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PIA Press Release
2010/10/07

RH advocates to bishops: Practice what you preach, learn respect

Respect Separation of Church and State, Respect Views other than Yours

Davao City (7 October) -- Amid heated arguments sparked by 'civil disobedience' and'excommunication threats' thrown by some bishops on the highest official of this land, free thinking Catholics surfaced to express discontentment on some of the Catholic bishop's position on matters of reproductive health and women's rights.

According to Dr. Edelina de la Paz, National Coordinator of Catholics for RH Movement their organization is not against the Catholic Church. De la Paz said that members of the Catholics for RH Movement remain strong in their faith, but they are free-thinking Catholics and there are views by the Catholic hierarchy on matters of reproductive health and women's rights that they strongly disagree on.

Dr. de la Paz explained "you don't stop being a Filipino just because you are disappointed or angry at your leaders. The same goes for our love and faithfulness to the Catholic church." Quick to elaborate, she said, "we remain very strong and faithful to the Catholic Church, but we strongly disagree with the Bishops' stance on family planning and reproductive health."

Meanwhile, Ben de Leon, The FORUM for Family Planning and Development President, hits the Catholic hierarchy on their meddling with the government affairs. "It is not wrong to have an opinion on matters, even on the issue of family planning and reproductive health, which in the first place these bishops have no personal experiences to base their opinions on," said De Leon. "But," he stressed, "when you threaten local and national leaders of ex-communication for being pro-choice, then that to me is meddling and the Separation of the church and State is violated."

De Leon further explained the Philippine Constitution is very clear about the Separation of Church and State. However, having worked in the population and development field for almost four decades De Leon shares that Roman Catholic Church leaders have always been vocal of their opinions on family planning and reproductive health.

"There is nothing wrong with expressing their opinions, but the problem is that they go overboard. They not only meddle in government affairs, but they also threaten supporters of family planning and reproductive health. Worse, their favorite targets are politicians because they believe they can hold them hostage by threatening to withdraw support," De Leon said.

De Leon also shared that in the 14th Congress, the CBCP and anti-RH Catholic groups have called on Congress members to be absent during RH Bill deliberations. Thus the quorum had always been a means to delay the deliberation and its passage. "But this time around, many of the lawmakers, including the President, have stood firm on their pro-choice stance." he said in closing. (PLCPDFI/PR) [top]

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