Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Philippines and the Curse of Catholicism

By way of Al Jazeera, of all places, comes this report, with accompanying video below, about the influence of conservative Catholicism in preventing poor families from access to birth control in the Philippines. This one is sure to set your blood to boiling.

The chief villain in this report is Lito Atienza, the current environmental minister and former mayor of Manila who "issued an order eight years ago that effectively banned city-funded health centres from providing modern contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills and sterilisation."

"The central government has been more intent on promoting natural methods of family planning then modern contraceptives, for which services are left largely to the whim of local councils."

It baffles me, this Catholic insistence on "natural" methods of family planning, like the "rhythm method." If these whackaloons like Lito Atienza are against artificial methods of birth control, like condoms and pills, then why not extend such consideration to all aspects of their lives? Maybe they should refrain from riding in cars or airplanes. After all, automobiles and airplanes are not a "natural" way of getting around. Try walking instead. And you might want to get rid of those telephones and cell phones too. Those are artificial means of communicating with people. Oh, and don't even get me started on e-mail and text messages! But seriously, why should matters of contraception and sexuality be the only realm where human invention may not be applied?

In defense of the high rate of population growth in the Philippines, Atienza cites the booming economies of China and India. Is this clown seriously suggesting that the Philippines needs a billion people to become an economic success story? And to think he is the country's minister for the environment! Evidently, Atienza has never heard of China's "One Child Policy" or of India's efforts to control its population growth (though I wish to point out that I personally do not condone the coercive aspects of China and India's population control programs.)

Then there is this amusing nugget from Atienza:

"So it's not within the powers of man to prevent the birth of a child simply because of material reasons. Who knows – the life you are preventing could be the saviour of not only the Philippines, but the whole of mankind."

This is stupid on so many levels. By simply abstaining from sex, one is preventing the birth of a child.

Besides, the last so-called savior of mankind was supposedly conceived when the creator of the universe impregnated a virgin Jewish teenage girl in the Galilee a couple of thousand years ago. If some Filipina woman is designated by God to be the happy recipient of the next savior, is Atienza seriously suggesting that a birth control pill can thwart the will of this all-powerful deity?


Danny Boy, FCD said...

There are more vile Catholics in the Philippines. Manoling Morato, the crusading moraliser who was the chief film and TV censor, who bans pretty much anything that shows skin.

Corazon Aquino, former Time Person of the Year and perhaps the most ineffectual president in Philippine History. She was so inept that she invited the Catholic Hierarchy to help her run the country. The population bloomed and the economy deteriorated. She's still alive and still the church's #1 cheerleader.

Mike Velarde, a Catholic charismatic and prosperity gospel preacher, who bilked his millions of adoring devotees of hundreds of millions. Velarde became extremely wealthy while his followers are struggling more than ever.

Emma de Guzman, a Catholic mystic who claims (or is claimed in her behalf) to be miraculous. She travels all over the Philippines, and in diaspora communities all over the world, putting on miracle shows, complete with spirit possession, stigmata, even levitations! Oh, and it doesn't hurt if you cough up serious dough during the show.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man,...You're so f___in` weak! If *that* is enough "to set your blood to boiling" then *DON'T* (I repeat: *DON'T*) read this!

Tommykey said...

Hy Lucian, "I'm fucking weak!"

Tommykey said...

Hey Danny Boy.

Thanks for the additional info.

Anonymous said...

Was it me or was he howlin`?

Well, anyway, You're nowhere near Harvey Keitel, so please stop fancying Yourself to be such. >:) You little weakling, You! >:)

Anonymous said...

As a foreigner who has now lived in the Philippines for about 6 years I am truly baffled by the sheer power the catholic church has here. They have their claws in every aspect of society including education and health care. It keeps the people ignorant, uneducated and poor. I mean, a dumb schmuck who doesn't question anything he's told is easy to control, right? Just keep 'em hoping the reward will come once they're dead. "For now, just do as we tell you, breed like rabbits, don't ask any difficult questions and put up with all the bullshit live offers you."

As an atheist it can be pretty damn frustrating to live here.

Tommykey said...

Hey Baffled,

I notice the pervasive influence of Catholicism when in Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol province. All of those jeeps with the carriages in back that drive people around have religious messages on them, though I notice outside the city the religious messages are less prevalent.

MaryAnn said...

