She was a mother of five who owned a small library for children located beside the highway in Barangay Mambatad, Miagao, Iloilo. I could not forget her because of her library, something that is out of the ordinary in a place that ranks education somewhere below having to earn for a living. I used to join a Catholic organization in college that taught catechism to young boys in that area which we held every Thursday in their house. Back then, I was already questioning the wisdom behind having a lot of children in such impoverished area of Miagao. That time she was already pregnant with her sixth child. Her husband, a utility worker at the Division of Biological Sciences invited our group to that place as he saw the need of the children for the teachings of the Church.
Our group leader, a Public Health professor and a devout Catholic, did not give the mother a lecture on the use of artificial contraceptives to limit the size of their family, which I think is customary once a public health worker and a woman pregnant with her nth child come face to face. Neither was there a passing mention about family planning. I understood the professor’s dilemma. Can one be a faithful Roman Catholic and a pragmatist at the same time. The response, I gather, is in the negative.
I met her again this morning. After a short ‘how-have-yous’ she mentioned that she is pregnant for three months, ‘another blessing is on the way’ to translate what she said in the vernacular. Her seventh child.
I beggar understanding when it comes to issues such as this. When population issue is pitted against faith I am wont to take the side of the former. Not because I do not have faith but because I can see that rationality of limiting one’s family size to allow children to have maximum care and attention from their parents. To quote a friend and a regular reader of this blog who quoted this from someone else ‘not using condom (or contraception in our case) is so third world’. And indeed it is.
While the rest of the Catholic world is progressively combatting the ills mankind has inflicted on itself, the faithful Catholics in the Philippines remain enmeshed in the Medieval Age-like existence.
And I ask, what does ‘another blessing on its way’ mean?