Ateneo professor resigns; says his ‘service to the Church and to ADMU no longer coincide’

MANILA, Dec. 29, 2012–“No one can serve two masters.”

An Ateneo de Manila theology professor has resigned, realizing that he could “no longer share the path” taken by the Jesuit-led university community that went all-out for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) law despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

Prof. Rafael Dy-Liacco, in a resignation letter, decried the “failure” of Ateneans to reject what he said was an alliance with a “spirit of disdain for the Church” that had worked for the RH bill’s passage.

“That spirit repudiates the Church’s holiness and, at the same time, attempts to assume it for itself (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4). It has manifested at an unusually high level of ferocity, even hatred. It has manifested in the wholesale denigration of the Church – of her teachings, of her bishops, of her catechists, and of her common lay faithful,” said the letter, addressed to the chair of the Ateneo’s theology department and the dean of humanities.

“Whatever material good Ateneans believe they have accomplished by supporting the passage of the Bill, their failure to reject alliance with that spirit, to truly seek counsel with the Church, and to make amends for and to repair whatever harm that their alliance with that spirit is doing and will do to the faith of believers in the Philippines, has not been right,” Dy-Liacco added.

The letter was written on Dec. 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day on which the Church commemorates the massacre of children under King Herod and which resonates today amid the grim reality of abortion. It was on Dec. 28 that news first spread of the clandestine signing of the RH bill last Dec. 21 by President Benigno S. Aquino III, an Ateneo alumnus.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had warned that a “contraceptive mentality” to be promoted by an RH law would lead to an “abortion mentality,” as what has happened in countries that had passed laws making contraception widespread.

In August this year, 192 Ateneo professors signed a statement of support for the RH bill, in open defiance of the shepherds of the Church and lay leaders. Ateneo professors, in a 2008 statement, had claimed Catholics could support the RH bill “in good conscience,” contradicting the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae which reiterated the Church’s ban on contraception.

The move by the 192 professors prompted the Ateneo president, Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, to release a statement saying that Ateneo was officially against the bill. Villarin’s statement, however, was largely ignored as professors and students continued to call for the passage of the controversial measure, which calls for billions in taxpayers’ money for contraceptives and sterilization.

Detail from 'The giving of the keys to Saint Peter' by Pietro Perugino

Dy-Liacco and two other Ateneo theology professors released a statement on Aug. 28 calling out their colleagues for distorting the Church’s teachings on conscience.

In his resignation letter, Dy-Liacco said the “procreative love” between husband and wife as well as the bond between the mother and child from the point at which life begins in the womb are “spiritual realities.”

He said: “One does not need infallible pronouncements from the Magisterium in order to willingly assent to their truth, and to their implications for any path towards genuine human fulfillment.”

The theology professor, who has a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School, said the teachings of the Church indeed “clash with the ideologies that rule this age, while her ministers and her teachers are all too human.”

“Often times it seems easier to give up believing that the Church is the Holy Spirit’s work. But the gospels tells us that believing in the Son of God when He became incarnate was not easy either (cf. John 1:11).”

Dy-Liacco maintained that there could be no compromise with the spirit of animosity against the Church, “much less collusion with it (cf. Revelation 18:4).”

“The Holy Spirit’s will and that spirit’s will are never the same (cf. CCC 676). It rejects God’s truth (cf. John 8:45). Moreover, when one becomes allied to it, one becomes like it (cf. John 8:44), he said. “Thus here the saying also holds: ‘No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other’ (Matthew 6:24). Because of these realities, I believe that my service to the Church and my service to ADMU no longer coincide, and I believe that I can no longer share the path that ADMU has taken. Therefore I hereby resign both my teaching position and my tenure at ADMU Theology,” he said.

“Throughout my years teaching theology at ADMU, the Bible had increasingly become my primary teaching resource. I had found that the religious virtues, spiritual ideals, and array of theological perspectives on the human condition that are conveyed in the full range of Biblical narratives, from Genesis to Revelation, filled a lacuna that I had noticed in ADMU theology. It was a lacuna in the formation of character and conscience,” he said.

