Tuesday, April 24, 2007

About what I have recently read from the Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Philippine Daily Inquirer's on-line presence has become a veritable forum for interaction through its blogs.


On the science blog, a discussion was about the a 2007 physics graduate of the University of the Philippines, Mikaela Irene D. Fudolig. Physics graduates are not really newsworthy, but Mikaela is just 16 (an age when most UP students are freshies), a young woman, and best of all Summa Cum Laude.

She enrolled in the university via a special program that recognizes giftedness. She had no high school diploma and did not take the UP College Admissions Test required of all aspiring freshies. She isn't the first. When I was a freshie in 1984, one of my fellow freshies was 12 yr old Perry Esguerra, a physics major. He is now a PhD in physics.

The reactions range from unbelievability, to puzzlement, to the usual "honor grads don't know how the real world is". Many commented about her age (understandable) but many commented about whether she got assistance in her time in the UP and whether her professors were more accommodating and gave her academic favors. For crying out loud, give the young woman her due!

I have a truism for you. Advancing age doesn't always correlate with advancing intellectual smarts or wisdom!

The Inquirer does some Theology

Perhaps it is only in the Philippines where a national newspaper would give editorial space to a theological problem. Is it something that the Pope declared infallible recently? Women Priests and Bishops? Ordination of gays as priests?, gay marriage?, Islam's relationship with Catholicism ?

No! It's about limbo. Eh Doc what's limbo? Theologians have speculated for the last millennium or so that babies who die without being baptized enter into a state of "natural joy". Thomas Aquinas taught that these babies were not freed of original sin but were incapable of personal sin. Thus they are happy but do not know that they could be happier still, if they were in Heaven. If there is something that best illustrates the idiom "ignorance is bliss" this must be it.

The Inquirer asks "In putting limbo out of the orbit of the theology of salvation and expunging it from the catechism, has the Roman Catholic Church exposed as a sham its claim of being “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”?

The Church says that limbo wasn't a dogma anyway. Papa Ratzi being a clear thinker of course would want to come up with clear definitions. So the Inquirer used the wrong theological topic to flesh out it's original question. The editorial has no punch. The editorial is limbo.

It should have chosen women and gay priests or the Pope's statement on the limits of scientific inquiry. As for the women and gay priests, this is a burning issue in the Anglican Communion and threatens to split that church and thereby affect the Roman Church. The latter is an issue for scientists who earlier had lauded the detente established by Papa Ratzi's predecessor, JP II.

The Inquirer would have got a zillion letters to the editor!

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