Some members of the faculty of Ateneo de Manila University, a school run by Jesuits, have posted a statement regarding the Reproductive Health Bill:
Here are my thoughts on the matter:
1) Those faculty members of Ateneo who wrote this statement (and who from here shall be referred to as "the Ateneans") mentioned some parts of the RH bill that are not about contraceptives and that are in fact quite laudable ("comprehensive emergency obstetric care", etc.). That is well and good, but one cannot excuse an immoral law just because it has some good parts. We all want the good things included in the RH bill, but the solution is not to pass the bill as it is (warts and all), but rather to revise it into a bill that retains the moral parts and not the immoral ones. Note that some will say that the word "immoral" does not apply here, because they think contraception is moral. Well, they are free to believe that (just as we are all free to sin), but they are not free to call that a Catholic belief. This brings us to my next thought:
2) The Ateneans uses irrelevant statistics ("one in three married Catholic women support contraception") to try and bolster their claim that contraception is not contrary to being a faithful Catholic. Nobody is arguing that contraception is not popular*, but Catholic doctrine isn't a popularity game. A religion without the authority to dictate religious truths that might be contrary to popular sentiment is a worthless religion, because a religion that only follows its own followers will obviously be wrong once its followers go wrong. As Chesterton put it, "We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong." Catholicism, as it happens, is a religion that claims such an authority. When the Church's teaching office formally states something as against Catholic belief, people who call themselves faithful Catholics are not free to willfully claim otherwise without lying about their faithfulness. The Ateneans' repeated appeal to the popularity of contraception, a thing already defined as evil by the Church almost from the very start, is therefore by its anti-magisterial nature basically anti-Catholic, and no faithful Catholic should listen to it.
5) Speaking of forcing one's sex-related choices on others, the Ateneans are forgetting that government-sponsored contraceptive distribution and promotion will require money, which will be coming from tax-payers' pockets. They talk of "choice". Well, if the RH Bill passes, can I choose to opt out from financially supporting what to me is an immoral law that is against my religion? Without having to leave the country or evade my taxes? No? Didn't think so. Also, will this bill have a conscience clause to allow health care providers to refuse to provide contraceptives on religious or moral grounds? If the makers of this bill are anything like the radical pro-contraceptive legislators of Western countries, don't bet on it.
7) I find the tactic of claiming to be faithful Catholics (or at least, talking about "faith" a lot) while completely ignoring basic tenets of the Faith to be, frankly, quite disingenuous and insulting. I mean, who do they think are they kidding? It's like a bandit saying "I really am a pacifist at heart, but give me all your money or I'll blow your brains out!" It's as if they think words don't have any real meaning, that "being Catholic" is somehow the same as "ignoring the authority of the Catholic teaching office". Sometimes I wonder why people like the Ateneans still claim to be Catholics in the first place. Why not admit their break with the Church and formally join whichever religion or irreligion they want to join instead? I heard the Episcopalians are recruiting.** I'm sure they'll feel quite at home there!
9) Finally, a properly formed conscience is one that conforms to the moral teachings of one's religion, otherwise it is far too easy to equate one's conscience with whatever one desires, whether immoral or not. Asking "Is it not possible that I was obeying my conscience when I opted to use a contraceptive?" is like a murderer saying "I felt in my guts that killing this person is the right thing to do. I killed him in good conscience!" The answer to both is no. When there is a voice in your head telling you to do immoral things, you can bet your ass it ain't your conscience talking, but someone else entirely.
Of course, I'm just one of those simple-minded, ignorant sheeple who blindly follow evil pedophile priests in fear of being assassinated by albino monks from Opus Dei. What the hell do I know, right?
* Well, ~35% isn't exactly a majority, but it's a big chunk nonetheless.
** Just kidding. I stopped caring about what Episcopalians are up to after they basically defined marriage as "Anything you damned well want it to be."