DAGUPAN, April 25, 2015—The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday clarified its position on dysfunctional families’ influence on the values formation of young people, noting that having strong family values lowers risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
The bishops came into the defense of CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care executive secretary Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino, who has recently been the subject of criticisms for linking the booming cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Acquired Immune-deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) with the prevalence of “broken homes” in the country.
Direct or indirect cause
“What Fr. Cancino was advocating–that CBCP fully stands by–is the strengthening of families–including the cultivation of nurturing relationships, vigilance by parents, open lines of communication, acceptance and affection–so that constructive behavior is reinforced and dangerous conduct, avoided,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said in a statement.
Villegas added that the “breakdown of communication between children and parents, the indifference of parents to the conduct of their children, (and) the palpable lack of affection that leads children to seek acceptance elsewhere” can be pinpointed as “causes that lead—directly or indirectly to HIV infection.”
Family as source of care and affection
Contrary to criticisms, the prelate noted that it is not illogical to urge families “to be nuclei of care, nurturing, communication, vigilance, affection and correction so that children and youth may not fall into the very habits that bring in their wake a host of problems, including behavior exposing them to the risk of HIV infection.”
“The CBCP did not stand idly by when HIV and AIDS first made their dreaded appearances in the Philippines,” Villegas said. “Never has the Church ever shunned individuals suffering from AIDS or carrying HIV.”
“Fully aware that our position on artificial contraception–including the use of condoms–is not popular, we nevertheless continue to teach what we must teach, because we preach a Gospel that is not of our making but of which it is our joy and our ministry to be heralds,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)