On RH Bill now RH Law, a celebrated issue: Roman Catholic Church (Phils) vs the Government?

This is a forwarded message and a late upload. But this is a reality in the Philippines.  Now that RH is a Law, many Roman Catholic members  who personally support and agree Reproductive Health Law  still coy of exposing their true stance publicly.  Many are still hesitant to admit publicly for fear to be deported especially those non-Filipino sisters here in the Philippines. Though this was printed many years ago, still the Roman Catholic Church remains strong of their anti RH stance.


Hi all,

The bishops are getting on my nerves, so I sent this letter to the Inquirer. Ambot lang if they will publish it. (I wonder if the Inquirer will publish it.)


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Arnold Vandenbroeck
Date: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 8:54 PM
Subject: Churches/Religions and contraceptives
To: feedback@inquirer.com.ph

Dear Editor,

The Catholic bishops claim that the RH bill is immoral and some bishops even consider it “terroristic”. Can they please stop playing the self-appointed guardians of our morality? All the more since practically all other churches and religions accept artificial family planning as a moral choice.

The United Methodist Church values “family planning programs that improve health care, empower women and protect the global environment and that enable individuals and couples to decide about the number of their children free from violence, coercion and discrimination.” While Catholic bishops in the Philippines tend to be dismissive of the problem of present population growth, the UMC even says that “people have the duty to consider the impact on the total world community of their decision regarding child bearing and should have access to information and appropriate means to limit their fertility, including voluntary sterilization.” Clearly the UMC seems to have a fuller appreciation of what is the greater and common good.

Many Christian churches have standpoints similar to that of the UMC. Moreover, family planning (including contraception) is embraced by religions across the spectrum as a moral good, a responsible choice and a basic human right. Religious support for contraception and family planning is consistent with faith principles that give primacy to well being, including the health of children, families and the community at large. In fact, many religions believe that family planning is a moral duty, a stance echoed by well-known leaders. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians. Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in family planning.” The Dalai Lama said, “Family planning is crucial, especially in the developing world.”

The Episcopal Church first approved of contraception for the purpose of family planning in 1930. In a 1994 resolution, it directed its dioceses and agencies to provide information to all men and women on the full range of affordable, acceptable, safe, and non coercive contraceptive and reproductive health care services.

In 1954, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated that a married couple should plan and govern their sexual relations so that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth. How to do that is up to the couple.

The Presbyterian Church supports full and equal access to contraceptive methods. In a recent resolution endorsing insurance coverage for contraceptives, the church even affirmed that contraceptive services are part of basic health care and cautioned that unintended pregnancies lead to higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and maternal morbidity, and threaten the economic viability of families.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the USA, supports the use of birth control that prevents conception from taking place.

Unitarian Universalists already in 1987 opposed any move to deny or restrict the distribution of government funds as a means of restricting access to contraception in the U.S. or abroad.

Jewish traditions have a long history of support for family planning, dating to the 1929 Reform resolution noting that birth control contributes to social stability. Already in a pioneering 1935 resolution, Women of Reform Judaism expressed support for lifting bans on the dissemination of information about birth control.

For Muslims, the Quran does not make any explicit statements about the morality of contraception. Early Sunni Muslim literature discusses various contraceptive methods, and a recent study concluded that any method that did not produce sterility was acceptable.

Sikhs have no objection to birth control. Whether or not Sikhs use contraception, and the form of contraception used, is a matter for the couple concerned.
The same applies to Hindoes, the same to Buddhists.

The Roman Catholic Church is the only major faith institution to forbid the use of contraception. However, in actual practice most Catholics disagree with the prohibition or don’t pay any attention to it. Not much of a moral problem. For one, they are in the good company of practically all other major religions of the world.

