Monday, November 10, 2008

The Filipino Family Under Siege

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Sunday, November 9, 2008


Presented by the Holy See to all persons, institutions and authorities concerned with the mission of the family in today's world October 22, 1983


Considering that:

A. The rights of the person, even though they are expressed as rights of the individual, have a fundamental social dimension which finds an innate and vital expression in the family;

B. the family is based on marriage, that intimate union of life in complementarity between a man and a woman which is constituted in the freely contracted and publicly expressed indissoluble bond of matrimony and is open to the transmission of life;

C. marriage is the natural institution to which the mission of transmitting life is exclusively entrusted;

D. the family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are inalienable;

E. the family constitutes, much more than a mere juridical, social and economic unit, a community of love and solidarity, which is uniquely suited to teach and transmit cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values, essential for the development and well-being of its own members and of society.

F. the family is the place where different generations come together and help one another to grow in human wisdom and to harmonize the rights of individuals with other demands of social life;

G. the family and society, which are mutually linked by vital and organic bonds, have a complementary function in the defense and advancement of the good of every person and of humanity;

H. the experience of different cultures throughout history has shown the need for society to recognize and defend the institution of the family;

I. society, and in a particular manner the State and International Organizations, must protect the family through measures of a political, economic, social and juridical character, which aim at consolidating the unity and stability of the family so that it can exercise its specific function;

J. the rights, the fundamental needs, the well-being and the values of the family, even though they are progressively safeguarded in some cases, are often ignored and not rarely undermined by laws, institutions and socio-economic programs;

K. many families are forced to live in situations of poverty which prevent them from carrying out their role with dignity;

L. the Catholic Church, aware that the good of the person, of society and of the Church herself passes by way of the family, has always held it part of her mission to proclaim to all the plan of God instilled in human nature concerning marriage and the family, to promote these two institutions and to defend them against all those who attack them;

M. the Synod of Bishops celebrated in 1980 explicitly recommended that a Charter of the Rights of the Family be drawn up and circulated to all concerned;

the Holy See, having consulted the Bishops' Conferences, now presents this "Charter of the Rights of the Family" and urges all States, International Organizations, and all interested Institutions and persons to promote respect for these rights, and to secure their effective recognition and observance.

Article 1

All persons have the right to the free choice of their state of life and thus to marry and establish a family or to remain single.

a) Every man and every woman, having reached marriageable age and having the necessary capacity, has the right to marry and establish a family without any discrimination whatsoever; legal restrictions to the exercise of this right, whether they be of a permanent or temporary nature, can be introduced only when they are required by grave and objective demands of the institution of marriage itself and its social and public significance; they must respect in all cases the dignity and the fundamental rights of the person.

b) Those who wish to marry and establish a family have the right to expect from society the moral, educational, social and economic conditions which will enable them to exercise their right to marry in all maturity and responsibility.

c) The institutional value of marriage should be upheld by the public authorities; the situation of non-married couples must not be placed on the same level as marriage duly contracted. Article

2 Marriage cannot be contracted except by free and full consent duly expressed by the spouses.

a) With due respect for the traditional role of the families in certain cultures in guiding the decision of their children, all pressure which would impede the choice of a specific person as spouse is to be avoided.

b) The future spouses have the right to their religious liberty. Therefore to impose as a prior condition for marriage a denial of faith or a profession of faith which is contrary to conscience, constitutes a violation of this right.

c) The spouses, in the natural complementarity which exists between man and woman, enjoy the same dignity and equal rights regarding the marriage.

Article 3

The spouses have the inalienable right to found a family and to decide on the spacing of births and the number of children to be born, taking into full consideration their duties towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society, in a just hierarchy of values and in accordance with the objective moral order which excludes recourse to contraception, sterilization and abortion.

a) The activities of public authorities and private organizations which attempt in any way to limit the freedom of couples in deciding about their children constitute a grave offense against human dignity and justice.

b) In international relations, economic aid for the advancement of peoples must not be conditioned on acceptance of programs of contraception, sterilization or abortion.

c) The family has a right to assistance by society in the bearing and rearing of children. Those married couples who have a large family have a right to adequate aid and should not be subjected to discrimination.

Article 4

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

a) Abortion is a direct violation of the fundamental right to life of the human being.

b) Respect of the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo.

c) All interventions on the genetic heritage of the human person that are not aimed at correcting anomalies constitute a violation of the right to bodily integrity and contradict the good of the family.

d) Children, both before and after birth, have the right to special protection and assistance, as do their mothers during pregnancy and for a reasonable period of time after childbirth.

e) All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, enjoy the same right to social protection, with a view to their integral personal development.

f) Orphans or children who are deprived of the assistance of their parents or guardians must receive particular protection on the part of society. The State, with regard to foster-care or adoption, must provide legislation which assists suitable families to welcome into their homes children who are in need of permanent or temporary care. This legislation must, at the same time, respect the natural rights of the parents.

g) Children who are handicapped have the right to find in the home and the school an environment suitable to their human development.

Article 5

Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them; hence they must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children.

a) Parents have the right to educate their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions, taking into account the cultural traditions of the family which favor the good and the dignity of the child; they should also receive from society the necessary aid and assistance to perform their educational role properly.

b) Parents have the right to freely choose schools or other means necessary to educate their children in keeping with their convictions. Public authorities must ensure that public subsidies are so allocated that parents are truly free to exercise this right without incurring unjust burdens. Parents should not have to sustain, directly or indirectly, extra charges which would deny or unjustly limit the exercise of this freedom.

c) Parents have the right to ensure that their children are not compelled to attend classes which are not in agreement with their own moral and religious convictions. In particular, sex education is a basic right of the parents and must always be carried out under their close supervision, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them.

d) The rights of parents are violated when a compulsory system of education is imposed by the State from which all religious formation is excluded.

e) The primary right of parents to educate their children must be upheld in all forms of collaboration between parents, teachers and school authorities, and particularly in forms of participation designed to give citizens a voice in the functioning of schools and in the formulation and implementation of educational policies.

f) The family has the right to expect that the means of social communication will be positive instruments for the building up of society, and will reinforce the fundamental values of the family. At the same time the family has the right to be adequately protected, especially with regard to its youngest members, from the negative effects and misuse of the mass media.

