MANILA, August 2, 2012— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle has joined calls for the faithful to fill the EDSA Shrine as they demonstrate their opposition to the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.
This as another church official has issued appeal for a stop to “slants” linking their fight against the population control measure to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Tagle is hoping that people will join the Church on August 4 to show a sign of strength over the bill, which aims to appropriate billions of pesos in taxpayer’s money for contraception, sterilization and questionable sex education programs.
“Relying on the power of prayer and the necessity of informed awareness, we will gather together to be informed, enlightened and emboldened once more,” Tagle said.
The Manila archbishop maintained that the RH bill is not the solution but could instead deteriorate “our many problems as individuals and as a country.”
“It will even give rise to many other problems more pernicious and pervasive than the ones we face in the present,” Tagle said.
“I enjoin all parish priests and leaders of communities and lay movements to rally their members and endorse participation in this important gathering aimed at communicating a strong and sincere appeal to the goodwill of our legislators,” he added.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president, earlier said that the nationwide prayer rally is “to show our sentiments about our advocacy for life.”
Not about Arroyo
Reacting to what he called “dirty tactics”, Fr. Melvin Castro of the CBCP’s Commission on Family and Life stressed that the Church’s stance against the RH bill has nothing to do with Arroyo.
Castro earlier said that any politicians who are with the Church in its fight against the measure can join the prayer rally at the EDSA including Arroyo.
But he emphasized that it is not because he is favoring Arroyo as claimed by proponents and supporters of the RH measure.
“Our fight against RH bill goes beyond political affiliations. Our pro-life stance is consistent that one should have honesty and political integrity,” Castro said.
“The RH issue is not about Arroyo. We respect the judicial process and let the former president face the charges filed against her,” he said.
In her twitter account, known RH bill advocate and former Akbayan Partylist Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel said that “a vote against RH bill is a vote for GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo).”
Castro described Hontivero-Baraquel’s tweet as “very disheartening strategy.”
“Again, this is not about Arroyo. The Church has long been pro-life and against measures that promote contraceptives,” he added.
“But I think people are mature enough to distinguish that this issue goes beyond political affiliation,” Castro said. [CBCPNews]
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