Catholics pray against violence and abortion
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) Mgr Fernando Capalla, Archbishop of Davao and chairman of the Philippines Bishops' Conference, recently celebrated a "mass for life" against murder, violence and abortion in the Cathedral of San Pedro. Everywhere in the city and in the cathedral itself, banners proclaimed "Thou shall not kill; Respect life".
The initiative was the brainchild of the Coalition Against Summary Execution (CASE) and the local diocese. It was intended to show that Catholics oppose some endemic evils that bedevil Filipino society such as contract killings, drug addiction, terrorism, corruption and abortion.
"This is really affirming life amid a culture of death," Fr Amado Picardal said. "If you are to have a consistent life ethic, when you say no to abortion, you say no to summary executions, you say no to all forms of death-dealing, including illegal drugs."
Since 1998, 383 people have been killed by professional hit men in Davao. The violence and murders seem almost unstoppable. In the month of January alone, 45 people have been murdered by contract killers compared to 91 for the whole of 2004. But street violence is not the only kind of violence that worries the Church in Davao.
Archbishop Capalla is also concerned by the anti-life and anti-family House Bill 3773, a piece of legislation that would implement the government's two-child policy.
Speaking on Radio Veritas he said "killing through abortion is worse that killing an adult; it is true murder".
The Archbishop of Davao has been leading the Filipino Church in its struggle against Bill 3773 which the House must vet soon. The bill seeks to implement population control practices on a large scale to fight poverty. Filipino bishops fear that the bill, also known as the Ligtas Buntis (Safe pregnancy) bill, will lead to the legalisation of abortion.
The bill involves incentives for couples who choose to have only two children and accept to use artificial means of contraception. It includes government-sponsored "sex education" and door-to-door distribution of contraceptives. Couples who refuse to take part in the programme are liable for fines, even jail time.
According to the bishops, the bill is backed by foreign companies who have being putting pressure on the government to open up the Filipino market and flood it with imports.
"We are disgusted," said Jo Imbong, legal adviser to the Philippines Bishops' Conference, "by how quick the United Nations granted US 1.4 million for family planning", which means large scale use of contraception. (LF)