The e-word today
It’s not anymore electronic. The new e-word is excommunication. Frankly, I’m happy that it has re-emerged into public attention, after years of hibernation, because I believe people need to know about it.
You mention the word especially to the young today, and even to the older ones, and you most likely get a blank stare. Does it have to do with modern communication, they would often ask.
It was dropped a few days ago in a radio interview with a bishop, and even if the transcript of that interview revealed no sensational undertones, the word hit ground, at least in some quarters, as if it was a nuclear bomb.
Obviously, the mischievous media played it up, another indication we are into some dead season in news items. No amount of effort to size up the whole affair could convince me it had real basis for the noise created in the press.
Of course, there were many people who bit the bait, thousands of them giving feedback to newspapers and jamming Facebook and other social networking facilities.
They spewed off their opinions that obviously have shreds of truths and good things, but otherwise simply showed their biases that can cover a wide range of possibilities – from fair commentaries to severe cases of ignorance, confusion, error and outright malice.
What we know is that PNoy went to the States, he got some American aid that most likely is now underwritten by Chinese money, and when he returned, he out of the blue talked about contraceptives, freedom of choice and a strange kind of responsible parenthood, and the notorious RH bill.
I don’t know whether there is connection in that flow of events, but obviously, the bishops can not take this development sitting down. What is involved here is morality that covers the whole spectrum of human behavior, from the personal and individual to the social and global.
It’s a morality that is not just man-made, but God-given, meant not only for Catholics but for all, but obviously to be taught, spread and lived as charitably as possible.
This has always been the way of Christ, now adopted by the Church, and always tried out by Church leaders, irrespective of their own peccadillos. That “Damaso” incident did not prove anything of substance. It simply showed a quirk, worse than the “major, major” blunder of a beauty queen.
It’s amazing that a guy like Manny Pacquiao can understand this, while our highly educated technocrats and powerful political leaders can’t. I suppose this is more a matter of faith than of intelligence and human power. The gospel is full of examples of this kind of riddle.
Morality cannot be reduced to a matter of opinion, of personal preferences, of purely cultural and social consensus. It comes from God, written in our nature, and simply to be respected by all – though admittedly, the realization of all these will take a tortuous path given our human condition.
As Pope Benedict said in his visit to England, morality is not for the State to legislate. It simply has to be acknowledged. And neither can it be reduced as a private matter, which the Church should not talk about in public, but strangely enough, the government can.
It’s a crazy world. There’s a funny version of the doctrine of separation of Church and state that veritably allows the one with authority and competence to keep quiet and the other that does not have it to talk a lot.
In this recent controversy, pictures of poor and large families in inhuman condition were splashed in the papers to generate support for the government and hatred for the Church. It’s a pitiable gimmick that can hardly be given a decent name.
Everyday, I also meet such brothers and sisters of ours. I ask myself, what can I do? And since obviously, I alone cannot solve this problem alone, I ask what can the others do to help, the government, the society, the Church?
It has not occurred to me to just give them condoms so they don’t reproduce much. That would treat them like animals. Morality is an irreplaceable requirement for human dignity. I know it’s going to be a very complicated problem.
If living one’s sexuality properly is already a big problem, you can just imagine how it’s going to be when a couple is involved, and then later on when societies are involved! It’s not going to be easy.
But easy or hard, we just have to find solutions fit for us. No immoral short-cuts, please, no matter how practical.*