REPOST: Deliver us from evil

I chanced upon this article from the famed Patricia Evangelista and found it very much aligned with what I had in mind.  I think I am just a sucker for second chances, especially when I see friends with lackluster lives and constantly settling for whatever it is that they have now.  I bet a lot of people are against my vote to legalize divorce, but maybe this article can make them understand why I chose such a stand.

All highlighted lines are by yours truly.

Miss Evangelista writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Method To Madness). She also blogs at

Deliver us from evil

Next to the unhappy wives of the Republic of Malta, population 410,000, only one other country can claim to be affected by the results of last month’s non-binding referendum on divorce. Malta’s contentious approval of the legalization of divorce leaves Catholic Philippines the only nation in the world without the right to freely divorce – with the exception of the Vatican.

Malta may be cause for celebration for the progressives, whose champions lost no time pushing House Bill 1799 to the House committee on revisions, but it is also a reason to give thanks to the Lord God, at least according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“Being the only country in the world that has no divorce law is an honor that every Filipino should be proud of.”

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz said that love for the family was at the core of the cultural identity of Filipinos, and should not be destroyed through divorce.

“That is a distinction! I’m very proud of that!” he said.

It is not a surprise that the Philippines remains alone in its exercise of national irresponsibility, as it also remains one of the few democratic nations to claim that a condom is a murder weapon, and that the preaching of abstinence will stop the hormonal manifestations of the Catholic God’s temple of the spirit. Pride in the Filipino culture does not pay for the education of children whose fathers regularly beat their wives. Perhaps Cruz refers to the Catholic Church, whose breast-beating sons of the cloth can now stand tall among the world’s priests as the only nationality able to beat back progress, even the possibility of progress.

It has never been particularly difficult to spout morality in Manila, largely because politicians hold the same patronizing view of the Filipino citizen. For the Church, legalizing subsidized contraception means that every virginal pair of legs will open along with the possibility of abortion, prostitution and the gates of Gomorrah. Now, with the possibility of divorce, suddenly every couple will separate to “ultimately tear up society.”

“On a personal life of prayer,” says CBCP secretary general Monsignor Juanito Figura, “‘deliver us from evil, Amen.’”

To allow the Filipino a choice implies that the Filipino will go the way of evil. Choice is dangerous to the Filipino, who cannot think for himself, who cannot weigh the values of family and sanctity. It is the priests who know better, because God says they do. It is the politicians who know better, because they think they do. Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto, for example, who says those pushing for the legalization of divorce are attempting to weaken the Church, believes that Filipino couples should not be given options.

“If there’s a divorce law, couples facing some minor problems may choose not to work on their marriage anymore.”

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez takes it further. All couples will divorce. All children will belong to single parent families. All society will suffer. He cannot allow a law that “opens the floodgates for all to get divorce.”

“Children will grow up with only one parent. That’s the worst punishment we can give to our children.”

It is not a surprising stance from the Catholic Church, whose inability to differentiate free speech from religious intolerance airs live on national television at debates over the Reproductive Health bill. Men and women cannot be trusted to do what is right, yet they are expected to make no mistakes. It is a ridiculous stance for politicians to take. The Filipino, they imply, has the intelligence to decide on who runs the nation and the implications of value-added tax, but they cannot be trusted to decide on who they marry and when to have sex. For a secular nation that recognizes the rights of Muslims enough to allow them separate laws – including divorce – it is the height of discrimination to deny that right to Buddhists, Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Catholics of varying persuasions whose gods are not necessarily the same as the Old Testament tyrants the CBCP seems to uphold.

Many of divorce’s proponents talk about spousal battery and the rising numbers of abused women. Although Cruz claims that the Church is willing to void marriages that prove battery, he forgets that only the wealthy have the capacity to spend the P300,000 necessary for an annulment. Even if an indigent woman has the means to secure an annulment, many do not, for fear of being left unable to support themselves and their children. The divorce law makes this a legal requirement to divorce. And still, even with its own concession that battery is an exception, the Church continues on by claiming that abuse is in itself not such a heinous act.

“Why would a husband beat his wife? We have discovered again that it’s a vicious circle and poverty is the biggest reason why a husband would beat his wife. Unemployment is also another reason. These are all social concerns that the government should address instead of coming up with remedies which are just temporary, band-aid remedies.”

The murderer may have killed because of poverty, and the thief may have stolen in aid of a dying mother, but they are thieves and killers just the same.

Bills such as these are distractions, claim the Church. They do not prioritize the true cancers of society: poverty, corruption, prostitution. This is the same Church whose accusations of a lack of proper prioritization by the government come hand in hand with its declaration that the rape of a young girl by her father is less offensive than the abortion committed to save her life. Yet these bills are not in themselves meant to be answers to national concerns. Divorce does not solve poverty; neither does contraception. The RH bill may curb overpopulation, but it is not the only reason. More than the resolving of national interests, the state’s responsibility as a democracy is to protect individuals from discrimination, even from the state itself.

