Agenzia Fides REPORT – “To promote respect for life at levels throughout the Country: both in family policies, which should be based on the values of unborn life and responsible parenting; and in the daily pattern of social life, with an attention to the real tranquillity and security of citizens, their rights and their ideas. This is the correct path for the country,” said Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, speaking on the need for Christian witness in the political and social life of the Philippines to Fides.
The light for the common good of the nation – the Cardinal notes during his interview with Fides - must be “the absolute respect for life” that the Church has always proclaimed with conviction as a value to promote. In this regard, the measure announced by the Government of Benigno Aquino on family policy, respectful of the Catholic “Natural Family Programme”, generated satisfaction in the Catholic community. The new text will replace the previous Reproductive Health Bill: for the Church this is a step forward, because it “responds to the spirit and desires of the Filipino people.” The Government has recognized that population growth is not the primary factor in poverty and has endorsed the need for education policies for youth on affectivity.
On the other hand, notes the Cardinal, the violent occurrences that continue to affect society, such as killing, wounding or kidnapping of journalists, trade unionists and human rights activists (see Fides 20/01/2011 and 25/01/2011), is an alarm bell. “Again in this area, respect for human life means to guarantee all the freedoms and rights which every citizen is entitled to.” To promote and ensure “a culture of life” means, then, for the Christian community “to affirm the value of unborn life but also walk alongside those who defend human rights.”
The Archbishop of Manila highlighted another two challenges facing the Philippines: governance and poverty. “Governance must be in the name of morality, transparency and solidarity with the past. We need to thoroughly oppose the cancer of corruption. If the political elites tolerate or boost corruption, then the population also considers the practice justified. The new Aquino government should be given time to address these challenges, but the objectives must be clear.”
On poverty: “the State must ask what are the just remedies and put them into practice. As Christians, we must use the Word of God to help the poor, to pay particular attention to the marginalized and dispossessed. The point of reference for us is the Holy Father Benedict XVI's Encyclical, “Caritas in veritate”.