I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God.
My good ol’ “friend” Caloy is at it again. But this time, he hit it BIG time.
For argument’s sake, let’s say that I’m a semi-celebrity like Carlos Celdrán. And since I’m a semi-celeb wielding what petty knowledge I have about advocacy and what heroism really is all about, what I will do is pull up a stunt in order for me to be talked about, just like many desperate petty celebs do to make it big, to get noticed, to skyrocket to celebrity status, to be the cream of the public eye.
If I were sincere with what I am fighting for? I will fight for it tooth and nail, but fair and square, with a sincerity that will be (and should be) respected not just by onlookers but even by my most bitter and scornful of enemies.
Sadly, it seems that respect for one’s self —especially for others— was far from the holier-than-thou mind of Celdrán when he pulled a rather wacky publicity stunt yesterday at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. Dressed like Rizal, Celdrán interrupted an ecumenical service being administered by both Catholic and Protestant leaders. Moving up to the altar, he drew up a placard which bore the name “Damaso” in reference to the unlikeable friar in Rizal’s first novel, obviously mocking the Catholic hierarchy present at that time.
With that large frame of his, it would have been better for Celdrán if he had dressed up as Padre Dámaso himself instead of Rizal. Más bagay.
It was a stunt that would have made Celdrán’s idol, himself a Catholic convert, turn over in his grave in the Luneta.
In what he thought was a heroic act, Celdrán belted out against the Catholic presbytery in frustration: “Stop getting involved in politics!” He was promptly arrested by the police who were present.
To Celdrán’s “heroic” mind, his arrest must have been his shining moment. Overnight, he became a hero to many a sex-starved individual belonging to an asinine generation who, having just read a couple of lines or pages from, say, Sartre or Marx or Hume, picture themselves as all-knowing intellectuals. These WASP-educated youngsters —misled by a secular adventurism foolishly supported by an equally WASP-controlled State— still cling to, and celebrate, the riveting pleasures guaranteed by the Sexual Revolution brought upon by an erroneous Occidental shift in our country’s extrapolitical affairs (way back in 1898), a shift that was to become a sad turning point for our country’s mangled history.
The bone of contention: contraception
If we may use a bit of Joaquinesquerie here, Celdrán had “gone for lost” because of his zeal for the passing into law of the highly polemical House Bill 5043, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health Bill, that is still hanging on for dear life (no pun intended).
In response to an unbridled poverty, hunger, and depleting natural resources, RH Bill advocates claim that curbing the population is the answer. The proposed law claims to uphold and promote a “responsible parenthood, informed choice, birth spacing and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards”. Furthermore, aside from claims (if not pretense) of a concern for “sustainable human development”, the bill mandates the State to guarantee the Filipino people a “universal access to medically-safe (sic), legal, affordable and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors”.
For just a brief moment, let us ignore the humorous saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In fairness to the RH Bill, its ultimate end —or what is not “skin-deep” to most of us— is to at least alleviate (if not get rid of) poverty, to promote sustainable development, and generally a better life for all, especially the children. For RH Bill and pro-choice champions, it’s simple mathematics: in order to eliminate all human plight, it is necessary to curb the population to maintain some sort of balance, to sustain a natural equilibrium, of a planet (or, in our case, a country) whose natural resources are hardly replenished. A “manageable” population will bring about prosperity, education (and perhaps land) for all, healthy individuals in a world free from food shortage, etc. These advocates who subscribe to the Malthusian theory of population have been led to believe that “the power of population” is far more superior to “the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man”.
But the bottomline is this: RH Bill is all for population control.
Population + Economy = ?
Now, the million-dollar question: will population control do us any good more than the harm raised by those who fear it? Let us then observe two superpowers, China and the US, where the issue of reproductive health is not even an issue.
When we speak of population control, we should look no further but to our “heavily populated” neighbor, China, whose notorious one-child policy has raised more concerned eyebrows than inspired admiration. Although China is now considered as a superpower, its questionable population-control practices hardly had anything to do with its rise to economic stardom, if at all.
In today’s globalized community, to say that a country has risen from the ashes of poverty is to embrace free trade, a liberal democracy that goes by the name of capitalism. That is the norm, the standard. In recent years, China’s gradual shift from a government harboring a state-controlled means of production to one that now endears itself to a McDonald’s-and-Starbucks culture made capitalist-minded scholars to declare that China, at long last, is at par with the US (officially, we now have two modern empires in our midst that will soon be textbook material for future generations).
