There’s the Rub

Gates of hell


I remember again Tolstoy’s story of the freezing coachman. That story tells of an aristocrat who goes to the theater one wintry night to watch a play. The tragedy unfolding before her moves her to tears and makes her grieve over the plight of humanity. Meanwhile, outside, barely kept warm by his ragged clothes, her faithful coachman freezes to death while waiting for her.

It’s what I see every time the anti-RH faithful come out to lament the plight of the unborn children and vow to defend them to death, or what passes for death. The issue is now before the Supreme Court, forcing the justices to debate with supreme hilarity the question of when life begins. Happily, some of them have acknowleged the fact that they’re not the most qualified people to untangle this knot, though it remains a tossup who is—theologians or scientists. But they’ve been forced to, the people protesting contraception having brought the baby, so to speak, to their not-very-Solomonic doorstep.

I myself have always thought the matter a simple one, which pretty much every country in the world, except Vatican City and us, has resolved. Abortion is one thing, contraception another. Contraception in fact is there to prevent abortion. You may debate abortion to your heart’s content, but not so contraception. RH is not abortion, it is contraception.

Abortion is, as the word says, aborting a fetus, and truly you may argue furiously whether a fetus already constitutes human life or not. Contraception is preventing a sperm from saying hello to an egg by various means. Now unless you believe that a sperm is naturally intended, or divinely ordained, to meet an egg and ne’er may you interfere with their meeting on pain of eternal damnation, or of being presumed a murderer, then there’s no conundrum. Unless you believe that you may not experience the joys of lovemaking without the sense of duty, or express intention, of producing a baby, or bahala  na  si Batman, then there’s no dilemma.

Least of all a moral one. Only those who have not experienced lovemaking, or are forced to grin and bear it, cannot know how wondrously uplifting it is, in more ways than one.

All this is debatable, however it often seems like debating how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. You can always debate when human life begins, what you cannot is how human life fares. Especially so in this country, especially so the overwhelming majority of human lives in this country, especially so the life that is produced in this reckless, heedless, murderous way. Yes, murderous—for both the less-than-human life that is produced and the lives of others that it threatens.

That is the mind-boggling thing about this, one that the world at least, if not we ourselves, cannot fail to notice and be aghast at. How a people, who are so careless or dismissive of human life they allow their children to live under the bridges of a fretful and squalid city and to be swept away by the waters when the creeks overflow their banks, can be so bothered and outraged by the life that is not there, that is nonexistent, that has no shape or form or substance because a seed was spat into a condom instead of a womb. How a people, who are so callous and indifferent toward human life they allow their children to sleep dreamless sleeps in deserted streets and beg for their lives when those streets spring to life, can be so finely attuned to the cries of the agonized souls of their imaginings.

How a Church that is holier than thou—or holier even than the Pope, the latter being only too acutely aware of those real children, those flesh-and-blood children, those children of the poor who are poor in flesh and spirit, who are warped in mind and body, and who bid his flock see them—can beat its breast in anguish, crying, “Lord, Lord, why has thou forsaken the unborn child, the unreal child, the child that is not there?”

But that’s not all. The even more mind-boggling thing is that the ones who lead this charge are the same ones who have distinguished themselves for being utterly blind, deaf and insensate to human life, to real life, to living life in this country.

I don’t know how many admirers Kit Tatad will draw to his side, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, heathen and devout alike, proposing that by UN strictures the current President (Aquino) will have committed genocide by his policy of distributing contraceptives. There’s still a generation out there that remembers, or that can make their children know, that Kit, like Johnny, was a sidekick of Ferdinand. The most visible in fact, being the information secretary. Contraception is genocidal while martial law, which sent many of this country’s best and brightest in the first flush of their youth to the great beyond, lived up to the ideals of the UN? To this day, not quite incidentally, the real children are still paying for the billions of dollars in debt that Marcos stole.

That’s an aristocratic lady weeping before the tragedy of a play while her coachman freezes to death. Except that a play is more real than an unborn child, except that a coachman freezing to death is less chilling than a dissenter water-boarded to death.

Just as well, I don’t know how many adherents Archbishop Socrates Villegas and his company of crimson-robed colleagues will gather to their side, faithful or faithless, religious or secular, proposing that contraception is corruption—as Villegas said not so long ago. Today’s generation at least will remember that they were the bishops who abided the previous, well, she wasn’t really a president, they just abided her cheating too, who made lying, cheating and stealing the motto of the presidential seal. Behold, the new Pharisees.

Dante was right to put a great many of them in the fiery place.

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  • syano

    Contraceptives and contraception. Contra and conception. It has always been the “scientists” position that conception happens during implantation. Thus, contraception operates to prevent implantation if not exclusively so.. What if life begins upon fertilization, or even if we are not sure that it begins at fertilization or implantation, would it not be a better policy that in case of doubt, we, or the government at least, should resolve it in favor of life than of ending it?
    When life begins is not a matter for scientists or theologians to decide. Their opinion is just weighty as yours or mine. In the face of such fact/contradictions, what should be the position of the government as our parens patriae?