We Catholic Filipinos are generally peace-loving and believe in the value of human life and following God's will; as well as charity, generosity, alms-giving and compassion for others.

While none of us is perfect, our faith encourages us to live a holy life based on Jesus' teachings in spite of our situation. We are taught to carry our Crosses lovingly.

The main cause of poverty and hunger is not our religion or 'overpopulation.' Rather, the sins, selfishness and worldliness of the more fortunate ones and abuse of those in power. God gives, but it is up to us to share the wealth.

With God's grace, through prayers and influential souls like Emma De Guman, we will be able to beat hunger, poverty, corruption, etc, which is also our same wish for the rest of the world. The more guidance we (including our government) get from the Church, the closer we feel to Our Creator who is also the source of all that is good.

To understand our faith better, do visit

Jesus, Mary, I love you. Save souls.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Tommykey said...

Thank you for your comments MaryAnn, as well as perfectly demonstrating exactly what I am talking about.

Many of the problems of the Philippines are due to people making bad decisions and committing bad actions. But one does not need to believe in your imaginary sky daddy to beat poverty, corruption, hunger etc. What you are basically doing is allowing a religious institution that was forcibly imposed on your ancestors centuries ago by Spanish colonizers to do your thinking for you.

Too many of your fellow Filipinos are living in a mental prison of religious authoritarianism and superstition. I can only hope that one day you have the wisdom and the courage to throw off your shackles.

Anonymous said...

Tommykey, you are clearly saying that catholicsm is bad for the philippines. What if Spain did not colonize us, we would be a muslim country by now. And its the same, muslim religion or any religion has the biggest impact on how we live our lives, how laws are made, how we behave. For example if you were born a muslim, your life would also be controlled, or guided by muslim teachings and laws whether you like it or not. And then you would be complaining again and again. And that is how you are, you really should be an atheist.

Tommykey said...

Anonymous, in this day and age you have the entire collected wisdom and experience of the human race to draw on to help guide you. It is no longer necessary to surrender your reason and intellect to somebody's holy book.

Anonymous said...

Tommykey, wisdom and experience has told me that my religion did not have a bad effect and in fact did more good to my life. It is like a stabilizer in my life, where I get my strength and inspiration in difficult times. Well, what is good for me is not usually good for another as in your case. If you don’t agree with a catholic teaching or practice, do they punish you or force you to do what they teach? Catholic Church is not like that but I believe that all of its teachings are for the good of mankind.

Chirho said...

I am a Filipino medical doctor. In Med school part of our curriculum is Biomedical ethics. After studying Biomedical ethics I can say that the position of the Church on Natural Family Planning is reasonable. Many people does not understand this Church teaching and many doesn't try to study and understand it...they would rather mock and ridicule the Church and blame it for the problems of this world.

The reason why the Church endorses NFP has something to do with the unseparable purpose of marriage which is UNITIVE and PROCREATIVE. When one engages in sexual intercourse and has only UNITIVE as its purpose, then it destroys the TRUE PURPOSE OF SEX which is UNITIVE AND PROCREATIVE because marriage it tightly intertwined with marriage...all the more if the purpose of sex is just for RECREATION (just like what is happening in countries and people which no longer believe in GOD). Sex was intended to unite the couple and to procreate - this is what Natural Law says. Many of us would want to dismiss this "Natural Order of things" saying its no longer practical because couples could hardly control their sexual urge, but the fact that there are a lot of couples who are successful in NFP tells us that it is not impossible. In Marriage, chastity still plays a big role. Chastity is not just about being a virgin, it is about SELF-CONTROL, after all marriage is not just about emotion, it's about LOVE and a couple could express that Love also through respect for ones partner thru birth spacing.

Of course, many would say Ethics, Natural Law etc is impractical now a days, but let's look at Somalia and it's low incidence of AIDS-HIV. Because of it's adherance of the Natural LAw that sexual intercourse is reserved only for married couple, it has the lowest rate of AIDS in whole African continent.

Many Westerners opt to live their lives devoid of morality and ethics, especially Christian ethics, chosing rather a "convenient", faster, pragmatic, and solutions born out of lack of what are we seeing now? A global economy driven by "easy money-making" devoid of morality and conscience - the result, GLOBAL RECESSION. Medical Innovations at the expense of unborn human beings e.g. stem cell, easy way out - ABortion - killing of human being...

