MANILA, Sept 29, 2011—Now that the ‘real negative orientation’ of the reproductive health (RH) bill is getting clearer, the Catholic hierarchy has called for more prayers to prevent the passage of the measure.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that prayer is still the best weapon to reject a proposal which the Church believes could open the door to artificial contraception and even abortion.
“Let us remain united in prayer and action for human life and the family,” said Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP president.
Odchimar urged all the dioceses to particularly pray the Holy Rosary for the whole month of October so that “pro-life” lawmakers continue “to be guided and strengthened” in the RH bill debate.
The bishop of Tandag diocese in Surigao Del Sur said heaven must be stormed with prayers in hope for some divine intervention so that the minds of the legislators will be enlightened.
“…That the other legislators, the undecided especially, realize more the social and more evils of the RH bill, and object its passage,” said Odchimar in his letter to all CBCP members.
‘Nothing beats prayer’
Odchimar’s appeal was made a week after the meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council with Senator Vicente Sotto III, a strong critic of the RH bill.
On Sept. 20, Sotto updated the CBCP officials on the status of the RH bill in the legislature and asked for more prayers in their crusade. “Nothing beats prayer,” he said.
The senator also said that in both chambers, the prolife and anti-RH bill legislators are giving a strong fight, for which they are accused of doing “delaying tactics.”
“But as we gather from news releases, these so-called delaying tactics are actually interventions that question, and thus expose, the defects of the RH bill, including the funding and entities that push for its passage,” said Odchimar.
“A number of undecided legislators in both chambers are now beginning to see the real negative orientation of the bill,” he added.
The CBCP also requested that the “Prayer of the Defense of Human Life” continue to be said in all Sunday Masses until November 20, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
Why the haste on RH bill?
The CBCP call to prayer was also issued after presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda suggested that Congress wrap up debates on the RH bill and put the measure to a vote.
Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life, questioned the timing of Lacierda’s statement which was made just before President Benigno Aquino III’s trip to the United States.
“Is there a commitment to the US or to the Filipino people? Why are they so aggressive to pass this bill?” he said.
He said more discussions is necessary for the lawmakers and the public to know more about the controversial birth control measure.
“Why are they (Aquino administration) such in a hurry?” Castro said.
He said before enacting the measure, lawmakers should ask themselves in whose interest and for what goal they are seeking its passage.
He however said, there is room for discussions, but he does not support the way the Aquino administration want to deal with is as hurriedly as if the country is missing something very special.
The Church leader also cautioned lawmakers against haste in dealing with the bill because it may not give them the desired results.
Castro also noted that Lacierda made the call to fast-track the vote at a time when the objectionable provisions of the RH bill are slowly coming to light.
“It’s just sad that at a time when the real facts about child mortality, maternal deaths and the defective provisions of the RH bill are exposed, Malacañang wants to fast-track the voting,” Castro said. (CBCPNews)