MANILA, Sept. 3, 2012— Academic freedom is not absolute when matters of faith and morals are at stake, a former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan said that such freedom is not unlimited especially when certain viewpoints already contradict explicit principles of Catholic faith and morals.
“Let it be also said that academic freedom is applicable to philosophy and ethics – among other scholastic matters – not to faith and morals,” said Cruz, former CBCP president.
According to him, every educational institution has an identity and mission to which it must uphold particularly the Catholic schools.
Cruz made the statement amid claims that the position made by several professors of the Ateneo De Manila University in favoring the reproductive health (RH) bill is a matter of academic freedom.
The Jesuits, which run the university, reiterated that they are one with the CBCP in fighting the RH bill and encouraged dialogue among members of the Ateneo community and the Church officials.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the umbrella organization of Catholic schools in the country, also said they will actively campaign in blocking the passage of the bill.
Last week, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the author of the RH bill in the senate, defended the Ateneo professors, saying academic freedom is a “Constitutional right”. [RL/CBCPNews]