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Archive for the ‘Homilies/Speeches’ Category

(Homily delivered by His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales during the Mass at the Prayer Rally “Filipinos! Unite Under God” at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, on March 25,2011, Feast of the Annunciation and Day of the Unborn Child, at 7 p.m.)

Nagsalita ang Panginoong Diyos kay Moises at sa mga sumasampalataya sa kanya nang ganito: “Tatawagin ko ang langit at lupa na sumaksi laban sa inyo. ‘Ihahain ko sa inyo ay buhay o kamatayan, ang pagpapala o ang sumpa. Piliin na ninyo ang buhay, nang sa gayo’y kayo at ang inyong salin-lahi ay mabuhay sa pagibig ng Panginoong inyong Diyos, tumatalima at nananatili sa Kanya.” (Deuteronomio 30:19).

Simulan natin ang pagninilay sa prinsipyo na ang buhay ay ang pinakamahalagang biyaya na kaloob ng Panginoong Diyos sa sinumang tao. Ito ang matinding paniniwala at turo ng Simbahang Katoliko na ang buhay ng tao, kahima’t mahina or nagdurusa ay palaging isang pinakamalaking biyaya ng kabutihan ng Diyos (Familiaris Consortio, n. 30).

Kapag hindi ninyo pinahalagahan ang buhay na iyan sa alinman o saan mang yugto ng buhay ng tao (sanggol, foetus, matanda, malakas o mahina), hinding-hindi igagalang ang buhay ng sinuman — at diyan kapag wala ng halaga o walang pagpapahalaga, wala ng magtatanggol sa buhay, dadayain ang buhay na yan, aapihin, kikidnapin na, pagsisinungalingan na, pagnanakawan na ang buhay na ‘yan ng tao!

Kanya napaka-ganda ang pagtuturo ng Simbahan — alagaan, ipagtanggol at itaguyod ang buhay. Huwag hahadlangan ng anuman sandata o anumang artipisyal na paraan ang buhay. Ang paglalapastangan sa buhay na iyan, malakas man o mahina, na ating laging, pinapahalagahan ay labag sa kulturang Pilipino tungkol sa buhay ng tao. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

Ang kahirapan ng tao o kaya’y ang pagdami ng tao ay likas na merong solusyon at ang kasagutan dito ay aral na rin ng Panginoong Hesukristo. Una, ang yaman ng daigdig or kaya’y ang pinagsikapan ng tao ay sapa’t na at sobra pa upang pagsaluhan ng lahat. “Magmahalan kayo” at magdamayan sa ngalan ng pagibig. Ikalawa, mayroong paraan na inilagay ang Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng katawan ng lalaki at babae, na ito ay marapat alamin o pag-aralan upang matiyak ang mga araw kung kalian maaaring madulot ng panibagong buhay sa pagtatalik ang binhi ng lalaki at babae. Sa bawa’t pagtatalik ang mag-asawa ay maaaring maging katuwang ng Panginoong Diyos sa paglikha ng panibagong buhay. (Humanae Vitae, n. 11).

Banal ang buhay ng magasawa at sapagkat ito ay banal ito ay ginagantihan ng Panginoong Diyos ng tuwa at ligaya ang bawa’t pagsasama ng sinuman magasawa, sapagka’t habang buhay nilang ipag-papatuloy ang masidhing pangangalaga hanggang sa ang mga anak ay akayin sa kabutihang asal, banal ring pamumuhay na mayroong pagdamay at paggalang sa kapwa hanggang sa katandaan.

Mayroon naming natural na paraan sa paghahanda sa mahalagang buhay na iyan. At iyan ang tinatawag na NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING. At ito ay kaloob ng Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng bawat tao, lalaki or babae. Alam ng makapangyarihang Panginoong Diyos na darating ang araw na dapat lalung pag-aralan at may pananagutang balakin ang dakilang paghahanda sa buhay na iyan. Kung kaya’t inilagay ng Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng katawan ng tao—lalaki at babae—ang wasto at tiyak na paraan at panahon ng hinog na binhi (ng buhay) para magsilang ng bagong buhay ng tao, lalang, at sa kawangis at kalarawan ng Diyos. (Henesis 1:27).

Sa pag-aaral ng paraan para tiyakin ang mahalaga at banal na mga sandaling ng nahihinog na binhi ng buhay, malalaman ng sinuman ang mga banal na sandaling iyan—at kailangan naman sa mga tiyak na sandal at araw na iyan ang pagtitimpi, pagpigil sa sarili (pagpigil sa pang-gigigil). Yan ang sakripisyo ng tao. Alalaon baga ay kailangan ang mga sandal ng disiplina. Kapag may disiplina sa kama, tiyak na magkakaroon ng disiplina sa kalsada, maging sa pitaka (karta moneda). Dito mapapahalagahan natin ang “values” na itinuturo ng Simbahan.

