MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines reiterated the church’s stance against divorce days after a survey firm reported that six in 10 Filipinos favor it.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said in a March 27 statement that a failed marriage should not be reason to divorce.
The archbishop pointed to several Philippine laws that are meant to protect the rights of wives and children in marriages that are oppressive or spouses are cruel. They provide for legal separation or annulment.
“In other words, the supposed suffering that a spouse must bear owing to a failed marriage is more imagined than real, and comes only upon one who does not make use of the remedies already available under existing law,” Archbishop Villegas said.
The archbishop argued that people opt for divorce even if annulment and legal separation are viable options because they simply want to remarry.
He also said divorce makes a mockery of marriage and victimizes the children of divorcing couples, “compounding their trauma” of having to choose which parent to live with and dealing with a total stranger in the person of the new spouse.
The issue of divorce also has gained headlines as lawmakers prepare to debate a legislation that would allow the practice. The proposed law was introduced in 2014 by the Gabriela Women’s Party to help resolve the issue of irreconcilable separations.
The Philippines is the only country, aside from the Vatican, that does not allow divorce.
Lawmakers, including House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., have said they would oppose the bill as it winds through the legislative process.
Despite the strong influence of the church in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, a recent survey by the polling group Social Weather Stations shows strong and growing support for legalizing divorce.
The survey released March 23 found that at least 60 percent want divorce to be legalized.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103