The Church and it's teaching is not the fact, here in this country, the problem of poverty is not about the population - it's the lack of honest leaders who dismisses the Church teaching on honest governance. The problem on population can only be addressed if 1) Leaders would become honest and effecient in running this country, 2) If Filipinos would live the genuine Catholic Faith (not all Catholic devotions and religiousity we see in the Philippines is truly Catholic) - part of living the Catholic Faith is understanding and living the teaching on Chastity (married couples included).

Our culture today promotes a convenient way of living, an easy kind of living, a hedonistic and materialistic mentality - but not all things are as easy as "casual sex" - society must have a moral framework. If we continue to live all our lives in "convenience" without reagards to morality and ethics, we would expect a future generation of wild beast and a ruined planet.

Chirho said...

I'm not from a Catholic Medical School, but nevertheless I alotted time just to understand this teaching of the Church on Natural Family Planning (NFP)...I have also meet many couples who have been successful in NFP.

About the Catholic Church in the Philippines...thanks to it we are not Islamic Fundamentalists who supports killing of non-Muslims (try watch Fitna)...and thank God, we're not Protestant whose liberal views on morality has resulted in Gay Marriage, Embryonic Stem cell research, abortion, and Euthanasia especially in many Protestant dominated countries like Sweden, Netherlands, US etc.

This country might be poor for now, but Catholic Renewal and Re-Evangelization is on the way....

I believe there is great hope for this country, the Philippines, because it is Catholic. Gawad Kalinga of CFC and Pondo ng Pinoy of Cardinal Rosales showed it to us.

Yes we might be poor for now, but at least we're not suffering from moral/identity crisis which is going on in the US or in many Protestant countries - they're face with an identity crisis - "are we still a Christian country or have we fallen into a Godless society" Yeah, Netherland whose monarchy restricts its members to Protestantism encourages prostitution and gay marriage. Ah, yeah UK - the seat of the Church of England, - tolerates Muslims killing former Muslims who converted to Christianity.

Chirho said...

And here's what, to Atheists...wonder why there is a high incidence of AIDS in the US? It's because people no longer believe in God who sets Laws for the good of all men. Wonder why AIDS in rising in the Philippines? You bit, Westerners brought their cursed atheistic, materialistic, hedonistic, and sexually-driven ideologies and culture in this Gays in this country wants sexual liberation just like their counterparts in the US...and guess what, AIDS is on the rise.

Anonymous said...

what a load of shit, in the Philippines, theres likely more gays than in the US. Americans did not create the baklas that have been normal in the Phils for the last 40 years. They did not create ladyboys. Thats been socially acceptable in the Philippines far longer than it has in America... and its still not acceptable in many parts of the US.

People like you are what makes of religious terrorist groups. You would force your narrow mindedness on others. Your country is poor BECAUSE of your catholic religion... not because of Americans. You wont stop breeding yourselves stupid, so much that you have to export humans to look for jobs in other countries.

Tommykey said...

And here's what, to Atheists...wonder why there is a high incidence of AIDS in the US? It's because people no longer believe in God who sets Laws for the good of all men. Wonder why AIDS in rising in the Philippines? You bit, Westerners brought their cursed atheistic, materialistic, hedonistic, and sexually-driven ideologies and culture in this country

Your god doesn't exist, buddy. Face it. And you really are wide of the mark to state that atheism equals hedonism and lack of self control.

And you fail to address the point I raise in my post. If you pious Filipino Catholics are willing to use artificial means of communication such as text messages and artificial means of transportation such as automobiles, ferry boats and jeepneys, then there is nothing wrong with using "artificial" means of birth control such as condoms.

You are a pathetic, brainwashed victim of Catholicism. And I can't believe you are citing a violent, strife torn country like Somalia as an example of the success of "natural" family planning. It's probably because so many people are getting killed before they can contract HIV or develop AIDS.

Chirho said...

