Thursday, October 30

Murder By Depoprovera et al


This space has been empty for sometime now, due to the burden of other duties facing this blogger. Today however, the following piece has been provoked by Depoprovera et al, despite such other burdens.

As backgrounder, there is an on-going and raging controversy about the merits and demerits of a proposed Bill in the House of Representatives in the Philippines, which if passed by both Houses of Congress will appropriate state funds for the promotion, facilitation and distribution of contraceptives and related hospital services, and also making it a crime for professional health workers to refuse to supply such products and services.

And so the following self-explanatory piece was written.


Note: The full text of this article may be downloaded for free at <> in the Light A Fire blogfile, or from c/o Light A Fire.

This paper is written for the benefit of the truly Catholic faithful, specifically in order to refute a Position Paper on the Reproductive Health Bill, a 16-page opus submitted by 14 Catholic professors at the Ateneo de Manila University. Entitled Catholics Can Support the RH Bill in Good Conscience, it calls for the “immediate passage” of House Bill No. 5043, supposedly after having examined the Bill “in the light of Philippine social realities and informed by (their) Christian faith”.

Considering that the 14 authors have not explicitly claimed to be non-Catholics, I presume that they also consider themselves as faithful Catholics “in good conscience”. Thus my arguments will be mostly based on the officially published “core principles of Catholic social teaching”, which the 14 authors explicitly allege in the very first paragraph of their Position Paper, as having been “adhered to” by the RH Bill’s provisions.

  1. Catholic Issue No. 1: WHETHER or NOT the RH Bill as claimed by a 14-member faculty group at the Ateneo University, headed by the Spouses/Professors Marita Castro Guevara and Roberto O. Guevara the former head of its Department of Theology, (Guevara et al for brevity), truly adheres to the “core principles of Catholic social teaching”, particularly among others vis-à-vis the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person.

1.1 The following, whether or not anyone agrees with its substance, are the Real Facts as to “the core principles of Catholic social teaching” according to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Vatican Edition copyright 2004) Libreria Editrice Vaticana ISBN 88-209-7651-X and its Philippine Edition ISBN 971-8816-75-5 as co-published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

a) Section 38 thereof (with emphasis added) states: The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father’s initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual (soul) and corporeal (body), historical (here/now) and transcendent (life beyond). It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us”. (NOTE: Thus for moral theological purposes a human foetus is considered in its entirety as “body and soul”).

That statement is consistent with the penultimate paragraph of Section 51 from Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, i.e. “Therefore from the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care, whereas abortion and infanticide are UNSPEAKABLE CRIMES…..(Regarding) the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law”. (emphasis added)

b) Section 80 of the Compendium further states: In the Church’s social doctrine the Magisterium is at work in all its various components and expressions. Of primary importance is the universal Magisterium of the Pope and the Council: this is the Magisterium that determines the direction and gives marks of the development of this social doctrine. This doctrine in turn is integrated into the Magisterium of the Bishops who, in the concrete and particular situations of the many different local circumstances, give precise definition to this teaching, translating it and putting it into practice. The social teaching of the Bishops offers valid contributions and impetus to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff. In this way, there is a circulating at work that in fact expresses the collegiality of the Church’s Pastors united to the Pope in the Church’s social teaching. The doctrinal body that emerges includes and integrates in this fashion the universal teaching of the Popes and the particular teaching of the Bishops.” (NOTE: Thus it is NOT JUST OUR LOCAL BISHOPS who by themselves reject putative laws such as RH No. 5043, but they do so in collegial solidarity with the entire UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIUM of the Catholic Church!)

“Insofar as it is part of (the) Church’s moral teaching, the Church’s social doctrine has the same dignity and authority as her moral teaching. It is authentic Magisterium, which obligates the faithful to adhere to it”. (Guevara et al, kindly take note!)

