THE head of the Catholic bishops’ conference has threatened President Noynoy of excommunication (tsugi!) from the Catholic Church if he starts distributing condoms to people.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar said distributing contraceptives is tantamount to facilitating abortion.

“Abortion is a grave crime, excommunication is attached to [it]. That is an issue of gravity, that is a violation of God’s commandment,” the good bishop said.

He said the distribution of contraceptives can be considered “accessory” to abortion. There are “certain conditions,” of course.

Strong words from a bishop. We know though that PNoy will never be excommunicated. That’s tantamount to declaring total war.

Sometimes, no, almost all the time, it is difficult to understand the Church.

One day it is ready to go on an all-out war with the government’s stand on birth control. The next day some spokesperson announces that they will first send a letter to the Palace.

Yes, a not-so-subtle posturing.

The latest announcement of Bishop Odchimar threatening Aquino with excommunication will most likely put on the sideline other issues that are of equal, if not of high, importance compared to sex.

There’s the human rights issue being raised by the Morong 43 detainees, there’s the hostage fiasco, the agrarian reform and Hacienda Luisita issues, and the jueteng issue among so many others.

Sometimes we tend to think that the Church is really conniving with Malacanang to muddle issues. (This is baseless, of course.)

Anyway, the contraceptive issue is not that new among Filipinos. It might be a big moral issue for the Church, but it’s no big deal for so many people.

Condoms have been introduced to Filipinos many years ago and still the population continues to grow. I’ve heard of the Billings (natural) method from my father since I was young, still there were seven of us who struggled to share a piece of fish on weekdays.

It’s really time for dialogue instead of threats. The Palace said it is willing to talk. The Church too.

Again Bishop Odchimar said they haven’t received any “feelers” or invitation from Aquino. “We are just waiting,” he said.

The presidential palace said it was willing to meet with Church leaders, and have sent feelers as early as last January. So what happened?

In another front, militant farmers already declared PNoy’s first 100 days as president as “100 Days of Human Rights Abuses against Peasants.”

The peasants said extra-judicial killings remain unabated even after Aquino promised “change” and claimed he could bring out reforms in the country.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said peasant human rights violation victims now reach 10, making the average one per 10 days of Aquino’s first 100 days.

OMG! They said Aquino “is a goner.”

“The Filipino peasantry lost patience and it is very clear as the blue sky that he is an adversary of our interest and protector of big landlords, feudal control over vast lands.”

“Aquino treated us farmers as nobody, saying nothing on land reform on his inaugural and SONA speeches, as if there is no agrarian unrest in the country.”

Tsugi again! Joe Torres


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