Team Patay, Team Buhay: Unconscionable

I could not believe what I’d heard. On the occasion of the campaigning of the Liberal Party in Bacolod, the Cathedral was dressed up in anti-RH red (please note: the communists had nothing to do with that!) and a huge tarpaulin was raised that was entitled, “Conscience Vote.”

It was divided into two sections, the higher portion in deep anti-RH red reserved for those who voted against the infamous Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health bill (now RA 10354), marked with a check, meaning, “These are the ones you are to vote for out of loyalty to the Church!” Actually named, presumably in alphabetical order, were: JV Estrada, Honasan, Magsaysay, Pimental, Trillanes, and Villar. Even party lists were named: Buhay and Ang Pamilya.

The lower portion was in black (for black sheep, I take it, or the black of darkness! Jesuits vehemently deny it had anything to do with the Black Pope!), and reserved for those who had voted for the RH Bill. It was marked with a prominent “X” in flaming red (that conjured the images of hellfire!), meaning, of course, “These are the one’s you don’t vote for in your ignorance and immaturity!” Actually named: JE Angara, Casiño, AP Cayetano, Enrile, Escudero, Hontiveros, Legarda. Party lists also shared the darkness: Gabriela, Akbayan, Bayan Mina, Anak Pawis.

“Catholic Church” strategists seem to be thinking (well, sort of!): if they lost the battle against the RH Bill, they have a war to win in the forthcoming elections. The battle for RH sanctity is joined not only through proxies in the Supreme Court; it is now joined in the tough arena of partisan politics. Where the “Catholic Church” once played the role of the honest broker, confining itself officially to “voters education” and securing clean and honest elections, they have now effectively reduced the “Catholic Church” to a political party. So beware, you politicians who are clearly enemies of God and country! Beware, because in our plural, democratic society you did not take the anti-RH position of the “Catholic Church” to heart! You are enemies of God, you are enemies of the Truth, you are enemies of Divinity! The “Catholic Vote” will reject you, and set you packing to the eternal consequences of your disobedience!

Only, there is no “Catholic Vote.”

One elderly lady interviewed on TV in front of the Bacolod Cathedral said, “I’m old enough to decide for myself.” Me too! There are names whom I am considering voting for as senators in the red. I will certainly vote for some candidates who are in the black. I will do so in full possession of my thinking faculties and moral reason. I will do so as a Catholic. An insinuation in such as the Bacolod Tarp that should I vote for names in the black, it would not be a “conscience vote,” is silly in its arrogance. And harmful to the Church’s Gospel.

Fast forward to the Day of Judgment (Cf. Mt. 25: 31-46). On that day, the Son of Man shall come in “in all his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right and the goats at his left” (Mt. 26: 31-33”). We all know the account well which ends with the Just Judge saying, “Just as you have done to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did to me” (Mt. 26. 40). If there is a moral litmus test for Catholic morality and conscience it is here, where Jesus reveals the criterion for heaven or hell. “I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.” (Mt 26: 35-36). On the day of the Last Judgment, the decisive question will not be, “Did you or did you not vote for the RH-Bill?” but, “Did you or did you not find me in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned.”

As I have tried to demonstrate in an earlier blog, there is nothing in the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RA 10354) that forces a Catholic to do anything against his or her will. If as Pope Paul VI has taught in a letter written in1968, Catholics accept that each and every conjugal act must be accomplished in its unitive and procreative meanings, i.e., as an expression of love for one’s spouse and with the intention to procreate, except when for grave reasons procreation is avoided through natural family planning, then there is nothing in RA 10354 that prevents the Catholic from living this. The Catholic only must choose to do so.

RA 10354 clearly proscribes abortion. It respects the conscience of Catholic government workers. It undertakes to fund and promote natural family planning.

It is, however, not a law that is written so that Catholics will follow the teachings of their Church. It is a law legislated for the common good in a Constitutional society, where – whether the Church likes it or not! – it is Congress that decides which laws are for the common good, and which not. In this plural society, the Church proposes, Congress disposes.

In today’s global reality, where some countries allow abortion, promote artificial and abortifacient contraception indiscriminately, legislate the maximum number of allowable children to a family, monopolize sex education, and fire health workers who do not comply with their population control law, RA 10354 has been written by legislators with palpable respect for the doctrine, conscienses and sensitivities of the Catholic Church. They know, as the Aquino administration knows, best efforts were made to come into dialogue with the concerned Church and its expertsin drafting the RH law. Major changes were introduced because of the Catholic influence. It is grossly unjust to assert now that it is unconscionable for Catholics to vote for these legislators.

So, on the Day of Judgment, the Just Judge will probably not ask, “Did you vote for the RH-Bill or not.” But if he were to ask this question, he would probably follow it up with another:

If you did vote for the RH-Bill, why did you do so? If you say, “I was genuinely concerned about human dignity. I was genuinely concerned about the transmission of life that is responsible and dignified. I was genuinely concerned about the poor. I was genuinely concerned about conditions of love between husband and wife. I was genuinely concerned about the health of mother and child during pregnancy. I was genuinely concerned about the welfare of those who err in procuring abortions,” I do not think that despite your classification by the Bacolod Cathedral Jesus will number you among the goats.

If you did vote against the RH-Bill, why did you do so? If you say, “I was afraid of the Catholic Vote. I feared the wrath of the CBCP. I was afraid of the passionate protagonists of life. I was afraid to go to hell,” I think that, despite your classification by the Bacolod Cathedral, because you were mainly focused on your welfare and not on Jesus present among his poor, you may miss being numbered among the sheep.

If the “Catholic Church” is truly convinced of its position, convince first the Catholics of it, then propose law based on their collective witness. Running to legislation to do the job of proclamation and religious education will not convince Catholics who are not convinced. In truth, if Catholics over the long term are not convinced, then it may be time to open the doors and windows of the Cathedral, let the fresh air come in, and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Putting posters up about conscience in the context of a particular vote for or against particular people squanders and trivializes the moral authority of the Church. If it is pronounced unconscionable to vote for a candidate because of a contestable “Catholic Church” position (the issue, remember, was the enactment of a secular law in a plural state, not the level of veracity of a doctrine!), who will believe the Church when she attempts to bind in conscience to pursue the common good, to overcome debilitating poverty, to protect the environment, to work for a society of true human flourishing?

When the Bacolod Cathedral turned red and put up its tarpaulin, a young man of conscience from that city, who had been properly exposed to church doctrine and Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae (DH), announced on the internet that he is leaving the Church in indignation. He could not reconcile the Bacolod caper with the teachings of DH:

“The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power” (DH, 2).

“This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men [and women] are to be immune from coercion on the part of individual or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, Nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or with others, within due limits. … the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known by the revealed Word of God and by reason itself” (DH, Ch. I, 2).

The young man left the Church to protect the integrity of his conscience, which he felt had been violated in Bacolod. I hope the Spirit leads him back.

Meanwhile, where is the truth? Where the Spirit is present in the communion of all the disciples of Jesus in the world, not just in the bishops, the truth and imperatives of conscience can no longer be imposed on all by clerics and conservatives from on high. After the Crusades, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Wars of Religion, Vatican II, and paradigm-shifted insight into God’s presence in a plural society, the Church can no longer impose its existence and message on the world, just as the world cannot – or at least ought not – impose its values and mores on the Church. Listening will have to be two-way, and discernment shared.

At its center: Jesus, the Father turned towards us in Love. Key player here: the laity.

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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102 Responses to Team Patay, Team Buhay: Unconscionable

  1. andrew lim says:

    Thanks for this, Fr Tabora. I wrote an essay giving five reasons why Catholic Vote Phils should be ignored. It will come out next week in some blogs, with detailed explanations. I welcome all to comment on them.

    Five good reasons why Catholic Vote Phils should be ignored:

    1. The Catholic Vote cannot be operationalized without becoming a single-issue voter. (Is RH the one and only issue that determines a vote? How about anti-RH candidates who advocate the death penalty? )

    2. Complicated decision making techniques (e.g. using Unitatis Redintegratio of 2nd Vatican Council ) to analyze issues cannot be appreciated by the average voter.

    3. Catholic Vote Phils will inevitably result in discrimination against non-Catholic candidates.

    4. Catholic Vote Phils will put its voters in the awkward position of supporting candidates with unsavory political histories, just because they voted no to RH and appear to support their agenda.

    5. Catholic Vote Phils. may create a moral hazard, by appearing to wash away the past misdeeds of its supported candidates. This will send the signal that the only issue is RH, and if you follow the CBCP line, you are deemed worthy.

