While the 1987 Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family (XIV),Section 12 of Article II (State Policies) practically contains the substance of all that theConstitution has to say on the issue:“The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protectand strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shallequally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn fromconception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in therearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moralcharacter shall receive the support of the Government.”Reading this provision, one is at once struck by the term, “sanctity”, which means“holiness” or being in union with God. The word describes something as belonging or pertaining to the Divine
. Thus, Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, makes astraightforward acknowledgment of the family as something directly related to theCreator. Indeed, one of the members of the Constitutional Commission, Father JoaquinBernas, S.J., notes that this provision “clearly reflects a Catholic approach to the problem,” at least in so far as “advocacy of the provision was borne principally by BishopBacani and Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, a stalwart Catholic layman.”
Since, on theother hand, an appeal to church would be complicated by the same Constitution’sdeclared neutrality on “religious profession and worship”
, some effort must be made tounderstand the provision from a more secular standpoint.Is it possible to discuss “sanctity” from a purely rational, legal perspective?Sanctity definitely evokes something supernatural or transcendental, i.e., beyond humannature and earthly realities, and must eventually reach into the realm of religious faith.On the other hand, reasonable men of diverse cultures
nonetheless agree on the existenceand providence of the Divine. The answer, therefore, is yes. It is possible to discuss
Sec. 2, Art. V, also uses “sanctity” to describe “the ballot”, in the sense of
vox populi, vox Dei
The 1987 Constitution
, p. 78.
Sec. 5, Art. III.
At the core of “culture” is “cult” or religion. The idea of culture as opening man to God may beseen as a leitmotif of the teaching of Pope John Paul II. See George Weigel,
Witness to Hope
(New York:Harper-Collins, 1999).