Arnold Vandenbroeck

(same text also in attachment)

Arnold Vandenbroeck
Third St. cor Trinidad Ave.
Trinidad Greenhills Subd., Ma-a,
Davao City, Philippines
Telefax: +63-82-2440090
Mobile: +63-918-5156245
Mail address: P.O.Box 81937
8000 Davao City, Philippines


a cruel joke

I received a text message: “hahaha, tsup not tsug”.  It really struck me what does it meant? I was thinking first it was a misspent.  But with second thoughts, I said to myself, maybe the previous misspelled text was delayed to come.  I waited for fifteen minutes expecting a text following. I deleted messages in my sent items, outbox, drafts and even half of my inbox messages to give more space.  But none came.  I decided to check the sender so I called after twenty minutes past.  I asked the sender who was he texting and replied none.  I told him you misspent the text message. I heard on the other line a laugh then, “Oh it was for you. But I only realized later that the misspelled text message was not sent. Sorry.”  I asked, “Why did you not explain instead of just being silent? Or you texted me to explain or sent the misspelled text message so that I won’t be in doubts and end up questioning?” The sender replied, “Oh, it’s nonsense. I only realized later that it was not sent. Little thing, don’t mind. You are only making it a big deal. Sorry.”

I really wonder, men have no idea how little thing or nonsense for them could hurt a feeling? Do men really do not think nor feel that thing like this is not nonsense? It is a big deal when there was no effort to reach out? My thinking was, it was not really meant for me.  The sender really misspent the text message.  Because when I called, he seemed surprised why I was asking whom he was texting. When I mentioned, he misspent his text message, he began to explain. Because when he realized the misspelled text was not sent, he should: 1) explained or 2) forwarded the misspelled message immediately when he realized it was not sent to avoid misunderstanding and doubts.  But he did not! Why waited my call?  It was not really meant for me.  That was why he never bothered to explain nor text or call.  Should I have not called, then I would not know. The sender claimed that it was for me. How should I know?

If you were in my shoes, how would you react? Just accept the late explanation of the sender? Did I overly react?  For me it was a CRUEL JOKE! Wish to hear some feedbacks from you guys.   Thank you. 🙂 🙂 🙂


IFI Is Ready for A Woman Bishop

When the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) or the Philippine Independent Church opens its door for women ordination to Sacred Ministry: diaconal and preysbeter or priesthood in the 1990’s, varying responses coming from the pews. Either a member was  for or not was no longer an issue to debate.  The IFI through the Supreme Council of Bishop (SCB) had already made a mark, women were welcome to the Ordained Ministry.   Though there were a fraction of the IFI membership who refused to recognize that women have an equal place in the altar same with the men, elevating and blessing the host as representative of Christ who is a male.

In May 2004 during its regular meeting, the Supreme Council of Bishop (SCB) approved woman episcopacy. It was  an overwhelming decision which proves IFI’s readiness in identifying women’s equality to the third order of Sacred Ministry.  No doubt the Indiginous Filipino Catholic Church demonstrated a clearer understanding and acceptance of women ministry in the church both of the lay and the ordained. The gift of ordination is no longer the domain for men. The woman priests on the other hand were jubilant and prayed that out tribe may increase.  So with the SCB’s  decision for woman episcopacy, we the IFI woman priests began to look forward that someday we will have a woman striding in the church aisle with a fuchsia vestment.

It is not a question of either IFI is ready or not ready for a woman bishop. My contention is, the Church has already been READY. From 2004 up to the present, the National Search Committe (NSC) is open for women nominees to episcopacy. In our Diocese of Greater Manila (DGM) I was one of the four priests who received the blessing from our fellow clergy to become diocesan nominees to the National Seach Committee (NSC) with the endorsement of the Diocesan Bishop.  However, I still have not done all the requirements to be submitted to the NSC.  But The Reverend Emelyn Dacuycoy processed the requirements, accepted the challenge and braved herself to the many diocesan conventions.  Congratulations to my batchmate SATS (St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary) ’89 who had been elected twice as Diocesan Bishop during the Diocesan Convention in Batac and Dumaguete.  Her being elected twice  ascertain the readiness of the Church to have a woman bishop.  However, the last stop, which is the SCB has the final voting power.  The membership of the SCB changes, decreases and increases as well. My  ardent hope and prayers that opportune decision may not be any longer. In God’s time,  difficult and heavy loads will be made all possible and bearable. This is very promising and put our trust on it.