    • Larry Seville says:

      compared to my other comments, I have to agree with you guys on this particular part especially to points 4 and 5. I kinda don’t agree with everything with point 1 because I actually am leaning towards the death penalty (I switched after reading Aquinas’ opinions on the issue)

    • andrew lim says:

      A more complete discussion of my five points above can now be read in JoeAmerica’s blog, The Society of Honor, in essay form, titled “5 Reasons Why Catholic Vote Phils. Should be Ignored.”.

      I really can’t wrap my head around the idea that a candidate is worthy just because of his vote on one issue- RH. If Imelda Marcos, Gloria Arroyo, her sons Mikee and Dato, were running for Senator, would they be endorsed and praised as Team “Buhay”?

      Team “Buhay” is endorsing coup plotters, enablers of corrupt and repressive past regimes. Is the slogan of Team “Buhay” this one: “Di Baleng Corrupt, Basta Kakampi ng mga Bishop?”

  2. Larry Seville says:

    I will be honest. It is people like you who are making me ashamed of being a jesuit product (Xavier). You say the RH Law respects government workers’ conscience. Compare to:

    ” (b) Any public officer, elected or appointed, specifically charged with the duty to implement the provisions hereof, who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services; or refuses to allocate, approve or release any budget for reproductive health care services, or to support reproductive health programs; or shall do any act that hinders the full implementation of a reproductive health program as mandated by this Act;” shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) to One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court: Provided, That, if the offender is a public officer, elected or appointed, he/she shall also suffer the penalty of suspension not exceeding one (1) year or removal and forfeiture of retirement benefits depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency.

    You quote all sort of scriptures, ignoring Christ when he says of the apostles and their successors “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me” (Lk 10:16)

    You quote Dignitatis Humanae and want to make it seem that it talks about giving people the “freedom” to disobey their faith and their bishops. It is significant that in the sections you quote you leave out the part on OBLIGATIONS TO SEEK AND OBEY THE TRUTH.

    “The young man left the Church to protect the integrity of his conscience, which he felt had been violated in Bacolod. I hope the Spirit leads him back. ” – obviously he left because his conscience is the kind YOU and your cohorts want to promote: one that promotes relativism over truth. And if such a person would leave for such a reason (and you apparently agree with him) then that means he was looking for a reason to leave in the first place. To them I do what Christ did in John 6: let them leave.

    “Meanwhile, where is the truth? Where the Spirit is present in the communion of all the disciples of Jesus in the world, not just in the bishops, the truth and imperatives of conscience can no longer be imposed on all by clerics and conservatives from on high. After the Crusades, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Wars of Religion, Vatican II, and paradigm-shifted insight into God’s presence in a plural society, the Church can no longer impose its existence and message on the world, just as the world cannot – or at least ought not – impose its values and mores on the Church. Listening will have to be two-way, and discernment shared. ” – Oh Christ, you don’t sound like a catholic but a protestant pretended reformer. Compare to St. Ignatius of Antioch, who died in 110 AD:

    “It is becoming, therefore, that ye also should be obedient to your bishop, and contradict him in nothing; for it is a fearful thing to contradict any such person. For no one does [by such conduct] deceive him that is visible, but does [in reality] seek to mock Him that is invisible, who, however, cannot be mocked by any one. And every such act has respect not to man, but to God.” (St. Ignatius: Letter to the Magnesians; Ch 3)
    “Some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. Now such persons seem to me to be not possessed of a good conscience, seeing they are not stedfastly gathered together according to the commandment.” (St. Ignatius: Letter to the Magnesians; Ch 4)

    You sir, have succeeded not in encouraging me to disobey my Church but to disavow you so-called society of Jesus. My conscience, formed by the Jesuits to love the CHURCH and to obey the MAGISTERIUM, on one hand, commands me to call out the idiocy of bishops getting involved in politics, but on the other hand, commands me to call you out on this matter as well.

    • You are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, the reason why I wrote that RA 10354 respects Catholic conscience is its Art 3. Sec 23 (b): which imposes sanctions on all those who do not carry out the law, as you quote, but with an important proviso, which you do not quote: “(3) Refuse to extend quality health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, age, religious convictions, personal circumstances, or nature of work: PROVIDED, THAT THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION OF A HEALTH CARE SERVICE PROVIDER BASED ON HIS/HER ETHICAL OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS SHALL BE RESPECTED; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in Republic Act No. 8344, which penalizes the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases” [CAPS provided].
      A careful reading of the history of the Church and its teachings will show that it has moved away from a set of bishops teaching Truth to the unlettered faithful to a recognition of the presence of the Holy Spirit in all the faithful, including in yourself. The Magisterium at one time taught that the world was flat, and that Galileo was wrong. It forced its truths on people through its Inquisition, and waged wars to defend its truths. Even at the dawn of the social teaching of the Church, it taught that the social stratification in society where the rich are rich and powerful and the poor are desolate and powerless was part of the natural law, and that attempts to reform society were against the natural law. Remember the notion that we all the people in squatters’ areas are there because of the “will of God who created them there”? For Pope Leo XIII, the notion of “human rights” was unacceptable, because it was the God-given lot of the unlettered to follow the wisdom of the established. How long was it before the Church condemned the institution of slavery since it was natural for slaves to be slave? How long did the Church condemn interest on loans because this was against the nature of money? The problems of the world and of serious Christian in the world are complex, unfortunately, and their solution cannot be solved by simple reference to the Magisterium and the nature of things.
      I will take your views to prayer, just as I take the experience of the young man who left the Church because he could no longer find the respect for his individual conscience in it. Relativism? If it is relativism over the type of “thought” that will equate Church teaching with “Team Buhay” and “Team Patay”, the relativism is not only justified but appropriate. The “Church” is demeaned if it is reduced to a political party, and silliness is santified if it is elevated to the position of the Magisterium. Relative to the truth that we are loved by the Father and by the Son in the Holy Spirit, there is no relativism. Of course, we have the obligation to seek and obey the truth. Unfortunately, those who in their self estimation already have the truth no longer seek it. They are able to enter before God’s presence and say, “Thank God I am not like the rest of men.” Others, still seeking in a confusing world, say: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, a sinner.”
      I do not mean this sarcastically. If you have found truth and are at peace, rejoice. You have been blessed. Love in the truth you are blessed with. I for my part remain needy and in search. I know I am not alone. Here, please be compassionate, not condemning. Accord us the respect the Church accords us in our dignity as human beings.

      • Larry Seville says:

        Thank you for your reply, but a few replies of my own:
        “(3) Refuse to extend quality health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, age, religious convictions, personal circumstances, or nature of work: PROVIDED, THAT THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION OF A HEALTH CARE SERVICE PROVIDER BASED ON HIS/HER ETHICAL OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS SHALL BE RESPECTED; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: – while it is true that on paper this is allowed, any ethicist would realize that the mere fact that the so-called conscientious objector is required to refer means that the objector is being forced to be an accessory to the fact. Strictly speaking, except for emergency cases (where the physician would be required ethically to deal with the situation regardless of personal beliefs), a physician referring a patient to another physician who would do the immoral act that the first physician refuses to do renders the first person culpable. Is not a person who refuses to murder someone but refers the situation to a hit man also to blame? Not the most apt analogy but I hope the point is made.

        “The Magisterium at one time taught that the world was flat, and that Galileo was wrong” – Actually Galileo was still indeed wrong, as evidenced by Keppler and other Jesuit astronomers at the time refuting his claims that the orbits of planets are perfect circles (instead of ellipses) and that the sun was immobile at the center of the universe. But what is the point of bringing this up? The church teaching that the world is flat does not fit the definition of infallibility as defined by vatican i. Humanae Vitae does, contrary to what your colleage Fr. Bernas says.

        ” It forced its truths on people through its Inquisition, and waged wars to defend its truths.” – again this does not sound like the words of one who understands what the inquisition is. The inquisition’s purpose it went out to investigate claims of heresy among catholics. Historians agree the numbers are exagerrated and that the abuses occurred in the spanish inquisition as opposed to the general and italian inquisitions (Galileo was tried under the italian inquisition, and I suspect that it was an overreaction to the protestant pretended reformation – have to thank St. Robert Bellarmine for that). And once again, there is no connection between the abuses of certain inquisitors as the fact of the infallibility of the magisterium on concerns of faith and morals.

