Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There is no double standard

The Catholic Church is exercising a double standard by telling the people to choose the country's next leaders based on their conscience, but at the same time saying that they should not vote for those who support the reproductive health bill, according to Akbayan Representative Walden Bello.
This is somehow echoed by a Sunstar editorial:
Reacting to the call of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the faithful “not to be swayed by survey results and political advertisements” but to follow instead the dictates of their conscience after a prayerful and collective period of discernment,” some people accused the bishops of having a double standard of religious outlook.

While asking people to vote with their conscience, CBCP urges them not to vote for candidates supporting the RH bill.

There is no double standard. The Church has the obligation, as pastor, to guide the faithful away from evil, specifically in cases where there is intrinsic evil -- intrinsic evil is, sadly, not in the vocabulary of many.

To better understand why there is no double standard, I link you to the January 13th column of San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer entitled Archbishop’s Journal – Free Will, Conscience and Moral Choice: What Catholics believe which is a response to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's statement in a Newsweek interview in December:

I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions ...

While the statement of Rep. Pelosi was related to her support of abortion, her reasons for supporting what is contrary to Church teaching while at the same time maintaining her "membership" in the Church dwell on her mistaken notion of freedom and conscience, which is the argument, it seems, that those who talk of double standards also use.

I quote below the last paragraph, but it's best to read the whole text:

As participants in the life of the civil community, we Catholic citizens try to follow our consciences, guided, as described above, by reason and the grace of God. While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom. Because of these convictions we commit ourselves to a continuing witness to, and dialogue about, the Gospel values that underlie our understanding of freedom, conscience, and moral choice.

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