MANILA, Philippines – The Reproductive Health (RH) Bill was the topic of sermons in some churches over the weekend.
President Benigno Aquino III said he is still open to a dialogue with church leaders but Catholic bishops said they have yet to receive an invitation.
During a Mass at the Quiapo Church in Manila, the Catholic Church raised the call against the RH bill.
Archbishop Paciano Aniceto told the media, “Ang naghahari sa mga ganyan na contrceptive bill ay ang politicians. Sila ang nag-au-author at tumutulak.”
Aniceto chairs the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
|Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal delivers a homily.
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal criticized those in favor of the measure.
He asked during his homily why some are now asking “Why is the Pope in my bedroom?” and others are now saying “Keep your rosary out of our ovaries.”
In Bohol, Archbishop Leonardo Medroso advised the President to block the bill.
“Because he has the power to veto [the law], so I would advise him not to sign,” said Medroso.
Even other religious groups are questioning what they say are vague provisions on the use of pills, sex education among the youth, as well as gender which, they say, may lead to same sex marriage.
Senior Pastor Dennis Sy of Victory Greenhills said on his website: “Some of the things written in the RH bill are too vague, thus the ordinary citizen needs to know and the author of the bill needs to make it clearer. Making the definition of terms clearer eliminates the fear the church and also the continuous need for the government to explain their stand.”
Sy cited the example of gender roles. He asked, “Ano ba iyang gender role? Okay ba ang man-to-man relationsship? Woman-to-woman relationship?”
But House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, author of the RH bill, said it would be impossible to control the country’s growing population if the measure is not passed.
“The enactment of this bill is long overdue,” said Lagman. “When I filed the latest RH bill, the population of the country has ballooned.”
Despite the President's insistence that his government will respect and support whatever contraceptive method Filipino couples will choose, the Catholic Church is still hopeful that he will reject the RH bill once it is submitted to his office.
Aquino also said he remains open to a dialogue with the Church on the issue, but until now, the CBCP has yet to receive an invitation.
“We have not received any communication so far,” CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Juanito Figura said in a CBCP News report.
The CBCP added that they have not received any call or letter from the Office of the President for a dialogue on the controversial issue although it was published in the papers that an audience with the Catholic bishops is being prepared.