutting of a thumb.

From the time of its founding, the Catholic Church has universally condemned contraception. Athenagoras, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, Barnabas, St. Basil the Great, Caesarius, Clement of Alexandria, Ephraem the Syrian, Epiphanius, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, Hippolitus, Lactantius, Minucius Felix, Origen of Alexandria, Tertullian, and the assembled bishops at the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD were some of the early Church Fathers who wrote and spoke against contraception.

The various Protestant denominations formed, their founders and leaders also condemned contraception in the most forceful terms imaginable. For example, John Calvin called contraception "monstrous", and John Wesley said it was "very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections".

Until 1930, all Christian churches were unanimous in their fearless opposition to all of the artificial means of birth prevention, but during this year, Resolution 15 of the Anglican Bishop's Lambeth Conference accepted contraception for the first time "where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood." Interestingly, the use of contraception was considered so disordered at this time that even the secular press and psychiatrists (including Sigmund Freud)spoke out against it. Mahatma Gandhi made exactly the same eerily accurate prophecies that Pope Paul VI would make three decades later in Humanae Vitae when he said that
Artificial methods are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless...nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result...As it is, man has sufficiently degraded woman for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.
In other words, God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, but nature never forgives.

As the great beacon of truth for the world, the Catholic Church stands firmly against contraception. She knows that She cannot change the immutable law of God, but can only recognize it and teach it. The Church is also the guardian of our understanding of the Natural Law, which is written in our hearts and in creation. Since the Natural Law was given to us by God, the Church does not have the authority to change its fundamental moral principles. (The Church, of course, does clarify certain matters in the light of new knowledge, but the fundamental precepts of the Natural Law in Church teaching remains unchanged.)

Some prominent groups that dissent from Church teachings claim that "most people use contraception" and the Church must adapt to the modern world (something that we hear a lot of so-called Catholics are saying. Is there really a place of "intelligent dissent" in the community of faith which is the Church in terms of fundemantal truths? I don't think so). This argument is absolutely irrelevant. The sinfulness of an act is not determined by popular vote; it is determined by the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church.

Many who use contraception claim that they are "following their own consciences". However, it is only permissible to follow one's conscience when that conscience is properly formed and the conclusions reached are in accord with the teachings of the Church (a bombshell). As Pope Pius XII said, "the conscience is not a teacher, it is a pupil". We are never permitted to choose to commit an evil act as a"cting according to our conscience".

"The conscience is not a teacher, but a pupil" --Pius XII.

Up next: Why contraception actually leads to MORE, not LESS, abortion...

Monday, May 16, 2011


With all this issue of the RH Bill getting hotter by the day, I'm thinking about doing a great service by clarifying there what the Church's teachings are about contraception, but most importantly, about why the Church is decidedly pro-life. I'm not planning of giving out my opinions and reflections on the matter, but rather on going to authoritative and clarificatory documents and studies concerning the matter. To open this bold and brave new series (since we can't but be these days), I'll be posting an article from a newsletter of the Human Life International. This following piece is quite long (for which I'm cutting it into parts) but it's really very enlightening. It's about something that concerns us all, since it refers to the milieu in which we are currently living in, a culture whose mentality has often been described as being "contraceptive" to a good measure.

Brian Clowes, Ph.D., Human Life International
A mentality or mindset is a set of beliefs or assumptions which directs and informs the moral aspects of a person's life. Especially in our age of mass communications, mentalities of entire populations can be manufactured, propagandized and then adopted and lived out by large numbers of people--even without their being aware of it.

An example of a beneficial mentality is one where people live with an ever-present attitude that they are willing to sacrifice comfort, possessions, or even life itself in order to achieve a higher goal such as the good of another or the good of society. A "service-mentality", likewise, can define a person who consistently places the spiritual and temporal needs of others, especially those less fortunate, before his own desires. Both of these praiseworthy mentalities will prevail throughout a truly Christian civilization.

On the other hand, a negative or harmful mentality is the habitual attitude that is based on error or selfishness, and which can then disregard truths or realities that conflict with one's customary and unreflective behavior. Harmful mentalities lead to dangerous and disordered behavior; in such instances, long-term consequences are usually ignored--even when pointed out--as the person is mainly concerned with short-term needs and situations. 

Harmful mentalities have been manufactured today on an unprecedentedly large scale and they continue to be increasingly disseminated with deliberate intent, at every level of society, and with catastrophic consequences.  This is particularly true with the lies of the massively-funded "culture of death" (so named by Bl. John Paul II)--whose malicious propaganda now permeates just about every country on earth. Due to the numerous methods of mass communication, large numbers of people have become so saturated with falsehoods and half-truths that very harmful attitudes and mentalities have resulted. One important example of a dangerous and erroneous mindset that is seriously undermining and deconstructing contemporary civilization is the "contraceptive mentality"

The Contraceptive mentality relentlessly spreads
One of the identifying marks of any moral evil is that it can spread effortlessly, like a bucket of filthy motor oil poured into a pristine pond. Because of our wounded nature, we must continually guard and fight against the world's seductions that appeal to our own sinful tendencies, or else we easily fall into these without even realizing our slow descent into error and corruption. This vigilance also entails making sure we are aware of the errors and evils all around us.

