Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CBCP 2010 Lenten Message

"A transformed society is built of renewed individual citizens."

2010 Lenten Message

The journey through the season of Lent into the Holy Week once again accords us an opportunity conducive to a sincere review of our life in the light of the teachings of the Gospel. Jesus’ compelling challenge: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel (Mark 1:15)” cohesively capsulates the true spirit of this season. Through the traditional practices of fasting and abstinence, we are reminded of a deep and lasting abandonment of our sinful ways so that we can enter into a living relationship with Christ, who alone offers true freedom, happiness, and fulfillment. By our prayers and reflections on the suffering and death of Christ , we intensify our awareness of the movement of evil and its devastating effects to ourselves and others. And more importantly, our discernments leads us to a continuous movement toward personal conversion and genuine social transformation as we look forward to Christ’s resurrection and salvific action on Easter Sunday.

How are we challenged individually and collectively as a community by this season of repentance and renewal? Rightly so, if we are to examine the very core of our being, we realize that our hearts innately crave for power, are attached to material wealth, content to maintain the status quo, and inclined to worldly allurements and other forms of selfish desires. All these have outward manifestations through the increasing cases of graft and corruption in many institutions, poverty, violation of human rights, vote buying-and-selling and other forms of electoral fraud, abuse of natural resources, land grabbing, and all forms of injustices.

The pursuit for good is a fundamental option among individuals. Our efforts of deep concern for the members of the family apparently show our yearning to provide them good and quality life. In fact, we advocate good governance and seek responsible leaders in view of establishing a just and peaceful society—where all may enjoy a fuller life. But above anything else, we take heed to this crucial call to conversion because God, the Creator and Ultimate Origin of all Good, has drawn us to Himself through His death and resurrection.

A transformed society is built of renewed individual citizens. Our Lenten journey leads us to that total personal renewal which has two decisive movements: the first crucial step is repentance. In his homily during Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father Benedict XVI said: “The first act of righteousness, therefore, is to recognize one's own iniquity; it is to recognize that it (sin) is rooted in the ‘heart’, in the very center of the human person.” This initial act, more than mere recognition, requires us to renounce our inordinate attachments, obsessions, addictions, and rebelliousness. We begin to empty ourselves of empty lavishness. The second step is believing in the Gospel—a necessary consequence of our remorseful rejection of sin. This subsequent step brings us to a new direction of life. At this point, we do not act according to mere impulse and human tendencies but illumined by the Gospel, we practice justice, we become peacemakers, and we love in a manner that the Lord Jesus Christ loves. We therefore set our eyes completely to Christ the very Person we encounter intimately in the sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist, the Living Word in the Gospel we preach, and the Paschal Christ we follow in this journey toward Integral Renewal.

+Nereo P. Odchimar
Bishop of Tandag
CBCP President

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, and others

Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday

From "Hosanna!" to "Crucify him!"

The first crowd wanted to worship him, and the second crowd wanted to get rid of him. There were some from the first crowd who joined the second. There were also some who just stayed silent out of fear.

And then there is a third crowd, who doesn't seem to care either way.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I thank the Lord

Today, I praise and thank the Lord for...

Faith - that gives me strength and unwavering hope;

Illumination - that lights up my path so I can cope;

Family - that my family and brethren walk with me;

Trials - that strengthen me with Him at my side;

Yearning - that I face each day with a joyful stride.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Same road

The Catholic teaching (meaning the real one) looks pretty much straightforward, so it comes as a huge disappointment that 86 Catholic (?) legislators (h/t CMR) voted in favor of the bill (the final vote: 219-212), despite strong opposition by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It seems the 2002 CDF pronouncement fell on deaf ears.

In November 24, 2002 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a DOCTRINAL NOTE on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.

Its introduction states:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, having received the opinion of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has decided that it would be appropriate to publish the present Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life. This Note is directed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church and, in a particular way, to Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies.

In the light of recent developments, the Doctrinal Note is worth reiterating, and is exemplified by some excerpts from section 4 (emphasis mine).

[4]...John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life. (Evangelium Vitae) For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.

In this context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action.

When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person. This is the case with laws concerning abortion...

