Sunday, July 13, 2008

No wafers for the lawmakers?

Today's headlines in the Manila newspaper I subscribe to says, "anti-life pols must be refused communion". The article continues: "Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado has issued a pastoral letter saying that politicians who consistently campaign for and endorse permissive abortion should be taught about the Church position."

I am so excited. I am thinking, finally the Philippine Catholic Church will refuse communion to:

1) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her bad economic policies that are causing joblessness, malnutrition and hunger. They also might refuse to give her communion for her steady erosion of he people's trust in our social institutions and our democratic processes. It does not take a high IQ to know that because of her actions, we are indeed on the road to disharmony, contention, chaos, disease and death.

2) Refuse communion to the NBN-ZTE, Northrail scalawags and other corrupt officials. As a doctor, working on women's health rights and as an academic involved in the outreach programs of my university, I have interacted through the years with the personnel of the Departments of Health and Education. These are huge government bureaucracies with people on the frontlines. These are good civil servants who must deal with the needs of ordinary folk. Through the years the main problem remains the same: the health and education budgets are meager. Criminally meager. The budgets are so small compared to the needs of our people that to describe the amounts as "anti-life" would be no exaggeration. Gloria's economic professors will tell her that the real road to "asensong mararamdaman" (progress you can feel) is to massively invest in social services including women's reproductive health.

3) Refuse communion to the representatives and senators who participate in 1) and 2). As an aside I would personally refuse them communion for murdering the English language and the reputation of the Filipino people. I still recall their impassioned, pompous, grammatically- disastrous speeches during the ouster of Speaker de Venecia. Again, I am not exaggerating. A good number of the speeches were downright unintelligible. But I digress.

So I await the massive savings that the Catholic Church will have on refusing these people the wafer. After all, refusing communion to all the corrupt would be refusing communion to the majority of our politicians.

But no, I misunderstood. It turns out that it is the legislators sponsoring reproductive health bills who are being threatened. Methinks the Archbishop has lost his way.

I must say that I respect the right of the Catholic Church (or any religion) to decide about matters of faith. I really have no comment to make about that debate regarding how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Should they declare it to be o or a billion, it is of no great moment to me.

But should they tell me to stop buying pins because angels dance on pinheads; should they refuse to give wafers to pin manufacturers; should they refuse communion to lawmakers attempting to put standards on pin manufacture---well excuse me Archbishops. Now you enter into secular space and I am allowed to ask you less respectful questions like---are you daft?

Here, in secular space, my good Archbishops, you deserve no more and no less than the rest of us. You deserve to be confronted with scientific fact and evidence and called to account when you misrepresent and mislead.

So tell me Archbishop Dozado, who told you that giving women full reproductive health services is anti-life? Do you know how many women's lives are lost because they are denied these services? Do you not read the literature? What right have you to attempt to dictate social policy on the basis of such ignorance?

Here from secular space I can remind you that to attempt to intimidate representatives of the people from doing their duty (the right of couples to determine the number of their children is in our constitution) is probably a criminal undertaking.

Please also be reminded to behave with a bit more humility. Some of the people you are threatening aren't even Catholic and have no idea what it is you are threatening them with.

Hey Bishop---leave the few legislators I can respect alone.


manuelbuencamino said...

Think of how many hungry people the bishop can feed with all the wafers he will save by not giving them to the usual suspects.

Therein might lie the solution to hunger.

Sylvia Estrada Claudio said...

Some of us want to start a "I cannot take communion" campaign. My friend Tom suggests one of the campaign messages should be, "lahat ng hostia ibigay na lang kay Gloria". Maybe if she eats it all she will get diabetes and decide to resign to attend to her health.

Kay said...

I love the blog backgrounder!:) I tend to see my own generation as rather blah compared to yours.

And re this entry, experienced unbridled glee when I read this: "Now you enter into secular space and I am allowed to ask you less respectful questions like---are you daft?"
I wonder, though, have Soc Sci 3 classes discussed this issue? Will ask the fab Soc Sci 3 team---

-Kay Anonuevo

Sylvia Estrada Claudio said...

Hey Kay,

Love you too! Funny about your seeing your generation as "blah" compared to mine. Because I am thinking about how you are the blogger generation and how you invented this gleeful medium which allows me to ask, "are you daft". Sa Filipino, "ano ka timang?"

Good idea to discuss this in soc sci 3.

yourgoddessfriend said...

ha ha ha. I feel the anger and sarcasm but I cannot help laughing.

I hope you don't mind if I forward this to the other e groups :D

and i like Tom (kung sino man siya).


Nathalie said...

Yesterday, during a graded recitation in his sixth grade CLE (Religion) class in Ateneo on the beatitudes, LJ (my eleven year old son) used my economist brother, his Tito Sonny, as an example of someone who had a “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” LJ spoke of his Tito’s work as Head of Research of Ibon Foundation, of his economic advocacies, of his also being an Atenean…Teacher then makes a comment, “Your uncle must be very religious.” His quick reply was, “No, Sir, he doesn’t believe in God.”

“I wanted it to be ‘in your face,’ Mommy.” – from an eleven year old who acknowledges that religion is not a sine qua non to being/ doing good.

Ay!, enough of bullying tactics from the Church. Enough too, of politicians who need to make a show of purity and goodness to their constituents by the act of receiving communion. (Pero to the pols who are really pure and good and want to receive the body of Christ, I feel for you.)

Sylvia Estrada Claudio said...

Hey Natsy and Maya,

Thanks for the comments. I am asked to put the two blogs together for an editorialin Business World.

Went to your blog Natsy. Read last two but have no time to post comments. Got to work on the editorial.