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Laity opposes divorce bill: It negates divine command

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 29,2024 - 09:50 PM

divorce bill

Representatives from the Commission on Laity, the Commission on Family and Life, and Human Life International discuss their opposition to the passing of the divorce bill on Wednesday, May 29. CDN Digital photo | Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines —“The divorce law negates the divine command that no man should separate what God has joined together. Here, man puts himself above God.”

This is a portion of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Commission on Laity’s statement regarding the passing of the divorce bill, which was recently approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives.

Fe Barino, chairman of the Commission on Laity, read the statement on Wednesday, May 29, in a press conference attended also by Rene Josef Bullecer, country director of Human Life International (HLI) and Ricky Maye Abella of the Commission on Family and Life (CFL).

Marriage: A sacred covenant

Marriage, according to the Laity, “is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, established by God.” They said that “it is a sacrament,” which is a “visible sign of God’s grace.”

Therefore, divorce “violates” that “sacred bond” which nullifies “the permanence and indissolubility of the marital union.”

The Laity’s statement highlighted the stand of the Catholic Church on marriage, especially on the sacrament and the marriage vows’ sacredness.

ALSO READ: Divorce bill okayed by House: ‘It’s not a monster’

Moreover, the Laity acknowledges that no marriage is perfect and that all married couples would eventually face challenges and difficulties.

With this, the commission encouraged them to work through these difficulties, seek reconciliation, grow in their commitment to one another, and address the issues rather than resorting to divorce.

“We recognize the reality of marital breakdown for which support and guidance should be given to couples in difficult situations through pastoral care, counseling, and the annulment process, which examines the validity of a marriage,” the statement read.

The Laity also believes that divorce is “unnecessary” given that there are already existing “legal remedies” such as legal separation, annulment, and declaration of nullity of marriage.

“The Constitution of the Philippines protects marriage as a social institution, which is not compatible with the concept of divorce,” the statement added.

Section 2 of Article 15 of the 1987 Constitution sees marriage as an “inviolable social institution” and “is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”

READ: Netizens divided on divorce in the Philippines

‘Legal remedies’

Bullecer from the HLI said that should the divorce bill become a law, the State’s recognition of the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation would be undermined.

“Naa man unta’y mga remedyo sama sa legal separation ug annulment unya nganong tagaan man gyud og absolute divorce nga mura na’g balay nga naa man ta’y kagawasan, naa man ta’y bintana gamay, na’y bintana sa kwarto, nganong ablihan man gyud nato ang maindoor nga to the point nga it will open up the Pandora’s box og everything nga makaguba sa pamilya?” Bullecer said.

Bullecer said that the good thing about legal separation was that the couples will still be “legally married” whichever remedy they would take for their dysfunctional marriage with the possibility of the couple getting back together.

Moreover, annulment declares the valid marriage “null and void” and it treats as if the marriage never happened, but acknowledges that the valid marriage existed.

The declaration of nullity of marriage, on the other hand, is the legal process which declares a marriage null and void, and it is based on the grounds that such marriage is void from the beginning.

READ: Forwarding of divorce bill to Senate deferred

House Bill No. 9349, or the Absolute Divorce Bill principally authored by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, gives spouses in irremediably failed marriages a “fourth mode” of dissolving an “irreparably broken or dysfunctional marriage” based on limited grounds.

The other three allowed under the Family Code are canonical dissolution, annulment, and legal separation.

If enacted into law, the bill would actually “reinstate” divorce in the country, as it was legal during the American colonial era and then abolished during the Japanese occupation.

Currently, the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that still does not allow divorce as a means to end a marriage. The other one is the Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. | with reports from Krixia Subingsubing, Tina G. Santos –

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TAGS: divorce bill, Laity

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