Bishops hang on to hope

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Seminarians and pro-life advocates face off with supporters of the controversial reproductive health bill outside the Batasan complex in Quezon City, Dec. 12, 2012.

MANILA, Dec. 13, 2012— It was a knock down but definitely not yet a knockout.

Despite the “reproductive health” bill’s approval on second reading at the House of Representatives, Catholic bishops are hoping the measure will be rejected in its third and final reading next week.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Archbishop Oscar Cruz said Malacañang and its allies may have scored a vantage point but the final passage of the RH bill remains to be seen.

“Like in the sport of boxing, there was a knockdown but not yet a knockout,” Cruz said.

“Hope is something that we should have because in despair we always lose. We are always hopeful that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” he said.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani also said what the approval of the substitute RH bill in the Lower House has triggered the Church to exert more effort to campaign against it.

“We will see who gets the knockout punch,” Bacani said. “This has awakened a new consciousness in our people.”

Voting 113-104, the Congress moved the RH bill a step closer to passage into law.

But Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said the pro-RH bill lawmakers may have won with a slim margin “but the fight is not yet over”.

“We will also continue the fight in other fora: the Supreme Court and in the level of individual conscience,” Oliveros said.

“The fight for life will never be over. We are fighting for the unborn, for the women and for our future as a nation,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.

Cruz then called on the more than 60 lawmakers who were absent during Wednesday night’s session to attend on the final voting of the RH bill.

“Whether they can help or not (the Church), it’s their obligation to go there (and vote) and not to abstain. Playing safe is not the way of the courageous,” he said.

The archbishop also lauded the 104 lawmakers who voted against the population control measure “notwithstanding political pressures and financial gains.”

“That means that a good number of our lawmakers still have a good conscience and conviction,” he said. (CBCPNews)

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