Banal po mga kapatid ang Gawain ng mag-asawa, kaya naman ginagantihan ng Butihing Diyos ng ligaya at tuwa ang mag-asawa hindi lamang sa pagtatalik, kung hindi hanggang sa mapalaki sa kabutihang asal, kabaitan at akayin sa kabanalan ang kanilang mga anak. Kasama diyan ng magasawa ang Panginoong Diyos. At ang tapat na magasawa ay hindi pinababayaan ng Panginoon.

Banal ang pag-aasawa; banal ang pagtatalik sapagka’t ito ay kalakip ng pagbibigay ng buhay na galling sa Panginoong Diyos. Hindi ito laru-laruan na ituturo sa mga bata sa paggamit ng goma, lobo o condom, para iwasan daw ang sakit? Bakit mga bata ang tuturuan ng ganitong laro? Hindi po ba ang tamang ituro sa kabataan ay ang magandang halimbawa ng matatanda at ang kahalagahan ng buhay, ang kabanalan ng pagpipigil sa sarili na ang tawag ay disiplina? Ang awag po noong una ay kapag may pagpipigil, mayroong disiplina at paggalang at magkakaroon din ng Karakter ang tao. Ngayon ang gusting ipamulat sa kabataan ay ito: gamitin ang goma, maglaro kayo! Ganyan kabarato ang buhay ng tao ngayon.

Salamat at mayroong Simbahan at salamat at mayroong Pananampalataya na nagpapaalaala pa (kahit mayroong ilang mga mambabatas o matatanda na kakaiba ang isip na hindi na mabuting makapangaral, hindi na kayang magpagturo ng magandang asal at batas na magpapabalik pa sa dahan-dahang nawawala at nanghihinang magandang hiyas na ating kabihasnang Pilipino.

At bakit bata pa ay tinuturuan na ang mga anak ng ilang mga matatanda at mambabatas sa pag-iwas sa responsibilidad at ang pagwawalang bahala sa katuwiran at kalinisan? (Sa pangalan daw ng sanidad at kalusugan). Puro maalawang palusot ang gustong ituro sa kabataan ng ilang mambabatas—kanya ganiyan ang magiging bukas ng Pilipinas—mga mamayan na puro palusot, lahat ng padulas ang alam. May peligrong mawawala ang halag (value) ng kristiyano at tunay na Filipino. Ang dapat ituro sa kabataan ay kalinisan ng budhi, kalinisan ng puso, disiplina at pagpipigil sa sarili at paggalang sa hindi sariling pera.

Anong klaseng panukalang batas itong RH Bill na kung maging batas na, at ang itinuro o ipaliwanag ng Simbahan at mga naglilingkod dito ay ang katwiran ng galing sa Bibliya, Pananampalataya at konsensiya ng Kristiyano tungkol sa Buhay at Kalinisan, sa halip na ang turo ay ang RH law, ay maaaring papag-multahin o ibilanggo ang mga ito? Paparusahan pa ang sumusunod sa konsensiya at Pananampalataya. Hindi ito ang Pilipinas! Hindi na tayo babanggit ng anumang bansa, pero hindi ito ang Pilipinas na minahal at pinag-alayan ng buhay ng mga bayani, sampo ng tatlong Pari — Padre Mariano Gomez, Padre Jose Burgos, at Padre Jacinto Zamora. Sa El Filibusterismo, ang unang pahina ay inihandog ni Jose Rizal sa tatlong pari na iyan. (At ang gusto pang alalahanin ng ilan ay si DAMASO na ito naman ay hindi Pilipino!)

Ito ang paninindigan ng Simbahan:

1. Ang pagmamalasakit sa katatayuan ng maraming mahihirap, lalo na ang mga nagdurusang kababaihan na nagsusumikap upang gumanda ang buhay at kailangan pang mangibang bayan upang kamtin ito o kailangan pang pumasok sa isang hindi disenteng paghahanap-buhay. Nababagabag ang Simbahan diyan.

2. Ang Simbahang Katoliko ay para sa buhay at dapat ipagsanggalang ang buhay ng tao mula sa sandal na ito ay ipaglihi o mabuo hanggang sa natural ng katapusan nito.

3. Naniniwala ang Simbahan sa mapanagutang (responsible) pagsasaayos ng bilang at panahon ng pagsisilang sa pamamagitan ng Natural Family Planning. Dito kailangan ang pagbuo ng matatag na kalooban (character building) na nagtataglay ng sakripisyo, disiplina at paggalang sa dangal ng asawa. Kung wala kang sakripisyo, hindi ka makakabuo ng karakter.

4. Ang sinumang tao ay tagapangasiwa lamang ng kanyang katawan. Ang pananagutan sa ating katawan ay dapat umalinsunod sa kalooban ng Diyos na nangungusap sa atin sa pamamagitan ng konsensiya (budhi). Kapag hindi pinakinggan at iginalang ang tinig na ‘yan ng Diyos (sa konsensiya), yayanigin at lilindulin, hindi ang bundok at dagat, kung hindi ang budhing ‘yan ng sinumang tao.