With regards to China’s case, we should not even talk about the US anymore, arguably the source of all this modern-day reproductive health hullaballoo, and whose many states have even legalized abortion. Just take a look at what happened to their economy during the last three years. Up to now, it is still trying to wheel itself out of economic danger. Obviously, a controlled population was not able to save them from the brunt of a self-defeating economic system which itself had imposed in many a military-weak country (the Philippines included) all the world over.
Warring against the Church
Since time immemorial, the Catholic Church has been up in arms whenever the issue of birth control is raised. But this is not just about pills and condoms and IUDs and anal sex. The issue is more about life. And the sanctity of it.
On 25 July 1968, Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) was promulgated, reaffirming the Catholic Church’s stand against artificial methods of family planning as well as abortion. Since this encyclical was against all types of artificial family planning, it became controversial especially to Catholics who were already compromising in their morals and who were already practicing a contraceptive lifestyle (the Sexual Revolution vis-à-vis Rock “music”, drugs, and Pop Culture as a whole). And not only the Catholic flock but the Catholic hierarchy were divided: almost 50% of American and European bishops were against the ideals of Humanae Vitae.
Years later, on 25 March 1995, Pope John Paul II issued perhaps the longest encyclical letter ever written in history: the Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). It, too, was met by the same hatred and scorn.
Ridiculously, those who point out that the Catholic Church is blind to the poverty surrounding her, as caused by a ballooning population, are shooting themselves on the foot. For if they accuse Church leaders of being inconsiderate towards the RH Bill (which actually has visible loopholes and vagaries to an impartial, considerate, and discerning eye), have they, even for a few seconds, flipped open some pages of the abovementioned encyclicals?
Going back to today’s asinine youth, who seem to claim to have a monopoly of good results (if not the truth), whose laughable ad hominems against the Church make them just that: laughable — in chorus they now sing Celdrán’s infamous words to the priests and the bishops: “Stop getting involved in politics!”
But are they?
If they have been thinking more instead of letting their emotions carry them to comedic heights, have they ever stopped to think that ? The Church is entrusted to protect the sanctity of life; the government has breached it. By proposing the RH Bill, the government has tread upon holy grounds, a terra incognita not understood by secularized minds in the government. In effect, the government has declared war against the Church. It was they, not the Church, who made the first volley of shots. CBCP or no CBCP, the Church was merely on the defensive end.
The life covenant
But what really, then, is this life, or “pre-life”, that the Church has sworn to protect?
Anti-Catholics say that there are two main reasons why the Church opposes contraception: because the priests are not married, thus they do not have to live with the economic consequences of a family man, and; the Church want all the Catholics they can have in the world.
Seriously, this is but childish riff-raff.
There is a deeper cause, something sanctifying, amorously metaphysical, logically loveable, even Biblical, philosophically addicting to the extreme.
The reason? Covenant.
This is something I learned during the course of my early married life. It is no secret to close friends and loved ones that my marriage to my wife Yeyette did not start out well. We were young, very young. The marriage was unplanned because the pregnancy was unplanned. Indeed, we committed the usual mistakes of a promiscuous youth (as promiscuous as today’s RH Bill adherents).
When I eloped with my wife, I was a rabid and proud atheist. As the years progressed, my marriage to my wife changed it all. Little by little, during my reconversion to the Catholic Church (aided by books written by yesterday and today’s top theological minds such as Scott Hahn and Patrick Madrid), I realized that our marriage —or marriage as a whole— is actually not a mere social contract (involving the exchange of goods and services) but a covenant, an exchange of persons.
This “marriage covenant” is consummated through a sacred act, a marriage union which nowadays is being belittled, commercialized, trivialized, and treated as mere pleasure stuff. It is called SEX.
Ironically, the anti-Catholic novel, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, knows more about the sacredness of sex than do these anti-Catholic kids drooling behind Celdrán’s nondescriptive swagger.
