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Bishops call faithful out to fight RH bill

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma

MANILA, Philippines—The Catholic clergy is gearing up for massive protests and prayer vigils ahead of the August 7 vote on the reproductive health bill in the House of Representatives.

In various media interviews, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged the faithful to hold protests and novenas to show lawmakers their opposition to the bill, which has been pending in Congress for years.

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Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the current CBCP president, said in an interview with Radio Veritas the bishops support rallies against the RH bill.

“People are free to manifest their own conviction not just for those who are in favor of RH but also for other people who certainly want to manifest that they are opposed to it. We support rallies against RH bill,” he said.

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CBCP Permanent Council member Bishop Leonardo Medroso called on the faithful to intensify their campaign against the bill. He added that the Church officials might issue an “oratio imperata” or mandatory prayer for the faithful.

“We need to continue our campaign, actions, and prayers to awaken the conscience of the public, especially the lawmakers who are pushing for the RH bill. The oratio imperata is one of the ways we see that can shake their conscience,” he said.

Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said Filipino faithful who oppose the RH bill should hold a novena.

“To the faithful, let us hold a countdown by holding a novena starting this Sunday until August 6, the day before the voting,” he said. “Let us pray so that they’ll vote according to their conscience and that there won’t be any pressure from the party leadership.”

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II of Mandaluyong announced that the RH bill will be up for a vote on August 7. He noted House members expected to end debates on the bill on Monday, July 30.

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TAGS: Birth Control, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Catholic Church, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Church, Legislation, News, Politics, reproductive health
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