MANILA, Philippines — Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio has urged Catholics against the reproductive health (RH) bill, which Congress passed on Tuesday, not to lose heart, saying God “will finish the war for us!”
“God has a good plan for us. He tolerated (the Church) losing the battle to purify all of us. It is saddening but God will finish the war for us. We did our best,” Gregorio told Church-run Radio Veritas.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Nueva Ecija Bishop Roberto Mallari, Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto Jose and Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable also told the Church radio station that the passage of the bill in Congress was a “sad day” in the country.
“The future will tell who has acted wisely or not,” said Lagdameo, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Afable said it was saddening that many Catholic lawmakers did not listen to the appeals of the Church on the RH bill.
“The majority of lawmakers who were Catholic Christians did not accept the truth of God about the RH bill that was explained by the leaders of the Church. It is sad to see the kind of faith of our politicians. Did they also win by approving this?” Afable said.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad urged Catholics to continue with their prayers but added that the public should also accept what happened if it was the “will of God.”
Calling the RH bill a “moral time bomb wrapped” as a Christmas gift, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called on Catholics on Tuesday to come together and work for the country’s progress.
In a statement, titled “Let us move on!,” Villegas, a friend of President Aquino’s family, said the outcome of the RH vote set “a time for soul searching and prayers.”
“This is a time for peacemaking. We might not see eye to eye but we can work hand in hand for the real progress that your people so richly deserve,” Villegas said in a message to his flock in Pangasinan.
“It is a progress with God, in God and through God. Daang matuwid (referring to Mr. Aquino’s famous slogan `The straight path.’) without God is a dead-end street. Only with God can we see real progress of peoples,” he added.
Villegas said that “conscience attempted to speak” when the Senate and the House of Representatives “but it has been stifled!”
“They might have won through the tyranny of numbers but it does not mean that they are right. It is only a matter of time and then we will see more violations of `Thou shall not kill’ and `Thou shall not commit adultery’ among our families, our youth and children,” Villegas said.
“If the President will sign this into law, he will give us a moral time bomb wrapped as a gift to celebrate Christmas. This law will open more doors to abortion and more crimes against women,” he added.
Other prelates also blasted the RH bill.
Masbate Bishop Jose Bantolo, said on Tuesday in a text message to the Inquirer, that he has always been and would continue to be opposed to the RH Bill. “[But] the Congress passed it, [then] so be it,” he said.
“The Church remains steadfast on [its] mission to protect life and safeguard the welfare of the unborn child and women and mothers,” said Bantolo.
Msgr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastián Cathedral in Bacolod City, said the approval did not bode well for the Filipinos.
“This is Good Friday at Christmastime. We witness again the betrayal of Jesus Christ and his teachings on the sanctity of life and family life,” Pasquin said.
He also noted that “13,” considered an “unlucky number,” was in the winning votes of 113 and 133 on the second and third reading of the RH bill in the House and 13 in the Senate. With reports from Jonas Cabiles Soltes, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Carla Gomez and Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas