Goodbyes... and... Hellos... 5/12/2009 09:48:00 PM

These past few moths marked significant events in the life of my two high school barkada (bosom buddies)...
In March, C.P.'s mother passed away... She had started getting sick in August. She came for a CT scan in November. Coincidentally, I was the resident-on-duty. The moment I saw the first images on screen, I knew it was terminal cancer A few confusing months passed when she was diagnosed with something immunological/inflammatory rather than her final diagnosis cancer. She was in and out of the hospital. As I was about to go on retreat, C.P. texted to say that she had died in Manila. I couldn't go to say my proper farewells though. A week or so later, C.P. came by the hospital on her Mom's 9th day and showed me a miniature urn with her ashes as well as images of her wake on my friend's camera phone. It was then that I was struck with the reality that I will never see Tita A.P. in this life again.
Then, early this month, R.S. (well, I should now refer to her as R.S.-C.) got married. I was only able to go to her church wedding, real reasons only known to her and me. She had been jittery for a few months before the wedding, so I decided to have lunch with her and give her the encouragement not to be afraid to take the next step. I think the short lunch worked as she raved about the fact that her fiance would adore my ideas about life and marriage. A few days before the wedding, she texted to ask if I can do the reading at their nuptial mass. I agreed. Then I realized that I did not have anything to wear (I was planning to not follow the color scheme as I was just attending, now I was going to read at the mass)! Thus, I found myself using lunch break while on holiday duty to purchase my yellow dress and fancy shoes (with the help of a friend!) and dinner break to wash and dry my outfit. It turned out well and I even got compliments for the dress. I was misty-eyed at the wedding of this long-time friend (we started our friendship in 2nd grade), but I thankfully did not cry openly (hehehe... that would have ruined my make-up!). I am so happy to welcome my new friend-in-law, S.C.!
I guess this illustrates life as we know it... We say our hellos as well as our goodbyes... Yet the best way to do things is to live our now in the way that we should.

