How far will PNoy go to test the Church?
By Francisco S. Tatad
July 30, 2012
In the biggest international conference ever held, some 50,000 delegates representing 190 countries in Rio de Janeiro last month, and under the leadership of the Holy See, the G-77, and some G-20 countries, delivered the most stunning blow against the war on population being waged by the world’s neo-Malthusians, eugenicists and racial supremacists in the name of reproductive health.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as the Earth Summit, deleted the term “reproductive rights” from the outcome document after it was shown that it was nothing but a code word for “abortion,” as openly admitted by the U.S. State Department.
It was a global victory for plain common sense.
In most of the First World, beginning with Russia, Japan, and Western Europe, the real emergency today is the ageing and shrinking population, known as the “demographic winter” and caused by falling fertility and birth rates. Contraception, sterilization, abortion and the introduction of same-sex “marriage,” now championed by many governments, are directly responsible for this.
UN forecasts predict that by 2050 there will be more seniors (65 years old and above) than younger people around the world, with the possible exception of some African countries and perhaps the Philippines, if they are able to escape the sustained attack of the global population controllers.
Not even the Muslim countries have been spared. Recent demographic studies using data from the United Nations Population Division and appearing in the June 1 issue of Policy Review, show that 48 of the 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories have undergone steep fertility decline over the past three decades.
Many governments now agree that “depopulation” is the next global crisis. This was pointed out during the Russian government-supported Demographic Summit in Moscow on June 29-30, 2011, and the sixth World Congress of Families in Madrid on May 25-27, 2012.
The Moscow Declaration issued at the end of the summit noted that “42 percent of all humankind live in countries where even simple replacement of old generations is not taking place. The destructive process of swift drop of fertility and birth rates has swept all the continents on our planet. In the nearest historical period, the negative demographic trends can bring about extinction of whole peoples, destruction of States, and disappearance of unique cultures and civilizations.”
The Declaration called on “the government of all nations and on international institutions to develop immediately a pro-family demographic policy and to adopt a special international pro-family strategy and action plan aimed at consolidating family and marriage, protecting human life from conception to natural death, increasing the birth rate, and averting the menace of depopulation.”
The Declaration called for an end to “State interference in the private life of the family under the pretext of so-called ‘family planning,’ ‘protection of the rights of the child,’ and ‘gender equality.’ We consider it inadmissible to continue to policy of birth control, which is one of the greatest threats to the survival of humankind and a means of incursive discrimination against the family,” the document said.
For its part, the Madrid Declaration of May 27, 2012 affirmed that “our societies need more people, not fewer,” and that “human aging and depopulation is the true demographic danger facing the earth in this century.”
It further declared that “lasting solutions to human problems, including the current economic crisis, rise out of families and small communities,” and “cannot be imposed by bureaucratic or judicial fiat. Nor can they be coerced by outside force.”
The Philippines has a robust population of not less than 95 million, growing at 1.9 percent per annum. At least eight million work overseas, contributing at least $18 billion to the national economy every year. The fertility rate stands at 2.3, which means the average Filipino woman is capable of bearing 2.3 children during her reproductive years.
This is a valuable resource that is no longer available to so many other countries. In Japan, the Philippines’ No. 1 trading partner, investor and source of Official Development Assistance, Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada told Vice President Jejomar C. Binay during their talks in Tokyo on July 17 that their two countries need to complement each other because the Philippines has something which Japan no longer has, namely its “young labor.”
The median age in Japan is 45 years, while it is 22.7 yeas in the Philippines. Provided the Philippines invests properly in its population, and does not throw away its demographic dividend, it will become one of the strongest Asian economies in less than 40 years, predict the economic forecasters.
However, the country’s politicians could still throw away this demographic advantage. After their defeat in Rio, the global population controllers have redoubled their efforts to reduce the population of developing counties. In London, US billionaire Melinda Gates, together with the UK Department for International Development, organized a family planning summit where she raised $4.6 billion to fund population control programs against poor women in developing countries.
Part of that money could end up funding RH activities in the Philippines, not excluding the campaign to enact the population control cum reproductive health (RH) bill. There could be no shortage of NGO- or political takers either.