    • panhase

      For you, very slow now.
      If egg and sperm do not meet then there is no conception.
      That´s why condom is called a contraceptive.

      • syano

        you better read your literature and free yourself of propaganda. Is condom the only contraceptive? are there no other contraceptives? the problem with you is that you have convinced yourself that the only contraceptive there is is the one that prevents the sperm from meeting the egg. A quick check with wikipedia should disabuse you of such notion.
        If you cannot even spot what the issue is, do not even venture an opinion. You may have put your condom on the wrong head. Get rid of it first.

    • Ganymede

      Is condom a contraceptive? Do you even know the use of a condom?

  • Emma Custodio Villa

    Your opener showing how hypocritical and inhuman one could be. May we all care for people. My take as a religious leader is to leave government do their job to address a need and let the religious groups educate the people on responsible marriage and parenting. We all have our roles to play in nation building.

  • Harold T

    I have told friends and have posted of Facebook. The catholic church pretty much is the Pharisees of today. Hypocrites and blind to the realities around them. Emphasizing on ceremonies and showing everyone how faithful they are by praying and holding masses in public. As Christ said, they shall be paid in full.

  • Descarte5E

    The anti-RH only accepts the natural contraception rhythm method, though I thought that their previous position was that making love is just for procreation and only after realizing that at marriage encounter sessions they teach couples to make love to build up their intimacy that they adjusted their position on the issue.

    I know this was already asked, but I didn’t catch up with the answer;
    If artificial contraception is not allowed, what can they advise to couples with a wife that has an irregular monthly period? Accdg to Dr. Autry of SF, Cal., about 30% of women have irregular periods during their child bearing years. If the couple would like to make love but they don’t want it to result in pregnancy, what do they do?
    I hope any anti-RH can give me a reasonable and realistic answer.

    • Ganymede

      I’m not an anti-RH but I can give you their (anti-RH) answer to your question – Abstinence, or simply put, they cannot.

      • Descarte5E

        I think it’s not realistic.

      • Ganymede

        I agree. But for the antis it simply boils down to discipline. Better said than done.

      • catherine sien

        yup. discipline. can you imagine if there was no such thing as discipline? when you feel the urge, do you go find yourself someone to perform the act with no matter what?

      • Ganymede

        That’s what’s happening in the slums. The result is before our very eyes. That’s why the RH Law was enacted. No discipline.

      • catherine sien

        the difference between animals and human beings is that humans have intelligence and free will while animals react to urges especially during mating season. if you have chosen not to have a child for the time being and for some valid reason (health, economics, etc.), then abstain from the conjugal act. this is what using your intelligence means. it is not like humans follow their urges (like animals) without thinking of consequences. every conjugal act equals the possibility of a new life. hence, refrain from the conjugal act or abstaining during the wife’s fertile period which is also a form of self discipline. in the same manner, when you are married and your spouse is away, would you go quickly find another to perform the act with because you have the urge to do so? wrong. and, by the way, there are many natural family planning methods that are 100% fool proof. so there.

      • Descarte5E

        Dont forget the premise, irregular period means rhythm method is risky. What other natural methods? Pls kindly specify, thanks

    • mad_as_Hamlet

      * * * * * *

      Since I am anti-RH Law, albeit only on one ground—-which is that the RH Law is unconstitutional insofar as its sweeping prohibition of abortion is concerned—-I think I may still qualify to hazard a reply.

      I think the couple you describe can still have sex and still avoid a pregnancy sans the use of artificial contraception. There is “coitus interruptus” as an option, as well as oral sex. But the pure-and-100 percent anti-RH Law people are certainly precluded from advising or supporting such options. To them, the first one necessarily entails genocide, and the second one, the risk or possibility of cannibalism.
      – – -

      • perpetual7

        LOL! (Ang tindi ng introduction, muntik na kong maniwala hanggang sa dumating yung genocide at canibalism, buti na lang di sinali yung “wetpulization” :D ) p.s. At least yon, minor offense lang: Backing! Change ball posession.

      • Descarte5E

        He he. Nice try. Whether you are anti or pro, it’s up to you, really just about finding the answer to your question and I have my own question that if I got the answer I want will make me switch side. Well, life is after all, about making choices, an informed choice for me.

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    this country needs purging very badly.

    • Ornbort

      the church needs purging…not of the physical kind, but the spiritual. take a lead from the Pope, why not? cast off your Pajero and walk among the poor.

      • koolkid_inthehouse


  • mamer2

    Are “they, who are without sin” casting the first stone on the RH-Law supporters..?

  • Ornbort

    anong crimson supporters? crimson thugs is more like it…or crimson guard lol

  • Ornbort

    why is it that those who DONT PAY TAXES are those who are listened to?

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