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Church Has Say in RH Bill – Arch. Legaspi

Pastoral letter cites both Constitution and faith as backing Church intervention

Naga City (10 October) - Amidst the on-going criticisms directed at the Catholic Church hierarchy for being vocal against the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi has come out with a pastoral letter seeking to clarify why the Church, particularly the clergy, is intervening in the contentious issue.

Legaspi was reacting to the "malicious and tasteless name-calling and criticism" hurled at the Church hierarchy for its firm stand on the issue of responsible parenthood and the passage into law of the RH Bill which promotes and would make available artificial contraceptives.

Citing the Constitution's Preamble in which the people implores the aid of God in their pursuit of "a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations," the prelate explained that it was "the duty of the Church to remind the government of her constitutional mandate to protect this aspiration."

The Archbishop furthered that it is the Church's mission from Christ which impels it "to speak about social, economic or political issues."

The first of supposed three-part pastoral letter, "Let the Stones Shout: On the Right of the Church to Proclaim the Truth and her Duty to lead the Faithful to True Freedom in and for the Truth," was read in almost all the masses in the Archdiocese today.

Aside from its explanation of the Church's participation in political matters, the pastoral letter also clarified its opposition to the RH Bill now pending in Congress.

It questioned whether the proposed legislation violates the Constitutional provision in the Preamble of respecting the "people's spiritual aspirations."

Moreover, it specifies the matter on reproductive health as a moral issue which involves concerns on "development, sexual health, rights of women and children" requiring "thorough study and careful analysis."

The pastoral letter concluded with the Archbishop's assertion that the Church is "a vital contributor in the political debate" and is a "transformative resource." (F. J. Lagdameo)