The House of Representatives has decided to cut short the floor debates on the RH bill and ram it through for immediate passage, after President Benigno S. Aquino III said in this July 23 State of the Nation Address: “We are ending the backlogs in the education sector, but the potential for shortages remains as our student population continues to increase. Perhaps Responsible Parenthood can help address this.”
Responsible parenthood, properly understood, is not controversial at all. Article XV, Section 3 (1) of the Constitution provides, “The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.” But it is not for the State to prescribe, regulate or supervise.
Responsible parenthood normally refers to “an attitude toward parenthood—not separated from the practice of virtue—that encompasses God’s plan for marriage and family…” It may be exercised “either by the mature and generous decision to raise a large family, or by the decision, made for grave motives, and with respect for the moral law, to avoid a new birth for the time being and for an indeterminate period.”
This is well explained in Humanae Vitae, a 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI, which condemns contraception and sterilization as “intrinsically evil.” The encyclical marked its 44th anniversary on July 25, the same day the House leadership decided to fast track the RH bill.
Anti-RH advocates like to point out that Paul VI’s prophetic warnings about the ill effects of contraception have all come to pass. True to his warning, contraception has led to widespread conjugal infidelity and a general lowering of morality; men have ceased respecting women in their totality and have begun treating them as mere instruments of selfish enjoyment rather than as cherished partners; the widespread acceptance of contraception by couples has encouraged unscrupulous governments to intrude into the sanctity and privacy of families.
The Pope, however, had failed to predict that widespread abortion, which follows universal contraception, would kill more unborn children than all the fatalities in all the wars ever waged by man since war began.
No government enacts a law to divide the nation. Thus far, the RH bill has already deeply divided the nation. But the administration appears hell-bent on enacting this highly divisive measure. What exactly is the rationale? The ultimate game plan? Even the highly prestigious Wall Street Journal worries it could derail the country’s economic takeoff.
The RH bill has been promoted as a health measure, but it is in fact nothing but a population control measure. It prescribes birth control as an essential requirement and component of marriage, which is a natural human institution not designed nor instituted by the State. It also prescribes the compulsory sex education of children by the State.
In theory, the bill leaves to the individual the choice of method or means to use, but it prescribes birth control as something all must practice, under pain of certain penalties. Opponents of the bill liken it to the reproductive laws imposed by communist regimes on their populations or by totalitarian regimes like the Nazis on their helpless captives.
So patent and non-debatable is the constitutional offense. Sec. 12 of Article II of the Constitution provides: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
Under this provision, the State is the constitutional protector of conception, just as parents are the primary educators of their children. As such, the State cannot be a party to any program of contraception. The RH bill, on the other hand, makes the State the first provider of contraception and sterilization——-the first and ultimate preventer of conception. It also makes the State the primary educator of children.
To the country’s Roman Catholics, the bill is an undisguised anti-Catholic measure. It savages an important doctrine of their faith, and then requires them to provide the tax money to fund the program that would attack their faith. The bill is arrogantly telling Catholics not to learn their faith from their Church but to learn it from Congress instead.
It is religious persecution pure and simple, a perversion of Church-State relationship, and the victim is not a small religious minority but rather the overwhelming majority of 95 million Filipinos.
P-Noy has been told not to fear the Catholics. The bishops issue no fatwas, and there are no suicide bombers among the laity, they are not even armed like some Muslim Filipinos. Neither are they as politically organized as some powerful politico-religious sect, which votes as a bloc during elections. “There is no such thing as a Catholic vote,” P-Noy has been told.
Indeed, in a predominantly Catholic country where almost everyone running for office is a baptized (even if lapsed) Catholic, people do not vote as “Catholics.” But should the Aquino government ever enact a law that attacks a doctrine of the Catholic faith, as surely as the sun rises in the East, there will be a Catholic response. It could be a Catholic vote, a Catholic protest, or maybe even a Catholic revolt. No one can say, but there will be a Catholic response.
In February 1986, a post-election statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), questioning Marcos’s continued stay in office after the flawed snap presidential elections, provided the “moral basis” for the EDSA revolt that ultimately installed P-Noy’s mother, Cory Aquino, as revolutionary president. It seems only fair to hope that P-Noy has not forgotten his own history, and that not all the encouragement of his foreign patrons will prompt him to tempt Providence.