Our Filipino Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings of peace in the Lord!  As Filipinos we are at a moral crossroads.  Before us is the powerful, insidious and almost irresistible drive of a post-modern secularist and materialistic spirit. It is a spirit that considers moral and religious norms as regressive.

In the most fundamental areas of human life, marriage and family, this worldly spirit began with the promotion of a contraceptive mentality in the Western countries long before HIV/AIDS became a pandemic.  This mentality led to the public approval of sexual relationships outside marriage, co-habitation of consenting partners without the benefit of marriage, the legalization of abortion, divorce, and of new family forms.  Most of these are against the Sacred Scriptures of many religions. And some of these are now being advocated in our own public and political arena.

At the heart of the Reproductive Health bill or Responsible Parenthood bill is this secularist and materialistic spirit.  The bill ignores moral and religious considerations in the name of democracy and freedom of choice in a pluralist society.

But such a spirit goes against the cherished and commonly shared cultural, religious and moral values that are the bedrock and soul of our democratic and pluralist society.  These values are enshrined in our Constitution and laws, namely: the dignity and worth of human life from the moment of conception; the family as the fundamental cell of society; the sacredness of marriage between man and woman; the primordial right of parents in the education of their children, and others.

We appeal to you, our Filipino brothers and sisters, to defend our commonly shared moral values and reject the Reproductive Health bill.  Ignoring moral values is moral corruption; and moral corruption is breeds corruption in public and private life.  Its fruit is social decay and disintegration.

Likewise we urgently appeal to you, our brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith.  We are a wounded Church. Let us all heed the words of St. Paul: “Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change through the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12: 2).  Our right to choose must necessarily be guided by the Gospels and the teachings of the Church.  To ignore this principle is to ignore the guidance that a right conscience must have.

Choose life. Proclaim it… in season and out of season.  Let us defend and promote in action the values of the Gospel passed on through the Church.

For all Filipinos we commit our prayers and invoke God’s blessings.

For and in the name of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+ NEREO  P. ODCHIMAR, D.D.

Bishop of  Tandag

President, CBCP

July 22, 2011

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