Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the Rebel Without a Clue

Found Patricia Evangelista's Rebel Without a Clue column wanting last Sunday, and yes it took a lot of digestion before I figured it's time to write a reaction--and the sooner the better, too.

The column talks about the Reproductive Health Bill that the Church and Pro-Life groups are fighting against. Of course, the pushers of this bill assert that it is anti-abortion; they propose contraceptives and artificial family planning as solutions for overpopulation. As Evangelista writes: The reproductive health bill currently being debated in Congress is adamantly anti-abortion, and seeks to provide citizens with the means to access contraceptives and the necessary information to prevent—and not terminate—pregnancy.

So, sure, the bill tries to solve the illegal abortion problem--and at the same time overpopulation too--by making contraceptives available. Simple solution, right?

Er, not exactly. When you think about what contraception encourages, do you actually think abortions would decrease? Contraception is not perfect (not to mention it is bad for the health in more cases than one). More likely, it will increase abortions. (As to overpopulation, it's a myth!)

Actually, it's easy to forget that the pro-life fight involves more than abortion: it's because the pro-life movement is more vocal about abortion--the pre-born cannot defend themselves. But fighting for life entails fighting against a bigger adversary. Along with abortion, you're saying no to everything that goes against life--and that includes the mindset promoted by pro-abortion groups: "It's ok as long as you don't get pregnant."

Evangelista wonders why contraception is wrong, after all, she points out, it's not killing: It demands great logical leaps to call a condom a murder weapon. It presumes that a sperm and an egg that haven’t yet made acquaintance are essentially living human beings. Following the Church’s logic, anything that prevents the creation of a child is wholesale murder. It allows several rather startling conclusions, which includes the punishment of millions of murderous adolescent boys the world over for masturbation, and the sanctioning of fertile married couples who themselves decide not to have children. It also makes the Church itself responsible for encouraging the wholesale genocide of millions of possible citizens by promoting natural family planning after marriage. The goal of the rhythm method, after all, and all other methods taught in Catholic high schools, is the prevention of unwanted births during marriage.

I agree that the sperm and the egg by themselves are not a human being. However, to accuse the Church of believing that killing sperm- and egg-cells is "wholesale murder" is taking it too far. Contraception is fought against for very good reasons. As for the rhythm method, also known as Natural Family Planning-Responsible Parenting (NFP-RP), its goal is not to prevent conception but to teach couples how to be responsible parents. How? Without artificial implements to keep pregnancy from occurring, the husband and wife engage in the marital act knowing that they have the capability to procreate, and with that knowledge, they agree they'll raise the child if they are gifted with one.

Wow this has gotten heavy! I just wanted to clarify some stuff.

If you finish reading the article, you'll see that the columnist eventually criticizes the president, but she gets to this only after making the Church look like an irrational extremist. I've met Patricia Evangelista in class; she's smart and a good writer. But this piece would not be the best she's ever written. :-(

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We're turning heads, people!

Today is the SONA and I wonder how the President will explain her stand on the Reproductive Health Bill, if she will at all. For those who don't know, President Arroyo has rejected the bill (hooray!). But we're going to keep making noise because as long as they're still pushing it, the war's not over.

Sifting through today's news of storms, rallies and transport strikes, I found a news snippet (emailed to me, again by sunnyday--thanks!) from American Life League that talks about what's going on over here. Kudos to our bishops and Pro-Life supporters--we're now making news on the other side of the world, too!


Asia's Catholic Country Crusades Against Abortion, Contraception Push

Washington, DC (23 July 2008) – In a move that is capturing the attention of the pro-life world, Catholic bishops in the Philippines are leading massive resistance to the "culture of death" by holding a nationwide rally July 25. The Church-led movement is swiftly gaining momentum to fight a bill that would usher in birth control, sex education and, eventually, abortion in the Philippines.

"This is inspiring," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "These bishops are leading Catholics in a crusade that will mean life or death for millions of people. May their fight ignite our American bishops to take up their staffs to fight the evil – the abortive assault on children and families – that permeates our world."

On the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae," which condemned artificial birth control, Filipino priests, nuns, seminarians and laity will rally en masse against the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008.

The legislation would create a new agency called the Commission on Population, which would institutionalize artificial birth control, implement sex education for students as early as the fifth grade and pave the way for legalized abortion.

