Bishop says contraception is corruption


By Kristine L. Alave — The Catholic clergy blasted President Benigno Aquino Saturday for his support of the reproductive health bill, saying it undermined his promise to the people to stamp out corruption in the Philippines.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, in a message read by former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta De Villa to the hundreds of faithful who braved foul weather to rally at the Edsa Shrine, attacked the Aquino administration for backing a bill that will allow poor Filipinos greater access to modern family planning methods.

“Contraception is corruption,” Villegas said. “You heard when candidate, now President, Noynoy Aquino during his campaign say ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’,” Villegas said.

“My dear youth, contraception is corruption. The use of government money, taxpayer’s money, to give out contraceptive pills is corruption. Contraceptive pills teach us it is alright to have sex with someone provided you are safe from babies. Babies are a nuisance,” he noted.

The Catholic Church has been the main force behind opposition to various bills on reproductive health over the last 10 years. The present incarnation of the bill seeks to provide universal access and information on natural and modern family methods. Supporters said the bill will cut down the number of mothers and babies dying during childbirth.

According to the Church, modern contraceptive methods prevent procreation, which should be the only function of sexual intercourse. Should the bill be passed by Congress, it will produce an “abortion generation” and encourage infidelity, Villegas said.

President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address last month, said his government was backing legislation that would promote responsible parenthood, a statement that did not sit well with the Church, which has long opposed such legislation.

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which organized Saturday’s rally, said the administration sees the reproductive health bill as an easy way out of its economic troubles.

Mr Aquino should not look at the Philippines’ burgeoning population as a problem, Villegas said. Corruption in the government is the reason for the country’s slide to poverty.

“A culture of contraception looks at babies as reasons for poverty. Birth control, they say, means more food, more classrooms, more houses and better health for mothers. If more babies are the cause of poverty, are we now saying, ‘Kung walang anak, walang mahirap?’” Villegas said.

He added, “We can have more classrooms, more food, more jobs if we would be less corrupt.”

Villegas is a close friend of the Aquino family. He served as secretary to the Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin, who supported the President’s mother, former President Corazon Aquino, in her bid to topple the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Sin was instrumental in calling on Filipinos to flock to EDSA in the 1986 People Power Revolution that ended Marcos’ 20-year regime.

On Saturday CBCP officials bristled at allegations lobbed at them supporters of the bill that they were just group of old men out of touch with the plight of the poor and women.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle said the Church has always been on the side of the downtrodden.

“It is not true that the Church has no compassion for the poor,” he said. “If others see the poor as statistics, the Church sees them as human beings. The poor are not numbers.”

Villegas said: “I know many of you my dear youth don’t believe in the Church anymore. You think the Church does not understand, that the Church is autistic: may sariling mundo.”

“Artificial contraception could open the door to marital infidelity and a general lowering of standards. We your elders plead with you: Don’t follow that path to moral corruption. Dare to be different. Dare to be better,” Villagas said.

Thousands of Catholics—lay people, including students andpriests—trooped to the Edsa Shrine in a show of force ahead of the House of Representatives’ vote on the bill’s fate on Tuesday. The Mandaluyong police estimated that 7,000 people attended the mass action. The Eastern Police District said the crowd reached 10,000 in the afternoon.

Those who attended the rally from Metro Manila and surrounding provinces wore red shirts, which organizaers was symbolic of the “martyrdom” of the unborn child.

The gathering at the Edsa Shrine was part of the Church’s push against the bill ahead of the possible end of the debates on it. On August 7, the House of Representatives will decide whether to close the interpellation and send the bill for amendments, a shortcut that will speed up adoption of the Malacañang-backed proposal.

Anti-reproductive health bill politicians, led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, attended the prayer-rally on Saturday. Senators Gregorio Honasan and Tito Sotto also arrived to cheers from the crowd.

Honasan told reporters the rally was an exercise of “freedom of expression.”

“We should not politicize the RH bill,” he said. Asked if the Aquino administration tried to convince him and other opponents of the legislation to support it, Honasan said there were no overtures to him. “In fairness to the President, there was no partisan politics,” he said.

Some Church officials warned lawmakers that their vote on the bill could affect their chances in the next elections.

Bishop Gabriel Reyes, head of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said the Church will issue guidelines to voters in the 2013 local elections that will direct them to choose a candidate that is pro-life.

El-Shaddai leader Mike Velarde, in his speech to the faithful before the Mass, said: “Those who vote for the RH bill, you know what will happen—RIP.”

Streamers and banners hung from the walls of the Shrine and from the highway railings. One of the banners read: “Yes to Saved Sex, No to Safe Sex.”

Find more like this: Government, Religion

Comments

  1. Fredenil Bontipola says:

    The Catholic church are realy ignorant about the teachings of God. They say that RH Bill is against the laws of God. In Genesis, they must read the word multiply ang subdue. If the priest and the bishops of the catholics study for soooo many years to study the faith, so what faith they are studying? I believe this catholic church is the work of evil. Evil. I said evil. Thats true, because even the name of this church is not found in the Holy Bible. See… people you see????? WAKE UP! Before its to late.

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