By Joey Natividad
LEGAZPI CITY – The Church in the Bicol Region on Wednesday reacted sharply over Congress’ likely mood to pass the controversial Reproductive Health Bill after President Aquino gave the “go” signal for its passage during the 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The Obligatory Prayer known as Oratio Imperata will be prayed on all Masses in at least 97 parishes within the archdiocese on Sunday, August 5. The obligatory prayer to be imposed by the Church is hoped to “enlighten and provide guidance among legislators” over the RH bill, reports reaching BicolToday.com said on Thursday, August 2.
The Church has been lobbying hard to prevent the RH bill from being passed into law, but massive lobbying from pro-population control stakeholders with secret backing from global pharmaceutical companies and foreign governments have been getting in-roads into Philippine legislation and national policy formulation.
Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, called on the faithful to pray for the enlightenment of lawmakers that they may find the courage to defend the sanctity of life and family.
The Bicol Region is predominantly populated by Roman Catholics and the Church plays a strong role in the region in rendering “values and moral guidance, and look upon as leaders in religious, community, social, and political activities.”
Legaspi enjoined all priests, deacons and lay faithful to recite the obligatory prayer which called on God to give the faithful “the courage to defend human life and protect it from conception to natural death.”
In a circular he issued on July 30, Legaspi called on the Catholic faithful to “pray that our leaders and legislators be guided to decide responsibly for the good of every family.”
The controversial health bill issue erupted into the limelight after President Aquino in his SONA, mentioned his support for “responsible parenthood” in vague terms that was interpreted as the “go” signal for RH bill for its passage into law, which elated pro-population control stakeholders.
The Caceres Archbishop also urged the faithful to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten the minds and open the hearts of people who do not yet fully respect all human life.
“We pray for all our leaders and legislators who will deliberate on the Reproductive Health bill,” he said. He called on God to send the Holy Spirit for the legislators “to decide responsibly, for the good of every family, and the good of all.”
He also called for the intercession of the Bicolano patroness, the Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia for help.
Meanwhile, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes called President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s reference to the reproductive health measure during his State of the Nation Address as a “foolish remark.”
To recall, President Aquino called for “responsible parenthood” which according to some, come from a different context, that of the controversial reproductive health program.
“It made me sick when I saw pro-RH lawmakers in standing ovation as the chief executive mentioned the term ‘responsible parenthood,’” the 68-year-old bishop said.
The Sorsogon bishop said he may send a token delegation to the Prayer Rally scheduled to begin at 1 pm at the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.