Remember Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, the freethinking priest featured in Age of Reason finally dawns on the Philippines? He wrote an article in Manila Standard Today titled Why the bishops’ statement is a dud which tackles the CBCP’s pastoral letter Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill from a legal and surprisingly secular point of view.
Here are some excerpts:
…it is not a very good statement. It does not make for pleasant reading (serious reading need not be boresome!), and its logic is, in several crucial places, flawed.
The RH bill is clear in its position against abortion; there is no repeal of the provisions penalizing abortion under the Revised Penal Code.
One of the demands of the times is what I have repeatedly called a “public theology”—theology that you can take to the public forum, because most Filipinos today, you will not meet in Church, and even those who go to Church are not necessarily convinced of everything the Church teaches.
My point is not that the bishops were wrong. You cannot be wrong if you hardly advance an argument. When you assert, for example, that human life is a “sacred gift”, what do you mean by that? A Christian, from within the tradition of Christian teaching on human life, may be able to make sense of that, although I am not sure if there is unanimity even here. But how should a pluralistic society understand that? The crucial question remains unanswered: What non-sectarian, philosophically tenable answer can be given the following question — What is there about artificial contraception that makes it morally objectionable?
Is it the moral teaching of the Church that couples that can have children ought to have children? If it is, what would the premises of such an argument be? Where are the p’s and the q’s and the logical operators in between them?
What I have long been batting for is honest-to-goodness work by our Catholic professors of philosophy and theology to come up with discourse in the public sphere that will be convincing on the unacceptability of artificial contraception, and if we cannot come up with any such argument, then let us humbly admit that our opposition is sectarian in nature and credal in origin. Then we will also realize what we can and cannot rightfully demand of the State.
Fr. Rannie, thank you for helping bring the voice of Reason to our theocratic State. If only we had more priests like you, it would not be hard to imagine the Philippines being predominantly Catholic and truly secular at the same time. Would you like to join our meetups? 🙂