Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do souls sleep until the Second Coming of the Lord as Seventh Day Adventists believed?

"The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things" by Hieronymus Bosch
"The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things" by Hieronymus Bosch
Question: My husband is Sabadista (Seventh Day Adventist).  His belief is that when we die, it's like we just sleep until the 2nd coming because it says Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. So they don't believe in saints and that they are in heaven, including mama Mary. They say that their souls only sleep because the Second Coming has not yet arrived. So according them the miracles of Mama Mary and the saints are work of the devil. Of course I do believe in miracles of Mama Mary and the saints. So what is this Second Coming? Is it not mentioned in the Mass about the souls who have gone to sleep and waiting for the coming of our Lord. Can you explain it to me?

Seventh-day Adventism Renounced After An Experience of Twenty-Eight Years
Seventh-day Adventism Renounced After An Experience of Twenty-Eight Years
Reply

There is a difference between the Particular Judgment of each individual soul after his death and the Last Judgment which happens only during the Second Coming of Christ.

A. Particular Judgment

The Particular Judgment happens immediately after our death.  This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593
1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.

1. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,23 and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Lk 16:22-23)
Notice that the judgment of whether a soul goes to the bosom of Abraham or to a place of torment happens immediately after death.  At least, we can be sure that it is within the lifetime of the rich man's brothers who are still alive and for whom the rich man asked Abraham to send a messenger to warn them regarding the place of torment where he now is.  A lifetime is about 100 years.  A hundred years after Christ's death, Christ has still not returned, therefore the judgment of a soul  can happen before the Second Coming of Christ, and we refer to this judgment as particular judgment.

Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Statues and Portraits
Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Statues and Portraits
2. Good Thief
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”v 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”w 43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  (Lk 23:39-43)
The cross is Christ's judgment seat and on the cross Christ pronounces a judgment on the repentant thief: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."  This is still not the Last Judgment yet Christ already pronounced a judgment.  So we believe as Catholics that immediately after our death, Christ will also pronounce our judgment.

B. Miracles of the Saints and Mama Mary

Miracles by themselves cannot prove that they are from God or from demons.  That is why the Church always investigate cases of miracles.  The Church has to read the message accompanying the miracles, whether there is something heretical or not.  The Church has to look at the life of the messenger, whether he lives a heroic Christian life or not.  In case of doubt, the Church can withhold proclamation of a miracle whether as due to a saint or to Mama Mary, "for even Satan can masquerade as an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14).  But for miracles and apparitions approved by the Catholic Church, we can be assured of their authenticity, such as the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

C. Last Judgment

The Last Judgment happens when Christ comes again to Judge the living and the dead.  This is what the Catechism says:

1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust,"623 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."624 Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."625 ...
The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.628 
Here are the links to the Judgment of Nations in  Jn 5:28-29 and Mt 25:31,32,46.

D. The Mass

In the Order of the Mass we read the phrase:
Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.
The "hope of rising again" refers to the Resurrection of the dead.  To "bring them all and all the departed into the light of your presence" is the hope that departed may see God face to face in a beatific vision, which is heaven.  Though particular judgement is not explicitly mentioned here, it does not go against it either, for God may judge the soul immediately after death, so that the soul can be brought into the light of God's presence.  If the soul has a stain of sin in him, even the tiniest stain, then he cannot enter heaven immediately, because "nothing unclean will enter it" (Rev 21: 27).  Instead, the soul has to enter the fires of Purgatory for cleansing, in the same way as Isaiah's lips were purged by burning coals:

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips,* your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” (Is 6:5-7)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Are unsafe abortions the cause of high maternal mortality rate?

Soviet poster circa 1925, warning against midwives performing abortions. Title translation: "Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman, they also often lead to death."(Wikipedia: Abortion)

The question of whether unsafe abortions are the cause of high maternal mortality rate is a hypothesis and not an established fact. When we say "the cause", we assume that there are no other dominant causes.  The organizers of the coming 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health and Rights that will be held Jan 21 at PICC thinks only in terms of safe and unsafe abortions, because their sponsors have the agenda of controlling population either by contraception or abortion. There are other factors that determine the maternal mortality rate and abortion is just one of them:
Maternal and Child Health: Global Challenges, Programs, and Policies
Maternal and Child Health: Global Challenges, Programs, and Policies

