Short and curlies

In an interview at an evening program on Interaksyon radio, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz wondered whether Pres. Aquino understood the meaning of responsible parenthood. He said one can’t endorse the Reproductive Health Bill and talk of responsible parenthood at the same time because responsible parenthood is the term used by the Catholic Church to denote family planning through natural methods and not through condoms and pills. Unfortunately, Cruz’s interlocutors did not ask him if coitus interuptus was natural or artificial.  
 
Be that as it may, Cruz pointed out that the Catholic Church is not against family planning. He said that like advocates of the RH Bill, the Catholic Church also believes couples should not have more children than they can afford to feed and raise properly. Now if everyone agrees that family planning is the responsible thing for married couples to do then why does the Catholic Church oppose contraceptive methods that are more effective than the rhythm method? It all comes down to control of behavior.

Lyndon B. Johnson who dominated the US Congress for decades said the secret to his success was “If you’ve got ’em by the balls, their heart and mind will follow.” That is the same axiom that the Catholic Church has followed since time immemorial. If there is any area that the Catholic Church will never cede control over, it is the genital area. 

The Catholic Church allows mass murder in the guise of just wars. It allowed torture during the Inquisition. It will tolerate practically anything including accepting donations from vice lords to cheating in elections as was so ably demonstrated by Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa when he justified Gloria Arroyo’s cheating in 2004 but it will never give up its “moral standing” in the regulation of the affairs of mankind through the control of its sexual behavior. It will never let go of your balls.

Catholics believe their church is the appointed representative of the Supreme Being who holds the keys to perpetual happiness and damnation, that it is deputized to exercise sole power over the enactment, enforcement, prosecution, judgment, and execution of His laws, and that it is the only one with a direct line to Him (that’s what that infallibility thing is all about).

In that context, the Catholic Church teaches, among other things, that the sole purpose of marital sex is procreation. Marital sex not intended for procreation is sinful. In addition, it sees the pleasure that comes with the act of procreation as an unfortunate side-effect and not even as a reward for doing God’s work, which is to fill the world with people who will adore Him. Procreation not recreation is the Church’s dictum on marital sex. Thus marital sex becomes a guilty pleasure, loosely defined as “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.” 

Anybody who has ever felt guilt knows how vulnerable and malleable it can make a person. That’s why the ability to make somebody else feel guilty and to make him believe as well that one has the power to lift guilt off his shoulders is one of the most powerful tools of control. That’s what makes the clergy so powerful. We have nowhere else to go when we feel guilty over having done something we were led to believe offends God. 

If the Catholic Church relents on artificial birth control then it will be letting go of its ability to pollute the fountain of our pleasures with feelings of guilt. That would be like the US giving up its nuclear weapons arsenal. Married couples will be able to enjoy sex without feeling guilt for having sex without any intention of having babies. 

The conjugal bed will be transformed from a mere baby factory to a nest of marital bliss. What is so evil about that? Or better yet, did God intend the sacrament of marriage to be fraught with fear and worry over unwanted pregnancies? Wouldn’t He be more pleased that we used the intelligence He gave us to invent contraceptives that are more efficient than calendars that time the menstrual cycle of women? Unfortunately, we will never know the answer to those questions because God talks only to the Catholic Church when it comes to matters pertaining to sex, at least that’s what the clergy tells us.

    “It’s too bad, she’s got you by the balls 
    You can’t break loose at all 
    She’s got your name 
    She’s got your number 
    You’re screamin’ like thunder 
    And you’re trapped like a rat in a hole.”

    – from “Short and Curlies” by the Rolling Stones

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • Superb article. What amazes me is the Church is so skilled at complete denial of responsibility for anything that is negative in the Philippines. Poverty, for instance. Yet the Church is so pronounced in its engagement with Filipinos. How can that be? This is a virgin Church? Watching us dirty humans from a throne of untouchable sanctity?

    At some point the masses will find them irrelevant for operating out-of-touch with modern God-given understandings of the human condition. Or the Church will change its doctrine. It is a slow-motion race to see which occurs first. Social media give the masses an edge.

    • UPnnGrd

      Or the Pinas Catholics eventually get to to this message ( a message also said to Catholics by Mormons or 7th Day’s or by the Manalo Clan or by Evangelicals.) Pinoys-of-Pinas of the Church who allows mass murders… don’t just stand there…. go attend a different church!!!