Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In-depth study: After divorce, 44% of women fell into poverty


MARRIAGE AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: THE ECONOMY OF THE FAMILY RISES OR FALLS WITH MARRIAGE
Research May 2011 of Family Research Council (found here)

Fagan pointed to the massive cost of divorce on society, noting, “If the government pledged to reduce family breakdown by just one percent, taxpayers would save around $1.1 billion dollars each year.”

Executive summary of research paper:
The income decline that follows divorce, particularly among women, is well documented. Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.

Following a divorce, the parent with custody of the children experiences a 52 percent drop in his or her family income.

The children of divorced mothers are less likely to earn incomes in the top third of the income distribution, regardless of where in the income distribution their parents’ income fell.

The full research analysis can be downloaded here.
============

One of the best studies on the over-all effects of divorce is The Effects of Divorce on Children, by Fagan and Churchill, January 2012. It cites numerous studies.

This can be found here in this website: marri.us

You can download the study here:
  (Download PDF) (.pdf): Free
  (Download PDF-Executive Summary) (.pdf): Free

Executive Summary:
Each year, over a million American children suffer the divorce of their parents. Divorce causes irreparable harm to all involved, but most especially to children.
Divorce detrimentally impacts individuals and society in numerous ways across all major institutions.

  • Family: Divorce permanently weakens the family and the relationship between children and parents. It frequently leads to the development of destructive conflict management methods, diminished social competence, the early loss of virginity, diminished sense of masculinity or femininity, more trouble with dating, more cohabitation, greater likelihood of divorce, higher expectations of divorce later in life, and a decreased desire to have children.
  • Religious practice: Divorce diminishes the frequency of worship of God and recourse to Him in prayer.
  • Education: Divorce diminishes children's learning capacity and educational attainment.
  • The marketplace: Divorce reduces household income and deeply cuts individual earning capacity.
  • Government: Divorce significantly increases crime, abuse and neglect, drug use, and the costs of compensating government services.
  • Health and well-being: Divorce weakens children's health and longevity. It also increases behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric risks, including even suicide.
Divorce damages society and consumes social, human, and economic capital. Though it might be shown to benefit some individuals in some individual cases, overall it causes a temporary decrease in an individual's quality of life and puts some "on a downward trajectory from which they might never fully recover."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Contraception an ethical issue not a religious issue: an affront to the dignity of the person


SOME COMMENTS TO FR. BERNAS' STAND ON THE RH BILL
by Fr Julio Penacoba. frjuliop@gmail.com 1046 Dos Castillas St., Sampaloc, Manila


As I understand it, Fr Bernas attempts to explain why it would be possible to accept the teachings of the Church (that says that contraception is wrong) and yet to support the RH Bill that promotes contraception.

His line of argument may be put like this: The rules of the Church apply to Catholics but should not be imposed on others.

In my understanding, that line of argument is very valid for religious issues, that is for matters related to faith and worship. For example, the Church has rules for its worship such as the obligation of attending Sunday Mass, or the prohibition of eating meat on Ash Wednesday, or the obligation to follow canon law provisions regarding marriage. The Church should not demand that the State impose those obligations to non-Catholics.

However, Fr Bernas' line of argument is not applicable to ethical issues. In those matters, the Church does not have ethical rules for Catholics only, but declarations of the ethical values inherent to the dignity of any human person. Thus, when the Church speaks against corruption, bigamy or drunkenness she is not stating rules for Catholics only. Neither is she imposing limitations on the goods of others. She is simply offering a moral evaluation of certain behaviors for all men of good will who mind the dignity of the whole person including his ethical dignity.

In my perception, Fr Bernas' position seems to treat contraception as a religious issue (a Church rule) rather than an ethical issue. For example, the first quotation that he cites in his Second point (Compendium of Social Doctrine, n.423) belongs to the section entitled Religious Freedom and not about morality or ethical issues. Any intelligent reader can see that it is talking of rights and privileges on the area of practicing one's religion --clearly not applicable to ethical issues.

Regarding the second quotation from the same Compendium (n. 169), it belongs to a discussion on how the State should seek the effective good of all and not only of the majority but of the minorities as well. To apply that text to the discussion on contraception would assume that everybody agrees that contraception is an ethical good and therefore it should be given not only to the majority but to the minorities as well.

