I feel strongly about the necessity of enacting the Reproductive Health bill (ever compromised into a comprehensive bill on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development).
Usually, I pretend to be facile about it, or use humor, but I can also get overly emotional in its defense, especially if I feel that there is no logic to the opposition. Or especially if I’ve recently read someone’s fire-and-brimstone discourse on the issue — worse if well-meaning and (usually) rational individuals agree with it.
Hence, today’s rant on Facebook:
today i read on Inquirer that nine percent of the female population in NCR, in the 15-19 age bracket, have given birth (estimated 52,000).
tell me these women are getting the right education, the right guidance, and standardized maternal care. no? then do not block the RH Bill, which seeks to institutionalize and provide the legal framework to bind authorities to provide the education, guidance, and maternal care needed.
who is being inconvenienced here but these women and many more like them?
who is being immoral in ignoring their needs?
we argue about blessed condoms.
HIV/AIDS became recognized as a disease in 1980, but it took the Holy Catholic Church 30 years, only until 2010, to even consider that condoms can be used as protection, to avoid the spread of the disease.
fine, talk about morality… but admit practicality. and do not talk of immorality to the person in a committed sexual relationship with someone HIV positive. do not talk immorality to the wife who has given birth 15 times in succession, the last stillborn, because her husband refuses to abstain or wear a condom.
we are still arguing about contraception. especially loudly, from the pulpit. a few steps away is a stall selling pamparegla, grabbed by the desperate to attempt to abort an unwanted child. not to mention incidents of using wire hangers to scrape the uterus, or quack doctors operating in shady parlors. again, because the desperate hide from censorious eyes. because they feel they have no choice.
beyond church-sanctioned chastity and abstention, what have they got to offer? what effective means have they provided for their flock? i say EFFECTIVE.
i do not sneer at morality, only its short-sightedness. you tend to the soul, but do you tend to the body? station a priest in fabella*, and he won’t have the time to castigate the women giving birth, one after the other. he’ll just be in the way.
we speak of permissiveness. please. do not point fingers at the secular world when priests have scandalized the secular world with their own behavior. forgive me if i’ve lost faith in the church to manage its own, much less see to its congregation.
we are still arguing, when we need to act now. when we need to enact a bill that we’ve been arguing about for a decade now.
again, what other choice do we have?
*Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, a maternal and newborn tertiary hospital found in Santa Cruz, Manila, is notorious for having numerous deliveries in a single day. My cousin, who interned there, has the most appalling stories of women giving birth in the corridors on the waiting line to the delivery room.
You know what I like about Jesus Christ? He was a bundle of contradictions. He had a very strong moral core, but it did not make him self-righteous. In fact, he was friendly with the sinners, ever egging them on to the right path, without being sanctimonious about it.
He had a sense of humor when he twitted the Pharisees about their hypocrisy; but very rarely (in fact I can only remember one instance: the moneylenders driven from the temple), would he lose his temper and visit the wrath of God on the corrupt.
He was a prince, the king of kings, but he loved being an ordinary man and a carpenter.
He liked kids, but he did not patronize them. He loved his mother, and showed respect, but did not allow her to baby him.
He was respectful of women, valued their contribution, but surrounded himself with acknowledged male disciples.
He was scrupulously honest but forgiving of perjurers (heck he made Simon Peter the first Pope).
He was both tolerant and uncompromising. He also did not intrude into political affairs (otherwise the Jews would have been freed from Roman rule, correct)?
Sometimes I have a hard time seeing Jesu Kristo in the Church, on the pulpit, among his most pious flock.
(And in case you were wondering, yes, I am a non-practicing Roman Catholic and have always struggled with the faith I was born into.)