Vidal downplays Church critics
MANILA, Philippines - Snubbing criticisms it is imposing too much of itself on the citizenry, the Catholic Church is gearing towards a “head-on collision” with the supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said.
In a speech before the delegates of the 17th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith and Family on Sunday morning, Vidal said: “The Church is being portrayed as an intolerant power block bent on imposing its will on the nation, running roughshod over the will of most Filipinos.”
He said the public seems to have forgotten the role of the Catholic Church during the EDSA People Power I and II.
He said the Church then was hailed as “a force for reform and liberation” even if the issues were political.
“Now that the issue is moral and much more proper to the Church’s concern, we are accused of using undue influence and interfering in politics,” he said.
Vidal, who served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1986, remembers what the bishops and archbishops went through during those times.
He noted some of them held the view that issuing a statement regarding the fraudulent 1986 elections was “undemocratic.”
Nonetheless, they pushed through in releasing the statement, which proved to be history-changing, he said.
“I assure you, the drafters of the statement did not rely on surveys and opinion polls as they read the situation based on their collective experience as they illumined their experience with principles from Scriptures and Church doctrines because they drew conclusions using right reason and sound logical principles,” he explained.
Reclaiming of justice
The fight then is similar to the Church’s present move to oppose the RH Bill, he said.
Vidal said it was then not about ending dictatorship but “the reclaiming of justice.”
“The issue is not about claiming the power to dictate, but the protection of the values that hold our nation together and while the issues then and now may be different, the Church uses the same principles in its courses of action – what the Holy Father (Benedict XVI) calls as ‘the ethical foundation of civil discourse,” he said.
He noted the bill, if passed into law, will be an imposing medium.
“It will penalize virtually anyone who speaks against it because it will mandate employers, even if against their will, to provide contraceptives to their employees,” he added.
Vidal also stressed the bill will expose the young to sex education not befitting the Philippine culture.
The 79-year old prelate said “it is this spectre of a society that has lost its moral bearings that keeps me from throwing in the towel even though I am now retired.” – from the report of Melo Acuña, CBCP News