Saturday, 04 August 2012 10:39
Among the circle of lawyers they would always say: “Dura lex sed lex.” This means the law is hard but it is the law. In its adoption as an enactment of Congress, a Presidential Decree or a decision of the Courts, the objective is for the common good of the people envisioned in a civil society. As such, it binds the people in conscience. However, the obligation in conscience does not arise immediately from the law itself but from the divine law upon which rest all common laws. Such law carries an obligation of greater or lesser weight, depending on the importance it bears in achieving the objective end. Take for instance the Proposed Reproductive Health Bill, now being considered again by the House of Representatives and the Senate from the President’s favorable endorsement of “Responsible Parenthood” in his recent SONA (State of the Nation’s Address), which, when enacted, shall become a statute of the land. When it becomes a law, it mandates habitual obedience but tips on the conscience of a people who are, by majority, God-believing.
As a Catholic following the trail of this proposed bill, I am rallying for its opposition in accordance with the Catholic Faith. Please take note of the following reasons.
The first reason is that of the divine order of all created things. It is a common fact that the conception of an embryo in the womb is not a medical event but a mystery only God can make possible. This mystery has its origin from what is written in Sacred Scriptures: “God blessed them [male and female], saying: Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it…,” (Genesis 1:28a). Fertility is a prized and celebrated thing rather than as something to be avoided by mere human reason. This is so because it is only God who opens and closes the womb. When God ordered man to multiply, He did not command him to propagate his kind any which way possible like what the animals do. No! God initiated and set into motion matrimony where man and woman cleave together to become one body, one heart, one mind, and one spirit for pro-creative unity. That is why it is written in Sacred Scriptures: “…Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined,” (Matthew 19:6b). This particular passage denotes two things: a) neither husband nor wife in matrimony has the liberty to severe, by his or her own option or choice, their God-decreed bond; and b) no one, even also between the couple themselves, has the right to deter the union of their sperm and egg cells after sexual intercourse. However, it is written in Sacred Scriptures: “A wife does not belong to herself but to her husband; equally, a husband does not belong to himself but to his wife. Do not deprive one another, unless perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then return to one another, that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control,” (1 Corinthians 7:4-5). In other words, it is only through self-control or abstention that there can be no union between the sperm and egg cells of a couple. Thus by the use of any contraceptive means or device propagated by advocates of birth control, the generation of a new life in the womb is denied whose consequence disrupts the plan of God in creation in the divine order of human beings. Such denial by human manipulation and intervention against the working hand and grace of God in the union of the sperm and egg cells of a couple subverts His will. As a result, the womb is rendered dysfunctional. It is likened to doing something against the evaporation of vapor so that no condensation, saturation, and rainfall take place. The earth then is rendered incapable to produce crops.
Next reason is the respect for natural law. Every conceivable law created and mandated by man should or must be drawn after the wisdom of God’s law. The regulation willed by legitimate partners for the growth and full development of a fetus until it is born as a baby serves as an example. Such regulation that consists of a set of “DOs and DON’Ts” in the care of the fetus is in the wisdom of God’s law because it follows the course for the birth of a baby. When the baby is born, the stewardship for the upbringing and growth of the baby until he/she reaches maturity is the bounden responsibility of the parents: a) as an obedience to civil law because no man is above the law; and b) as an expression of natural parenthood in the eyes of God who is the author of life. It is written in Sacred Scriptures: “…but God is the founder [creator] of all,” (Hebrews 3:4b); and to follow God as the founder [creator] of all means that: “The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all,” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Another reason is that the use of contraceptives debases the blessings of sex. Fact is the primary intention for the use of any contraceptive is for non-pregnancy. But its use relegates the gift of sex as merely for pleasure or carnal satisfaction rather than what God intends it to be. If we adopt the notion actor Robin Padilla promotes in his TV advertisement: “Bago umaksyon, magproteksyon,” referring to the use of “Trust Condom,” partners make sex as indeed for carnal satisfaction only but not for a pro-creative purpose. That is why more illicit relationships abound in our midst because partners involved are hooked to the bait of contraceptives. However, using a contraceptive for carnal purposes only defiles the human body. We admonish as it is likewise written in Sacred Scriptures: “You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within - the Spirit you have received from God….” (1 Corinthians 6:19a). Thus the enjoyment of sex is a blessing if used in its proper or appropriate intention: total self-giving or self-donating in love for the good of the legitimate partner.
