Priest opposes bishops’ statement-A A +A
Monday, August 20, 2012
“I DON’T think the Catholic bishops have the power to take away a school’s affiliation.”
This was the reaction of Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, parish priest of Alubijid in Misamis Oriental and president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), to the statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warning Catholic schools removal from their affiliations if found violating ethical and religious directives of the church.
The statement came after Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu posted that Catholic schools should not teach anything contrary to the official teaching of the church; otherwise, their affiliations to Catholic schools will be stripped off.
Abacahin said the CBCP can only do exhortation, which the schools must follow.
“The matter of sanctioning must be brought to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and that whatever sanctions, if there will be, should be discussed,” he said.
The Catholic Church has been very vocal against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill for its provisions allowing artificial contraception and is advocating natural family planning.
Palma said it is a contradiction if children will be confronted with ideas that are against the official teachings of the Catholic Church.
“We are trying to solve the problem through a dialogue with teachers on some misunderstanding of what they think about freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” he added.
Abacahin said, however, that the CEAP will not release any statements and decisions as they still have to discuss this during their board meeting.
“What’s unique about us Catholics is that the Church doesn’t oblige. What’s important is the standpoint of Catholics,” he said.
The Church has initiated a nationwide effort to conduct series of seminars on the natural method of family planning (NFP) as part of the Church’s “moral responsibility” to the people.
Abacahin said instead of intensifying rallies against RH bill, “why not spend our energy and effort to strengthen the NFP as an alternative to RH Bill?”
A forum on NFP will be held at 9 a.m. today, Tuesday, at the Patrick Cronin Hall of the St. Augustine Cathedral.
Church leaders believe that active educational campaign would help empower the couples on the “moral, effective and safe” way of family planning.
CEAP earlier encouraged participation of member schools to the Prayer against the Reproductive Health Bill and an advocate of life.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 21, 2012.