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Church to Aquino: Talks are off

Catholics voice dismay at decision to make reproduction bill passage a priority

Catholics hang an anti-birth control banner outside a church in Bulacan province
Catholics hang an anti-birth control banner outside a church in Bulacan province
  • ucanews.com reporters, Manila
  • Philippines
  • August 17, 2011
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The Catholic Church says the possibility of further talks with the government over birth control are almost zero after President Benigno Aquino yesterday made a controversial reproductive health bill a priority measure.

"I think the chances [of dialogue] are very slim because [Aquino] himself slammed the door shut with this [decision]," said Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the bishops’ conference’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.

Aquino yesterday said he wanted "expeditious action" on the priority measures he submitted to Congress, including the reproductive health (RH) bill.

"This is very painful because he said in his [State of the Nation Address] that he wants dialogue with us, and even lauded some Catholic Church leaders," Father Castro said.

"It seems he didn’t really want dialogue and this proves it," he added.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, the next president of the bishops' conference, expressed dismay at Aquino’s decision.

"I am saddened that the RH bill is one of the priorities submitted in Congress," the prelate said as he called on the faithful to strongly oppose the passage of the measure.

"I personally would like to exhort the many people who believe in the cause of the Lord, the values that the Gospel preaches and the stand that we have been defending these months to rally to this cause," Archbishop Palma said.

Related reports:

Aquino fails to mention health bill
Politicians back Church on health bill
Reproductive health heroes get papal nod

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