Those are re-statements as well of the particular directives from Paul VI in his Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (3-5: 402-405) and paragraphs 2032 to 2037 (inclusive) of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

c) Section 82 of the Compendium further explains that: The intent of the Church’s social doctrine is of the religious and moral order. Religious because the Church’s evangelizing and salvific mission embraces man in the full truth of his existence, of his personal being and also of his community and social being. Moral because the Church aims at a complete form of humanism, that is to say, at the liberation from everything that oppresses man and the development of the whole man and of all men”.

That section of the Compendium incorporates and synthesizes the 1931 Encyclical of Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (190), Gaudium et Spes (42:1079), John Paul II in Redemptor Hominis (14:284), and Paul VI in Populorum Progressio (42:278), Evangeli Nuntiandi (9:10), among others. (NOTE: Thus as His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has emphasized in a recent public statement, the Church’s main concern about the RH Bill is based on the ETHICAL and MORAL points of view, yet without disregarding its socio-economic and political ramifications – but always from the Christian outlook of faith in God’s infinite Wisdom and Mercy and His perfect Justice.)

d) And more to the point vis-à-vis the RH Bill controversy, Section 233 of the Compendium states: “Concerning the methods for practicing responsible procreation, the first to be rejected as morally illicit are sterilization and abortion…….. also to be rejected is recourse to contraceptive methods in their different forms. This rejection is based on a correct and integral understanding of the person and human sexuality and represents a moral call to defend the true development of people”.

That section of the Compendium also paraphrases and adheres to the principles and guidelines contained in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI particularly with respect to its passages in sub-sections 14:490-491, 7:485, 16:491-492, 17:493-494; as well as with respect to Evangelium Vitae of John Paul II (72:484-485), Section 2273 of the Catholic Catechism and Gaudium et Spes (51:1072-1073)

1.2 Conclusion: The RH Bill includes the particularly OBJECTIONABLE sections 8 and 9, which Guevara et al explicitly trumpet on page 7, 2nd paragraph of their Position Paper as unqualifiedly and supposedly acceptable “in good conscience” (kunó) even by Catholics, despite the fact that it mandates that ALL contraceptives and sterilization services such as tubal ligation and vasectomy, are “ESSENTIAL” medicines (kunó), including their related hospital services. Thus both of these, as products and services will be LEGALLY mandatory whenever demanded for, according to the RH Bill!

Obviously therefore, on the basis of the preceding quotations from authentic Catholic teaching, the RH Bill is CLEARLY and incontrovertibly contrary to the SPIRIT and LETTER of all the above quoted magisterial Catholic teachings!

  1. Catholic Issue No. 2: WHETHER or NOT Guevara et al are telling the unvarnished TRUTH in their Position Paper’s explicit statements (page 4, first paragraph thereof) that “the RH Bill……….. protects life….. (and) is not pro-abortion, anti-life or anti-women”.

2.1 The truthful and relevant facts underlying this 2nd issue are:

a. Firstly, nowhere, in their Position Paper nor in the RH Bill itself, is “abortion” defined at all, even if the Bill (Section 2m) states that “abortion remains a crime and is punishable”. Thus what is properly and truly abortion, may NOT be “abortion” as far as the RH Bill is concerned, as will be proven here below.

b. Secondly, Catholic Church teaching has always consistently declared that human life or “personhood”, with the immortal soul already divinely infused in God’s own image and likeness and as His explicitly willed gift to the parents, STARTS AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION! It is that instant when the woman’s ovum unites with and is fertilized by the man’s sperm cell. Whereas, the RH Bill’s authors (and Guevara et al obviously agree with them), are on record in their congressional deliberations, that only when the foetus has traveled towards and successfully clung to the uterine wall, can it be considered as legally protected from deliberate abortion, i.e. destruction, nay, MURDER!

