April 13, 2005, 9:08 a.m.

Right To Choose

While we are in the interregnum (time before a new pope is proclaimed) period, several media outfits make a lot of speculations about the identity of the next pope. They even interview people about their thoughts about the next pope. Obviously the majority like the Apostolic successor to continue the policies of John Paul II, perhaps having a John Paul III. I was shocked to hear one person commenting that the next pope should allow abortions and a lot of other related things. That kind of thing cannot happen! All right-minded people are really pro-choice, meaning we all have to make the right choices in life. We choose life, not death; we choose peace, not war. We choose love, not hate, etc.

In Deuteronomy 30, God actually gave his people the right to choose, but wishing that the right choice is made: "I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him (vv 19-20)..." As you may see, this battle between the culture of life and the culture of death is not new. This exhortation is repeated by Joshua, the successor of Moses: "...if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, ...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24.15)." And then perhaps lest we become proud and think it is only through human effort that we make the right choices, the reality is that God chose us first. In John 15, Jesus of Nazareth is speaking to us: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you (v 16)."

This concept of free choice extends to all aspects of modern life. The different activities of the Church (include here all the pro-life movements) really exhort all people to make the right choices. We have a stand against abortion, and if people insist on doing that abominable act, they are practically free to do that. Now because it is legal in a lot of countries (notably the developed ones), we really cannot do anything about it. It doesn't mean that complacency should be the rule; no, the fight continues. In the Philippines (with Malta as the only countries without any legal divorce in place), divorce is being introduced in Congress. They may succeed in the future, but in the end people make their own decisions. The faithful people will choose to remain married (happily), even if a lot choose divorce. The only saving grace in democracies is that the faithful people are free to express their beliefs in public. But please read what the Church teaches, or perhaps open the scriptures and understand that is written there.

Choose rightly!