Catholic Guilt

This is a response post to Brother Utoy’s post entitled “Ang Kagilagilalas na Alamat ng Catholic Guilt” (The Jarring Legend of Catholic Guilt) – on how Catholics and the Church they are loyal to are bashed and blamed for all social problems that beset even this country. With the heated debate on Reproductive Health still being waged in the legislative floors, it is not a dreamy idea to expect more sweeping anti-Church sentiments. I acknowledge the danger – that of throwing the baby with the water because I agree with BU, the “medieval bias” against the Catholic Church is often hurled not only by narrow-minded Catholics and Protestants alike in the face of its teaching authority (as if the authority was not passed on). For all the “medieval lapses” of the Church from witchhunting to witchburning, as if the Church has been for all ages remains The Great Persecutor. To follow BU’s expose, Catholic guilt as imposed by many, arises by not following the voice of this “persecutor,” down to bedroom intimacy. I agree: Catholic couples, me included, do not actually play the Papal tape before bedtime and afterwards, feel guilty for not playing it. Absolutely, there is more to an intimate encounter than mentally imagining the cover, even just the cover, of an encyclical as controversial as Humanae Vitae. Therefore, the Catholic guilt, as the “first stone” of the “non-whore” righteous is a nonsense argument. Amen to BU – how can people be so fanatic against Catholic guilt and then bury the charity and social action works of the Church? People must notice the fallacy somewhere, and the malice for creating a jarring legend.

But as a Catholic, I agree, that somewhere, there is a distance between the propositions of Humanae Vitae (at least in hearing) and the domestic practices among families, otherwise, Catholic families could have been guilt-prone for constantly not minding the encyclical’s mandate. But again, they’re not guilt-ridden so as not to use condoms. With the local church’s cavalier stance to excommunicate (not a dogma for heaven’s sake) the disobedient, it all the more becomes a theological question, a question of method in theologizing: where is the theology of Humanae Vitae supposed to arise from, from an ivory tower or from dialogue with real life situations? Even respected moral theologians in the like of Charles Curran and Bernard Haring had acknowledged the weakness of the encyclical. But not at the expense of throwing the baby with the water. I love my Church and the idea of dialogue (that the Church is trying hard at her best) especially with the voices of the poor, affords me to admit that moral viewpoints, highbrow as they may be including those of the profit-driven condom companies, are not God. Life must go on…at home.

Go Brother Utoy – we need more teachers like you!

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Photo credit: stormfa11

2 thoughts on “Catholic Guilt

  1. parang bumabawi ka, dfish, ah! hehe…

    basta issues tungkol sa contraceptives, it hits a raw nerve sa akin. the Church has something to say, but the people has no time or the willingness to listen. minsan, napapailing na lang ako kasi the people are killing themselves from within and that it may be too late before they realize that they’ve been dead for a long time. How long will they realize that the Church is truly on their side?

  2. Brother Utoy, bumabawi ba? Hehe – it’s like asking what are conservatives trying to conserve with and what are liberals trying to liberate with. Sa tingin ko kasi – the world is too polarized over the issue the fire of debate keeps burning until the issue gets too smoked of. I’m still asking the reasonableness of HV without necessarily buying pills companies’ funded lobbying to associate population as the direct cause of poverty – a generic, fatuous argument i sometimes banner with. But other means of birth control for couples to choose from – i guess more leeways should be created. But again the fundamental problem is the Church, based on her rigid moral stance, has no room for dialogue over other birth control options aside from NFP because a compromise would signal a compromise of her teaching authority embodied in HV. And this is where the issue of powerplay also comes in and I’m afraid it is also one of our shadows as a Church – to lose our well-entrenched political clout especially in this country. I’m still asking if there is a chance in this troubled times for the Church to experience kenosis, of self-emptying, of really becoming a powerless servant. I guess there is.

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