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Priests 'must prepare before they talk'

Clergy urged to listen and study RH bill before speaking out against it

Priests 'must prepare before they talk'
Members of the clergy in the Archdiocese of Manila at a prayer rally against the birth control bill last month reporter, Cebu City

May 25, 2011

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Priests should study the reproductive health (RH) bill still pending in congress before delivering homilies lambasting the proposed law, a seminary formator has said. "We priests have to seriously read and study the bill, pray over the issue, before discussing it," said Father Ramon Echica, a seminary formator in Cebu archdiocese He said the clergy should speak about the controversial bill but they should be prepared. "The people who listen to us deserve nothing less. We cannot just mouth platitudes," Father Echica said. He, however, believes that many among the clergy are reading the proposed measure. "Reproductive health is a moral issue and therefore we priests can discuss it in our homilies," he said. Father Echica also pointed to an apparent void between what people think and feel about birth control and what priests are saying in the pulpit. "We also need to listen to people. But there is the temptation for us to simply shout louder," he said. The Catholic Church has been very vocal about its opposition to the proposed responsible parenthood, reproductive health and population and development act. Bishops say the proposed measure includes provisions on the use of contraceptives and implementing sex education for teens. Father Echica warned that people involved in the debate are "sincere and committed Catholics" so "it does not serve the purpose of evangelization if we demonize those who disagree with us." PV14300

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