By Leslie Ann Aquino
The haste with which the House Committee on Population and Family Relations approved the bill seeking to legalize divorce in the country surprised leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.
Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Public Affairs Committee, said he was surprised as he was expecting an exhaustive deliberation on the measure.
“I was surprised at the haste the Committee passed the bill,” he said in an interview.
“I was expecting that exhaustive deliberations and discussions will be conducted on the measure,” added Secillano.
He said the public deserves to know what is in the bill.
The move alarmed retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.
“This is alarming! I hope Congress will not approve it! More family problems will be created with divorce!” he said.
Pro-Life Philippines spiritual director Father Melvin Castro, meantime, pushed for an exhaustive discussion on the matter.
“With the sensitivity of the issue and the magnitude of its effects, Congress should allow open, honest, and exhaustive discussion and debate on the issue of divorce,” he said.
Secillano agreed saying a public forum or media discussions should be done to give the people thorough understanding of its impact in the family and society.
Days before, the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas also expressed its strong opposition to divorce.
In a statement, the group said the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly provides that divorce is immoral because it introduces disorder into the family and into society.
“This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect, which makes it truly a plague on society,” read the statement.
“It is our hope, therefore, that the Philippines shall forever stand as a beacon of hope for the family and society,” it further read.
The House committee approved the bill proposing the legalization of divorce Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate for legislative action.