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Heroic Catholicism

18 Sep

Catholic by conviction

This, I believe, is one of the greater problems in the Philippine Catholic world. Even church-going, rosary-rattling Catholics are not Catholics by conviction. Yes, they do their civic duty as Catholics by being generous and kind to others, even those of different faiths, and supportive of the local clergy (often times to the point of idolizing them and turning them into rock stars) that they forget the crux of their Catholicism: why be Catholic at all?

All these ‘other’ things, you could do very well outside the confines of the Catholic faith (save for the clergy part). What makes these social justice-themed acts ABSOLUTELY CATHOLIC? We must create this identity that these things we do is primarily because of what the Church teaches. Not just because it makes us feel happy, warm, and fuzzy inside.

We need heroes. Catholic heroes. Identifiable Catholic heroes. Clergy and laypeople.

At present, I follow two “celebrities” in the Traditional Catholic world who clearly have the zeal to protect and defend the faith. Though at times they are in disagreement on some matters, these two are partially responsible for ‘converting’ me into a traditional-leaning Catholic.

First is Fr. Abe Arganiosa of “The Splendor of the Church” (whose site is, at present, hacked and inaccessible therefore I have not linked to his site). He is an apologist who often writes in ALL CAPS (for whatever reason, i don’t know) in his articles and answers the basic and not-so-basic objections against the faith. Sometimes, I have to cringe at his selection of swear words and wonder why he uses them at all. It often reminds me of the leader of Ang Dating Daan, Ely Soriano, who justifies such use sometimes ad absurdum. Still, some of his articles have helped me in my personal apologetics with those who do not share my Catholic faith.

Second is The Pinoy Catholic or TPC for short. TPC is rather my favorite on the web. ‘Suki‘ as we say in Filipino. With his brutally frank commentary, ‘chismis’ along with sometimes humorous and educational posts regarding liturgical abuses (sometimes identified as GULP Alerts), he follows the line along the even more popular Fr. Z on and Michael Voris of ChurchMilitantTV. The main difference is that TPC remains anonymous to many. Some say that the power of anonymity gives him the courage to viciously call out on erring priests and wanna-be priests on their dissenting (or sometimes heretical) opinions on matters of faith. He doesn’t give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve read a lot of similar negative comments where these posts appear: “How uncharitable!” “How very un-Christian!” “Very inconsiderate of the person’s feelings!” but have often sided with him on these things. Because of these, I also find myself annoyed often at mass with all the abuse I’m seeing! (Another reason why I prefer TLM).

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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.

CBCP vs. “My Husband’s Lover”

27 Jun

I have a couple of questions. And thoughts that I can’t seem to organize yet, regarding the matter of the CBCP’s criticism of the TV Series “My Husband’s Lover” as reported on Rappler.

Why do people think of the CBCP (and REAL Catholics) to be homophobic bigots? Where’s the argument in that? Besides, Catholicism is not homophobic. As explained in Catholic Answers:

“The term homophobic refers to fear of homosexuality. This term often is used by homosexual activists to end rational discussion of the issue by accusing their opponents of having an irrational fear. This is unjust. One can disagree with and be critical of a behavior without having a fear of it. When the charge of “homophobia” is made, it signifies that those making the accusation do not have reasoned responses to their critics, so they switch to portraying their critics as irrational rather than responding to their arguments.”

Those who say that CBCP and the Catholic Church is homophobic are either mistaken, misguided, or who do not simply understand what the Church teaches. The Church doesn’t have an irrational argument against the lifestyle. If only people take the time to read what the Catechism teaches! Once again, from Catholic Answers:

We have to remember that all people are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated as such, no matter what their behavior. We make a distinction between person and behavior, sometimes expressed as “hate the sin, love the sinner.” The Catechism describes homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered”: “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

How is this irrational?

What the CBCP-ECY hints at is that people need to be aware first of the real score with this kind of theme on television. My problem with the reporting-style of Rappler is that they seem to intentionally leave-out things that don’t paint the picture that they want of the CBCP and Catholics. Note that in the original post on Radyo Veritas, the last statement states:

“Aminado naman si Fr. Garganta na mayroong demokrasya o kalayaan ang lahat ng tao na dapat namang gamitin ng tema hindi lamang ang hangaring kumita.”

So, is the Church and CBCP abusive in exercising its right to remind people of sensitive moral issues? Are they asking for the show to be shot down?

