Confronting the MDGs
Using the Language of the Culture of Life1
Atty. Jo M Imbong2
In Year 2000, taking advantage of the turn of the millennium, then United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed a common intergovernmental
framework for development priorities. The Millennium Summit, New York, September
2000 produced the MILLENNIUM DECLARATION, adopted by 189 heads of state as
measures to end extreme poverty by the year 2015.
There are eight (8) Millennium Goals:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIVs/AIDs, malaria and other infectious deceases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the Philippine
Government soon after their approval in the United Nations.
3rd Mindanao Life and Health Congress, Dipolog City Convention Center,
Philippines, October 13-14, 2007.
Legal Office, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Reproductive Health is not listed above. Whether the omission is deliberate, that
is not the question. Rather, does its silence rule out the reproductive health agenda
altogether? Or are the MDGs new semantics for an old and malevolent agenda?
Stan Bernstein, Senior Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy Adviser to the
Millennium Development Project explained:
1. The UN does not want debate and controversy, where it
acknowledged the controversial and politically sensitive nature
of reproductive health (which inevitably brings in its wake
abortion “again and forever”.3 Gender relations and
adolescents’ “needs” for information and services add more
2. While each of the eight GOALS inter-related components
targeting the problem of poverty, Reproductive Health is
difficult to position or integrate within those eight components.
3. The concept of “unmet need” is an “attitudinal variable” which
is difficult to quantify, hence, it is not acceptable as an
indicator of the level of poverty eradication since the MDG
monitoring framework is built around specific quantifiable
benchmarks. Moreover, attitudes on population and fertility
unfold over long periods of time, whereas targets of the MDG
are for the short term (2015).4
Bernstein writes that the Millennium Declaration provided an alternate and
complementary framework to ICPD, and describes it as “an offspring of ICPD” with
many similar elements.5 Notably, Bernstein is of the opinion the omission of
population issues in the MDG’s implicitly assumes that population dynamics are
merely “an outcome of progress toward other desired ends in the MDG’s.”6
While you might now harbor well-founded conclusions on the language of the
MDGs, I invite you to consider what else have been written and said by the
international community about the MDGs in its present form.
International Planned Parenthood Federation had noted the omission:
“Explicit mention of sexual and reproductive health and rights is
missing from the MDGs, however. In particular, no mention is made of
Ibid., p. 130.
Stan Bernstein, “The Changing Discourse on Population and Development: Toward
a New Political Demography”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June
2005, p. 129.
the core goal of ICPD that focuses on meeting the sexual and reproductive
health needs and rights of women, men, and young people globally. This
is the only goal set forth at all of the United Nations global development
conferences of the 1990’s that did not become an MDG.” 7
A very candid and straightforward reaction to the MDGs comes from Professor
Alaka Malwade Basu8 who wrote:
“Many of the Millennium Development Goals are an integral part
of any reproductive health agenda.
The problem is x x x how we can keep reproductive health and
rights in the center of the policymaking process, both directly--by adding
them to the MDG agenda--and also more discreetly, by means of some
suggestions I outline below.”9
How “discreet”, the Professor explains thus:
“Perhaps the language of reproductive health (even if not the
language of reproductive rights) will be allowed to inform [infuse] some
of the 18 specific targets elaborating the eight goals of the project.
1. x x x perhaps a number of measures of reproductive health
outcomes beyond the few that are already included will be added to
the 48 indicators of progress in the MDG project.
2. Various task force Reports of the Millennium Development Project
include clearly stated references to reproductive health matters in
several places. 10
3. Much can be done outside the formal dictates of United Nations
declarations. Much must be done in this way.
4. A number of important nongovernmental organizations private
foundations and national governments x x x remain loyal to the
reproductive health paradigm and to the idea that women’s
Steven W. Sinding, “Keeping Sexual and R eproductive Health at the Forefront of
Global Efforts to Reduce Poverty”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2,
June 2005, p. 141.
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Cornell University 323 Uris Hall,
Ithaca NY 14853-7601 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alaka Malwade Basu, “The Millennium Development Goals Minus Reproductive
Health: An Unfortunate, But Not Disastrous, Omission”, STUDIES IN FAMILY
PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005 132.
See Report of the MDG Task Force on Gender Equality at the later part of this
reproductive rights are central to any sustained poverty-alleviation
What is to keep these various organizations from continuing the
fight through their bilateral funding, their advice, their research
support, and their grassroots activity?
