Filed under: abortion, Culture and Catholicism, depopulation, Green Catholics, Vatican II | Tags: abortion, birth rate, Catholic church, Catholic values, demographics, economics, Nancy Pelosi, negative population growth, Obama, Planned Parenthood, SSPX, Vatican II
Once again Vatican II has been named in a political struggle between pro-life Catholics and liberal Catholics who would institute public policy at variance with Catholic teaching, and thereby do economic and ecological harm. Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, proposes to take the delivery of birth control out of the hands of local authorities, as is presently the practice, and place it in the hands of the central government; Aquino promises to promote “family planning” to a degree unknown in the heavily Catholic Philippines, especially among the poor, according to the New York Times. The Times writes, “In 1993, prime responsibility for delivering public health services shifted from the central government to the local authorities, and the legislation now proposed by the central government is to switch it back and make it more widely available.” The piece of legislation is known as the HR bill. The pro-life Philippine Catholic Bishops conference (known as CBCP) is energetically opposing the new policy.
What ought to sound a note of alarm among Catholics, especially those who have not yet understood the role of the Council in the troubles of the world today, is the amount of support given to this new contraceptive mentality being pushed in the Philippines by Catholic legislators. Not only are they supporting it, they are explicitly doing so by the authority of Vatican II.
So do legislators in the United States. When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was interviewed on Meet the Press during the Obama campaign, she was asked about her support for abortion, and she gave her answer in terms of Vatican II and its new teaching on religious freedom: “This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god.” In other words, the choice of abortion is a religious choice protected by the Church itself.
Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was equally explicit, when asked to comment on the possibility that Philipino legislators who supported the bill risk the possibility of excommunication –“Since God is a loving Father, who rejoices when he regains his lost children in the Kingdom of God, then there should be no excommunication for a senator like me who is merely exercising freedom of individual conscience as preached by Vatican II,” she said.
President Aquino announced his aggressive policy following a week-long visit in the United States, where he met with President Obama; Obama offered aid to the Philippines in exchange for promises to reduce the Philippine population in what Philippine bishops are calling “contraceptive colonization.”
The CBCP has been joined in its opposition to the HR bill by Muslim leadership. Muslims are about 10% of the population in the Philippines. The Imam Council of the Philippines said they are against birth control pills and condoms even among married couples.
The chairman of the CBCP, Bishop Nereo Odchimar, had issued a statement threatening excommunication for President Aquino should he persist with his plan to push contraceptives among the poor, and to mandate Planned Parenthood-style “sex education” of the young. The uproar over the bishops’ warning of excommunication demonstrates how Catholic the Philippines remains, since it was the consensus of various media sources that the possibility of excommunication constituted unbearable pressure on President Aquino, as it would separate him from his family, from his friends, from his social and spiritual life (in the US, the same threat against a Catholic politician would be–has been– met with yawns).
Later, CBCP secretary general Monsignor Juanito Figura followed the excommunication bombshell with the threat of civil disobedience. However, church leaders’ last move, as of Tuesday, October 5, was to agree to a ‘ceasefire’ of further statements to the media until after a formal meeting with President Aquino. The CBCP will thus voluntarily relinquish the spotlight and opportunity to ‘form consciences,’ as Benedict XVI often exhorts the faithful to do, during this fruitful moment, with fickle media attention fleetingly focused on the Philippines. Meanwhile, the forces against them will organize, and are, of course, bound by no promise to pull back and will exploit the breather.
Philippine politicians, a Catholic majority in the legislature, have insisted that their cooperation with Aquino’s campaign to promote contraception is not opening the door for abortion in the future, in an attempt to silence the bishops with what they hope will be seen as a larger issue. The bishops have argued back that, as a clear matter of accepted fact many so-called birth control devices are actually abortion devices, because they prevent not conception but the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterine wall, as current authority now recognizes. Morning after pills, intrauterine devices, and low dosage birth control pills are all classified as ‘contragestive’ devices which prevent conception by killing a very tiny but fully human creature before it finds its way to the safety of the womb.
