In the Philippines, the Catholic Church is Hastening Its Own Demise

Last month, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III signed a law that would make government-funded sex education and contraception widely available to the nation’s poor. It’s the type of law that makes so much sense and benefits such a large segment of society… which must be why the Catholic Church can’t deal with it:

President Benigno Aquino III

Catholic leaders consider the law an attack on the church’s core values — the sanctity of life — saying that contraceptives promote promiscuity and destroy life. Aquino and his allies see the legislation as a way to address how the poor — roughly a third of the country’s 94 million people — manage the number of children they have and provide for them.

What’s wonderful to see is that the Church has relatively little support from the people — including many faithful Catholics. The people know the law makes good sense and Church leaders are having no luck persuading them to remain celibate or not use condoms. (Maybe they’re being advised by 1Flesh.)

The comments countering the Church’s ideas in the Calgary Herald article are hilarious:

“If the church can provide milk, diapers and rice, then go ahead, let’s make more babies,” said Giselle Labadan, a 30-year-old roadside vendor. “But there are just too many people now, too many homeless people, and the church doesn’t help to feed them.

She said that even though she has used most types of contraceptives, she still considers herself among the faithful. “I still go to church and pray. It’s a part of my life,” Labadan said.

“I have prayed before not to have another child, but the condom worked better,” she said.

I need a bumper sticker with that last line.

The Catholic Church is just digging its own grave by stubbornly sticking to an ideas that make no logical sense:

The latest defeat of the church “can further weaken its moral authority at a time when this is most badly needed in many areas, including defence of a whole range of family values,” said the Rev. John J. Carroll, founding chairman of the Jesuit-run John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues. He said he wondered how many Catholics have been “turned off” by incessant sermons and prayers led by the church against the contraceptives law, and how much it contributed to rising anticlericalism and the erosion of church authority.

In America, too, the Church is its own worst enemy. They refuse to be on the side of women’s rights and civil rights for LGBT people — and we should really thank them. They’re encouraging more people to leave the pews than the New Atheists ever could.

(Thanks to Anu for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sven2547

    They’re backwards and proud of it. Truly remarkable.

  • ggsillars

    Who knew the Catholic Church came with its own self-destruct button? That’s a nifty feature.

  • pete084

    The people know the Catholic church lacks credibility on this issue, how can celibate old men begin to understand the struggle of parenthood with ONE child, let alone several.

  • Michael

    The church will wait for the next natural disaster; blame it on condom use, and the believers will trample each other in the rush to get back inside the cathedral.

  • Richard Wade

    Catholic leaders consider the law an attack on the church’s core values — the sanctity of life…

    Sanctity of life my ass. The sanctity of your power base is more like it. What does sanctity have to do with hundreds of millions of lives of hopeless poverty, starvation, disease, and ignorance, all caused by the sheer weight of numbers of people overwhelming the resources they need to support themselves?

  • Jeffrey Crook

    FWIW, I understand it is still illegal to get a divorce or have an abortion in the Philippines.

  • kaydenpat

    Irrelevant question but where in the Bible is contraception prohibited?

    Wonder why the Catholic church wants boatloads of children to be added to families which are struggling and poor.

  • A3Kr0n

    I wish we could find their power pack and pull it out like Robot in Lost in Space.

  • Quintin van Zuijlen

    Remember, the Catholics are the ones that don’t give a damn about the Bible. It’s why Protestants exist at all.

  • Miss_Beara

    It is not about “sanctity of life.” It is all about keeping the control over the people. If it was about “sanctity of life,” then they would be cleaning up the slums, providing food and clean water, giving children an education, providing health care to the sick… the life that is already living.

  • ArcTanGentleman

    I’ve read studies that say that 90%+ of Catholics don’t use contraception. (The specific study I’ve read said 98…) There’s that whole ‘the way is narrow’. We know it’s wrong, we do it anyway, it is what it is to be human.

  • Sven2547

    I think you meant to say 90%+ of Catholics DO use contraception.

  • C’mon, man

    Herp derp derp

  • Rain

    “Catholic leaders consider the law an attack on the church’s core values — the sanctity of life”

    Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

    Yeah, they might want to consider their god an attack on the church’s core values — the sanctity of life. There are further examples, like for example, oh, the flood. Yeah, sounds real “sanctity”.

    Genesis 3:9 “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”

    A rhetorical question, no doubt.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    That’s FATHER John. J. Carroll, S.J.

    The Jesuits are among the few priests I have any respect for in the church here in the Philippines, given that they often present the more progressive views in the RCC.

    Fr. Carroll himself – based on his experience working in the slums for more than 20 years – has repeatedly advocated for responsible family planning. He can’t say it out loud due to his position as a priest, but based on his phrasing, a lot of us are convinced he’s for the RH law.

    Another Jesuit I think would be worth mentioning is Fr. Joaquin Bernas, the current dean of the Ateneo law school, and one of authors of our 1987 constitution. He’s been a very vocal critic of the Philippine RCC’s attempts to strong-arm politicians into voting against the RH bill in the past.

    Ironically, he’s also one of the Bill’s more vocal critics, but in a positive way. Most of the issue’s he’s raised have actually helped the backers of the law revise it in such a way to make it more compatible with the constitution and other existing legalese.

    The Jesuits also threw a very polite “Thank you, we’ll take your advise into consideration, now kindly fuck off.” to the RCC when they demanded that they (the Jesuits) sanction or even fire several professors in Ateneo De Manila University who vocally declared their support for the RH Bill.

    I know they’re not perfect – I recall at least one Jesuit parish being under fire for a sex abuse case – but here in the Philippines, the Jesuits have been a valuable, if somewhat indirect, ally in the push for this new law.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    It didn’t help any that two of the allies of the RCC – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Bishop Gilbrt Garcera – were in the news recently for insinuating that our country’s overpopulation issue was a good thing because OFWs are our “biggest export, which equalled more cash for the gov’t, and because we could potentially “repopulate” countries on a demographic decline.

