Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why I am for an RH Bill

It boils down to faith. The first of 7 themes of Catholic Social Teaching enumerated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is the sanctity of human life and dignity of the person. There is a tendency to overlook the second component.

Take me as an example. My wife and I trained in the busiest hospital in the Philippines as well as in the busiest hospital in New York City. We were exposed to all forms of contraception including abortion. After a period of discernment, we decided on natural family planning methods. We have 5 children, the youngest of whom is 2 weeks old.

At 47 (my wife is 46), we had not expected to experience again the pure, joyful blessedness of a child's birth.

Pope John Paul II states that Catholic social teaching “rests on the threefold cornerstone of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity.” (1999 Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in America, 55). Solidarity, John Paul II wrote is “not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others. It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38).

Complementing solidarity is subsidiarity. Pope Pius XI declared “that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry“ (Quadragesimo Anno, 79).

During these partisan times when politicians pander to various interest groups in the spirit of expediency, let us not forget that each one of us possesses the capacity to prayerfully reflect upon our choices. For St Thomas Aquinas, conscience is the act of applying our knowledge of good and evil to what we do. The principle of the primacy of conscience is contingent upon education and enlightenment. John Paul II affirmed that “in order to have a ‘good conscience,’ (1Tim 1:5) a person must seek the truth and must make judgments in accordance with that same truth”(Veritatis Splendor, 62)

750,000 abortions each year is unacceptable (Pro-Life Philippines). In the absence of education, it is becoming the contraceptive of choice in our country. We must do something about this national tragedy. "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” (Luke 11:46)

While I cannot support House Bill 5043 because of its punitive provisions towards health professionals and private enterprise as well as an inadequate educational component, we must persevere in crafting guidelines which will allow every Filipino to act according to their sufficiently formed conscience. We must have faith that each one of us, properly enlightened, will do right.


Anonymous said...

namaste Martin - we shall overcome ?

Anonymous said...

We must educate all re all forms of RH AND we must make all these forms of RH available particularly to the poorest. Then, it will be a matter of free will.

Lorenzo said...

This is a great perspective on having an RH bill. As a devout Catholic, I am a firm believer in God's natural and loving design, and thus uphold the sanctity of life AND the dignity of the human person. It was refreshing to read your perspective. You have my vote, Doc!