Bishops to move on from RH bill defeat

The fight against the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill may have been lost in Congress, but Catholic bishops are moving on to other venues to scrap the measure slammed as a paving the way to abortion.

"Conscience attempted to speak but it has been stifled!" Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Vice President Socrates Villegas said in a statement.

While accepting the fate of the bill which is set to enter the penultimate stage of legislation, Villegas noted that the approval in both houses of Congress Monday does not make the RH bill any more acceptable.


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"They might have won through the tyranny of numbers but it does not mean that they are right," the archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan said.

Other Catholic groups, including one led by former Manila Mayor Lito Ateinza, have meanwhile hinted at challenging before the Supreme Court the legislation certified as urgent by President Benigno Aquino III.

Villegas, meanwhile, urged his diocese to move on through intensifying their their efforts for the moral spiritual education of the youth.

 
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He also asked Catholics, however, to make peace with their representatives who voted in favor of the RH bill.

"This is also a time for soul searching and prayers. This is a time for peacemaking," Villegas said.

"We might not see eye to eye but we can work hand in hand for the real progress that your people so richly deserve," he added.

For his part, Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. said he will immediately reach out to appease Catholic bishops.


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In a press conference, Belmonte vowed not try and stop the bishops in questioning the legislation before the high tribunal.

"Definitely, I would reach out to them before Christmas. I personally know several bishops… But I will not (try to convince them to drop their efforts) because that is their right," he explained.

Villegas, however, enjoined Catholic faithful to use all the means in disseminating the teachings of the Church on natural family planning through organized pre-wedding seminars.

He also urged priests to continue warning about the hazardous effects of contraceptive pills on the health of women through sex education.

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