He said he would be judged in the way he had taught his students in grasping the truth. “I wish I had been a better teacher. I wish I had learned more quickly about hewing closely to the truth (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). I wish I had learned sooner about not putting my own thoughts ahead of God’s teachings (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20–25). I wish I had understood more deeply about avoiding self-promotion and not seeking praise (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:5). I know that I shall be held accountable for my students’ grasp of the truth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10–15).” (Dominic Francisco)

  • http://twitter.com/rafaeloca rafaeloca

    Good riddance!

    • http://www.facebook.com/tom.borromeo Tom Borromeo

      Short sweet and stupid, not even a rebut worthy of an Atenean Raffa, shame on you ! AdMU has just lost a true Catholic Theologian and professor. Their loss will be the Church’s gain. nWise up little man !

      • http://www.facebook.com/SrAthens SrAthens Angeles

        Catholic Theologians, where are you? What happened to Ateneo?

      • noradanao

        Your comment reeks of selfless love, humility and compassion that Christ has espoused. Congratulations.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001866666873 Ricardo Boncan

      That’s exactly why the neo-ateneo has gone south, a perfect example of why Prof. Dy-Liacco left. Shameful shameful…

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.rj.39 Richard Rj

    dapat lang siya mag resign kasi walang matutunan mga students sa kanya.gusto yata bumalik sa dark ages. anoituturoniya? the padre damaso way? salamat at nag resign kayo.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O5HKALRICF7V6QM6MYPC5TJCFQ Herbert David

      bago ka magkomento dito, ayusin mo muna ang facebook mo at puros kamanyakan ang laman ng FB mo…

      • Augustus Caesar Guarin

        the medium is the message Herbert, ang gusto ng condom, utak condom this i the essence of the CONTRACEPTIVE MENTALITY OR UTAK PALABOY.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

        hahaha bullseye!

    • greg

      anong Padre damaso way? just to be fair nabas mo ba yung libro?

      • Augustus Caesar Guarin

        may rh bill na ba noong panahon ni Rizal?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

        hehehe. nadale mo!

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.wolf Michael Wilhelm Wolf

      You know, the so-called “dark ages” were not that dark: philosophically speaking, the men of those times had much clearer vision than many of the modernistic philosophers starting from the Age of Enlightenment. nYou are a typical pro-RH-bill persona though: like sheep following the ever-changing whims of the times, never seeking to be rooted in eternal truths that alone can lead man to finding what is true, good and beautiful.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

        another asintado ka!

    • http://twitter.com/TheBatMON Mon Ortiz

      Ayusin mo muna sarili mo, di ka nga makapagtype ng maayos. Anong kala mo, mas matalino ka sa kanya? Haha. Atenista ka ba? At kaya mo bang mag-professor dun? At anong Padre Damaso way? You refer to a fictional character because you think fictionally.

      • http://www.facebook.com/junriel.tabliya Junriel Tabliya

        richard rj…totally null…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1421881925 Ishmael Ahab

      Oh! Another person spouting “dark ages”, and “damaso” without actually reading what the Dark Ages really is or who is Damaso? Study well hijo before you spout things which makes you look like an unlearned man.

    • http://www.facebook.com/junriel.tabliya Junriel Tabliya

      dark ages??? you speak words you do not now.How sad.

    • geekborj

      Do you know that abortion, infanticide, contraception, and homosexual acts were widespread in the ancient civilizations, until the spread of the catholic Faith? Even in the time of Alexander the Great, having romantic relations with same sex was “normal”. It was in the 1930s that the ancient practice of sex started to become “modern” by the admittance of contraception by some who claim to be Christians.nnTalking about “dark age” and “backwardness”…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jildma-Balotro/100000986458004 Jildma Balotro

      teka teka di ba mga damaso nga (kaparian) yung nagpapatakbo ng pinag resignan nia? Sila yung pasaway NA PARI ng simbahan. Di mo makita sa kanila ang katotohanan at tinuro ni kristo na sia ang daan, KATOTOHANAN at buhay. Ano ba ang katotohanan? Basahin mo ang mga libro ng obstetrics at pharmacy. Nandun ang katotohanan na nakakalaglag ng bata at nagpapadugo hanggang mamatay ang ibang babae dahil sa abortion na di inakala dahil nag mintis ang iud o ang pills sa pag pigil ng pagbubuntis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SrAthens SrAthens Angeles

    Thanks Professor Rafael Dy-Liacco for standing for the Truth, although it’s unpopular! You are the real Atenean!

