The ultra-liberal and suspected communist former Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros - Baraquiel, sent an open letter to the Catholic Bishops expressing her
Dear Bishop Odchimar,
I will not respond to all the points raised in the Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which you sent us, your Filipino brothers and sisters, last 30 January. [Why? Afraid you might not answer them?] Most of them are old points that have been raised and clarified repeatedly in so many debates and too few dialogues in the past decade, [No! It was not! This is a lie. For example, only recently did the WHO is considering taking out contraceptive pills as a birth control method since it is an abortifacient! It kills the fertilized embryo in the womb! Did you know that Ms. Hontiveros or you don't want to know it?] though it drives me almost to tears that it seems the good Bishops have not been listening intently or understanding with empathy. [Maybe you are the one who is not listening.]
I would like to respond to just two points. [Oh. Picky!]
In the section, Moral Choices at the Crossroads – at EDSA I and Now, you wrote that “Twenty five years ago in 1986 we Catholic Bishops made a prophetic and moral judgement on political leadership…. Today we come to a new national crossroads and we now have to make a similar moral choice.”
As one of the young people then who went in our multitudes to EDSA when Minister Enrile and General Ramos admitted that Marcos had stolen the election from Cory Aquino and when Cardinal Sin rallied us to protect them from Marcos’s forces, I will always remember how our hearts were made even braver and our feet swifter by the CBCP’s Pastoral Letter. Then, you were with us in pulling down the pillars of dictatorship, you were with us in advancing democracy.
But your Pastoral Letter of last month cannot be placed on the same plane because it is not of the same prophetic and moral fiber. [WHAT?! Defending the life of the unborn is not?!] By misrepresenting the Reproductive Health bill as promotive of abortion and of adolescent promiscuity – with all due respect - you have not only been intellectually dishonest and ignored the good faith of RH advocates, but also failed to proclaim the life-saving and values-formation character of this public health measure, which many of us in your own flock, in conscience, desire to be passed into law. In 1986, you were advancing democracy; now, you are impeding democracy. [I thought the issue is about proclaiming the life-saving and values-formation character of the bill, now its about being pro-democracy?!]
In the section, What We Specifically Object to in the RH Bill, you wrote that “Advocates also assert that the RH Bill empowers women with ownership of their own bodies… without the dictation of any religion.”
We do not own our bodies, but our spirits inhabit them, therefore they are our kingdom, and just as we struggle for the self-determination of Inangbayan and the sustainability of Inang Kalikasan, by the same feminine principle, we freely, in an informed manner, responsibly and joyfully, decide about our bodies. No one else can or should do that for us. [Teach that to your daughter and let's see how you'll react!]
Whatever gave you the idea that we decide about our bodies or anything else in life without anchoring in our deepest inspirations, whether faith or humanism or the sheer sense of being a woman? I kneel only to God, sometimes with the princes of my church, but always from the innermost voice of conscience which I strive humbly to discern in silence or in the marketplace.
As a Conference of men located outside women’s experience, good Bishop, could you not show a little more respect for us? [So who gave you in the position too to talk about men? This is STUPID logic!]
We choose life, we embrace its every cycle, from birth and girlhood to the childbearing years to menopause or climacterium and then death. We want each and every sister to have a chance at that fullness of life. It is a shame that we do not have the Bishops marching beside us this time around. But, without you or even against you, we will win this new revolution, too. [Geez! You can feel the Power Puff Girls in this one!]
In short, the former congresswoman wants to let the bishops know that no one can tell them what to do with their lives and she will trust her conscience to decide what is good or not for her. Ain't that too Jesuit for you?
Now here is a woman who responded to her open letter.
You begin with a reference to the numerous points in the Bishops' letter and the claim, "Most of them are old points that have been raised and... clarified repeatedly in so many debates and too few dialogues in the past decade, though it drives me almost to tears that it seems the good Bishops have not been listening intently or understanding with empathy." Madame, the Bishops do indeed, throughout the course of their entire letter, address points that have been raised and clarified repeatedly, not merely in the past decade, but for as many centuries as Mother Church has stood, her leaders - their authority passed down in a direct line from Christ and the Twelve Apostles - protected by the Spirit with regards to the dogma of our faith, having not once, ever, in all these centuries, wavered in its defense of the dignity of human life. [In short, she is telling Hontiveros to stop being a poor imitation of Nancy Pelosi!] It is a miracle, a witness, and a gift of Love Himself, that these good Bishops and all who have come before them, have not tired and given up on humanity with its seeming determination to undermine and ultimately destroy this innate dignity given to us by our Creator. [And the work of the godless to drive out religion from the public sphere.]
I speak to you, woman to woman, with the respect that you choose to believe you do not receive from these good men of God. [Bam! That is a good one!]
It is true, "You do not have a soul. You are a soul; you have a body." This, I believe we agree on. But neither your body nor your soul was given to you without an ultimate purpose by which alone you will be fulfilled. You claim to have the right to responsibly and joyfully make decisions about your body, decisions that no one else can or should make for you. I also believe this to be true; but only insofar as those decisions do not defy the Will of the One Who gave you free will. [if you are godless!] Yes, your free will is a gift, and it can be misused; just because you have it does not mean there is no distinction between good and evil; just because you have it does not mean that there are no consequences (or rewards) to your choices... And just because you have free will does not mean you cannot discern or adhere to the Will of God.
The Bishops - the Church - march for Life; Life from natural conception to natural death; they march for Life that has its difficulties, that is not founded on instant gratification or convenience, [which pro-RH advocates would not admit and even deny but if you read carefully the bill, why in the blue hell would you give free contraceptives like condoms to teenagers and unmarried people?!?! What for? BALLOON PARTY?!] that requires us to die to ourselves and be born again in Love; they march for the Life that it would appear you do not yet have the courage to stand for.
Madame, God does not punish us; we punish ourselves. [Having her, Lagayman and Celdran are punishment for our complacency!] We suffer on this earth because we allow things to come between us and heaven, often even deliberately and consciously hammering these things into place with our own hands. If your sisters do not have the chance to enjoy the fullness of life, from birth and girlhood to the childbearing years to menopause or climacterium and then death, it is due to the sin of men, not the neglect or unthinkingness or injustice of God. Perhaps your sisters do not have this chance at Life because they were never allowed by man to exist at all.
Thank God Hontiveros lost in the last election.
Hoping that Akbayan loses in the next election!
And, thank the Lord for Aisa!