This isn’t the first extra-marital affair-themed thing in showbiz. There were a plethora of bomba/TF/bold films in the past decades. My guess is that since TV Series are more open-ended, the CBCP are watchful of the possible twists and turns the plot might take. A movie is relatively easier to review if it concerns moral themes such as extra-marital affairs because it has a definite conclusion after the 2 hours you watched it. TV Series are trickier. Heck, a movie about a gay brother got better reviews than this movie about heterosexual extra-marital affairs and you think CBCP is homophobic? Can’t people stop and think first before any knee-jerk reaction to a group’s actions and recommendations?

My other real problem, I’ve already expressed in my previous posts — how media is a force that is pushing people away from the Church, and how people are now so gullible to believe outrageous things about the Church that it somehow shows their predisposed hatred for it.

What I look forward to is a good argument between these things. Not just the name-calling on the comments section of the news article on Rappler. As Fr. Robert Barron comments on one of his articles:

“Any preacher or writer who ventures to make a moral argument [against gay marriage] is automatically condemned as a purveyor of “hate speech” or excoriated as a bigot, and in extreme cases, he can be subject to legal sanction. This visceral, violent reaction is a consequence of the breakdown of the rational framework for moral discourse that MacIntyre so lamented.”


Enlighten Me, Please.

12 Mar

Apparently, Marikina City has an ordinance that prohibits the poor from owning and taking care of pets such as dogs and cats. Their rationale is that Responsible Pet-Ownership is given to those who can afford to take care and provide for the animals.

My head was just spinning with this and could not, for the life of me, understand why people who are up in arms about this are pro-RH (some, at least). Is our society that degraded that we care more about our pets than children?

Think about it: the Marikina City ordinance is in the same spirit with the RH Law! Poor families need fewer mouths to feed. If you are a responsible citizen, you should not add more members to your household. Hence we should reduce the number of mouths to feed by controlling the number of their children. Replace ‘children’ with ‘pets’ and isn’t that the same banana?



Not You Too?

5 Feb

Jessica Zafra chimed in on the Celdran issue today. And I’d like to chime in on that, too. On some parts, at least.

Call it a publicity stunt, a performance art piece or just plain rude, but Carlos Celdran’s Padre Damaso act has achieved at least three things.

It called attention to the Reproductive Health bill, galvanizing the silent supporters who thought the bill was dead in the water. The Church would never go for it, so we thought Congress wouldn’t. We are happy to be wrong. It would appear that the days of blind obedience to the Church are over. [I look at this in a positive light: those inside the Church and claim to be members of the Catholic Church without knowing what it means to be really Catholic can finally get out!]

The official reaction to Carlos’ act alerted us to the existence of a law punishing citizens for “offending religious feelings” while reminding us that in the Philippines, Church and State may be the same thing.

In pursuing its legal case against Carlos instead of practising what it preaches and forgiving him, the Church has made a martyr out of Carlos. [Wait a minute. the Church pursued the legal case? The media makes it look like the Church is pursuing the case when in fact, it isn’t! Did Jessica Zafra not get updated with the statement from the RCAM?] As the Church has traditionally relied on other parties to create its martyrs – Romans, Visigoths, British monarchs and so on – this sets an interesting precedent: the Church is now making its own martyrs. In doing so it guarantees constant media coverage for Carlos, setting him up as a viable political candidate. If he actually does jail time, his election is assured. After all, if movie actors can get elected for pretending to kill bad guys, why can’t a theatre actor get elected for actually standing up (and yelling) for his beliefs? [sure. But in the wrong place? Not so fast.]

I cannot argue with Zafra’s own point-of-view regarding the portrayals and descriptions of what society was during that period. I can only agree with her and Rizal in these matters: there were corrupt people in the government as well as in the Church and there was power to be held in either side. It would be stupid to deny that. Yet, he maintained good relations with his Jesuit mentors and even dedicated his other work to the 3 Filipino Priest-Martyrs saying,The Church, by refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime that has been imputed to you.” A good sign in my book.

Carolina S. Ruiz-Austria and WomenLEAD’s view of Women vs. the Unborn

31 Jan

Women’s Journal on Law & Culture
“From Mortal Sin to Human Rights: Redefining the Philippine Policy on Abortion”
Vargas, Flordeliza C., editor Ruiz-Austria, Carolina S. et al, authors
Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy, and Defense Foundation, Inc. Quezon City 2001

The authors studied certain provisions of the Philippine Constitution, the Revised Penal Code, the New Civil Code, and other special laws that pertain to the issue of abortion. Reference to international agreements was made, too. In an attempt to present a clear picture of the court’s viewing and handling of abortion, the article cited a 1961 decision of the Supreme Court where abortion was declared justified only when there is a “medical necessity to warrant it.” However, the authors opined that to limit access to abortion is an infringement of women’s human rights which include the exercise of full sexual and reproductive rights, the right to self-determination, the right to life and health, liberty, and privacy (p.91).

