MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declined the invitation of a partylist group for a dialogue on the controversial reproductive health bill, saying it has yet to decide a "favorable atmosphere" for a discussion.
CBCP secretary general Monsignor Juanito Figura said they have received a letter from Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan last week, requesting to sit down with the bishops regarding the issue.
"They like to get our side but we are still studying the situation if there is a favorable atmosphere for a dialogue. The other difficulties ay mahirap magtipon ng panel for that dialogue kaya sabi namin ‘We could not. Because ang gusto sana June 3 nahihirapan ako magtipon ng panelist kaya hindi natuloy’," Figura told Church-run Radyo Veritas.
Gabriela is one of the partylist groups that push for the RH bill in Congress which the Catholic Church has opposed vehemently. Church officials view the RH bill as a way to legalize abortion in the country.
Meanwhile, Figura clarified that the supposed dialogue with Gabriela will only focus on the RH bill and not the divorce bill.
In the meantime, the Church, according to Figura, is doing its best to act as "shepherds" to its faithful in discussing the RH bill.
"It is more on the posture of the Bishops as Shepherds. Let us try to study to analyze things and this being exercise by Bishops as pastors," he added.