Since both quotes are from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, may I now quote from the section (n.234) where that document refers directly to the on-going debate:

All programs of economic assistance aimed at financing campaigns of sterilization and contraception, as well as the subordination of economic assistance to such campaigns, are to be morally condemned as affronts to the dignity of the person and the family.

The answer to questions connected with population growth must instead by sought in simultaneous respect both of sexual morals and of social ethics, promoting greater justice and authentic solidarity so that dignity is given to life in all circumstances, starting with economic, social and cultural conditions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pacquiao: My most important lessons in life

By Teresa Tunay. Slightly abridged version.
Read the full version here.

When Manny Pacquiao's path and mine crossed in Davao, I gladly accepted his agent's invitation for me to meet him.

But I wasn't interested in Pacquiao's being a boxer per se, or in his being material for a good story, curious though I was of what makes this diminutive Filipino such a giant in his chosen career. My intent was more "devilish." I was after his soul, so to speak. I aimed to probe his psyche.

And so we met. I was rather disappointed that his handshake was not bone-crushing at all, but a very gentle, almost shy one, like his smile. I had also expected him to be somehow image conscious, taking care what to say to media people, after all he's undoubtedly a celebrity's celebrity now, the Philippines' prime export. But no—this one is not a publicist's creation, and I discovered it doesn't take much to make the guileless Pacquiao open up. Just eyeball-to-eyeball contact and naked goodwill on my part.

What I uncovered in my "probe" was an uplifting surprise: boxing can be a very spiritual thing, if done Pacquiao's way. Here, let me share with you a piece of the champion's soul.


TRT: What have been the most important lessons life has taught you?


MP. First, that I should have trust and faith in Him. Una iyan. Tiwala sa kanya, at saka pananalig. Kung wala Siya, wala rin ako.

Second, that I must have self-discipline. Boxing is no laughing matter. You never know what awaits you when you climb up the ring. Pagpasok mo sa ring baka mamatay ka na, walang nakakaalam niyan. O kaya malumpo ka. You could come out of it a vegetable, or a corpse. And it calls for intense practice, you cannot take it for granted. Dapat, sa Diyos ka umasa at magtiwala, tapos sabayan mo ng disiplina sa sarili. Always pray. Through my faith in Him, I have been able to lift my family out of poverty.

TRT: What particular areas in life do you most need self-discipline on?

MP: My health. No late nights. Walang puyat-puyat. Walang gimmick. I should be in bed and asleep by 8 or 9; up by 5, rise, run for an hour. I should watch what I eat, too: vegetables, fruits, fish—palagi kong ulam iyan! I hardly eat meat, and when I do it should be fat free, inaalis yung taba bago iluto. Likewise, milk should be low-fat or skimmed. My food should be easy-to-digest because I have to remain alert.

I religiously practise at one o'clock noon; I just follow my doctor's advice, he knows best, and I don't cheat. No advice from any expert will work if you don't have self-discipline. Even if somebody's guarding you, if you don't control yourself, all the good advice will amount to nothing.

TRT: Besides food and exercise, where else in your lifestyle would self-discipline prove invaluable?

MP: Sex. Sex is absolutely a no-no when I'm getting ready for a fight, which could run on for two, three months. Walang siping iyan. That's a regulation in boxing. Sex weakens you. In fact, some boxers are done in by their opponents' camp by using women as bait. Pinapainan sila ng kampo ng kalaban ng magandang babae bago sila lumaban They send you an irresistible woman the night before the fight—if you have no self-discipline, if you are weak, kakagat ka sa pain, you'll be easily tempted, and that's the end of you.

TRT: But how can you endure that?

MP: In whatever matter, when sacrifice is called for, one has to be patient. If it's food, I just don't look at it anymore. Our eyes are our Number One source of temptation. Lechon, masarap yun! Rich food? Of course, they all taste good, but if looking at them will just make me drool over them—pag tiningnan ko pa sila, maglalaway lang ako—so why should I look? So I refuse to look. Ganon din sa babae. Sino bang lalaki ang ayaw ng babae? (Same thing with women. What man would not want a woman?) But if looking at them would just make me long for sex, why should I look? Self-control is necessary; I just cover my eyes with blinders, parang sa kabayo.

