is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld:
One problem with the public debate involving pro-choice advocates is that it’s difficult to grasp their logic due to their making assertions that tend to be scatterbrained, misleading, or -- worse -- fictional. This article is intended to help Catholic and pro-life advocates easily rebut some of the more common arguments raised by condom supporters.
The Church has no business dealing in government matters. False. Everybody has a right, a duty even, to engage in matters dealing with government. The pro-choice advocates misunderstand the concept of Church and State separation. Note that the Constitution’s preamble, as well as the oaths of office of public officials, all invoke God. The Supreme Court also recognizes the right to advocate one’s religious views.
The Catholic Church’s position on contraception has changed and is evolving. Untrue. Ever since Onan used a primitive form of contraception (see Genesis), the Church’s teaching has been consistent. So from scripture, to the Church fathers (e.g., Barnabas, St. Basil), to Sts. Augustine and Aquinas, to Popes Pius XI and John Paul II, the Church’s position has been unwavering.
The contraception ban was merely invented by priests. No. It is a truth, as per our faith, revealed through scripture and by the Holy Spirit. As much as they’d like to, the priests can’t compromise because one can’t compromise on truth.
Pope Paul VI improperly ignored the 1963 Pontifical Birth Control Commission. Not true. The Church is not a democracy. In matters of faith, it boils down to one vote: the Pope’s (if you don’t like that setup, complain to the guy who made it: Jesus Christ). The Commission’s function is purely advisory. Pope Paul VI simply decided, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that nothing in the Commission’s findings justified deviating from the Church’s established doctrine.
People have the right to their own bodies. True. You also have the right to smell other people’s butts and act like a dog but that wouldn’t be sane. However, for Catholics, the belief is that God owns your bodies and the Church is simply pointing out that there’s a better way to exercise your rights. The Church won’t coerce you to not act stupid (Like how? Pull a gun?).
The Church is against the right to choose. No. It’s saying there’s a better choice. The problem with pro-choice is that it worships choice without even bothering (or being misleading) in guiding you how to properly use the right to choose.
The RH Bill merely allows choice. No. One reason why the RH Bill is offensive is that it forces Catholics to support (through its compulsory implementation without consideration of conscience, as well as the duty to pay taxes) something they believe is immoral. Note that contraceptives are not illegal. If the pro-contraception group is really concerned for the welfare of the poor (albeit in a misguided way), nothing is stopping them from donating contraceptives instead of demanding public funds. That’s better than violating the constitutional rights of the Church.
You can be a good Catholic while knowingly fighting the Church’s teachings. No you can’t. The simple reason is that the Church’s teachings are unified and inter-related. You cannot pick and choose the teachings you like and those you don’t. If you do, you are in essence creating your own religion. Again, the Church won’t force you to obey. You’re free to leave. But it’s hypocritical and flaky to say you’re a good Catholic but be against the Church.
Contraception helps solve poverty. No, it doesn’t. That’s ridiculous. And that’s the point. Our population isn’t exploding and its present size is due more to increased life expectancy than more babies. Experts have long pinpointed our social system that fosters unequal wealth distribution as the reason for poverty (i.e., the rich get richer and the poor get poorer) and not really the population. The Church prefers solving the root of the inequality rather than spreading condoms around.
Contraception effectively prevents AIDS. Then how come the Philippines, which has a low rate of condom use, has one of the world’s lowest HIV infection rate? Whereas countries with high condom use register higher HIV cases? The same goes for teenage pregnancy numbers. Again, the Church is pointing to a better, more fundamental way; focusing on the cause and not the symptom.
The Catholic Church hates sex. No. The Church values sex and does not want it cheapened. Contraception, because it does not fulfill the two purposes of sex (love and procreation), cheapens sex and, consequently, cheapens the person too. And if the person is cheapened, society suffers.
The Catholic Church makes no allowance for people’s individual consciences. It does. The Church merely emphasizes that before you rely on your conscience get the guidance first of the Bible, Holy Tradition, and the Church. Why? Because of man’s capacity for self-deception. Anybody who repeatedly tried to diet or quit smoking knows this.
Have fun defending the faith.