RH bill backers Catholics in name only, says bishop

Published by rudy Date posted on May 22, 2011
MANILA, Philippines—Catholics who support the reproductive health (RH) bill may no longer be considered real Catholics, a bishop said yesterday.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros made the statement as he warned Catholics against joining the group Catholics for Reproductive Health Bill or C4RH. The bishop said those who join the group and support the RH bill are “Catholic in name only.”
“Maybe they should examine their conscience… Are they still Catholic if they vote for RH? I don’t think so. They will be Catholics in name only,” Oliveros said
“What will happen is a cafeteria mentality: I like this. I don’t like that. A true Catholic would always embrace every teaching of the Church,” he said.
“The Church has always been consistent. Our popes have been very consistent in saying that using artificial contraception is not in agreement with our faith. We cannot do that. Why can’t they see that?” he said.
Oliveros said he could not see how Catholics could support the bill, which would fund the distribution of artificial contraceptives and allow age-appropriate sex education in schools, when “it is very clear that it’s opposed to the fundamental teaching of the Church.”
“If this were for the rights of women, then that is OK. We are also for the rights of women. But there is also the right of the unborn which we must also protect—the right to be born and the right to be conceived,” he said.
The Church, which maintains that life begins at conception, claims that some artificial contraceptives are abortifacient.
Full harmony
“I can’t think of why there are Catholics who are said to be in favor of the RH bill,” Oliveros added.
Oliveros’ statement came a day after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also warned the faithful about the C4RH.
CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said the group has been publicly claiming to be a Catholic association that would “bring Catholics into full harmony with their faith and realize that there is no dissonance with their being Catholic and simultaneously believing in the advocacy and goals of reproductive health and rights.”
“We wish to make it clear that the Church does not recognize this group to be an authentic Catholic association or group since it espouses and supports a stand contrary to the magisterial teachings of the Church,” Odchimar said.
Constant teaching
“The uncompromising stand of the Church to uphold the dignity of the person and to protect and respect life from conception to natural death has always been the constant teaching of the Church,” he said.
Odchimar said the public espousal of measures “that directly undermine these nonnegotiable principles of the Catholic faith” is “a sharp wedge that cuts the unity of the Church.”’
“Let it be clarified that the Church does not recognize the Catholics for Reproductive Health as a genuine Catholic association or organization in accordance with Canon Law. Any Catholic who freely identifies himself or herself with this group gravely errs,” Odchimar said. –Philip C. Tubeza, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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