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Methodists back Catholics on abortion

UMC bishop says birth control debate should be about poverty and development

Methodists back Catholics on abortion
A prayer service for members of the United Methodist Church
Bernardino Balabo, Malolos City

May 24, 2011

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The United Methodist Church (UMC) in the Philippines expressed support for the Catholic Church’s campaign against abortion. Methodists accept contraception whereas the Catholic Church does not, but Bishop Daniel Arichea, the interim bishop of the Manila Episcopal Area of the UMC, said his Church’s stand on the abortion was not in conflict with that of Catholicism. “That’s a taboo with us and the Catholics,” he said in an interview after leading the consecration, commissioning and ordination of Methodist deacons, elders and pastors at the Cottingham Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday. “The Methodist Church have a very positive view of science, we believe that science helps us identify products that will prevent conception, without endangering the health of the father or the mother,” he said. When it comes to family planning, Arichea said Methodists stands for “responsible family planning and parenthood.” He said parents should take responsibility of their home and family and that means every child should be planned to avoid unwanted pregnancies and children. He also cited the relationship between overpopulation and development, noting that Indonesia – where he worked as a Bible translator – used to have an average of eight children per family. But Indonesia was able to control its population at an average of three children per family, he said. “Indonesians were able to do it without abortion, they are now progressing because they were able to control their population,” Arichea said. He added, however, that the debate on the reproductive health bill should not become a religious issue. He said the debate on the bill must focus on population and related concerns, like poverty, economic development, environmental conservation and people’s welfare. He said the UMC wants to help the public reach an informed decision on reproductive health through pastors and other leaders. Arichea said everything boils down to God’s command to man to be good stewards of His creation. He said stewardship of creation is not only about environment, but human beings as well. “We have to always remember, humans were given the task by God to control and manage creation,” he said. PL14289
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