  • Hospital cleanliness.  The hospital does not properly disinfect its surroundings, equipment, and personnel.
  • Medical competence.  Doctors, nurses, and midwives are not following standard procedures in child delivery or the mother was administered wrong medicines.
  • Maternal hygiene. The mother does not wash herself properly, e.g. wash hands with soap and water
  • Maternal sickness.  The mother may already be suffering from another sickness, e.g. leukemia, before delivering her child.
  • Maternal nutrition.  The mother may not be eating or drinking well, e.g. she starved to death.  
  • Maternal surgery.  The mother may have had several caesarean operations before or underwent heart bypass surgery 
  • Maternal psychological health. The woman committed suicide because she was depressed or insane.
  • Contraceptives.  The mother may have taken contraceptives that have fatal side effects, e.g. blood clots
  • Abortion. The mother attempted to abort her child or asked somebody to help her do it. Abortion is a surgical or chemical operation and women's lives are always in danger whenever they undergo abortion procedure.
  • Others
The scientific way to find the cause of high maternal mortality rate is to assume all possible causes, test them one by one, find the leading causes, and make recommendations to address these leading causes.  Even if you restrict your study only to one hospital, this is already a research paper--a research which requires careful methodology design in order to isolate one possible cause of maternal mortality in question, while keeping the other variables constant.  Different hospitals may have different causes of maternal mortality.  The results of this study would be very important, because Philippines don't have accurate statistics on maternal mortality rate and their causes.  Lawmakers like Lagman just blurt out the statistic of 11 mothers dying per day, based on Guttmacher's estimates, which in turn are not based on actual hospital records, as I shall show in another post.

Thus, it is presumptuous to conclude that high maternal mortality rate is due to unsafe abortions, unless, of course, you wish to push the abortion agenda, such as in the coming The 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health and Rights at PICC.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Abortion agenda in the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights

