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Bishops' last-ditch appeal against RH bill

Legislation to go before House tomorrow reporter, Manila

December 11, 2012

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Catholic bishops today made a desperate, last-ditch appeal to legislators to vote against the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill which is scheduled to go before the House of Representatives tomorrow.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the bishops’ conference, urged members of Congress to “stand by the truth and not by their political parties” in voting for or against the bill.

He said no less than Pope Benedict XVI has appealed to legislators on how to handle measures concerning basic human rights.

“These involve such things as the right to life, the right of married couples to found a family according to their religious beliefs and moral convictions, and to be the primary educators of their children,” the prelate said.

“Here, as elsewhere, the truth must be the basis of the law rather than the result of legislation," Palma said in a message to legislators.

He commended legislators opposing the bill’s passage and appealed to them to maintain their stand.

Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle, archbishop of Manila, has meanwhile called on the faithful to attend an overnight prayer vigil at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati City.

Father Melvin Castro, of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life appealed to lawmakers to “rise above party politics and resist pressure from Malacanang [presidential palace]."

The country's Catholic bishops have been the staunchest opponents of the RH bill that promotes artificial contraception as a family planning method.

Many are expected to attend the congressional session tomorrow. Proponents of the bill said the presence of the bishops is welcomed.

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said they were going to offer support to “pro-life” legislators and not to intimidate those in favor of the bill.

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