Monday 27 October 2008

Philippines statesman challenges academics using Catholic status to promote population bill

In a measured and authoritative article on his blog, Francisco "Kit" Tatad, disposes of the pretensions of a group of academics from Ateneo university purporting to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church. They support a bill before the Philippines parliament, entitled An Act Providing For A National Policy On Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood And Population Development, And For Other Purposes.

I have blogged on the bill (Philippines reproductive health bill has totalitarian elements) and SPUC commissioned and published a commentary on it prepared by Southern Cross Bioethics Institute.

Kit Tatad, a former cabinet minister, senator, publisher, editor and newspaper columnist has been at the forefront of Philippines politics for over 40 years. When he was just 29, he was the youngest person ever to be appointed to the cabinet.

A Reading from 14 Ateneo Professors, Kit Tatad's article, begins: "Fouteen 'Ateneo professors' argue that the highly controversial reproductive health bill 'adheres to Catholic social teaching' and that 'Catholics can support it in good conscience.' They ask 'our bishops and fellow Catholics' not to block passage of House Bill 5043.

"How should a 'fellow Catholic' respond? With profound humility, I suppose, but with a firm resolve not to be misled. The 'professors' identify themselves as 'individual faculty' whose opinions 'do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.'

"It is a crafty disclaimer. If they truly wanted to speak as individual Catholics, they could have done so without using the Ateneo label. But they clearly did not mind cashing in on Ateneo’s Catholic reputation.

"Opposition to House Bill 5043 arises mainly from the fact that it seeks, among other things, to legalize a State program of contraception and sterilization that will require married couples to contracept or sterilize themselves before engaging in marital sex, and make available contraceptives and sterilization devices as 'essential medicines' even to unmarried individuals. It also seeks to impose a 'mandatory sex education' on all children, from Grade V up to high school, without parental consent, to prepare them for 'a safe and satisfying sex life' ... "

Read on here. It's important for Catholics to be alert to the growing phenomenon of those who use their membership of the Catholic Church, or their official position within it, to undermine the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and to impose anti-life policies on Catholic families. Regular readers of my posts about the situation of Catholics in England will recognise this trend. Former Senator Kit Tatad provides a good example of how to challenge their deceptive work.