Guiding Principles of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippineson Population Control
In discussion of matters regarding population control, it is the Pope and the Bishops alone that give theofficial, authoritative Catholic moral teaching regarding the principles involved. We set forth in thefollowing paragraphs the guiding principles approved by the CBCP for the guidance of the Catholic faithfulin the Philippines.
1. Respect should be given to the sacredness of human life in all its stages.
2. Marriage and the marital act have two aspects: the unitive and procreative. These two aspectsare never to be separated through man’s initiative. Though it is not forbidden for couples toengage in the marital act during infertile periods.
3. Directly willed abortion, the use of abortifacients, sterilization and contraception are wrong inthemselves. They are wrong not because the Church forbids them; the Church forbids thembecause they are morally wrong.
4. The Church teaches the need for responsible parenthood. This means among other things, thatcouples should bring into the world generously the children when they can raise up as goodhuman beings, but they should seek to bring into the world only those that they can raise up asgood human beings.
5. The Church advocates Natural Family Planning as the only morally acceptable way of practisingresponsible procreation.
6. The Church rejects the contraceptive mentality, i.e., the attitude that selfishly avoids theprocreation of offspring solely because the couples do not want to bear the responsibility thatcomes with having a child. It is wrong to use even Natural Family Planning methods in pursuit ofsuch a contraceptive mentality.
7. The Church teaches that the decision on the number of children lies solely on the parents . Noone can make the decision for them. But the parents are to make their decision responsibly, thatis, with a sense of their responsibility to each other, to their children already born, to their childrenstill to be born, to society, and to God.
8. Hence the Church is against any coercion exercised on couples to pressure or force them to limitor increase the number of their children. It is also against any coercion exercised on any otherperson involved in helping in the regulation of birth.
9. The increase or decrease of population growth does not by itself spell development or underdevelopment.The Church does not forbid the advocacy of the acceleration or deceleration of ourpopulation growth, according to circumstances, provided this is achieved within the parameters offreedom of conscience, the responsible decision of couples, and the principles of sexual andfamily morality.
It should be kept in mind that injustice in society is a more fundamental cause of poverty in ourcountry.
10. Because the Church regards artificial contraception as wrong in itself, the Church will object totheir dissemination and use. Further, Church personnel and institutions cannot be expected tocooperate with the dissemination and use of contraceptives.
11. The Church acknowledges religious freedom of conscience. But she has the duty to announceand promote the moral law regarding the regulation of population.
In conclusion, “there are no ‘value free’ methods of family planning. Research scientists, medicalpersonnel, government officials and welfare agents should reflect seriously on the consequences of theiractivities, on the assumptions they hold, and on the goals they pursue in family planning.” (Submission ofthe Holy See to the WHO-sponsored International Conference on the Ethics and Values of FamilyPlanning held in Bangkok in June 1988.)
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)+LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI, OP
Archbishop of Caceres
President, CBCP10 July 1990,