Asian Catholics called to fight 'threats to very existence of the family'
May 16, 2014 - A Catholic Church-sponsored conference on the family ended Friday
in the Philippine capital, Manila with a call for Asian Catholics to fight abortion,
contraception and same-sex marriage as "threats to the very existence of the family".
The four-page document issued by 551 participants from 14 Asian countries, including
28 bishops, claimed that advocacy for same-sex marriages "attempts to reduce marriage
to a sterile relationship between people of the same sex". “Abortion kills the very
life without which no family can exist," the document read, adding that contraception
and sterilization threaten the "procreative purpose of marriage and the family by
attacking the very wellsprings of human life". The document was released at the conclusion
of the May 13-16 meeting, which was organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council
for the Family and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), to
discuss the 30-year old Vatican "Charter of the Rights of the Family." The conference
was held in the Philippines following a long-running battle between Church and state
authorities over a reproductive health law that paved the way for funding contraception
and sex education in the country.
The conference document lambasted governments
and other social institutions "that militate against life and the family through coercive
measures that run counter to the rights of individuals, couples and families to flourish
according to the natural law and the laws of the Church." "Governments that promote
contraception, abortion, sterilization, coercive population control, divorce, same-sex
marriages and euthanasia, destroy families which they are duty bound to protect and
foster," the document said.
The document insisted that the family is "based
on marriage ... between a man and a woman" and is a "natural institution to which
the mission of transmitting life is exclusively entrusted. "We urge governments to
consider seriously the 'Charter on the Rights of the Family' in the formulation of
policies affecting the family," the document read.
French Bishop Jean Laffitte,
secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that despite efforts by Church
leaders "the right to transmit life is not always respected" in some Asian countries.
He cited the "implementation of deterrent policies that put moral pressure on women
and families ... to prevent birth". Kevin Lai of Hong Kong's diocesan committee for
the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction, said the Church has already
"lost the fight" against abortion and contraception in Hong Kong, which currently
has no legal recognition of same-sex couples. "We will not lose in the fight against
same-sex marriage," he told ucanews.com. He said a "huge gathering" of Christians
will be held in the former British colony on Sunday to show opposition to moves legalizing
same-sex marriage. (Source: UCAN)