Archive for August, 2008

Reflection on Giving

August 20, 2008

This is my third post on Reflections again taken from the Reflections of Fr. Andres Arboleda, SSP.  This time, he talks about Giving and how our Lord Jesus Christ manifested self-less love through giving His very life for us.  Read on…..

Giving

 

A giant tree in an uninhabited jungle, a saying goes, doesn’t make any noise when it falls.  The giant tree makes no noise because there is no one who hears it fall.

 

Yes, a man who lives by and for himself alone would be like that giant tree in the jungle.  When he dies who would miss him?  Who would remember him?  What would be his life’s worth?

 

Jesus spelled real human greatness when He said, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

 

There is one measure of greatness which is truly universal.  It is a measure that goes beyond race, color of skin, culture, age, sex, wealth and what have you.  Anyone can lay his life down for his friends.  All it takes is that greater love one puts into it, a love which is greater than one’s own self, a love which is capable of giving till it hurts.

 

In any state of life, the crucial point is really one’s ability to die to self, to lay down one’s life so that one’s friends, the person one loves, might have fuller and more meaningful lives.

 

It is sad that a good number of people end in marriage not really because they look at it as a real vocation wherein it is possible to live up to the measure of love Jesus proposed, but more out of desire to possess the person loved or, worse, because of convenience or because they have no choice any longer.

 

Yes, marriage is a genuine vocation to which young couples have to give considerable thought and period of preparation.  It is ever so easy to say, I love you, and I do, but it takes more than just human capacities to be able to translate these words into a lifetime commitment.

 

There are those who choose to forego marriage and commit themselves perhaps to the noble profession they exercise, or even just to the task of helping parents, brothers and sisters and trying to lift them up from a life of privation.  At times they go through extreme sacrifices only to feel as if shackled by the seemingly unending and growing demands from them.  At times they even feel they are doing a thankless job. These persons are like the seeds in the Gospel which have to die in order to give life to the plant.

 

And there are those who, feeling they are called to the religious or priestly life, take seriously the thought that their vocation is to singularly live Jesus’ ideal of love: to lay down their lives for their friends.  When one tries to live such an ideal, he will find very real obstacles from outside, like times when he comes to discover how precious really are the things he has renounced.  It takes some heroism to live such a life.

 

Jesus’ measure of real greatness isn’t that simple and easy.  Strangely though, within the folds of a life of giving there is so much joy.

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Total Reproductive Health Bill

August 4, 2008

The author, third from left, during the Humanae Vitae Pro-Life Rally at the University of Santo Tomas, in Sampaloc Manila.  Our organization, the Knights of Columbus supported the call of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines in denouncing the infamous bill.

 The recent news has placed the Philippine Government, specifically, the House of Representatives as they file a bill in Congress aptly titled “Total Reproductive Health Bill”.  I came across the following opinion write-up of Atty Jose Sison in the Philippine Star.

I am surprised to read from such an opinion from a man whom we knew back in the 80’s as a television personality (I believe he still does have until today, with his son, another lawyer, Atty Joepet Sison) behind the show “Ipaglaban Mo”.

He wrote exactly the way I feel, thus, needless to say, I share with his opinion 100%.

You may wish to follow this link http://www.philstar.com/archives.php?aid=20080731110&type=2 or you might just wish to read it below.

Contraception and abortion
A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison
Friday, August 1, 2008

The debate on the population control bills is getting uglier. The proponents of the measures and their supporters continue to wear blinders and refuse to see the real issues. Or they purposely go around them to show the alleged fallacy of the Catholic Church stand even to the extent of sowing dissension between the clergy and the laity.

There is no quarrel that the Reproductive Health Bill does not legalize abortion. The Church does not oppose the bill because it supposedly legalizes abortion. The Church opposes the bill because it makes available the use of any and all forms of artificial contraceptives.

In its common connotation, contraceptive is any device or substance that inhibits or prevents fertilization or the fusion of the sperm or male cell with the female ovum to form a new individual. In essence it controls birth artificially or it interferes with the natural process of bringing human life into this world after a sexual intercourse between man and a woman. This is where the first moral issue arises.

The moral issue here is whether a man and a woman should engage in sexual intercourse merely for sexual pleasure or mainly for procreation which is the means of cooperating with God in creating another human being. The Church stand from my little knowledge of Catechism is that sexual intercourse is a marital act that has two functions: the biological or procreative function and the spiritual or unitive function. These two aspects of the marital act cannot be separated. If one deliberately nullifies the life oriented process of the conjugal act, one destroys its essential power to signify union.

Thus the Catechism states that “Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes” (2351).  “Any act of contraception, be it by pills, condoms, withdrawal, or ligation is always wrong, and if this is done with full knowledge and full consent, it is always a mortal sin. Every marriage act must be open to the transmission of human life” (2366).

The more important moral issue which may even have legal implication is the connection between contraception and abortion. It has been repeatedly pointed out that the following contraceptives have already been medically proven to directly cause abortion: Depoprovera, RU 486, Intra-Uterine Device, Norplant and the Morning-After-Pill (Please see Project Abortifacients, Human Life International, June 1991). This is a claim that has never been denied or disproven by the proponents of the bill and their supporters. Yet the proposed bill will make them available to women. So it is quite clear that even if the bill still considers abortion as illegal and a punishable criminal act, it is nevertheless promoting abortion. In effect, the bill is promoting or abetting an act which it considers illegal. There is no free will or freedom of choice involved here. Such freedom definitely does extend to opting for something illegal.

The bigger truth is that this link between contraceptive and abortion is not limited to contraceptives that directly cause abortion but to all contraceptives, including condoms. If all kinds of contraceptives are easily available, men and women who still find a need to refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse for fear of having children is easily led to believe that there is no more such need since there are already adequate means that allow them to engage in the act without fear of having children. Hence when these contraceptives fail and the unwanted child comes, the only recourse is abortion.

This is not a theory or a mere assumption. It is happening in most countries that have legalized contraceptives. In Canada, the birth control pill was legalized in 1969. The following year, statistics reported 11,152 abortions. Today it is already 106,418 abortions: a tenfold increase in abortion since 1970 during a period of unprecedented contraceptive use (Natalie Hudson, The Contraception Misconception). In the US this reality is best described by its Supreme Court itself in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that upheld the ruling in Roe vs. Wade: “In some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception. For two decades of economic and social development, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance of the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail”.

In the same article, Contraception Misconception, the following observation has been made: “Contraception has historically been promoted as a means of women’s emancipation, yet ironically it has led to a much greater objectification of women.  Women’s bodies have become a testing ground for pharmaceutical companies to reap profits from the myth that the natural consequences of sex can be avoided; women are put out of touch with their bodies as their fertility cycles become chemically controlled; and contraception can also be used to hide the evidence of abuse that is sometimes perpetrated among young or marginalized women.”   

In opposing these reproductive health bills the Church is therefore merely performing its duty of reminding the faithful about these doctrines of faith. Nobody is being deprived of their free will. Everybody is free to accept or reject these teachings. But those who reject them must also respect the moves of the Church and its clergy to safeguard the integrity of its tenets like taking a stand against these bills or issuing reminders on who may be denied the sacraments such as the Holy Eucharist or Matrimony.