By Hilary White

MANILA, January 4, 2010 ( – The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have issued a voter’s guide that places the life and family issues at the top of concerns for voters in the upcoming elections. Titled, “Catechism on Family and Life,” the document says that the challenges facing voters in the upcoming presidential elections are “not only political but also clearly and profoundly moral.”

The document gives lengthy instruction in the principles behind the pro-life position. “We should not think that ‘abortion is wrong because the Church says so,’ but rather, ‘abortion is wrong because it kills a human being who is one of us, and the Church reminds us of its wrongness,’” it says.

“Indeed, whether the Church says so or not, abortion is always a most violent, unjust and inhumane act committed against the most harmless, defenseless, and weakest member of our society – the baby – and committed by those who have the greatest duty to care for, love and defend him or her most – the mother, father, doctors and other health care professionals.”

The bishops point the finger at politicians on the left who have attempted to impose legislation to loosen restrictions on abortion, contraception and to undermine the Philippines’ strong identification of the family. Of particular concern, they write, is the government’s proposed Reproductive Health bill that would open the door to legal abortion, promote contraception, sex education and reproductive technologies.

Wording in the bill, the bishops warn, “will penalize with one to six months imprisonment, and/or 10-50 thousand pesos fine, parents who for example prevent their grade school and high school children from using contraceptives, and having satisfying and safe sex.”

The Catechism also defends the right of Catholics to bring their voices into the debate, saying, “Because we are people of both faith and reason, it is appropriate and necessary for us to bring this essential truth about human life and dignity to the public square.”

“Through our active participation in the democratic process, including voting, we contribute to ensuring that our democracy firmly underpins moral and ethical values and standards. In the absence of ethical values and standards democracy will become the totalitarian rule of the rich and the powerful who can trample on the rights of the weak and vulnerable, such as the unborn babies, mothers, the elderly and the poor families.”

The bishops warn against the language used by the Reproductive Health bill, gleaned from the United Nations and the international abortion movement, saying that the language “disposes all people, including children and adolescents, to the sexual act and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to reproduce.” The “convoluted” logic behind such terminology, they wrote, “necessarily presupposes access to contraception and abortion.”

Read the full document here.

Read related LSN coverage:

Philippine Bishops to Create Pro-Life, Pro-Family Coalition of Lay Groups to Support Politicians 

Philippine AIDS Rate Has Doubled Coinciding with Increase of Condom Use