How Can Catholic Rightists Call Themselves Pro-Life?

Guest Article

By Andrew Lim
Recent developments point to a forming alliance between the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and far right Filipino politicians who reject the RH bill.
Jose Descallar, staff of Michael Velarde ( Buhay party list representative) said this after the re-election of US President Barack Obama:
  • If we will not hold our ground and make a lot of noise about our protests against anti-life measures specifically the RH bill, Malacanang will push for passage in the next Congress… ”
  • The task at hand, therefore, is to make sure that pro-lifers get elected.
  • And junk Akbayan,Gabriela, Kabataan, ACT-Teachers, Bayan Muna and other such party-list groups. “
  • “[There is also a] need to make pro-life issues an election/political issue, and to emphasize the Christian responsibility to evangelize politics. One way of doing this is by supporting and voting for pro-life candidates. ”
On November 16-17, the CBCP will hold in Cebu a “Philippines for Life” Congress 2012 featuring among others, the following speakers: Kit Tatad, Lito Atienza, Jackie Enrile, Mitos Magsaysay and impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Among the conference topics will be “The State of Philippine Politics Today, “ “Population and Good Governance: Real Keys to Progress”, “RH and MDG: How to Mangle the Filipino Soul” and “The Role of Vigilance in Preserving Faith and Freedom”.
What is ironic is that the political histories of these invited personalities are striking examples of what is bad about Philippine politics and are incredibly inconsistent with Christian/Catholic doctrines.
By hijacking the term “pro-life” they have framed the debate such that they appear to be pro-life all the way – from conception to birth to adult life. Really?
Mangling the Filipino Soul? Martial law, with all its unspeakeable horrors did that. And both Tatad and Enrile took active roles in it, as spokesperson and administratoir, respectively. Good Governance? Ask Renato Corona about midnight appointments and undeclared mllions. Or ask Lito Atienza about his support for Gloria Arroyo. State of philippine politics? Ask Jackie Enrile how being a son translates into an inherited Senate seat. Or ask his bullying victims in the past. And lastly, what do you make of Cagayan Representative Rufus Rodriguez who has been stonewalling the passage of the RH bill as a “pro-lifer”, but supports the death penalty for foreign drug traffickers?
In my personal view, you cannot call yourself pro-life if you supported martial law and the oppression it created.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you supported corrupt regimes and electoral cheating.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you justify midnight appointments and underdeclare substantial assets.
You cannot call yourselves pro-life if you support plagiarism, and indirectly teach our youth that it is okay to cheat and copy as long as you can get away with it.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you support the subjugation of indigenous cultures, employ violent methods in imposing your religion, take control of another country’s resources in the name of “spreading Catholicism.” Which is exactly what happened in the Chamorro Islands during Pedro Calungsod’s time. And yet the CBCP honors his “sainthood”.
Respect for life does not end at birth, as Thomas Friedman, op-ed columist at the New York Times writes. To quote him: “ Respect for life has to include respect for how it is lived, enhanced and protected- not only at the moment of conception but afterward, in the course of that life. “
In effect, is the CBCP creating a moral hazard by forging alliances with these right wing Catholics?

(A moral hazard is a situation where some can take huge risks without fear of the consequences since somebody else will cover for them. It encourages an escalation of reckless risk taking.)
Are right-wing politicians now shielded from the consequences of their recklessness and abuse by the CBCP, since it tacitly endorses them by enlisting their support for their anti-RH cause?
Do these politicians’ “pro-life” stand wash away their transgressions in the political sphere?

Won’t this encourage more of their reprehensible behavior in the future?
Viewing the world through the narrow monochromatic lens of its anti-RH stand like the defeated Republicans in the US, the local Church hierarchy are just pushing themselves even more to the sidelines and irrelevancy. Politics, governance and democracy are much larger than religion- the refusal to analyze the issues and insistence on dogma results in the boxing in of these ultra conservatives.
They are placing themselves in difficult situations like what Romney faced- having to associate with extremists who reject abortion in rape cases because “some girls rape easy” or “God wanted it to happen” and because “some rapes are legitimate. “
Which makes me think: what are these so-called “pro-lifer’s“ stand on pregnancies due to rape?
To paraphrase Friedman, just call yourselves pro-conception to birth, to hell with life after that conservative”, not pro-life. Because as I demonstrated above by pointing out the politics they have practiced , they do not really care about life after birth – the quality of life or the integrity and justice required in the course of life.
  1. “Re-election of pro-abortion US President impetus for PH pro-lifers to intensify advocacy”, CBCP for Life website. Nov 7, 2012.
  1. “Pro-life leaders to speak at National “Phils for Life” Congress 2012 in Cebu”, CBCP for Life website. Nov 10, 2012.
  1. “An Alternative View of Pedro Calungsod” (In the Context of the Spanish Chamorro Wars 1671-1698) Society of Honor by Joe America, blog post by Andrew Lim. Oct 26, 2012.
  1. “Why I Am Pro-Life” by Thomas Friedman, New York Times Sunday Review. Oct 27, 2012
  1. “Solon bares small wrinkle on prolife stand” Inquirer Online News Nov 7, 2012.

