2014-05-16 16:50:36

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)

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