Article 6

The family has the right to exist and to progress as a family.

a) Public authorities must respect and foster the dignity, lawful independence, privacy, integrity and stability of every family.

b) Divorce attacks the very institution of marriage and of the family.

c) The extended family system, where it exists, should be held in esteem and helped to carry out better its traditional role of solidarity and mutual assistance, while at the same time respecting the rights of the nuclear family and the personal dignity of each member.

Article 7

Every family has the right to live freely its own domestic religious life under the guidance of the parents, as well as the right to profess publicly and to propagate the faith, to take part in public worship and in freely chosen programs of religious instruction, without suffering discrimination.

Article 8

The family has the right to exercise its social and political function in the construction of society.

a) Families have the right to form associations with other families and institutions, in order to fulfill the family's role suitably and effectively, as well as to protect the rights, foster the good and represent the interests of the family.

b) On the economic, social, juridical and cultural levels, the rightful role of families and family associations must be recognized in the planning and development of programs which touch on family life.

Article 9

Families have the right to be able to rely on an adequate family policy on the part of public authorities in the juridical, economic, social and fiscal domains, without any discrimination whatsoever.

a) Families have the right to economic conditions which assure them a standard of living appropriate to their dignity and full development. They should not be impeded from acquiring and maintaining private possessions which would favor stable family life; the laws concerning inheritance or transmission of property must respect the needs and rights of family members.

b) Families have the right to measures in the social domain which take into account their needs, especially in the event of the premature death of one or both parents, of the abandonment of one of the spouses, of accident, or sickness or invalidity, in the case of unemployment, or whenever the family has to bear extra burdens on behalf of its members for reasons of old age, physical or mental handicaps or the education of children.

c) The elderly have the right to find within their own family or, when this is not possible, in suitable institutions, an environment which will enable them to live their later years of life in serenity while pursuing those activities which are compatible with their age and which enable them to participate in social life.

d) The rights and necessities of the family, and especially the value of family unity, must be taken into consideration in penal legislation and policy, in such a way that a detainee remains in contact with his or her family and that the family is adequately sustained during the period of detention.

Article 10

Families have a right to a social and economic order in which the organization of work permits the members to live together, and does not hinder the unity, well-being, health and the stability of the family, while offering also the possibility of wholesome recreation.

a) Remuneration for work must be sufficient for establishing and maintaining a family with dignity, either through a suitable salary, called a "family wage," or through other social measures such as family allowances or the remuneration of the work in the home of one of the parents; it should be such that mothers will not be obliged to work outside the home to the detriment of family life and especially of the education of the children.

b) The work of the mother in the home must be recognized and respected because of its value for the family and for society.

Article 11

The family has the right to decent housing, fitting for family life and commensurate to the number of the members, in a physical environment that provides the basic services for the life of the family and the community.

Article 12

The families of migrants have the right to the same protection as that accorded other families.

a) The families of immigrants have the right to respect for their own culture and to receive support and assistance towards their integration into the community to which they contribute.

b) Emigrant workers have the right to see their family united as soon as possible.

c) Refugees have the right to the assistance of public authorities and International Organizations in facilitating the reunion of their families. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Under the Influence of Contraception

Family-Life Speaker Links It to Abortion and Divorce


ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, JULY 25, 2008 (


Here is an excerpt of a talk titled "Why Contraception Matters: How It Keeps Us from Love and Life," given by Steve Patton, director of the Diocesan Center for Family Life in St. Augustine. The talk is being distributed by One More Soul.

* * *

It used to be, before the contraceptive revolution, that there was a pretty clear and firm connection between sex and marriage. Married people had sex, unmarried people didn’t, or if they did, they more or less knew that they weren’t supposed to. Most everybody knew this.

But over the course of the 20th century, as contraception became more socially accepted, more available, and more effective, all that began to change. By the time the sixties rolled around it was becoming clear, to married and unmarried people alike, that you didn’t have to be married to have sex. Contraceptive practice had made sex into a recreational activity that everyone has a right to.

What did this mean for the unmarried? Well, you probably heard the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Widespread acceptance and availability of contraception has led to widespread fornication. Pre-marital sex is now not only socially acceptable, but socially respectable. It’s no different among Catholics. About 90% of engaged couples in the U.S. who come to the Catholic Church for marriage are already sexually active -- 90%. Yes, people do still get married, but in fewer numbers. Why? Well, one of the reasons a man and woman used to get married was to start having sex, and contraception basically removed that as a reason. 

What did the contraceptive revolution do to married people? There are three ways that it led to an increase in divorce rates.

First, it’s the flip side of what I just mentioned: If sex is no longer a reason to get married, then it’s also no longer a reason to stay married. Anyone can have it. It’s pretty much a commodity. But once sex is removed from the portrait of all those things that make marriage unique and valuable, then a married couple at risk will have one less reason to try to make it work. 

Second, widespread contraceptive practice in many cases removed another reason that has traditionally held together married couples, namely, children. There is something to be said for a couple trying to make their marriage work for the sake of the children. But what happens when there are no children? More contraception has led to fewer children, and in many cases to no children at all. Divorces naturally followed.

Third, widespread use of contraception by married couples also led to an increase of adultery. Once you take away one of the greatest fears of extra-marital sex -- which is pregnancy -- you’re going to see an increase of that activity. And when there is an increase in adultery there’s also going to be an increase in divorce.

In net effect, our culture of sterilized sex has made marriage on the whole a less attractive institution to enter into, and an easier institution to get out of. It’s contributed to the demise of millions of marriages, both those that actually took place and those that should have taken place, but never did. 

