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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 21, 2011
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Cockroach in the soup


Noted constitutionalist Jesuit Fr. Joaquin Bernas wrote February 14 that the Catholic bishops and other religious faiths that are in conformity and in collaboration with the Catholics in opposing the Reproductive Health bill are burning the RH-house to roast a pig with a shot-gun, not one by one approach. 

With his stature as a constitutionalist being an appointed member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, Fr. Bernas is indeed well-grounded on the issue of the constitutionality of the RJH bill so that, based on his standards, the bill will pass as constitutional. Other lawyers, though, believe otherwise but the Supreme Court will be the better judge since I am certain various groups will challenge this measure before the High Court. Since I am not lawyer we leave the matter in their hands

Fr. Bernas also belittled the influence of mass action which he considers can be “a manifestation of intellectual bankruptcy.” Let’s forget the insult! I wonder whether this applies only to this bill or to other issues.  He says demonstrations will not stop the RH bill. Why is he so cocksure? He is actually telling us we are wasting our time in mass action – befitting us for our intellectual bankruptcy.

He must know something that we don’t, but if that is true, then the padre perhaps wants us to be like meek and humble lambs and wait for slaughter or like the defenseless unborn child in the mother’s womb that will just have to wait for the verdict of the powerful. I wonder if defeatism is Jesuit.

Ironically, some of his friends here in Bacolod are saying that our protests are “demonizing” the RH bill. But how can one demonize the demon itself? Can one make a black canvas blacker?  And to think that these friends are for peace and end to the killing! How about the killing of children inside the mother’s womb? Do they believe, like RH promoters that the life in the womb is not a human being and can be disposed of like one’s unwanted pimple or painful appendix?

But back to the RH-house and burning it to get the pig roasted. I would like to ask the padre. Suppose you find cockroaches floating in your soup. Would it take intellectual genius to just scoop the cockroaches and take the soup lest is gets wasted or the cook might get angry? Or would it be intellectual bankruptcy to throw the soup into the sink and dress down the cook?

That is what we who are against the bill are doing. The bill has some good points, like health care, prenatal care, etc. but there are several cockroaches swimming and drinking the soup so like a decent and logical, not necessarily a genius human being we throw out the RH-soup and tell Congress about it that somehow it might prepare another without getting the cockroach into the soup.

We are not burning the RH house to roast the pig. We are burning the house because it is heavily infested and the pigs wanted to stay under it. This is exactly what the proponents of the RH bill are doing – hiding their intents behind good provisions hoping their unwary and intellectually bankrupt citizenry take the bait or silenced by insulting erudition.  

I have another question. Surely Fr. Bernas is stepped in Theology, Ethics and Morality. May I ask a question? Suppose Jose asks Pedro to kill Carlos. Pedro refuses to do it because his conscience will not admit it. Can Pedro be forced to do what Jose wants even if doing so violates his conscience? Just being a human being without intellectual greatness tells me that it is wrong to punish Pedro. But that is what the RH bill will do. If a doctor or health provider refuses to perform what the RH bill wants done – kill the unborn, why is he to be punished?

If Pedro refuses to do it, is it right to force Pedro to point to Juan or somebody who will do the killing otherwise he will be punished for not guiding Jose to Juan? If it is wrong to force Pedro to point to Juan why will the RH bill force health provider to point to somebody else who’s going to do it otherwise he gets punished?

These are practical and simple thoughts not the erudition befitting the footstool of Fr. Bernas, but these are, among others the reason that I and many others are opposing this bill and despite our intellectual bankruptcy are demonstrating to manifest our objections. There’s still democracy here, right?*




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