5. Aming paninindigan na sa mga pagpili kaugnay ng RH Bill, ang budhi (konsensiya) ay hindi lamang sapat na kabatiran kung hindi higit sa lahat ay ginagabayan ng mga itinuturo ng kanyang pananampalataya.

6. Naniniwala kami sa kalayaan sa relihiyon at sa karapatan ng pagtutol ayon sa budhi (konsensiya) sa mga bagay na labag sa sariling pananampalataya. Ang nakapataw at parusa sa napapaloob sa minumungkahing RH Bill ay dahilan para sa aming pagtutol dito. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

May panahon pa upang maiwasan ang trahedya moral na idudulot ng RH Bill.

Baguhin ang mga panukalang ‘yan, o ibagsak ang kayang kabuuan ng siyang pugad ng walang paggalang sa buhay, pagkawala ng responsibilidad at disiplina na siyang tunay na kailangan ngayon ng tao at bayan.

Kung ang mga bata ay natuturuan pa ng Simbahan, ang mambabatas ay amin rin pinapaalalahan. Lahat kayo, ngayon at bukas, ay kasama sa aming dalangin.

Pagpalain kayong lahat at ang Bayan ng Poong Maykapal! Mahal tayo ng Diyos at alaga ng Ina ni Hesus!

+G.B.ROSALES
Prayer Rally
Feast of the Annunciation
25 March 2011

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Homily of Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo

July 25, 2008

We celebrate today the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI on Human Life. Against the prevailing expectation of liberalization, that the Catholic Church would change her traditional teaching on conjugal and family morality and allow all forms of birth control, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968) instead courageously re-affirmed the church traditional teaching regarding birth control and responsible parenthood.

What the Catholic Church teaches through the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae is that human life, from the womb to tomb, is a gift of God. Only God is the author of human life. The child becomes God’s gift to its parents and entire family. The dignity, the value and inviolability of human life must be respected and safeguarded at all cost.

There is a pessimism and a certain panic deriving from the studies of ecologists and futurologists on population growth, which sometimes exaggerate the danger of demographic increase to the quality of life. Against such trends not only Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae but also Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 1995) have restated that the Church has the mission to celebrate human life, as the Gospel of Life, by seeing life in its deeper meaning and beauty, by revering and honoring every person, by praising and thanking God for the gift of life, by preserving the gift of life.

At the hearts of the many threats to human life and threats to conjugal and family morality is the wrong concept of freedom which leads to complete relativism. Any refrence to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on every one is lost. With the eclipse of the sense of God and of man, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining, even the first and fundamental right, the right to life (EV 20).

There is a need in our society to restore the sense of God. When the sense of God is lost there is also the tendency to lose the sense of man’s dignity and life. The result is practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism… hedonism. (EV 21- 22).

We in the Catholic Church, and I say this with reference to Paul VI’s Letter on Human Life and John Paul II’s Letter on the Gospel of Life, advocate only natural family planning methods as the only morally acceptable way of praticing responsible parenthood. The Church does not forbid the advocacy of the increase or decrease of population provided the freedom of the couple to exercise sexual and family morality, like the decision to have any number of children, according to their religious conviction is respected.

Artificial birth control, which includes the use of contraceptives and abortifacients, are against the institution of marriage. Our Philippine Constitution in Art. II, section 12, specifies the function of the State: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of Government.”

The family is the basic unit of society. If the Filipino family is destroyed, the Philippine society will likewise be destroyed. The protection and strengthening of the family is a concern not only of the Church, but of civil society and government as a whole.

The subtle attacks on family and conjugal morality through legislations that promote artificial methods of birth contol, are couched in attractive but deceptive terminologies like Reproductive Health Care, population management, anti-discrimination of women and children, reproductive rights, patients’ rights.

Pope Paul VI had predicted, and John Paul II confirmed that artificial methods of birth control open the way to a lowering of moral standards and lead to marital infidelity; they lead to the lowering of respect for women; husbands will regard their wives and other women as mere instruments to serve their bodily desires. And they are happening, increasingly happening today.

It has been said time and again in order to reduce world poverty and the number of the poor, in order to improve the quality of life, the family must act “responsibly” and not have more than two children. Uncontrolled birth! Population Control!

Dr. Joseph Chamie of the UN Population Division had already commented in 1998 that the problem is not about population explosion but population implotion. In 51 countries the birth rates had fallen so low that it is nearly impossible for these ocuntries to replace their deaths with births. Countries which succeeded to impose “two-child” policy are now worried by the continuous drop in population that have reached a point of no return. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN admitted in 2004 that indeed the world is aging inexorably. By 2030 the world population aged 45 and above will be much larger than the population 44 and lower. Few children and workers will be supporting a big number of aging seniors. The result in some countries is Euthanasia.

What of our country? While our government policy makers claim that our growth rate is 2.36%, both USAID and the UN have arrived at a much lower PGR. In fact, as of December 2004, the National Statistics Office had projected a population growth rate of 1.99%. The Philippines is slowly joining the contries with very low growth rate.

