THE Catholic Church shares the blame for the country’s runaway population because it has been remiss in its duty to enlighten couples on the natural method of family planning, according to Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.
Rosales’ pronouncement, which he made Monday before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap), is a rare acknowledgment from a high Church official of the Church’s shortcomings in checking the high population growth, which is running at 2.36 percent.
The country’s population is estimated at 83 million. Records show that while population in neighboring Asian countries are going down, the Philippines continues to grow.
The Church has never wavered in its stand against artificial methods of family planning, such as birth control pills and condoms.
Rosales, however, stressed artificial methods of contraception are still unacceptable.
Fr. Joe Dizon, founder of the cause-oriented group Patriots, agreed with the archbishop that the Church has been remiss in making Catholic couples more aware about spacing their children.
“The Church has no program on the promotion of natural method of family planning. Most of the poor people, particularly in the squatters area, do not know anything about natural method of family planning,” Dizon told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
Dizon said such ignorance is aggravated by a deep Filipino family culture prohibiting sexual discussions.
He stressed it is part of the Church duty to enlighten the faithful on family planning in accordance with its teachings.
“People should have a place to go or a clinic run by the Church so they could be educated on the natural method of planning their families,” Dizon said.
Dizon said priests could also include discussion on family planning on the course of their routine conduct of masses in parishes and barangays.
Earlier, Dagupan-Lingayen Arcbishop Oscar Cruz, former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, issued a stern warning against proponents of the two-child policy in Congress.
“The Church will go all out against lawmakers who will support the two-child policy bill,” Cruz said.
Rosales also said that the Church, at all times, will have its voice heard on any government acts contrary to the common good of the majority of the people and on anything against the natural law.
“Anything in governance that would be against the natural law and common good, the Church will be there. You could be sure of that,” As conscience of the society, Rosales stressed, it is the duty of the Church to be vigilant at all times on matters that collide with Church principles.