MANILA, August 27, 2012— The Jesuit hierarchy has assured support for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in its position against a proposed population control measure.
In a letter to the CBCP, Fr. Jose Magadia, provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, said they are behind the bishops in their campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill.
He said that in the country’s many struggles, the Jesuits have always sought to work with the bishops as their “pastors and guides.”
“This means, as has happened in many prior issues of national concern, it is our preference not to lead you but to follow you, our Bishops,” Magadia said in a letter to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president.
“May such spirit continue even as we remain one with you in prayer and in desire that fullness of the Gospel be proclaimed for all our people,” he said.
Copies of the letter were also sent to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.
Same letter were also sent to retired Archbishops Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.
The Jesuits’ position on the issue was put into question after one of their confreres, constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas vocally threw his support behind the artificial contraception measure.
Bernas even released a statement of support for the RH bill right on the day when several dioceses across the country were holding a prayer rally against the measure last August 4.
Around 150 professors of the Jesuit-run Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) also expressed support for the RH bill.
While they respect the individual consciences of Ateneo professors supporting the bill, Magadia said they will continue to dialogue with them about the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life and the family. [RL/CBCPNews]