To call the RH bill discussions a debate is a misnomer.
No amount of persuasive reasoning can cause the Catholic Church to change its stand. It is an order to its flock that has to be followed unquestioningly. This has been repeatedly pronounced in pulpits all over the nation and on trimedia. They have to stand foursquare on their beliefs because these are laid down as doctrines; ex cathedra statements from no less than Pope John Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. The Pope said that the only form of birth control permitted is that of abstinence.
The Church believes that all licit sexual acts must be unitive (with love) and procreative at the same time. With some levity this pronouncement was taken to mean that one cannot lust over one’s wife because the act was for mere pleasure. This made one housewife to quip that if her husband does not lust over her she will leave him.
The rhythm method is allowed because it is regarded as a periodic abstinence. It would seem that any method that prevents procreation, whether pre-uterine or post-uterine, is not allowed and yet periodic abstinence (doing it at infertile periods) essentially is an act that prevents procreation. The Natural Family Planning method is making love without procreative intentions.
Have you ever wondered why the family sizes of the middle to lower upper group, the most moral of the demographic groupings in our society, tend to be small? It would be naive to think that they, at some time, didn’t avail of contraceptive methods and/or pills and devises. Preventing pregnancy without extraneous help is wishful thinking.
So many of us Catholics, both casual and practicing, feel restive with the thought that we are “out of grace” and would reap hellfire and eternal damnation if we don’t toe the line. The sacraments will be withheld from us if we are in the state of mortal sin. I believe that this is patently coercive and leaves a lot of Catholics feeling wretched as a result.
It has been broached by one anti-RH Bill stalwart that perhaps, as a long term outlook, we should encourage population increase because it would translate into more hands to work in foreign soil because of the important role they have played in keeping the country’s economy above water.
I feel uncomfortable to look at our people as transportable resources to earn and remit dollars that help boost our economy. The OFW is a phenomenon that stems from a poverty stricken nation and should be looked at as a temporary condition until such time when the country strengthens its economic standing.
It is hardly a desirable long term prospect for us. Is it not that one of the government’s goals is to lessen the incidence of people working abroad? The OFW has to endure sacrifices. They leave hearth and home to trade off family bonds and values for dollars.
As I said, there is no debate. It is a classic standoff between an immoveable magisterium and politically motivated proponents of the RH bill and never the twain shall meet. It’s a no win situation which might be more harmful for the Church as it could signal the disillusionment of its flock as what happened to the Catholic Church in Spain, Netherlands, France and others.
Population control is just one aspect of a complicated world problem which is interwoven with other concerns such as depletion of natural resource (global warming, water scarcity; food to mouth ratios); social issues – e.g. cultural and moral; political issues e.g.- territorial conflicts; ideological; global and national economic issues and the dichotomies that exist in all of these.
Religious ramifications should be considered seriously but not to the exclusion of universal consequences and concerns. The protagonists in the RH issue are so engrossed with their own parochial interests forgetting that some of these may be counterproductive to the bigger scheme of things.