Let us not stop praying, let us not stop dreaming and let us not stop believing.  The IFI has already walked a hundred miles ahead and it will continue to walk embracing us all. To my fellow strong-spirited woman priests, we are already partakers, participants and partners of this lifelong journey of our faith and commitment to God’s service. Pro Deo et Patria my dearest sisters, keep the  fiery love to serve in our hearts bursting. God bless us all continually.


“Just dreaming of a world with positive vibes, but need to be free first and be liberated from our own caves so that we can soar high, struggle hard and continue to dream of a world free from all negatives.” – Rev Erah

Why peace is elusive?

NOTE: This is a late post,  drafted almost  2 years ago.

PEACE: Shalom, Sala’m, Kalinaw, Kapayapaan, Kappia, Salaam, Pax, Paz, Pake, Vrede, Selam, Patz, Pasch, Fred, Samaya, Shanti, Pakigdait, He Ping, Emem, etc… is always elusive to the people of the world! Empires have their own language for peace and it means always: war, land occupation, land aggression, oppression,  to name a few.

Biblical peace is always anchored in justice. And it is always in the perspective of the victims, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the dehumanized, the despised, the weak, and all those people denied to live peacefully as human beings in their lands, those people whose source of living are taken forcibly away from them. Why it is so difficult to understand the meaning and the essence of peace when all religions and faith communities speak about peace? I remember one of my professors in the seminary said, “It all depends what lens you are using” in understanding peace. People of the world can never be united because we have always taken a side… and mostly it is more or less subjective and favorable not to the victims but to the perpetrators who describe and set the standard of understanding peace in a world of un-peace.

For the past two days, we received ALERT’s information on various demolition throughout the West Bank: residences, business structures, cow farm, dairy factory, a Bedouin  community, among others.  We were told that during the Israeli “Protective Edge” war against Gaza, less or no demolition happened in the West Bank.  However, with the current situation of “truce” in Gaza and the Israeli soldiers are back, demolition is almost happening everyday.

We visited a village the other day and saw what left from the demolition last Monday afternoon. Nothing is seen standing of the remains. Tent-houses, kitchens, toilets, tent for the sheep, tent for the supplies and all the rest were all destroyed. Three families were victims of sudden demolition.  Both families were with their elderly/parents aged 64 and 60 and children as young as 4 year old. In a makeshift tent, the Ecumenical Accompaniers were served and offered tea, part of the Palestinian tradition.

What is peace then for those victims of state violence and all forms of violence afflicting not only adults, elderly but children, as well. not?  Peace, peace… how elusive!

February 14, OBR: When it hurts too much, it is not love

On February 14, 2014, Friday, all women from all walks of life are invited to participate the OBR or One Billion Rising To End Violence Against Women and Children.  It is a campaign all over the world to end violence inflicted to women as well as children. Why? One could ask. Is it necessary? 

Last night my daughter was watching The Legend. a musical program in KBS/Korean Broadcasting System where all the invited artists will sing legendary songs popularized decades ago or more in Korean Music History, I was  caught by one artist, Ailee  singing the song entitled: When It Hurts Too Much, It Is Not Love,  first popularized by the late Korean song composer/singer Insooni.  

What caught me was the simple message of the song, when love hurts so much it is not really love at all.  It is very contradictory to what we are commonly told and made to believe that love is always coupled with sacrifice, suffering or hardship. And this general perception of love is generally accepted by many.The church even has its own justification: Jesus has to sacrifice himself, underwent intense suffering as he was tortured, hanged and died on the cross. He did all these things because of his total love for the whole humankind! No wonder, Christians are conditioned to believe that love is without suffering, without sacrifices because after the storms, the sun shines above and brings light to the world. That after death, there is resurrection. YES! So we were told, if Jesus the Christ suffers because of love, then who are we that cannot? However, understanding resurrection may come into various interpretation.