Given the present level of technological understanding of the complexity of the gamete, the fertilized egg, it will be impossible, now, for politicians to argue that they “support contraception but do not support abortion,” or “support contraception as a way to combat abortion.”
There are other powerful arguments the CBCP could make, based on the US’s experience. Birth control pills and sex hormones have been found to be dangerous to other species, too. Contraceptives are a major component in a particular type of marine contamination, which experts agree is causing widespread deformation of marine life as the chemicals pass by means of urine into the water supply. Up to now, the Philippines have been spared this specific source of contamination. Because birth control pills are available only from private doctors, their general use and resulting environmental contamination has been limited.
Aquino has not demonstrated that the Philippine population is excessive, to even try to justify the important policy change, and the bishops could draw on data to demonstrate that the Philippine population is its greatest asset. The economy’s strongest sector and only major export is precisely the orderly export of its population (a government agency known for its efficiency coordinates contact between workers and employers and sets standards for employment that most agree have made the Philippine worker least represented among the ranks of the immigrant exploited). Philippine workers are known to be particularly well-trained and are in demand for temporary jobs in over 220 countries, including as support to US military. The remittances sent home, taxed, spent, and saved form the basis of the Philippine economy. The popularity of the Philippine laborer and resulting benefits to the entire country has put the Philippines into Asia’s baby tiger lineup.
Commentators have run the gamut from loudly lamenting the Philippine birth rate (before the recent world-wide recession), to criticizing the growth rate as too ‘slow’ as opposed to a more desirable ‘dynamic’ growth (speculative?) to pointing out with mild surprise over how well the Philippines weathered the economic crash, doubtless due to their ‘strong internal markets,’ which is another name for growing population, a condition not shared by other baby tigers, who tanked with the rest. Now, with pressure from outside vested interests like Obama’s, Aquino is betting the family farm. He is going down the road of other Asian nations, who have lived to regret it (South Korea, for example, has publically regretted Planned Parenthood. The bishops’ remark that attacking this most effective sector of the effective if slow Philippine economy is truly a form of colonization on America’s part is insightful, to say the least. The Ugly American, selling his dangerous pills soon to be followed by a dangerous collapse!
And Vatican II at the living, breathing heart of it, giving Catholic politicians the chance to sign on.
Not all see it this way. There are many Catholics who see the current struggle over Vatican II as an unimportant ‘paper’ issue. They cite the 95% of good traditional Catholic teaching evident in the documents of Vatican II (the percentage Bishop Fellay is said to have assigned) and argue that SSPX and others are obsessive, or somehow remote from day-to-day Catholicism, in focusing on the minutiae of doctrinal issues instead of on the very many fronts where they could be devoting their lives–pro-life work, economic justice, and many other worthy causes. As one commenter wrote on Regina Coeli on October 7: “Bringing Rome to the table to dialogue is the least likely way to bring about any change. Toiling in the devastated vineyard is more likely to bear fruit.” On the contrary! To those of us toiling in the devastated pro-life vineyard, the defection of Catholic politicians under the pass of Vatican II’s teaching on ‘freedom of conscience’ is why we are losing. So, let us put it this way: the five percent of poison doctrine in Vatican II has cost fifty million lives in the last forty years in the United States alone. That’s how many babies were killed while we lacked the handful of votes needed to overturn Roe V. Wade. It will also be why we lose the coming battle over euthanasia, and the battle over completely legitimizing homosexuality. Vatican II, or the applied ‘spirit of Vatican II’ present in post-council moral/pastoral directives (as those related to homosexuality, for example), has completely confused the issues and given us the loss. You need a straight-ahead program to win in the vineyard. Did the Vatican direct US bishops to deny Ted Kennedy a full-fledged Catholic funeral, and rebuke those who disobeyed? Did the Vatican rebuke Notre Dame? No, Benedict XVI praises Barack Obama and American democracy to the skies–part of the poison five percent, that abandoned centuries of traditional teaching to embrace the secular state. Even China!
