Manila, Philippines, Feb 6, 2020 / 15:21 pm
Catholic leaders in the Philippines have voiced concern that a bill aiming to legalize divorce is progressing without significant debate.
“I was expecting exhaustive deliberations and discussions would be conducted on the measure,” said Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary for public affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“I was surprised at the speed at which the committee accepted the bill,” he said, according to UCA News.
The House Committee on Population and Family Relations approved House bills 100, 838 and 2263 on Feb. 5. The bills, which would allow for divorce in the country, will be consolidated before receiving a full vote in the House.
A similar effort to legalize divorce in the previous Congressional session passed the House but failed in the Senate.
The Philippines is the only country in the world beside Vatican City where divorce is not legal, CNN reports. More than 80% of the population in the Philippines is Catholic.
Father Melvin Castro, spiritual director of the Pro-Life Philippines group, also objected to the lack of discussion surrounding the bill.
“With the sensitivity of the issue and the magnitude of its effects, Congress should allow open, honest and exhaustive discussion and debate on the issue of divorce,” he said, according to UCA News.