Posts Tagged ‘John Carroll’

A Jesuit Sociologist on RH Bill

Commentary (Phil. Daily Inquirer, May 5, 2011)

John J Carroll. S.J.
John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues

As I watched Christ’s faithful gather symbolically in the Upper Room on Holy Thursday, around Calvary’s cross on Good Friday, and at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday, a way of joy flowed over me.

Swept up like a chip of wood on the surface of a boiling wave by the power of the community singing, I recalled the unity in faith and hope of the millions who gathered 25 years ago at Edsa.

But still there was an undercurrent of sadness due to the realization that the official Church no longer stands with a united people but with one part of a nation divided: and that the struggle is carried on, no longer in the respectful manner of the crowds at Edsa, but in an atmosphere of personal animosity and demonizing.

The sadness is made deeper by the sense that in the debate over the RH bill, the Church seems to have backed itself into a no-win situation. If the bill passes over the total opposition of the hierarchy, there will be gloating in some quarters and a sense of “Who’s afraid of the big bad Church?” If it is defeated by the opposition of the Church, I fear a powerful backlash at the Church’s “interference in politics” and “reliance on political power rather than moral suasion” — the beginnings of an anti-clericalism such as overwhelmed formerly Catholic bastions such as Spain and Ireland.

With all due respect for the position of the Philippine bishops, I do not see that total opposition to the bill necessary, once one gets past the polemics. First of all, the bill does not legalize contraceptives; they are already legal and may be purchased in any drugstore. What the bill proposes to do — rightly or wrongly — is to subsidize the cost of contraception as well as natural family planning to the poor.
Neither does the bill legalize abortion; on the contrary it reaffirms the constitutional prohibition.

It is highly probable in fact that if contraceptives become more available to the poor, the scandalous number of illegal abortions performed annually will be dramatically reduced.
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