The rally is the latest strike against the population-control legislation in a country that is 85 percent Catholic. Bishops are denying the Eucharist to politicians who favor the anti-life legislation as well as advising voters that a politician's stance on population control should form the basis of their voting decisions.

The executive director of the Filipino bishops' Commission for Family and Life, Fr. Melvin Castro, stated that the bill, if passed, would promote "laxity of morality" and the "culture of death" in the Philippines, according to Life Site News.

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I will remember your names I won't have to vote for you later on.

Pushers of the Reproductive Health Bill are really getting noisy, and nowadays there's a daily story on the front page about the great debate. Needless to say, most of the stuff I've read are tainted with the bias that the Catholic stand on this mess is old-fashioned BS, like this one:

"Many predominantly Catholic countries around the world allow access to modern contraceptives, emergency contraception and even safe and legal abortion. The state of Philippine law on reproductive rights is blind adherence to our Spanish colonial past," [Rita Padilla of EnGendeRights] said. (from PDI)

So what? Do we copy these "many predominantly Catholic countries" just because it's the "in" thing? And is there such a thing as "safe abortion"? Oh, sweet sorrow, what an oxymoron!

The authors of this bill--I know who you are because I've been reading!--are so sure that what they're promoting is perfectly fine because it does not legalize abortion. Here's news for you: abortion is just one part of the Life we're all fighting for. Sure, the bill doesn't legalize abortion, but it is permissive of all other forms of death: contraceptives and abortifacients...and the culture they bring with them.

When you use contraceptives you throw responsibility out the window--think of what that implies. Where does family fit in all this? Parenthood? Marriage?

And who says we're overpopulated? Last I checked, there is actually a birth dearth. If it's poverty you're trying to solve, look at the countries that have adopted these "solutions." Poverty is not solved by cutting down on people.

Which is why, despite the bad rap she's getting, and the corruption and all, President Arroyo did the right thing when she rejected the Reproductive Health Bill. Crack those she-was-afraid-the-priests-would-snub-her jokes all you want--it doesn't change the fact that SHE'S RIGHT THIS TIME AROUND.

So, good luck, authors, in the next election. There are a lot more people who know what you're pushing, and are smarter than you think.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good to be reminded...

This article is from :-)


Pope to World Youth Day: "The Womb - Has Become A Place of Unutterable Violence"

By John-Henry Westen

SYDNEY, July 17, 2008 (LifeSiteNews. com) - In his address to the hundreds of thousands of youth who welcomed him at Barangaroo, Sydney Harbour today, Pope Benedict XVI issued one of the strongest challenges he has yet made to work for the right to life of unborn children. "How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space - the womb - has become a place of unutterable violence?" he said.

During his address to the young people, the Holy Father remarked on the natural beauty of Australia, leading into a short discourse on the need to be good stewards of the environment - an issue the younger generations have vigorously been schooled in. The Pope then turned his greater attention to the "social environment," urging the youth to care for this environment, which is created by man and which the Pope noted is "the apex of God's creation."

"Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge," he said, "that there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption." He then continued: "And we discover that not only the natural but also the social environment - the habitat we fashion for ourselves - has its scars; wounds indicating that something is amiss."

He noted problems, such as "alcohol and drug abuse, and the exaltation of violence and sexual degradation, often presented through television and the internet as entertainment."

The Holy Father returned to the theme of the "social environment" in the powerful conclusion to his remarks. He said: "But what of our social environment? Are we equally alert to the signs of turning our back on the moral structure with which God has endowed humanity? Do we recognize that the innate dignity of every individual rests on his or her deepest identity - as image of the Creator - and therefore that human rights are universal, based on the natural law, and not something dependent upon negotiation or patronage, let alone compromise?"

In the end, Pope Benedict offered a summary statement, which cuts to the heart of the liberal vs. faithful Catholic debate. While left-leaning Catholics do concern themselves with important 'social justice' issues, they eschew or minimize fighting for the right to life of the unborn, equating abortion with unemployment, poverty or environmentally damaging mining practices. Faithful Catholics, however, while recognizing the importance of caring for the poor, the environment and peace, understand that the right to life is preeminent.

"The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable," he said.


