Sun, May 04, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Birth control law heralds change in the Philippines

AFP, MANILA

Proponents of divorce are aware it will still likely take years to have their legislation passed. One important reason for the success of the birth control law was that it had the full support of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, who comes from a family of devout Catholics, but is a bachelor with a reformist agenda.

However he has been far cooler on the divorce legislation, meaning it will be harder to win support from members of his ruling coalition in the Philippine Congress.

Nevertheless, even senior church figures acknowledge large chunks of Catholic Philippine society are adopting more liberal social philosophies, and the nation’s laws will inevitably reflect that.

Philippine Bishop Oscar Cruz, a former president of the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said he expected divorce, abortion and even same-sex marriage could eventually be legalized in the Philippines.

“Because the world is becoming more one ... to play blind to these factors is like a bird hiding under the sand. The thing is to be open about it, to be frank about it, so that we will know what to do,” Cruz said.

Cruz also signalled that the Philippine Catholic Church was less likely to focus so much energy on slowing the liberal tide, taking their queue from the pope.

Cruz said local Church leaders had followed closely Pope Francis’ comments calling for the church to end its “obsession” with divorce, gays, contraception and abortion.

“The hierarchy is more conciliatory, especially now with Pope Francis,” Cruz said.

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