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Filipino president could face Church sanctions for family-planning efforts

Catholic World News - September 30, 2010

President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines has been warned that he could face disciplinary action from the Catholic Church—including possible excommunication—if he continues to promote government programs that support contraception and abortion.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, the president of the Filipino bishops’ conference, told a Radio Veritas audience that the Church is gravely concerned about Aquino’s support for aggressive family-planning programs. While stressing that the hierarchy would seek to resolve the issue without a confrontation, he said that excommunication is “a possibility.”

Aquino indicated that he would not back away from his support for the family-planning initiatives. “We are all guided by our consciences,” he said in a statement released in response to the bishop’s warning. “My position has not changed.”

Bishop Odchimar told Radio Veritas that the bishops’ conference has been pushing for a meeting with Aquino and his aides to discuss the government’s plans. He disclosed that the bishops wrote to Aquino in February, asking for a meeting, but has not yet received a reply. “So the ball is in their court,” he said.

“We don’t want to be confrontational,” the bishop said. “We want a dialogue. We are just waiting.”

Bishop Odchimar said that President Aquino should be aware that if his government distributes contraceptives, he could be acting as “an accessory” to a serious sin. As for abortion, he said, it is “a grave sin;” he reminded the radio audience that those who procure or perform abortions are subject to automatic excommunication.”

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  • Posted by: Obregon - Sep. 30, 2010 10:45 PM ET USA

    It is important to understand that the bishops of the Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and others, are very different from our bishops here in the States. Those bishops will defend the Church fiercely and are not afraid of political correctness and invoking excommunication against politicians who claim to be "Catholic" while destroying the family.

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