Om mani padme hum, oil on canvas painting 1996 by Aericangelo — juxtaposing Fr. Bernas SJ’s stance on #RH Bill
I am very much aware of the fact that we live in a pluralist society where various religious groups have differing beliefs about the morality of artificial contraception which is very much at the center of the controversy. But freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes. Hence, the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief nor may churchmen pressure President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief. As the Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church says, “Because of its historical and cultural ties to a nation, a religious community [like the Catholic church] might be given special recognition on the part of the State. Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” and “Those responsible for government are required to interpret the common good of their country not only according to the guidelines of the majority but also according to the effective good of all the members of the community, including the minority.