The ills of divorce, and they are manifold, are not for the government to weigh. It is for the wife, the husband, the children, whom the government now considers unable to make these decisions. The penalty for a wrong decision at the age of 20 should not mean a lifetime with an unsuitable husband. The right to live freely is fundamental to a citizen of democracy, and for as long as these rights harm none and are not against fundamental laws.

Although the gentlemen of Congress may find it crude, that right implies the right to pursue happiness: to have sex when it is consensual, to leave adulterous husbands and nagging wives, to determine lives that are not at the service of anyone’s God but their own.

On RH Bill, Divorce and some stuff in between

Malta, the super kaduper Catholic state, has officially legalized divorce.  The Prime Minister made his announcement early this week and well… he said this:

This is not the result that I wished for, but the will of the people has to be respected and parliament should enact a law for the introduction of divorce.

THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.  I wonder if this is a factor at all that influences our lawmakers in authoring their bills ang legislations.

I think I’ve made it clear but I’ll say it again:  I AM FOR THE RH BILL.  I’ve watched debates and grew frustrated that these platforms were not used well by the anti-RH bill crew to at least give me second thoughts.  One even said, “Mahirap ba tayo dahil marami tayo? (Are we poor because we are many?)”  I just found that statement so ridiculous.

First of all, no one in this country is unaware of the corruption and ill-fated attitude of people in power.  And I mean no one.  Even my cousin would know that our public officials are corrupt (generally speaking).  And she’s just a tween.  Also, no one is denying the fact that this is an illness we have to cure.  By we, I mean everyone.  From the jeepney drivers who refuse to give change to the bus drivers to fake their fare tables, from the teller that prioritizes her coworkers’ deposit and withdrawals to the sari-sari store owner who discounts checks of unbanked individuals.  Everyone.

But say, this is cured and by some miracle of God and fate and every single destiny indicator, our government in 100% responsible for accounting 100% of the people’s money.  Do you really think our funds will be enough for our ever growing population?  Do you really think that the allocation will be sufficient for everyone?  The funds, whether it is complete and uncorrupted or not, will be spread too thinly and the quality of life and welfare of the people will be subpar.

This is the argument that anti-RH people keep saying.  They insist that corruption is the problem so that’s the evil we have to solve.  That has been the problem since Rizal can write, and he wrote for a very long time.  Even 300 years of oppression did not guarantee the fullness of our freedom.  The Americans came, then the Japanese, then the Americans came back and camped at our backyard until today.  This is the kind of disease that needs LONG TERM CARE.  Overpopulation does not have to be the same thing.

They say contraceptives can heighten cancer among women.  No one has ever denied that fact.  But, when administered properly and by a physician, pituitary glands won’t be overloaded and women will have safer options in family planning.

They’re all so afraid of getting sick and dying that they never really thought we’re not living the life we deserve right now.  Everyone will die.  That’s a constant thing in life.  Death and taxes, as they say.  So why are they so afraid of it?  Why are they not afraid of being dead while still living?  Of breathing but not really alive?

Then the divorce matter came to light.  To be honest, this is the one thing I am completely in the grays about.  I am for divorce and against it too.  Against it, because I still believe in the teachings of the Bible:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will become one flesh.  so they are no longer two, but one flesh.  therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mark 10:7-9, NET)

I am still the romantic person, the for better or for worse, the as long as we both shall live person.  I still believe in that.  But the world we live in now makes it hard to believe in happily ever afters.

What about the victims of domestic abuse?  Marital rape?  Abandoned women?  What about the kids that had to grow up with parents constantly expressing their desir for the other to drop dead?  What about the damaged home?  The abusive father?  The pedophile?  The incest?  The other lover?  What about those people?  Is that the extent of the worst?  Is that the kind of worst that, when surpassed, the partnership should continue to love and cherish till the end of their days?

Of course some people can be quick to rush into marriage and of course, divorce is the quickie solution.  50% of marriages in the US end up in divorce and families there are far more complicated than families here because we are profamily and the fact that we remain as the only state that has not legalized divorce makes us a unique country, as Archbishop Cruz has said.

Really?  But what about the damaged people?  The trapped people in a loveless marriage?  Sure we can still say that our value for family is present, but what about love?  What if in the process of bearing the worst and the sickness and the poverty, the love left?  Is that still a marriage?  Or rather, is that still a family or just a couple with kids?

I’m completely on the fence here because I am enamored by the idea of spending the rest of my life with one person.  But I also feel the tragedy of the women and men I know who are trapped in these situations.  I believe they deserve a second chance at a happy life with the person that they love and truly loves them back.  But I am scared that once divorce is an option, together forever happily ever after might not be anymore.

I don’t know.  It’s a loaded morning for me.  What do you think?

News source:
Malta on Divorce