5. Even if the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have lost
interest in population and reproductive health matters, several ‘new
money’ foundations, such as the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundations, have the resources and the commitment to
replace them in the field.11
6. Co-opting the language of the Millennium Develoopment Project
should be easy enough. Numerous examples of such borrowing of
currently fashionable language exist x x x .
7. In the light of such questionable linguistic tactics, those in the
reproductive health field will be doing women in poor countries a
favor by employing the language of the Millennium Development
Project to press for what were once clearly defined reproductive-
Such an application of MDG language will not be a subterfuge at
all, because even if the political language of the reproductive health
agenda is temporarily shelved for strategic reasons 12, the MDGs and
the reproductive health agendas are each the means and the ends of
the other. Each requires, sustains, and promotes the other. 13
On the sensitive question of abortion in the MDGs, Prof. Basu observes:
“The only component of reproductive health that will not lend
itself easily to being incorporated into the Millennium Development
project is the vexing question of access to abortion.
But here too, instead of trying to bring the subject directly into the
MDG discourse, much can be gained by imitating the CAIRO Programme
of Action’s less specific language about the ‘sovereignty’ of countries and
their right to implement policies that are ‘consistent with national laws
and development policies’. This language can be used without referring
to abortion or sexual rights.
Alaka Malwade Basu, Ibid., p. 133.
“Strategic reasons” obvious to the discerning reader.
Ibid., p. 134.
In Cairo, it was a way to appease the Vatican and the Islamic
states. If it 14 were used in the MDG discourse, it would serve to energize
and motivate those groups and nations that already have a legal
commitment and/or a commitment in principle to providing women with
access to abortion, one more way of ensuring women’s right to
Confirming Prof. Basu.
The silence of the MDGs about RH, however, is not the end of the matter.
Adrienne Germain16 and Ruth Dixon-Mueller are more definitive. They wrote:
“Although reproductive health is not specifically named as a goal,
it is widely acknowledged that universal access to reproductive health
services, including family planning and sexual health, is required for
the achievement of the MDGs (Sachs 2001; Singh et al. 2003; United
Nations Millennium Project 205; WHO’ 2002 and 2004)” 17
The declarations of Basu, Bernstein, and Germain are further confirmed by subsequent
actions in the United Nations. An independent advisory body was thereafter
commissioned to advise the UN on strategies for achieving the Goals. Known as the
UN Millennium Project, its Final Report speaks of a “demographically-related
poverty trap” and “attributes to population a significantly causal role in
development.”18 The MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT speaks for itself:19
“(1) Rapid population growth continues to be recognized as creating a
demographic poverty trap in the poorest countries, reflecting the
impact of pov erty on the ability to make investments, as well as the
treadmill effect of ever-increasing levels of expenditure required for
the provision of basic social services.
(2) Sexual and reproductive health and rights are recognized as central
pillars of gender equality.
The “special language”.
Adrienne Germain is President, International Women’s Health Coalition, 333
Seventh Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, 10001, email@example.com. Ruth Dixon-
Mueller is a consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrienne Germain and Ruth Dixon-Mueller, “Reproductive Health and the MDGs: Is
the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2,
June 2005, p. 137.
Stan Bernstein, ‘The Changing Discourse on Population and Development:
Toward a New Political Demography”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No.
2, June 2005, p. 130.
(3) Sexual and reproductive health are recognized as essential to progress
against illness and mortality among mothers, infants, and populations at
risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.
(4) Population dynamics are recognized as a background driver to climate
The MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT continues 20:
“Sexual and reproductive health is essential for reaching the
Goals. It entails healthy voluntary, and safe sexual and reproductive
choices x x x Maternal mortality takes some 529,000 lives a year. Of
those deaths, around 68,000 are due to unsafe abortion, a sign of the n eed
for better access to higher quality family planning services to prevent
unwanted pregnancies and (where permitted by law) to safe abortion
“But promoting reproductive health requires more than simply
delivering services and information to prevent disease and reduce risk. It
■ Family planning, including access to modern contraceptives and
informed and voluntary choice of family planning methods.
■ Safe motherhood including antenatal, postnatal and normal delivery
services and emergency obstetric care.
■ Postabortion care and access to safe abortion, where permitted by
■ A continuum of prevention, treatment, and care for HIV/AIDS and
other sexually transmitted infections.
■ Prevention, surveillance, and care for gender-based violence.