The last but not the least reason is that the use of contraceptives leads to abortion. Preventing pregnancy during sexual intercourse is why contraceptives are resorted to. Yet, the expectation of a woman-user to have menstruation about a month after sometimes does not materialize. In this case, her expectation is deceived. Therefore, the contraceptive used does not guarantee 100% efficiency. What follows next is an inevitable implication. On one hand, the affected married wife has to confer with her husband whether or not they decide to have a baby or another baby. If their decision is otherwise, the burden of guilt may disturb or hound them while alive. Sacred Scriptures has this to say: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect,” (Romans 12:2). On the other hand, an impregnated unfaithful wife or unmarried woman, despite the use of a contraceptive, has no immediate recourse but to get rid of her pregnancy. This is true because the impregnated unfaithful wife, lurking in the shadow of an illicit relationship with another man, fears the probable discovery of her husband. It also goes true to an unmarried or single woman who remains very cautious and wary of the strict censure of her parents and elder siblings owing to family honor. For both women in illicit relationships, the unexpected pregnancy becomes an unwanted pregnancy.
Disturbed and at a loss on what to do, the impregnated woman is tempted to get rid of her pregnancy through abortion. Abortion is defined as the expulsion of the fetus prematurely, when non-viable because it is unwanted. For her, the sacredness of the life inside her womb is baloney and getting rid of it is a luxury she can afford. So she turns to any loose abortifacient drug or concoction available. If, however, after taking the drug or concoction the fetus holds on, she next consults an experienced abortionist in a safely-guarded money-oriented clinic or goes to the secret chamber of a hilot (charlatan) for the remedy.
Such horrible remedy is a crime abhorred against the commandment of God: “You shall not kill,” (Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17). Abortion is killing because it totally destroys the fetus in the womb to deny its development and birth. With due respect to the fetus, Jesus said: “I came that they might have life and have it to the full…,” (John 10:10b). Any professing Catholic believes that the passage does not refer only to the living but also to the life in the womb.
But a likely consequence linked to the choice of an aborting woman is the danger abortion poses to her own life. How many aborting women died because of profuse bleeding or hemorrhage? How many untold sufferings were endured or continue to be endured by the loved ones of victims, especially if they were the principle bread-winners of their families? Yet even if the aborting woman survives, she and the abortionist are answerable to what is written in Sacred Scriptures: “Make no mistake about it; no one makes a fool of God! A man [or woman] will reap only what he [she] sows,” (Galatians 6:7). In other words, any failure in the use of contraceptives that ends in abortion causes a great deal for the condemnation not only of the aborting woman – whether she survives or not - but also anyone serving as an instrument thereof.
All the foregoing reasons consistent to revealed truths in Sacred Scriptures make us duty-bound to live a moral life according to the divine order of created things and will of the Creator because: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them,” (Genesis 1:27).
In a nutshell, when the divine order is recognized and the divine principles in natural law controlling them are obeyed, the use and enjoyment of sex, as a pro-creative gift in matrimony, is a blessing. Likewise, when “choosing life” is adhered and the “Gospel of life” is protected and propagated, God’s will does not become, as it should or must never be, subservient to the manipulation of man in subjugating the evolvement of life in the womb.
I therefore invite and challenge everyone - pros and cons alike - to see the forest as well as the trees of this hotly contested proposed bill so that, whether or not it becomes a law, no one disputes the will of the majority in both Houses of Congress.
Written by Mario C. Tesoro - Catechist, Family & Life Apostolate Facilitator, and Biblical Animator of Our Lady of Ransom Parish Mercedes and incumbent Sangguniang Member of Barangay Mercedes, this city.
Note: All Scriptural Passages quoted are taken from the New American Bible, 1971 Edition.
By Mario C. Tesoro
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