Smarting from losing the reproductive-health vote in Congress, the bishops and their anti-RH allies lashed at Sonny Belmonte last week for suggesting divorce was next in line. What actually happened was that the Speaker was asked in an interview if divorce was in the offing, and he answered that it would have to wait till the next Congress. But, he added, better if even now it was already being discussed, “mabuti na rin ’yung pinag-uusapan.” The anti-RH camp was pissed.
“It will destroy the very sacred nature of marriage,” said Bishop Teodoro Bacani. “This is part of the plan of the people who want to destroy the family and life; this is part of the culture of death,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero. “What is happening? It would seem that some legislators are throwing the concept of God out the window,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso. “I do not wish to sound ‘we told you so’ but [Belmonte’s] statement reveals that RH is just the beginning of a series of antifamily and antilife legislation,” said Fr. Melvin Castro. “We prolifers and pro-God people have always said that there would be a domino effect after the RH bill. Now, we see it happening,” said Bishop Ramon Arguelles.
I did say the last time around that the RH victory augured well for religious reasonableness, as opposed to religious dogmatism, paving the way for such things as divorce. Something the local Catholic Church has opposed from way back when as though its life depended on it. Which it probably does. I was surprised when a few days later Belmonte was all over the news apparently for saying that was next.
But of course change always has a domino effect. But contrary to what the bishops warn about, for the good and not for the bad.
How sensible is their reaction to the current reality of RH and the future reality of divorce?
Spain was the country that brought the Catholic faith to these shores, an iron-fisted one as imposed by the friars. But Spain has legalized divorce, doing so in 1981, six years after Generalissimo Francisco Franco died. Today, it has one of the highest rates of contraceptive use in the world, consequently having one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
Italy is the one country synonymous with the papacy, notwithstanding that the Pope actually resides in the city-state of Vatican. To this day, Italians remain front-runners for the papal post. But the country has legalized divorce, too, doing so way back in 1974. Just as well, it is a bastion of contraception, and now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, at 9.7 births per 1,000 Italians.
In fact, until 2005 only the Philippines and Malta among full-fledged countries did not allow divorce. Which ended in May last year, when the Maltese voted in favor of it in a referendum. Now, only the Philippines among all the countries in the world outlaws divorce.
So what are our bishops saying? Spain has destroyed the very sacred nature of marriage? Italy has joined the conspiracy to destroy the family and life, it has joined the campaign to unleash a culture of death? America, which is far more religiously fundamentalist, or fanatical, than the European countries, has thrown the concept of God out of the window? The whole world has gathered behind the effort to push antilife and anti-God legislation, and this is just the beginning? And we’re the only country left like Noah to save humanity from the impending flood?
What are our bishops saying? Spain has scorned heaven, it has turned its back on the faith it caused untold suffering on the Indians and the indios to bring it to them? Italy has become a Sodom and Gomorrah, or not unlike one of Fellini’s movies, the Italians gamboling in shameless abandon or sybaritic kamunduhan? The whole world has embarked on a path to destroy life and laughter, God and creation? And we’re the only people—or since their views do not really reflect ours—left standing in the way of that plague?
Of course the fact that everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean you should be doing it, too. Of course the fact that everybody else thinks the same way doesn’t mean you should be thinking that way, too. But it should give you pause to wonder at the merit, or reasonableness, or rightness, of your position. It should be a reason for self-examination, self-questioning, self-scrutiny. Especially where you are not just content to believe in it, it poses no harm to anybody, but are prescribing that belief for others, you want them to stand firm with you. More often than not, the reason you’re the only one who thinks the way you do is that you’re wrong.
The bishops’ position on contraception and divorce is so.
The harm in opposing RH is patent. It extols the beauty of unreal life, or nonexistent life, to foment very real life that is abandoned, scorned and left to fend for itself. The harm in the lack of divorce is no less patent. You see it not least in legal separation and annulment, which the Church accepts, which is not just a remedy available to the rich but which is premised on lying. Annulment entails the couple maligning each other and saying the most hurtful things to each other just to prove that their marriage never really took place, one or the other of the couple, or both of them, were absolute assho–s from the start. That is what psychological incapacity means.
What, heaven prefers spitting to splitting, slandering to sundering, lying to divorcing?
In the end, what all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has grown alienated from the rest of the world. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has been separated from its flock. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our Catholic Church has gotten, well:
Divorced from reality.