BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—About 2,500 Catholics joined a Mass at the San Sebastián Cathedral in Bacolod City on Sunday to launch a campaign against the reproductive health (RH) law.
Many of those who attended the Mass came in red. Others pinned red ribbons on their shirts.
Tables were placed outside the church where churchgoers could sign a manifesto that called for the scrapping of the RH law.
Kapatiran senatorial candidate JC de los Reyes, who was at the launching, described the province-wide campaign led by the diocese of Bacolod as similar to the “Cry of Balintawak.”
Also at the launching was former senator Francisco Tatad who said that the protest action launched in Bacolod would have a ripple effect throughout the country as other dioceses of Catholic Church would join in their crusade.
He said he was happy that Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra was taking the lead, with Kapatiran and the Ang ProLife Party-list representatives present to support the move.
“I am sure the other dioceses will want to follow until the country becomes united and one in this effort,” he said.
Bishop Navarra said the Church would continue to oppose the RH law, which he described as an insult to God, and other bills in the pipeline that, he said, were anti-God and anti-family.
These are the proposed bills that would allow divorce in the country, same-sex marriages, the legalization of prostitution and euthanasia, or mercy killing.
Call for prayer
Navarra called on the faithful to pray and do penance so that the hearts of those in government would be touched to repeal the law.
Before the Mass, the participants and the clergy converged at the Bishop’s House and then walked to the San Sebastián Cathedral, a distance of about 12 meters.
Navarra then led the unfurling of banner that called for the junking of the RH law. Printed on the banner was a quote from Act 5:29: “We must obey God rather than men.”
Red flags flew in front of the San Sebastián Cathedral and churches throughout the diocese of Bacolod as a symbol of courage to fight against threats to God and family, Msgr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the cathedral, said.
Feast of Saint Sebastián
Sunday was also the feast of Saint Sebastián, patron saint of Bacolod known as a martyr killed during Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians.
Vicar General Louie Galbines, who was the main celebrant at the anti-RH law Mass, said St. Sebastián stood up for God, his faith and the people even though it led to his death, and his martyrdom has been serving as an inspiration for Christians today.
“The diocese of Bacolod cannot allow the RH law to enslave all of us, to set aside God, to set aside life, and the Filipino values of love, family, togetherness and belonging,” Galbines said.
Lyndon Caña, a Protestant and chairman of the Citizens Alliance for Protection of Human Life (CAPH Life), said during a press conference before the Mass, that they would strongly battle proposed pieces of legislation that would go against the teachings of God, such as euthanasia, legalization of prostitution, same sex marriages and abortion.
“We learned a lesson with the RH bill that if we do not strengthen the political muscle of the faith-based groups, we can be run over by government,” he said.
CAPH Life would call on the people to vote against legislators who supported the RH bill in May so laws going against the teachings of Christian churches would not be passed, Caña said.
According to Caña, the Intercessors for the Philippines, a network of 22,000 churches, of which he is a member, also shares that stand.
“The Bible clearly shows that life begins at conception and the RH law endangers life at conception,” he said.