Last August 17, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President, Archbishop Jose Palma, came out with a strong-worded response against the dissenting 190 or so faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University, who came out in support of institutionalized contraception as espoused in the Reproductive Health Bill
ADMU President, Fr. Jet Villarin, S.J. responded with this today:
Ateneo de Manila University
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
20 August 2012
Memo to: The University Community
Subject: HB 4244
Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill). As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values.
Now that the period for amendments is about to begin, I enjoin all in the Ateneo community to continue in-depth study of the present bill, and to support amendments to remove provisions that could be ambiguous or inimical from a legal, moral or religious perspective.
In connection with this, I call attention to the 192 members of our faculty who have grappled with the underlying issues in the context of Catholic social teaching, and who have spoken in their own voice in support of the bill. Though the University must differ from their position for the reasons stated above, I appreciate their social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good. As there is a spectrum of views on this ethical and public policy issue, I ask all those who are engaged in the Christian formation of our students to ensure that the Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done.
Should the bill with whatever amendments be passed, we should neither hesitate to bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have nor cease to be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implementation.
If there is no easy answer to the concerns that the proposed bill raises or no facile unanimity among divergent views, this only proves the complexity, depth, and sensitivity of these concerns. Nevertheless, Catholic tradition has always taught that reason and faith are not enemies but allies in the service of God’s truth. From this tradition, we can draw strength and compassion in our often tortuous journey as persons in community toward the greater glory of God and the service of God’s people.
Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ
In your opinion, was this letter strong enough in tone compared with the 2009 letter of then President Fr. Nebres?
I have posted the link to the ADMU FB page below. Visit it and let me know how the exchange in the combox area touches your Catholic sense regarding contraception and academic freedom in a Catholic University