A COUPLE of weeks ago, I opened my Facebook account and received a notification containing a link from my fellow Varsitarian editor, so I went to the link and saw Carlos Celdran’s profile.

For those who were born yesterday, Celdran was the Intramuros tourist guide who interrupted a Mass at the Manila Cathedral last October 1. He brought with him a placard with “Damaso” written over it, and shouted: “Stop getting involved in politics” in reference to the Church’s staunch opposition against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

He posted a link of the Varsitarian’s editorial found in the paper’s online edition and said: “…is reading the Varsitarian of University of Santo Tomas condemning me and lamenting the “apathy” of today’s Filipino Catholics. Sigh…” I imagined a man getting tired of being condemned but that was not what caught my eye.

There were comments posted by people who support Celdran and what bothered me the most, aside from the grammatical and factual errors, is that some of the comments say that Varsitarian staff members, and perhaps, the Catholics opposing the RH bill, are defending their faith solely on the basis that they “do not bite the hand that feeds them.”

The irony of the statement was devastating; I realized the world we are living in is losing its sense of propriety with regards to religion. UST is basically a part of the Catholic community in the Philippines, and the implication of the statement was not only directed to UST but also to the Catholic Church.

A column of Rector Father Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. last November 14 in the Manila Bulletin seem to echo the current situation in the leading Catholic country in Asia.

READ
Arjum

Using his example and based on what I had read, the Belgian parliament had a similar scenario when they approved the legalization of abortion in 1990.

Although Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Maertens opposed such law, he was outvoted by ruling parties of the Parliament. It was now up to King Baudouin to accept the abortion law.

With much bravado and integrity, he refused to sign the law and insisted that it was against his beliefs as a Catholic to approve of abortion.

The Parliament did not stop there. They tried to overrule the King and in 1990 declared the throne vacant due to the incapacity of the King to rule Belgium.

While reading this anecdote in Father Rector’s column, I cannot really fathom why there is so much unholy fervor among Filipinos, especially with the officials persistently trying to pass the RH bill.

We cannot anymore distinguish what is right from wrong. It is now a matter of whether a law, a situation or even an action, is beneficial to the people or not.

Moreover, there is no longer any concern for what is moral and what is due to the people the Church is trying to protect. She is not only defending herself, but more importantly, the people who get strength from her.

But that may not be the case anymore. A great number of people the Church swore to protect are now turning against her.

Without faith, the time may come when there is no one left to defend the Church and all of those she once gave spiritual food, shelter and strength have come back to destroy her.

READ
Too many students, so few classrooms

Browsing through more comments in Celdran’s status, I cannot help but think that these numbers of Celdran supporters will still grow and eventually overwhelm the Christian society.

Worse comes to worst, a country like the Philippines will be a casualty of unfaithfulness and apathy and would later be forgotten in history, all because a group of people rallied against bastion of divinity they once sought refuge

Browsing through those comments, with a little pity and disappointment, I ask myself: So who’s biting the hand of those who feed them?

23 COMMENTS

  1. This article is stupid, condescending and full of fallacious ‘reasoning’, completely missing the point of the debates around the RH bill. As usual with Catholic fundamentalists, the entire issue has been reduced to black vs. white. I wonder if the author could come up with a more elaborate discussion of his opinions that gives justice to what has already been said by more reliable sources, on both sides, about the RH bill.

    • I think he is pointing out how people would rather attack the supporters than what they are actually supporting. It’s the fallacy itself that he is trying to exploit.

  2. Stop judging those who support the RH BILL! They are not apathetic and unfaithful; a lot of them are practicing Catholics! You cannot brand someone who has a different sense of morality than you “immoral” just because you disagree with him/her. If you could give respect people of other faiths, why don’t you the same to those who choose choice and happiness as their moral compass? The fact that you readily resort to name-calling exposes the fact that you cannot really offer sound arguments.

    And about the Varsitarian’s staff? I never saw you guys dissent against anything the Church says, anyway.

    • “If you could give respect people of other faiths, why don’t you the same to those who choose choice and happiness as their moral compass? People of “other faiths” are respected according to their humanity and therefore dignity according to YOUR faith. It DOESN’T mean “their faith” is being accorded the same truth or validity, e.g. Acceptance of a Muslim doesn’t equal Acceptance of Islam itself. If it did, what would be the point of having your own faith? And if other so-called “practicing” Catholics would rather have “choice and happiness” as their “moral compass” rather than what “THEIR Church teaches” them, then that by definition would be “unfaithfulness”. “Faith” means not just “belief” in God, but also “fidelity” to those entrusted by God to keep to His Word. That’s not a Semantic Argument, just stating Objective Facts.

  3. Unfaithfulness does not necessarily mean apathy. It just means lack of faith. So what if the people decide that they would rather support things that would support the greater good rather than listening merely to what the Catholic Church sometimes says.