c. And because of such a supposedly legal yet mendacious definition of “abortion”, those “modern” and very popular contraceptives such as Depoprovera, which Guevara et al and the RH Bill also consider as “essentialmedicines, but are actually abortifacients, will be explicitly allowed under the Bill. For it is WELL KNOWN that these types of contraceptives are explicitly designed to prevent thus kill the LIVE foetus from safely reaching the uterine wall, thereby aborting the pregnancy. And yet, Guevara et al mendaciously insist that the RH Bill is not “pro-abortion nor anti-life”……

d. Consider further that the subject Position Paper is specifically and publicly addressed to Catholics, written by 14 Catholic professors of a Catholic University owned and operated by the Society of Jesus a canonically instituted Catholic Religious Order with mostly Catholic students, where 3 of these 14 Ateneo professors are teachers of Catholic Theology. Therefore, their unabashed public propaganda for Catholics to DISOBEY and to JUSTIFY such MOCKERY of the “core principles of Catholic social teaching” and Catholic moral theology itself, must certainly be a GRAVE MATTER of the highest degree and urgency. (NOTE: The Jesuit President of the Ateneo, in fairness to him, has publicly issued a disclaimer against Guevara et al’s Position Paper in behalf of the Jesuits and the University. However, no official counter Position Paper has been issued by the Jesuits as of today October 30, 2008.)

2.2 Conclusions on Issue No. 2

a. Thus by being silent about their own unqualified ACCEPTANCE of the RH Bill’s known albeit mendacious definition of “abortion”, Guevara et al and their Position Paper have CERTAINLY NOT told us Catholics the unvarnished TRUTH. Instead however they are consciously and knowingly, considering their intellectual and professional capabilities, foisting at the very least, a MORAL and THEOLOGICAL FALSEHOOD on us Catholic Filipinos by means of a mentally DISHONEST casuistry! And these cleverly disguised falsehoods are particularly and insidiously detrimental to the young and impressionable Catholic students at the Ateneo de Manila University and their families as well. And yet Guevara et al, especially the trio of academically high-degreeD theologians among them, including those with PhDs in philosophy and the social sciences, should have known that our Lord Himself said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I dedicated you. A prophet to the nations I appointed you!” (Jeremiah 1:5) Nonetheless, these Catholic professors of a Catholic University are now encouraging Catholics to assist and to justify the continuing murder by Depoprovera and the like, of hundreds of thousands of potential prophets of the Lord in our midst.

b. But let us assume that there is a sincere doubt on their part even as Catholics, about the Catholic Magisterium and the Popes’ infallibility in their REPEATED collegial declarations that a true person with body and soul created and gifted by God, already exists at the moment of conception even before its foetus has successfully clung to the mother’s womb. NEVERTHELESS, no amount of doubt other than near-absolute certainty, could morally justify the unabashed public endorsement of the DELIBERATE SUPPRESSION OF HUMAN LIFE or the killing of LEGALISTICALLY-challenged albeit unborn persons. For by analogy on a similar doubt, no prudent Christian would encourage people to shoot at targets WITHOUT COMPUNCTION where PROBABLY, or even just POSSIBLY, COUNTLESS but REAL human persons would be killed by such a highly nay, CRIMINALLY imprudent practice.

c. And here are the moral principles and conclusions on the same matter coming from John Paul II: (Evangelium Vitae, 60 with emphasis added)

Some people justify abortion by claiming that for a certain number of days the result of conception cannot be considered a personal human life. But from the time of fertilization a life of a new human being is begun, from the first instant there is established what this living being will be: a person.* Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, scientific research provides a valuable indication of a personal presence at the first moment of a human life. Furthermore, even the mere possibility that a human person is involved would suffice for an absolute prohibition of killing a human embryo. Over and above all scientific and philosophical affirmations, the church has always taught that “the human being is to be respected and treated as a person, from the moment of conception”.+

*Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (November 18, 1974), nos. 12-13.

+Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Donum Vitae I.1

Note: Verbum sapienti satis est!