        ” Even at the dawn of the social teaching of the Church, it taught that the social stratification in society where the rich are rich and powerful and the poor are desolate and powerless was part of the natural law, and that attempts to reform society were against the natural law. ” – please educate me on official church teachings about this point. I admit that I have not read much beyond populorum progressio. However, your wording here smells of so-called liberation theology, which I admire to a point but has been looked down by the last two popes.

        “For Pope Leo XIII, the notion of “human rights” was unacceptable, because it was the God-given lot of the unlettered to follow the wisdom of the established.” – Firstly, I would like to see where he said this. We may be taking words out of context the same way Aquinas is accused of denying the immaculate conception when in fact the problem was he was referring to a different definition of conception.

        “How long was it before the Church condemned the institution of slavery since it was natural for slaves to be slave? How long did the Church condemn interest on loans because this was against the nature of money?” – I admit to not having as much experience studying these two issues as I should.

        “he problems of the world and of serious Christian in the world are complex, unfortunately, and their solution cannot be solved by simple reference to the Magisterium and the nature of things.” – no one denies that. However, for priests to openly decry the magisterium on an infallible doctrine, and to seemingly promote open disobedience to the bishops, successors to the apostles, shows to me a lack of the humility required of us. Allow me to explain that what utterly stuns me about the attitude of some jesuits and atenean theologians (who I know personally) is the fact that a) you readily admit that HV is binding and claim to accept that contraception is intrinsically evil yet b) openly advocate legislation that promotes it. In that scenario, what is simple is rendered discombobulated by scandal. Would not the most prudent thing for a priest to do, as mentioned by PJPII himself, be to go with the Church on this?

        I will also now go on hand to say that for the Catholic to say that he doubts the practicality of God’s will is to say that Abraham was stupid in attempting to sacrifice his son Isaac. God had told Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars, yet here He was telling Abraham to kill his own son! Yet Abraham trusted God. How deficient it is for us then to deny that God would protect our Popes from error in defining Humanae Vitae, which clearly asks for politicians to oppose legislation promoting error. (the logical implication being that the catholic in general should do so as well)

        I bring up the topic of relativism because that is what certain members of the society of Jesus seem to be presenting with regards to the RH bill/ now law. I think I mentioned in a later comment that I do find the general current attitude of some bishops towards politics as “inane” (although I now recall, as I type this, that I used that word to describe the process of choosing or rejecting a candidate based on a singular issue to the exclusion of everything else – oh to write at unholy hours! although I know Fr. Reuter literally wrote at 3 am…)

        ” Of course, we have the obligation to seek and obey the truth. Unfortunately, those who in their self estimation already have the truth no longer seek it. They are able to enter before God’s presence and say, “Thank God I am not like the rest of men.” Others, still seeking in a confusing world, say: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, a sinner.”” – this is where I have to agree with your premise but disagree with your conclusion. Yes we all have the obligation to seek the truth. However, I cannot agree with your statement that our bishops “in their self estimation already have the truth” and thus no longer seek it. The bishops have the truth in faith and morals in so much as they are in communion with our holy father. And his authority in truth comes not from us but from Christ. I am sure I do not need to re-present the history of papal infallibility (then again, Fr. Bernas seems to forget that the notion of papal infallibilty or at least the primacy of the bishop of rome goes way before vatican i) They may sometimes (actually oftentimes) SUCK big time at teaching the truth, and commit horrible mistakes when it comes to application of faith and morals. However, to deny that as bishops they have the authority on catholic truth is precisely the attitude of the protestant pretended reformer.

        Also, all your statements seem to imply to me that (and this is where the “charge” of relativism comes in) the Jesuits apparently believe that primacy of conscience trumps what the Church officialy teaches. again, seems that way. Compare to:
        “A grave responsibility derives from this: those who place themselves in open conflict with the law of God, authentically taught by the Church, guide spouses along a false path. The Church’s teaching on contraception does not belong to the category of matter open to free discussion among theologians. Teaching the contrary amounts to leading the moral consciences of spouses into error.” – Pope John Paul II, July 6, 1987 ( – “The Church’s teaching on contraception is not a matter for free discussion among theologians,” L’Osservatore Romano, July 6, 1987, p. 12.)

        It is apparent that majority the comments you have made re: my comment seem to build the argument that the Church has made seeming errors and thus may be and should be “adaptable” with regards to contraception. This is precisely where the previous lack of faith comes in. I believe that bread and wine can become the body and blood of christ. I believe that Christ is fully God and fully man at the same time. If I can believe things as ludicrous as that on faith, why can I not believe that Christ protects his Church from error? If I can believe Christ when he says “this is my body” why can I not believe him when he says “he who hears you hears me?” and “what youbind on earth is bound in heaven” – a statement made not to the disciples in general but to Peter in particular.

        “If it is relativism over the type of “thought” that will equate Church teaching with “Team Buhay” and “Team Patay”, the relativism is not only justified but appropriate. The “Church” is demeaned if it is reduced to a political party, and silliness is santified if it is elevated to the position of the Magisterium. ” For once we agree totally. I’m glad it is not a matter of faith nor morals though.

        I know you do not mean it sarcastically. I would like to suggest that if I am so “sure” of myself it is because I am not relying on myself. I have chosen to rely precisely on the rock that Christ established His Church on, I have chosen to hear those whom Christ said “he who hears you hears me” and I have chosen not to rely purely on my own conscience which may lead me into error if not properly formed but to rely, like Christ in the garden (when he said, not my will but yours be done) like Abraham on the mount with isaac. Again this is in no way my merit but is a grace from God given to one who asked. I apologize for my sometimes condescending, sometimes condemning attitude, but there are times when, as St. jerome said and I paraphrase from memory, that the axe of the gospel must be taken out to lay waste to the barren tree. As both a parent and a child, as someone on the receiving and giving end of discipline, a balance must be maintained between correction and mercy. I ask forgiveness if sometimes I lean too much on one end of the scale.

      • Tony says:

        “The Magisterium at one time taught that the world was flat, and that Galileo was wrong. It forced its truths on people through its Inquisition, and waged wars to defend its truths. Even at the dawn of the social teaching of the Church, it taught that the social stratification in society where the rich are rich and powerful and the poor are desolate and powerless was part of the natural law, and that attempts to reform society were against the natural law. Remember the notion that we all the people in squatters’ areas are there because of the “will of God who created them there”? For Pope Leo XIII, the notion of “human rights” was unacceptable, because it was the God-given lot of the unlettered to follow the wisdom of the established. How long was it before the Church condemned the institution of slavery since it was natural for slaves to be slave? How long did the Church condemn interest on loans because this was against the nature of money?”

        I agree with the point of the essay, Joel, but one must be careful about using history to buttress one’s own point of view. History is complex; its use as a weapon, even if for a good and valid cause, does not square well with a critical historical consciousness, which demands as well that we relativize the horizon of our own consciousness, modern or not. The Galileo affair was complex; slavery was in fact condemned by Paul III in the 1540s; the Inquisition is still with us (in the guise of the CDF, although more benevolently it seems), etc.

        I would say: let us look at the matter with eyes firmly fixed on the current conditions of our lives. We can learn from history a lot, but not in the usual pantzer-like thrusts the disregard the complexities and particularities of historical epochs.

      • Larry Seville says:

        I also forgot to add, the proviso you capitalized refers to that specific part of the section on punishable acts (specifically for physicians). It does not refer to the part I quoted.

      • Ruel Santos says:

        Dear Fr. Tabora,
        You are gravely mistaken on your assessment that Catholics can follow the RH Law.

        Sec. 7 states …. Provided That family planning services shall likewise be extended by private health facilities to paying patients with the option to grant free health care and services to indigents, except in the case of non-maternity speciality hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group, but they have the option to provide such full range of modern family planning methods. Provided further, That these hospitals shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health facility which is conveniently accessible: Provided finally, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in Republic Act No. 8344.

        A hospital that refuses to provide a “full range” of family planning or reproductive health services must “immediately refer” patients to another facility that will do so. This suppresses freedom of conscience on the part of those who object to referral because it makes them complicit in the act that follows. Further: that facility must be “conveniently accessible.” The law does not explicitly state what is required if another facility is not conveniently accessible. However, the statement that “no person shall be denied. . . access to family planning services,” read in conjunction with Section 27, invites the conclusion that if another facility is not conveniently accessible, the objecting institution must provide the morally contested service. Refusing to refer a patient leaves the persons responsible and officers of the institution liable to imprisonment for one to six months, a fine of up to 100,000 pesos, or both. [Section 24]

        This just shows that the freedom of conscience is not respected. Here’s another example, from Sec. 19 Art. A2: Ensure people’s access to medically safe, non-abortifacient, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services.

