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Philippines’ president-elect takes on Catholic Church over contraception

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(RNS) The Philippines’ new president is on a collision course with the Roman Catholic Church, over his plans to promote contraception in a bid to tackle poverty.

Rodrigo Duterte, who won the presidential election last month, said his government would push to limit the size of families.

“I will reinstall the program of family planning. Three’s enough,” Duterte was quoted as saying on Monday (June 27) by the Associated Press.

The president elect said he was aware the move would position him against the church — in a country where 80 percent of people are Catholic.

“I’ve also been colliding with the church because it’s no longer realistic,” the president said referring to the church’s stand.

Duterte’s policy continues his active role in family planning. While mayor of Davao, a southern city, he paid men to undergo vasectomies, AP reported.

The Catholic Church is opposed to contraception and recommends natural family planning methods as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

The Filipino president-elect, who will be sworn in on Thursday (June 30), has already angered Catholics by calling Pope Francis the “son of a whore.” He later apologized for the slur, but his success in winning the presidency in a Catholic country called into question the role of the church in society.

 (Rosie Scammell is an RNS correspondent based in Rome)

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Rosie Scammell

3 Comments

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  • Well, duterte is starting off with a bang, so to speak.

    Good for him.

    My gay brother for many years supported a little girl in the Philippines so that her overly large family, which her parents could not support, wouldn’t sell into heterosexual sex slavery in order to support the family.

  • It’s good that another Third World leader has the courage to take on the Pope on this issue. The Mexican leaders did this decades ago in a strong anti-clerical movement that set the 2-child norm for a country that couldn’t afford the unlimited progeny happening at that time. I applaud all world leaders who take on the task of dragging this horrendously backward hierarchy kicking and screaming into the modern era.

  • The new president is absolutely correct on contraception.I believe the people will embrace it, because living in poverty from generation to generation will only continue without it. As for the Catholic Church,they will continue to try and reinvent themselves to keep membership.Which may not be a bad thing,since a lot of what they believe people don’t practice.

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