  1. Catholic Issue No. 3: WHETHER or NOT the unqualified and total endorsement of the RH Bill as recommended by Catholic professors Guevara et al in their Position Paper, may be safely and prudently accepted and decided by Catholics “in good conscience”, which will have moral “primacy” even over the CONTRARY official and consistent teachings of our local episcopal Magisterium together with the Popes in their Encyclicals such as Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, Casti Connubii, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Vatican II Council’s Gaudium et Spes itself.

3.1 The facts about “CONSCIENCE”

a. Conscience” is a common faculty of our God-created souls, through which we are able to listen to God’s voice vis-à-vis the Truth, by means of His urgings, promptings and other instances of God’s grace intended for our souls, in relation to the good we must do or the evil we should reject such as temptations from other external sources, i.e. the world, the flesh, or the devil, in order for us to act righteously yet FREELY, with the help of His grace and in accordance with His Will.

b. Thus the truth of what is truly good or what is really evil, is transmitted by God to our souls’ faculty of conscience as was designed, willed and created by HIM. But whether or not such TRUTH being transmitted, is sincerely ACCEPTED and HONESTLY acted upon by the person out of its own FREE WILL, is substantively ANOTHER MATTER.

And so, the process of conscientization is a continuous and ARDUOUS lifelong process within our souls, in cooperation with God’s grace, similar to spiritual growth in Faith, Hope and LOVE. That is why the Church has always urged us Catholics even from an early age, to make a habit of frequent and SINCERE examinations of our conscience, not only prior to Sacramental Confessions, but even daily.

c. Therefore, one’s actions and decisions DO NOT NECESSARILY reflect, much less ALL THE TIME, such God-conveyed TRUTHS even if one has a “well-informed and well-formed conscience”. Pride, greed or sensuality frequently and easily trump the voice of our true conscience at anytime. For not everybody is a Thomas More who confirmed the sacredness to him of his conscience (NOT everyone’s ALLEGED conscience!) just before he gave up his life as a consequence of his obedience to the teachings of the Church and in loyalty to the Pope, God’s Vicar on earth.

d. In fact all too often, many of us self-servingly and deceitfully proclaim the much abused cliches “My conscience is clear” or “in truth and in fact”, merely to justify one’s morally and/or legally doubtful actions and decisions. In other words, self-proclaimed declarations of allegedly conscience-based motives and actions CANNOT be taken at face value. This is because the declarant may among others, be in error, or incapable of good judgments (especially if in the habitual state of sin), or may even be deliberately telling a lie. And yet it is the truth and only the truth that God conveys to all our consciences, God being Truth personified!

e. NEVERTHELESS, we all STILL have to RESPECT such declarations of alleged conscience-based actions or decisions. But “respect” for somebody else’ conscience is certainly NOT equivalent to “agreement or acceptance” for ourselves, of their decisions even if purportedly made with a perfect conscience (kunó).

f. Thus Section 139 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church states that: “The truth concerning good and evil is recognized in a practical and concrete manner by the judgment of conscience which (normally) leads to the acceptance of responsibility for the good accomplished and the evil committed”. Cardinal Newman often said that “conscience has rights because it has duties”. And St. Augustine postulated: “God’s commandments were given so that (His) grace might be sought, and grace (personified in His Son our Redeemer) was poured so that the law (God’s Commandments) might be obeyed.”

g. And so John Paul II concluded that: once the idea of universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, the notion of conscience inevitably also changes……. To grant to the conscience of the individual the prerogative to determine on its own and independently, what is good and evil and act accordingly….. (so that) each individual is faced with his or her own “truth” different from the “truth” of others….. can lead to a denial of the very idea of human nature. (To the currently popular notions) that one has to follow one’s conscience is added the affirmation that a moral judgment is true, (merely) because it has its origin in conscience. (If so) the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of (self-proclaimed) sincerity, authenticity, and of being at peace with oneself. (Veritatis Splendor, 32)

Conscience can err because of invincible ignorance, but also because someone shows little concern to find out what is good and what is evil. And conscience becomes gradually almost blind by becoming accustomed to sin.” (Ibid, 62)

