MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - A local Catholic parish drafted a statement that they will refuse communion to parishioners who support a controversial reproductive health bill in Congress until they renounce the bill.
A draft statement by the Parish Pastoral Council of Santuario de San Jose in Mandaluyong City urged all parishioners to reject the RH bill "on the grounds it is not only unconstitutional and ineffective but immoral and evil."
"In this connection, we would like to advise parishioners who promote or support the RH Bill NOT (repeat NOT) to receive Holy Communion until they go to Sacramental Confession and renounce the RH Bill," read the statement, which is now circulating in social networking sites.
The statement said that while the admonition may be received with some controversy, "we wish to clarify this is not a condemnation of sinners, but a condemnation of sins and a call to the sacrament of reconciliation."
The secretary of the parish, which has some 50,000 parishioners, said the pastoral council drafted the statement but had yet to release it to the congregation.
"Yes there is a statement but there was no announcement during the weekend. I don't know how it was leaked," parish secretary Ella Dula told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
In the statement, the council said the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of all Sacraments where Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Our Lord and Savior is present in his true body and blood, his true humanity and divinity.
"The Church forbids receiving Holy Communion if we are not in a state of grace, meaning we have not committed a mortal sin. Because the RH Bill is inherently immoral and evil, recommending, supporting, defending, promoting and practicing its provisions and tenets constitute a mortal sin against many of the 10 commandments," it said.
The council urged parishioners to attend talks, read and study the RH Bill, the 1987 Constitution, the Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, the Bible and other books that would shed more light about the issue of reproductive health.
It added that the parish stands united with local bishops and Pope Benedict XVI in the fight against the RH bill.
The House of Representatives committee on population and family relations earlier endorsed for plenary approval the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, which advances the use of condoms and other modern contraceptive devices.
Palace won't interfere in Church matter
Asked for comment, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Malacañang cannot interfere with what it deems as a Church issue.
"The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has a position on the issue of reproductive health. Kung ano ang gagawin nilang hakbang with respect to its flock, so to speak, is beyond the ambit of government. We really cannot comment on anything. It's between the church and its members," she told reporters.
Valte said President Benigno Aquino III has already announced his support for responsible parenthood legislation that does not favor any form of family planning method.
She said it is not accurate to say that the President is for the RH bill because there are 6 different versions in Congress, some of which have issues that are contentious.
"President Noy is always for responsible parenthood. This means he does not favor one over the other," she said.