    Regardless of faith, the RH bill in general only makes information about contraceptives more readily available, and, I suppose, the contraceptives themselves. It does not change the state of legality of selling contraceptives.

    Making information about contraceptives and contraceptives themselves more available would help curb a lot of the population problems of the Philippines. I don’t see WHAT the church’s problem regarding that is, exactly. I mean, other than a roughly 2000 year old book’s sentiment of “Multiplying”.

    These are new days. The church MUST undergo a paradigm shift. Just because the propagation of the race/species was what would have been beneficial at the time of writing the book doesn’t mean that it is still what would be beneficial today.

  4. Who cares if we bite the hand that feeds us? On the first place, the author is implying that Filipinos are indebted to the Catholic Church– how deliciously prude! Remember that the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, but not 100% Catholic. The problem with fundamentalists like these is that they’ll reject any resort to reason with regard to how will the nation benefit from this bill. They never tire on rhetoric about moral decay, and keep on their high horses; fact is, they never know the statistics that the Philippines is one of the seven nations that have been increasingly becoming rampant with HIV. I don’t even know how the church will respond to that, prayers won’t take away HIV.

    Secondly, what’s wrong if Catholics dissent from the Church? Is the author saying that whatever the Church’s opinion is on certain matters is infallible? Again: if it’s beneficial to the country, if it will eliminate hindrances to our goals as a nation, I say to disregard the rules and opinions of whatever strong institutions and implement it. I’m from UST myself but I cringe at the thought of mindless drones supporting the stance of the Church blindly. I relish the hypocrisy of people that have positive opinions on contraception eg condoms, etc and still fight the RH Bill just because the church wants them to. It’s sad because we call our university a bastion of intelligence, but continue dissenting this bill.

    • “how the church will respond to that, prayers won’t take away HIV” I know that’s a rhetorical question, but being Catholic-in-general implies belief in the power of prayer to address all sorts of maladies, up-to and including Life After Death. HIV is a but a Seasonal Cold compared to Death itself. Just sayin’. // “Secondly, what’s wrong if Catholics dissent from the Church?” Well, for one thing, “being Catholic” means not just being a “Baptized Catholic”, but also having Fidelity to the Vows that come with such Baptism. One of those, Renewed every Easter for those who do got to Easter Mass, is OBEDIENCE to the Church and Her Teaching. It’s a Lifelong Commitment, not just a Moment of Initiation. If you’re going to fall, or jump, off the wagon then you might as well stop calling yourself Catholic. Simple Logic there. // Doubt is not Dissent. Know the difference between the two. There’s already a name for those set on their Dissent. It’s called Heretic, as politically-incorrect as that might sound today it’s still an apt description. That’s not a Nag, just Facts. // “Is the author saying that whatever the Church’s opinion is on certain matters is infallible?…I’m from UST myself…” I hate to call anyone a liar, but are you sure you’re “from UST”? Did you happen to sleep through your Moral Theology (THY 3) Class? Of course the Church’s Opinion on “certain matters” is “Infallible”. It’s called “Faith and Morals”. That’s no secret. Now guess which matter one’s support of the RH Bill would violate? // And…“how deliciously prude!” How does that make sense? “Prude” is derived from “Prudent”. Last time I checked Prudence was still a Virtue. Funny, no, Ironic you should cite “moral decay” as if it didn’t happen, yet serve as an example of such yourself. Imagine co-opting a “good” word to mean something reprehensible. // Oh… “the Philippines is predominantly Catholic…fundamentalists like these is that they’ll reject any resort to reason with regard to how will the nation benefit from this bill.” Okay, let’s try some “reason” another way. A predominantly Catholic nation will have predominantly Catholic Taxpayers “footing the Bill” (pun intended) despite the Bill’s Counter-Catholic formulation. Sounds like a Conflict of Interest to me, and so isn’t it “reasonable” some people should be pointing-out such a fact? Isn’t that how a Democracy is supposed to work, i.e. the so-called Freedom of Speech? If they’re only “doing their job”, why call them Fundamentalists? It’s like berating a cop for giving someone who ran a red light a traffic ticket? // “but continue dissenting this bill.” LOL, you can’t “dissent” on a “Bill”, genius! Bills are to be “debated”. Until they’re passed and become “Law”, contrary opinions to their passage are not to be suppressed or derided. That’s how the Democratic Process works. //

  5. Who cares if we bite the hand that feeds us? On the first place, the author is implying that Filipinos are indebted to the Catholic Church– how deliciously prude! Remember that the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, but not 100% Catholic. The problem with fundamentalists like these is that they’ll reject any resort to reason with regard to how will the nation benefit from this bill. They never tire on rhetoric about moral decay, and keep on their high horses; fact is, they never know the statistics that the Philippines is one of the seven nations that have been increasingly becoming rampant with HIV. I don’t even know how the church will respond to that, prayers won’t take away HIV.

