MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yielded to opinions that condoms are not abortifacients or artificial contraceptives that can kill an unborn child, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
He noted that Palace and Church officials have returned to the drawing board to arrive at a middle ground on the reproductive health (RH) controversy.
“There was an agreement that condom is not abortifacient. There is no issue on this... it is not an abortifacient because it happens prior to the fertilization of the egg and sperm cells,” Lacierda said.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III met CBCP officials this morning. The bishops were led by President Nereo Odchimar, former Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Msgr. Juanito Figura.
It was Aquino himself who invited the Church officials, Lacierda said. “I understand that the President invited them…and told them ‘tapusin na natin itong concerns ninyo. If we can find points of commonality, let’s agree.’”
Both sides discussed anew the Responsible Parenthood Bill, which Malacañang would push once Congress opens sessions in May.
The bill is in answer to the more controversial Reproductive Health Bill that the church is trying to block. The seeming rush in the passage of the bill in the House of Representatives forced the church to stall talks with the Aquino government.
“There are some disagreements that will remain disagreements, especially on the methods. Contraceptives, such as condoms, will not be in agreement with teachings of the Catholic Church but it is the responsibility of the state to make these available and they understood that situation,” Lacierda said.
“We recognized our differences but we agreed to focus on our commonalities... it came out better than expected,” he added.
It was not discussed if the church will continue protests against the RH bill.
Another dialogue is also being scheduled before the Holy Week. – with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News