MANILA, Dec. 12, 2012—At a Holy Mass offered for the non-passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill and for the enlightenment of all legislators, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles reminded thousands of faithful about their responsibility to reject the oppressive measure since enacting it into law would be tantamount to failing the Filipino people.
“Let us not fail our people by approving the RH bill,” he continued, more emphatically. “Let us do everything according to God’s will, to make the pro-life movement triumph. We cannot negotiate with the evil one. We are the last bastion of Christianity–we should not fail our people. Our people should not fail other nations. “
The prelate pointed out that the highly divisive RH bill does not solve the problem of those who are marginalized.
“[Those who push the bill] move the margins. If we are Christians, we put those in the margins in the center, because God cares for the little ones. He lifts up the lowly, he brings salvation to them. We the church should help the powerless… so they will no longer be exploited,” Arguelles said in his homily during the mass concelebrated with several other bishops at the St. Peter Parish Shrine of Leaders in Quezon City. CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) chairman Gabriel V. Reyes was the main celebrant.
“The pope tells us that it is our Christian duty to put all those who are in the margins of the world, to the center of humankind,” he added.
He also reminded the faithful about the unfailing protection that the Blessed Mother extends to her children, especially on special days such as the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the day the RH bill was scheduled to be voted on, fell.
“’Are you not fortunately under my care?’ These words by the holy mother were addressed to Juan Diego, one of the humble and most little of people around at that time. These words should also console us today,” Arguelles said.
“We are in the thick of the great battle. We have to be. And we are confident because we have a mother,” Arguelles added.
The prelate then enjoined all to pray for President Benigno Aquino III and to “ask him, ‘Mr. President, please don’t dangle your pork barrel on our legislators… ‘”
“Use your money not for corruption but for education, not for killing but for more jobs. Use that money not to suppress our people but to give our people land, capacity… to bring more food to them,” the bishop continued.
With the church filled to capacity, after the faithful were called to unite in prayer for the measure’s non-passage, Arguelles pointed out the responsibility of Catholics to help in concrete ways their brethren who have less.
“People suffer because we don’t do anything. We live comfortably, we forget our neighbors who don’t have enough in life. It’s only we who can help them,” was his gentle reminder.
The Batangas bishop appealed to lawmakers not to legislate what is immoral. He also emphasized the need to recognize the truth about the humanity of the unborn.
“Don’t say that the fetus is not yet a human being. Women who are expecting – nagdadalantao – hindi sila nagdadalantao [starting from] three months [of the pregnancy],” adding that the life they are nurturing in all cases involve fully human beings: “They are people, they are body and soul, they are God’s children.”
He then enjoined the faithful to actively work for change.
“Christians, be in the frontlines! Do not hide, do not be ostriches. Be the first to work for social change.”
A procession took place after the Eucharistic celebration, with some of the solons leading the marchers who walked all the way to the House of Representatives. The estimated number of marchers combined with the people who attended the mass reached nearly 5,000. (CBCP for Life)