IT TAKES guts to be a Catholic nowadays.
Many Filipinos are abandoning religion; they no longer see Catholicism, or any religion for that matter, as something relevant today. They have become “superior beings” who ungratefully attack the Catholic Church, claiming it hinders prosperity.
Such phenomenon is evident in the debate over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which seeks billions in public funds for a massive contraception and population control program in the guise of reproductive health.
The debate has piqued the interest of many Filipinos, particularly the youth.Unfortunately, it also attracted bandwagon riders, who have nothing but poor rhetorics and fake hero-capes to boost their ego in the guise of contributing to the debate. They don’t bother to analyze the bill as long as they side with the popular, the charismatic, and the “enlightened” such as the Jose Rizal-wannabe Carlos Celdran whose idea of heroism is to make a scene in the middle of a Mass in the Manila Cathedral
When the Varsitarian released its fourth issue bannering the headline “Kontrasepsiyon ay Korupsiyon,” it drew the ire of many, especially those from UST (students and alumni alike).
One Thomasian Facebook user even commented on the Varsitarian’s front page photo online, saying “another biased article from the Varsitarian. Puro literary at opinion lang. Thomasians for RH!” His profile cover photo shows him smirking at UST’s pro-life poster and blatantly mocking it with a caption: “How come there wasn’t any survey conducted to get the side of the Thomasian Community?”
Such arrogance! He, along with other UST students and alumni who are attacking their Alma Mater for its stand on the RH bill, has no right to call themselves full-blooded Thomasians. How can you laud something that is proven harmful? Fool-blooded Thomasians would be more fitting.
Meanwhile, professors from Ateneo de Manila and La Salle recently threw their support behind the RH bill in separate position papers. What purpose, I wonder, does this action of them serve—aside, of course, from publicity and scandal? These professors wanted nothing more but to flaunt their “bravery” by supporting something the Catholic Church heavily opposes.
And when these professors finally got the attention they were desperately seeking—from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines who reminded them that they are teaching in Catholic institutions and should thus not use their Catholic credentials to contradict the Church—they protested their “persecution.” The cry-babies invoked their academic freedom, which merely betrayed their intellectual dishonesty: they showed that they had applied for teaching positions in high-tuition-charging elite universities in order to earn high salaries, nothing more, nothing less, without regard for the nature and function of Catholic education.
The Ateneo and La Salle faculty cheering squad for RH didn’t have any awareness that teaching in a Catholic institution goes with it the responsibility to uphold Catholic teachings that are espoused by the bishops, who are the magisterium or the successors of Christ’s apostles and therefore the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. They seem oblivious to the fact that over and beyond academic freedom, which they invoke for self-serving ends, the Catholic school exists for evangelical purposes, and if they don’t agree with these, then they’re free to leave.
By supporting the RH bill and attacking the Church—and by staying put in their faculty positions, clinging to them like leeches—the Ateneo and La Salle professors don’t have the courage of their intellectual conviction. They’re cowards.
So what are these professors teaching their students? That it is OK to bite the hands that feed you and get away with it? Why do these professors even have the gumption to walk in the hallowed groves of the Catholic academe with their poses to mask their intellectual pretensions and moral cowardice?
Church law mandates universities vested with Catholic titles not only to adhere to Church teachings but also ensure that its teachers do the same, so that gives university administration to dismiss them.
There was nothing wrong (as far as freedom of expression is concerned) with their individual support for the bill. But it was a different story when they maliciously used the name of Ateneo and La Salle for their foolish crusade, deluding people into assuming that these Catholic institutions are actually for RH bill.
The 190 Ateneo professors claim that artificial contraception is the solution to “high maternal mortality ratio, rise in teenage pregnancies, and increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases,” while the 45 professors from La Salle said artificial contraceptives are needed to deal with population growth “to improve the quality of life.”
What is more upsetting is that these students and professors belong to respected universities, but they are promoting either stupidity or malice as seen in their separate statements.
Experts, including doctors, economists, and lawyers, have constantly warned that contraception has been proven to increase cancer risks and other diseases; curbing population may halt the country’s economic growth; and existing laws already cover family planning programs and maternal health.
But no amount of explanation will ever convince RH lobbyists, for they are either stupid (for not knowing the harm RH bill will bring) or malicious (for being aware of the harm but still supports the bill to satisfy their selfish interests).
It’s simple really. If they feel like they are being shackled and constrained, they should leave their institution as soon as possible.
Indeed, it’s hard to be a Catholic today. You’re always seen as old-fashioned—someone who hinders prosperity. To remain a Catholic, one must have the courage and the inner strength to endure criticisms and stand against the intellectually pretentious and the morally bankrupt.