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Philippines

Aquino’s birth control stance irks bishop

ucanews.com staff, Manila

ucanews.com staff, Manila

Updated: September 28, 2010 08:46 AM GMT
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Filipinos in California welcome President Benigno Aquino III during his September visit
Filipinos in California welcome President Benigno Aquino III during his September visit
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A Catholic bishop today challenged priests and nuns who supported Benigno Aquino III in the May elections to explain the president’s statement in the US favoring birth control. "Where are the priests and nuns who said that (Aquino) is not ’pro-choice’ but, ’pro-life’?" asked Bishop Francisco De Leon of Antipolo. In July, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement expressing the Church’s opposition to government programs that promote artificial contraceptives as a family planning method. Bishop De Leon said he was surprised with Aquino’s statement because his Church supporters assured that the president was “pro-life” then later shifted towards the term “responsible parenthood.” Aquino, addressing US-based Filipinos on Sunday said the government may give contraceptives to Filipino couples. “We might provide assistance to those who want to employ a particular method,” Aquino reportedly told Filipino expatriates in California. Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic bishops, said the Church will support protests against Aquino’s announcement. Prolife Philippines and other lay leaders set a meeting on Sept. 29 to plan protests showing indignation over the president’s latest statement. Father Castro said the statement of Aquino supporting birth control is "painful for the Church." "The Church supported because we believe he was our hope," the priest remarked. He said the people elected Aquino because his mother, the late president Corazon Aquino, supported "life from conception as enshrined in the Constitution. "He should not reverse it because will not follow the “straight path” he promised. Let us not sell our souls," Father Castro appealed over Church-run Radio Veritas. Arriving in Manila on Sept. 28, Aquino reported he was able to get $2.4 billion dollars in investments plus an additional $434 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation to expand social programs. "During our visit to the United States, we sent our message that the Philippines is open for business," Aquino stated. “For that measly sum of money, here we are again, selling out the Filipino soul. It’s just sad,” Father Castro lamented. Related reports Lay Catholics vow to fight contraception bill Bishops unfazed by contraceptive support PM11374.1621

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