I am not the most religious of people. To be perfectly honest, I go to mass because my mother wants me to. While I cannot profess a close and loving relationship to God, I love my mother, and if me going to mass makes her happy, I’ll go to mass. I’ll attend the processions, pray the rosaries, and partake in Holy Week traditions while other people my age are off to the beach or out of the country because we hardly get vacations that long in the span of a year.
I started and finished my education in Catholic schools. I pray at night on my own. When there are things that I am extra thankful for, or when things are rough, I open conversations with God, hoping for guidance, and maybe just a little help or just professing gratitude.
I have to admit sometimes that it’s hard. Sitting there listening to things that I do not agree with. Mutely absorbing things that I feel very strongly against, and not confronting the person spouting all these opinions to an audience that will take him at his word because of his job. Sometimes, priests make it really hard for me to be a Catholic.
Today was one of those days.
You see this man:
with his holy water and shiny white robe told us in his sermon today that God brought Yolanda upon us because of the passing of the RH Bill.
Yes. He attributed the biggest storm ever to hit land in the Philippines to lawmakers signing a bill allowing people to take control of their reproductive health.
He told us that this was God telling us that we were sinners and that He is still God and to stop sinning, to stop living a life of sin.
I was fuming. On two fronts. The first because I am a staunch believer in reproductive health. Life is precious, sacred, and should be taken care of. If you can’t feed a child, or are not ready for one, I believe you, as a responsible, logical adult should take steps to make sure you don’t make one. That means being protected against diseases as well, and making sure your health, when you are ready, is fit for taking care of the baby, or giving birth to it when the time comes.
The RH Bill will prevent children being malnourished, or having to resort to desperate measures to feed themselves, or being left alone to die of hunger while their parents, who were unfit to have them in the first place, free to make more because they didn’t have the means to have their tubes tied, or just have basic birth control.
But I digress.
I was extra angry in behalf of the people in the provinces trying to rebuild their lives, the people flying in all over the world trying to help them, and those far away from the front lines but are still trying their best to make sure that the provinces stricken by this typhoon have lives to get back to.
While here we were in mass, in an airconditioned room, in a mall, cushy, comfortable, and know where our next meal was going to be, here was a man of God, blaming a bill for the disastrous events of November 8, 2013 that have changed millions of lives in our country.
It was extra difficult to be a Catholic today. And I do believe that God up there didn’t sic this storm on the country to “punish us for our sinfulness”, and I wouldn’t even begin to try and understand why this happened.
However, in my mind, the God that I believe in isn’t a vindictive, petty god that wanted to “teach us a lesson” that day.
I love the God that I know, and that wasn’t Him.