Homily of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales
March 25, 2011, Feast of the Anunciation
Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Manila, PH
Estimated Crowd of 300,000 to 500,000
The Lord God said to Moses and his followers, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuterenomy 30:19).
Let us begin our reflection on the principle that life is the most precious gift from the Almighty God to any human being. This is a firm belief and teaching of the Catholic Church, that the life of a human being, whether weak or suffering, is always the greatest sign of the goodness of God (Familiaris Consortio, p. 30).
If you do not value life in whichever chapter of the life of a human being (baby, fetus, old, strong or weak), the life of any person will never be respected – and when there is no value or respect for human life, there will be no one to protect life and that life will be cheated, oppressed, kidnapped, lied to and stolen.
That is why what the Church teaches is so beautiful – nurture, protect and promote life. Do not prevent life with any form of weapon or artificial means. The disrespect for life, whether strong or weak, which we always value, is against the culture of life for Filipinos. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).
The hardship of people or the growth in our population has answers which are lessons from our Lord Jesus Christ. First, the wealth of the world or the output of man’s labor is enough if not more to be shared by all. “Love one another” and care for one another in the name of love. Second, there is a way that Almighty God placed in the nature of the body of man and woman, which must be studied well to know the precise days when a woman is fertile which will lead to a new life arising from the conjugal act between husband and wife. In every conjugal act, the married couple can be cooperators with the Almighty God in the creation of new life. (Humanae Vitae, p. 11).
Marriage is sacred and because it is sacred, the Almighty God repays a married couple with joy and happiness for their married life because they sustain for life the care and nourishment of their children, their values formation, their life of hope and respect for their fellowmen until they reach old age.
There is a natural way for preparing for valuable human life. That is called NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING. And this was provided by Almighty God into the nature of each human being, male or female. God knows that the time will come when parents will need to carefully discern their plans for the family. This is why God placed in the body of man and woman the correct and precise way and time for fertility that will allow the conception of new life, made in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:27).
Anyone can determine those precious and sacred moments when the seeds of life can be planted on fertile ground – and what married couples need is self-control and discipline. That is the sacrifice required of man. Man needs discipline. If there is discipline in bed, there will surely be discipline on the road, and discipline when it comes to money. This is where we can place values that were taught by the Church.
The conjugal act between husband and wife is sacred. That is why the Good Lord repays a married couple with joy and happiness not only in the conjugal act, but including the upbringing of the children, in goodness and kindness and in guiding their children to the path of holiness. The couple is accompanied by the Almighty God. And the faithful couple will never be abandoned by God.
Marriage is sacred; sex is sacred because it is integral in the procreation of life that comes from the Almighty God. This is not a game to be taught to children like rubber bands, balloons or condoms, allegedly to avoid disease? Why will they teach children this kind of game? Isn’t it that the right thing to teach children is the good example of elders and the value of life, the value of purity and chastity and self-control called discipline? Before, we would say that if there is self-control, there is discipline and respect, and there will also be character. Nowadays, what they want to teach the children is how to use rubber. Play! That is how cheap life has become today.
Thankfully, there is a Church and thankfully, there is faith that reminds us (even if there are a few legislators or elders whose thinking is different and harmful to the formation of values, unable to teach virtues) and laws that will revive the gradually eroding and weakening of the beauty of Filipino culture and tradition.
And why do a few legislators and elders want to teach children to avoid the responsibility and ignore reason and purity (allegedly to promote health and sanitation). These few legislators want to teach nothing but lies and alibis – and that is what the future of the Philippines will become – citizens who know nothing but alibis and bribes. There is a danger that the meaning of true Filipino Christians will vanish. What we need to teach our children is a clear conscience, a pure heart, discipline, self-control and respect for money that is not theirs.
What kind of law is this RH bill that will punish with penalties or jail terms, the members of the Church, those who teach the Bible, the Faith and the conscience of Christians? They will even punish those who follow their conscience and their Faith. This is not the Philippines! We don’t need to mention other countries, but this is not the Philippines that was loved and liberated by the blood and lives of our heroes and martyrs, including the three priests – Fr. Mariano Gomez, Fr. Jose Burgos and Fr. Jacinto Zamora. In El Filibusterismo, the first page was dedicated by Jose Rizal to the three Filipino priests (and yet what they want to remind us with is DAMASO, who is not even Filipino.
This is the stand of the Church:
1. Compassion for the plight of the many poor, especially the suffering women who are striving to improve their lives and even need to go to foreign lands or are forced into indecent forms of work, just to earn a living. The Church is deeply disturbed about this.
2.The Catholic Church is pro-life and for the protection of life from the moment of conception up to natural death.
3.The Church believes in responsible parenthood through Natural Family Planning. Here is where we need character-building that is made up of sacrifice, discipline and respect for the dignity of one’s spouse. If you don’t have sacrifice, you cannot build character.
4.Every human being is only a steward of his or her own body. The responsibility for our body must be in line with the will of God who speaks to us through our conscience. If we do not listen to the voice of God through our conscience, we will experience the violence of an earthquake – not in our mountains and our seas – but in our souls.
5.We believe that in the matter of choice regarding the RH Bill, the conscience is not only necessary, but more importantly, it must be enlightened by faith.
6.We believe in the freedom of religious worship and in the right to oppose, according to conscience, those things that are against one’s faith. The penalties incorporated in the RH Bill are the basis for our opposition to this bill. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).
There is still time to avoid the moral tragedy being brought upon us by the RH Bill.
Change it or reject entirely the RH Bill, which is the source of all disrespect for life, the disappearance of any sense of responsibility and the loss of discipline which are what the people and the nation truly needs today.
If the youth can still be educated by the Church, we are also reminding the legislators. All of you, now and in the future, are included in our prayers.
May God bless all of you and our country. God loves all of us and the Mother of Jesus cares for all of us.
Gaudencio B. Rosales
Feast of the Anunciation
25 March 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
Homily of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales