Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
The raging debate on Reproductive Health has manifested division in the Church, so they say. Catholics for Reproductive Health and of course, the controversial Ateneo professors who hid their dissent under the guise of academic or intellectual freedom, all seem to reveal that not everybody in the Catholic Church listens to the Teaching Authority (Magisterium) of the Church. Media and the whole freethinking world gang up against the Catholic Bishops for what they call repression of intellectual freedom. The accusers of the Church label the bishops as intolerant of modern thought.
Thus, I really think that the Word of God today speaks appropriately about the state of confusion that seems to appear in the Church. In referring to the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, Jesus quotes Sacred Scriptures: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” Then he said, “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” The detractors of the Church will apply these verses to bishops and priests whom they call as the modern day scribes and Pharisees. But in reality, these detractors are the ones who teach human precepts as doctrines as they disregard God’s commandments. For did God not make it clear from the very beginning when he created man and woman: “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth…” (Gen. 1:28) and did he not repeat the same commandment to Noah (Gen. 9:1)? In the 1st reading, Moses said to the people of Israel: “In your observance of the commandments of the Lord your God…you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. Observe them carefully.” What seems to be narrow mindedness to the world is actually fidelity to the commandments of the Lord. We cannot add nor subtract from the commandment of God: Be fertile and multiply. Fill the earth. The staunch stand of the Catholic Magisterium against the so-called “reproductive health” is simply the fulfillment of the Apostolic Mandate which St. James referred to in the 2nd reading: (to keep) “religion that is pure and undefiled before God.” And what is this “pure and undefiled” religion? “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” To stand up for the commandments of God, even in spite of the “strong popular support” for the contrary, is, in reality, “keeping religion pure” and “keeping oneself unstained by the world.”
Dissenters enjoy much popular support because they say what the world says. They say what everybody says. They say what everybody wants to hear. And the bishops who uphold the clear commandments of God are labeled as narrow minded and outdated. But that is to be expected. For the thoughts of God are so different from the thoughts of man: “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways. For I am God and not man.” (Isaiah 55:8) Let us keep our religion pure as God is pure. Let us keep ourselves unstained by the world.
Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!