Miriam backs Ateneo faculty members supporting RH bill

August 22, 2012 10:40 pm 

MANILA, Aug. 22 – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago came in defense of the Ateneo faculty members facing threat of blacklisting from Catholic Church for supporting the controversial Reproductive Health bill now pending both in the Senate and House of Representatives.

”The threat of the Catholic Church to blacklist the members of the Ateneo faculty members just because they took a position in favor of RH is an infringement of a Constitutional right – the right to academic freedom,” Santiago said in media interview.

”I doubt very much if what is religious should be allowed to trample or down trod the academic freedom of all intellectuals in the country,” she said.

Santiago, one of the co-sponsors of Senate version (SB 2865) of the bill, said the threat of Catholic Church on the Ateneo members was a ‘backward-looking message.’

”I have insisted many times that after the ecumenical council called Vatican II, the role of the Church in society has changed. You can no longer punish Catholics for their freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience is now enshrined within the Catholic Church itself,” the lady lawmaker said.

She said a Catholic was not supposed to just swallow everything that was recited by a cleric, adding “only the Pope can dictate, and that is when he categorically claims that he is speaking ex-cathedra in his role as Supreme Pontiff.”

”Meaning to say, if you don’t follow that dogma, then you are no longer a Catholic. But the Pope never exercised that power with respect to reproductive health, or population control, or responsible parenthood. So we are all agreed among the Catholic theological community that this is not a dogma, that this is not a required position for a Catholic. Therefore, it is open to the exercise of the freedom of conscience of every Catholic,” Santiago further said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III postponed the two remaining chapters of his four-chapter privilege speech against the RH bill in deference of the untimely death of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo in a plane crash last Saturday.

Sotto reset his ‘turno en contra’ on Wednesday next week. (PNA)

RMA/JFM

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