‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29)

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In view of the recent occurrences leading to the passage of the RH bill on third reading both on Congress and the Senate, I am issuing this Statement in my capacity as Bishop of Bacolod and therefore this Statement is mainly for and in behalf of the Diocese of Bacolod. Consequently, my Statement does not necessarily reflect the official statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) nor of any particular group of Bishops in the Conference and I am ready to abide with the official stand of the CBCP.

I believe I have to speak out for and in behalf of the Catholic faithful, as well as of all the people of good will, in the diocese, who are expecting some guidance and support for their faith and conduct in life, considering the very fast development vis-à-vis the results of how the House of Representatives and the Senate dealt with the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill).

As I said, the developments came so fast, and as expected, so it seems, the voting both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate turned-out in favor of the RH Bill, and therefore the official stand of the Catholic Church that rejects the Bill is likewise turned-down.

The fast tracking of its passage as it appears, is largely due to the drive to put to rest, once and for all, the issue that has divided the nation.  But will the eventual passage into LAW of the RH bill really silence the authentic voice of truth? Will this Reproductive Health Policy bridge the divide? I say, NO!  The DIVISION will NEVER pass away, for it has become clear as daylight that: “…FROM NOW ON THE HOUSEHOLD SHALL BE DIVIDED. Fathers will be against theirs sons, and sons against their fathers; mothers will be against their daughters and daughters against their mothers…” (c.f. Lk. 12:49-53).  TRUTH distinguishes. TRUTH will create a divide between those who stand beneath its light and those blinded by the darkness of deceit and falsity!

As Bishop of my flock, I am dismayed by the unscrupulous results of the said voting, and therefore I condemn it as a blatant insult against the Omnipotent God and a grave insult to the sanctity of human life, especially of the unborn.

I believe there are further steps to be observed antecedent to the final approval of the Bill. But, whatever these steps are, they can still be subject to human manipulation in order to achieve the evil schemes of those who are pushing for its approval.

At this point, may I remind the faithful of Bacolod of the many initiatives we have made to express our strongest protest against the RH Bill, because of the spiritual, moral, and socio–physico–medical ill-effects it can create among our people.

We have held a Negros Island-wide protest-caravan; we never tire of calling for and organizing prayer rallies; we have held symposia and conferences and have invited credible speakers to talk in these fora sponsored by the diocese, our schools and even civic groups.

I can say, we have never been wanting until now, and I exhort all of you to persevere in this venture. I am referring to the prayers we have offered in public and in private coupled with our acts of penance so that our people will be preserved from the malignant effects of the culture of DEATH (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control and Homosexual Union) to which RH bill will only open the floodgates that will bring untold disasters rendering the Filipino Nation vulnerable to DEATH’s stranglehold.

And yet, as shown by the recent voting in Congress, majority of our Representatives and Senators and with the full support of the Office of the President, it looks as if, ours is a losing battle.

But shall we stop our struggle, because of sheer discouragement, and allow the moral evil to spread and to create havoc in the church, in our society and nation starting from our families?

NO! As a diocese, let us continue with our prayers coupled with our acts of penance, as we go on with our campaign and inform our people “in season and out of season” (II Timothy 4:2), as we offer our prayers and earnest endeavors, asking the Lord and Giver of Life to save our country, to save our unborn from the clutches of the Culture of Death.

Let us join the ranks of our courageous Congressmen/women and Senators who have become staunch witnesses and evangelizers for God and for human life, as they stood-up for the side of Truth and of their Faith in their consistent vote of “NO” to the RH Bill.

Let us also direct our prayers coupled with our acts of penance in behalf of our legislators who voted “YES”.  May the Spirit of Awe and Reverence for the Presence of God haunt their Consciences and make them realize the grave moral and social consequences of their “YES” vote.

Like Mary, our heavenly Mother, let us continue searching for Jesus, her Son, incarnate among us despite the ills and corruption of human society, by injecting in it our ever vibrant faith and lively hope, that even in the midst of the evil and ignominious torture and death of the cross, her Son still reigns triumphant as Lord of heaven and earth!

Again, with my prayers and pastoral blessing this Christmas and New Year!

 

+Most Rev. Vicente M. Navarra, DD

Bishop of Bacolod

 

 

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