Posts Tagged ‘Joaquin Bernas’

Bishops at War

Sounding Board

By: Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:01 pm | Sunday, August 26th, 2012

In the wake of the controversy about the Reproductive Health bill a couple of bishops have gone to war against university professors and, in the process, have issued dire warnings against Catholic universities. They threaten stripping universities of the title Catholic. I doubt that the bishops were thinking about what is happening to the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru because there is only one Pontifical Catholic University in the Philippines, and it is not the Ateneo. At any rate, are the bishops waging a just war? I will not attempt to answer that question. I will simply say that the professors and the universities can take care of themselves.

But as election time approaches, there is also a threatening war against defenders of the RH bill who might dare run for public office in the coming elections. And since we, and not only bishops, are interested in the Church’s teaching on church and politics, we might all learn something from what a young Jesuit colleague of mine has put together in a piece from which I will freely quote or paraphrase. (Let this mention of my young colleague count as the required acknowledgment of sources needed to avoid accusations of plagiarism!)

Will a holy war against candidates who support the RH bill get the support of Pope Benedict XVI? In “Deus est Caritas,” Benedict XVI emphasized the old Catholic teaching that the formation of a just society as a political task is not a direct duty of the Church; this task belongs properly to the laity. The role of the Church is indirect: to purify reason and inspire ethical political participation leading to the building of a more just society.
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When is Family Planning Anti-Life?

Sounding Board

By: Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:02 am | Monday, September 26th, 2011

I use the phrase family planning because it is a phrase that covers a broad spectrum of ways of limiting the number of children. It can include abstention from sexual congress intended to beget children. It can include what are called natural methods of preventing conception. It can include artificial means of preventing conception. It also includes abortion. All these contribute to the reduction and regulation of the number of children that are brought into this world.

In the current debate brought about by the introduction of the Reproductive Health bill, the question of what is anti-life comes up. It is therefore important to be able to clarify what precisely is meant by being anti-life. In the current debate, the term anti-life is often used in the most pejorative way. It is used in the sense of being against existing life. Murder, in other words.

But it can also be understood to mean not being willing or not desiring to add more human life to the already crowded population. This would be the stance of a married couple who decide to abstain from the acts that bring about life. To a certain extent this is also the stance of a young man who chooses a celibate life not because he hates children, but out of a conviction that he can accomplish better what he feels he is called to do without the burden of raising children. Definitely I would not categorize such a person as being anti-life. People like him love life so much that they take it upon themselves to contribute in some or other ways to the improvement of the quality of life of those who are already born.
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Back to the RH Bill

Sounding Board

By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:37:00 02/07/2011

THE HOUSE of Representatives has approved its final version of the RH Bill. I myself think that it is a much improved version. It will next go to the Senate and I anticipate that the two houses will agree on a final version to be sent to the President for his approval. I am certain, from what the President has been saying so far, that he will not veto what is presented to him. Thereafter it will undergo the required publication before it finally takes effect. After these happen, the debate on the bill, law by then, will go to a different level.

The judicial battle lines will be along moral fronts, often dependent on factual issues and where our people divide largely on the basis of religious belief (sometimes appealing to science or pseudo-science) and along constitutional lines, which should be ?fun.? I am also aware that people are often tempted to consider whatever they do not agree with as unconstitutional. This, of course, is ridiculous.

Today I propose to join in the constitutional ?fun? and leave moral issues to holier men and professionally trained moralists while also allowing for occasional excursions into science, about which I know little.
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