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Filipino bishops urge ’people power’ on RH bill

Time has come for to make another moral call for society, they say

Filipino bishops urge ’people power’ on RH bill
Bishop Nereo Odchimar (second from left) reads the CBCP pastoral letter
Bu Hernan Melencio and Julian Labores, Manila

January 31, 2011

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) today appealed to Catholics to pray and act against the government’s proposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP president, clarified while reading out the bishops’ pastoral letter titled Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill - Pastoral Statement that bishops are not urging people to stage another revolution. “That is not our purpose. But 25 years ago we made a moral call…somehow it significantly helped open the door…and a window of political integrity,” he said. Bishop Odchimar said they have come to a new national crossroads and “we now have to make a similar moral choice.” He said they “have not agreed” to pull out from a dialogue with government officials on birth control measures. “But it is a possibility,” he said, adding that the final decision will be made in the next meeting with government representatives. The bishops said they also reject President Benigno Aquino III’s “Responsible Parenthood” bill as they feel that it is just a “new name” for the reproductive health bill in Congress. In their pastoral statement, the CBCP urged the government not to equate poverty with population, or seek to address poverty with a “reproductive health” agenda. “As religious leaders we have deeply and carefully reflected on this burning issue. We have unanimously made the moral judgment to reject the RH agenda and to choose life,” the CBCP’s pastoral statement said. The bishops reminded the government of its constitutional responsibility to respect human rights and uphold and strengthen the family. They said a fundamental transformation of attitudes and behavior toward human life is needed. In their pastoral letter address, the bishops urged the government to effectively address the “real causes of poverty” such as corruption, lack of social and economic services, lack of access to education and the benefits of development as well as social inequalities.   Related reports Church eyes natural family planning drive Filipinos urged to protect families from state control Church forms alliance against RH bill PM13100.1639
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