- Posted October 24, 2012 by
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- China acting not only as a dirty dog, but as a lousy bully and a racist freak
- Humanity must come together as One to crush all forms of madness, inhumanity, superstition and fanaticism
- The Aim of Politics is Ethics and Virtue, the Promotion of the Individual Self Worth and the Common Good
The Reproductive Health bill of the Philippines
This humble work is a response to the Editorial of the official student publication of the UST, the Varsitarian which is aptly entitled “RH bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of lemons and cowards” that appeared on September 30th.
In their opening salvo, said student publication stated that:
“Going against the grain, going against the tide, going against popularity surveys, the University of Santo Tomas has upheld the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) condemning the Reproductive Health (RH) bill as an anti-poor, social-engineering measure that not only denigrates the natural law but also runs roughshod over maternal health, kowtows to the contraceptive imperialism of the West, and generally blames the poor and their alleged overpopulation for the ills of society, when it’s the Philippine state and its depredations—its mismanagement and appalling corruption—that are to blame.”
The University of Santo Tomas indeed has upheld the dogmatic and fanatical stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill by going against the will of the greater number of the citizens, by going against the grain of thoughts of the people, by questioning the result of the surveys and by legislating what is right and proper for the people themselves.
The CBCP and their lapdog, the Varsitarian has blamed everything in condemning the proposed bill ranging from being an anti-poor, a social engineering measure “that only denigrates the natural law but also runs roughshod over maternal health”, the bows down or “kowtows to the contraceptive imperialism of the West” and lastly, they claimed that it “generally blames the poor and their alleged overpopulation for the ills of society”.
I agree that “the Philippine state and its depredations---its mismanagement and appalling corruption” is one of the reasons why we have this problem in the first place. Yet, having said that, it is my contention that it would be completely preposterous to single-out the government is the sole culprit in this matter.
All of us are part of this menace and imbroglio. It follows that the solution or the antidote shall also come from us as members and living components of our society as a whole.
The Varsitarian claimed that the RH bill is anti-poor!
The question is: why it is so?
How could a proposed law that gives the people, especially those who are poor the chance and the choice to decide their lives, fates and happiness be anti-poor? How could a proposed bill that empower the people and enlighten them regarding their sexuality and reproductive rights be construed as being anti-poor?
It further asserted that the said proposed law is a social engineering measure that denigrates the natural law. I would like to know how could this bill be a social engineering scheme?
In what sense or way is this measure denigrating the natural law? When they speak of natural law; what do they mean? In what sense does the bill “runs roughshod over maternal health”? I cannot understand the basis of the charge! When they alleged that this bill is an act of bowing or giving in to the contraceptive imperialism of the West, what precisely do they mean by that? Does it mean that if a lover or a husband will wear or use a condom in making love to his lover or wife, said person or persons are being or becoming puppets of US Imperialism? What if the condom that the said person will use is not made in the West, but in the East; will the Varsitarian also accuse the same as kowtowing to the contraceptive imperialism of the East?
The duly constituted authorities in crafting this bill, in a sense, admitted that it is also to blame with regard to the sorry condition and the poor state of some of our people, because the government has forgotten one of its primary core duties and that is to educate the citizenry with regard to their sexuality and reproductive health rights and duties.
“UST is a Catholic institution. It is a pontifical institution—the second to be so named in world history. Nobody should question whether the University supports the Church’s stand as the Gospel of Christ is UST’s—and any Catholic institution’s—pillar and foundation.”
This is a non-issue! They can keep their title to themselves, but the world will keep on proceeding to its business!
“Professors who are affiliated with UST must respect the stand of the University against the RH bill as they are part of an institution which is fundamentally bound with Catholic faith and teachings. If UST professors don’t agree with the stand of the CBCP, then they have a problem. The bishops are the successors of the Christ’s apostles and possess the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church.”
This is a clear case of a gag order. The problem is that, it seems to me that the Varsitarian has forgotten that their institution is standing under the land of the Republic of the Philippines and being a democratic government, we have laws and statutes that governed our political and social lives.
Are they implying that their so-called mandatum or magisterium or whatever is more superior than the fundamental law of this land?
It is my fervent view that the duty of the people as citizens is far more superior than their religious beliefs.
