MANILA, April 28, 2011?Despite claims by the strongly funded pro-RH lobby that the Catholic Church and its members will be isolated as various Christian sects call for the passage of the controversial measure, a senior prelate said the Catholics will remain steadfast in their convictions.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, nephew of the first Filipino Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, who was his namesake, said there are (newspaper) columnists who are strongly pro-RH although a great number of Catholic faithful remain against the government-sponsored bill.
â€œCatholics continue to grow in number all over the world and statistics will bear me out,â€ the 69-year old prelate told CBCPNews at the Manila Cathedral early Wednesday evening. He added the same holds true for the Philippines.
Told that other Christian groups have bonded to pursue the billâ€™s passage, the prelate said he respects the other denominationsâ€™ stand on the matter because it may be what their doctrines say and as non-Catholics, they have their own teachings.
Reyes underscored the need for the Catholic faithful to strictly follow the teachings of the Church.
He said while there are Catholics who say they follow their conscience, it is imperative that one has a correct conscience â€œwhich simply requires oneâ€™s conscience to be in conformity with the teachings of the Catholic church.â€
Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP meanwhile said, the rabid support of religious groups and some Catholic lawmakers for the swift passage of RH bill would prove to be a litmus test for the state of Catholic faith in the Philippines.
â€œThere are people who express their opinion in favor of the RH bill. Do I blame them for that? No, I donâ€™t blame them as they express their opinion,â€ the 75-year old prelate said.
However, Legaspi added he just prays and hopes that â€œthey have tried to find guidance from the teachers of the Church before they say anything because a big part of understanding the RH bill requires an understanding of the sense of the Church.â€
San Fernando de Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David said there may not be a need to sit down with Malacanang officials again on the RH bill as Cebu Archbishop emeritus Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal said in an earlier interview.
â€œIt may be futile to discuss issues pertaining to the RH bill should Malacanang maintain a closed mind,â€ he said. Both parties should be prepared to discuss matters during the dialogue, the prelate added. (Melo M. Acuna)