        The requirement to “ensure people’s access” may be used as an excuse to suppress freedom of conscience among those who object aspects of the program.

        Sec. 19 Art. B1: Strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high quality, accessible and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms.

        This section appears to require professional regulators to develop policies, regulations and codes of ethics that can be used to force objecting health care workers and institutions to comply with the Act.

        Lastly, Sec. 23 Art. 3 which you have quoted, the exemption is limited to a refusal for reasons set out in Section 23(3). No exemption is permitted for moral objections to contentious procedures or services. Further: some health care workers consider referral to be unacceptable because it makes them morally complicit in an act they believe to be wrong.

        Thus, a morally formed Catholic who knows the correct teachings of the Church cannot accept this kind of law. As a Carmelite, I disagree with your analysis.

      • childlike says:

        when the Church proclaims her infallibility, it is always concerning on faith and morals…If we don’t follow the moral and natural law, what should we follow? Is it the artificial law and the immoral law if there are such…

        Remember that the Church is both human and divine..I believe that you know it already as a Doctor of Theology…

      • Shiko says:

        Hello Father. I just wanted to say–thank you for keeping up the posting. You receive a lot of flak online (and presumably offline), but there will always be people like me, thankful that there is intelligent and, dare I say, Catholic exegesis available to guide and enlighten us. I was baptized a Catholic, though the shenanigans of other local Catholic scribes and Pharisees–oops, I meant priests and bishops–have compelled me to distance myself from most of the local Church. (No doubt they are much relieved that open, functioning minds like mine are gone.) Please take care and keep writing. :)

  3. Larry Seville says:

    In addition, catholics SHOULD try to impose the TRUTH onto the world. Unless of course, we don’t really believe that our faith is true. HOWEVER, to be fair, I must agree that it is utterly inane to advocate candidates MERELY on one issue. I don’t blame the Pro-RH candidates for voting pro RH, I blame you Jesuits for misleading them.

    • Tony says:

      We can only propose, not impose. Benedict XVI says as much. What you are saying runs against Catholic truth and against Catholic dogma. Even an erroneous conscience must be respected.

      • Larry Seville says:

        I will concede this point. An erroneous conscience must be respected. However, respect does not mean that there is no obligation for the proper authority to correct and there is no obligation for the errant to remain obstinate. The obligation to teach truth is not against Catholic truth. It is rooted in Christ’s command itself to “go out to all nations…”

  4. Larry Seville says:

    oh once again, have you read the implementing rules and regulations being promoted? I quote from someone who was there (Dr. Liza Manalo)

    “Updates from yesterday’s IRR meeting at Quirino Hospital…It was presided by Dr. Ona, represented by Dr. Eric Tayag…Damn right we rare! we were intended to just be a rubber stamp! Yari na daw pala talaga ang IRR…nothing can be deleted nor changed, only add….And the appeal of Bishop’s Business Conference to emphasize NFP…ang sagot nils di daw directly makahingi ng support because of separation of Church and state. SO NO SUPPORT FOR NFP!!
    Also government doctors and employees CANNOT BE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS!!!”

    • Shiko says:

      Uh. Regardless of what law it is, no IRR can ever, ever properly or lawfully go beyond–delete or change anything in–the law which it is precisely supposed to IMPLEMENT. The comment about “cannot be conscientious objectors” is simply erroneous. Someone is mistaken in their understanding or interpretation of the law.

  5. Cedric says:

    In my opinion, one cannot simply reduce or equate respecting other’s opinion or other religious (or non-religious, like a group of atheists) affiliation on the RH law to relativism. Respect and relativism are not exclusively and essentially synonymous.
    Relativism is bending ANY information or data to suit one’s perspective and assertion. Respect sincerely tolerates a divergent opinion without losing its objective ground and set of principles.
    Fr. Tabora, Fr. bernas, and other Jesuits clearly emphasized respect of religious beliefs on the part of the healthcare workers, Pro And Anti-RH law advocates, etc. but simultaneously challenging all Catholics to an examination of conscience in their words and works, especially towards the greater immediate call of ‘feeding the hungry, comforting the weak, fighting for the oppressed, etc..’, and to be more discerning and more accountable on one’s exercise of freedom in the light of the Gospel truth – not mere gullible men and women waiting to be spoonfed with the truth from the hierarchy, as often had been the case, if not always in our distant past.
    May i suggest then that we need not be harsh on those oppose our opinion, plurality does exist in our society – a healthy plurality, i hope.
    Like Larry Seville and Fr. joel tabora, you may disagree in eternity but condemning one over the other does not really invite the refinement of searching the truth. Actuality, both of you (seville and fr. tabora) hold pieces of the truth and simply, the further invitation is to debate and debate and debate endlessly on the issue because you expose both your strength and weakness in the arguments and readers (like me) find the wisdom in your words.
    But from the start,,like fr. Joel, I am for all Catholics and non-Catholics – non-believers even – who exercise utmost discernment, prayer, and study pertaining to the RH LAW – be pro or anti in their stance.
    Definitely, that is not relativism. Its a respectful take to those who are responsible enough to make their own decisions – in good conscience.

    Thanks fr. Joel!

    PS:
    “Team patay, team buhay”, particularly with its act of campaigning for very SPECIFIC NAMES, simply joins the cheap political circus of election in this country.

    • Larry Seville says:

      I apologize for not making one thing clear: what I consider relativism is seemingly picking and choosing what to follow. The Jesuits and the atenean paper quote encyclicals when it seems to put conscience above all else, yet ignore other encyclical texts emphasizing that conscience in the catholic sense must conform to the teachings of the Church. They quote St. Thomas More in emphasizing conscience and justifying their stance, forgetting that St. Thomas More was JAILED for refusing to compromise his catholic conscience and submitting to a law requiring him to repudiate the pope.

      They forget that Humanae Vitae expressly calls on catholic politicians to oppose any legislation that seeks to introduce immoral practices of contraception into the family. Therefore, to support catholic politicians who do otherwise is indirectly disobeying HV, in my fallible opinion. Don’t like it? feel free to leave the church. No one is forcing you to stay.

      Thank you for recognizing that people hold pieces of the truth, but we forget (and this is the kind of statement that makes Mr. Paredes, and Fr. Tabora cringe) that according to catholic belief, the deposit of Catholic Truth on Faith and morals is in the magisterium, and Christ promised protection against it. Again, this is required belief for Catholics. Don’t like it? Feel free to choose whatever denomination or cult suits your beliefs.j

  6. Tony says:

    “The obligation to teach truth is not against Catholic truth. It is rooted in Christ’s command itself to ‘go out to all nations…’” The command is about preaching the gospel and to evangelize, which is once again to propose and not to impose… The Church in its best traditions has always insisted on three things. First, it has authority only for members of the Church and therefore can expect deference only from them and therefore not from those who lie outside of it. Second, teaching the truth is not as simple as you make it out to be; in matters of culture, language, etc,, the Church needs as well to learn so that she can teach. Finally, teaching has a whole context to it, a context without which that teaching will be meaningless, a context that includes life, worship, traditions, etc. A teaching Church cannot assume automatically that it is understood, particularly in multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious contexts.

    • Fr.Nori says:

      Tony,there are many Catholic Church documents about evangelization and inculturation from Vat II onwards which are very helpful and encouraging to tackle your “three things Church has always insisted” and I believe we just need to reread it. The first of the three things you mentioned about Church authority should be confronted with the book of Mons. Luigi Giussani: At the Origin of the Christian Claim, McGill-Queen’s University Press (January 1, 1998). ISBN 0-7735-1627-1 for a more wider and interesting discussions.

      • Tony says:

        Mons. Luigi Giussani, though I respect him and his movement, is not an authority for me. he is not my bishop, not my pope, not my council, not my God. his opinion, like all others coming from recognizably good sources, is to be respected. but it is one opinion among many others.

      • Fr.Nori says:

        it is not a question of authority but a quest for truth…..problems with authority is a subjective issue and to be dealt personally.

  7. Rap Tingin says:

    Mr Larry Seville, let us just accept the fact that this is theological bullying. You are much educated than me. You are older than me. You have more experience than me but I believe that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is really messing up. My simple question is ‘Why not just run into public office?

    Aside from that, Father Tabora is right. Attendance in Catholic churches is lessening. I was born into Catholicism but I am now a Born-Again. My schools, even my present MBA degree are all Catholic schools but I turned back on it because I have seen the sins of Catholicism since time in memorial. I would rather believe on an ex-convict pastor ‘who has been to hell and back’ rather than a priest who tells us what to do and if we are in favor of the RH Bill, we would go to hell yada yada. I am quoting what Father Tabora said I am only accountable to God.