■ Action against harmful traditional practices, such as female genital
mutilation and early and coerced marriage.
■ Information and services for underserved populations including
diverse groups of adolescents, people in emergency situations
The question then should be asked: How will the eight goals be accomplished?
According to the MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT :
“To achieve GOAL 1- Eliminating Extreme Poverty and Hunger:
Smaller families and longer birth intervals, a result of
contraceptive use, allow families to invest more in each child’s nutrition
and health. That can reduce poverty and hunger for all members of a
Ibid., p. 146.
household. At the national level, voluntary reduction of birth rates may
enable faster social and economic development.
To achieve GOAL 2 - Universal Primary Education:
Families with fewer children, and children spaced further apart,
can afford to invest more in each child’s education. This has a special
benefit for girls, whose education may have lower priority than that of
boys in the family. In addition, girls who have access to contraceptives
are less likely than those who do not to become pregnant and drop out of
To achieve GOAL 3 - Promote gender equality and empower women:
Controlling whether and when to have children is a critical
aspect of women’s empowerment Women who can plan the timing and
number of their births also have greater opportunities for work,
education, and social participation outside the home.
To achieve GOAL 4 - Reduce child mortality:
Prenatal care the ability to avoid high-risk births (such as those to
very young women and those spaced closely together) help prevent infant
and child deaths. Children in large families are likely to have reduced
health care, and unwanted children are more likely to die than wanted
To achieve GOAL 5- Improve Maternal health:
Preventing unplanned and high-risk pregnancies and providing
care I pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period save women’s
To achieve GOAL 6- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
Sexual and reproductive health care includes preventing and
treating sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. In addition,
reproductive health care can bring patients into the health care
system encouraging diagnosis and treatment of other diseases and
In relation to HIV, the Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality finds that:
“Women’s economic dependency makes them more vulnerable to
HIV and other sexually transmitted infections Research from around the
world has shown that when women are economically vulnerable they
are less able to negotiate the use of condoms or other forms of safer
sex, less likely to be able to leave a relationship that they perceive to be
risky, and more likely to increase their risk by exchanging sex with
multiple partners for money.21
To achieve GOAL 7 - Ensure environmental sustainability
Providing sexual and reproductive health services and avoiding
unwanted births can help stabilize population numbers in rural areas ,
slow urban migration, and balance natural resource use with the needs of
To achieve GOAL 8 - Develop a global partnership for development.
Affordable prices for drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and a secure
supply of contraceptives would greatly advance reproductive health
programs in all developing countries.
Notably, the REPORT is quite candid in acknowledging that22--
“There are numerous channels (entry points in the MDG) to
integrate sexual and reproductive health services in a strengthened health
For example, maternal and child health services can provide an
opportunity for family planning information programs, referrals, and
HIV prevention an be better linked with other reproductive
health and service interventions.
Expanding the scale of family planning service delivery should
include a range of contraceptive options to meet the needs of specific
populations and accommodate choice and appropriate method-
Adolescents are a major target identified in the Millennium Project Report:
“A large cohort of adolescents--1.3 billion, mostly in less developed
countries--will require separate facilities addressing a complex of life skill
needs--including productive and entrepreneurial skills for employment, literacy
and numeracy training, and nutrition and health information SO FAR SO
GOOD . . . including that of reproductive health.23
Ibid., p. 149
Ibid., p. 147.
Programs for adolescents are small, with limited coverage. They need to
be scaled up to provide full services to the entire adolescent population.” 24
The school curriculum for young people is not spared25:
Curriculum reform must be undertaken to make age-appropriate
materials, acceptable in the local context, available in school systems.
According to the Report of the Millennium Task Force on Gender Equality:26
“Girls’ education is important. Schools can provide life skills
education, including information on health, nutrition, and family
planning. Ideally, such curricula would be introduced in primary
schools and continue through the secondary level.
Interventions to improve girls’ and women’s sexual and
reproductive health and rights are needed both in the health system and in
other sectors, such as education and the legal system. 27
Out-of-school youth will not be spared.
Mass media, folk media and other information outreach
approaches must be expanded to reach the large number of out-of-school
PTA’s are also targets.
“Working with existing institutions parents, parent groups,
cultural leaders can make information and services more effective for
young people.” 29
Vanguards in the Military are not exempt:
“Service delivery to men in the military and police forces has also
been important in scaling up many national reproductive health programs.
Additional programs addressed to men and boys are needed x x x “ 30
On the goal of GENDER EQUALITY.