Got the tip from sunnyday ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stormy weather

I tuned in to "Lakay" Deo Macalma and "Pangga" Ruth Abao's AM radio program, DZRH Hataw this morning because of the storm, and I must say there's a bigger storm than Helen that's making a scene in the radio waves.

Lakay and Pangga were discussing artificial family planning; specifically, they were roaring about the Church's "extreme" view of birth control. They claimed it's unfair that the Church does not let people who use contraceptives to take Holy Communion. Pangga asserted that contraception is not abortion anyway, and that there's no worse feeling for a woman than to go through a pregnancy she did not plan. Lakay joked that he should text Pope Benedict XIV to plead that the Philippines is so overpopulated and by all means contraception is the only answer....

Makes me wonder where these media peeps get their information. What's so extreme about the Church's stand on contraception? In fact, the reasoning is so simple: the Church upholds marriage, an institution rooted in real love and made for the purpose of procreation. Contraception defeats the purpose of marriage (not to mention propagates a different culture altogether); hence, the Church is against it.

Regarding contraception being "not abortion anyway," that's true--to some shallow extent--because they're really not the same thing. That said, however, both do promote a culture of sexual freedom outside of marriage.

What makes contraceptives and abortion so different when their end is the same? They both blur significantly the line the separates love from lust because they represent a culture that believes sex is good but the natural outcome should never! ever! happen.

Which brings to mind the woman and the unplanned pregnancy. It happens--even within the family set-up, even with natural family planning. But babies are always a gift--planned or not. It's only the propagators of contraception and abortion that assert that babies are punishments. After all, they thrive on destroying life.

It's sad to listen to people whom you know have good reputations for their work in the media spurt nonsense and assumptions carelessly. Of course, they have the right to express what they think. But my problem with this particular episode was that it seemed like Lakay and Pangga took the issue too lightly, as if all our problems would be solved by one masterstroke: giving the go on artificial family planning.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The First Philippine Puppetry Festival

Witness the 1st Philippine Puppetry Festival from August 13 to 15 in celebration of the Buwan ng Wika. The festival features the pioneers in Philippine puppetry namely -- Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, Black Theater of Manila, Tali Galaw, Roppets Edutainment, ANINO Shadowplay Collective and Ony Carcamo. Learn about the different types of puppets (rod, string, hand, and
shadow puppets, black theater, and ventriloquism) when you watch their 10 am or 1:30 pm shows at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute, Cultural Center of the Philippines. For details call, Samahan ng mga Papetir ng Pilipinas, 439-14-71; Cultural Center of the Philippines, 832-1125, or e-mail

Aug. 13: Black Theater of Manila & Ony Carcamo
Aug. 14: ANINO Shadowplay Collective & Roppets Edutainment
Aug. 15: Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas & Tali Galaw

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who says it's safe?

I read this book before I got my hands around more information on why abortion is wrong, so it had been difficult to defend why, this being set in the '60s, abortion should not have been legalized in the US at all.

The Cider House Rules by John Irving chronicles the story of Homer Wells, who has been taught by Dr. Larch, the orphanage head/abortionist, how to kill babies. Homer eventually comes to the conclusion that abortion is killing, having come face to face with a just-aborted fetus in one of his "classes."

Dr. Larch is pro-abortion because in his youth a patient of his died because she tried to abort her baby on her own. His conviction of making abortions "safer" led him to his secret profession, which he--by cunning and meticulous plotting--eventually passes on to Homer Wells. And Homer, though wanting to not have anything to do with abortion, takes the job, hoping that eventually it would become legal so he wouldn't have to kill another baby again.

Reading this got me thinking about that argument regarding making something wrong legal just so it would be safer--an argument which had led to the legalization, in some parts of Europe, of the first profession. Should abortion be legal too so that it would be safer?

After a lot of exposure to pro-life material, I finally figured out that this argument is a useless point. Abortion is never safe--who says killing is safe? Many women have died by getting abortions in legal clinics. Brian Kemper of Stand True puts it simply:

The very premise of the argument discounts the reason we are against abortion, it kills a human person. How can abortion ever be thought of as safe? The very act of abortion destroys the life of an innocent child, where is the safety in that?

If you follow this logic you can carry it to ludicrous lengths. You can argue that burglary is illegal and yet it happens anyway so why don't we make it legal so criminals can have a safer time committing this crime. You can argue that rape is illegal yet it happens anyway, so we should open up clinics where someone can commit that crime safely.