“If faculty members of UST and other Catholic schools feel they need to invoke their academic freedom to make known their stand in conflict with the bishops regarding the RH bill, then they’re free to do so. But they must resign from UST. They must give up their Catholic academic affiliation. They must have the courage of their intellectual conviction. Upholding their conscience, they must respect the Church and her teachings.”
This is a clear case of Bushism. It appears that what they are saying is that: either you are part of us or against us! This is so ruthless and egoistical to say the least.
“Recently, a number of professors from Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University have voiced their support for the RH bill. A close reading of the measure should show it promotes abortifacients.”
Again, those creatures from the Varsitarian had issued another claim. The question here is: what is their basis that the RH bill is promoting abortifacients?
“A total of 192 Ateneo professors supported the RH bill in their Aug. 13 statement, arguing that the “RH bill can have a decided impact on alleviating pressing social concerns such as high maternal mortality ratio, the rise in teenage pregnancies, and the increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, among others.”
“Last Sept. 3, 45 La Salle professors joined the bandwagon, arguing that there is a need for artificial contraceptives as these can control the growth of the population and improve the quality of life.”
First point: Did the Varsitarian answer squarely the categorical contention laid down by the 192 Ateneo professors in supporting the said bill? The answer is a deafening no!
Second point: is it the case that just because 45 La Salle professors also issued a statement supporting the position of the Ateneo professors in their support to the said bill; does it made them liable or guilty of bandwagon? It seems to me that the charge of the Varsitarian is a slippery slope.
Let us examine a specific example. I may agree to some policies and programs of President Obama on certain issues, such as the Universal Health Care yet I maintain my hate and disgust with regard to their imperialism and terrorism!
Can they also accuse me of being guilty of bandwagonism? I do not think so!
They accuse people and institutions of joining bandwagon when in fact those individuals and institutions has come out to the public and express their position despite the pressures and the dilemma involve.
Who is the one that is truly following the bandwagon?
“It’s quite shocking that Ateneo and La Salle professors should harbor naive and misguided thinking about health and social problems. How could they argue that an RH measure would be needed to lower maternal mortality when the Philippine government not too long ago had told the United Nations that it was on track to meet the Unesco millennium development goals by 2015, one of which was the lowering of maternal deaths? How could they argue that alleged high mortality must be checked by an RH measure when pregnancy complications are not in the Top 10 causes of women's deaths? How could they argue that contraceptives allegedly worth billions of pesos must be given to women to avert pregnancy risks when contraceptives have been known to cause cardiac problems, which are the No. 1 cause of death of Filipino women?
“How could Ateneo and La Salle professors dismiss the medically established dangerous side effects of contraceptives when they are not even physicians?”
How could the people there at the Varsitarian also question the wisdom of the RH bill when they are also not physicians?
This is a stupid argument, if one could even construe it as one. So what those idiots are saying is that, let us take my personal example: I, as a philosophy professor cannot give my (legal, political, medical, mathematical, social, spiritual, etc.) opinion on such an important issue that gravely affects of community by virtue of the fact that I am not a lawyer, a politician, a doctor or a physician, a mathematician or engineer, a sociologist, a priest or imam or preacher, etc? That is not only ridiculous but utterly laughable.
What if I am a genius? A scholar who lives and stays at the library? A polymath? A Renaissance Man? Does it give me the absolute authority on all matters that affects the public interest and the general welfare?
This is an elitist and discriminatory pronouncement that will only comes from the true intellectual pretenders and genuine interlopers of the worst kind!
How about the ordinary people? Are they not entitled to express, to speak, to say, to convey and to register their own opinion and position with regard to this matter?
“In contrast, UST, which has the oldest and the foremost school of medicine in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, has always warned about the dangerous side effects of contraceptives. UST and her physicians surely know whereof they speak. They’re scientists and experts, unlike the Ateneo and La Salle professors who are intellectual pretenders and interlopers!”
This is a clear case of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. The issue does not refer to the age of the institutions concerned with regard to these conflicting issues but with the quality and substance of the argument.
Yes, admittedly UST is the oldest school of medicine in this country, but to claim that it is the foremost school of medicine is plain blatant lie which has no basis in fact, probably only in the imagination of the writer.
The institution may be old, but it does not necessarily follows that it is reasonable, prudent and wise. There are so many people who are already old, yet remain a child up in the head; and there are also some individuals who despite the fact that they are still young are already old and responsible within!
