Bravery, faith the way to uphold culture of life—bishop

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CEBU City, Nov. 17, 2012—There will always be stumbling blocks in promoting and protecting life, and those who are determined to uphold the good in society need only be brave in carrying out the work for a genuine culture of life.

“Such are the facts of life: there will always be fighting. If in the past, Jesus was fighting against the lack of faith of the Pharisees and the Scribes, today we are fighting against seemingly beautiful ideas like ‘right to one’s body’ or ‘informed choice,’” said Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes in his welcome address to nearly 400 participants at the National “Philippines for Life” Congress organized by Human Life International-Pilipinas and the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL).

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes

It was a dictatorship that “many forces in the Church” fought in the past, but now the struggle is against those who trample on the right of parents to raise their children grounded on sound values and to protect them “from intrusive sex education in our publicly funded schools,” the prelate continued.

“We are not saying that we do not respect the ‘right to one’s body nor to ‘informed choice,’ nor are we saying that children should remain ignorant on matters related to their bodies. We are saying that, in the end, it is Faith which should guide us in the conduct of our lives —  whether it is about our bodies, our choices, and our need to know about our sexual lives,” Cortes explained to the participants who came from various parishes and dioceses including Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Dipolog, Tagbilaran and Manila, to name a few.

The audience who gathered at the ballroom of Summit Circle Hotel for the two-day event dubbed “Do or die for 2013 and beyond” was apparently fired up by the prelate’s words of encouragement and his reference to recent developments in the advocacy against anti-life legislation, particularly the reproductive health (RH) bill.

“There is need to be courageous in the years to come. Vicious attacks like those on Senator Tito Sotto, a valiant anti-RH bill supporter, will surely intensify. These heavy criticisms and bullying against Sotto only shows, according to Fr. Melvin Castro, that they will do everything including character assassination just to pass the RH bill,’” Cortes said, quoting the Executive Secretary of the CBCP-ECFL.

Formidable enemies will not be lacking and an uphill battle is to be expected, the prelate said, especially involving  the “so-called educated and enlightened ones, who, surprisingly, equate the incidence of poverty with population, rather than looking into other issues like corruption and political will in government.”

After reminding everyone that protecting and promoting Life “is everyone’s work, everyone’s call,” the bishop explained the role and nature of the Church in this aspect of evangelization.

“The Church only has the good of the total person in mind. The Church does not wish to lead the people astray. The Church, through you, therefore, must speak. And should our message not be welcome to many of those in power, then so be it. As St. Thomas More beautifully articulated it, ‘I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.’” (CBCP for Life)

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