Now, whenever this sacred act called sex is enacted and renewed, God uses it to give new life. This marital act shows us the mystical life-giving love of this marriage covenant in a very different way. In various covenants found throughout Holy Scripture wherein God’s love is transmitted and shown, it is only through the covenant of marriage where that love becomes more powerful, more feasible, more real. So visible is this power of love from God that it communicates life: a baby inside the mother’s womb!
“Go forth and multiply,” was God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve. This commandment was actually to image God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the Santíssima Trinidad, the “Divine Family”). In the sacred act of sex, the couple becomes one in the covenant of marriage. This “oneness” to which they transform into becomes so manifest, so real that, nine months later, they will have to give it a name.
Therefore, this sacred act, this natural union created by God for man and woman, is thwarted every time contraceptives are used. And that is where the Catholic Church’s ire and indignation comes from. Long before Brown and those people behind him conceptualized “sacred sex”, the Church has already been its most fiercest defender because it already deciphered sex’s “mystical properties” a long, long time ago.
Therefore, contraceptives are, no matter how one puts it, anti-life.
The child miracle
Whenever news of a saintly apparition or perhaps a divine healing is reported on TV, one thing comes to mind: miracles. But miracles happen every day whenever a child is born. Why is this fact so trivialized and given taken for granted?
This I realized when me and Yeyette almost had our first son Momay aborted in late 2003. Thankfully, it never happened. But since then, the way we looked at babies has never been the same.
Having children is the ultimate goal in enacting the marriage covenant. Through marital sex (which is sacred), we fashion a new life, thus we “image” God in the process. The use of contraceptives and other abortifacients inhibits this both sacred and natural act.
And since we arrived at the word natural, why, pray, tell, do we have to put a stop to something natural, i.e., pregnancy?
Before we go off on a tangent, let us go back to the miracle of a newly created life. RH Bill implies that it protects life as well. But it is virtually impossible not to view this implication in a twisted way since it is self-contradicting. All elements within the context of the RH Bill advocate the use of contraceptives. The existence of “it’s all up to the married couple” clauses have already been presupposed simply by the existence and dominance of all these anti-life chemicals, methods, and devices in the said bill.
Whereas Holy Scripture speaks highly of life, RH Bill treats it matter-of-factly.
Nowhere in Scripture will one find an admonition for too much children. On the contrary, virtually every verse in the Holy Bible which has a mention of children spoke of them as only and always a blessing! There is no verse at all which cautioned married couples about the expenses of children outweighing their worth. In the Bible, no blessing was pronounced over those who had perfect spacing between their children, or those who had planned each conception, etc. Even fertility was something to be prized and proud of. It was never considered a curse, a stigma, something that is aberrantly thought of today. It was God who opened and closed the womb. Only He, through marital sex, has the full rights over it, for it is where life is created. And with each new life, a blessing…
To all Christians/Catholics (and those of other denominations, cults, and theists): have you ever asked yourselves if the RH Bill reflect how God saw children?
The logic of this all
In view of the foregoing, one can safely say that all unnatural methods of birth control during sex abort the creation of life. Thus, it is a violation of the natural law. Although one can say that condoms are far more different from clinical abortions —since the former prevents the formation of life, while the latter terminates an already existing life inside the womb—, it is all the same: they both prevent life.
Even if pro-choice proponents point out that human life commences somewhat later than at the moment of conception, one must at the same time recognize that the human fetus is ordered by nature to become an intelligent, free being, an individual fashioned in the image of God. If we deprive even the creation of a human person through marital sex, then we are depriving him or her the right to exist.
I think of my four kids: Krystal, Momay, Jefe, and Juanito. These lovely children of mine would not have existed if I had used artificial methods of family planning. And I will not dare, nor do I have the stomach, to look back to such a possibility of them having not existed at all, a “what if” in my personal history.
What is to be done?
The enemy to poverty is not the Church. Also, the topic of “overpopulation” should be looked into with a more prying mind because, truth to tell, it is virtually a myth. Do not allow congested and overpopulated cities to deceive you. All the problems we have right now which we thought is the result of an overpopulated world is but an imbalance in life brought about by the greed and lust for power by a select few.
And this is true. Otherwise, there would not be militants outside the city streets protesting against the wily powers-that-be, stinking drunk with power and oil and land contracts. All this “politicking” is a subtle war against the Church which has become a poster boy for scapegoating and romanticized attacks by an equally drunk-with-knowledge youth.
