Amando Doronila, in his Dec. 21 column, referred to the failure of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to sway the vote of Congress against the reproductive health bill, despite extensive mobilizations, as a debacle. It may indeed be, at first glance, but to me it was a debacle that was necessary because it provided the Church an opportunity to actually experience the way Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle had earlier described it—as a “humble Church.” If the results of the voting on the RH bill had gone a different way, it would have enhanced the Church’s conceit and triumphalist sense of its political clout— brought about by its perceived role in the rise of two previous presidents. A single debacle, however, does not (and should not) necessarily lead to a breakdown. And this reminds me of Randy David’s column, “Which way for the Church?” (Inquirer, 12/20/12). David wrote: “One will see the passage of the RH bill in terms of a hostile war against the Church declared by the state…. From this view, this war will be opened on many fronts, and the RH bill is just a beginning…. The other school of thought will read this RH episode as but an integral part of the wrenching transition of Philippine society to modernity. Far from being a call to war, the RH bill passage would be received as an invitation to institutional self-reflection, whose starting point is humility….”
A sincere embrace of the second view would certainly render the RH bill thing a blessing in disguise for the Church. A self-reflection, with humility as starting point, would have made the Church see exactly where it fails, which is in developing a solid moral foundation for its flock. The realization will serve as an opening for the Church to refocus its missionary objectives towards developing a strong groundwork in the value formation of its members—an opening that it should not miss.
In a reported interview with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the main proponents of the RH bill, he was said to have declared that it “would take some time before the full impact of the dissemination of the RH information and family planning services would be felt.” This means that the Church still has the time to prevent what it fears as the resulting moral corruption that the new law may bring. If it does its part in developing a solid moral foundation in its members—mobilizing for this purpose its already strongly established organizations and institutions—there, definitely, is still time to transform the Catholic faithful into individual members less susceptible—if not completely immune—to the much-feared moral deterioration. And this, definitely, is a more meaningful and a more lasting victory.
—JOVEN A. SENADOS,
Blk. 53 Lot 19 Villa Palao Subd.,
Banlic, Calamba City, Laguna