A "Lord of the Rings" Twist to the Population Question 5/12/2009 09:44:00 PM

Since I am currently reading "The Lord of the Rings" (I'm now in the first few chapters of the "Twin Towers"), I found this take by Elizabeth Lev juxtaposed with the population issue most intriguing...
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Tolkien's Dark Lord at the UNHobbit Alliance Brings Triumph of Hope
By Elizabeth Lev
ROME, APRIL 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- It was an epic tale of triumph worthy of J.R.R. Tolkien. The events at the U.N. Population and Development Commission last week could have been taken straight out of his great trilogy "The Lord of the Rings."
Last week, representatives from 47 countries gathered in New York for the annual meeting of the commission on population and development of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In view of a world population projected to hit 9 billion in 2050, the commission reviews and assesses the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development approved by the United Nations in 1994.
Behind the optimistic fa├žade of concern for the welfare of a burgeoning population, a darker, most sinister agenda loomed. A new language was insinuating itself amid the hopeful statements of the earlier U.N. documents.
The main agenda item was "sexual and reproductive health and rights" -- the terminology under which many NGOs and U.N. committees promote abortion -- and the codification of a language that would open the door to an array of demands by homosexual activists.
Like the one ring forged by Sauron in the depths of Mount Doom, this term revealed the master plan: "One Ring to rule them all" and to bring them into darkness. Changing the word 'ring' to 'agency,' the specter of the Dark Lord could be replaced by Planned Parenthood, one of the most active NGOs at the meeting.
A prescient few saw the impending menace. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, noted that "one cannot help but get the impression that populations are seen as the hindrance to greater social and economic development." The prelate also warned that the commission "is giving priority to population control and getting the poor to accept these arrangements rather than primarily focusing upon its commitments to addressing education, basic health care, access to water, sanitation and employment."
But the armies of darkness were strong and seemed invincible. China, Great Britain, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Spain and Germany could be expected to promote this language. The United States, under a new administration in thrall to the culture of death, would use all of its might to advance the reign of Planned Parenthood. All seemed lost.
These international giants, the leaders in economy, development and technology, were certain that no obstacle remained to their plan.
In the statement made by Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, the plan was revealed. She invoked the world financial crisis, and the subsequent difficulty in sustaining programs to improve the health and education of the world's poor. “The financial crisis was threatening to wipe out this hard-won progress." But her solution was to ensure that "greater attention is paid to population issues and more resources are devoted to women's empowerment and reproductive health, including maternal health care and family planning."
Translating this to the common tongue, her proposal is to teach women that childbearing is dangerous and oppressive; therefore abortion is healthy and liberating. Even the Evil Lord of Mordor never tried to pass off his agenda of death and enslavement of the human race as something "positive" and "empowering."
Obaid then reminded the commission that the Cairo conference had agreed that "every person has the right to sexual and reproductive health," and exhorted the commission "to keep the promise to ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015."
The great nations nodded and applauded, much like the ring wraiths whose will had long been bound to that of their wicked overlord. The culture of life braced itself to take another loss among the many it had already suffered.
Then help came from an unexpected quarter. Iran took the floor and protested that the "right to sexual and reproductive health" could not be substituted with "sexual and reproductive health and rights."
The Iranian delegate pointed out that this phrase had never been included in any negotiated U.N. document before and urged the commission to revert to previously agreed upon and carefully negotiated language from the original 1994 Program of Action, which is understood not to create any right to abortion.
Immediately four Catholic countries -- Ireland, Peru, Chile and Poland -- picked up Iran's call to strike the wording. It was an unusual alliance, not unlike the dwarves and elves overcoming their differences to fight the common enemy.
Although the Christian community and Iran find themselves opposed on many issues, it was a heartening vision to see the diverse nations cooperating in defense of alliance and dialogue through the culture of life.
But as in Tolkien's great adventure of the fellowship of the nine, it was the smallest of all that saved the day. Like the four indomitable hobbits of Tolkien's epic, the Holy See (a tiny 104-acre state), Comoros (which I had to look up on Googlemaps -- it's in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar) Santa Lucia and Malta all joined the fellowship to break the stranglehold of the forces of evil.
These four hobbit-like states, whose collective national products probably don't equal the operating budget for Planned Parenthood, spoke loudly and convincingly. Malta decried the consistent attempts by the commission to expand "reproductive health" to include abortion. The delegate from Santa Lucia saw to the heart of the proposed wording and stressed that her delegation understood that this provision did not threaten the right of health care providers to refuse to perform or be complicit in abortions as a matter of conscience.
As Galadrial said to the wavering Frodo, "even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
At the last moment at the close of the meeting, the ring of power was thrown back into the fires of Mount Doom from whence it came. "Sexual and reproductive health and rights" was struck from the text.
In these days of imminent conscience coercion, massive government funding of abortion and other gloomy signs on the horizon, this little fellowship at the United Nations demonstrated what Tolkien's characters whisper during the darkest hours and Pope Benedict XVI exclaims from nation to nation: "There is still hope."
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Unfortunately, our dear mostly Roman Catholic country was not among the cited "hobbits". We happen to be still in the midst of the reproductive health bill debate without realizing that this catch-all phrase happens to undermine the protection of life from the moment of conception that is actually protected by our constitution. Yet, there will now be government funding for contraceptives which have an abortifacient side effect. If people want to use artificial contraceptives, by disregarding the voice of reason of the Church to accept into their homes the number of children God has ordained to send them at his own good time, let them spend for it themselves. If they don't want to spend for contraceptives, why can't they learn the natural methods of family planning and apply it without spending a centavo. I am a single, and a taxpayer who does not believe that such contraceptives are necessary thus why should my taxes go to such programs when they can be used to offer basic hygiene classes as well as livelihood projects for the underprivileged instead?