MANILA, Philippines – Insisting that the reproductive health (RH) bill was “corruption of the soul,” the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Saturday issued a pastoral letter urging the 64 members of the House of Representatives, who did not vote on the proposed law, to kill the bill.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP vice-president, urged the 64 lawmakers to “seek justice for the Filipino people,” adding that the RH Bill was being “gift wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care” when “it will lead to greater crimes against women.”
“We plead with the sixty-four congressmen who have not voted, to be enlightened and stand up for the Truth. As St. John the Baptist directed the people to justice, we call on you also to seek justice for the Filipino people,” Villegas said.
“The Church teaches us to follow our conscience, the inner sanctuary where we are alone with God, but such conscience must be formed and informed according to the universal values that are common to all human persons. The truth is that to be pro-child, pro-mother and pro-poor, we must resist all threats against them,” he said.
“This is justice. Stand up for it; defend it; do not be swayed by worldly pressures, and be the champion of the people who voted for you. God knows and sees what you are doing, he added.
Villegas issued the pastoral statement on behalf of CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who is in Vietnam attending the general assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences.
“On behalf of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, I reiterate the collective discernment of the Philippine bishops that the RH Bill if passed into law can harm our nation. Contraception corrupts the soul,” Villegas said.
“The RH Bill is being gift-wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care. It is not so. It will lead to greater crimes against women,” he added.
Villegas said the poor were also being taken for a ride when RH bill proponents promise them a better life.
“The poor are being promised a better life through the RH Bill. It will not be so. The poor can rise from their misery through more accessible education, better hospitals and lesser government corruption,” Villegas said.
“Money for contraceptives can be better used for education and authentic health care,” he added.
He also said that the youth were being made to believe that sex before marriage “is acceptable provided you know how to avoid pregnancy.”
“Is this moral? Those who corrupt the minds of children will invoke divine wrath on themselves,” Villegas said.
He said the RH bill, if passed into law in its present form, would “put the moral fibre of our nation at risk.”
“As we your bishops have said in the past, a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality. The wide and free accessibility of contraceptives, even to the youth, will result in the destruction of family life and in greater violence against women,” Villegas said.
He said the CBCP lauded the 104 congressmen and women who voted against the bill, saying “voted courageously, despite all pressures, to stand up for what is right and true.”
“The Church will remember you as the heroes of our nation, those who have said no to corruption and who care for the true welfare of the people, especially the poor. May you continue to be steadfast and not waiver in your stand against moral corruption,” Villegas said.
“We admonish the Filipino Catholic faithful to share with those who have less this Christmas, but also share in praying that our congressmen and women will be faithful to their call to serve the true interests of the Filipino people,” he said.
“This means upholding life, saying no to contraception which is corruption, and being faithful to the Christ Child who was pro-woman, pro-child and pro-poor,” Villegas added.