MANILA, August 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Philippines’ Catholic bishops said the government’s recent move to end 14 years of contentious debate on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and force a vote, will have “tragic and catastrophic” consequences for Filipinos if the bill is passed.

The bill, House Bill 4244, mandates sex education in schools and subsidized contraceptives.

The Philippine House of Representatives passed a motion on Monday, at the request of President Benigno Aquino, to close debate on the controversial bill that has consistently been opposed by the country’s pro-life leaders, and proceed with deliberation on amendments to the bill.

“May God have mercy on our Congress,” said the former president of the Philippines’ bishops conference, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo of Jaro, one of many church leaders who condemned the measure.

Fr. Melvin Castro, head of the Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said President Aquino was “hard-hearted” in his refusal to further consider the concerns of opponents of the RH Bill, and criticized the dubious tactics used to advance the legislation.

“They break their own rules. They really forced it today,” Fr. Castro said on Monday. “It’s railroading. They’re destroying the very essence of democracy.”

In July President Aquino said that population control is the answer to the backlogs in education and the alleviation of poverty.

However, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that the RH bill is not the key to resolving poverty in the country and that the country’s “positive” birth rate and population composed mostly of young people are the main players that fuel the economy.

“The population control policy of the RH bill would only stall our economic growth. The problem of countries with former robust economies is the lack of young workers for their industries and inadequate support for their aging population,” stated Archbishop Palma.

“It is therefore quite disturbing when the country is told that having too many children is a burden to the national budget,” the Cebu archbishop said, noting, “There is a grave reason to worry when the government would rather suppress the population through the RH Bill instead of confronting the real causes of poverty.”

In a letter condemning the RH Bill directed to Filipino youth, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan, pointed out that although bureaucratic corruption is “the cancer of the Philippines that prevents us from growing,” the ideology that promotes contraception is more harmful in that it is a form of corruption that “harms your soul,” and leads to abortion.

“We are battling against contraception because we know it can harm your soul. Believe me. Contraception harms your soul. Contraception is corruption,” Archbishop Villegas stated, adding, “Contraceptive pills teach us this ‘It is alright to have sex with someone provided you are safe from babies. Babies are a nuisance.’ A culture of contraception looks at babies as reasons for our poverty. Birth control, they say, means more food, more classrooms, more houses and better health for mothers. If more babies are the cause of poverty, are we now saying, ‘No more children means no more hardship?’”

The archbishop illustrated his point with the example of Europe’s demographic winter and the prophetic words of Paul VI who foretold that contraception would lead to rampant sexual promiscuity and end in unrestricted abortion.

“Europe is on the downtrend,” Archbishop Villegas said. “It is losing its soul because it now relies on the influx of migrants to keep it afloat. They are facing a severe wintertime in their child births. It is losing its identity because it does not have children and youth to carry the torch. They started with contraception, they embraced abortion and now they are killing their weak and sick grandparents.

“Paul VI prophesied that artificial contraception could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. And it is happening in Europe. We your elders plead with you do not follow that path to moral corruption. Dare to be different. Dare to be better!”

Archbishop Villegas concluded his plea to Filipino youth by reiterating that “Contraception is corruption. Contraception is the mother of abortion. Contraception makes sex pleasure cheap without responsibility. Contraception says babies and children are annoying. Contraception is contra youth. Contraception is contra children. Contraception is against us.” He noted incisively, “There is no Tagalog or Pangasinan word for contraception because it is not only ungodly, it is also unFilipino.”

A film titled “The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life” produced by Human Life International (HLI) documents the assault on the pro-life values of the Philippines by Western pro-abortion advocates of the anti-life Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. Watch the film here.