Ibid., p. 154.
Ibid., p. 154.
Ibid., p. 152.
On the third GOAL, the UN TASK FORCE ON EDUCATION AND GENDER
EQUALITY (a significant part of the Millennium Project Report) is more explicit in its
“Achieving Goal 3 requires guaranteeing women’s and girl’s
sexual and reproductive health and rights. Adolescent fertility rates
remain high, and young women have higher chances of suffering from
complications at birth. They also have a higher unmet need for
contraception x x x
Necessary actions to address these problems are ensuring universal
access to sexual and reproductive health services through the primary
system, providing women and girls with full access to sexual and
reproductive health information and fulfilling all the commitments in
the CAIRO Programme of Action x x x. Interventions are needed within
and outside the health system.“
Great emphasis on sex education:
Outside the health system sexuality education programs are needed
to lay the foundation for improved sexual and reproductive health
outcomes. Ultimately, these interventions must be supported by enabling
policy and a political environment that guarantees women’s and girls’
sexual and reproductive rights. Current threats to those rights must
be be opposed if Goal 3 is to be achieved.32
More emphatically-- the Task Force on Education and Gender Equality says:
“x x x a large body of evidence shows that sexual and
reproductive health and rights are central to women’s ability to build
their capabilities, take advantage of economic and political
opportunities, and control their destinies. For this reason, the task force
has identified guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and
rights as a strategic priority for achieving gender equality and the
empowerment of women.”
Germain and Dixon-Meuller have a last word on abortion--
“Abortion is permitted by law on some grounds in virtually all
countries (WHO 2003), so that all primary health-care and family
planning facilities should be able to provide, directly or through referral,
early menstrual regulation and safe abortion services.
Ibid., p. 148.
For a broader, more beneficial effect, the Task Force on Child
Health and Maternal Health [of the Millennium Development Project]
might have recommended policies and programs to ensure that all
abortions are performed safely in order to eliminate this preventable
cause of maternal mortality.
The Task Force recommendation that “For abortion as for other
areas of sexual and reproductive health, governments and other
relevant actors should review and revise laws, regulations, and
practices that jeopardize women’s health” is significant, however, and
should be widely pursued (United Nations Millennium Project Task Force
on Child Health and Maternal Health 2005 page 74).33
This MDG report is so overwhelming, I must admit. But this is just the
beginning. To continue, I must now proffer a question:
If the Philippines subscribed to the MDGs, does the Philippine
government also subscribe to the strategy to incorporate sexual and
reproductive health and rights in the MDGs ?
Before we confirm our answers, allow me a side note.
When sexual and reproductive health were omitted in the MDG’s, IPPF
Director General, Steven Sinding34 wrote that IPPF had openly urged its member
“To encourage their governments to press the September 2005
Millennium Summit that will review progress in implementing MDGs to x
x x modify the language of MDG 5 (“Improve Maternal Health”)
explicitly to include reference to reproductive health (“Improve
Maternal and Reproductive Health”)” 35
It seems that the Philippines has hearkened to the IPPF invitation.
Enter: DILG Order 2004-152.
Promulgated in 2004, Admin. Order 152 of the Department of Interior and
Logal Government adopts the eight goals and lays down the guidelines for
“localizing” the MDGs. Signed by then DILG Secretary Angelo Reyes, Goal 5
“Improve Maternal Health” became ”Improved Women’s Reproductive Health” :
Ibid., p. 139.
IPPF, Regent’s College, London NW1 4NS, U.K. <email@example.com>
Steven W. Sinding, Ibid., p. 142.
With specific Targets:
“Reduce maternal mortality rate by 75% by 2015.
Increase access to reproductive health services to 60% by 2005, 80% by
2010 & 100% by 2015
Conduct of advocacy and other related services on the following
reproductive health (RH) elements:
● Family Planning (FP). All methods including voluntary
sterilization service (VSS) be made available to all men and women of
● Establishment of functional Community Based Management
Information Systems (C BMIS) for family planning and other RH
● Provision of family planning education, counseling, services
including VSS and contraceptives for both men and women of
● Ensure adequate supply of contraceptive commodity for current
users and new acceptors
● Resolution on the adoption and implementation of
Contraceptive Self Reliance (CSR) on Family Planning
Promotion of and education on shared parenting responsibilities
Maternal Child Health and Nutrition
Provision of comprehensive pre-natal, natal and post-natal care for
all pregnant women.