What is it with this Vatican note that Catholics find very difficult to understand? With respect to declining fidelity to the Magisterium, there is an alarming trend that indicates the word 'Catholic' is now taken for granted. The outstanding thing is that there appears to be very strong state-of-denials, as each one is wont to have a personal brand of 'Catholicism'. I recently asked one US-based friend who celebrated the passage of the bill: What about the prolife concerns? He responded rather firmly (and quite indignantly, I felt) that the health care bill IS prolife, and that he IS prolife for supporting it. I guess that puts him in common ground with those LCWR nuns. House Speaker Pelosi, it can also be remembered, once said she was "an ardent, practicing Catholic".
Here in the supposedly more conservative Philippines, I believe the signs are already there. Same road.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The solution of Obamacare

While here in the Philippines, Pro-life groups continue to battle the inroads made by contraceptives, in the U.S., the battle has reached an advanced stage - battling inroads made by abortions. The U.S. Congress has now passed President Obama's pet health care plan, in a bill that is strongly opposed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the grounds that its provisions "expand federal participation in abortion, require people to pay for other people's abortions, and refuse to incorporate essential conscience protections".

As the health care bill is poised to become law, it steps up as the next historic landmark in abortion since Roe vs Wade. That 1973 landmark abortion law by the U.S. Supreme Court was of course the subsequent historic step for abortion after years of liberalizing and promoting contraceptives. In the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in another landmark case to liberalize contraceptives.

It all adds up.

While pro-contraceptives deny the link between contraceptives and abortion (claiming that contraceptives are the solution to abortion), the writing has long been on the wall. On this, it is worthwhile to track back Professor Janet Smith's 1993 article "The Connection between Contraception and Abortion".

Here are some excerpts from that article:

We need to realize that a society in which contraceptives are widely used is going to have a very difficult time keeping free of abortions since the lifestyles and attitudes that contraception fosters create an alleged "need" for abortion.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the recent (1992-ed.) Supreme Court decision that confirmed Roe v. Wade, stated, "in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception . . . . for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail."

The Supreme Court decision has made completely unnecessary any efforts to "expose" what is really behind the attachment of the modern age to abortion. As the Supreme Court candidly states, we need abortion so that we can continue our contraceptive lifestyles. It is not because contraceptives are ineffective that a million and half women a year seek abortions as back-ups to failed contraceptives. The "intimate relationships" facilitated by contraceptives are what make abortions "necessary". "Intimate" here is a euphemism and a misleading one at that. Here the word "intimate" means "sexual"; it does not mean "loving and close." Abortion is most often the result of sexual relationships in which there is little true intimacy and love, in which there is no room for a baby, the natural consequence of sexual intercourse. Contraception enables those who are not prepared to care for babies, to engage in sexual intercourse; when they become pregnant, they resent the unborn child for intruding itself upon their lives and they turn to the solution of abortion.

And now, the solution of ObamaCare to the solution of abortion.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What would Jesus write and do

A pastor once announced in one of his sermons that there were 726 different kinds of sins. Soon he was deluged with requests for the list. Most of the requests came from folks who had their own short lists and they all wanted to know which sins they were missing out.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 21, 2010
John 8:1-11

The story of the adulterous woman is well-known. Curiously, it is almost always referenced in conjunction with compassion towards sinners, tolerance and forgiveness, along with the very tiresome do-not-judge refrain. While all of these are surely notable, there are many extreme viewpoints which appeal to the passages to justify tolerance of sin, and intolerance of its rightful judgment. While the chapter certainly teaches many things, tolerating manifest, obstinate sin isn’t one of them. Almost lost in translation is the emphatic ending where Jesus said: “Go, and from now on do not sin any more”.

The strange thing is that the Pharisees make no mention of the other party in the adulterous situation. As it takes two or more to tango, the adulterous situation cannot possibly transpire with just one individual alone. In this case, the woman was dragged off by the Pharisees to be stoned to death, but what were they thinking with regards to the adulterous man involved? Even so, had they enough proper witnesses?

other mystery is: What could Jesus have been writing on the ground? The texts are silent here. The verses only state that as the charges were brought up, "Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger." Then when the Pharisees became persistent where upon Jesus uttered that famous line "...you...without sin...cast the first stone", it was recounted that "again he bent down and wrote on the ground.".

Just what did Jes
us write (or draw) on the ground? To be sure, the Pharisees could not have missed observing Jesus writing, as all eyes were on him. Whatever was written on both instances (with impeccable timing), were likely a prelude and an exclamation point to Jesus' challenge. Obviously, the Pharisees realized they were now at a loss in squarely confronting Jesus with a self-righteous air, because at this point, "they went away one by one".

Clearly, Jesus got their numbers.