There is a big misconception about natural family planning. It doesn't mean that when we uphold NFP, then we cannot use artificial means of communication or transportation...the central issue here is MORALITY. Among all means of birth spacing it is only NFP which is morally licit. Why? First, for us to understand the reason behind the Catholic Church' position on NFP, we have to understand that for a couple to choose NFP, their actions are guided by religious conviction that sex was intended by God for UNITIVE AND PROCREATIVE purpose. A man and a woman have sexual intercourse for these 2 unseparable purpose. NFP does not alter a woman/man's procreative capacity, simply, it allows the infertile period of the woman to prevent conception. Here we have not violated the UNITIVE and PROCREATIVE purpose of marriage, yes, the couple may not procreate but it is not an illicit action because time and the "natural order of things" prevented it...prevention of conception simply occured because it would happen anyway. In Artificial Family Planning, there is this intention of the couple to really prevent conception by altering the woman's biorhythm or her procreative potential...and this is against the PROCREATIVE purpose of marriage.

Of course Atheist could not understand this...first and foremost they do not believe in a God who promulgated laws that would govern His creation...thus, we cannot expect them to respect Natural Law or Moral Law.

Using an artificial communication or transportation violated no Moral Law.

To the one who wrote "People like you are what makes of religious terrorist groups" - sorry, but between you and is likely that it's going to be you whose going to become a terrorist...I have my conviction because of reason and not fanaticism. All that you do in your commentary was to "name names". And as far as I know, homosexual marriage is still and complete and strong forbidden in our laws...Your Western mentality of sexual liberation created all this problems of teen pregnancy, high maternal mortality rates because of early pregnancy, AIDS-HIV...

To the one who said there is no's your own opinion. But your very own body and it's complexities tells you otherwise. Your Theory of Evolution is more irrational than our belief in a Creator...up to this point, Evolutionist can't still provide the whole world with a solid proof of the existence of your "missing link".

Chirho said...

Fanaticism is not exclusive within religious fundamentalists, Atheist too can become fanatics...Joseph Stalin was one of them.

Chirho said...

TOMMYkey: You are a pathetic, brainwashed victim of Catholicism. And I can't believe you are citing a violent, strife torn country like Somalia as an example of the success of "natural" family planning...

Kindly read my comments again...what I wrote was, "Because of it's adherance of the Natural LAw that sexual intercourse is reserved only for married couple, it has the lowest rate of AIDS in whole African continent." I was referring to Somalis adherence to chastity as a means to control AIDS...they're not even Catholics, they're Muslims, but what I was trying to point out is chastity is still relevant in marriage.

And stop branding me as "brainwashed", you do not know me...between you and I, based from what I've read from your commentaries, I can say you're one of those Atheists whom dialogue is near to impossibility. I came to this blog for dialogue...and I think this is not the venue for that...

Besides, it wasn't me who said Somalia has low AIDS rate, it was from a Medical Journal "Arch Iranian Med 2007" entitled Religious and Cultural Traits in HIV/AIDS Epidemics in
Sub-Saharan Africa by Ali-Akbar Velayati MD, Valerii Bakayev PhD, Moslem Bahadori MD,
Seyed-Javad Tabatabaei MD, Arash Alaei MD, Amir Farahbood MD,
Mohammad-Reza Masjedi MD.

If what you've said is true about low AIDS rate in Somalia, "It's probably because so many people are getting killed before they can contract HIV or develop AIDS." - then we would also expect other disease like TB, Measles, Malaria to be low relative to the population and their expected health demographics.

Sorry if I commented here in your blog...I thought my opinions would be welcomed and respected here.

Chirho said...

Oh...before I leave, allow me to say my last words for this blog...

Atheist is a denial of God that requires FAITH... other words, there is no clear proofs to the Atheist's claim, they just hope that Theist are wrong and they're right...there's nothing concrete about the ATHEIST's claims that "Your god doesn't exist, buddy" - their's is just like our's, they too rely on FAITH.

Atheist's always use the story about the little boy and his belief on Santa, until one day the boy discovered that Santa wasn't true after all...They say that their experience was just the same with that boy.

I think the boy was just misinformed...Santa was true after all because he did exist...sometime in year 270 - 6 December 346.

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Anonymous said...

Condoms are your solutions...the pill..abortion. Just because people go to church and say they love Jesus does not mean they are actually practicing their faith. If you are a Catholic you are not to have faith without reason. You cannot just blindly follow the church nor anyone simply because they tell you to. You are encouraged to inform your conscience. I do not believe for a second that the majority or even half of filo catholics are properly using nor even attempting natural family planning. And with out a doubt the church has done and is doing many things to help the philippines. But how much can anyone do for a country that keeps stealing from its own people.