Kaya pag sinabi ng trainer ko, masama, masama. Hindi ko na kinukwestyon yun. Masunurin ako eh. Hindi ko na iniisip yung masarap na mawawala sa akin, dahil magapapahirap lang sa akin dun sa mabuting gusto kong gawin. (If my trainer says it's bad, then it's bad. I don't question that anymore. I'm obedient. I don't think anymore of the pleasure that I'll miss, because it will only make it harder for me to do the good I want to do).

TRT: You're trying to say that when you have a goal in life, you should take care not to put anything between you and that goal. But what about your wife? You're not alone in this, and she's still young…

MP: My wife understands that and is supportive when it comes to sacrifices. She knows that my foremost concern is to excel at what I'm doing. She knows it's for her and my kids that I do it. Para sa pamilya ko. And she sees the results of discipline—it is love in action. Love should be proven with action, not just with words, especially in marriage; actions must be constant proofs of love through years of togetherness.

I must admit that sometimes my wife gets jealous of my work, but I'm patient, we both persevere, for our children, the family. I want my family to be proud of me, for my wife and my children to be able to say that I am a good husband and father.

TRT: Now that you've lifted your family comfortably out of poverty and provided for their secure future, is there anybody else you would want to help out?


MP: Oh yes! I help support sports in general, not just boxing. We conduct regular tournaments, like National Manny Pacquiao Cup for billiards… We have "pa-boxing" too, usually on my birthday, in Gen San where we invite boxers from Davao, for example, to participate.

There is also the Manny Pacquiao Sports Foundation, established four years ago, to develop youth boxers, to give benefits to retired boxers iyung mga nalaos na tulad ni Navarrete, etc; to provide scholarships to boxers' children; to build a sports center not only for boxing but also for tennis, bowling, track and field, swimming, basketball.

TRT: You seem so determined to help your kababayans. Are you that generous?

MP: I just want to help. I support sports because I do not want people to say, upon my retirement, "Ganon lang? Nagpayaman lang?" (That's all? Just made himself rich?)

I pray to have the strength to continue being the best until I retire. I want to be able to continue helping even when I am retired. That may not be very far away... You have to be realistic. Boxers don't last very long; They're done at 30…

TRT: I've had glimpses of some of your fights on TV. You make the sign of the cross before each round... Do you do this to conquer some fear? To calm you down? Or do you really trust God that much? You also wear the rosary when you're proclaimed the winner—and this is for all the world to see on TV. You could be setting an example of faith to your fans--are you aware of this?

MP: (Smiling shyly). I have a deep faith in God. I fear no one. Natatakot lang ako kapag may kasalanan ako. (I feel afraid only when I've sinned). I practice and pray hard because I want to win to make my countrymen happy. I'm happy to make them happy, but I know I can't do it on my own. I need God.

This article was written by Teresa Tunay in 2005. Read the full version here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Christian faith represents the choice in favor of the priority of reason

By Cardinal Ratzinger

"In principio erat Verbum" — at the beginning of all things stands the creative power of reason.

Now as then, Christian faith represents the choice in favor of the priority of reason and of rationality....can reason really renounce its claim to the priority of what is rational over the irrational, the claim that the Logos is at the ultimate origin of things, without abolishing itself? ...

Even today, by reason of its choosing to assert the primacy of reason, Christianity remains "enlightened," and I think that any enlightenment that cancels this choice must, contrary to all appearances, mean, not an evolution, but an involution, a shrinking, of enlightenment.

In the way early Christianity saw things, the concepts of nature, man, God, ethics and religion were indissolubly linked together and that this very interlinking contributed to make Christianity appear the obvious choice in the crisis concerning the gods and in the crisis concerning the enlightenment of the ancient world.

The orientation of religion toward a rational view of reality as a whole, ethics as a part of this vision, and its concrete application under the primacy of love became closely associated. The primacy of the Logos and the primacy of love proved to be identical.

The Logos was seen to be, not merely a mathematical reason at the basis of all things, but a creative love taken to the point of becoming sympathy, suffering with the creature. The cosmic aspect of religion, which reverences the Creator in the power of being, and its existential aspect, the question of redemption, merged together and became one.

