MANILA, August 29, 2012— When it comes to life issues, the Catholic bishops will have to assert its obligation even if it means sanctioning those violating the church’s teachings.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Wednesday that priests have the duty to defend human life in all its stages and conditions.
But the chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on on Catechesis and Catholic Education said they first resort to dialogue when there are misunderstandings within the Church.
“We bishops are not trigger happy with imposing penalties because we, at first, are brothers and we, at first, are fathers who need to guide and correct,” Villegas said.
The archbishop made the statement during a press conference for the 2012 Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines Annual Convention at the SMX Center in Pasay City.
“When we see error, the first thing that we do is to dialogue… call the child and ask for an explanation then explain my side and listen to his side,” he said. “Let us talk!”
If the dialogue does not work, Villegas said that church law dictates that they should first issue a written reprimand and then conduct an investigation.
“But if that child of the Church remains incorrigible then that is when the sanctions are imposed. And the sanctions are not always excommunication. It is not always termination from the job. There are different degrees of sanction,” he pointed out.
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In a statement, the CEAP also reiterated its “oneness” with the CBCP and expressed its strong objection to policies, which pushes “abortifacient regulation of birth.”
“The killing of human life is absolutely forbidden. It is prohibited by the Philippines Constitution and prohibited by the 6th Commandment,” the CEAP said in a statement read by its National Advocacy Commission Chair, Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ.
The president of the Ateneo De Davao University further stressed that they are one with the CBCP in “protecting human life from the moment of conception.”
“The CEAP supports the bishops in their official teachings, which is binding all believers the official teaching concerning the dignity of human life, the need to choose life and to support a culture of life and to affirm and reaffirm the sacredness of sexuality,” Tabora said.
CEAP has around 1,194 members, which include 30 universities, 101 graduate schools, 240 colleges, and 1,070 high schools, 592 elementary and 596 pre-elementary schools. [RL/CBCPNews]