We have strong reasons to be alarmed. That instead of becoming “the last hope of a dying world,” we are joining the group of the dying world. This is among the reasons why the Church in the Philippines, (call her conservative, ignorant, too traditional) think differently.

If all the money that go to graft and corruption of government or are used for the wrong reasons, were spent for our increasing poor population, we will have indeed both poupulation and true progress, a population that is the resource and object of development.

______________________________________________________________

In Filipino:

Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Diyos at ipinagdiriwang natin ngayon ang ika-apatnapung taon ng Sulat Ensiklika ni Papa Paulo VI tungkol sa “Human Life.”

Bakit natin ito ipinagdiriwang? Sapagkat sa kanila ng pag-atake sa buhay ng tao, lalo na sa sinapupunan ng ina (abortion), at laban sa ekspektasyon na luluwagan ng Simbahan ang tradisyonal na mga turo tungkol sa moralidad ng mag-asawa at moralidad ng pamilya, lalo pang pinagtibay ng Simbahan ang traditional na turo tungkol sa birth control at responsableng pagmamagulang.

Pinaaalala sa atin ngayon ang turo sa Sulat “Humanae Vitae” na ang buhay ng tao mula sa sinapupunan hanggang libingan, ay bigay, handog, alay ng Diyos. Walang sinumang may ari sa buhay ng tao, hindi ang tao mismo, hindi ang mga mambabatas, ni ang pamahalaan, kungdi ang Diyos lamang. – Ang bawat sanggol na isinisilang ay handog ng Diyos sa kanyang mga magulang at buong pamilya. – Ang pro-active na saloobin tungkol sa mga isinisilang sa lipunan: sila ay hindi basta pabigat lamang sa bulsa, kundi sila ay magiging puersa ng bayan para sa hinaharap na kaunlaran. – Samakatuwid ang karangalan, at ang kahalagahan ng buhay pantao ay dapat respetuhin at ipagsanggalang sa lahat ng paraan.

May mga kapatid tayo na nag-uumpisang mag-panic dahil sa mga babala ng mga ecologists at futurologists tungkol sa mabilis na pagdami ng tao: ang pagdami daw po ng populasyon ay baka hindi makayanan ng ekonomiya, sa pagdaming ito dadami ang mga pobre at mga squatters, sa pagdaming ito ang kalidad ng buhay ay mababawasan.

Kaya natin malampasan at malutas ang mga babalang ito kaugnay ng pagdami ng tao, kung ang lahat, lalo na ang mga dalubhasa, ay magkakatulungan at magkakaisa. Huwag lang po natin pakikialaman ang buhay na bigay ng Diyos. Tutulungan tayo ng Diyos ng buhay!

Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae and Pope John Paul II (March 25, 1995) have re-stated that the mission of the church is to celebrate human life, as the Gospel of life, that human life has a deeper meaning and beauty outside of what we see, that every human being must be respected, honored and loved, that we must praise and thank God for the gift of life.

Kasama sa mga lantaran at tagong pag-atake sa buhay ng tao sa sinapupunan at pag-atake sa moralidad ng mag-asawa at pamilya ang isang maling Konsepto ng Kalayaan (concept of freedom) na humahantong sa relativismo: ibig sabihin walang matibay na kabutihan at katotohanan na pumipigil sa tao. Ang lahat ay relative – puedeng mapag-usapan at matawaran . . . lakip na dito ang karapatan sa buhay . . . depende sa negotiation o bargaining ng mga tao . . . Nasaan ang Diyos sa tawarang ito?

Kailangang ibalik natin at pagtibayin sa lipunan ang sense of God, ang presensya at ang papel ng Diyos. Kung mawala ang sense of God, mawawala na rin ang sense of man’s dignity and life. Ang bunga nito ay materialismo, na nagbubunga ng individualismo, utilitarianismo … at hedonism (EV 21-22).

Hindi ipinagbabawal ng simbahan ang pag-family planning. Pahintulot po yan. Pero sa ngayon sa turo ng mga Ensiklika “Humanae Vitae” at “Evangelium Vitae” pinahinintulutan ng ating moralidad ay ang “natural family planning” bilang paraan sa responsableng pagmamagulang. Sa ganitong layunin ang sinusunod natin sa pagplano ng panganganak ay hindi artipisyal na metodo, gadget or instrumento na ginawa ng tao, kungdi ang batas na inilagay ng Diyos sa mismong naturaleza ng katawan ng ina.

Pinahihintulutan ng Simbahan ang “population management” (ang pagpapadami o pagbabawas ng panganganak), kung ang paraan nito ay hindi lumalabag sa kautusan o kalooban ng Diyos ng buhay at kung ang paraan nito ay may respeto sa consciensya, karapatan at kalayaan ng mag-asawa. [Ang batas ay para sa tao at hindi ang tao para sa batas.] Dapat igalang ang konsiyensiya at desisyon ng mag-asawa sa pagdedesiyon kung ilan ang magiging anak sang-ayon sa kalooban ng Diyos.

