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Living Piously in a Culture of Death: The Catholic Church and the State in the Philippines

Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 130

Posted: 29 Nov 2010  

Julius Bautista

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Date Written: December 1, 2009


This paper reflects upon the issue of population growth and reproductive health in the Philippines in the context of the ongoing Congressional deliberation of House Bill 5043. Specific attention is paid to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church upon this process, through the institutional pronouncements and edicts of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).As of late 2009, it still remains to be seen whether HB5043 shall be passed into law. What can be observed even at this stage, however, is that there may well be a discordance between Church proclamations regarding faith-based sexual morality on the one hand, and popular opinion and practices under difficult economic and social vicissitudes on the other. It is important to recognize that divergent voices within the Church hierarchy express opinions that do offer alternatives to the hard line stance of official CBCP proclamations, which are to a great extent reliant upon the promulgation of wider Roman Church theology. In light of the CBCPs historical role in Philippine politics, however, such alternative voices may have become subsumed by the conservative agenda, even though the former may correspond more closely to popular opinion.

Keywords: growth, abortion, contraception, church, corruption, reproductive health

Suggested Citation

Bautista, Julius, Living Piously in a Culture of Death: The Catholic Church and the State in the Philippines (December 1, 2009). Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 130. Available at SSRN: or

Julius Bautista (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591

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