The "contraceptive mentality"has been increasingly drilled into the hearts and minds of people everywhere. In fact, the entire world is swimming in a sea of  contraceptive advertising and propaganda: in magazines and newspapers, on television, at the movies, on the radio, on billboards, and in our schools. Sex education classes in public schools usually cover all the contraceptive methods in detail. The message that we are being insidiously and relentlessly indoctrinated to accept is the following enormous lie: "Contraception is an integral and important part of the modern lifestyle. Everyone is doing it and it is your obligation to do it if you are a responsible person".

Contraception, and the mentality that accepts it, is absolutely essential for sustaining the "culture of death" that is undermining Christian civilization particularly through the corruption of sexual morals and the destruction of the traditional family unit. As contraception has become more universally accepted, a corresponding and terrible downward spiral has occured.

In countries where contraception is common, generations have grown up aware of the fact that their parents use contraception; and unfortunately, contracepting parents tend to beget unchaste teenagers, as Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, liked to say. And especially since the unleashing of "the Pill" on the world in 1960, the disintegration of moral values on every level has been astonishing.

The contraceptive mentality has inflicted its poison deep into family life and into the Church through vocal dissenters and those who are ignorant. If young people know that that their parents have separated the sexual act from procreation (which is what contraception does) why should they not do the same? If the faithful rarely (if ever) hear from their priests that the use of contraception is seriously sinful and physically dangerous, how will the people ever hear the light of truth?

Amidst such and atmosphere of nearly universal error, and propaganda at every turn, our children grow into adulthood increasingly molded with the false mindset that using contraception is "being responsible". The tendency has developed where married (or many times unmarried) couples thus become accustomed to using contraception, and even eventually see it as an integral part of their "lifestyle"---which will always be irresponsible and selfish as long as they are contracepting. Unfortunately, most "modern" couples in the Western world would no sooner give up contraception for natural fertility regulation than they would give up their cars in favor of bicycles, even though the latter course in both cases is healthier for both the society and the individual.
coming soon: Catholic Church Teaching on Contraception...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Metropolitan Madness

Amid good cheer, friends and bottles of beer (I’m not drunk but decidedly sober enough to write this post), I’m quite inspired to write down some notes about the experience of a few days here in Metro Manila, the bustling metropolis which has the honour of being the place where I was born (hahahaha). I’ve been here in the City since Monday in order to work on the travel papers for my upcoming return Spain. So far I’ve been able to work on the NBI clearance and I’m dead set at completing the requirements for the medical certificate. I’ll be going back home on Saturday, where I hope to recount more things about my stay here in Manila.

It’s a mad, mad city…well, especially during rush hour. Which brings me to one unforgettable experience which I just had this evening as I was making my way home with a friend, also a priest. Everybody knows that the universal surge to get home as soon as possible after a hard (and humid) day’s work creates that phenomenon called the rush hour, and really makes people behave in very strange ways. Being one of the fastest ways possible to a blissful rest before the television in the comfort of one’s home with the company of family and friends, the MRT is jampacked with commuters at this point of time, so packed that the Darwinian theory of survival to the fittest finds a full expression here. So as the train laden with its human load came to a full stop, I did what any commuter would usually do: squeeze for precious travel space in a place where there wasn’t much. There was a group (which I think was a family) who really had a hard time squeezing in, partly because I did get in first, partly also because they were really big. Fr. Pol was lucky to squeeze in next. Having settled into place, the couple began to berate and badmouth me with all kinds of invectives. As I felt the angry scowl of the woman dig itself like daggers deep into my back, I was just whispering forgiveness with Fr. Pol. Another passenger quipped understandingly, “Idaan mo nalang yan sa tawa”, which I think was quite reasonable, and which I did. This seemed to egg the lady on, who was most angry at me. And when we finally had to get out, the lady made sure that I were to experience all the hell that I was supposed to have given her moments ago. It was really pathetic, I couldn’t help but laugh as I felt myself being jostled as I forced my way out by an infuriated obese and enraged matron (who might as well be suffering from some physical ailment, the cause of her crankiness). “Kalooyan ka..” I whispered as I went past her scowling countenance.

I was still laughing when I finally got out…heat and pressure (and other things besides) do very strange things to people, and we oftentimes have to bear with them with a lot of good humor.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A precious Homily on Marriage: the homily of the Bishop of London on the occasion of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.  

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.