Tag Archives: RH Bill

Column: Taking a swipe at the Cardinal?

Published on January 29, 2013. It seems Inquirer.net added videos to the story some time after my column came out.

A Jesuit friend I esteem cried foul recently over Karen Boncocan’s characterization of a major homily given by the new Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle. (The homily, on the occasion of the Feast of Jesus the Nazarene, was read, or rather extemporized, on Jan. 9, but I read my friend’s e-mail to me only the other day.)

My friend wrote: The “news report about Chito Tagle taking a ‘swipe’ against the RH Bill makes gratuitously speculative assertions that I think are inappropriate for a news report. If she [the reporter] were an opinion writer, one could let that pass. But she is supposed to be reporting news and what she does is make assertions here that cannot, in my view, be squared with the actual text of Chito’s homily. Would you know anything about whether this is just a lapse or according to some kind of editorial policy?”

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Column: The post-RH Church and “the medicine of mercy”

A suggestion about a way forward, after the dramatic passage of the controversial RH law. Published on Christmas Day 2012.

A loyal Catholic, I thought I proved my loyalty by supporting the controversial reproductive health law. In the wake of its contentious, historic passage, I am moved to consider what, from a layman’s perspective, the Church hierarchy in the Philippines might do to recover its position of influence.

(Having thrilled to the sound of the Catholic bishops’ courageous pastoral letter of February 1986 being read aloud in an open field, removing the last shred of doubt about the fraudulence of the Marcos regime, I am mindful that Church influence can be both positive and profoundly necessary.)

I take my bearings, in large part, from what I understand to be the authentic legacy of John XXIII, the “Good Pope John” who convened Vatican II. Three extraordinary statements of his—two speeches and an apostolic constitution—define the position of the Church in the modern age with wonderful humility and great clarity. The first, read on Jan. 25, 1959, introduces the idea of an epochal ecumenical council; the second, the constitution released 51 years ago today, on Christmas Day 1961, convokes Vatican II; the third opens the council’s first session on Oct. 11, 1962. (I am using the translations provided in the website devoted to Bishop BC Butler, an eminent council father, at vatican2voice.org.)

Perhaps these three statements, revisited, can help the Philippine Church find the right way of proceeding, after the passage of the RH bill.

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Column: What if the Church is in error?

One thing I love: Whenever I write on religious or theological matters, I almost always receive lengthy, well-considered responses written in a spirit of fraternal correction. Most of them arrive by email, although several come through the door marked “comment thread.” This column, which prompted several such responses, was published on September 18, 2012.

After 45 De La Salle University professors issued a statement in support of the Reproductive Health bill early this month, a distinguished alumnus of La Salle (and Harvard) wrote a powerful rejoinder. I cannot agree with all the points raised by Bernardo M. Villegas (or BMV, as we all referred to him at the Center for Research and Communication where I worked two decades ago), but I thought his response was both muscular and gracious, emphatic and respectful, at the same time. Continue reading

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Column: Supporting the Ateneo professors

Published on August 28, 2012.

The misreading of the memo that Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jett Villarin wrote to his university community on the vexing issue of the Reproductive Health bill was both unfortunate and immediate. The original story that appeared in the Inquirer completely misunderstood the import of the memo, or the effect it had on the professors who wrote an impassioned, rigorously argued statement in support of the bill; as a result, a good number of readers thought that the Jesuits had thrown the professors to the dogs. Continue reading

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