The Church’s authority does not undermine…… freedom of conscience, because that freedom is not “from” the truth but always “within” the truth. The Magisterium does not bring to the conscience truths that are foreign to it, but truths that it ought already to possess. Especially in more difficult issues the Church helps consciences to attain the truth and to abide in it.” (Ibid, 64)

A subjective error about the moral good, should not be confused with the “objective” truth about the moral order. The moral value of an act performed with an erroneous conscience is NOT equivalent to the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience. The evil committed – though not chargeable to the person in question – does not cease to be evil and disorder of the moral order. (Ibid, 63)

h. In his parallel yet strikingly concise analytical style, Pope Benedict XVI has often described that same popular albeit mendacious way of exaggerating the role of any and everybody’s conscience, as the roots for tragedy and the dictatorship of moral RELATIVISM.

And here is what Papa Bene’s immediate predecessor had to say about relativism: (Evangelium Vitae, 70):

At the root of all these tendencies lies the ethical relativism of our present-day culture, a relativism many think an essential condition of democracy, for it (supposedly) guarantees tolerance and mutual respect. Objective moral norms are being considered as leading to authoritarianism and intolerance. It is true that crimes have been committed in the name of “truth”, but equally so in the name of “ethical relativism.” Everyone’s conscience rightly rejects those crimes against life of which our century has had such a sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? Democracy cannot substitute for morality or be a panacea for immorality. Democracy is a “system”, a means and not an end. The value of democracy – considered by the church as a positive “sign of the time” – stands or falls with the values it embodies and promotes.

i. And so as to Guevara et al’s so-called “primacy of conscience”, there is really no such thing in authentic Catholic theology and in the teachings of the Magisterium.

If there is any “primacy” at all that is authentic and effective, it is the “PRIMACY OF GRACE”. In his last major Apostolic Letter Novo Millenio Ineunte, Pope John Paul II made this fundamental Christian notion very clear, thusly:

If in the planning that awaits us, we commit ourselves more confidently to a pastoral activity that gives personal and communal prayer its proper place, we shall be observing an essential principle of the Christian view of life: the primacy of grace. There is a temptation which perennially besets every spiritual journey and pastoral work – that of thinking that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. God of course asks us really to cooperate with his grace, and therefore invites us to invest all our resources of intelligence and energy in serving the cause of the Kingdom. But it is fatal to forget that without Christ we can do nothing. (NMI, 38)

  1. Catholic Issue No. 4

Let us assume for the sake of argument, but without necessarily conceding the fact, that the Philippine social and economic realities are substantially what Guevara et al describe them to be as such in their Position Paper. And so, the last issue I shall tackle is whether or not such supposed realities will be sufficient justification in conscience, for Catholics to support the passage of the RH Bill.

Guevara et al and their Position Paper have practically ignored the political factor, by devoting only FOUR (4) words, namely “bad governance and corruption” on the part of our government officials and politicians, constituting one of the six “inter-related factors” mentioned as the cause of “poverty” in our nation (page 4, last paragraph of Position Paper).

And so I too will practically GLOSS OVER the fact of my having constantly criticized over the last 40 years, nay excoriated our government officials’ and their allied politicians’ indescribable and interminable “bad governance and corruption”, especially over the last ten years. I do so despite the fact that five of our pastors among our most vocal and courageous Catholic Bishops have recently described it as “endemic, massive, systemic and rampant”, and that this has become “a social and moral cancer”. For it may be permissible to say in charity or without the tongue in cheek, that the babies of the poor, cause more poverty (at least in spirit), than the INSATIABLE GREED of our corrupt government officials and allied politicians!

