Universalis, About this blog

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Responsible Parenthood bill in the Philippines and its proponents are not neutral

Something struck me about how this is being sold to the public. The pitch goes like this: the bill does not favor artificial contraception over natural family planning, so it's really up to couples to judge for themselves. In other words, the government and the bill's proponents are being neutral.
Set aside for now the fact that so-called reproductive health services, products and education will be made available in one form or another to *individuals* from Grade 5 and up, not couples. Here's a thought experiment.
Let's say that there were two bills proposed, one supporting NFP, one supporting artificial contraception. Considering each method separately, whether to use it or not, an important factor is that the government endorses it, and will subsidze it. That is how members of the public will see it as they weigh the methods separately.
And here's is another indication: neither the president (even as a senator) nor the bill's proponents, seem to have ever lifted a finger to advance the use of NFP, despite the fact that *it does not require legislation to do so*. Nor does it need the purchase of products, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that are restricted by law. The bill's proponent has been pushing his RH/RP bill for three years. If he and other government officials in his camp truly had the welfare of families in mind, and if they were neutral regarding artificial vs natural methods, they should have aggressively pursued the inexpensive NFP option long ago, without needing legislation.
Why haven't they?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peter's Keys or Ours?

This reflection on the keys given to Peter, written by Fr. Jose, makes me uneasy. Especially this part:

The truth is we don’t have to be offered this power of keeping the gate. We already have that power to open or close the kingdom of God to ourselves and to each other. We already have the keys to let ourselves in or to shut one another out of the kingdom or presence of God dwelling within us. We already have that power to open our hearts to life and love, hope and faith. And the power is ours as well to keep the shadows at bay.

While the writer's point about our own "power" to open and shut is a profound and insightful one, more needs to be said than what he wrote. In fact, to say that I have any power to shut someone else out of the kingdom, or let him into it, sounds as wrong as it sounds presumptuous to say of myself. While our own free will, a gracious gift from God, allows us to open to to shut out ourselves from the kingdom, those are our own decisions to cooperate with God's grace or not. While we do preach the gospel to plant seeds, it is not my "power" at work, only my participation. To God be the glory! Extolling our "power" to open and shut makes it seem as if it was sufficient in and of itself. All this talk of our "power" is discomfiting. We cannot even say "yes" to God without His grace. Of the pope, it is not his power, but Christ's power, extended to him as authority.
Why did Fr. Jose not write about the papacy, though that would be the most natural theme for this passage? Walking around the topic of authority, even with the best intentions, the essay ends up turning everyone into the ultimate authority, it seems. As Msgr. Charles Pope wrote today, if no one is pope, everyone is pope.
I believe that the authority of the Church and the papacy are not to be hushed up, but to be proclaimed! The readings today about Eliakim, and then about Peter make for an unmistakable lesson on authority. Yes, the authority to bind and to loose may be seen as power, but as you said, [s]uch power can never really be divorced from the grace of his love.. . The papacy is a gift, an expression of God's love. Such love, we should proclaim, and be thankful for!

To the non-Adults Barking at the WYD Pilgrims .. Never Mind

Photos of Martyrdom: Anti-Catholic Protestors Taunt Pilgrims in Madrid | CatholicVote.org Blessed JPII, pray for the pilgrims, pray for their detractors. St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for Spain!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Uh.. Dad?

Well that was awkward. Read the Gospel reading yesterday to my sons (at bedtime): Matthew 23:1-12. Then I go the part where it says "You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven." .. :-| Uh, boys.. lemme explain that a bit..

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We the faithful..

I have never been comfortable referring to myself as one of the faithful, knowing that everyday, some wrongdoing of mine, i.e., sin, belies a claim of being one of the faithful, if ever I made that claim. So pardon me if I am wary of groups who refer to themselves as the faithful and then dissent from the Magisterium in the same open letter that reads like the demands made of elected officials. And indeed, they mention in that open letter that they want a "return to a more accountable and consultative process for the appointment of bishops." Remember Saul and David? One was elected by the people and the other would not have possibly been voted into office, being but a boy. Which one did God appoint and anoint? Which one was a disaster and which one was the greatest king of Israel exceeded only (of course) by Jesus Christ, his descendant? Strange too this supposed return to the earlier practice of some consultative process: I don't recall reading that the Apostles were appointed by consultation, nor was Paul, nor were the holy patriarchs, kings (except for Saul) and judges of Israel. For flesh and blood does not reveal the truth of who Jesus is (and how we are to live, therefore), but our Father in heaven. Most of my adult life, I've lived in a country where officials are all elected and many of them become corrupt. These days, I live under officials who make sure that they do not exercise their own judgment. Despite their "personal opposition" to certain things, they vote or do only as their constituents wish, which sometimes means legalizing murder and injustice, to pander to their voters. Heaven forbid that our bishops, our spiritual fathers anointed by Christ, should behave like that!