Everyone seems to have something to say about the RH (Reproductive Health) Bill.
(For readers not residing in the Philippines, please read more about this controversial bill here.)
This past year or so, one would have to be deaf and blind not to hear or read anything pertaining to the bill. In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed the turbulent dynamics of Church and State in our country. From Charter Change to ousting a President (or two), I’ve seen my share of prayer rallies and heated debates. With the birth (pun intended) of the RH bill, which pushes to make contraceptives available to the poor for free (among other things), no one ever really expected the Church to sit this one out.
But I’m willing to bet the word war and character assassination that ensued blindsided most of us.
In the past, whenever the Church mobilized Her members to make a stand on an issue, those who deemed it worth the effort would participate in all the rallies, noise barrages and prayer vigils while those who disagreed would show dissent by staying home. This time round, everyone has something to say: Twitter, Facebook, and whatever medium our current age has to offer has been deluged with every man’s expert opinion on the matter (and yes, apparently, we are all experts on this subject). I can take people being vocal about their views, and ultimately, having some openly (and unfairly) criticize the Catholic Church is to be expected.
But what bothers me, hurts me, to the core is how Catholics themselves are insulting their own Church and their leaders.
I’ll be honest. If you asked me where I stood on this bill, I would be unable to give you a simple “yea” or “nay.” This is because I still have some unresolved issues in my head about the RH bill and what passing it would mean for our country and our country’s problems. But while I cannot, as yet, bring myself to staunchly proclaim that I am against it (at least not in the way those in the prayer rally last Saturday did), I know that I most certainly will never post an FB status, write a blog, or tweet a message openly declaring that I am for it.
Because that would be deliberately attacking the Church. And I would never do that.
Note: I have questions, yes, but not about the Church’s stand on contraception. I’m crystal clear on that, which is why my husband and I practice Natural Family Planning (please read on the stand we’ve taken here).
Sure, at the height of passionate arguing (I presume), some anti-RH campaigners have let loose their own share of below-the-belt tirades, as have some pro-RH supporters. Again, it is no surprise when those who’ve had issues with the Church from way back rant away like there was no tomorrow. But for Catholics who parade their pro-RH stance proudly and boldly, I ask:
If you had a disagreement with your mother, would you broadcast it to the world that your mother was wrong?
Would you call your mother ignorant, stupid, out of touch, not all there?
Would you post it on your Facebook page that she’s a self-righteous hypocrite?
Would you tweet that you’re declaring an all-out war on her?
For our Church is not an irritating aunt, or a nagging cousin, or even a difficult in-law–She is our Mother Church.
Blame the politicians’ hidden agendas, blame the misinformation campaigns, blame the convictions that have transformed into hate. But please, Catholics, do not blame our Holy Mother Church.
Does that mean Catholics are not allowed to have their own opinions when it comes to issues like this? Of course not–if anything, it should bring us to search for the truth, to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance. I confidently encourage you to pray about this, because I am quite certain the Spirit will not lead you to bad-mouth the Church, whatever your stand is.Like I said, I am still at a dilemma with regards to the points of this bill, and how relieved am I that the decision to pass it or not doesn’t lie on my shoulders! So instead of ranting, posting and tweeting your expert opinion, I have this suggestion: why not pray? Pray for our country, for our lawmakers, for our Church leaders, for the poor. Pray for God’s guidance, His protection, His love.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe praying would do more for our country than putting my stance on the RH bill on my Facebook page.