THE local church of Cebu is opposed to the passage of the divorce bill and moves to legalize same-sex marriage.

“We should never approve that,” said Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal last Saturday night, after conferring papal awards on 32 clergy and lay leaders.

“Divorce is against our teachings,” he said.

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Gabriela party-list Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmie de Jesus have filed House Bill 1799 or “An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines.”

In a statement released last Aug. 14, Gabriela health and services director Obeth Montes said, “For all parties concerned, nothing good could emanate from a marriage where there is no longer respect, love and affection between spouses.

Most often, where marriage has taken the turn for the worse, it is the woman who suffers the brunt of it.”

Between January and May 2010, out of the 294 cases of violence against women received by the group, 204 of these cases were on domestic violence, Montes said.

“When a woman is beaten by her husband, she must have the freedom to take her exit out of the marriage; but women at the present do not have this option because existing laws on legal separation and annulment fail miserably to address this reality,” Montes said.

Cardinal Vidal said the local church will intensify its education drive on the value of life, family and marriage.

“We will continue our evangelization and intensify our way of forming the consciences of our families, especially our young people,” he said. He cited a pastoral letter opposing same-sex marriage, which the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also took up in statement issued after a conference last month.

The bishops have asked President Benigno C. Aquino III to abolish the government program of the previous administration that promotes the use of artificial contraception, which they said was “immoral and will not bring about a people that is God-fearing, holding on to the sacredness of sexuality, life and the family.”

The Catholic Church opposes what it calls the Death bills that were raised in the Lower House. Pro-life groups have, in the past, conducted prayer rallies and other activities to lobby against these bills that they dubbed as “anti-life.”

The acronym Death stands for divorce, euthanasia, abortion, total population control, homosexual union and sex education.