On the 20th year after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and the year before the reckoning of the MDG achievements, civil society organizations in collaboration with government policy makers, program implementers, and development partners will gather at the Philippine International Convention Center on January 21-24, 2014 for the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. This conference will provide an opportunity for the participants to examine the region’s performance, current good practices for diverse population segments (adolescents and youth, women of reproductive age, men, and the elderly), the roles and accountability of different stakeholders, as well as lessons learned, issues and challenges in realizing the ICPD Program of Action and in attaining the SRHR-related MDGs. This gathering will also generate new paradigms, innovative ideas and strategies that would address emerging SRHR issues and challenges beyond 2015. (Source: 7th APCRSHR)
This conference has an abortion agenda.  Check out the conference's program of activities and you will see the following key phrases:
  • Post abortion care 
  •  Women seeking safe abortion services
Here are the key abortion statements in the Conference's satellite sessions:
  • The proposed session is an attempt to bring back the attention of CSOs, Policy Makers and Community Gate Keepers towards issues such as the gap between the rich and the poor, discrimination against women, human rights, unmet need for family planning, sexuality education, unsafe abortion and others. 
  •  Organization: Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) Title: Unsafe Abortions in Asia: Not just a number. As countries start assessing and evaluating their achievements coming closer to the ICPD @20 as well as the final years of the MDGs, there is an urgent need to recognize the critical role played by unsafe abortion in maternal mortality numbers. Asia is currently poised to have the largest number of young people ever in its history and country governments as well as civil society needs to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights of these youth are protected, respected and fulfilled. The dire situation of unsafe abortions in the region is also faced with the legal barriers that impacts on women and young people accessing abortion services. The criminalization of abortion leads thousands of women and girls to die or suffer lifelong illnesses and disabilities every year. This is a social justice and a human rights issue that the UN Special rapporteur for Health has made a statement in the General Assembly on 24th October 2011 clearly stating that "Criminal prohibition of abortion is a very clear expression of State interference with a woman’s sexual and reproductive health because it restricts a woman’s control over her body, possibly subjecting her to unnecessary health risks. Criminal prohibition also requires women to continue unplanned pregnancies and give birth when it is not their choice to do so. States are obliged to ensure that women are not denied access to necessary post-abortion medical services, irrespective of the legality of the abortion undertaken."
Note the following key abortion phrases:
  • Unsafe abortion
  • Accessing abortion services
  • Criminalization of abortion
  • Post-abortion medical services
  • Legality of the abortion
Lastly, here are some declarations featured in the Conference website:
  • 3rd Declaration, Kuala Lumpur, 2005. We note that an increasing number of countries have legalized abortion and are actively promoting safe methods of pregnancy termination. Nonetheless women throughout the region remain at risk of illness or death due to unsafe abortion. We will work to promote services to eliminate the harm caused by unsafe abortion while respecting the laws of countries. 
  • 4th Declaration, Hyderabad, India, 2007. In 1987 governments and NGOs met in Nairobi to call for an end to the 570,000 global and 332,100 Asia and Pacific annual maternal deaths caused by women’s lack of access to contraception, skilled birth assistance, safe abortion, nutrition and respect. Today we see that there are still 242,910 maternal deaths in our region annually, a small decline in comparison with our expectations. Across Asia and the Pacific large numbers of women are still denied access to contraception and safe abortion services either through their poverty, or the barriers erected against comprehensive reproductive and sexual health services. Some countries have made progress in addressing gender based violence, and some have worked hard to reduce the harm of unsafe abortion by ensuring women have access to contraception and high quality methods of safe abortion. But progress is too slow and the cost of this continuing failure is too high....As agents of change we feel that a much greater drive and acceleration of efforts is needed by all of us to save the lives of women and men living in resource poor settings. We would like to reiterate here that poverty today has moved from its earlier definition that encompassed only economic parameters. Today social poverty inhibits and constrains access to already scarce development resources by young people, by people living with HIV and AIDS, by women seeking safe abortion and all people living in vulnerable circumstances irrespective of their economic status. 
  • 5th Declaration, Beijing, China, 2009. Reproductive Health and Rights. Governments should fully recognize sexual and reproductive rights through effective education, policies and services supported by adequate budgets. To do so requires greater commitments to comprehensive family planning and health education and services. This is the most effective way to achieve the ICPD and MDG 5B targets of universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Continuing high levels of mortality surrounding pregnancy and childbirth should alert everybody to the need to include voluntary family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care in efforts to strengthen primary health care services. Research by WHO and other organizations has reminded us that even in countries where abortion is legal women suffer from the risks of unsafe procedures. In many countries debates about morality of abortion eclipse the commitments made to protect the health and well-being of women. While recognizing the value of traditional health practices, governments need to ensure that medications and practices provided for reproductive and sexual health are safe and effective. In facing all these challenges governments need to ensure that poverty and lack of education are removed as barriers to services for reproductive health and safe childbearing. 
  •  6th Declaration, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2011. Looking at the persistent issues of intolerance, inequity and discrimination the Conference spent two days discussing papers on contested reproductive and sexual rights, including such controversial issues as unsafe and safe abortion and the special needs of marginalized and socially-excluded communities.
Note the following key abortion phrases:
  • Safe and unsafe abortion
  • Abortion is legal
  • Morality of abortion
Notice that one of the many of the ideas here was already incorporated in the RH law: post-abortion care.  Once they get a toe-hold here, these pro-RH advocates will push for more, such as the legalization of abortion, despite its prohibition by the Philippine Constitution.
Contraceptive Research and Development, 1984-1994: The Road from Mexico City to Cairo and Beyond
Contraceptive Research and Development, 1984-1994: The Road from Mexico City to Cairo and Beyond
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Research and Action in Support of the Millennium Development Goals: Report 2006-2007
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Research and Action in Support of the Millennium Development Goals: Report 2006-2007
Obstetric Triage and Emergency Care Protocols
Obstetric Triage and Emergency Care Protocols
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time
Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time
Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition
Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition

Abortion in the RH Law

The Conference of Death. (Source: Pro-Life Philippines Foundation)
During the deliberations regarding the RH Law, proponents like Lagman and Cayetano emphasizes that the RH Law is not pro-abortion, for otherwise the law will be declared unconstitutional, because the Philippine Constitution forbids abortion:
Article II. Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
The RH Law has already been ratified, but its constitutionality still hangs on a balance in Supreme Court.  The pro-RH lobby senses danger: the decision on the RH Law cannot be placed on the hands on Supreme Court Justices.  The pro-RH lobby has to do something: force the Supreme Court to buckle down under international pressure, not just to make the RH Law constitutional, but to amend the Philippine Constitution itself in order to make abortion constitutional.  And the way to do this is to organize a conference promoting not only contraception but abortion as well.

