AS THE Catholic Church contends with a direct attack againts the nation’s moral foundations, a Thomasian cardinal has come home to fight for Filipino values and culture.

But contrary to news reports, the retired Jose Cardinal Sanchez did not fly back to the Philippines to fight the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, but to “protect the Catholic doctrine.”

“The bill is insignificant as far as the problems of the world are concerned,” he said. “[But] I’m happy that it is being faced seriously by the Church.”

Sanchez, who was appointed prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the clergymen in 1991, said that he wanted to give the Church a voice to “maintain the attitude of Filipinos and protect [their] Catholic faith.”

The former archbishop of Nueva Segovia added that one of the fears that brought him home is the looming spread of same-sex marriage, which has been adapted in Brazil, the country with the most number of Catholics.

“Approving same sex marriage is a movement of the devil that destroys the foundation of the Church,” the Cardinal told the Varsitarian.

Sanchez also urged bishops to befriend legislators and sway them from their decision to pass the RH bill, adding that when he was still a bishop in Bicol, he used to go to these “congressmen one by one” to enlighten them.”

However, it would be hard to do that now as many lawmakers are not Christians, and many of them prioritize politics over religion.

The Cardinal told the Varsitarian that Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the author of the RH bill, was “affected totally by the communist way of looking at things” after studying as a scholar in Russia, a communist country.

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Sanchez also said President Benigno Aquino III’s support for the bill owes to political reasons and by the fact that “he has no firm idea on marriage.”

“It is too much politics now, no longer religion. I hope his Christian conscience will prevail,” he said.

Still, Sanchez is convinced that the RH bill—which is pending in the House of Representatives—will “not be ultimately passed” since the country still has good Christian leaders. Moreover, the value that Filipinos put on faith and family will make the passage difficult.

The Cardinal said that instead of passing the RH bill, the government should improve and strengthen the family and provide livelihood to poor Filipinos.

Sanchez took his doctorate in Sacred Theology in UST simultaneously with BS Education. He taught theology at the College of Education from 1948 to 1950. But he did not finish the two degrees because he was called back to Legazpi City in 1951.

He is one of only six Filipino clerics elevated to the cardinalate, such as the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, Julio Cardinal Rosales, and Jaime Cardinal Sin.

The other living cardinals are Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales and retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Vidal. Brylle B. Tabora

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