Death to life

How does widespread contraception lead to declining birth rates? Well if the life-giving potential of sex is pervasively removed from the picture, a cultural mindset is gradually fostered in which children themselves are pervasively removed from the picture. They tend to be viewed not as gifts but as liabilities, spoilers of a pleasurable lifestyle. We might have one or two, if that would be pleasurable to us, but after that the norm is to reject them.

How does widespread contraception lead to widespread abortion? I credit Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse with summing up the motto of our culture of sexual liberation this way, and keep in mind that our culture of sexual liberation was made possible only by our culture of contraception: She says ours is a culture in which, “all adults are entitled to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting.” I’ll say that again, “all adults are entitled to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting.”

What Dr. Morse touches upon is our culture’s prevailing disconnection between sex and babies. Before contraception was king, the prevailing assumption was that a baby was a natural consequence of sex. If you chose to engage in sex, you knew it could result in a baby. You might not have wanted that to happen, but you assumed that it could happen. If a baby did result, it was because of your freely chosen action, and so you were likely, not necessarily, but likely, to feel a certain kind of responsibility toward that child.

The contraceptive revolution changed all that. It led to the prevailing assumption that babies really shouldn’t have anything to do with sex. That is, not unless you wanted a baby to have something to do with sex, not unless you allowed that. Or as Dr. Morse said, not unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Now couples who think this way do know that keeping a baby out of the picture doesn’t just happen by itself; you have to do your part. You have to do something to the sexual act to make sure that a baby won’t be conceived. That’s what, quote unquote, taking responsibility for your actions now means with respects to sexual activity.

But if a couple has this kind of attitude, then when the contraception fails, as it often does, and there’s a pregnancy, they’re not going to tend to think the baby’s there because of their actions. They’re going to tend to think the baby’s there in spite of their actions. In other words, their mindset is not so much that this is their child that they conceived. Rather, they’re going to tend to think it’s an invader that they failed to repel. This kind of thinking is likely to foster quite a different sense of what’s the responsible thing to do next.

Now, I realize, we’re not talking about abortion, yet. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and not everyone who uses contraception goes on to have an abortion when it fails. What I’m saying, though, is that contraception, by its very nature, and as a broad social phenomenon, tends to incline the heart of a nation toward abortion. As John Paul II put it in "Evangelium Vitae," Latin for the "Gospel of Life," the contraceptive mentality strengthens the temptation to abort. Contraception and abortion are not the same thing, but as John Paul put it, they are as closely connected as “fruits of the same tree.”

The Facts of Life & Marriage: Social Science & the Vindication of Christian Moral Teaching

By W. Bradford Wilcox

In 1968, Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae, an encyclical affirming the Christian tradition’s ancient and constant moral teaching that contraception is wrong. Sadly, Humanae Vitae came as a shock to many Christians inside and outside the Catholic Church, who thought that the church was ready to accommodate herself to the modern view of marriage as primarily a relational, not procreative, institution.

Indeed, in the wake of Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church largely lost her ability to successfully convince the American laity, not to mention Christians throughout the West, of the truth and beauty of her moral teaching on matters related to sex and marriage. Three historical, sociological, and intellectual factors help account for this failure.

Three Failures
First, Humanae Vitae came at the worst possible moment in history. The encyclical arrived in the wake of Vatican II, just after the Catholic Church had thrown open her windows to the modern world. Unfortunately, the modern world was then succumbing to the siren song of the sexual revolution, was awash in a pervasive anti-authoritarianism, and inclined to a hedonistic ethic fueled by unprecedented affluence. As the Catholic biblical scholar Luke Timothy Johnson observed at a forum sponsored by Commonweal magazine, “American Catholics truly became American at [precisely the] moment when America itself was undergoing a cultural revolution.”
In the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s ascendancy to the presidency, and their own dramatic increases in educational and economic attainment, Catholics in the United States were coming into their own as independent-minded Americans. With their newfound status, they were less inclined to extend undue deference to the opinions of the Holy Father, and the Catholic Church more generally, especially on matters that would require them to sacrifice their cherished American aspirations to upward mobility and consumer comfort—sacrifices often associated with having a large family. For all these reasons, most American Catholics in the late 1960s and 1970s rejected Humanae Vitae.

Second, and just as ominously, this rejection led many of these same Catholics to call into question their commitment to the whole fabric of Catholic moral teaching on sex-related matters. If the Catholic Church is wrong on birth control, the thinking went, she is probably wrong on divorce and remarriage, premarital sex, and so on. As Johnson, himself a critic of Humanae Vitae observed, “The birth control issue finally initiated many American Catholics into the hermeneutics of suspicion,” a hermeneutics that made them skeptical of all the church’s pronouncements regarding sexual morality.
Indeed, the controversy surrounding Humanae Vitae was, as Andrew Greeley pointed out in The Catholic Myth, “the occasion for massive apostasy and for [a] notable decline in religious devotion and belief,” as many Catholics concluded that the Catholic Church had fallen out of touch with the modern world. This controversy also hurt the church’s ability to speak to the larger Christian community on issues of sexual ethics and family life, as she was seen to be out of touch with the realities of modern marriage.
Third, the mistaken view that the church is hopelessly out of touch, hopelessly inflexible, and hopelessly bereft of compassion on matters related to sex and marriage has been and continues to be advanced by Catholic intellectuals with substantial public platforms. The pronouncements of Charles Curran, Andrew Greeley, Richard McBrien, and other like-minded Catholic theologians and social scientists have only added to the confusion, dissent, and scandal that swirls around Christian moral teaching.
In various ways, and with varying degrees of clarity and honesty, the dissenters argue that the church must accommodate her morality to the ways of the world if she hopes to speak in an authentic way to the experience and concerns of modern men and women. They also argue—and this is important—that the most compassionate route forward for the church is one that leads to changes in her moral teaching. Law must give way to grace, rules must give way to experience, dogma must give way to the Spirit, and the pope must give way to the people.