    Of course you will argue more, but what I believe will make more Catholics realize what most Catholic priests are doing: too much meddling. Again, why just not run into public office?

    • Druid says:

      go ahead be a born again christian.. no one is stopping you! it is better for the Church to be purged of people who in the first place are not strong in their conviction to remain faithful to the Magisterium. If you want to find a church that suits your taste and temperament.. Go ahead…

    • Larry Seville says:

      It is a sad state of affairs with correction in general is considered bullying. But let me clarify: I also believe the CBCP is messing up. What I am saying is that the Jesuits are messing up more.

      Attendance in Catholic Churches is lessening yes. If the Truth were about a popularity contest instead of actually proclaiming the Truth, then maybe I would change my doctrine to make myself more popular. Don’t forget, Jesus let those who could not accept the teaching on the Eucharist go. (cf John 6).

      ” I would rather believe on an ex-convict pastor ‘who has been to hell and back’ rather than a priest who tells us what to do and if we are in favor of the RH Bill, we would go to hell yada yada. I am quoting what Father Tabora said I am only accountable to God.” – and I would rather believe in the successors of the apostles instead of a pastor who cannot even justify the selections of which books belong in the bible or not.

      So if you cannot accept a priest who says that if you do something, you go to hell. Yet you can accept it if a pastor says it. Might I suggest perhaps that it is not the priest per se you reject, but his message. If we are to look at the “sins” of the Church, then we should be consistent and reject ALL religions and ALL institutions for their sins. Oh wait, you consider your pastor infallible in that how he interprets scripture is true. There we go.

    • John Solomon says:

      Just to remind you that Judas, an apostle chosen by Jesus, created the biggest scandal of Christianity by being a traitor to the Lord in exchange of some silver coins. Maybe you might want to leave Christianity as a whole since it’s been talking a lot yet it’s root is tainted with bad things. go ahead.

  8. rye says:

    Father, i posted your blog in my facebook page, hoping others will be enlighted by you..
    GOD bless…..

  9. Fr.Nori says:

    SOLEMNITY OF THE HOLY APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL

    CELEBRATION OF FIRST VESPERS
    ON THE OCCASION OF THE CLOSING OF THE PAULINE YEAR

    HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

    Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls
    Sunday, 28 June 2009
    “Paul illustrates the same idea of a necessary renewal of our way of being human in two passages of his Letter to the Ephesians; let us therefore reflect on them briefly. In the Letter’s fourth chapter, the Apostle tells us that with Christ we must attain adulthood, a mature faith. We can no longer be “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…” (4: 14). Paul wants Christians to have a “responsible” and “adult faith”. The words “adult faith” in recent decades have formed a widespread slogan. It is often meant in the sense of the attitude of those who no longer listen to the Church and her Pastors but autonomously choose what they want to believe and not to believe hence a do-it-yourself faith. And it is presented as a “courageous” form of self-expression against the Magisterium of the Church. In fact, however, no courage is needed for this because one may always be certain of public applause. Rather, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if this contradicts the “logic” of the contemporary world. This is the non-conformism of faith which Paul calls an “adult faith”. It is the faith that he desires. On the other hand, he describes chasing the winds and trends of the time as infantile. Thus, being committed to the inviolability of human life from its first instant, thereby radically opposing the principle of violence also precisely in the defence of the most defenceless human creatures is part of an adult faith. It is part of an adult faith to recognize marriage between a man and a woman for the whole of life as the Creator’s ordering, newly re-established by Christ. Adult faith does not let itself be carried about here and there by any trend. It opposes the winds of fashion. It knows that these winds are not the breath of the Holy Spirit; it knows that the Spirit of God is expressed and manifested in communion with Jesus Christ. However, here too Paul does not stop at saying “no”, but rather leads us to the great “yes”. He describes the mature, truly adult faith positively with the words: “speaking the truth in love” (cf. Eph 4: 15). The new way of thinking, given to us by faith, is first and foremost a turning towards the truth. The power of evil is falsehood. The power of faith, the power of God, is the truth. The truth about the world and about ourselves becomes visible when we look to God. And God makes himself visible to us in the Face of Jesus Christ. In looking at Christ, we recognize something else: truth and love are inseparable. In God both are inseparably one; it is precisely this that is the essence of God. For Christians, therefore, truth and love go together. Love is the test of truth. We should always measure ourselves anew against this criterion, so that truth may become love and love may make us truthful”.

    In my humble opinion, I think Fr. Joel is thoughts are mixed with secularized (protestanism) faith,relativism and lately with the modern interpretation of “adult christian” mentality.

  10. Fr.Nori says:

    “Adult Christian” means pretending to live the catholic faith autonomously and independently from the Church Magisterium.

    • Tony says:

      “adult christian” means taking what the magisterium teaches, looking at one’s own circumstances and intentions, praying and discerning, and coming to an informed decision about how the teaching is to be implemented in this particular case and acting on it..

      • Fr.Nori says:

        Its your subjective interpretation of the teaching of the Catholic Church. “Taking” all what the Magisterium teaches and not that pleases oneself and the rest are less relevant and subject to modifications and personal interpretations. Its pluralistic mentality not Catholic!

  11. Mike Sadim says:

    father, can we use this blog in our newscast? This is Mike Sadim, AP desk of primetime newscast state of the nation with Jessica Soho at GMA news tv airing at 9pm via channel 11. We’ll be putting appropriate courtesy…tnx

  12. Jim Paredes says:

    Make your religion kindness and tolerance and you won’t have to debate like this. Some of you feel threatened by views that are not the same as yours. You sound like petty lawyers speaking in the name of God. Have you figured out how many angels can dance on a pinhead yet?

    Set aside your ego. Do not claim to have the right nor the wisdom to lord over people who have chosen to support RH using their consciences. I gave it a long hard thought before I supported it. I am not infallible. You are not infallible. Nobody is. The Bishops have burned people at the stake before. It seemed right then. But now? Some have molested young boys. Their silence is astounding.

    When we all die, I don’t think God will ask you to recite dogma. Maybe He will just ask us if we loved our neighbor and respected other people we did not like.

    Just be humble like Christ. Consider that you could be wrong. Jesus wasn’t so crazy about Pharisees so avoid sounding like them.

    Sorry pero nakakabwisit na kayo. Natalo lang kayo sa congress di niyo na matanggap. At kung umasta kayo, parang gusto niyo na mag-ubusan na ng lahi. OK, go ahead and vote killers, corrupt people only because they are against RH. I heard the Ampatuans are anti-RH. They need your ‘conscience ‘ vote.

    Peace be with you!

    • Cedric says:

      To Mr. Jim Paredes,

      “Sorry pero nakakabwisit na kayo. Natalo lang kayo sa congress di niyo na matanggap. At kung umasta kayo, parang gusto niyo na mag-ubusan na ng lahi. OK, go ahead and vote killers, corrupt people only because they are against RH. I heard the Ampatuans are anti-RH. They need your ‘conscience ‘ vote.”

      Quite a strong paragraph but reflective of the agony and pain that pro-RH Catholics suffered.
      I hope our Catholic priests will embrace the spirit of compassion and humility listening to the cry of their wounded flock, instead of putting on threat and condemnation to those who differ from their own stand.
      Can we start from the perspective and the truth that we were first redeemed and forgiven by Christ, and exemplify the same example in the way we treat one another, lay or ordained?

      • druid says:

        you better start what you are talking about….

      • Larry Seville says:

        The truth is that we are indeed redeemed and forgiven by Christ, but if one strays from the path one must be corrected. I do not agree with what the Diocese did, but I disagree MORE with the attitudes shown here by dissenters and pretended sincere “reformers”

    • druid says:

      Mr. Paredes.. are you still Catholic? please read Humanae vitae and Evengelium vitae… It is not just a matter of politics..

      if you are no longer Catholic. .. i rest my case… if you cannot abide with the Catholic magisterium.. go somewhere else where your beliefs can be accommodated…

      after all it is the same Christ that we pray to and believe.. d ba?

      BUT.. if you want us to respect your pro RH stance.. then respect also our Anti RH stance…
      you want us to be quiet and tolerate you and your views? but you CANNOT tolerate us and our views? nakakabwist kami? eh ikaw po? nakakabwisit din…

    • Larry Seville says:

      “Nobody is infallible” – then you, by definition, no longer are in communion with the catholic faith. I am stating a fact, as defined by the Church. Who is arrogant? Me for stating a fact, or the one who refuses to accept a fact?