Maybe Jesu
s began to list down 726 or so sins, starting with the sins of the Pharisees. Maybe he wrote down Old Testament passages about sinning and accusing. But then again, there couldn’t be enough time and space. If the Scribes and Pharisees had to pay attention and understand, the scribblings had to be plainly visible and readable all around. Moreover, we have to take note that he was writing with his fingers, on the ground. Most likely, Jesus just wrote down something concise and illustrative, and even though it was soon erased from the ground long ago, the message is good for all times.

Here then, is my guess:

1 + 1 is > 1


1 is > 0


Friday, March 19, 2010

Odds and Ends 3/19/10

Quiboloy wishes presidency for Madrigal

SACRED MOUNTAIN, Davao City – Senator Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal was on Cloud Nine after Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, head of the religious sect "Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name" said he wished she would win the presidential elections and cited her for her "crusade" against corruption.

No, he ain't kidding. Expect the loaves, rather the votes for Jamby, multiply. Only problem is, when you multiply zero by 5000, it will still be zero.

Meanwhile, Aquino and Villar seem to have gone into confession.

Singing fishermen land a whopper of a record deal

The Fisherman's Friends have signed with Universal Music -- whose roster includes Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse and Take That -- for an estimated one million pounds (1.12 million euros, 1.53 million dollars), news reports said.

"We don't really know what to expect, to be honest -- we're just making it up as we go along," said fisherman Baritone Brown, one of the group's members who are mostly in their 50s.

Watch out, mate. Listen to the Mexican fishermen first.

French mother sentenced to 15 years for killing six babies

COUTANCES-A court on Thursday sentenced a French mother to 15 years in jail for smothering or strangling to death six of her newborn babies...

How horrifying and how sad. But how come in France, you can get away with smothering 12-week-old babies to death?

Nuns Backstab Bishops on Health Care, Demand Bill's Passage

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The health care reform controversy appears to have brought serious disagreements within the U.S. Catholic Church out into the open. Just days after the Catholic Health Association endorsed the Senate health-care bill, the Catholic Leadership Conference of Women Religious has also now publicly broken ranks with the US Catholic Bishops, demanding that the House of Representatives pass the abortion-promoting legislation.

In the book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI talks about the first temptation: "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread". Apparently, these nuns see bread where there is only stone.
Perhaps Prof. Monsod and Sec. Cabral see stones in their statistics too.

Here is an abbreviated excerpt regarding the first temptation:

"At the heart of all temptations is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundations, refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion - that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms. Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation. It does not invite us directly to do evil, no - that would be far too blatant. It pretends to show us a better way, where we throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place. What is real is what is right there in front of us: power and bread. By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Odds and Ends 3/17/10

Mayweather Jr. claims Pacquiao one-dimensional fighter

“Personally, I think Pacquiao got exposed in that fight for being one-dimensional,” Mayweather told Tom Jenkins of Cagereport.net.

Prove it inside the ring, Mr Mayweather.

Arroyo can appoint next Chief Justice—SC

Voting 9-1-3, the Supreme Court ruled that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could appoint the next Chief Justice, a spokesman for the high tribunal said Wednesday.

Last January, Noynoy Aquino boldy said: “Let me forewarn any member of the Supreme Court who shall accept to be chief justice by appointment of the outgoing President, that not only shall he not be recognized, but he risks even his presence in the Court as an associate member,”.
What now, Noynoy?

Teodoro, Gordon talk about health, mum on sex life

During the forum, Teodoro also said he favored government funding for both natural and modern methods of family planning.

Note: "natural and modern" methods of family planning. The direct implication is that natural means not modern. For the information of Mr. Teodoro, NFP is now based on the modern Billings Ovulation Method, the Sympto-Thermal Method, and the Creighton Model. The correct term is "natural vs artificial".

Gordon, however, said the government should not spend money for condoms. He said the government should instead use the money for education.

Education, right. Like educating most people that there is such a thing as modern NFP.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Odds and Ends 3/16/10

( Some odds and ends on the culture of law abidance and the wheels of justice hereabouts [sigh] )

Strictly implement gun ban, Nograles urges

Why oh why is the word "strictly" normally used as an adjective for "implement"?
Gordon, Fernando on big posters: Why single us out

In other words: if others are allowed to violate the law, why can't we?
SC fails to rule on Bulacan governorship row

I just hope this 2007 electoral protest finally gets settled by May, just in time for the next gubernatorial election.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Winning a fight

Before anything else, I would like to congratulate Manny Pacquiao, again. And to Joshua Clottey: you can't win without fighting for it. I mean, really fighting.

