According to Article II, Section 6 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that, the separation of Church and State shall be inviolable and Article III, Section 5 states, No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
Given the articles of the constitution regarding the relationship of the church and the state, is the Catholic Church violating the principle of the Separation of Church and State by daring to speak out against certain bills?
First, what does the separation of the church and state really means? The separation of the state means that the state does not have an official religion. It means that the people are free to choose in what religion depending in their own belief. It also means that there should be no laws that shall be pass that favors a religion over the other. It also means that there should be no discrimination of the religion and belief of the people. In short, what the union of the church and the state really means is that the citizens should be forced to follow a particular doctrine and those that do not follow should be penalized.
We can see from banners outside of cathedrals the popular phrase “No to RH Bill, Yes to Life.” But can we consider this action as a violation of the constitution? The separation of the church and the state does not mention that church officials cannot speak or try to influence the state policy. Since the Philippines is a democratic country, every person, group and organization is free to express their own opinion regarding certain issues. The church does not force people to go against a certain bills; the decision still lies in the people according to their conscience and understanding. It means that the church is not violating the constitution since it is only expressing its right to speak in order of its belief.
Given the reasons above, that the Philippines has no state religion and given that the state does not subsidize the church, and that no church has any official access to the instruments of state power, I believe that the church does not violate the constitution and that there is really a separation of the church and the state.
Courtney from Study Moose
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