Catholics from north to south heed CBCP’s protest callInquirer Bureaus
Catholics from different regions joined prayer rallies against the reproductive health (RH) bill after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to join Saturday’s “Solidarity March and Mass for Life Against the RH Bill.”
In Iloilo City, around 5,000 Catholics armed with rosaries and umbrellas assembled at the Redemptorist-run St. Clement’s Church in La Paz district before marching to the Iloilo Sports Complex, around a kilometer away.
Another 5,000 converged at Fuente Osmeña Rotunda in Cebu City before marching to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the seat of the Cebu Archdiocese, for the 7 p.m. Mass officiated by Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the CBCP.
Palma issued a circular on July 30 enjoining parishioners from the archdiocese’s 40 parishes, Catholic-run schools and religious workers to join Saturday’s solidarity march and Mass.
Despite the short notice, Dr. Rene Joseph Bullecer, director of Human Life International Philippines, said at least 5,000 people showed up, a force strong enough to convey to President Aquino the strong opposition against the measure aimed at curbing population.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo brought a tarpaulin streamer that he displayed before a crowd composed of representatives from the 94 parishes of the Archdiocese of Jaro covering the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras, members of religious orders, lay organizations, seminarians and institutions run by the Catholic Church.
The streamer was emblazoned with the call, “Yes to Life. No to RH Bill.”
“We want to save our country from the evils that are being suffered by countries like America, Japan and Germany because they have adopted population control. What we need is really to strengthen our labor force and offer more employment to our people in order to support the population,” Lagdameo told the Inquirer.
PAMPANGA, N. ECIJA
In Pampanga, the Archdiocese of San Fernando dispatched busloads of representatives to join the rally organized by the CBCP against the RH bill at Edsa Shrine.
Willie Suarez, chair of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Pampanga, said Catholics in the province have been encouraged to fast and abstain on Monday to convince members of Congress to take a pro-life stance.
In Nueva Ecija, the various councils of the Knights of Columbus in the Catholic Dioceses of Cabanatuan and San Jose described the RH bill as an “anti-life legislation.”
The KOC’s Padre Crisostomo Council 6000 in St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish said it advocates full legal protection of “embryos and fetuses” as it sees the RH bill as “the legalization of induced abortion.”
The Diocesan Youth Commission placed a “fight for life” ribbon, accompanied by an image of a mother and child, as the group’s profile picture in its Facebook account.
In Baguio City, about 1,000 members of Catholic organizations, priests and nuns braved the strong rains and marched down Session Road to protest the RH bill.
In Pangasinan, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas led a prayer rally on Saturday to voice the Catholic Church’s position on the RH bill.
Villegas, in an advisory sent to reporters, said the prayer rally was held “for the protection of families and preservation of reverence for life in the womb.”
The event started with a Mass at St. John’s Cathedral in Dagupan City. A candle lighting ceremony followed.
Protest marches dubbed “Walk for Life” drew participants from Catholic schools, religious and civic groups, seminarians and clergy while others joined prayer vigils in parish churches in Laguna, Lucena City and Calapan City.
In Laguna, parishioners organized by the Knights of Columbus and Family Life Ministry Commission of the Diocese of Laguna trooped to Edsa Shrine to join the anti-RH rally.
In Lucena City, around 3,000 protesters staged a march at the patio of Saint Ferdinand Cathedral, which ended at the Quezon Convention Center (QMC) where they filled half of the center’s seating capacity.
Mgsr. Leandro Castro, vicar general of the Diocese of Lucena, called on Quezon representatives to vote against the passage of the RH bill during the crucial vote on Aug. 7.
Bishop Rolando Tria-Tirona, head of the Prelature of Infanta covering northern Quezon and Aurora province, said a pastoral letter would be read tomorrow in all parishes of the prelature. Reports from Nestor P. Burgos Jr. and Edison delos Angeles, Inquirer Visayas; Tonette Orejas and Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon; Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Delfin Mallari Jr., Madonna T. Virola and Romulo O. Ponte, Inquirer Southern Luzon