ANTIPOLO City, Feb. 26, 2013—Even if the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law signals a “crisis of faith”, it also presents an opportunity for evangelization for the Church, a Catholic priest said.
Fr. Roque Villanueva, one of the speakers of the 4th Episcopal Commission on Family Life National Conference said the RH Law is a “wake-up call” for all Catholics that should move the Church to re-examine why it was so easy for many Catholics to believe in the “benefits” of the law.
Referring on the RH Law’s decidedly foreign origins, the priest said, with its passage into law, R.A. 10354 has become “Filipino” — not necessarily a good thing too.
The RH termite
“Nagkaroon siya ng legal face, ng legal life. Itong foreign value nagkaroon ng legal personality,” Villanueva, who gave the second talk on the pastoral challenges of the RH Law this morning, said.
He explained the anti-life and anti-family content of the RH Law can now be carried out with all the needed machinery of RH services, commodities, supplies, funding and staff — to the detriment of Filipino families.
Drawing from the first speaker, Atty. Ronaldo Reyes, who said, the RH Law is not original, but a mere “photocopy” of laws in other countries, Fr. Villanueva said R.A. 10354 is like a termite, a completely foreign body, that will eat away at cherished Filipino family values and life.
“Ito ‘yung anay (This is the termite) that will eat the Filipino soul, it will destroy the domestic church,” he explained.
Villanueva said, contrary to popular belief, the RH Law is not just about physical procedures or devices, it is, more importantly, about changing Filipinos’ values about family and human life.
Based on data
Despite calling the RH Law a “systematic and permanent death to family life”, Villanueva said its passage into law should move the Church to base its program of action on data and not just on the Church hierarchy’s preferences or considerations.
“Ano ba ang nangyayari sa family? (What is happening to the family?) Let’s know,” he said, drawing from his experience of conducting a survey of the state of Catholic marriages in his diocese.
Fr. Villanueva added, the ongoing formation program for Catholics or lack thereof is the “weak muscle” of the Church.
Aside from being focused on the same people who are active in Church, rather than trickling down to the grassroots level, he said, formation also tends to be curative rather than preventive.
More than 200 participants, some coming from as far as Ozamis, Zamboanga and Bicol, are attending the on-going 4th ECFL national conference at the St. Michael Retreat House, Antipolo City, Rizal. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]