The Catholics for Reproductive Health (C4RH) group yesterday said it will continue campaigning for birth control despite the decision of Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu
not to meet them for a dialogue. "We would continue to respect the stand of the clergy, keep ourselves open to the Church hierarchy and remain as members of the Church," said C4RH member Mark Molina. "(We will) keep on asserting the people's health and rights. We live and stand by the essence of being a Christian," he said. Archbishop Palma has refused to grant the request of C4RH for a meeting, saying the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has already made a stand on the issue and that it is not recognizing the group as a Catholic organization. The prelate's stand was supported by leading pro-life advocate in Cebu, Rene Bullecer. "There's no use, in the first place, as these people openly go against the official teachings of the Church," Bullecer said. “Second, we know their real motive, which is just to undermine the Church.” The Catholic Church opposes the proposed Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011, which includes provisions on distributing contraceptives, implementing adolescent reproductive health education and penalties such as imprisonment and fines. The C4RH has also started a signature campaign called "Our Conscience is Clear," stating that "We are Catholics committed to the defense and enhancement of human life." "Marriage, according to Vatican II, 'is not instituted solely for procreation' and couples must fulfill their procreative task 'with human and Christian responsibility.' Couples, acting as equals in marriage, must choose responsibly, not arbitrarily, the spacing and number of children that they can feed, clothe and educate," the group said.