Already making the rounds of "Weird But True" websites is this bit of Sunday grotesquerie from the Philippines -- Priest Gets Fruit Basket With Fetus In Cheese Spread Bottle--probably someone's idea of a statement on World Population Day last week (lucky their household help noticed the lil...) Now, of course, Pinays are also throwing babies out of taxicabs and tall buildings and hundreds of thousands of abortions per year are occurring according to the World Health Organization. Today however the headline is 'Antilife pols must be refused communion' The whole front page innuendo is really based on a pastoral letter by Ozamis Bishop Jesus Dosado playing the Holy Communion card on congressmen and senators supporting the Reproductive Health Bill. Meanwhile Fidel Ramos Hits GMA's Population Policy for what it is : a good Catholic girl's willing and obstinate obedience to a force implanted in her as Childhood's Faith. Atheists are also getting into a lot of trouble with the Holy Eucharist...Richard Dawkins reports on the troubles being experienced by PZ Myers of Pharyngula for writing "It's a Frackin' Cracker!" Seems now that a Catholic lynch mob led by Bill Donohue is after his job as a college science teacher. Yes, it's true... I blame the Catholic Bishops for driving population policy into a ditch, and delved into the relation between poverty and theology. But here's a nice lil podcast conversation with Joe Nickell on idolatry and miracles:
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz already tried this, with little success I would say. The good Bishops ought not to needlessly expose the Deep Mysteries to the plain examination of common sense, as Damaso might counsel. They may be over-estimating the power of Public Piety.
I think the Catholic bishops have been dead wrong on the whole issue of population policy. Rather than preventing some moral evil, they have allowed problems to worsen by multiplication. Unbridled population growth worsens poverty, crime, overcongestion, lack of public services in health, education, sanitation, housing, peace and order. Solutions to social problems have become much harder because of the large numbers of people involved.
A NUMBER OF PROFESSIONAL PUNDITS have been feasting on that "most corrupt" label given to the Philippines by reporter Doris Dumlao of the Philippine Daily Innuendo. A closer look at the World Bank Study shows a more complex set of six "governance indicators" in which corruption is only one factor. But the irony of it all appears to be lost on ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN who joins in castigating President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, apparently forgetting how GMA's January 20, 2001 swearing in at EDSA DOS was his idea (suggested to Davide the day before!) The Big Story Art Panganiban is just dying to tell is that of Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and how the Supreme Court usurped the sole and exclusive powers of the House and Senate in the impeachment and trial of President Joseph Estrada. The swearing in of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 20 January, 2001 (Edsa Dos) came just four short days after the Senate's Craven Eleven Vote, which however legally signalled virtual acquittal for Erap. Yet in March, 2001, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Erap had validly resigned (a finding of Fact by the High Court!) and that the regime change which occurred in January was "Constitutional throughout" (a finding of Law). A huger irony, if such hypermodern hyperpbole might be allowed, was disingenuously ignored by such decisions as Estrada v. Arroyo, which claim nothing oddly implausible or logically queer about Erap constructively resigning a mere four days after he virtually won acquittal at the Senate Impeachment Trial.
I'm happy and relieved for the two pairs of brothers who were just released after being kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf two weeks ago and hostaged for one million pesos somewhere on Basilan Island. Whether or not the government and/or the families and/or other interested parties might have paid for their freedom will be debated in the weeks to come, but we can not lose sight of the human lives and loves that always hang in the balance in these events. And while the swinging door of observation is cracked open by such events we can see inside the tragic working of things, nota bene, how truly odd a proposition it is that the Abu Sayyaf are "JUST" an ordinary kidnap for ransom gang of bandits who are only interested in MONEY and Nothing Else -- certainly not Religion or Politics or Constitutions or anything deep and complicated like that.