Wednesday, February 02, 2011
PRO-LIFERS in this part of the world have been watching with keen interest, and some understandably with skepticism, the dialogues between Malacañang and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which started on November 19, 2010 and second-rounded on January 24, 2011.
Last January 31, however, when the CBCP released a pastoral letter titled “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill” speculations were on the run regarding the possibility of discontinuing such dialogues. The pastoral letter stated: “Sadly our dialogue has simply revealed how far apart our respective positions are. Therefore, instead of building false hopes, we wish at the present time to draw up clearly what we object to and what we stand for.”
Admittedly, the public perception was that the dialogues were heading towards softening the church’s position on pro-life issues by coming up with “common grounds” that delicately tread on the path of compromise and diplomacy. This observation was cemented when the spokespersons of both parties decided to face the press with the info that henceforth they would “together” educate the public on life issues. This one has sent shivers not only to a few pro-lifers.
The supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill must have been enthralled with such growing perception. In fact, the media spin of late was already about Malacañang celebrating with the happy developments and, seemingly, the coming up of a “new” label such as “responsible parenthood” was to be proof of a strategic concession.
But truth to tell, the church teachings are non-negotiable. And, contrary of perceptions, the CBCP was not about to do that. Neither was there any intent to proselytize the other camp. Dialogue has always been the language of the Church even in the midst of other religions, political groups or other vital environments. In John Paul II’s missionary encyclical Redemptor Hominis, for instance, Church recognizes the important role of dialogue in her ministry. In the history of her dialogues with other religions such as Islam, the Church has never compromised any of her magisterial treasures. It has always been in view of mutual understanding and enrichment that the Church would go into the thick of dialogue especially in the spirit and impetus of the Second Vatican Council.
Besides, the church is both a mother and a teacher. And so is the CBCP.