Filipino bishops: We will strip Catholic status if schools defy Church teaching

As nearly 200 Catholic university professors back the Church-opposed RH bill, the bishops are warning that they could be fired.
Mon Aug 20, 2012 - 2:17 pm EST

MANILA, Philippines, August 20, 2012 ( – Catholic schools that fail to uphold Church teaching may be stripped of their affiliation with the Church, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned last week.

“If we are a Catholic school, we should not teach anything contrary to the official teaching of the Church,” Archbishop Jose Palma, the CBCP’s president, told CBCPNews, the conference’s official news service.

Stressing that parents who send their children to Catholic schools expect the schools to be faithful to the teachings of the Church, Archbishop Palma, who heads the Cebu archdiocese, said, “They are hoping that their children will learn the Catholic teaching and also the Catholic formation. It will be a contradiction if we will bombard them with ideas which are against the official teachings of the Catholic faith.”

Against a background of contention created by the clash between the Church’s defence of traditional Filipino morality and the government’s push to mandate sex education in schools and subsidized contraceptives in its controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, Archbishop Palma remarked that teachers in some Catholic schools have already sided with the government.

Nearly 200 professors of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU), a Catholic school run by the Jesuits, have backed the Church-opposed RH Bill after the government passed a motion on August 6 to end the 14 years of contentious debate on the Bill and proceed with deliberation on amendments to it.

Bishop Leandro Medroso, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Canon Law of the CBCP, warned Monday that the professors could be fired.

“That has to be investigated. The first principle of Canon law about this matter is that we don’t allow teaching that is against the official teachings of the Church,” he told the Church-run Radio Veritas. “Now, if there is somebody who is giving instructions against the teachings of the Church, then they have to investigate immediately.”

The ADMU administration has clarified that notwithstanding the position of some of its teachers, the school conforms to the official teaching of the Church, according to the CBCP.

The bishops are pointing to the Vatican’s decision on July 21st to strip the Catholic status of the ultra-liberal Pontifical Catholic University of Peru because its policies were “not compatible with the discipline and morals of the church” and it had refused reform. The Vatican had been encouraging the university to realign itself to Church teaching since 1990, and in February gave a final deadline of April 8 to comply with requirements for reestablishing Church oversight.

The school’s administration rejected the ultimatum stating that the two sides were at an “impasse” and that the school would continue to use the words Catholic and Pontifical to describe itself “as long as we consider it convenient.”

Archbishop Palma noted that the CBCP hopes to continue dialogue with dissenting teachers in Catholic schools, but that further measures may be taken.

“In some places, we first talk to them because some teachers may have some misunderstanding of what they think of freedom of conscience or academic freedom,” said Palma. “[Teachers] should be consistent and true to the nature of their calling, which is to enlighten and teach the Catholic doctrine. They should realize how important their vocation and their mission is, which is of course to impart the Catholic teaching.”

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives