Monday, September 26, 2011

PNoy on same-sex marriages this time

Does he understand?

If one still has any doubts that the current sitting President, Benigno Aquino III Jr, has firmly decided to alienate himself from his Catholic identity, then his recent pronouncement should leave no more doubts. His defiant attitude towards the Church by his unabashed support of the RH bill is now firmly reinforced by his recent pronouncement in apparent support of same-sex marriage.

President Noynoy Aquino, who prides himself in being Jesuit-educated, says in response to a query on same-sex marriage:

"Gay marriage—I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that fight right now. But the perspective... it is their choice. Normally I would say, you’re adults, you should be able to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t harm anybody else...."

One wonders whether PNoy's "principled" stand is simply contingent on whether or not he is ready to "tackle that fight". One further wonders whether his principle is simply dependent on his targeted mass popularity by kowtowing to the liberal public. His perspective on placing individual "choice" over and above an essential principle in Catholic doctrine clearly puts himself in direct contradiction to a "non-negotiable" in the public sphere which is clearly spelled out by the Catholic Church of which he claims to be a follower.

Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes that the Church is consciously drawing particular attention to three principles which are non-negotiable, wherein the second non-negotiable goes as follows:

[The] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

Yet perhaps the president is a devout advocate of the principle of "Separation of Church and State", which is pretty much interpreted these days as equivalent to saying that just about anything the Church says should be altogether disregarded and repudiated in these modern times. Pope Benedict XVI in his recent address to the German Bundestag shreds such a positivist approach to nature and reason as being opposed to true human freedom, but then again it may be too much to expect PNoy to train his ears towards the Holy Father's words. Perhaps his ears may have been too much attuned to the proclamations of the self-proclaimed "messiah": President Obama of the United States.

Be as it may, with regards to Church-State separation and its misguided interpretations, we may yet look into what the State - specifically the Philippine State - has to say on the matter. It is no secret that the Philippine Constitution enshrines the principle in Article II Section 12:

"The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution"

Unless the Philippine president has purposely ignored this fundamental constitutional provision with the same nonchalance he has shown to fundamental Catholic teachings, it would be at least charitable to say that his phalanx of presidential advisers have taken a vacation - since day one of his presidency. Perhaps even with the same strange stance on PNoy's part, it is worth remembering that his own mother (God bless her), the late President Corazon Aquino was the very person who in 1987 promulgated the Family Code of the Philippines, which in Article II states to wit:

"No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present: (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female"

Note: must be male and female. In supporting same-sex marriages, PNoy has chosen to contradict the Church, the State, and his own mother in his dalliance with his own shadow. Let it be said that today's Gospel is about obedience, even if one does not understand fully. Apparently, PNoy's dillema is more about not being able to understand more than having the virtue of obedience. But maybe, perhaps both.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family and Life Ministry Articles

(draft articles for Q4 2011 Family and Life Ministry Newsletter)


Renato Manzano (brother Along to his many friends), once gave an NFP seminar on the Standard Days Method (SDM) to Family and Life Ministry coordinators at the Cubao Diocese formation center. Brother Along spiced his NFP lecture with many interesting and humorous anecdotes that made the short seminar entertaining as well as very educational. He emphasizes that husbands should not move the beads two or three at a time beyond the wife’s knowledge - an amusing reference to the counting of beads that is a simple method in the SDM to keep track of fertility cycles.

Brother Along is one of the many Family and Life coordinators and NFP volunteer resource persons who have been trained under the auspices of the Cubao Diocese and its various parishes. In the Christ the King Parish of the Sta Rita Vicariate where brother Along is the Family and Life coordinator, he joins hands with 5 other NFP volunteer consultants to provide NFP consultancy to its parishioners. They have been trained in all modern NFP methods such as the Billings Ovulation Method, Standard Days Method, Two-Days Method, Thermal, and Sympto-Thermal NFP methods. Under the pastoral stewardship of Fr. Henry, these NFP volunteers are available on-call, anytime to render able assistance to those who seek NFP consulting services. This initiative is replicated in at least three other parishes of the Sta Rita Vicariate, where 11 others Parish NFP “consultants” likewise selflessly devote their time and effort towards reinforcing the promotion of NFP which is a major Diocese-wide thrust of the Family and Life Ministry. Brother Along’s group is set to stage an NFP seminar in their vicariate this coming October to beef up their resources, a strategy that is similarly meant to be sustained Diocese-wide.

