Monday, January 7, 2013

Meeting in the Middle in a Post-RH Philippines

There must be a time
in every political dialogue
that we must as - one nation - step back
and allow for the necessary choices to be made, for good or ill,
and for the changes to implement themselves.

We have to trust in our democracy.

We have to trust in our ability as a Republic
to make either the wrong or the right decisions
and to profit from them both.

Our collective freedoms of self-expression in the Republic forum
must naturally be complemented by an abiding respect
for our individual rights to choose freely -
without fear of final judgement (of our peers).

The foundation of our electoral culture
which raises from among our midst,
at appointed times in the life of our Republic,
a government of the people, for the people,
and at-one with the people,
relies on our ability
to both freely express as well as
to responsibly defend our common freedoms.

One of our inherent strength as a liberal democracy
is our ability to self-reflect as a Republic whole;
we are a people capable of following old and proven paths,
of creating new ones, or of forsaking the wrong ones.

All of this is threatened by
a partisanship in our political life
- that - when it is allowed to endure,
becomes a thing above the liberty of our nation
and a hindrance to the freedom of the individual citizen,
most especially the very least of us all -
whose needs are the most urgent
but whose voices are
weakest of all.

I have always thought that the RH issue is all about the empowerment of the right choices; that these right choices must be enabled through education to bend to the will of the God of life.

And that there can be no clear cut answers that will fit every situation.

Every incidence may only be judged by their individual realities.

Central to the argument of contraception is the fact that contraception denies from the intimacy of conjugal love, the ability to be open to the transmission of human life.

It is a choice to NOT be open to the choice of having children brought into this world through the marriage covenant before God.

BUT central to the argument of poverty is the choice itself to be open to the transmission of human life; that the poor, consumed and weakened by the evils of their condition, CAN NOT make the choice to be open to the transmission of human life.

A young mother in the depths of poverty who vows that her 12th or 14th child will be the last one if she has her way is a person who CAN NOT make the choice to be open to the transmission of human life.

The argument in Humanae Vitae about the lesser evil of rendering non-fecund acts permissible within the greater ensemble of fecund acts within the marriage covenant can not apply if the choice itself to be open to the transmission of life is a choice one is unable to freely and responsibly make (else long-term provisions for the arrival of the newborn are also made alongside that choice).

This leaves us with the normal argument of the lesser and the greater evil as well as a better appreciation of the bravery of our women and the resilience and character of our poorer folk (materially speaking).

Pope Benedict XVI admitted it may be permissible to allow the use of condoms to limit the transmission of AIDS (as a temporary condition that is understood a priori to be allowed only until such a time as the work of the rehabilitation of free human choice through Catholic education and eradication of the existing evils of poverty has become sufficient in itself to overcome it).

The condition of the incidence of poverty, like the condition of the spread of AIDS, is - if we as citizens to each other can help it - only temporary and for as long as this condition exists (as a threat to the greater wholes), a compromise that will allow us to more effectively battle to reverse its trends may be in order.

IF we, though well-meaning, so thoughtlessly surrender those who can not rightly choose for themselves to the evil of randomness and chance, do we heap upon ourselves as a nation, a greater or a lesser evil than by a temporary compromise made to allow for forms of contraception that are proscribed by our faith? 

We must be mindful of that fatalism that is already ingrained in our culture. For it might indeed be an evil that is already encouraging the incidence and the depth of the poverty that both the pro-life and the pro-choice camps are battling to reverse that we might all together be a better and a more freer people.

As law has its limits, it also presupposes a purpose.

As regards the RH law and its implementation, we must always consider -

Choice: Does it encourage the right choices?

Abortion: Is it a danger to the unborn?

Contraception: Does it promote a disposable view of human sexuality?

Sexual Education: Does it permit or promote sexual immorality or sexual amorality?

Maternal Health: Is it a danger to the institution of motherhood?

Women's Rights: Is it a danger to women, especially mothers?

Burden of Taxation: Does it open public funds to corruption or waste?

The Institution of the Family: Is it a danger to the institution of the family?

The National Culture: Will it permit our nationhood to further enable our Country to advance in its ages in time?

Let us be vigilant and continue on. For the only way to go is forward!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.