Archive for the ‘reconcilation’ Category

Medicine & Religion: Is confession a potent balm against major diseases in RP?

February 16, 2009

Dr. Francisco Duque III, the secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) reportedly said a staggering 80% of Filipinos are suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) “due to unhealthy lifestyle.” The doctor goes on to say that to combat cardiovascular illnesses, cancers, and diabetes, people have to go to church and make regular “confession.” I find his religious recommendation oddly misleading. It needs clarification.

“Among those considered as NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. Duque said the three are now among the major health problems in the country. Duque said one way to address this problem is for the people to go on regular confession.” I suggest that they go to church to pray and confess their sins because its one way of managing”— (02/16/09)

It isn’t unusual to blame stress as a cause of sickness. Though stress goes with almost all diseases, its role is often indirect, sometimes obscure, in many organic diseases. As far as science is concerned, most illnesses have underlying pathogenetic bases whose roles are generally far-reaching than the effects of stress.

Heart diseases are related to high fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. Diabetes mellitus may have an autoimmune basis but can come with risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise, and genetics. Certain cancers are triggered by stepwise mutations (alterations in the DNA) that generate clones of abnormal cells that invade, metastasize, and eventually kill the body. In all these, stress plays a role, albeit less strongly than what is suggested by Dr. Duque.

The act of confession (reconciliation) taught by certain religions is not shared by all believers. Confessing sins to a priest by the Catholics has markedly dwindled in recent years. Dr. Duque may encounter criticism and opposition in recommending the holy sacrament to prevent non-communicable diseases. There are non-faith based treatments in medicine which are more predictable and efficacious.

Stress is part of the normal challenges of daily living. Not all people who go through significant emotionally disruptive situations get ill in the process. Sick and healthy individuals, suffer from harrowing conditions in varying degrees. As such the roles of stress in every illness are hard to quantify; their effects on the body aren’t uniformly the same.

I believe emotion plus the working of the mind, and the entire body equilibrium are influenced by stress more than it affects specific organs of the body. It is probably the reason why religion, spirituality, a belief in the supernatural, exercise, meditation, and relaxation regimens have some roles to play in disease management. The mechanisms behind their healing properties aren’t fully understood.

Yet, medical science offers credible explanations in disease causation and treatment. Illnesses can be attributed to causes like direct physical injuries, infections, cancers, immunologic conditions, hormonal swings, metabolic derangements, nutritional deficiencies, hereditary disorders, chemical, drug and radiation exposures, poisonings, among others.

Stress is only one among the long list. Therefore, “confession” as Dr. Duque suggested may help in being healthy, preventing sickness, and going through an illness and subsequent recuperation. But surely, we need to account for greater ways to fight diseases more than what have been recommended by the standard and complementary approaches of medicine. This is important in the holistic way of maintaining the health of the nation.(Photo Credits: denislpaul; sacerdotal) =0=


So long Mary! With reconciliation, RP may have a thousand years of peace

January 17, 2009

Mary Ejercito, the mother of disgraced ex-president Joseph (Erap) Estrada got outstanding honor when she died. For three days, the 103-year old matriarch of the Estrada clan was laid for viewing at Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan, Manila before she was interred on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at San Juan Public Cemetery. Numerous people from all walks of life streamed in to pay their respects and condoled with the bereaved family.

Among those who visited the wake in St. John the Baptist Church were Pampanga representative and presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, and Senator Manuel Villar Jr.” GMA News.TV (01/17/09)

Political personalities, movie celebrities, scribes, friends and foes came. Estrada’s chief political rival Pres. Gloria M. Macapagal (who quickly pardoned him after being convicted of plunder) sent her condolence. So did political enemies like Sen. Richard Gordon, undersecretary Reynaldo Berroya, and former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino who was among those who ousted Estrada in the second controversial people’s power. They stopped by the San Juan church to be with the mourners.

In attendance too was Gov. Luis (Chavit) Singson, Ilocandia’s rabble-rouser and witness to Erap’s nightly debaucheries and theft which caused his shameful dismissal from Malacanang Palace. Laarni Enriquez, one of Estrada’s mistresses prevailed for 15 minutes in the church under the glare of people’s curious eyes before leaving.

There were countless ordinary citizens who lined up to pay tribute clogging roads and interrupting vehicular traffic. Funereal wreaths and flowers overflowed. It was to the elderly centenarian’s honor and sympathy to her family that the majority attended the burial.

Politicians are known to be strange bedfellows. Since Estrada’s political rivals and loyal friends came, Mary’s death seemed a time for real reconciliation. If true, the Philippines, rejecting hypocrisy in government leadership and society, may well realize a thousand years of political calm and progress. (Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin/ Pol Briana) =0=