A Slippery Slope

In the April 15, 2013 editorial of the Inquirer, the readers are given another dose of the paper’s stand on issues related to life. Several editorials have repeatedly expressed the Inquirer’s support for the RH Law. By implication, I think it would not be unjust to say that the paper supports contraception because this is what that law encourages. Now, just through one paragraph we now know the paper’s position regarding divorce, abortion, euthanasia and gay unions (I don’t like to call them marriages because they are not).

I quote the paragraph: “The pastoral letter’s (referring to the pastoral letter of Bishop Soc Villegas) only major flaw, as far as we can tell, is the very first guideline Villegas proposes. ‘The candidate cannot declare a categorical and clear NO to divorce, abortion, euthanasia, total birth control and homosexual marriages or D.E.A.T.H issues. Pro-choice is anti-life.’ This is, unfortunately, mere sloganeering. In their day-to-day lives, Filipino Catholics struggle with the moral dilemmas these issues present. They are never black or white. Euthanasia, to offer only one example, may be the most Christian option for a family whose dying member wants to leave this vale of tears with dignity. Asking for a categorical position does not reflect that moral struggle.”

I think it is quite evident that the editorial does not agree with the statement of the bishop, calling it mere sloganeering. It is also evident that the editorial supports euthanasia. What is implied also is that the editorial supports divorce, abortion and gay unions.

Here we can see a good example of how the culture that rejects life has had its beginning with the acceptance of contraception. Historically, that’s how this culture has evolved. Critics of the position of Catholic prelates on contraception and life issues have leveled the argument against them that they fall into the fallacy of the slippery slope when they argue that accepting contraception will lead to a whole gamut of evils related to life and family. The charge of fallacy can hold if there is no evidence for the claim. But in the case of the Inquirer’s editorials we have proof of the slope. First, the editorials supported contraception, now it supports the rest of the items on the culture of death.

The Inquirer’s support for euthanasia is disheartening, to say the least. Euthanasia is the willful procurement of the end of the life of the sick, the dying, the aged or the handicapped. Natural moral reasoning will tell us that it is morally unacceptable. I know that Filipinos tend to even go to debt to save the lives of their sick loved ones. Procuring the death of an innocent life can never be justified, even if some good can be obtained from it.

The editorial claims that the bishop’s statement is merely the repetition of a slogan. The Church has always taught the same things. When she repeats the same doctrine she is just being faithful to her duty to teach the truth because it is the truth that truly makes us free. Falsehood enslaves us to evil. Once a person has heard a doctrine hundreds of times, he will easily claim the teaching as sloganeering or brain-washing. Usually this conclusion is arrived at by persons who did not understand the reasons behind the doctrine.

Another assertion made by the editorial is that the issues and moral dilemmas people face are never black or white. Demanding a categorical stance will not reflect the reality of life, so the editorial seems to say. It is true that life is complicated and is never black or white. It is true that moral dilemmas are never simple. But moral principles are simple and categorical. They have to be. Killing is killing. And it is evil. The person through his prudential judgment has to apply the moral principles to the case at hand. The moral principles need to be clear in his mind so that he can arrive at a correct course of action with regard to the case he is facing. The bishop was simply reflecting the Church’s stand on some moral issues that in turn reflect her moral teachings. He was not intending to reflect the moral dilemmas people have to face.

I know that the Inquirer seeks the common good of the Filipino by proposing opinions in its editorials. If indeed it seeks the common good, it should uphold the moral law and cease to support contraception, divorce, abortion, euthanasia and gay unions. Only by upholding the moral good can we obtain the common good.

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