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(Position paper on the Reproductive Health Bill by individual faculty* of the Ateneo de Manila University)
(Note: The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of other faculty. Neither do they represent the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.)
We, individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, call for the immediate passage of House Bill 5043 on “Reproductive Health and Population Development” (hereafter RH Bill) in Congress. After examining it in the light of Philippine social realities, and informed by our Christian faith, we have reached the conclusion that our country urgently needs a comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive health and population development, as provided by the RH Bill. We also believe that the provisions of the bill adhere to core principles of Catholic social teaching: the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, integral human development, human rights, and the primacy of conscience.
Catholic social theology since Vatican II has evolved, on the one hand, from the emphasis on order, social cohesiveness, the acceptance of some inequality, and obedience to authorityto the recognition, on the other, of the centrality of the human person, and the concomitant need for human freedom, equality, and participation (Pacem in Terris 1963, Octogesima Adveniens 1971). In the same way that Vatican II was a council for aggiornamento (renewal) for the universal Church, so too did the 1991 Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) aim at the renewal of the Church in the Philippines. After a month of collectively studying and praying to discern the “signs of the times,” PCP-II declared: “As we approach the...

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