    • Larry Seville says:

      and I have spent years in moral relativism and a crisis of faith before making the conscious decision to submit to the magisterium of the Church. This after weighing the evidence you seem to use against the bishops and the Church you claim to be a part of.

      Just be humble like Christ? You claim to know about faith and morals more than the very people (bishops) who are the successors to the apostles, or maybe you don’t believe that.

      No, I do not believe in voting for people “just because they are anti-rh”. People can vote pro-life for the STUPIDEST reasons. Am just saying that the attitude that you and your jesuit bred ilk (wait, I AM jesuit bred also) is also wrong and even more so.

      • Larry Seville says:

        oh and for the record, I myself am a proponent that convicted pedophile priests should be executed publicly.

    • John Solomon says:

      are you really jim paredes. I hope you’re not because even though I don’t agree on your side regarding RH, i never though you would use arguments such as molestation, burning of stakes, etc on an argument such as this. I know that the Church’s history is not perfect but that doesn’t mean that majority of it is bad. Plus that doesn’t mean that what the Church leaders are approved by God. But to know which are approved or which are not, we just have to go back to the scriptures and the cathecism.

      I really hope you are not Jim Paredes. Kung hindi, nakakabuwisit ka na din. Kung ano ano sinasabi mo tapos peace be with you sa dulo?

  13. The bottom line is that each individual is answerable to God.

    • Fr.Nori says:

      Not only to God but also to his/her neighbors,friends,family…etc. The Invisible God made visible in Jesus Christ through his Church; that is why He said to St. Paul: ” why are you persecuting Me ? “.

    • Larry Seville says:

      right! So Jesus was stupid for establishing a Church with apostles for us to follow when apparently we don’t need anyone to tell us what to do!

  14. Jim Paredes says:

    Father, don’t feel you have to put my comment kung hindi nakakatulong. I was just venting out against some of your commenters

    • druid says:

      and i would like also to vent my own sentiments against your sentiments…
      and dear wise and infallible Fr. Tabora… pls do not post my comments kung hindi nakatutulong..

    • manny says:

      Paredes, you left the Philippines. You have no right to sit at any table of debate concerning the Philippines.

  15. louis says:

    The God you are talking about to whom you say you are accountable commands you to hear and submit to those he appointed as your leaders. Do you think people will not be held accountable by God in their disobedience towards them? (Pope and bishops)

    “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16

    “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17

    Why be offended if your Church leaders warn you that your actions are leading you to hell? Would one rather not be warned and just jump straight into this bottomless pit? The problem with contemporary society is that it has lost the sense of sin. They think they know better. They think they are their own judges! Will these people say the same in front of the true Judge when he pronounces against their disobedience? No amount of relativistic claim can reverse the sentence of God.

    • louis says:

      (By “you” I mean in general terms, those who say they are only accountable to God and dismiss the authority of Church leaders, not the blog author or any person in particular)

    • Larry Seville says:

      Let’s face it louis. Modern relativism as espoused not just by the jesuits but by many religious leaders makes it politically incorrect for someone to correct others. Even in schools teachers are no longer allowed to properly discipline schoolchildren. Heck, there are even proposals to ban spanking! This is just a consequence of that. People are so obsessed with “freedom” that they forget the “responsibility” part. Buti pa si Spider-Man

  16. Pinoy in Atlanta says:

    Thank you, Fr Tabora, for writing this essay. I was enraged myself to read about what the Bacolod Catholic Church has done. The Catholic Church in the Philippines is in great pain. And it is ironic that the so-called defenders of the Church are the ones causing all the pain and trouble. I can’t help wishing they’d pray harder so that the love of Christ is reflected in what they do and say.

    • Druid says:

      Really? You are enraged by what the Diocese of Bacolod?

      Do you have the same rage with the numbers of abortion cases there in the US? (I assumed that you are in the US based on your name)

      God forbid that it will happen here in the Philippines in the future. Do you really think that the Philippine Pro RH senators will hold themselves against any move towards the eventual passage of abortion law when the time comes specially when the US and the President will make them so? With the way they these Pro RH think and behave surely they will not think twice.

      Better do something about abortion in the US, before you feel enraged by what the Diocese of Bacolod is doing.

    • Larry Seville says:

      The ones causing pain and trouble are the ones who put themselves above the Church. There were already those in the new testament times and The early apostles compared them to the rebellion of Korah against Moses.

      • Observer says:

        No, the ones causing pain and trouble are those ignorant holier-than-thous who think they know what is good for everyone while believing that the “Sabbath was made for man”. Pfft.

      • Observer says:

        Woops. I made a mistake. Here’s the edited version (LOL):

        No, the ones causing pain and trouble are those ignorant holier-than-thous who think they know what is good for everyone while believing that “man was made for the Sabbath”. Pfft.

    • John Solomon says:

      Raged by something you guys think doesn’t have an effect on anything? That’s what you think of what the Church’s reputation now is, right?

  17. julian says:

    You are pretty right!

  18. Druid says:

    then leave the Catholic Church and find a place where your beliefs are accommodated… Why insist on being Catholics if in the first place you have ceased to believe in the teachings of the Magisterium? Go follow the Magisterium of this brilliant Jesuit..
    No one is stopping you!

  19. kapanalig says:

    Here is my say about our Jesuit brothers’ disagreement. Exactly what is seem to be described in Matthew 18:16-17

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”

    You may want to check and read the next verse (18).

    • Larry Seville says:

      Actually that’s not just your say, that’s JESUS’ advice. To translate to modern english: if there is a DISAGREEMENT on something, ultimately bring it to the CHURCH, the Church here being more than just the laity but the hierarchy. These Jesuits conveniently forget the words of their founder:

      ““TO HAVE THE TRUE SENTIMENT WHICH WE OUGHT TO HAVE IN THE CHURCH MILITANT let the following Rules be observed:

      The First: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchial…

      Ninth Rule: Finally, to praise all precepts of the Church, keeping the mind prompt to find reasons in their defense and in no manner against them

      Thirteenth Rule: To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchial Church so decides it, believing that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride, there is the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave us the ten Commandments, our holy Mother the Church is directed and governed.”
      from the spiritual exercises of saint ignatius.

      But hey, they can choose to ignore the Gospels, ignore the Popes, ignore the Bishops, I’m sure they have no problems ignoring their founder or otherwise sticking to their relativism and interpreting texts to their convenience.

  20. Rick says:

    Father Tabora you are correct. Lots of Catholics have left and more will leave. The Catholic Church is under attack because scandals after scandals involving priests and bishops are coming out everyday and yet the Catholic Church refuses to address these issues. How can you convince and teach your flocks the right way when your very own goes astray? Being a Catholic is not a guarantee of going to heaven and definitely God is not a Catholic. God loves His creations he or she maybe a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or an athiest still they have a place in heaven. Any religion claiming to be the only way to heaven is simply WRONG.

  21. Fr.Nori says:

    Disinformation/Misinformation about the True Spirit of the Second Vatican Council of the mass media as lived and witnessed by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI :

    MEETING WITH THE PARISH PRIESTS AND THE CLERGY OF ROME
    ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
    Paul VI Audience Hall
    Thursday, 14 February 2013

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2013/february/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20130214_clero-roma_en.html

    I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers – the real Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council apart, and the world perceived the Council through the latter, through the media. Thus, the Council that reached the people with immediate effect was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers was conducted within the faith – it was a Council of faith seeking intellectus, seeking to understand itself and seeking to understand the signs of God at that time, seeking to respond to the challenge of God at that time and to find in the word of God a word for today and tomorrow – while all the Council, as I said, moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of the journalists, naturally, was not conducted within the faith, but within the categories of today’s media, namely apart from faith, with a different hermeneutic. It was a political hermeneutic: for the media, the Council was a political struggle, a power struggle between different trends in the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of those who seemed to them more closely allied with their world. There were those who sought the decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the expression “People of God”, power for the people, the laity. There was this threefold question: the power of the Pope, which was then transferred to the power of the bishops and the power of all – popular sovereignty. Naturally, for them, this was the part to be approved, to be promulgated, to be favoured. So too with the liturgy: there was no interest in liturgy as an act of faith, but as something where comprehensible things are done, a matter of community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a tendency, not without a certain historical basis, to say: sacrality is a pagan thing, perhaps also a thing of the Old Testament. In the New Testament it matters only that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, in the profane world. Sacrality must therefore be abolished, and profanity now spreads to worship: worship is no longer worship, but a community act, with communal participation: participation understood as activity. These translations, trivializations of the idea of the Council, were virulent in the process of putting the liturgical reform into practice; they were born from a vision of the Council detached from its proper key, that of faith. And the same applies to the question of Scripture: Scripture is a book, it is historical, to be treated historically and only historically, and so on.