Accommodationist Error
In the heady decade of the 1970s, when a countercultural tide swept over the Catholic Church and the nation as a whole, and the academy was in thrall to the counterculture, this accommodationist agenda seemed to have a certain plausibility. No longer.
The first problem is that the accommodationist agenda is based on bad social science. When most of these intellectuals were in their prime, the best social science suggested that the ideal posture of the church to “family change,” as it was euphemistically called, was one of acceptance and support. But contemporary social science on the contentious issues of our time—such as contraception, divorce, and cohabitation—suggests just the opposite conclusion. The shifts in sexual and familial behavior to which these dissenters would like the church to accommodate herself have been revealed in study after study to be social catastrophes.

Let me be perfectly clear: The leading scholars who have tackled these topics are not Christians, and most of them are not political or social conservatives. They are, rather, honest social scientists willing to follow the data wherever it may lead. And the data has, as we shall see, largely vindicated Christian moral teaching on sex and marriage. So the intellectual foundation for dissent on moral matters is collapsing.

The second problem with the dissenting agenda is that its moral laxity has been most disastrous for the most vulnerable members of our society: the poor. The poor have paid and continue to pay the highest price for the cultural revolution that Curran, Greeley, McBrien, and others would like the church to baptize.

Let me now offer a summary of the social scientific research on contraception and divorce that illuminates the problems with the accommodationist agenda.

Broken Connection
In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that the widespread use of contraception would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality”; he also warned that man would lose respect for woman and “no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium”; rather, man would treat woman as a “mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.” Why? By breaking the natural and divinely ordained connection between sex and procreation, women and especially men would focus on the hedonistic possibilities of sex and cease to see sex as something that was intrinsically linked to new life and to the sacrament of marriage.

In the United States, Humanae Vitae was the object of unprecedented dissent. Let me summarize the argument of one dissenter on this subject, Andrew Greeley, a priest, Jesuit, and professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. First, Greeley argued that Catholic teaching on contraception does not appreciate that married Catholics rely on sex for bonding, and they should not have to worry about bringing a baby into their lives when they bond.

Second, he claimed that the hierarchy is more concerned about keeping its power, by blindly following church tradition on contraception, than with helping ordinary people. “The problem is the arrogance of power that makes many church leaders insensitive to the problems of ordinary people and heedless of their needs—and of the Holy Spirit speaking through their experiences,” he declared in The Catholic Myth. He even went so far as to suggest that “[messing] around with the intimate lives of men and women to protect your own power is demonic.”

There we have it. The popes’ and bishops’ efforts to uphold the Christian tradition’s consensus against artificial contraception—stretching from the Didache in the first century, through such documents as Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis in the sixteenth century, to at least the Anglican bishops’ notorious decision in 1930—is legalistic, unrealistic, and demonic.

But on this topic, as on others, Greeley does not reconcile his polling data with what he knows the sociological data says about the consequences of widespread contraception in the United States. What does this data tell us? Well, scholars from Robert Michael at Greeley’s own University of Chicago to George Akerlof at the University of California at Berkeley argue that contraception played a central role in launching the sexual and divorce revolutions of the late twentieth century.

Contraceptive Losers
Michael has argued that about half of the increase in divorce from 1965 to 1976 can be attributed to the “unexpected nature of the contraceptive revolution”—especially in the way that it made marriages less child-centered. [1] Akerlof argues that the availability first of contraception and then of abortion in the 1960s and 1970s was one of the crucial factors fueling the sexual revolution and the collapse of marriage among the working class and the poor.

I will focus on Akerlof’s scholarship. George Akerlof is a Nobel prize-winning economist, a professor at Berkeley, and a former fellow at the Brookings Institution; he is not a conservative. In two articles in leading economic journals, Akerlof details findings and advances arguments that vindicate Paul VI’s prophetic warnings about the social consequences of contraception for morality and men. [2] 

In his first article, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1996, Akerlof began by asking why the United States witnessed such a dramatic increase in illegitimacy from 1965 to 1990—from 24 percent to 64 percent among African-Americans, and from 3 percent to 18 percent among whites. He noted that public health advocates had predicted that the widespread availability of contraception and abortion would reduce illegitimacy, not increase it. So what happened?

Using the language of economics, Akerlof pointed out that “technological innovation creates both winners and losers.” In this case the introduction of widespread effective contraception—especially the pill—put traditional women with an interest in marriage and children at “competitive disadvantage” in the relationship “market” compared to modern women who took a more hedonistic approach to sex and relationships. The contraceptive revolution also reduced the costs of sex for women and men, insofar as the threat of childbearing was taken off the table, especially as abortion became widely available in the 1970s.

The consequence? Traditional women could no longer hold the threat of pregnancy over their male partners, either to avoid sex or to elicit a promise of marriage in the event their partner made them pregnant. And modern women no longer worried about getting pregnant. Accordingly, more and more women (traditional as well as modern) gave in to their boyfriends’ entreaties for sex.

In Akerlof’s words, “the norm of premarital sexual abstinence all but vanished in the wake of the technology shock.” Women felt free or obligated to have sex before marriage. For instance, Akerlof finds that the percentage of girls 16 and under reporting sexual activity surged in 1970 and 1971 as contraception and abortion became common in many states throughout the country.

Immiserating Sex
Thus, the sexual revolution left traditional or moderate women who wanted to avoid premarital sex or contraception “immiserated” because they could not compete with women who had no serious objection to premarital sex, and they could no longer elicit a promise of marriage from boyfriends in the event they got pregnant. Boyfriends, of course, could say that pregnancy was their girlfriends’ choice. So men were less likely to agree to a shotgun marriage in the event of a pregnancy than they would have been before the arrival of the pill and abortion.