    I wish I were making this shit up.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    Because literate kids are more likely to see through their facade as they grow up, and leave the faith.

    Take me for example. FSM bless the Jesuits for valuing my academic well-being over their church’s dogma.

  • ArcTanGentleman

    Actually, those Catholic priests probably listen to a lot of single Catholic mothers… confession? I do think, however, that certain people (Romney) need to be reminded that single mothers can come from divorce, death, and other reasons than the ‘lack of restraint’ he seems to have tunnel vision for.

  • Revyloution

    To be fair, many Catholic priests struggle with little children.

  • Revyloution

    I believe it’s ‘Be fruitful, and multiply.’

  • ArcTanGentleman

    Who says they’re not? In my city you can get health care and food from the catholic church. For clean water you usually have to use the tap. (It’s illegal to shut off the water if there’s a baby in the house, even if they don’t pay).

  • Ernest Valdemar

    While I agree that the Catholic Church is slowly withering into irrelevance throughout its sphere of influence across the world, it’s still depressing to see “Aquino III’ appended to the title “President” when considering the history of democracy in the Philippines.

    Religion may be an enemy of progress, but I’m still disturbed by political dynasties and de facto aristocracy in nominal democracies.

  • ArcTanGentleman

    The church: because there’s only one… XD The appropriate counter argument: But didn’t God claim he wouldn’t flood the world as punishment again.
    *reverend says something*
    “Still looks like flooding to me.”

  • ArcTanGentleman

    They’re citing Onan, there are two main interpretations. One is that he was told to fulfill the law, disobeyed God, and died. The other interpretation is that he wasted life. Most Catholic women in America still use birth control. (Before you say that makes them hipocrits… most people are hipocrits).

  • ArcTanGentleman

    The Catholic church once lost an entire country, including every church therein for ONE divorce. Wikipedia: Anglican for more. History is fun. It was once illegal for everyone to get a divorce. The king of England had to get his wives beheaded… he finally had to split when he realized he liked his current wife (just not enough to keep her as his wife) and didn’t want to behead her/stay married.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You know what? I’m getting reeeeally tired of these so-called “moralists” and their push to force everyone to live by their rules.

    “Don’t want kids? Don’t have sex!” is not a moral argument. If a person *chooses* to live that way, fine and dandy. But attempting to force others to do so, to deprive themselves of something they need and enjoy, when there are perfectly safe ways they could do it, is wrong.

    If you have personal hang-ups about sex before marriage, don’t go Fuck someone before you have the stupid little piece of paper. If you choose to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that life starts at ejaculation, don’t use birth control and don’t have an abortion. If you have issues with homosexuality, don’t marry someone of the same gender.

    But trying to force others to live by your personal decisions-because that’s what they are, personal decisions, none of those views is based on fact-is wrong. It’s morally wrong, ethically wrong and all around just a jack-ass thing to do. People who go around forcing their views on others DO NOT have the moral high ground, no matter what stupid reasonings they use to convince themselves otherwise.

    It’s high-Fucking-time we started treating these assholes the way they deserve to be treated. Strip them of the rights they’re trying to take from others. Or at the very least put them somewhere they can no longer hurt others. It’s been respected way too long.

  • Baby_Raptor

    What the hell do shotgun weddings have to do with preventing AIDS? And why would you encourage someone to rush into a supposedly life-long commitment just so they can have sex, when there are a myriad of ways to do so safely WITHOUT ruining their lives?

    Also, you do realize that there are people in this world who don’t buy into Christianity, yes? So why are you okay with forcing us to live by your personal beliefs? Why do we not matter?

  • Erp

    Not quite accurate. He was seeking an annulment for his first marriage, which the Catholic Church allows. on the grounds that his first wife was his dead brother’s widow and therefore the marriage was against canon law. This was true and he had gotten an exception when he married her in the first place. He was arguing he should never have been given the exception.

    He probably would have gotten the annulment except his wife opposed it and her nephew had a large army just outside Rome. The Pope given a choice of which ruler to infuriate chose the one further away.

    The two wives he executed were married after the split from Rome (and in the case of the first he had their marriage annulled and then executed her).

  • Artor

    I could have done without that image, thanks.

  • Artor

    Banning contraception serves the purpose of keeping women in a second-class status, which is the ultimate objective. Once the goal has been established, Xtians will perform amazing leaps of logic, rhetorical contortions, and fabrications from whole cloth to support it. The inconvenient fact that the Bible doesn’t support their position is irrelevant to Biblical support of their position.

  • roberthughmclean

    The catliks are doing a good job of shooting themselves in their feet but can they speed it up a bit? I know it’s always entertaining watching them appear even sillier with every opening of the mouth but it’s still taking too long. Get that pope person to open its mouth more often, that’d help.

  • Brian Scott

    We don’t know it’s wrong. We know it’s not wrong. That would likely include a good chunk of Catholics, dogma notwithstanding.

    People can actually make good, ethically sound choices for themselves.

  • Rich Wilson

    Of course non-human life isn’t nearly so sacrosanct. The rapid rate of species extinction, mostly due to human activity, isn’t so much of a problem. It’s a wonder they don’t see the long term results of population imbalance.

  • TheBlackCat13

    The woman quoted certainly didn’t seem to consider the church much of a help.

  • baal

    “They’re encouraging more people to leave the pews than the New Atheists ever could.”

    Which is why atheists / secular folks need to ‘come out’ and have a positive message for the ever growing ‘nones’ class.

  • Jenefer Lapinig

    Did Aquino signed what they called “RH Bill”?