    We know that this Council of the media was accessible to everyone. Therefore, this was the dominant one, the more effective one, and it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy … and the real Council had difficulty establishing itself and taking shape; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real force of the Council was present and, slowly but surely, established itself more and more and became the true force which is also the true reform, the true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force. And it is our task, especially in this Year of Faith, on the basis of this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council, with its power of the Holy Spirit, be accomplished and the Church be truly renewed. Let us hope that that the Lord will assist us. I myself, secluded in prayer, will always be with you and together let us go forward with the Lord in the certainty that the Lord will conquer. Thank you!

    I think this fraternal conversation of Pope Benedict with all his Roman clergy will shed light what really transpired during the Second Vat. Council and why “laicism” became a “malignant disease” in the Catholic Church.

  22. L. Daniel Pantoja says:

    You are earning my respect as a fellow theologian, Father Taboras. I’m a Mennonite peacebuilding missionary based in Davao and I have been reading your blogs. I thank God for your life and your work. Peace and blessings to you!

  23. Guillianna says:

    I am a Muslim but I came from a “United Nations” like family with different religious beliefs and disbelief (my atheist cousin would say). I have relatives who are Christians–some are Catholics but most are Protestants(INC, 7th day Adventist, and Born Again). One of my uncles and children are Buddhist. One of my cousins is an atheist. One of things that I appreciate about my family is that we seldom have fight or quarrel. Yes we have different beliefs. And yes we may have different opinion in many things. But we have a number one rule: RESPECT. Even if we don’t agree with another person, we have to respect his/her opinion on the matter. We are taught not to bully and abuse another for whatever reason.
    In the issue of the “team-patay team-buhay” campaign, I agree with Father Tabora. I do not like what [some] Bacolod priests did because voting for candidates should not only factor their stand on the RH Bill. If a candidate is known to be corrupt and unsuitable to be an elected official will you still vote for him/her just because he/she is against RH Bill? Yes, our faith should guide us in choosing our future Senators. But let us not bully others if they don’t have the same faith.

    • druid says:

      Oh really?
      With due respect to Islam…. what can you say about the fatwas that Muslim leaders issue left and right in order to silence the dissenters of the Islamic faith?
      Now you are asking for RESPECT?
      with due respect do not throw a stone against others if you are also living in a glass house!
      WITH DUE RESPECT

      • Guillianna says:

        My faith is my own and I believe in RESPECTING others is the only way for people with different beliefs to co-exist. I will not start a debate with you regarding my faith because I think you don’t understand the REAL essence and practices of my faith. I would just like to state that Fatwas are mostly religious pronouncements, opinion and interpretation of religious writings/laws regarding an issue or event by our religious leaders.

        I do not want to have an argument with you. I feel that you believe in one and only universal truth and that is your faith. I just hope that you would try to understand that the main point of my comment yesterday was: (1) people of different religions could co-exist and find a common ground if we would just respect each other [as I've seen in my family]; and (2) we should not only base our vote on the issue of RH Bill.

        If I have offended you or made a inappropriate remarks or comments regarding your faith in any way, I do apologize.

      • Tony says:

        this guy is a real a______!!! he thinks and writes as if he owns the Catholic Church!!! just for that comment above alone, i dare say adding twenty years in purgatory for you will not be enough!!! but that is just my opinion!!!

    • druid says:

      I cannot find any reply button below so I will just reply here for your response below…
      With due respect to the followers of Islam.

      You claim that
      Your Faith is your own!!!
      How about my faith… My faith is also my own…
      Since my faith as Catholic tells me that the RH Law is anti life and immoral.. I think I have also the right to be respected for my own opinion!

      And is not that the Bishop of Bacolod is also teaching his own flock on how to interpret the teachings of the Church and the Bible…
      So leave us alone in the Catholic Church!

      • Guillianna says:

        Again, I do apologize of I had offended you. It was never in my intend to attack the Catholic Church as a whole. I was merely expressing my opinion on the matter. I do however stand on my opinion that we the stand of a candidate regarding the RH Bill should not be the only basis for voting a particular candidate.

        My mistake however is that I may have offended some Catholics in the manner in which I expressed my opinion. It was never my intent to question your faith and your beliefs. Again I do apologize to those people that I may have offended. As a human who do not have a vast Theological knowledge regarding your faith [like you do Sir] I can make a mistake. I am not perfect after all.

        Again, I do humbly apologize for offended you or anyone else. I hope you will find it in your heart to accept my sincere apology.

  24. pilgrim says:

    There was that time when the Society of Jesus was worthy of its name, when Jesuits were real Soldiers of the Crucified One.
    http://digitalcrusader.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/the-sin-of-birth-control.pdf

    • Larry Seville says:

      That’s the problem when a religious order relies too much on past glory and forgets the spirit of it’s founding. The Lord sent St. John of God to reform his order. Is there anyone among the Jesuits willing to reform theirs?

      • Tony says:

        what unctious nonsense and stupidity!!! are you the Pope, the “true superior general” of the Jesuits, to call for their reform? puede ba, just stay close to the earth and look into your own heart.

  25. Rafael Ayala says:

    Daghang salamat Fr Tabora.

    I once remarked half-jokingly online that the Catholic church is like an ex-girlfriend to me: we’re still friends, still on speaking terms, but it’s over between us. Unlike the young man you mentioned I left without resentment – I didn’t leave because I felt my conscience was violated, I just realized over a perod of several years of reflection and searching that I couldn’t call myself catholic anymore.

    As a former Catholic-turned-Buddhist, I often look at my former church with mixed feelings. There’s anger that arises whenever I hear of some stunt like the one in Bacolod or an inane statement as blaming RH for typhoon Pablo. There’s the feeling of alienation I get when I perceive, rightly or wrongly, that my rights as a religious minority have been ignored or trampled upon. There’s also sadness, a deep sadness that breaks my heart when I look at the church and the scandals and controversies surrounding it and think, “What has become of you my former dear?” (allow me to stick to the ex girlfriend analogy here).

    And then there is hope. Yes, hope. That’s what I feel when I read your writings. Hope that I can truly be friends with my ex-Church. Hope that while we will necessarily and inevitably disagree on many things, we will be able to truly co-exist in a plural society.

    • I congratulate you sir! At least when you stopped believing in the Catholic Faith you did not stay and be a hypocrite!

    • Larry Seville says:

      (hopes there is no double post, sorry but my browser went haywire) Congratulations Mr. Ayala. You no longer believed in Catholic doctrine ergo you did the prudent thing and left, not unlike some others…

  26. druid says:

    Congratulations Mr. Ayala! at least you got the ____ to what others are just whining about!
    If you do not believe about what the Church is teaching then the best thing to do is get out of it!

  27. druid says:

    Fr. Tabora you called the move of the Diocese of Bacolod as silly and arrogant…

    with sublime and most humblest attitude… I would like to pay respect to your most illustrious theological reflection…
    it is because of theologians like you that we find enlightenment against the teachings of those silly and arrogant bishops who are teaching their flocks with b——-t!

    We therefore bow down before your gracious most gracious presence because you rise above all those moronic teachers… your degrees and journal articles showed that you are far above those bishops who have no graduate degrees or letters such as SJ or president of this and that university… pity for them..

    All hail most imminent theologian!
    All hail to you who is brighter and more enlightened than any of the Church Fathers or Doctors of the Church!
    All Hail Fr. Tabora!

    Hopefully this will satisfy your need for praise and publicity.. although I admit it is only one voice praising you.. maybe I should gather others to sing your praises!

  28. Fr.Nori says:

    Santo Subito!

    • Tony says:

      kasi wala naman talagang masabi, so resort to sarcasm and ad hominems na lang. if you feel strongly about this, then write your own piece, rebutting point by point Tabora’s piece. what lazy commentators we have here.

      • Fr.Nori says:

        You dont have any article or issue that merits thought provoking and stimulating ideas.Its all recycled comments,topics,concepts,ideas and mental speculation to say the least.You deserve lazy commentators Tony!

    • Fr.Nori says:

      and dont take LOGIC as your scapegoat and measuring stick to justify your own personal comments Tony because your comments too are full of fallacy in its material and formal contents. You have to study at UST Central Seminary and have Fr. Singnan as professor of Logic to be a “logician” as I do.

