03/15/2018, 13.39
PHILIPPINES
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Catholics against bill to legalise divorce

by Santosh Digal

For the Bishops’ Conference, the apparent remedy “might end up destroying even those marriages that could have been saved”.  Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, calls on married couples to make decisions for the good of their children. The Couples for Christ movement is against the bill because of the “sacredness and indissolubility of marriage”.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a pastoral statement about a pending divorce bill before the Filipino Congress.

“In a context in which divorce is presented as an easy option, marriages and families are bound to break up more easily,” said Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop of Davao Romulo Valles.

The prelate calls on legislators to consider all the implications that a divorce law could entail for Filipino society.

“We merely ask that they consider the possibility that divorce, while it may indeed provide quick legal remedies for some seemingly ‘failed marriages’, might end up destroying even those marriages that could have been saved by dialogues or the intervention of family, friends, pastors, and counsellors,” he stressed.

“Even couples in seemingly successful marriages would often look back and recall the countless challenges that had almost brought their relationship to a breaking point if they had not learned to transcend personal hurts through understanding and forgiveness,” he added.

“More children will grow up disoriented and deprived of the care of both parents,” he noted citing the emotional and psychological impact that divorce would have on children.

Filipino Catholics are strongly opposed to the draft bill, which is backed by 53 per cent of Filipinos according to a Social Weather Stations survey.

The CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) has been urging the lawmakers to expose the proposed law, CBCP ECFL secretary Fr Enrico Emmanuel Ayo said.

“We have to take this seriously because the damages are irreversible. There are more damages and immoralities that will come out of divorce than the good that divorce can offer,” said Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio.

Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, calls on married couples to make decisions for the good of their children who “are just at the stage of discovering life. Consider also their sufferings and their capacity to absorb the burdens.”

“What the lawmakers are considering or the reasons for divorce is ‘relative effect,’ disregarding the foundational basis or intrinsic value of family life, especially its indissolubility, unity and sanctity of marriage,” said Fr William Victor Garica, parish priest at Holy Family in Kamia (diocese of Cubao), speaking to AsiaNews.

Meanwhile, one of the most influential Catholic lay groups, Couples for Christ (CFC), said that what the country needs is support for marriage.

“Marriage, although regulated by civil and Church laws, originates neither from the Church nor the State, but from God. Therefore, neither Church nor State can alter the intrinsic definition of marriage, with its indissolubility. As a community, we stand for the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage, and are against the divorce bill,” the CFC said in a statement. 

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