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)...

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