Monday, February 7, 2011

Has Noynoy Aquino been bullied by the Church into de-prioritising the RH Bill?

Less than a week ago on February 1, the House of Representatives committee on population and family relations approved a consolidated version of several House Bills -- 96, 101, 513, 1160, 1520 and 3387 -- related to Reproductive Health which it named "An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development and for Other Purposes". Almost immediately, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) incited the faithful to "consider mass action amid efforts in Congress to fast-track a family planning measure" in a "pastoral letter" it issued.

By Feb. 3, a memo was issued to all Catholic Church leaders to read the pastoral letter on the next Sunday mass, Feb. 6. According to the official Philippine Government press release on that date...
The pastoral letter enjoined the faithful to choose life and reject the RH Bill, as it implicates moral corruption, which the CBCP considers the root of all corruptions.

As stated thereat, CBCP stands on the two core principles that is; human life as the most sacred physical gift by which placing an artificial obstacles to prevent human life being formed and being born contradicts this fundamental truth of human life and the principle that it is parents who have the right and responsibility to nurture, care and educate their children that they may grow as mature according to God’s will.

The letter argues on advocate assertion that RH Bill is necessary to stop overpopulation and extreme poverty, it thus reasons out that there is no overpopulation in the country only over-concentration of population in a number cities.

Further, it enumerates the real causes of poverty which lies on flawed philosophies of development, misguided economic policies, greed, corruption, social inequities, lack of access to education, poor economic and social services, poor infrastructures and others.

Six areas of concern cover the call of CBCP: call for fundamental transformation of lay’s behavior towards human life, call upon legislators to consider the RH Bill in the light of the God-given dignity and worth of human life, call for lay people to join the advocacy to defend and promote the common shared ideals and aspirations, call on the government to address the real causes of poverty, call for the establishment of more hospitals and access to health services and call upon all people who share the same conviction over the many threats to human life.

The CBCP even crowed about how some bishops urged people to resort to "civil disobedience" once the RH bill is enacted into law...
“We will have a civil disobedience. Those laws that are immoral, we will tell the people not to obey," Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas.

Bastes said the bishops will be not be cowed by any penalties under the law, saying it is their duty to promote morality.

“We bishops, are willing to be imprisoned, together with our priests, and protest the immoral things there (RH bill). To be firm with our teachings, let them imprison us," said Bastes.

The following day, Feb. 7, the reports that MalacaƱang Palace retreats on RH bill, won’t include it in list of priority measures...
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Monday that the Palace has not yet completed its dialog with Catholic bishops on the responsible parenthood bill it has been drafting and has decided not to present the measure yet to congressional leaders in the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council meeting scheduled for February 28.

Lacierda said the Palace and Catholic bishops would meet at the end of the month on the issue.

He said that the bill could be introduced in Congress within the year but it would not be certified as urgent anymore.

Lacierda denied that the decision to drop the RP bill was due to Church pressure.

The Roman Catholic Church seems hell-bent on ensuring that its flock in the Philippines remain the highly productive factory of baby Catholics it has been for the last several decades. And not even President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is up to the job of standing in its way.

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