Lay leader asks why Catholics should subsidize condoms

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Condoms. AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — If President Aquino says Mindanaoans should not be made to subsidize MRT fares, why should Catholics subsidize condoms?

Catholic leaders posed this question on Tuesday as a Catholic bishop likened the propagation of condoms in majority-Catholic Philippines to encouragement for Muslims to eat pork.

Lawyer Au Santiago, a convenor of the White Vote Movement, said Catholic taxpayers who are against the reproductive health law should not be made to subsidize its implementation, particularly the distribution of artificial contraceptives.

She made the statement after Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address on Monday, said the fares on the Metro Rail Transit system in Manila should be increased because, at present, taxpayers, including those in the Visayas and Mindanao who do not use it, subsidize the MRT.

“Eighty percent of Filipinos are Catholics and a majority of Catholics are anti-RH. Why should they use the tax money of anti-RH Catholics to pay for condoms?” Santiago said in a Church forum in Intramuros, Manila.

“Why use our tax money to buy condoms and pills to promote the RH law when that is not what those against the RH want?” she added.

Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said propagating use of condoms among Catholics was like encouraging Muslims to eat pork.

“The Muslims would get angry and that’s like what they’re doing to us. They should also respect Catholic beliefs,” Reyes said at the same forum.

“If those who do not believe in God have a right to champion their non-belief, we who believe in God also have a right to champion our values,” he added.

Reyes and Santiago said Catholic lawyers would ask Supreme Court  Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit himself from the high court’s deliberations on the constitutionality of the RH law.

“Before he became a justice, he endorsed the  RH law, so he is not really objective. I hope they will appeal that in the interest of justice,” Reyes said.

Santiago said that pro-life groups were hopeful that the tribunal would eventually void the law for being unconstitutional.

“Our intuition and assessment are strong that the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional. It violated many constitutional provisions (like) freedom of religion, freedom to worship, freedom of speech, freedom of servitude, freedom for life,” Santiago said.

On the other hand, Reyes said, he was glad that Aquino did not give much focus to the RH law in his speech to the nation although he mentioned the passage of the law as one of his administration’s legislative victories last year.

“In some way, I am happy that he did not emphasize that the passage of the RH law was a big triumph. He just mentioned it in passing,” Reyes said.

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