Commentary: Conscience or consequence
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (10 November) -- A high-ranking official of the Roman Catholic Bishops in the country landed in the front page news this week when he insinuated that Congressmen who supported the much-debated Reproductive Health Bill have not been duly formed by their parents, as far as morality matters are concerned.
In simple words, even though the good Bishop did not probably meant it to be interpreted in the way the media had interpreted it, the solons advocating RH in a predominantly Roman Catholic country have no consciences.
I beg to disagree, even as I respect the opinions and views of this leader of the cloth.
If those supporting the RH's passage have no consciences, or have ill-intent consciences, then by extension President Benigno Aquino III and the millions of Roman Catholic faithful sharing this view in this highly sacramentalized but poorly evangelized nation are doomed, just because they happened to oppose the official clergy line.
Actually, this is the beauty of living in an atmosphere when principles, views and opinions are attacked and supported, but this should be taken in all practicality and limited to this life here on Earth, not linked to a purported connection to thoughts on otherworldlyism.
Logic and reason must prevail, not abstract thoughts fraught with double-edged meanings, short of saying that supporting the RH bill is a sin.
A sin, depending on its gravity especially when it involves other people, and not just about one's inner conduct or spirituality, can be a crime, punishable not only with the fires of hell in a life hereafter but prison sentence as well in this world.
No less than Pope Benedict VVI has acknowledged that immoral relationships, particularly those close to the Roman Catholic Church's hearts (do I have to detail what I mean?) are criminal in nature, hence he asked forgiveness from the victims, even as the victims themselves cried for justice.
Which brings us to a noun quite similar with conscience, and this for me is consequence.
We grant the official Roman Catholic Philippines Church view that overpopulation is not the real cause of poverty.
Having said that, practical considerations must follow: A family who cannot afford more children to feed and care for a dignified future must seriously ponder limiting child birth, either by the Church-approved rhythm or abstinence, or, if this is not possible, they should be made to avail the government's cafeteria approach to birth control (read: population management).
This way, married couples should be at peace with their very own conscience, with their God, whatever they conceive him to be, while at the same time they will not worry about the consequence of their marital acts.
LOCAL FRONT: The Spanish galleon "Andalucia" which docked at Maasin City port last week was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience and real crowd drawer. Would you believe that more than twenty thousand people from Southern Leyte province and neighboring towns from Leyte were able to go onboard from November 1 up to November 6? The Coast Guard's records revealed as much. The galleon was supposed to depart on Saturday, November 6, but because of too many people trying to get in, it actually departed on Sunday morning, November 7, back to Spain with a stop at Singapore. Von Voyage, mi amigos!
ODDLY YOURS: An unidentified American recently left $ 8 Million to a "non-profit organization specializing in large-scale rescue and rehabilitation of the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat." What is a wombat? It is an animal, native to Australia, described as chubby, nocturnal, burrowing marsupials. These wombats, however, probed destructive to farmlands, that is why they are targets of feed-up landowners. Reports on abuse or killing of wombats have been regular in coming, hence saving them is a popular cause. But at least the donation was granted to an animal welfare organization, not to wombat, the animal itself. Contrast that to another donation case of Leona Helmsley, who left $ 12 Million to her dog named Trouble. Still another case: in 1992, a wealthy German national, Carlotta Libenstein, left a German Sheppeerd named Gunther III a whooping inheritance of $ 60 Million. When the dog Gunther III died, the money went to its successor, Gunther IV. What a dog life! (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]