ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Law on reproductive health: the protest of the Church continues

Monday, 22 August 2011

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Filipino Catholics are outraged at the proposed law on reproductive health in the country presented by the Government in the country. Many protests and demonstrations by groups express disagreement and define the draft law "harmful to the nation". The Catholic Church said there are very few opportunities for dialogue with President Benigno Aquino, a supporter of the proposal. "We will continue with meetings, conferences, protests, marches", is what is read in a statement by the Bishop of Balanga, Mgr. Ruperto Santos, released by the Episcopal Conference and sent to Fides.
The objective of this "campaign" conducted in the various dioceses, is to ensure and defend the sanctity of human life and family. Supporters of the Law, which is under discussion in Parliament, believe that this would lead to population decline and help alleviate poverty. Critics, however, oppose the use of public funds to provide free contraceptives to be distributed in public and private schools, and to teach sex education because, in part, would threaten the moral sense.
President Aquino, with his decision to prioritize the controversial law, "slammed the door" to any possibility of dialogue, said Father Melvin Castro, secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Philippines Bishops Conference. The Archbishop of Cebu, Msgr. Jose Palma, said he was "sorry" for the fact that the law represents a priority, and asked the faithful to oppose strenuously. "I personally urge everyone to believe in the Lord's cause, in the values of the Gospel, and to support the thesis that we have been carrying on for months", added the Archbishop. The protests in Bataan had the support of at least two members of the Chamber of Deputies in the country.
Father Joel Jason, head of pastoral care for the family and for the well-being of the Archdiocese of Manila, said that the Philippine government should take as an example from the adverse impact that other countries are experiencing, following the adoption of a similar reproductive health policy, which is leading to serious economic and social problems. Father Jason warned against this "contraceptive mentality" and said that the Archdiocese of Manila will further strengthen its campaign to educate the laity about why they should oppose the law. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/08/2011)

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