MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine church official has expressed surprise over the speedy acceptance of a bill in the country’s parliament that would legalize divorce.
On Feb. 6, the House Committee on Population and Family Relations approved in principle the Marriage Dissolution Bill, a measure equivalent to divorce in other countries. Ucanews.com said the Philippines, aside from the Vatican, is the only state that does not have any law on divorce.
“I was surprised at the speed at which the committee accepted the bill,” said Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the public affairs office of the Catholic bishops’ conference.
“I was expecting exhaustive deliberations and discussions would be conducted on the measure,” he said, adding that the public deserves to know what is in the bill.
Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon described the acceptance of the proposed measure as alarming, ucanews.com reported.
“I hope Congress will not approve it. More family problems will be created with divorce,” he said.
Father Melvin Castro, spiritual director of the group Pro-Life Philippines, said “exhaustive discussion” on the issue should have been carried out.
“With the sensitivity of the issue and the magnitude of its effects, Congress should allow open, honest and exhaustive discussion and debate on the issue of divorce,” he said.
Earlier, the Catholic Council of the Laity of the Philippines issued a statement expressing opposition to the divorce bill. The group said the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly provides that divorce is “immoral” because it introduces disorder into the family and into society.