CEBU CITY, Philippines—Legislators who voted for the reproductive health bill in Congress can now heave a sigh of relief, especially if they are living within the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has announced he will not allow the priests and other Church officials under the archdiocese to use the pulpit to campaign against legislators who voted in favor of the RH bill.
The Cebu Archdiocese has at least 140 parishes spread all over Cebu.
Palma told a news conference Wednesday that the Holy Father would not allow them to use the pulpit to campaign for or against anyone during the election.
“That is not bound to happen,” Palma said.
“If you asked me, do you think the bishops could do that? My answer is no. We will never come out with names in the sense of initiating a campaign in the election,” he added.
But Palma explained that if Catholic laity groups would like to campaign against pro-RH legislators, they could do so.
He, however, said the Church could hold reflection seminars for the people before the election, and pray that people would select candidates who could do good to the country.
Morality issues can be tackled at the pulpit because priests should do their job in educating people on morality, he added.
But Palma said he would rather encourage the people to speak up on what they thought of the passage of the bill and how it was done.
“To me, the important consideration should be the sentiments of the people,” Palma said.
With the passage of the RH bill, Palma admitted that he felt saddened by reports that the House of Representatives would take up the divorce bill.
“I feel sad because some people or many of the legislators have the belief that anything they legislate is good and it’s for the good of the country,” said Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
“What’s next? Same sex marriages, abortion, etc.?” Palma added.
Palma said the people should be asked if they were convinced that these pieces of legislation were good for the country.
He said the CBCP had yet to meet so he could not come up an official statement from the CBCP, though he already asked the secretary general to possibly schedule a meeting.