Every explanation of reality that cannot at the same time provide a meaningful and comprehensible basis for ethics necessarily remains inadequate. Now the theory of evolution, in the cases where people have tried to extend it to a "philosophia universalis," has in fact been used for an attempt at a new ethos based on evolution. Yet this evolutionary ethic that inevitably takes as its key concept the model of selectivity, that is, the struggle for survival, the victory of the fittest, successful adaptation, has little comfort to offer.

Even when people try to make it more attractive in various ways, it ultimately remains a bloodthirsty ethic. Here, the attempt to distill rationality out of what is in itself irrational quite visibly fails. All this is of very little use for an ethic of universal peace, of practical love of one's neighbor, and of the necessary overcoming of oneself, which is what we need.

Source: http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/zrtzevolution.HTM

Pacquiao's gems of wisdom


By Teresa R. Tunay, OCD
Feb. 10, 2005

I'm not a boxing fan. I don't relish fights—cock fights, dog fights, horse fights, salagubang fights—least of all people fights. So I'm not into boxing, really. But it's not everyday one gets the chance to shake hands with a boxer—a world champion at that—who makes the sign of the cross and kisses the rosary before entering the boxing ring. In fact, his posters depict him with arms raised in victory, and proudly wearing a rosary around his neck—so proudly that I'd wish certain priests would do the same with their Roman collar.

So when Manny Pacquiao's path and mine crossed in Davao, I gladly accepted his agent's invitation for me to meet him. My hosts insisted that Pacquiao—or any world champion for that matter—would make good copy anytime. And they're right.

But I wasn't interested in Pacquiao's being a boxer per se, or in his being material for a good story, curious though I was of what makes this diminutive Filipino such a giant in his chosen career. My intent was more "devilish." I was after his soul, so to speak. I aimed to probe his psyche. Why the rosary? Did this world boxing champion know that he's sort of serving the Church by his devotion to it, wearing it in his posters for all the world to see? Or is the rosary something of an amulet for him? I was just curious, dead curious.

And so we met. I was rather disappointed that his handshake was not bone-crushing at all, but a very gentle, almost shy one, like his smile. I had also expected him to be somehow image conscious, taking care what to say to media people, after all he's undoubtedly a celebrity's celebrity now, the Philippines' prime export. But no—this one is not a publicist's creation, and I discovered it doesn't take much to make the guileless Pacquiao open up. Just eyeball-to-eyeball contact and naked goodwill on my part. What I uncovered in my "probe" was an uplifting surprise: boxing can be a very spiritual thing, if done Pacquiao's way. Here, let me share with you a piece of the champion's soul.


TRT: What have been the most important lessons life has taught you?

MP. First, that I should have trust and faith in Him. Una iyan. Tiwala sa kanya, at saka pananalig. Kung wala Siya, wala rin ako.

Second, that I must have self-discipline. Boxing is no laughing matter. You never know what awaits you when you climb up the ring. Pagpasok mo sa ring baka mamatay ka na, walang nakakaalam niyan. O kaya malumpo ka. You could come out of it a vegetable, or a corpse. And it calls for intense practice, you cannot take it for granted. Dapat, sa Diyos ka umasa at magtiwala, tapos sabayan mo ng disiplina sa sarili. Always pray. Through my faith in Him, I have been able to lift my family out of poverty.

TRT: What particular areas in life do you most need self-discipline on?

MP: My health. No late nights. Walang puyat-puyat. Walang gimmick. I should be in bed and asleep by 8 or 9; up by 5, rise, run for an hour. I should watch what I eat, too: vegetables, fruits, fish—palagi kong ulam iyan! I hardly eat meat, and when I do it should be fat free, inaalis yung taba bago iluto. Likewise, milk should be low-fat or skimmed. My food should be easy-to-digest because I have to remain alert.

I religiously practise at one o'clock noon; I just follow my doctor's advice, he knows best, and I don't cheat. No advice from any expert will work if you don't have self-discipline. Even if somebody's guarding you, if you don't control yourself, all the good advice will amount to nothing.

TRT: Besides food and exercise, where else in your lifestyle would self-discipline prove invaluable?

