Sunday, November 6, 2011

Openness To Life

The United Nations declared that the world’s 7 billionth person was born on Monday, October 31, 2011 and the Philippines and India were both claiming the birth of the world's symbolic 7th billion baby. Filipino media reported that "Officials from the Department of Health and the United Nations immediately headed to the Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Center after learning of the birth of Danica May Camacho, second daughter of Camille Camacho and Florante Galura of Antipolo City" even though it is not certain who the actual seven billionth person as news reports say that UN leader Ban Ki-moon will not be putting any baby into the spotlight this time. So why were UN officials present at Danica's birth giving gifts to her and her family to mark the occasion? Isn't the UN together with USAID at the forefront of pushing for the implementation of programs designed to reduce the number of children in the developing world? Was their presence meant to celebrate the occasion or was it more like to bring people's attention of the specter of population growth? It seems to me that the DoH and the UN officials saw this as an opportunity for them to encourage people to support the Reproductive Health Bill. The UN/USAID likes to single out overpopulation as the cause of maternal and child deaths, of world hunger, of poverty in developing countries.  But is it really?  Isn't this overpopulation a symptom of a much bigger problem? Ours is a world of contrasts and contradiction...the UN Secretary General acknowledges this. He said in a Time Magazine interview, “Plenty of food, but still a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Many people enjoy luxurious lifestyles, but still many people are impoverished.” Even the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) executive director Babatunde Osotimehin is also among those calling for less focus on the big numbers. “This is not a matter of space—it’s a matter of equity, opportunity and social justice,” he said.

Pope Benedict points this out in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate on Integral Human Development (paragraph number 28):
Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual. (italics mine)
The encyclical further states in paragraph number 67 that:
In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.
Father Shenan J. Boquet, President of Human Life International writes "there are solutions to the problems of economic development around the world, but purposefully preventing human life is not one of them."  Countries should focus on creating stable, efficient governments that foster economic development and the responsible production of resources, rather than focus on blaming population growth for the problems of the world.

It is ironic that in the Philippines where the family always comes first, children are now seen as stumbling blocks to economic development and thus we create immoral laws that will provide funding for birth control instead of focusing on real solutions like increasing funding for education, housing, food security, job generation, health insurance, peace and security, protection of the environment, and migration control.  These are what the Filipino people need to have a better quality of life...not birth control measures that based on past experiences will be deceiving, oftentimes coercive and will not go through an effective informed consent process.

It will be Advent in a few weeks. As we prepare for the coming of Christ, let us pray this novena for a culture of life.

God of Life,
We rejoice in the promise of your coming.
You have sent your Son, born in Bethlehem.
He is the Prince of Peace, and
The one in whose name all oppression shall cease.
May we welcome his coming each day
And prepare for his coming at the end of time.
May we build a culture that welcomes him
By welcoming every child, born and unborn.
We pray through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Related post on the RH Bill

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