University president clarifies stand on RH Bill

Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin SJ announced that the school does not support House Bill 4244. He said that his pronouncement is in line with the official stand of the Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines.

The RH Bill pertains to “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill” which as of press time, is still being discussed in the Philippine Senate.

The Jesuit said: “As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values.”

“I enjoin all in the Ateneo community to continue in-depth study of the present bill, and to support amendments to remove provisions that could be ambiguous or inimical from a legal, moral or religious perspective,” Fr. Villarin added.

In his statement, he called the attention of the 192 members of the university faculty “who have grappled with the underlying issues in the context of Catholic social teaching, and who have spoken in their own voice in support of the bill.” Fr. Villarin said that “the University must differ from their position . . .” but he also appreciates their social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good.

Fr. Villarin concluded his declaration: “Catholic tradition has always taught that reason and faith are not enemies but allies in the service of God’s truth. From this tradition, we can draw strength and compassion in our often tortuous journey as persons in community toward the greater glory of God and the service of God’s people.”