IT’S still a long way to go before we see in this country the first marriage being legally dissolved by absolute divorce. When members of the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 7303, the measure that seeks to legalize absolute divorce, no counterpart bill had been filed in the Senate. A measure does not become a law without the concurrence of the Senate.
Chances of a divorce bill being passed by both chambers of Congress in the coming months are nil considering the other priority measures and activities that lawmakers are attending to and the short time left before the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 elections.
Still, the passage of the absolute divorce bill in the House should send a message to the institution that is strongly opposing it, the Catholic Church. “I have doubts if what Congress decided was truly what the majority of Catholics want,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. One consolation for him is that many lawmakers from Cebu are also opposed to the measure.
The possibility of a divorce law being passed in the future is high considering the trend worldwide. The Philippines and Vatican City are the last two places where divorce is illegal. And there seems to be a growing number of Catholics in the Philippines who now favor divorce over the more tedious annulment or legal separation.
The belief that the Catholic Church hierarchy is losing its hold on its flock has been propped up by recent developments. The enactment of the Reproductive Health law despite strong opposition from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines could be replicated in the divorce measure if lawmakers and President Duterte would vigorously push for it.
Despite this, bishops and priests seem content on merely airing their opposition to the divorce bill instead of looking for internal reasons for their failure to have their views influence the thinking of a big chunk of Filipino Catholics. The waning of their influence is obvious but they seem to be oblivious to it and continue plodding on without going to the bottom of the problem.
It’s the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.