To a woman subjected to battering (physical or emotional) and any forms of violence either physical, mental, psychological or even spiritual by her man, lover or husband and be told to have patience and be more understanding of the pains and hurts inflicted to her by the minister/priest or pastor is total stupidity. Whoever advises her is total crazy! The song went on to say:” that it is better to let go and feel freedom”, TO LET GO is freedom, a resurrection for victims of violence! To end the violence is to let go the person who inflected you violence by ending the relationship. It is the right thing to do. Why continue an unhealthy relationship when it gives you tears, hurts and pains in the guise of love? Be a survivor not a victim, Rise! Don’t just cry and pity yourself and curled in pit and say: this is my destiny because IT IS YOU, WOMAN WHO CREATES YOUR DESTINY! Be a part of this worldwide movement of women, billions of women rising to end against violence. You are not alone because there are many among us who shared with you but we refuse to believe that it is just our destiny. Yes,LOVE MAY BE COUPLED WITH SACRIFICE AND SUFFERING BUT WHEN IT HURTS TOO MUCH, IT IS NOT LOVE ANYMORE! Ailee went to sing repeatedly: let go, let it go, it is not love when it hurts too much.

JOIN US and BRING SOME… SEE YOU on February 14. That is the most meaningful celebration for a Valentine day! What do you think?

To dream differently

People says, that to dream is free; we can dream dreams as many as we can, anyway it is free.

When I was in Grade Two, in a demonstration drill, all of us twenty pupils were asked by the teacher what we would like to be in the future. In other words, each pupil would say something what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was seated in the third row,  second desk to the last. Recalling why I was in the last row when I was early to come after our class, I remember I was asked to erase or clean the board even before I got the chance to have a seat. But I went in the room with the two boys but they seated in the front desk of the second row.

When it was my turn to say what I would like to be in the future, I stood up but I could not say anything because most of them had already mentioned like: doctors, nurses, engineers, med-techs, pilots, teachers, and  many more. Almost all eyes were looking to me, waiting what I would say. I repeated the teacher’s question: “What I would like to be when I grow up?” I paused and look around, shyly I stammered saying, “I want to be a hero.” Some of the teachers around laughed and I could feel blood flooding to my face and when I was about to sit down, then one of them asked me, “What do you mean, you want to be a hero?” I stood again but this time I was no longer shy, I was so firmed with my answer, “First, Mam, I do not have other choices because they all mentioned ahead of me, second, I want to really serve the people in need, with no condition but either I was correct to use the word hero or not but I want to be different from what they said.” Then the teacher approached me, “Please, don’t get me wrong but I am just curious because this is the first time I heard that one wanted to be a hero for the rest of you here now want to really render services with your professions in the future. So what is the difference with the service you said?” I was confused but was still able to reason, “I think, Mam, what I mean is I will do service which can really help the people.” Then the teacher turned with her comments, “Alright then, be what you are and please be seated.”

I can never forget that experience because I felt so ashamed afterwards and the coming days for fellow pupils were teasing me and it spread in our school that “I want to be a hero.” Wow, that was almost forty-one years ago!

Looking back, maybe it was some kind of a joke for a two-grader to say something not commonly said nor dreamed from the rest because there were no choices anymore, but trying to feel and understand the word “to be different from the rest” makes sense, really to me now. As a woman priest, surely I AM DIFFERENT FROM THE REST! I render service very different from them. Either the word hero was a right term but I know my calling is very different from fellow Grade-Two pupils forty-one years ago. But God knew, never I wanted nor dreamed to be a priest though a thought of a woman priest/bishop was nowhere to be heard in the early seventy’s in the provinces.

