Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dominican's turn

What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?

They were both founded by Spaniards, St. Dominic for the Dominicans, and St. Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits. They were also both founded to combat heresy: the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians, and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants.

What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?

Well, have you met any Albigensians lately?


The difference also appears to be that we won't be seeing any UST professors coming out in support of the RH bill.

According to this CBCP news report:

The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST) will focus on the promotion of "faith and life issues" and continue to support the stand of the Filipino Bishops against the reproductive health bill. As a Catholic university of the Philippines, the Dominican-run UST will stress on "faith and life matters" more in the backdrop of the on-going debate on "Reproductive Health (RH)" bill pending in the Congress, said Fr. Filemon I. de la Cruz, Jr., Op, Vice-rector for Religious Affairs. Asked if UST professors, like that of the state-run University of the Philippines, Diliman and Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, would come up with an independent ‘position paper on RH bill’, De la Cruz said, "that would not happen." ...

Interesting, and most welcome. UST has a larger faculty than Ateneo. With 40,000 students, UST is the largest Catholic university in the world in one campus. Another interesting thing is that the Jesuits and the Dominicans appears to have this supposed rivalry that had its roots in a theological dispute about grace and free will. No wonder as I remember back in my high school days when Ateneo was still in the NCAA, our priests were as keen in cheering "ARRIBA LETRAN!" whenever we had a big game against Ateneo. Oh well...


The joke above is obviously told from a Dominican perspective. The Jesuit response would be: "That's because we didn't use swords!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said... reference to the pen being mightier? Good one, Willy. Funny thing is, if one takes a trip down to... Culture et Bibliothéque Pour Tous on Rue Adolphe Nourrit in Montpellier or to Toulouse... one might actually meet some "good men"... They're not called Albeginsians anymore.

I hope people wouldn't think this is also a debate on free will. It isn't. It's about choice. The act of choosing is an exercise of free will. Every choice we make necessarily excludes the alternatives not chosen. Choice limits the available alternatives but we still retain our free will. In certain cases we can even change our minds and reverse our choices.

There are no half-Catholics. Being a Catholic comes in one package which includes the Church's dogma and papal infallibility. When we chose to be a Catholic, we also chose to accept the truth of the Church's teachings. I know people will say they didn't choose their religion, they were born into it. But they did choose to stay in it, which is the same thing as choosing to convert into it. Choosing to be Catholic is a choice to exclude things that are non-Catholic. And if we choose not to accept the Church's Catholic teachings, then we are making the choice not to be a Catholic anymore.

This is not to say that Catholics are unthinking robots blindly following whatever the Vatican says. This where faith, revelation and the guidance of the Holy Spirit steps in. This is perhaps what people have a hard time in understanding - that Catholics are taught that their faith gives them access to the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit and that the truths that have been revealed in the Magisterium were divinely inspired and are, therefore, true for all time.

When someone who profess to be a Catholic ask whether the Church's stand is wrong or not, he is really saying that he hasn't decided yet whether to be a Catholic or not. To be intellectually honest, such a person should not call himself Catholic. Though the Church allows us a very broad leeway in understanding and in practicing our faith, it has not given us the choice to decide for ourselves whether the teachings already revealed are true or not.

I know that people who brand themselves modern would call this extreme, right wing and conservative. And they would judge this as non-tolerant. Yet this is our faith. If it is non-tolerant it is because it does not tolerate abuses to the Spirit and to the Body of Christ. It does not tolerate immorality being propounded by people in the guise of upholding the rights of the poor. It does not tolerate the belief that the end justifies the means. In our faith, the spirit-walk, the day-to-day living under the guidance of the Spirit, is important. "End" refers to a resulting state or condition while "means" refer to the process, the daily "acting out". An integral part of our faith is a vibrant communion with the Spirit in our daily lives, in our "acting out", in the personal process we call life. That is why the end never justifies the means - the "means", our daily life, cannot be compromised just because someone decided that a static condition sometime in the future is more desirable.

This bill proposes to do exactly that - to compromise our daily lives and our very freedoms, on their altar of some vague goal generally described as "enhancing the reproductive health of the poor" which none of them can say how, when and if it will be achieved.

Fr. De la Cruz is right. Even at the mundane level of corporate realities, he is still right. The UST professors are, after all, employees. Employers have the right to lay down what their corporate policies are. Such policies usually embody corporate values and goals phrased in glowing words but imply being detrimental to their competitors. And employess are obligated to uphold these policies and if they can't uphold them, then they can always exercise their free will and be somewhere else.

- TE