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Bishop denies threatening to excommunicate Aquino.

Calls for artificial contraception puts president at odds with the church

Manila A Catholic leader denied threatening President Benigno Aquino III with excommunication while at the same time admitting their "frustration" over the leader's push for artificial contraception.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines' (CBCP) said the clergy still believes that "dialogue" and not "confrontation" will resolve the issue concerning the use of artificial methods of preventing pregnancy.

"Threat of excommunication at this point of time can hardly be considered to be in line with dialogue," Odchimar said in a disclaimer issued yesterday which was published in the CBCP website.

Excommunication was prevalent during the middle ages, but is hardly heard of in modern times when society has more liberal outlook on matters concerning faith.

It can be recalled that Aquino, who is barely 100 days in office, locked horns with the conservative Catholic Church over the issue of artificial contraception.

Birth control options

The 50-year-old President, a bachelor, had said in a recent statement that he believes that couples should have an option on whether to use artificial or natural birth control methods.

The statement did not sit well with the CBCP which toes the Vatican line against artificial methods such as the pill, condoms, diaphragm, injectibles and other similar approaches at birth control.

Odchimar said his statements had been misinterpreted when he was quoted in reports to have threatened Aquino with excommunication for taking a conflicting line with the Church on the matter of artificial contraception.

"The imposition of the canonical sanction has not been contemplated by the CBCP," he said. The CBCP head also reiterate the Church's position that human life starts at conception and not at implantation.

In Odchimar's radio interview yesterday, he said that any completed act to expel or kill the fertilised ovum is considered abortion.

The Philippines is a majority Catholic country, however, not everyone who profess to be a member of the faith adheres to what the Church says against artificial contraception.


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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 2, 2010
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