Friday, June 03, 2011

Voice of the Laity and the RH Bill

Amidst the tensions and animosities which RH Bill has roused and whipped up, we are inspired to observe the persistent vigilance of the lay faithful. They have been there ever present in every discussion and debate to defend the sacredness of life and the rights of the family, never giving up the traditional stand of the Catholic Church vis-a-vis the many and formable challenges put forward by the proponents of the proposed law. Yes, they have made the bishops proud. They are courageous bunch of individuals who have stood up for the Commandments of God and morality, the value of self-sacrifice and discipline. Many of them are faceless personalities yet brilliant and propound in their expositions of the faith to show to the postmodern citizens the existence of the bigger picture of human life. I see them in Congress explaining to the representatives of the people the value of human life and the importance of the objective standard of actions and non-negotiable principles of morality in the legislation of a nation; I view them in T.V. parrying the objections brought forth by the RH Bill promoters, casually shrugging off some comments meant to put them on the spot and embarrass them, patiently explaining the stand of the Catholic Church on the beauty of life and the deep respect for the natural laws that govern the human body in the use of sex; I read them in the newspapers and magazines, expounding the need for discipline and morality in the exercise of sexuality, procreation, and love life. For them, the nation will be better off if it follows the laws laid down by the Constitution, instead of resorting to contraceptives, sterilization and condoms, artificial means that downgrade human sexuality from what should be a loving act of the man and the woman into a mere exchange of bodily fluids for the sake of a fleeting pleasure. As Mr. Francisco Tatad eloquently put it: “(RH Bill)... is a naked attempt to impose a hedonistic sex-oriented lifestyle upon individuals and families – one in which marriage is reduced into a State-mediated partnership between two individuals whose primary purpose is to engage in a mechanical State-supervised exchange of carnal sensations while doing everything to avoid its most natural consequence, namely, the conception of a child” (Cf. The Truth and Half-Truths About Reproductive Health, p. 4). Mr. Leonardo Montemayor, FFF National President, in the name of the Federation of Free Farmers, issued an official Statement against the RH Bills in Congress, upholding the sacredness of human life and integrity of the Filipino family as the bedrock of Philippine society, and, among others, declared: “Filipinos in general and farmers in particular consider their children a blessings to their families and as assets to society. In contrast, the RH bills seem to treat pregnancy as a disease and child-rearing as an affliction, both to be prevented or even eliminated.”

Such a manifestation of courage and heroism bespeaks of an interior life that has grown mature; a Christian soul that is alive and sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit; a faith that sees beyond what the senses feel and the unaided brain perceives, that is, the material surface of things. It penetrates through what is merely visible and appreciates the invisible yet evident workings of God in the daily occurrences of living. It is the very same faith that we have all received during our baptism. But, thanks be to God, our Christian family and our Church have patiently nurtured this faith through the teaching of the word of God and the administration of the sacraments. The word of God serves as the light to whatever happens to the baptized, giving the daily event in life a deeper meaning than what is being sensed and felt; the sacraments allow the baptized to continually commune in a personal way the God who created him and the God who saves him. It is within this environment that the faith of our lay faithful has developed. In time there has developed in them a sensitivity for divine activity, the instinctual appreciation to give to God what belongs to God.

Our lay faithful who keep the faith have a world-view in dealing with the affairs of the universe. They uphold that the ultimate reality is God – the Creator of the universe and, therefore, utterly distinct from it. He is a personal God, eternal, and self-sufficient (Gn 1:1; Col 1:16). He has no beginning and no end, a God who is a person, not a force. Man is created by this God according to His own image and likeness. As such he possesses a nature that is unique in its value and dignity, possessing within himself the faculties of the intellect to know the truths and facts of life, and of the will to love the good and the beautiful. This God communes with man. He is a God of history – a God who not only hears the cry of the poor, but had left His throne in heaven and became man in Jesus Christ, taking everything human unto Himself except sin. His purpose is to free man from sin, the curse of suffering and death. To do that He accepted His own death, a death that is ignominious, death on the cross (cf. Ph2: 6-8). In this world- view man is to live here on earth with a purpose. As he came from God, he too has to return to Him. But as he was endowed with the freedom of choice, he can attain only that purpose of his life by choosing the good and avoiding evil. By that, he is made responsible for all the decisions and actions that he has done to his life, to render account to the Creator, and be judged accordingly.

It is this kind of world-view that gives our lay faithful courage and perseverance to stand up in defense of the Catholic faith. The Church is deeply proud of them.