Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Rights groups slam RH law suspension
Court decision could put women at risk, they claim
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- March 20, 2013
Human rights groups reacted angrily on Wednesday to a Supreme Court ruling that suspended the implementation of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law.
The Philippine’s highest court on Tuesday issued a 120-day temporary restraining order, citing the need to review petitions opposing the legislation.
The law, which would allow artificial contraception, was due to go into effect on March 31.
Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, noted that a four-month delay in the implementation of the law is "a long time for an interim order."
"The Supreme Court is putting an untold number of women and girls at unnecessary risk," Adams said, adding that "Filipino women and families have waited and suffered long enough."
Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, director of the Institute of Human Rights at the University of the Philippines, said the court decision is "particularly insulting that it comes during women's month."
"We are concerned that yet another delay will add to the death count of women dying in the act of giving life," Pangalangan said.
According to Philippine government data, there are 14 maternal deaths a day because of a lack of basic reproductive health services.
This means 1,680 women will die in the 120 days that the order is effective, Pangalangan said.
Church leaders, however, welcomed the decision calling it a temporary victory but said the fight is not yet over.
"Never give up hope. We do not give up for what we believe is right. The Lord is always with us, always siding with what is right,” said Bishop Carlito Cenzon of Baguio.
The Catholic Church opposes the law which it branded "anti-life" and "anti-family" for promoting artificial contraceptives.
Fr Melvin Castro, head of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the bishops' conference, called on Catholics to be more active in campaigning against it.
The Supreme Court appeared to have "listened to our prayers against any law that’s questionable and which, according to the constitution, should not be implemented," Fr Castro said.