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04/21/2011 | 12:17 PM


A Catholic cardinal urged Philippine bishops to befriend lawmakers and enlighten them about the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill which the Church opposes for promoting the use of artificial contraceptives.

Retired Cardinal Jose Sanchez recalled that when he was a bishop in Bicol, he would make friends with lawmakers and initiate discussions on any bill that may contradict Catholic doctrine.

“If there are bills contradictory to the Catholic teachings, I would go to these congressmen one by one to enlighten them with the Catholic teachings and they would easily agree with me. And as friends, they would find it hard to go against the bishop," Sanchez said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news site.

Sanchez said the government should try to improve the family and not destroy it.

The cardinal also said the needs of families should by addressed by improving their livelihood and earnings.

Threat of excommunication

On Palm Sunday, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III told graduating students of the University of the Philippines that he would push for the responsible parenthood (RP) bill even under threat of being excommunicated by the Catholic Church.

Aquino said he had to follow his conscience in curbing poverty, which he linked to a high population growth.

The Catholic Church, however, is opposed to the RP bill and RH bills for their provisions allowing artificial contraception.

The Church allows only natural means of family planning.




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...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Politics over religion

Sanchez lamented that Aquino seemed to be giving greater priority to politics instead of religion.

“He is now losing his popularity. He has no firm idea on marriage. It is too much politics now and no longer religion. (His) mother (the late former president Corazon Aquino) and her sisters have more faith than him," he said.

As Aquino loses public support, Sanchez said Congress would probably fail in passing the controversial bill.

Aquino's popularity had dipped in recent months, according to surveys by pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

Non-Christian legislators

Sanchez admitted it may be difficult to convince lawmakers to side with the Church on the RH and RP bills because many legislators are non-Christians.

He cited Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the proponent of the RH bill, who studied in Russia, which has a communist form of government.

Sanchez said Lagman was “affected totally by the communist way of looking at things."

Protecting Catholic doctrine

Earlier, Sanchez, who has served in Rome for a long time, said he returned to the Philippines to help ward off the “tendencies that threaten to destroy the Catholic Church," including the RH bill.

“I did not come here to fight the RH Bill; I came here to protect the Catholic doctrine ... (The RH bill) is insignificant as far as the problems of the world are concerned. But I’m happy that it is being faced seriously by the Philippine Church," he said.

“The world is changing, and the evil doesn’t stop. I hope the Philippines will remain a Christian country. But I know the [Filipino] Christians are not sleeping, they keep on fighting," he said. - VVP, GMA News


http://www.gmanews.tv/


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I can imagine His Excellency offering exactly the same lament about His Eminence...



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