Now here's an
ongoing fight - on condoms, again. In her Inquirer column this weekend, Solita Monsod joins the fray.

The endless ‘condom dilemma’

Ma'm Monsod usually writes in her no-nonsense, hard-nosed, lets-get-the-facts-straight style that is very engaging and doubly difficult to contradict, but let me try to quibble a little bit.

She starts by exclaiming:
"OH NO, HERE WE GO AGAIN, DEBATING ON an issue that has been medically resolved. I am of course talking about condoms.". The issue at hand in her own words, is on "how serious is the HIV/AIDS problem in the Philippines and what medical studies say about the effectiveness of condoms.".

On the seriousness of AIDS, Monsod writes:

And while our official data show that the total cumulative number of reported HIV/AIDS cases was 4,567, another set of estimates puts it at a much higher number. This alternative data set can be found in “The Epidemiological Fact Sheet on HIV and AIDS—Philippines, 2008 Update,” published by the World Health Organization, UNAIDS (UN Joint Program on HIV/AIDS). What are their estimates for the Philippines? Not 4,567, but an average of 8,300—with a low estimate of 6,000 and a high estimate of 11,000. And this was as of 2007, mind you, while our official estimates were for up to 2010. In other words, the Philippine official estimates are very conservative (or much more op
timistic) than the international estimates.

On the effectiveness of condoms for AIDS, Monsod writes:

"Now let’s go to the condom effectiveness issue. Are they effective in preventing HIV/AIDS? The answer is “Yes,” if we listen to the WHO circa 2000 and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health circa 1999...Johns Hopkins is more of the same (and probably one source of the WHO fact sheet): “Condoms provide highly effective protection against HIV infection when used correctly with every act of intercourse. All 10 cohort studies conducted through 1995 that evaluated condom use among heterosexual couples showed that consistent condom use protected against HIV."

It is hard to contest the figures and it's just as hard to contest the findings of a
reputable research organization, although it surely must be a case of glass-half-empty, glass-half-full sort of thing. The facts may also give us something like the what-do-you-see-an-old-lady-or-young-lady sort of illusion (see picture at left). The thing is, the facts tell us something either way. Let us take for example the "high estimate" of 11,000 cases in a nation of 90M. The facts also say it is still a far, far cry from the end-2007 estimated 610,000 cases in Thailand with a population of 65M; or 240,000 in Burma with a population of 47.7M; or 290,000 in Vietnam with a population of 86M. In all three countries, condom usage is rising and its use is aggressively promoted. The particular case of Thailand, where the 100% condom program was launched way, way back in the early 90's, is deeply troubling. How come despite its massive condom funding for nearly two decades, its HIV cases are more than 550 times than that in the Philippines? So I see, condoms have been proven to be scientifically effective as protection against HIV? Depends on what they mean by 'effective', certainly they cannot mean 100%. Are we now supposed to mimic Thailand and spend $80M++ annually on condoms? On the other hand, isn't Thailand supposed to learn from us? Could the sudden spike in the Philippines HIV cases be attributable to low condom prevalence, or are there some other more significant factors at work? In the Philippines, does the statistics on the recent rise in HIV infections state what are the attributes of the rising cases? How about infections through intravenous drug abuse? Just assuming that the new cases stem largely from promiscuous sex, do we then give out free condoms because condoms are inaccessible and unaffordable to many of these existing cases who have been infected through promiscuous sex, including MSM? Which study says these people couldn't access nor afford condoms, which are legally and openly sold as it is? If we have been neglecting condoms for sooo long, why is our HIV statistics not in the 6-digit figure? Where does AIDS education come into the picture? Monsod's statistics and research references raise more questions than answers.

And indeed, Monsod concludes her article with a question:

"The question therefore is: Will the beneficial social, economic and health aspects outweigh the disadvantageous moral/religious aspects, or will it be vice versa?"

Even as the word 'beneficial' may be argued, the above question of course is only relevant to a secularist with a relativist worldview on what is right. Weigh things against each other, and the weightier side should prevail? But from whose viewpoint? The problem is again, there will be widespread disagreement on whether one sees an old lady or a young lady. But ask a bishop, and of course he will tell you that apart from disparate perspectives, you can't weigh things against moral absolutes: any intrinsic evil cannot be justified by a relative good that could supposedly come out of it. Thus from a Catholic viewpoint, there should be no dilemma in the first place, and you can't simply weigh things
amorally to evaluate which is right. Finally, AIDS is not the worst consequence there is, for one thing, it only lasts a lifetime.

