Saturday, January 5, 2008

Husband: male/female?

One diocesan priest asked her: “Why is there a choice of male/female within the box that corresponds to the Husband and Wife column?” He was referring to the 2007 revised form of a Certificate of Marriage provided by the NSO, the one supposed to be used from now on.
She answered: “It is an internationally accepted form.” What she meant was that the international community is now open to the idea that the husband may not necessarily be a male person and the wife may not necessarily be a female person.
As the OIC of the Provincial Statistics Office, Ms. Melba N. Danlay explained to some 77 solemnizing officers (SOs) – Catholic priests and non-catholic ministers alike – present during the two-day government-required seminar on marriage laws how to fill up the new form.
When I asked why the form would reflect such a choice when in the Philippines, we are not open to same-sex marriages, she answered, “The forms are already printed.”

* * * * *

What I see in this scenario is a subtle attack on the institution of marriage and family, a gradual conditioning of the Filipino mind which is already too gullible to whatever is “internationally accepted”. Not all that is “internationally accepted” should be “nationally admitted”.
Such a subtle conditioning may grow into a welcome opening towards that mentality that accepts same-sex marriage as a basic right. I had the chance of witnessing this scenario in Spain during my four years of stay in Pamplona.
I witnessed how the Catholic Church in Spain fought “tooth and nail” (and lost) to oppose the “re-definition” of the term “marriage” in the constitution. Marriage is now defined as the union of two persons.
How close is that newly-revised marriage certificate form to that scenario!

* * * * *

Maybe, we are not so aware of it, but the idea that has invaded Spain, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, South Africa and some regions of USA, Australia and Latin America has crept its way into the Philippine society. How I wish it had been barred at the door of NSO when they revised the form!
The data asked for in the form may be too insignificant, but its implication is colossal and may be tragic to the foundation of society itself. The mentality that lurks behind the “Husband: male/female” thing implies a Machiavellian plot. What it attacks subtly is the “primary living cell of society”. Ultimately, it will undermine society itself.
Pope Benedict XVI emphasized in his message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace that “whoever circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community…since he weakens in effect the primary agency of peace.”
“Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman…constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace,” the pope added.

* * * * *
Today’s celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family brings us back to this realization. The family nowadays is under attack. And how frequently we just shrug it off! Anyway, it’s not my family, we might think.
But when our community is plagued with conflicts, crimes, petty quarrels and the lack of peace, we readily point our fingers to all directions: the government because it has not provided us our basic necessities, the Church because it has failed in its responsibilities of teaching us good morals, the military and the police because they failed in keeping peace, etc. At times, we also blame the family of perpetrators, which in turn will pass the blame on the above-mentioned “culprits”.
Yet, ultimately, perhaps no one would – in his right mind – pass the blame on the “anti-life” health measures and other “anti-family” bills passed in city councils, in Congress, and in the Senate by our “supposedly” brilliant lawmakers.
I said “no one” because I refer to those who have not detected that these bills are a direct or an indirect attack against human family, and have not seen that an attack against the human family is also an attack against the society.

* * * * *
I THINK the best way to honor the Holy Family today is to open our minds to these attacks and be on our guard against them. We also honor the Holy Family of Nazareth – Joseph, Mary and Jesus – if we do whatever it is in our capacity to protect the sanctity of marriage and the institution of family which the Church rightly defines as “a divine institution that stands at the foundation of life of the human person as the prototype of every social order” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 211), and as “the primary place of ‘humanization’ for the person and society” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Christifidelis laici, 40).
I THINK, we give the Holy Family great honor when, upon seeing that the institution of marriage and family is under attack, we stand up and fight for what is right and true, and don’t just say, “The forms are already printed.”

FR. RUSSELL A. BANTILES is presently the Manager and Editor-in-Chief of the Davao Catholic HERALD, the only Catholic weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Davao.

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"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.