Ang “artificial birth control,” na ginagamitan ng mga contraceptives, gadgets at abortifacients, ay labag sa institusyon, at integridad ng pag-aasawa.

Our Philippine Constitution, in Article II, Section 12, specifies the function of the state: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of Government.”

Ang pamilya ay ang pundasyon ng lipunan. (As the family goes so goes the nation.) Kung ang Pilipinong pamilya ay masira o magiba, gayundin masisira at magigiba ang Pilipinong lipunan. Samakatuwid dapat pagkaabalahan hindi lamang ng Simbahan, kundi ng sangkalipunan at pamahalaan ang pangsasanggalang at pagpapatibay ng Pilipinong pamilya.

[The subtle attacks on family and conjugal morality through legislations that promote artificial methods of birth control, are couched in attractive but deceptive (double meaning) terminologies, like reproductive health care, population management, anti-discrimination of women and children, reproductive rights, patients’ rights.]

Na-predict, nahulaan at na-warningan na tayo ni Papa Paulo VI at ito’y pinatotohanan (confirmed) ni Papa Juan Pablo II na ang artificial methods of birth control ay magbubunga ng pagbaba ng moralidad ng mag-asawa, magbubunga ng pagkawala ng katapatan ng mag-asawa sa isa’t isa, magbubunga ng pagbaba o pagkawala ng respeto sa kababaihan . . . Isama na natin dito ang mga sakit sikological at pisikal na manggagaling dito sang-ayon sa mga dalubahsa.

Sinasabi po ng ilan na lumalawak ang kahirapan sa daigdig, padami ng padami ang mga pobre, na dapat daw pagbutihan pa ang kalidad ng buhay. Upang maganap ito ang mga pamilya ay dapat maging responsible at hindi hihigit sa dalawang anak lamang sa bawat mag-asawa.

Si Dr. Joseph Chamie ng United Nations Population Division ay naglahad noon pang 1998 na ang problema na ating hinaharap ay hindi “population explosion” (pagdami ng tao) kundi ang problema na ating hinaharap ay “population implosion,” (pag-unti ng tao). Sa mahigit na limampu’t isang bansa ang bilang ng mga ipinanganganak ay pababa ng pababa kung kaya’t magiging imposible na maulian ang bilang ng mga namamatay na bilang ng mga isinisilang.
Ang mga bansa na nagtagumpay sa polisiya na “dalawang anak lamang” ay nababahala na ngayon sa patuloy na pagbaba o pag-unti ng kanilang populasyon kung kaya’t napipilitan na sila ngayong tumanggap ng mga taga-ibang bansa (mga Asiatiko) para magtrabaho sa kanilang mga industriya at mag-alaga sa kanilang mga senior citizens.

Si Kofi Annan, ang dating sekretario general ng United Nations ay nagsabi nuong 2004 na ang daigdig natin ay patanda ng patanda (Europa at mga America). Sa darating na 2030 ang world population na nasa edad 45 patanda ay magiging mas madami kaysa mga kabataan na nasa edad 44 pababa. Paunti ng paunti ang mga kabataan at mga manggagawa na susuporta sa malaking populasyon na mga matatandang senior citizens. Ang resulta sa ibang bansa ay euthanasia.

At dito sa ating bansa? Sinasabi po ng ilan (mambabatas) na ang population growth rate natin ay 2.36%. Ang USAID at ang UN ay nagsasabi naman na mas mababa doon ang ratio ng ating pagdami. Noong 2004 Disiembre nag project ang National Statistics Office na ang ating population growth rate at magiging 1.99%,

Hindi natin nahahalata ang pag-unti ng ating population kung tututukan natin ay mga thickly populated na lungsod na maraming mga squatters at patung-patong na bahay, kahit sa ilalim ng mga tulay. Siyamnapung milyon na ang ating populasyon. At 10 milyon o mahigit pa sa bilang na ito ay nasa ibang mga bansa. Dinadala dito sa Pilipinas ang development ng ibang bansa; maganda ang mga bahay, at nakakapag-aral ang mga anak ng mga OFW.

Kung natatakot sa mabilis na pagdami ng tao … 90 milyon o mahigit pa … kontrolin ang pagdami pero sa moral at tamang paraan sang-ayon sa kalikasang inilagay ng Diyos. Iyan ang prinsipyong pinagtibay ng Humanae Vitae at Evangelium Vitae.

Sa pagsunod sa batas ng Diyos, sampu ng pagtitiwala sa tulong at awa ng Diyos, malulutas nating sama-sama ang problema ng populasyon at ekonomiya, ang problema ng karukhaan at kahirapan ng mahigit sa 80% ng mga mamamayan.

Hindi po yan malulutas ng rallying ito. Nandito tayo para ipagdasal ang bansa, liwanagan ng Diyos tayong lahat . . . para makatulong, makatulung-tulungan sa pag-unawa at paglutas sa mga problema natin.

