CEBU, Philippines, November 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Preaching at his diocese’s Vigil for All Nascent Human Life this weekend, a Filipino Cardinal slammed those who have seized on confusion over Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments on condoms to promote a dangerous ‘reproductive health’ bill.

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu, said the bill, which would promote contraception as population control, threatens “the way of life, our culture, our Christian values and the foundation of human life,” reports Cebu Daily News.

The Filipino bishops have fought different versions of the bill for over a decade, but some, including many of the bill’s backers, believe that the confusion created around the Pope’s comments by secular media, agencies, and governments has prepared the way for the bill’s passage.

Among other serious objections, the Filipino bishops have insisted the bill will inevitably pave the way to legalized abortion in the strongly Catholic country.

Echoing comments from other Filipino prelates, Cardinal Vidal, 79, said proponents of the bill are capitalizing on the faithful’s confusion to mislead the public.  “In no way, my friends, did the Pope endorse the use of condoms for the prevention of aids,” but instead said that “we cannot solve the AIDS problem by distributing condoms,” explained the bishop.

“If all you do is to distribute condoms to prostitutes, you are actually telling them to remain in that way of life and to continue selling their bodies. You will be degrading them further,” he added.

The Pope said, he explained, “that a prostitute who uses a condom has attained some realization to protect him or herself or to protect his or her partner.”

“This realization does not make the act right,” he insisted.  “The act of using a condom is a first step of a morally awakening, which if allowed to mature can make the prostitute realize that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do what one wants. This is not an endorsement of the use of a condom.”

The Cardinal said the rejection of human life and the “idolatrous pursuit of quality of life” that is implicit in the reproductive health bill is rooted in “selfishness.”

“There would be no quality of life to speak of if there is no human life in the first place. Quality of life should never be attained at the expense of human life,” he continued.  “The Church is for empowering the poor but only within the limits of what is good because losing control over their appetites is not empowerment. It the most basic kind of slavery.”

The Cardinal joined bishops from all over the world in responding to Pope Benedict’s unprecedented call for a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” to be celebrated worldwide on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent.

Cardinal Vidal said those gathered for the vigil demonstrated “solidarity of all those who value life, be it a baby in the womb or a dying person in bed pain. The Church has always valued human life, not just quality of life, but all human life because it is a gift from God himself.”