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Tag Archive | "Archbishop Oscar Cruz"

CBCP Adds Sperm Count to Marriage Ceremonies

MANILA, Philippines — Following Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s benevolence in allowing a lesbian woman and a gay man to marry each other under the auspices of the most Holy Roman Catholic church because “The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there”, Bishop Jose M. Ilya of the CBCP’s Jesus All Knowing Of Life Tribunal told the assembled press that Catholic marriage ceremonies will now include a sperm count at the altar to ensure that the marriage will result in procreation.

“Before the Catholic church puts two people together in holy matrimony we must ensure that the couple can actually procreate, even if they are a gay man and a lesbian woman, because procreation is the only reason ever for people to marry. We will ensure this even if the couple is straight, and not just for the gay and lesbian couples who wish to take up Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s kind love offering. As guardians of morality, we have to be consistent in our morals. Why do you think we’ve stood by biblical morality for so long?”

Responding to a question on whether this practice discriminates against couples who cannot conceive, Bishop Jose M. Ilya said, “Perhaps, but along with my colleague Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s allowance, I see this as the dawn of a more equal Catholic church. Instead of just discriminating against the gays, the Catholic church will also be discriminating against the straights, hence equality.”

He continues, “Besides, infertile couples who are already married will be grandfathered in. Well, obviously they still can’t be grandparents but, well, you get what I mean. I mean, they’re already married right? It’s not like we can do anything about an existing marriage that is based on love and not on making life. I mean, we don’t even allow divorce.”

The flustered Bishop Jose M. Ilya quickly concluded the press conference by leading a beautiful prayer espousing couples not to marry out of love and commitment to each other but for their mutual baby making.


While this is a satire piece, the actual doctrines of the Catholic church regarding conception and consummation in marriage is actually more absurd. Damnit Catholic church, stop standing up my satire pieces.

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Dwindling Church Attendance, Statistics, and Grief

A recent Social Weather Systems survey has the Catholic Church up in arms. The survey, based on 1200 face-to-face interviews nationwide showed that 9.2% of Catholics have considered, at least sometimes, leaving the Roman Catholic Church. The study also showed that from 64% church attendance in 1991, only 37% of Catholics go every week to Mass now. The Church response has been quite the display of classic informal logical fallacies.

The initial public reaction from the Church to the survey was outright denial. Peachy Yamsuan, Communications Chief of the Archdiocese of Manila pointed to the quite repugnant, yet popular, practice of holding a supposedly solemn Mass in the middle of a shopping mall (mall giant SM was singled out by Yamsuan). Yamsuan, rather ironically, questioned the survey, saying that the Church couldn’t accept statistics without “real evidence.”

Apart from Yamsuan, several bishops, such as Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo used his cathedral’s Mass attendance to attempt to refute the study. This was essentially the same response from Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Quiapo Church, as well as from the bishops of Marbel and Cubao, as reported in the Inquirer piece.

Church in Jaro

The common strand you can gather from their responses is, “my local parish seems to be doing fine, so the study must be wrong.” This is a classic fallacy of composition, where what is true for a part is assumed to be true for the whole. Now, I’m not a big fan of cheaply calling out fallacies, but the defense of the Church against the survey seems to hinge so specifically on this fallacy, that it simply begs to be called out.

In a follow up piece, the Inquirer records Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad repeating the same fallacious argument, “So, I don’t see here in Basilan the results of their survey.” The bishop from Sorsogon says the same thing, “I do not believe in that [survey] because the number of people going to Mass is going up. Last Holy Week, we had so many people in church. So as far as Sorsogon is concerned, I don’t believe in that survey.”

The thing is, it was not a survey of Sorsogon, Basilan, or Cubao. It was a nationwide survey, meant to reflect a national trend. And a national trend 27 percentage points deep is certainly not going to be refuted by off-the-cuff statements made from bishops’ anecdotes—especially since bishops tend to hold court in the largest, most opulent churches. As an aside, numbers during Holy Week are most definitely not going to be representative of typical Church attendance. Even atheists get dragged along to go to special Church holy days of obligation by relatives.

So, were these bishops lying about their observations when the trends greatly disagree with them? I wouldn’t be so quick to assume malice. One explanation that would easily agree with all pieces of evidence that we have, considering the CBCP anecdotes as well as the SWS survey, is that church attendance is dwindling, but it is also consolidating. That means that people are leaving smaller parishes and those that are left are flocking to the big churches (and malls), where bishops are more likely to see them. It is also likely that, while a larger proportion of nominal Catholics no longer regularly attend Mass, the great increase of our population from 1991 to 2013 due to a lack of a reproductive health program accounts for the bishops’ anecdotes. These do not excuse the bishops’ failure to understand basic statistics, but they just might explain it.

If the first stage of grief is denial, the next is anger, and this is now where the Church stands. Former CBCP President Oscar Cruz is now questioning the motives behind the statistical study. He is now branding the Aquino Administration, which championed reproductive health, as the “culprit” behind the study. “The Catholic Church in the country must be a big pain in the neck to the present administration… It has therefore become imperative to undermine the Catholic Church—such as the supposed survey result of Catholics becoming non-Catholics,” says Cruz.

It will be interesting how the Church will handle the bargaining and depression stages of grief. The last stage will be acceptance—acceptance of the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the Catholic Church is fading into irrelevance.

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