Archdiocese of Manila commission: Promote healthy marriages, reject divorce

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The Archdiocese of Manila’s Commission on Family and Life on Saturday called on lawmakers to pass legislation that will help foster healthy marriages rather than legalizing divorce, which they said would “undermine” the institution of marriage.

In a statement signed by commissioner Fr. Joel Jason and Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, the commission advised lawmakers to enact laws that would help prepare men and women for marriage, promote and keep healthy marriages, and support struggling married couples.

“As our constitution mandates, we appeal to our lawmakers to focus their attention and legislative efforts on ensuring that the sanctity and strength of marriage and the family be upheld and protected at all times, instead of weakening and undermining them with a divorce law,” it said.

The commission said a divorce law would violate Article 2, Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution, which acknowledges the sanctity of family life and commits to protecting and strengthening the family as a basic autonomous social institution.

“As our constitution mandates, we appeal to our lawmakers to focus their attention and legislative efforts on ensuring that the sanctity and strength of marriage and the family be upheld and protected at all times, instead of weakening and undermining them with a divorce law,” it said.

Canon law defines marriage as “a union by a man and a woman who establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.”

The House of Representatives approved a bill on May 22 to reinstate absolute divorce in the country.

The Divorce Law was first enacted in the Philippines in 1917 during the American colonial period but was repealed in 1943. In 1950, Republic Act No. 386, or the Civil Code, was introduced to permit legal separation instead of absolute divorce

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