Boxer Pacquiao sides with Filipino Church over abortion
The debate over the Reproductive Health bill has been going on for four years. The draft proposal bans abortion but promotes family planning, urging couples to have no more than two children. It encourages voluntary sterilisation and penalises physicians and health care workers if they refuse to apply the law on moral grounds.
Church and Catholic associations back natural family planning methods, which aim at spreading a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values.
According to Fr Mariani, a PIME missionary in the Philippines for the past 20 years, Pacquiao’s support for Catholic natural family planning is a great victory for the Church.
For the clergyman, the good faith of the world’s best-paid boxer, who is idolised by all Filipinos, is important. “Pacquiao is very Catholic,” Fr Mariani said. “He comes from a poor Mindanao family and has said many times that he wants to use his money to fight poverty. On 8 May, the country came to a halt to follow his match, including criminals, soldiers and police.”
The boxer’s political involvement does not help bridge the gap that has developed between the Filipino government and the country’s Catholic bishops over elements of the Reproductive Health bill.
One source has told AsiaNews that intransigence on the part of some bishops is turning the debate into a war of words and insults, widening the ideological divide between the two camps. This is creating confusion among the faithful.
“Many bishops and priests have demonised bill proponents,” he said. “This has left no room for discussion. However, attacks serve no purpose. We must instead educate and bear witness so that people can see a different, responsible way of living and thinking about sexuality. Words and slogans are not enough.” (S.C.)