.Kung ang lahat ng salapi na nililikum ng pamahalaan sa mga taong-bayan ay hindi napupunta sa kagarukan o katiwalian – graft and corruption at hindi nagagastos sa maling pagkakagastos – tiyak na malaking mababawas sa bilang ng mga pobre, magkakaroon tayo ng populasyon at ng progreso, magkakaroon tayo ng populasyon na siyang magiging puwersa at alituntunin ng kaunlaran.

Ang isyu po ngayon ay hindi lamang “pro-God” at “pro-life.” Tanungin po ninyo ako: Bakit? Bakit? Sapagkat kalakip ng issue ng “pro-life” ay “pro-poor,” Kung tayong lahat ay “pro-life” . . . dapat maging “pro-poor.” Bakit? Sapagkat dadami daw po ang mga pobre . . . hindi lang dadami . . . madami na! Pero yan ay hindi problema ng Diyos . . . . problema yan natin at ang mga mayayaman at ng pamahalaan!

Hindi ba sinabi natin kanina na tayo ay “pro-God?” Pwes, kung pro-God tayo . . . dapat ay pro-poor din, ibig sabihin lalabanan natin ang kahirapan! Ibig sabihin, susugpuin natin ang mga dahilan ng kahirapan . . . at lalabanan natin ang mga nagpapahirap sa kapwa.

Kung ikaw ay hindi “pro-poor,” hindi ka rin pro-God. Sapagkat ang Diyos ay nabibilang . . . kasama ng mga mahihirap . . . . mas pinili niya na maging mahirap sapagkat mas marami sila. Pro-God dapat pro-poor. 1 Jo. 3/17 “Kung ang isang tao ay maraming ari-arian (salapi) at nakita niya ang kanyang kapatid na nangangailangan, subalit hindi siya naawa, nahabag, tumulong, paano ang pag-ibig ng Diyos ay mapapasa kanya?

Hindi dapat mangyari na controlahin ang pagdami ng dalawang bahagi ng populasyon para lamang makapagpatuloy magpasasa sa kanilang kayamanan ang menos sa isang bahagi ng mga mayayaman. Iyon ay mathematics of selfishness. Kung mangyayari ito, ang lupa at ang pribadong pagmamay-ari ay magiging potential na larangan ng digmaan ng mayayaman at mahihirap.

Kailangan natin ang “change of attitude.” Hindi pwedeng magpatuloy ang attitude na “What is mine is mine absolutely and I can do with it as I wish.,” o ang saloobin na “my money entitles me to consume or control on my own terms as much as my money will buy.”

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(Homily delivered by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President, during the Mass to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, on July 9, 2008, at the Manila Cathedral.)

The 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Letter on the Regulation of Birth, “Humanae Vitae” by Pope Paul VI, is an opportune time for us to recall the salient doctrine of this authoritative and controversial but prophetic encyclical.

At its publication, on July 25, 1968, this letter of Paul VI ahs caused much discussion and aroused much opposition, which the Pope foresaw (HV 18). Against the prevailing expectation of liberalization in the sixties and seventies, that the Catholic Church would change her traditional teaching on conjugal morality and allow all forms of birth control. Pope Paul VI in Humane Vitae instead re-affirmed the Church’s traditional teaching, regarding birth control and responsible parenthood.

Enunciation of Conjugal Morality

What does Humanae Vitae tell us? Does it prohibit “family planning?” It does not prohibit family planning. But family planning should be done in a right way and not in a sinful way. Briefly stated, Humanae Vitae condemns direct and deliberate prevention of conception. And so, direct abortion must be rejected as a means of regulating birth or even therapeutic means. Likewise direct sterilization of male (vasectomy) and of female (ligation) must be rejected as well as all acts that attempt to impede to impede procreation—i.e. such acts before, during and after the couple’s sexual union: this includes the taking of contraceptive bills, I.U.Ds and condoms. It is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come out of it (c.f. HV 11). It is a serious error to think that a whole married life of normal sexual relations could justify a contraceptive act of sexual union.

The Church, however, allows the use of medical treatment of the therapeutic means for curing of cancerous uterus, the preservation of life is what directly intended (Principle of Double Effect).

Natural family planning methods are morally allowed when they take advantage of the natural cycle of the reproductive system of the wife such as the use of the Basal Body Temperature, the Billings Ovulation Method, Sympro-Thermal Method and the Lactational Amenorrhea Method. Lately, some moral theologians and Episcopal Conferences have started to consider the merits and efficacy of Standard Days Method as a natural family planning method provided it is not combined with contraceptives and it is not seen as part of the government’s total family program for population control.

A Controversial Encyclical

Mainly because of Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of all forms of artificial contraception, the encyclical has been controversial. The Encyclical’s teachings encountered open dissent voiced widely and publicly by several bishops, cardinals and theologians. The Encyclical was criticized by development organizations who claim that it limits the methods available to fight world-wide population growth and struggle against AIDS. Some American, Canadian, Dutch and German bishops instead claimed and stressed that Catholics’ individual consciences should prevail in such a personal and private issue as family planning.

