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Team Buhay (Life) and Team Patay (Death) is a brillant move by the Diocese of Bacolod. It is brillant because it is not an endorsement per se, which the Catholic Church does not encourage or allow. It merely states what has been obvious; that some politicians believe in upholding non-compromisable issues of morality that affect life and others believe in leading dualistic lives, separating what their faith teaches from the dictates of their secular lives, an erroneous notion! It is a campaign, not to further the political agenda of anyone but to uphold morality in society.
Is this partisan politics?
The Catholic Church discourages partisan politicking by any church official. Partisan politics is a hydra that can bite it’s handler. Some have accused the church of such moves but in my opinion, it isn’t. The Team Buhay candidates, for example, do not come from one particular political party nor do they espouse one particular political platform or socio-political agenda which benefits one specific religion, this means that it cannot, in any intelligent and objective way, be misconstrued as partisanship by the Church. Those who cry and whine that it is, miss (or purposely ignore) this point entirely.
The only common denominator in both lists is their voting record regarding the institutionalization of contraception which the RH Law enforces. Those on Team Buhay believe that the RH Law is not in keeping with the understanding of what a person truly is, his ultimate good and end. Perhaps they are not theologically competent in explaining their opposition against the RH bill in that way but they have listened and taken to heart the advice of those who are, the Bishops of the Church, after all, Christ said, “He who hears you, hears me” Luke 10:16
Team Patay Candidates Caught Flatfooted
The initial reaction of the “Patay” candidates was to cry “unfair” and act like the martyr being persecuted. They were caught with their pants down. Explaining it away required them (their paid media friends and Jesuit loyalists) to twist the oft quoted and poorly understood cliche of “separation of church and state.” Caloy Palad, in a piece entitled, “On the Separation of Church and State” wrote,
In short, the Separation of Church and State was established in order to prevent the government from forcing a particular church down the throats of its citizens, and from encroaching upon the rights of the Church. It was established in order to protect the Churches, not the State.
We can see government intrusion into this principle of separation when the Comelec told the Diocese of Bacolod to remove what was clearly an informative poster on private religious property, a clear violation of the freedom of religion!
Catholic’s Right and Duty to Uphold Moral Truth
In 2004 the Vatican came out with a doctrinal note entitled, “On some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.” It outlines how Catholics should participate in politics and re-enforces how Catholics are duty-bound to uphold moral truth and goodness in the face of a false notion that morality is relative to the dictates of a pluralistic society. It says…
A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defence of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law
As a result, citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value… Such relativism, of course, has nothing to do with the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law,…
We, as Christians, are then encouraged to…
…reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. …it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.
A Priest Defends Institutionalized Contraception as a Common Good
Apparently, some critics of the Catholic Church’s positon on the RH law, which institutionalizes contraception, think otherwise. For example, contrast what the doctrinal note above says with what a defender of this pluralistic relativism, Ateneo de Davao University President, Fr. Joel Tabora, is saying. In his blog entitled “Team Patay, Team Buhay: Unconscionable”, he states…
It is a law legislated for the common good in a Constitutional society, where – whether the Church likes it or not! – it is Congress that decides which laws are for the common good, and which not. In this plural society, the Church proposes, Congress disposes.
The implications of such a statement, especially coming from a Catholic priest, is damaging to the faith of many. It makes it appear that Catholic teaching on morality has no practical secular and societal applications or adverse effects. Fr. Tabora’s words, scrutinized in the light of the Catholic Magisterium, is unsound and misleading.
Consider what he says… “It is a law legislated for the common good” in a Constitutional society”
(How can one reconcile this statement with what the Catholic Church teaches? The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2370 states, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil” [HV]. Correct me if I’m wrong but what you are saying, Fr. Tabora, is that an act that is intrinsically evil can be good for society because congress says so, is that what you’re saying?)
hmmm apparently Fr. Tabora says yes…
(In Fr. Tabora’s view, an immoral law becomes good for society because of the say so of congress or of government. Then by that same logic, when the US Congress and Supreme Court legalized abortion, this became a common good for society, …so abortion, murder, is good for society? …well, FATHER, how about Divorce, Homosexual Unions and Euthanasia?.. falling off my seat!)
Anyone else see something wrong with that?
“In this plural society, the Church proposes, Congress disposes.”
(So Fr. Tabora, we as Catholics should just shut up and accept what government says is “good” for society even if it is in reality morally and intrinsically evil? But that’s not what the doctrinal note above says… “At the same time, legislative proposals are put forward which, heedless of the consequences for the existence and future of human beings with regard to the formation of culture and social behaviour, attack the very inviolability of human life. Catholics, in this difficult situation, have the right and the duty to recall society to a deeper understanding of human life and to the responsibility of everyone in this regard. John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life.“) What a dilemma huh? Only if your mind is clouded!
This is the kind of relativist mindset which the Church warns us about. This is the dualistic life that is so damaging to the culture of life, especially one coming from a priest of the Catholic Church!
Good thing the Magisterium says otherwise:
It is a question of the lay Catholic’s duty to be morally coherent, found within one’s conscience, which is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual life’, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture.
Perhaps the most farcical claim of Fr. Tabora is his attempt at twisting what our Lord said in Mt 25:35-46 and making it seem like one will be judged solely on his deeds. He writes, “On the day of the Last Judgment, the decisive question will not be, “Did you or did you not vote for the RH-Bill?” but, “Did you or did you not find me in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned.”
… nice try Padre but remember that one has to have both faith and good works to be saved and enter heaven. As far as I have learned from my days with the Jesuits (yes they did teach me this once upon a time), corporal works of mercy and charity are the necessary fruits of a faith lived in truth and love. They are not what you make them seem to be, mutually exclusive, they are in fact inseparable! You do not love your neighbor by giving them something that is physically and psychologically harmful. It is not loving one’s neighbor to put their temporal needs ahead of their spiritual well-being.
So Where Does Conscience Fit In?
The question that always pops up is; Shouldn’t the church allow voters the right to vote their own conscience? The simple reply is, “of course by all means” but that conscience that you hold on to so infallibly must be formed properly in the truth in order for it to be of some use in making moral judgements. The purpose of
conscience, after all, is the pursuit of truth and if this conscience has never been informed of what the truth is, then how will it be able to distinguish between something that is morally good and bad?
So let me throw back that question to the critics of this Team Buhay, Team Patay campaign: Does the Catholic Church have the right to form the conscience of her faithful in this coming electoral process? if so then the Church is on the right track after all because even with the posters plastered in the Churches, if a Catholic
refuses to live the truth and prefers the dualism that Fr. Tabora and the other critics espouse, he or she can opt to vote for the candidates that represent the culture of death. Can anyone guess what happens to those who espouse death…