Thus, many traditional women ended up having sex and having children out of wedlock, while many of the permissive women ended up having sex and contracepting or aborting so as to avoid childbearing. This explains in large part why the contraceptive revolution was associated with an increase in both abortion and illegitimacy.

In his second article, published in The Economic Journal in 1998, Akerlof argues that another key outworking of the contraceptive revolution was the disappearance of marriage—shotgun and otherwise—for men. Contraception and abortion allowed men to put off marriage, even in cases where they had fathered a child. Consequently, the fraction of young men who were married in the United States dropped precipitously. Between 1968 and 1993 the percentage of men 25 to 34 who were married with children fell from 66 percent to 40 percent. Accordingly, young men did not benefit from the domesticating influence of wives and children.

Instead, they could continue to hang out with their young male friends, and were thus more vulnerable to the drinking, partying, tomcatting, and worse that is associated with unsupervised groups of young men. Absent the domesticating influence of marriage and children, young men—especially men from working-class and poor families—were more likely to respond to the lure of the street. Akerlof noted, for instance, that substance abuse and incarceration more than doubled from 1968 to 1998. Moreover, his statistical models indicate that the growth in single men in this period was indeed linked to higher rates of substance abuse, arrests for violent crimes, and drinking.

From this research, Akerlof concluded by arguing that the contraceptive revolution played a key, albeit indirect, role in the dramatic increase in social pathology and poverty this country witnessed in the 1970s; it did so by fostering sexual license, poisoning the relations between men and women, and weakening the marital vow. In Akerlof’s words:

Just at the time, about 1970, that the permanent cure to poverty seemed to be on the horizon and just at the time that women had obtained the tools to control the number and the timing of their children, single motherhood and the feminization of poverty began their long and steady rise.

Furthermore, the decline in marriage caused in part by the contraceptive revolution “intensified . . . the crime shock and the substance abuse shock” that marked the 1970s and 1980s.

Falling on the Poor
One pair of statistical trends illustrates the way in which the social pathologies of the late twentieth century fell disproportionately on the poor. About 5 percent of college-educated women now have a child outside marriage (little change since the 1960s), but about 20 percent of women with a high-school education or less now have a child outside marriage (up from 7 percent in the 1960s).

Why were family decline and attendant social pathologies concentrated among poor and working class Americans? Think of marriage as dependent upon two pillars: socioeconomic status and normative commitment. The poor have less of an economic stake in marriage, so they are more dependent on religious and moral norms regarding marriage. Middle-class and upper-class Americans remain committed to marriage in practice because they continue to have an economic and social stake in marriage. They recognize that their lifestyle, and the lifestyle of their children, will be markedly better if they combine their economic and social resources with one spouse.

So the bottom line is this: The research of Nobel-prize-winning economist George Akerlof suggests that the tragic outworkings of the contraceptive revolution were sexual license, family dissolution, crime, and poisoned relations between the sexes—and that the poor have paid the heaviest price for this revolution. This research suggests that the Catholic Church’s firm commitment to the moral law in the face of dramatic and widespread dissent from within and without is being vindicated in precincts that are not normally seen as sympathetic to Catholic teaching.

This research also suggests that the dissenting agenda advanced by people like Andrew Greeley amounts to a false compassion. Greeley is right to claim that the Holy Spirit speaks through people’s experiences; but a sober look at our experience with contraception reveals that the Catholic Church’s magisterium, and the Christian tradition it conveys, best advances the earthly happiness of men, women, and children, not contraception.

Disordering Divorce
We have considered one of traditional Christianity’s most controversial moral teachings. I now turn to the issue of divorce and remarriage, where once again the church offers a sign of contradiction to the modern world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church aptly summarizes the church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage:

Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. Divorce is immoral . . . because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect, which makes it truly a plague on society.
The Catechism is making two central points: (1) divorce harms children, and (2) divorce is an infectious social plague that hurts the commonweal. For these reasons, among others, the church condemns divorce and prohibits remarriage.
The church’s seemingly inflexible position on divorce also comes in for serious criticism from the dissenters. Notre Dame theology professor Richard McBrien, for instance, argues that the church’s position makes no allowance for individuals whose marriage falls apart “despite the best efforts of all concerned.” He further argues that this pope does not encourage “the way of compassion” in dealing with Catholics who have divorced and remarried, and does not acknowledge the “traditional Roman principle that laws are ideals to strive for and not standards one can realistically expect to achieve on a day-to-day basis.”
So McBrien’s argument, which echoes the arguments of mainline Protestants in the early twentieth century, boils down to this: The church should dispense with the moral law in an effort to be more compassionate to people in difficult situations. But what we have, once again, is false compassion.
This becomes clear when we take a careful look, once again, at the data. Numerous scholars—from Leora Friedberg at the University of Virginia to Nicholas Wolfinger at the University of Utah—have shown that divorce does in fact function as a social plague. Friedberg showed that passage of no-fault divorce laws in the 1970s accelerated the pace of divorce by about 17 percent between 1968 and 1988. [3] Wolfinger showed that a parental divorce increases the children’s chance of later being divorced themselves by more than 50 percent, and is by far one of the most potent predictors of divorce.
We can see that Pope John Paul II is right when he says that divorce “has devastating consequences that spread in society like the plague.” And we can see that McBrien’s attempt to help people in difficult situations greatly increases the chance that their children will wind up in the same difficult situations, which in turn greatly increases their children’s chances, and so on.
But I would like to focus on the other aspect of the church’s teaching, namely, that divorce brings grave harm to children. I am going to focus on the research of Sara McLanahan, a professor of sociology at Princeton (and one of my advisors for my doctoral work there). Like Akerlof, McLanahan is no conservative. In the 1970s, as a divorced, single mother, she set out to show that the negative effects of divorce on children could be attributed solely to the economic dislocation it caused.
But after spending 20 years researching the subject, she came to the conclusion that the social and emotional consequences of divorce also played a key role in explaining the negative outcomes of divorce. She also found that remarriage was, on average, no help to children affected by divorce.
Children’s Benefits
In Growing Up with a Single Parent, written with her colleague Gary Sandefur of the University of Wisconsin, McLanahan argued that the intact, two-parent family does four key things for children. [4] First, children benefit from the economic resources that mothers and particularly fathers bring to the household through work and sometimes family money. Second, children see their parents model appropriate male-female relations, including virtues like fidelity and self-sacrifice in the context of a marital relationship.
Third, because both parents are invested in the child, they spell one another in caring for their children, and they monitor one another’s parenting. This reduces stress, helps to insure that parents are not too strict or too permissive, and makes the intact family much more likely than other family arrangements to forestall abuse. Finally, fathers often serve as key guides to children seeking to negotiate the outside world as adolescents and young adults. Fathers introduce them to civic institutions and the world of work, and provide them with key contacts in these worlds.
McLanahan also argued that stepfathers do not have the history, the authority, and the trust of the children to function—on average—as well as biological fathers.
From the child’s point of view, having a new adult move into the household creates another disruption. Having adjusted to the father’s moving out, the child must now experience a second reorganization of household personnel. Stepfathers are less likely to be committed to the child’s welfare than biological fathers, and they are less likely to serve as a check on the mother’s behavior.
So what effects did she find? Children from divorced families are more likely to drop out of high school: Data from the National Survey of Families and Households showed that children in divorced families had a 17 percent risk of dropping out of school, compared to a 9 percent risk for children in married families, even after controlling for parents’ education and race. Other surveys found similar results.
Girls raised in divorced families are more likely to have a nonmarital birth while in their teens: The National Survey of Families and Households showed this risk to be 15 percent for girls with divorced parents, compared to 9 percent for those with married parents. Again this survey is typical. McLanahan also found that boys raised outside of an intact nuclear family are more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in prison, even controlling for a range of social and economic factors. [5]
McLanahan also explored whether children in stepfamilies did better than children in single-mother families. Bear in mind that by the time she was conducting this latest round of research, she had remarried. Here is what she found: “Remarriage neither reduces nor improves a child’s chances of graduating from high school or avoiding a teenage birth.” In other words, remarriage does not mitigate the devastating social effects of divorce.
More Falls on the Poor
The final point I would like to make about the divorce revolution is that it has fallen, once again, disproportionately on the shoulders of the most vulnerable members of our society. My own research with the National Survey of Families and Households indicates that married couples with a high-school diploma or less education have a 19 percent higher risk of divorce than married couples with a college degree. Other studies show that poor and working-class married couples are much more likely to divorce than are middle- and upper-class married couples.
So, after spending 20 years researching the effects of family structure on children, McLanahan came to this conclusion in Growing Up with a Single Parent:
If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal. Such a design, in theory, would not only ensure that children had access to the time and money of two adults, it also would provide a system of checks and balances that promoted quality parenting. The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.
This, of course, sounds quite similar to the perennial wisdom of the Christian moral tradition, articulated by figures as various as John Paul II, Calvin, and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Hopeful Notes
The portrait I have painted is sobering. But I would like to conclude on two hopeful notes. We are beginning to see a new openness among intellectuals to the importance of marriage and to the perils of divorce. For a long time, intellectuals were not willing to acknowledge the importance of marriage for children. But the intellectual tide is now turning towards a refreshing willingness to grapple with our children’s toughest social problems in a probing and open-minded manner.
Besides Akerlof and McLanahan, scholars like Linda Waite at the University of Chicago, Robert Lerman at the Urban Institute, Isabel Sawhill at the Brookings Institution, and Norval Glenn at the University of Texas have all underlined the importance of marriage in recent years. Their willingness to speak up on behalf of the unvarnished truth—the truth written on our hearts, and the truth evident for all to see in our statistical models—suggests that the intellectual foundations of dissent are crumbling before our very eyes.
Second, there is a new openness among Evangelical Protestant scholars and leaders to the truth and wisdom of the ancient Christian teaching against contraception. Among others, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary professor Harold O. J. Brown, and Evangelical theologian J. I. Packer have raised serious concerns about the moral permissibility and social consequences of contraception. For instance, in a recent symposium on contraception in First Things, Mohler wrote:
Thirty years of sad experience demonstrate that Humanae Vitae [correctly] sounded the alarm, warning of a contraceptive mentality that would set loose immeasurable evil as modern birth control methods allowed seemingly risk-free sex outside the integrity of the marital bond. At the same time, it allowed married couples to completely sever the sex act from procreation, and God’s design for the marital bond. . . . Standing against the spirit of the age, evangelicals and Roman Catholics must affirm that children are God’s good gifts and blessings to the marital bond. Further, we must affirm that marriage falls short of God’s design when husband and wife are not open to the gift and stewardship of children.
This intellectual opening, itself a product of Evangelical Protestants’ growing appreciation of the ways in which the contraceptive mentality is connected to dramatic increases in sexual promiscuity, divorce, and abortion, represents an important opportunity for orthodox Protestants and Catholics to work together in recovering and rehabilitating Christian moral teaching about sex and the family.
Faithful Christian scholars need to seize this moment, and underline the intellectual power and coherence of Christian moral teaching to Christian colleges and universities, congregations, pastors, and the public square. Above all else, we need to drive home the point that social justice cannot be divorced from Christian moral teaching. More than anyone else, the poor have been devastated by the outworkings of the sexual revolution of the last forty years.
We must make it crystal clear that the church’s commitment to the poor requires nothing less than a vigorous proclamation of the church’s true and beautiful teaching about sex and marriage. In other words, we must make it clear that the preferential option for the poor begins in the home.
[1] Talk given at an Emory University family conference in March 2003.
[2] George Akerlof, Janet L. Yellen, and Michael L. Katz, “An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics CXI (1996); George Akerlof, “Men Without Children,” The Economic Journal 108 (1998).
[3] See Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage (Broadway Books), p. 179; Margaret F. Brinig and F. H. Buckley, “No-Fault Laws and At-Fault People,” International Review of Law and Economics 18 (1998), pp. 325–340.
[4] Harvard University Press, 1994.
[5] Cynthia C. Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” delivered at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in 1998. 

