- The night that changed France – and Europe
Catherine Pepinster, John Laurenson
The Vatican has described the atrocities of Friday 13 November as an assault on peace for all humanity. They have also caused a rethink about security, freedom and open borders
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Pope in Africa: Violence and terrorism fed by poverty and despair, Francis says as he arrives in Kenya
- Press freedom monitor OSCE censures Vatican over Vatileaks trial involving two Italian journalists
- Church of England should be bridge between Catholics and Evangelicals, Pope's preacher tells synod
- Pope Francis begins his vital trip to Africa under tight security in Rome
- Any peace plan for Syria must involve a secular society - and that means Assad is an option John Eibner
- Depriving Isis of a home is key to victory, but the West must avoid humiliating Muslims in defeat Clifford Longley
- Reflection on the Paris terror attacks: Hatred won’t stop me patting the dog Fr Peter Day
The Supreme Court in the Philippines has approved a law long fought by the country’s Catholic bishops that will make contraception freely available, make sex education compulsory in schools and provide medical care for women who have had illegal abortions.
The Reproductive Health bill requires government health centres to distribute free condoms and contraceptive pills.
But a spokesman for the Philippines’ bishops' conference said the ruling was not a “lost cause” because the court declared unconstitutional the inclusion of abortifacients as contraceptives, a requirement that church-run health facilities provide contraception, and a ban on health-care providers who refuse to offer contraception.
The court had deferred implementating the law when it was passed in December 2012 after the Catholic Church and other religious groups questioned its constitutionality.
The Philippines is about 80 per cent Catholic, and with a population approaching 100 million, has one of the highest birth rates in Asia.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Philippines’ bishops’ conference, said that although the court had upheld the Reproductive Health (RH) law, “it has truly watered down the RH law and consequently upheld the importance of adhering to an informed religious conscience even among government workers.”