“But what’s more appalling is that the Jesuit and Christian Brother administrations of Ateneo and La Salle didn’t reprimand their faculty members for openly defying the bishops. Ateneo said it respects the academic freedom of its professors: it had nothing to say about the intellectual dishonesty of its faculty members who are teaching in and receiving high salaries from a Catholic institution who however chose to bite the hand that feeds them all in the name of academic freedom.”
What is wrong with this charge is that, the Varsitarian is trying to make the Ateneo and La Salle to follow their mediaeval method and dogmatic tradition. If they want to remain backward despite the modernity of times; then that is their problem, but to demand that the Ateneo and La Salle must follow them is plain dictatorial and utterly idiocy.
If in the UST, academic freedom is not being practice; then don’t compel others to follow their being irrelevant and preposterous. If they want to remain dinosaurs and extinct entity, then so be it; that is their right, but to impose their will to others is the heights of absurdity and ruthlessness!
The Varsitarian is appalled that the Jesuit and Christian Brother administrations Ateneo and La Salle did not reprimand their faculty members for openly defying the bishops. This is idiotic! Those professors did not defy the bishops; they simply registered their point to the people as a whole and made their stand to the public in a categorical manner. It does not mean that because a Catholic differs with the bishop or some teachings of the Church; said person is already defying the bishop or the church?
That is not only illogical, but completely idiotic!
“The Ateneo administration did not even clamp down on two theology professors who signed the pro-RH statement for violating the mandatum of the Catholic Church on theology professors to observe orthodoxy. Perhaps even worse, a Filipino Jesuit professor has been quoted by his student in the latter’s Facebook as scoffing at the alleged threat of the bishops to remove Ateneo’s Catholic title, saying that Ateneo in any case does not have the word “Catholic” appended to its name, so what’s there to lose? We’re pretty sure Saint Ignatius would have no confusion on where to put that jesuitic Jesuit—in Heaven or Hell?—in his famous Spiritual Exercises.”
Again, the Varsitarian is asserting their mediaeval dictatorship!
“The Ateneo and La Salle professors therefore have been treated with kid gloves by the Jesuits and the Christian Brothers. Although they’re religious and members of Catholic orders, the Jesuits and Christian Brothers have failed to uphold orthodoxy and defend the Church. As far as the RH bill and support for it among their faculty are concerned, they’re lemons. And as far as the Pro-RH Ateneo and La Salle professors are concerned, they’re dishonest and don’t have the courage of their intellectual conviction. Contradicting the bishops and defending the RH bill, they have clung on to their faculty membership in Catholic institutions. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. They’re intellectual mercenaries, nothing more, nothing less.”
The Varsitarian simply cannot understand that the Jesuits and the Christian Brothers are so far different from their Dominican brothers!
It’s a pity to me that they cannot discern that in Ateneo and La Salle, academic freedom and the right to religious tolerance is being practice, even though in a certain extent; unlike in their antique institution wherein the said right is a dead practice and completely unheard-of. What a shame!
To quote, Fr. Joaquin Bernas (My Stand on the RH bill, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 22, 2011):
“I am very much aware of the fact that we live in a pluralist society where various religious groups have differing beliefs about the morality of artificial contraception. But freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes. Hence, the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief. As the “Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church” says, “Because of its historical and cultural ties to a nation, a religious community might be given special recognition on the part of the State. Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” and “Those responsible for government are required to interpret the common good of their country not only according to the guidelines of the majority but also according to the effective good of all the members of the community, including the minority.”
Would the Dominican brothers or the Varsitarian also ask Fr. Bernas to leave the Ateneo and the church? Will they also accuse him of being an intellectual pretender and an interloper?
“It is quite gratifying that UST has cracked the whip and reminded its faculty members that they’re members of a Catholic institution and should toe the line.”
So, what the Varsitarian is saying is that they are the only true Catholic and genuine believers of the church. Wow!
“UST Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading also stated in his letter that “all faculty members of the University are to refrain from teaching or expressing their personal opinions within the bounds of the University, anything contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”
“As these professors have chosen to teach in a Catholic university, they must abide by its teachings and beliefs. In the first place, the same is demanded of students.
