In the 101st Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines held at the Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila from July 10 to 11, 2010, with pre-general assembly caucuses on July 8 and 9, the bishops of the Philippines discussed many issues that concern the good of the country, especially of the poor and the marginalized in our society, among them: climate change, large-scale mining and reproductive health bills, the situation of education in the country in general and sex and many other issues besides those that strictly concern governance in the Church. We have invited several resource persons to these discussions in order to enlighten the assembly. The discussions have been exhausting but enriching.
Among the many concerns, the media has shown a particular concern on sex education and reproductive health bills. There are no changes in the stand of the Church. Human life starts at conception, and conception takes place at the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. Human life is a gift of God and has to be respected and protected from conception till natural death. The Church is always concerned with the poor, and the many church institutions and groups that help the poor bear this out. Poverty cannot be solved by promoting contraceptive education and programs.
Education does not merely deal with knowledge and skills; rather it must promote values that are inherent to us as Filipinos. Parents have the primary right to educate their children and sex education is properly to be done in the family.
With the new government, we, Bishops, join the Filipino people in the hope that there will be changes that will truly bring good governance to the country. We are greatly encouraged in the inaugural speech of our new President, Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III, when he declared that he will listen more to the people because “kayo ang boss ko.” We, Bishops from all over the country, call on Pres. Aquino to listen to the call of the Philippine Church that the former program of the government to promote a contraceptive mentality through education and medical practices is immoral and will not bring about a people that is God-fearing, holding on to the sacredness of sexuality, life and the family.
Although the bishops have spoken on several occasions in the past on issues touching life, family and sexuality, the assembly deems it appropriate to issue a pastoral statement on them again in the near future.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

 

+NEREO P. ODCHIMAR
Bishop of Tandag
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
July 11, 2010

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