writes fr. ranhilio callangan aquino, dean of the san beda graduate school of law, on the rice shortage and the folly of blaming the catholic church:
Let this be clear: The Church is all for family planning. It has relentlessly urged couples to decide under the direction of properly formed consciences how many children they should have and what the gaps should be between them. Given the facts of reproductive physiology, this in effect means that the Church has urged couples to live disciplined lives. The conjugal act should be a matter neither of whim nor of fun-which is not the same thing as the Church forbidding couples from having fun. Animals copulate when they are in heat. The Church expects her sons and daughters to engage in the most intimate of human encounters only when they are fully cognizant of its consequences and ready to accept these with love and responsibility. Is this too much to ask?”
the good father in his convoluted way is in effect saying that our increasing population problem is not the church’s fault; the church is for family planning. the problem is that we sons and daughters of god lack the discipline to practice natural family planning, instead engaging in sex for fun, or like animals in heat, never mind that we might get pregnant and aren’t prepared to feed extra mouths.
the good father is right. natural family planning, the only kind that the church allows, takes a lot of discipline. it means keeping track of a woman’s menstrual cycle and abstaining from sex some two to three weeks every month when the woman might be fertile and indulging only during “safe” days, which is (for women with a regular 28-day cycle) about three, maybe four, five days from the onset of menstruation and another three, maybe four, five, days before the onset of the next. how hard!
worse, not only does the church’s prescribed method of pagpipigil ng panggigigil require a lot of discipline, it’s also not fail safe, you can still get pregnant, just because a woman could ovulate earlier or later than expected, depending on many variables, including emotional state. besides, male sperm that makes it to the cervix or uterus might live 3, maybe 5, even 7 days, long enough to fertilize an early egg.
artificial methods of contraception are infinitely more reliable, with 99 percent guarantees against pregnancy. but it’s all anathema to the church. for the longest time, the principal argument was that pills, iuds, and the condom were abortifacients because they abort life. a faulty argument because pills, iuds and the condom do not abort life or kill fetuses, they prevent lifeor fetuses from being created in the first place, so there is nothing to abort.
so now the church has come up with a different argument against modern birth control methods. writes fr. aquino:
Fundamentally, the Church’s rejection of artificial means of contraception is consequent upon its rejection of the manipulation of the human person. Take the pill. It effects physiological changes so that one can have sex when one wills. This is putting it as directly as the argument necessitates. If we are so averse to other forms of manipulation, so insistent-often to the point of absurdity-about politically correct and gender-balanced speech, why can we be so tolerant of manipulation of this kind? Natural family planning for its part makes use of the cycles of fertility and infertility that nature itself provides. The conjugal act during a period of infertility does not result in a pregnancy. No one is re-engineered in the process. One merely goes by nature’s own cycles. It is nature itself that provides for a period of infertility.”
forgive me, father, but the church should be the last to talk of manipulation. the church manipulates us, too, in more ways than one, with promises of heaven when we follow the ten commandments and threats of hellfire and damnation when we do not. clearly the church has long been manipulating government, too, or we would have a population control policy by now.
besides, please, what’s so natural about the natural family planning method that the church advocates? is it natural to abstain from sex three weeks a month? it takes much less for some men to climb walls. is it natural for women to have sex when they don’t feel like it? fr. aquino, being celibate and forbidden to think and read “impure” stuff, may not know that women are horniest during ovulation. which means the church wants women to have sex when they least want it. that’s natural? that’s oppressive and patriarchal!
wait. it could also be that the church supports the incumbent notion that there’s nothing wrong with an increasing population because this is our source of ofws whose dollar remittances will continue to keep the economy artificially alive. if so, well, the church, and gma, deserve all the brickbats thrown at them for not anticipating the rice shortage. the buck stops with them. the inexhaustible labor supply is their responsibility. let them eat rice, not noodles, cake, or kamote.