    43 Responses to “How Can Catholic Rightists Call Themselves Pro-Life?”
    1. Anonymous says:

      The Catholic Church is a clever exploiter of the poor Filipino masa. Bottom line is the Bishops are scared of a diminished flock.-TNT in NY

    2. Anonymous says:

      Or scared about losing power and the pope's infallibility?

    3. Cha says:

      The CBCP has lost the plot. And what did the new Philippine Cardinal Tagle say about practical atheists? "… and there are also those who claim they are faithful but live as if God doesn't exist. During Sundays, we profess our faith to God. But starting Monday, cheating happens because of money… we take advantage of other people for our own interests". Substitute "Sundays" there with "Pro-RH Rallies" and you capture the essence of this upcoming CBCP Cebu Congress.

    4. Cha says:

      Sorry,that should have "pro-life rallies" or "anti-RH rallies"

    5. Anonymous says:

      Rufus Rodriguez is congressman of Cagayan de Oro, not Cagayan province.Johnny Lin

    6. Anonymous says:

      For this people, the end justifies the means. Sottocopy is venial but condom is grave.DocB

    7. Anonymous says:

      Movie Plot: CBCP and Rightist Catholic are the Ghost Riders having made pact with the Devils (Jackie Enrile, Tatad, Corona,etc)Riding all over the Philippines torching everyone blocking their crooked path shouting vigororously, we are the Lifesavers. Their mission, crush The Pill, which is the magic medicine to cure the ills of the nation, release the people from a life of abuse and exploitation by the Gost Riders secured by the DevilsThe mortal enemy exposing their infernaL quest is namedJohnny Blaze, aka Andrew Lim Sorry Andrew, you have to take my name because I'm the writerHe he heJohnny Lin.

    8. Edgar Lores says:

      1. Well-researched, acerbic and biting.2. The first subheading “Unholy Alliance” says it all.2.1 The featured speakers seem to be unholy.2.2 Is the Church itself now unholy? In Australia, the creation of a Royal Commission is being formalized to look into the sexual abuses of the Church and other religious institutions.2.3 This is a pact with the Devil – but who is the Devil? Or who are the devils?3. On the conference topics, they are discussing more ways to mangle the Filipino soul?3.1 Any idea what MDG stands for? My Dream Girl? Most Disapproved Gathering?4. The Friedman quotes neatly summarize the paradox at the heart of the Church’s stand on contraception.4.1 They value life but de-value it at the same time.4.2 One of my questions yesterday was: The Church largely justifies its existence on charity, but is it in any way encouraging the existence and proliferation of the poor?5. What are the positive takeaways?5.1 The Church is hastening its fall into irrelevancy? Or is already irrelevant and no one has told them?5.2 Gives Tatad and Corona the opportunity to spread their vile and loathsome ways?5.3 Provides more fodder for the blogosphere to chew on?5.4 Somehow all of the above appear to be negatives. I’m at a lost. Perhaps Coco can save the day.

    9. Very thought provoking piece, Andrew. It calls into question the values of the Chief Custodian of Values in the Philippines . . . the Catholic Church and . . . I don't know what to call them . . . lobbying group, business organization, administrative arm, liason with Rome . . . the CBCP.Jesus is my idol. At least the personal vision I carry around of Him, gentle yet strong, wise beyond the petty concerns of most men, open to all who are open to Him. Then I see these bishops gadding about with the sleaze of Philippine history and I say, very un-Jesus like, "WTF?"Where have the IMPORTANT Godly values gone, of compassion and understanding and arms wide open ot all, tossed aside in favor of winning very manly tussles over rubbers. I understand the principles of the engagement, but not the values. Value A, for the rich, who have condoms and IUDs and pills and hospitals at their disposal, and the poor, who have the Church. And what it preaches. And you look at the progress being made to care for the poor . . . none in hundreds of years . . .and we see a bunch of funny men in funny hats fretting over rubbers. Thats all. Irrelevant to the real challenges facing mankind and the community Filipino.If Jesus is returning, He needs to get the lead out to get down here and properly admonish these priests and toss them out of the temple of secular decision. They are ignoring His calling, open armed love, in favor of divisive, dirty politics.