W. Bradford Wilcox is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and the author of Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (University of Chicago Press, 2004). 
“The Facts of Life & Marriage” is based on a paper he delivered to the 2004 meeting of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars []
Prof. Wilcox is also a fellow at the Institute for Family Values. Please visit their blog, Family Scholars Blog, at 
This article was reprinted with permission from the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of Touchstone Magazine. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Humanae vitae at 40

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by frjessie

The façade that Lagman et al. want us to see

By Antonio J. Montalvan II

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:06:00 06/23/2008


MANILA, Philippines - The Honorable Edcel Lagman, Janette Garin, Narciso Santiago III, Mark Llandro Mendoza, Eleandro Jesus Madrona and Ana Theresa Hontiveros Baraquel would have us believe that their bill respects religious convictions and is not pro-abortion. If only they knew whereof they speak. It is an established fact that the connection between contraception and abortion is not only inseparable; there is a close identity between them.

The unnumbered house bill of these honorable representatives that goes under the lengthy title of "An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for other purposes," and referred to in brevity as the Consolidated Reproductive Health Bill, quietly passed the House Health Committee in an unprecedented two minutes without any decent discussion or appearance of meeting the requirements of the legislative process. With a seeming inclination to do away with lengthy processes simply to rush its approval, the bill is expected to proceed to plenary without dragging along public controversy.

Either out of naiveté or sleight of hand, the bill declares a stance against abortion. But is it unequivocal? In a bill that avows the promotion of the "full range" of family planning methods, both natural and modern, that anti-abortion stance remains much of a lame proposition. Call it even a myth. We can hardly believe that the bill's authors are ignorant of the inarguable fact that many contraceptives within that full range are abortifacients. And nowhere in the bill does it renounce abortifacients, at the very least.

Not a few contraceptives work by causing early term abortions. The intra-uterine device prevents a fertilized egg from being implanted in the uterine wall. The pill does not always stop ovulation but sometimes prevents implantation of the growing embryo. The new RU 486 pill works altogether by aborting a new fetus, a new baby.

There is a grave contradiction there. Not only is it a contradiction, it is a grievous mistake. By its failure to address abortion as an odious reality in our society, how can our elected representatives claim that they labor for the progress of that society where even new life cannot have the privilege of safety, much less of life? I am convinced that they did this not out of sleight of hand. Respect for life has become an ideological choice, not a natural moral condition for humanity. Without that moral imperative to respect life, the bill cannot even stand behind a façade of "responsible parenthood." For that is what it is, a façade that only cloaks its pro-death capabilities.

I like the manner that Janet Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, argues: We need to realize that a society in which contraceptives are widely used is going to have a very difficult time keeping free of abortions since the lifestyles and attitudes that contraception fosters create an alleged "need" for abortion.

Each year, a million and a half American women seek abortion, in the land where the full range of contraceptives has been available since long ago. As the American societal experience has taught us, abortion is a necessity in the contraceptive lifestyle. Smith tells us: The "intimate relationships" facilitated by contraceptives are what make abortions "necessary." "Intimate" here is a euphemism and a misleading one at that. Here the word "intimate" means "sexual"; it does not mean "loving and close." Abortion is most often the result of sexual relationships in which there is little true intimacy and love, in which there is no room for a baby, the natural consequence of sexual intercourse. Contraception enables those who are not prepared to care for babies to engage in sexual intercourse; when they become pregnant, they resent the unborn child for intruding upon their lives, and they turn to the solution of abortion.

The argument against the concept, often misused by many of our legislators, that contraception is the antidote to abortions and unwanted pregnancies, is a simple one. Contraceptions have been permeating this world for the past 30 years. Within that time, unwanted pregnancies and abortions have not gone down. The argument is clearly fallacious.

Lagman et al. define full range as "Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other allied reproductive health products and supplies [that] shall be considered under the category of essential medicines and supplies which shall form part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units."

Notice the term "essential medicines." There is at once a pharmacological but social meaning. It is so very classic American contraceptivism. It is part of the pro-death lingo, so careful, polite and tame in its approach so as not to hurt religious sensibilities, yet unmasked by the realities of demographic truth.

If there is a victory that Lagman et al. would have us believe, it is that they have finally abandoned the other myth—that there is a population explosion that can only be arrested by our acceptance of contraceptives, saying that "reproductive health and population development goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and rights," but there is still another fallacy there nonetheless.

Babies are no accident of pregnancy. It is only this that we have to think of when we register our opposition to the bill of Lagman et al. Babies, not contraceptives, are the fuel to our understanding of a healthy society.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Legislation by popularity contest

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison
Friday, October 24, 2008

As a law student and as a lawyer it never occurred to me nor have I ever thought that enactment of laws will be made to depend upon survey results. I always believed that laws are passed for the general welfare and the common good and that legislative power is "limited and confined within the four walls of our Charter". But in case of Reproductive Health and Population Development Act (HB 5043), it appears that the SWS survey result supposedly showing the popularity of the bill is now being used to convince our legislators in the lower house of Congress to pass it. This is indeed quite alarming if not weird.

The power to make laws and to alter and repeal them is assigned by our sovereign people to the Congress of the Philippines consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. In the exercise of that power they are expected to study and decide on whether the contents of a proposed law are constitutional or not, beneficial or harmful, right or wrong, good or bad for the country and the people they represent. If the bill and its contents are inherently wrong or harmful or unconstitutional our legislators should not enact them into law. The great number of people favoring and supporting said bill and its contents will never make them right and constitutional. Bills are enacted into law because of their inherent validity and integrity rather than popularity.

