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In the 17th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Life and Family, Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales had the following to say in his homily for Mass Monday:
Faced with the possibility of the reproductive health RH) bill being passed into law, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales reminded parents to mold their children’s conscience, saying laws “won’t make things moral.”
“If you fail, you will reap the kind of people that we have now in most of our institutions, including Congress,”
Any person who has been brought up properly would know what is right and wrong and would know how to make upright decisions even in the face of any law, Rosales said.
I generally agree with what the Archbishop is saying in the first paragraph, that parents should try to impart moral lessons onto their children and laws really do not make things moral. But when an Archbishop is talking… boy do you have to watch out for the bullshit that inevitably comes along. The moral system that Archbishop Rosales speaks of is based on dogma, on the easy answers that perpetuate the power of the church without regard for the cost in human suffering.
While I do think there are some things where a moral decision is very easy to make the good archbishop happily chooses to exclude the middle, sweeping under the carpet those murky moral decisions that are difficult to make. Things like the RH bill or abortion, moral decisions that require a certain amount of courage and thinking when a society first encounters it. Society is not served by a knee jerk retreat into dogma that feels safe. Far better to face these hard moral challenges head on rather than seeking reassurance from old fables.
Dogmatically clinging onto morals handed down to us from the dark ages means a society that does not progress ethically. It would mean a world stuck in the horrid pages of the old testament where slavery is allowed and the punishment for rape is unjust. It would mean a moral standard stranded in the new testament where women are not treated as equals of men.
So parents. Teach your children about their conscience, give them the tools they would need to navigate the fog of moral uncertainty. Instill within them critical thinking so that they may weed out the bad ideas that come their way. Show them the value of compassion, how it has allowed humanity to flourish and how vital it is for our collective future. Armed with these your children may rise above these men of cloth, they might find the courage to take on the awesome responsibility of morality.
If you fail, well… then you will reap the kind of people that we have now as leaders of the Catholic church.