The trouble with priests

is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld:

... is that they don’t have sex. Or so some people say. It’s as if they’d be believable only if they haven’t taken the vows of celibacy. But we’ll get back to that later. Right now, what I do find interesting is: do people actually believe they’ll get laid more if they have a condom in their pockets? After all, condoms would only come into play when the deal’s already sealed. It’s bizarre to think one’s chances would increase by waiving a condom around. So that little fantasy in some people’s heads, like: "What’s up?" "This condom’s what’s up!" "No way!" "Yes way!" "Kalurkey naman." "Sex tayo?" "Um ... ok! [wink]" "Suit up!" That scenario? Ain’t happening. Dood, try to know the difference between porn and reality.

I guess a little review of the premises is in order. People keep bringing up the fact that the clergy, as they deal with matters of faith, should keep out of areas that have more to do with reason (i.e., science, government). That’s ridiculous. People should realize that everything we do involves an element of faith. Merely getting up in the morning is already an act of faith. Science itself involves a whole amount of faith for it to work. It involves believing in work one has no opportunity to personally verify, trusting data generated by people one has never met. Every scientist does this, though they may not admit it. So when pro-choice people bring up statistics of population explosions, they’re committing an act of faith.

Having said that, is population a problem? We’ve already seen the spectacle of conflicting numbers from the newspapers. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, 41% of people know that numbers could be made up to support one’s position (I made the 41% up). But just look around you: the days when couples have 10 kids are long gone. Married friends and co-workers would nowadays have 1-2 kids tops. The population is certainly not exploding. It’s just that people (mostly older ones) are taking longer to die. If that irritates you then blame medical science, not the Church. Besides, when you have Europe, Singapore, and Japan worrying about their aging populations, China anxious that it doesn’t have enough women, and here we are celebrating our diaspora and the OFW’s, population control should be the least of our concerns.

What about poverty? Again, there are lots of studies regarding this. But look: our government says our economy is up. If true, that means the country is earning. How come poverty is increasing? Because of what economists call "inequality of income distribution." Which means that, because of our flawed system of government, though the country is gaining income, the distribution of the wealth is skewed in favor of the elite. They get richer while the poor get poorer. That’s why we’ve been saying that the cause of the country’s ills are the freakin’ elite. Unless it’s the elite who use the condoms, making themselves extinct, I don’t see how contraception can help poverty.

Besides, if our government’s mentality is impaired then poverty will always be a problem, contraception or not. Everybody knows that the best economic policy is better education. Instead, the government slashes education’s budget, while doubling the pork for politicians and spending at least P50 million a year for Malacañang to hire ... wait for it ... three spokesmen.

Back to priests, I’ve heard feminists applaud the insults hurled at them as rightful payback. Payback for what? For stopping them from having sex? How on earth could the priests have done that? Pull a gun and shout: "Stop that sex!"? I know priests nag endlessly from the pulpit but that’s it. But that’s their job. That’s why they’re called "father," literally the heads of the spiritual family. Parents nag. And there’s no sane parent around who’d say to their kids: "fine, here’s condoms, get sex." Truth is, if people want to screw around, the priests can’t do anything about it. But it’s unreasonable to demand that they stop preaching. As inappropriate as telling your parents to shut the f*%# up. Pero isipin mo na lang, kung tinatamaan ka sa sinabi ng mga pari, may ibig sabihin iyon (kung sa tingin mo tama ka bakit ka affected?).

Finally, so what if priests don’t have sex? It doesn’t make them wrong. I doubt if any of your doctors actually had the heart attack or hernia that they get consulted with. Or if your lawyers also committed the alleged violations you approached them for (although one can’t be too sure about lawyers).

The point is: lighten up, read up. How can you make informed choices if you’re not informed? Pro-choice is not a choice. It’s a slogan. To shout "choice!" for the sake of choice is shallow because it only leaves unanswered the question: choose what then? Truth be told, there is a smart choice and it doesn’t come in rubber.