      • Fr.Nori says:

        Our Logic professors at UST Central Seminary before were FRIARS : Rev. Fr. Hilario Singian, O.P., A.B., S.T.B., M.A. and Rev. Fr Norberto Castillo O.P., Lect., S.T.L., M.A. Chem., Ph.D. These two Domincans friars are really logicians and both were authors of a book on LOGIC.

  29. childlike says:

    I salute you druid…I think on the day of the ordination of a priest, religious in particular, they vow obedience to their superior especially to the bishop…They are always talking about conscience as if it is the criterion of truth. Let us remember that conscience is very subjective, it must be guided by natural law which participates in the eternal law –it is objective enough to guide our conscience…Perhaps those people who are attacking the Church are just Catholic by name but in practice are not…Hierarchy in the Church is not about power but it is about leadership..The Church sees and upholds the Truth, that’s why what they are doing are just leading its flock. Would you give a snake to your child if you know that it could harm him.

    It is not the congress who will identify the common good. The common good is already there. what the legislators must do is that they must create a law that would guide the people to attain the common good.

    I pity on a Doctor of Philosophy who don’t know what is the common good for…

  30. Bacolod’s ‘Team Patay’, lay people’s initiative
    (Cfr. http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=14567)

    ANTIPOLO City, March 1, 2013—Probably contrary to public perception, the Bacolod diocese’s ‘Team Patay/ Team Buhay’ campaign is not one bishop’s expression of political disapproval, but rather the lay people’s.

    Telling the inside story of how the diocese came up with the ‘Team Patay / Team Buhay’ campaign at the 4th Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) national conference last Wednesday, Fr. Ronaldo Quijano said, the idea of campaigning against pro-RH candidates kept on cropping up again and again among ordinary Catholics during a series of seminars and workshops after the passage of the RH Law.

  31. Pocahontas says:

    Thank you, Father Joel. I believe I will stay with the Catholic Church because of Jesuits like you.

    • Fr.Nori says:

      Trust in Lord and not in men……staying with/in the Catholic Church is a mission and a gift from God and not by personality.

    • Druid says:

      Oh, so you are confusing the Church with Tabora?!
      Certainly my dear Pocahontas, after all this Jesuits rise above all others!

      Maybe you can start praying to him…

  32. Pingback: Team Patay: Espousing Dualistic Lives and How a Jesuit Defends It | TheStrugglingDad

  33. C Dino says:

    It’s going to be hard for me to call you father… someone who does not believe in what the catechism of the Catholic Church tells us about contraception, about the role of the laity in supporting the church’s stand on moral issues and most of all about the vow of obedience … Obedience of faith. Priests like you contribute a lot to this relativist world we know live in. Kindly consider my response as a friendly rebuke. We will pray for you.

    • C Dino says:

      Just to add. The epidemic of dissent in the Catholic Church is because of this battle between theologians and bishops. Many theologians like Tabora (pardon if I can’t get myself to call hm father), did not accept the papal encyclical on Humanae Vitae or have s skewed interpretation of the Vatican II documents. As a lay person, I now realized the importance of the vow of obedience for priests. ….I once told my children, do not do what you think is right. Do what you think is right in the eyes of God. We are blessed to have the church do the discerning for us. It is liberating to just obey the bride of Christ, our church. Justifying our own beliefs is nakakapagod. Sir Tabora if you can not support the church’s stand on this moral issue, why remain a priest of this church? We will pray for priests like you.

  34. Ruel Santos says:

    Building Catholic identity in our Universities entails the building of a Catholic culture within an academic community which understands its fundamental ecclesial nature. Catholic Identity in an institution, just as in persons, begins from the inside and works its way throughout like leaven or yeast. Catholic identity must be the beating heart of a Catholic school, providing the infrastructure for the entire educational mission.

    This is the first obligation of a Catholic College or University President. He or she must understand, believe, live and seek to integrate the Catholic faith in a way that enables them to impart it to others, through both word and witness. They are first a disciple, a lifelong learner, one who is following the Teacher, Jesus Christ, within His Body, the Church.
    - Raymond Cardinal Burke

  35. Ruel Santos says:

    But the archbishop also expanded the discussion to include questions of conscience and Catholic identity.

    “Here is someone who makes a point to identify himself as a Catholic and then takes positions that are contrary to some of the most sacred teachings of the church – teachings with regard to the inviolable dignity of every human life from the moment of its beginning,” Archbishop Burke said of Majerus.

    “It gives scandal to other people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, if they hear a Catholic give an interview to the media, saying that I am proud to be a Catholic but at the same time I hold these views,” he said.

    Archbishop Burke said he would have been concerned about Majerus’ remarks even if he were not Catholic.

    “He still represents a Catholic institution, and so even though he might belong to some faith or belief that accepts procured abortion, he would be obliged to respect the fact that the Catholic Church … teaches that abortion is an intrinsic evil; and therefore he would not publicly espouse such positions,” he said.

    The archbishop said some people are confused about questions of freedom of speech, academic freedom and conscience.

    He said academic freedom “gives you a freedom to make declarations within your particular area of competence, and according to the canons (laws) for investigation of the truth. It doesn’t give you a kind of heightened freedom to make declarations that are contrary to the truth.”

    In a similar vein, “the primacy of the conscience” does not mean “that whatever I feel or think becomes then the right thing to do,” Archbishop Burke said. “Your conscience has primacy in as much as it is conformed to the truth, and as much as it is properly informed.”

    He said that if a Catholic public figure is “struggling with his or her adherence” to a church teaching, “then the correct thing to do is to be silent – certainly not to expound error or to air doubts that you’re trying to resolve in your own mind.”

    And if a Catholic is convinced that church teaching on abortion or other serious matters is wrong, he said, “my response to that is you are in a very serious state of error, and that you need to get help to rectify your conscience. Your conscience is wrongly formed. And you need to get whatever help it takes to form your conscience properly in accord with the church’s teaching.”
    http://catholicreview.org/article/faith/canon-news/archbishop-burke-speaks-out-on-coach-conscience

    • Fr.Nori says:

      Viewpoints MOST REV. OSCAR V. CRUZ, D.D., JUDICIAL VICAR • National Tribunal of Appeals (former CBCP-NAMT Office) • CBCP Bldg. 470 Gen. Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila 1002
      personal views and commentaries

      Monday, March 11, 2013

      “Team Buhay.” “Team Patay.”
      All of a sudden, life or death has become but a political issue, nothing more than a partisan political matter. To speak openly about this reality is no taboo for the citizens of the Philippines. To choose publicly between the two alternatives is even forbidden by the laws of the Philippines. To be expressly pro-life or pro-death is taboo for the present government and agencies under its patronage – if not it its mercy. Formerly, it was the contest but between “pro-choice” or pro-right. Now, under the present regime, people are even asked to be pro-non-life or pro-extinction of life – courtesy of the national leadership and its well favored and rewarded allies.

      There is definitely something very relevant as well as very serious about the on-going bout of “Life VS Death” that has gone viral, that has even gone before the Supreme Court. The fight is not simply about a poster separating personalities defending life or promoting death. It is about the law itself masquerading as some kind of a socio-economic developmental project generously funded certainly not by a single peso from the pockets of the said leadership and its faithful allies but by people’s taxes – as usual.

      To claim that formal, official, and licensed population control favors life is not only too gross to proclaim but also too preposterous to believe. It is easy to know and to learn that to control population is precisely to stop births, to lessen life. This is the standing truth and bare fact openly experienced by countries that formerly subscribed to and strictly practiced population control. Now, they are basically singing a different song. They are urging and rewarding their citizens to have children who – they now know – eventually become the producers and consumers, the propellers of business and industry as the composite work force of a country.

      Malacañang is both the author and the promoter of population control – irrespective of the costs and the means. Malacañang even went to extent of officially certifying it as an urgent legislation for the country. Malacañang is dead sure that the Filipinos are the enemies of the Philippines, that their poverty and misery are their own making – not the continuing odious graft and corrupt practices in government, not the detestable smuggling unlimited in the country, not the dubious and interminable practice of the “Pork Barrel” system, not the conversion of politics into lucrative business – specially when favored by dynastic features.

      “Team Buhay.” “Team Patay.” So have some people in a given place said, wrote, and displayed their work openly. So began the persecutory moves of a government entity – under the unsaid approval and delight of Malacañang. And so are other people in other places preparing to do the same according to their own ways and means. So is the battle joined!

  36. Pingback: A Jesuit’s Doublespeak on the RH Law | Filipino Freethinkers

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