  • junviray

    good move as a Catholic..more power..

    • julelden

      however, we lost someone that holds onto the faith within the ranks of unbelievers…

  • Augustus Caesar Guarin

    I commend the act of this brave and faithful Ateneo Professor Raefael Dy-Liacco. May his tribe increase. Better a lion than be one of those monkeyt-see-monkey do kind of pro rh bill people who imitate the neo paganinstic thinking of foreigners. God bless, Sir. God will provide.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

      You got it right!

  • Augustus Caesar Guarin

    The passage of the RH bill is not about health, not about progress, not about rights. It is nothing more than a passage of a contraceptive mentality wherein those who use condoms etc wish to legitimize their lust behind an immoral law. Damaso, the Vatican, Galilieo (hehehe) and the like do no come into the picture here. The stand of the Catholic church against the RH bill is deeper than what meets the eye. It actually counters one of the deadliest sins ever to prowl the face of the earth: LUST now disguised as choice, responsible parenthood, women’s rights and all the other lies in between.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carmelita.mangilit Carmelita Mangilit

      I agree 100 percent.!!In a conference in Boston re:rising adolescent prehnancies,it was said that FAMILY PLANNING FAILED AND THEIR SOLUTION TO THE CRISIS IS ABORTION>nnWHILE CONDOM MAY PREVENT THE SPREAD OF AIDS THE OTHER Experimentation by young people is devastating to their moral development..leading them to free sexual relationships ar a very age with no responsibilities involved for the consequences of their act.nnFoods,decent housing,,educational moral development of children adolescents and adults,jobs,technological aids for the farmers ,foods are the basic needs of our countrymen.

  • Augustus Caesar Guarin

    After the passage of the RH bill, I really don’t know what the president means by ” tuwid na daan”, dahil wala akong katwirang nakikita sa isang batas na taliwas sa moralidad, at magdudulot lamang ng mas malalim na korapsyun sa mga tao. The medium is the message, kung gusto mo ng condom, utak condom din ka. At ang progresong mararating mo ay artificial progress tulad ng artificial flavors ng gomang suot-suot mo sa tuwi tuwina. Hindi ako magtataka na sa pagtiwalag ng isang tao sa katotohanan ay tuluyan siyang bubulusok pa-ibaba. The preisdent openly defied the Catholic church, let us see what happens to a branch when separated from the vine.

    • ErarudoCoil

      Your argument about artificial progress lacks support, as well as your claim that the passage will lead to more corruption. The president has to fulfill his role as a president. It is his duty to serve the people, including non-Catholics. By the way, the Catholic Church does not hold the monopoly of the truth. You may also want to check Article 2, Section 6 of the Philippine Constitution. It says “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” Thank God!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001565433198 Rolly Antonio

        Separation of church and state does not mean that the church cannot express its opinion on matters that involved the welfare and the morality of her people. Last time I checked, the leaders of the church are still Filipinos, aren’t they?nnIf the church does not hold the monopoly of the truth, what brings you here to question the course of action taken by the church, as if pressing your view of truth upon us. Double edged sword is indeed deadly. Be careful.

        • ErarudoCoil

          Duh. I never claimed the Church cannot express its opinion. I’m just pointing that out to support the President’s decision to sign the bill.nnHmm. Let me see. The comment section seems to allow everyone to express their opinions. Just like the Catholic Church is allowed to express its opinion on State matters. So there seems to be no problem with me coming here to comment. HAHAHA.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jildma-Balotro/100000986458004 Jildma Balotro

            I am sorry to say that the truth is not a matter of opinion. We adhere to the truth because there is no iota of falsehood in it. I am against the rh law not because I am a catholic but because of my vicarious experiences with the pills’ and iud’s horrible side effects of abortions. Just open the medical books of obstetrics and gynecology plus the pharmacology books which mentions the pills as abortifacients. I cannot bear to hear that I am just stating an opinion when these books show the truth as it is not as we think it is.