This NFP program has been envisioned by the Diocesan Family and Life Ministry as a practical effort to counter anti-life forces in the country, a step beyond the usual campaigns of conducting pro-life forums which the Diocese has already undertaken many times in the past. So anytime any parishioner feels the need to get informed about NFP towards its practical use, they can always seek the services of Family and Life workers like brother Along and many others in the Diocesean NFP program who are ever willing to instruct, evangelize, and at the same time – entertain.


The Christ The King Parish in Green Meadows is one of the busiest parishes in the diocese in terms of number of marriages solemnized. According to CK FLM coordinator brother (Doctor) Doy Lopez, they can average over 20 marriages in a month! It is therefore fitting that we chose them to share their experiences in conducting precana seminars.

CK’s precana team is composed of 12 couples who alternate in delivering 7 precana topics over a successive two-day, 8am to 5pm weekend schedule two months before the actual wedding. Each session numbers around 24 to 30 couple participants. NFP is delivered as the concluding topic to wrap up the seminar.

The husband and wife team of Dr Doy and Estrelle Lopez has been fully dedicated in coordinating the precana seminars, which is scheduled bi-monthly. They have been very active as coordinators of the Family and Life Ministry since 1996. With parish workers such as the Lopez couple and their precana team, those who tie the knot are assured of starting married bliss on the right path – with boundless blessings for a happy family devoted to God.


Lina Espina goes to Mass every Sunday at 7:15am. She actually arrives 15 minutes before the Mass to ensure the families that assigned to lead the Prayers of the Faithful as well as the Family offerors are all set and ready. When a volunteer family fails to show up for some unexpected reason, she approaches another family right there in the church to ensure that the Prayers for the Faithful and the Mass offering is covered. She not only does this for the 7:15am mass but for the rest of the seven Sunday masses as well.

Sister Lina, as parishioners fondly call her, has been at the service of the Family and Life Ministry at the Holy Family Parish Kamias, St Joseph Vicariate for over 20 years. For the past 5 years, she has untiringly focused her service to the “Simbang Pamilya” program of the Family and Life Ministry. She has well over 50 families in her “database” of volunteer families who serve either as Prayers for the Faithful leaders or Mass offerors.

Ever since 5 years ago when Bishop Ongtioco pioneered the “Simbang Pamilya” program for the Cubao Diocese, the Family and Life Ministry of the Holy Family Parish in Kamias has implemented it on all Sunday Masses (except the 6AM Mass). It has helped that 18 parish organizations have been tapped to invite families for the Simbang Pamilya either as readers or offerors. Each organization is assigned a mass slot every Sunday, with the encouragement of the Parish Priest Fr Ben ArceƱo. A similar approach is being practised Diocese-wide.

Sister Lina has many stories to tell in her service in the Family and Life Ministry. Once, she happened to invite a family where the father is not on speaking terms with the eldest son due to a long-standing argument. The family hesitantly obliged and went on to lead the Prayers for the faithful on one Sunday Mass. The reconciliation between the father and the son was sparked by that prayerful event and since then, they have patched up their differences and the entire family now goes to mass together consistently. Simbang Pamilya is truly a blessing to the Church, and parish workers all over the diocese like Sister Lina serve as powerful instruments of God to keep the family together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The ultimate Pro-RH Bill Combox Guide against Prolifers

I LOL'ed at Matthew Archbold's post in NCR entitled "The Anti-Catholic's Guide to Catholic Comboxes". It gave me an idea to come up with a Top 10 List to guide Pro-RH Bill advocates in haranguing prolifers in the comboxes. Here goes

The ultimate Pro-RH Bill Combox Guide against Prolifers

10. Let the women decide for their own bodies, don't worry we are indoctrinating them.
9. What outdated views you have. Did you not know that St Augustine favored abortion? I am atheist by the way.
8. Unscientific! It's just a clump of cells, and my science says life starts at implantation, you clump!
7. You just do not understand separation of church and state, yeah we redefined that too.
6. Sure it causes breast cancer that kills, but its good for the cervix.
5. Your morality is different from my morality! (it sounds better in Tagalog).
4. Overpopulation !!! Who cares about steadily decreasing TFRs anyway?
3. We must be right because 90% of Filipinos are in favor (from surveys they don't understand)
2. You crazy prolife bigots are devoid of arguments and just resort to name-calling and character assassination. You #%@*# !!!!

1. The WHO said so, why don't you just adore everything they say? ...oops