• Church firm against same-sex marriage

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    THE Church will support measures that mandate equal treatment for all, but will strongly oppose any move that will recognize same-sex marriage, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

    In a pastoral guidance, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas clarified the stand of the Church on same-sex marriage as Congress moves for approval of the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Bill, more popularly known as Anti-Discrimination Bill.

    Villegas explained that the Church cannot encourage persons to “choose” their gender, orientation and sexual identity as if these were matters at the free disposal of choice.

    According to the archbishop, no one may be excluded from the life of the Church and its sacraments merely because of avowed orientation or identity, but said disapproval of homosexual acts remains part of the Church’s moral teachings.

    “To the legislators who consider through future legislative initiatives giving legal recognition to same-sex unions, the Church declares there is no equivalence or even any remote analogy whatsoever between marriage between a man and woman as planned by God and the so-called same-sex unions,” Villegas said.

    “Insofar as the proposed piece of legislation renders illegitimate the relegation of persons with sexual orientation and gender identity issues to citizens of a lower category enjoying fewer rights, the CBCP cannot but lend its support to this proposed legislative measure,” the prelate added.

    Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, executive secretary, CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, on Friday said they were apprehensive that the proposed bill may lead to the recognition of same-sex union, which is contrary to Church doctrines and other Biblical teachings.

    “We have to accept that marriage as ordained by God in the Bible is between a man and a woman. There is no way that the Church can change this. As an institution founded by Christ, her primordial role is to reinforce and protect what Christ himself taught,” he added.

    According to Secillano, the Church cannot go against God by “merely succumbing to social pressures” or by “adhering to some philosophies based on worldly humanism which detaches people from their dependence on Him.”

    He explained that what the Church rejects are not the gay people themselves, but homosexual acts, just as the Church decries sexual relations between a man and woman who are not married to each other.

    During his recent visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis warned the Filipino faithful against what he described as an “ideological colonization,” which tries to destroy the family, in obvious reference to efforts by sectors pushing for same-sex union and contraception.

    “It’s not born of the dream that we have with God from prayer and from the mission that God gives us. It comes outside. And that’s why I say it’s colonization. Let us not lose the freedom to take that mission forward that God has given us,” the Pope said.

    The Holy Father called on families to be “very wise and very strong with fortitude to these initiatives of ideological colonization that could destroy the families.”

    He said the world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats, and the Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan, and to be a support and example for other families.

    “Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family. The future passes through the family. So protect your families. See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments,” Francis added.

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