Catholic Church takes on reproductive rights in Philippines, risks further alienation

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Upset over a new law that provides poor Filipinos with easier access to birth control methods, Catholic Church leaders threw their weight around ahead of the May 13 midterm elections — but they miscalculated their heft.


In cathedrals around the country, clergymen hung red-and-black banners asking the faithful to vote for legislative candidates who oppose the Reproductive Health Law, which they view as a first step towards legalizing abortion. These candidates comprised what some bishops and priests dubbed "Team Life" while those who favored the law were branded by conservative Catholics as “Team Death.”

But many “Team Death” candidates triumphed and in the aftermath of the voting, Ramon Arguelles, the archbishop of the city of Lipa, told reporters: “I am not happy.”

A growing number of Filipino Catholics apparently feel the same way about their church. Although the Philippines remains the third-largest Roman Catholic country in the world after Brazil and Mexico, experts say that the influence of church leaders has been steadily declining as Filipinos disregard Catholic doctrine or, in some cases, find other faiths.

Many people disagree with the church’s conservative stance on social issues and some have become disillusioned by the Vatican’s slow response to the church sexual abuse scandals. Mirroring so-called “de-churchification” in other predominantly Catholic countries, a recent survey showed that only 37 percent of Filipino Catholics go to Mass compared to 66 percent in 1991.

Written By: John Otis
continue to source article at globalpost.com

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  1. “Although the church supported longtime dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Catholic leaders began to distance themselves from the regime because they feared the alliance could permanently damage their reputation.”
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    Damn there goes another irony meter and frankly I’m appalled at Marcos’ choice of company

  2. maybe they’re just not patronizing their followers enough? how about instead of “team life” and “team death” they use “fluffy” and “grumpy” to help them vote for the right candidate?

    or what about “four legs good, two legs bad”? oh no wait, that’s from a childrens book

  3. Princes of the Church live in palaces in the Philippines while outside the gated enclosures the poor and destitute are left to exist in squalor. It is as if these horrid men care not a fig for children and the misery they suffer.

  4. From the article:

    “We are not begging for people to become members,” said Father Maximo Villanueva, who preaches at the Ermitas Catholic Church in downtown Manila. “We are more interested in quality than quantity.”

    Now why am I just a tiny bit suspicious about that ? He might find his principles somewhat compromised as the weekly collections go down, as they surely will ! Without money, poor gentle Jesus can’t operate !

    • I agree with you, Mr.DArcy; additionally, it strikes me that while they are ‘not begging for members’, they nonetheless wish to influence the legislation which would impact the entire populace, not just their members, which is worse. I wish they would just keep their snouts out.

      In reply to #8 by Mr DArcy:

      From the article:

      “We are not begging for people to become members,” said Father Maximo Villanueva, who preaches at the Ermitas Catholic Church in downtown Manila. “We are more interested in quality than quantity.”

      Now why am I just a tiny bit suspicious about that ? He might find his principles s…

  5. I’d like to suggest that the anti-birth-control faction be called “Team Poverty and Starvation”, and the pro-birth-control faction be called “Team Responsibility”.

    And going slightly off topic, I’d also like to point out that the criticism from right wing American groups that homosexuals don’t care about the future because they can’t have children also applies to Catholic priests.

  6. Consider that in Canada, the most Catholic and most Christian part of Canada was Quebec. It was a quasi theocracy. The church was heavy handed. Now Quebec is the most secular part of Canada. If all goes well, the Philippines will follow suit.

  7. Once again an example of religion hand-in-glove with extreme right wing politics. I’d be tempted to change the slogans to team good life/ team early death. Having too many children equates with poverty all around the globe. What a shame the locals can’t join the dots!

  8. The increase in information will finally kill off this rubbish. An individual now with an i-phone has access to more information in a month than the 19th century individual had in a lifetime. Religions thrive on fear and ignorance and they haven’t moved as much as an angstrom in 700 years. A cardinal now has exactly the same knowledge as a Cardinal then and the lack of scientific knowledge of both would surprise a 10 year old.

  9. @link – Some Catholic priests insist that even if the number of churchgoers is declining, they would rather minister to true believers than Filipinos who are just going through the motions.

    Ha! ha! Quality TRrrrooooo servile sheeples!!!!!!
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    “We are not begging for people to become members,” said Father Maximo Villanueva, who preaches at the Ermitas Catholic Church in downtown Manila. “We are more interested in quality than quantity.”

    Why does this remind me of woo-head backwards wish-thinking??

    Quality??? Really???? That must be why they are advocating having droves of impoverished uneducated indoctrinated children by parents deprived of contraception!
    Conscripting and indoctrinating babies is much easier than begging or persuading informed educated people to swallow mythical nonsense!

  10. Their marriages are more magic ceremony than a believable union of two people, there education leads to Justice Scalia, their healing shrines require a scientific based hospital to back up the relic industry, what nasty names can we call Roman Catholic leadership as that is the basis of their crappy theology.

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