PHILIPPINES - Divorce to Be Made Legal?

Arno Froese

Anti-divorce protesters marched in Manila in February. The Philippine House of Representatives passed a bill in March that would legalize divorce.

To become law, the bill needs to be passed by the Senate and approved by the president. But the House bill, which passed by a vote of 134 to 57, is significant since no divorce legislation has ever made it this far in the Philippines, says sociologist Jayeel Cornelio of Manila’s Ateneo University. He calls the bill “unprecedented,” but also logical in a country where a recent survey showed more than half of Filipinos are in favor of allowing divorce “for irreconcilably separated couples.”

“The influence of the Catholic Church, when it comes to political matters and private moral affairs, is becoming weaker and weaker in the country,” Cornelio says. “The resistance of the Catholic Church to the divorce bill is increasingly seen as not in the interests of the public but only the interests of the Catholic Church.”

“The Philippines should be a secular state where there should be separation of church and state,” lawyer Clara Padilla says, “where the Catholic Church should not be able to influence their religious beliefs in the passage of laws.”

The Philippine Supreme Court recently ruled that Filipinos married to foreigners can get divorced abroad and be recognized as such at home.

Duterte has expressed his opposition to divorce in the past. But he’s also been a fierce and foulmouthed critic of the Catholic Church, when it comes to the Church’s condemnation of his war on drugs, which human rights groups say has claimed more than 12,000 lives since it began nearly two years ago.

If enough Filipinos make a public show of supporting a divorce bill, the populist Duterte might go along. Giving the people what they want while giving the Church a black eye, some observers suggest, might be a twofer Duterte simply cannot resist.

-www.npr.org, 23 May 2018

Arno's commentary

Wikipedia states that 81% of the Philippines’ population is Roman Catholic, with 11% Protestant and about 5.6% Muslim.

The article deals with granting or denying divorce. It’s a political-religious issue virtually dominated by the Catholic Church.

What does the Bible say? Here we must quote Mark 10, where Jesus answered the Pharisees: “And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:4-9).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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