“Cabading emphasized that such reaffirmation is “to safeguard the right of the students to a solid Catholic education.””
This is just an affirmation that in UST, the freedom of expression and academic freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution does not exist.
“Faculty members are “obliged to uphold and show deference to their teaching authority whenever the bishops of the Church have spoken on an issue and have taken a stand in behalf of the Church,” the Dominican Patristics scholar explained.
“Father Cabading has also clarified that professors, “if they are to speak outside the University of anything contrary to the position of the Church, they are to do so only as private individuals and never identify themselves as faculty members of the University.”
“Every person is given the “freedom” to choose but that freedom is not absolute.”
If the “freedom to choose” is not absolute, then it follows that the powers of “Magisterium” of the church is also not absolute.
“Professors, who are opposed to the University’s—and the bishops’—stand, have always the choice of leaving the University’s portals if they adulterate the Catholic education that the student is entitled to with their personal preference or personal position. The student of a Catholic school must receive Catholic teachings without adulteration, without debasement.”
Again, what they are saying is that, if you don’t believe in us, then get out! Wow! Such “civilized” and “reasonable” manner!
“But is Father Cabading’s declaration contrary to “academic freedom?””
The question is absolutely misplaced by virtue of the irrefutable fact that the answer is a categorical yes!
“In the first place, academic freedom is not absolute. The Church does not say that a professor must always take the stand of the Church. In the first place, teachers and scholars should know that they’re applying for teaching positions in a sectarian institution.”
To reiterate, if academic freedom is not absolute; in the same vein, the power of the church is also not absolute.
The church does not say that a professor must always take the stand of the church, but do so as a private citizen and outside the university premise; because if you do so within the university, we will ask you to leave?!
How could UST be a sectarian institution when it is such a fanatical entity?
“The professors, before they apply for a university position, must know the background of a university. In this case, a Catholic university, like Ateneo, La Salle and UST, has a purpose over and above academic freedoms: the nature and function of a Catholic school are inextricably tied up with the mandatum given by Christ to the Apostles before He ascended to Heaven: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Douay-Rheims Bible).”
I could detect a dangerous tendency here. It’s like the Varsitarian is more loyal to their religious beliefs than their duty and obligation as citizens of this Republic.
To reiterate my stand, it is my considered view and so hold, that responsible citizenship is far more superior than any religious beliefs.
“In short, over and above academic freedom, the Catholic university exists for evangelical purposes. By going against the stand of the bishops, the Ateneo and La Salle professors are saying they don’t agree with the Church’s mission. If so, they’re free to leave. In fact, they must leave. They must resign if they have the courage of their conviction.”
Again, what the Varsitarian is saying is that: you don’t believe or subscribe or do not want to tow the line or follow them: then get out, leave and resign. Wow!
These, I believe is the third or the fourth time that those creatures from the Varsitarian has invoked this kind of contention. It appears to me that their “philosophy” is something like this:
Don’t talk, just believe.
Don’t question, just believe.
Don’t argue, just believe.
Why? The moment you ask and question me, I will doubt your religious commitment and later would ask you to resign and leave! Wow! This is a clear case of Damasoism!
To quote the categorical words of Timothy Leary:
"Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself."
“But alas, it seems intellectual honesty and moral conviction are in such short supply in Katipunan, Quezon City and Taft Avenue, Manila.”
This last portion of the article from the Varsitarian is the worst of all in their barrage and attack against Ateneo and La Salle. This is a clear case of hitting below the belt. In basketball, this is not only a foul, but a deliberate, indeed a fragrant one.
Are they saying that it is only them who are from Espana, Manila that has all the monopoly of intellectual honesty and moral conviction?
Is so, then may I ask, are they brave enough to admit that the land where their so-called pontifical university is situated; is it a legitimate property that belongs to them or is it a property that was land grabbed by the Dominicans from the Filipinos?
They are accusing the Ateneo and La Salle professors as intellectual pretenders and interlopers; but are they aware that their religious order is the number one land grabber in the history of the Philippines? Are they aware of the numerous historical and indescribable human right violations, such as rape, robbery, discrimination, mass murder, etc. that was committed to the natives, to the Filipino people of the Dominican religious order?
Who is the true interloper?
Who is the genuine intellectual pretender?
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
October 25, 2012