Ateneo’s Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas "dismayed by preachers telling parishioners that supporting RH Bill merits excommunication," finds it &

( In an opinion piece for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jesuit priest and Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo de Manila Law School Fr. Joaqunin Bernas, SJ, has voiced out his position regarding the Reproductive Health Bill. The 1986 member of the Constitutional Commission enumerated 12 points describing his stand, touching key aspects such as the Church-State debate, abortion and responsible parenthood.


Freedom of religion, Bernas wrote, means the freedom the act or not to act according to what one believes. "Hence, the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief nor may churchmen compel President Aquino to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief."


Quoting the Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, Bernas said that the government's responsibility is to interpret the good of everyone and "not only according to the guidelines of the majority."


Bernas, who has been accused of heresy by a high-ranking cleric for his views, also added as his third point, his dismay at preachers who say supporting the bill is a serious sin that could merit excommunication. "I find this to be irresponsible," Bernas said. In the opinion piece, he mentioned his approval of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' (CBCP) disownment of "the self-destructive views of some clerics."


However, Bernas also gave out suggestions to amend the bill, saying that he would like to help in its improvement. Some of his notes include the removal of the provision on mandatory sexual education in public schools without parental consent. He also suggested to leave the obligation of employers to sexual and reproductive health of employees to the Labor Code.



For more on this story, log on to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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