Pope Paul VI has however explicitly bypassed the recommendations of the Commission established by Pope John XXIII (cf. HV 5 and 6), because its 72 members had not been unanimous. He said “therefore, having attentively sifted the documentation laid before us, after mature reflection and assiduous prayers, we now intend, by virtue or the mandate entrusted to us by Christ, to give our reply to these grave questions” (HV 6).

A Prophetic Encyclical

Controversial as it was, Humanae Vitae is today regarded as prophetic. Its predictions (cf. HV 17) about the effects of contraception on society are seen today as accurate. First, according to Pope Paul VI, artificial methods of birth control opens the way of lowering of moral standards for the young as well as leads to marital infidelity. Second, the use of contraception will lead to the lowering of respect for women; husbands will regard their wives as mere instruments to serve their own desires. Thirdly, the use of artificial methods of contraception, Pope Paul VI warned, will be a dangerous tool in the hands of government or public authorities who care little about the moral law, and who may force the use of contraceptives on everyone.

Is this not our observation today? Many of the proposed bills in our Philippine Congress have been identified by our Episcopal Commission on Family and Life as D.E.A.T.H. Bills because they ultimately lead to the promotion of Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Reproductive Health, Homosexuality (same sex marriage). On closer scrutiny of the proposed bills they are anti-life, violative of the dignity and sanctity of human life and anti-family; they disunite rather than untie couples, and destroy the family consecrated by God as the sanctuary of human life. Unfortunately and sadly, some of these bills which encounter opposition in Congress, from pro-life and pro-family Representatives, are enacted by some local government units inspite of moral objection of the church. Patriarch Athenagoras I stating his full agreement with Pope Paul VI said: “He could not have spoken in any other way.”

The controversy produced by Humane Vitae is an expression of the inherent tension between the paternalistic/legalistic emphasis on moral law and the personalistic emphasis on freedom of conscience. And yet, neither can be sacrificed for the sake of the other. No less than Pope John Paul II has reaffirmed much of Humanae Vitae in his Encyclical Veritatis Splendor and his Theology of the Body clarifying at the same time the use of individual conscience in arriving at moral decisions on responsible parenthood.

Our Response to the Encyclical

Although Humanae Vitae is not an infallible pronouncement, what Pope Paul VI as Universal Shepherd and Teacher said is true and what he laid down is right. Therefore what response do we give to it? Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes) has told us “Religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching of the Pope, even when he is not speaking infallibly; judgments made by him must be sincerely adhered to according to his manifest mind and will.”

When we observe today how marriage how marriage and human sexuality are de-valued and treated lightly and with disrespect, how population growth and responsible parenthood are linked with the regulation of birth and how we should promote natural family planning against artificial birth control, it is time again to consider the moral legacy of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. The Church has not ceased to proclaim with humble firmness the moral law of which she is faithful depositary and authentic interpreter (HV 18).

While we consider population growth as a valid concern, which should be addressed more directly with socio-economic methods, all men of goodwill are tasked to promote completely and clearly the teaching of the church concerning the sanctity of marriage and the regulation of birth.

“Attacks on large families stem from a lack of faith and the product of a social atmosphere incapable of understanding generosity, trying to conceal selfishness and unmentionable practices under apparently altruistic motives” (St. Josemaria Balaguer). Countries which impose birth control on the other countries, like the Philippines, are now themselves in need of growth in their population and are importing from Asian countries workers and caregivers for their senior citizens.

“Our present-day world will not be saved by those who aim to drug the spiritual life and reduce everything to a question of economics or material well-being,” (St. Josemaria Balaguer).

May our recollection of and reflection on Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae lead our couples and Christian communities to be pro-family and pro-life, and of course and above all pro-God.

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Stop Coal

The rector has told me to explain to you my stand regarding the plan of the city to put up a coal-fired power plant. I will do it he said because I supposedly did some research weeks ago on the so called clean-coal technology of this power plant. Well I believe I could not say much more than what Msgr. Oso has probably talked about in class. What I know for a fact is, one, there is no such thing as a clean coal. It’s an oxymoron! Irregardless of what we do it is still the dirtiest among the fossil fuels. We can lessen its emissions, but we could not totally obliterate its hazardous by products.

Second, clean coal technology, if there will be any, is still in the experimental stage (as in Australia, they pump emissions underground such as an empty oil well!). If all goes well, it may be, and it is a big may be, commercially viable in the year 2020 or 2025, that’s more than ten years from now.

And third, at this stage, the price of producing power from the so called clean coal (the “real” one) is exorbitantly high, around 1,530 dollars per kilowatt! Imagine that! This is because the process of lessening some of its pollutants can really be very costly. And I say some because it could probably eliminate a great portion of carbon monoxide, lead and mercury but not carbon dioxide and radionuclide.