Statements like these, pro-choice and anti-Catholic, from Catholic politicians like Pelosi and Defensor-Santiago only highlight the bitter truth: that the few but toxic doctrinal changes in Vatican II wreck the pro-life movement on every single front. A similar argument could be developed regarding the demise of Catholic education–victim to the 5% toxin that robbed them of their doctrinal energy and substituted ecumenism for enthusiasm for the faith. A similar argument could be developed regarding specifically Catholic evangelization–it has been submerged into simple political agitation, or social work. Mother Teresa did not offer her dying the Faith, just physical comfort. This fact isn’t usually shared, as if it were not important (it’s actually because the powers that be, that market Mother Teresa, are ashamed of it). But there is a small shy new idea in Vatican II that suggests so sweetly that all of us, Hindu and Jew and Protestant and Buddhist, enjoy a mystical union in a larger church, so that whatever faith a person has, or no faith at all, they are just as good as anybody else, damn it, and don’t you dare insult by offering them your Faith, and baptism, and Our Lord’s Sacred Body.
That sweet idea is poison. If it were 1% by word count of a document that said over and over, the Catholic Faith is the one true faith, the Catholic Faith is the One True Faith, that ripe little nugget would still infect the dough. It’s such an important lie, that’s why.
Everyone needs Our Lord’s Sacred Body. No one else and nothing else substitutes for Him! But who needs Him most? Not those going through the rounds of a comfortable life. Those to whom His Body could be the only hand reaching out to them, when the waters are about to engulf them. The poor. The abused. The orphan and widow and divorced and infected and foreclosed and the dying. It is those who when they are not offered the Faith suffer the greatest indignity, the worst racist blow, of their entire lives.
Isn’t that how it is for you, reader? If we don’t love Him that much, use Him that much, need Him that much, why are we Catholic? And if we don’t love them that much, to offer this irreplaceable gift? Oh!
It’s apostasy. It’s in Vatican II, a few sentences, a few changes, to spare us, of course, because if we offer the world the faith, they will kill us. Mother Teresa knew that. They really would have killed her. And that would have been fine. Anyone who consistently, clearly, and effectively enunciates any doctrine besides secularism now has to see martyrdom down the road–and we Catholics will also get it from the Muslim side, although the expression of solidarity in the Philippines over the HR bill is promising, and the Hindu side as well. To name just a couple.
Although some of the teachings of Vatican II result from contradictory statements within the constitutions, the particular pro-choice interpretation is based on the uncharacteristically clear and novel teaching contained in Dignitatis Humanae, which calls for religious freedom for all under the administration of a secular state. Paragraph 2 of this Constitution explicitly forbids any authoritative teaching by the Church or its representatives, or any exclusive promotion of objective truth by a Catholic state. The individual’s conscience must “discover its own truths” internally, according to Vatican II. And thus the politicians of the world, including Catholic ones, can find shelter for their attacks on the working poor and women under its banner of personal truths. There is no question that the lives of women are worsened as they are “freed” from the “horror” of marriage and motherhood. One can find a short and clear criticism of Vatican II here.
The proof of the pudding, that those Catholic politicians who interpret the teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom interpret it correctly, by definition as the Vatican interprets it, will be clear when the Vatican fails to rebuke Aquino just as the Vatican has failed to rebuke Obama and fails to rebuke even China. The Church fails to sanction the odious Chinese Official State Church by refusing cooperation, and advises Catholics there to cooperate and dismantle the Chinese underground church which resists the state . If the Church will not fail to cooperate with a state that not only permits abortion but forces abortion, and forces involuntary sterilization (10,000 as recently as last April), the Church will cooperate with Aquino over “mere” birth control, about which (like divorce) is generally maintained a stunning silence since Vatican II, from pulpit to papal palace. It is this compromise to the Church’s traditional and consistent and unconfusing teaching that SSPX is resisting, and clearly the issue is not limited to words on a page. How much more clearly can we understand the effect of a few words of theology on reality than a woman running for the life in her womb in an empty Chinese dawn?
An excellent posting of the pro-life fightback in the Philippines may be found at the Monk’s Hobbit, here.
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