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No reconcilliation with Philippine govt while RH law is in effect: bishop

Publication Date : 18-01-2013


The Philippine Palace's attempts to “reconcile” with the Catholic Church are futile unless the reproductive health (RH) law is repealed, a Catholic prelate said yesterday,

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said there could be no reconcilliation because that could be misconstrued by others as a move that the Church has already “approved” of the controversial RH law, which took effect yesterday.

He added that calls for reconcilliation from Palace officials might only attempt to prevent the bishops from coming out with a “condemnation” of the Benigno Aquino administration when the Catholic Bishops Conference of Philippines (CBCP) meets for its plenary session later this month.

“We are not really angry at them but it’s like they knocked us down and now they want us to be friends. After beating us up, they want us to be friends,” Arguelles said in an interview.

“We don’t mind being beaten up but, for us, those who will suffer in the end [due to the RH bill] are our people and the country,” he added.

Arguelles said the Aquino administration used “everything [like] money, pressure, cheating” to push for the RH law.

“And now they’re pleading for reconcilliation. I don’t think so,” he added.

Catholic lay groups have promised to mobilise their members around the country to boycott in the coming May elections politicians who supported the RH law.

The Church said the RH law promoted a “culture of death” and would eventually lead to the legalisation of abortion, divorce and euthanasia or mercy killing in the country.

“We don’t regret that we were treated very badly [but] we regret that if we reconcile with the government, we would be part of their inequity,” Arguelles said.

Against God’s order

“If (reconcilliation) means we approve of what they are doing, we cannot. That is against the order of God,” he added.

Arguelles conceded that administration officials might have believed that they were doing the country good by pushing for passage of the RH law.

“They say the Church is old-fashioned but we’re just defending life and trying to strengthen the family because (the RH law) would destroy our culture and that is in the programme of these foreigners who were with them,” Arguelles said.

He said the calls from Palace officials for reconcilliation were suspect because the CBCP members were holding their plenary meeting later this month.

“Maybe that is their purpose because we might come out with a condemnation or whatever. If they are afraid, you should ask them. Maybe they are concerned that we might talk about something that will not help them… they might just be paranoid,” Arguelles said.

“If they want reconcilliation, and here I do not speak for the other bishops, they should debunk the RH law first. Get rid of it,” he added.


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