Provision of iron tablets and vitamin A capsues for pregnant and
Establishment/upgrading primary hospitals, maternal clinics and
other health facilities to provide obstetric care
Increase access to basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric
Promotion of facility based delivery among pregnant women
Supplemental feeding for malnourished pregnant women
Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC)
Provision of medical, legal, psychological services to victim-survivors of
violence against women and children
Ensure the participation of the community in preventing VAWC and
protection of VAWC victim-surrvivors
Provision of counseling services to perpetrators of VAWC
Men’s Reproductive Health
Increase male involvement in reproductive health activities
Adolescent reproductive health (ARH)
Massive education on fertility, responsible sexuality and healthy
development including healthy lifestyle through formal education or
outreach activity for young people
Educate parents on fertility, sexuality and RH and mobilize them for the
provision of information in to young people
Provision of health services and counseling
Education and Counseling on Sexuality and Sexual Education
Conduct of fertility awareness campaign and responsible parenthood
● Prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections (RTIs)/STD/
● Breast and reproductive tract cancers
● Provision of breast and cancer prevention and treatment services
(e.g. acetic acid wash, pap smear, screening, referral) in
selected RHU facilities
● Prevention and Management of Abortion and its complications
● Counseling services incorporated in family planning
● Development of capabilities of health workers in the areas of
maternal care, childbirth, family planning PMAC, VAWC,
ARH and other health care services.”
As for budgetary allocations-
“ LGUs are encouraged to intensify efforts in the implementation
of programs, projects and activities (PPAs) toward the achievement of te
MDGs. LGUs are expected to increase their budgetary allocations for
basic social services responsive to MDGs.”
This DILG directive explains the spate of local Ordinances being proposed and enacted
in Aurora Province, Tagbilaran City, Olongapo City, Quezon City, and lately, Ifugao.
What reasonable-minded government and citizen will oppose:
“improved maternal health, eradicating extreme poverty,
reducing child mortality”?
Are not all these noble intentions?
While apparently noble, the ultimate results of these MDGs are forced,
manipulative programs to promote sterilization, contraception, and abortion—all
of which are being justified under a rationale of achieving peace, economic
development, and social justice.
Using these honorable aspirations to cloak an otherwise pernicious and
discredited “population crisis” agenda brings the utmost injustice to the poorest
people in the planet who look to the new millennium for new hope for a better
life. On the other hand, in navigating this invidious route, the developed and
powerful countries miss out on a millennium opportunity to effectively create an
environment conducive to rescuing communities from dire poverty and
affirming their new hopes.
WHAT SHOULD OUR COMMUNITIES BE DOING?
We are called upon to--
1. Study. At the World Conference on Population in 1974 in Bucharest, Pope
Paul VI said:
All population policies and strategies . . . must be evaluated
in light of the sacredness of human life, the dignity of every
human being, the inviolability of all human rights, the value of
marriage and the need for economic and social justice. 36
For-- “The human person is the synthesis of the universe and is
the reason for everything that exists.”37
2. Fidelity. Citizens are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of
civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the
moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the
teachings of the Gospel. “We must obey God rather than
3. Sensitivity. Seek, know, and fill the authentic needs of your community.
4. People development. Make population a solid economic force. In the
words of Pope Paul VI--
“You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the
tables of mankind, and not favor an artificial control of birth…in
order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life.”
4. Honesty. Use the language of the Culture of Life to drown out the
language of the Culture of Death.
Javier Lorenzo Cardinal Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral
Assistance to Healthcare Workers, speaking at the Vatican-sponsored World Day of the Sick on
February 10, 2004,
POST-MODERN MANIPULATIONS OF LANGUAGE
Words that are not what they mean39
voluntary interruption of pregnancy abortion
voluntary termination of pregnancy abortion
menstrual regulation abortion
control over the woman’s body abortion
embryonic reduction abortion
prenatal sex selection abortion
regulation of fertility “and other methods
of their choice” includes abortion
reproductive health services includes abortion
sexual and reproductive health rights includes abortion
safe motherhood, ligtas buntis contraception, mostly artificial means
reproductive health center abortion clinic
sexual professional prostitute
sex worker prostitute
serial monogamy promiscuity
inter-generational love child molestation, pedophilia
interspecies love bestiality
alternative lifestyle sexual perversion
unhealthy repression self-discipline, self-control
diversity unnatural sexual behavior
other forms of family same-sex partners
adult material pornography
sexually explicit material pornography
death with dignity euthanasia, assisted suicide
in cooperation with relevant interested parties usurping parents’ roles
with peers, other caregivers, educators and
health-care providers excluding parents
rights of the child to access to information excluding parents
consistent with the evolving capacities
of the child excluding parents
the child’s right to confidentiality & privacy excluding parents
youth should be involved in the design and
Can these be the ‘less specific language’ described/suggested by Prof. Basu? Please see footnote no.
