Palma appeals to faithful: Oppose divorce bill

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.File

CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma has appealed to the faithful in the Archdiocese of Cebu to oppose the passage of the divorce bill.

In a letter released on Saturday, June 29, 2024, Palma said while the Church acknowledges the reality of irreparably broken marriages, the Church remained firm that “divorce is not the solution.”

“I appeal to all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Cebu to join hands in our effort to make it known that we do not accept divorce due to the damage it will inflict, not only on us Catholics but on our values as a nation,” Palma said in the letter.

The House of Representatives approved the Absolute Divorce Act (House Bill 9349) on the third and final reading on May 22, 2024.

The House approved the bill with 131 affirmative votes, 109 negative votes, and 20 abstentions.

‘Divorce Bill’

According to a May 23, 2024 statement on the official website of Congress, “the bill lays down the comprehensive guidelines for absolute divorce petitions, encompassing grounds, procedures, and the effects on custody, property division, and support.”

“It also includes provisions for reconciliation methods, fines, and community-based initiatives, which will be supervised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

The approved bill will be transmitted to the Senate for its concurrence.

‘Church opposition’

Palma, however, said legal separation and declaration of nullity of marriages already address the situation of broken marriages.

“Do not be deceived by the notion that it will only affect those who seek it. Be aware that divorce will redefine marriage by eliminating its permanent character,” Palma said.

He added that the studies show that children with divorced parents have suffered the most.

“Divorce undermines the sanctity of marriage and leads to the breakdown of marriages and families,” Palma said.

Palma emphasized that the Church has a variety of initiatives that encourage good marital relationships and help couples avoid toxic partnerships, which are overseen by the Commission on Family and Life.

Palma also encouraged priests to be ardent in preparing couples for their lifelong relationship, rather than simply officiating the ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Cebu highlighted several reasons why it opposes divorce.

In a statement, the Archdiocese said divorce “undermines family solidarity, devalues marriage, causes erosion of trust in promises, harms children, and that divorce laws are superfluous, among others.”

The Archdiocese believes that divorce dismantles family life, highlighting that the constitution recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution, which must be protected by the state.

It highlighted that the claim that divorce will uphold the sanctity of marriage is false, saying divorce leads to the breakdown of marriages and families.

It said that divorce fails to address the complexities of marital issues. / AML with reports from WBS


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