Back to Joshua Clottey: The bottom line is you tried to escape punishment with a good defensive tactic while employing a lousy fight plan.
But first, you must understand what 'winning' means, and what it takes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The wrath of Apollo

Aquino, Villar face pastor’s ‘divine wrath’

Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar, the top two presidential contenders, failed to attend the presidential forum. Mukhang in-indyan ba. A terribly disappointed Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, head of the sect "Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name", thus declaims:

"There is something that they say about commitment. An unknown man defined it as word of honor. When you fail to fulfill your commitment, you have no word and you have no honor."

Gosh. Since Quiboloy said that his choice of presidential candidate would be announced next month (after "the Father’s revelation", he claims) it is now highly unlikely that his choice will be any of these two leading candidates (now statistically tied for the top spot by the way) whom he already referred to as having "no word and... no honor.".

Villar later apologized but offered no specific excuse. Good ploy, he is keeping his opportunities open without openly offending Quiboloy. I know, he could have attended the forum if he really wanted to. After all, he was already in the area. Further, it could not have escaped his attention that his closest rival Noynoy wasn't attending as well, and the business acumen in him probably decided to call it "quits lang".

Meanwhile, Ang Kapatiran Party presidential candidate JC de los Reyes said he decided to boycott the forum because of his party’s strict adherence to "principled politics.", and visited Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla instead. When Bishop Capalla asked him if he would attend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ forum, de los Reyes said: "I know my Shepherd and His shepherds know me.". I think this is an allusion to John 10:27.

On the other hand, Aquino's excuse was a bout of barosinusitis, which apparently hampered him from traveling by aircraft. I wonder if Aquino would have insisted on attending had it occurred to him that Quiboloy just might be able to lay miraculous healing hands upon his barosinusitis, whatever that is. As the good Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz quipped: "How can you violate what the 'son of God' will say?". How indeed?, given that Quiboloy supposedly commands six million votes. Woe to anyone who displeases Quiboloy, lest they be branded "without word and honor", and lose 6M supporters as well. It pretty much sounds like being condemned to eternal fire. At least those six candidates (who attended) escaped 'divine wrath', so I guess his inspired choice would now be limited to those lambs, I mean, candidates. Maybe Quiboloy would eventually choose Jamby Madrigal. From the looks of the surveys, she needs nothing short of a miracle. Abangan.

Jesuit university, again

Catholic World News reports:

Jesuit university hosts abortion advocates at forum

The headline points to the following story.

Abortionfest at USF

Abortion providers, facilitators, defenders to speak at Jesuit university’s ‘Women’s Rights Forum’

The University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution, will host the “Global Women's Rights Forum” from today through Thursday, March 11. The forum is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, the Sociology Colloquium, the School of Nursing, the Politics Department, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, and curiously, the Theology and Religious Studies Department...
Good Lord. What is the matter with some(?) of these Jesuits? It must be remembered, the Jesuits have a great history in missionary work and in the counter-Reformation. They were even assigned early on to the confessionals as far as I know. What's happening? So, what were those guys in the Theology and Religious Studies Department thinking? And why did the University allow this? This reminds me of some Theology professors in the Ateneo who openly expressed support for the RH bill. (sigh)

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us, and knock some sense into these people who forgot your legacy.

Here is the famous Rule 13 of the Spiritual Exercises from St. Ignatius, in case (some) Jesuits forgot:

"That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same; ..."

And so it is told that a man walked up to a Franciscan and a Jesuit and asked,

"How many novenas must you say to get a Mercedes Benz?"

The Franciscan asked, "What's a Mercedes Benz?"

The Jesuit asked, "What's a novena?"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Notre Shame, again

The student newspaper of Notre Dame has refused to publish Dr. Rice´s regular column "Right or Wrong".

Matt Gamber, the new Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, writes Dr. Rice to explain:

"While your piece was well-researched and I trust the information was factually correct, I did not feel it lent itself to creating a productive discussion, all things considered. I was a bit concerned with certain language as well.... In the future, if you would like to examine this topic, we thought it might be beneficial to do so in a point-counterpoint format, perhaps with an author of an opposing or differing viewpoint."

Dr, Rice, in response, says:

"In a university that claims to be Catholic, I am not willing to restrict my presentation of Catholic teaching to a format that treats the authoritative teaching of the Church as merely one viewpoint or "side" among many."

