Reading my friend’s comment on my first post on the RH Bill felt like diving into cold water.
For the longest time, I had been walking safely along the water’s edge–hearing voices from the side of land, telling me that where they’re at is the safer, wiser, more practical choice. But I could also hear the crashing waves, with shouts too distant to be discernible. I knew that if I wanted to hear what they were saying, I’d have to dive into the icy water. So rather than make a choice, I cowered under a small shelter in the middle–not far enough into land to stay completely dry, yet not close enough to water to get my feet wet. I shied away from dialogues and debates about the bill, politely smiling as friends and family who knew where they stood boldly broadcasted their arguments with self-appointed authority. I, for one, did not know where I stood, and so I stooped–that way, no one could see me, no one could hear me, and no one could attack me.
And so, revising one draft after another, I tried to write a piece that didn’t talk about my thoughts and questions on the bill, just my issues on the words and actions I felt were hurting the Church.
But in the end, I still felt attacked–because someone presumed I was anti-RH.
Reading his comments on my post was such a difficult, heart-wrenching task because of the emotions his words unexpectedly roused up in me. Yes, I found my heart racing with every “the Church is being unreasonable/unfair” and “our side/your side” because these were exactly the kind of words and attitude I had just written about in dismay. But his other statements about the bill, to my surprise, were pushing me–pushed me–to think about what was really important, and opened my eyes and heart to remember what it is I put my faith in.
A lot of points were raised in his comments, but let me summarize the main idea that pushed me overboard, so to speak. He made clear that the pro-RH stance was the more practical one, and that this made more sense to him than taking a stance based on moral grounds alone (by virtue, among other things, of the consequences–unwanted pregnancies and worsening poverty for one side, moral decline on the other) He posited, (with palpable resentment) that the Church has an unfair advantage in that the thousands (millions?) who go to church on Sundays are a captive audience to the anti-RH sentiment, and that it was “their” responsibility to use whatever means at their disposal–social media included–to educate, to make others aware of reality, to see beyond “the default moral stance the anti camp seems to solely rely on.”
One of the things that struck me was how he was trying to “educate” me on the struggles and environment of the poor. Though I do not claim to have reached saintly perfection in my service to the poor, I do keep their plight in mind and in heart. To feel the need to illuminate me on their situation presupposes that I do not know…and that I do not care. In all humility, I tried not to be insulted. Going further, this is also an accusation the Church has had to face, despite being responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of social-oriented programs and organizations all over the country.
Another is the assumption that a stance based on moral grounds alone is automatically the weaker one. And I guess this is why I do not expect anyone “pro” to change their mind after reading this, or any other article explaining the Church’s stand–because we hold different things as more important.
The Church is being labeled as naive, ignorant and impractical because it is assumed that the Church is clueless to the real situation. “If only the anti people would open their eyes to reality, if only they’d accept the facts, if only they wouldn’t be so stubborn.” But the Church does know all these things, but still maintains that morality, specially in this day and age of its widespread decline, is worth fighting for.
Because our faith believes in Christ’s promise of Life Eternal. In the end, the consequences of our actions is not about being hopelessly poor, but about being devoid of Hope for eternity.
Now which holds the more dire of consequences?
Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. –Humanae Vitae
This is why the Church needs to make a stand. This is why She needs to speak out, to remind her children that we are called for something greater than this world, for something more lasting. She exhorts us not to “conform to the standards of the present age, but [to] let the renewing of [our] minds transform [us], so that [we] may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and mature” (Romans 12:2).
Reading his comments was emotionally draining, but I am grateful for it. It forced me to walk the plank, the cold water finally awakening me from my fearful stupor. It forced me to choose: not between pro or anti, but between intellect or faith, eternal despair or hope, death or life.
I choose faith, I choose hope, I choose life. Any day.
(Now that I know where I stand, what next? Read the conclusion in Part 4.)