catholic church’s double standard – use conscience on election but do not use conscience on RH Bill 5043
apparently, the catholic church is asking its faithful to use their conscience on some things but find it okay that its faithful do not use their conscience on others.
Solon hits Church double standard
By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:12:00 01/26/2010
MANILA, Philippines—The Catholic Church in the Philippines is practicing a double standard when it tells the people to choose the country’s next leaders by following their conscience, but at the same time it tells them not to vote for those candidates that support the reproductive health (RH) bill, Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello said.
“On the one hand, [the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines] has said vote according to your conscience. On the other, it says it’s not moral to vote for people who support the reproductive health bill. There is a double standard here,” Bello said in a press conference.
He said the Church should not blackmail the candidates who support the RH bill by trying to influence their voters based on this issue, which has proven to be very contentious.
He called on his colleagues in the House of Representatives to tackle the measure despite the Church’s opposition and its branding of the bill as morally reprehensible.
“What is morally reprehensible is to keep the reproductive rights of Filipinas at the mercy of the Church’s political opinion,” he said in a separate statement.
“Does it sit well with our conscience that families are condemned to poverty owing to the lack of means for effective family planning? Or that there are rising numbers of people infected with sexually transmitted diseases due to the lack of decent information?” Bello said.
Bello also lamented that the remaining session days of the House had been devoted to a measure that was going nowhere, specifically the bill to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
He said the BNPP bill, which has also met stiff opposition on the floor, has no future since it does not even have a counterpart measure in the Senate.
The House therefore should discuss the reproductive health bill which has been tackled in three congresses already, he said.
Fine secular line
“As the Congress, we must assert our independence from the Church’s opinions and maintain the fine secular line between the functions of Church and state,” he added.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the main proponents of the RH bill, had earlier said that he would block the pet measures of other legislators, such as those calling for a constitutional convention and for imposing new taxes, if the reproductive health bill was not taken up in the House.
The reproductive health bill seeks to promote both natural and artificial birth control methods through government programs.
The Catholic Church hierarchy in the country is strongly opposed to the measure, saying that it promotes the use of abortifacients. It recommends the use of rhythm and other natural methods of birth control for couples who want to limit the size of their families.