IN THE run-up to the 4th World Meeting of Families, UST Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P called for the promotion of the “gospel of life” against the “culture of death.”

“The good news for the family, which is troubled by the culture of death, should come from the gospel of life. God’s word to the family is that life is sacred and it enjoys dignity because it is God’s gift and therefore it has to be protected from all the threats,” the rector said during the Congress on Family Life.

The event, sponsored by the Human Life International (HLI), the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference and the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, was held last January 21 at the UST Medicine Auditorium as a prelude to the 4th World Meeting of Families. Its theme was, “A Call to Families in the Service of Life and Love.”

To build a culture of life, Lana emphasized love as a vital ingredient in building good families.

“The gospel of love speaks of a committed and a responsible love, love which is characterized by mutual giving and by understanding and readiness to forgive,” he said.

HLI director of International Coordination Joseph Meaney said that the event was realized after Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council urged HLI officers to hold it in the Philippines.

“It is our sincere hope that by bringing together our HLI leaders and supporters for an international pro-life congress preceding the 4th World Meeting of Families and participating in this very high moment in the life of the Church, we will strengthen our ability to promote life and the family around the world,” Rev. Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of the HLI said.

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Speakers were Joseph Meaney, who talked about the United Nations and its plan to redefine marriage and family; Edwin Lopez, director of EWTN Asia Pacific, who addressed the issue on mass media’s negative impact on the family; Lech Kowalewski and Ewa Kowalewska, representatives of pro-life movements in Poland and Europe, who discussed natural family planning; and James Wong, executive director of the Singapore Family Life Society, who tackled issues on pregnancy crisis.

In addition, a panel discussion on House Bill 4110 or The Reproductive Health Care Agenda of 2001 was held in the afternoon. The first version of the bill was reviewed in a public hearing last October, which provoked protests from pro-life groups.

Atty. Jo Imbong, one of the panel speakers said that the bill still lacks legal and moral foundation after going through certain revisions.

“The bill urges legalization or decriminalization of abortion procedures under the guise of promoting the reproductive health of women,” she added.

Other panelists were Dr. Edna Garayblas-Monzon, Dr. Rene Bullecer, and Mr. Meaney.

The whole day event was participated by more than 800 bishops, priests, religious sisters, leaders, laymen and students from all over the world. Anna Rachelle S. Ariola

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