Below is Dr. Rice' unpublished column, in full. Basically, it echoes the Catechism, Popes Paul VI, and John Paul II, and the Bible. Ah, too biased for Notre Dame?

'Right or Wrong?'

Charles E. Rice

"A big issue at Notre Dame a few weeks ago was "sexual orientation" and the status of the Notre Dame Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual/ Transgender (GLBT) community. Enough time has passed to make it useful to review some of the governing principles as found in the teaching of the Catholic Church. That teaching includes four pertinent elements:

"Homosexual acts are always objectively wrong. The starting point is the Catechism: "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction to persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, Tradition has always declared that ´homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.´ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." No. 2357.

"Homosexual acts are doubly wrong. They are not only contrary to nature. They are wrong also because they are extra-marital. The Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, issued in 1986 with the approval of John Paul II, said, "It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behavior therefore acts immorally. To choose someone of the same sex for one´s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals of the Creator´s sexual design." No 7.

"Since homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," the inclination toward those acts is disordered. An inclination to commit any morally disordered act, whether theft, fornication or whatever, is a disordered inclination. "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies," says the Catechism, "is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial." No. 2358. That inclination, however, is not in itself a sin.

"[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies," says the Catechism, "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." No. 2358. In a culture which tends to marginalize and disrespect those with physical or psychological disorders, it will be useful to recall the admonition of the 1986 Letter that "The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation…. Today the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she… insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God and, by grace, his child and heir to eternal life." No. 16.

"The prohibition of "unjust" discrimination, however, does not rule out the making of reasonable and just distinctions with respect to military service, the wording of university nondiscrimination policies and other matters including admission to seminaries. As the Congregation for Catholic Education said in its 2005 Instruction on the subject, "the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ´gay culture.´" No. 2.

"[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies…. are called to fulfill God´s will in their lives, and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord´s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition…. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." Catechism, nos. 2358, 2359.

"The positive, hopeful teaching of the Church on marriage, the family and the transmission of life is founded on the dignity of the person as a creature made in the image and likeness of God. The "gay rights" movement is, instead, a predictable consequence of the now-dominant contraceptive ethic. Until the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930, no Christian denomination had ever said that contraception could ever be objectively right. The Catholic Church continues to affirm the traditional Christian position that contraception is intrinsically an objective evil.

"Contraception, said Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968, is wrong because it deliberately separates the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act. If, sex has no intrinsic relation to procreation and if, through contraception, it is entirely up to man (of both sexes) whether sex will have any such relation, how can one deny legitimacy to sexual acts between two men or between two women? The contraceptive society cannot deny that legitimacy without denying itself.

"Further, if individual choice prevails without regard to limits of nature, how can the choice be limited to two persons? Polygamy (one man, multiple women), polyandry (one woman, multiple men), polyamory (sexual relations between or among multiple persons of one or both sexes) and other possible arrangements, involving the animal kingdom as well, would derive legitimacy from the same contraceptive premise that justifies one-on-one homosexual relations.

"It would be a mistake to view the homosexual issue as simply a question of individual rights. The militant "gay rights" movement seeks a cultural and legal redefinition of marriage and the family, contrary to the reality rooted in reason as well as faith. Marriage, a union of man and woman, is the creation not of the state but of God himself as seen in Genesis.

"Sacramento coadjutor bishop Jaime Soto, on Sept. 26, 2008, said: "Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression." Space limits preclude discussion here of the "same-sex marriage" issue, which we defer to a later column."

Professor Emeritus Rice is on the law school faculty [of Notre Dame University]. He may be reached at 574-633-4415 or rice.1@nd.edu.

Source: http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=35679
(h/t TE)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Condoms: Supergood?

ANC Coverage - Atty Jo Imbong of AKP vs Sec Espie Cabral of DOH (h/t Tons)

Atty Jo Imbong (early in part 2) pointed out from various studies that condoms have a high failure rate in preventing AIDS, to which Sec Cabral responds :

"Yes, that is true that condoms is not a foolproof way...but...something that is successful at 85% is supergood as far as medicine is concerned."

Hmm. But a condom is NOT a medicine for AIDS by any stretch of the imagination. Also, AIDS is incurable and deadly, as far as I know. I wonder if it's worth it to indulge in risky behavior that entails a 15% chance of contracting a deadly disease. But 85% is supergood huh. More like superbad to me.