Sex is not the culprit here. Uninhibited sex is. And that is exactly what RH Bill is after. Wittingly or unwittingly, it tends to belittle sex as something that is almost routine, like brushing one’s teeth.
If you do not want to have children because you cannot afford to have another mouth to feed, there is a solution for it without having to go through those artificial methods: do not engage in sexual activities. If you claim that it cannot be as simple as that because of the overpowering considerations surrounding your lifestyle, then you have already determined the problem.
We fought for too much freedom, a freedom that we claim can never exist under the Church. So now we got what we want. And this freedom spawned a freak called Pop Culture. And through mass media, Pop Culture has been toying around with man’s baser instincts. Too much freedom has debased human sexuality to a mere plaything. A few years back, you would see semi-naked and naked women only in illicit beer houses and night joints. Now you see semi-naked women gyrating on noontime TV programs in both ABS-CBN and GMA. I won’t be surprised anymore if, say, ten years from now or so, TV dancers will be without clothing anymore. And Celdrán with them, doing the most obscene (perhaps with a placard this time of DOÑA CONSOLACIÓN).
What RH Bill does not tell us
Digging “skin-deep” into the issue now, one should realize sooner or later that the youth are actually being exploited, the same way me and Yeyette were exploited years ago. We all grow up, bound to be curious about sex, about our bodies.
Nothing wrong with that.
But with this youthful curiousness, this innocence, comes a vulnerability with which these conspirators against life are after. And they use the mass media to glamorize sex, to captivate these young people into doing the things that only a couple bound by God’s covenant are ought to be doing.
And to be safe, these conspirators against life subtly create a “sex industry”, for like military matters, sex is BIG BUSINESS. Imagine the millions and perhaps billions of money it would generate for these conspirators.
Also, RH Bill does not, and will never, inform you that many contraceptives are actually abortifacients. They cause early abortion.
Finally, RH Bill, even if enacted into law, will sooner or later show its hollow face. For in reality, contraception is already a failure. Why? Because many Filipinos, like other nationalities, have been using contraceptives long before RH Bill was even framed. The rate of unplanned pregnancy, especially among teenagers, has been rising steadily over the last 30 to 40 years. Many such cases end either in abortion or single parenthood.
Finally, RH Bill, again wittingly or unwittingly, will only promote promiscuity, something that is against the natural order of things. Besides, all promises of contraception, since it was invented during the latter half of the last century, never came through. Instead, we have more promiscuity, therefore more unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, more broken families and single parents, an alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases, sexual crimes against women and children, pornography (that is being, bit by bit, accepted into the mainstream!), abortion trauma, etc.
So this is the kind of society you want? =(
As for Celdrán’s supporters, look at your “hero” now. He still dons his Pepe Rizal suit, smiling whenever there is a photo op for him. What has he done for you? He only created more fame for himself. And he has paved the way for a much sicker society, a society of sex-starved individuals who will one day rape their own children, notwithstanding pet dogs and goldfishes.
If only Rizal were alive —he who died a Catholic, he who died having repented from his immature ways— he would have slapped Celdrán for having maligned his memory.
Yet you call Celdrán your “new José Rizal” just because you claim that he had the balls to defend the freedom of the human genitals from what is supposed to be sacred?
Before I end this rage, let us, again, for argument’s sake, imagine that the Muslims are also against the RH Bill, and that they are the most vocal, more vocal than the Catholic Church…
Will Carlos Celdrán have the same “balls” to invade a Muslim mosque?
I will bet my life that he wouldn’t dare do so. Whatever “balls” he may have will instantly turn into wrinkled grapefruits if he dares to step inside a mosque.
Cowards like him will only attack a weary institution, such as the Church, which has been in constant attack and bullying ever since Jesus Christ was executed.
In closing, Carlos Celdrán’s stunt proved nothing for pro-RH bill advocates. Why? Because his crazy heckling last Thursday inside the Manila Cathedral failed to sway the beliefs of those who are against the RH bill. He only angered them even more. Thus, his childish prank only made the already divided parties more antagonistic against each other. What kind of heroism is that? He not only maligned the Church; he also placed our national hero in a very bad light.
Rizal would have killed himself if he were to see this travesty inside this cell who is desperate to be tagged as a hero. We need more comedy, Caloy. Please.