    10. erratum " . . . and Value B for the poor . . ."

    11. andrew lim says:

      Thanks. MDG I think is Millenium Development Goals.

    12. "Rufus" is derived from the Latin word meaning "red haired" and is ascribed to two Christian fellows of the first Century. It grew to highest popularity in the 19th Century, and is now 411th in importance in America among 1,220 first names according to the U.S. Census. No information exists about its importance in the Philippines. I always laugh at the name, as it reminds me of "dofus" and for some reason a floppy eared dog, a cross between Disney's dogs Pluto and Goofy.Disney had a thing about dogs . . . but that is a different story . . .

    13. Coco says:

      What happens to the 50% fertilized eggs that do not implant? They are not baptized, so they all go to the purgatory. With a little bit of compassion for these suffering souls, we all should abstain. Celibacy for all is the only ethical correct solution. Catholic priest can tell you how to manage consequent obsessions, how to accept the way it blocks your judgement. Long live the CBCP, Tatad, Atienza, Enrile, Magsaysay, Corona association. Salvation is close.

    14. andrew lim says:

      Can the souls in purgatory sign a petition to secede from the Union like what defeated Republicans are doing?Hitler was vehemently against contraceptives. Can we rightly call him pro-life? If he were alive today, will they recruit him as a speaker? As for salvation, I refer all to this article by law prof Raul Pangalangan (now Inquirer publisher): lot of women in the Phils are named Salvacion or Salve but they are in need of salvation in the here and now, not just in the afterlife.

    15. Coco says:

      The positive note? This conference might open the eyes of one right winger. “I tell you that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one right winger who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (based on Lukas 15:1-10, …to avoid Sotoism)

    16. Edgar Lores says:

      Thanks, Coco.If I had a choice that right-winger would be Mitos or even Jackie. If elected, these two have the most potential to influence the future.

    17. Edgar Lores says:

      Celibacy? Nay, nay, nay. The horror is too much to contemplate. I would rather have:"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and ThouBeside me singing in the Wilderness—Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!"

    18. andrew lim says:

      As counterpoint to all this, I just remembered that the first ever Business Sector Summit on Family Planning was held today at the PICC. Participating was the UNFPA, ECOP, MAP, PCCI, business groups, employer groups, etc. Agenda was to share best practices of companies in family planning/health programs built into the workplace as part of corporate social responsibility.Neat, no? This one the CBCP can't touch. They had a small rally and a statement on this, but they can't block this one. In case RH doesnt pass, this is one way to go, aside from doing it at the local level, among local govt officials who agree with RH – like Davao, etc.

    19. That is, of course, the alternative to new laws. The Executive branch says it is for responsible parenthood. What prevents them from doing public service ads providing education and advice? It is more important than Palmolive ads. The answere is, of course, President Aquino is no such an aggressive guy, for whatever reasons.So the next alternative is private action. And the program you outline is encouraging. If people feel strongly about reproductive health, they will go around that archaic old man's club called the Senate.There is, after all, nothing illegal about education, or even making birth control measures available. The Catholic Church behaves as if it were illegal. They are an ever older, more archaic old man's club.

    20. Coco says:

      Thinking of it, as we can clone living beings from a single cell, does this mean that each human cell carries live? As my cells are not baptised individually, will they all go to the purgatory too? Or does my baptism count for all cells I ever made/make? Or do they only become suspect when someone has the intention to clone them? I do need expert scientific, ethical and religious guidance, too bad Soto is so busy apologizing.

    21. I love Murdock's philosophy which jive with Filipinos. Like Filipinos and the christian world, Murdock believes that …CHILDREN IS A "GIFT" OF GOD ! Absolutely true if you are a christian. NOT if you are an atheist. Atheists believe that people creates the "GIFT" by way of most "INAPPROPRIATE, HEINOUS, DIRTY, CLINICALLY NOT HYGEINIC, ABSOLUTELY UNSANITARY, RAUNCHY, DISPECABLE" act that according to some lawyerly quarters is tantamount to "SEXUAL BATTERY". Do not blame me for using these words, it is the christians and American media that use these words when they see couples "MAKING LOVE" or "SLEEPING TOGETHER" or "EXCHANGING EXPLICIT E-MAILS". In a relationship all of the above adjectives and pejoratives apply even to those that uttered those words. In short SEX IS ABSOLUTELY DIRTY if you are from the outside looking in. But it is not dirty if you are doing it.MURDOCK further said that, in case of rape-easy women that got pregnant, they cannot have an abortion. Because pregnancy is a "GIFT OF GOD" ! Therefore, again, the rapist is innocent because the rapist is instrument of God to give rape-easy women the "GIFT OF GOD"! Rapist go FREEE and rape again to follow his destiny to be the instrument to sire more "GIFTS OF GOD".Isn't that wonderful ? To imprison a rapist that bore a childis like sending GOD TO PRISON !!!!VOTE MURDOCK. FREE RAPISTS. They Rape-Under-the-Influence-of-God !!!! Whooopeeee !!!!!

