Divorce not the answer to failing marriages, lay people told

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MANILA, March 10, 2013 – With the divorce bill looming in the horizon, a Catholic priest on Sunday urged the people to throw the measure on the back burner as it does not really solve the issue of failing marriages among couples.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said the proposed House Bill 1799 only weakens the sanctity of marriage and threatens the moral preservation of the Filipino family.

“Divorce would only further weaken the institution of marriage and family. As it is, the marriage and family are already threatened from within (i.e. internal problems), but with a law we bring an external pressure as well,” he said.

Of all the moral and legal implications of the bill, Castro noted that the weakening of the family poses a serious damage to the society as both relate to each other on directly proportionate means.

“Any institution, including the Church, is based on the family. And the family is created by a man and woman who enter the covenant of marriage. Weaken that basic unit, you weaken all the other institutions. Strengthen it and you strengthen society as well,” he said.

The priest called out claims of pro-divorce groups that the legalization of the measure would empower battered spouses and would provide them more legal options to solve their marital dilemmas.

“There are already laws in the land protecting especially the women and children against violence and abuse.  Divorce does not stop abuse. You simply end the relationship but the violent person could go on perpetrating further violence against another person,” Castro said.

A way to stop abuse between married couples is through bringing the violent spouse to court and letting that person be jailed, if necessary, he noted.

According to him, secularization continuously threatens the Catholic Church on a worldwide scale, and re-evangelization is needed to reach out to the people.

“All the Church groups should unite and have a coordinated effort to win back the hearts and minds of the people, especially the youth,” he said.

With the 2013 midterm elections nearing, he called on the Filipino electorate to be more critical in choosing the leaders they will vote into public office.

“We need to be pro-active this time.  The coming May 2013 elections are critical.  We have to form the consciences of the Catholic faithful to vote into office those who are willing to protect life and the Family,” Castro said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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