    Secondly, what’s wrong if Catholics dissent from the Church? Is the author saying that whatever the Church’s opinion is on certain matters is infallible? Again: if it’s beneficial to the country, if it will eliminate hindrances to our goals as a nation, I say to disregard the rules and opinions of whatever strong institutions and implement it. I’m from UST myself but I cringe at the thought of mindless drones supporting the stance of the Church blindly. I relish the hypocrisy of people that have positive opinions on contraception eg condoms, etc and still fight the RH Bill just because the church wants them to. It’s sad because we call our university a bastion of intelligence, but continue dissenting this bill.

  6. Okay, this is just bordering on absurd.

    And all of this comes from religion trying to shove its nose into other aspects of life. For the love of Pete, even J.C. Himself said that you should give to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s; and to God what is God’s.

    You’ll notice that most of the RH Bill supporters are also heavily opposed to abortion as well.

    (also noticed the irony of the columnist’s name in lieu of what his namesake is promoting)

  7. Belgium is Belgium, and the Philippines are the Philippines. This is your problem, that was theirs.

    Also.

    “Moreover, there is no longer any concern for what is moral and what is due to the people the Church is trying to protect. She is not only defending herself, but more importantly, the people who get strength from her.”

    Yeah, the law loves doing exactly the opposite of what the church wants. because what the church wants is what the majority of people don’t want, Y’see?

    “Without faith, the time may come when there is no one left to defend the Church and all of those she once gave spiritual food, shelter and strength have come back to destroy her.”

    I love how you acknowledge the fact that religion wasn’t made to last. <3

    Peace out,

    ?

  8. “We cannot anymore distinguish what is right from wrong.”

    TRANSLATION

    “Some people disagree with me and I don’t like it.”

  9. It’s closer to home, while their ethnic makeup and economic situation (corruption included) are much closer to ours.

    The difference is that their government managed to successfully implement a sex education campaign to curtail their AIDs situation, and are already on their way to trying to open dialogue with their government regarding a comprehensive RH program.

    The difference between us and them is that it’s their own religious leaders who have woken up to the reality of the situation, thanks to incidents like this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11845572

    Trying to compare our political situation to a country like Belgium – whose political system is world apart from ours – is being disingeneous.

    And furthermore, regarding biting the hand that feeds us: What a load of rubbish. The church is no more a moral authority than any other religious sect here, far less even if you take into account the rampant exposures of their sex crimes in the world.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/5389684.stm

    Let me put it to you this way: If your father was a notorious rapist, but still thought he had the authority to lecture you on the finer points of human sexuality, would take his advice?

    Personally, I’d turn the bastard in, nevermind his cries of me “biting the hand that feeds me.” Ungrateful? No. Call it common sense, which you seem to lack.

    • Yes, please do compare Thailand to the Philippines and see how many AIDs cases they have (more than 1 million) and how many AIDs cases we have, despite the fact that Thailand has 100% condom use.

  10. Look here dissenters. YES the Church is infallible in matters of faith and morals that She has clearly defined (through ecumenical councils, the Pope’s solemn pronouncements ex-cathedra and the Traditional Magisterium – the Church’s teaching authority). The issue of the RH bill falls under morals because of contraception. Why? Because it impedes the natural purpose of the sexual act.

    The teaching of the Church on contraception is CONSISTENT through the ages and has never changed. The Catholic Church ALWAYS bases its Teachings on Natural Law and Divine Revelation. Now natural law is based on human nature and thus binds ALL men EVERYTIME and EVERYWHERE. Hence THERE IS an OBJECTIVE moral norm.

    So the excuse that Belgium is Belgium, or one is of a different faith, or that the Church must go with the flow of the times, etc., doesn’t hold water. This issue is not judged according to personal opinions or beliefs.

    • Any person who is suffering because of disease, cancer, or genetic disorders should be left to because using medicing would impede “Natural Law.”Nice try trying to resort to the Naturalism Fallacy though 🙂

      http://www.answers.com/topic/open-question

      And furthermore, do we need to remind you of separation of church and state? Since when did the RCC speak for RP’s non-Catholics (including me)?

  11. weak article, very one sided, and missed a lot of point about the RH Bill, this just shows the usual mindset of catholic fundamentalists.
    .

    “sa susunod na susulat ka, subukan mong tumayo sa iyong kinauupuan at tignan ang kabuuan na nangyayare”

  12. I hope all Catholics, most especially the Thomasian community, would be lead by their Doctrine and by the faith they profess. May the Spirit continue to enlighten us and our law makers so that they may realize the value of life which our Church and State protects. Thomasians are strong Catholics and we will never favor the RH bill.

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