By William M. Esposo (The Philippine Star)
The Catholic Church in our country is so messed up that it cannot...
By Red Tani
It’s a good time to be gay (and lesbian and bi and trans). Obama’s support for same-sex marriage came shortly after another LGBT win: Miriam Quiambao’s recent homophobic statements galvanized support for the LGBT community, raising awareness and even sympathy for their cause.
Momentum is on the LGBT community’s side, and with this week’s celebration of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), debates on marriage equality and other LGBT issues have reignited. Although an LGBT win is not guaranteed, the debate itself is a minor victory; the status quo is a defeat by default.
To maintain the status quo, the Catholic Church and other conservative elements will try to dictate definitions — the terms of the debate. In the reproductive health (RH) debate, the most time-consuming distraction they use is the question, “When does life begin?” Pro-RH legislators would invariably fall into the trap of trying to define “life.” The anti-RH then argues as if it had a monopoly on the its meaning, which is to be expected from a group that has proclaims itself the “pro-life” side.
In the marriage equality debate, conservatives will use a similar tactic: they will try to monopolize the meaning of marriage. Marriage, they will argue, is a Catholic sacrament reserved for one man and one woman who love each other (unitive) and intend to have children (procreative) — to go beyond that definition bastardizes its meaning and endangers the institution of marriage itself. But even a brief look at history will show that the Catholic marriage is nothing but a modern invention…
By Red Tani
Despite disagreeing with bishops on almost every political issue of controversy — contraception, LGBT rights, etc. — many progressives maintain their Catholic identity for one reason: primacy of conscience. But this doctrine is misunderstood, as I elaborated in my previous post on primacy.
Long story short, primacy of conscience means that a Catholic must always act consistently with her conscience. However, a Catholic’s first duty is to always have a conscience that’s consistent with the Church. Taken out of context, primacy seems to grant Catholics freedom. Taken in context, however, primacy gives Catholics freedom to do only what the Church tells them — which is not really freedom at all.
I strongly suggest that you read the entire post; I believe it has enough good reasons to convince most that primacy is a fallacy (at least in the way progressives usually understand it). Yet some still refuse to accept that a Catholic’s first duty is to obey, and I can sympathize; it implies that Catholics are intellectually enslaved.*
If the post doesn’t convince you, nothing I say will be enough. But maybe the Vatican’s recent actions will change your mind.
Progressive Nuns of the United States
While continuing to protect pedophile priests around the world, the Vatican is waging a war on nuns…
by Jeiel Aranal
Image from Instructables
Yesterday the Department of Health (DOH), the institution that is supposed to be raising the standards of health for Filipinos, caved in to an institution that is very adamant on lowering the standards of health for Filipinos: the CBCP. It seems that when the bishops say “jump,” the DOH asks “how high?”, instead of doing their job for the Filipino people:
Here’s something that some Catholic bishops will be happy about with respect to the DOH on Valentine’s Day.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Monday said the DOH will not be distributing free condoms on Tuesday as couples nationwide mark Valentine’s Day with dinner dates, lavish gifts and other gestures of affection.
While DOH Secretary Ricky Ona pays lip service to Catholics who use contraceptives despite the Church, he seems to miss the point that the DOH is supposed to be concerned about the health of the Filipino people and not their holiness:
“Responsible sex means you engage in sexual practices that are acceptable to you and your religious beliefs,” he added. “But still the use of condoms and other artificial contraceptives, which the Catholic Church rejects, was still upon the discretion among couples,” said Ona.
“If they want to use it, then they should buy it themselves,” he added.
The lack of reproductive health education in the Philippines makes the DOH’s condom distribution not just about giving away condoms. The DOH’s condom distribution is a way for the DOH to educate couples who might not know about safe sex. The taboo of sex (thanks, Catholic church!) could also make couples less likely to buy contraception out of the needless guilt the Church inspires.
Posted on 23 September 2011 by Red Tani
Senator Miriam Santiago’s theological argument for the Reproductive Health Bill relies on the Catholic doctrine called “primacy of conscience.” But some conservative Catholics thinkher understanding is flawed, one of her many “booboos” intended to “mislead faithful Catholics.”
Is Sen. Santiago misleading Catholics when she argues that primacy of conscience allows Catholics to dissent on the RH Bill? Or are conservative Catholics just defensive because she found a loophole that allows Catholics to be progressive in such issues?
The answer is complicated, so I’ll try to state it simply before expounding. Primacy of conscience means that a Catholic must act consistently with her conscience. However, a Catholic must also have a conscience that’s consistent with the teachings of the Church. Taken by itself, primacy of conscience gives Catholics freedom. Taken in context, it gives Catholics freedom to do what the Church tells them.
Consider contraception. The Church teaches that contraception is inherently evil. Catholics have an obligation to believe this — to make it part of their conscience. When a Catholic fails to believe this — or hold it as definitive — she is fully responsible for this sin (failure to believe) and is no longer in full communion with the Church. When she uses a condom, she acts according to her conscience. Due to primacy of conscience, the sinful action cannot be fully blamed on her — she’s only fully responsible for the sin of doubt.
Yes, she had freedom to use contraception — she does have free will (another complicated doctrine) — and was even right in doing so according to primacy of conscience. But she did not have freedom to believe that contraception was OK — primacy of conscience only applies to actions, not beliefs.
In a nutshell, it was right to act according to her conscience, but wrong to form her conscience independent of the Church.
Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.
by Red Tani
I’m ambivalent about Sen. Santiago’s RH sponsorship speech. As an RH advocate, I’m happy. Her speech was effective in terms of increasing the chances of the RH Bill passing. But as an advocate of secularism, I’m disappointed. She replaced arguing from one religious perspective — CBCP’s version of Catholicism — with arguing from another religious perspective — the progressive Catholicism adhered to by most Catholic advocates I know. This wouldn’t be a problem if she held progressive Catholicism as one of her private motivations for being pro-RH. But to use it as a public argument in Senate is indefensible. This bears repeating: The Philippine Constitution states that secularism shall be inviolable. Although the Philippines may be predominantly Catholic, it should have a secular government — one that is religiously neutral. Sen. Santiago’s speech is as religiously biased as it gets. How many times did she mention God and the Church in her speech? She didn’t even try to be pluralistic; she could have made God and Church applicable to other religions. But it was clear from the start that she was focused on no other religion but the Roman Catholic one.
Her main argument was that Catholics shouldn’t blindly obey the priests and Popes, their doctrines and dogmas; they should follow their conscience instead. Why? Because the 2nd Vatican council said so. But by following their conscience, Catholics will only be obeying a different group of priests and Popes and doctrines and dogmas.
I’m ambivalent about Sen. Santiago’s RH sponsorship speech. As an RH advocate, I’m happy. Her speech was effective in terms of increasing the chances of the RH Bill passing.
But as an advocate of secularism, I’m disappointed. She replaced arguing from one religious perspective — CBCP’s version of Catholicism — with arguing from another religious perspective — the progressive Catholicism adhered to by most Catholic advocates I know.
This wouldn’t be a problem if she held progressive Catholicism as one of her private motivations for being pro-RH. But to use it as a public argument in Senate is indefensible. This bears repeating: The Philippine Constitution states that secularism shall be inviolable. Although the Philippines may be predominantly Catholic, it should have a secular government — one that is religiously neutral.
Sen. Santiago’s speech is as religiously biased as it gets. How many times did she mention God and the Church in her speech? She didn’t even try to be pluralistic; she could have made God and Church applicable to other religions. But it was clear from the start that she was focused on no other religion but the Roman Catholic one.
Read the full article on The Filipino Freethinkers website.
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