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Bishop Vicente Navarra: 'Reproductive Health Bill Will Not Silence the Authentic Voice of Truth'
Filipino Prelate Condemns Controversial Legislation
MANILA, DEC. 19, 2012 (Zenit.org).- While the Reproductive Health (RH) bill moves closer toward enactment into law, the voice of truth will not be silenced and the struggle of the people to uphold the sanctity of human life and of the family will not cease, declared Bishop Vicente M. Navarra of Bacolod in a statement titled 'We must obey God rather than men.'
"The fast tracking of [the RH bill's] passage as it appears, is largely due to the drive to put to rest, once and for all, the issue that has divided the nation. But will the eventual passage into LAW of the RH bill really silence the authentic voice of truth? Will this Reproductive Health Policy bridge the divide? I say, NO!" Navarra said.
"As Bishop of my flock, I am dismayed by the unscrupulous results of the said voting, and therefore I condemn it as a blatant insult against the Omnipotent God and a grave insult to the sanctity of human life, especially of the unborn," the prelate said.
Navarra clarified that while the statement does not necessarily reflect the official statement of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) nor of any particular group of Bishops in the Conference, he is ready to abide with the official stand of the CBCP.
"I believe I have to speak out for and in behalf of the Catholic faithful, as well as of all the people of good will, in the diocese, who are expecting some guidance and support for their faith and conduct in life," the statement said, considering the fast developments regarding the heavily opposed RH bill, the House and Senate versions of which are the subject of a bicameral conference committee meeting today, and which may be ratified on the same day.
The bill was passed on third and final reading on Monday at the Upper and Lower House of Congress.
Navarra pointed out the initiatives carried out by the faithful in the province, including a Negros Island-wide protest-caravan, several prayer rallies, symposia, and exhorted the faithful in his diocese to persevere.
"I am referring to the prayers we have offered in public and in private coupled with our acts of penance so that our people will be preserved from the malignant effects of the culture of DEATH (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control and Homosexual Union) to which RH bill will only open the floodgates that will bring untold disasters rendering the Filipino Nation vulnerable to DEATH's stranglehold," he said.
While Congress prepared for the second reading of House Bill 4244, parishioners, La Consolacion College students, nuns from various congregations, and Sacred Heart Seminary seminarians marched around the downtown area of Bacolod while praying the rosary and bore placards showing sentiments against the population control measure. The march was spearheaded by Navarra.
Commending the Courageous
The prelate in his statement commended the "courageous Congressmen/women and Senators who have become staunch witnesses and evangelizers for God and for human life" who stood up for the Truth and their Father through their consistent NO votes.
He also called on everyone to offer prayers and acts of penance in behalf of the lawmakers who supported the RH bill.
"May the Spirit of Awe and Reverence for the Presence of God haunt their Consciences and make them realize the grave moral and social consequences of their 'YES' vote," Navarra said.
"But shall we stop our struggle, because of sheer discouragement, and allow the moral evil to spread and to create havoc in the church, in our society and nation starting from our families?" the bishop continued.
"NO! As a diocese, let us continue with our prayers coupled with our acts of penance, as we go on with our campaign and inform our people "in season and out of season" (II Timothy 4:2), as we offer our prayers and earnest endeavors, asking the Lord and Giver of Life to save our country, to save our unborn from the clutches of the Culture of Death," he said.
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