In a pastoral letter issued today, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said that whatever bill is adopted, Filipino political leaders must “make a moral choice: to choose life or to choose death”.
For the prelates, the bill approved by the committee “does not respect the moral sense that is central to Filipino cultures. The Bill is the product of the spirit of this world, a secularist, materialistic spirit that considers morality as a set of teachings from which one can choose, according to the spirit of the age.”
The bishops are concerned by the bill’s ambiguity. Whilst ostensibly meant to stop overpopulation and eliminate poverty, it does not address their root causes. In fact, “Our own government statistical office has concluded that there is no overpopulation in the Philippines but only the over-concentration of population in a number of urban centers,” the bishops’ letter said.
In addition, they argue that there is no correlation between population size and poverty. Instead, “flawed philosophies of development, misguided economic policies, greed, corruption, social inequities, lack of access to education, poor economic and social services, poor infrastructures” cause poverty.
The letter goes on to say that, they would concentrate their efforts on supporting truth and freedom of conscience and that they would oppose any threat to life and values.
The debate over the reproductive health bill has been going on for the four years now. Whilst against clinical abortion, the bill promotes a family planning approach that would include encouraging couples not to have more than two children, penalising conscientious objection and favouring voluntary sterilisation.
The Catholic Church and Catholic associations are instead in favour of natural family planning, which aims at promoting a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values in the population. (S.C.)