Archive | July, 2013

The first popcorn

29 Jul

A blogger tries to reason with her readers why her stand on Reproductive Health is right. She figures that by writing about the great emotional and physical agony a woman must undergo under the hand of an abusive husband and her 8th pregnancy, people will see how these things are really meant to help women — how fewer mouths mean better lives for her, her husband, and her children.

She is pleased with her writing. She holds no grudge against the Church as an institution. She loves Pope Francis and his ideas about social justice, the Church being a Church of the poor. Though she had thoughts of reading the Catechism, she stows it away together with the pile of books she’s been reading (or hopes to read). “Hey, I know more about being a true Catholic than our parish priest! I help better the lives of the poor by joining Gawad Kalinga projects! I actually do something about the poor and not just say some words, lifting up a piece of bread and that gold cup inside a huge cathedral.”

She calls her boyfriend on her brand-new HTC One “Red” (just because everyone, even rank-and-file employees, now own iPhones. But she still feels the satisfaction of having to say in her head, “yuck, prepaid!”) You can’t buy that in the Philippines. You have to go through ‘other channels’ to get that — go to Europe or order online. She wants to hang out with him at the Starbucks in that green and uncrowded part of the metropolis at the corner of 32nd Street and 7th Avenue. Away from the suffocating traffic and pollution of Pasig City.

On the way to Bonifacio Global City, a young woman, almost just her age, wearing a sling with what appears to be a months-old baby approaches her compact car and raps on the windows. She is heart-broken seeing the pretty face behind the grime in her hair and dirt on her face and how fortunate she is to not have to go through her poverty. She checks her bag to get her sandwich she was supposed to have for breakfast to give to the lady knocking at her car window. She put her hand in her bag and pulls out a condom — the one she keeps in her bag at all times for those ’emergencies’ she has with her boyfriend.

She rolls down her window ever so slightly, lest the smoke of the jeepney in front  of her get into her car, and hands the woman the condom. She is proud of her decision.

That will keep her from dying. That will keep her from going hungry. That will keep her from being just another statistic.


Yes, I may not be a good writer, even less so as a debater, but Patricia Evangelista’s latest article on Rappler has some truth in it regarding Atty. Liban — he doesn’t choose his words well enough. I listened to the oral arguments and I will say I was disappointed with Atty. Liban’s representation that would come across as him telling a woman dying of maternal complications, “you are just a statistic.” On this matter, I will defer to Miss. Evangelista’s side. But she must not simply dwell on this matter as a topic for her article. From reading it, I quickly understand how she must have no knowledge of the Doctrines of the Catholic Church.

She seems to distance Church Doctrine from what Atty. Liban says — always saying “By Liban’s defniition,” “In the Church of Liban,” (vague) — instead of ascertaining what the Church really says. She has no problem identifying the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics but fails to quote official Church teaching. Why? Is it because she thinks the Catechism actually makes sense? Is it because she doesn’t want to go against the Church? Is it because she likes some part of the Church and not just all of it? Is it because she is against Atty. Liban and not what he quotes from the Catechism? I don’t know.

“The men and women who are true Catholics believe that there is no price too high for their virtue.” she says and this is true. This is one way how one  becomes sanctified. However, her next statement is puzzling and actually disturbing: “They will protect the imaginary unborn, but they will wash their hands when it comes to living women. Perhaps the choice to ignore the suffering is justified by the weight of the women’s sins.”

This presumes that the Church or rather the likes of Atty. Liban wishes harm on women: that by protecting the unborn, women are immediately in danger — treating pregnancy as if it were a disease! Let us be clear: Magna Carta for Women takes care of this — it is the implementation, like so many laws, that’s necessary.


Me vs. Me, Continued

18 Jul


By Thomas Storck
Can even a rationalist freethinker avoid believing some things on faith?

Catholic Way –

Bradley and Charles are back again, this time to discuss a few points like Bradley’s irrational prejudice against miracles. The main question between them this time: what does it means for Catholics to “believe” in Christ—and is this any less reasonable than believing scientific and historical facts?  In the end, is Catholicism really more rational than rationalism?