One of the policies of the RH bill guarantees universal access to modern methods of family planning including the use of artificial contraceptives and devices (Section 2). Time and again it has been pointed out to its sponsors and supporters that some of these artificial contraceptives either block the implantation of, or expel the fertilized egg or ovum (biologically known as zygote) as medical science has already established. In other words they cause abortion which is illegal and punishable under the Revised Penal Code. The bill's proponents have not squarely disproven this fact by another credible medical finding to the contrary. To be sure they even impliedly admit it in the bill which mentions "post abortion complications" .

Furthermore, Section 12, Article II of the Constitution mandates the State to protect the life of the unborn from the moment of conception or the beginning of pregnancy when the egg and the sperm merge at fertilization to form the zygote or the fertilized ovum. The after-effects of these contraceptives and devices that the bill in its section 10 considers as essential medicines to be included in the regular purchase of all local and national hospitals clearly endanger rather than protect the life of the unborn and therefore run counter to this constitutional precept. Indeed this precept was incorporated in our Charter precisely to avert the possible adoption in this jurisdiction of the doctrine laid down by the US Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade (410 US 113 1973) which allows abortion anytime during the first six months of pregnancy. Under the bill, pregnancy is considered some sort of a disease that has to be feared.

Aside from promoting abortion-causing contraceptives however, there are other sections in the bill that apparently violate rights guaranteed by the Constitution or undermines basic and inviolable institutions that should be protected by the State.

Section 12 of the bill requiring reproductive health education of children from Grade 5 to fourth year high school impliedly to enable them to have a "satisfying and safe sex life" described in section 4 apparently interferes with the inherent right and duty of the parents in the rearing and education of their children and the development of their moral character in accordance with their religious beliefs and convictions.

Section 17 compelling employers to provide reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) infringes on the religious beliefs and convictions of individuals especially Catholics whose doctrines give the highest value to human life. The same is true with Section 21 (a) par. 1 that compelling health care providers to provide their patients with health care services which they believe are contrary to the teachings of their religion.

The same Section 21 (a) par. 2 that allows a spouse to undergo ligation or vasectomy without the consent or knowledge of the husband or wife as the case may be, intrudes into and undermines the inviolability of marriage as a social institution and the rights of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and demands of responsible parenthood (Article XV Section 3 [1] Constitution) . It also desecrates the sanctity of family life and weakens the family as a basic autonomous social institution founded on marriage.

Worse is Section 21 (a) par. 3 permitting children who are still minors and therefore under parental authority, to seek reproductive health care services without their parents' consent. This clearly undermines parental authority and invades the sanctity of family life. It is manifestly detrimental to the solidarity and total development of family as the foundation of the nation and therefore contrary to the postulates of Article XV Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution.

Capping the constitutionally objectionable aspects of this bill is the injection of a coercive policy in trying to achieve its hidden goal of population control by family size limitation. It imposes a penalty of imprisonment ranging from 1 to 6 months or fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000 or both, at the court's discretion. It is clear however from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission (V Record 41 pp 58-59) that coercive methods limiting family size is definitely prohibited.

Obviously this is the same method being pushed by the foreign groups and foundations that initiated this population control movement to achieve its racist's objective of breeding "quality children" mainly through universal access to abortion. The inclusion of this method in the bill therefore reveals to us its real source.

And so in the deliberations on this bill our legislators should always bear in mind that "the Constitution is the shore of legislative authority against which the waves of legislative enactment may dash, but over which they cannot leap".


by Father James Reuter, S.J.

By her own admission, GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) rightfully assessed that over the last decades; our republic has become one of the weakest, steadily left behind by its more progressive neighbors.' Forty years ago, we were only second to Japan in economic stature, and way ahead of Singapore , Hong Kong , Malaysia , and Thailand . Today, at our present growth rate, it will take us 30 years to get to where Thailand is. 

1. A population of 160 Million; 

2. Of those, 70 to 90 million (equivalent to our current population) will live below the poverty line; 

3. Our national debt is estimated to be at US$200B (compared to US$28B when Marcos fled, and US$53B today); 

4. We will be competing, not against Thailand or even Vietnam , but against Bangladesh

5. We will be the most corrupt nation in Asia , if not in the world (we're already ranked 11th most corrupt nation by Transparency International) ..

The signs are clear. Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence. It is not for lack of effort. We've seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups & people's organization devote themselves to the task of nation-building, often times against insurmountable odds. 

But not even two people's revolutions, bloodless as they may be, have made a dent in reversing this trend. At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward. 

We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster. It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It's time to claim GOD's promise of healing of the land for His people. It's time to gather GOD's people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. 

Is prayer really the answer? Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I'd like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history. 

England 's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fueled by intense prayers. 

The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in GOD and a disciplined prayer life. Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movement swept across the land. 

In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today, led by Rev. Paul Yongi Cho. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering.

Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling & seeking of GOD through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity. YES, we believe prayer can make a difference. It's our only hope.

Today, we launch this email brigade, to inform Filipinos from all over the world to pray, as a people, for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. We do not ask for much. We only ask for 5 minutes of your time in a day, to fwd this email to your close friends and relatives.

This is the kind of unity which can make a big difference. Of course, if you feel strongly, as I do, about the power of prayer, you can be more involved by starting your own prayer group or prayer center.

We have tried people power twice; in both cases, it fell short. Maybe it's time to try prayer power. GOD never fails. Is there hope? YES! We can rely on God's promise, but we have to do our part. If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, GOD will heal our land. By GOD's grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. 

'If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.'(2 Chronicles 7:14).

If you care for your children and grandchildren, PLEASE pass this on. .. .. 
Let's not just abandon the Philippines