» 05/21/2010, 00.00
Filipino bishops express support for Aquino but criticise his pro-abortion stance
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed his organisation’s readiness to work with the new administration, but stresses that life is not negotiable. The president-elect instead backs a birth control bill.
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Filipino bishops are ready to work with the new administration to build a “just society”, but as President-elect Benigno Aquino prepares for his inauguration, they have criticised his support for the Reproductive Health bill.
“We will collaborate in those things which are good for the welfare of the people,” said Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). “At the same time, we will also be critical in matters which we would perceive to be detrimental to the common good.”
Son of the late former President of the Philippines, Cory Aquino, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino won the recent presidential election with 43 per cent of the vote.
He got the support of voters, especially Catholic voters, by stressing the need to fight corruption and poverty and implement radical changes, after years of bad government under outgoing President Arroyo. His support for the Reproductive Health bill has however undermined his credibility.
Under proposed birth control legislation, which is backed by the United Nations as a way to fight poverty, contraceptive methods and voluntary sterilisation would become widely available.
For Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the position of the Church on the matter is unambiguous. For years, it has opposed the bill and prevented its adoption. Instead, it has insisted on the need for policies that favour life and human development in accordance with the Gospel.
Catholic bishops, he said, “have to lobby once again to make our position clear that we are for human life; the respect and preservation of human life is non-negotiable.”
Filipino bishops deny Aquino excommunication, but promise battle on abortion law
The president ready to distribute condoms and contraceptives to the poor, using public money without the approval of a law on the matter. The bishops emphasize the Church's position in defence of life from conception, that applies to all Catholics, including Aquino.
Birth control bill goes to the Senate after House approval
Despite Church and pro-life opposition, the Reproductive Health bill goes through the House. A final vote is expected in the Senate in the coming days. Some bishops attend session to represent civil society. Catholics hold pro-life Masses and prayer vigils across the country. Via twitter, Filipino Christians call on the pope to pray for them.
Boxer Pacquiao sides with Filipino Church over abortion
For the boxing champion, the Reproductive Health bill does not solve the country’s problems. Allocations for the bill to pay for free condoms and compulsory sex education are also unwarranted. A source tells AsiaNews that the controversy is creating a rift between the country’s Catholic bishops and the government over elements of the bill.
Filipino bishops seek dialogue on family planning bill
The Filipino Church is consulting the country’s largest medical association in order to inform the discussion with the government and backers of controversial bill. Shared views on the value of life against abortion emerge from today’s meeting.
Filipino bishops and Catholic believers against pro-abortion bill
UN pressures induce Filipino lawmakers to resume discussion over the existing Reproductive Health Bill, which calls for the use of contraceptives and abortion pills to control the birth rate. The Church calls for natural methods of family planning, educating the population to a culture of responsibility and love.
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