Let us look at the number of times abortion is mentioned in the RH Law:
  • (j) While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy, labor and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics
  • (a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb upon determination of the FDA. 
  •  (q) Reproductive health care refers to the access to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by addressing reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include the...(3) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications
  • (s) Reproductive health rights refers to the rights of individuals and couples, to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make other decisions concerning reproduction, free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have the information and means to do so; and to attain the highest standard of sexual health and reproductive health: Provided, however, That reproductive health rights do not include abortion, and access to abortifacients.
Complications of Abortion: Technical and Managerial Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment
Complications of Abortion: Technical and Managerial Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment
The interesting sentence here is "The elements of reproductive health care include the... (3) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications."  In mathematics, the parenthesis is important to clarify meanings.  Normally, when we convert a sentence, the verb can be replaced by "=", the preposition "of" is understood to be multiplication or functional dependence, which can both be denoted by parenthesis, and "and" by "+".  Technically, we should use set theoretic language of union and curly braces, but we'll adopt the algebraic or functional translation for clarity.  As you can see, there are two ways to rewrite the sentence of interest:
  • Element (reproductive health)  = proscription (abortion + management (abortion complications)
  • Element (reproductive health) = proscription (abortion) + management (abortion complications)).
These two interpretations are entirely different.  In the first interpretation, both abortion and management of abortion complications are proscribed, i.e. forbidden.  Thus a doctor or nurse or midwife cannot assist in the procurement of abortion or in the management of abortion complications.  In the second interpretation, on the other hand, only abortion is forbidden; management of abortion complications is part of the reproductive health law.  Anti-RH law advocates can be convinced of the validity of the RH law using interpretation 1.  But pro-RH law proponents can use the ambiguity in language to provide wiggle room in introducing abortion in the country by using interpretation 2: a woman can perform the initial attempt at abortion using certain pills, for example, then she can go to the hospitals to have the doctors complete the abortion.  That is why,  in order to resolve the ambiguity, the RH law emphasizes post-abortion care: 
While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy, labor and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics

Prolife Rally on Jan 21 against the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights

A call to defend life. January 21, Tuesday, 8:00 am at PICC
A call to defend life. January 21, Tuesday, 8:00 am at PICC (Source of Graphic: Pro-Life Philippines Foundation)
The Pro-Life Philippines foundation has made a plea to all defenders of life:
Once again, we are called upon to fulfill our sacred duty to defend life, and the day and the place is the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) to be held at Philippine International Convention Center on January 21-24, 2014.Close to a hundred NGOs are participating in this conference, and on this day, we will hold a prayer rally and be seen and heard so that we may be voices of the unborn, the poor, and the weak, in the early morning of January 21, 8:00am-10:00am.
Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line (Focus on the Family Books)
Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line (Focus on the Family Books)
Here is the link to the website of the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR). The website's home page message reads:
The theme for the 7th APCRSHR is: Examining achievements, good practices and challenges: Towards a strategic positioning of SRHR for all. On the 20th year after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and the year before the reckoning of the MDG achievements, civil society organizations in collaboration with government policy makers, program implementers, and development partners will gather at the Philippine International Convention Center on January 21-24, 2014 for the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. This conference will provide an opportunity for the participants to examine the region’s performance, current good practices for diverse population segments (adolescents and youth, women of reproductive age, men, and the elderly), the roles and accountability of different stakeholders, as well as lessons learned, issues and challenges in realizing the ICPD Program of Action and in attaining the SRHR-related MDGs. This gathering will also generate new paradigms, innovative ideas and strategies that would address emerging SRHR issues and challenges beyond 2015
The prominent sponsors are Ford Foundation, Packard Foundation, Pathfinder International, The Partnership, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and Department of Tourism. Except for the Department of Tourism, all the other sponsors are explicitly promoting contraception and abortion, under the guise of "sexual and reproductive health".

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Monk's Hobbit Articles for year 2013 arranged by month

Fireworks over Ottawa during
 Canada Day celebrations (Wikipedia).
Year 2013 has been a wonderful year for Monk's Hobbit.  At the second half of the year, I migrated Monk's Hobbit from Wordpress to Blogger in order to avail of Blogger's scripting capabilities.  The books featured in the articles I now gather one by one into a catalog in Monk's Books.  This new website provides a description of book content, my analysis of book cover art, my book reviews, and related posts from my other blogs where the book was featured.

Below are the blog posts that I wrote for Monk's Hobbit grouped according to months. There are 74 articles in all.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

January (2)
February (1)
The Catholic Vote: A Guide for the Perplexed
The Catholic Vote: A Guide for the Perplexed
March (2)
April (3)
May (5)
An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines (New Perspectives in Se Asian Studies)
An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines (New Perspectives in Se Asian Studies)
June (6)
July (7)
August (14)
The Latin Mass Explained
The Latin Mass Explained
MONK'S HOBBIT IS NOW IN BLOGGER
The Syria Dilemma (Boston Review Books)
The Syria Dilemma (Boston Review Books)
September (17)
Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition
Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition
October (4)
November (6)
How to Get to 'I Do': A Dating Guide for Catholic Women
How to Get to 'I Do': A Dating Guide for Catholic Women
December (7)