In an effort to break the impasse and heal the rift caused by the controversial reproductive-health (RH) bill, dioceses in Mindanao with the help of the organization of German bishops will be holding a dialogue on the RH Bill at the Xavier University Chapel today.

“We know [the RH bill] is a controversial issue, fueled further lately by the Pope’s pronouncement. It is imperative upon us to dialogue so we can appreciate more objectively the differing stands of the Church and other pro-life groups,” said Jun CheeKee, one of the dialogue organizers.

The dialogue, CheeKee said, is organized by the Philippine Misereor Partnership-Cagayan, Bukidnon, Surigao, Tandag and Malaybalay dioceses.

Meanwhile,?the Loyola School of Theology and the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues jointly issued a paper on the RH bill.  The position paper was authored by Jesuit priests, namely, Fr. Eric O. Genilo, SJ; Fr. John J. Carroll, SJ; and Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ.

Entitled “Talking Points for Dialogue on the Reproductive Health Bill [HB 96 filed July 1, 2010],” the authors pointed out that “the polarization of Philippine society over the Reproductive Health Bill has been a source of discouragement and discontent among Filipinos. It is unfortunate that the debate has focused only on whether the bill should be passed or rejected in its present form. Either option would not be good for Filipinos.”

The authors said passing the bill in its present form is “unacceptable” because of “serious flaws that can lead to violations of human rights and freedom of conscience.”

“Total rejection of the bill, however, will not change the status quo of high rates of infant mortality, maternal deaths and abortions. It is a moral imperative that such dehumanizing conditions should not be allowed to continue,” they said.

The three Jesuit priests said a third option, which is “a critical and constructive engagement,” is needed.

“By working together to amend the objectionable provisions of the bill and retain the provisions that actually improve the lives of Filipinos, both the proponents and opponents of the bill can make a contribution to protection of the dignity of Filipinos and an improvement of their quality of life,” they said.

article by Bong Fabe of Business Mirror

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