And besides, though it is cheaper compared to crude oil and it is found in abundance all over the world especially in the US and in China, the Philippines is blessed only with a minimal amount of coal (and far dirtier than dirty coal). So we still have to import it anyway. (By the way the rise in electricity worldwide is caused by the rise in the prices of coal worldwide.)

Though these points are crucial, my main point rather is in the attitude of its proponents, the government and the businessmen.

What’s my point? My point is the seeming inconsistency in our principles.

First, the city prided itself as one of the first to legislate an anti-smoking ordinance. Two years ago I saw streamers along the city route to that effect. There is even a big billboard on top of Robinson’s place with pictures of young people together with our chain-smoking mayor saying no to smoking. That itself may be inconsistent already. But all of a sudden, with the hype on the anti-smoking ordinance they came up with the idea of building a coal-fired power plant!

Added to this is the much hullabaloo on closing Calahunan, the dumpsite of the city, because it is emitting a very foul smell not excluding insect borne diseases. All these while arguing for the putting up of a coal-fired power plant!

Then there is this so much trouble for a crematorium, first there in Jaro, at Commission Civil Street, then again somewhere in Balabago. They could not stand a crematorium, but they would put up a coal-fired power plant!

Barangay Bakhaw passed a barangay ordinance prohibiting the burning of garbage while the city is pushing for a power plant that would burn tons of coal everyday for the next 40 to 50 years, the life span of a coal-fired power plant!

We have anti-smoke belching laws (which we could not implement anyway), we have laws requiring oil refineries to take away lead from gasoline and sell only unleaded because lead is a hazard to health. But then all of a sudden they want to put up a coal-fired power plant.

But haven’t we signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2003 committing ourselves to lower our carbon emissions? And what about the Asean Declaration signed by the Philippines on its 13th session in 2007 committing ourselves to act in accord with the Kyoto Protocol in stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations to 1994 level? And what have we with our present DENR chief who declared with pride in Bali that the Philippines “is one of the few countries with mandatory vehicle emission testing mandated by law . . . banned open burning and . . . are in the top ten countries that have the most number of clean development mechanism.” (The very same person who said this, so they say, would gladly sign the ECC for our coal-fired power plant.) All these are being said and done while the mayor of the City of Iloilo (which by the way won Grand Slam! Gawad Pangulo Para sa Kapaligiran) and the councilors are toying with the idea, and not just toying, but even already paving the way, for putting up a coal-fired power plant.

Well, frankly, I don’t know what to make of this. Probably, when the desire to further enrich ourselves overpowers us, principles are placed at the back-burner. We say one thing, we do another. (This is one attitude GMA and her government have been so successful in.) Inconsistency becomes the rule. We have a government which cannot even as much as honor its signed commitments. Understandably so, if it could lie to us, why should it not lie to them?! This is the kind of leadership we get probably because of the kind of people we are!

Come, come, let us reason together, please. If doctors, educators, pastors, priests and bishops are one in saying it’s bad (and by the way, these people seldom agree on one thing!), whom would you believe? Your barangay captain? Your Mayor? Your City Councilors? The businessmen? Lord, help us!

And so be it.

Now the church of Jaro is accused of being anti-development even by some business people who happen to be close supporters of the church. And some priests already got a beating from these generous benefactors. Well that’s what you get when you remain consistent with your principles and your definition of what real development is. And to think now that these are the people who would often tell me of the hazards of smoking, and I in my aim to please them would take pains hiding myself whenever I smoke. They want me to quit so they can put up a coal-fired power plant!

This inconsistency is truly upsetting!

P.S. Mercury emitted by burnt coal can cause brain damage. It seems that we already have one before we even burnt one. Well who cares anyway. Iloilo is already famous for it besides batchoy, remember. At least we have something consistent to be “proud” of and known for.

andyesperancilla.blogspot.com
August 2008

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The world loves it’s own and the world hates those who do not belong to the world. A Christian does not belong to the world.

We reflect today on non-conformity.

Notice the logic of the world. “Since everybody is doing it, we also do it.” This is the logic of the world. Since it is done in Taiwan, or in China, or in Pagbilao, we also do it. Since everybody gives bribes to make things easy, we also do it. Since everybody steals anyway, we also do it. Since gambling is an everyday occurrence and everybody does it, we also do it, better still, let us legalize it. This is the logic of the world!

A Christian however is a non-conformist in relation to the world because he or she conforms only to the values of Christ. For John it is that – as clear a distinction as black and white. That is why when John was writing this gospel Christians were hated because they acted differently from the rest. Their values were different from the majority. Their principles were not swayed by convenience or needs as the majority would have theirs. That was the reason why they were hated by people because the world suspects people who do things differently. In effect Jesus is saying to these people caught in a dilemma of being ostracized – “if the world hates you, realize that it has hated me first.”

The basic demand for a Christian is that he or she should have the courage to be different, when things and events demand that he or she should take a different stand.

http://andyesperancilla.blogspot.com
Sunday.  April 27, 2008
 

 

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