    22. I saw my son spinning the Globe, you know, the one that is used in school. I stared at it. I had my son slow spin the Globe for me. Here is what I found out. You can try this at home, too ! All of the extreme corrupt countries in the world are located along the equatorial line.Therefore,No matter how much we attack Philippines and Filipinos, there is no cure to it unless we go someplace else … PROVIDED THAT PLACE IS NOT WITHIN THE EQUATOR or FEW DEGREES from the equator.We are all destined to be doomed. Equator is not a place to be.

    23. Well, I personally believe conception starts at first attraction, when the body alerts itself to the proximity of a mate and one's bodily processes begin creating the essential elements of life. Therefore, it is a sin not to have sex immediately to bring God's wonderful plan to fulfillment. Therefore, we should have lots and lots of sex, like, every time we think about it, or we risk interfering with God's design. A sin, of course. Unforgivable.

    24. Anonymous says:

      Edgar,Is celibacy contrary to natural law? Do celibates masturbate to take the edge off? If one likes to go celibate so much, isn't it better to be turned into a eunuch (medically, of course)?DocB

    25. Anonymous says:

      In other parts of the world, catholic is pejorative for hypocrite and jesuitic for deviousness.DocB

    26. Anonymous says:

      That is why I did not vote for Romney because he is an atheist. "Atheist believes that people create the "gift".Romney said Barak won because he gave gift, ergo Romney is Atheist.Long live the mormons, create more with many wives. Romney was an impostor. Hooray for Filipinos too, they are atheist that is, many baklas, calling everyody "Ate" and Mostly poor, that is "ati-is" Ergo, Filipinos are atheist.He he heJohnny Lin

    27. There's a specialty for you, doc. This week's promo, two for the price of one.

    28. groannnnnRomney was a wind-up doll, like those toy soldiers that march stiff armed and say what they are programed to say. He was a chameleon of no known conviction to any public policy. Yes, empty, an imposter.

    29. Anonymous says:

      Ah that one is just medicine for those with testicular cancer or advanced prostate cancer. No special skills needed.DocB

    30. Edgar Lores says:

      DocB,1. Yes, contrary.2. No, they shouldn't. Masturbation is a violation of celibacy.3. Hmm. Not so sure. The challenge is gone once one becomes a eunuch – and the process is irreversible. But you say there's no cancer? Big advantage.

    31. Anonymous says:

      I read somewhere chemical castration has been done on sex offenders. Not going to happen here. Can't even move for a vote on RH.DocB

    32. Anonymous says:

      That is so true. Most people I know who left have prospered outside ttheir home country. Ok, maybe not all where in places near the equator.DocB

    33. Ben Vallejo says:

      There is also secular and scientific opposition to the RH bill which is a neo Malthusian program under the cloak of promoting women's rights and health. This unfortunately has been ignored by the religionists of the Catholic side and the atheistic/secularists religionists.First of all RH should be opposed for what it is. It is premised on an outdated neo Malthusian theory which demographic research says has changed the economic viability of human societies especially in depopulating Europe.

    34. That's too esoteric for my limited brain to grasp. It seems to me the big depopulators of Europe have been disease, war and Hitler. I don't get why education and family planning in the Philippines is Malthusian.

    35. Anonymous says:

      Was it Malthus who said life is certain for being nasty, brutish, and short?

    36. Anonymous says:

      Rufus was Erap's immigration commissioner. I think his record is unblemished by any success.DocB

    37. Anonymous says:

      Is Generalissimo Franco (and cabal) of Spain a good twin to our present-day religious right wing?DocB

    38. Anonymous says:

      MDG might just as well mean Moribund Development Goals.DocB

    39. Anonymous says:

      You might want add Stalin in there who some say did a better job at it than Hitler without the benefit of ovens.DocB

    40. Oh, that would make sense in the way that Ben Vallejo used it, I guess. Right. Add Stalin. What a guy. Thanks.

    41. That's a funny line. Comedian, for sure today.

    42. You know, I don't know that much about Franco, although I did visit his grave when I toured Spain a couple of lifetimes ago. He's sleeping fine.A good twin is the Taliban, sort of the Catholic Church on Red Bull.

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