These are obviously insane arguments that don't make sense. The same is true for saying that killing children through abortion will happen no matter what so we need to keep clinics open for people to commit that crime.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When you don't know what it's Jazz!

Found this 1936 Merrie Melodies cartoon, which I am positive I saw in one of those cartoon channels I used to watch when I was kid glued to the TV (not that I was a kid in 1936!). It's about a baby owl, who didn't turn out to be the great classical musician his parents had hoped he'd be.

This little owl, called Owl Jolson, sings "I love to singa" in between voice lessons with his mom on the piano...until finally he gets caught by his dad. It's funny because the owls are so cute and of course, the theme of parents forcing the child to do what they do is universal.... Giving this all too true dilemma to a family of owls makes it easier to laugh at.

Watch the video (link above) to see how the family solves the problem (and don't overlook the cell animation--it's a long lost art...and still pretty impressive once you understand how much work was put into each scene).

...And to all those who hate jazz, peace!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nutrition and Children's book month

Hello, Aeleina Resse Ocenar is this month's cover baby!

Because it's Nutrition month, we at Baby Magazine put in a lot of good stuff about the food we eat. Carbo-protein-fatty-discombobulations from chem class have never been clearer, thanks to Dr. Gidget Ortiz! Along with the lesson on what exactly "junk" food is, there are items on reading food labels (time to practice your math skills, math-phobes), smart-eating for two, food allergies, and a look at two random refrigerators to show just what foodstuff (and nutrition) you make so easily available to your kids.

Might seem so...disconnected, but July as Nutrition month does tie up nicely with the month's other face: children's book month. Nutrition is nourishment of the body, while books are nourishment of the mind. For book month, Baby Magazine features books on dyslexia and an article on understanding the difficulty in reading and writing, as well as two very interesting story book authors: May Tobias-Papa, an illustrator who can also write (she won a Palanca for Estrellita), and Russell Molina, a writer who can also illustrate (he won an Alcala Prize for Uuwi ang Nanay kong si Darna).

If you've been reading my older entries, you'll see I'm the privileged one to interview May Papa. I'm happy to receive a letter from her today, and am just so pleased that she liked my article! Here's a little something she sent me, a drawing of Nora Aunor she made when she was 3 or 4 years old. To May, thank you too!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taxi cab tales

Taxi drivers are probably the people who have the most stories to tell, considering they get to hear a new one every time a new passenger comes on board. But the wackiest stories are those the driver himself tells--this not including the zany things happening over the gas prices.

Such a wild one I heard about an old woman practicing hypnotism on the cabbie. After 37 years of cab driving, he still got duped. The cab driver was offered a flat rate for a trip to the hospital and back. Upon reaching the hospital, the nice old lady gave him a hundred for the parking fee. But a few minutes later she came back lamenting that the money she brought with her was not enough. The cabbie, in a spur of the moment decision, gave her a thousand pesos to save the trouble of going home and back again. Well guess what happened.

I guess practicality overrules hypnotism here, but who knows what the cabbie really felt as he made that split-second decision?

Cabbies also advertise. One cab driver related how, in one day, he logged in 24 hours of driving all because he drank a really strong energy drink. It was so strong that when he finally got home for some sleep, all he managed to do was lie wide awake in bed waiting for morning to come.

Some cabbies like showing off their battle scars. Gunshot wounds, name it. And you can tell they relish talking about it, because in the end, who lived to tell the tale? Gruesome as some of these stories are, there's a particular way the cab drivers tell them: it's always within the context of "I'm still doing this because I need to send my child to school." A sense of purpose, I suppose.

Finally, there's the unsolicited advice. And you get that without even encouraging small talk. My sister says she once got in a cab and the driver started yapping about, of all things, his sex life. He concluded the spiel by giving a go on promiscuity "as long as you don't get pregnant!" Whuuut. This guy shouldn't have a license to speak. Imagine how many young people he meets on a daily basis!

Of course, it's not like you should believe everything you hear. Moreso from a cab driver who'd take every chance to break a road rule (or give you no change) if he could get away with it. Take the tales with a grain of salt and always remember that these guys stay in one seat all day long--they're bound to get bored. Least you can do is listen when they've got something to say.