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Bishops suspend birth control talks

Parliament going too fast, bishops away, so talks are off, say bishops

Bishops suspend birth control talks
Monsignor Juanito Figura is flanked by San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes reporter, Manila

February 21, 2011

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Filipino Catholic bishops today suspended ongoing dialogues with the government on a birth control bill, citing undue haste in its passage in the Philippine Congress. “Considering the speed in the ongoing legislative processes both in the Lower House and in the Senate, I deem it prudent to suspend, in the meantime, further talks with the Executive Department,” Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in a letter to President Benigno Aquino III. The bishop also cited the ongoing ad limina visit of Filipino bishops to Rome as another reason. “Moreover, the next regular meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council, when we can have the opportunity of addressing these developments, will be in the last week of March,” he added. The CBCP and the government had two dialogues last year. Another meeting has been set for end of this month. The dialogue was initiated amid a heated word war between the Church and the state last year over the birth control bill. Earlier, the bishops also decided to pull out from a consultation on the issue in the Philippine Senate. On January 31, the CBCP issued a pastoral letter outlining its position against the proposed birth control bill and hinted the bishops may pull out of dialogue with government on the issue. The CBCP had been holding talks with the Aquino Administration on the bill, with Aquino trying to arrive at a “win-win” solution with his own “responsible parenthood” bill. But the bishops said Aquino’s proposed measure was the “same dog with a different collar” since it still pushes the use of contraceptives. PM13341.1642

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