The article also examines the country’s policies on abortion and their effects on advocacy work, particularly with regard to women’s reproductive health. In RA 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers of 1992, maternity benefits are not extended in cases of “induced” abortions, as the law so defines it. Discriminatory provision as this cannot be found in other legally mandated maternity benefit programs whether for the government or the private sector (p.95). The Population Act of 1971 or RA 6365 likewise leaves out abortion from what is acceptable contraception. The Medical Act of 1959 or RA 2382 allows for the reprimand, suspension, and revocation of a medical practitioner’s license upon performance of an illegal abortion or aiding in the performance thereof. The Barangay-Level Total Development and Protection of Children Act of 1990 or RA 6972, forewarns daycare centers against illegal abortions (p.95).

The article then presented the multifarious and conflicting views of various camps and authorities on abortion and laws relative to it. But the authors believe there should be no argument that the woman is a person. One must be given the right to decide over matters that concern her life and her body. They also find a dearth in laws that address the needs of women and even children who get impregnated as a result of rape (p.98).

The article culminated with recommendations for advocacy. It underscores how a reversal in the unfair treatment of women in the eyes of the policy environment can benefit women’s reproductive health advocacy in the country. As such, the authors call for a clear definition of State policy on public health – one that will represent a fair concept of women’s health. This can only be possible if women’s issues as reproductive health care and violence against women are not trivialized but are looked at with utmost priority.

Some points in my mind: what rights does the baby in her womb have? This doesn’t seem clear to me. It apparently does not consider a fetus to be a human being — not a living creature. Is it moral to kill someone who has no chance to defend himself but has every right to live?

Iglesia ni Cristo member Anthony Taberna defends Catholic rights in morning show segment

30 Jan


Here’s the transcript from INC member Anthony Taberna segment “Punto por Punto” on the morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda”:

Mga kaibigan, nakaka-bilib po si Carlos Celdran. Siya lang po ang may lakas ng loob at tapang na gawin ang mapangahas na bagay na di kayang gawin ng iba. Ehemplo po siya ng isang tunay na Pilipino. Ang kaniyang ingina-ngawa kaya niyang tapatan ng gawa. Pinatingkad po ni Celdran ang tunay na kahulugan ng “kalayaan sa pagpapahayag at pagsasalita” na ikaw, bilang mamamayan ng bansang demokratiko ay may karapatan dumaing, mag-labas ng hinaing, manuligsa. At lalo po’ng naging mahalaga ang pantindig ni Carlos Celdran dahil ang isyu po’ng kaniyang tinayuan ay Reproductive Health na kailangan ng bayan ngunit mariing tinutulan ng Simbahan.

Ngunit hindi po absoluto ang alin mang kalayaan at karapatang ibinigay ng Konstitusyon sa mga mamamayan. Kapagka po ang karapatan ng sinuman ay tuwiran ng nakakayapak o nakakasagasa sa karapatan ng iba, dapat ay mag-isip-isip na siya. Hindi pupuwedeng sabihin ng isang residenteng mahilig kumanta na karapatan po niyang mag-videoke hanggang madaling-araw ng ubod ng lakas gamit ang trompa kung nakaka-bulahaw na po siya sa mga natutulog na kapitbahay.

Karapatan po ni Celdran ang tuligsain ng walang-puknat ang Simbahan. Eh lalo na po ngayon na andami na po’ng nagtu-Twitter o Facebook o di kaya’y sa pamamagitan ng rally sa labas ng simbahan. Ngunit, eh iyon po’ng ginawa niya, na ginulo ang isang… hindi man po iyan misa, pero isa pong seremoniya sa loob mismo ng simbahan na sagrado po sa manananampalataya eh ibang usapan na yata iyan kabarkada.

May kalayaan din po ang Simbahan sa isang mapayapa at matahimik na pag-samba. Mabuti po at idinaan sa legal na proseso ang kaso ni Celdran at simbolikal lang po naman ang sentensiya kung tutuusin dahil hindi naman po siya makukulong dahil meron po tayong pamantayan tungk… o panuntunan tungkol sa probation. Ang mas mahalaga, sana po’y matuto ang bawat isa: galit man tayo kay Damaso, huwag mo’ng gayahin ang diskarteng ito.

The video to the whole Punto por Punto segment is here: