Philippine Population Bill Elicits Protest from Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church here is leading a huge prayer rally on Tuesday expressing its opposition to a bill in Congress seeking to control population growth.

Expected to gather a huge cross-section of the community, Bishop Leonardo Medroso and Vicar General Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog has appealed on members of the clergy, religious, seminarians, school administrators, government officials and mandated church organizations to join the rally.

In his letter calling for "pro-life" advocates, Bishop Medroso says the Reproductive Health Population Act of 2007 which is looming approval at the House of Representatives is "anti-life, anti-family and anti-church".

"The provisions of this bill include legalization of abortion, sex education to the youth and adolescents, that cause more confusion, massive promotion of the artificial methods of birth control," Medroso said.

The Catholic hierarchy considers artificial methods of birth control, such as pills, IUD, condoms and sterilization, as cancer causing and hazardous to women's health.

The prayer rally will converge at the St. Joseph's Cathedral kicking off from five starting points in barangay Mansasa, Bohol Wisdom School, Agricultural Promotions Center in Dao, barangay Dampas Chapel and Graham Junction in Booy.

The jump-off points will each be led by priests that will gather at 2 p.m.  Prayers will be said by participants, simultaneous with prayers emanating from Station dyRD beamed to the city streets during a parade.

"If [the bill] is approved, the Catholic taxpayers will be made to fund reproductive health programs which are oppressive and in violation of the universal right to religious freedom…"

St. Joseph's Cathedral Parish Coordinator on Family and Life Apostolate Arlinda Uy said in a separate statement the specific objective of the prayer rally is to educate and inform the public on the "deceptive and oppressive provisions" of the bill.

The march will start at 3:30 p.m. going to the Cathedral grounds where a short program and Holy Mass will be held.