BRADLEY: Well, Charles, I must admit I got a bit off the track yesterday. Taken a bit by surprise. But, you see, the real point, the real difference between us has to do with the ability to think for oneself. Of course, this doesn’t apply in scientific matters. Naturally, here we do accept authority since we all haven’t got the time to repeat every experiment. But, in principle, each of us could. Just as we could in principle verify for ourselves each of the geographical facts mentioned in an encyclopedia. But about religious matters and stuff, that’s another kettle of fish altogether. There, you simply accept an authority you couldn’t possibly prove yourself. So, now do you see the difference between us?

CHARLES: It seems to me you’ve got a dogma operating somewhere in your thought.BRADLEY: How do you mean?
CHARLES: How do you know that religious matters are simply an irrational adherence to authority?
BRADLEY: They’re not subject to the scientific method, are they? They can’t be weighed or measured, can they? They can’t be verified?
CHARLES: How do you know that those are the only methods for arriving at truth?
BRADLEY: Oh, you mean religious experience and that nonsense, I suppose?
CHARLES: You do have a lot of misconceptions about Catholics, don’t you? No, I don’t mean religious experience, since that’s necessarily subjective. I mean, as I said yesterday, looking at the Gospels as simply historical records and asking whether they are trustworthy. And if they are, then the figure of Jesus Christ looms pretty important.
BRADLEY: I told you I haven’t got time for miracles.
CHARLES: Do you accept the accounts of Julius Caesar about his wars in Gaul and elsewhere?
BRADLEY: Well, I guess so. [pause] Yes, I wouldn’t have a problem with that
CHARLES: But why? They can’t be proven true by the scientific method or weighed or measured, can they?
BRADLEY: But you can’t expect that with history. Something happened only once, and we must rely on human testimony.
CHARLES: You know, if you keep on like that you’ll be a Catholic soon.
BRADLEY: Ha, ha. What are you talking about?
CHARLES: Catholics rely on human testimony. That’s why we believe in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and in His miracles and in the miracles performed by many of His saints.
BRADLEY: There, you’ve said it. You said you “believed” in this stuff. For you it’s all a matter of faith.
CHARLES: But what’s wrong with believing? Don’t you believe your wife when she says she did something? Or any number of other people, too. In fact, isn’t that what you’re doing with regard to Caesar, believing him?
BRADLEY: But there aren’t any miracles involved in those cases. Nothing supernatural.
CHARLES: True. But why should that be an exception? As I said before, you have an irrational dogma against the supernatural.
BRADLEY: It’s not irrational.
CHARLES: How do you prove it then?
BRADLEY: Well, the course of nature admits of no exceptions that science is aware of.
CHARLES: Science, of course, is concerned with regularity of natural processes. But unless you can prove that the observed order of nature must always be regular, no amount of scientific observation proves anything. And moreover, as I said, plenty of people have claimed to witness miracles, and in some cases, the evidence is overwhelming in favor of them.
BRADLEY: I don’t believe that sort of stuff at all.
CHARLES: Hmm … as for myself, I try to limit my beliefs to what are trustworthy, instead of having a prejudice that I can’t justify.
BRADLEY: You pretend to be very rational, but I know that you accept all kinds of silly stuff like miracles, weeping statues, dancing suns, and so on. That’s just nonsense.
CHARLES: What a pity. Evidence and reason cannot remove prejudices or unreasonable dogmas.
BRADLEY: Really, Charles, this is too much. I know the Catholic religion couldn’t be true, and that’s enough for me. I’ve spent enough time on this already. Maybe later we can talk more. So long.
[He goes out.]
Copyright © 2000 Thomas Storck

Thomas Storck, a convert to the Catholic faith from the Episcopal church, is the author of The Catholic Milieu (1987), Foundations of a Catholic Political Order (1998) and the newly released Christendom and the West (2000), as well as numerous articles and reviews on the subjects of Catholic culture and social teaching. He is a contributing editor of “New Oxford Review” and a member of the editorial board of “The Chesterton Review” and has taught history at Christendom College and philosophy at Mount Aloysius College and Catonsville Community College. For more information about his writing, or to order one of his books, please visit