MP: Sex. Sex is absolutely a no-no when I'm getting ready for a fight, which could run on for two, three months. Walang siping iyan. That's a regulation in boxing. Sex weakens you. In fact, some boxers are done in by their opponents' camp by using women as bait. Pinapainan sila ng kampo ng kalaban ng magandang babae bago sila lumaban They send you an irresistible woman the night before the fight—if you have no self-discipline, if you are weak, kakagat ka sa pain, you'll be easily tempted, and that's the end of you.

TRT: But how can you endure that?

MP: In whatever matter, when sacrifice is called for, one has to be patient. If it's food, I just don't look at it anymore. Our eyes are our Number One source of temptation. Lechon, masarap yun! Rich food? Of course, they all taste good, but if looking at them will just make me drool over them—pag tiningnan ko pa sila, maglalaway lang ako—so why should I look? So I refuse to look. Ganon din sa babae. Sino bang lalaki ang ayaw ng babae? (Same thing with women. What man would not want a woman?) But if looking at them would just make me long for sex, why should I look? Self-control is necessary; I just cover my eyes with blinders, parang sa kabayo.

Kaya pag sinabi ng trainer ko, masama, masama. Hindi ko na kinukwestyon yun. Masunurin ako eh. Hindi ko na iniisip yung masarap na mawawala sa akin, dahil magapapahirap lang sa akin dun sa mabuting gusto kong gawin. (If my trainer says it's bad, then it's bad. I don't question that anymore. I'm obedient. I don't think anymore of the pleasure that I'll miss, because it will only make it harder for me to do the good I want to do).

TRT: You're trying to say that when you have a goal in life, you should take care not to put anything between you and that goal. But what about your wife? You're not alone in this, and she's still young…

MP: My wife understands that and is supportive when it comes to sacrifices. She knows that my foremost concern is to excel at what I'm doing. She knows it's for her and my kids that I do it. Para sa pamilya ko. And she sees the results of discipline—it is love in action. Love should be proven with action, not just with words, especially in marriage; actions must be constant proofs of love through years of togetherness.

I must admit that sometimes my wife gets jealous of my work, but I'm patient, we both persevere, for our children, the family. I want my family to be proud of me, for my wife and my children to be able to say that I am a good husband and father.

TRT: Now that you've lifted your family comfortably out of poverty and provided for their secure future, is there anybody else you would want to help out?

MP: Oh yes! I help support sports in general, not just boxing. We conduct regular tournaments, like National Manny Pacquiao Cup for billiards… We have "pa-boxing" too, usually on my birthday, in Gen San where we invite boxers from Davao, for example, to participate.

There is also the Manny Pacquiao Sports Foundation, established four years ago, to develop youth boxers, to give benefits to retired boxers iyung mga nalaos na tulad ni Navarrete, etc; to provide scholarships to boxers' children; to build a sports center not only for boxing but also for tennis, bowling, track and field, swimming, basketball.

TRT: With all those things you want to do for others, have you considered entering politics?

MP: No, not yet…. I'm not thinking of politics at all. I just want to help, to support sports, because that could help solve the country's problems like drugs, etc. Young people turn to vices because they are not given direction, they are not productively engaged. It's a waste of energy—sayang ang lakas nila, naliligaw sila!

In sports you'll definitely forget about vices because your energy will be redirected. When you need to get up early in the morning to run, you'll go to bed early, you will not smoke or drink or do whatever will endanger your health and your life.

TRT: You seem so determined to help your kababayans. Are you that generous?

MP: I just want to help. I support sports because I do not want people to say, upon my retirement, "Ganon lang? Nagpayaman lang?" (That's all? Just made himself rich?)

I pray to have the strength to continue being the best until I retire. I want to be able to continue helping even when I am retired. That may not be very far away... You have to be realistic. Boxers don't last very long; They're done at 30…

TRT: I've had glimpses of some of your fights on TV. You make the sign of the cross before each round... Do you do this to conquer some fear? To calm you down? Or do you really trust God that much? You also wear the rosary when you're proclaimed the winner—and this is for all the world to see on TV. You could be setting an example of faith to your fans--are you aware of this?

MP: (Smiling shyly). I have a deep faith in God. I fear no one. Natatakot lang ako kapag may kasalanan ako. (I feel afraid only when I've sinned). I practice and pray hard because I want to win to make my countrymen happy. I'm happy to make them happy, but I know I can't do it on my own. I need God.