CATHOLIC prelates have taken their battle against legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines to the next level by asking the faithful not to take part in a ceremony that celebrate it.

Lingayan-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Sunday same-sex union is “not and can never be a marriage."

“Catholics cannot participate in any way or even attend religious or legal ceremonies that celebrate and legitimize homosexual unions,” said Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Homosexual unions, he said, do not have the basic biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family.

"They are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race, and thus it would be an injustice to grant them legal recognition along with the same benefits and privileges accorded to marriage,” Villegas said.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation of 100 million.

But same-sex union advocates are not losing hope as a petition is currently pending before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify provisions in the Family Code that limit marriage to a man and a woman.

While the CBCP is all out against same-sex marriage, the bishops urged families and loved ones of homosexuals to continue loving them “unconditionally."

“Families with members, who struggle with homosexuality, are called to love them unconditionally, thereby outlasting all their other same-sex loves,” said Villegas.

He noted that caring for them does not mean giving consent to homosexual acts.

“This love, however, must be a love in truth that avoids praising, consenting to, or defending the so-called ‘homosexual lifestyle’,” Villegas said. (FP/Sunnex)