The sanctity of marriage is still respected and defended in the Philippines. However, it is under assault by some members of the Filipino government. House Bill 6027 is threatening to legalize divorce, which would have detrimental effects upon family life and Filipino society. More than 86% of the country is Catholic and, fortunately, many Filipinos are already fighting back against this affront.
The bill is being sponsored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who wants the so-called “Act Providing for Grounds for the Dissolution of Marriage Bill” to be given priority in the lower house of the Senate. Fifteen members of government have authored the legislation, which would allow divorce in cases of “irreconcilable differences” or “severe and chronic unhappiness”. This is but the latest attempt by anti-family legislators to sponsor a bill, the last being in 2016.
Rene Josef Bullecer, M.D., Country Director for Human Life International (HLI) in the Philippines, is among Catholic leaders greatly concerned by the development. He has been meeting with the National, Regional and Local Councils of the Laity and granting media interviews to try and stop the threat. Quoted in the Cebu News, Dr. Bullecer said: “Let’s not wait for this bill to become law before we take actions against it.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes “Divorce is immoral … because it introduces disorder into the family. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse [and] to children traumatized by the separation of their parents” (CCC, ¶ 2385).
Divorce is not the answer for couples having difficulties. There are options that would better serve a married couple, their family and society. Governments could partner with the Catholic Church and other faith communities with a vested interest. Together, they could create Marriage/Family Life Support centers, which could offer counsel to couples and families, helping them to remain together. Society has everything to gain in the protection of marriage, which is meant to be exclusive, fruitful and indissoluble. Children are happier and healthier when raised by their biological parents, in the first school of learning and formation.
The majority of governments at one time, especially in Catholic countries, understood the overall impact marriage has upon a given society and culture, thus making divorce difficult or impossible. One should also consider that people would wrongly believe that because something is legally permissible that it’s also moral. Thus, in an attempt to assist couples struggling with married life, legalizing divorce would only encourage couples to take this lifetime commitment less seriously, abandoning their vows and duties.
The Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) has completed a massive study entitled the Mapping America Project, which is based on the USA’s National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), the largest such study in history. MARRI has found that the people who are happiest have three characteristics: They are religious, they come from an intact family, and they are married. This series of studies can be found at http://marri.us/research/mapping-america/.
Please pray for Dr. Bullecer and other Filipino Catholic and family leaders as they wage battle against this proposed anti-family legislation.
To learn more about the unusual lifestyle of Mr. Alverez who is pushing this bill, please tap on the link: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/07/1726162/manobo-alvarez-files-bill-dissolution-marriage.