MANILA, Dec. 15, 2012— The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on lawmakers to reject a proposed measure that ‘leads to crimes against women’ and ‘corrupts the minds’ of the youth.
In a pastoral letter, the CBCP reiterated that the controversial “reproductive health” bill if passed into law “can harm” and “will put the moral fiber of our nation at risk”.
“The RH Bill is being gift wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care. It is not so. It will lead to greater crimes against women,” said the statement signed by CBCP vice president Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The bishops refuted claims by the Aquino administration and the RH bill proponents that the measure will benefit the poor Filipinos. “It will not be so,” said Villegas.
“The poor can rise from their misery through more accessible education, better hospitals and lesser government corruption. Money for contraceptives can be better used for education and authentic health care,” he said.
The CBCP statement released Saturday after President Benigno Aquino III certified as urgent the RH bill, which he preferred to be called as “responsible parenthood” bill.
In the proposed population control measure, one provision states that “parents bring forth into the world only those children that they can raise in a truly humane way.”
It also enables singles and unmarried couples to benefit from taxpayer-funded contraceptives that the P3.7 billion measure seeks to provide to the public.
According to the CBCP, the Filipino youth are being made to believe that sex before marriage is acceptable provided they know how to avoid pregnancy.
“Is this moral? Those who corrupt the minds of children will invoke divine wrath on themselves,” said Villegas, who is also the archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.
“As we your bishops have said in the past, a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality. The wide and free accessibility of contraceptives, even to the youth, will result in the destruction of family life and in greater violence against women,” he said.
Villegas signed the pastoral letter titled “Contraception is Corruption” since CBCP President Archbishop Jose Palma was in Vietnam for the plenary assembly of Asian bishops.
On Monday, members of the House of Representatives are expected to vote on the RH bill for the third and final reading.
The CBCP is now banking on 64 lawmakers who failed to vote during last Wednesday’s session to prevent the passage of the measure.
“We plead with the sixty four (64) congressmen who have not voted, to be enlightened and stand up for the truth,” Villegas said.
“The Church teaches us to follow our conscience, the inner sanctuary where we are alone with God, but such conscience must be formed and informed according to the universal values that are common to all human persons.”
“The truth is that to be pro-child, pro-mother and pro-poor, we must resist all threats against them. This is justice. Stand up for it; defend it; do not be swayed by worldly pressures, and be the champion of the people who voted for you. God knows and sees what you are doing,” he said.
The bishops also said they will remember the 104 lawmakers who courageously voted against the RH bill on the second reading, as heroes of the nation.
“We congratulate the 104 congressmen and women who voted no to the RH Bill. You have voted courageously, despite all pressures, to stand up for what is right and true,” they said.
“The Church will remember you as the heroes of our nation, those who have said no to corruption and who care for the true welfare of the people, especially the poor,” they also said.
As the Catholic Church begins the nine-day Misa de Gallo today, the CBCP also urged the faithful to continue praying that their respective district representatives will vote against the bill.
“We admonish the Filipino Catholic faithful [not only] to share with those who have less this Christmas, but also share in praying that our congressmen and women will be faithful to their call to serve the true interests of the Filipino people,” Villegas added.
“This means upholding life, saying no to contraception, which is corruption, and being faithful to the Christ Child who was pro-woman, pro-child and pro-poor,” he also said. (CBCPNews)