As a priest, mother, wife, lover, advocate for peace and justice, my only dream is to have a world with positive vibes, a beautiful just and peaceful world for everyone, where humans and all God’s creations live in harmony and order; no more wars, no more poverty because all will be sharing God’s bounty equally. By so doing, I will have to free my self first from my own caves, to let go from my own fears, shame, hurts and pains so that with the rest of them who are dreamers like me, I can soar high, struggle hard and continue to dream of a world that is totally free and abundant.


It is a reality that all humans have to face: age is unstoppable; all of us will pass the process of aging towards death but there are others who cannot. Let us be grateful to the Creator God for giving us the privilege to age beautifully, happily, peacefully and blissfully of being together with our loved ones. And, let us not undermine that feeling young despite we aged is unquestionable, that is why it is just fine to always feel young at heart; I think it should be for the heart  knows best. – EMMC

You may not believe

You may not believe, but I experienced most of the times, insights, enlightenment, good thinking or whatever or however you call them, always come in peculiar places or unexpected ones. How the mind works? Here are few examples:

What I think, what I feel and what I believe belongs to me,
and will surely be mine!
I will never sit, never sleep, never rest
without giving a damn good fight!
what is not mine will never be mine;
It belongs to others, let it be ,
let it slips away,
let it go and never mind.

I just realize:
I want to feel in love with my self!

It just came to my mind while watching a cartoon movie after a good laugh. Then it slipped from my mind. After a week I recalled something similar thoughts and scribbled them on a piece of paper and got it lost. One day I was sorting out some scratch papers and I happened to read it. I was trying to recall what book or where I copied it. Then suddenly I remember it was from me.

In life,
there is no such thing as:
right time
right moment
right opportunity
because it is you,
yourself to Do IT:
create the right time
make the right moment
begin the right opportunity

The above insights sparked to my mind while taking a bath one afternoon. I was reaching the soap when it comes to me all of a sudden. When I stepped out from the bathroom, I forgot. Five hours after, while walking with my youngest daughter toward the train station, (we were talking about something) I suddenly remembered the words. I cut her in the middle while saying something.to me Tried to recall and said the words slowly to her but she was half listening to me wondering and when she could understand me, she busied herself with her mobile phone.

The above insights were THOUGHTS that somehow flashed in fleeting seconds. When I missed to write them, then they just disappeared and forgotten. I had many similar experiences happened from time to time but most of the times when my attention was caught to other things then they were just like bubbles in thin air. To date the first one was posted in my fb account some time ago.

Acceptance and letting go: Happy Easter!

On the day I was blocked outright by someone close to me from his FB account, I thought it was just a joke … because of my joke posted as comments in one of the pictures where he was in.  After a week, weeks and months passed (maybe after a year for we are now 2013, it happened last October 9, 2012), I began to realize it was no longer a joke!  The disconnection pains a lot especially when there was no enough notice; especially when you were not even asked and  given a chance to explain.  I am human and it was a torture when friends asked me about him.  Many times  I tried to search his FB account but alas, I am unknown to him. 

Time passed and I become used to it. When they asked me about him I just smiled and never told them. Every time I recall what he did to me, I always confront the pain, the hurt and the anger… would you believe my means of release? I just cry for an hour and slowly all ill feelings just slipped away.   My mantra is always: “God, heal me, I pray.  God, keep me strong and stronger everyday.”        

 Acceptance is a positive attitude of letting go and the best we can do is to train ourselves to learn to let go the fear of losing ourselves from those we deeply love and care so much. We just pray that somehow, they will remember and be reminded that we never stop connecting them through our prayers, good memories and happy thoughts.   

As we commemorate Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem today and as we celebrate the Palm Sunday let us be reminded always, that life is never a bed of roses. so as any relationship. Holy Week reminds us of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion but it never ended there for he was able to overcome death and comes to us very alive on the Resurrection Sunday.



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