Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ANC’s half-Truths

ANC’s edition of Truths last Monday left me preoccupied. Aside from the fact that clearly the mentality behind is a latent support for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines (as can be deduced from its arguments), I am deeply troubled by the misunderstanding it feeds on our people regarding the Church-backed Natural Family Planning. As the Church ordained minister and the people’s conscience formator, I feel the obligation to clarify some points here.

In the program, the narrator presents an interview of a Catholic priest who explained how the two dimensions of sexual activity – the unitive and the procreative – should not be separated. Immediately, the reporter notes that the Church’s teaching here involves a contradiction since the Church also promotes Natural Family Planning which entails doing sexual activity during infertile periods; hence, separating the procreative from the unitive dimension. The reporter could have asked the interviewed priest how to explain this. But she did not. She simply jumped into her conclusion. This gave me reason to assume that the Truths’ edition last Monday is grossly biased in favor of the anti-life mentality.

* * *

In the Natural Family Planning, the couple is engaged in sexual activity during infertile periods. Naturally, no life could come out; hence, the sexual activity does not yield the creation of new life. But this does not mean that the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual activity are separated. Why? Simply because it does not involve an anti-life mentality. Let me explain.

The procreative dimension refers to openness in the transmission of life or fecundity. In God’s design of creation, fecundity is a cycle. And there are periods wherein transmission of life is not possible. Sexual activities done within these periods are still open to life; it’s just that no life yet is possible. Hence, it cannot involve an anti-life mentality. And the couple’s desire not to have a baby is only secondary to God’s will. They simply cooperate in God’s procreative design, so to speak.

On the contrary, in the use of artificial methods or contraceptives, the anti-life mentality is clearly manifest. Regardless of whether the woman is fertile or not, the couple’s intention in sexual activities is to block the transmission of life. Hence, it intentionally separates the procreative from the unitive dimension. In the natural way, the couple’s desire not to have a baby seconds God’s will as manifested in nature. In the artificial way, the couple simply rejects God’s will to transmit life. That is why, it is rightly called contraception (“contra” = against; “conception” = life).

The Church’s teaching on this aspect is quite clear. It is a total irresponsibility on the part of the reporter not to have researched on this and to simply brush aside the Church’s teaching as contradictory. To fill-in that gap left by ANC’s Truths’ half-truths, here is the full truth.

* * *

“Never is it permitted to separate these different aspects [unitive and procreative] to the point of excluding positively either the intention of procreation or the conjugal relation”. (Pius XII, Allocution to the Members of the II World Congress of Fertility and Sterility, May 19, 1956)

“The husband and wife do no wrong in seeking out and enjoying this pleasure [cooperating with God in propagating the human race]. They are accepting what the Creator intended for them. Still, here too, the husband and wife ought to know how to keep within the bounds of moderation. As in eating and drinking, they ought not to give themselves over completely to the promptings of their senses, so neither ought they to subject themselves unrestrainedly to their sensual appetite. This, therefore, is the rule to be followed: the use of the natural, generative instinct and function is lawful in the married state only, and in the service of the purposes for which marriage exists”. (Pius XII, Allocution to Midwives, October 29, 1951)

“The moral lawfulness of such conduct [limiting the use of the marital act to times of natural sterility] would be affirmed or denied according as to whether or not the intention to keep constantly to these periods is based on sufficient and reliable moral grounds. The sole fact that the couple do not offend against the nature of the act and that they are willing to accept and bring up the child that is born notwithstanding the precautions they have taken, would not of itself alone be sufficient guarantee of a right intention and of the unquestionable morality of the motives themselves”. (Pius XII, Allocution to Midwives, October 29, 1951)

* * *

Watching ANC’s Truths left me preoccupied but with another important lesson learned: not everything that the media feed us is the truth, even though they would call it Truths. Hence, we need to be very careful and critical. Knowing better our faith and the Church’s teachings is our effective shield against the obvious ideological indoctrination that is going on around us. There’s no deadliest danger than being misinformed.

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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.