By James Tillman

MANILLA, July 26, 2010 (—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a new statement, “Securing our Moral Heritage: Towards a Moral Society,” in which the bishops address the issues of sex education, abortion, and contraception, and reaffirm the government’s obligation to follow the moral law in its policy decisions.

“The fight against moral and spiritual corruption in our society is not only the duty of the Church,” they state. “It is also the duty of the government.”

The CBCP identifies two particular areas of concern: a new sex education program that the Philippine Department of Education has proposed, and a “reproductive health” bill that would promote contraception.

The CBCP states that the proposed sex education program, over which the bishops and the Department of Education have locked horns before, both “highlights and fortifies the concept that contraceptives provide ‘safe and satisfying sex.'”

Yet, says the CBCP, advocates of the program ignore the fact that oral contraceptives are carcinogenic, that condoms often fail to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and that, although the United States has “very liberal sex education programs and [an] aggressive attitude in pushing contraceptives and condoms for safe sex,” it still has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates and one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among teens in the industrialized world.

To attempt to teach human sexuality in a value-neutral fashion is to distort it, the CBCP says.

“Lessons on human sexuality are lessons about love, most importantly about God’s gift of love manifested in the total sexual dimension of the human person,” the bishops write. “In the familial setting of a human trinity, father, mother, and child, there is a sincere and palpable gift of self and love from the parents.”

The bishops have often upheld the rights of parents as the primary moral teachers of their children against those who wish to mandate certain forms of sex education in schools. The Philippine Constitution states that spouses have the right to “found a family in accordance with their religious convictions.”

“In the family, the lessons of love through human sexuality can be learned with respect and awe for the ‘wonder of God’s work,'” say the bishops.

“Such setting and such manner of teaching will not be found in a classroom sex education program designed simply to inform and not form.”

Instead, “sex education has to impart a sense of the sacredness of the gift of human sexuality.”

The CBCP also explains its opposition to the “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2010,” HB 96.

“The basis of our moral objection,” they state, “is once again the central religious truth of the divine origin and divine image of the human person, of one’s being and life.”

“Like its predecessor, the main purpose of House Bill 96 is to make barren what is by nature fruitful and generative of human life. It promotes contraceptive barriers, techniques, supplies, and services that control fertility as if it were a disease.”

But “science has proven that some contraceptives render the mother’s womb inhospitable, thereby causing abortion.”

They also point out that the Philippine Constitution protects “the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

The bishops also say that the constitutional protection of the unborn child from conception is a legacy of the term of President Corazon C. Aquino, whose son just began his term as president of the Philippines.

“In spite of all the foreseeable opposition of politicians and powerful lobby groups,” they say, “we pray that President Aquino’s moral legacy could be finally and fully realized during the term of her son, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.”

They also write that President Benigno Aquino’s desire to rid the government of corruption cannot be accomplished without working to eliminate sin as well.

“To get rid of corruption at all levels of life we as a people must acknowledge our origin from the creative power of God and must be true to our identity as created unto God’s image and likeness,” they say.

“To disregard moral and religious truths such as this is to be defenseless to the onslaught of corruption.”