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Pastoral Statement
on the Cairo International Conference
on Population and Development

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

Greetings of Love and Life from the Lord!

Cairo.  For most Filipinos it is only the name of Egypt's capital.  But come September, 1994, it will be the place where representatives of various nations, gathered for the International Conference on Population and Development, will make decisions that will deeply influence family life throughout the world and thus the future of humanity.  There are deep and well-founded forebodings that this influence will not be positive -- it can be a betrayal of humanity.  Decisions and resolutions may be made there that will promote a radical change in the concept of what a family is, foster sexual license among the unmarried, and open even wider avenues to the evil of abortion.

Because of the importance of this Conference, we have deemed it necessary to write a letter to our President regarding the Philippine representatives to the Conference and the stand which they, as our people's representatives, should  uphold.

We have asked our government to let us know the identity of our country's delegates, the criteria according to which they were chosen, and, more importantly, the positions they have been instructed to uphold.  We have also requested the President to hear our opinion on the delegates our government is thinking to send.

The President already knows well the Catholic position against direct contraception, direct sterilization and direct abortion.  For this particular conference, in solidarity with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, we have deemed it especially necessary to ask that our representatives to Cairo present positions that are consonant with our Constitution, our culture, and the religious heritage of the overwhelming majority of our people.

In particular, we asked:

    That, in harmony with our Constitution and our Family Code,  they  uphold  and  defend  the  sanctity of the family, founded on marriage between  a man and  a  woman,  as the basic unit of society;

    That they present a consistently pro-life stance, uphold the value of human life and children, and defend the right to life of every individual, from conception to its natural end.  We expect them to be uncompromising against direct abortion and point out that in our Constitution, the State is mandated to "equally protect the life of the mother and the unborn from conception" (Art. 2, Sec. 12).  A society that does not protect its weakest but kills them is a dehumanized society;

    That they also uphold the truth that marriage is the only morally legitimate setting for the exercise of the sexual act and the procreation of children, and

    That they uphold the primacy of persons over things, of being over having.  The worth of a person is not measured by what he/she has but by his/her capacity to give of self in service.

We emphatically asked that our representatives represent our country in Cairo as free people who prophetically witness to the truths that humanize and to reject that type of imperialism which subjugates and determines the future of peoples by money.

We call on you, our people, to bear witness to Christian family values in your daily living and to pray and fast fervently that in this family year, those same values may indeed be defended and triumph in Cairo.

May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph defend us from evil and help obtain for us life in its fullness.

For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

Bishop of Butuan
President, CBCP

July 10, 1994
Tagaytay City

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