MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is suspending its dialogues with Malacañang over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
In a letter to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III dated February 19, CBCP President and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said: “In view, however, of the pastoral letter that the Catholic Bishops issued on the matter last January 31, and considering the speed in the ongoing legislative processes both in the Lower House and the Senate, I deem it prudent to suspend in the meantime further talks with the Executive Department.”
Odchimar is referring to a pastoral letter entitled “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill,” where the CBCP asked Catholics to denounce the bill since it is a form of “moral corruption.”
Despite this, a consolidated version of the RH bill has been passed for discussion at the House plenary.
Aside from the hasty processing of the bill in Congress, Odchimar also cited the “ongoing visitatio ad limina apostolorum of the Philippine bishops with the Holy Father, according to the schedule set by the Holy See.”
He said the next regular meeting of the CBCP’s Permanent Council will be on the last week of March. There, the council will have “the opportunity of addressing these developments,” he added.
He also call called on Aquino to “pray for the Lord’s guidance as we strive to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of our citizens.”