Nevertheless, there is also some merit in NOT overly debating the RH Bill’s social and economic whys and whereases. For it is a fact that socio-economic analyses and forecasts, just like those on the weather and earthquakes, are seldom if ever accurate on a long term basis. For instance, take the case of Alan Greenspan, the decades-long Economics guru and hero of the Western financial world. Yesterday’s “HERO” is now today’s “HEEL” together with the erstwhile richest and most powerful captains of industry such as those from the Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merryl Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the like, simply because of a worldwide financial tsunami which no one among them even thought to be possible.

As to public opinion as indicated by random poll surveys, it has always been a truism that the TRUTH is more often than not, in the MINORITY. As was the case of Jesus Christ Himself! And I suspect, many of our fellow Catholics’ present favorable opinion about the RH Bill, will change upon sensing with God’s grace, that death is near.

And so instead however, I will even assume, arguendo but without conceding the fact, that as the RH Bill supporters habitually insist: the larger our population, the poorer we shall be. (!?) I do so even at the risk of being FALSELY accused by Marxists of using “religion as the opium of the people”. And to those who would ask about the Church’s preferential option for the poor, I’ll say: “YES, but certainly NOT at the cost of their souls and our souls too. For just a single one of them as I believe in faith, is worth more than the WHOLE WORLD (Mark 8:36)”, because Christ died for each one of them!

And so if poverty MIGHT BE the social cost whether imaginarily, temporarily or permanently, as a consequence of obeying God’s laws in truth and in faith, then SO BE IT! For wasn’t a life of poverty the example, the lifestyle Jesus Christ set for us when He walked this earth? His was a simple but holy lifestyle, even with no place of His own to rest His often exhausted human body!

And surely Christ assured us, and we have thus oftentimes prayed or believed that:

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God. (The Sermon on the Mount)

2. Lord, by thy Passion and Cross, may we be brought to the glory of Thy Resurrection! (Angelus Prayer)

3. I consider the sufferings of the present as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but by him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and will share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8: 18-21)

4. But if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

5. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called accordingly to His plan. (Romans 8:28)

6. The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for His name’s sake. Though I walk in the valley of darkness and of death, I fear no evil for You are beside me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me. (Psalm 24/23)

7. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “if you want to follow me deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”. (Matthew 16:24)…. “Come to me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens, for I will refresh you…. For my yoke is good and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 and 30)



If in case the RH Bill becomes a law, (Heaven forbid!), this is the advice of John Paul II for such a situation:

“Unjust laws raise difficult questions for morally upright people as regards to cooperation. The choices to be made are sometimes difficult; prestigious positions and careers might be at stake. One should recall here the general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions. It is never licit to cooperate formally in evil, not even by appealing to the freedom of others or to the fact that the law permits the action. To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right, a right that as such should be acknowledged and protected by civil law.”

YES! Many of us Catholics are prepared to seek relief from our Supreme Court in case…

For if in Ebralinag et al vs. Cebu Superintendents of Schools (GR No. 95887, December 29, 1995) the Supreme Court upheld the right of children of Jehovah’s Witnesses, to refuse to participate in their school’s Flag Ceremonies, how could we Catholics be legally compelled by any law, to participate in Murder by Depoprovera et al, since this would be clearly contrary to our universally and historically validated religious convictions?

Lastly, here is what Pope Benedict XVI said in his April 16, 2008 address to all U.S. Catholic Bishops during His Holiness’ recent visit to the United States.

“….it cannot be assumed that all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the Church’s teaching on today’s key ethical questions. Once again, it falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the gospel of life.

And certainly in the Philippines, such moral formation would be necessary for Guevara et al and their cohorts, who should follow the example in holy obedience and humility set by the Jesuit lay brother, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, whose feastday is today! He was a theologian in his own right despite the meagerness of his formal education, and the lowly porter’s job at their Jesuit House’s entrance hall he kept for 24 years. And yet his religious treatises were “very simple in style but sound in doctrine”.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, do please pray for Guevara et al and for me too!

Eduardo B. Olaguer

c/o Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate

Aurora Milestone Tower

1045 Aurora Blvd., Q.C.

October 30, 2008