Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Opinion
Unplanned parenthood
By Bong Lacson

Aug 03, 2017

KAPAG ANG Pamilya ay Planado… Laging Panalo. So goes the blurb celebrating this year’s Family Planning Month with the aim “to spread awareness and increase contraceptive prevalence rate in the region to meet the need for modern family planning.”

A Capitol press release quoted Commission on Population regional director Eleanor Cura as saying the FP month activities “are mandated to help all Filipino families determine and achieve their desired family size through modern family planning stated under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012 further strengthened by Executive Order 12, 2017 of the Duterte Administration.”

Unguided by UN goals, with no parenthood and reproductive health laws still in effect at the time, I did not plan my family. Hindi planado… hindi naman natalo. As it turned out.

All the wife and I did was subscribe to the Church’s teachings. As contained in this Zona narrative seven years ago:

MARRIED LOVE, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood…

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty, the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person.

With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them.

With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.

From this it follows that they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out...

This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.

The majesty of Humanae Vitae finds greatest consonance with the exercise of our faculty of reason hence, we – the wife and I – fully subscribe to the magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church and live by it as closely as possible.

Six kids

Hence, six children – three girls in a matter of twenty-two months – were born of our unitive and procreative love.

Raising six children was taxing to say the least. Being in-between irregular jobs at some time or the other, and the wife on full-time home management was truly the pits. Yet, as the sagrado Catolico of yore, aye, the very Filipino for that matter, we take the kids as blessings from heaven.

I remember a time when the sixth child was yet to be, between us and starvation lay only ten one-peso coins. So, what was there left to do but get down on our knees to pray. I got five for fare, left the half for whatever food they could still buy, and sought some friends for loans.

Finding the limited number of pals I could really count on all out somewhere, and with no means to reach them – this was long before the mobiles, I trudged my way back home feeling most forsaken – my pocket emptied of even tricycle fare.

So sorry, I told the wife, I left home with five pesos I got back with none.

In my sorrow, I failed to see the radiant glow in the wife’s face, shaking me out of despair with a jubilant cry of “God heard our prayers. He sent us 10 thousand pesos!”

Nido

It turned out that our lone entry to a promo raffle of Nido milk won for us the grand prize. To top it all, it was the last day before the prize would be forfeited in favor of the sponsor, as there was no claimant to it. It was a Nido worker who happened to have read me in the local papers that led the prize-giver to my home.

Ah, how we cried – and prayed, that day of days. With the greater resolve that God will never forsake those who call on Him. Whence, whenever need overtook us, we always returned to that day and be strengthened.

With faith in God, love and trust in ourselves, no burden is too heavy to bear. From the hardships of yesteryears, today we enjoy our “blessings” of five kids universitygraduated, gainfully employed, finding their own places in the sun. The youngest is a junior in college (He has since graduated). We are blessed with two grandchildren, and another one on the way. (We have a total of five grandkids now).

In the current battlegrounds of reproductive health, of population control, of so-called freedom of choice, we find our marriage a celebration of the supremacy of the Church’s position: responsible parenthood negates reproductive health as pushed by the state.

Modesty be damned now, we look at our family as a testimony to the true majesty of Humanae Vitae.

NOTE: The encyclical of His Holiness Pope Paul VI on the regulation of birth was issued on July 25, 1968. Turning 50 next year, it has not waned in relevance, in significance.



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