          • ErarudoCoil

            Where did I claim that medical studies are opinions? Please point that out because it seems you’re putting words on my mouth.

      • clanwolf

        We have faith. We submit to the teaching authority of the Magisterium.

        • ErarudoCoil

          K. So what’s your point? How is that related to my comment?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001866666873 Ricardo Boncan

    The courage to stand up for one’ faith is no longer prized by Ateneans who think that being Catholic is some ethnic, cultural thing like being a Jew. That’s what the ADMU has sacrificed for prestige. In this case, they would rather give up a pearl of great prize and go for the grain of sand, tsk, tsk, tsk… ADMU needs to re-examine herself or will find themselves a secular school soon if it isn’t one already by now!

    • Maria Estrella Ledesma

      my nephew spent a freshman year there, we were so happy he got in following the tradition of his Lolo. But when he came home for summer and listening to him talk, I am glad he did not go back. The Ateneo of my father is no longer the Ateneo of today.

      • READMENOW2011

        190+ faculty of Ateneo supported the RH Bill. Iba na talaga ang dynamics within. Pnoy was a product of the old school. Bam Aquino for the modern. Both are supporters of the RH Law.

        • clanwolf

          Pnoy was hardly the model Ateneo student.

  • READMENOW2011

    With the RH passage, the Ateneo Community must review their policy. If they take the risk in taking a stand against mining, they must also take the risk of standing for the Church.

  • Guest

    SALUDO AKO SA’YO, PROF. DY-LIACCO…ADMU IS SELF-DESTRUCTING….YOUR POPULARITY IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR FIRM COMMITMENT TO BEDROCK PRINCIPLES BUT STEMMING FROM YOUR WILLINGNESS TO ACCOMMODATE AND TOLERATE POSTMODERN STANCE….HARDLY RECONCILABLE TO THE TENETS OF THE CHURCH

  • http://www.facebook.com/oni.camino Oni Camino

    SALUDO AKO SA’YO, PROF. DY-LIACCO…ADMU IS SELF-DESTRUCTING…WHY IT IS POPULAR IS NOT BECAUSE OF ITS FIRM STAND FOR BEDROCK PRINCIPLES BUT BECAUSE OF ITS WILLINGNESS TO ACCOMMODATE AND TOLERATE WHAT IS CONVENIENT AND FASHIONABLE..

    • ErarudoCoil

      Of course you know all of these because you have immersed yourself in the Ateneo community. How very reliable! HAHAHA.

  • READMENOW2011

    Ateneo system is designed for the rich. For this Year of Faith, it is high time for them to review that. Is it still relevant in the modern world? For this banner story/headline hitting the CBCP (portal for family and life) means a lot. This speaks well of the CBCP’s attitude towards the SJ/Ateneo Community.

  • READMENOW2011

    To redeem itself, Fr. Jet may organize the lawyers, the legal eagles that Ateneo produced over the years, to challenge the RH law in the Supreme Court. It is ironic if UP graduates will do that for CBCP. Better still, CBCP may form a legal team from the brightest of the lawyers-producing Catholic schools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hyangelo-Henry-Hao/1090903824 Hyangelo Henry Hao

    RAGE QUIT!

  • READMENOW2011

    THE SJ/ATENEO COMMUNITY MUST BE REMINDED OF THIS: The opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded to “strive especially for the propagation and defense of the faith and progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine.”[4]nnFr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, is not the face of “the propagation and defense of the faith”.

  • READMENOW2011

    Ateneo is more concerned about building its basketball and volleyball teams than fulfilling to “strive especially for the propagation and defense of the faith…”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

      Ironic as it may appear but Arellano University was anti-RH bill which leads me into a conclusion….focus is on defense of faith and not basketball & volleyball defense game plans.haha

  • READMENOW2011

    Saint Ignatius of SJ: “Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse…” nnIf the Ateneo faculty and graduates DO NOT “serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse..”, it is better for the SJ to stop its operation in the Philippines. THEY ARE ONLY A HEADACHE TO THE LORD AND TO THE CHURCH.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clebmythcfd Cleb Calimutan

