Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pastoral Statement of Archbishop Socrates Villegas versus the RH Bill


Pastoral Statement of the Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan to be read as the homily in all Masses on May 29, 2011, the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Love is the core of the message of Jesus in today’s gospel. Love is indeed the trademark of the followers of Jesus. The Lord promises further in the gospel that if we choose the path of love and keep His commandments we will never be orphans.

The past few months have seen many of us who belong to the same Church and who share the same faith in Christ at odds with one another on the issue of the reproductive health bill in Congress. It is indeed sad and perhaps even scandalous for non Christians to see the Catholic flock divided among themselves and some members of the Catholic lay faithful at odds with their own pastors. If we fail to have love, we make ourselves orphans.


It is certainly not our intention to add more flame to the fire but rather to make an appeal for the triumph of reason and sobriety. We want to make a plea for greater charity even as we passionately state our positions on this divisive issue. At the end of the heated debates, we will all be winners if we proclaim the truths we believe in with utmost charity, courtesy and respect for one another. Charity is at the heart of the social doctrine of the Church Pope Benedict XVI reminds us. In the first letter of Peter today, he admonishes us today never to be without gentleness and reverence.


We appeal to our Catholic brethren who stand on opposing sides on the reproductive health bill to return to the voice of conscience, to state their positions and rebut their opponents always with charity. Today’s second reading is a call for clarity of conscience beyond reproach. The moral conscience is man’s sanctuary through which the voice of God is heard, that voice that tells us to embrace what is good and reject what is evil. However, conscience is not the ultimate tribunal of morality. Conscience must be formed in the light of truth. Conscience must be enlightened by the Spirit of God. We appeal to both sides engaged in debate to pray, to seek the light of God and allow the voice of an enlightened conscience to prevail. We pray conscience does now allow itself to be swayed by statistics or partisan political positions. The only voice conscience must listen to is the voice of God. The only way for conscience to speak is through the language of Christ-like charity.


We appeal to our Catholic brethren to remember that the unity of the Church does not only pertain to the acceptance of a set of doctrines. Our Catholic faith has a moral mandate. It is not enough to recite the Apostles’ Creed; we must show that we are Catholics by living by the norms of Catholic morality. We are Catholics by creed and cult and code. We are Catholics in beliefs. We are Catholics in prayer. We are Catholics with one moral life.

In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things charity!

The issue of contraception belongs to the realm of faith not opinions. Blessed John Paul II repeatedly taught us during his papacy that contraception can never be justified. We must not make wrong right by the sheer force of surveys or legislation by the majority or the convenience of some. People in authority who mislead others on the matter of contraception put themselves in open conflict with the law of God and lead others to sin.


The Church holds close to her heart the dream of everyone to rise out of poverty and live the fullness of life. Pope Paul VI correctly pointed out to us that “the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order. They lie above all in the will, in the mind and, even more so, in "the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples". In other words, the greater cause of underdevelopment is corruption of the soul and corruption of society. Contraception adds to the moral corruption of our society and family.

We all want progress for the nation and for the family of nations. We cannot progress without freedom. Jesus died and rose to set us free. Indeed EDSA 1986 taught us that. But freedom must always be grounded in truth. Freedom is not absolute. Freedom must submit to truth. Freedom without truth is only sentimentalism and will only lead to social laxity.

In fact, ethical relativism eventually leads to totalitarianism. Ethical relativism destroys freedom. Ethical relativism turns freedom into licentiousness. Licentiousness and laxity has destroyed many great civilizations of history. Those who ignore the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.


We plead with our officials in government and our friends in media to look at the Church as a partner in the mission of development. The Catholic Church throughout its two thousand year history in the world and almost five hundred years in the Philippines has proven itself as a potent agent for holistic authentic human progress and not an obstacle for development. If the Church issues this stern warning about the reproductive health bill, it is not to impede national progress but to protect our nation from greater harms and tragedies in the generations ahead. On this highly divisive issue, the Church is still a mother protecting her children from greater dangers and moral traps which until now her beloved children are still unable to foresee.

We need God if we want development. Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life for us. There is none like Him. We will be lost without Him. Ignoring Him and setting Him aside in pursuing progress we do only at our own peril.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, May 24, 2011, Feast of Mary Help of Christians.


Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan


  1. RH is about choice. if the Church forces against the RH faith, is that really spreading the faith or imposing a rule? You have a flock who are compelled to action, not out of free will but because of pure coercion of the Church.

  2. "RH is about choice"

    Choice absolves neither from responsibility or from consequences. The Church is merely reminding people about this. Besides, the RH bill requires mandatory sex education (and this HAS NOT BEEN AMENDED, contrary to the misleading reports in the mainstream liberal Pinoy media), and its so-called "conscience" clause is a mockery, since doctors invoking religious reasons in order to not have to perform certain morally objectionable "reproductive health" services nevertheless still have to violate their consciences by referring people desiring such services to doctors willing to perform these (Sec. 23 a-3 of the bill). There is also the question of OUR TAX MONEY being used WITHOUT OUR CONSENT and AGAINST OUR EXPRESS WILL for the implementation of this reprehensible bill.

    "if the Church forces against the RH faith, is that really spreading the faith or imposing a rule?"

    "Faith" would be meaningless without mandatory rules, and a religion would be completely inutile if it had no core content binding upon its followers. What's the use of "belonging to a Church" if this had no bearing upon one's life or behavior? Why even bother?

    "You have a flock who are compelled to action, not out of free will but because of pure coercion of the Church."

    Where is the coercion? Coercion refers to the use of force, and the Catholic Church has no arms or armed forces with which to enforce its will. What the Church has is MORAL PERSUASION. The Church argues and proclaims forcefully, but it uses neither the gun nor the police, and the citizens of our country face no harm for disobeying or even attacking the Church. Where is the "coercion"?

    The problem is that for many people today, especially liberal youths who have grown up with no real concept of authority, even persuasion is already seen as a form of "coercion" merely because it makes them uncomfortable, or because it speaks out against what they want to do. This says more about the spoiled behavior of these liberals than about the alleged "coerciveness" of the Church.

  3. Well said, Carlos Antonio Palad.

  4. What can you expect if the word "excommunication" is irresponsibly used?

  5. Last Anonymous (why do you people keep posting anonymously? Are you scared of something or what?):

    Who used it irresponsibly? The bishop who merely spoke about excommunication IN RESPONSE TO A REPORTER'S QUESTION from a media outfit known for its extreme bias against the Catholic Church, or that same media outfit, which spun the bishop's response into something bearing very little resemblance to what he actually said?

  6. May i share this:

    The issue of freewill is not as simple as it seems. In the first place, we should ask about its existence, then its nature, then its ultimate purpose, then its exercise, then the conditionings which contextualized it, etc. But let me just focus on a single issue, that of the ultimate purpose of the will.

    One side of the issue is that freewill is conceived to exist for its own sake, meaning "freewill for freewill's sake". Another side of the issue is the conception that freewill is ultimately for the attainment of the Ultimate Good, man's ultimate good who is also Good subsisting of Itself, we call Him in religious parlance as 'God', the Common Good of the universe. Here, it is already clear what are the values we are considering. In the first conception of freewill for freewill's sake, the center value is the individual person and the exercise of his freewill. In the second conception of freewill for the Ultimate Good, the center value is God, and the fulfillment of His Holy Will by man in Love. Again, with the first conception freewill can only attain a limited good and therefore also limits the being that exercises that freewill; with the second conception on the other hand, freewill can attain God the Absolutely Perfect Good (with God's grace of course and in the context of Divine love perfecting the human love that we have) and therefore expands in an infinite way the being that exerciases that freewill.

    The Church accepts the second conception as true and worthy of man. The Church values freewill so much because she values the Highest Good for which freewill is ultimately oredered to. If there is any reality on earth that respects freewill to the highest degree it is the Church (however we need a good grasp of the true nature of the Church to appreciate this

  7. "We are all wrong, if we say that this is the law of the Catholic Church because actually, it's not the Catholic Church that created the law - e.g. natural law. The Church merely reminds us about the fact that God created the world together with laws. It is God who made that law of sexuality; the Church merely re-echos this law to the land that God implanted on the nature of man and woman."

  8. I'm not a catholic, but I'm against the proposed RH bill. Although 100% legal, artificial contraceptives, are not 100% safe.

  9. Aren't there any Bible verses that can be cited to support what Catholic church leaders say? I think they would be much more believable if they quote the Holy Bible and not just what the leaders of the church actually think; and it would be less like they're saying what they want to say but more like what God really says. I guess that would be a much more effective way of 'moral persuasion'

  10. "See, today I set before you a choice between life and death, good and evil. If you pay heed to the commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you this day, by loving Yahweh your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live. Choose life, that you may live."
    -Dt 30:15-16, 19