MANILA, Philippines - Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug says the victory of the Reproductive Health bill signals the decline of Church influence on national affairs.
Here’s her video blog.
This is the beginning of the decline of the Catholic Church’s influence on affairs of the Philippine state.
The victory of the reproductive health bill will stand as a landmark in the history of church-state relations. It demystified the Catholic Church and its supposed iron grip on our country’s politicians.
The bishops flagrantly intruded on the shaping of the RH policy. They harangued us from the pulpit, read fire-and-brimstone pastoral statements claiming religious dogma and using faith to fuel opposition.
Yet the public did not listen. The surveys showed majority favored the RH bill. How could congressmen and senators ignore the voice of the people?
In this one shining moment, they looked out for the larger good and passed the RH bill.
Surely, the Catholic Church can continue its mission for social justice, to be a church of the poor. But it should learn from this experience and not overreach.
In future policy debates, the bishops will no longer enjoy a favored status. They will be like any other advocate, claiming our leaders’ attention.
This will truly mark our country’s liberation from the clergy, the men in cassocks.