implementation of youth programs excluding parents
On Sustainable Development, a strong caveat is in order:
“The incorrect understanding of sustainable development calls
for programming the human species—population control—in order to
protect all animal and vegetative species, seen as equals, from human
beings whose excessive production and consumption threaten the
survival of these species.” (AlbanD’Entremont,Ph.D.
“The Family and Sustainable Development”
Doctor of Geography, University of Navarre)
In the context of the United Nations paradigm, by sustainable
development is meant a development where the different factors involved (food,
health, education, technology, population, environment, etc.) are brought into
harmony so as to avoid imbalanced growth and the waste of resources.
As the Pontifical Council for the Family points out, however, it is the
developed countries of the world that will determine the criteria for “sustainable
development” for the other nations. Thus, certain rich countries and major
international organizations are willing to help developing nations, but only on
the condition that they accept public programs that systematically control birth
rates. In the New Paradigm, Cardinal Barragán asserts, “sustainable
development” becomes the supreme ecological value.
Words which challenge / defy national sovereignty
Must Require Every effort
Establish Should Create
Necessary Entitled Ensure
Imperative Monitor Review and revise
THE STRAIGHTFORWARD LANGUAGE
Culture of Life
Words that express protection of human life
inherent dignity of all human beings
dignity and worth of the human person
prenatal care, postnatal care
right to life, right of the unborn
Words that value and safeguard family
The family, the basic unit of society
the natural and fundamental group of society
a strong force of human cohesion
should be strengthened
the domestic economy
stable, supportive and nurturing family relationships
husband and wife
promote family friendly policies and services
to strengthen the family
contributing to the welfare of the family
impact on family well-being
impact on families
grant assistance to families in difficult situations
an environment supportive of the family
policies to support family security
Words that respect parents
Parents have a prior right
The child’s right to know and be cared for by his parents
That responsibility lies in the first place with the parents
Respect for the fundamental and natural rights of parents
Respecting their cultural values and religious beliefs . . . particularly
The role of parents and legal guardians in the upbringing of children
Acknowledge and safeguard the central role of parents and families
Respect for the liberty of parents
With proper regard for parental guidance
Recognizing the rights and duties of parents for direction & guidance
Including parents with respect to their children’s education
Taking into account the rights and duties of parents
Should involve the active participation of parents and families
Moral well being/moral upbringing of children and youth
Words that respect religious values
fully respect various religions and ethical values
within a framework of ethical values
ensure the religious and moral education of their children
freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief
the right to profess and practice their religion
without offense to religious beliefs and rights of conscience
moral, ethical, spiritual
in harmony with spiritual and cultural values
“What is truth?”
Pontius Pilate asked this of The Christ. With that challenge, the
interrogator became the agent of his own damnation. If he was really searching
for truth, he was already face-to-face with The Truth. But his heart did not
yearn for truth. And so, he never found it.
Right to truthful information
The right of the citizen to information on matters of public concern is a
constitutional right. Necessarily, the right to information includes the right to
truth on matters affecting the public interest--population data and
population figures included. Public policy that is rooted on a false premise will
be a faulty policy. And a faulty policy harms the common good. And since
“public office is a public trust” 40 public authority that falsifies the truth about
matters of public concern betrays the public whose best interest it is mandated
My friends, we have seen how power politics has invaded the region of
the soul. Altered social conditions have diluted our basic holdings and have
gone a long way in upsetting our moral and spiritual values.
We have then to be tough in our determination to put the first things first
and to meet the world’s philosophies with a toughness at least as obstinate as
theirs. We must keep our eyes open all the time, and our hands always on the
plow. Ericti muriamur. Happy indeed is the man who so lives that the final
hour may find him spiritually, and even physically, on his feet. 41
Thank you, and a good day to you all.
Art.XI, Sec. 1, Constitution.
With apologies to Dom Hubert van Zeller, OSB, “We Die Standing Up”, Image Books.