    A high respect to Prof. Dy-Liacco

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1571438831 Anatalia Anisan Anala

    Thank you, Prof. Rafael Dy- Liaco, for your brave stand against those who use their God given intelligence in defying the truth, and the Jesuit university in its lukewarm response to such a braggart insult to CBCP and the Catholic church’s stand on RH, as a whole. You nailed it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

      Approved!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jlisingjr.1 Stephen Michael Lising

    To the Congress and Senate: Please vote as a Catholic not as a politician

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Briones-Fermin/1787587712 Rodrigo Briones Fermin

    The fellow professors who preferred to remain silent and ignore Prof. Raffy’s call ought to undergo self-examination and decide otherwise while there’s still time…soon ADMU students, especially Theology students, will turn you into a laughing stock.

    • READMENOW2011

      ….to undergo self-examination and decide otherwise while there’s still time…soon… THE BEST TIME TO THIS IN THE YEAR OF FAITH (NOW)

  • Gabriel_Angel

    Thank you, Prof. Dy-Liacco – you are a true Catholic theology professor! Associate yourself with an authentically Catholic institution!

    • READMENOW2011

      SJ must re-think. If what they produce will only oppose or always against the Church, they must stop their operation.

  • tristanism

    Well, there’s always UST.

  • MarytheDefender

    Not everyone in the Ateneo are Pro-RH Bill. Many unfortunately, but not all. I have friends among the students faculty and alumni who a passionate, faithful Catholics. It’s not always the school per say but the particular profs who taught us that will make a difference in how we think. Ateneo teaches its students how to think. However, not everyone strives to understand why the Church teaches what it teaches.

    • READMENOW2011

      ALARMING. “Many” means MAJORITY. Kaya nandyan pa ang Society. Pero hindi na si Jesus ang sentro.

  • junviray

    When will the others follow suit? The SJ seems to have failed in its mission. With so many of its faculty supporting the RH Bill, it might be safe to state that its students might have also imbibed in their system the RH mentality. What gives then? An overhaul of its system is in order.

  • Maxima Arat

    With or without the RH Bill, there are people who already have practiced abortion.nnIt’s just unfortunate that church leaders and members choose who and what to support. If you bring to the church leaders’ the Italian Mafia’s wicked schemes, they will refuse to believe. Instead, they become corrupted and become one of the evils’ instruments. There is this priest (Edmund Vargas) who has been corrupted by the Italian Mafia.nnBut I believe, God is still in control. And everything works for good for those who love the Lord and for those who are called according to His purpose.nnGod will prevail at the end, no matter what because He is God, the Almighty. His words will not return to Him void but it will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent.

  • where_I_stand

    First, I am a Catholic and I supported the RH Law as it provides free access to our poor women and their children to safe reproductive health care and its related services. Dissent in the Church has its role. Cardinal Avery Dulles said that Catholics can disagree with the bishops and still be a good Catholic. nnSecond, I salute Prof. Rafael Dy-Liacco for standing on his faith. It is not easy to let go of his teaching position and tenure at ADMU Theology. How many Theology faculty members at the ADMU who kept their silence, neither joined the other 192 faculty who openly support the RH Bill nor supported the stand of Dy-Liacco and two other faculty members? To my knowledge, the Theology faculty of ADMU did not make an official stand on the issue whether they are pro or against the proposed bill.nnThird, I noticed that only a few pro-RH advocates who are active in the online discussion in the major newspaper websites. The antichurch freethinkers are more active and aggressive (aside from the bulk of pro-Aquino bloggers during crucial issues literally swarming the site like inq.7 which is suspected as hired gunner of the communication group). If they can easily organize themselves to support a cause, that is, anticlericism, why can’t the Catholic netizens organized themselves and support one another?

  • Rodrigo_Tisoy

    a perfect model of what a catholic professor is… I salute you for giving glory to God and not the president.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jildma-Balotro/100000986458004 Jildma Balotro

    Congratulations ! WOW ! FANTASTIC! A MAN OF PRINCIPLE. How I wish I was able to read this earlier. But then ateneo lost the one who stands for the truth and you are one person less to drown evil with a lot of good.

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