According to Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is merely doing its duty as moral guardians by making lawmakers aware of their opposition to contraceptives. It's up to the lawmakers to decide whether to heed their moral injunctions.
I might add that it really is up to the lawmakers to decide to heed the Bishops' call. It's up to the lawmakers to decide to accept the condemnatory messages on their cellular phones and the phones of their parents, sibling and children, should they decide not to heed the Church. It's up to the lawmakers to live with the lies and bad propaganda against them when they run for office on a reproductive health platform. It's up to the pro-women lawmakers to put up with pastoral letters read against them especially during elections.
It is also up to the Filipino people to obey the Church when Gloria decides to stop contraceptive policies and programs as quid pro quo for the Bishop's refusal to condemn her lying, cheating and stealing. Indeed our ever-so-democratic CBCP leaves it up to all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic, believers and unbelievers, to decide not to access the reproductive health services they have made non-existent by their bullying and not to use contraceptives we can't find because of their interference.
This reminds me that the medieval Church's inquisitor Torquemada, was beset by the same zeal for guarding Christian virtue as he oversaw the torture of heretics.
Like the victims of Torquemada I am wondering several things:
1) When was it that I decided that the Catholic Church would be my moral guardian? I wish I had known this during times when a tremendous infusion of CASH in my bankbook would have solved certain moral dilemmas. And don't tell me this is not the CBCP way, numerous commentators from Jose Rizal to Fr. Robert Reyes have noted that the Church has tended to resolve its moral dilemnas by looking at who gives them indulgencia. I certainly hope they can give (me) as good as they get (from Gloria.)
2) To what court do I apply to be free of the Church's moral guardianship? Last I looked even my sainted but agnostic parents had lost all guardianship rights when I turned 21.
You know what irritates me the most? It is to have these intellectual and spiritual dwarves squat all over my heavenly sharehold. Let us not forget that all intelligences tend to be correlated. The dumb in science, mathematics and logic also tend to be the dumb in moral reasoning.
Shall we take a sample of Catholic sermons current, past or future to gauge the IQ levels of the Catholic clergy? Every time I get unwittingly dragged into a mass, I end up being the only one that listens to the priest. This is because the smart brethren, who know more about these things, prefer to smoke outside, attend to their text messages or gape at the hot body or hot designer clothes of the penitents across the aisle.
I shall leave for another post the many moral-logical abysses that I have descended into on the happenstance of celebrating priests. But here's a favorite one: "dear brothers and sisters in Christ let us praise the Lord because our sister Consuelo's daughter, Concepcion, has finally become President of.." As Consuelo is wealthy, by the way, the Thanksgiving Mass for President Concepcion is officiated by an Archbishop, no less.
I see it everywhere in this country:
Praise the Lord my daughter topped the bar.
Praise the Lord without him I would not be so very, very, successful.
Pray for me brethren, I have long wanted to give my wife and children a good home because the Lord says I should be a good father, so please make me the CEO of my firm.
I always wonder why they always praise the Lord for things they want to brag about and never about something truly praiseworthy like "praise the Lord I have a brain and a heart that stops me from using piety as an excuse for conceit."
I always wonder why we are more often asked to pray for someone's self interest (the job, the exam, the bigger house) rather than their self-development: "Lord give me the strength to know that like any mother, you expect me to take care of my survival needs. Thank you that you have given me the brains and the heart to do so. There is such joy in practicing human autonomy. Thank you for this joy."
Let me be clear: my nearest and dearest ask this agnostic to pray for their daughters exams or husband's hospital stays, or whatever. This agnostic prays hard to the Goddess she thinks might be there, (right beside Bertrand Russel's teapot, the one that circles the earth) for their sakes. However this agnostic does not think that such intimate aspects of family support and family bragging should be raised to the level of communal spiritual practice.
The Philippine Catholic Church encourages an infantilized and unthinking spirituality. The same horrible spirituality that was so passionately resisted by Jose Rizal and the heroes of the anti-clerical revolution of 1896. If the Bishops really are moral and life-affirming guardians, then our people would not be in the moral swamp we are in.
Bishop Lagdameo honey, if you're going to guard my morality, I'd rather be wanton.
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